The Lost Princess - Book cover

The Lost Princess

Holly Prange

Chapter 3


They sold Sophia.

At first, I didn’t believe it. After my run-in with Master Lacroix, I’d woken up on a thin straw mattress in the corner of a cage. There were a few other girls in the room in separate cages as well. I asked them if they’d seen her, but they only shook their heads.

Mistress Dupont came to check in on us a bit afterwards. When I asked her about Sophia, she only had a few words for me.

“A buyer liked her. She’s gone. Forget about her.”

I cried for the rest of the night.

I remember being curled up in a ball on the rough straw, hating the fact that I was so powerless. Hating that Sophia was gone. Hating that this monster ~could just suck my blood and steal my entire life away.~

Not that there was much to steal, but still…

Now I’m waiting for Mistress Dupont to come and take me away. All morning she’d been taking the girls out of their cages one by one and disappearing with them. The first girl screamed and yelled, trying her best to resist. She was beaten and dragged out.

None of the girls spoke up after that.

Now it’s just me, alone in this room of rusty cages. I wait so long that I think they forgot about me. Maybe it’s better this way. I would rather lie here on this dirty straw mattress forever than be a toy for Master Lacroix.

Unfortunately, Mistress Dupont returns. She unlocks my cage and gestures for me to follow her. For a second, I think of resisting, but what’s the point? They’ll just drag me out anyway.

She leads me into another concrete room. I see a pair of women wearing waterproof coverings. They hold a dripping hose in between them.

“Strip,” Mistress Dupont commands.

“W-what?” I instinctively step away, turning from her.

“You’re filthy,” she says. “Now strip.”

I can tell by her expression that if I didn’t do it, my clothes would be torn off of me. I swallow and force myself to take off my clothes. I feel so exposed as I walk across the wet concrete, covering myself as much as I can.

The two women point the hose at me, and I’m blasted with freezing cold water. I can’t help but scream as the water slams into me. It hurts. I crawl up into a ball, but I’m yelled at to stay standing. They turn up the water pressure until I stand again.

They finally turn off the hose, and I’m left a shivering mess. The two women step forward to dry me off with towels. I hear them murmuring to themselves, and it takes me a moment to realize that they’re measuring me.

They twist and turn and bend me at different angles. I feel like a piece of meat being examined before it's brought to the slaughter. The entire time Mistress Dupont stares at me, her cold eyes calculating my worth.

I’ve never been so humiliated in my life. Not even when I lived with Aunt Tessa.

Tears drip down my cheeks, but the women just silently wipe them away. They wrap a towel around me and push me after Mistress Dupont as she begins to walk towards a new room.

She leads me into some kind of dressing room. There are rows of vanity mirrors and closets bursting with clothes. The Mistress sits me down before a mirror and begins to towel my hair dry. After how cruelly they treated us, I expected her to be rough with me, but she’s surprisingly gentle.

Her touch is delicate, like she’s playing with a favorite doll.

“Wait here,” she tells me. “I will find you something to wear.”

I think about making a run for it, but decide against it. I won’t get very far naked, alone, and with no idea where I am.

Instead, I look at myself in the mirror. I can hardly recognize the girl staring back at me.

My skin is blemished with bruises, purple and blue fading into an ugly yellow. My hair falls in a tangled mess around my shoulders. I look pale and sick. But most shocking are my eyes.

Ringed with dark, heavy bags, they look hollow.


Like I’m looking at a shell of a stranger instead of myself.

Maybe this is all a bad dream? That would make more sense. There’s no way a world could exist where my own aunt would sell me to a vampire, right? A vampire that plans to use my body for his own, sick, twisted business…

Mistress Dupont returns, but I barely register what she’s doing to me. I go numb. I feel her put clothes on me. I sense a makeup brush gliding over my skin.

None of this matters, anyway. It’s just a bad dream. Soon I’ll wake up to Aunt Tessa yelling at me to make her breakfast.

I smile. It’s weird, but that feels like home…

“What a pretty doll you make.” Mistress Dupont’s voice pulls me back from my fantasy. “Master Lacroix will be pleased.”

I focus, and I’m standing before a woman I’ve never seen before.

She’s wearing skimpy lingerie woven from silk and lace. The bra pushes her bust together, and the fabric just drips off of her curves. Her skin is smooth and flawless, her hair cascades effortlessly down to the small of her back.

And her eyes…

Bold and bright, they exude confidence.

This woman is a seductress. She oozes sex appeal.

I watch Mistress Dupont walk up behind her and place her hands on her shoulders. I flinch when I feel the Mistress’s hands on my shoulders instead.

“You look absolutely delicious,” she says into my ear.

It’s only then that I realize I’m looking into a mirror. At me.

“What did you do to me?” I whisper.

“I gave you a new life.” Her hands trail down from my shoulders to my curves, her touch leaving a trail of goosebumps along my skin. “Forget whoever you were before this. The faster you do, the easier it will be.”

Mistress Dupont wraps an arm around my waist as she presses herself up against my back. Her other hand trails up my neck over my jaw until her thumb brushes against my lips. Her perfume makes me dizzy, and I lean back into her.

I watch through the mirror as she smiles and looks at my lipstick on her thumb. A bright, succulent red.

“Your name is Ruby Red,” she whispers. “And you will be the jewel of the Blood Bank.”


Over the next few months, they train us.

They teach us how to dance. They show us how to command attention, not only with our bodies but with our voice, our breath, our gaze, our touch. They teach us how to flirt. How to dominate. How to beg. They keep us on strict diet and exercise schedules to stay fit and slim. Apparently, healthy blood tastes better.

They train us how to pleasure men and women.

We’re molded into perfect girls for the Blood Bank. Ready to fulfill any request, any kink, any fantasy. Some girls actually take to their new lives very well. They feel empowered. Confident. They actually thank the vampires for rescuing them from their old lives.

Others, like me, not so much. We don’t feel empowered, we feel used. We don’t feel rescued, we feel taken.

I quickly learn how things work around here. There are various branches of the Blood Bank. There’s the night club I saw when I first came here, available to the underground masses. There’s a strip club, which is reserved for more exclusive clientele. There’s also a BDSM house and a brothel.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve never been forced to work the brothel. Master Lacroix has strict orders that I’m to be kept a virgin. But that’s not because of the kindness of his heart…if he even has one. If he does, it’s black.

I’m kept a virgin because I’m popular with his clients. He has me flaunt myself at the strip club to drive up my popularity—and as soon as I outlive my usefulness he’s going to sell my virginity to the highest bidder.

Like he did with Sophia.

Like he did with all the other girls that underperformed or didn’t want to be here.

I don’t want to end up like them. I need to find a way to get out of here before that. I need to survive. And the only way I can survive is by becoming Ruby Red.

I’m good at pretending. No matter how much I hate it here, I can put on a show and act like everything’s okay. I can even make it look like I enjoy being the tempting seductress.

Maybe that’s why I’m so popular.

I’m leaving the stage after a performance when Mistress Dupont pulls me aside.

“You have a private client in Room A,” she says. “Wash the sweat off of your body and meet him there.”

My heart skips a beat. This is what I’m dreading. My first private show. I think about being trapped in that room of silk and velvet with a stranger that’s allowed to do whatever they want with me and I feel like running away.

I don’t resist though. I’ll only get a beating for my trouble. These cruel vampires don’t care if they beat you to within an inch of your life. They’ll just feed you some of their blood and you’ll heal quickly…just so you can get beaten again.

I shower and put on cute babydoll lingerie. I stand outside the velvet curtains of Room A, my heart pounding in my chest.

Just survive, ~I tell myself. I slip into my Ruby Red persona and saunter into the room. I look confident and seductive, even if inside I just want to curl up into a ball and cry.~

I see him sitting on the leather couch. I try not to look at him. He’s a faceless blob. A lifeless mannequin. I straddle him and wrap my arms around his neck.

“Thank you for choosing me,” I say. I bring my lips close to his ears. “What can I do for you?”

His hands go to my waist, and I try not to flinch. But instead of pulling me closer, he pushes me away. He sits me down gently onto the couch next to him.

“You don’t have to do this,” he says. “I just want to talk.”

“Talk?” I ask, confusion setting in. “Would you like to roleplay?”

“No roleplay.” His voice is soft, but firm. “No client requests. I just want to talk.”

Is this some kind of trick? I force myself to really look at him. He looks like the other vampires. Pale-skinned and beautiful. He has dark, curly hair that spills down one side of his face. A clean-shaven face with a sharp jawline. There’s a soft smile on his lips. But what really catches my attention are his eyes.

They’re a pale red, but they don’t have that cruel glint in them like most other vampires do. He looks…nice.

“What do you want to talk about?” I’m still in survival mode, my guard up. I can’t let myself be tricked.

“I want to talk about you, Everly. Is that okay?”

It feels like someone dumped a bucket of ice-cold water on me. I go into shock, my mouth hanging open in surprise.

“How do you know that name?”

“I’m sorry, this must be very sudden for you. Let me start from the beginning.” He takes a moment to compose himself. “My name is Phillipe. One of your performances caught my eye a few weeks ago, and I’ve been watching you ever since.”

I try to think back to see if I can remember his face in the crowd, but it’s no use. There are too many of them to remember a single face. Too many leering eyes on my body, making my skin crawl.

“But I don’t watch you for the reasons you’re thinking,” he continues quickly. “You’re very beautiful, of course, but that’s not the reason you interest me. I saw through your act. I could tell you hated being up there, but you had every set of eyes on you anyway.”

“Please don’t tell them!” I beg, fear coursing through me. “If Master Lacroix finds out I’m only pretending he’ll sell me. I’ve been so careful not to think about it when he’s around, but—”

“I won’t tell him,” he assures me. “I promise.”

I gaze into his eyes, trying to detect the lie in them. He seems earnest enough. But can I really trust him?

“I did some digging and found the files Master Lacroix has on you. Sold to him by your own aunt…” Phillipe shakes his head. “This must be so hard on you. I’m so sorry.”

His words break something inside me. All of the careful walls I’d built to protect myself come crashing down. All of the pent-up stress, fear, and anxiety come rushing out of me in a strangled sob.

Suddenly I’m crying into his shoulder and his arms are around me. I can feel him rubbing soothing circles into my back. I don’t know how long I cry for. No one checks in on us. As far as they’re concerned, this is just all part of the client’s request.

“S-sorry.” I slide away from him and try to wipe away my tears.

“No need to apologize.” He hands me a handkerchief. “Have you thought about running away?

“I can’t.” I laugh, but it's a sad, bitter sound. “If I even think about it I get hit. I’m learning to control my thoughts around vampires, but…” I shrug. What can I do?

“What would you do?” he asks. He’s suddenly more serious. “If you escape, I mean.”

I try to reply, but realize I have never even thought that far ahead. I’ve been trying to come up with ways to escape, but never thought about what I would do if I actually got away.

Where can I go? Aunt Tessa sold me. She’d just drag me back here. I don’t have any friends or family.

“I…I don’t know,” I say truthfully. “But I’d rather take my chances out there than stay here.”

“Would you go to the police?” he asks. “Would you try to tell the world about us?”

“Who would believe me?” I ask. My shoulders sag, and I think about all the girls that have been sold, never to be seen again. “A homeless girl rambling about vampires. I’d just get put in another cage.”

Philippe stares at me for a while longer. The silence stretches on, and I can tell he’s thinking deeply about something.

“I can get you out of here,” he says quietly.

I ruthlessly squish the hope that wants to build up in my chest. “Why are you helping me?”

“I don’t like the way Lacroix runs things. I’ve been looking for an excuse to do something about it. Here you are.” He smiles at me and stands, extending his hand.

I hesitate. Is this one of Master Lacroix’s tricks?

“I don’t work for him,” Philippe tells me. “And he’ll never find you again. I promise.”

I take his hand before I can overthink it. He helps me up and ushers me towards the velvet curtains.

“We won’t have much time,” he explains. “Just stay close to me.”

I nod, my heart in my throat. This is happening. I’m really getting out of here!

“Where do you think you’re going?”

I nearly have a heart attack. On the other side of the curtain, waiting for us, is Master Lacroix.

Philippe continues to walk, acting casual. “Step aside, Lacroix, I’ve paid a lot for my time with Ruby Red. We’re just going to a different room—”

Master Lacroix moves so fast it looks like a blur. Philippe cries out in pain as something wet and warm splashes onto my face. Philippe crumples to the ground, writhing in agony. I see blood gushing out of his chest. A large, wooden stake right through his heart.

I look on in horror as Philippe squirms. He throws one last, desperate look at me before his eyes go blank.


Master Lacroix grabs my hair and pulls me closer to his face.

“I drank your blood, girl. I have you in my system. Do you know what that means?” I cry out as he pulls my hair back, exposing my neck. Tears sting my eyes. “It means you can never escape. When I want to, I can see what you see. I can find you wherever you run to.”

Lacroix kicks Philippe’s body as guards come to drag it away.

He shoves me to the ground, and I crash painfully into the pool of Philippe’s blood.

“He’s dead because of you. This is your fault. Remember that.”

The shock is too much. I feel myself go numb. What little hope I have in my heart truly curls up and dies. I have nothing left inside of me.

Master Lacroix looks me up and down, making sure he drives his point home.

He did. He wins.

“Clean yourself up, Ruby Red.” He turns to walk away. “Your next show is in ten minutes.”

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