Chapter 4

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I stood paralysed as her presence faded further and further into the distance until the sky cleared and the soft breeze dissipated. The thunder halted and the very essence of time seemed to stop. In the corner of my eye, I saw Alberta running towards us- finally. "Princess, Guardian Belikov: I was told to come and get you and tell you to come back to camp as the sun will be rising soon." She smiled at us while watching are wary faces. Eventually, she worked out that not all was right. "While I was gone, did something happen?" It was at that moment that Lissa turned to me unexpectedly and softly spoke:

"Go…" The sound was caught in the air but I heard the whisper and understood it immediately. What was strange was my longing to do just that. I shouldn’t have been so intrigued by this girl. She was a danger to everything I held dear- went against everything I worked for…and yet… a part of me longed to get to know her- to break through those barriers and see the real her, even though the very thought of it was completely ridiculous.  I stared at Lissa, her eyes conveying more emotion than I dared to acknowledge. She gave a slight nod in my direction, and without a second thought, I surrendered to my desire.

"Guardian Petrov, do you mind staying with the Princess and accompanying her back to camp. I want to scan the perimeter and double-check that everything is safe. "Of course Guardian Belikov. It’s always better to be safe than sorry." Alberta smiled slightly at me in acceptance. Nodding my head slightly, I put on my best guardian mask and walked off into the distance.


I ran as fast as I could, just trying to get as far away from them as possible. In a way I was envious of them. They could have such a simple, basic life. That was something I would never have the privilege of knowing. My life was always going to be utterly messed up, with problems after problems. If I chose to continuously run away from my actual life, then I would probably be hunted down and forced to return to my place on the throne. Sure if I was found I would just pretend I had been travelling, but I would be forced to return to a life of pain- a life that I really didn’t want. If I tried to fit in as a dhampir, then eventually someone would realize that I wasn’t all that I seemed, because yes I can make myself look completely dhampir with brown eyes and no fangs but it wouldn't be permanent and eventually I would be found out. For me, it was a lose/lose situation, whichever way I went…

Eventually, when I was a fair distance away from them, I stopped and sat down. I realised I was actually panting for breath and my muscles felt weak, lactic acid burning through my veins. Although Strigoi's couldn't get tired from running, dhampir could and I was half dhampir so I could easily over-exert myself if I pushed myself too hard. This made me wonder just how far I had actually travelled. I lied on a pillow of leaves and closed my eyes, letting the world fade away. My breathing returned to normal a while later but I remained on the ground, enjoying the peace of my surroundings. As I sat, I heard faint footsteps coming towards me. Immediately I hid myself and readied myself into a defensive crouch. Always I was prepared for anyone and anything. It had been necessary to survive this long in my world. The thought made me laugh. It would be easier to count the people who didn’t want to kill me and take the thrown than it would be to count the people who did. 

It was minutes later that the owner of the footsteps appeared. His back was to me so I couldn't see his face. It didn't matter though; I recognised his clothes and his long hair. It was him! The last person that I wanted to see at this minute. I sighed to myself and couldn't help rolling my eyes as well. Why had he decided to come looking for me now? Maybe I should just snap his neck for the sake of it. No, now was not the time to be filling my head with crude humour.

Hesitantly, I stepped out of my hiding place and stretched out of my defensive crouch. I cleared my throat and waited for him to turn around and face me. I didn't have to wait long though as the second I made a noise he jumped and twisted his body round. The move was oddly graceful; like a cat on the prowl. He immediately got into a defensive crouch but a look of relief seemed to smother his features when he realised who I was. I really didn’t feel like conversing with this guy today, but for now I’d humour him- and myself. I smiled my man-eater smile before saying, "You didn't come all this way looking for me did you?" A smile seemed to play on his features. It was a weird look. He almost seemed to be relieved. Was he worried he had made a mistake in coming here? He had.

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