“Remind me again why we’re at the library?” Jeff asked.
“Research. I wanted to look into Elven tradition. I would like to revive Dionysus, but I would hate to go against their customs. They hold very long grudges,” Adeline answered.
“I think that guy deserved it,” Jeff said smugly.
“You know that this is slightly your fault, yes?”
“Mine?” Jeff asked. “How is this my fault?”
“Slighty your fault.” Adeline corrected him. “You said that you did not care about who Charlotte was romantically involved with, yet you were front and center both times she was going to hook up with Dionysus. That is no coincidence, and you cannot lie because I can feel your deepest emotions.”
A small tint laid on Jeff’s features. “I might be attracted to your sister, but not the one I saw today. That wasn’t what I was prepared for.”
“That is not my sister.” At Jeff’s confused face, Adeline began to explain. “Well, it is. But thats’s not what I meant. She isn’t usually like this, and I think it has something to do with the unexpected visitor that’s throwing her emotions in a flurry. I would not be shocked if it started to affect all of the Grays.”
“Why isn’t anyone else acting like that?” Jeff asked.
“We all are,” Adeline said. “I am usually not wrong with my readings, but I was too hasty in attacking Dionysus. I had a cover to protect and I was even on the verge of breaking that. Whoever is here really does not belong, and they must have been brought in a way that was detrimental to the timeline. Mason was careful with you, it is why you cannot be spotted so easily, and you do not destroy the order of things. WHoever brought the other person here is unexperienced.”
“So then what?” Jeff asked the girl, who was already scanning the shelves for ancient Elven literature.
“I believe that my sister acted the way that she did because she was the most vulnerable. I left myself with an opening, unfortunately, when I was healing my grandfather. Millie and my dad could be next.”
“And your dad needs to keep a clear head to end this thing,” Jeff replied.
“Precisely, so we must find a way to this person and eradicate them. That is the only way. It is a shame, a second chance is glorious, if it is done right.” Adeline let out a small breath. “I will continue looking for this book. You are free to do as you please for now. Stay out of trouble, but if they know you are with me, no one will bother you.”
Jeff nodded and headed to roam the library. His heart began to hurt as he thought of Charlotte. The behavior he had seen just an hour ago was so foreign to him, and so vulgar. But, that wasn’t her? He had really hoped that was true. Feelings of anger and jealousy rose in him as he thought of that slimy orange haired elve with his arms around the girl’s perfectly pale body. Jeff shut his eyes and tried to block out the image of Charlotte altogether. He was having such a hard time giving up on the family he had once known. Even if he decided not to help Mason, he still felt like he was betraying his loved ones. He felt like he was letting them down, even if they weren’t alive to chastise him.
“Hey there handsome, at the library again?” Rosalia asked. Jeff jumped, startled at the voice. “And this time, you’re with the other vampire sister. Wow, you have a very specific taste, don’t you?”
Jeff shook his head. “It’s business.”
“Whose business? Yours or hers?” Rosalia pointed to Adeline. “You know, you don’t have to let her push you around. I heard she’s sleeping with that other purebred creep.”
Jeff lowered his eyes at the girl. “You shouldn’t listen to rumors.” He remebered what Charlotte has told him about her origin, both girls were practically related to Altiere. That would be disgusting, and Adeline seemed to have no interest in anything romantic at all.
“I’m a fairy, it’s what we do. Don’t look so upset. I was only joking.” She faked a pout.
“You really should be more considerate,” Jeff said.
“You should be able to think for yourself. Those vampires don’t want to help you. They want to use you as a tool. You’re nothing but a subject to them.”
Jeff stared quizically at the girl. “Charlotte last time, she seemed to think that you were under her finger. I just hope that you know what you’re getting into.”
“I really don’t think thats any of your business.” Jeff was shocked at the cold tone in his voice.
“Woah buddy, they’ve got you pretty pinned down, huh? I’m saying this for your own good. Not for my enjoyment.” She scratched her head.
“If Charlotte wants to boss me around, thats fine by me. I’d rather spend an eternity serving her than having to listen to any more of your ignorant comments.”
Jeff began to walk off. He was incredibly agitated already. Normally, he’d hold his tongue to a female, but maybe Charlotte was right the first time they had encountered the girl. She was a troublr maker trying to instigate some sort of fight between him and the Grays. Well, it wasn’t happening. He had an allegiance to them. They had been nothing but kind to him, and Ethan’s accomodating yet stern nature kind of reminded him of his uncle Gene. Of course, there were some stark differences, but the kindess and willingness to help were there. He was angry at himself for so readily giving up on Charlotte. He didn’t know the nature of his feelings, but he cared enough about her to want to figure it out. First, he had to make the pain go away, and that wouldn’t happen for her if he was here listening to some fairy.
“That was interesting,” Adeline said calmly.
“You heard it?” Adeline nodded. “The Grays have been good to me, I won’t stand around and hear such nonsense.”
Adeline was smirking. “You’d spent an eternity serving my sister, now?”
“What?” Jeff could feel the heat rushing to his cheeks. He hadn’t felt this sensation since he was in police training camp and he had spotted Lisa for the first time.
“You said that you’d rather spend an eternity serving Charlotte than have to talk to Rosalia for one more minute.” Amusement danced behind Adeline’s glowing eyes. “An eternity is a long time.”
“It was a figure of speech…”
“Yeah, definitely.” Adeline nodded. “It’s cute how you think you can hide your emotions from me. Neither you nor Charlotte can. The two of you are ridiculous. I’m not going to meddle anymore, but I do think that your family would not want to hold you back from another life because they couldn’t be a part of it. Sometimes it is about your happiness, and sometimes someone’s happiness is dependent on yours.”
“You dug that deep, huh?” Jeff asked. “I had a wife and kids. How do you move on from that? My life is different than Charlotte’s and I know that you and your entire family want to play match maker. But it’ll never work.”
“Why’s that?” Adeline had promptly shut her book. “Because Charlotte’s never had any children? Because she’s a vampire? Or is it because you just don’t want to give up on your past? My family is one that brings trouble everywhere we go, if you cannot handle it, then please, walk out of this library right now. I will not penalize you for it, I want you to be happy, and if you’re only here because you feel some kind of duty to us, you are free. I relieve you, so go and live the life that you want.”
“Darling, you shouldn’t be so upset at your family.” Charlotte’s eyes widened at the man in front of her. He seemed as healthy as ever. He held his hand out. “My amulet?”
“Oh, right.” She handed him the necklace. “Adeline’s power never missed, how did you…I mean, you were definitely knocked out.”
“With all due respect, my lady. Elves have been around much longer than vampires have.” Dionysus dug into his other pocket and pulled out a small pouch. “Don’t tell anyone, but Elves keep this protective ward with them at all times. It grants a one time effect eraser. Basically, think of a video game. I was invincible that turn, but its worn off. I have to have it recharged.”
“Thank the watcher. I thought you were a goner!” Charlotte exclaimed.
“That would be a bummer, right?” He smiled. “Give me a moment to recooperate. Then, we must head to this mystery person immediately. I believe that their presence is causing your personality to reach extremes. I knew it was strange that the purebred vampiress I had heard so much about was so hasty in her movements. It was confirmed when I saw how vicious you were being to that boy whom you obviously care deeply for.”
Charlotte’s eyes widened. “Oh crap. What did I say to him? What even happened?”
“As I suspected. You had a temporary blackout as your emotions reached their highest. Then it is not this person’s presence causing it. They have left you vulnerable, but the real culprit is one trying to control you. It seems they are able to influence your feelings.” Dionysus reached out to her and held his hand over his heart. “May I? I want to scan your heart and see. If I hear static, then it is obvious you are fighting a war with someone for control and you don’t even know it.”
“Are you serious?” Charlotte asked. Or, you’re just messing with me?”
“Ancient Elven magic has been highly effective for many many generations. Trust me on this.” Charlotte nodded and Dionysus began to search her heart. He frowned. “What?”
“That’s weird. It’s like something is blocking it off completely. I can’t hear a single thing. That could be caused by many things.”
“Like what?” Charlotte asked.
“Either someone has placed that hex on you long ago, or, you are purposefully blocking me out of your heart. Given your personality, I wouldn’t doubt if it was the second.”
“Well, how do I unlock it?” Charlotte asked.
“Hearts like yours can only be unlocked for a single person. You have sealed it off for a reason, or someone else has. If it’s the latter, it’s highly likely that only they can unlock it, and until then, your emotions will always be a jumbled mess, and you will continue to have moments like earlier.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “Now I suspect if you even like me at all, or if you were being influenced.”
“I like you as a person,” Charlotte reassured him.
“I have a feeling that you do, but that isn’t a main concern of ours right now. Having a heart that is blocked off is not good for you. You must find that person, eliminate them so that your heart is no longer vulnerable. Then, you’ll have to find out who summoned that person as they’ll be your most obvious choice for attacker. If no one has sealed your heart, then you must find that one person that you care enough about to let in. Family doesn’t count.”
“What? Why?” Charlotte asked.
“It isn’t that kind of thing,” DIonysus explained. “A best friend, or a lover. They can get close enough to unlock it. It all sounds like a fairytale. Boy, if I knew you would be so complicated my dear, I’d have seeked you out myself.”
“Well, the Gray name alone should have given you that clue. Let’s find this person before my sister tries to insert herself into our plan. I want this person gome as soon as possible, or else my grandfather will die. He isn’t ready yet.”
“I agree, someone messing with the balance of the world is not good at all.” Dionysus stretched his arms over his head. “Ready to go?”
“You bet.” Charlotte nodded. “Let’s go.”
[AN: Next chapter will be an Astra update. Rosalia Black was made by whisperinthesims and Jeffrey Bennett was made by dandylion240. Thank you both.]