Chapter 17: Bequeathal

“A spell so that you won’t ever smell?” I asked him in disbelief.

He nodded and gave me a peck. “Yes. Two hundred years ago, I went there and I met her. She explained to me about a spell, which I became interested in, of course. At first, I couldn’t believe that she was a witch. I thought she was just some local who approached me to make a living. But she didn’t even ask me for money.

“So what did she ask from you?” I was curious why that woman helped Haunter.

“It was weird though. She just asked me to send her home lots of charcoal and squash,” he answered thoughtfully. His beautiful brows were knitted together in deep thought as he recalled those times.

I was awed by that. She was truly a witch then, to ask something like that. And she, too, had a sigbin for a pet. No doubt about that. Those were Creep’s favorite food because they tasted exotic and crunchy, according to him. But now, he seldom ate them because I couldn’t find them easy in this part of the world. I thought that I’d reward him soon with either of those two. But pumpkins could also be a good substitute for Creep’s diet. Before I’d get sidetracked even more, I asked him something important.

“Where was she from? From Lazi? Did she tell you?

“Well, now that you mentioned it, yeah. She did tell me that place.” He nodded as he replied.

I blinked. It brought some memories to me, too, both good and bad. And maybe Haunter met that witch then. But maybe not. There were many witches there that, in fact, I made friends and enemies with.

“I was there. It was a mountain area. I met Creep’s mistress there,” I told him and thought about that poor witch.

“Really? But I was never there. I just happened to meet that witch who helped me with my curse.” He smiled kindly.

“So, did you pay her back?” I queried, still curious.

“Of course. I gave her my word. For centuries, I had a wolf stationed there just to supply her with what she needed and everything that she needed.” Then he sighed. It was like almost a silent lament.

“Well, what happened to her?” There were lines that formed between my brows.

“I didn’t know. And until now, I don’t know. One day, the wolf I stationed there—Convel—just reported to me that the witch died, killed by some other witch it seemed when he investigated.

That dug something in my memory and heart. “Really? That was how Creep’s mistress died, too. A scorned witch killed her,” I admitted to him.

He looked at me with interested eyes. “What was Creep’s mistress’ name?

“Her name was Anita.

“What?” he asked in disbelief, and I turned again to face him.

I shook my head. “Don’t tell me that was the witch who helped you.” Was it truly destiny that I met Haunter? That our fates were entangled like this? That Dena had nothing to do with it?

He nodded. “Yes, and she had a younger sister named Dalia.

I bit my lower lip upon hearing that name. I closed my hands tightly for a moment. Dalia was one of the enemies I made back then. But I didn’t want to think about her right now.

“You met her?

“Once,” he confirmed with a short nod. “She was also beautiful. But I liked Anita more because she was kind, helpful, and unselfish.

I nodded. Yes, that was true. That was why at the time, I couldn’t believe Dalia was her sister. They were totally polar opposites. That was also the reason why Creep didn’t want to stay there after his mistress died—or rather murdered. Until now, I couldn’t forgive who did it to Anita, even though I already killed the culprit to avenge her.

I took a deep breath. I didn’t want to think about the past. I didn’t want to dig it up tonight especially that Creep seemed to forget that bitter past of his life. He just loved Anita so much!

“Thank you for telling me, Haunter. And… I want to ask a favor. Please don’t tell Creep. At least not yet. Not now.

“You think I didn’t hear your conversation with him?” Creep’s thought reached to me at the right moment.

I sighed then. “Yeah, right. How can I be so stupid that you won’t find out?” I answered him.

He sighed as well. “At least her death was avenged. And I thank you for that, Saber,” he said though.

The corners of my eyes went hot with unshed tears. I was sad at the time Anita left the world of the living and even now when I thought about it. It was a life put to waste. Anita could’ve helped more people, more dark beings like us. But someone decided to end it because of greed and more.

“You don’t need to thank me, Creep. It was for both of us, anyway. Anita was my friend,” I replied.

Haunter sensed that I had a telepathic conversation with my familiar and merely caressed my arms tenderly. I took a deep breath, inhaling the lavender and jasmine scent of the bath bubbles.

“I think it’s time for us to change,” I told Haunter, giving him a smack kiss.

He agreed and helped me get up. He reached out for the clean, big, and fluffy white towel that was hanging on its handle, which was attached on the white-tiled wall.


Everyone was dressed and well-groomed. The men wore a three-piece suit with either a bow tie or a necktie wrapped around their neck. I was surprised to see Zurko’s hair wasn’t spiky tonight. He let his hair down neatly. Ataru had a new look, too. His hair was caught in a low ponytail. As for Haunter’s red hair, he gathered it into a man bun. He really looked gorgeous right now I could swoon.

As for Sephora, she looked sophisticated with her updo, wearing a one-shouldered green gown, waist cinched with jeweled belt, paired with blue open toe high-heeled shoes. Ji-Yun looked cute as she wore a simple but unique turquoise mesh mini-dress paired with strapped high-heeled shoes. Meanwhile, Crina looked beautiful in her lace and sequined black dress paired with high-heeled boots. And me, I wore the one that Haunter chose for me earlier, which displayed the sides of my two braless breasts. My hair was colored blond and curled, which would be both gone in the next shower.

Haunter’s eyes were full of desire, pride, and love as he gazed at me that I thought he wouldn’t have made me go out if this wasn’t a special evening for us.

When we got down, a shiny black limousine was already waiting for us. Semele was there and was also dressed beautifully in a delicate scoop mermaid floor-length soft pink dress. She looked at me approvingly, and when everyone was seated, she also got into the vehicle.

“You all look wonderful tonight,” she complimented us.

Sephora smirked with a bored look on her face. The others and I smiled at the woman who just spoke.

“What is this party all about anyway?” Ji-Yun asked curiously. Her eyes shone with excitement. “I’d never been to a party wearing like this!

Semele smiled kindly at the innocent young lady. I wondered if she liked Ji-Yun as food just like I did. Well at first but not anymore. I truly cared for this kid as I got to know her better. The young girl just gave me some refreshment, saying, “Just in case you need it tonight.” She is quite a perceptive kid. I adore her.

“Of course you haven’t!” Semele said meaningfully.

Ji-Yun’s smile faded.

“I’d never been to a party dressed like this, too,” I honestly said, and Ji-Yun looked at me with interested eyes. But I didn’t meet them. “I always prefer by myself with Creep,” I added.

Semele looked at my familiar who was in a form of a well-dressed handsome man. Of course, as Crina’s escort for the night.

“Hmm, yes. I heard about your familiar, too. You’ve always been together for decades now. Doesn’t it make the wolf worried or jealous?” she asked reminiscently. Her gaze went to my beloved wolf.

I glanced at Haunter who smiled at the other woman confidently. “Why would I? Creep is just a friend to her. Besides, Saber hasn’t met someone like me in her entire life.” He winked at me with eloquent meaning, which made me smile. I held his hand and squeezed it a little. He brought it up to kiss the back of it, making my entire body tingle. His lips held a promise that turned me on. I cleared my throat as I tore my gaze from my blue-eyed lover.

Semele raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything. The rest of the short trip was quiet. The vehicle stopped at last. I realized we were on Gianicolo hill when we got off. I wasn’t here before but I heard that the panoramic view of the Eternal City along the Aurelian walls was the best. I walked with my hand resting in the crook of Haunter’s arm. The air was significantly electrifying because of the presence of countless vampires—and powerful ones at that—here.

There were Medjays everywhere while I haven’t spotted a single ninja. But I was sure now that they were just somewhere, camouflaged in the surrounding, close by or at a considerable distance. I knew some familiar faces here and there, but mostly, I hadn’t had the chance to have met them before.

We were being checked for weapons by some vampire security. Haunter’s eyes narrowed when the bald vampire doing it clearly made a pass at me. However, neither I nor he complained to avoid an ugly situation. But his growl was audible, which made the vampire stop for going further.

“Are you enjoying this too much, vamp?” I heard Sephora’s icy but disgusted voice. Her annoyance showed in her eyes, though. I saw the vamp deliberately caress the sides of her breasts.

“You’re clear, user,” the vampire chuckled and shook his head.

All eyes were shifted on me and Haunter. Some vamps gave us an open disgusted look. Perhaps it was because of Vesh’s smell. Note to self, I should tell Haunter to hide his wolves’ odor to be advantageous for them as well. A vampire could always tell that there is a wolf somewhere merely because of their scent. It is because we have enhanced senses. Although it is the same for the wolves, they are used to their packmate’s scents and their perception is way different than ours. The vamps, in contrary, are just too selective for beautiful and good things, including scents, that is.

Before I decided to look at the breathless view of Rome’s gem of a city, we let Semele guide us toward the Dark Empress who was seated at an elevated platform that was surrounded with Medjays, which clearly set her apart from other guests tonight. She looked different tonight. It was a sweetheart neckline silver gown that somehow projected a gothic image, which suited her best. She did look powerful and beautiful with makeup. I noted on the barbed wire-designed diamond necklace she wore that glinted in the evening lights.

I slightly bowed my head, and so did the others who followed my lead, to greet her. She gave me a small toothless smile and beckoned me to come closer. I glanced at Natassa who was not so far away from the Dark Empress and nodded, which was a hint that it was fine for me to come up to the most powerful being in the Dark World. Well, metaphorically speaking I guess, given the conflicts within for gaining power.

I left the others behind, waiting for me as I quietly speak with the Dark Empress who signaled a Medjay to give me a seat next to her. The other guests turned to look at us with interested and suspicious eyes. Others looked at me with envy. I couldn’t blame them. It was like the Dark Empress flaunted me in front of them. But why? For what? I suspected everyone already knew I separated from Dena’s clan. I wondered what the meaning of this was. But maybe I’d know soon.

“I know you told me to stay away…” I started to blurt out though.

The Dark Empress touched my arm, so I stopped blabbering. “I know you mean well. I’ve said this to you when we first met. And I excuse you for not staying away from me even though I told you not to be by my side because it would be dangerous for you and me. So, I have thought this through, Saber,” she said in a cool, quiet, and authoritative voice.

I waited for her to continue. However, she seemed to not be speaking anymore. I glanced at Haunter and the others who stood in front of us, some paces away. I swallowed before I looked at the Dark Empress again. I felt that there was something off. I wondered what it was though.

After a second or two, I saw Orfeo who seemed to materialize somewhere and he stepped closer. He bowed to the Dark Empress, and he took the opposite side where Natassa was standing, on my left side. I noticed that Ettore and Semele stood side by side as well with the respective elders they were serving.

I didn’t get what was happening. But I thought it was merely to stand by the Dark Empress who was the host of this party. Perhaps, she had some ulterior motive for doing this, which I would find out later or sooner. That I’m sure.

I watched as the Dark Empress gazed at her guests. Some had with them their animal familiars, too. They all quite enjoyed themselves. It was like a normal party wherein our kind could enjoy like people do when they are at a party.

Haunter though didn’t stay too far away from me, while the others mingled with new or old acquaintances. Ji-Yun was pretty enjoying her first time at an event like this as well. Creep and Crina had a conversation with some vampires and their familiars.

The drinking of blood taken from obviously the blood banks around this country was taken advantage of by every vampire during this social occasion. Well, except me and the Dark Empress as well as the elders and their bodyguards. It was clear that the blood was all for the guests.

I smiled at Haunter when I caught his eye. He smiled back and merely looked on, watching the vampire kind having a good time. I knew that he and Vesh were the only wolves around here but it appeared that they belonged here, and yet still someone outside looking in. I noticed a lady vampire that I didn’t recognize approach Haunter. My smile faded, giving the bitch a sharp look.

“Can I have some of your time alone?” the beautiful and sexy dark-haired vampire asked my wolf boyfriend.

I balled my hands into fists, thinking if this vampire hadn’t seen me and Haunter arrived together with Semele and the others or that she was just playing dumb and was trying to aggravate or provoke me in this way. I was about to move away from my seat when the Dark Empress’ hand touched mine. I looked at her almost snappily.

“In a moment, the bequeathal ceremony is going to take place,” she informed me in a whisper.

I looked at her with confusion. Bequeathal ceremonies were rarely performed. It was when the Dark Empress would either abdicate or merely taking precautions. The ceremony was an act wherein the next Dark Empress was chosen and supported by loyalists of the reigning crown. However, The Six Elders must be present if that should happen. And right now, I only knew two of them were present, minus one that I killed not so long ago. Therefore, we were missing three of the other elders. Another puzzle to me was that the Dark Empress didn’t reprimand me about it. I looked down guiltily. I should brace myself if she would punish me here despite of the bequeathal ceremony.

This ceremony was going to be performed and considered if at least the majority of The Six Elders was present. It’d clearly mean that the majority would truly support the chosen one. Right now, I wondered if Natassa was the one. She was close to the Dark Empress and she was one of The Six Elders. It was very obvious, if she was indeed the chosen one to take the throne next. But if and when this bequeathal should happen, this would mean chaos and more conflicts in the Dark World. I suddenly felt restless somehow. In my guts, I believed there’s something going to happen tonight.

“I will support you whatever your decision is.” I nodded at the Dark Empress and gave her a reassuring smile.

I shifted my gaze again at Haunter who was now alone. I raised an eyebrow at him, and he just smiled and winked at me. I didn’t catch what he said to that vampire lady as the Dark Empress snatched my attention.

My eyes roamed around to watch the users, Ji-Yun, Creep, Vesh, and Crina who were still busy chatting with their respective groupmates. It was odd to see them socializing like this. But then they deserved to enjoy themselves once in a while.

A few moments later, my eyes caught Andrea. She moved like a flower dancing in the breeze. She was really graceful. She caught men’s attention with her gold-colored night gown that made her even more beautiful. She smiled at me as she raised a glass of blood before taking a sip of it. I only gave her a small nod without a smile.

I wondered how this night would end if the said bequeathal ceremony should really take place tonight.

Suddenly, I felt another strong powerful electrifying effect coming nearer and fast. It was like lightning. My attention automatically snapped in that direction. There I saw him together with his massive bodyguards. He was a tall, well-built middle-aged man in human life, and very attractive. I knew that he was even older than Dena. He wore a dramatic cape of black and red. He was like that very popular Vlad The Impaler Țepeș or better known as Count Dracula. In truth, that cruel man was a prince during his time. Pity he was not able to rule long enough as he should have.

The powerful newcomer slightly bowed to the Dark Empress, and his dark eyes settled on my face. At first, they just looked at mine before they traveled from my head to my chest and back to my face. I couldn’t see his reaction. He had that poker face. Then, he looked at the Dark Empress again.

“I haven’t seen you for a century, my Dark Empress. It made this unbeating heart excited to see you here tonight in my home country,” his voice was cooler and deeper compared to Orfeo’s. And he had that Italian accent.

“I thought you’d never attend my important party, Sansone. It’s good to see yourself, too,” the Dark Empress replied in a formal tone but stiff.

I could see that she was merely being civil with this elder. So, this was Sansone. I wondered what their score was. It was quite… interesting. Were they involved in the past? I mean, were they intimate? Now I wondered about the Dark Empress’ love life. No one had ever heard of it. Was she just being careful in having a lover? I’d doubt that she had no intimate relationships for living a very long life. Besides, she was the Dark Empress. Every male vampire must want her bed, too, right?

Now I also wondered when I would ever meet all these elders that could make or break the Dark Empress if needed. It was very important that they support her and that she should discipline them in turn to make the Dark World peaceful and could live with human beings in harmony.

Sansone smiled, which was more like an evil smirk. His cold gaze strayed in my direction again but I didn’t flinch, even though it somehow sent shivers down my spine. My back went rigid. I just realized how powerful he could be, for making me feel like this.

I don’t like it. All my senses are in alert mode.

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