No Use Crying Over Spilt Blood

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Portal Keepers Book 2 (The sequel to 'Would You Like Brains With That?').
Danira travels back to the Realm of the Undead to stop humans being used as blood-slaves.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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21. A Heroic Act and a History Lesson

 

      Nevrac repeated his command and full of fear I reluctantly turned around. He was stood only inches away, so close that my tray was touching his suit jacket. A look of desire flooded his eyes which were running the length of my body, making me tremble. Nevrac reached out a hand, which to me resembled a claw. I saw three blood-slaves cowering behind him.

      “How did you come by this?” he asked frostily as he took Mireille’s emerald between two fingers.     

      “It was a gift, your Grace.” I said my voice small.

      Nevrac smirked and his cruel green eyes focused on my frightened face. A cold finger trailed up my neck and I gripped my tray, creating dents in the metal. Nevrac’s finger paused on my erratic pulse and then he leaned in towards me. His mouth stopped directly above my ear and he pressed his nose into my hair, breathing deeply. “Soon,” Nevrac whispered.

      Shuddering at his closeness I didn’t know if he was speaking to me or to himself. I dreaded to think what he meant by what he had said. Nevrac pulled away, his eyes not leaving mine as he took a step backwards, stumbling into one of his slaves. He whirled around in anger and hit the human with such force that the poor girl was sent flying into one of the columns. There was a loud crack as her bones snapped and broken she slid to the ground, underneath the column which was teetering on its base. Nevrac strode away, the other two of his slaves following behind him. I watched as in slow motion, the column suddenly pitched forwards with a groan, directly on top of the blood-slave. 

      Without thinking I flew forwards, throwing my tray to the ground and shoved the slave out of the way, which meant that I was now in the path of the falling column with no time to move. An arm wrapped itself protectively around me and I looked up to see Luca holding the column with one hand. My heart was pounding and my breath was ragged in my chest when he turned to gaze at me. We were so close that our noses brushed and I stared at Luca. His hazel eyes were full of wanting as they focused on my lips. Luca lowered his mouth to meet mine. Then we were surrounded by vampires and humans.

      I was pulled out of Luca’s grasp by Leila. “Oh my God, are you ok?” she cried, checking me for scrapes and bruises.

      Glancing over at Luca I saw him pushing the column back upright. Pegasus was at his side.

      “Danira,” Leila said shaking my arm, demanding my attention.

      “Yeah, I’m fine. Has anyone checked the slave?”

      Aidan and Scott were sat beside the unmoving form of the slave and I peered down at her. “Is she ok?”

      Aidan looked ill. “She’s dead.”

      Bile filled my throat and I clenched my hands into fists.

      “Danira, are you hurt?” Ferriday appeared beside me looking concerned.

      “I’m fine.” I couldn’t stop staring at the dead girl. Nevrac had killed her without so much as a second thought.

      Ferriday was relieved. “I had better thank Lord Harlin. You are fortunate to be alive, Danira.”

      I opened my mouth to say that I could have saved myself, but I quickly stopped. Instead I nodded, thinking that I definitely owed Luca. Following Ferriday as he glided over to Luca, who was standing by himself, I noticed that the vampires had now receded to the edges of the ballroom. It appeared that they had only wanted to see if I had been crushed by the column. I hoped that they wouldn’t mistreat Luca because of what he had done.

      “Lord Harlin,” Ferriday cried, taking him by the hand and shaking it vigorously. “I am in your debt, how can I ever thank you?” then seeing that all the vampires in the room were staring at him suspiciously, he added. “You’ve saved me a lot of money.”

      Luca’s eyes stiffened and he replied. “You’re welcome Ferriday, but I don’t want repaying. I would gladly save Danira again.”

      I blushed and kept my eyes on my hideous sandals as hundreds of eyes focused on me.

      Ferriday nudged me gently and I stepped forwards, curtsying low. “Thank you, my Lord. I will not forget your kindness.”

      Luca reached out and took my hand, kissing the back of it. Gasps filled the ballroom and goose- bumps formed on my arms. “Might I borrow Danira for a few minutes?” Luca asked Ferriday.

      He must have nodded because then Luca and I were sweeping out of the ballroom. All the way his hazel eyes were fixed on me. Once we were outside Luca pulled me into his arms, surprising me by how tightly he was holding me. “Are you alright?” he asked.

      “You’re as bad as my friends.”

      Luca raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t we friends?”

      I had a feeling that he wanted to be more than friends, but I replied. “Of course we are Luca, thank you so much for saving me.”

      Smiling he placed a cool hand on my cheek. “You’re welcome. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to you.”

      Luca moved his lips to my forehead and I pulled against his hold, not liking how intimate he was with me. He released me reluctantly, but took my hand again, lacing his cool fingers through mine.

      “That poor girl,” I whispered suddenly close to tears. “How could Nevrac treat her that way?”

      Luca squeezed my hand. “He is a cruel man.” 

      “What can I do to thank you?” I asked, gazing up at him.

      He smiled charmingly. “Come to my estate tomorrow, for dinner.”

      My eyebrows rose in surprise. I hadn’t expected him to say that. “Of course I will.”

      “Excellent,” Luca beamed. “Be at my estate at six o’clock in the evening.”

      “Luca, won’t all the other vampires want nothing to do with you now?” I asked curiously.

      He shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not,”

      “Doesn’t that bother you? What about your business?”

      “Danira,” Luca sighed, running a finger along my jaw. “All that matters is that you are unharmed.”

     

      I had disturbing dreams that night and woke up to find myself drenched in sweat, sobs racking my chest. My throat was parched so I padded barefoot into the kitchen only to find Jayden sat at the breakfast bar.

      “Hey, Jayden, why didn’t you and Bertie come to the ball?” I asked, pouring myself a glass of water before sitting down beside him.

      Sensing the distress that had remained from my dreams Jayden narrowed his eyes. “We didn’t want to. Are you ok?”

      “I had nightmares. You guys have to come to at least one ball. Promise you’ll both come to the next one.”

      Jayden nodded. “Ok we will.”

      “So what have you and Bertie been up to? I don’t see you much anymore.”

      He drank some blood from his glass and he licked his lips before saying. “We’ve mostly just been exploring the Castle.”

      “Where's Bertie?”

      Jayden shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I’m not sure.”

      I frowned. “Is he avoiding me?”

      “Why would Bertie avoid you?”

      “I don’t know but I get the feeling that you two are hiding something from me.”

      Shaking his head, Jayden asked. “Really, Danira, why would we hide something from you?”

      “I’m not sure.”

      After draining his glass, Jayden stood up and patted my arm. “See you later.”

      I watched as he practically ran from the room. Something was definitely going on.

 

      The next morning I was half asleep as Ferriday, Aidan and I helped Pegasus, Leila and Scott to tidy up the ballroom. I had wanted to speak with Pegasus for a while, and so decided that I should do it then while I had the chance.

      “Hi Pegasus,” I said in greeting as I walked over to him.

      He smiled at me, brushing his waist length white hair behind an ear. “Danira, how are you after yesterdays events?”

      “I’m fine thank you, I was wondering if I could talk to you about something.”

      “Of course, how can I help you?”

      “What do you know about Lady Prenalla?” I asked, hoping that Pegasus would be able to tell me something helpful.

      Looking thoughtful he said. “Hmm I know that she is a very powerful and old vampire that seemed to suddenly appear from nowhere.”

      “Is that all?” I asked disappointed.

      “Not much is widely known about her, Danira. She keeps herself to herself.”

      I scratched my head. “Ok then, do you know anything about the Infinity Blade?”

      Pegasus’s eyes lit up and he seemed gleeful as he replied. “Oh yes, you were sacrificed with it, were you not?”

      I glanced around the room to see if anyone was listening, but thankfully they were all busy doing other things. “Yes I was. Is there a way of finding the Infinity Blade?”

      “I have read many books, but there has never been a recorded way of tracking the Infinity Blade, no.” Pegasus told me.

      “The Infinity Blade was made at the Beginning of Time, wasn’t it?”

      “Ah, now I know quite a bit about this,” I perked up at that and listened intently as Pegasus explained. “The Infinity Blade was, as you said, created at the Beginning of Time. Its purpose was to make a tear in the fabric of the two Realms, and hence link them. However, you’ve heard of Bloodlust I presume? He was killed and Mireille, his mate, wanted revenge and so went through the portal to wreak havoc among the Realm of the Living. The Portal Keepers of the time and a powerful lich king adapted the Infinity Blade, which until then had been merely a talisman of the Portal Keepers, and used it to force Mireille back through the portal. It is said that they banished her from the Realm of the Living and so she is unable to cross the portal.”

      I gaped at him as I took this in. “Wait, so my ancestors adapted the Infinity Blade?” that was so cool. “Do you know if the lich king’s name was Alandros?”

      Pegasus looked surprised. “Why yes I believe that was his name.”

      “I knew him.” I said in reply to his curious look. “I wonder how old he was.”

      “You have the blood of the Portal Keepers flowing through you.” he said, tapping my wrist with a thin finger. “You should have the ability to wield the Infinity Blade as your ancestors once did, without the aid of a blood payment.”

      I recalled when King Alandros had told me the very same thing the year before.

      “Is there any limit to what the Infinity Blade can do?” I asked, wondering if with my half human half vampire biology I would still count as a Portal Keeper.

      “I don’t know, Danira, but most books say that it has limitless power.”

      “So does the blade belong to the Portal Keepers?”

      Pegasus nodded.

      “Why did they break it up and scatter the pieces?”

      “It was thought that the power of the Infinity Blade was too great for one person, so it was split and the pieces scattered in the Realm of the Undead.” he replied.

      “Is Mireille still alive?” I asked.

      “No one knows for sure, but it is said that she is still in the Realm of the Undead plotting her revenge.”

      I shuddered, hoping that she wasn’t still alive otherwise the Realm of the Living would be in even more trouble than it already was.

      “I have her necklace.” I told Pegasus, holding out the fist sized emerald.

      His eyes grew wide and he stared at the emerald in awe. “That is a sight to behold.” Pegasus whispered.

      I smiled at his enthusiasm and moved to take the necklace off, but he stopped me. “Don’t remove it.” his voice was weird and his eyes had taken on a glassy appearance.

      My fingers hovered over the clasp as Pegasus’s eye gave a small twitch. I dropped my hands and he seemed to return to normal.

      “It is said to have magical properties.” he told me, holding the emerald up as he peered at it, acting normal again.

      Confused about what had just happened to Pegasus, I said. “What kind of properties?”

      He gave a small shrug. “It is all just rumour. No one knows for certain that it is magical.”

      I stared into the emerald wondering if it was merely a pretty jewel or if it was much, much more.

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