Master

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Chapter 38

Lincoln’s P.O.V

I watch over my clan with tired eyes. They were quite literally in shambles.

I couldn’t say that I didn’t understand why. A few hours ago, Diablos had been here, in their new home without any warning signs that would’ve at least allowed them a chance to prepare.

It was unnerving at the very least.

But what made it almost tolerable for them all was Kalem. Though my love wasn’t much better than them, sitting restlessly beside me unlike the rest of our clan who filled the dining room sharing nervous glances and fearful whispers while they stood, he at least still had a smile on his face.

Even though he shared their same emotions of unease, his smile made it seem like he knew that everything was going to be okay. And that had an effect on them all, it made them less jumpy, a little calmer and I could kiss him for it.

But the signs of nervousness were still there, like how he was biting his nails. I don’t think I’d ever seen Kalem bite his nails before, but that was all he was doing now.
Nibbling and nibbling on those little fingernails while he looked around at all the faces of our clanmates, faces that were joyous ones only a night ago.

Diablos just had to show up today of all days.

Just as I was enraged by it, I couldn’t help but acknowledge how well calculated his actions were. Even if he’d come just to waste my time, the fact that he’d been in the castle in some form still worked to strike fear and unease amongst the clan.

It brought about anxious thoughts of him returning at any point, of his eyes always been on them, studying them, or the fear that he’d return in person next time. And when you added that on to the fact that he’d appeared only a day after they’d come to the castle, it was quite frankly a brilliant move.

But it wasn’t Diablos. Diablos didn’t scheme and he certainly didn’t think ahead, he acted and he acted with force. Just as he’d done at the start of all this when he’d sent those under him to attack me.

That told me one thing above all else I’d learned through our conversation, something I’d have to wait to discuss with Malcolm once we were in private. Because if I was right, which I was sure I was, then one of our less favourable probability of events would soon be coming to pass.

But we had planned for all probabilities and so I found it challenging to be worried.

Though I couldn’t think of that now. Right now, I had to pull my clan back together so that we can continue moving forward, and at a quicker pace than before. But more importantly, so that I could check on Kalem the way I knew he needed me to.

I hadn’t had a moment alone with him since Diablos appeared and so I hadn’t been able to quell his worries very much. A moment in private would do him, and me, some good before we got back to things.

Standing to my feet, I squeeze Kalem’s shoulder gently before I look to the rest of my clan, and raise my hand. Silence falls over the room instantly.

Not another word is spoken or whispers made as everyone sits down and looks to me.

A ripple of pleasure rushes through me as I look over my clan, a feeling that I’d forgotten to be so pleasurable, so right. When I was still under their control - the witches who’d made and abused us - I used to feel this sometimes, on rarely fleeting occasions.

This sensational rush of power and calm that ran through every part of me, like some secret tucked away thing that commanded obedience but only came from respect.

In some ways I’d loved it and in others I’d hated it.

It always felt so wrong to love controlling others when, at the time, they had no choice, just as I had. I thought it sick and perverse, but here it wasn’t done without their consent. It wasn’t forced on through some evil witches’ intent.

I was their Plyen and they were submitting, willingly.

And it was damn near addictive.

Dropping my hand, I don’t waste any more time, “I know that many of you are scared and have a lot of questions, and I understand why. Diablos was in the castle, in your new home, and none of us knew he was until he was right in front of me.” I let the words sit, willing to admit the flaw in our defence and preparations, but also my weakness as their Plyen for not planning ahead.

“He wanted to show his power, to stilt our progress with his sudden appearance by making you fearful and nervous,” I continue as I look around at the many faces before me, “but in doing so, he also showed a portion of his hand to me which will only strengthen our clan as we go forth.

The decision of what we do from here falls onto us. Either we let him make us falter with his actions, or we carry on, making ourselves and our resolve stronger than before, using the information he’s given to us to our advantage rather than letting it tear us apart.”

Not a single vampire shifts their gaze from me to check the reactions of their fellow clanmates. Neither the old nor the young, they all just look at me through those different coloured eyes that shimmered with emotion and thought.

Slowly, those fearful expressions clear one by one, my calm spreading to them all through our connection as a clan. Those dark frightful thoughts faded to light as they looked at me, and remembered who they were and who they were following.

While Diablos may have the numbers at his back, he was not the first. And my clan knew just as every culture through every realm knew, that the original was always the best.

“Now,” I continue when the atmosphere changes to one I favoured far more, “can we confirm that every person has been accounted for?”

“Each and every person,” Alexander confirms from the opposite end of the table where she was seated beside Malcolm.

Nodding, I pocket the discussion of a possible traitor for a private discussion with her.

While I wasn’t sure if that was the case, I found that Diablos knew far too much about our clan as it was, as well as our plans.

If he was keeping a close watch on our affairs through a witch or other supernatural being, it was highly likely that someone in the clan, or many someones, was reporting our affairs to him.

“And the castle?” I ask as I look to Malcolm, “Has anything been altered or disturbed?”

“Not that we noticed,” Malcolm answers.

“Has anyone else?” I say looking over the clan, but they all shake their heads. I look to Kalem and fight back a smile knowing exactly what my next words would do to him. “As Kalem and I know this castle best, we will do a sweep ourselves to check that nothing is out of order.”

While anybody else would’ve been groaning or slouching about having to check every brick of the castle, my boy was beaming from ear to ear as he looked up at me, squirming happily in his chair at the prospect.

I wasn’t sure if it was because I’d used the word sweep and so he probably assumed that we’d be cleaning, or if Kalem was just excited to look at new places to clean. Either way, it all came back to cleaning and nothing in this world made Kalem happier than cleaning.

“As for why Diablos was here,” I continue once I look away from my lover, my lips tilting upwards only for a moment from his contagious joy. It withers away far too quickly when everyone stiffens in their places. “He wanted to offer me, or us, a deal.”

“A deal?” Malcolm asks slowly, his grey eyes narrowed with a seriousness that I saw rarely in him. He seemed as suspicious of it as I’d been, it simply didn’t suit Diablos to try to negotiate in any way.

He’d always been the first to attack, after all, he was made for destruction.

“Yes,” I reply with a nod, “if we leave him to his affairs and do not interfere with the current... structure of our species, he has promised to leave us alone. Granted we do not further our clan numbers, he’s willing to... co-exist.”

That set everyone into an uproar of smaller conversations and there was no longer fear in their gaze, only deep frowns to add to their angered faces. I let it carry on for a moment, much preferring their anger to build than their fear.

“He’s lying,” Alexander states confidently, her face the harsh set of lines it’d been since she’d laid eyes on Diablos earlier. The others nod quickly adding on a few comments of agreement here and there.

Before I can contest that statement, Malcolm does it for me, “I don’t think he is.”

Everyone looks to him now, including the breathing stick sat beside him, but Malcolm keeps those calculated eyes on me as he taps his fingers against the gleaming wood of the table.

“This all started because Lincoln took Kalem from one of his slave houses without any trouble. He wanted to prove himself strong because if he didn’t, it would’ve created an imbalance in their power structure, that I’m guessing doesn’t do well with upsets.” When my eyes narrow just a little he explains, “why else would he be so desperate to stop us while our clan has barely started? We’re causing an imbalance.”

That... made sense.

“He probably never imagined that Lincoln would grow so attached to Kalem, to the point that he’d fight back instead of just ignoring them as he’s always done.” Malcolm continues, and while I didn’t appreciate Malcolm reading every detail from the most recent chapter of my everlasting life, I couldn’t fault him for it as he hadn’t spoken a word short of the truth.

This was all for Kalem, at least, it’d started that way. To protect him and ensure that I could build a future for him that would promise his safety for the rest of his life.

It’d slowly morphed into something else though.

I wasn’t sure exactly when or even how it’d happened, but my wish to protect Kalem had also become a wish to protect others both from and in my species.

That was something that Diablos would soon be made aware of.

“If Diablos had made this offer to Lincoln at the start instead of attacking him, I’m sure he would’ve taken it without a second thought,” Malcolms says with a bit of smirk that told me he was very proud of knowing me so very well. “Lincoln used to just want peace and to be left alone. Diablos knows that and by offering this deal now, he not only takes care of the threat of a new clan, but also appears stronger for ‘taming’ Lincoln.”

I’d never tell him, but Malcolm was the smartest people I knew.

“He’s right,” I say to confirm his theory, “if he’d offered this to me when it was just Kalem and I, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Even if it made me look weak or ‘tamed’, all that mattered to me then was taking care of my love.”

I smile just a little as Kalem squirms in his chair, his cheeks heating up with a beautiful pink touch that he tried to hide behind his hands. Apparently claiming my loveable boy in front of others made him turn from shameless to shy.

I’d have fun with that in the future.

“And now?” Alexander asks carefully, her words pulling me back to a reality that didn’t only include Kalem.

“And now, it’s not nearly enough,” I answer as I look to her, “not only have my ideals changed, what I want from this has changed as well, but most importantly, my purpose has changed.” Her eyes widen just a bit before they fill with pride as she nods.

“Malcolm is right in many things, including the fact that he can’t offer an imbalance,” I continue, “his ‘structure’ runs well and it runs deep, but it probably won’t run if a new clan, steps into a fold. One big enough to offer protection to those who’ve been too scared to run in the past.

He knows this and he knows that we will ultimately be his downfall if he doesn’t stop us now.” I state as I look around at my clan. They weren’t as strong as they needed to be, but there was a fire to them that just needed to be tended, so it could burn bright and turn all that faced us to ash.

“Diablos came to instil doubt and fear that would push us into those deal, but all he’s done is strengthened my resolve to tear his head from his body.”

The words left the mouth of a truly dead thing for a moment, as the thought of death consumed me and reminded me of my connection to it. What I was, was death itself, and any who tried to fight me, would die at my hand.

If Diablos wanted a war, then that’s exactly what I’d give him.

“So where do we go from here?” Malcolm asks, his smirk growing while his grey eyes flood with crimson, sensing the change in the atmosphere.

“We’ll do the very opposite of what he suggested,” I reply with a grin of my own, “that means we’ll be growing our numbers and broadening our reach. This clan needs to grow, and quickly so that we can face all who stand with him.”

“And how do we do that?” One of Alexander’s former chief-advisors asks from a table near the front.

“I’ve got a plan,” I don’t say any more.

Until I’d ensured that there weren’t holes already appearing in the clan, I would be holding the most important information close to my chest. Of course, I’d need to speak with Malcolm and Alexander before I followed this plan of action as I didn’t doubt that Malcolm would have some suggestions that would only strengthen it.

“Now, before I offer up the floor for questions, I would like to offer an apology to those of you who I took control of, without your permission.”

Frowns of confusion shift their expressions as they look at me, “it’s what we agreed to when we chose to follow you,” Alexander says slightly puzzled, and a few nods and words of agreement follow suit.

“And while it may be, I know agreeing to something and experiencing it is quite different,” I reply while my fingers close themselves into fists, “it was the first time in a long time for me, and I fear I may have been... hasher than I used to be.”

It’d been far worse than that.

I’d locked onto every vampire who was close enough to do my bidding without a second thought of their wellbeing as I put them where I thought best. Before, I’d been able to ensure a certain calm came over those I controlled, so that the connection felt less invasive and more... natural.

Like they were a continuation of me and so they felt my power and strength within themselves.

There’d been none of that today. In my haste to protect Kalem and the castle, I’d tossed them around like rag dolls, and for all I knew, I’d forced one through a wall.

“It’ll take some time for me to adjust,” I admit as I look around, “so until I do, I apologise for any pain or fear I cause.”

Nobody replies right away, they all stare at me as if they weren’t allowed to make comment. I knew in other clans, that was the way of things. But if I and a handful of others were the only ones to speak their minds when the floor was open to them, this clan would fall apart before it truly began.

Thankfully, a vampire who I’d recognised as one of the ones to speak to Kalem last night stands up despite his friends’ pleas not to, and shouts out, “I got torn out of the shower.”

Everyone looks across at the man who’s voice sounded almost familiar but I didn’t know where I’d heard him speak before, “I couldn’t even get my towel so I was just running around in the woods, butt naked.”

I should’ve felt guilty.

I shouldn’t be forcing myself to laugh.

I should be apologising, but with the way he was smiling so joyously as if he’d had a great time, I wasn’t sure he wanted me to.

“Gazium,” Kalem whispers quietly as he covers his mouth to silence a giggle.

This so-called, Gazium, continues smiling as if he was happy about it while those around him shook their heads and laughed, his reactions easing the tension in the room as everyone started laughing.

“It’s not like we saw anything new,” a girl says beside him which makes the surrounding laughter grow.

My lips twitch upwards slightly as I relax my fingers, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine Plyen,” Gazium says as he does a rushed awkward dip of his upper body, “it was weirdly freeing.”

As laughter roars up through the room I glance to Alexander who shrugs with a smile on her own face.

“Alright then,” I say with a grin I couldn’t put away, “Any questions?”

───────────────────

When we finish combing our way through each and every question and comment the clan has to make, I glance to Alexander who quickly follows the silent command to get everyone to work.

“Alright, everyone up and out,” she says as she stands and walks around the table, “we’re broadening our patrols and doubling the numbers out there. Let’s get moving.”

While the rest of the clan quickly file out of the dining room, I lean back into my chair and release a long breath of relief as I let myself relax into the plush cushions of the seating.

Kalem doesn’t waste a moment to drop himself into my lap, leaving his legs swings over one end while he wrapped his arms around my neck to keep himself from falling.

“Meet me in my office in half an hour?” I say to Malcolm as he and the leech pass before us.

“An hour,” the elf answers for him, “I need to tend to my Pisen.”

Aias doesn’t allow room for any response as he walks away, leading Malcolm out of the room with a hand caressing the back of his neck, his fingers resting over that thin collar that Malcolm loved so very much.

If Malcolm wasn’t so infatuated with him...

When the room is empty, I cast my full attention onto my boy who offers me a wide smile that was so bright and cheerful that it instantly washed all my stress and worries away.

With a smile of my own, I wrap my arms around Kalem’s waist and silently thank the Gods for blessing me with my own slice of the Sun.

“You sounded really strong and confident Master,” Kalem says firmly, nodding his head to confirm his own words.

“Did I?” I ask, my amusement growing as I looked at Kalem’s serious expression.

“Yup,” Kalem replies, his eyes full of wonder, “I think it made everyone feel much better.”

“And how are you feeling my love?” I ask while I run my fingers through his hair, “I know what happened today must’ve been very frightening for you.”

Kalem’s smile falters while he tightens his hold on me and nods just a little, his obvious discomfort making agony spike its way through me like poison settling in.

I wanted nothing more than to keep that smile on his face eternally, but my carelessness had taken that away.

It was only now that I thought about how my actions must’ve scared my love far more than Diablos’ presence. In the height of it, all I’d concerned myself with was making sure Kalem was safe, not taking into account how terrifying it must’ve been for him to suddenly be surrounded by vampires.

If it wasn’t for that long pole being with him when I couldn’t, I was sure Kalem would be feeling far worse than he currently was. The elf had proven himself useful.

I stifle the groan that rises at the thought. It soured my mood.

“I’m okay now,” Kalem whispers as his fingertips brush my collarbone, “I was scared when it was all happening. I thought that something was wrong or that the meanie Diablos was trying to take me away.”

“I would never let that happen,” I promise fiercely.

“I know Master, you always keep my safe and happy,” Kalem says with a weak smile, “but I didn’t know what was happening and I-I was scared.” His eyes drop from mine as he continues, “I wanted to make sure you were okay, but I couldn’t move and it was so dark in the little circle they made,” Kalem’s voice shakes slightly as his hold on me tightens, “I wanted to pop to you, but you said not to pop in front of anyone else and I didn’t want to be naughty.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, Kalem,” I press a kiss to his head and hug him a little tighter to me, “I should’ve made more precautions and been more prepared.”

“It’s okay Master,” Kalem say, trying his best to be strong and brave for me.

I kiss the top of his head while I look at him, “I’m sorry my love, I’ll do better.” Those were words that were not spoken lightly, “And while I’m so proud of you for remembering not to pop even when you were so scared, if you had, I would’ve understood and that wouldn’t make you naughty.”

I couldn’t help the smile that tugged at my lips as it always did whenever I used Kalem’s words for things. Naughty, pop and so much more, it always brought me joy.

“So I did okay?” Kalem asks unsurely.

Looking into his nervous hazel eyes that were darting between mine, I bring our lips together for a swift kiss before I reply, “You were perfect.”

Apparently, Kalem wanted a much longer kiss so as I pulled back, he leaned forward, seeking more with a little whimper and whine.

Wanting to tease him just a bit, I keep dodging his kisses until my boy is left whining with huffs of frustration while he tries to chase after my lips for more.

Little giggles were bubbling up from him, joining my chuckles until Kalem decided that enough was enough. “Lincoln,” he groans before he grabs both sides of my face, holding me in place with his hidden strength before he kisses me with a pleased hum.

With a smile on my lips, I let my lips move in time with his, slow and full of love that made us both hum our contentment. I sink into the chair, letting myself relax at the feel of Kalem’s soft lips against my own and the way he took from me all he wanted.

I loved the way he searched for more, his fingers caressing my skin with all of his needy, little sounds that made me feel like I was living on some faraway cloud with just the two of us.

“I love kisses,” Kalem whispers once we part, a pleased smile brightening his face.

Chuckling I hug him tightly to me with a sigh of relief, “that makes sense since your kisses are the best.”

Kalem giggles in my hold as he shifts himself until he’s curled on my lap like he usually was when I read to him in the library. With a chest full of joy and satisfaction, I hold him close and nuzzle his neck and closed my eyes.

I’d planned to get to work the moment I’d ensured that Kalem was okay, but now that I had him in my arms, I couldn’t help but take a few minutes to recharge with him before we got back out there.

So we sit in silence, doing nothing but... cuddling, and it was perfect.

I laugh a little as I try to imagine how I’d have reacted to the prospect of cuddling another being a few decades ago. As my chest shakes, Kalem raises his head to look at me, his eyes narrowed in confusion despite the amused smile resting on his lips.

“Why are you laughing Master?” he asks curiously.

“I just find the thought of cuddling amusing,” I reply which makes his frown deepen.

“Cuddling is funny?” He asks innocently, as he looks down at our bodies as if searching for a joke, and that only made my laughter grow as I shook in the chair, “wait Master, I don’t understand. What’s so funny?”

Searching more hurriedly now, Kalem lifts my arms and looks around us, desperately searching for a joke that wasn’t there. The harder I laugher, the more Kalem searched until finally he huffed and settled back in my arms, his eyes knowing as he whispered, “I forgot that you were weird Master.”

Chocking now, I sit us up a bit as I try to get my breathing under control, “I’m weird?”

Kalem nods, “you’re the weirdest Master in the world,” he says seriously as if this was common knowledge but I’d never once been called weird in my lifetime.

Lifeless. Frightening. Depressing. Yes, but never weird.

“But don’t worry, Lincoln.” Kalem says as he looks at me with a giggle, “I love you so much because you’re so weird.”

Shaking my head, I steal another of his lovely kisses from his lips, while his words warmed me from the inside out like a delicious glass of dark rum.

But when my ears pick up on all the work going on in the rest of the castle, I pull away knowing I had to ensure that things were in order as their Plyen.

But I also had to make sure Kalem would be okay without me today, I knew he was earlier, but with Diablos being here only hours ago, those feelings may have changed.

“Tell me honestly love,” I say while I watch Kalem’s face carefully, “would you like to stay with me for the rest of the day or do you think you’ll be okay on your own? I know you were supposed to give your tour today, but if you want to put it off, I’m sure it will be fine.”

In truth, while the others may not think the tour was on the table anymore, nothing would be better for them now than familiarising them with the castle.

Kalem bites his lips as he thinks on it, his eyes showing his doubt as he squirms a bit, “I don’t know,” he admits sadly, “do you think they will still want a tour from me?”

“I think so,” I say with a smile, “and I’m sure your smiles would make everyone feel a lot better.”

That makes Kalem beam brightly, his doubt quickly being replaced by pride, “okay,” he agrees with his legs kicking out with his excitement, “but will you be okay Master? I don’t want anyone coming back to hurt you.”

I wonder if Kalem knew the tight hold he already had on my heart, and how his innocently-spoken words only strengthened it.

“I’m sure I’ll be just fine,” I reply gently.

“If anyone hurts you, Master, I promise I’ll hurt them right back,” Kalem declares, his lips set in an unwavering line.

His expression wasn’t as dark as it’d been when he’d first seen me after Diablos’ appearance, he looked rather adorable now but there was still that little hint of darkness behind his eyes.

But I didn’t run from it, I refused to be wary of his demon-side as that was a part of Kalem, and I loved every part of my boy.

“Thank you Kalem, knowing that makes me feel safer already,” Kalem smiles proudly at me before the joy floods back into him and he tackles me for more kisses from his weird Master’.

───────────────────

Stepping into my office, I thank the Gods when I find Malcolm waiting there without his skinny slug at his side.

But with the way Malcolm was smiling, I didn’t doubt that the elf had been here only moments ago. “If you did anything in here, I will castrate you,” I promise as I circle my way to my desk.

“I’m not that bad,” Malcolm protests, but when my sharp eyes raise to his he adjusts his reply, “you deserved that.”

Rolling my eyes, I survey the papers I had open on my tables when Diablos had been here, scanning through them all carefully to see what information he’d been able to find. “He saw these when he was here,” I say to Malcolm as I gesture to the desk.

Malcolm lifts a few in his hands and scans them for himself, “notes on the castle’s space and how we’re allocating it.”

“Which means he knows where we rest, eat and so on. He’ll be able to target a weaker spot with fewer vampires if he were to attack,” I reply with a sigh, “I’ll have to make some changes.”

Malcolm nods still looking at the papers, “you’ll have to rearrange most of it,” he comments before his eyes drift down to the castle’s blueprints on my desk. He sets the papers in his hands down as he traces over the area I’d been cowering over these last few days, “what’s this?”

“We’re visiting a few more clans in the coming weeks, I was preparing for them,” I say mindlessly, but as I said the words I recognised what he was no doubt picking up.

My sectioning of the castle’s rooms showed how many vampires would be filling those areas, and if Diablos had looked close enough and thought about it for a second too long, he’d be able to piece together which clans we planned to visit next.

“If he gets to them before we do, he’ll be cutting off our chances of growing our numbers for a while,” Malcolm says, his eyes studying me, “we should leave as soon as we can to beat him there.”

“That is if he saw it and if he puts it together,” I point out.

“Yes, but if he does, then we’re screwed,” Malcolm replies, mocking my tone, “it’s better to be safe than to leave it to chance.”

I nod my agreement as I pondered the situation. We were still discussing whether we’d both go or if Malcolm could go without me before all this, but now I felt like I had to go.

It would be good if I were there to place confidence in others, but I found it troubling to think about leaving Kalem so soon, after only just returning home a week ago.

“I’ll go,” Malcolm says, knowing my thoughts without me voicing them, “I do most of the talking anyway, and people like me.” That was undeniable, “and I’ll take Wequie as well.”

I roll my eyes, “you just adore trouble don’t you.”

“Yes,” he admits shamelessly, “but if it weren’t for Wequie, we would’ve never thought to pay for attention to the Anouk newborns, now look at our clan.”

That was true.

Wequie was gifted when it came to noticing the bonds between people and groups, it was in his genetical composition to do so. While not all incubi still manipulated creatures into their company to feed, those skills of seduction were still there and could be used in many other ways.

“See if he knows any odd vampire on their own who would fit well with the clan,” I say as I rest my hands to the ancient wood, “he doesn’t supply to the wicked, so if he says they’re good, I’ll trust it.”

“I’m telling him that,” Malcolm says like the child he was. “I’ll see if he’s free to head out tomorrow, and I might take a few others with us.”

I nod my approval before I circle to the topic that concerned me the most, “Diablos came to talk to me Malcolm,” I say which takes the smile from his lips, “he was calm the entire time and he was smart enough not to come in person.”

Malcolm nods, knowing as well as I did that the Diablos we’d known had never been calculated and always chose to act before he thought. “And he used a witch,” he adds which was yet another strange thing for Diablos to do.

While no vampire liked witches, some were able to separate the hatred to recognise the power they had and how useful it could be. And while I could barely do that myself, Diablos had always believed strongly in depending on our species and our species alone.

The fact that he had ties with other species was far more than disturbing.

“Who do you think it is?” Malcolm asks, his body tense as he held my eyes, “Nebula? I can see her advising him.”

Nebula did fit the bill, but not entirely. The fourth made had always had an analytical mind, one that always chose thought over action, and she had always carried the view that every species was equal. And though Nebula wasn’t a saint, she was better than the rest of us.

“I know it’s been a long time, but has her hatred for Diablos changed?” I ask curiously.

“I’ve heard little about her,” Malcolm replies with a shrug, “I wouldn’t even know if she died.”

“Even so, Nebula wouldn’t risk it,” I say as I shake my head. She’d always hated it when I controlled them and even if she, for some reason, decided to side with Diablos, she wouldn’t risk me having that hold on her again.

“So who do you think it is?” Malcolm asks again, with what I knew to be silent anger.

It wasn’t as if we hadn’t considered one of the First working with Diablos or eventually siding with him as the war grew great and it came time for all to pick a side.

We’d just eliminated the chance of it being so soon.

We’d thought they’d be forced into it or that it would be an action Diablos would make when he was desperate and cornered. But coming to see me, trying to strike a deal, those were all actions suggested that there was someone whispering in his ear, someone he was working with and taking advice as I did with Malcolm.

And since Diablos viewed everyone who wasn’t amongst the first of our kind as dirt, it had to be one of our own.

“Lysander,” I answer which makes Malcolm stiffen as his eyes grow wide.

Lysander had come after Malcolm, and with the kind heart that Malcolm always had, he’d taken on the role of being his mentor.

Helping Lysander in all things, Malcolm made sure he adjusted to his body and incredible strength, he kept him stable during the first few years of that crippling thirst for blood and pain.

Malcolm had made sure that Lysancer survived the life under chains, doing for Lysander what he’d wished one of us had done for him.

And when a time came that Malcolm was suffering, when he needed him... Lysander had never repaid his kindness.

“Why Lysander?” Malcolm asks, trying to sound neutral but his words wavered slightly.

“He’s always supported Diablos’ slave-ring,” I reply calmly, looking from my friend so he wouldn’t feel so exposed, “and unlike any other, he’s always been cruel with them. Thousands have been slaughtered under his hand.”

I knew this because there’d been a time when I’d gone after Lysander myself.

In one of my many attempts to stop Diablos and the sick practice, I’d targetted Lysander, knowing how many deaths he accounted for on his own. And I’d seen first hand the horrifying things he did when engaged with those he’d enslaved.

I’d been close to killing him myself. After tearing from him every stronghold and piece of property he’d owned, all that had been left to his name was him. But he’d gone into hiding, running from his assured death by disappearing from this world in every way but name alone.

I’d driven him into the ground where I thought he’d remain for the rest of his days.

“I took all he had from him,” I continue as I fold my arms over my chest, “if he found out that Diablos was trying to kill me, I’d imagine that he’d be the first to go to his side.”

“And Lysander’s tactical,” Malcolm admits regretfully as if he’d been the one to make him so.

“We’ll have to be the same,” I reply but Malcolm only shakes his head.

“We’ll have to be better,” he states.

I smile as I look at Malcolm, his jaw was locked tight and his eyes were scanning the papers on my table like a machine, his mind already working to map out every possible scenario so he could find the winning outcome for them all.

Where Lysander was tactical, with a gift of foresight which made outmanoeuvring him near impossible, Malcolm didn’t only see the end product but all the possibilities a simple change could make.

It was what made his gift so effective when he shifted forms.

“Why are you smiling at me like a pervert?” Malcolm asks when he looks up.

He takes a precautionary step back.

“Because I’m happy,” I reply ignoring his comparison. I’d already been called weird from my lover today, this wasn’t too far off the mark. “Things are moving into place, which means that soon enough, Diablos will be dead.”

Malcolm smirks, “I want a raise when this is all over.”

“I don’t pay you,” I deadpan.

“Exactly!” Malcolm exclaims dramatically, “after this, I don’t want to hear anything about me having to pay you back for Aias.”

Laughing, I fall into my chair as Malcolm settles in the one across from me, “are you sure you want to talk about paying for that elf? I’m sure your Master wouldn’t like that.”

Malcolm’s smile disappears as he looks around wildly, searching for his elf as if he’d appear suddenly and drag him away by the ear. “That’s not funny,” he grumbles.

“On the contrary,” I reply still chuckling, “I find it very amusing.”

“Yeah, well your humour is trash,” Malcolm says before he brings himself back to the topic at hand. “Now tell me in full what this plan of yours is.”

I tell him without a second thought.

Trust wasn’t something that came easily to me, and it’d always been something I thought would never be entertained in my life until Malcolm found me centuries ago.

He’d forced himself onto me, forced me to entertain his presence and antics until a friendship had formed.

But even so, it’d been many years before I let myself trust Malcolm. Wholeheartedly and unwaveringly trust him, in all things, without a second of hesitation.

But the second I had, I’d never turned back.

Malcolm wasn’t only my best friend, he was the person I trusted most in this world and though I wouldn’t risk inflating his ego by telling him, if Malcolm’s life was on the line, I’d give mine to save his in a heartbeat.

“You’re doing your pervert smile again,” Malcolm says with a deep frown.

“I know you love it,” I reply which makes him fake a gag.

Yes. Malcolm’s friendship was truly one of the most precious things in my life.

----------------------

Why do I always take so long to update a book that I love so much?!!?

Thoughts????

I missed everyone. Kalem being cute, Lincoln being an ass, Aias being sexy and Malcolm being the best ever!! All that was missing was Wequie and everything would’ve been perfect.

I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter and all the little new bits in it, the next chapter will be much lighter with Kalem getting his reward for being good haha.

But I’m really excited to write more of Master since it’ll have more parts about how Lincoln came to control and all the things they had to do. It’s fun to write and I’m really enjoying it.

I’m so sorry I haven’t updated Master in forever. I get so caught up with my extras and Delicate that sadly I put it on the back burner, but this month has more Master, I promise!!!

My second semester starts this week and my schedule looks lighter so I’m hoping that means I have more time to write.

Vote up and comment if you enjoyed!!

Until next time,
Byeeeeeeee Humansssssssssssssss

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