Hearing the strangers mocking voice, Valerie slowly lifted her head and glanced around the room behind her. “What…?” She asked quietly and the next thing that was whispered to her made her climb back to her feet, walking to the center of the room slowly. “You know nothing of what I desire…” She replied, her voice a soft whisper again, “No one does… But what are you?” She suddenly challenged, looking around at the empty space and quiet of the old cottage. “What are you to say it’s a disappointment…? What gives you the right to claim that?” She listened and wondered if her mind was being invaded by a spirit… Or maybe the stress and shock from the recent events was finally making her lose it. Shaking her head, she approached the fireplace and looked down into the smoldering ashes.
Taking the fire poker, she first cut her hand again and let her blood drip onto the fire, making it crackle and pop. She was sure the smoke would carry the scent to who she wanted. she scraped out a piece of charcoal and gingerly picked it up. She then began to make an outline of what was on the scroll she’d left in the castle. The very same one that she used to reveal her wings. If her own trusted followers were going to turn their back on her than she’d call back the very same ones that were looking to kill her. If Johar was going to try and keep her locked away, then fine. She would wait. But she wouldn’t sit idly by and let herself be forgotten.
[i Save us!]
Penelope’s order made Eric turn and he looked for the two girls. He spotted where they’d fallen and nimbly, he crossed the unstable ground to pull them back up. Their surprised shrieking didn’t stop make him change his mind and opening his webbed wings, he took off from the quaking ground. He flew for a few minutes before landing again and letting both of them go. He still didn’t say anything to either of them, and though he recognized their faces, he didn’t bother trying to remember who they were. Having done what they’d asked, Eric turned away again, his tail flicking as he marched a few steps away, taking out the map again and looking it back over.
Bird just watched her for a while before turning away and flying up. She perched on the roof and kept an eye on her surroundings. The queen was left behind, almost ridden from her power. Her biggest mistake was showing feeling and revealing her inside to a monster. Johar only admired her power and wickedness. Without them, she was just a worthless woman.
As soon as Johar and the 'queen' reached the camp, he ordered the army to get moving towards the borders. He wanted to massacre the citizens of Deloriak to cause fear and doubt. He wanted to make an example, hang the women and burn the children. On top of that, destroying their armies with the weapon he had in his grasp.
"[b You disgusting little rabbit! Betrayed by everyone!]" A silky voice mocked Valerie. The voice was all in her head yet sounded far. The voice was not familiar to the Light but very lovely to the Dark.
She was not there. Also, she was there.
It was more like a shadow of her presnece was able to flee from Karim's seal.
"[b And just when you were about to show your woman desires...how disappointing~ As expected from a Light!]"
Artemis wrapped the cloak around herself tightly and obediently walked after Æmilia. Her face no more held sorrow or regret just determination to once more support Muerte with all her might. She was not going to let this incident break her. If that was what Karim wanted.
The elder sighed Sadly, feeling that Joseph really cared for Artemis. She gently patted him on back. "First, let's get you something to eat. You haven't breakfast yet, have you? Well, you cannot study with an empty stomach." Normally it was Artemis who nagged that all these studying had made her hungry and just dragged Joseph to kitchen raiding the cabinet and arguing with the stingy cook.
Penelope and the girl did not expect him to actually stop but they were not going to change his mind so they quickly ran away from the demon but they never got a chance because Another earthquake happened, this time stronger. The ground cracked all the way towards the two females and they immediately ran all the way back. "H-he has wings! OI! OI! PLEEEEEASE SAVE US! WE BEG YOU!" But the other girl was not sure about it. Eric would absolutely kill them this time. She grabbed the nymph and tried to pull her back but she resisted and the two ended up falling and rolling on the unstable ground.
Valerie tilted her head up as Johar leaned down to her, her tearful eyes drying and her composure slowly returning. But what he whispered, it destroyed any feeling of trust and security that was between the two. “Johar…?” She murmured staring at him with disbelief, she was so shocked that she didn’t even notice the other her until the two started walking away. “No, Johar... Don’t you dare…” The volume of her voice was rising and she didn’t sound sorrowful anymore, there was a low rage burning up in her voice.
“No. Johar! DON’T-!” The door closed and sealed. Only moments later was there a loud bang on the door. There were several more banged and the Queen’s shrieking voice. When Bird looked in through the window, Valerie was knelt by the door, holding onto the handle and trembling. “Don’t leave me here…. Don’t…”
Æmilia let the princess pull away from her and she shrugged as Artemis claimed she could handle the rest. “Let’s go then.” The other Ba’al said and she stood up, ready to lead the Princess back to the portal to return to Muerte. She didn’t explain anything else to Artemis, she’d see what was happening soon enough.
Joseph didn’t want to stay, but he knew what the elder meant. Maybe it was a lost cause to try and find her. Maybe he should just stay there… With a sorrowful expression, his shoulders slumped and he reluctantly nodded to the elder. Maybe he could find what he needed in his research, but that thought wasn’t too hopeful.
Eric heard the nymph’s voice before he saw the two girls, and not knowing if they were apart of the enemy or not, he approached them with no intention of asking. He was about to charge them when Penelope told him not to kill them.
[i Don’t kill them.]
He glared at the two girls before giving a huff and turning away. He stood still and unrolled the map, a little blood had gotten onto it but that didn’t stop him from looking it over and trying to figure out where he had to go next. It had started snowing again but he didn’t seem to notice, or he just didn’t care.
"..." Johar only kept cleaning and tending her wounds as she cracked and started crying. His hand became shaky but whoever knew him, knew that it was from any sympathy or something like that. Just the mention of the feather and Neculai...reminded him of the crimes he had done. Fortunately, everything was still against the murdered minister and Johar was at ease. The monster master put away the bloodied cloth and stared into her tearful eyes. "Valerie..."
It was his first time saying her name and he leaned down slowly, almost like he was going to kiss her but instead, he whispered in her ear firmly. "I am sorry but you cannot lead a victorious battle with this weak, pathetic and sensitive display. I am afraid I have no other choice...I can't let the Light lose. I hope you will recover..." He stood again, his eyes staring down at her with a scowl as he just ignored her breakable spirit and turned away, whistling softly. Something merged from the wooden floor. A shapeless figure out of mud. It moved towards Valerie and touched one of her wound, taking a bit of her blood before shrinking and twisting into her shape. Another Valerie but with her usual cold and proud expression. She followed Johar out of the cottage where Johar called Bird and once she arrived he ordered her not to let the real queen out. The door was sealed and Valerie was left alone in the cottage with Bird watching her from the window.
Johar was in control now.
"Ngh!" Artemis pulled herself away on instinct as Æmilia reached to tend to her inner thighs. They were bruised and cut more than any places and were stained with her earlier bleeding. The demon was still defendant and could not easily let the vulnerable, painful places be touched again. "Th-that is enough. I can handle the rest." She tried to sound firm and strong as she stood. "...I just need to meet Dear mother and make sure she is fine." Right. She was the princess of Muerte. She just had to leave behind everything here and move on.
The old lady took Joseph's arm to stop him. "Wait. We don't know where it is and we don't even know if...if...you can do anything for her anymore." She gazed away, meaning death. "Isn't it better to continue on researching? Maybe you will finally find the ancient spell you need." The Phoenix once more sat on Joseph's shoulder.
The snow was painted red once more and the army had not even reached the camp. Another massacre by Eric was done and only three had survived. Nothing alive was left and the smell of blood was sickeningly strong. Minutes later two figures appeared from far, walking tiredly in the snow towards the battle scene. Two females, oblivious to the tragedy that had just happened.
"Come on...I'm sure we can find a shelter around here!" Penelope encouraged Neculai' s granddaughter to keep walking. The nymph rose up her head to look around again only to see the bloody scene. The both girls froze in their places, not having seen anything like that before. The corpses were still fresh. Did it mean...They stepped back seeing Eric standing there and did not recognize him. They only saw a demon from hell. "W-wait...P-please...d-don't kill us..."Penelope begged, not knowing she was actually giving him an order.
Valerie’s eyes were closed till she was brought into the old and dusty cabin. She didn’t say anything or make any sound as Johar helped her lay down and set to work getting things around to clean away the blood and tend to her fresher wounds. At his whispered question, the Queen slowly looked over towards him, noting the anger and confusion in his gaze before she sighed softly. “What can I say, Johar?” She softly stated, “I am nothing but a hopeless fool.” She sighed again, her breath shaky and a pitiful smile breaking across her face when a few tears slid down her face.
“He has something of mine.. One of my feathers. I don’t know how he got it but-! ...” Her voice cracked and she bowed her head, bringing one hand up to her face to wipe at her eyes and hide her tears. “They have it, they’ve changed it. I can’t imagine any other then it being the one that Neculai had before he disappeared… And I [i couldn’t] get it back!” She was close to completely breaking into sobs, but somehow she managed to stay talking to explain herself in hopes her trusted minister would understand. “They’re using it… [i Mocking us…] You were right, Johar. I was so [i careless…]” It was a good thing that no one else was there, her own doubt would taint the Light’s faith in her and she would most likely be forced out in favor of a ruler that showed no weakness.
“The Dark is using one of my feathers in a weapon of their own design… Something they have no right to have… And there is [i nothing] I can do, not anymore.” Wiping her face again, Valerie gave another shaky breath and looked away from Johar. She’d only ever cried in front of very few but deeply trusted individuals, and usually such instances were decades, if not centuries apart. This was the first time she’d cried in front of Johar, but it couldn’t be helped. The time of stress, threats, and war had weakened Valerie enough to make her crack from a single mistake.
When Artemis began to cry and apologize, the other Ba’al looked at her and took one of her arms, gently this time and she began to dress her wounds, speaking strongly but not harshly anymore. “Don’t be sorry, not yet.” She had her eyes down to her work and once she was done with one limb she moved to the next and then looked towards her torso and stomach, her expression unwavering as she had Artemis shift so her sides could be seen. “Hmm… Well maybe you should be, but only for yourself.” She said, tending to the cuts along Artemis’ side and lower back before moving even lower to work on her legs and feet.
Joseph too only got a glance before the elder stepped back and he yanked his hand away, eyes wide with despair. He’d seen Karim and he saw that Artemis was with him but… What the Demon was doing to her… He turned away, unable to stay there any longer. He had to go and find Artemis, make sure Karim didn’t do the same thing he did to his mother once he was done with her. Though by now, it would probably be a mercy.
Eric stayed where he was as the bombs were thrown and he moved into action before the smoke could even clear. The first ones down were the ones who had thrown the bombs, and after that, whoever was unlucky enough to be where he looked next was slaughtered. There was no hesitation, no warning, no pause, just screams and death. If Eric stumbled, it gave others a few more seconds to live before he got to them. Some of the werewolves and soldiers in the back got away but most didn’t and after the initial slaughter, Eric paced around the bloodied ground, looking for any he’d missed or those who he’d just injured. Their deaths were quick after that.
His angry pants and hissing was getting closer and closer...Only to reach out one arm to catch her...
A roar tore through the silence and Valerie saw a huge monster diving down towards her, snatcing her away from Theodore's grasp. Theodore stumbled back, stunned by the sudden appearance. The monster lashed his tail at the Vampire and threw him meters away. He was about to lunge again but noticed Valerie's condition and growled before cradling her in his hands and flying off again. They did not go to the camp since the soldiers were not supposed to see their mighty queen like that. The monster landed kilometres away beside an abandoned cottage.
Johar changed back into his human form, holding Valerie's bridal style as he walked in the cottage. He set her on the old, dusty bed and helped her lay down. He did not say anything the whole time but his lips were pressed together in swallowed anger. He then made fire in fireplace to heat some water to clean her bloodied body. He ripped his sleeve and damped the piece of fabric in the water before going to Valerie and carefully cleaning the bitemarks.
"Why..." He finally whispered.
Artemis rose up her head in worry. "Dear mother..." She hoped the sickness was not something serious. She watched the other Ba'al bringing bandages and ointment. Artemis held out her arm and sadly observed the clawmarks. She was a princess yet he treated her like an animal...He was there because of her. Maybe it was a punishments for her ignorance. Maybe she didn't deserve to see Joseph ever again. Before she knew it a tear rolled down her cheek."Æmilia...I'm sorry...I'm sorry for everything." And then she hugged her, crying helplessly.
"M-maybe she has just gone walking?" The elder tried to keep her smile but it didn't work. "Come with me. I might be able to help you with the 'vision'" She motioned him to follow and Phoenix just tilted her head, flapping her wings and flying above Joseph's head. The elder guided him to her room where her goblet of vision was set. It looked like normal water but once she took his hand and made him touch It..."Sadly, it does not show the present nor the future...just the close past." And what appeared on the surface...
"Oh, dear..." The elder stepped back and looked away from the painful scene. The Phoenix was still silent and she just anxiously glued around knocking over a few things.
Unaware that death was awaiting them all, the confident army marched towards the troubled Campus before the wolves stopped and sniffed the air, feeling uneasy. The northern soldiers recognised a lone figure far away and they threw their handmade bombs towards him to either scare him away or kill him.
Valerie looked back up at Theodore as his expression changed and his tone held disgust. She didn’t feel alarm till he leaned down bit her, leaving several bleeding marks on the side of her face as she cried out. When he ripped her clothes down, baring her skin to the elements, she stared up at him, her initial shock staying with her even though she knew, deep down that something like this was bound to happen. She watched him start to stand but then the world spun as she was yanked up by her hair and Theodore threw her out onto the frozen lake.
As she hit the ice, she felt herself slide a little and the ice beneath her beginning to crack. Sitting up slowly, she was left gasping quietly as her skin met the cold biting Ice. The Queen looked up as Theodore stalked towards her and finally her eyes showed fear. Still she said nothing, the pain and fear in her expression speaking all too loudly for her. At the last thing he spat to her, she looked down avoiding looking at him and instead looking towards his sword as it scratched across the ice.
“That’s what you think…” She whispered, blood from his bite now running down the side of her face and dripping down, coloring the ice. When he crossed in front of her, still circling but much closer, Valerie suddenly leapt up, lunging towards him. She reached for his hand that held his sword and putting all of her weight into driving the sword into the ice. The sword dug deep and cracked the ice even more, but there wasn’t time to think about it. Valerie shoved Theo back, making him slip as she took off passed him and ran to the snowy banks, stumbling as she bounded into the deep snow to reach her cloak.
The cracking of the ice echoed in her ears as she heard him running up behind her, sure he was about to run her through, as soon as his foot hit the snow off of the ice, the Queen, turned and flung snow up into his face stunning him enough to make him take a few steps back. She then was up and running, blood falling and the fur rippling as she ran. There was no way she’d be able to out run him, but that was her first instinct after he threw her.
Flee, get away, [i run]. There was nothing more for her with the blood contract she’d made with Theodore. She didn’t know if it was now finished or not and she honestly didn’t care. The only thing she cared about was escaping the imminent pain that followed close behind her.
“Oh sit down!” Æmilia snapped, putting her hands on Artemis’ shoulders and pushing her back down. It was easy since she wasn’t in the best condition and the other Ba’al sighed heavily. “You can’t go anywhere right now, not with the way he left you…” Æmilia trailed off, suddenly looking sad as she turned away again and began getting out bandaging and ointment. “There is a place for you in Muerte. It’s your home and you are needed as its princess.” She looked back over her shoulder and stated flatly,
“The Queen has grown sick, and I don’t know how but one of the portals is working again, but only one. You are needed back in Muerte, strange events are happening and there’s…” She trailed off again and just shook her head. “I was only asked to get you, I’m not here to fill you in on what you’ve missed.” She said coldly and she walked back over with the supplies.
Joseph glanced over as the elder saved him from further awkwardness, but before she could send him away, he stopped her and got out the paper that he’d been showing others all throughout the academy.
‘[i I can’t find Artemis.]’
Outside of one of the main camps, a lone figure stood, the leather on his back crested with ice from waiting but he could easily shake it off. In the distance he heard a single howl and his golden eyes opened, his stance bracing. The enemy was approaching and Eric had his orders. Attack and leave no survivors.
Theodore closed his eyes, letting her touch the scar as he felt more excited by her softness of skin and touch. He felt the urge to feel more of his wife's skin and he was just about to make her undress when she asked the question.
[b Why do we fight?]
[i Minerva had assured him it is just a passing by dragon. She convinced him nothing bad was going to happen. She still had her smile on her scared face as the dragon devoured her small body...]
[i Minerva was dead.]
[i It was everyone's fault.]
"We fight because nuisances like you still keep living and ruling their lands with the least wisdom." Thedore 's expression changed into a cold one in a second and his eyes held a disgust as he stared at her face. "So anyone can take your place and rule a mess a like this. Coming back here for pleasure? What kind of dirty dog you are? Tch. Here in middle of war, you are begging for pleasure...." The vampire hissed in her face before suddenly bitting her face and pulling back. "You are no different than a mere broken slave. What makes you earn respect?" His claws ripped off her clothing just to shame her. "This is an ordinary life for a 'Human race'. To be shamed and spat at. It is fair because humanity is weak and worthless. Same goes to you. Immortality is just a curse to be drown in shame forever. Why not?" The crazed vampire stood but held Valerie by hair, throwing her across the frozen lake and let her unprotected skin feel the biting ice. The lake made a faint cracking sound as Thedore marched to her with the sword in his hand, dragging its tip along and making a line on the ice."Minerva had to die because she as too strong for her class. I guess the same goes for you. Look at you, grasping for life like a worm and sending humans to fight for you! You are so pathetic that even used a 'Dark'...Just to guarantee your sickening life." Thedore spat at the queen and circled her like a predator.
A miracle happened and before she could realise what was happening, Artemis saw herself safe in a shelter. She only winced when the stranger inspected the wounds of the deal. The Ba'al looked up to see another Ba'al and her eyes widened in disblief. "But..But...how did you find me? The portals...how did you open them? How..." Slowly she shook her head and stood up stubbornly. "No. There is no place for me in Muerte. I have to find Joseph-"
The Phoenix did not move and just calmly started cleaning her feathers. The silence kept going on before the elder lady tried to ease their minds and save the poor Joseoh from jealous students and even maaters. "Oh, of course! Because our guest has a quite nice room to nurse this wonderful creature. And lots of time to keep her company with his fiance...." She clapped her hands. "Okay everyone, back to your studies...Joseph dear, Good luck...I...I will check on you tw-...three~"
Valerie didn’t pull away when Theodore kissed her again, instead she pushed back against him and tangled her fingers into his hair. Soon enough they were both down in the cold snow, her fur cloak giving only a little bit of comfort since it had collected a fair bit of snow before she was pushed down on top of it. She felt his hands wander and her throat tightened at the look he was giving her. She wasn’t ticklish and she didn’t laugh at his touches. The Queen instead shivered a little and he took it as an invitation to press himself over her, protecting her from the cold breeze.
Again, Valerie held onto him and curled herself up in his embrace, not saying anything and not letting go till the sky began to grow light and the breeze had completely died down. Blinking her eyes open and with a faint blush across her face, Valerie leaned back from the vampire and looked at him. Her eyes traveled over the burned side of his face and she tried to place the expression that he had. But she couldn’t.
Slowly, she brought one of her hands over and gingerly touched that side of his face. She kept her movements slow and careful, not wanting to do anything that might hurt him or give him a reason to hurt her. She felt under his eye and along his nose, brushing her fingers over the corner of his lips and up along his jaw, feeling every twist and bump of his scars.
“Theodore?” She asked quietly, dropping her gaze from his face and lowering her hand to rest on his shoulder. “You first asked me what I seek… And I could not answer you. I [i still] cannot answer you… But maybe you can answer me this.” She looked up at him and met his light brown eyes, still watching her. “Why do we fight?”
The beating rain continued to pour down, falling in sheets as the wind and thunder roared. It was suddenly blocked by someone’s figure and slender hands grabbed for Artemis, pulling her back up to her feet and quickly wrapping something around her. They started to move, rather quickly, pulling Artemis along since she couldn’t keep up the pace.
“You have to walk.” A harsh female voice said, urging her to move her feet. Somehow, someway the stranger got her out of the wind and rain and set her down on the wooden floor of a small, partially underground room. They walked away from her before coming back and one of her hands was inspected a little roughly.
“Princess Artemis?” The voice asked, sounding less harsh. When she looked up, she found herself looking at another Ba’al. Her eyes were dark blue and her skin was an ashen grey, her hair was long and straight, pulled back behind her ears and her bangs were parted to the right, partially covering her face. She looked at Artemis up and down before frowned and muttering something. She then spoke up again.
“My name is Æmilia, and I am here to take you back to Muerte.” She said firmly, her voice leaving no room for arguing.
“...!” Joseph hadn’t been expecting this. The flaming bird had hatched and almost immediately swooped up to fly over and land on his right shoulder. He stared at the Phoenix, eyes wide with surprise before he noticed everyone else staring. Well this was embarrassing. He wasn’t sure if he should try to get the bird off of his shoulder or not and everyone gawking at him just made him even more uncomfortable.
[b Stay with me? At least till morning?]
This was the key as the waves of memories hit him and Thedore felt overwhelmed as slowly he saw the girl's small figure.
[i H-hey! Don't leave me here..I'm scared of dark! Stay with me!]
The small woman grabbed on his sleeve and pulled him back with her most adorable look she could make. [i What is scary about dark?]
[i I can't see anything...And nonodycanseemysupercutefacesotheymaynothavemercyuponsuchamaiden!]
[i You don't need to be afraid of anything...As long as we have the blood contract, I am your shadow and your presence so none of night beasts will dare to lay a scratch on you.]
[i You brag way too much, you know that? At least kiss me before you go.]
And Thedore kissed her hard like he didn't want her to forget him while he was gone. Unaware that his little lady is no more and he was pouring love on the immortal queen. He did not allow her to break the kiss this time and let her be out breath as he pushed her down on the snow and stroked her sides before pulling away. He then caressed her cheek then let his hand slip down to her ripped collar and slowly and teasingly pulled it down. She was ticklish whenever he did that. Whenever he brushed a finger down to her chest she laughed and oh how he missed her happy laughter.
His dearest was shivering in the cold so he generously pressed his body against hers to protect her from the breeze.
He couldn't see Valerie. He only saw Minerva.
Now he could remember her face.
Negomin's human face.
"S-somebody..." Artemis whimpered as she clung to a rock. Nothing...only roars of thunder answered her. She was all alone and on her own. The little Ba'al slowly rose onto her feet when the shakes finally stopped but it seemed like levels of earth had been shifted. The rain hit on her uncovered skin and she dragged her body through the sticky mud to another hill. Maybe the academy was behind those hills? She didn't know but was hopeful. She jumped as hearing a loud thunder and lost her balance falling into a pit as her yelp was lost in the storm.
They were all gathered in the great hall where a quite huge egg burning with eternal flames was in the centre where the great masters of the academy had circled it. They became all quiet when the flames burnt with more heat. The temperature increased in the place and they all covered their eyes as the egg turned into ashes and something so shiny and majestic burst out from the flames. The glorious Phoenix flew up and around the hall as the amazed eyes followed her. Suddenly she dove down and everybody stepped away as it landed right on Joseph 's shoulder.
Silence and pure shock.
They all stared in disblief at the blessed guest.
Valerie was still trembling, even when Theodore apparently had his fill. Her eyes were watering with how tightly she held them shut and she felt light headed, almost like she was going to faint. So she was in a slight daze when he lifted her head up and kissed her, the kiss pulling her back to her sense and her eyes flying open.
[i I never said you could kiss me… ]
The fleeting thought passed through her mind but she couldn’t speak, not yet. Her ripped throat still needed to recover a little before she could talk. So she kissed him back, adjusting her grip so she was holding onto him. Eventually, she broke the kiss to take a breath and she whispered out into the cold air.
“Stay with me? At least till morning?” Valerie’s bright violet eyes opened and looked up towards the Vampire who was holding her. She didn’t want to be left alone, not after what had just happened. The Queen needed to be with someone, even if it was an enemy who was there to keep her company. Without hesitation this time, she leaned back up to kiss him again, her kiss gentle and passionate.
It didn’t occur to her that they were being watched by Theo’s special group, nor did it occur to her that someone had probably already noticed she was gone. She didn’t think about ever seeing this Vampire again nor did she think about the war which was trying to kill them both.
She wasn’t going to beg Theodore to stay with her, instead she just let him break their kiss and she folded her arms around the back of his neck. She turned her head to rest against his chest and she could see that the snow fall around them had stopped. The snowy wasteland was now still and silent, and she was just barely aware of Theodore’s own growing heat as his fragmented memories enticed him to the idea of staying.
No one heeded her cries and no one came to help Artemis, Karim didn’t even whisper anything to her. She was completely alone and left to fend for herself. And hundreds of miles away, Joseph gave a small shudder as his bad feeling worsened.
He’d had a bad feeling all morning, not being able to find Artemis anywhere. He’d searched their room and all of her things were still there, even her armor, but she was gone. He’d walked through the dorms and even knocked on a few doors of the people they’d talked to regularly, but no one had seen her since the day before. He’d eventually followed the crowd of students to where the event of the day was happening, sure the hatching of a phoenix was exciting, but he was too worried to pay much attention to it.
The blood was unique and addictive. Unable to control himself, Thedore began biting other spots to get more blood. He could feel her racing heart and her trembling in his arms. Her temperature was dropping and the blood flow was decreasing. Thedore opened his eyes, getting back to his senses once he had his fill. He felt her head into his shoulder and her arms around her. It was not a position his victims usually made. He licked around his lips and let his eyes wander over her. He admitted that not many women had this beauty and attractiveness. When was the last time a female held onto him like that?
He once had a wife.
Did He? He could not even remember her face. It was long long time ago. But now that he thought about her, he could see fragments of lost memories of him stroking her silky hair as she stayed safe in his arms...
Theodore slowly stroked Valeri' s hair to recall his past. He felt the softness beneath his palm and slowly pulled back her head to see her face.
His wife stared into his eyes lovingly, her lips trying to steal a kiss from him...
Theodore placed a hand on the queen's face...
Her wife was quite short but cute, he always had to pick her up to give her a proper passionate kiss.
The vampire pressed his cold lips against hers and deepened his kiss as he tilted his head. His arm kept her tight against him as he rubbed her back gently.
He once could show love to the little woman of his.
And now he was tempted to show it again. To experience it once more.
Where was she? What was she doing here? Where was the academy? Artemis who was slowly recovering from the hard experience, started looking around with awareness. She looked up and noticed the black clouds forming in the sky. A storm was coming. The demon wrapped her arms around her bare body and wished she had her armor. Rain started showering the fields and she ran to find a shelter, ignoring the pain. Her feet dug through the mud and she stumbled a few time yet kept on running.
"This wasn't a part of the deal..." She whispered before suddenly shouting out through the thunder. "WE DID NOT AGREE ON THIS! TAKE ME BAAAAACK!" The Ba'al screamed and anxiously looked around for a clue to find her way. Before she could acknowledge her surroundings, another earthquake shook the ground and she fell down into mud. The shakes became wilder and the ground started cracking. Artemis gasped and scrambled up onto her feet before running away from the chasing loud cracks. For the first time, She admitted something.
Valerie stood as still as she could, her anxious nerves finally making her doubtful and squirmish. She then jumped as snow dropped through the branches onto her and again as a snowball hit one of her arms. She stared as the twins laughed and taunted her, seemingly completely bewildered until she realized that they wanted her to follow them. Without stopping to get her steed, she rushed after them, not slowing her pace till the sight of the frozen lake appeared in front of her.
"You're late." Theodore’s voice cut through the quiet and it brought the Queen’s heart up into her throat. Why was she being so skittish? The awareness of her own demeanor passed through her mind like a breeze before she looked back at him cautiously. When he motioned for her to come closer, she hesitated a little then with careful steps, she walked towards him. He didn’t move till she was within his arms reach and when her cloak was suddenly ripped away, she froze. He didn’t need to rip this dress that she was wearing, the neck line was low and it could easily be slid down her shoulders.
Valerie closed her eyes under his stare and when he grabbed a hold of her, she held her breath, letting the smallest gasp slip out as he bit into her. She didn’t resist or fight back, instead she pressed herself up against him, wrapping her arms up around him and holding herself close to him. She winced and flinched as his sharp, gnawing teeth bit deeper to draw more blood, which wasn’t surprising. Her blood smelt sweet and it had a strong taste to it, strong like a rich wine. Every bite made more and more of it run, but there was no fear for her to bleed out, she’d already said before that she wouldn’t die from his feeding. Beginning to shiver with the cold and pain, the Queen hid her face against his shoulder, stopping herself from making any sounds or showing her pain.
Eric cursed and spat into the snow as he was knocked down, spitting out some blood since he’d bit his tongue, and he glared back up at Johar. He didn’t respond since he knew whatever remark he made would be in the same venomous tone and he stood back up slowly. It took all the restraint he had not to snatch the map from the minister and after glancing it over, he gripped in one hand and turned away from the minister, stalking away with his orders echoing in his mind. Immediately the spies noticed his movements and before they could follow him, the Hybrid had disappeared into the snow. He left no footprints and his silhouette was gone before it could even be seen clearly. The Light’s weapon was on the move and he was headed to the same camp the Northern territories were planning to attack next.
Karim glanced back at Artemis, watching her slowly pace and stagger, but he didn’t go after her. He’d had his fun and would let her go, leave her to wander while he left Nature to rage. He didn’t even tell her which direction she needed to go to get back to Noman’s land and back to the ridge where Joseph still was. It would take her a long time to find her way, but he’d leave her too that, not concerning himself with the poor little Ba’al again. The stars in the sky continued to fade and the thunder from the rolling clouds grew closer. Nature's chaos was spreading and now the All Demon’s presence wasn’t there to keep it at bay.
Half an hour passed and only the breeze met Valerie, caressing her figure. It was like Theodore had mocked her by making her wait. Maybe it was just a waste of time. Maybe there was no such thing as blood contract. Maybe it was a trap. Maybe the special were already on their way to destroy other training camps.
Snow poured down on Valerie's head before a snow ball hit her arm. The twins laughed at her from either side of the tree.
"Catch us if you can~ Your reward will be the thirsty vampire!" They sang and took off, still laughing.
Once they reached a frozen lake they just vanished like they did not exist at all.
"You're late." Theodore said, standing infront of her a few meters away. His fangs were bared and thirst waved in his eyes. It seemed like he was holding himself back and there was a fight inside him. Instead he motioned her to come closer until she was in his arm reach. With a swift motion her cloak was off and his claws tore through her new dress. Once her skin was revealed, Theodore stared at it before leaning down and without hesitation biting hard and without restraint to let the blood spill out in his mouth. His hands gripped on her side as her pulled her closer to himself to feel her warm body as he fed on her.
A hard punch sent Eric on the snow covered ground. "You do not use that tone when talking to me." Johar coldly reminded the hybrid before tucking his hand in his clothes and pulling out a scroll."This map. Go to the nearest main camp and wait there until the enemy attacks. You will slaughter the enemy. All of them. You are not going to let any of them flee."
"..." Artemis sat there, staring at something far away. She didn't even seem to be there..let alone listening. She then turned her head to a side and saw the torn fabrics once to be her dress. Only after a minute or so, the little Ba'al started trying to stand and failed a few times, her legs weak and shaky. She gazed around, like trying to remember where she was. She took a random direction and walked slowly, before having to sit again from the pain. "Joseph..." She whispered, continuing loudly but it was like she was talking to herself. "H-he knows many things. The...the sea...is very beautiful. He showed me..pretty crystals. His...lips were so gentle..." She touched her bitten lips, smiling to herself. "Back in Muerte, I thought I knew anything and nothing worth watching and praising. But...but there so many things in this world that take my breath away." She started standing again. "You...can never rewrite the beauty of world. You only can ruin...You just know one song while Lilith...created us with so many soft melodies...When...when Joseph smiles with those kind eyes,...I can hear the melodies. I have to see him again...I...I'm sure he has some bandages..." Artemis rambled, again standing and making slow steps.
Sorit gave Abantes a slightly saddened look, there wasn’t anything he could do right then. Walking Abantes out of the tent, he stopped the nobleman and sighed at his hurt look. “You won’t be gone from here for long.” He said, “The camp I’m sending you to is going to be moving to the front soon and you’ll be going with them.” He placed a hand on Abantes shoulder and his expression became stern.
“Dosia doesn’t want you to fight yet, but I do think you have something to prove. The battalion you’ll be going with will be attacking camps in the east of here, you won’t be apart of the main battle yet, but you must stay alive till the invasion begins. Stay alive till than and Dosia will have no reason to keep you away from the front.” With that he sent Abantes off, watching them go before returning to Dosia’s side. He wasn’t going to tell her that the camp he sent her cousin off to would be assisting the northern territories soon, but he felt that the young shapeshifter had a right to prove himself, even if it wasn’t on the front line.
Valerie listened till her minister left and she sighed heavily to herself. She knew Johar was smart, he would figure out soon that something was going on. She just hoped that he didn’t put the pieces together till after she’d completed the blood contract with that vampire. It wouldn’t matter much after that because at the end of the day, It was her decision to make the contract so she could leave without any further harm coming to her.
After a few hours with night falling, Valerie told her guards that she wasn’t to be disturbed for any reason that night and with the guards knowing not to come in and check on her, she slipped out of the tent through the back, her hood drawn up and her steps swift in the falling snow as she carefully made her way out of the camp. There were tracks of other soldiers having walked around the camp and her footsteps blended with them up till the edge of the camp. She found where the steeds were with after a slight consideration for what she was doing, the Grey Queen set off through the snowy night.
She didn’t go far, but she knew by the time anyone would notice her absence, if they disobeyed her order, the snow fall would cover her tracks enough that she couldn’t be followed. Valerie found a place to stop and she stepped under a tall pine, it’s long branches blocking out the snow and wind and creating a little sanctuary for her to stay and wait.
Eric, who had been lounging in a smaller tent then he’d had before, when Johar stepped in and ordered him out. With a glaring look, the hybrid began to get up and the sharp kick from the minister made him scramble to move quicker out of his tent. Staggering back up to his feet, Eric turned and backed away from Johar, glaring at him with his wings partially wrapped around his arms. “You want me to keep going?” He asked even though he knew that was exactly what Johar meant. Huffing angrily, he looked away and took a few steps, his tail lashing. He then stopped and turned back towards Johar, venom in his voice as he asked, “Where?”
“Artemis…” A voice, cool like the wind and soothing woke her and the first thing she saw was the blades of grass in between her fingers. Her hands were still riddled with small scrapes and cuts, blood having dried around the small wounds. Her arms were no better and her entire body ached from the treatment Karim had given her. Speaking of which, the shadow of one of his wings draped over her and his form sat calmly next to her, paying her no mind as she looked up at him. There was the rumbling of thunder in the distance but the sky above them was clear and full of fading stars. The chaos of nature was waning and would be upon No man’s land soon.
“You’re awake.” The All demon suddenly mused, still not looking at her and still with the strange voice he’d spoken in only a few times before. He waited till she’d sat up, ignoring her wincing and he brought up a clawed hand to shush her. “Don’t ask anything of me and you’ll be fine.” He said folding his wings back and slowly standing up. “Mother Nature grows restless but she does not dare to disturb my night. With just a song,” He continued, walking slowly through the grass. “A single song, I could destroy this world. Turn the dark to slay themselves and the Light to burn in flames. I could make all other races parish and rewrite this world completely! Writing over till nothing remains…” He paused and crossed his arms sighing.
“I can, but I shan’t. I could, but I won’t.” He grew silent and continued gazing off at the sky, not turning back to look at Artemis or even acknowledge her again.
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