Dar learns the king plans to close the portal to the human realm. To make matters worse, her sister is in the now defunct world. Risking everything, she slips into the human world and meets up with a vampire. However, his assistance comes with a price…
Dane is a loner and has his own ass to worry about. He should have never fallen for the sheltered fairy with the bedroom eyes, but she’s stolen his heart. He reluctantly agrees to help the little vixen, but at what cost?
The vampire and the fairy are from two different worlds, but they soon realize just how much they mean to each other.
Dar eavesdropped on her father’s conversation involving the vampires taking over the human realm. Her mother had informed her that eavesdropping would one day introduce her to something she wasn’t ready to grasp. She swallowed hard and cringed. Today was that day.
Her father, Cyrus, his second in command, Thom, and King Zurion spoke in hushed tones. The large wooden double doors had been left ajar. Thankful for that unnoticed mistake, she stood in the small juncture off to the left of the king’s meeting chambers.
“I’m sorry, but we’re still unable to zero in on the exact location where your daughter is being held.” Thom focused his gaze on the king. “We need more time to find her.”
“We’ve wasted enough time and energy on this matter. “ King Zurion’s voice thundered through the air like a harrowing storm. “If we don’t seal the portals leading to the human realm, we’ll put everyone at risk.”
Cyrus knelt on one knee and bowed his head. “I beg of you. Please allow me time to find my eldest daughter. If you seal the portals now, she’ll be trapped there forever. Zari balances the dark, just as my youngest, Dar, balances the light. Neither can be recreated.”
“True.” Zurion spoke harshly. “She cannot be recreated, but even if they should cease to exist, that will have no bearing on our world continuing to exist. ”Dar’s fist tightened at the king’s cruel words. She often wondered how her father continued to serve such an asinine ruler. “How can you say that?” Cyrus’s voice was strained and Dar knew her father fought to contain his anger. She wished he’d give Zurion a piece of his mind. “She is my child!”
Zurion’s tone was emotionless. “I sense the vampires are utilizing her powers to bring forth darkness in the human world. Don’t you see, it is the only way to preserve Sychuria? The human population has dwindled greatly, and we can no longer protect the humans the way we used to. They have willingly submitted to the vampires.”
Cyrus stiffened and worry graced his face. “So what you’re telling me is my daughter is expendable?”
“I’m sorry, but—it is what it is.” The king stroked his beard and frowned. “This is a most unfortunate matter we’re experiencing. You know as well as I that we cannot risk saving one while placing the entire community in danger.”
“Please. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Dar placed a hand over her mouth to stifle a sob. It broke her heart to hear the sorrow in her father’s voice, but deep down inside, anger began to blossom. She grew tired of the hold the king had on their people.
King Zurion sighed. “Lucky for you I’m taking into consideration the honorable service you have done for me, but you will have no more than three days' time to locate Zari. If you do not find her by then, I’m closing the portal, with or without you and your daughter.” The king continued stroking his long white beard. “Do I make myself clear?”
Cyrus nodded. “As clear as rainwater.”
“Very well. Go on, you have my permission to continue the search. But remember the time frame!”
* * **
When Cyrus and Thom exited Zurion’s chambers, Dar approached them. She knew it would take most of her energy to convince her father to come along. In case he denied her, she had a backup plan to take care of him.
“I’m going with you,” she blurted out stubbornly as they walked down the long corridor. “I heard what King Zurion said.” She shook her head sadly. “I can’t believe he would abandon Zari like that.”
“You’d be wise to listen to your father,” Thom suggested as he strode along proudly by Cyrus’s side.
Cyrus grabbed her by the arm and pulled her into a corner. “Thom, meet me outside the gate.” Thom nodded and left them.
“You’ll go back to your chambers and wait for me to bring Zari back. I’ve told you no good will ever come of you listening in on conversations.”
She watched as beads of sweat erupted on his smooth mocha skin. Ignoring her father’s remark and his piercing brown eyes, Dar pulled from his grasp and stood her ground. “Take me with you. I can help find Zari.”
“You’re such a pig-headed child!” Cyrus snorted. “You make me look bad in the eyes of our king! Why do you try so hard to defy me?” Her father sucked in a quick breath and if looks could kill, she knew she’d be dead.
Cyrus lowered his voice. “I didn’t tell the king this, but Zari left of her own accord. She wanted to see what the human realm was all about. I forbade her to go and she defied me!”
“Okay, I’m sure she didn’t have your permission, but you shouldn’t hold that against her. We’ve never cared for Zurion’s strict rules! He speaks for the people, and anyone who speaks against him is shunned. It’s not right and you know it.”
It’s against the law, what you speak!” Cyrus sputtered. “How many times do I have to keep telling you girls?”
“Exactly!” Dar pointed out. “The law. A law that forbids the inhabitants of Sychuria from venturing to other realms is a stupid law. Making one feel like they must walk on eggshells is not living, but merely existing. We are the living dead.”
“Watch your tongue, young lady.” Cyrus warned.
“Oh, so it’s okay to have our free will taken from us? Why do you support him? We’re mere cattle. How can we evolve if we do not explore? Why keep us in unseen bondage?”
“Dar, what you speak is treason and is punishable by death!”
“Father, it is the truth! You know it as well as I!”
“Silence, child! I’ll hear no more of this senseless drivel!” Spittle spew from her father’s lips, he was so angry. For a split second, she believed he’d strike her or turn her in to the king. His eyes spoke volumes. He frightened her, but not enough for her to back down.
“I disagree with you, father.” She had to continue to stand her ground. What was the use of existing if one was told what to do and not to do in their free time? She put her hands on her hips and frowned. “Once you find Zari, you’re going to turn her into the king, aren’t you?”
“I’m Zurion’s first in command. I must obey the law, Dar. You know that.”
“Even though you know her punishment? Why do you have to say anything? Just continue to let people think she was kidnapped.”
“Your sister defied me and there are a few who know of this, like Thom. If I do nothing, then I’m sending a message to the entire community that it’s okay for everyone to come and go to the human realms. These laws are in force for a reason! To protect us!”
“Thom is a good friend of yours. You’ve known each other since you were young boys.”
Cyrus shook his head in agitation. “That’s not the point, Dar! Oh, child, I’m wasting my time with you. Please go and find something to do. I hope to be back in less than a day. Whatever happens with Zari....” He held his head down for a few seconds, as though he was battling himself. “She brought it on herself.”
“Why do you expect me to sit back and do nothing? I won’t have her punished.” We are close, and I’ll probably have a better way of finding her than you or your guards. Father. Have you ever stopped to think she doesn’t want to be found?”
Cyrus’s brows furrowed. “You leave me no choice but to lock you away in your chambers. I’ll place two guards outside your door.” He turned his back on her and that was when Dar seized her opportunity after observing they were alone in the great hall.
“I’m sorry to do this, father.” In a split second, she’d placed energy zapping cuffs around her father’s wrists. To ensure he wouldn’t escape, she suspended him within an impenetrable ball, one that would keep him subdued until she returned from the human realm. She had her plan all mapped out. Once she had him safely tucked away in her chambers, she had to plan her escape.