The first man wanders over to me, and I stiffen, my eyes darting to the women beside me, only now I find they’re gone, pressing against the far wall in fear of the three monstrous Kings who have entered. He prowls toward me, circling around me, his bottle of liquor in his hand, sizing me up; he tugs at my dress and flicks my hair while I watch the other man.
“Where are the men?” The man who entered last demands, turning to look at Malachi.
“The King has changed plans. He has new intentions for the maze this year.” Malachi answers, unfazed by the deadly lilt in his tone.
“What intentions?” the man asks. “You’ll have to take it up with your father, King Regan,I am not at liberty to tell you,” Malachi answers when I feel fingers grip my chin. Unthinkingly, too busy paying attention to the new intruder, I slap the hand that touches me. Within seconds, the man’s fingers are locked around my throat.
“You dare slap a King,” all smiles and drunken gander gone, now replaced with an ice-cold tone. The maids back away, and I choke as his grip tightens. I could feel the blood rushing to my head as my lips part, in shock.
“Zeke, let the bitch go. She will be dead in a few hours anyway,” The man Malachi called King Regan snarls.
His brother, however, doesn’t. Instead, King Zeke’s grip only grows tighter as he crushes my windpipe. “Mind your manners, or next time I’ll beat them into you.” he snarls before shoving me away. The backs of my feet hit something, and I tumble backward, landing on my ass. I glare up at the King with as much venom as I can muster. All while biting back the urge to swallow, feeling like something is lodged in my crushed windpipe.
“She is a feisty bitch. I can’t wait for our wolves to rip her apart,” King Zeke announces, swigging from his bottle.
He then turns on his heel and nudges his other brother. “Come, Lyon, let’s go see what the old bastard is up to now,” Zeke tells him, storming out of the stables. Well, at least I now know the names of the men who would make me meet my end. Zeke, Lyon and Regan.
However, when I went to get up, using my hands to push up off the ground, a foot came down on my hand, crushing my fingers, and making me halt. Lifting my head, I come eye to eye with King Regan. He stares at me intently, tilting his head to the side.
“ Is everything alright, my King,” Malachi asks in a bored tone. King Regan grips my face, turning it this way and that. His brows furrow as he leans closer, he sniffs me before pulling away with a look of confusion on his face which he quickly masks.
“Where did you find this one?” he questions, not taking his eyes off me. “The north mountain, sir,” Malachi answers him simply.
King Regan tilts my face higher, his grip becoming harsher as he examines my face as if he was trying to burn it into his memory. His teeth protrude slightly from his lips, razor canines, barely visible. “She is an interesting one. Did she put up a fight?”
“Not much of one, but she did kick me when I tried to grab her out of the tunnel,” Malachi states.
“But she tried to run?” The King asks, looking over his shoulder. Malachi nods once to him, and the King scoffs.
“Well, the feisty ones always scream the loudest, and I can’t wait to hear the chorus you’ll sing.”
Once again, my mouth to brain filter shows it is in need of repair. “Don’t bet on it.” the words leave my lips before I can stop them, spewing out of me like word vomit. He quirks an eyebrow at me, his lips tugging in the corners.
“We’ll see,” he says. His thumb brushes across my lips. “If by some miracle you survive, I’ll keep you as my whore; you are a pretty little thing, despite the vileness of your ego. And I would love to watch you choke on my cock.” he snarls, letting me go and rising back to his feet. I glare at him, and he smiles cruelly in return flashing his deadly teeth before turning his attention to Malachi.
“Get them to the maze while I go see why my father has changed this year’s maze games,” The King then turns on his heel and stalks out of the stables, nodding once only when Malachi speaks. “Yes, sir,”
Malachi glances at me nervously, and I get to my feet. He then ushers all of us to follow him. However, the moment we step out into the night, one of the women takes off. She is running for her life, heading toward the surrounding forest. She barely makes it ten meters away when the King grabs her. He shoves her toward the stables, and she lands on her stomach on the grass. The other women behind me talk in hushed murmurs, yet my eyes are on the woman as she crawls to her feet, it is the same young girl the Vampire man grabbed earlier wanting to feed on her.
Before she has the chance to get up, the King seizes her arm, and my breath lodges in my throat as his face twists and morphs into an angry sneer. His features were no longer human but Lycan as he fights the urge to shift between forms in his anger. The woman lashes out, and the collective gasp rings out from everyone present. The sound stops his brothers on the hill when she manages to hit him in the face.
The resounding clap of her palm on his face seems to echo when he growls. The sound ticking loudly from the back of his throat. Within seconds, his hands wrap around her throat. And she grabs his hands as they tighten, her face turning purple, and her lips part. I see his brother’s slowly walking back to watch the scene play out with avid fascination written into their features.
My mind screams at me, to do something.
She can’t breathe, she can’t breathe.
Out of all the horrors I have seen before, even after watching granny toss herself off the cliff, for some reason, this sight triggers something inside me or maybe because I remember the feeling from earlier when King Zeke grabbed me. I can’t explain it, but a jolt of panic slivers through me and that panic makes my feet move.
Stupidly, I run toward her, not even realizing what I am doing. Malachi’s fingers skim the back of my dress as he tries to yank me back into line with the other women. I tackle the King, though tackle isn’t the right word because the force nearly knocks me out. His body is hard as a rock as I collide with it before bouncing off.
Yet my lame attempt at tackling seems to work because he lets her go. She hits the ground, and the King turns on me. The woman yanks on my arm where she fell beside me, and we scoot back on our hands and feet, trying to get away from the monster that is now stalking both of us.
“Kill her.” the King snarls to one of the guards, as he reaches for me when the King speaks again. “Not her, the other one. This one is mine.” he snarls.