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Walking away from her even for a short time was the hardest thing Aaron ever did, but the Alpha in him knew his duty was to the pack. The beast clawed at his chest, wanting to be with his mate, torn between the responsibility and love.
As the distance between the dungeons grew, his thoughts cleared. Hycinth. There was that word again. Lilith said it as if it were a curse. He was missing something. The people around him seem to know more.
Aaron halted in his tracks, “What am I missing?” His gaze narrowed at the crestfallen witch and the warlock. Was it guilt on his father’s face? He raked his brain, trying to remember the stories his mother often told him. Hycinth. The title felt familiar, but he did not remember from where.
“We’ll talk in the office,” his father fired, walking toward the office.
“John, check on the pack, assure them everything will be fine,” Ordering his general with a clenched jaw he followed his father. but. something violent twisted his gut causing him to stop. His heart clenched as he forced a breath. The strong emotion belonged to Mia. He swallowed his pain and proceeded to walk again. The pack would feel that too now that she was bonded to him.
Everyone including his brothers, cousins, Lilith and Ted silently followed his father to the office. If they sensed his pain earlier, they didn’t show it outward. His father went to stand near the window, and Aaron stood in the middle of the room, facing the others. He stared at them with sullen resentment.
“Mia is a Hycinth witch,” Ted admitted, not meeting his gaze.
“Elaborate.” His voice boomed in the office.
“Hycinth clan is the most powerful of all the witch covens. They perform dark magic and Melisa, Mia’s biological mother is one of them,” Lilith, his mother’s friend and the only witch his family trusted, lamented, fresh tears streaming down her face.
“How do you know so much about Mia?” Matthew piped in.
“Because Mia is my niece.” Lilith hung her head.
“Niece?” Juan frowned, cocking his head to the side.
The witch didn’t meet their gaze, instead walked to the couch and slumped on the single-seater. She appeared smaller than her usual height, hands folded in her lap her body slightly trembled. “Melisa is my sister,” she muttered.
A tremor raked Aaron’s body. Flashes of the recent events surfaced in his mind—Mia observing magic, draining the Dark Witch, her transformation. The witches were classified into two divisions. Dark and light. The ones who performed dark magic were called as the dark ones and the ones who light magic were called guardians.
‘The Dark Witch’ was a legend. A legend thought to be tales crafted by mothers to keep their children away from the dark but it seemed true now. However, Aaron didn’t know much about the witch covens or the rankings. He only knew of the power struggle that led to their fall.
“The Hycinth bloodline is cursed.” Ted, the warlock better known as Galahad Mortem among the supernaturals was the only necromancer to survive the war. He ran a hand over his face and plopped onto the couch nearby. “They’re…um, different from the other dark witches, you see. The Great Witch Serafine Hycinth—Melisa and Lilith’s ancestor —once made a deal with the devil. She traded her soul in exchange for a great deal of power, but the boon came with a curse.” When he lifted his gaze, it was filled with despair. “Every firstborn female of Hycinth coven was blessed with more power than the last, but the power became too much for their mortal minds, and they often lost themselves to the darkness.”
Blood rushed to Aaron’s head, and the buzz drowned the other sounds. Anxiously, he waited for Ted to confirm what he already suspected.
Ted clenched his jaw, narrowing his eyes at Lilith, who averted her gaze—guilt written all over her face. “Mia is Melisa’s firstborn,” he confirmed after a few minutes when Lilith said nothing.
A humorless chuckle slipped out of Aaron’s lips. “That’s fucked up.” He dropped to the single leather seat with a shake of his head. “That’s royally fucked up. And you didn’t bother to tell me because…”
His furious gaze sized up Ted and Lilith, demanding answers. They hid something huge like this from him which unsettled his beast, shattering his control. He clamped his mouth shut, fighting the change. “Speak!” he growled in his animalistic voice, commanding, eyes of beast glaring at the dark witch as it roared inside him.
“I didn’t know.” Lilith shifted in her seat. She glanced at Ted, who shot daggers at her. “I confirmed it last night and Ted was going to inform—”
Ted lifted a hand, stopping her. His face had grown red with fury. Though Aaron was distracted, he didn’t fail to notice the unspoken tension between the witch and the warlock. “The damage is done. There’s no point in discussing the wrong and right.” He turned to face Aaron and continued, “Consuming witch blood awoke the dormant magic in Mia’s blood. Like I said, being around her mortal enemies awoke her instincts, forcing the change in her body to protect itself.” He sighed and reclined on the couch, staring at the ceiling. “Talk about having two different beasts within yourself.” He lifted his head to meet Aaron’s gaze.
The lycan king’s throat constricted. He understood now. In his mind, the beast settled in its haunches, listening intently. Mia hosted two different entities in her body. Though the witches or Vampires didn’t quite work like the Lycans, the struggle was almost the same. One must be in tune with their innate powers and accept each side.
“But she’s a vampire. I don’t understand,” Juan asked in confusion. “How was that even possible?”
Ted threw a glance at Lilith. “We have a theory. We believe her father is human.”
“Is?” Matthew cocked his head. “I thought he was dead.”
“A Hycinth witch can only be controlled by her mate’s blood. If Felipe had Melisa all this time, then that was the only sensible explanation,” Lilith’s voice took a hard edge. “My sister must had found a way to control the darkness.”
Felipe Lancelot, the fucking vampire king he despised more than anything in this world. Of course, he would have a few tricks up his sleeve.
“How do we help Mia? I can’t leave her in the dungeons, tied up like a criminal. She’s my mate,” Aaron growled unable to hide his frustration.
Lilith was quiet, different emotions played on her features. “I’ll find a way.” She stood from her seat, pivoted on her heels and stormed out of the room.
“As you should,” Ted barked before following her out.
Darkness. Twirling pits of pure darkness swirled around her. Occasionally, she would hear a wisp of something evil trying to claw at her skin, whispering dark things in her ears.
Pain. Excruciating pain gutted her from the inside out.
Screams. The never-ending, agonizing screams felt soothing. The horrible sounds oddly soothed her sensitive ears. It lured like a music coming from the Pied Piper’s magic pipe. Mia fought the compelling urge to surrender. Something was wrong. She shouldn’t feel this way, shouldn’t be drawn to pain and misery.
The weak cry of her human side was a distant echo in her head as the pressure built. The feeling––both liberating yet confining.
When the pain in her head built close to exploding, another cry tore through her lips and agitated the castle’s wall. The next cry was gut-wrenching as something inside her gave one last tug of resistance, but as the scream stopped, a sudden rush of relief filled her.
She breathed deeper, flexing her arms. Energy crackled in the air and her magic stirred.
“It’s over”, The dark energy she came to recognize as her magical side whispered sardonically.
Just as the fiery figure that resembled her physique emerged to the surface of her skin, something else rose above it. Dark, strong, and filled with malice. This one––with the wings like that of a demon––strangled the other and pushed it back. Scream after scream tore from her lips as these two forces fought within her for dominance.
She had long known about the presence of two entities in her body. Strong and independent with minds of their own, they often fought each other for an upper hand. Mia had always succeeded in suppressing their violent urges. However, now she could only watch as their struggle inflicted pain on her mortal body and weakened her soul.
Behind her closed lids, she became a silent spectator of her self-destruction. One made of fire, and the other a creature of darkness she didn’t know which creature was more powerful—the witch or the vampire. To her, both monsters she housed appeared more dangerous than the other did.
The fiery-looking creature often urged her to do bad things, fought tooth and claw with her vampire side. It shot burst after burst of magical energy at the dark, winged creature. The sparks scalded her insides. The demonic creature in question screamed and thrashed. Gashes and burn marks appeared on the outside of her body. Soon, it lost its momentum, sinking deep like a bird dropping from the sky.
The fiery creature pushed forward. The maliciousness radiated by its gleeful smile chilled her bones. When she thought it would break free, it hit a magical barrier and shot backward. With a growl, it come to the surface again, only to be forced down by the binds—made of her mate’s blood—in her arms and legs.
Aaron’s blood. A tear slid down her cheeks. She hoped it worked this time. Dark spots shrouded her vision—each time the fiery creature sent a burst of magic to break the binding that temporarily paralyzed her, its inflicted bone-crunching pain all over her body.
Mia coughed blood and breathed through her mouth, crying silently and wishing for everything to stop. Even death sounded less painful than her current predicament.
The last bit of strength left her, causing her to sink within the dark abyss of her mind. The human side stood no chance against the creatures that should have never existed. Just as her eyes fluttered to close, she saw the winged creature shooting up with a determined look. With a roar, it caught the fiery presence in a chokehold.
The magical bond that the witch and Aaron placed did nothing to suppress this dark creature. The fiery being, made of magic, struggled. The light dimmed, and its energy drained as it soon went limp.
Hope bloomed in her heart and fueled the determination of her human side. Like a dying engine spurting to life one last time, she stirred. This time, though, the demonic creature laughed.
“Mia, you’re too weak. It’s time you let me take control and let the world see what we are capable of.”
“What are you going to do?” She reached for the creature with a weak hand.
“Don’t hurt Aaron,” she wheezed.
It smirked at her, “Ooh, the strong one?” The mockery hurt, but what hurt the most was an image of Aaron’s smiling face that grew distant. “He is really something, isn’t he?” The dark creature recalled the passion-filled nights that brought tears to her eyes.
A pressure built in her chest. “Don’t—”
“Shh…” It silenced her with a cold finger on her cracked lips. “He is an enemy.”
“L-love…” she stuttered against the finger.
It snorted on hearing the word. “Love is for the weak. We don’t belong here.” Felipe’s face popped into her mind. She saw him staring at the empty throne by his side. “A throne is waiting for us.”
“No!” She tried one last time to stop the creature but it was vain.
“Sleep, Mia.” It pressed her down with the cackle and soared up.
Felipe scrunched his nose as the stale air assaulted his sensitive nostrils. His long robe swished behind him as he progressed through the dark corridors, wondering what he was doing in this wretched place. He didn’t remember coming here in the first place. This sure wasn’t his castle. And in this dark spot, he sensed a strange magnetic pull toward something or someone. He moved forward.
The dimly lit corridors stretched until he came to a confinement area. He glanced at the vampires and witches who were held captive. They stared at the far wall with their sunken eyes and didn't seem to notice his presence as he glided past them. The pull intensified as he went deeper.
His heart raced as he took a turn around the corner, eyes soon finding the source of that strange magnetic pull.
An angel with dark wings was chained to the wall of an old cell. The hues of blue and black on her velvety skin glistened even in the darkness. Her eyes, pitch-black as the moonless night sky, stared into nothing as she thrashed in confines.
She was the most beautiful but deadly vampire he had ever seen.
Her wings flapped dangerously, and she tried to claw at anything and everything. Her entire look was so primal that it aroused him to no extent. When her eyes finally bore into him, a malicious smile spread on her lips.
“Come...” A whisper rang in his head—he was sure her lips didn't move.
The angel smirked as if reading his thoughts.
“Come and get me, my king,” she crooned in her honey-dripping voice.
Felipe stared at her, mesmerized. “Who are you?” She smiled, displaying her fangs as her tongue darted out to lick her lips. “Come closer.”
The vampire king found himself moving within her reach and when he was close, she grabbed his shoulders.
“Release me!” she snarled at his face before throwing him against the wall.
Felipe hit the wall with an oomph. His claws extended as his instincts took over. When he landed on his knees, laughter bubbled in his chest. She had a fire, and he liked that. No one in his thousand years of existence had caught him off guard before let alone get closer to try. That hit knocked the breath out of his lungs. Arousal churned the pit of his stomach.
“Easy, sweetheart,” he brushed the dust off his clothes. “You’re being too rude in our first meeting.”
He got closer again and inspected the chains, immediately recognizing the strong magic holding her captive.
She hissed, “Get me out of here!” The chains clanged violently. Her shrill scream pierced his ears as she hit him square in the chest before he could blink, sending him stumbling down the darkness.
Felipe twisted in his bed. His claws ripped through the black satin sheets as a terrorized scream brought him back to reality. He had pinned the source of scream to the bed. Her fearful gaze was wide as she cowered. The witch underneath him looked nothing like the angel in his dreams.
He never had a fucking dream before. This was a message.
The terrified witch who served him as the “flavor of the night” gathered her discarded clothes, scurrying off his bed and then out of his room.
“Malloy!” he bellowed, jaw clenching and clawed hands fisting at his side.
“Master.” A short, rounded figure trudged in and bowed.
“Call Tanya.” A low growl resonated within his chest.
“Yes, Master.” The slave exited the room.
Felipe’s thoughts went to the vampiress again. The first-ever female born-vampire to be born had finally summoned him. It was no surprise that she had sought after him. After all, they were fated as the only male and female pureblood vampires in the world. Their entire race depended on them for survival. The message also meant that her transformation was complete. This came sooner than he calculated.
The red-haired witch hurried in after a few minutes breaking his chain of thoughts.
“Master, you called?” She bowed, hands clasped in front of her.
“The female pureblood has come to her powers. Make the necessary arrangements. We’re bringing her to the castle.”
Felipe whirled around, “What?!”
“The lycans annihilated our army last time. Our losses are too great. We are in no position to fight.”
His jaw clenched. The fucking lycans destroyed the drudgelings he had carefully created over the decades. But since when did that stop him? He was Felipe, the first and mighty born vampire; the strongest and powerful supernatural to walk on earth.
“Since when did I ask for your opinion?” He tilted his head to the side, looking at her angrily. “Do you think I can’t win this war now that I lost some group of drudgelings?”
Tanya shook her head. “That’s not what I meant,” she begged, dropping to her knees and pressed her forehead to the ground. “Spare me, Master. I overstepped my boundary.”
He turned away, too bored to deal with the witch. His thoughts went back to Mia. What if this was a trap? His fingers tapped against his thigh as he mulled over the vision. She was too young and too inexperienced to be allowed to possess such strength.
It’s too dangerous to leave her out there.
“Bring Carl to me. Make sure he is fed and clothed well.” Tanya bowed again. “Sure, Master.”
Trap or not, he had to bring her home. Because a weapon as strong as she belonged with him.
Aaron sat gingerly in his office chair as the officials surrounded him. He wanted nothing more than to go back to his mate, but the meeting ran longer than he anticipated. One thing came after the other while his patience waned.
Once the officials left, he turned to the others in the room. “Anything else?”
Lilith exhaled deeply. “I strongly believe that Felipe has Mia's father in custody.” Her gaze flicked to Ted, who in return just ignored her.
“It makes sense. Felipe had Melisa under his control all these years. Only a mate's blood can bind the powers of a Hycinth,” Ted mused. When he looked at the witch, his gaze narrowed with fury, and Aaron once again noticed the guilt flooding Lilith’s face.
What’s going on between the two?
“What does this have to do with Mia? I only care about bringing her back to her normal self, nothing else,” Aaron growled, his fists clenched as his eyes glowed with his beast taking a front seat in his mind.
Seeing Aaron’s patience growing thin, Ted quickly suggested, “We have to wait for Melisa to wake up, Your Highness. She is the only witch who supposedly fought the darkness and came back. Only she can help us bring Mia back.”
He couldn’t believe the dark witch who once wreaked havoc would settle down with a human and have a child. And that child became his mate. What was his mate’s fault in all this to carry such a burden? No one got to choose their parents. Why must the children suffer for the sins of their ancestors?
“Speak to Paul. Find a way to heal Melisa soon,” Aaron turned his gaze to his father sitting quietly. “Dad, take over the pack affairs for a few days. I must find a solution to this problem.”
“Sure,” Jerome acknowledged, gently squeezing his shoulder. “If your blood can bind her, then there is a great chance that she will find her way back to you. Don’t lose hope.”
“Thanks, Dad.” Aaron nodded, and gave a curt nod toward others, he left the room.
The trip to the dungeon was quick. He didn’t want to lock Mia there in the first place, but then again it was one of two places with reinforced walls to withstand magic and supernatural strength and he couldn’t take her to their safety bunker for fear of the packmates finding out the truth. His heart sank when he saw his mate sleeping on the cold floor in her vampire form. Dark fur, short and a perfect blend of royal blue and black, replaced her human skin. Smooth and velvet-like to touch; it reminded him of the peacocks he enjoyed watching during a trip to Florida. Huge wings with silky feathers wrapped around her delicate body.
The beast inside him surged forward, demanding full control at the sight of his mate. Though they were in harmony all the time, he understood his beast’s pressing need to comfort their mate. Aaron surrendered his control and allowed his fur side to come forward. Mia’s wings bristled, taking a defensive stance when the lycan approached. His breath caught, noticing the now-sharp, knife-like edges of the wings that pointed at him.
“Mia…” He extended his arm cautiously.
The wings struck even before he could blink. Its sharp edge sliced through the skin of his arm, and he retreated with a hiss. Aaron swallowed the pain and observed as his blood was absorbed into her body through the small pore at the tip of the feathers. Awestruck, he stood staring at her for a moment.
As he contemplated how to approach his mate without being gutted by the bloodthirsty wings, her body rose from the ground. She was still asleep, but he realized the wings were acting on their own accord, supporting her body as they stretched to their full width.
Whoa! The wings were humongous, he admonished as he approached her. “Mia…” He called again.
The feathers bristled again before settling down. Aaron took a deep breath before approaching her. He caressed her cheek just barely and held her when she sunk to the floor. Without another thought, his impatient beast unclasped the chains from her delicate hands and hoisted her into his arms before hurrying out of the dungeon.
Mia woke with a start, blinking her black eyes at the sound of the chains rattling on the floor. Her first sensation was that of soft fur brushing against her skin, and a deep sigh relaxed her body. She snuggled involuntarily to the warmth. The beast she recognized as her mate picked her up in bridal style, his strong hands folded her soft, yet strong, wings as he carried her out of the dungeon.
Mia looked around at her surroundings and then at the beast who was carrying her. Something began to whisper in her head again. She wanted to call for help, to beg someone to stop the whispers, but she had hardly any strength left in her body.
He is the reason you feel so powerless.
Show him the pain...
Rip his heart out...
You won't be free until he dies...
The whispers’ demand intensified with each passing second, and Mia screamed internally. When she wouldn't do as the whispers commanded they intensified a thousand-fold; the voices clouded every single fiber of her body making it harder to think.
Once again, to her horror, she sensed the winged creature taking control of her sanity. Unable to retain control anymore, she shrieked and bit down on his chest.
Aaron roared in pain and panted when Mia’s fangs sunk into his furry chest. He clenched his jaw as he entered his chamber and kicked the door shut. She was draining his blood. He had to stop her, somehow. Agonizing pain shot through his entire body as he sensed her thrill through their bond. He thought of shifting back to his human form, but it would be too dangerous to shift given her lack of control. A lycan was most vulnerable during their shift.
Her pained whimper sounded distant in his mind.
“Stop me,” her human side reached out to him through their mate bond for a brief moment. This time Aaron knew exactly when the vampire took control.
Without further warning, he sunk his fangs into the crook of her shoulder over her mate mark. He concentrated on all the good times they had together, pushing those memories through their bond. It was a blessing for the lycan mates since they could share memories.
While she inflicted pain, he let her feel his love and desire for her, and as he expected, the pain of her bite soon reduced. In a battle between love and pain, his love won. Warmth replaced his pain, and he almost cried in relief. There was still hope. He could still save her.
A raw need for sex soon replaced the warmth that was now pulsing through the bond. His mate was losing herself to the darkness, entirely ruled by her primal desire and instincts, which saddened the beast. Though he was disappointed, he realized it was the only way he could get closer to his mate.
His fangs retracted, and the beast held her in his embrace. He contemplated giving into her game of seduction.
What if this brings her back?
Mia was fighting for control, and earlier, she even came back to consciousness for a bit. What if this could remind her of their moments together?
Aaron was still in his beast form. He didn’t stop her when his back hit the bed and she ground her hips against him as her clawed fingers ran through his velvety fur. Mia released him and looked at him with half-lidded eyes—jet-black with no traces of humanity—she stared at him as if he were her next meal.
His blood dripped from her chin, and her tongue darted out to lick the remnants of it as she tilted her head to watch him. Aaron had to decide what he wanted to do with her. She appeared calm, despite her vampire side being in control. Rejecting her might once again set her off.
After pondering over it for a while, Aaron decided to take the chance. Vampire or witch, she was still his mate. Nothing could change his love for her. He closed his eyes and let the change take over as his fur melted into human skin. When he opened his eyes, Mia gave him a predator's grin and raked her claws against his now smooth skin.
Aaron stared into the dark depths of her eyes, searching for any recognition but found none. Her wings surged forward, the sharp feathers caging his hands above his head. She bent down, capturing his lips, her tongue entering his mouth, dominating him and he let her. He tasted his blood on her lips.
His dominant nature urged him to take control, but he chose to stay put, closing his eyes and followed her lead. As she gyrated her hips against him, the sweet scent of her arousal engulfed him.
Aaron would be lying if he said that he didn't like what she was doing to him, but she wasn’t being herself. Mia was driven by pure desire, which made him regret for a split-second. However, his body betrayed him, growing hornier with every passing second.
She kissed the juncture of his neck, lips ghosting over the mate mark that sent a shudder through his body. Heat pooled in the pit of his stomach, making his cock twitch. Mia smirked sensing his arousal as she rolled her hips in response. She continued to trail her lips down the smooth valley of his chest, littering wet kisses and nipping at his skin.
Aaron’s chest rumbled when she cupped his manhood with a hand, thumb tracing the slit before stroking down his length. She placed a scorching kiss on his lower abdomen.
His control broke, and in a fluid motion, he had her pinned on the mattress with her legs wrapped around him. If anything, she was more eager to see what would follow next. He could almost taste her anticipation. Her wings encased his entire frame and caressed his naked back. He captured her red, plump lips, kissing her deeply as his thumb traced her jawline.
Suddenly, Mia screeched, her eyes rolling into her head. Her wings fell flat, and her hands fell limp at her sides as her breathing slowed. Aaron released her lips. A lonely tear trickled down his cheek as he pulled out the small needle from her neck.
Earlier, Lilith had stopped him before he left for the dungeon.
“Aaron, I left something under your pillow. Use it when she loses control.”
“What is it?”
“It’s something I concocted earlier. We don’t know which side of her is controlling her now. Whether it’s her vampire or witch side, so this should be able to knock her out for a short period of time. It will help her temporarily retain her sanity. I’ll make another batch before I leave.”
She gave him a small nod. “I have to find someone who can help us. Felipe must know about her now. He will come for her sooner or later. We have to be ready when that happens.”
The bags underneath her eyes made her exhaustion evident. It was obvious she was hurting. Mia was her niece after all. He didn’t know what kind of relationship she had with her sister, since she never mentioned her name before. On the other hand, she never told anyone she was a Hycinth. He only knew she was a witch with a high power scale that outsmarted the others from his father’s words.
Perhaps, his father already knew of her origin among the other things he hasn’t spoken about. He barely blinked when the topic was brought to the table. Well, he lived longer than Aaron with many decades of experience and knowledge ahead of him. Many things still did not make sense to Aaron.
“Okay. Bring Ted and a few warriors with you.”
Lilith blinked away her tears, lips trembling as she forced a breath. “Be careful with the doses. Give her only one shot every other day. There’s no telling how long the effects will last. She might have a relapse. Please be patient with her.”
“I’ll be careful.”Aaron threaded his hand through Mia’s hair, pushing the wild strands away from her face. “I'm sorry, my love. As much as I love to make love to you, I won't take you when you’re not being yourself. I would never forgive myself if I did something like that, and I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate that either,” he whispered, placing a feather-soft kiss on her forehead. Right now, she was being guided by her primal instincts. Blood and sex went hand in hand for their species, a fact he learned after their mating. He didn’t know if it was true for the other blood-sucking leeches but it was true in Mia’s case. Blood aroused her. “Rest well, my love. I wish you could hear me. Come back to me, please.”
Aaron pulled the sheets over them and held her in his arms as he waited for her to wake up.
“Carl!” Felipe regarded the vampire with a broad grin. “Good to have you back.”
“It’s an honor to be at your service, master,” Carl replied with a deep bow. The mop of overgrown blonde hair fell over his eyes and shoulders. With his piercing blue gaze trained on the floor, he hunched his shoulders with a bowed head.
“Do you remember why you were being punished?” the king retorted, regarding the prisoner in front of him with curiosity. His suspicious gaze swept over every inch of Carl as he tried to determine if he could trust him with the task. However, his prisoner’s mind was as clean as a slate. He had no memory of the past, except what the king had told him.
Carl, the precious mate of Melisa, was a leverage he had protected carefully for two decades. Not all vampires were the same. Felipe had turned Carl, who was barely tethered to his life after capturing Melisa, making him different from most other vampires. He was more human-like. The vampires Felipe made with his bite breathed; their brains functioned; and they had better control over their blood lust.
Unlike the pureblood vampires, the ones born as humans with a special gene that granted them extraordinary powers, the vampires directly bitten and turned by Felipe relied on human blood for survival. The purebloods could live on human blood, but their strength came from the blood they consumed.
Those bitten by the vampires Felipe created were resurrected as mindless killing machines. That was what made them different from the others. They went on to form the crucial part of his army. Felipe’s lips curved into a smile at the possibilities this strength offered him. He loved experimenting and was pleased with the results. Were lycans aware of them? They might know because now they had captured two of his fighters—Mark and Lucas—the ones from his elite army, bitten and turned by the vampire king himself. He gritted his teeth. Fools. They should have known better than to let that mutts capture them alive.
Mark and Lucas had left with Melisa and never returned. Even now, he sensed their presence in the back of his head and knew they were viable. There was no escaping Felipe, not for the ones he created; after all, they were permanently bonded to him by blood. They would come in handy when King Felipe needed them. He wasn’t going to sweat over such a trivial thing. Instead, he aimed at a higher prize. He focused on Carl, cowering before him.
“It’s because I went against your orders and fell in love with a witch who wanted to destroy you. I deserved to be punished, Master. Master is too kind and went easy on me.”
Felipe grinned in satisfaction. “It’s good you realize that because…” He paced to the other end of the room. “Twenty-some years ago, I separated you from your mate, hoping you would come to your senses and do the right thing.”
Carl knelt and pressed his forehead to the ground. “Your slave realizes his mistake now, Master.”
Felipe walked around him. “Rise. Your obedience over the past couple of years and your mate’s willingness to side with me in this war has changed my mind. Today, I’m willing to give you a chance to repent for your sins.”
Carl lifted his head, his heart raced as Felipe grinned and continued, “The lycans have my mate as their prisoner. Your mate volunteered to bring her home for me. But she failed.”
His prisoner tensed. “What are my orders, Master?”
Felipe turned to face him. “Infiltrate their territory, lay low, and spy on them. When the time is right, we will attack.”
“I won’t fail this time, Master. Your queen is my priority. I’ll bring her home even if it costs my life.” Carl bowed again.
“Tanya will walk you over the rest of the details. Go with her.”
“Yes, Master.” They exited the room, leaving him alone. Felipe clasped his hands at his back and stared into the dark forest. The silence irritated him. Soon, there would be screams and bloodbath. His face tightened as rage boiled within him.
Light footsteps approached him and he didn’t turn to see who it was. He didn’t have to due to his heightened senses. Even now, he knew exactly where each of his slaves was. He could track with just a thought as they were all connected to him. However, in the case of the witches, he knew their scents.
“Master, Carl has left.”
Felipe nodded without taking his eyes off the scenery.
“Master, do you want one of us to follow him?” she asked.
“No need. He is under my spell. There is no other vampire stronger than I who can break the spell.” He sighed, mind impatiently wandering as he mulled over the recent developments in the supernatural world.
“Can he get past the ward?”
“He’s the only one who can get past that ward without detection. Did you forget who he is?” The bastard was mated to a Hycinth witch that made him immune to their vicious magic. Her questions were beginning to annoy him. She must already know that he hated silly questions.
“What if they capture him, too?”
“Carl is clever. He knows exactly what to do, especially where his mate is concerned,” Felipe stated, briefly glancing over his shoulder with a smirk. As for keeping his side of the bargain, he had to think about it. Would he really help Carl? After all, Felipe didn’t have a heart or the emotions the others often experienced. “Organize our troops and move them near Brookedge. Await my orders.”
“Understood.” Tanya left his chamber with a curt bow.
Felipe smirked as he picked up the goblet filled with blood, sipping it slowly. The fae blood tasted divine. It was time for another visit to fae land. He summoned his drudges with a thought.
“Master.” Two of them knelt in front of him.
“Attack Greenwoods.” He traced the smooth surface of the goblet, admiring the delicate floral pattern on the stem. “I heard they have a coronation ceremony planned. It’ll look bad if we didn’t make an appearance,” he continued, his smile growing malicious. “I need more females this time. The younger, the better,” Felipe whispered the last part as if he could already taste their blood on his tongue.
He sensed their excitement before they answered. “Yes, Master.”
He dismissed them, sunk onto his throne, and thought about the exquisite creature in his dreams. His cock hardening at the mere thought of her. Perhaps her blood would satisfy his insatiable hunger. He couldn’t wait.