PRINCESS

12.

THE BLOOD

The smell of copper, blood and fear filled Siris' nostrils and she fought against the impulse to lengthen her canines, despite her repulsion. Scarlett moved to the centre of the room, where a figure, Mallory, kneeled, marked with blood.

Scarlett stood in the centre, her hands and face upturned as she was anointed with blood by two witches. Once they were done they moved back to their places against the wall, ready to be called upon for further tasks. Siris made another feeble attempt to struggle and Scarlett cast a menacing look in her direction, the soft candlelight casting incongruously sharp shadows over her facial features.

"Bring her to me." Siris was pulled forward and forced to her knees. She knelt facing Mallory and Scarlett was between them. She could see his eyes rolling into the back of his head. Scarlett knelt between them and pushed their heads together. "Now or never," she grinned.

Siris ignored the buzzing in her mind and focussed on the silver dagger that Scarlett had produced from the folds of her dress. She forced Siris' arms to lay on Mallory's shoulders and even in his trancelike state, he hurried to obey her command and held tightly to her forearms. She was so close to him that she could feel his breath upon her lips. It disgusted her. In two sharp motions Scarlett had sliced her forearms from elbow to wrist. Siris found that she had no power to fight, she couldn't even get up, the buzzing in her mind had become overpowering. Blood welled up in the wounds and spilled over her pale arms. Scarlett was grinning with manic glee as she collected the droplets in a crystal glass.

Siris was sure that the witch was talking or repeating incantations, but she could no longer hear the words or the sounds. All she could smell was Mallory amidst her own blood. Her own fear was about to paralyse her and she could feel the animal fear rising from the depths, threatening to overcome her senses. She screwed her eyes shut and she could feel Mallory's grip loosen slightly. Finally, an opportunity, but it wasn't long lived.

Siris opened her eyes and stared into Mallory's, which had become eerily focused on her face. She didn't have time to think about the significance of it before Scarlett's blade came in and out of view once more. Siris gasped as she felt the silver blade trace the base of her throat. It was a shallow cut, and it would heal in time but in her panic she couldn't stop her canines from extending and she couldn't pull back the liquid silver pooling in her eyes, making her change complete.

Scarlett leant forward and brushed the outer shell of her ear with her breath.

"Bite him." Siris only just registered the fear in Mallory's eyes before her teeth sank into his neck. She regretted it almost immediately. His warm, witchy blood trickled down her throat with brilliant purpose but her mind was overcome with sensations of awe and fear. Images rushed past her that she could not comprehend.

"Stop!" Mallory. The world froze. The images and the sound ground to a halt. Only the buzzing and the warmth remained.

"Why am I even here? This has never happened before."

"I don't care why you're here. Just leave."

"Why are you doing this? She doesn't want you. You realise that, don't you?"

"You don't understand! She's invoking the soulmate principle. We will be together." Siris was taken aback. Her chest constricted painfully at the idea, but she didn't allow it to stop her enquiry.

"You idiot! She's calling her soulmate, not the bond! You're giving up your life for him. Don't you realise that you'll no longer exist once she's done?" She wanted to go on. To yell at him about how he had ruined their one chance of escape but before she could do so her chest clenched tightly again. This time because she couldn't breathe. But instead of making the link between her and Mallory weaken; it seemed to strengthen until she could feel him inside her mind. This time he was the one being bombarded with images from her childhood.

She knew it would horrify him. The bright red flashes of bloodied fangs, her family's trademark flame red hair. She felt regretful, sick even. She didn't want him to be terrified of her, no now. Afraid – yes, but not terrified.

She willed him out of her mind and felt her success with trepidation. She was hyperaware of the fact that her teeth were no longer long and they were no longer sunk into the flesh at Mallory's neck. Her wounds had closed, despite the blood crusting over the surface, and Scarlett had stopped chanting. The only problem was that Mallory was still in her mind. She could feel him there like an unwanted weight.

But, by far the most disturbing sensation that she felt was his lips pressed to hers. She recoiled and with her last bit of strength forced him from her mind and moved her lips away from his. Before the touch of his mind had completely left hers she could sense one last slip of information pass from his mind to hers.

"Soulmate."


A/N: sorry, I know, it's been a while. xx