Four: Rayne

Olivia had to go because she had a few things to do at the hospital ward and she told me I was free to wander wherever I wanted except for specific areas she informed me aboug. I was not in the mood to break any rule or law, so indeed, I followed what she said. I was trying to stay hidden, doing my best not to attract any unwanted attention. I didn’t even know for how long I would be able to stay here, so I needed to make my stay peaceful.

“Hello.”I jump a little on hearing a male voice. I was walking inside the castle, giving myself a mini tour. I wanted to get to know the place a little, ”Sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you.” Adrian, raising his hands in surrender.

“I was just walking around,” I told him, giving him a small smile, “I’m trying to learn about the place.”

“The place as in Harlow Empire or the castle?” he wondered, putting his hands in his pockets. He looked nice. I loved his outfit.

“I wouldn’t mind learning about either of them,” I said with a little shrug.

“I can teach you anything you’d like to learn about,” he offered and my smile widened. I had always loved learning new things.

I knew basic stuff about the world, like how it was made of thirty-one empires; fifteen empires for vampires, fifteen empires for werewolves and one empire for the witches. I knew a lot of things about the old world, but I could not reveal that to anyone. It would be so stupid of me to do that.

“Well, I can give you information about Harlow as we have a walk together,” he said and I nodded in agreement. “Well, Harlow is a very nice place to live in. It’s safe, poverty is below 10% and so is unemployment,” he started and I didn’t know if he meant that for humans or vampires.

“Talk to me more about its history. I’m into history,” I said, wrapping the cardigan more about myself. Luckily, he told me about how it was founded, the founders and some of the battles they went through.

“There are basic things here just like any other empire. Vampires bearing one gift are commoners, vampires bearing two gifts are army generals or officials, and vampires bearing three gifts are supposed to be emperors or senior officials in the empire,” he explained to me some of the basics.

“But that’s not how it is here, right?” I commented, “I mean, you have five gifts, don’t you? This changes everything.”

          “Let me guess, Olivia informed you?” He chuckled and I nodded, “Actually, it doesn’t really change anything. Just that the emperor of Harlow has five gifts,” he added. I looked at the walls and admired the paintings. Everything about that place was amazing.

          “This definitely makes people scared of you.”

          “That’s true, but you’ve got nothing to be scared of,” he assured me. “What else did Olivia tell you?”

          “That you’re a daywalker,” I told him.

          “Indeed I am.”

          “It’s like you have it all. You’re a daywalker, you’re strong. The strongest vampire ever to be exact. I kind of wish I had a life like yours,” I confessed.

          “Is that your definition of having it all?” he asked me and I stayed silent, not knowing what to say. “Talk to me about your life,” he changed the subject as we headed out of the castle.

          “I wish I remember anything about it except for the torture,” I lied to him. I couldn’t tell him anything about me. If he knew what I was, I would definitely be dead. He would take me to the witches and they’d execute me on the spot. “Tell me about yourself. When did you become an emperor and how were you chosen?” I quickly changed the subject, hoping that he wouldn’t notice.

          “I was turned when I was twenty-five years old. I received my five years of training and I was taught how to control my powers. I remember being the talk of the empire because of my powers. The late emperor, Martin Harlow, got extremely sick when he was 349 years old and he decided to pass the throne to me without the need to undergo any battle with him. I was a healer, and I offered to heal him, but he refused because his sickness was so strong and we all knew that even if I tried to heal him, it would just be temporary.” He gave me many pieces of information more than what I had asked for.

          “How old are you?” I asked.

          “45 years old.” I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I actually got surprised. “And you?”

          “I’m 20.”

          “Good thing you remember something about yourself. Maybe you have partial amnesia,” he pointed out and I paled a little. “Do you know anything about the Choosimg Ceremony?” he asked and I shook my head, “The reason why we hold a Choosing Ceremony is the fact that it’s hard for female vampires to get pregnant, so we hold this Ceremony every five years. Smartest, strongest and most beautiful ones are chosen to be vampires.”

          “Seems like a detailed process.” I was quite amazed by what he was telling me, “Let’s say that there are two or more vampires with three gifts, how is the emperor chosen from them?” I wondered.

          “Choosing the new emperor is based on two main criteria. The first one is, if the emperor exceeds 350 years old then he or she shall undergo a battle with their opponent to see if they can still defend the throne after growing old or not. The second criterion is, if the vampire has ruled the empire for 75 years, then he or she also has to undergo a battle with their opponent to see who will win and whoever the winner is, the throne will be theirs,” he explained the whole process to me.

          “Thank you so much for teaching me all of these things. I think I am or even used to be a nerd, so I do enjoy learning new things,” I thanked him as we headed to the castle. It was around three in the afternoon and I was getting a little bit tired. I needed a nap as my body wasn’t really that strong yet to handle long walks. I had probably spent more than an hour with Adrian.

          “I have to go now, but if you need anything, just ask any of the guards on your floor, yeah?” I nodded with a small smile before he walked away.


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