It is nighttime, and snow has fallen in the forest. There is a trail of blood right in front of me, but whose blood?
I hear a scream. Is someone asking for help?
I run, trying to find the source, but it is too dark to see. Someone needs my help.
Someone, wake me up. I can’t. What’s all this? Where am I?
A knock on the door has me groaning as I twist and turn in my bed. Once again, I didn’t get enough sleep. The dream felt so vivid that I am still feeling restless.
After lying back down, I brush the strands of hair from my forehead. I look at the ceiling of my room, which has some clouds and birds drawn on it.
The grandfather clock chimes in the corner of my room.
Tiredly, I glance around my room, which is quite a mess, clothes scattered everywhere, weapons on my vanity table, and blood—my dinner from last night that I didn’t have.
I forgot again.
The dreams are making it hard for me to eat. Every time I have one of those dreams, I wake up scared, sweaty, and restless, with that awful, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
And for the last two weeks, I have had those dreams of someone asking for my help.
They remind me of my experience and him, that person I don’t want to remember but miss at the same time.
Another knock at my door distracts me from my thoughts.
“Your Majesty?” someone says.
I glance at the door. I want to continue sleeping; last night’s training took a toll on me. I am covered in bruises from last night’s practice; I look like a Dalmatian with spots.
I am starving as well, and whenever that happens, it makes my healing slower. Needless to say, I have to get up. As I do, someone walks into my room without my permission.
“Good morning, Your Majesty.”
“What do you want?” I ask as my hands form into fists on the sheets.
The short, chubby, redheaded person before me is Antonia, my grandfather’s assistant—an annoying and ungrateful person. This woman is hideous in her own way.
“Sorry to bother you, but your grandfather is waiting for you in the dining room to have breakfast,” she says.
I truly want to lash out at her, but my grandfather is not a patient man. With a sigh, I turn to get ready.
Ten minutes later, I am ready with a T-shirt, sweatpants, socks, and a messy bun. My hair looks a fright, but I couldn’t care less.
As I walk down the hall to the dining room, I notice the maids engaging in their daily routines. Some wash the floor, moving furniture, and others tend to the windows.
There are at least eighteen maids in the castle, which I think is too few for the entire place.
The castle is my home where I live with my grandfather, Elder Cornelius, and my brother, Caspian.
We have some guards that live on the castle grounds in an adjacent building, but inside, it is just the three of us, which makes us a small family.
The castle has a Victorian style to it. Enormous chandeliers hang from the ceilings, and vast crystal windows like prisms reflect unique colors. Most of the furniture is vintage.
I am in charge of redecorating the palace from time to time. It has nineteen bedrooms, three living rooms, one on each floor, and three dining rooms that are in use.
We have an enormous bathhouse that is connected to Caspian’s room and mine.
There is also a library where I spend most of my time reading and doing research. We have a gym and training grounds for the guards.
We also have a theater and a lab for testing weapons. There are two kitchens—one for the royal family and one for the guards—an inner garden, a throne room, and a grand hall for events.
The castle is way too big for us, but we enjoy the place; it is our home.
And even though we are vampires that live in the 21st century, our homes are mostly castles and palaces on the outskirts of the cities where only nature surrounds us.
We keep certain things the old-fashioned way. No, we keep it traditional.
I open the doors to the dining room, and there at the head table sits my grandfather.
“How long are you going to make me wait, Amilia?” my grandfather hisses.
“Good morning to you too, Grandfather,” I answer sarcastically, then take a seat across from him.
“Enough with your impertinence. We need to talk about the Grand Ball,” my grandfather says, leaving no space for arguing.
The Grand Ball is a celebration for unmated vampires, and I find an excuse not to assist every year. And just like in those previous years, I am still not planning to attend.
“Amilia, we are all going, including you.” My grandfather eyes me, studying my reaction.
“I can’t go,” I lie.
Honestly, I don’t wish to go and don’t need to. I already have a mate, but my grandfather and brother don’t know about it. There is no need; he is already dead.
My grandfather’s jaw clenches as his hands tighten around the glass of blood he holds.
“You!” my grandfather shouts. “You’re going even if you don’t want to. Caspian will join you. As you know, he’s not mated either. So, he will be your partner.”
I blink, assessing his order. “Caspian?” I scoff. “I’m not planning on going to the damn ball, especially with my brother, so no, thank you.”
His eyes flash red as he glares my way.
My grandfather thinks he can force a mate on me, but he can’t. And no one will. I won’t allow it, never~.~
I am Amilia Vlad, a pureblood vampire. I am twenty-eight years old, and the princess of the Kingdom of Constanta, and I am not planning on finding my mate because my mate is already dead.
I’m Princess of the Sapphire Eyes, and I hold secrets that no one has to find out about, even if it means I have to kill everyone who might.
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