A/N: Finally! This chapter was so hard to write. I totally erased the first version and rewrote it. This one is rather passable, I think. The chapter starts at a random point, but it'll get back to Rhia and Marcus after a while. Enjoy!
It was one of those nights when the hint of rain was heavy in the air. People in the city hurried to return home to their loved ones before the first drops fell from the heavy clouds above. Several miles away from the city, a mansion stood set behind heavy iron gates in the countryside. Surrounded by nothing but trees and open fields, with its pointed arches and high vaults, it was nothing short of a castle from a gothic novel.
People were rarely seen passing through the gates to this mansion, but that night, a shadow appeared in front of the gates and with one leap cleared the high iron fences. With the confident strides of one who was born with it, the figure headed up to the large mahogany door, but before he touched the ancient brass knocker, the door opened wide to reveal a male in his forties dressed in a somber black tuxedo.
"Your Majesty," the man said with a deep bow.
"You may rise, Kane."
What little light from inside the mansion that reached the figure revealed a young man who must be no older than twenty. His brown hair was wind-blown, giving somewhat of a wild look to his handsome face. His eyes, the same shade as his hair, looked beyond the man standing before him and into the dark hallways beyond.
"The Council has been waiting for you," Kane said, straightening up.
"Good. I had notified them of my arrival."
The brown-haired man walked in and headed down the long hallway lit only by candles every few feet along the walls while Kane trailed him. He didn't stop until he came upon the double doors leading to the next room, which Kane hurried to open.
The room beyond was equally as dark as the rest of the mansion. A large stained glass window depicting the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus took up the majority of the wall across from the door. On a clear night, the moon's light would filter through the glasses and decorate the room in colorful if dim light, but today, it was only lit by a few candles.
When they walked in, the seven people sitting around the long oval table in the center of the room stood up collectively without making a sound. They all bowed deeply until their King waved his hand, signaling for them to rise.
"Your Majesty, to what do we owe this honor?" a young man of around twenty asked.
"I have come to feed."
Nobody showed any surprise at the statement. "We would all be honored," the same man said for his companions.
Their King glanced at each one of them in turn before making a decision. "Euphemia, I believe I haven't tasted you in a while."
"Yes, Your Majesty." The female in question was around thirty and of Nordic origins. As she moved with a blur and appeared in front of the King, the others disappeared from the room.
"Thank you, Euphemia. You're most kind," the King said while stroking Euphemia's neck.
Euphemia made no reply and avoided looking at the King's face.
The King bent down as if to kiss her neck, but his incisors lengthened in the blink of an eye and he bit down to have his meal.
Curled comfortably in the sofa, Vivi flipped to another page of the magazine. She was so bored. These human celebrities could only amuse her for so long. Really, humans were so stupid. Why do they care about other people's lives anyway? Don't they have enough of their own problems to deal with? And where was Jude?
She jumped up from the sofa and paced. She felt more restless than usual for some odd reason. Where was a good fight when you need one?
As if answering her question, her senses pricked, picking up something demonic. She concentrated to pinpoint the exact location of what she was sensing.
Oh fuck! How the hell did they get there without me noticing?
She teleported right on top of the demons. Not far away, she could see the mansion and hear the sound of humans partying. A party? Why were those Weres throwing a party? She thought they were trying to stay inconspicuous.
But that wasn't her problem. At least not yet. She studied the demons below her, three of them. None of them had noticed her presence yet. They were serpents, but thirty feet long and ten feet across. She could take care of them without any problem.
She gathered her energy and lashed down at two of the serpents. To her amazement, nothing happened. The one she attacked shot up straight at her. She barely had the chance to move as its tail flipped and hit her on the back, sending her flying to the ground. None of the other two demons paid her any attention and continued to head to the mansion at breakneck speed.
The serpent that attacked her landed right in front of her. As she eyed the other two demons that were way ahead of her and tried to decide what to do with the one in front of her, she knew she was in trouble.
Jude! Get your ass back here right now!
With a snarl, Jude pulled back. The taste of blood lingered in his mouth. What is it now, Vivi?
Don't take that tone with me! Unless you want the girl to die, then get here right now!
"Your Majesty, is the blood not to your taste?" Euphemia asked with her head lowered.
"You're fine, Euphemia," he replied off-handedly. Since when can't you take care of it yourself?
Since I met these demons that absorb my energy! Vivi was totally pissed off. Are we going to chat over this while they kill the girl?
He sighed with disgust. I'll be there in a moment.
"Will you come to the Gathering in two months' time?" Euphemia asked, sensing that he was about to leave.
Jude stopped concentrating on the teleportation. "It is in two months? Have that much time passed already?"
Euphemia smiled and replied, "If you do not mind me saying, Your Majesty, you have not graced us with your presence at the Gathering for almost three hundred years. There are many new ones who have not yet met our King."
"Hmm. Tell me. Are Gabriella and Felix still underground?"
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"Well, it is time they rise and solve their problem. Do you understand?"
"Yes. We will make sure to summon them."
"Good. Then I will see you in two months' time." Jude smiled and kissed where he had bitten her. "Until then, save yourself for me."
If she could, Euphemia would have blushed.
"By the way, you are delicious."
Those were his last words before he disappeared.
"Wow! I didn't expect this many people," Rhia said as she let her senses expand to take in the locations of all the humans in her room. She tried to ignore the heated presence of the large male standing next to her to no avail. She could almost feel his hands on her, caressing her, even though he was doing nothing more than standing next to her.
"I'm surprised Jacob let all of them in," Marcus commented.
Although they'd only formally invited fifteen people, the news of the party had spread around like wildfire. Everyone in their school was curious and wanted to attend, making this the most popular event of the year, but in the end, while letting in most people, they still had to turn away many others. Otherwise they'd have the entire student body in their mansion.
Rhia moved from her spot toward the bar, where Cam was serving out drinks. Marcus followed right behind her, his prowling gait warning away anyone who had a thought of talking to her.
"Why are you sticking to me like glue?" She was terribly aware of him behind her, so halfway to the bar, she rounded on him and glared.
"Why are you wearing that ridiculous dress?"
"What's wrong with my dress?"
She looked down and saw nothing out of place. She was pretty sure she looked great in that red dress that framed her every curve and showed just enough but not too much thus leaving everything to the imagination. She tried to forget that as she looked in the mirror earlier she had been wondering about what he would think. The word "ridiculous" certainly did not come to mind.
Then she caught on to his frustration and couldn't smother her giggle. "Are you jealous?"
Feeling somewhat smug, which wasn't an emotion she felt often around him, she sauntered up to him, swaying her hips provocatively. His eyes darkened with desire, encouraging her even further. "Now, it's not right to lie." She tiptoed to whisper in his ear, "I bet your hands are itching to peel this dress off of me."
All the while as she did this, a part of her was shocked. Just what had happened? Since when did she start to tease him? Since when did she learn to tease anyone, much less Marcus?
She almost jumped when his right arm snaked around her waist possessively. He bent down to whisper against her ear, his deep voice sending a shiver of excitement down her spine, "Don't tempt me."
Rhia found herself in uncharted territory and quickly extracted herself from his arm, but not before getting red in the face with embarrassment.
"Next time this happens, I won't let you off this easily," Marcus warned darkly before strolling off toward the bar.
It didn't take a telepath to know that Marcus was extremely pleased with himself for having turned the tables on her. Rhia stomped off in the opposite direction. Fine! If he was bent on following her, then she'd just get away from him, which should be easy considering he was human and she wasn't.
She was on her way to the pool where the majority of the party-goers congregated when her senses pricked. Someone was heading upstairs, which was strictly off limits. But that person wasn't alone…
Lillian, what are you doing? she asked out of pure curiosity.
Nothing! Just mind your own business! her sister snapped.
Rhia didn't bother asking for more information. Instead, it was easy for her to recognize the human whom Lillian was leading upstairs—Kevin. Hmmm, maybe Lillian had finally decided to accept a human lover.
Everyone froze at the sound of collision. Ignoring the nervous humans around her, Rhia whirled around and headed to the backyard, where the sound had come from. She was the first one there. She cracked open the door and slipped through quickly, before anyone could stop her.
Two gigantic serpents had crashed through the back fence. She instinctively knew they were demons like the harpy they had fought a few weeks ago. Automatically she relayed all the information she observed to her family so that they saw exactly what she did.
One of the demons was heading straight toward her and the house. She rushed forward. Using whatever momentum she gathered in that short sprint, she smashed into the demon, throwing it off course. She leaped up the instant she hit the ground, but she didn't sense the other demon until it was almost upon her. Any second later she would have become snake food if Marcus hadn't jumped out of nowhere and tumbled into her.
They rolled on the ground for a few yards before stopping. She pushed him away and shot to her feet. "What do you think you're doing?" she shouted.
"What does it look like I'm doing?" he shouted back.
"You should be back in the house!"
"Do you think just because I'm a human I will hide behind you?"
That was exactly what she thought, but she wasn't going to admit it now. "Just watch yourself."
"I'm the one who saved you."
A loud shriek from behind cut off Rhia's retort. She turned and saw one of the demons disintegrate into dust right under Jude, who was holding a long sword.
Where did he come from?
Jude landed right on top of the demon. Since Vivi had warned him earlier that these demons absorb supernatural energy, he summoned a large sword. Swinging it in a wide arc, he decapitated the serpent before it had a chance to throw him off.
With a last shriek, the serpent turned to dust before its head hit the ground.
"If you have to argue, stay out of the way!" he yelled at the couple not far from him even as he turned to the second demon that had changed course and charged toward him.
He sprinted forward, not waiting for the demon to reach him first. He could already feel the drain on his energy. He had only killed the other one because he had surprised it. The next one would be tricky. It not only sucked away his power but also used it to empower itself.
Just when they were about to collide, he leaped and landed on top of the demon's head. Yet, he was already weakened to the point that he could not decapitate the demon with one move. Instead, before he was thrown off, he staked the demon between its eyes.
The thing roared with anger as black blood spilled out from the wound. Jude slipped down and avoided its razor sharp teeth by a few inches.
Vivi, where are you?
Oh, you'd better not be dead.
After thrashing around for a few seconds, the demon seemed to have ignored the pain and focused once again on the house. Marcus and Rhia had stopped arguing and appeared beside Jude.
Don't worry. You won't get rid of me that easily, a weary voice replied.
Jude's lips twitched. I thought not. I'd never be that lucky.
"How do we kill that thing?" Marcus asked.
"Easiest way is to decapitate it," he answered.
"It's heading for the house!"
Even as they all sprung after it, they would never make it in time to stop the demon from breaking into the house. However, just as they thought that all hope was lost, the demon stopped, as if there was a barrier in front.
"Some help would be nice!" shouted a somewhat familiar voice.
The three of them dragged it backward by the tail with all they had. It bucked, throwing them off their feet. As Jude was flying through the air, he saw that Jacob and Cam were the ones that had stopped the demon. He was somewhat shocked. How could they still have the power to stop that thing in its tracks? He was feeling as weak as a human, not that he would know, since he couldn't even remember what it felt being a human.
You are pathetic.
This comes from the woman who screamed for my help.
At least I killed one without any help.
I did too. Jude landed on his feet, but the next thing he knew, the demon's tail slammed into his stomach. He gave a short gasp as he flew back.
It didn't know you were there.
So? He didn't break a beat in answering, though Vivi was probably close and knew he was getting beat up by the lesser demon. Anyone with a brain would know to keep their guard up at all times. Apparently you didn't, or they wouldn't be here.
And you were off visiting, so don't you dare blame me.
Fine! Let's call it even. He rolled his eyes. Why was it that whenever they were together they acted like they had the brains of ten-year-olds? Now are you going to kill these things? Or should I?
Vivi scoffed. As if you could.
You're not in any better conditions yourself. He climbed to his feet while the shapeshifters danced around the demon. All of them had shifted except for Marcus. As animals, they were much stronger and not subjected to the draining of their energy. Yet, even as they snarled and slashed at the serpent, they had no chance of killing it, only distracting it from its ultimate goal.
Don't bet on it.
A whirlwind rolled past Jude then. He realized Vivi must've regained some of her powers in the few minutes they were talking. He made himself run after her. When she revealed her form, holding a sharp sword in both hands, he wrapped his hands around her neck, the only visible skin he could find.
Startled, Vivi almost stopped, but he commanded her to move with his mind. He channeled what was left of his powers into her. He knew it was something she had never experienced before. While she might be exceptionally strong for her age, he was much older and knew much more about the way of the universe, especially when it concerned the supernatural.
With his power flowing through her, she shot forward like a bullet. She couldn't stop even if she wanted to. So, instead of simply chopping the head from the demon, with the sword in front of her, she went from one side of the demon to the other, cleaving it in two.
Jude collapsed. He'd really used up all of his power this time. Fuck. He couldn't remember the last time he felt this weak.
Jude! Don't you dare die on me!
The alarm in Vivi's voice pulled him back from unconsciousness.
"Send me to the Council," he whispered. He was so quiet that he couldn't even hear himself, but luckily, Vivi had no trouble hearing him.
"Tell me how."
He had the image of the room in his mind for her. In another second, he was traveling through space and time. Then he was on the floor of the dark chamber he had occupied less than thirty minutes ago.
Shocked gasps resonated through the room.
He didn't know how he half-raised himself up using his arm. He didn't even want to know what he looked like. What must they think, seeing their King like this? But then again, this wasn't the first time this had happened. Besides, the bloodlust was coming on fast and stripping away his humanity piece by piece. He hated this, which was the reason he always fed before the hunger rose to the surface. It was also why he was disgusted when Marcus chose pride over sanity, making him a danger to everyone else around him.
"Blood," he gasped. His voice felt raw. There was a red haze over his vision, which was a bad sign.
Euphemia bent down in front of him, but he had no strength to speak anymore. His fangs lengthened. He hauled her to him and drank.
He was nowhere as gentle as earlier.
Once Jude was safely away, Vivi turned to face the shifters. She was still in a state of shock. She hadn't known that Jude was so powerful, or so ancient, for that matter. When his power had flowed through her, she had seen images of his past, a past that included a beautiful garden and beings with white wings. Then there was the blue fire and other creatures she was much more familiar with.
He had always acted like a brat, so she had just assumed he was not that much older than she, but how wrong she had been! He was just as old as the Princes and had powers almost equal to theirs. If so, why was he not a Prince? There were so many things she didn't know. And to think! She'd known him for five hundred years!
"Please explain what those demons wanted."
Her attention once again turned to the shifters. She glanced at them and picked out the girl who was the root of all this trouble. Sybil McCullough was only a few inches taller than herself. She was small, with pale skin, large eyes, and waves of luscious black hair. They could be sisters with all the physical traits they shared. This only served to piss her off even more.
Vivi was in front of the girl in a split second with her hand wrapped around the girl's throat. When the shifters all growled, she gave them no notice.
"They want her," she hissed, thinking of her real sister, who had been her exact opposite.
"Because she has something precious inside of her. But," she said thoughtfully. "I can just kill you now and save us all the trouble." Her hand squeezed.
The command, issued from a voice as cold and smooth as marble, was not one to be disobeyed.
Vivi loosened her hand and stood back. None of the others knew what had just happened, but they didn't need to know.
Do not try to disobey me again. Your order is to protect the girl with your life. He had never spoken to her in such a cold tone before.
Yes, Prince Raziel. She wished she could just rip the girl apart, but she wasn't suicidal, at least not yet.
Now, return to me before you cause any more trouble.
As you wish.
Vivi gave Sybil one last furious glare before returning to her Prince.
A/N: So not a lot about Rhia and Marcus, mainly because I was sort of bored of writing about them, so I decided why don't I talk more about Jude and Vivi? So this chapter has more info on Jude and Vivi. It turned out rather good I think, compared to what I had at first, but it was still really frustrating to write. Hopefully it'll get better.