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Dark Fate of the Crimson Princess(Breeder#8)

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Blurb

His fingers gently closed around the back of my neck, causing the nape of my neck to burst into waves of euphoria trickling throughout my body. He kissed me again with a fiery passion that left me breathless. “What do you like?”

“I just want to remember my last night with you.”

My name is Daphne Crimson. As a little girl, I thought my life would unfold like a fairytale. But falling in love with the shifter who kidnapped me for a blood sacrifice to a dark witch was not where I thought my tale would lead. “Daphne, I’m sorry. ”

“How many times do I have to hear that from you? I was too blind to see it before but if I stay with you I’m as good as dead. So kill me now, or let me go.”He took a half step back, his eyes glinting with a hint of tears, drifting from mine to my pregnant belly.

“This is best and you know it,” I said, turning from the heartbreak in his eyes and go away.

Dark Fate of the Crimson Princess is created by Alice Knightsky, an eGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.

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Chapter 1 : Captured
Daphne “Once upon a time, there was a kingdom ruled by a wise and brave king who had a secret–he was a werewolf. Every full moon, he would transform into a fearsome beast and roam the forests, hunting for prey. He was careful not to harm any of his subjects, but he also feared that they would discover his true nature and reject him." I held the hand of my younger brother, Rhys, that night as I read from a book of fairy tales. Whether or not he could hear those fairy tales was another matter entirely. He had been in a coma for some time now. Days, weeks, months? His chest rose and fell but otherwise, he may as well have been a lifeless doll for me to cling to. The bedroom door opening startled me. I turned. Our mother stood in the doorway. Unlike my chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes, she had silver eyes with flakes of blue. Her hair was white, but not from old age. As with every other White Queen who had used their powers given by the Moon Goddess, she was born with it. Rhys much more closely resembled our dark-haired father, who had amber eyes with red flakes. “How is he?" she asked with a careful smile. Her eyebrows creased. I rolled my eyes. “What do you think? He hasn't moved in a whole week." I cringed the moment the words left my mouth and muttered “Sorry. I'm just frustrated that he hasn't woken up yet." She nodded, understanding, and moved into the room. She seemed careful, as though moving around me would trigger an explosive. Maybe I had been too touchy lately. I wasn't like this usually. Normally, I was easygoing or having a laugh with my little brother. My disposition slipped as I glanced at the pale hand I clung to. I let it fall on the soft, red and gold comforter sheet and stood up. “Have you picked out an outfit, Daphne?" she asked. I blinked and wondered what she could be talking about. When the confused silence went on long enough, she added, “For the ball tonight?" I groaned and sank into the chair next to Rhys's bed. “Do I have to go? I want to sit in here. It's comfortable and, more importantly, not boring." She frowned. “You're our daughter. It's your responsibility to be visible during important events. Your older sisters are away at school right now. It is very important for your father, and me, that you go tonight." “How can we throw a ball when we have this—" I indicated Ryhs. “... going on?" She sighed, exhausted from this conversation we'd had many times before. It wore us both down, but her more than me. I wasn't about to give up on my little brother, and I couldn't afford the luxury of hopelessness. Maybe she could if she was going to throw another stupid ball. “We are doing everything we can." She repeated the phrase she had been telling me ever since he fell into a coma. “No." I shook my head and stood up. “No you're not. You're letting him waste away. You're letting him become a vegetable." I felt myself choke up and stopped. Her eyes glazed over with threatening tears. They did that every time we discussed this topic too much. She bent down toward Rhys and touched his forehead, pushing away a lock of his dark hair to reveal his pale forehead. Although she was the White Queen, there was really nothing she could do for him. It angered me how powerless we both were to his ailment. She reached over to Rhys's bedside table and rang the bell connecting to the downstairs servant's quarters. “There is a maid coming to your room to help you pick out an outfit and makeup for the evening. I advise you to go there if you don't want to skip dinner." I groaned and left the room, glancing over my shoulder at Rhys as I left. I made it to my room just as my maid, Pepper, approached the door. She was small and timid with blonde hair and blue eyes. “Hi, Daphne," she said. I was polite and acknowledged her, but didn't want to engage in small talk other than to pick out an outfit. “Hi, can you start my bath?" I walked past her into my room. The room was a little messier than I was used to, which annoyed me a little. Pepper was new, but she should know to straighten up every once in a while. As though she read my thoughts, she bustled past me and haphazardly picked up random items from the floor. “No, don't worry about that." I waved her off. “Just run the bath." “Yes," she said, flustered and red faced. I felt bad for her, and walked over to take her hands in mine. “Hey, it's okay… one thing at a time." She smiled, her scrunched shoulder line relaxed. “Okay." I let her go. While she ran the bath, I strolled through my walk-in closet. I preferred to have a say in what I wore, even though I knew my mom probably instructed her to “suggest" a dress that went along with her agenda of what would be appropriate to wear. “It's ready!" Pepper called from the bathroom. The smell of roses and peppermint, my favorite combination, wafted from the bathroom door as I walked through. “I'll pick out your dress and lay it on the bed," she said on her way out, and she closed the door behind her. Water dripped from the faucet, and the splashes echoed. I felt alone without my little brother to have fun with during the day, and being behind closed doors only reminded me how alone I was. I sighed, shrugging off the thought, and dipped into the warm bath water. As I washed myself, I considered the ball and all of its pomp and circumstance over literally nothing. We had so many that I'd lost the reason we even had them to begin with. Part of me wondered why, but the other part just wanted it to be over with so I could read Rhys a story before going to bed. Before I got out to dry off, I lay in the bath water, waiting until the waters stilled themselves, and sat in silence. After that, I got out of the tub and rubbed myself down with a towel, powdered my body, and spritzed some rose perfume before entering my room. On the bed, as promised, lay a ball gown. Pepper sat on the servant's chair near the bathroom door, reading. It was a pleasant, soft shade of pastel blue, like the color of a bird's egg. Jewels sewn into the material glittered like sapphires, bright, twinkling, but also mature and luxurious. I didn't mind blue–I preferred yellow–but I knew why Pepper had chosen it, and that made me nervous. It complimented my complexion, according to my mom, and blue was the color I wore to balls when suitors were going to be in the crowd. I groaned, and that caught her attention. She perked up from her book and smiled. “Ready?" “Sure," I sighed. I dropped my towel and let her pull on some underthings before fitting the corset around my waist and tying it. I hated those things. It made it so hard to breathe. “Looks like the wolves are out tonight," I joked. She was behind me, but I could hear the frown in her voice when she asked, “Beg your pardon?" “My mother has suitors planned for me, doesn't she? Why else would I be wearing this color?" She laughed nervously, and that was my answer. After fitting me into my shoes, a matching pair of slip-on heels that made it so the dress wouldn't drag on the floor, I was ready. I made it to the balustrade atop the ballroom. The stairway looked miles long, and I had half a mind to pretend that I twisted my ankle and go back to the room to be with Rhys, but I knew my mom would not tolerate that. I picked her out amidst the crowd of socialites chatting amongst themselves, holding champagne flutes and silver plates of exotic meats, cheeses, and imported fruits. A band played in the far corner, surrounded by wine-colored velvet drapes trailing from the ceiling. Despite the music, the crowd made a horseshoe shape, leaving the center an open space of polished marble. No one was inebriated enough to dance yet, I guessed, and I made my way down the steps. I slithered into the crowd and walked through the gaps of chattering guests. The smell of alcohol mingling with cheese and sausage on their collective breath made me gag a little as I passed through, so I swiped a glass off a tray from a passing servant and drained half the flute. By the time I reached my mom, it was gone, and I approached her with it. She spoke to a guy my age. He was scruffy, and like everyone else, he wore a gaudy mask covering over his eyes. It was a masquerade ball, my mom's favorite theme for parties. I supposed she liked the mystery. “Hi Daphne!" she said, and from the look she gave me, I knew she had taken note of the alcohol but chosen to ignore it. I was hoping it would get me sent to my room for being a bad girl. No such luck–instead, she gently ushered the guy in my direction. “Daphne, this is Geoffrey. He's a son of the Alpha from the Pomeni Pack." I shook his sweaty hand. He was tall and lean and a little too pale, but an Alpha's son. I tried to hide my cringe but noticed my gaze drifting to a young man in the crowd. He stood alone, tall, and just as his eyes locked on mine and a strange curiosity tugged at me, my mother pulled me close to her. “Go dance with him," my mother whispered in my ear. So I did. Geoffery did most of the talking and I went along with it, nodding at the appropriate times, laughing at terrible jokes, every so often glancing at the young man standing all alone. Before I knew it, the song was over and Geoffrey was swept away by an eager girl. I glanced around and found the young man again near the punch bowl and made my way toward him. He wore a strapping opalescent cream-white vest and a white undershirt beneath a dark blue blazer. His slacks matched his blazer and he wore shiny dress shoes. His mask was different from the others–it was made of black dark bluish-green mallard feathers and black rhinestones. The bridge of its nose formed a sharp beak. Beneath that, I found full lips, tanned skin, and stubble outlining a rugged jawline. “You know, not too many people like bird masks at these masquerade balls," I said as I neared him. “I suppose I don't like being ordinary," he said. His voice was buttery smooth, deep, and quiet. It was difficult to hear him amidst the chaotic music and talking, but it was a pleasure when I did hear it. “Where are you from?" I asked. His eyes wandered when he spoke, searching, but came back to me glinting with so kind of mischief. “Around." I rolled my eyes, but laughed. “Okay, mysterio." “I prefer it that way. It keeps life interesting." It went quiet between us. I watched his movements and he seemed to watch mine. “Care to dance?" he said. I smiled and offered my arm. He took my fingers in a tender but firm grip before he swung me around in a gentle twirl. “What brings you here tonight?" I asked as we danced. He spun me by my fingertips and reeled me in close to his chest. His cologne was spicy and chocolaty. “You." My cheeks warmed, but I looked down as a pleasant shiver rushed over me. We continued to dance. Others around us closed in, thickening the air and heating things up. The air around me warmed, and my neck felt like a hot plate. The corset was definitely not helping. I had to stop and fan myself. “Hey, it's super hot in here. Mind moving this conversation outside?" he said before I could begin gasping for breath. “Would I." I sighed in relief. “Let me show you to the gardens." He served us both a goblet of punch each before I led him out into the night, where the light of the full moon fell on the marble statues of nude bodies and a bubbling fountain. I breathed in the clear night air. “What's your name?" I asked. “Rion." “I'm Daphne." “I know." He kept his head down as we walked on the path outlined with rose bushes and creeping vines that formed a canopy overhead. Fairy lights twinkled in the branches, but that was the only source of light other than the moon. “I'm so glad to be out of there," I said. “Where would you rather be?" “Honestly? In the palace with my younger brother. He's been in a coma for a while now, and I'm worried sick." He paused and looked up at me. Behind the mask, I saw his steely gray eyes softening. “I hope he gets better soon." I smiled. “So do I." He handed me one of the goblets and as I took mine, he raised his and said, “To your brother's health." “To Rhys's health." I drank and then gulped, suddenly very thirsty, and finished off the goblet. I felt thirstier and a little lightheaded. The world around me swam and I took a tumble to the ground. “What's happening?" I heard my own voice muffled in my ears. The last thing I saw was Rion bending down toward me before everything went black.

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