Lark transferred us directly to the place for the ceremony. It took half a second, and the whole scene had changed from the half-wild, half-harmonious forest to a flourished temple…something like a temple. From the door of the building, I could see that it was shaped like what one would call a temple, but inside, there were no statues, no religious objects except for a sphere that appeared to be a crystal ball. Sitting behind the crystal ball was a woman wearing a dark royal purple robe, her frizzy black hair draping over her shoulders. She had her eyes closed at first, but as we stepped in, she opened her eyes, revealing their color to be a bright blue. Her gaze was fierce, as if she’d seen a thousand years of wrath.
“This is the prophecy witch,” Lark introduced. He bowed, and took his leave.
“Question?” the witch asked, as soon as Lark was out the door.
“What’s going on here?” Under her piercing glare, I dared not waste time—that was the message those eyes were conveying: don’t waste a second of my life.
“Andrew Viktor has the right to succeed the throne when he has a spouse. When he is crowned, his vampire relatives will no longer pursue at the very same throne, because he will have full access to the power of which he has inherited.”
“So…vampires want to take over because Legend—I mean, Drew, is half vampire, but it would be a disaster if they did, so you’d much rather things work out the way they should have, had his father not passed away unexpectedly?” Both Legend and the witch tilted their eyebrows at the nickname “Legend”, but neither made a comment, so I glanced away, pretending I hadn’t said anything strange.
“That is correct,” the witch confirmed. “You are a bright young woman. Before we carry on, tell me why you willingly let Andrew Viktor take you away from the world you are more accustomed to.”
“Well.” I bit my lip. I didn’t actually have an answer. “I couldn’t get away if I wanted to.” It was just a gut feeling that told me I had to go with Legend, and I had nothing to lose anyway—nobody would mourn me.
The witch must have seen through me, and found the real reason, for she nodded, and carried on. “In order for your matrimony to be acknowledged, it must be properly carried out. And so I must ask you, Jess Ashmck, to dress.” She stood from her seat, and handed me a box that she’d apparently whipped out of nowhere.
“I’ll take her to the room,” Legend volunteered.
We stepped out of the temple-like building, and he spoke to me. “You haven’t considered persuading me to just stay in your world and forget all about this?”
“No,” I simply answered. “How would you live with yourself if you abandoned your world, when your role is that important?”
“You do realize you’ll be watched over all day and night by guards so that vampires don’t get you, right?”
“Am I still important after the ceremony?”
“You are the one that unlocks my power, and keeps it functioning.” He paused in his tracks, so I paused too. “I mean it literally, not figuratively. If the spouse of the ruler disappears from the world, he will lose his power too, instantly. Then the world can make a grab for it, and it will be chaos.”
“Your mother is still here?”
“She was more heavily protected than my father.”
“Hold on a second, let me get this straight.” Maybe for the first time in my life—and perhaps it was the last time too—“The female is more important than the male, and she is the source of power. So that means anyone who weds her, will gain full access and right to the power.”
“Sad, but true.”
“And the vampires want that power, especially when you, the heir to the throne, are in their bloodline.”
“Why on earth are you even half vampire?” I smacked his chest with the back of my hand, accusingly.
“My mother is the vampire. She is beautiful, you should see her. But she, well, she doesn’t want the world to end up in their hands. When father died, she kept apologizing to me, saying she hadn’t been thinking when she wedded him, saying it was just intuition that made her say yes, even though they’d never met till that day.”