“Are you ready?” Holly asked me as she sat on my bed with Scooter’s head on her lap. She scratched him for comfort and in return, he got his pets.
“Yes…No… I don’t know…” I answered truthfully. “We’ve been working on this for the past two weeks and the plan is working so far. We got messages from the other Princes that the King is preparing to have a giant feast with all of them there. He wants to ‘unveil his newest gift’ to them. In a few days, the King will fast before he drains me and it will be the end of his sadistic reign and my extremely long life.”
“How has your time been here?” She changed the subject.
“I hate being trapped inside, but I’m allowed around the yard, so I spent a lot of time in the labyrinth followed by a very curious puppy.” I looked down at Scooter as his tail wagged, knowing I was talking about him. “He knows something is wrong, just like Simon and Simone. Yesterday, they wouldn’t let me leave their sights.”
“They feel the energy changing around here. Have you told them goodbye?”
I shook my head, a couple tears falling from my eyes, “I can’t… Every time I try, I get choked up and can’t get the words out. I mean, they are still young, so happy memories with you should be able to override the sadness they feel.”
She looked shocked at me, “You mean?”
I handed her the key to the house, “I won’t use it anymore and Frost packed all of my things up and put them in the attic. He said that he will take care of it all after this is all over.”
She hugged me tightly, “I don’t want you to do this. You’re my best friend and I love you and I don’t want you to leave me.”
I cried into her shirt, trying to find the comforting words I had rehearsed for the last two weeks. We sat there crying on each other, Scooter trying to worm his way between us and cheer us up. After a few minutes, we pulled apart and she stood up. “I need to go; Prince Steriling wants some time with you as well.”
“I’ll see you before I leave.” I put Scooter and the kittens into the bathroom and shut the door, so not to ruin the clothes that Steriling was supposed to bring.
She wiped her nose with a handkerchief, “Damn right you are.” She opened the door and let Steriling inside, as she escaped.
“Cerbera…” Steriling dropped the paper bag he was carrying as I ran to meet him halfway across the room. He held me tightly, hard enough to bruise. “My little Cerbera…” He didn’t say anything else, but just held onto me.
“Fidd… We both know that this is for the best…”
He let go of me, “No, it’s not. The Wise Woman also said that your curse would be broken if the King fell in love with you. No, Prince Cadeyrn is using you as a weapon, when we could keep you alive.”
I smiled sadly, “Fidd, for the past 600 years, I’ve lived beyond a normal lifetime. I’ve never had a true purpose until now. I know it hurts, but it’s time.”
“You can’t go up there!” I heard shouts and yells from the hallway, as three guards burst into the room. Frost followed behind them, trying to stop them, but they just kept pushing him away. “Prince Steriling, you are under arrest for treason to the King!”
Two of the guards surged forward to grab him but I stepped between them. “Don’t touch him, you filthy creatures!”
They tried to push me aside, but I was faster with the two knives from my purse. I cut my wrists then cut the two of them, contaminating them with my blood. They backed away and it took a few seconds before the poison started it take its course through their bodies.
The third guard looked to me then to Steriling, pulling out a crossbow. “This is loaded with a holy quarrel and if he doesn’t come with me, then I will kill him.”
“How is he under arrest? What was his crime?!” I shouted, preparing myself to fight if needed.
“He and Prince Cadeyrn are under arrest for treason for not handing over the Cerbera immediately. They have been harboring a fugitive to our kind, therefore, it is under command of the King that they be arrested and executed on Samhain Evening.”
He aimed the crossbow, but Frost grabbed him by the neck and pulled him back. “Fidd! Run!”
Steriling vanished as Frost was flung forward and hit the ground with a thud. The guard aimed the crossbow at Frost, “For aiding and abetting two fugitives.” I dropped the knives, launched myself at Frost and the crossbow bolt stuck into my back, through to my stomach.
I took a couple gasping breaths as I stood up and pulled the bolt out of my stomach. “Now, you’ve pissed me off. Frost, get everyone safe.” He did not wait as he scrambled to his feet and ran out the door, the guard mesmerized with my body healing itself.
“You’re the Cerbera?!”
I grinned evilly, holding the bolt in my hand as I would a knife. “You’ve tried to harm the people who have come to become enjoyable people to me. Now, you have a choice, so listen carefully.” I played with the tip of the bolt, the black blood dripping down the shaft. “You get me and you tell your people to leave them the hell alone.”
“We don’t make deals with monsters.” He growled as he smiled deviously in return. “We already have Prince Cadeyrn and we will capture Prince Steriling, so it’s only a matter of time.” I heard the sound of many boots as they ran up the stairs to where we were standing. Too many for a quick count of guards entered the room, circling me. “Give up, monster and I promise that my King will have mercy on you.”
I finally got the count of thirty guards surrounding me. I have had worse odds, but I also needed to stick with the plan, even if it was a bit off kilter. “Thirty strutting vampires against a single lady. I bet that I could take all of you down, but that would be a waste of blood. After all, you’re all just following orders, right?” I caught a few nods, but I kept my eye on the original guard. “Then I won’t kill you all.” I ran forward and slammed the bolt into the original guard’s helmet, stabbing him in the eye. “Just you.” I backed away as I felt a flurry of bolts hit my body, the pain as bad as when I was burned at the stake.
I was caught by another guard and he darkness-vanished us to somewhere. We arrived and he dropped me to the ground before he bound my hands and disappeared. I carefully pulled the bolts through my body to get rid of them. After the last one was done, I took a deep breath, the skin, bone and organs reknitting themselves. I took a look around the small cell and yelled, “Hey!”
“Cerbera?!” I heard Cadeyrn’s voice from the cell next to mine.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah, what the hell happened?” He asked.
“I was told that you and Fidd are traitors, meaning something went wrong.” I mumbled the last part, not sure who was listening. “Fidd got away, as did the others. How did they get you?”
“Knocked me out in the study after I heard Holly scream. Blaze has told me that he got them out of there through telepathy. Seems you and I are the only ones who were captured. How did they get you?”
I counted the bolts on the ground, “Fifteen bolts to the torso. I got them all out, but I haven’t felt that much pain since the witch trials.” I grabbed one off the ground to inspect the tip of it.
“Someone’s coming.” He warned as the door clicked open down the hallway.
I stepped to the front of the cell to see who it was, but it was just a guard. He reached Cadeyrn’s cell, “The King has said that you will be executed for your crime of treason during the Samhain feast.” He then walked to my cell and sneered through the small viewing hole, “So you’re the Cerbera. The King wants to see you now.”
“I want to kill him, so this is perfect.” I smiled sweetly back. He unlocked the cell door and opened it. I took the bolt and slammed it into his chest. “Oops. I guess your guard buddies forgot to disarm me.” I left him on the ground to die from the poison. I grabbed his keys and walked to Cadeyrn’s cell and unlocked it. “Can you darkness-vanish from here?”
He stepped out of the cell, “Not until I get above ground. Only the guards have that ability down here.”
I handed him the bolt, “Take this and get above ground. I’ll finish this and I need to know that you are safe.”
“Don’t tell me that my handsome good looks and gentlemanly manners have finally cracked the shell of the beautiful Cerbera.”
I smiled, “Then I won’t.” I heard more coming, “You need to get out of here; I can handle them.”
“Then how were you captured?” He asked as he stepped towards the other door.
“I needed to find out where the King is, so I let myself. Now, go!” He ran towards the other door and I saw him run up the stairs. I faced the guards that poured into the prison block. “Guess someone forgot to do their job earlier. Now, I heard that your King wants to see me. We shouldn’t keep him waiting.” I showed them my bound hands and walked towards them.
I could see them fighting their blood lust over me, which helped me out. It was battle between the fear between their King and the blood that they needed to survive. I followed them up the stairs, plenty in front of me and others behind me. We walked through the hallways until we reached the throne room. The guards retreated, before their blood lust would get the better of them.
Sitting in front of me, on a throne of gold and silver, a tall vampire stared at me. His green eyes were familiar but colder than the ones I have come to like. This vampire’s black hair went passed his back and was down to his ankles, a black curtain to accent his completely pale, muscular skinny torso, only partially covered by a red flowy shirt. Something about him was trying to pull me to him, but I was a fighter and refused to move.
“My King, this is the Cerbera.” I heard a familiar voice that pulled me away from staring at him. Catherine sat off to the side of his throne.
“You!” I yelled, ripping the trance he was trying to put me in. “You created me, you monster!”
“You were a mistake, but you won’t bother anyone anymore.” She stood up, her golden hair flowing around her, a veil to her red court dress. She walked towards me, the King watching our every move, his power holding me from moving. She stood next to me, her long fingers touching my cheek, “You won’t get away this time and my King shall have his blood cow. Those defiant eyes are the same as when you were seven and my plan went awry. This time, you will be the perfect present to the man I love.” She walked away from me as I growled deeply, wishing I had my knife or the bolt or anything where I could kill her.
The King stood up and called to me with his power. I tried to fight it, but he was stronger than nay vampire I have ever encountered. I took a step forwards, followed by a second and third. When I was a closer than arm’s length, his power retreated from around me. He stood two steps higher than me, adding to his height as he bent down towards me. “My son said you were going to be a gift to me, but when I heard that he has had you for almost half a month, I knew there was something wrong. Why would my only son not give me the one thing I desire more than the world?” He grabbed my chin and looked at me with his cold green eyes.
I pulled my chin away from him and took a step back, “Your son couldn’t control me, what makes you think that you can?”
He laughed, a cold sadistic laugh, “Easily. You see, a King gets his power from his people. Since I control my entire race, I can pool their power and have you do anything I want. After all, despite you monster ability, you are still a human.” I felt the power arise around us, “Now, bow to me.” I struggled and fought, trying to stop my body from moving. “You are a fighter… I like that in a toy. Now, bow to me.” He pressed his power into me and my knee hit the floor involuntarily. “See how easy that was?”
“Bite me.” I snarled.
“Oh, I will, when it is safe. You see, little toy, I heard that you can be my weapon, but only if I drain you on Samhain night after a three day fast. So, I have five days you play with you until then.” He lifted me back to a standing position then looked towards another wall, “Take her to the playroom.” He looked back down at me, “You will not fight them. If you do, then I will have to punish you.”
I spat at him as the guards walked up to us. The entire room stopped moving, no one sure what to do about my blatant disregard for their King. He wiped the spit off his cheek and flung it back at me. “Playtime starts now.” He grabbed me by the neck and started to choke me. I tried to calm my body, knowing it would not kill me, but it would knock me out from the lack of blood to the brain. He threw me against the wall behind him. I hit the wall hard enough to break a couple of bones and to knock the breath from me. He stepped up the final steps to where I was trying to stand up from behind the throne.
He was fast as he rush up to me, planting a fist into my stomach. I coughed up blood that he was able to dodge easily. I doubled over, but tried to stand up. I needed he air that standing fully would give me. He wrapped his hands around my throat and pressed me into the stone wall. I could see the hatred behind his eyes, but beyond that, a yearning for cruelty. He leaned in closer to me and whispered, “You are going to be fun…” He picked me up by the throat and carried me down to the guards. He threw me into them, four of them catching me as I hit them. “She won’t fight you now.”
He was right. I cannot die, but the pain I felt required all of my attention to push down and heal. Two guards grabbed me under the arms and carried me up many flights of stairs to a circular room. They opened a metal door and threw me into the room. I tried to stop them from shutting the door on me, but I was not fast enough.
Darkness filled the room, no windows or anything to give me light. I felt my way around the room, but discovered it was just a large circular room with nothing else but me in it. I pulled my knees up to my chest, trying to conserve heat. A small opening in the door opened and fabric was pushed through. I unfolded them to discover that it was a dress. I heard through the door, “The King wants you to wear it.”
“You King and go fornicate with himself.” I used the dress as a blanket and started to count. It gave me something to do and even though I lost count a few times, it kept me awake, the darkness trying to help me sleep.
After counting to ten-thousand for what felt like the fourth time, the door opened. I leapt up, hoping to take my chance to run. Guards stood at the door, their King standing center. He stepped inside, the guards blocking my escape. “Stand still.” He commanded and my body obliged without my consent. A fire to the side of me lit the room up, showing a carbineer hanging from the tall ceiling. The guards left the King and I alone.
He saw the dress on the ground and tsked, “Tch tch tch… That dress was found in Cadeyrn’s manor, so I assumed it was yours.” He walked over and picked it up. “Since you wouldn’t put it on, I guess I get to do it for you.” He grabbed my hands and used the bindings to lift me up of the ground. He hung me by the binds from the carbineer, my toes barely scraping the ground when I pointed my feet.
He ripped the clothes I was wearing off of me, leaving me in only bra and panties. I tried to kick at him, but he grabbed my foot and pushed it away. He looked at me hanging there and set the dress to the side. “I wouldn’t want to get your blood on it.”
He pulled a dagger from its hilt and I watched as placed the dagger’s tip into the fire. He left it there as he circled around me. “I think I know where I want to hurt you.” I kicked back as he was behind me but he grabbed my foot and I cried out as he twisted it. He let it go and the pain throbbed throughout my leg as it healed. I saw him grab the dagger and within a flash, he pressed the flat side of the blade to my side. I screamed in pain from the branding. He just watched to see how long it took for me to heal.
“I’m not hearing any sarcastic comments coming out of you now. Don’t tell me I broke you so soon.” There was a knock at the door and the King opened it. A guard handed him a couple of things that I could not see, then the door closed. The King set the things on top of the dress, before he smiled. “This should do.” He unwrapped a few weapons and a face mask with gloves to protect him from my blood.
He lifted a bat, a crossbow, a cow prod and whip. “What shall I start with?”
I took a breath before speaking, “Well, since you’re clearly a bitch for not using your hands, I would say that you could start with growing a pair.”
He took the whip and cracked it against me chest in retaliation, “That’s what I want to hear.” He grabbed my hair and pulled it back, exposing my neck, “By the time I’m done with you, you will be begging for me to kill you. Then when I drain you, you will do everything I wish of you and that fear I want to taste will fill your blood.” He let go of my hair and I felt the whip crack against my back.
I bit down on my teeth, not wanting to give him what he wanted. He played with the whip for a while, only getting pained moans from me. He switched to the cattle prod, showing me the arc of electricity at the tip. My eyes widened as I braced myself. He zapped me at different places and I could not help but yell out with each touch of the tip. I could not predict where he was going to touch me, which made it worse.
After what felt like hours, he gathered his things and left me hanging, the fire still going. He gave me a smile as he turned to me before leaving, “Tonight was fun; I think tomorrow will be better, though.” He shut the door behind him and the carbineer lowered me so my feet could touch the ground, but not enough to give me the leverage to escape.
Days two and three were just like the first. He would find what hurt me most and use that. When he arrived the day before Samhain, I screamed, “Why don’t you fight me like a man?!”
He gave me a considering look before giving his weapons to his guards and shut the door. “You want to try to fight me?” His smile grew, “I think I can have fun with that.” He came closer to me and whispered, his power pressing around me, “Don’t move.” My body betrayed me again by following his command. It twitched as I tried to fight it, but not enough to break his power. He untied the rope and the carbineer rose towards the ceiling. “Tomorrow is Samhain and I want you in that dress, so when I beat you down like the dog you are, you will do as I say.”
“Like hell I will.”
He stepped away from me and checked for anything I could use to cut myself with. The room was bare, the fire I had realized was not a real fire, but the stones around us lighting up. It only heated the dagger because the King willed it to. “You may move.”
I shot towards him, drawing on almost 700 years of experience of fighting techniques. I tried to punch him in the face, but he was still faster than me. He grabbed my wrist and twisted it until we both heard a loud crack. I screamed in rage and pain as my foot went to sweep his from under him. His foot moved and kicked me in the stomach. The power behind his kick caused me to hit the wall behind me. He launched himself at me, pinning my arms to the wall. He moved them so he would only need the one hand to hold them, freeing up his other hand. I used his strength against him, by kicking both of my feet forward into his stomach.
He hunched over and backed away from me, dropping me to the ground. Rage and hatred filled his eyes, “That will be the only time you hit me.” He bolted at me and I only dodged out of the way because I was able to roll at the last second. He caught my foot and dragged me closer to him. I kicked out with my other foot but he caught it too. He slammed his elbows into my shins, breaking both of my leg bones. He stood up as I tried to get further away from him, but in the circular room, there was nowhere to go.
He stood over me as my leg bones took longer to heal than the smaller bone had. He kicked me in the stomach twice before me picked me up by my throat again. He slammed me against the wall, putting an impression into the stone. “I heard you can’t die and from your healing, I can see that its true. But pain is much more fun to see on your face than killing you would ever have.” Darkness danced around my vision, as he tightened his grip.
I grabbed at his hands, trying to pull them away from my throat. I lifted my knee up to his groin and he dropped me again. We both fought to breathe, mine from the choking and his from the pain in his family jewels. “Go fuck… yourself.” I gasped out as he glared at me.
“Enough of this…” He straightened himself up, pressing his power into me, “Stop moving.” I kept breathing hard, trying to give my brain the oxygen to move my body from his power. He stepped up to me, pushing me into the wall. I was able to brace myself from hitting the wall hard. He whipped me around to face him, “There are other ways to cause a woman pain.”
I tried to hide the horror from my face and the terror from my eyes. “Don’t touch me.” My arm moved despite his command and power.
He ripped the bra and panties off of me, leaving me completely exposed. “Not my type, but then again, this is a power struggle and for some reason, you refuse to stop fighting me.”
I gathered every bit of myself and used it to move my arm. I punched him across the temple, sending him spinning to the ground. His power around me diminished from the shock of hitting him. I knew that it did not hurt him, but it got him away from me, which was the plan.
He looked up at me from the ground, “You will pay for that!” He stood up quickly and slammed me into a different wall, pressing my face into the stone, my arm twisted behind my back. There was a knock at the door. “What do you want?!” He snarled at the door.
A guard opened the door to see the King pressing me against the wall, “Sire, dawn will be here in a few minutes. We tried to allow you as much time as possible to play.”
The King looked to his guard then to me. He twisted my arm up, dislocating my shoulder as he exited the playroom. “Tomorrow is the night, little toy.” The door slammed and I heard the locking mechanism behind it.
I felt the damage from the beating completely heal. I looked up at the ceiling, and sighed, “God, I know I’m not that great of a Christian, but please let this plan work. Even if I go to Hell because of this suicide, let me take that bastard with me. Amen.”