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#8
Chapter 7
Unspoken_Uprising
Jun 13, 2018
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No Plagiarism!92LRJ9DYZdcFrXE58kPZposted on PENANA

             Aldrin opened his eyes, uncomfortably gazing at the woman who watched vigilantly at the end of the bed. Jade leaned against the bedpost, her arms crossed. She appeared to be lost in her own thoughts. Aldrin slowly pushed himself up, bring the woman back to reality as he did so. "You don't need to watch me sleep."copyright protection7PENANA1xcEgvwr0M

            "Your sister was quite specific with her request," Jade retorted. She leaned her head against the bedpost, a thoughtful gaze lingering on Aldrin. "I thought vampires did not need to sleep."copyright protection7PENANA9aPV1y4Ex4

            "I was not sure we ever could. This would be my first time," Aldrin replied, stretching his arms. "This is strange to me. It feels normal, yet unnatural."copyright protection7PENANASJJkGnpPHf

            "I can relate. Nice to know I am not alone," Jade commented, a slight smile crossing her lips. "Unless..."copyright protection7PENANAOJM1n3wTvx

            "Don't," Aldrin warned the newborn vampire.copyright protection7PENANAFFHvAJ3FnA

            "There is this possibility I might have some vampire specific contagion, and you caught it." Jade looked up, a thoughtful finger tapping her chin.copyright protection7PENANAJgksA0Q0Py

            "Absolutely not!" Aldrin retorted.copyright protection7PENANAfEi2FF5czB

            "Well, I mean, you didn't sleep before you met me so..." Jade cocked her head at Aldrin, stressing the idea. Aldrin jumped from the bed, tackling Jade. As they both fell, Jade pushed up against Aldrin, flipping them over; as to land with Aldrin on the ground, and Jade being on top.copyright protection7PENANAKfgrKQaNwy

            Pinned by the newborn's superior strength, Aldrin refused to struggle. "Again?" He remarked, annoyance lacing his tone.copyright protection7PENANAogOIJpJzpy

            "You tried to tackle me again. Thought you would have learned that lesson the last three times you tried, " Jade retorted, a victorious grin across her face as she held him in place. Leaning down, she whispered, "Then again, there may be some other motive that drives you to tackle me?" The vampire smirked, her gaze locked with Aldrin's as she probed him for a reaction.copyright protection7PENANA8EdqHT6N5F

            Aldrin glared at the woman. "Now you're having too much fun. Let me up."copyright protection7PENANAoPVEhFvst2

            "Ummm, how about, no? I think I am enjoying this," Jade remarked, her smirk lingering as a seductive gaze trailed down Aldrin's bare chest. It was then that a thought crossed Aldrin's mind. Rather than objecting to the vampires advance, he drifted his own eyes down her robe. Not that there was anything to see, but the movement caught her attention.copyright protection7PENANA0RiPz1fiBE

            Jade bit her lip, her muscles slightly trembling as the thought and idea took root in her mind. The tremble loosened her hold on Aldrin. Something she didn't account for. Aldrin looked back up at her and smirked, a victorious glint in his eyes. Tilting her head, Jade tried to determine what Aldrin had become so proud of.copyright protection7PENANARJj590YfO3

            Pushing his full strength up against the vampire, Aldrin threw them both off the ground, pinning the newborn against the bedpost, before she could fight back. Aldrin's grip closed around her throat, a free arm pressing firmly into her stomach. The bedpost creaked, cracking with a snap. A few splinters breaking free of the wood.copyright protection7PENANAVcTQRavmDZ

            Jade looked into Aldrin's eyes. Her own were wide, her breath caught as she processed what had happened. Aldrin leaned forward, causing the other to struggle, and back away. She kicked and punched, struggling to free herself from his grasp.copyright protection7PENANAoDQGtqIIJj

            "Learn to control your desires, Jade. Let your guard down for even a second, like you just did, and someone may take the opportunity to kill you. Had I been your enemy, you would be dead," Aldrin cautioned her, his tone low. Waiting a moment, to be sure his words registered, he released her and stepped back.copyright protection7PENANAnA3GFcHEsv

            "You tricked me!" the younger vampire retorted.copyright protection7PENANAHoIBezMKWp

             "Would an enemy do anything less? Child, you have a lot to learn, including controlling your emotions. Even your lust," Aldrin cautioned. Jade's gaze dropped, her posture unsteady as her body shifted uneasily. Just then, the door flew open to reveal Karen standing in the doorway. As she strode across the threshold, her eyes shifted between Aldrin and Jade.copyright protection7PENANAJk3A1x1KfK

            "Roughhousing already?" Karen asked, raising an eyebrow.copyright protection7PENANA3Dl6k1j1FM

            "No sister, just instructing the newborn in some life skills," Aldrin replied quickly.copyright protection7PENANAxnagZpPLaM

            "Right, whatever. You're up. He is expected to be here within the hour. I want both of you in the main hall and dressed appropriately before then," Karen ordered.copyright protection7PENANAaT6eu8LvT1

            "Once again, I must strongly object to this entire idea," Aldrin argued. "It is most likely a trap."copyright protection7PENANAgWEB3YCn0i

            "And once again, I will remind you that Luthar has already taken care of this. If anything suspicious appears to be going on, we will be ready," Karen countered. "Besides, we don't exactly get a choice in the matter."copyright protection7PENANA9xFkOEJDqT

            "If this ends with us all dying, I am going to say it now, I told you so," Aldrin growled, turning to the wardrobe that sat against the wall. As he opened it, Karen withdrew from the room and closed the door. "Do you have anything to wear for this occasion?" Aldrin asked, looking at Jade over his shoulder.copyright protection7PENANApBNwPiFBNy

            There was a pause before she appeared to register his words. "Um, sorry, no," Jade replied. Aldrin could sense the uneasy tone in the woman. The strain in her muscles.copyright protection7PENANAC3vgFzeiWf

            "Relax, Jade. Better it be I that caught you off guard than someone else," Aldrin pulled a long coat from the wardrobe. It kept to his preference in clothing styles, only it also shared elements to a robe like what Karen preferred. A balance between something that resembled strength, elegance, and beauty. Aldrin could not help but think that she only lacked in one of the two traits.copyright protection7PENANAA6NgqBVafm

            "It is normal for a newborn to feel like you can't control your emotions. If you intend to stay alive, you need to control it. Vampires are naturally gifted with heightened senses, and us Shadow-born carry the same gift, only with greater intensity. Now come here." Aldrin beckoned to her, holding out the dress.copyright protection7PENANA3FXRcN9RoW

            Jade hesitated, then did as she was commanded. As she approached Aldrin, he circled behind her offering the clothing as he passed by. "Try this on." Aldrin insisted.copyright protection7PENANAq00WhGwwYs

            A few steps further and Aldrin's back was to the woman. For a moment, there was silence as she pondered whether this was another mean to trick her. With an unsteady inhale, Aldrin heard Jade undress. A moment later, she pulled the coat over her shoulders. After fiddling with the clasps on the front of the coat, she turned to face Aldrin's back. "Well?"copyright protection7PENANALzzyQZaM9p

            Aldrin turned around, rubbing his chin as he examined Jade from head to toe. The coat fits perfectly around her figure, revealing some of the sharpest curves of her body. It had a seductive appeal to it, but there was more. The perfect blend of color made an intimidating sight. The muscular structure of her body was also clear, if not more defined than before. Especially along her arms. "How do you feel?" Aldrin asked.copyright protection7PENANA8d454gTd8h

            Looking down, Jade pondered the question. "Perhaps too important," she remarked, a slight blush visible on her cheeks.copyright protection7PENANAazibvAR16Q

           Aldrin took two steps closer, gently resting a hand on her waist and pulling her chin up to look at him with the other. "If you pursue me out of lust, then there is more you will have to deal with than you may be ready for."copyright protection7PENANAuSq3qg3A2c

            "I didn't mean..." Jade opened her mouth to object.copyright protection7PENANA0bp4hulaHt

            Raising a hand, Aldrin silenced her. "I know, but there is a cost to even something as simple as trying to seduce me." lowering his hand, Aldrin offered his palm to her. "Come with me and for today, learn what it means to have what you desire."copyright protection7PENANAsS2L3ylVAr

            Jade looked down, then back up to Aldrin. With a deep breath, she took his hand in hers, allowing Aldrin to lead her from the room. Together, they walked down towards the great hall. It was not till they came to the corner that led into the hall that Jade froze.copyright protection7PENANAM4kc8Lsbmv

            "Second thoughts?' Aldrin asked.copyright protection7PENANAomGOrXiM80

            "Don't you think this is a bit much?" Jade asked, turning to him. Her voice trembled. A possible mix of excitement and nervousness. "I mean, gods I find you to be attractive, but I could care less about politics."copyright protection7PENANAfASilWQGRq

            "To have one is to have the other. I don't get the luxury of just sleeping with any woman I so choose. Well, not so much now as I could have a thousand years ago. As much as vampires might not be so formal, it would still taint my reputation. I can not have that, not when so much depends on it." Aldrin explained.copyright protection7PENANA8DvtQDeiOA

            "Right." Jade turned her back to him, pacing the hall for a moment. "They won't treat me like a queen, will they?"copyright protection7PENANAOdWv1ntj9B

            "To say no would be a lie," Aldrin replied. "In a manner of speaking, you would be just under the title itself. Of course, you are free to walk away."copyright protection7PENANAjpcbHx8xeZ

            Jade turned to look at Aldrin, her eyes lingering on him. He could almost smell the hormones in the air. Something else she would need to lean was control over her body. "Just today?" Jade asked.copyright protection7PENANAYnDtQt64MV

            "Only today. See what it is like. If you don't think you can handle it, then walk away." Aldrin confirmed. Again, he reached out to her, offering her his hand. Jade immediately stretched out her own hand, ready to take his but hesitated again. It was like watching a child trying to make up whether they wanted one toy over another. An amusing sight to Aldrin, though he kept that to himself.copyright protection7PENANAFB8C6aZAt9

            "Okay, okay I can do this." Jade muttered, grasping his hand. Her grip was tight, nervous.copyright protection7PENANAbMzoYgV6Oa

            "Relax Jade. Honestly, there is nothing complicated about the task before you. All you must do is learn to compose yourself properly. Follow my lead." Aldrin encouraged, leading her around the corner and crossing the threshold of the open door. Together they stepped out into the great hall.copyright protection7PENANA6MyJgodntZ

            A few days ago, the hall had been a bloody mess. Littered with bodies of both vampires and mortals alike. Blood once drenched the floors in a thick layer, almost like a paste. Now, the floors were empty and the bodies disposed of. Luthar had at least the sense to order the metal to be kept, stripping every human of their armor.copyright protection7PENANAj8AsKHCKh5

            The tables had been repaired. The doors washed. Within the last week, the room had been cleaned, to a point that there was no remaining evidence of the slaughter which took place within the hall. A week. It was still hard to comprehend what had happened. Aldrin only recovered a few days ago from his wounds, but the city and its people remained broken.copyright protection7PENANAUtStRRKMXz

            While they were glad to see him alive and returning to his duties, Aldrin could feel the sadness lingering over the people. The loss had taken a heavy toll on them all. Karen most of all. In that time, Aldrin too had to come to terms with the reality of the situation. This was the very reason he did not like the idea of letting a known enemy right through the gates. One false move on their part and what little they had left would be stripped away. Possibly forever.copyright protection7PENANAX4lvNCU0Zn

            Aldrin led Jade up to the table at the end of the hall. A single table that sat before the makeshift throne. On either side were four other chairs. Two for his siblings and two others for potential guests. In most cases, they were empty. Today, this would change. As Aldrin took his place upon the throne, Aldrin beckoned Jade to sit in the chair at his right. She did so, her body twitching with unease.copyright protection7PENANA0iwAKhhn2z

            As she came to realize that those who still worked in the hall ignored them, she became more comfortable in the chair. Enough that her trembling muscles ceased to shake. "Not so bad after all." Aldrin said.copyright protection7PENANAsW2kqTbbG9

            "So, if I did choose this, what exactly would my place be here?" Jade asked, taking advantage of the possibility that it would be some time before any attention was given towards them.copyright protection7PENANAKDd691I32I

           "Depends," Aldrin admitted, "If you chose to stay at my side, you would start as my mistress. Not the kind of person you expect from mortals mind you. Almost like a princess, only absent the title. In time, if you proved your worth to the community and to me, then a ceremony would be held. You would become my mate and in turn, my queen." Aldrin explained.copyright protection7PENANAq20XDLeU8g

            "Wow..." Jade took in a few heavy breaths. "That's one way to put pressure on a girl."copyright protection7PENANAuBdwWDp8O6

            "Jade, I meant what I said in the hallway. Nothing is really expected of you other than to present yourself decently, and to take care in how you behave. It took me two years to learn this lesson. Learn to act and breath like a queen, but be yourself. Vampires are not as judgemental as mortals, but they will not accept anyone they deem to be a threat to me or themselves." Aldrin turned to face Jade.copyright protection7PENANAiyKvFTxnWz

            "You make it sound simple, but it does not feel so." Jade admitted.copyright protection7PENANA5nC6lfSza1

            "Give it time. You will see." Aldrin assured her. Looking away, he returned his gaze to the busy vampires in the hall.copyright protection7PENANAQEC3bzHBHv

            "Does this mean I share the same power you do?" Jade asked, a curious tone in her voice. Possibly, too curious.copyright protection7PENANAHZ4rvKl27i

            "Only if you earn it," Aldrin retorted. "I hold my power not because of a title, but because they entrust me with it. If I am to keep my place here, I must keep their trust. Even when everything appears to be lost."copyright protection7PENANACdFfk0ucAF

            "I see." Jade sat back, slouching. A moment later, she reconsidered the position and pushed herself upright. The remainder of their wait was silent as the vampires finished cleaning the hall. Karen and Luthar arrived just after, approaching their place at Aldrin's side. Karen sat at Aldrin's immediate left, but Luthar, who normally sat at Aldrin's right, hesitated as he saw Jade occupying the seat.copyright protection7PENANAdqkQuvpb66

            Aldrin looked at his brother, eyeing the wary vampire. His injury, unlike Aldrin's, had not entirely healed and it left a toll on Luthar. His eyes looked between Aldrin and Jade, slightly parting his lips as if to object or question her place there. "Is there a problem, brother?" Aldrin asked, his voice laced with a deeper tone, warning his brother against any objection he might make. Luthar just shook his head before taking his seat beside Jade.copyright protection7PENANAHN5LfBvADD

            Andras was the last to arrive in the room. Karen had personally invited her to the occasion. She had objected at first, but Karen's insistence won. The woman, dressed in a finer robe she borrowed from Karen, took her place beside his sister. As the hour drew to a close, the vampires took their stations and posts. Two guards on either side of the entrance. Four around the base of the steps that lead up to where Aldrin and his company sat, and several more along either wall of the room.copyright protection7PENANASgRyvbz0n9

            Aldrin fixed his position, relaxing his body as the two great doors opened. Six vampires escorted a singular figure, hooded and cloaked in black, into the room. They approached the steps to the throne in silence, halting only a few feet away. As he drew to a stop, the figure pulled back their hood, revealing a pale white face with silver hair draping past their shoulders. His eyes were white, absent an iris. Respectfully, the creature bowed before Aldrin.copyright protection7PENANAFAAZr4vQfB

            "Welcome to my halls," Aldrin greeted the creature. "To what might I owe the unexpected pleasure of your visit?"copyright protection7PENANAWXp2IEDefh

            "As you are well aware, Lord Aldrin, I believe we have a treaty to discuss," the voice that came from the creature was sharp, high pitched and dry. "Word of the attack on your city has reached my ears, along with reports on the great loss you have suffered."copyright protection7PENANAS8yJH4Ug4h

            "I can assure you, wraith, that our losses are not as great as you may believe them to be." Aldrin retorted, his face hardening.copyright protection7PENANAqKS1Kj5fal

            "Perhaps, Perhaps not. Nevertheless, we both are now faced with a threat that I can not ignore," the wraith paused, "We have had our differences and while I still object to your claim of these lands, I can not stand idle while the angels and their filthy mortal pets run rampant—."copyright protection7PENANAQ6ig91UNga

            "Rampant? Their army has been defeated. We slaughtered every last one along with their commanding angel." Aldrin argued.copyright protection7PENANA59jDS0INhM

            "You eliminated this army, yes, but small raiding parties have been entering and wondering the lands for the past week. I have lost many of my own brothers to these champions. They kill indiscriminately. Spirits have become restless and I can not control all the wraiths that are crossing the vale."copyright protection7PENANA4IxXJhhPxr

            "If they continue these raids unopposed, do you believe they will bring forth another army?" Karen put in, leaning forward.copyright protection7PENANAboyuEIwzvM

            "It is likely. My intelligence has determined that there are at least two gods behind these raids. The Mother of Life being chief among them." another moment of silence elapsed the room.copyright protection7PENANAJBV3fO3XBl

             "What treaty do you have in mind?" Aldrin asked, nodding towards the wraith.copyright protection7PENANAKG3hEMzWC7

            "A military alliance. I pledge to aid you, should you be attacked. In return, I ask for your help against these raiders. If we can put a hold on how deep into the lands they can get, it might at least hold off another army from approaching." the wraith offered.copyright protection7PENANAoNvXi9FOIb

            "You do realize that I cannot easily commit my forces to this joint effort. Not a great number." Aldrin protested.copyright protection7PENANABsMxv2lzZX

"Then my reports are correct, and you have lost over half your population. That alone should be incentive enough to combat the threat." the wraith urged further.copyright protection7PENANAUJEX1iKBen

            "It is not a matter of incentive wraith, but fact. If I commit my warriors to this effort, I reduce my numbers defending this city and what little we have left," Aldrin continued to argue the request. "I won't deny that a military alliance is in our favor. What you ask for is not something I can give. Not in our current state."copyright protection7PENANAICbeAtnfh6

            The wraith remained silent, face expressionless. Aldrin could only assume that it was trying to determine some course of action that they both could benefit from. "Perhaps then, the covens," the wraith finally spoke. "Rebuild your numbers or call for aid."copyright protection7PENANArTydq4fMDf

            "You would dare suggest we ask the coven counts for aid?!" Luthar snapped, a growl emanating from the depths of his voice. "If you knew anything about our politics, wraith, then you would be aware that we are outcasts to our kin. They would not aid us even if their lives depended on it."copyright protection7PENANAJxZov1GgCV

            "You are warlords are you not? Take their lands. Surely that would solve the issue." the wraith countered, returning an icy tone to match Luthar's.copyright protection7PENANADlyOz8iXoA

            "And leave my city and its people defenseless against the enemy?" Aldrin questioned. "Honestly wraith, do you not have a mind for strategy? Such an action would draw the enemy here the moment they heard of my departure. I would return to a graveyard, not a city."copyright protection7PENANA3PtC2UGiGk

            "Not if they have to fight through us," the wraith objected. "We are not builders, so we could not repair your walls and keep you out. You know this. Empty your city if you do not trust us. Take the fight to your kin and rebuild. I can hold my army here, secure the city in your absence."copyright protection7PENANAyqSxOnzvEc

            "And what is to stop you from preventing us from reclaiming this city when we returned?" Jade piped up, drawing even Aldrin's gaze. The attention didn't even make her flinch. With a single glance to Aldrin and his reassuring nod, she returned her gaze to the wraith.copyright protection7PENANArixZ778p5w

            "I beg your pardon?! Who is this?!" the wraith looked taken aback, not having noticed Jade until now.copyright protection7PENANA09ltLoosH4

            "Who I am is the least of your concern," Jade replied before anyone else could speak. "Now, I ask again, what is going to stop you from denying us the right to reclaim this city, when we returned from this conquest?"copyright protection7PENANAMfvFNk3mPH

            "Why you insolent fool!" the wraith screeched. "I will have you know I have never broken a contract!"copyright protection7PENANAygZ6g6eowj

            "Really, so then this whole deal of yours is not at all a means to force us out of this plane and into the mortal world, as a means of stopping the raids? Seems to me the only reason these human champions keep attacking is to draw us out. Confronting them would only serve to walk right into a potential ambush. Yet, if you were to miraculously convince us to leave, they would have no reason to continue the raids here," Jade argued. "As it appears to me, you are just trying to find a way to save your ghostly necks, more than solve the problem."copyright protection7PENANAUwsg0eEoHl

            The wraith fell silent. The air in the room felt thinner. Aldrin could feel the tension. Jade was not wrong though. Leaving could cause them more harm than good. "Tell you what. If you have a reasonable offer to make that will benefit us both, without the risk of backstabbing or resulting in us losing this city, we can talk about a treaty. Until then, the mortals are your problem until they foolishly try to attack us here again. This time, we will be ready for them. Escort our guest out of the city." Aldrin commanded to the guards.copyright protection7PENANAtuBY9oicL8

            The guards turned, blocking the wraith from the throne. For a moment, the creature hesitated as the ghostly eyes would not leave Jade. With a glance towards Andras, the wraith bowed, turned as it rose and walked away. The guards escorted the wraith out in silence, closing the great doors behind them as they did so. There was a long moment of silence before someone spoke. "That went well." Andras commented, relaxing her strained muscles.copyright protection7PENANAUkpTrF0G4x

            "Well played, Jade. I admit I did not expect that even from you." Karen complimented, leaning forward with a heavy sigh.copyright protection7PENANAZZ3sf3HTso

            "Was I wrong? No matter what deal we made with him, he could easily turn it against us and remove all his problems Let him deal with the mortals for now. That puts them between us." Jade pressed.copyright protection7PENANAfVSQT2fce0

            "Maybe, but he is not wrong." Aldrin sighed, "If we can not replenish our numbers then we are going to have more than just the mortals to worry about. All that has held him back was our numbers. Now we lost that advantage. It would take time for the wraiths to muster the full extent of their forces but within a week, we could be besieged again. That gives us a small window of opportunity—"copyright protection7PENANAl8lK2Mq3su

            "To attack the covens?" Luther chimed in. "I will hand it to you brother, even with the week-long opening, that's still risky. We have just barely a thousand warriors. You would need the majority of those numbers to storm even the weakest of the covens. Vampires aside, thralls will be your biggest opposition."copyright protection7PENANAAsuDVJHCD9

            "I know. We won't achieve anything without some risk. That is a given. I will take five hundred of our warriors and Karen with me to assault the covens. Any spare warriors that join our ranks during this campaign can be sent back here. I will entrust you with the city's defense in my absence." Aldrin decided.copyright protection7PENANA1S4UIYWXab

            "As much as I like the plan brother, there is an issue." Karen objected. "If Luthar is not with us, someone is bound to notice."copyright protection7PENANAYvjjgm6Gpy

            "So, how can that possibly be an issue?" Andras chimed in.copyright protection7PENANAbZ1FDWplz2

            "Because, if they caught on that the three of us were not together, it could hinder us. We have built a reputation for sticking together, even on a conquest such as this. If Luthar is discovered absent, then we risk the rumors of his potential death reaching the covens. If they believe, even for a second, that Luthar died or was left behind, then it would be a symbol of our weakness. One they could twist into whatever story they desire to turn the tide against us. The more the enemy believes we are weak, the harder they fight."copyright protection7PENANAuAUzvDxrBI

            "How?! You three are like gods compared to the rest of the vampires. Surely even one of you could do this alone?" Andras countered.copyright protection7PENANACzeWTui0bI

            "We could, had done so from the start," Luthar admitted. "We didn't though. If all three of us are there, the enemy tends to waver before the fight begins. Two of us and they question our strength. One of us and it is likely they will believe we are weak and unable to defend the full extent of our territory. The fact remains that all three of us are a symbol of our power."copyright protection7PENANAynIA3lxsG6

            "So how about I go?" Jade offered. "They are used to just seeing the three of you. How will they react if they see a new face among the shadow-born siblings? Luthar may be absent, but it will raise more caution with a fourth new face."copyright protection7PENANAvbHqKc3hEE

            "Well, she has a point again. Seeing that she did well here today, brother, she could be of use to the campaign." Karen nodded.copyright protection7PENANA0geed8Iw8U

            "I would like to go as well." Andras piped up. "No offense to anyone here, but I would rather stay with Aldrin for this."copyright protection7PENANAfHhXiljPOZ

            Aldrin looked to his brother. "Can you hold this city in my absence?"copyright protection7PENANAVjbDJVPMdu

            "It won't be easy," Luthar admitted. "But I am sure I could manage. You will need to send reinforcements as soon as you can though. Try not to wait longer than a day for the first conquest. Taking them by surprise should give you enough of an advantage."copyright protection7PENANArdKGrYPauY

             "One can hope," Aldrin agreed. "Very well. Jade, Andras, please leave us," Aldrin glanced at both the woman. For a moment, no one moved. Andras was the first to get up. As she walked along the table, Jade remained in her seat. "Jade." Aldrin toned down his voice, lacing it with the same warning he had given her earlier that day.copyright protection7PENANA5KGnHYI0Nw

            "What if I say no?" Jade retorted rebelliously. Karen stood immediately, every fiber of her body warning her to be ready. Aldrin turned to face the woman, slowly standing to his full height, his gaze remained glued to the younger vampire's eyes. Yet, he did nothing. Jade returned the gaze defiantly, unshaken. Her posture remained calm, collected, and relaxed. She was in no way concerned about what Aldrin might do.copyright protection7PENANA0JPbmz7cmk

             "Jade..." Karen opened her mouth to warn the vampire but Aldrin raised his hand immediately to silence her.copyright protection7PENANAGOyrv0pkbU

            "Andras, please leave the room." Aldrin requested calmly. There was an unsettling calmness to the tone that made Andras hesitate. She opened her mouth to speak, only to remain silent as Aldrin shot her a glare. Without further question, Andras hurried out of the room, leaving Aldrin and his siblings alone with Jade. copyright protection7PENANAjgEZDmXlmL

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