Chapter 2 : Maria Is Captured


A loud crash rang through the room.

At first, no one knew how to react. Where had the noise come from? What was the source and most importantly, what the hell was happening?

Distracted, Maria’s hand dropped as she whirled around, causing the blade that had been suspending over the teenage girl’s neck to clutter to the ground with a clang.

At the back of her mind, she was relieved that this disturbance had taken their main focus off the girl, even if it was just temporarily. Maria could work with that. Hopefully, she would be assigned to detect the source of the disturbance and put a stop to it.

And then if the killing would still take place, Maria wouldn’t be in charge of it anymore.

She wasn’t sure that she could stomach it.

At the forefront of her mind, however, was the cause of the crash. The palace workers weren’t known to cause a nuisance when Ariti was having one of his sessions. At least not anywhere near the courtroom anyway. They stayed as far away from it as they could, in order not to incur Ariti’s wrath.

Staring in the direction the noise had come from, a feeling of foreboding bloomed in Maria’s left breast. Somehow, deep down, she knew that the noise couldn’t have been as a result of anything innocent.

Something was wrong.

Slowly, she drew towards the door that led to the dark hallway. In her peripheral vision, she saw the soldiers—who, just a second ago, had been leering at the teenage girl on the floor, anticipating her spilled blood—all flanking her, walking towards the door too.

From the halting steps they took, she knew that they were definitely thinking the same thing she did.

The crash hadn’t been an accident.

She froze when she saw a shadow in the hallway coming towards them. Someone was coming into the courtroom. The size and build confirmed that it was a man and the lazy stride told her that it was an arrogant one.

Little did he know that he was going to meet an untimely death for the little stunt he had just pulled.

When he stepped out into the light, directly in front of the sun rays streaming in from one of the three windows in the courtroom, Maria’s jaw dropped. Had she not been wearing a glamour, everyone would have seen it and probably seen the drool running down the side of her mouth too.

The man standing in the courtroom without an ounce of fear in his eyes or even a tremor in his frame, was easily the most good looking man she had ever seen in her twenty-seven years of life.

When she saw him coming towards them, she had been able to tell that he was big, but standing before them in the light, he seemed almost imposing. He was well over six and a half feet, nearing seven feet and even with her glamour that was six feet tall, he dwarfed her. How would she look standing next to him when she wasnt wearing one?

Like his baby sister!

She didnt realise that she had been standing there doing nothing but stare at him until one of the soldiers cleared his throat, subtly letting her know that they were waiting for her to give an order before they attacked.

That jolted her back to the present. But who could blame her for forgetting herself when presented with such a prime male specimen?

He had shoulders so broad that she wondered how he had been able to fit them into the narrow hallway, a head full of jet black hair, piercing green eyes that reminded her of the fresh green of leaves in the spring, a straight roman nose that looked like it had been broken at one point before he froze into his immortality, full pillowy pink lips and a square jaw.

He was so distractingly beautiful that for that short moment she had been staring at him, she almost let her mental block slip down. No matter how gorgeous he was, it wasn’t enough to cause her to lose everything she had ever worked for.

“Who dares to barge into my chambers?” Ariti snapped from his perch on the chair in the room, leaning forward. The soldiers parted to give him a direct line of sight to the man.

The man who was only just staring at them them with a look of boredom, like he had better things to be doing with his time. As if he hadn’t just stormed into the court room of one of the most feared men in the worlds.

Speaking of, how had he managed to walk past the guards without any of them stopping him? Was he a demon or a vampire? Had he traced in here?

That would mean that he had been in this palace before and that wasn’t possible because Maria knew w=every single person that worked in the palace. Not by choice—boredom had pushed her to do certain things that she would never admit out loud.

He didn’t look like a vampire. Vampires were not as built. Sure, they were built, but they definitely weren’t as big as he was. Maybe he was a demon? But he had no horns.

“How did you get past the guards?”

He finally glanced at her, as if just now realising that she was there. The dismissive gaze he gave her was enough to have her blood boiling. How dare he? Did he know who she was?

“You call those guards?” He cocked his head in the direction of the hallway, out where the guards were usually stationed. “Not that I give a fuck either way, but I strongly advise you find more qualified men. I’ve seen women fight better.”

Maria’s heart galloped in her chest but she quelled the reaction fast before it could be detected. She wasn’t sure what he was yet, hence, she didn’t know if he could smell or detect fear. If he could, then he had not missed the little slip in her facade.

How was she supposed to react?

The man had just walked past their guards—who were well trained and able men that had protected them in as long as she could remember—like they were feeble children obstructing him that he had simply batted out of the way.

Or maybe he was lying. Maybe he had traced in here before.

When Ariti spoke again, his voice was rife with anger. “Who are you, little boy?”

The teenage girl watched everything with wide eyes from her position on the floor.

“Huh.” The man scoffed and with a swagger Maria had to admit was nothing short of sensual, sauntered over to Ariti. The soldiers parted for him, all of them seemingly mesmerised by him.

Was he a sorcerer? Was that it?

Because the soldiers weren’t the only ones mesmerised by him. Maria was finding it hard to look away from him too. She had seen a lot of handsome men, had even killed some as per orders by Ariti, but never had she reacted this way to them.

A kill was a kill. The face didn’t matter.

The soldiers sneered at him as he passed, although they created a path for him. That action proved that he wasn’t a sorcerer. He wasn’t putting them under a spell.

But she had known, hadn’t she?

It was something about him. About the way he carried himself that had them all staring, unable to look away. It was the way he acted like he wasn’t in a room filled with danger, a room that promised death at any second. A room where it wasn’t even guaranteed that he would be walking out of it alive.

This man danced with danger. Flirted with it.

And it was so fucking hot to watch that Maria wasn’t even in a hurry to see how things would end. She wanted to watch it play out. She was entertained.

And for once, she wasn’t the entertainment.

The man stopped when he was standing in front of Ariti’s throne seat, regarding him with an easy expression. “You’re probably used to asking all the questions while people give you answers. However, I’m going to be doing the asking today.”

Ariti simply cocked a brow. He was just as entertained as Maria was. The whole courtroom, to be precise.

“I have two questions.” He said, his deep voice seeing some sensations through Maria that she definitely had no presence feeling when she was in the same room as Ariti. “One, who is Maria?”

Maria tried as best as she could not to react to that question. Anything that would give away the truth about that question.

Why was he asking?

If he was from around here, then he would know her. The fact that he knew her name, but didn’t know what she looked like was not strange. However, the fact that he had come here solely because of her, could not be a good thing.

One of the guards slipped his eyes her way, indirectly answering the man’s questions.

“Her?” The stranger cocked a brow. His look, grating on Maria’s nerves.

Why did he look at her so dismissively? With so much disdain, like he thought her so beneath him that he wouldn’t stand to look at her?

Ariti’s jaws tightened. The soldier was going to pay with his life.

Before their shocked eyes, the man, who had been standing in front of Ariti, vanished into thin air and reappeared in front of Maria. Before she could recover from her shock to lash out at him, he snagged her in his arms, restraining her.

Panic riddled her as she fought against his hold, but then he pressed a cloth to her face. The odour from the cloth was so potent, she couldn’t fight it. He was trying to pass her out. And, goddamnit, he was succeeding.

Distinctly, she heard him say, “My second question is, how attached are you to your arm?”

The cloth fell away from her face in time for her to see a dagger pierce into Ariti’s arm, severing the hand in two.

The last thing she saw was Ariti’s face twisting in pain as he howled, cradling the injured arm in his good one.

The world turned black.

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