(19/05/19) I'm back! Second time's the charm, eh? As before, the final part of 'The Immortal Coil Saga' will include strong language and some sexual themes. And the occasional step into non-reality *wink*

Having cleared up the mess of the previous chapters, I sincerely hope you enjoy this. Feedback is always welcome!

LookAliveSunshine03


Prologue:

Red Velvet

2018?

The new day rose like any other morning here, bright and shining. The park bustled with its usual dog-walkers, happy families, and couples basking in their love. Their skin sparkled in the sun, and no one was afraid. No one cared here, because it didn't matter. Here, they were free.

Hazel's scent preceded her, purple and electric as lightning before a storm. "We've a new visitor," she said and her smile was a shared joke Demetri wasn't privy to.

"Has our host divulged a name?"

Hazel sat down his bench without invitation, pulling on her e-cigarette. Her fringe fluttered as she blew out a cloud of strawberry steam. "'Mm-hm. You know who it is, too. But I want you to figure it out." Hazel's teeth clacked around the mouthpiece. "Unless your power doesn't work here."

"Give me a moment." Demetri sighed. He had been having such a good day. As he gathered up the scents and essences of those around him, his mind stretched open, reaching, reaching...her essence blazed with furious scarlet, not far from here.

Hazel laughed as people gasped and stumbled out of Demetri's way. He flew from the park, through the heaving streets, and straight towards the outskirts of this world. There Demetri stopped, breathing hard in confusion. A cloud of crows burst like loud spray of ink from the trees blocking his path.

"Well, this wasn't here before." Hazel smirked,.whispering in Demetri's ear. "What's your princess telling you?"

Demetri scowled. Come on, bloodhound... He clenched his jaw. "You brought her in."

Through her plume of steam, Hazel cooed. "Because she asked nicely, sweet'eart. One word from her darling Highness, and Beth was on the first flight to Prague. Go on, look. Tell me there en't chimney-smoke. Go on!"

Demetri sprung up the nearest trunk. At the top, his stomach turned over. A coil of smoke drifted over the trees.

"What's the verdict?" Hazel yelled from the ground.

"Her house is most likely hidden," Demetri said, landing. Hazel sniggered, gave a long-suffering sigh and followed him, kicking up dead leaves as she did. The forest was rowdy with creatures going about their business. At the sight of Demetri, a deer spooked, galloping away.

"Knew she wouldn't be able to resist. Iona has that effect on people," said Hazel.

Demetri gave a smile. "Anyone would think you were in love with her."

"Oh, really? Iona's a beautiful woman, able to create her own worlds on a whim. Don't tell me she is better than that."

"What does Radko have to say on the matter?"

Hazel snorted. "If he wanted to keep her, he should have stayed with her." She hummed as Demetri charged ahead. "I have to ask, what will you do when you see dear Beth? You told me it wasn't an amicable break-up."

Demetri slowed. "I never said that. We were never –"

"Hm. Hurts, doesn't it?" Hazel almost overtook him. Her smile flickered as Demetri kept running. "I suppose you hope time is a healer."

Demetri laughed, shaking his head. "Beth would never allow that to happen."

"Then why is she here at all? P'raps our princess will do anything for her Prince Charming? What would you call it – courageous, or suicidal?"

Demetri did not answer. He chased music weaving through the trees, where candles caught in jars hung. The cabin was small and had a bright red door. Demetri had expected nothing less. Two round windows watched him, with a third glaring down from the brow of the roof. Could she see him?

Mounting the shallow porch, Demetri found the sign beside the little doorbell.

RED VELVET (please don't eat) it said in fancy cursive.

Hazel snorted over his shoulder."Is that supposed to be funny? Oh!" She hummed the song that was still playing. "She has old-fashioned taste. I haven't heard this one in years."

Demetri could easily ring the bell, and face whatever wrath Beth brought with her. Five years – or was it six? – was a flutter of a vampire's eyelid, but if holding a grudge were ever to become a sport Beth would win gold without trying.

With few options, Demetri rang the bell.

The door opened.