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The vampire king's captive

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He ground down on his molars when his eyes fell to her lips, looking thoroughly p*ss*d for reasons she couldn't possibly fathom. "What are you doing to me?" "What do you mean?" She whispered, her eyes trained on his firm lips. She willed him to kiss her. Willed him so much that if she'd had her powers, he would already be kissing her this very moment. A merciless sorceress… Maria Hatzi, daughter of the ruthless tyrant, Ariti, was a sorceress known far and wide across realms. She was feared just as she was hated—with a passion. Immortals trembled at the mention of her name and warlocks dared not to cross her path. An unforgiving vampire… Bran Karras’ entire household has been wiped out by Maria, and his only sister has now been captured by her. Bran was a lot of things, but a forgiver wasn’t one of them and he had absolutely no intentions of letting Maria go away with what she did to his family. Fuelled by rage, Bran captures the powerful sorceress, holding her prisoner in his dungeon and torturing her to the brink of insanity. Over the course of events, unwanted attraction blossoms between the two and it takes no time for Bran’s feelings of hatred towards her to turn into something more. Something he had no business feeling for the woman that murdered his entire family. Amidst chaos, truths are told and revelations are made. Bran realizes that things with Maria weren’t as they seemed and he discovers that she might not be the villain he had painted her to be.

CHAPTER ONE :A Stranger In The Courtroom

MARIA

Perhaps there were a few things worse than having your nails forcefully pulled out, Maria thought.

Hiding her revulsion, she stood with her hands hanging by her sides, ever ready to be summoned by Ariti when he needed them. It was never a matter of if, because he would always be in need of them, rather, it was a matter of when and from the looks of things, it was soon.

She would rather be anywhere else in the worlds than standing in the courtroom, witnessing the death that was soon to take place. A death that she would, of course, deliver. She was positive she would pick having her nails removed over this, except that she knew the torture wouldn’t end there.

It never did.

The teenage girl sitting on the floor of the palace with her hands shackled behind her, wasn’t ready to co-operate.

Despite having being dragged in here and harassed, with over twenty battle-hardened men, all watching her impatiently with eyes that promised evil, she had not shed a tear. In fact, she still managed to speak without a quaver in her voice.

Maria was impressed.

It was a foolish decision that she would undoubtedly regret, but impressive nonetheless.

“Where is your father?” Ariti asked calmly, as if it was the first time he was asking that question and not the fourth.

He was being incredibly patient with her and she didn’t know why. Was he taking his time with her simply because she was a teenager and he had a little bit of compassion for them?

Immediately the thought touched her mind, she wiped it out. Ariti did not have an iota of compassion for a single soul alive. And he definitely wasn’t going to be showing a glimpse of said non-existent soul to a stranger.

Maybe the whereabouts of her father was just that important and he was willing to be civil with her if that was the only way she was going to give him the information he required.

When the girl still said nothing, Ariti spoke into her mind.

Cut off her air supply.

She would love to pretend that she hands heard those words. Like she didn’t know that he had spoken to her, but that would be pointless and would only bode ill for her.

Lifting her right hand, she spread her fingers out wide, then brought them together slowly, not completely closed, but tight enough that had there been a neck in her fist, it would be constricting right about now and the owner would have trouble breathing.

Just like the teenager on the floor.

She struggled in her chains, trying to free her hands to clasp them around her throat and probably fight off the force that was cutting off her air supply, but it was impossible. Even if her hands had been freed, she would still not be able to do anything about it.

Maria wouldn’t be feared far and wide if her powers were so easily fought off.

The girls eyes widened and she fell back, lying on the black floor as she twisted. She opened her mouth to scream but couldn’t make any sound. Maria could feel the vibration and excitement of the men scattered around the courtroom. They lived for moments like this. When she killed or tortured both innocent and guilty victims in front of them.

She felt sick.

Maria wished that the girl would just tell Ariti what he wanted to know. She wished so with all her heart and if she had the ability to speak into the girl’s mind, she would tell her.

Stop, Ariti telepathed and she did, almost sighing out in relief.

Her hand dropped to her side and the teenage girl could breathe again. She took huge gulps in air, blinking her watering eyes rapidly.

Maria hated herself so much in that moment that she doubted it was possible for one to hate their own self this much.

Ariti's eyes glimmered. “Are you ready to tell me where he is now, or do you need me to convince you another way?”

“I don’t know where he is.” The girl coughed, her eyes flitting briefly to Maria before dropping to the ground in front of her.

Strong as Maria’s powers were, she wasn’t a mind reader. It was not one of her abilities. She couldn’t tell if a person was lying or if they were telling the truth. She couldn’t prod a person’s mind and tell if their shields were up or not. The fact that she didn’t read minds though, didn’t stop her from always keeping her shields up.

Lowering them without meaning to would be a fatal mistake.

With a nod of his head, Ariti ordered her to choke the girl again and Maria with her hands tied metaphorically, had no choice but to do so.

She checked to make sure that her glamour was still in place. It was. Yet, it didn’t make what she did easier. Her glamour gave the illusion that she was someone else. A willowy woman in her early thirties at least, with blue eyes, stick straight red hair, an angular face and six feet tall.

A far cry from who she really was.

Still, the different appearance didn’t change anything. Instead, it made her feel worse. But then she reminded herself of all the reasons she was doing this. She reminded herself that it wasn’t her fault and that she didn’t have any other choice. If she did, she would easily oppose Ariti and bear the consequences.

Except that it wasn’t that easy.

Was anything really?

Again, the girls eyes drifted to Maria but this time, they stayed and the pleading look she gave her, had Maria’s heart shrinking in her chest. She was a monster. It was high time she accepted that she was just as bad as Ariti. Maybe even worse.

Staring into her victim’s eyes when she tortured them took a great deal of her strength, but she would be damned before admitting it and she could never look away. Ariti would never. He was sick and depraved like that.

Just when the girl was about to pass out, Ariti called her off.

Fuck. Maria’s hands shook. Quickly, she wove a glamour over it to appear unaffected.

“Tell me where the hell your father is!” Ariti thundered, leaning forward on his seat and almost falling off it completely with the force of his lurch.

This took everyone by surprise and the aura in the courtroom darkened ominously. Before, it had been quite obvious that Ariti was calm and asking her the questions in the same manner, but apparently, he had just been keeping a tight leash on his anger.

“I don’t know where he is!” The girl screamed, finally raising her voice and looking panicked. “I’m saying the truth, I swear—”

“Kill her.” Ariti stated, cutting the girl off. The words were crisp and clear.

Maria did not want to kill the teenage girl. She very much did not want to. But she also dared not disobey Ariti.

Tell him what he wants to know!

Say something!

Don’t let me kill you!

The words echoed in Maria’s mind, bouncing off the walls and not making it out, because she couldn’t speak to the girl. She wasn’t allowed to, and she was going to have to kill her.

Maria toyed with her red cloak, in the guise of arranging it when actually, she she was stalling. She was trying to delay as much as she could. She was trying to give the teenage girl time to speak the truth. To expose her father’s whereabouts to Ariti.

But how was she sure the girl wasn’t speaking the truth? She had no way of knowing. For one, she couldn’t read minds and secondly, the girl might actually be innocent. She might truly not know where her father was.

It wasn’t a secret that Ariti was a tyrant. If at all somehow, word had gotten to the girl’s father that Ariti was after him, then he would run for his life. What she didn’t understand, was why the dad had run away without taking his daughter with him.

Perhaps he had not wanted anything to slow him down. Be it something he loved.

Maria couldn’t relate to the father’s reasoning.

Kill her, Ariti urged in her mind.

She had stalled long enough and if she went on with out, it would be considered as disobedience. And from the questioning looks some of the men were already levelling her way, she was starting to become suspicious.

Maria was going to have two kill the girl. She had no other choice.

If only the girl knew that.

Ariti must have seen the moment her decision solidified in her eyes because he said, “Chop her head off.”

Maria’s stomach bottomed out.

Against her will, she envisioned a blade and one appeared out of thin air. Just as she had pictured it in her mind.

Slowly, the blade drifted closer to the girl on the ground and the closer it got to her, the more Maria felt a small part of her soul, one she hadn’t known she had left, disintegrate.

Much to Maria’s surprise and awe, the girl rose from her lying down position, sitting upright, her chin lifted regally, bravely, as she faced Maria head on.

She had accepted her fate.

A lump formed in Maria’s throat.

The girl’s throat worked in fear, her eyes darted once to the blade and Maria caught a quiver in her form, but not once did she make it known that she was scared.

The sword finally poised at her throat, ready to slit, then Maria froze. Dazedly, she watched a tear slid down her eye, but she blinked it back immediately. It happened so fast that if she hadn’t been looking at her, she would have missed it.

It was going to ruin Maria to kill this girl, but she had no other option. She kept repeating the words in her head.

Mariam lifted her hand to deliver the final blow that would end the girl’s life, then all hell broke loose.

CHAPTER TWO Maria is Captured

MARIA

A loud crash rang through the room.

At first, no one knew how to react. Where had the noise come from? What was the source and most importantly, what the hell was happening?

Distracted, Maria’s hand dropped as she whirled around, causing the blade that had been suspending over the teenage girl’s neck to clutter to the ground with a clang.

At the back of her mind, she was relieved that this disturbance had taken their main focus off the girl, even if it was just temporarily. Maria could work with that. Hopefully, she would be assigned to detect the source of the disturbance and put a stop to it.

And then if the killing would still take place, Maria wouldn’t be in charge of it anymore.

She wasn’t sure that she could stomach it.

At the forefront of her mind, however, was the cause of the crash. The palace workers weren’t known to cause a nuisance when Ariti was having one of his sessions. At least not anywhere near the courtroom anyway. T

Heroes

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