Eris hugged Selene as she slept. Lately, she was the one having the bad dreams. He tried not to think much of them, but chills went down his spine when she said they were Vampyres. His sister was no seer, but at every mention of them being Vampyre’s, of their former friends, being turned, of that boy Pietro being shrouded in darkness, he knew there was more to her dreams.
A small part of Eris almost hoped that maybe her runes were driving her mad. But something in his gut told him otherwise.
Selene stirred in his arms, her runes glowing slightly in the dimly lit room. Hugging her tightly, he kissed the top of her head. Eris couldn’t let anything happen to her, not again. Selene was his little sister; without her, he would probably be dead.
Someone knocked on the door causing Eris to wonder who it could be at such a late hour. He silently and carefully slipped out from under her and reached the door. After opening, Eris was stunned to see Azelia on the other side, one of her breathtaking smiles on her face.
“I heard that Selene was having trouble sleeping. I thought I would bring up some tea.” Eris was at a loss for words, so he opened the door wider, letting her walk in. Azelia set the tray on the wooden table by the fireplace, pouring him tea as he sat across from her. Eris couldn’t understand why he felt so nervous around her, couldn’t understand why he was so speechless and clumsy. He barely knew her, yet it felt like he had always known her.
“Do you know why her runes glow like that?” asked Azelia, pointing towards his sister. He looked at his sister, whose breath rose and fell under the thin silk sheets, and shook his head.
“I’m not the right person to ask. I never really paid attention when I was in school.”
“And yet you passed your exams?” Her smile widened and grew more beautiful.
“That’s all because of her. She would drill me incessantly the night before exams. She is my keeper; without her, I probably would not have the rune that I do.”
Azelia let out a little laugh, and Eris looked at Selene, worried she would wake.
“She seems like a powerful soul.” Looking down at her hands folded neatly in her lap, she paused, letting the silence hang in the air. “Eris, I would like to apologize for how I treated Nivette the other day.”
“You should be saying that to her.”
“I will when she returns from her trip.”
“I’m glad. Niv is a good friend, saved me more than once.”
“I understand. Nivette, Niv, is a good person. I see now that she always has been. I was blinded to not have seen it before.”
“Blinded by what?”
Azelia’s cheeks flushed deeply like a dark and beautiful red rose blossoming in the sunlight. “Well, by jealously, of course.” Smiling, he placed a hand gently on hers; for once acting like the gentleman his mother scolded him to be.
Now or never. “Azelia, would you like to go for an evening walk tomorrow night?”
“I would love to.” Azelia stood up, the regret plain on her face. “I should leave; I have other duties to attend to. I just came to see how Selene was fairing, and it would seem she is well, just as long as you are around. She needs you as much as you need her.” She bowed her head, as always, before leaving. Eris sat there staring at the door until a pillow hit the back of his head. Spinning around in his seat, nearly slipping off, he stared at his sister, grateful not to be greeted by a glare but rather a smile, as confusing as it was.
“I’m just glad to wake up and find that your clothes are still on. Proud of you, actually. Mom and Dad would be too.”
“Well, it certainly is gratifying to know that I’m finally measuring up,” he said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
“Well, don’t say it like that. I’ve always stood by you, at the very least. I’ll always stand by you. In any case, I like Azelia.”
“I’m not the one in this room who has a problem with Reborns.”
“How very insightful of you.”
Selene winked at him before laying her head on the fluffy pillows. “You realize now that you must write to Jeanette and end things. I mean, put the nail in the coffin.”
Eris let out an exaggerated groan. “Do I have to? It’s not like we ended on the best of terms.”
“That may be true, but the poor girl still has it in her head that she still loves you. Don’t forget Nivette as well. Oh, look at the bright side; Jeanette is miles away.”
“Huh, that’s true.”
“I see that going very badly.”
“I told you not to get involved, but did you listen? Nope.”
“Can you please do me the courtesy of not saying I told you so?”
“Too late, big brother.” Her lips curled into a mesmerizing smile, and her purple eyes twinkled mischievously. Eris rolled his eyes and looked away.
“Shouldn’t you be getting some sleep?”
“Probably, but I can’t sleep. Come,” Selene said, patting the bed beside her, “sit, talk, and don’t forget the tea. I’m completely parched.” Eris shook his head, dismayed and annoyed, picking up the tray. His sister drove him crazy to no end. Yet, without her, something deep within him told him that he would not survive the life he lived.
Eris felt out of sorts while he waited at the palace door for Azelia with a bouquet of flowers. Never had he acted this way. It used to be that he could and would go up to a girl, kiss her and sweep her off her feet. He had never cared about courting them. Courting? Courting entailed marriage. Why was he suddenly thinking of courting?
He pulled his collar away from his neck, suddenly feeling very hot. He knew Anita, Urit, and Selene were up on the stairs watching, probably even snickering at his plight. Eris felt even hotter and resisted the strong urge to throw down the bouquet of flowers, rip his shirt collar and walk away. Eris tapped his foot against the floor nervously. This was new for him.
“You must relax and think less of what people say about you.” Eris spun around to see Azelia out of her bonnet and uniform. Her smile was breathtakingly simple as usual, and her soft brown loosely braided hair fell over her shoulder, held together by a gold ribbon at the end.
“What makes you think I would trouble myself with such things?”
“Because it’s written all over your face.”
“Hmph.” Eris handed her the bouquet Selene had arranged for him. Eris wanted to kick himself for acting like Blake, all doe-eyed and sheepish. It was the main trait of Blake’s that he disliked the most – his stupid way of flirting always annoyed him. It was no surprise Selene’s attraction never returned.
“The flowers are beautiful, Eris, some of my favorites. Did you pick them?”
“Oh, no, Selene did. She said she had a good feeling about them.”
“Oh.” Eris caught the faltering twitch in her smile. Maybe he should have picked the flowers himself. “Tell her I said thank you.”
“I will.” Eris tucked his hands into his trouser pockets nervously. “So, um, is there a particular place you like to dine at?”
Azelia’s smile brightened. “Oh, very much so.” She wrapped her arm around his, catching him off guard. Eris couldn’t help feeling like he had walked with her like this before. It was comfortable and familiar, more natural than anything was. Being with her felt more right than anything he had with Nivette or Jeanette.
Thinking about what he knew he would do made his stomach turn. He cared for both girls—Nivette more than Jeanette, who cared more about herself. Still, he knew that he would have to end whatever he had between them to pursue whatever this was with Azelia. That sudden thought rang through him, sending electric bolts to his core. He barely knew her.
“Eris, are you all right?”
“Oh yes. Tell me, Azelia, why did you relinquish your Royal Crown?” The question, surprisingly, did not take her by surprise. Eris loved talking to her so much that he quickly forgot about the people whispering around them.
Eris wasn’t surprised to see Selene in his room waiting for him. He sat down at the table and stared her down. She wasn’t even trying to hide her surprise.
“It’s called courting.”
“My, my, I wasn’t aware you knew what that word meant.”
“I do retain some intellect, Selene.”
“Oh, stop glaring. I’m only teasing. I am entitled to it, after all.”
“Explain?” Her eyebrows arched, inquiring if he was asking a serious question.
Eris laughed. “Yes, well, see, that was just amusing.”
“Then you know why I tease. So tell me, how was your date?” she asked in a sing-song voice, continuing her teasing.
Eris shrugged, downplaying the actual greatness of the evening. “It was different. Different from being with Jeanette and different from anything I shared with Nivette. It was, well, wonderful, actually. We spent the whole night talking.”
“Interesting. So what are you going to do about the others?”
Eris groaned. “How fast can you get a message to Jeanette?”
“Depending on the spell I use, it could take up to a few weeks. However—”
“Wind and water. I could send a letter to Jeanette via the wind, which could take a few days to a week, while a water spell would be instantaneous.”
“You need the runes for that, don’t you.” It wasn’t a question but rather an exhausted statement. Her face lit up.
“Aye, brother dear, that I do.”
“Is Anita ready to perform her ceremony?”
“Almost. The real question is, are you? Have you even been studying?” Her eyes slanted, her lips pursed together. It was an adorable and hilarious expression of hers, just as long as you didn’t look in her eyes. Her eyes were the deadliest looking things, hard and cold. Eris plucked a grape from the vine in the ceramic bowl on the table and flicked it at her forehead. She swatted at it carelessly, her concentration breaking.
“Yes, Selene, I know what I need to do. Whenever you’re ready.”
“Now then!” Her purple eye sparkled ecstatically. Eris sighed miserably. He should have said no.
“I know I shouldn’t ask, but I need to. Do you have the supplies?” His head fell back, and he tried not to groan as she excitedly picked up the bag hidden underneath her chair. Yup, he definitely should have said no.
Blood Hunger (Eclipsing Trilogy, #1)
Eris and Selene Sintas thought their menial Witching lives were simple. That was until the magical barrier protecting their small town vanished in the night, attracting not just the Vampyre’s that go bump in the night. Suddenly, the two siblings discover that they have been dragged into a war between the sisters of light and darkness.
Now, hunted by creatures stronger than Vampyre’s and far more evil, the Sintas Siblings must find refuge before they lose their souls to the Goddess of Darkness.
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