Blood and Magic

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plan b

Shai

This was a bad idea. Either it would work or they would kill us. We could see Bran Castle from the road now, a haunting silhouette in front of the silver moon. A discomfort settled into the bottom of my stomach at the sight of it. This plan had to work because my mother likes to make a dramatic scene out of everything she can.

Devana was silent. She had been the entire journey here. I didn’t know if she was anxious or just angry about the entire situation. The silence had been slowly killing me, and I only had a handful of minutes to say something without a vampire or other supernatural hearing me. Here goes nothing.

“If this goes to shit…” I trailed off, looking at her now brown eyes. It was without discussion that she had put her contacts on. With them we could buy some time, try to get my mother to make a spectacle of her execution. Her purple eyes would be a different story entirely. It was the same reason she had taken the elixir that nulls her scent. I had spare in my pockets. She told me it only lasted twenty-four hours, so I would have to figure out how to get it to her before its effects would wear off.

“Are you admitting there’s a chance?” Her voice was quiet as she tilted her head to the side. I’d been too optimistic about my plan from the beginning. I knew that. But I also knew that if I wasn’t confident, it wouldn’t work.

“There’s always a chance.” I said. “If this goes to shit, I want you to know I’ll do everything I can to get you out.” Her stiff back relaxed slightly, but I knew words meant nothing. Actions did.

“Same goes for you.” I don’t know why, but the words meant more to me than they probably should have. They gave me a warm sense of comfort. Yes, I was going back to my hell of a home, but I wasn’t doing it alone, and I was doing it to right all the wrongs committed, to prevent further atrocities from happening.

“How are the cuffs?” I changed the subject to prevent the conversation from becoming too sentimental.

“Could be tighter. These wouldn’t hold me in any other situation.” I smiled as I thought about what that could mean. And of course, my brain went straight to tying her up and-

“Noted.” I said as my eyes turned forwards towards the castle.

“What do you mean ‘noted’?” She whispered, but I didn’t respond. We were too close to the castle to be bantering. Or flirting. Or whatever this was. “Shai…” Her tone was a warning. She didn’t realise that was making my mind run even faster. “Shai.” I looked her in the eyes. She had a disgusted look on her face as she realised what I was thinking. “Never happening.”

“Just cuffing you or…”

“Shut up, Shai, someone will hear us.” A pink tinge glowed on her cheeks, her heart beating slightly faster than normal.

“Keep your heart racing, Princess. It will help convince them you’re panicking.” She moved to hit me, but the cuffs that were attached to the saddle on her horse prevented her from doing so. Goddess, it was easy to rile her up. But I already knew that.

“Fuck you, Shai.”

“I’d be honoured.”

“For fuck’s sake.”

We then stayed silent until we reached the gates of Bran Castle, where familiar faces immediately rushed out to meet Dev and I.

“Prince Shai, you have returned to us.” Nadia said. She had been my main tutor since I was born. She had restricted my knowledge, had chosen what books I could and couldn’t read.

“And brought my captor.” I smirked as Devana looked at the small crowd with icy indifference. Maybe even a hint of annoyance. Or disgust. It was disgust. She knew what everyone here had done to me. That was enough for her, apparently.

“I’ll be honest, my Prince. None of us expected your return.” It was Kieran, the vampire who taught me to fight. Ironic, it’s almost as if he knew he didn’t teach me enough, or correctly, to prevent me from gaining too much power and confidence.

“Fuck you too, Kieran.” I said as I pulled Devana off of her horse. She said nothing, just stared at me with disdain in her eyes. Maybe I had taught her how to act a bit too well. “Where’s my mother?”

“In her quarters, she was planning how to get you.” Bullshit.

“Thanks Tristan.” I said to my other education tutor before pushing Dev in front of me and into the castle. We walked through the front doors and she froze. The celestite statue was in the entrance room. They filled the entrance room with relics to show how much money we have and, therefore, the power of our position. I’d always found them fascinating, but now I understood the divide between us and our citizens, it disgusted me. This was to show our control over them, not their history.

“Get moving.” My voice was low and threatening to keep up the act, and she followed instruction. I directed her to where we needed to go, and when we finally reached the door I needed to barge through, I froze. What if this plan didn’t work? Dev looked over her shoulder at me, concern in her eyes. She couldn’t say anything. She knew whatever she whispered would be heard. Instead, she nodded. I nodded back, took a shaky breath and opened the door.

“Who dares…” My mother’s voice trailed off as she looked at me, her eyes switching between me, Devana, and the cuffs around Dev’s wrists. “My boy, I knew you could do it on your own. Is this who took you from me? She walked closer, not even attempting to hug me or show me any affection.

“Yes.” I pushed Dev in front of me. She stumbled for dramatic effect, but then stood up and stared directly into my mother’s eyes. She truly has no fear. Goddess, save me.

“What is she? I can’t smell her.”

“She figured out a way to hide her scent. It was how she caught me. I don’t know how she does it, but I know she’s a hunter.” I said. My mother walked towards Devana to intimidate her. It didn’t work.

“How do you know she’s a hunter?”

“Because she took me to her home, the Helsing Estate.” I said, standing behind Devana so I couldn’t see her expression. I assumed it was indifferent like before. Or she could be smiling.

“A Helsing?” My mother asked. “Why you haven’t you killed her already? You know what her family did to our King.”

“We both know that’s a lie.” Devana said, her head tilted to the side. “Don’t worry, he doesn’t believe me, but we know the truth, don’t we Carmilla?” She lied so effortlessly, I was proud.

“Nevermind, I’ll kill her now.” My mother said. I kept my panic deep inside so she couldn’t smell it as she bared her fangs to attack Dev.

“I didn’t kill her…” I said, stepping to be closer to them. That way, I could stop my mother if I needed to. “Because I thought we could make an event of it. The last living Hunter, a Helsing none-the-less, could be killed to mark the end of her kind. She kidnapped me and threatened to kill me, so I think it’s deserved.” My mother nodded and took a step away.

“Okay, take her to the dungeon. It’s getting close to morning, so we can plan for her demise at nightfall tomorrow. It’s now my priority.” My mother said as she looked Dev up and down. “Get her out of my sight.” Before Carmilla could turn away, Devana spat at the ground in front of her.

I twisted Devana around and walked her out of the room to prevent anything else from happening. But I couldn’t stop her from saying what she had been wanting to tell my mother for years.

“I’m going to kill you, Carmilla, in the bloodiest way possible.”

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I smelt Carmilla’s fear flood the room.

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