One: Adrian

I looked at the new vampires of Harlow Empire and I could tell how nervous they all looked. It was not something easy to be taken from your human life and get thrown into the world of vampires in a matter of a day or two. Such a traumatic experience if you would ask me.

Each Empire was named according to the name of its founder. The founder of my empire was Jonathan Harlow; thus, the empire was called Harlow Empire.

Every five years, there was a choosing ceremony that took place in each empire. All humans ranging from the age of twenty to thirty were brought and the smartest, strongest, and most beautiful ones got chosen. The chosen ones would get bitten by the emperor and a few selected vampires, then new vampires were to be born.

"Hello everyone, I'm Adrian Harlow, the emperor of Harlow Empire. I know that your life is about to change a lot and you probably know the rules by now, but let me recite them again for you to clear up any misunderstanding," I started my speech. I could tell how nervous they looked and since I could read minds, I knew how afraid and confused most of them were. How could I blame them for being in that state? Some might think that they should be glad for being snatched away from the life of slavery, yet I understood where the fear stemmed from. I was once in their shoes and I know the thoughts that ran through their mind. 

Each one was probably thinking about their loved ones, how they’d treat one another, and how things were going to change. Partners were separated, children left their parents and even mothers left their children. Laws needed to be reformed. As much as I hated to admit that even to myself, I had to confess that the system was cruel. 

"The newborn vampires get trained for five years by experts to teach them how to use their gifts and how to defend themselves and attack others. After those five years, vampires bearing one gift take their jobs as commoners, vampires bearing two gifts receive extra training to prepare them to take over the important positions in the empire in case one of the already positioned ones gets sick or old or even wants to retire and vampires bearing three gifts receive the hardest training to prepare them to be emperors, even if the years of governance of the emperor have not finished yet, he has not grown old yet or he has not gotten sick. Vampires are known to always be ready and we like to be prepared for any surprise events," I explained to them the basic rules and they all nodded their heads.

"No, I'd like to hear your voices! Am I clear?" I said as I walked back and forth in front of them. They had to speak up. They had to get out of their shells. They had to abandon the dark thoughts that were consuming their minds. 

"Yes, sir," they shouted as they were probably told before by the officers about how to address me and I nodded my head in approval. 

"During the creation of vampires, two or more newbie vampires may obtain three gifts and in that case, after all of the hard training that they undergo, they go through a battle and the strongest one will be announced as the heir of the throne and same goes to other important positions. However, it may sometimes happen that during the Creation ceremony, no vampires of three gifts are born," I told them, doing my best to be as clear as possible. Their eyes were fixed on me. Some were curious, some were scared. 

"Does anybody have any question?" I asked them and one of the girls slowly raised her hand. "What is it?"

"Am I going to be able to control my hunger for blood? I don't want to kill anybody by mistake," she asked me with worry written all over her face. She didn’t know that killing might become a joy to her. She didn’t need to know that yet. She didn’t need all of the unnecessary information at that time. 

"No need to worry about that, you'll not be in contact with any humans until you're fully trained to control yourself," I assured her. I wasn’t lying to her. They were going to be isolated until they could control themselves to ensure the safety of humans around the castle. However, I was certain that she’d understand later that human blood was way better than animal blood, especially if it was from the vein. I was glad for the rules that controlled our hunger for human blood. She thanked me for answering her and after that, one of the officers guided them to their temporary place of residence until they gained self-control over themselves.

"Sir, we are ready to go," Roland, the army general, and my friend, informed me. We were about to invade an Empire that its emperor decided to challenge me and I decided to put him in his right place.

"Coming," I told him and started walking with him to the cars, "And stop calling me sir when we are alone. Just do it when we're among others."

"I get confused sometimes." He chuckled as we both got in the same car and Eleanor tagged along with us. I refused to have any driver with us since the three of us were basically friends and I wanted us to be more comfortable. I got in the driver's seat while Roland sat in the passenger's seat and Eleanor took the back one.

"Let's take that conceited asshole down." Eleanor smirked as she closed the door.

"Come on Ellie, we're just going to teach him a lesson." I laughed a little as I started the car and drove off.


Two and a half hours later, I reached Dawson Empire. I was never the one to start trouble. I liked to keep everything to myself, but I had the tendency to teach those who challenge me a lesson, so they’d know who they were dealing with.  

My powers made me the strongest and they made people fear me. However, I had learned that it was vital to be extra cautious because when you are strong, people always want to get closer to you, either to bring you down or to take advantage of your powers, so I made sure to keep my enemies close and my friends closer– if you could even call them friends– I had learned not to trust anybody easily, I had learned to be ready all the time. I made the mistake of trusting people once and I paid the price; it was way more than I could ever afford.

After I had done my job at the empire of that idiot who thought that he could never be defeated, claiming that his three powers could easily surpass my five powers, I took a walk in his castle with Roland, the Supreme General of my army; Eleanor, the witch who always accompanied me in my invasions and a few soldiers. 

According to the law, the vampire emperor was allowed to take a witch with him in his invasions after the witch would give the needed consent. However, the witch shall not be hurt under any circumstances or the emperor would face the consequences, and also the one who hurt her would face consequences as well. So we all knew better than to harm a witch.

As we were walking around, searching for anything we could take, not because I needed anything, but because I wanted to take away his precious possessions, so he could learn not to challenge me again, I saw a door that looked firmly locked. I stopped in front of the door and tried to open it by kicking it or pushing it; however, it did not budge. I looked at Roland and gave him the way to use his extra strength power. Roland tried opening it, but he also failed. It was something weird because Roland was so strong and nothing like that had ever been an obstacle before him; his power of extreme strength helped him to be chosen as the Supreme General.

"It's locked with a spell, give me the way," Eleanor told us and we all moved aside, letting her do her magic tricks. She placed her right palm on the door and started muttering something none of us understood, but whatever she said was strong enough to unlock the door.

"Thanks, Eleanor." I nodded at her and walked inside slowly with Roland right by my side. The room was square-shaped, its length was the same size as its width. It had a slight unpleasant smell and it looked gloomy and dirty. Its walls were rusty and the paint was peeling off. I looked around the room with a frown on my face and saw a small figure chained to the wall at the very end of the room that my eyes did not catch when I first entered; a girl was chained to the wall. I walked towards her and as I approached her, I could see how worn out she looked. Her body was all bruised up and wounded; I bet she had a few broken bones here and there along with the scattered gashes on her pale body. Weakness and pain were evident on her strained body. What was her crime? What did she do to receive such treatment?  

"Hey... hey you," I said, trying to lift up her tilted face that was completely covered by her extremely long hair. She looked lifeless. I could hear her weak breaths, but they also indicated that she might die at any second.

"What are you waiting for?" I looked at my soldiers, "Unchain her," I ordered them. Two soldiers walked towards her, yet once they touched her chains, they all shouted out in pain and jumped back.

"What's so special about her to make him take all of these precautions?" Roland wondered and trust me; I also had the same question. She seemed pretty normal and weak.

After Eleanor examined the chains, she told us that they were protected with a strong spell and it would take time to break them.

"You may proceed, Eleanor," I told her, and she gave me a nod. The relationship between Eleanor and I was not usually this formal, but we decided to keep it that way on missions. We were actually friends, I only trusted her and Roland. Of all the people I was surrounded with, I had never found anyone more trustworthy than the two of them.

"Why do you care so much? I think you have got enough slaves," Roland asked me and I honestly had no answer for that. Why on earth was I attracted to a beaten-up girl that would most probably die before we even reach my empire? Something about her made me hold on to her; I did not even know her name.

After almost an hour, Eleanor was finally able to uncast the spells. The soldiers went to unchain her, but I stopped them and went to do it myself. I knew that my actions were weird since they were not accustomed to me doing anything like that, but I did not mind. I wanted to do it myself.

I started to take off the chains on her legs first. They were rusty, so they managed to cut her skin. I looked at her neck and saw a shock collar around it. I carefully removed it and saw how red her neck looked; it was even scratched at some parts. I finally moved to her extremely thin arms that were stretched upwards to reach the strong chains. I started to undo her right hand first and her limp body was dangling from the one chain that was attached to her left arm.

The moment I removed the left chain, she was about to fall on the ground, but I quickly held her weak body from falling. I bet she did not need any more bruises on her already ruined body. Her body was limp in my arms and ice cold. 

"Somebody, give me a jacket or something," I told them as I looked at her torn clothes. If this girl was let out of that castle and got thrown into the unmerciful cold weather outside, she would die in a heartbeat and that was the last thing I wanted and I did not know the reason behind that.

I was handed a coat in a matter of seconds and I gently wrapped it around her as she lay lifeless in my embrace. Her body was in dire need for the warmth that it relaxed a little bit once the heavy fabric touched her body. I swear I caught her exhausted eyes flutter for a moment, but she was never able to open them.

After I made sure that she was somehow protected from the weather, I held her firmly in my arms and took her outside. I look down at her hands and saw how blue they were. Her body was deoxygenated. She was barely alive.

On my way out, I ordered my soldiers to free the soldiers of the empire and let them be after I took what I wanted.

I carefully placed the unknown girl in the backseat of my own car then I went to face James, the emperor. I ordered some of my men to lock him up in a cage and I asked Eleanor to cast a spell on it so it would not open. I just wanted to humiliate him. After Eleanor removed the spell, he got out and his eyes were fuming with anger.

"Defeat is horrible, but I think you had to learn it the hard way." I smirked at him. I saw him clenching his fists, trying to control his anger, but that only fuelled my confidence.

"Next time, challenge someone of your own strength." I eyed him and he stayed silent. "Tell me, James, what's so special about the girl that you've her locked?" I asked him

"I see that you've opened the door," he spoke, "You may act all kind, but I promise you, if she is even still alive, you'll end up doing worse than what I've ever done to her," he informed me.

"James, I'm a man of manners. Unfortunately, you lack both manners and strength and look where that has taken you," I said provocatively, knowing that he wouldn't be able to do anything. I walked away with my soldiers and Eleanor was right by my side.

"You made him lose his prestige and dignity in front of his whole empire, you may have just planted the seed of a coup here," Eleanor said, looking at me with a smirk.

"My dear El, I don't run after trouble, trouble runs after me. I just know how to put an end for them." I shrugged and I looked down at her; she was shorter than me. We stared at each other with satisfaction for a moment before we burst out in laughter and high fived each other for the success we had just achieved.

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