Lux walked stiffly with the incubus by her side. Raven, however, merely smirked at her attempts to ignore him.
Dellatrix did not give him false warning. The young witch by his side certainly has her own claws that are hidden quite well. Now Raven wondered how she could have tricked the mighty 12-point star witch into giving her an irreversible spell.
They were back to the magnificent room that was Dellatrix's bed chambers. Once they entered, the first thing Lux noticed was that her Princess Azalea was awake – unharmed but… nervous?
Lux ran towards Azalea and gave her a tight hug. She murmured "Oh, Azalea, Azalea, Azlea…" over and over in fear that the girl would suddenly disappear. She had expected her princess to embrace her in return but for reasons unknown to the young woman, she didn't.
Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.
Lux pulled back and looked carefully and worriedly at her charge. "Highness?"
Azalea's face was shadowed. "Is it true, Lux?"
Lux blinked. "True? Your Highness-"
Azalea finally looked straight into her eyes. Lux gasped at the pain and sorrow she saw there.
"Have you been holding back?" Azalea demanded. "Could you have taught me spells much earlier than now? Have you kept some things from me so I would not reach my full potential?"
Lux's arms fell to her sides. She stared at Azalea in shock. "P-Princess?"
Azalea's eyes narrowed. "Answer me!"
Raven looked at the situation before him with a light frown. The last time he saw the princess awake, she had fiercely believed in Lux's ability to protect her. Now, she acted as though the young witch was her enemy.
"I had to do it," a voice behind him said. He didn't need to turn around as Dellatrix stepped next to him. "The Princess Azalea had to know what Lux's plan is."
Lux was shaking. What was happening? She owed her princess the truth.
"You could have been taught earlier, my Princess, but-"
"THEN WHY DIDN'T YOU?!"
Lux stared at Azalea with wide eyes. Never had the girl raised her voice when it came to her teacher. Something was wrong… Something was wrong…
Lux tried to reach out for Azalea but Azalea harshly slapped her hands away and took a step back. Lux almost felt her heart break.
"Azalea, I only want what is best for you," Lux cried. "I only want-"
"No you don't!" Azalea cried. Tears were streaming from her eyes. "I trusted you! My parents trusted you! I loved you! Why don't you want me to reach my full potential?! Is it because you cannot be as powerful as I can be? Dellatrix told me that if I had been trained earlier, I would not need a lifetime to reach my limit!"
Lux was also already crying. "Please listen to me," she pleaded. "To take a lifetime to reach the limit of someone whose powers are as strong as yours, is better-"
"What kind of an answer is that?!" Azalea cried. "Sorae too! You held her back too! Now she has to suffer pain to reach her 9-point star level!"
"Azalea, please listen-"
"Stay away from me! I don't ever want to see you again!"
The princess ran into a connecting room and out of Lux's sight. Trembling, Lux turned to Dellatrix, pain in her eyes.
"Why?" she asked quietly, all the strength gone from her voice. "Why?"
Dellatrix stared at her former student with unblinking, unreadable eyes. "It's because I want her."
Raven watched as his young witch stared at Dellatrix in shock.
"What for?!" Lux demanded. "You already have the 12-point star level! You do not need someone with the 11-point star!"
"I have my reasons," Dellatrix answered. "And you were holding her back. She could've reached her full potential-"
To Raven's surprise, Lux cut Dellatrix off with a hollow laugh.
"So this is what this is all about!" she hissed. "You want someone to live the life you lived – apart from everyone else! It is true that your power made you strong and unbeatable but people fear you! You had no friends before Sorae and I! That, you see, is the price you pay for wanting limitless power! I did not want Azalea to suffer the same fate – loneliness and isolation!"
Raven stared at Lux then at Dellatrix. The 8-point star witch knew where to hit. He knew for a fact that Dellatrix was lonely and that only he – in the whole of Shadow Deep – did not fear her.
"Have you ever loved someone you cannot have, Dellatrix?" Lux demanded harshly. Dellatrix, who had been walking towards the younger woman, stopped in her tracks – right in front of Lux. "Well?!"
Without warning, Dellatrix grabbed Lux and covered her mouth with her own one. Lux's eyes widened in complete shock just as Raven's did.
It was not unusual in the demon world and in Shadow Deep that demons of the same gender become lovers. But Raven knew for a fact that most humans looked down upon lovers of the same sex.
His witch must be feeling disgusted.
The 12-point star level witch pulled away though she kept her arms around the younger witch's waist.
"I loved you," Dellatrix whispered harshly. "But then you used me for that spell, you sly, manipulative, cunning witch. Yet, I loved you still. Even up to now, I still do." She ran a sharp nail down Lux's cheek, dangerously close to piercing the skin. "But I'm giving you to Raven since I know you will never return my feelings for you. But in return, I am taking Azalea."
Dellatrix released Lux and walked off towards the direction where Azalea ran off. Lux fell on her knees, her breathing erratic. Raven let her cry for a few moments before approaching her.
Kneeling next to her, he wrapped his arms around her. Lux tensed under his hold.
"Here to take joy at my expense?" she croaked. "To take advantage of me at my time of weakness?"
"No," Raven replied quietly. "You need food, sleep and rest first."
Lux laughed bitterly. "I never knew an incubus is capable of kindness."
Raven was silent for a moment. "I am half-human… Besides, this isn't kindness. I expect something in return."
Drawing her snuggly against him, he lifted her up in his arms.
"Stupid sexual demon," she muttered before closing her eyes. Raven smirked.
Kaeriel watched as Azaria's Royal Mage slightly limped towards him. She was only wearing a robe over her night gown. Her red-gold curls tumbled freely down her back. However, it was her angry expression and blazing hazel-green eyes that caught his eye.
"Can I help you, Lady?" he asked formally as he stood up to greet her.
"You told me I can leave in two days," she accused.
Kaeriel shook his head. "In case you have forgotten, I never replied."
He watched in amusement – though he expertly hid it – as she re-lived the memory. Her eyes widened in disbelief.
"You cunning elf!" she shrieked. "I have the right to leave whenever I wish! You are not my prince!"
Kaeriel regally strode towards her and hooked her hair behind her pointed ear. He looked intently into those bright eyes.
Sorae clenched her fists. All elves were required to submit to royalty – it did not matter which land they ruled. All of them are revered. Therefore, she, being part-elf, also had to submit to him.
"This is the reason why I hide my heritage," she hissed.
Kaeriel allowed a small smile to touch his features. "It is your elfin and demonic bloods that allow you an extra two steps in achieving the 9-point star level."
Sorae suddenly became weary. "Why do you want me to remain?"
The prince did not look at her. In fact, he avoided her gaze. Sorae waited patiently and curiously. Not once has the elfin prince Kaeriel ever been hesitant towards her until now.
Still not looking at her, he began, "My Lady, I-"
"My Prince!" an elf approached, tone businesslike. "All the warriors are ready and awaiting your command!"
The question forgotten, Sorae narrowed her eyes. "You are leaving? Where to? Am I coming?"
Kaeriel gently placed a firm hand on her upper arm. "Herros was not pleased with the humiliation he suffered. Demons are now approaching the border between Xantharia and Azaria."
The hybrid gasped. "Then I must go too!"
With one fluid movement, Sorae was secured in Kaeriel's arms. Stunned, she allowed him many steps before shock ebbed away.
"What are you doing?!" she cried, trying to wriggle from his grasp. But despite his frame and seeming age, he was strong. "Let me down!"
He did not stop as he magically opened the door to her chambers. Unceremoniously, he dropped her on her bed and headed towards her door.
"You are still partly recovering. I will not risk your life…" He said a word. His voice had been soft, his tone gentle so she could not decipher the word. He was gone.
She quickly got up from her bed and tried to pry the door open. As expected, it was shut close and the room shielded from her powers, trapping her inside.
"Damn you, Kaeriel!" she cried, trembling with emotion. "Can't you see that my failures are killing me? I'm supposed to be the Executioner Mage, the Royal Magician of Azares, not a weakling hybrid of the three races!"
At the entrance of the grand palace of Xantharia, Kaeriel looked back at his home – towards the direction of the witch's room.
He heard what was said. He could also feel her pain.
Maybe I am being heartless by keeping her there… he thought. But…
He did not know but what.
Azalea buried her face on the soft pillow. Tears streamed down her face as she sobbed.
Why Lux? Why?
She did not hear Dellatrix approach. She only felt the slight dip on the mattress as the beautiful demoness sat down beside her.
"Oh, dear child," she murmured softly. "Don't cry."
Azalea raised her head so she could speak. "But I loved her, Dellatrix! I love her! She's my teacher, my best friend, my sister and in some way, my mother! She's supposed to want what's best for me!"
Azalea slowly faced the powerful demon. "Y-You were her teacher… Did you love her? Did she love you?"
Dellatrix had a small, sad smile on her face. "Yes, she loved me… But not in the way I wanted her to. I loved her more than anything else in this world… Even up to now."
The princess became angry once more.
"Why does she hurt us then?"
"She does not mean to do it, little one," Dellatrix soothed.
Azalea looked away and closed her eyes. "But she's still jealous."
Dellatrix left the young princess to her own devices. Walking towards her balcony, she looked at the domain she ruled though her thoughts were somewhere else.
Meeting the young yet brilliant Lux… Teaching her how to use her powers for the very first time… Watching her grow up… Realizing that she loved the girl more than a teacher would a student but not in the way a sister would love a sibling… Fantasizing about the lovely witch with the dark hair and dark eyes… Loving her but not being loved in return…
Dellatrix clenched her fists, drawing blood from her sharp nails.
She tried to forget about her feelings. But one smile from her darling witch… That one kiss…
Deallatrix was still in love with Lux.
Kaeriel looked at the hoard of demons before him. An elf stepped up to him.
"What are your orders, Your Highness?"
The prince did not take his eyes off the demons. "I want my warriors to return to their partners unharmed. I shall take care of this."
The elf shut his mouth when those cold blue eyes turned to him. Bowing, the elf walked off and ordered the rest of the warriors to step back.
Kaeriel raised his hand, preparing for the first wave of power.
A witch was waiting for him at his palace albeit the fact she was restrained.
He brought the arm down…
He raised his arm once more and then brought it down again.
He repeated the process.
With five downward strokes of his arm, the demon hoard was annihilated.
Herros should do better than sending that group of weak demons.
And the prince had no doubt that the Demon Lord would.
A/N: Thanks to my loyal reviewers! Here's my update! What are your reactions to Dellatrix's feelings for Lux?
Karone Princess – Oh, my dear loyal reader! I'm SO SORRY for making you wait for so long! If it makes you better, I wrote this chapter for you! I hope you enjoyed it! You might want to read my latest fantasy ones!
Saraine – Aww, shucks! You're making me blush! Yeah, one of my first reviewers asked me if I was writing a game. LOL! But no… Hehe… I hope you liked this! If you did, you might want to read my newest fantasy!
The FiboNACHI Sequence – I'm glad you like Raven! I like him too! And Kaeriel! (drool) LOL! I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
AneeDegoraRose – I'm glad you think so! Well, here's my update!