No one’s POV
“Is this what we’ve been reduced to?”
“This can’t stand.”
“I swear I heard screaming!”
“What is she doing?”
“We’re kidnappers now?”
“No, not kidnappers, we just wanted to ask questions…but still!”
“What happened to politely asking?”
“She’s our founder!”
“Doesn’t make everything she does good.”
“Is she torturing them?”
Members of the Dragons had crowded around three of the heads, outraged and confused at what had just happened at the Whitelight property. They turned to the three figures of authority in the organization in the hopes of hearing valid reasons for this kidnapping.
All eyes ended up on Annie, who had no valid reason to give them. She agreed with everything they were saying. This wasn’t them. Assaria had taken this several steps too far. Founder or not, this behavior couldn’t be tolerated.
“Wasn’t James Whitelight in town too? What if he hears of this?” One of the men fearfully asked. “What if he comes for us? She’s doomed us!”
Panic bristled in the crowd.
“We need to let them go, before things get worse.” One of the teens piped up. Everyone agreed.
Annie leaned forwards, onto the pool table. Everyone quieted down, ready to listen as if she was about to whisper a secret. “You’re all right, it’s not too late to fix this.” She affirmed.
“The founder just needs to see reason.” Someone added.
“I’ll go talk with her, but if she won’t listen…” Annie glanced around the room, checking everyone’s convictions. “We’ll need to take more extreme measures. It’s not the first time she’s made questionable decisions. If the worst happens, are you all with me?”
They glanced at each other and at the other two Dragons who stood behind Annie in support. They nodded. “We’re not criminals.”
The first ‘guest’ that Assaria interrogated had nothing useful to say. She’d had a feeling he didn’t know as much as the others, which is why she’d asked him questions first.
Still, it was incredibly frustrating to receive blank stares and vague you’re supposed to be dead responses. Her restlessness got the better of her, and she quickly left the locked room.
Her next source of information was the boy she’d met in the cemetery. The light in his room was out, and he was picking the lock when she clasped the handle. As she felt the doorknob jiggle a little, she forced it open in a strong burst, knocking the teen back.
He stumbled to the ground, the tool he’d ripped out of the lightbulb on his ceiling getting lost in a corner of the room.
Now that she knew he was the son of Xavier Whitelight, she finally knew his name. Nikolas. The boy with the shadow of the grim reaper.
He got up. “Every time I meet you, you just keep getting creepier.” He muttered. “Where are my dads?”
“The fact is boy,” She began, her golden eyes shining slightly in the darkness. “you haven’t been entirely honest with me.”
Nikolas crossed his arms, his nose lifting up a bit. “Right back at you. Could’ve warned me you were psycho.”
“You can’t tell me you wouldn’t be motivated to find out more about people claiming you to be dead.”
“Fun fact: I can. Kidnapping isn’t my first choice of action.” He stated.
“What do you know of my past little rascal?” Assaria demanded, her impatience making her step into his personal space, baring her teeth. A threat usually done by vampires.
The boy’s expression suddenly twitched and he shoved her away before retreating into a corner, behind the chair.
“Just leave Niko alone you-you-! Undead, zombie, whatever!” The boy exclaimed in a squeakier voice.
Assaria frowned. Not at the change of attitude, but at the sudden change of behavior of the shadow following the boy. Usually it stayed right at its back, never any farther. Now it had moved all the way to the other side of the room.
“He did nothing to you.” The boy repeated. “He doesn’t know anything just let him leave.”
Assaria sighed as she listened to him talk of himself in the third person. “What is this? Are you really so traumatized that you’ve developed a second personality?”
“What? No. I’m Oscar.” He explained with a confused pout.
Her own reaction took her by surprise. Assaria snorted and laughed shortly. “Oscar?”
It wasn’t an amusing name. Or an uncommon one. But something about it made her want to laugh – condescendingly. The name rang familiar…just a little bit. But enough for her to wonder if she had ever known an Oscar.
She eyed the boy warily this time, remembering the tattoo she had glimpsed on his neck. Magical tattoos were Terrance’s field however. Looking at the defensive…Oscar, her impatience won over yet again. The boy didn’t give much indication to knowing what she wanted to hear for now. His father on the other hand…
“I’ll let you leave once I’ve heard what I needed. Take some time to think, I’ll be right back.” Assaria said, leaving the room and locking it behind her. To be truthful, she’d kept Xavier for last only because he hadn’t woken up yet, but she was anxious now to hear the answers. She’d just have to bring a bucket of cold water.
Annie bumped into her before, however.
Assaria liked Annie. She was hardworking, just and had a clear head on her shoulders. Problem was, she had a tendency to undermine Assaria. And the latter quite detested having her decisions be questioned. All. The. Time.
“Assaria we’ve made a terrible mistake by kidnapping these three, all the Dragons think so. But it’s not too late, let’s just let them go. No harm done.” Annie said.
“Don’t be ridiculous. The witch hasn’t even woken up yet. You know, the one who clearly wanted to kill me.”
“Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. We are letting them go.” Annie stated.
Assaria burst out laughing. “And who do you think you are? I’m the one who made you one of the four Dragons. You’ve already made me regret it more than once.”
“You may have given me the position, but I’m the one who stayed in it. Consider this a threat. Stop this while you’re ahead or we’ll stop it ourselves. One of those options isn’t good for you.”
“Oh Annie,” Assaria chuckled, coming up to stroke the blonde’s cheek. She swiped her hand away, causing Assaria’s expression to grow a little more serious. “Don’t get ideas. I will let them go once I’m done with them. Now go back with the group and tell them to get back to work.”
Assaria headed straight for the witch’s room then, not giving Annie the chance to get a last word in. She faintly heard someone calling Annie’s name before she closed the door.
Annie had refused to stand beside Xavier 24/7 to block his powers with her own ability, so Assaria had decided to hook up anesthetics to him on a constant basis. On his own, the witch could’ve blasted the roof off their operation, but this way he was just barely conscious enough to answer questions, but dizzy enough that he couldn’t concentrate on his magic. Sometimes his fingers crackled, but his magic was tamed.
When she came in he was indeed still dozing, but a few slaps had his eyes fluttering open.
His eyes widened as much as they could in his dazed state, and he griped the chair to try and keep himself from falling back asleep.
“That’s what I want you to tell me. I died?”
“James killed you. We check…your body. Dead.” He struggled out, permanently confused.
Assaria inhaled sharply at the mention. The vampire that was in town recently. He had killed her? It had taken him to kill her?
The woman frowned at herself, unsure of the thoughts circling through her mind. She hadn’t considering herself to be…evil, for all intents and purposes. Yet, it filled her with pride to know that for whatever reason, she had caused enough damage to incite the great James to kill her.
“Am I unkillable then? Immortal?” Assaria asked, grinning at the idea. Maybe she wasn’t just a simple natural.
Xavier closed his mouth. He hadn’t been sure before, but he had the feeling Assaria couldn’t remember anything from before her death. And he wasn’t in any hurry to help her remember. She raised an eyebrow at him.
“Who was I?” Assaria asked, but it was clear he wasn’t going to say another word as he looked to the ground. His fingers sparkled again.
She gripped his chin and forced him to look at her.
“I don’t have the patience for games. You clearly knew who I was. SPILL. Who was I? Was I important? Was I a leader then too? Family. Did I have one?”
“You were a murderer.” He forced out with disdain.
“You killed my mother. My step-mom. Countless others.” His eyes fluttered and she shook him awake again. “A bitch. That’s what you are.” Her squeeze tightened on his jaw.
“And that makes you an unlucky bastard doesn’t it?” She said through clenched teeth, letting go of his head.
“Being alive again, just gives you the chance to suffer again.” Xavier mumbled his head lolling as more of the drug filled his system.
Commotion from outside caught her attention away from the quickly dozing off prisoner. She opened the door, sticking her head out as she heard what had to be a dog’s bark.
A few moments earlier…
“Annie!” Someone called down the corridor, as Assaria retreated into one of the rooms. “Someone’s trying to get in.”
“A vampire and a dog. The dog’s sniffing out our entrance. One of the guys says it’s the dog from the Whitelight house. And the vampire, it’s your white-eyed.” The young recruit explained.
Annie smiled. “Let them in, it’s fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Locking the door wouldn’t be polite.”
“Right, right.” The recruit ran off. Annie, on the other hand, opened the nearest door – leaving it open.
Inside, a boy seemed to be arguing with himself. “Stop taking over whenever you feel like it Oscar, I’m not a weakling.”
“Sorry for the inconvenience.” Annie said with a short knock. “We’re having authority issues. You’re free to go, you’re not a prisoner.”
The teen eyed her cautiously as her eyes glanced up at the ceiling.
“What happened to the light?”
“I needed something sharp and pointy to pick the lock.” Nikolas stated. Annie smirked.
“Smart. Was it working?”
He shrugged. “I got interrupted.”
“As I said, really sorry about this. Assaria took things way too far. She won’t be calling the shots for very long.” Annie said. “Consider yourself a guest. The Dragons don’t kidnap people. Our aim is peace.”
“She’s kind of a psychopath isn’t she?”
“She shouldn’t have been allowed to represent us for so long.” Annie nodded.
“Where are my dads?”
“Come on, we’ll go let them out too.”
Nearby, a vampire and a dog had infiltrated the building, slightly surprised to find an open and unlocked door for them.
Kevil followed Nato as the dog sped through the corridors, following the path down which his master had been taken.
The vampire didn’t unsheath his sword. They’d crossed a few people who had looked more curious than anything else. He’d even heard mutterings, white-eyed, even though he still had his contacts on. Although he knew without a doubt that the Whitelights had been taken here, the place didn’t feel hostile.
Nato barked happily, crashing into his master who’d been standing in the corridor.
“Nato! You brave dog! You came all this way?” Nikolas laughed as he rubbed his dog’s belly. Nato barked in reply.
Kevil caught up quickly, casting a confused look at the faces around. Xavier was the only one missing in the crowd. People began to mutter, pointing subtly at him.
“Kevil.” Edmund said, nodding in his direction. A silent thank you. Kevil, however, had his attention elsewhere.
In the crowd there was a lady, standing tall and confident, her back to him. She stood out, the way only a leader can. She turned to greet him, her blonde curls rolling off her shoulders.
“Welcome,” She smiled, releasing a breath. “I’m Annie, one of the leaders of the Dragons.”
“There used to be four.” Someone from the crow piped up. “There’s about to be just three.”
“I have to apologize for the trouble. We have a rogue member who felt like kidnapping people.” She said with an apologetic shrug.
“Yeah, they were actually letting us go.” Nikolas chipped in.
“I’m sorry you had to come all the way here for nothing.” Annie added.
It was only then, with her eyes smiling politely, that he chose to speak in what was close to an almost hesitant murmur. “The trip wasn’t a waste.”
She smiled warmly in reply and Kevil found himself captivated by her eyes. It took everything he had to tear his gaze away and look back at the crowd.
Nikolas snorted, earning himself a small shove from his pa.
And then one of the doors opened and Assaria came out.
The black-haired woman took in the scene, along with her two ‘prisoners’ now outside of their rooms.
“What’s going on here?”
“It’s called a mutiny.” Nikolas helpfully suggested.
“You must’ve seen this coming.” Skyla sighed.
“Oh?” She stepped forwards, looking at the crowd. “And you all feel like this?” She said, her voice laced with warning.
Kevil had trouble believing his eyes. He’d suspected and dreaded it, but he hadn’t been ready for it. Was it insane luck that had brought the ex-witch back to life? His hand shot up to grab his sword. James had killed her one way, it was time to try another.
A hand reached out towards him. Not as an order or a warning, but as a request.
Kevil’s grip on his sword loosened and his arm slowly came back down to his side. He was curious, and either way Assaria was just a natural. She didn’t pose much of a threat.
Annie moved towards Assaria, the crowd parting to let her pass.
“Assaria,” She said, the impatient woman eyes now fixated on her. “You’re free to stay as a member if you tone it down, but everyone will no longer adhere to your decisions. Founder or not, we can’t abide by your actions.”
“Are you kidding me? Do you know what founder means? I created this group. You can’t demote me.” She snorted.
A few people tried to get past Assaria to go free Xavier, but she practically snarled at them.
Annie stepped towards Assaria with determined footsteps. The confidence had the ex-witch stepping back a few steps, letting the others get into the room.
“You have problems Assaria.” Annie continued. “We’re not a crutch you can use for your own selfish desires.”
“No, don’t you dare-”
“You don’t belong here. We’re kicking you out.” Annie said gesturing at the other dragons as she did so.
They all piped in shouting agreements, complaining about Assaria’s various questionable decisions, and demanding a banishment now. The ex-dragon was practically dragged away. You could faintly hear her angrily snapping at people as they drove her out – permanently.
What had been impressive about the exchange wasn’t the end result, or really the exchange itself. No, it had been a battle of wills, of confidence and power.
Kevil couldn’t remember anyone who had managed to make Assaria stand down from mere will.
Impressed was a weak word.
Though Assaria was getting kicked out, still free and alive, Kevil didn’t feel any need to worry. The woman was no longer a witch or a vampire. She was just a natural. Although, as Kevil had just witnessed, being a natural didn’t stop you from being powerful.
Either way, James would arrive soon. Assaria was no longer Kevil’s concern.