The Requiem legacy continues with Luvenia, Madeline’s daughter. Luvenia may be the most beautiful half human/half Dragon the world has ever seen, but she has bigger plans than finding a mate. When fate ties her to handsome twin princes Thaddeus and Sylvan, they promise her everything she craves…
Age Rating: 18+
Dragon’s Blood by C. Swallow is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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Silence isn't easy to maintain, but it’s the only way for me to hear everything.
Everyone thinks I am quiet. They probably don't realize that even though my mouth doesn't speak many words, my ears never stop hearing everyone else’s.
It’s such a plague on the senses, and a pain in the ass.
I hate people. I hate everyone. I don't like anyone’s company. I don't even like my mother.
Sound awry? Well, who would like a mother who drooled after her mates to the point she enjoys wearing a leash and collar day and night?
I don’t know why I’m thinking about the concept of silence so much until I realize it’s the pause on the stage from the band.
I’m resting on my stomach, my chin on my hands, as I hide up on a ledge in Deep Cavern.
Once a treasure trove, this massive cave was now a public center for arts and performance.
As far as I know, it was my Uncle Mason’s idea to educate the slaves of the Requiem Horde and give them a reason to work with more passion under my father’s rule.
Hael and Lochness are my dads. They’re twins but both mated to Madeline, my mother.
Argh…and great…I’m frowning again just thinking about her.
The band starts playing another song, and I let out a sigh, my black hair dangling over the rock as I relax more into my hands.
The crowd of slaves have the day off. They are dancing or quietly standing and listening.
You know what? I lied. I don’t hate everyone equally.
I prefer slaves over Dragons.
The slaves are still annoying, but they are…humble.
The young Dragons are obnoxiously irritating. I’ve never met such brutes in my whole life. Not a bone of humanity in their bodies, they are completely consumed with their purity of magic.
Unfortunately, they are my friends because they are all my age.
When I was born, there was a Dragon fledgling boom of little brats. We are all eighteen now, but I still fail to hear any mature thoughts.
I’m about to doze off, completely content listening to the band play soft music.
I like music because it drowns out all the thoughts I can hear from everyone around me.
It helps me sleep.
My momentary peace doesn’t last long, however.
I’m jolted back to awareness when a spike of arrogance and a shiver of grace runs down my spine. How else can I describe how potent the intrusive feeling is?
I’m instantly on my elbows, ready to bolt, my nose wrinkling in disgust as I notice the two young princes enter the cavern.
One has cobalt blue hair. Thaddeus—or, as every doe-eyed female referred to him, “Thad.” He is arrogance.
The other has midnight blue hair. Sylvan. He doesn’t have a nickname because his name is already perfect. He is grace.
And they are both the bane of my existence.
I avoid everyone because I am sensitive to other people in general. When I am in the prince’s presence, I feel way too much.
Every girl here would die if I told them how those boys made me feel: odd, nervous even. But I would never tell a soul.
Because then I would be told I had a crush on them. And I’d be molded into a part of the fangirl club.
No, thank you.
So I stick to thinking I feel nothing but disdain for them, and I avoid them at all costs.
I watch as the attention in the room is completely flipped from the band to the handsome boys. I hear multiple girly sighs and even a few squeals.
While the girls below me melt and the princes smile and gloat as they come in to “chat” with their loyal fans, I make my move to leave.
I push up onto my feet and hands while I glare at them. Almost instantaneously, as they are now directly below me, the twins both look up and meet my gaze.
I scowl and turn on my heel as my prying mind seeps into theirs without my control.
Look! Luvenia is so weird. Sylvan is speaking to his brother.
She’s uncouth. Thaddeus’s tone is darker, and he is more serious.
I scowl as I feel them both bring up a mental block. They know I’m in their heads. Not to mention, their attempt at a mental block is worthless. I could break it down if I wanted to.
They’re lucky I don’t.
Otherwise, I would have told Thad just how much I thought he was a huge lump of muscle with a very, very small brain. Uncouth… How the hell am I uncouth? You idiot!
Argh, yes, I hate everyone.
Your temper is just like your mother, Luv, despite how much you think you hate her.
I stop in my tracks as I squeeze between the narrow cave exit off my secret ledge. I didn’t expect to hear from my father, Lochness.
What has displeased you?
I bite my lip as I think of a good response.
Nothing. What do you want? I keep it short and sweet. I never liked overexplaining myself.
We’ll be eating dinner soon. Come up soon, all right, babygirl?
I roll my eyes as he calls me that. Dad. Don’t. It’s all I say back, and I keep squeezing my way through the narrow cave passage.
I have great respect for Lochness—or, as my mother liked to call him, “Nessy.” Such a stupid nickname… But anyway, Lochness understands me.
I am a Rogue like him. He doesn't like people either. But he is also terribly smart, which is why I avoid telling him too much.
He considers me his babygirl, his babyc akes. In other words, people tend to die if I told him who is pissing me off.
Being the daughter of the two Dragon Lords doesn't just mean I have two ruthless fathers. We also have normal moments too. Like fancy dinners with guests all the time.
Tonight, I knew exactly who would be attending. Besides my parents and my brother, I knew Althor, the Dragon Lord of the Horde of Fortune, must be visiting.
Althor always brought Thaddeus and Sylvan over. They were his nephews.
Luckily, Thad and Sylvan never came to the dinners—they prefer to go hunting.
Sorry to burst your bubble, sis, but there’s two more empty seats at this table. Hurry up—Dad’s waiting. Lex’s voice breaks past my thoughts, and I frown.
Thanks for the heads-up. Hey, don’t just say “Dad’s”—you always mean Hael, but Lochness is your dad too, I snap at him.
The only person I really truly speak to is my brother. I don’t even like him much either, but we have communicated since birth, so I’m used to being open with him.
Shut up. You can’t get out of this dinner, Luvenia. You need to come—
Why? I snarl at him.
I always got angry when he tried to be bossy with me.
Because this dinner is about you. Suck up your girly moods. You’re so moody all the time. Like Mother.
I’m nothing like her, I snarl back at him.
You’re exactly like her. Have you read her mind? Lex asks, sounding smug.
I try not to.
Well, whatever. Get your ass over here. Althor wants to ask you a favor.
Lex worries me when he mentions Althor. I don’t reply, but I head toward the meeting cave where our dinner will be served.
Whatever Althor is up to, I may as well get this over and done with.
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The Requiem Mountains are my home, yet I’ve always had an urge to explore beyond these orange dull cave walls that bustled with slaves, perpetually busy. Hael worked them hard.
Now, walking my way up to the Royal Chambers where the Royal Dragons reside and dinner will be served, I’m already itching to explore the forest.
I preferred the outdoors.
I didn’t stay indoors very much, but I was often forbidden to go exploring at night. Lochness and Hael said it was too dangerous. Madeline, my mother, would tell me lurking men wandered those forests.
Perhaps if I knew how to transform into a Dragon, I would be safer.
In fact, that’s what everyone told me. I was used to hearing it, especially from Lex, who was still trying to figure out how to transform into his own Dragon.
Half-bloods could only transform if their blood was a majority Dragon genes and magic. So it was potluck if you could gain the ability.
The walk is getting steeper, and I know I’m nearing the top of the mountain now.
I look down at what I’m wearing: black leather pants and a black midriff top.
It helped me keep cool, as the mountain could get stuffy sometimes. It also made it easier to maneuver. I wasn’t the biggest fan of dresses.
I round the last bend. The cave corridors are wider up here. I stop before I enter the dining room.
I flip my straight black hair over my shoulders and take a breath before I face my family and Althor.
I walk forward and enter the room gracefully.
A huge wooden table laid out shows a feast of food and wine. Seated at that table are my parents. They sit at the head—Althor on one end, and Lex at the other.
“Greetings, darling.” Althor sees me and nods, smiling as I enter.
I didn’t like the Dragon Lord of the Horde of Fortune. He often visited the Requiem Horde to keep our alliance strong. But…he had a darkness about him and a cold look in his eye.
There was something about him that I never trusted.
I nod, coming in to sit by Lex.
He was the mini version of Hael. They shared emerald-green hair and eyes.
I also harbored the emerald-green irises. Slaves and Dragons alike described them as so confronting they often pierced the confidence of those who dared meet our gaze.
Which was fine with me, because I never wanted to look at people anyway.
Althor was different to any Dragon I had ever met. He had light blue eyes and long amber hair. He was rugged, stocky, and built for battle. But he was not as tall as my two fathers.
“So, you decided to actually sit and join us for once, Luvenia?” Madeline asks me, looking pleased I’m here but also upset at the same time.
I just ignore her, and I hear Hael growl.
“Respect, Luvenia,” Hael scolds me while Nessy just stares in his threatening way.
I couldn’t help but judge what Madeline was wearing. That damn collar and leash. Over her warriors’ outfit—similar to my own, except her top was a bra with dangling feathers.
I just couldn’t understand why you’d contrast a strong outfit with degrading accessories.
“The only word she understands is ‘brat’ because that’s what she is,” Lex mocks me, and I pinch his wrist with my sharp nails.
“Ow!” he swats my hand away, and I smile evilly, focusing my gaze on Althor.
I wanted to know what he wanted from me.
“When will Blue and Bluer arrive?” Lex asks Althor. “They’re keeping us from eating—”
Upon my brother’s words, two shadows fall into the firelit room, stretching from the entrance. I glance up and blink slowly while looking irritated that Thaddeus and Sylvan have shown.
I scowl at their leather pants, a common choice for male Dragons who transform often between forms and need something easy to carry around.
“Welcome!” Madeline instantly grins as the two young Dragons come into the room.
They were older than me by about seven months, but I still felt as if I was older and wiser.
Thaddeus and Sylvan smirk with confidence and stalk their way over to sit by their uncle. They don’t dare to sit next to me. I avoid their gazes and presence and look to my fathers instead.
As expected, they both look annoyed.
I always thought they could see what I could, the shallow minds that belonged to Thad and Sylvan.
Young Dragon minds, barely developed, while their confidence and arrogance were through the roof.
“We can all eat now,” Hael growls through his teeth, glaring at Althor. “Ask Luvenia what you want. If my daughter doesn’t want to help you, you’ll have to find someone else.”
“Oh…I understand perfectly,” Althor replies gracefully but with the same hint of coldness as he was usually capable of.
He meets my green eyes, and as he does so, I feel the stares of his nephews on me as well.
I already feel uncomfortable.
This was the closest they had ever been to me while in the same room.
“I need a favor, dearest,” Althor speaks as politely as possible. “You can crack the greatest minds, can you not?”
“Yes,” I answer, although the one mind I could not crack was Althor’s. Not because he had a strong mental block, but because of something else.
His mind was fuzzy and unreadable. Magic leaked from his head like poison.
“I have a prisoner I’ve brought along with me. I need you to tell me what he is thinking. I can’t crack his mind. Neither can your father, Lochness.”
At Althor’s words, I look directly to my father, shocked.
“You weren’t able to read someone’s mind?” I ask Lochness, who has a knowing glint in his eye, but he shakes his head anyway.
“I couldn’t.” Lochness shrugs, but he does so suspiciously. “Perhaps you can, sweetie.”
He was up to something. He always was.
“What do I have to gain?” I ask Althor, trying to ignore the two popular Dragons either side of him who are both tilting their heads, clearly communicating to each other about me.
I didn’t bother reading their minds, however. I didn’t want to know what they were thinking.
“I just need a favor. I’m sure in return, perhaps Thad and Sylvan can take you out on a flight. Half-bloods who can’t transform are always eager to fly.”
Althor couldn’t sound anymore condescending.
“I’m not interested,” I reply coolly, now glaring at Thad who looks utterly offended as he sits back in his chair, eyes wide in disbelief at my refusal.
Sylvan just narrows his amber eyes and keeps his chin resting on his folded hands.
“And I’m not hungry either.” I get to my feet quickly, and the tension in the room rises.
“Luvenia.” Madeline narrows her eyes at me. “You need to eat something! You hardly eat.”
“No, Mother, I eat in the company of people I like.” I’m glaring at her now, and she looks hurt, and I feel like crying, but I don’t.
“Likewise.” The sarcastic comment comes from Sylvan, who is now pouring attitude. I just give him my best glare and then look at his equally annoying twin.
“What are you staring at?” I direct this to Thaddeus. His eyes have darkened, and he looks angry now.
“I’m looking at a horse that needs breaking.” He says this boldly—far too boldly.
I glare at Hael to do something.
“Don’t talk to my sister like she is an animal.” Lex sticks up for me, but only because I know he feels Thad and Sylvan are his rivals in age.
“Manners, boys.” Unexpectedly, Lochness is the one to speak. He gets in before Hael can.
He blinks slowly, with humor, toward Thaddeus and Sylvan. “Don’t you know? Disrespect is for the bedroom.”
”Dad.” I gape in disbelief at his choice of words. Madeline even looks furious with Lochness’s choice of words.
“Of course you had to humor yourself and say something like that,” Madeline hisses at her Nessy. He growls back at her before continuing to glare at me.
“Seriously? Now you stick up for yourself?” I snap at Madeline, hardly believing she actually just had a go at Lochness.
She never spoke out of line.
Go to your room, Luv. I’m sick of how much you backchat your mother. She does nothing but love you, Lochness snarls at me, and now I do feel tears well in the back of my eyes.
I couldn’t let anyone see me cry.
I turn from the room and walk away, sick of Dragons and the way they treat women.
It was something I chose not to think about too much. But all I could feel was hate in my gut for how submissive my mother was…and how happy she was to be led around on a leash.
I will never be like Mother, I whisper to both my fathers through our mental connection.
I then bring up a fiery wall of mental power that no one can break through.
I run to my room, swearing under my breath the whole way as I think of Thad and Sylvan’s words.
My room was at the very top of the mountain. It used to be Hael’s old bedchamber before I was born, but they redecorated it for me.
My parents also knew it could keep me from going into the forest without their knowledge. After all, to them and everyone else, I couldn’t fly, and I couldn’t transform.
But it had always been my secret.
I reach my room in under a minute.
I slam my bedroom door and strip out of my clothes and chuck them on my bed.
I run to the ledge, and even as I go, I feel my blood and body loosening, dissipating into purity.
I become my magic.
It flows back together until black scales, sharp claws, lethal fangs, and a lithe body reappear.
I become my Dragon.
And I take off into the night air.
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