Home > Moonlight Prince (Vampire Girl #4)(9)

Moonlight Prince (Vampire Girl #4)(9)
Author: Karpov Kinrade

But I will not fall into despair. Not yet.

I will save Arianna. I will do anything to do so.

I would even summon him.

Baron stands at attention, sniffing at the air.

He comes from the shadows, a silent snake coming upon its prey. I look up. Glare into his dark eyes.

"Lucian."

My father smiles, but there is no warmth to his eyes. He is cold and harsh like the storm. Black and red armor clads his body. His great sword hangs on his back. "You wish to speak," he says, still half in the shadows, half hidden in darkness. As if the light from my fire would burn him.

I have not seen my father since the day I drugged him. The day I thought him dead and my entire world changed. I stand, equaling him in height, my body as massive as his own. I never look away. Never show a sign of weakness. "Where is she?"

He does not feign ignorance. Feigning ignorance is feigning dullness. "The Druid Metsi has her. In a place you will never find. A place she will never escape."

It is as I feared. I saw the broken ice. The raging water. The Water Druid has her. I clench my jaw. "Without Arianna, the contract cannot be honored. A new King of Hell cannot be chosen. You must help bring her back."

He chuckles. "I must? After you betrayed me, your own father, your own kin?"

"I was never yours," I roar.

"Of course you were mine. I raised you. My wife's blood brought you to life, flows through your veins even now." His words pulse with rage. He is more upset than I imagined. Upset at the thought I am not his own. Or perhaps just upset I am not within his power.

"If the contract is not honored," I continue, "the realms will suffer. There will be no ruler, and your children will continue to squabble as they have, setting ruin upon each other. Have you seen the destruction within my castle? Have you seen the strung-up Fae and the dismembered heads adorning pikes?" I step forward, pleading. "Did you not seek to bring balance between the Fae and vampire? Did you not seek to bring peace? Help me. Help me save Arianna and bring balance."

He looks down for the first time. "Even if I could… even if I did… what would it matter? You have no desire to be king. You will make no difference."

His words punch me in the gut. They ring true, and yet, they fill me with anger. How dare he deign to know my mind? To know what I can or cannot do?

"I will bring peace," I vow. "I will bring balance."

Lucian smirks, pointing at me. "You have always had a flair for the grand gestures, a flair for the dramatic. And often, you have kept to your word, succeeded where others thought you'd fail. But this time, you will not succeed my son. You cannot. Because this time, you are against me." He looks to the fire. "You and your brothers play your game, fighting over my scraps like a pack of dogs, but in the end, there is only one King of Hell. And he stands before you." He turns to leave.

But I will not let him. My voice thunders through the air. Asking what I have dreaded to ask. "Am I a true Prince of Hell? Can Arianna choose me to rule?"

He turns back, his face half in shadow, half in light. "Yes. She may choose you. But will you let her?"

His words fill me with emotion. I am a true heir. Arianna and I can still be together. But before I can collect all my thoughts, Lucian continues.

"You know, I despised you at first," he says. "Despised everything you represented. A Fae living in my own home, feeding upon my food, my hospitality, my knowledge. But in time, you showed me something I never thought true. You showed me it is not our birth that makes us who we are, it is our choices. It is our own true self." His eyes fill with sorrow; an emotion I do not recall ever seeing on him. "I once thought myself condemned to this realm, condemned to live a life lesser than that of my brother's. But you showed me I could do anything. Anything. I remember when you left to slay the beast upon Grey Mountain. It was your test, your test to see if you were worthy of a realm of your own. Half your brothers laughed and placed bets on your demise, the other half worried and trembled for your safety. But I… I did not doubt you then. Too often had you proven me wrong. Too often had you made dreams reality. So when you returned from Grey Mountain, your rags soaked in blood, the head of the beast strapped to your belt, I did not even blink an eye. That is Fenris, I said. That is who he is. The Prince of War."

Why does he tell me all this? "You care nothing for me," I hiss.

"Oh, I care, my son. I care for you all. It is why I do what I do. One day, you will understand. It is why I tell you this now. So you remember. Remember I am always on your side."

His words sound of lies, but I will use them as I can. "If you are on my side, then help me. Tell me where Arianna is. If you do not, I swear I will never forgive you. I will hunt you. I will do as others think I've done, and you will fall upon my blade."

Inexplicably, he smiles. "Perhaps one day, my son. Perhaps one day." And as fast as he came, he slips away into the shadows.

I run forward, grasping for him. But he is already gone. Vanished by the magic he shares with no one.

And I am once again alone.

I fall back against those stones, and I draw another mark.

It is morning by the time Dean finds me. He wears no shirt despite the cold, only black pants, a sword on his hip, a bow strung across his shoulder. His golden hair shimmers in the sun. He grimaces when he sees me. "No luck?"

"Some." I say, putting out the fire. "She is with the Druid Metsi, but where I do not know."

   
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