Crushed Crown, Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Santos

 

What happens to kings when they no longer wear a crown?

Nero presses his hands up against my skin. They say vampires are supposed to be cold. That’s not the case. That’s never been the case with Nero. I feel so much heat.

 

“I’m late. I have to go to work.”

 

“Stay with me…”

 

“Eden is in chaos.”

 

“Stay with me.”

 

“The rebels are getting stronger.”

 

“Stay.”

 

What happens to a king who doesn’t wear a crown? I’ve never seen Nero so careless. He looks the same. He’s over a century old but he looks like the same young man I met all that time ago. His pretty eyes contrast against his skin tone dramatically. His son Justice has the same piercing eyes but the contrast with Justice just isn’t the same. We lay in the bed naked. You can’t tell where my body ends and his body begins.

He begs me to stay in the bed and when I try to push away he pulls me in. He pulls me so tight that my ass presses up against his hard, thick cock. He pushes it in. This isn’t the first time we’ve had sex today. If these walls could talk they would blush.

I’m not talking about the house walls either…

His cock fits right in me. My walls. After all these years of us being together, it’s a perfect fit. My insides were sculpted around him. I was his keyhole and he had the key. His long, thick, swollen, throbbing key turns my lock over and over again.

“Isn’t this better?” he asks me.

“Oh yes.”

 

“No worries,” he tells me, “No cares in the world. Just me and you forever. Just how it’s supposed to be.”

His hands grapple up against my throat when I try to pull away again. He is angry at me for pulling away. I know Nero. I know he is going to punish me. So when his long vampire fangs come out and he bites me I’m not surprised.

He’s about to orgasm and he pulls out of me. His dick is wet from my insides. He shoves his dick in my mouth, feeding me his kids. I taste every last bit of them, biting down on his dick and drawing blood in my mouth.

Sweat, blood, and semen nestle up against my tongue as my husband releases all the tension of Eden into my throat.

I hold onto his tight ass squeezing his small frame so that he can ease himself down my throat. I hold my breath. I have no gag reflex. I wonder it’s the same for others who receive the immortal curse. All I know is as a vampire sensuality means so much.

 

“Do you still want to leave?” he asks me, “I can go again. Just give me 45 seconds exactly.”

 

He leans over to me cleaning me up with his tongue, removing his own additional fluids from my lips with his warm lapping tongue almost like he’s some werewolf. I let him and when he’s done we’re kissing each other intimately. Looking forever young didn’t make me feel immortal. Being resistant to diseases didn’t make me feel immortal. Not even drinking blood made me feel immortal. It was moments like this. Moments that I could enjoy forever.

But vampires were not truly immortal. Not like the myths.

I’d seen many vampires die and I know that’s why he’s keeping me here.

“You’re scared,” I notice.

 

“My dick is hard again,” he announces looking down, “Let’s go again.”

 

I move even though tempted for another round. I get up off the bed, soaking wet and covered in ungodly things. I know he’s distracting me with sex. Nero is good at distracting me.

“Nero, you’re scared. You can’t keep me locked in here forever,” I state.

 

“Why not?”

 

“Eden needs me,” I explain, “I’m an ambassador to the vampires. We make up a majority of the population of Eden…”

“The rebels are getting stronger,” he finishes my sentence, “I know, I know. But I’m scared. Yes. I’m scared because I already lost Promise. I don’t want to lose you and Justice.”

 

He barely brings it up. Promise. I remember the day our son disappeared. Something wanted him. Something scary. Something dangerous. It was all over the news. The prince that disappeared. We both dealt with it differently. Nero locked himself in the small house we shared at the edge of the city. He never left. He never did anything outside. I buried myself in my work.

 

“Promise isn’t dead,” I tell him.

 

“Santos…”

 

He gives me that look. I think he’s given up. We lived in a city of monsters. The idea that our son could be alive somewhere wasn’t really on the radar. We had once been the kings of Eden. We had once ruled. We had many enemies.

“If there is a chance he’s alive I have to keep working.”

 

“You can do that without serving Genesis,” he explains, “Stay here. Where it’s safe. We can disappear. Like your father did. We can be safe forever…”

 

I look at Nero. He had a point. My father had disappeared after the war. A lot of people had. They’d melted away into the normal life of Eden. The buzzing streets had a way of engulfing you if you stayed away from the Blood Palace. Nero never got along with my father, Armando. He never liked him. My father never liked Nero. Right now, however, they both had that in common. Like my father, he’s holding onto something so fragile. He’s holding onto life. It would be so easy. It would be so easy to retire and bury my head in the sand. I could live with him in this house and never leave. Hell. I would probably be happier.

“We owe Genesis.”

 

“We’ve paid our debt the day we lost Promise!”

 

Nero is pretending to be angry. Maybe he watches the news too much. That’s what people expect him to be like. That’s what they want him to be like. I know Nero though. He never made a good king. He never wanted it.

Genesis stealing the throne was the best thing that ever happened to Nero.

“We owe him for taking this burden away from you,” I explain to Nero, “But we aren’t safe. If Lilith…”

 

“Don’t say the name.”

 

The vampires are still strange. They fear the name. They fear the woman. They all knew the stories. They’d all see her.

“If my mother somehow comes back. This house isn’t safe. Eden isn’t safe. I’m going to stabilize the city and then I promise we can have our forever. Remember when you told me to trust Genesis.”

 

“Yes…”

“You never told me why. You never explained it, but I learned to trust him. I agreed to work for him because I trusted you. So I need you to return the favor. I need you to trust me. I need to help Genesis.”

 

The thought of my mother seems to put things into perspective for Nero. He could feel her. All vampires could. Even if we couldn’t see her. When I was human I could smell the air and know it was going to rain. It’s the same sort of feeling.

 

“Are you sure?”

He looks down at his hard dick, ready for another round.’

I smile at the thought.

 

“One more round for the road,” I state jumping into bed with him.

 

~

 

I arrive at the palace later that day or earlier the next. It’s hard to tell time in Eden. The red sky stays red. There is sometimes the moon that peaks out from behind the red clouds. There’s sometimes the sun. Only sometimes though. Most of the time it is just that eternal red. It should be peaceful. Relaxing. But it isn’t. There is chaos outside of the palace.

 

“Ambassador Santos, where is your husband?”

 

“Ambassador Santos, any news on the rebellion?

 

“Ambassador Santos, Ambassador Santos!”

 

Dozens of reporters have crowded on the steps of the Blood Palace. They can’t get past the line of werewolf guards that Walid has stationed at the front gates but getting past them is hell. The werewolf guards recognize me approaching and station besides me to form a barrier between me and the reporters. Calling them bloodsuckers is definitely suitable. I miss the days where there was only one station. This was becoming really fucking ridiculous, to say the least.

And it was only getting worse.

I break through as normal until I hear something.

“Ambassador Santos…where is King Genesis?”

 

I turn at that moment. I recognize the reporter.

I would have ignored it if it was anyone else but when I look I recognize the face. Her name is Vigorosa. She’s the top news anchor in the city. She’s also someone who I’ve had run-ins with in the past. The fact that she is here now asking about the King definitely is enough to make me concerned.

 

 

“Where did you hear that from?” I ask her.

 

Her eyes tilt to me. They are these knowing eyes. Intelligent and definitely aware.

 

“Is it true?”

 

“No. Don’t spread lies.”

 

I give her a look. It’s a threatening look. It’s a look that is enough to make her back off. For now at least…

My heart is racing though. What the hell was she talking about?

 

~

Something is wrong in the palace. There is chaos everywhere. Wolf soldiers running up and down the halls. I’ve been locked up with Nero and missed so much of this.

“Santos…Santos, can I talk to you?”

 

I turn and see my stepson Justice. Justice looks just like his father. His skin was fairer but just as youthful. Just as handsome. Unlike his father, however, Justice just couldn’t manage to keep one man on his arm. Right now I’m not surprised that he has Gideon, the king’s new white witch with him. The guy seems just like Justice’s type. Young, dumb and attractive but not too attractive. No one could possibly outshine my stepson.

 

“Justice. Go see your father,” I tell him.

“I need to talk to you. Ambassador Micko is having people follow me…”

 

“Why?”

 

Ambassador Micko was the ambassador to witches. He was a kind man. Jealous and insecure at times because of his husband’s attractiveness but also knowledgeable and sweet. He wasn’t the type to follow someone for no reason. Knowing Justice he had got involved in something that he shouldn’t have.

 

“I can’t tell you. Can you just get him off my back?”

 

I’m annoyed.

 

“I’ll see what I can do.”

 

“Thanks, cutie,” Justice responds.

 

Justice reaches over and gives me a kiss on my cheek. I definitely spoil him. He flirts with me from time to time. I know it’s weird because I’m married to his father but it’s also weird because we all look the same age.

“I need you to do something for me.”

 

“Anything.”

 

After Promise was gone, Justice was all Nero had. Justice insisted on working in the Blood Palace so it was only natural that Nero trusted him to work under me. Justice never looked at me as his father. He was too far grown when I came into the picture, but we do have something of a friendship. And I do want to see him happy even if he can’t help but get involved in things around the palace.

“Set up a meeting with Vigorosa.”

 

“Vigorosa?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Are you sure?”

The woman had all Eden listening to her and right now we needed calm. I was playing with fire, however. This could either be a gift or a curse.

“Yes.”

 

I watch him walk off with his new little thing. If they hadn’t had sex, knowing Justice, it was only a matter of time.

A million more people come at me. Vampire aides complaining about the shortage of blood or needing paperwork signed. A million things to do. A million things I don’t have time for. I know what time it is. I know the other Ambassadors are waiting on me.

All rush and no relaxation. Welcome to the Blood Palace.

I barge into the Blood Palace’s meeting room. It’s one of the king’s cabinets. The cabinet was one of a number of terms for the endless private rooms in the Blood Palaces that were extended after Genesis took the throne away from my husband. They were now serving as a study or retreat. This cabinet that I walked into was furnished with books and works of art and sited adjacent to the King’s bedchamber which was clearly now empty.

“Where have you been?” I’m questioned by Walid.

He’s sitting in the chair that Genesis usually sits in. He’s a cocky man. Twice as big as any man in Eden and probably three times as cocky. His eyes mark on me when I walk into the room seeing that Ambassadors Yaser and Ambassador Micko are already there. Then there’s Catalina. She is clearly upset about something or another.

 

“What’s happening?” I ask.

Everyone was down. Everyone was quiet.

“You hear me talking to you, bloodsucker?” Walid asks me, “Where were you?”

 

He’s beyond rude.

 

I ignore him though and turn to Yaser.

“What’s happened?”

 

“It’s Exodus. He’s dead,” Yaser states.

 

My heart drops.

 

“Dead?”

 

I look over at Catalina. The aunt of Exodus. No wonder she is upset.

Yaser shakes as he speaks, “His body was burned afterward. It seems whoever killed him wanted to hide the cause of death.”

 

I am shaking. I see at that moment Yaser break down into tears. My heart goes out for Yaser. I grab him at that moment and put my hands over him. The truth is I know this hurts more than life. I’ve experienced loss before.

“So where were you?” Walid asks me again.

This time his question becomes clearer. His werewolf gaze makes me sick.

“You think I had something to do with this?” I ask.

“I’m just asking a question, Ambassador Santos.”

 

“I was with my husband?”

 

“Your husband? The past king,” Walid states, “Where’s he?”

I can’t with him. He’s looking at me suspiciously for no reason. Genesis could have killed us. I believe Walid attempted to have us killed believing we were threats to the new power couple. Genesis spared us though. I was never fully sure why. He gave us a house. He made me ambassador. Genesis trusted us and ever since then I’ve had a new respect for him. Genesis wasn’t perfect, but he wasn’t pure evil either.

He also wasn’t a fool like this fucking werewolf idiot he chose for his husband.

 

I walk over to Walid, “That’s none of your business where he is. Let me make one thing clear. Neither my husband nor I have anything to do with this.”

 

The others in the room seem to be suspicious. I see the guards get a little testy. They are werewolf guards. They are completely loyal to Walid. If they were vampires they wouldn’t have been so testy. They would have been well acquainted with the stories of Santos. They would have known what I was capable of.

But Genesis chose this idiot as his consort so I don’t get too aggressive. I back down. If I was going to serve Genesis then I would need to have patience with the fool he chose to marry.

“I believe him,” Yaser states.

He states it through tears. The truth is Yaser and I have become close friends. When he became a hybrid he needed to learn more about his vampire side. I taught him. We weren’t in the same brood but that bond of training new vampire is one that makes you almost like family.

Luckily he helps in changing the subject and the look of suspicion.

Catalina shakes her head, “Genesis would want us to persevere.”

 

Her face is cold. Through tears. It’s clear she’s emotional.

 

“Can you bring him back again?”

 

Catalina shakes her head, “No. He needs rest. Genesis agreed never to do it again. There are consequences for using that sort of magic.”

 

Consequences like Genesis getting pregnant? It feels bad. Exodus was a good person. He was all about duty and his role but he was always kind to me whenever I spoke to him. He always had a helping hand. He was easy to approach. He was reliable and he was dependable. You never had to second guess anything he said. He was one of the few people in Eden who didn’t have ambition. He wanted to do his job and nothing extra. He was the opposite of Genesis but I felt like Eden needed both. We needed the ambition of Genesis but the duty of Exodus to keep Genesis in check. We all had a role to play. We all had to persevere and keep Eden safe but I can’t see how she’s doing it.

Now that Exodus was gone. Who would keep Genesis in check?

“He can try…” I state.

Genesis would want to know who killed his brother.

“Genesis isn’t here,” Yas explains to me, “The King has gone…hunting. We believe.”

That’s when I remember. Vigorosa. She asked where he was.

“Hunting? What?” I ask.

“The better question is hunting who. Everyone. Or should I say anyone he even suspects has something to do with killing his brother,” Yas explains, “We expect it to be a blood bath if we can’t locate Genesis in time.”

 

“We have to find him,” I state.

Walid shakes his head, “No shit. Until then we keep it a secret. Yas shut down the border. No one enters no one leaves.”

 

“No one leaving Eden means no blood runners,” I explain at that moment shaking my head, “That means a shortage of blood. That means angry vampires. It’s exactly what the rebels would want.”

“Are you saying vampires are the rebels?” Walid asks me.

I get quiet.

That’s exactly what a werewolf king would want me to admit. I represented the vampires. The truth was I didn’t know who was rebelling. I didn’t know the basis of anything. We were behind these high cathedral walls swinging in the dark without knowing what we were hitting with a wild king who was on the loose. Things weren’t going good in Eden.

Yas interrupts changing the subject and saving my ass from getting scoped once again, “I’ll make sure it’s done.”

 

Walid continues his orders as though he were king, “We also need to make sure the vampire media is not aware of this. Santos this is your field.”

 

I get quiet. Vigorosa was already very much aware. I think I could tell Walid about this but right now I don’t need to set a panic.

“I’ll do what I can.”

Walid turns at that moment, “Micko.”

 

Micko is out of it. The ambassador has some gray hair sprinkled throughout his black. It seems more from stress than anything. Like me, he had a lost a child right after the war for the crushed crown. The child had just up and disappeared. Since then he had been quiet. He had chosen the route that Nero did. He stayed to himself not really communicating with the rest of us. Now is an example of that. Micko is surrounded in his own thoughts.

“Micko?” I ask, “Is everything OK?”

 

Micko snaps out of it, “I’m sorry?”

 

“I need you to get white witches to locate Genesis.”

 

“The witches assembled their own team to seek Genesis. A team went out,” Micko states, “One already went missing from the group that went out. I uh…I called them back.”

 

“Why would you do that?” Walid asks.

 

We all knew Micko had the longest relationship with Genesis out of all of us. It wasn’t the best relationship. Seeing how he’s acting right now is just weird, to say the least. Why would he not want Genesis to be found?

 

“It’s…personal.”

“Well make it un-personal. Find them,” Walid responds.

 

Walid doesn’t wait. He storms out of the room at that moment. He is calling the shots now and his plans are half-assed if anything. I look at everyone else in the room. No one seems to have confidence in him leading, including Lady Catalina who grunts before she leaves the room following Walid.

I swear I hear her mumble under her breath, “God help us all.”

 

 

I am leaving the room next when I feel an arm grab me from behind. It’s Yas. He holds me back allowing them the opportunity to walk through the door. I can see his eyes following Micko the entire time while Micko leaves the room. I know suspicion when I see it and there is definitely suspicion in Yas’s eyes.

Yas shakes his head at me, “The witches are acting weird aren’t they?”

 

I give him a hard look, “You’re being paranoid.”

 

“How much do we really know about Micko?” he asks, “Besides the fact that out of all of us he seems to hate Genesis the most.”

 

Yas had a point. Micko hated Genesis. Everyone knew it. Hell. Genesis knew it. Why Genesis asked Micko to be an ambassador is beyond me. I figured Genesis just wanted other gay men around him to relate to. Only thing is Micko didn’t relate to Genesis. He hated Genesis. If there was any of us who had a reason to join the rebellion it would be him.

I cross my arms, “It is weird, isn’t it? How he tried to stop his husband from looking for Genesis?”

 

“Rumor has it that there is a witch doctor in the rebellion.”

 

I hadn’t heard that rumor.

“It could be anyone.”

 

“No it couldn’t,” Yas states, “It has to be someone strong. Someone who has a personal vendetta against Genesis. Who else would risk their life?”

 

I pause.

Micko was acting weird. Yes. He was spying around the Blood Palace. Following my stepson and now following my meeting with Yas.

“Yas no,” I respond, “Micko is a good person. We have a lot in common. OK. I get it. He’s standoffish but you’re talking about him being a traitor.”

 

Yas falls back, “I’m not saying anything like that. I’m sorry man. It’s just that there’s so much going on.”

 

I put my hands on Yas. He is the youngest of us. I’m surprised he lasted so long in the Blood Palace. He’s standing here with these wide eyes, long wild hair and looking like he belongs in a 70’s mosh pit instead of wearing the uniform of an ambassador.

 

“Yas. You’ve been through a lot. Don’t let your paranoia get the best of you,” I state, “We’ll find out what happened to Exodus and find Genesis before he does something he’ll regret.

“Thanks, man. You know. I always looked at you like a big brother,” he explains, “It would be nice if you and Nero were back on the throne.”

 

I look around.

 

“That’s not needed. Genesis has things under control here?”

 

“He’s not even here.”

 

“His ambassadors will represent him.”

 

“Yes. I think I smell one now,” Yas sniffs the air, “I smell a nosy witch. Open the door and tell me if I’m being paranoid.”

I walk out of the room at that moment. Just as I open the door I see Micko. He’s standing at the end of the hall. He’s just staring. Suspiciously as though waiting to see how long me and Yas were staying in our private meeting.

“Micko, can I help you with anything?” I ask.

 

Micko shakes his head, “No.”

 

“Any reason you been following Justice?” I ask him, “Any reason you standing there right now? Is there anything you want to say?”

 

Micko gives me a long, long look. He looks at me. Then he looks at Yas. Then he looks back at me. There is something odd about the witch. He’s hiding something.

“Have a good day, Ambassador Santos,” Micko responds.

 

With that Micko turns and walks away. He just fucking walks away! What the fuck? I look over at Yas. There was definitely something weird about him. Yas sniffs the air. He can tell that the witch is gone by the smell in the air.

 

Yas closes the door.

 

I’m staring at the door still. Something was wrong. Something was definitely wrong with Micko.

“What do you have on Micko?” I ask Yas.

 

If he was the traitor then we needed to remove the threat, immediately even if it was Micko. It would hurt to think of it but if Micko was the traitor I had to do what I had to do.

 

“Can we have this conversation in private?” Yas asks, “Not in the blood palace. Do you have a home maybe?”

 

I go to the table, “I have an interview with Vigorosa. Right after, meet me here and we’ll discuss our next move against Micko. The witches may not believe he’s a traitor. We have to be very quiet about this.”

 

My heart is beating faster and faster. This could mean a rebellion in the Witch Towers. This could be bad. We’d have to secure the Witch Towers before we made a move against Micko.

He nods in agreement, “I’ll be waiting at your home.”

 

~

 

 

It’s later when I meet Vigorosa. Her eyes are gleaming at me. She’s set up her camera crew in a small press briefing room in a small theater in the west wing of the Blood Palace. It’s a dramatic room with columns and ancient gargoyles. There is some sort of modern feeling to the room however with the fluorescent lights overhead. Vigorosa and her press team is waiting for me right in front of the large red backdrop with two comfortable looking armchairs nearby.

 

“I’m glad you’re meeting with me,” she states, “For a minute I thought the Palace was dodging our questions.”

 

“We’re not dodging anything,” I respond, shaking her hand, “We just have been busy but I’m sure we’ll have all the time in the world to clear up all your lies.”

 

Vigorosa gives me a snide smile and I return in kind. As vampires, we’ve had a long time to grow this resentment. I’ve seen how she trashed my husband when he was king and now she was planning on doing the same thing to Genesis. Vampires like her annoyed me. They sat in their fancy homes, drinking their exotic blood and complaining about mediocre things because they haven’t really grappled with the boredom of immortality.

None-the-less I had to do this. A majority of Eden watched Vigorosa’s show. Batchat.

When she does her introduction into the camera I’m completely thrown off when the door opens and my husband walks in.

“Hold on a minute,” I state.

“We are live,” she states.

“Your audience can wait.”

 

It’s that moment she realizes who had walked through the door. Her eyes light up at the sight of Nero, the forgotten King of Eden who went into hiding after Genesis ascended.

 

“Oh, yes…they can.”

 

I walk over to Nero.

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

“Yas showed up at the house. He said you wanted me to do this interview with you,” Nero tells me.

I’m completely confused.

 

“I never…”

 

I don’t even get the chance to finish. Nero points over to the cameras. Vigorosa is fixing to turn her lights on us any moment now. It’s annoying that Yas would tell Nero something that wasn’t true but none-the-less he was here now.

I sit in the chair with Nero over me. The mics are too loud. The lights are too hot. There is a mood in the room. Vigorosa’s smile says it all. This is the first public appearance of Nero. This tense situation was like watching an egg slowly cook in a frying pan. Nero looked like he was all but ready to crack. I’m surprised anything was able to get him out of the house. Nothing would have gotten him out that house but being there for me.

That’s how much he loved me.

 

“It’s nice to see you, King Nero,” Vigorosa states.

 

Her smile is dripping with venom. I can feel Nero squeeze my shoulder. He doesn’t want to be here. He wanted to be a recluse. He hates these people the most. The people that have judged him. I was sure Bat Chat would have the highest ratings because Nero was on. Everyone wanted to hear what the old King had to say.

“I’m no longer king,” Nero responds.

He’s cold. Short. Good. That’s the best way to do this.

 

“Let’s get right to it,” Vigorosa states, “Where have you been, King Nero?”

 

“In retirement.”

 

“Retirement?” Vigorosa asks, “The Slumber?”

 

“No. I’ve been awake, not tucked away in a coffin,” he responds, “I’ve been enjoying life.”

 

“Hiding from Genesis?”

 

“I’m not hiding from Genesis,” Nero responds, “Genesis and I have an agreement. He leaves me alone. I leave him alone. I don’t want his throne.”

 

“It doesn’t bother you, at all?” Vigorosa asks, “How he just came and took away everything you had. Took away your crown? Took away your city?”

 

Nero tenses up. He doesn’t know how to respond to that. Vigorosa was relentless with these questions trying to get some sort of reaction out of Nero.

“I have no problems with the king.”

 

“What about your husband?”

 

“Santos and the king are closer than you think,” my husband states.

“Close?”

I don’t know what Nero is getting at by calling Santos and I close but right now isn’t the time to talk about it.

“Let’s put this interview back on track,” I interrupt Vigorosa, “I called this interview to address the current state of Eden.”

 

I feel protective of him. He’d given everything to this fucking city and none of these bloodsuckers gave a fuck. Now that there was a new king they wanted to keep twisting. They wanted to keep pointing out how much of a failure Nero was as the king. They didn’t just want blood. Vampires weren’t just watching. There were other monsters in Eden now.

They wanted their pound of flesh.

Vigorosa looks at me. More venom. I can feel her angrily glaring at me for interrupting her.

 

“Fine,” she states, “The state of Eden huh? So where is King Genesis?”

 

“Resting. As you know he’s with child.”

 

“The cursed baby?”

 

Bitch.

“No. A miracle. As you know magic is a beautiful thing.”

 

“My sources in the Palace say the King is missing.”

 

“Your sources are wrong.”

 

There is a pause.

Vigorosa smiles, “And Exodus?”

 

My heart stops. How the fuck did she know about Exodus? We’d tried to keep that close to the chest. I had only just found out myself.

“What about Exodus?” I ask.

“How’s he doing?”

 

What the fuck did this lady know? I swallow my spit and choke out the words quickly, “He’s fine.”

 

“My sources say he’s dead. But I have a feeling you have intimate knowledge about his death?”

Nero gets protective all of a sudden, “What the fuck are you implying about Santos?”

 

Nero is angry. There are veins popping out of his neck. I grab his hand struggling to calm him down.

 

“Unfortunately I just found out Exodus passed. We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding his death,” I state.

“Just a moment ago you said he was fine,” Vigorosa responds, “What are you trying to hide, Ambassador Santos?”

 

Her eyes dig on me. The bitch makes me break a sweat.

“Nothing.”

 

“I have a source that says you do have something to hide.”

“Again your source is lying.”

 

Just at that moment, someone walks into the room. The person is silent dressed in red. I recognize the face. Micko. He stands off to the side as though waiting for something. Could Micko have been this source that Vigorosa keeps talking about?

 

“What about your son Justice? He’s unruly isn’t he?”

 

Nero gets upset at that moment, “Don’t speak on my fucking son.”

 

She is going after Justice now. I point a finger at her just to make it very clear, “Justice works under us. He does whatever we say.”

“Does he? That’s good to know. So the two of you must be the reason he was just arrested trying to leave Eden.”

 

“What?”

 

“He was trying to leave the city even after the shutdown and return to the human world. Upon capture the witch he was with, Gideon, admitted not to being Gideon after all.”

 

Another imposter.

Another FUCKING imposter in Eden.

 

“This interview is over,” I state.

I get up at that moment. Micko is still staring. I walk over to him. I have to figure out what is happening.

Micko crosses his arms, “I need to talk to you.”

 

“Yes. I need answers.”

 

A false Gideon. Again. Justice arrested? What the fuck was going on in Eden?

 

Just at that moment, the door opens and I see nothing but wolves. They are pacing into Eden. They aren’t wild wolves. They are the palace guards. They surround me specifically before I can get a chance to talk to Micko.

 

“What’s happening here?”

 

“You’re under arrest,” Walid states, “Both of you.”

“For what?” Nero asks.

 

“A body was identified in your home. The dead body was identified as the real Gideon.”

 

Impossible.

The wolves come at me. Fools. I jump into the air. I’m soaring towards them, barely touching the ground. Wings sprout from my back. Wings like a bat, dark and frightening to see. A couple step back but others dare to keep approaching. They growl. Their teeth are snarling, fierce and spitting up saliva.

I reach back. I’m calm. I never panic during a fight. I didn’t want it like this. I didn’t want this to lead to a fight.

 

“You think you’re so powerful Santos,” Walid instructs, “The strongest person in Eden. That’s what they call you when you’re not around. Let’s see how powerful you are.”

His voice if full of authority. I always wondered why he treated me differently than the other Ambassadors. Micko was quiet and sweet. He had a past with Yas. I hadn’t known that he was threatened by me as well.

His wolves attack!

 

They snap at me. Their jaws come close to ripping at my pants. I kick them away, falling back slightly. I release my fangs. Warning them off. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want a fight.

 

They bear their own fangs in return! The wolves charge at me like a wild pack. I stand my ground. Closer. And closer. It’s almost as though time slows down in my mind. I can see them approaching before get close. I can see one of the jaws opening ready to rip off my hand.

I jerk my hand back just in time.

One more second and I’d be missing an arm! Instead I draw back. I slap them away one at time sending flashes of blood and fur drifting off into the distance. I didn’t want to fight . I didn’t want to get angry.

It’s too late.

I’m so angry.

Someone was trying to set me up.

 

I wasn’t sure if It was Walid. I wasn’t sure if it was Micko. I didn’t trust anyone in this fucking palace and I wasn’t going to just give away power completely by being locked in prison walls.

I grab one wolf by the tail tossing him with pure strength. I can feel my muscles flex. I can feel my vampire blood heat up in my body. My eyes have gotten black. I know it by how Walid looks at me. There are no pupiles.

I am becoming myself.

 

The vampire, Santos.

 

I’m raging feeling my body tighten up with ancient vampire blood.

 

They’d forgotten who my mother was. I was going to teach them why people feared Santos.

All I see is red as pummel through these so-called monsters, throwing them to the side more like rag dolls. The beasts are fast. They are ferocious. They are resilient. I beat through steadily, pushing, kicking, and scratching my way through.

 

Until at last the last one attacking me falls and I want to just fall down but I don’t.

 

I make my way to Walid.

I grab him by the throat.

He tries to fight me off but he is immediately humbled by my power.

“Whatever you think I did; whatever you think my stepson Justice is not the truth. Now…do you want to clear things up the easy way or the hard way?”

 

“I’m the king of Eden,” Walid gags out.

 

The only king I recognized was Genesis.

“I’ll snap your head clean off with your crown attached,” I threaten him.

I’ve waited to feel Walid pant like this. If need be I’d take the throne by force alone until Genesis returned. It may cause a war but I had no choice. I couldn’t trust anyone here. They wanted me behind bars.

 

Then I hear Walid pant. He gives up, “I submit.”

 

“You’ll step down. Nero and I will act as regents to the throne until Genesis returns.”

 

I didn’t trust Walid. I didn’t trust anyone. I can see Walid giving in. He is not used to being bested. He shouldn’t feel bad.

 

“No you won’t,” a voice says.

 

I turn. I see that Nero is being held by someone. His life is being threatened by someone. I know my fight is over. I drop Walid. I am dragged to the ground before I can see the face of the person who betrayed me.

The same person who I gave my address to.

The same person who sent Nero away; just long enough to plant a body.

 

Yaser.