|12| Ellesmere Empire
Feeling something soft under me, I open my eyes. Where was I?
Recalling Maximus, I sit up. Panicking, I look around. What was this place?
Taking a deep breath, I try to calm down. Looking down at my body, I notice I’m wearing a black lace nightgown. Frowning, I gasp. It was so revealing. Who put this on?
“You awake?” I heard a voice. Looking up, I turn and look towards the door. Lorcan walked in with a tray of food. He had his silver hair tied up in a ponytail. His white long sleeve shirt opens from the chest, and gray trousers hang low from his waist. He looked way too good dressed like that.
“Lorcan?” I mumble with a raspy voice. Reaching for my neck, I gulp.
“Here have some water,” Lorcan said, offering a glass of water. I stare at it. “Don’t worry,” he said, laughing.
Nodding, I take a sip. The refreshing liquid made me sigh in relief.
“Where am I?” I asked as I drink more of my water. Taking a seat in bed, Lorcan grabs a plate of fruits and gives it to me.
“You’re in my empire,” Lorcan said, “We have a lot to talk about.”
His piercing gray eyes gaze at me. I nodded as I started eating quietly.
“First, how do you feel? Devika will come later to check on you,” Lorcan said.
“I’m good, just a small throbbing in my head,” I explain as I eat. The fruit was so refreshing and sweet that I was getting hungrier.
“Ok,” Lorcan said as he removed a hair strand, “You had quite the injury. I’m surprised you didn’t lose your memories.” I watched him as he looked at my head—a small crease formed on his pale face.
“May I ask what happened?” I asked, curious to know more.
“About what specifically?” Lorcan said as his eyes interlock with mine.
“About everything. My attacker, when we left… about Maximus,” I whisper the last words.
Nodding, Lorcan smiled.
“Your attacker was an assassin who uses magic. Your sister Celine hires him to kill you. About what will happen to her, I don’t know. Maximus would take care of her. About when we left, that was four days ago. You’ve been in a deep sleep. It was Devika who put you to sleep,” Lorcan explained as my eyes went wide.
“What? Four days?” I said almost shockingly.
“Yes, but calm down. It’s for your wounds to heal, and that’s how long it took us to get here. So we had you sleeping all the way,” Lorcan smiled, “Now you are safe.”
“Am I?” I asked as I put the fruits down.
“Yes, Amari. And now I need to explain to you what and where you are,” Lorcan sighed. “This is The Ellesmere Empire. It’s an empire ruled by vampire seekers.”
I stare at him, shocked. Vampire seekers? Was he one?
“Yes, I am. To answer your question, I am. And I’m the king, to be more specific,” my grapes drop from my mouth as I stare at him.
“Are you going to eat me?” I mumble.
Laughing loudly, Lorcan shakes his head. His smile was so bright I felt so gloomy next to him. I didn’t know he could smile like that.
“No, my dear, I won’t unless you want to,” Lorcan said as he leaned over and grabbed a hair strand and kissed it, “We don’t eat humans. But we could have a taste.”
I gulp the piece of fruit I had inside my mouth.
“But no need to worry. Humans and all kinds of things live here. We are just like your empire. The Pallantine was it?” Lorcan said, rubbing his chin, “Well, going back. You are here now, and you are free. You will stay in the palace, and your room is an adjacent room to mine.”
“What?” I asked.
“For your safety,” Lorcan said, popping a grape into his mouth, “Let’s say some of my family members will be curious of you, and as Vampire seekers, you know about our gifts, right?”
I nodded as I listened to him intently.
“Good, so just to prevent anything, you shall be close to me. After all, I brought you over as a candidate for marriage,” Lorcan smirked as I spit my food.
“What the fuck did you just say?” I asked, baffled.
“What a mouth, my dear,” Lorcan said as he plays with my hair. Plopping himself down in bed, he toys with my long brown hair. “I mean, that’s the only way I could bring you over as the king that’s unmarried and has no one bringing a woman meant possible marriage. But don’t worry, it’s just something I said so people may respect you more. And like I said, you are free here. Do what you want. I won’t stop you.”
“Really?” I asked nervously.
“Yes, Amari,” Lorcan smiled. Smiling back at him, I lower my gaze to the food on the tray.
“Did he… did he say anything?” I asked Lorcan. My voice barely whispers.
Lorcan stopped moving his hand and lifted his gray eyes. Thin lips stayed put as he frowned.
He looked angry.
“Don’t ask. You wouldn’t want to hear the answer to that,” Lorcan mutters.
Nodding obediently, I eat again. Once done, Lorcan showed me around my bedroom. It was bigger than the one I had at Maximus palace.
“This is the queen chambers, you know, but because I wanted you close, I let you be here,” Lorcan explained, “Now that I remember, are you feeling dizzy or anything?”
“Why?” I asked as I closed the bathroom door.
“I, I let you see my memories,” Lorcan explained as he ruffles his hair, “I’m sorry about that, but you needed to know his intentions.”
I remember he put his forehead with mine. And I started hearing and seeing things like I was there. But why did he do that? How could he?
As my mind wanders on what he did, I suddenly gasped.
“You have the gift of vision?” I asked, clasping my hands.
“Well, no. How do I explain?” Lorcan said, grabbing my hand and making me take a seat on the sofa next to him. “My gifts are unique. As a vampire seeker, I have the traveler’s gift and the gift of memory. I can show you my memories or visions, as you said, by connecting our foreheads. I can show you everything I’ve seen in my life.”
“Really?” I asked excitedly, “You can show me anything?”
“Yes, but don’t ask me to show you what I’ve seen. Because it won’t be good,” Lorcan said, sighing.
“Why?” I asked curiously. I wanted to know more about him.
“Amari…” Lorcan sighed as he laughed, “You don’t think before saying stuff. I’m a vampire; I kill. What do you expect to see?”
Forming an o with my mouth, I nod my head and avert my gaze.
“Hey, don’t worry, I won’t do you anything,” Lorcan said smiling, “Unless you want me to.”
I scoff at him.
“You wish,” I smiled.
“Remember what I said when we met?” Lorcan asked, making me glance his way.
I frown, trying to remember. Scrunching my nose, I shake my head.
“Now you see,” Lorcan said, laughing. Hearing a knock, Devika peeks through the door and then walks in. She was carrying some bags.
“Won’t you help? King of the seekers,” Devika said, huffing.
“Why should I?” Lorcan said, offended. I chuckled as I watched them interact.
“Did you guys already met before?” I asked as both of them looked my way.
Devika smiled and walked over to us.
“Sadly yes,” Devika said, ruffling Lorcan’s hair, “I know this kid here.”
“Kid?” I frown.
“Yes, this is a kid, not a man,” Devika said, pointing towards Lorcan.
“Seriously? I’m older than you, witch,” Lorcan said, making me cringe. For a moment, I had forgotten who Devika was.
Devika turns serious and slaps Lorcan in the head.
“Sorry, what I mean is that Lorcan stopped growing when he turned sixteen. That’s why he looks young. And well, as a witch, I’m old. But don’t worry, I won’t hurt you,” Devika explained. I nodded, still kind of nervous about her.
Lorcan looks at the interaction between us.
“Devika could you leave us please,” Lorcan said as he kept his eyes on me.
Hearing the door shut, I lifted my eyes. Lorcan was staring at me with worry.
“There’s something I need to tell you, and you need to be honest with me as well. Are we clear?” Lorcan said. I grip my hands together. Why did I have a bad feeling?
“Amari, what did a witch do to you?” Lorcan asked, making my eyes go wide. I back away from him nervously. “Tell me, Amari. I know a witch hurt you. I could feel it when we connected our minds.”
“You saw my memories?” I asked, standing up.
“No,” Lorcan said, shaking his head, “I can, but I need the person’s permission. But I still felt something off about you, and the way you react with Devika has me wondering what did a witch do to you?”
I back away slowly. My body trembled.
No one could know. No one needed to know this was mine and no one’s problem.
“Please, Amari…” Lorcan breathed as he offered his hand, “Tell me, and I won’t tell no one.”
I looked away. My heartbeat as I thought of what to do or say. Biting my lip hard, I let a tear slide down my cheek.
“Amari,” Lorcan whispered as he reached for me and hugged me.
I cried on his chest as I felt overwhelmed. It’s been a while since I felt the need to cry. I knew that sooner than anything, I would die. But I can tell no one.
“Oh, Amari, tell me,” Lorcan said as he put his chin over my head. I shook my head and started cleaning my face.
“It’s nothing,” I lied, “really, no one hurt me.”
Lorcan grabbed my face and made me look at him. A frown on his handsome face as he sternly looks at me. He didn’t believe me, but I would not budge. Staring at me, he softly dries my tears. Leaning, he kissed my cheek. I blush at his gesture.
“Fine, but if you want to tell me. I will always be here, so don’t be afraid ok?” Lorcan said, hugging me. I nodded and stayed in his arms for a while.
The next day, I woke up early. Getting my dress on, I hear someone call my name.
“I’m here!” I said from the closet. Walking with another girl, Devika greets me.
“Morning, this will be your maid,” Devika said as a girl my age bows.
“Morning, your highness, I’m Liah, your maid,” the girl Liah said, smiling. I smiled back at her. She looked nice.
“Thanks, Devika,” I said, fixing my hair. Standing behind me, Devika slaps my hand softly and starts braiding my hair. Silently, I watch her over the mirror. Something was bothering her.
“Is everything alright?” I was curious to know.
“Nothing,” Devika sighed, “Just thinking.”
“I see…” I whispered, looking away. “Is there anything I can do here?” I asked, changing the topic.
“Yes, like what?” Devika asked. I hum as I think.
“I would like to check the town,” I said smiling, “Can we?”
“Of course, you can do whatever you want,” Devika said, “You don’t need to ask permission. Just let Lorcan know that’s all. After all, remember he’s the one who brought you over, and he’s responsible for you,” Devika explained.
I nodded; she was correct; Lorcan brought me here. So I needed to be careful. Also, he said I came as a supposed marriage partner. So that meant people would expect me to behave.
“Done,” Devika said, pulling me out of my thoughts. I smiled and thanked her. Fixing my red dress, I head out with Liah.
Stepping out of my bedroom, I stop.
“Oh my,” I whispered with my hand on my chest. I look at the hallway. Moving my head around, I felt dizzy. What was this?
The entire hallway sparkled. White walls with colorful paintings and a royal blue carpet decorated the long floor. My eyes move from picture to image. Each of them is an exquisite art. I watched in awe as the furniture and some ceiling designs had gold. The place shined and reeked in gold. They were rich.
The long windows with crystal glass cast colorful shades on the walls as the reflection of the sun hit them. I smile as I glance outside.
“Is that a garden?” I said, leaning on the window.
“That’s the royal garden, your highness,” Liah said, smiling.
“Wow, it’s beautiful,” I mutter.
“You like it?” Lorcan suddenly said from behind. Squealing in surprise, I turned and hit my head on the window.
“Are you ok?” Lorcan asked worriedly. I flinch as I touch my head. Some of my bruises were still healing.
“Yes, you scared me,” I spat angrily.
“Sorry, my bad princess,” Lorcan smiled wryly. Sighing, I look out the window. “Do you want to take a walk outside?”
Turning my head, I smile at him. Offering his hand, I take it.
Lorcan was quite a cold person. His body temperature was unique. Did it bother him?
Staring at our intertwined hands, I wonder how he felt when touching me.
“Something the matter?” Lorcan asked, glancing sideways.
“Do you feel uncomfortable?” I spat as my eyes went wide, “Sorry, I meant…”
“If I touch you?” Lorcan finished the sentence. “I just feel your warmth. My body, as you know, is cold. But touching you doesn’t make me uncomfortable. It feels normal.”
I nodded and looked to the front. Gasping, I cover my mouth.
“Love it?” Lorcan whispered in my ear. I nodded as I started dragging him.
The garden had rows and rows of rose bushes. Red, white, lined in rows. I looked around, and they were in full bloom.
The royal garden was enormous. It was at least the size of the palace. Fountains with naked angels decorated the garden as benches and pillars with vines stand on the side. I raced all over the area. Smiling brightly, I stop when I notice a particular bush. Blue roses?
Curious to touch, I move my hand, but Lorcan stops me.
“Don’t, that one you can’t touch them,” Lorcan said as he squeezed my hand.
“Why?” I asked as my eyes stayed glued on the blue roses.
“Those have poison. It’s a special breed. It’s magic, and they’re poisonous,” Lorcan explained. Letting go, I stand in front of one. I lowered my face to its level, observing it with curiosity.
“What about the others?” I asked, not looking at him.
“No, the rest are normal. Grab some, or if you want, I can ask the butler to bring you some every day to your bedroom,” Lorcan said, smiling.
“No,” I smiled, “If it’s ok, I would like to come and pick them myself.”
“You sure?” Lorcan asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes,” I smiled, “It would be something nice to do.”
Nodding, Lorcan grabs my hand and starts walking.
For the last twenty minutes, we have been walking around the garden. Stopping by a vine arc, I stare in awe.
“What’s this place?” I asked, looking up at the walls of grass.
“It’s a maze,” Lorcan said, standing straight.
“A maze?” I said in surprise, “You have that here?”
“Yes?” Lorcan chuckled, “Never seen one?”
“No, of course not,” I said smiling, “Can we go in?”
“We could only if we made a deal,” Lorcan pointed out.
“A deal?” I said, crooking my head.
“Yes, one you might like,” Lorcan said, flicking my head.
“Ow, that hurt,” I groan. “Tell me what’s the deal.”
“Their two ways. Both take you to the same exit, but whoever makes it out first will have the chance to ask for a request,” Lorcan said, smiling brightly.
“A request?” I mumble, “Like ordering you around to be my dog for the day?”
“What?” Lorcan frowned in shock. I laugh aloud as I stare at his expression.
“Yes, a request would be anything we ask, right?” I said, leaning to him. “And I don’t know why you’re so surprised. You should know me already. After all, I hit you on your crotch.”
Lorcan back away as he looks down at me.
“Yes, sort off,” Lorcan mumbled.
“So what would be your request?” I asked as I started walking around, “If you win, of course.”
“My request?” Lorcan mumbles, pretending to think. I smiled as I looked at his innocent face. “I know!” he said, looking at me with a smirk. Why was I not liking where this was going?
“Go out on a date with me. How about that?” Lorcan smiled.
“A d-date?” I stuttered.
“Yes, my dear, a date. Not like a princess and not like a king, but like Lorcan and Amari. What do you say?” Lorcan said, smiling softly. I stare at him. Was he serious right now? Go on a date with him?
I didn’t want to reject him instantly. He had helped me. Biting my lip, I nod softly.
“Good, then, my princess. We have a deal,” Lorcan said, shaking my hand. “If I win, we go on a date. And if you win, you may ask for anything you want. I promise to give it to you.”
I shook my head as he let go. Walking into the maze, I turn and look over my shoulder. With a wave, Lorcan makes a turn and disappears. Let’s see now who wins because I was sure of winning this bet.