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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33. A Trade and a Bruise

 

      The trade took place the next day, so it didn’t look like I was going to get to kick any vampire butt for a while. Jet thought that I had changed my mind about exchanging myself for Gina, so he hadn’t come to Ferriday’s mansion to try and convince me not to go through with it. But someone else did.

      “Don’t do this, Danira.” Leila implored me. She was stood in the centre of my room watching with a pained expression as I packed all my clothes into a bag.

      “I’ve told you before, I have to do this. I can’t risk him hurting Gina.” I said wishing that everybody would just accept my decision.

      As soon as everyone had left the ball, Ferriday had told them all that I was swapping myself for Gina. They had tried to make me change my mind. I wouldn’t though. This was something I had to do. True Gina had never really been that nice to me, but that wasn’t the point.

      As if he could read my thoughts, Leila asked. “Would she do the same for you?”

      “Does it matter? Besides with Nevrac as my master I will be able to get close to the Vampire Lords.”

      Alarm filled Leila’s eyes. “Please be careful. Don’t do anything stupid.”

     

      Ferriday didn’t speak to me at all as we walked to Nevrac’s estate. He wasn’t happy with me for making him do this. A skinny male teenager opened the door of Nevrac’s mansion and led us down the hallway. Everything was just as grand as I had remembered. The blood-slave paused outside a door and timidly knocked on it. Upon hearing Nevrac’s reply the slave opened the door and gestured for Ferriday and I to go inside. I followed Ferriday into what resembled a parlour. There were old fashioned chairs, a couple of bookcases, and several tables with expensive looking ornaments on them. Sitting in one of the chairs was Nevrac. He was reading an old leather-bound book, and looked up when we walked into the room. I kept my eyes fixed on the expensive rug that Ferriday and I were stood on.

      “Duke Nevrac, thank you for agreeing to do this.” Ferriday said bowing low.

      I curtsied silently.

      “Ferriday,” Nevrac greeted his voice expressionless. “Let’s not bother with trivialities. I have a meeting soon.”

      He clapped his hands, making me jump and I heard the door open. Someone gave a small gasp and I risked a glance to find Gina frozen in the doorway, staring at me in surprise. Nevrac clicked his fingers and Gina quickly went to his side.

      “Take your collar off.”

      Her fingers were trembling as she did so, and she cast me a questioning look. Ferriday told me to take my collar off as well. When I had, Nevrac ordered Gina and me to swap collars. Gina seemed like she was bursting to speak but for once she didn’t. Putting my new collar on I gave Ferriday a look of gratitude before moving over to stand beside Nevrac. Gina’s eyes widened and she hesitantly moved to Ferriday’s side.

      “The deal is done.” Nevrac said, basically hinting that it was time for Ferriday to leave.

      “Thank you your Grace.” Ferriday replied, bowing low.

      Gina curtsied clumsily and trailed after Ferriday as he left the room.

      As soon as the door closed Nevrac was stood in front of me and he grabbed my chin with his cold fingers. Staring at me with his cruel green eyes he smirked. “I knew that sooner or later you would be mine.” he pressed his nose to my neck and inhaled deeply. “Mm you smell delicious.” Nevrac murmured before releasing me.

      My chin hurt from his grasp and I was aware that I was trembling.

      Nevrac reached out and took Mireille’s emerald between two pale fingers. “I haven’t seen Lord Harlin around recently. I hope that you didn’t break his heart.” he chuckled but then he became serious. “That disgrace should be burned with all the other traitors for fraternising with a human.” in the blink of an eye I was pressed against the wall and I found myself staring at Nevrac’s shiny white fangs. “Humans are toys, nothing more.” he growled.

      I watched in horror as he licked his lips, drinking in my fear. There was a knock on the door and a low snarl burst from Nevrac’s lips. Moving away from me, he told whoever it was to enter.

      Christian Lamont glided into the room and my heart gave a pang of longing.

      “Excellent timing,” Nevrac said once Christian had bowed. “I was just about to feed, would you care to join me?”

      Christian turned his dark eyes to me and looked me up and down. I prayed and pleaded that Ridge was still there somewhere within Christian, and that he would recognise me.

      Christian merely looked indifferent. “I just fed thank you, your Grace.” he replied, removing his gaze from me as if it had been painful to look at me for so long.

      “Suit yourself,”

      Nevrac’s eyes were full of hunger as he descended on me and my back was flat against the wall as he plunged his fangs into my neck with such ferocity that I feared he would rip an artery. I whimpered at the force he was drawing blood from me and closed my eyes. My legs nearly gave way beneath me when Nevrac withdrew his fangs before wandering over to sit down in a chair. Christian only sat when Nevrac had. Licking his lips, Nevrac’s cruel gaze flickered over to me. I feared that he would want to drink from me again, but a smirk formed on his lips. Nevrac and Christian started discussing something but I was too busy trying to calm myself down to pay any attention to what they were saying. My legs slowly became solid again and my heartbeat returned to a normal rhythm. I stayed where I was, presuming that I should just stand still until Nevrac ordered me to do something. Risking a glance at Christian, I found him engrossed in Nevrac’s words. I had to resist the urge to go over to him, to stroke his hair, to kiss his perfect lips... My pulse increased and I quickly moved my gaze to my feet.

 

      As soon as Christian had left Nevrac slapped me with such force that stars whirled before my eyes. I gazed at him in shock. I hadn’t done anything wrong.

      His cruel green eyes bore into mine. “I do hope that you don’t turn out to be a disappointment.” he growled menacingly.

      Shocked from the force of his slap I shook my head. My cheek felt like it was on fire.

      “Leave,” Nevrac ordered. “I will call for you when I need you.”

      I curtsied and hurried to leave the room. Once out in the corridor I gently touched my cheek only to flinch in pain.

      “Let me have a look.” a tall girl with short, pixie-style brown hair was stood nearby. She looked about my age and had black trousers and a black t-shirt on.

      Now that I thought about it, Gina and the guy that had answered the door had been in black as well. Was it a uniform of sorts?

      “I’m Zara,” she said as she peered at my cheek.

      “I’m Danira.”

      “You’ll need to put some ice on that, come on.” Zara strode off down the hallway and I followed her.  “He traded you for Gina, didn’t he?” Zara asked, not really sounding that interested.

      “Yeah,”

      She gave a small sigh. “Gina got lucky.”

      “What do you mean?” I asked.

      Zara pointed to my cheek and neck before going onto say. “I’ll give you some advice. Just do as he asks and don’t talk back, unless you want injuries worse than those.”

      We walked down some stairs to what I presumed was the basement.

      “There are ten of us at the moment, but the number changes all the time. Half of us do the dayshift and half of us do the nightshift. You will be replacing Gina who did the dayshift.” Zara explained as we reached a door. After opening it and closing it behind us Zara went on to say. “When we’re not needed we stay down here. I’m in charge of the dayshift, so if you have any questions come to me.” we were now in a narrow corridor that had four doors leading off it. Pointing to each one in turn, Zara told me. “That’s the bathroom, that’s the kitchen, that’s where the ‘day-shifters’ sleep and that’s where the ‘night-shifters’ sleep.” she took me into the kitchen and I was disheartened to find that it was small and old fashioned. There was a tiny battered fridge/freezer and only two counters. The sink and oven looked like they were from the seventies. Sat at the small table in one of the random assortment of chairs was the guy that had answered the door. “This is Todd.” Zara told me as she rummaged around in the freezer.

      I greeted him and sat down in one of the chairs.

      Eyes on my cheek which was throbbing, Todd said. “Didn’t take long,”

      Nodding I pulled a face.

      “Just make sure you don’t make him angry.” Todd told me, rolling up his sleeve and showing me his scarred arm. “Otherwise you’ll get some of these.”

      Shocked I said. “Are those burns?”

      He covered the scars with his sleeve and nodded.

      “Here you are.” Zara said holding some ice wrapped in a towel out to me.

      “Thanks,”

      Placing the ice on my cheek I winced at the sudden cold. “What do you guys usually do for Nevrac?”

      Todd answered. “Whatever he wants, which is usually to drink our blood and for us to follow him around at balls, but that’s ‘cos we’re ‘day-shifters’. The ‘night-shifters’ have it way worse than us.” turning to Zara, Todd said. “Rosie and Mike are on door and blood duty.”

      “We take it in turns.” Zara told me. “It’s fairer and easier that way.”

      I wanted to know what Todd had meant by what he’d said about the ‘night-shifters’ having it worse than us, but from his expression I knew not to ask. So instead I said. “Do you guys go to many balls?”

      “A few,” Todd answered. “I think there’s an important one coming up actually.”

      I raised an eyebrow in interest.

      “Want to see the rest of your new home?” Zara asked.

        

      The bathroom and ‘day-shifters’ room were even worse than the kitchen. One off-white toilet, a sink and a dingy shower were what made up the bathroom. The ‘day-shifters’ room was tiny and all the space was taken up by five single sized mattresses.

      “From your face I take it that your old digs were a bit different?” Todd said.

      I nodded. “Nevrac is rich so why doesn’t he spend some money on the blood-slaves quarters?”

      Zara gave a small laugh. “You have met Nevrac, haven’t you? Do you really think that he is the type that would spend more money than necessary on his blood-slaves? He’s not a human sympathiser in case you hadn’t noticed.”

      We moved back into the kitchen and I kept the ice on my painful cheek.

      “Hungry?” Zara asked me as I sat down next to Todd.

      I had just opened my mouth to reply when the kitchen door opened and a flustered blonde girl walked in.

      “I take it you’re Danira?” she said her brown eyes fixed on me. “He wants you.”

      “Looks like Nevrac’s hungry.” Todd muttered.

      Zara gave me a weak smile and I hurried after the blonde girl as she practically jogged down the corridor.

      “I’m Rosie by the way.”

      “Danira,”

      “Looks like you’ve made an impression already.” she told me.

      “So did Nevrac.” I said gesturing to my cheek.

      Rosie left me outside a wooden door which I knocked on before opening and going inside. Nevrac was sat beside a huge fireplace at a large oak table. There were other vampires surrounding the table and each had a blood-slave hovering behind them. Fortunately Christian wasn’t one of the vampires. I went to Nevrac’s side, noticing that there were cards on the table. It looked like they were playing poker. Without a word Nevrac lifted up my arm and bit down hard. His fangs pierced my skin and I winced. I was beginning to feel lightheaded by the time he finally withdrew.

      “Let’s begin shall we?” Nevrac grinned, licking my blood from his lips.

      I was right, they were playing poker, but it wasn’t just any kind of poker, it was strip poker. Most of the other blood-slaves had to strip down to their underwear but luckily for me Nevrac was good at poker, so I had only lost my jumper.

      “Let’s raise the stakes, shall we?” Nevrac smirked.

      I was stood to the side of him, and saw worry flicker through the eyes of the other players.

      Dealing out the cards with his clawed hands Nevrac said. “The winner of this round gets to keep all the blood-slaves in the room.”

      The vampires looked extremely worried and one even spoke out. “Your Grace, you cannot be serious? I paid good money for it and I’ve only had it a day.”

      Nevrac’s eyes narrowed. “You were warned at the beginning, were you not, that the stakes would be high?”

      The vampire flinched at Nevrac’s threatening tone. “Yes, your Grace. Please forgive me.”

      Several rounds later and it was time for them to show their hands. Unsurprisingly, Nevrac won. All the other vampires watched in regret as their blood-slaves moved to stand beside me. Nevrac had gained six new blood-slaves. The vampires left, giving their thanks to Nevrac, but not meaning it.

      Once they had gone, Nevrac turned to face us all, smiling to himself. He ran his eyes over us all. “You,” he said running a cold finger down my neck. “You may leave.”

      I curtsied and hurried out of there, closing the door behind me. 

 

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