Me, we all answer, making him grin as she whines.
Good, then be ready. Our queen is ravenous.
We will provide,we reply instantly.
Gripping his hair, she turns his head and sinks her fangs into his neck.
He groans and closes his eyes as his hand comes up to her head and holds her against him. “That’s it. Feed, my queen. Take it all, it’s yours now. Your blood is ours, and our blood is yours.”
He lets us feel his pleasure through the bond as she draws his blood into her. We feel her fangs in his neck and the slide of her skin against his. He overloads us with sensations until we are all desperate to feed her, pushing forward as she drinks and drinks.
She takes more of his ancient blood than any of us have ever been able to consume, drinking until his head lolls back.
I free my arm and step closer to her, ripping my fangs into my skin none too gently to entice her. She sniffs and turns her head, staying on Nathair’s lap as she sinks her fangs into my skin. I fall to my knees, my back bowing as pleasure explodes through me. She pulls me closer, and the pain and pleasure of her fangs become too much as I roar out my release, falling to the side as she drinks deeply from me as well.
Sitting back, she licks her blood-covered lips as Azul silently slides closer, slipping around her like the ghost he is. He holds her up as he offers his thick, tanned forearm, and I almost jerk in shock. He must be feeling the need to bond with her after all, because he never offers himself willingly after what happened to him. She hesitates as if sensing this, and his voice comes, deep and from beyond the grave.
“Feed, little one.”
Sinking her fangs into his flesh, she groans and rolls her hips against Nathair, who watches her with hooded, desire-filled eyes, but what he said is true. None of us will touch her this time, not even if she begs. She doesn’t understand what that would mean.
She manages to make our silent ghost grunt, and then he glides away, and she sits back.
“Are you full?” Nathair murmurs as she curls up into him. He strokes her hair as I slide in, pulling her feet over my shoulder and touching every part of her I can.
“Mmm,” she hums happily.
“Good, then rest for now,” he murmurs, and we all watch as her eyes slide closed.
Just like we did when it was our time, she falls into deep slumber while her body changes.
“We will need to prepare her to drink from the rest of you,” Nathair whispers. He’s right. The others’ blood is potent but different, especially Lycus’s. “But only if you wish to feed her.”
We feel their affirmation through the bond, and he grins like he knew their answers.
“Then let us finish our duty for the night. I will carry her to an empty chamber and allow her to slumber, and when she awakens, we will explain everything else.” The others take one last look at her, and he chuckles. “She will still be here. Go deal with the aftermath of the judgement.”
Nodding, they depart, and he turns his head to me. “Osis,” he warns.
I lift my mask and lean closer, breathing her in before getting to my feet and heading off to help the dead cross, even if my mind is on Althea.
* * *
She looks far too beautiful curled up in my lap. I wish to keep her here forever, but I know my duty, and I cannot force the others to do it without helping them, so I gather her and stand. She sighs and snuggles closer, her floral scent wrapping around me.
She is the most beautiful treasure I have ever seen in my long life, and after a lifetime of only being around the other kings, I find myself desperate for her softness.
As I remember the way her fangs sank into me, I almost stumble. None has ever hungered for my blood quite as much as she did. The old king that I was, the cruel mad bastard, would not have offered to let anyone feed on him, but now it is my duty to allow all of them to, and I do it gladly, knowing the blood exchange is important.
She had drunk so sweetly, so deeply, it shocked me, but I would have happily offered up every single drop I had to her.
She’s such a rarity, an anomaly, but I see why they chose her. Even close to death, she had poise, composure, and an inner strength that impressed me so much, I had been kind to her when I never had been before. Her deeds were no less heinous than any of ours, but she paid for them, and at least hers were for good, if misguided.
So yes, I see why the gods chose her, but I do wonder how this will change us.