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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38. Compulsion and a Break

 

      “I’ve been asleep for a week.” I repeated in shock.

      Jayden nodded grimly. “You were lucky that I found you when I did.”

      Sitting up in the bed I said. “What happened to all the zombies?”

      “Most of them were massacred but a handful escaped.”

      “How did the zombies get into the Castle?” I asked.

      “The ring of salt disappeared.”

      It had disappeared? That meant that someone had wanted the zombies to get in then. I rubbed my head, my memories slowly returning to me. “The Infinity Blade... was there a sword with me?”

      “Not a sword, no.” Jayden grabbed my hand, his touch cold. “There was however this on your finger which I haven’t seen before.”

      On the middle finger of my right hand was a platinum ring with a ruby set into it. I examined it closely. I could sense power radiating from it.

      “It’s the Infinity Blade.” I told him. “It can change its form.”

      Jayden burst into a grin. “So we finally have the Infinity Blade. That is good news.”

      Frowning I replied. “I don’t understand why I fell unconscious. All I did was use the Infinity Blade.”

      “What did you use it to do?”

      “I brought all the humans that the zombies had killed back to life.” I twisted the ring around my finger. “Maybe it’s because I’m not fully human.”

      Jayden looked anxious. “You mean to say that every time that you use the Infinity Blade you get hurt?”

      “I’m not sure. I think it’s just if I do big things. I healed myself with it and fought some zombies and nothing happened.”

      “What are you going to do?” he asked, his green eyes fixed on the ring.

      “I guess I’ll just have to be careful.” 

           

      I went to see Xavier that afternoon. I had to know if he had been the one to remove my collar. My heart lodged itself into my throat as I reached Xavier’s front door. I really didn’t want to go inside; who knew what I would find? But I had to. I knocked on the door and waited but there was no reply so I let myself in. Xavier was in the kitchen by the fridge, hunched over something with his back to me.

      “Xavier,” I said warily.

      After what seemed like an age he turned around and I gasped involuntarily. The blood bag that Xavier had been draining slipped from his grasp and he grinned at me, his lips stained with blood and his fangs extended. “I knew you would come back.” Xavier stepped towards me and I saw a pile of blood bags on the counter. His blue-silver eyes were glinting with menace as they locked onto my neck.

      “What happened?” I asked, taking a step backwards. “Why are you drinking human blood again?”     

      Xavier came to a stop right in front of me. “It’s because of you, Danira. Your blood.” a chill ran down my spine at the look in his eyes. “I was a fool drinking that filth. This is the real me.”

      “I prefer the other you. He was kind.” I whispered.

      “He’s gone.” Xavier growled, brushing the hair from my face. “Why are you here? Do you want another kiss?”

      Slapping his hand away I glared at him. “No, I want to know if it was you that removed my collar.”

      “And why should I tell you that?”

      I racked my brains for a suitable answer. “Because you love me,” I didn’t think that threatening him would work.

      Xavier’s eyes widened in surprise but then he smiled. “Yes, I do.” he reached out a cool hand and stroked my cheek. “And I suppose that I owe you for saving me from myself. Alright, I will tell you. The collar was already gone when I found you.”

      I sighed in relief. “Nevrac doesn’t own me anymore. I’m free.” joy bubbled up within me and tears of happiness filled my eyes.

      “So what are you going to do now?” Xavier asked, lifting my hand and examining the ring. He could probably sense the power radiating from it. Hopefully it wasn’t so strong that everyone I passed would be able to sense it.

      His question was a no brainer. “I’m going to stop the Vampire Lords.” though I wasn’t entirely certain as to how I was going to do that. I needed to come up with a plan.

      Xavier’s pupils contracted as he said. “Stay here with me.”

      He was trying to compel me!

      “Stop it!” I yelled shoving him away. “How dare you!”

      It occurred to me that he hadn’t been able to compel me that time at Ferriday’s either.

      “Why isn’t it working?” Xavier snarled in frustration. He grabbed me roughly by the shoulders and stared into my eyes, his pupils changing again. “Kiss me.” he ordered.

      “Get off me!” I punched him and Xavier released me, his hands going to his jaw.

      Turning to run away I cried out in surprise when Xavier thrust me against the wall, knocking the breath from my lungs. He bared his fangs at me and I watched as the cut in his lip from my punch healed before my eyes.

      “Why can’t I compel you?” he demanded, his fingernails digging into my skin. Xavier’s eyes went to the Infinity Blade.

      “No!” at my shout the ring transformed into an elegant stake with a ruby embedded into it. I stabbed Xavier with it and his blue-silver eyes grew wide. He collapsed unconscious to the ground but he didn’t burst into ashes. I stood where I was, breathing heavily and seriously confused. Why hadn’t Xavier been reduced to dust? It didn’t make sense. Deciding that I should probably leave before Xavier woke up I sprinted from the house and didn’t stop until I had reached Ferriday’s estate.           

 

      Everyone was overjoyed that we finally had the Infinity Blade, but they became bewildered when I told them all that I was going to Jet’s estate for a few days.

      “Why, Danira?” Kelsey was clinging to my leg as usual, her brown eyes wide. “Please stay here.”

      Stroking her hair I replied. “I just need a change of scenery for a while. I won’t be gone long, sweetheart.”

      “Let me go with you.”

      “I’m sorry, Kelsey, but you have to stay here.” I said, pressing my lips to her hair. We were in our room and I was packing my clothes into a bag. “Has Gina left her room at all?”

      Kelsey pulled a face. “No, she stays in there all day.”

      Well I wasn’t going to go and talk to her, not after her letter.

      “Knock, knock.”

      Glancing up I saw Leila and Aidan stood in the doorway holding hands. “Hey guys.”

      “I don’t get it, Danira. Why are you going now when we finally have the Infinity Blade?” Leila asked her eyebrows slanted in a frown.

      I pushed the hair back from my face. “I just... I need to get away for a while.” Xavier’s not dying had thrown me a bit and I needed time to think about how we were going to defeat the Vampire Lords. I wasn’t sure that Bertie’s idea of ‘just walk up to them and attack them’ was the best approach. “We need to come up with a plan before we can do anything anyway.”

      Aidan gave a smile. “Can we see it?” his voice was full of excitement.

      I held out my hand and the Infinity Blade transformed into a sword.

     “Ooh,” Kelsey, Aidan and Leila all stared at the weapon in awe.

      “Can I hold it?” Aidan asked with boyish glee.

      “Sure,” I said, presenting the handle to him. “Just don’t touch the blade.”

      Leila giggled as Aidan fought off an imaginary enemy. “So it can do anything?”

      “I think so.” I answered zipping up my bag. “It’s meant to have unlimited power.”

      Aidan reluctantly returned the Infinity Blade to me and it reverted to its ring form.

      “Do you really have to go?” Kelsey asked her lips set into a pout.

          

      Jet’s estate was at the other end of the Castle so once I had finally managed to prise Kelsey off me I walked through the streets, a bag of my clothes slung over my shoulder. I hadn’t gone far before a scream reached my ears. I ran towards the noise hoping that I wasn’t too late. A male vampire was pinning a deathly pale girl to a wall, draining her of blood.

      Dropping my bag to the ground I ran forwards and yanked him off the blood-slave. “Get off her!” I cried.

      The girl slumped down the wall, her breathing shallow. I quickly healed her with the Infinity Blade and helped her to her feet. A hand wrapped itself around my neck and lifted me into the air.

      “What do we have here?” familiar dark eyes stared into mine.

      It was Christian.

      Licking the red from his lips he tilted his head. “That was a very stupid thing to do.”

      My reply was to head butt him. Christian released me, howling in pain at his broken nose. I felt sick that I had just hurt him but he wasn’t Ridge. He proved that when he lunged at me snarling. I danced out of the way surprising Christian with my speed. The Infinity Blade transformed into a stake and Christian regarded me warily. I willed the stake to return to its ring form and with reluctance it did. While Christian decided his next move it occurred to me that if I could just touch him, that maybe I could use the Infinity Blade to change Christian back to Ridge. Distracted by the prospect of getting my boyfriend back I was too slow to dodge Christian’s punch. It threw me against the wall, forcing the breath from my lungs, and I fell to the ground. The blinding pain in my cheek disappeared as the Infinity Blade healed me and I rolled out of the way just before Christian’s foot collided with the ground I had just been lying on.

      “Stay still, damn it!” he growled, his handsome features twisted in fury.

      As I continued to avoid Christian’s attempts to hurt me I tried to pin him down so that I could touch him, but he kept throwing me off him. Eventually I realised that there was only one way that would work. When I suddenly froze Christian threw me to the ground, cracking my head. Straddling me he ran a cool finger down my neck.

      “I’m going to enjoy this.” he murmured, lowering his mouth to my neck.

      A whimper escaped my lips as Christian sunk his fangs into my skin and I reached up and pressed my hand to his cheek. I closed my eyes and reached into the power within the Infinity Blade, concentrating on bringing Ridge back. Christian froze suddenly. I pushed him off me and lay where I was, tears silently streaming down my face. There was silence and I hesitantly opened my eyes. Christian was gazing at me in confusion, my blood smeared around his mouth.

      “D... Danira?” he whispered.

      My breath caught in my throat. “Ridge?” hope filled every cell in my body.

      He smiled his glorious smile and I threw myself at him.

      “Oh Ridge!” I cried pressing my face against his shoulder as tears of elation streamed from my eyes. I clung to him blissful, so glad that this moment had finally come.

      Ridge kissed my hair, his cool fingertips tracing my spine.

      “I missed you so much.” I told him, reaching up and touching his cheek.

      His eyes were filled with such love as he smiled at me, that I felt I might burst. His nostrils quivered and he wiped the blood from his lips. Ridge’s eyebrows slanted in bewilderment and his eyes were fixed on the healing wound in my neck. He opened his mouth to speak but I kissed him, gathering him as close to me as possible. I was breathless when we drew apart and I rested my forehead on his.

      “Where are we?” Ridge asked stroking my cheek.

      “You don’t remember any of it?”

      He was puzzled. “Any of what?”

      I explained to Ridge about my travelling to the Realm of the Undead and finding that he had become Christian.     

      “I don’t remember being him at all.” Ridge was anxious and I squeezed his hand. “I’m so sorry that you had to see me like that, Danira. I can’t imagine how painful that must have been.”

      “It doesn’t matter it’s over now. Do you recall what happened when you came through the portal?”

      Frowning he replied. “I don’t remember exactly; it’s patchy. The portal took me to a part of the Castle that I didn’t recognise. Not long after that a vampire came to me and told me that Lady Prenalla wanted to talk to me. Then I saw...” Ridge stopped himself before he could say the name, but I knew he had been going to say ‘Aurelia’.

      “Aurelia came to the café.” I told him through clenched teeth, feeling bitter. “She was crying, saying that her fiancé had left her, that he had been cheating on her, using false names. She said your name.”

      Ridge gave a deep sigh. “I can’t apologise enough, Danira. Aurelia was... frustrated when I changed my lifestyle, especially when I told her that I didn’t want her in my life. It looks like she never got over it.” I gave Ridge a weak smile but he looked troubled. His voice was desperate as he said. “The things I did when I was Christian... I wasn’t myself, Danira, you know that don’t you? I would never have done those things if...”

      I placed a finger on Ridge’s perfect lips to stop him from going on. His dark eyes were wild and I kissed him on the cheek. “You weren’t yourself, I know that. Don’t feel guilty about anything that happened.” with a frown I added. “I was right then; it was Lady Prenalla that had made you revert back to being Christian, but why? It doesn’t make sense.”

      “You remember when we went to see her in Gore?” at my nod Ridge continued. “Well when she spoke to us separately Prenalla told me that you and I could never be together, that it would only end badly.”

      I felt my mouth drop open. “She said that to you?” I asked shocked.

      He scowled and nodded.

      “Yet you didn’t listen to her.” I said with a smile as I cupped Ridge’s cheek in my hand.

      “Maybe that is why she did it, as a punishment.”

      Kissing him gently on the lips I replied. “But why though?”

      Ridge shrugged and ran his ivory finger along my lips, making me want to kiss him again. “Why does she do anything?”

      “She made Xavier fall in love with me.” I murmured.

      He was surprised. “Why would she do that? Is he here at the Castle?”

      “Yes, he was drinking animal blood for a while but now he’s back to his charming self.”

      “Did he hurt you?” Ridge brushed the hair from my face, his dark eyes anxious.

      I shook my head. “No, I can look after myself now.” holding up my hand I showed him the ring. “I found the Infinity Blade. But when I staked Xavier with it he didn’t die.”

      Ridge’s dark eyebrows shot up. “You staked him and he survived?”

      Nodding I rubbed my eyes.

      “Tell me everything that I’ve missed.”

      Glancing around the fortunately empty streets I said. “Is there somewhere we can go?”

      We went to Ridge’s estate. Luckily Aurelia was out. An hour later I wrapped up my story (leaving out the parts about Luca, because that would only make him angry and upset). We were in living room on a long leather sofa.

      Ridge traced a pattern on the back of my hand saying. “I should have been there to protect you. You’ve suffered and part of that was because of me. I’m so sorry.” he hung his head in shame.

      “No, I chose to come to the Realm of the Undead, it’s my fault.” I said squeezing his hand.

      Ridge shook his head. “But you came because of me.”

      “Not everything’s about you.” I joked. “I came because Lady Prenalla told me that I was the only one that could stop the Vampire Lords. Anyway all that matters is that we are together again.”

      Ridge gave me a sad smile. “I’m so sorry for everything you’ve been through, Danira.”

      Sighing I cupped his face in my hands. “Stop apologising and kiss me again.”

 

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