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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19. An Auction and an Emerald

 

      Laughing I said. “Of course he knows, he asked me to get it for him.”

      Luca followed me inside Pegasus’s mansion and I led him to the ballroom.

      “Why are you here?” I asked curiously.

      He was gazing around at the numerous bookcases as he answered. “I’m going to ask Ferriday’s permission to borrow you for a few hours.”

      “Why?”

      Luca’s hazel eyes met mine. “There is an auction this afternoon. I thought that you might want to go with me.”

      “I’ve never been to an auction.” I replied.

      “Lord Harlin,” Ferriday cried in surprise when we strode into the ballroom.

      Everyone hastily bowed, or curtsied, to him and Luca examined the decorations. “Congratulations are in order, Pegasus. This all looks very impressive.”

      Pegasus beamed at the compliment. “Thank you, my Lord. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

      Luca gave a sheepish smile. “I was actually hoping to speak with Ferriday.”

      Swooping to Luca’s side, Ferriday asked pleasantly. “What can I do for you, your Lordship?”

      I leaned the painting against the wall, wondering how Ferriday would react to Luca's request.

     “Can I borrow Danira for an hour or two?”

      Ferriday looked surprised. I guessed that he hadn’t expected him to ask that. “Of... of course you can, my Lord.”

      Bursting into a grin Luca grabbed my hand. “Excellent, thank you very much Ferriday,” then without further delay, he pulled me out of the ballroom and away from Pegasus’s estate.

      I couldn’t help but laugh at Luca’s enthusiasm.

      “What?” he asked with a smile.

      I shook my head, saying. “It’s just that you seem so excited.”

      Luca looped his arm through mine. “Why shouldn’t I be?”

      I gazed around at our surroundings. We were heading towards the area of the lower town of the Castle that the slave market was in. I could hear the cries of the gathered crowd and suddenly wondered if the auction Luca had meant was in fact the slave market. However we changed direction and headed towards what looked like an alpine ski lodge. A group of vampires were congregated by the entrance and Luca knew one of them.

      “Dane, how are you?”

      I recognised the name. Dane had been the vampire Ferriday and I had run into when we had popped into town that once. Setting my eyes on him for the first time, I saw that he was tall, with beautiful dark skin and grey eyes.

      “Not bad, old chap.” Dane smiled, inclining his head to Luca in acknowledgement. Dane’s grey eyes fell on me and they widened in shock when he realised that I was a human, and recognised me as Ferriday’s blood-slave.

      Luca led me inside without another word and I hissed. “Why did you do that?”

      “Do what?” he asked glancing down at me.

      Shaking my head I let Luca guide me through the foyer, where more vampires were grouped, to a room in which hundreds of seats were set out, though only a few were currently occupied. Luca chose seats in the middle and waited for me to sit down before he did so.

      The room was huge and apart from the chairs, it was filled with antiques from every era. The ceiling was high and filled with rafters which supported the roof. Turning back to face Luca, I found him watching me, his hazel eyes unreadable.

      “Is there anything in today’s lot that interest you?” I asked, tearing my eyes away from him.

      “There are a few items that have caught my attention.”

      I nodded silently and soon the room had filled up with vampires and their human slaves. A female vampire seated in front of us clicked her fingers, and her teenage male slave bent down on his knees, exposing his neck. I flinched and watched in horror as the female vampire bit his neck and drank his blood. Luca’s cool touch was reassuring as his hand found mine and he squeezed it gently. Looking up I saw that his eyes were fixed on the vampire, his jaw clenched as he fought to keep his fangs from extending. I hoped Luca didn’t think that he could drink my blood. The auctioneer, a vampire dressed in a tweed suit, appeared and the vampire in front of us pushed her slave away licking her lips greedily.

      The auction started and antiques were sold left, right and centre at break-neck speed. I blinked and missed the sale of a jewel encrusted broach. There was a yelp as a vampire drank from their blood-slave and I closed my eyes, gripping Luca’s hand. The hairs on my neck suddenly stood up and a chill ran down my spine. I had the strangest feeling that I was being watched. Looking around the room I saw that no one was paying me the faintest attention. Luca was staring ahead and the other vampires had their eyes fixed on the auctioneer who was talking so quickly that I didn’t understand a word he was saying. The human slaves were all staring at the ground. I looked up at the rafters and thought I saw something move. After several minutes I returned my attention to the auction. That had been so strange...

      Luca looked more relaxed now and his arm shot up, surprising me, as he placed a bid for something. He grinned as the auctioneer cried. “Sold to Lord Harlin,”

      “What did you buy?” I asked, having missed seeing what he had bid on.

      Luca smiled. “You’ll see.”

      There were only a few more items after that and soon all the vampires were departing.

      “Lord Harlin?”

      We turned to see the auctioneer hovering nearby, a notebook in his hands.

      “I’m afraid that I need your payment, my Lord.”

      “Of course,” Luca said, standing up.

      The auctioneer led him over to a table and I followed them. I observed silently as Luca signed a piece of parchment before giving the auctioneer a heavy looking bag of gold coins. In return Luca was presented a hand sized wooden box. The auctioneer bowed and hurried away.

      “What’s inside?” I asked, moving to stand beside Luca and peering at the box curiously.

      Smiling he handed the box to me. “Why don’t you open it? I bought it for you.”

      “What? You didn’t have to do that.” I took the box from him wondering what was inside.

      He came to stand behind me as I lifted the lid noiselessly. I couldn’t help but gasp at what was inside on a bed of black velvet. Hanging from a thin gold chain was an oval emerald the size of my fist. My eyes were wide and I touched the shiny jewel in amazement.

      “I... I can’t possibly accept this.” I whispered.

      Luca chuckled, placing a hand on my waist. “Why not? Don’t you like it?”

      “Of course I do, it’s magnificent. But... it must have cost a lot.” I looked up at Luca to find his face close to mine.

      “It’s a gift.” he told me smiling his charming smile. “Please accept it.”

      I turned away, and stared down at the necklace blown away by Luca’s generosity.

      He reached around me and picked the necklace up. The huge emerald reflected what little light there was in the room, creating patterns on the walls. “This necklace was said to have belonged to Mireille, Bloodlust’s mate.”

      “Is she still alive?” I asked, unaware that Bloodlust had had a mate.

      Undoing the clasp Luca put the necklace around my neck saying. “It is rumoured that she is, but no one has seen her for thousands of years.”    

      The emerald was surprisingly light on my collarbone. “It's beautiful.”

      “Just like you.”

      I blushed and moved to take the necklace off but Luca stopped me, placing a slender hand on mine. “Keep it on.”

      I shook my head. “It’s too valuable, what if I damage it? I’ll wear it tomorrow at the ball, I promise.”

      Luca didn’t move his hand, and his voice was soft when he spoke. “Keep it on otherwise you will probably never wear it.”

      Reluctantly I gave in and he held his arm out for me to take, which I did.

      “Time to take you back to your master, I think.” Luca said sadly as he led me outside.

      We strolled through the lower town and towards the posh part of the Castle. When we reached Ferriday’s estate I smiled saying. “Thank you so much, Luca.”

      “You’re very welcome. Danira, I look forward to seeing you at the ball tomorrow.” he pressed his cool lips to my cheek before gliding away.

      Walking up the path I chewed my lip feeling conflicted. I enjoyed spending time with Luca. He was confident, handsome, caring, and being with him made me relax. But I couldn’t help but wonder if he would want something in return for the gifts he was giving me.

 

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