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Chapter 1: Beloved Prey

Looking back now, Adeline should have known her destiny had been entwined with him the second she tried to stab him.

"At the very least, can you smile?" her aunt hissed from beside her. "You were invited to this ball to capture the King's attention, but you're frowning like you're attending a funeral."

Adeline Rose bowed her head and glanced down at the polished ground. Her tiara was slipping. When it slid off her blond hair, she caught it on reflex. No one noticed and she couldn't care less.

"Even if the King is a pure-bred Vampire, you should still try and please him. As you know, Adeline, he is a heartless man. Just offer your neck to him and we will be able to live comfortably."

That is, if he didn't try to kill her on the spot.

Adeline had forgotten the tale that was as old as time. A century ago, an ancient species whose name existed only in fairy tales came forward. They ravaged the modern world with brute strength and mesmerizing beauty. War began between the humans and the Vampires. It was the same cliché tale of good vs. evil.

History was always told by the victors.

The Vampires reigned supreme. They were praised as the most elite of races. Vampires seized daunting positions, from ones in the monarch government, to large, corporate businesses.

Soon, they infiltrated every aspect of life.

"Goodness, if you weren't so dreary looking, like a girl greeting the grim reaper, I wouldn't have to worry so much," Aunt Eleanor added on.

"I-I need fresh air," Adeline stuttered out, at last.

Adeline's heart skipped at the unexpected stammer. Her Aunt Eleanor hated it. She had lost count how many times she had been whipped on the hind legs for stumbling over her words.

"Goodness, not again," Aunt Eleanor said with a roll of her eyes. "The least you can do as a Princess is to show your face and—"

"His Majesty is nowhere i-in sight," Adeline muttered. 

Adeline's heart raced when Aunt Eleanor shot her a dirty glare. Despite Aunt Eleanor's meager rant as a Viscountess, she still had an unwavering effect on the young woman.

Adeline wanted to argue that she was no longer a Princess. The title was discarded the day her parents tragically died and her throne was seized by an usurper. She was no longer royalty. Even so, Aunt Eleanor forced her to wear a tiny tiara, as if that would change anything.

"Don't back-talk," Aunt Eleanor chided. "As a woman, it is disrespectful for you to object to someone wiser and older than you."

Adeline cast a final glance towards the majestic ballroom of the enormous castle. Crystal chandeliers glimmered over her, as elegant music mingled through the dancing crowd.

There were beautiful women dressed with prestige and handsome men reeking of wealth. The sight was nauseating and the scent made her cringe. She desperately wanted to leave. This was not her scene. Not her forté.

"I'll be back soon," Adeline whispered. 'Or not.'

Adeline escaped to the balcony. The heavy, muslin curtains blew with the wind as she quickly rushed past them. The cool, chilling air licked at her skin, provoking goosebumps.

She glimpsed the twirling figures in the ballroom, her grip tightening on the railings. It would be great if she could fling herself off the balcony. Then, she could make a dashing escape into the midnight.

Adeline gulped. A dagger pressed into her outer thigh, the cold leather a cruel reminder of her task tonight. Seduce His Majesty and assassinate him. It was easy in theory. But in practice? Only fools would attempt it.

"F-focus," she hissed to herself.

The fate of her kingdom relied on her. She needed to kill His Majesty, for he was the cause of her parents' demise. It was a cliché plot, truly. If only she were a confident and stubborn protagonist, with the tongue of a silver fox. Alas, she was just a little Princess with her head in the clouds.

Pushing away from the railing with a sigh, Adeline collided with a hard body. She whirled around.

"I-I'm sorry—" like her hopes and aspirations, her voice died off.

Handsome was an understatement. He was ravishingly beautiful. Sharp features, eyes the color of blood rubies; he was a Vampire. Judging from his elegant form and intimidating presence, he was a high-ranking one as well.

Adeline locked eyes with the Vampire. She was breath taken by his astounding beauty. So much so, that she forgot to avert her gaze. It was custom. A mere human like her should bow, regardless of status. She'd have to worship the ground he walked upon.

Admittedly, she was too caught up by him. His eyes were dark and mysterious. His lips curled into a devious smirk. Her stomach fluttered.

"Hello, darling."

Adeline shivered at his voice. Deep and husky, yet velvety smooth. She recognized that voice ander eyes grew wide. Lost in her daydream, she didn't realize their position. Her small back was pressed against the stone railing. His hand tightly gripped the railing beside her waist. His black suit did not hide his muscles.

He towered over her.

"What are you d-doing?" she uttered. Cursing herself for stuttering, she tried to appear strong.

It did not work.

His hand was on her thigh. His long fingers grazed the spot where her dagger rested.

"Oh darling," he cooed with an amused smile. "Is that a present for me?"

Adeline's pulse raced, her lips parted in horror. She had finally recalled where this voice came from. She had once spent a drunken night with this voice. Although, that was not the only thing that had happened.

He let out a cold, dark chuckle. A mischievous smile graced his lips. Leaning down, his mouth brushed against her ear. She quivered and shrank back. There was nowhere to run.

She was prey, caught by the predator.

His breath was hot as it fanned her ear. It tickled. Her fingers curled into tight fists. Without warning, his icy fingers landed upon her clenched hand.

"What's wrong, darling?" he drawled out.

His voice sent sparks down her body. Butterflies erupted in her stomach. In normal circumstances, she would've shoved him away. Her integrity and dignity was at stake, afterall. But she knew him. And he knew her. For, they were more than strangers.

"You were a lot more verbal that night," he teased. "Yet tonight, you decide to go mute?"

He slipped his fingers through her fist. He guided her hand to her thigh, pressing it against the dagger.

"W-what are you doing here?" Adeline stumbled out. 

Alas, Adeline regained her voice. Even so, she could not look up at him. He was standing too close. It was strange, Vampires reeked of death and murder, but his scent of pine cones and cinnamon told her otherwise.

He gently urged her to place her hand into her pocket. She noticed her long ball gown was scrunched between his thighs. She swallowed.

Adeline squeezed her eyes shut. Her pocket had a large hole towards the bottom, which gave her access to the dagger. He slid it out, revealing the glistening silver blade. The moonlight cascaded upon them, creating the façade of lovers sneaking off into the midnight.

"How lovely," he teased. "I hope you're not here to kill me."

Adeline couldn't breathe. Her hand was shaking.

Adeline was assigned with that task, but she could not do it. Blood terrified her. It was a silly fear, especially with the prominent race in her life. Despite this,  she was just a little human girl, or so she thought.

"Sweet, sweet Adeline," he softly chuckled. He twirled the knife through his long fingers. He was an expert in using his hands.

"You, out of everyone else, should know what I am capable of."

Adeline's face flushed. She glanced away, but he did not give her the chance,

"So, what shall be done of you?" he inquired.

Adeline's heart trembled, like her shuddering shoulders. The arctic wind of winter was nipping at her exposed skin. He did not seem to care, however. His once kind and warm eyes were nowhere to be found. How could she have forgotten? The side he showed to her that night was a mere illusion.

"How should I punish you, my dear Adeline?"

Adeline's body jolted. Her head shot up, revealing her terrified gaze. His smile widened.

"W-well, you can let me go and—"

"Nonsense," he interrupted sharply.

Adeline flinched. His raised voice reminded her of someone unpleasant. It was strange to believe how time could change someone. He wasn't like this before. Did he remember her? He acted as if he did. If that were the case, why was he so unkind to her?

In an instant, his features hardened, his eyes narrowing. Before she could divulge on his change, he was back to normal. All smiles and jokes.

"Who is it, Adeline? Who hurt my beloved prey?"

She rapidly shook her head. "I don't know why you're here, but I suggest you leave. I-if His Majesty hears of a trespasser, he won't let you live."

His eyes twinkled with mirth. "And let you go so easily? I've yet to punish you for bringing a weapon here."

How did he know about the knife in the first place?

Who told him she came armed? How did he even get in here? She tried to rattle her brain for answers. What did he say he was again? She couldn't remember.

"What do you want?" she finally demanded, exasperated. "I-I have to go back to the ballroom soon."

His smile widened. "I want you to dance with me. But not the same kind of dance we engaged in a few nights ago."

Xincerely Xincerely

A fawn is a baby deer :)

Xincerely's new book! ⤵️

Book: Alpha, Please Be Gentle Trope: Sunshine x Villain, CEO

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