Chapter 50: The Living Dead
A piercing scream of feminine quality resonated through the building causing the peace and happiness surrounding us to crumble to ash and dust on our feet. The smiles on everyone’s faces turned to grim lines; everyone began to scan their vicinity to locate the origin of the noise. Vincent unsheathed his sword, and every man present in the room followed his lead. Weapon at ready, eyes darting around, Vincent tightened his grip on my waist; a gesture of absolute protectiveness, making me smile knowing where his priorities lay.
“Put the weapons down, boys-”
My world came to a complete still; my ears refused to pick up any sounds, a constant buzz settled over my mind, and my eyes displayed to me which could not possibly be the reality. My brain struggled, fruitlessly, to make sense of what was taking place in front of my eyes.
Dressed in form fitting grey leather pants and black boots, he stepped into the clear view letting go of the shadows. Drawstrings of his white cotton top dangled loosely, shaking slightly with the force of every step he took towards Vincent. A grin radiating evil danced on his lips while he ran his long fingers through his blonde locks.
“Andre…” I let out a gasp.
A smug smile plastered itself on his features as his eyes met my shock widened ones.
“Well, well, darling, at least you remember my name. I thought you would have forgotten it somewhere in between spreading your legs for my dear cousin-“
“Watch your mouth, you bastard, or you will not live to see the next sunrise.” Vincent, more or less, growled. From my position I could witness the twitching of his jaw and the anger burning in his eyes; had my senses been in their right sharpness I would have taken the time to marvel at how unnaturally handsome he looked with rage dotting his face, but my senses were baffled by the appearance of the blonde male who was supposed to be dead.
“Bbb-ut you di-ied…” I forced the words out of my mouth.
Throwing back his head, Andre laughed. He laughed like I had uttered something purely childish and utterly silly providing him with some kind of amusement.
“Eleanor Black, always so naïve and blinded by emotions just like the man whose bastard you carry.”
All the laughter vanished from his being, his features hardening. A layer of evident hatred took his features in its wrap as his eyes locked on to the king of the Estercrest Empire. The men under my father’s command, all raised their weapons at the man badmouthing their ruler.
“If you do not wish to have innocent blood flowing, you would find putting down your weapons very helpful.”
A cloaked figure stepped into the room, with a young girl’s back pressed against his front, his fingers curled around the base of a dagger pressuring the skin of her neck. Tension ran through the body of every man as they eyed the threat. As to prove the graveness of his point the man put more pressure on the hilt of the dagger causing a thin river of crimson to flow down the pale skin of the girl. At the pain and the fear evidently coursing through the young lady’s body a sob wrecked through her body. Amidst the continuous streaks of tears emerging from her eyes and staining her cheeks, the girl struggled to suck in the gusts of air essential to keep her linked to the world of living. During the struggle to fill her lungs with fresh air the mass of thick hair obstructing her features from the view fell back, leaving her face open to sight. A series of gasps filled the air as many recognized their princess with ease.
Vincent made a mad dash for his niece, but fell to the ground with a loud thud, not too far from his initial position. A jewel hilted dagger protruded from the patch of skin covering his leg; blood oozed from the wound inflicted by the dagger. A groan escaped his lips, but he refrained from showing any further pain and glared daggers at Andre, whose blue irises were filled with mirth as he eyed the man lying on the ground.
The soldiers under my father’s lead rushed to the side of their king, but were stopped midway by Vincent. With a calculated movement of his hand he commanded the men to stay back and lay their weapons down. Gathering his energy, Vincent pushed his body into a sitting position. The set jaw and clenched teeth gave away his pain.
“Let the princess go, you coward. Whatever you want, I will provide it to you,” Vincent spoke through gritted teeth, as his burning gaze fixated on Andre.
The next few moments saw the silent clash of the hottest and coldest of all gazes. Within the dark eyes of Vincent a fire burned so fierce that it could burn the world down if left untamed, whereas Andre’s eyes had thawed with hatred wrapped in coverings of cunningness which were shredding bit by bit right in front of my eyes, leaving pure hatred behind; all directed towards his cousin.
Without breaking the eye contact, Andre stepped closer to Vincent; squatting, he whispered.
“I will take from you all I want, Your Majesty.”
The last words were thrown more like an insult rather than a gesture of respect. I strained my ears to pick up the words Andre uttered next.
“I will make everything you own mine, from this day forth. I will take from you everything, even if you will not willingly give it up.”
“You are playing with fire, Ozera,” Vincent stated calmly, though I could read in his eyes a whole other story which represented everything else but calmness.
Asserting pressure on his toes, Andre pushed is body upright, and turned my way. An evil glint played in his deep blues. My eyes widened in alarm as he closed the distance between us; a smug and ever growing smile plastered over his facial features. His fingers came in contact with the skin of my cheek with gentleness, but the sparkle in his eyes gave birth to uneasiness causing me to recoil from his touch.
Before I could even ponder on my choices of available actions, in a blur Vincent was there standing in from of me, like a burning mass of anger. Andre let out a series of choice words, hisses, and groans as my fiancé wrapped his fingers around the hand Andre had touched me with, and bent it at an impossible angel with sheer force. The result was as expected; an audible crack arose and Andre’s hand fell limp at the head of his broken wrist.
“Told you, you were playing with fire you would not be able to handle it,” Vincent spoke. “Likes of you will not touch my soon to be queen with their filthy paws.”
I saw the words escaping Vincent’s lips fuel the already burning fire of anger into full blown rage that consumed Andre completely. A battle cry came out of his mouth, and his fist connected with the face of his king. Blood spurted out of Vincent’s nose, the force of the hit sending him back a bit. In retaliation to Andre’s hit Vincent delivered one of his own, landing squarely on his jaw resulting in tearing open his lip. With that started a constant exchange of blows back and forth between the two cousins. Grunts, heaving, noises of labored breathing and flesh hitting flesh became a constant background music for a few minutes. Alden and father ran to the aid of their king when a bloodcurdling scream pierced through the night, halting all activity; freezing everyone including myself in their own tracks.