Amora stood still, holding the parchment in mid-air. Her lips fell open, not understanding that I would not indulge in her questions. I couldn’t, not with her mate. Adam had taken everything from me; did she not know that the dynamic between us had really changed?
Sure, we were close. The best of friends, brother, and sister even. The day Adam ripped my throat, clawed my face, disfigured me entirely was the day I no longer trusted him. Once he and Amora became of age, I had not only lost my brother many years ago but now the sister I had gained. Adam kept her from me indefinitely. Shortly after, he had banned me from the tribe, saying a disgusting bastard like me caused too much distress in the tribe. The young children feared me only because of what they did not know.
Gossip lies spread. Many were told the lies over and over until they took. I had my face ripped from Adam because I challenged him, that I wanted his place to be Alpha, the head dragon. Nothing was further from the truth, but all will believe a handsome face.
I shook my head again at Amora, waving my hand. If she could not help me, I would not blame her. I asked much of her for the Yellowcress root; it was hard to come by. I took my journey to the door, only to be stopped with a hand on my shoulder. “I would always help my brother,” her voice softened. “I know Adam has done you wrong, and for this, I cannot fully love him like he wants.” Her head bowed, looking for anyone that might be listening. “But I do adore him the way he treats me. You are his half-brother, Creed. One day I hope both of you will get things resolved. Adam won’t be the bigger man about it, but one day, in my heart, I believe it will happen.”
My dragon growled. I would never trust Adam again, as much as Amora had hoped. Amora grabbed my hand and put a bag with powder inside in my hand. “Whatever you are hiding, I hope it makes you happy.” She winked. Some faes had hidden powers, Amora had told me once before she could do light mind-reading. I prayed to the goddess she didn’t know about Odessa. She was my secret to keep. I leaned down, pressing a kiss to her cheek. Amora’s hand went over mine.
“Let me know if you need anything else, brother.” Giving her the best-forced smile I could, I returned to the wood to go home to my unique treasure waiting for me.
It was close to evening; the whisks had come out from their morning slumber. Whisks were troublesome creatures. They liked to play with a person’s hair, pulling and tugging. Legends say they could lead you to your true fate. I wasn’t for sure about that. They looked like mischief to me.
Upon entering, Odessa lay where I left her. I did not mean to be gone so long, but she took it upon herself to get comfortable and sleep. Her breathing was no longer labored, and her heartbeat was beating steadily in her chest.
Razak had climbed into the nest and curled up next to her. Once the beast saw his master, he jumped down quickly. No animal was to be in my nest. I was the only animal allowed, except for her. I’d be happy to give it up for her.
My dragon agreed, purring too loudly. Odessa’s body stirred, blinking her eyes. “Hey, Prince Charming” her voice was sleepy and only made me want to smile. Maybe one day, I’ll use enough of my facial muscles and give her one. This Prince Charming name she has given me had to go. I was the furthest thing from a Prince.
“Everything alright?” I stared at her, not sure how to act. It was hard when you couldn’t speak and have difficulty moving your lips the way you wanted. I nodded, putting my weapons down. She would be hungry soon; I would need to feed her.
“I hate to bother you,” Odessa fiddled with the furs. She had braided a portion of the black lion fur she was nestled under. Three of the braids became loose while Odessa played with them mindlessly. She was embarrassed, and I didn’t want her to be. Standing closer to her, I tilted her chin towards mine.
I could get lost in her eyes. They weren’t just amethyst; gold and silver flecks sparkled within. The fringe of her lashes cast shadows on her cheeks.
“I kind of need to use the ladies’ room,” she whispered.
Ladies room? I raised one of my brows in question.
“To relieve myself?”
Is she not comfortable? Too many seconds passed before she spat out: “I have to pee! Urinate!” Odessa slapped a hand over her mouth. My dragon huffed a rackety laugh; she did not flinch. Rubbing my chin in amusement, I pulled the blankets away. Her long porcelain legs, still riddled with scratches and scars, made my dragon growl again.
“Do you have indigestion or something? You do that a lot?” I didn’t know what this indigestion was, but if it was my dragon she was speaking of, then yes, I have a lot of indigestion. She giggled again when I picked her up. She wasn’t afraid or looked away from my face. Her arms wrapped around my neck, pulling herself up.
“Sorry, I’m heavy,” I wanted to laugh again at her; could she not see the power in these arms? Maybe she didn’t see me as powerful, which was why she wasn’t afraid of me. I would have to work harder to show her my ability to keep her safe.
When Prince Charming left the cave, I was worried for him. He went in such a rush for a brief moment I thought the vampires had found me. The way he looked at my arms, his rough hands touched every single hole and rip in the skin. He knew what happened to me without me telling him. He wasn’t some dumb barbarian; he had years of history himself all over him.
The loud roar had me shaking into the blankets. It echoed into the cave, shaking the pitchers on the table, finally falling, making a splatter on the floor. I guess you couldn’t say it made the floor dirty; it was a cave floor. Shortly after, the cat/dog beast came back. Jumping on the bed and curling up with me.
I guess I have a new friend? I’m assuming it was a he; he pushed the furs over my body, trying to tuck me in. Was this saying everything was alright? I laid back on the piles of skins while Fluffy lay next to me. Yeah, I had to name him too.
As much as I wanted to believe I was safe here, my body didn’t think so. I worried I was trading one life for another. Prince Charming may be the devil himself and trying to fatten me up then eat me. Do they have cannibals in this land? Those comforting, deep eyes could just be a façade to help me form a connection with him because he has scars too. However, Vampires just needed my blood, fluids. Eating liver every day to try and maintain the iron in my blood was disgusting. Prince Charming gave me a great meal that would hold me off all day long. It wouldn’t return my blood supply up to premium level, but I could feel the carbs settling on my hips.
Maybe he liked to eat meaty hips.
He surely wouldn’t chase some animal or person away from the cave to protect me then eat me later, would he? No, surely not. That’s a lot of trouble. I bit my thumbnail, trying to believe the lies I just told myself. That he just could not hurt me.
Let’s be honest; I was too naive about the world. Whatever world this was anyway. I stayed homeschooled because my dad was paranoid. Now, look at me. The day he passes away, my estranged mother comes back and takes me away, giving me nothing but grief.
The aches in my arms remind me of him every day. Dad’s fantasy stories of faraway places, wars of species of a different kind, kingdoms fighting for the right to live. Now I was living in one of those stories, except this time, I was just the blood slave with no hope of going back to the place I called home. Home wasn’t there anymore. Home was with family, and I obviously didn’t have one anymore.
Between my thinking, worrying, and pity party, I fell asleep. I wasn’t sure how long I slept, but Prince Charming came in, huffing. He put his weapons down on the single table meant for one. Prince Charming heard me and froze into blankness. I would say he glared at me, but his eyes were too soft for that. How could I think he would want to eat me. He was human, just like me. Then again, I thought the vampires were human, too, until they sucked me dry every day.
No, he was different. When he was near, I felt comfortable. When he was away, my mind did things, thought things that couldn’t be possibly true about him. The question was why I was feeling this way.
“Everything alright?” I questioned. He only nodded, and that was when the real fun began because I had to explain that I really had to pee. There was no way I climb down off the bed; it was clearly three to four feet high. I already had one swollen ankle; I didn’t need two.
He came to the bed without question and lifted me up in his arms. I automatically wrapped my arms around his neck; I was worried I was too heavy for him. He thought it was funny, I’m sure because that familiar growl laugh radiated from his chest.
Prince Charming took me outside; his steps were light, considering how large he was. He barely made a sound when we reached around the corner outside the cave. It was the first time I was able to see where I was staying. The only description I could give myself was that it was indeed a fantasy world in the light.
A vast area around the cave is set up with furs drying in the sun. Trees, tall trees hung over the cave that looked like willows. The ground was riched with color, parts of the area covered in hunter green grass and several spots of purple moss. After I stared for a bit, Prince Charming took me to a secluded area with bushes for privacy.
Setting me down, I leaned up next to a rock, waiting for him to leave. He just looked on, waiting for me to do what I needed to do.
“You can’t watch!” I waved my hands for him to shoo. Prince crossed his arms, shaking his head. “You can’t be here; I have anxiety. I won’t be able to let go if you stand there. I’m not going anywhere, obviously.” My hands were on my hips with my ankle resting in the air behind me. It was a sight to see, that’s for sure.
Prince Charming’s nose flared, and he turned around. That won’t do either.
The vampires had a single bucket in each cage. Being around my fellow humans, I didn’t mind it because it was dark anyway. It was always dark. I felt covered in the darkness, so I did without question when I needed to do something. Now I was in the light with Prince Charming and his broodiness. What if I accidentally farted or worse.
I bit my lip, thinking of the worst.
“You have to walk away a bit,” I whispered. Angering Princy Poo was not on my to-do list, but he had been compliant so far. He hadn’t been rough with me at all; in fact, he was the nicest person I’ve met in 6 months. Prince Charming turned around with a heavy sigh. He pointed to the ground and at me.
“I swear, I won’t move,” I promised. Prince walked away a good twenty paces before I could relieve myself. This was better than peeing in a bucket; I’ll give you that.
Before I could stand back up, Prince Charming already had me in his arms, taking me back to the cave. “Easy there, did you miss me?” I joked; his chest began to strum that mighty gravely noise in his chest again. “That cannot be normal,” I muttered, moving my ear to his chest. It almost hummed its own song.