Home > Vampire Ever After? (Blood and Snow #12)(7)

Vampire Ever After? (Blood and Snow #12)(7)
Author: RaShelle Workman

"You're welcome to come as far as the castle. After that, I'll go by myself."

Chapter 7

I said goodbye to Ryden, and opened the front door. No sense trying to hide or be secretive. That would moot my point. I wanted her know I was here. The sooner the better.

"How lovely of you to come, Snow White. Although, if you had any manners, you would've knocked." The Vampire Queen stood in the center of a large rock foyer. I realized I'd never seen the castle from the front, the way visitors might. It was extravagant, with heavy red material draped along the top. An enormous chandelier, lit by lanterns, hung in the center. From the foyer were four different hallways. Double stairs circled to a second floor.

But, I wasn't there to be civil. This wasn't about niceties. It was about the messy, ugliness of war. The Unknowns thought to kill me, and everyone in the world, to restore magical balance. I hoped my way would be kinder, less cruel.

That was yet to be seen.

"You know why I'm here. What I want." It was a statement. I could see by the conceited haughtiness on her face, she knew this was the end. After today, our lives would be altered. She believed my body would be hers.

The power of the Seal pulsed through my veins, spread through me like wildfire.

"Why don't you come into my drawing room? I can see it's been days since you've had blood. You shouldn't starve yourself. It'll make you weak.

I flinched. It had been a while.

The idea of blood sounded amazing.

Sharra seemed to sense my need. A goblet filled with red liquid appeared in one of her hands.

It was blood. The scent wafted to my nose. My fangs grew inside my mouth.

Just a taste, my inner voice cooed.

"I don't want it, Sharra."

Her lips were painted a bright red. Thick, but perfectly placed eye shadow adorned her eyelids. Her long, black hair had been curled, and was piled atop her head. A slightly curled tendril snaked down either side of her face. Light blush covered her otherwise porcelain complexion. She wore a floor length red velvet dress. A black leather corset bound around her waist, and ribcage. It pushed her breasts together, giving her all kinds of cleavage.

She smiled. "Fine. More for me." And she tipped the glass, gulping down the contents. A drop fell on her chest. She snapped her fingers, and a Drone vampire appeared from one of the hallways. He placed his arms behind his back, and slowly licked the blood from her.

I turned away, embarrassed. My throat burned with longing. I swallowed. "Are you ready to call it quits?" I asked, as soon as she sent the vampire away.

She giggled, like I'd told a hilarious joke.

I felt like an idiot. Why would she abandon her way of life? She'd been winning for more than six millennia. Why change what worked so well?

"Is that what you want? Me to quit?" She took a step toward me.

I nodded. "Yes. Let the creatures have their magic back. Allow balance to be restored."

"And what happens if I agree? Do you kill me? What's your plan, dear Snow?"

I turned my attention to her pointy black shoes. I couldn't meet her eyes. The truth was, I didn't know. Up until this point, I'd done what I was told.

Someone told me I was the Seal, and that I needed to rebuild the magics. I believed them. Someone told me to see Abernathy, I did it. Someone said, go see Sharra, I agreed.

What did I want? What was right?

"Ugh." I stepped toward Sharra. "You got anymore blood?" I figured I might as well enjoy some.

The empty glass refilled. "Of course." Her smile grew bigger when I took it and chugged every drop. When it was gone, she took the glass, and it vanished. "I have something to show you." She wrapped her chilly fingers around my forearm, and we whooshed into the round room. I'd been in there once before.

Hundreds of female Worker vampires sat on what looked like rock bleachers. Opposite the door were two thrones. To the right was a group of girls. A sheet of ice blue magic surrounded them. The girls seemed tattered. Beat down. Their clothes were dirty, as was their hair and their bodies.

"Who are they?" I asked, but I knew as soon as the words left my mouth. They were the other Marked. She'd rounded them up like cattle. Girls, like me, who were Marked at a young age, and then bitten by their Hunter. I could tell some were already full-fledged vampires. They must've drunk from their Hunter, and humans. The rest were revenants.

In particular, one full-fledged vampire stood out. She was regal. Tall. Brown skin. Straight, black hair. And eyes the color of liquid night. Her face seemed familiar.

Pocahontas, I thought, astonished. But that's impossible. Right? It sure looked like her. Immediately I comprehended she was the other Chosen, the one Sharra spoke about while my mind was with Silindra.

Pocahontas' features hardened. She glared. At me.

I wondered if she'd already eaten her true love's heart?

"These are the Marked. Destined to die."

At mention of them, the girls began to cry and wail. Some tried to escape. Others stood like soulless zombies. Allowing themselves to be pushed around. They were awake, their eyes open, but they saw nothing. Sorrow pricked my heart. Cindy could've helped. She could've neutralized the magic. Freed them.

Abernathy's words, "You need your friends, your family. Without them you'll lose," stung me, but I shook it off. It didn't matter. I was already here. My friends, my loved ones weren't. They were safe. And that was my plan. Keep them from any more harm.

Steeling myself, I said, "That's crap, Sharra. You know it. And I'm here to prove you and your stupid destiny wrong."

She cackled, a chilling, mirthless sound. "I suppose I should've known you'd never be ready to understand what I'm trying to do." Her lips pressed into a tight line. She swept her hands toward the girls. "They've been Marked. I can only choose one. Many haven't even gone past the revenant stage. They are beautiful, and sweet, but they haven't found love. Many haven't even tasted blood." She spun, and stalked over to one of the thrones, sitting with a huff. Her face softened. "You think this is what I want? For them to die?"

I lifted my chin. "I don't think you care one way or the other."

Sharra smirked. "Of course I care." Pain carved across her face. "These many years I've suffered, knowing what had to be done." She slammed her fists against the armrests. They shattered, and I stepped back. "What I must do. But if I want to live, continue to rule, then finding a new body, Marking them, and choosing one, is necessary. Vampires were the first. I am the oldest, wisest being on the planet. If anyone understands the tough decisions, it's me." She raised a brow. "And I am one of the seven magics. A pure vampire. Without me, there won't be balance. Have you thought about that?"

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