✍️✍️✍️✍️ Hellbound With You Chapter 631 - 640 ✍️✍️✍️✍️


Chapter 631 If

By the time Zeres stood and walked out of the water, there was a new set of clothes sitting neatly, already placed on top of a large flat stone nearby. He lifted his gaze and saw Zeke leaning against the trunk of a nearby tree, his one hand playing with a dagger and the other inside his pocket.

Zeres silently got dressed, ignoring Zeke.

"I’m going to go back to the kingdom." Zeke broke the silence and Zeres simply paused his movement for a moment and still didn’t say a thing.

"Now that we have found the cavern, it’s time for us to get the next clue. I’ll come back with the prophetess as soon as possible."

"Yes." Was all Zeres said. His voice emotionless and eyes blank, as if he genuinely did not care about Zeke’s words and plans any longer.

Zeke already knew. He could tell that Zeres was no longer interested about what he was saying or planning to do because it was apparent to him that Zeres now had a plan of his own – a plan Zeke could never agree with. However, in Zeres’ thinking, that was the only path left for him to travel. Zeke also knew that he could not stop Zeres, not that he did not want to but it was more of the fact that he knew it was too late to do anything now.

After leveling one hard and heavy stare at Zeres, Zeke left with an inaudible sigh.


When Zeres returned to the villa, Zeke was already long gone. Lucas was busy cooking up a storm for everyone’s breakfast in the kitchen. Since the young prince still refused to drink blood, Lucas had to cook nutritious food for him to supplement the necessary nutrients needed for a growing vampire teen and also for the witches three times daily. This happens every single time they stopped to stay over in a place far from human towns. The ginger head had been a huge help and he was unexpectedly a good cook too.

Kyle was outside the house on guard duty to keep watch for any unforeseen dangers or stray rogue vampires while Lucas was occupied with cooking when he felt Zeres’ presence. He immediately leaped to the window of Alicia’s room and saw Zeres already inside, already gathering Alicia up carefully in his arms.

"Zeres!" the boy called out as he entered through the window and approached them. But for a split second, he paused in his tracks when he suddenly felt something in the air that made his defensive instincts kick into high gear. He frowned hard, confused but continued approaching them after that short moment of hesitation. "She’s still not waking up. Where are you taking her?" he asked, cautiously.

Zeres glanced at him and to the boy’s relief, he responded. "I need to wake her up."

The boy’s brows creased. "H-how? I mean, why would you need to –"

"She’ll sleep forever if I don’t wake her up. We’ll be back in a few minutes."

"O- okay..." Kyle could only nod and stood there feeling useless while watching the witches disappear from his sight.

Worried and confused, Kyle left the room with a heavy heart and headed back down to the kitchen where Lucas was still in the midst of his food prep. His brother had just left with a single order. They were to stay put in this house until his return. Kyle was also worried sick about Queen Alicia. When he watched over her last night, the queen didn’t even make a single move or twitched in her sleep or made any sounds that he had to approach her bed a few times to check on her closely, just to assure himself that she was still alive and sleeping and not dead. Her breathing was so weak and hard to sense it out that he was scared she had actually stopped breathing.

He had noticed her weakness long ago, but it still shocked him how much she had deteriorated and how weak she had become. Her silver hair had now turned dark grey and even her lashes and brows were a darker colour. Though she wasn’t shining as bright as the moonlight anymore, she was still the most beautiful queen he had ever met.

With a deep anxious sigh, Kyle slumped onto one of the kitchen chairs. Even the delicious smells wafting off the food Lucas had prepared failed to elevate his mood this time.

"Zeres felt scary just now..." he muttered, half talking to himself and half telling Lucas what had happened earlier. "But knowing that he is the one who cares the most about Alicia, I couldn’t stop him but only let him take her away."

"You did the right thing, Your Highness. And besides, you don’t have the right to stop him from taking her away." Lucas replied, facing the stove. The pale pink apron he wore was a glaring contrast against his pure black clothes and big frame.

"But... Zeres really felt different this time. I’m starting to feel wary of him."

Lucas didn’t speak this time and silence reigned for a long while until Kyle said again.

"If... if Zeres suddenly becomes an enemy... our enemy, can we deal with him?"

The young prince’s question had taken Lucas by surprise, rendering him frozen to the spot and at a loss for words for a few seconds before finally asking, "Why would you think something like that?"

Kyle’s eyes widened as if he had just realized what he had blurted out. "I... I don’t know. I think I’m imagining too much." He sighed, raking his hand over his hair hard. "Zeres is one of the nicest I know and he’s very caring and kind too. There’s no way he’ll become an enemy, right?"

When Lucas said nothing, Kyle noisily stood from his chair. "Ugh. I don’t like these crazy thoughts. I’ll take a breather outside to clear my head."

"Remember to remain within a five-meter radius of the house. Or else your breakfast–" Lucas nagged.

"Yes, boss. I know. Rest assured I’ll listen obediently." Kyle rolled his eyes and smirked at how Lucas was playing the nanny role perfectly.

Once the boy was gone, Lucas’ expression changed. His hands slowly dropped to his sides as he leaned against the table behind him, staring absent-mindedly at the food laid on the table and that which was still on the stove.
Chapter 632 One purpose

It was already late in the morning when Alicia regained her consciousness. After gaining her bearings, as usual, the first thing she did was to take stock and feel out the latest condition of her body, clench her fists to see how much strength she had left this time around before the memories from her last waking moments caught up with her.

With wide eyes she whipped her head towards the spot where she had seen Zeres sleeping at yesterday. Seeing that the spot on the floor was empty, Alicia sighed out in relief. However, she did wonder where did Zeres run off to this time.

Her gaze fell on the window and the moment she realized the sun was already high and beaming brightly through the opened curtains, she slipped off the bed, wore her cloak and hastily grabbed her things for washing up before heading off to the bathroom downstairs.

The men were all lounging outside the house. Lucas was sitting leisurely on the bench while Zeres and Kyle were having an intense sparring session. It had surprised Lucas when Zeres suddenly asked the young prince if he wanted to spar with him.

Of course, Kyle was overjoyed. He had been itching to ask Zeres for a long time now and it seemed the witch himself had long noticed the young prince’s obvious desire to fight him. The only question was, what made Zeres even consider offering to do so now when he had ignored the young prince for so long? There have been many other chances previously and Zeres had not even bothered with the young prince other than just giving the cursory greetings or glances.

Lucas also noticed that the silver-haired witch seemed to have somehow changed overnight. But all he could do was rest his head on his palm and watch. He didn’t like thinking too deeply into things that much. But it seemed he could not avoid thinking after all, as his brain already started planning on what he should be cooking for the prince and the other two witches for their lunch which was coming up soon.

"Ugh!!" Kyle fell on the ground hard. His sword was flung far away from him and he felt his sword hand going numb with the strong impact of Zeres’ earlier attack.

Zeres walked towards him and offered him a hand to pull him up. The boy smiled, thrilled and happy as he accepted Zeres’ hand.

"That move was so strong! And I’m pretty sure that’s not even your full strength! Right?" Kyle said animatedly as he stood and brushed off his pants.

"Kiel can easily block and counter that attack though. If your brother’s an immortal, he could probably beat both me and Alexander at once." Zeres replied as a matter of fact, causing the boy to widen his eyes in amazement.

"R-really? That’s..." Kyle trailed off because something had already caught and pulled the immortal witch’s attention. When the boy followed his line of sight, his gaze fell towards Alicia’s room.

Kyle still wanted to talk to him. This was the first time they had sparred and chatted, and Kyle really liked him too. He wanted them to chat and fight a little bit more, but he also knew that this immortal’s priority was Alicia. He had seen it since the very beginning, how this man seemed to have only one purpose in existing and that was to take care of the witch queen.

"You’re strong, Kyle." Zeres said. A small smile curved on his lips. "If you don’t stop improving yourself, one day, you could be as strong as your brother. Maybe even stronger, who knows? I’m not encouraging you to be like him though. You’re still so young, don’t focus on getting stronger so early."

"Why? Is that a bad thing? I heard my brother Ezekiel was already as strong as hell that he could beat every living vampire to pulp when he was my age."

"And that’s why Kiel’s bored as hell and as cold as ice now." Zeres smirked. "Or do you actually want to be like him?"

Kyle blinked and he looked away. "I do want to be as powerful as him. But... I don’t want to be following in his footsteps in the matter of personality and attitude."

"That’s great then. But remember there’s always a price for everything." Zeres ruffled Kyle’s hair and before Kyle could open his mouth again, the immortal witch was already gone.

Slightly pressing on the back of his neck, Kyle walked towards his sword and picked it up. He stared at it and muttered towards himself. "So... you’re saying that if I want power, I need to pay something for it... I wonder just how much my brother had to pay for the power he has now?"


In the house, Alicia was done freshening up and already gotten dressed when Zeres entered her room with a tray of food for her.

"I am glad you finally entertained the boy. He looked happy." Alicia said with a pleased tone, turning away from the window and towards him.

"Yes. He’s really strong." He smiled, surprising Alicia. It felt like forever since she last saw him smiling that she could not help but feel somewhat weirded out and stared at him.

"What happened last night?"

"Eat first. I’ll tell you once you finish all your food."

Her gaze darted between him and the tray of food for a while before she sighed in defeat and sat down to eat. She knew it was futile in arguing with him as she has yet to win in any of their arguments since they started the journey. She still could not taste the food but without a word, she silently forced herself to finish it bit by bit.

"So? What happened last night? You guys didn’t delay the journey because of me, right?" Alicia asked as soon as she finished all her food on her tray.

Zeres quietly collected the plates and tray to set it aside. She reached out for the pitcher but Zeres was quicker than her.

"Kiel and I went to the cavern and..." he looked straight into her eyes after pouring a glass of cool water for her. "We finally found it."
Chapter 633 Curious

Alicia’s eyes were wide with disbelief. It felt quite surreal that she didn’t know how to react. Did they really, finally found it?! They have been travelling for so long, combing through different continents, visiting cavern after cavern, only to be disappointed and let down time and again. It somehow didn’t feel quite real that they finally managed to track down the ever-elusive cavern. Alicia’s initial thought was to burst out in joy, but for some reason, the joy wasn’t there.

"But there is a problem Kiel needs to deal with first and foremost before we can head over and get to attack the cavern." Zeres continued.

"A-attack? There are rogue vampires there too?"

"Yes. Apparently, that place is where they had set up their headquarters. We must clear the place before bringing you there. We needed back up."

Alicia frowned. It was hard for her to believe that they needed a back-up against a group of rogue vampires. These vampires and Zeres that she travels with are not your everyday run-of-the-mill ordinary vampires or witch. To be fair, they are as far from ordinary as can be. Ezekiel alone could deal with thousands and Zeres can ignite countless rouge vampires in one go. Not to mention the added strength of Lucas and Kyle. Their group was invincible and yet Ezekiel had left to ensure that they had sufficient back-up?

She was about to shake her head when a solemn thought popped into her head. Wait... could it be that there was another enemy who was like Dinah, or God-forbid, someone even stronger than her!? This thought that had seemed so random, was now making more sense as in her mind, it was the only plausible reason Alicia could come up with the reason why they needed to fetch more people as back-ups. But who was this enemy? Just where did they come from?

With wide eyes, Alicia stared at Zeres as if she was waiting for him to suddenly burst out laughing and finally tell her that he was just kidding. But the man was serious, and she couldn’t see even a hint that he was lying. His words rang clearly with the truth.

"So, let me get this straight. Are you saying that we have a new enemy right now?" she finally managed to ask after arranging her thoughts, and when he nodded, Alicia frowned even harder. "Who are they? Don’t tell me it’s another immortal." Alicia could feel her skin crawl as she asked that last question. She remembered that many of them barely survived with the incident of the last immortal getting on their case. Riev’s face also appeared in her head which she tried to immediately erase in her thoughts.

"I still don’t know but Kiel left to fetch the vampire prophetess over and probably, Alexander as well. I’m sorry but I cannot say any more on this yet, Alicia. Kiel still have yet to explain the details to me properly. He just told us to wait for him here. He should be arriving back here tomorrow morning."

Alicia’s gaze remained locked onto his. At first, her gaze seemed to hold nothing more than a disbelieving inquiry, but as it continued to hold on, he realized that she was attempting her hardest to read him.

Zeres casually collected the now empty food tray and with a small smile, he said, "So we’ll just hang around here for the rest of the day."

He turned to leave the room, holding the tray in his hand when Alicia reached out and grabbed a fistful of his cloak, causing Zeres to halt mid step. "Hold on... Make sure you come back here after leaving the things in the kitchen. I still have many questions for you."

"I will be back soon." He replied and disappeared as soon as she let go of his cloak.

For some reason, unease had suddenly gripped her insides. The worse thing was she knew Zeres wasn’t lying. And yet she could not feel the gladness and relief she was supposed to be feeling now that they finally found what they were looking for. And even if there was indeed an immortal enemy, it shouldn’t be enough to make her feel like this. Right? They have with them three immortals on their side, plus there’s Ezekiel too. There was absolutely no need for these uneasy feelings to bubble out. So why was her instincts screaming bloody murder at her?

Alicia took a deep breath and then shook her head as though by doing so, she could ease those feelings that had started to overwhelm her. Forcing herself to believe that perhaps, she had weakened emotionally as well and that was why she was having this seemingly exaggerated emotional reaction.

"Why don’t you come out of the room and take a nice stroll outside? Anyway, time is what we have at the moment. We have a day and a night to spare." Zeres suggested as soon as he was back.

Staring at him again, Alicia shook her head. "Nope. I don’t want to waste any strength left in me. I had better sit and rest in the room here all day to preserve whatever little strength I have left."

"You’re right..." Zeres walked towards the window and stood there. His gaze focused on the mountain ranges towering across the thick forest, while Alicia’s gaze remained locked on him. He could feel her eyes boring into his back, observing him intently.

"What happened last night?" she finally asked.

"Hm?" he looked at her over his shoulder. "I already answered tha –"

"Yes. You and Ezekiel ventured out last night and found the cavern. But I’m curious... did something happen to you last night?"

"Nothing much, I just fought against a horde of undead vampires." He shrugged. Alicia’s eyes twitched slightly but she eventually eased back against the headboard and sighed.

"I don’t know. Somehow you feel... different..." she muttered, not realizing she had said it out loud until Zeres’ expression changed. "Uh... I meant... well, you’re talking to me again. You’re even smiling again."

He looked away and rubbed the back of his neck. "I’m just... glad we finally found the cavern."

"Oh, right." Alicia nodded in agreement. Of course, that could be the reason why he seemed to be his usual self again. But...

"By the way," Zeres broke off and her attention was pulled from her own thoughts back to him. "Would you like to do the honours of cutting my hair?"
Chapter 634 Different

Alicia blinked as Zeres lifted a pair of scissors he found lying on the make-up stand by the window. "What? Why would you want to –"

"Well, I think I’m the only male here with long hair now." He said innocently as his fingers worked harshly on his silver hair. "Even Alexander cut his hair short quite a long while back, didn’t he? I think it’s time for me to cut mine too. You know, to keep up with the times?" Zeres nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders and threw a lopsided smile.

"Oh," was all Alicia could say. She stared at his long, luscious hair that looked like a silvery silken waterfall. It was beautiful and shimmering like moonlight when viewed from certain angles.

Without waiting for her to agree, Zeres grabbed a stool and put it in front of Alicia. He then sat down, his back facing her while his hand that was holding the scissor and comb was stretched out towards her.

"You can do it, right? Or is it too hard for you?" he asked without glancing back, his voice seemed a little worried.

"No, no... of course I can do it. I think I am quite good at this you know. I’ve helped cut a few little boy’s hair back in the days." She told him as she took the scissors and comb from his hand. "It’s just that... are you really sure about this, Zeres?"

"As sure as I know my own name, my queen." He didn’t even hesitate.

"You’re not sacrificing your hair just because you think I’m dying of boredom and you’re providing an extra service here are you?"

His shoulders suddenly started moving up and down repetitively and she realized after a few seconds that he was laughing. "Please don’t worry, that’s definitely not the reason. It’s not out of a whim either, I’ve been thinking about having it cut for a while now. So just go ahead and cut it, Alicia. I don’t care if it’s ugly."

A long sigh escaped Alicia’s lips as she started to work on his hair. "I know you recognise how precious having silver hair is to us witches."

"I know. But... it doesn’t really mean anything to me. And it’s not like it’ll turn dark, or I’ll suddenly get bald, if it was cut. I just want it short form now on."

Alicia was silent for a moment. For some reason, she felt like Zeres truly despised his hair and she didn’t know what to feel about it.

She stared at his hair as she used her fingers to pull apart the little snarls with great care. She couldn’t help but want to coax him to not cut it off, but she could sense that this was something he really wanted. Due to that, she didn’t have the heart to order him not to cut it. Especially when she thought back on everything that he had done for the useless her since the beginning of this bloody journey.

"Alright," she eventually gave in and drew a deep breath. "I’ll cut it."

"Thank you." He sounded pleased and Alicia let out another deep sigh before finally started combing his hair.

Every time the comb got caught within the tangles, he could not help but flinch no matter how careful and slowly Alicia did it.

"Hold still." She said, biting on her lower lip to stop the smile threatening to form and accidentally bursting out in laughter. "I didn’t know your scalp was so sensitive. Could it be that this is one of the reasons why you wanted to cut them... You should’ve told me earlier."

Zeres said nothing. He had caught his lower lip between his teeth. Both embarrassment and alarm were etched on his face.

And when the comb tugged a little too hard this time, he flinched harder, giving her a little glare through the mirror in front of him.

"Oh, sorry." Amusement was heavy in her voice as she gently rubbed the smarting spot with her fingertips. She did not realise the bewildered and disquieted look Zeres had on his face when she did what she was doing.

"Okay, I’m going to cut it now. I must ask you one last time, Zeres –"

"Cut it." He broke off and his voice came out a little weird. He cleared his throat, and his voice was back to normal. "I won’t change my mind no matter how many times you ask. So just cut it please."

"Alright, alright. Here we go." He heard her say and when he felt the scissors slice carefully through his hair, he closed his eyes and stayed a little tense and quite passive as Alicia continued her task with dedication.

"Is there a particular hair style you want?" she asked after a while but Zeres shook his head and simply replied "up to you."

And thus, Zeres sat like a lifeless statue and didn’t speak anymore until Alicia moved to his front. When she touched the tip of his chin to indicate him to lift his head, she didn’t notice how stunned he was at her simple touch. Alicia blissfully continued in her task like a pro. She had done this a few times before she was chosen to be the next queen, so she was quite confident with her skills.

"I think it’s done," she finally declared after a long time. She stepped back and narrowed her eyes to critically inspect her work of art before giving a pleased nod. When Zeres opened his eyes and looked at her, she was wearing a satisfied and proud smile. "You end up looking ten times more handsome now with short hair," she said, smiling widely.

Zeres wasn’t flattered at all because his attention was fully focused on her. She had finally smiled after such a long time – a genuine and happy smile, not those fake and forced ones that she gave previously.

"You don’t believe me, do you? Why don’t you take a look for yourself?" Before she could start urging him to approach the mirror, Zeres already started cleaning the floor.

A sigh left Alicia’s lips as she bent to help him when Zeres grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back gently until the back of her knees hit the bed. He made her sit on the bed next before letting go. "I’ll do the cleaning. Please rest." He said and he turned to continue in his task.

Looking at his back, Alicia had yet to get used to the sight of him no longer having that long silvery hair and she thought that he truly looked and felt even more different now.
Chapter 635 The only way

"Whoah!" Kyle rose noisily in surprise when Zeres appeared in the kitchen. His eyes rounded out at the sight of the now short-haired Zeres. Even Lucas who was facing the stove turned around at Kyle’s exclamation and was currently looking as surprised if not more than the young vampire prince. "You cut your hair!" the boy exclaimed.

For some reason, even though Zeres now indeed looked much more handsome than before and so fresh to the eyes, the young prince was a slight bit disappointed. Maybe it was due to the thought that he had where Zeres’ long and silver hair lent him that fascinating and so magical aura around him, that in his eyes, Zeres was actually an ethereal being which was disguised as a witch. But now that his long hair was gone, Kyle personally thought that his otherworldliness had been dramatically reduced. Of course, he kept that thought to himself.

"Queen Alicia did it," came his short response and Kyle blinked, taken aback at that revelation.

"She didn’t force you –" Lucas butted in almost immediately after Zeres explained how his hair came to be that way.

"I was the one who forced her to cut it." Zeres cut Lucas’s words off before he could utter more, obviously not pleased at what his red-haired comrade had said about his queen. Kyle observed that and was glad he kept his thoughts to himself. It would be a very bad idea to tick Zeres off.

"Oh, right." Lucas showed both palms to Zeres in surrender and apology before turning around and putting his attention back to the food on the stove. "Now come over and help me out a little here. I definitely can’t ask His Highness to wash the dishes and I’m so busy manning the stove, so you do it." he gestured to the sink with his lips and all eyes fell on the stack of dishes that were piled up in the sink.

Zeres moved towards the sink obediently without expression when the young prince blocked him. "I think I should be doing this. I am the youngest one here after all." The boy said, causing Lucas to whip his head towards them.

"Your Highness! Please, just take a seat." The cook exclaimed, his face inexplicable.

"It’s fine Lucas. Really. It’s even more unacceptable to have Zeres wash the dishes, you know!"

"Your Highne –"

"Would you ever tell Alexander to wash the dishes?"

Lucas was instantly silenced for a while before he answered. "Of course not. How would I dare ask Alexander? Not unless I am looking to die."

"Then how could you ask Zeres to wash the dishes? I’ll do it. It’s not like washing dishes kills a prince." Kyle started to fold his sleeves up. "I personally think that washing the dishes is an honorable task." He added with quite the conviction as he finally approached the sink, leaving Lucas dumbstruck.

Quietly, Zeres had already walked up to stand next to the young prince’s side. "Wait, please –"

"I also want to be part of this honorable task you have mentioned..." The witch stated simply with a small smile.

And thus, the two began washing up. A moment later, something broke and Lucas whipped his head towards them. His brows scrunched together as his face darkened at the sight of the broken glass on the floor.

"I’m sorry," Kyle said sheepishly, as he quickly bent to gather the broken shards.

The next second, another similar sound echoed, and Lucas again whipped his head to look at them. It was Zeres this time who ended up breaking a bowl. Zeres only looked up at Lucas, hands frozen in the air and eyes blinking innocently as he glanced at the red-haired who was now wearing a grim face.

"I’ll be more careful with the next one." Zeres said even though the big man did not make a single comment at all. While Kyle was setting aside the broken shards, he accidentally knocked another glass Zeres had placed at the edge of the sink and another familiar crash echoed through the kitchen.

The young prince and the silver-haired witch stiffened. Their heads slowly turning to look at Lucas.

Before they knew it, they were gently but firmly pushed out of the kitchen, the door slamming shut in front of their faces. They could only blink at the door and turned to look at each other, sweat dropping.

"I think I must show more respect towards Lucas from now on." Kyle said and Zeres immediately nodded in agreement. Both silently agreeing in their hearts that Lucas was a warrior above warriors to be able to conquer both battlefield and the dangerous terrain called the kitchen!


It was already night in Alex’s country when Zeke finally arrived at his destination.

Alex and Abi were in Abi’s family house that night, so Alex and Zeke had to bring their discussion outside the house. Zeke quickly brought Alex up to speed on everything that has happened so far.

"So, you’re saying there’s really no other way out for him? Has he exhausted all other possible options?" Alex asked, his voice grave as he stared at the lights coming from the windows of Abi’s parent’s house.

"You must not forget that you failed to die even after seeking death for thousands of years, Alex." Zeke replied, leaning leisurely against the tree and staring at the dark space above them. "It’s always a given that it will never be easy for an immortal to seek death. And that’s why Zeres has decided to resort to that. He knows it’s the only way forward. And he has already made up his mind. I don’t think anyone can stop him at this point."

A long drawn out sigh escaped Alex’s lips. There was a troubled look in his eyes as he remembered the past. He would never, ever forget that time where Zeres had sacrificed himself for him.

"Give me a moment. I have already talked to my wife about this, so I won’t take long." Alex then told Zeke and he returned to the small but warm house not far from where they were standing.
Chapter 636 Stubborn

Back in the villa, Alicia was standing by the window. Her deep contemplating gaze focused on the bright moon hanging in the sky. She noticed the drain on her powers and was starting to feel weak again, so she thought it was better if she headed off to bed now. Tomorrow, Ezekiel will be arriving with the others and they will finally make their move. She was going to regain her strength, her powers and everything will be fine and back to normal again.

But that tiny nagging ball of unease inside her kept growing by the minute no matter how much she tried to distract herself or ignore it. This seems to bring the premonition of worse things coming.

Heaving a sigh, she sat down heavily on her bed. Zeres had not returned after he left to take the food tray back down to the kitchen. She didn’t know why but she realized that unexplainable feeling of unease tends to calm down a little when Zeres was around her. She found it strange.

Shaking her head, Alicia fell back on the bed, forcing herself to sleep. But moments later, she rose again. She grabbed her black cloak and stepped out of her room.

The house was quiet, and she could no longer sense where everyone is. Thankfully, just as Alicia was about to descend the stairs, she saw Lucas stepping out of the room at the far end of the walkway.

She waited for him to come nearer before greeting him. "Good evening, Lucas."

"Good evening, Queen Alicia." The red-haired responded.

"Have you seen Zeres?" Alicia asked. She peeked at him through her hood and she saw him looking to the door right next to her room. "Oh, thank you." she added upon understanding the vampire’s gaze and the man just silently nodded at her before descending the stairs.

Alicia sighed and approached the door. Standing there with her right hand raised and curled, she paused a moment, but before she could knock, the door suddenly swung open. Zeres looked surprised. He had sensed her leaving her room, but he had thought she was just heading to the bathroom, so he didn’t move to check on her.

"Is there something you –" Zeres started asking and Alicia spoke at the same time.

"May I come in?" Alicia broke off and Zeres blinked at her before answering her question by stepping back, making way for her to enter. As she quickly glanced around, she noticed that his room was shabby. It seems that her room was probably the tidiest one in this house.

Since there was no chair anywhere in the room, Alicia pulled down her hood perched at the edge of his bed while Zeres remained standing by the door, looking at her with curious gaze. His eyes silently asking her what she was doing here.

"What is it?" he finally asked her, and Alicia lifted her face. She had sought him out as there was something that she needed him to confirm. And she was right. That unknown feeling of unease did settle now that she was physically present with him.

Her brows knotted hard in confusion and curiosity. Why? What is it that is causing this weird occurrence? Is there a reason for it? Could it be that her unease has something to do with him?

"Zeres, why are you still wearing your cloak?" That was not the question she had been meaning to ask but she didn’t know if she should straight up tell him about her suspicions and what was troubling her. Thus, she ended up asking random questions instead.

But her question unexpectedly made him looked uncomfortable and that alerted Alicia that something else was going on – something was off. Her eyes focused and did a swift scan of him and then narrowed into slits as she realized that she had never seen Zeres take off his cloak since they left the desert.

"I... just don’t want to take it off. Um... this is so that I won’t forget to put it on in case something sudden or an emergency happens." He reasoned but unfortunately, Alicia wasn’t buying a single word of it.

She stood and approached him steadily, eyes still narrowed on him. But Zeres hastily walked away from the door and towards the window and leaned there, obviously trying to avoid her. "You should go back to your room now Alicia. Kiel will probably arrive at dawn so you should..." he trailed off as he saw that Alicia was firm in her decision of coming towards him.

He straightened and began to move sideways. Alicia advanced and he retreated, moving away from her as if it would result in fatal harm, the moment she caught him. They continued this awkward dance for a few seconds.

Alicia abruptly halted, staring hard at him. "Zeres! Stop moving away, damn it." she breathed because she could already feel her knees weakening, with just those few steps she had taken to approach him. Even her lungs started to heave and burn as though she had just chased Zeres for miles when in fact, they were only moving around inside a small room. And to make it worse, she couldn’t even catch him with all that stepping around! She couldn’t help but curse her failing body though she ended up making it look like she was cursing at him.

"Are you alright?" Zeres ended up being the one who approached her this time, worry visibly etched on his face. "Please, you have to go back to your room and rest." He attempted to hold onto her shoulders to support her when suddenly, Alicia reached out to tightly grasp onto his cloak – as much as her meagre strength allowed her to.

He jolted back, wide-eyed – as the cloak pulled out of her weak grasp. Alicia was as shocked as he was at his reaction. And the queen’s stubborn will to find out what she wanted to know kicked into higher gear and despite her breathlessness, she reached out again for his cloak.

However, Zeres also stubbornly stepped back despite the worry for Alicia’s depleting energy and alertness in his eyes. Refusing to be caught yet prepared to catch her if ever she falls. But that was until the back of his knees hit the frame of the bed and Alicia grabbed that chance to attack.

Her hands clasped onto his cloak hard, but her body finally lost its strength and as Zeres reached out to catch her from toppling over, Alicia flung his cloak off.
Chapter 637 Not much

As the cloak fluttered to the ground and landed, Alicia gasped in horror. Her eyes went wide, as her body was paralyzed in utter shock.

Zeres wore no shirt under his cloak and his torso was covered with deep and large wounds that seemed to pulse angrily with a life of their own.

Alicia could not even form a word and she felt like she was going to faint now both from weakness and shock at the sight of Zeres’ horrendous wounds. How on earth did he ever get to this state? What had happened during those times that she was unconscious and weakened? Those wounds do not look normal and though witches do not possess the speedy healing abilities the vampires do, it would still heal given time and help with spells. They had not left the house the past couple of days, so where did those ugly wounds come from? They looked so raw and angry, as if only being inflicted recently. That could not be possible, right? Alicia’s head was spinning, and her heart shivered with a chill.

After letting out a low groan, Zeres held her and made her sit on the bed. Alicia didn’t let go of the edge of his cloak as her weak hands were still hanging onto them, trembling hard. She finally realized that without a doubt his wounds were the result of a spell. A spell that could save someone dying from grave illness or life-threatening injury but would require something severe in return – the price the caster had to pay. The caster needed to cut himself and let their blood flow while doing the ritual. The caster will not die but the wounds inflicted as payment for the spell can never be healed until their death. The price the caster had to pay for performing this spell was too cruel that no one had dared use this secret spell for a very long time now. Because aside from the unbearable pain they must bear, the wounds will also grow larger when the spell is cast over and over again. The caster is also not allowed to cut and use the same wounded flesh twice. So, every time the spell is recast, the cut has to be made on wound-free skin.

Knowing all these, Alicia cannot even imagine the physical pain he had to go through, much less the mental torture of enduring the ever enlarging wounds and agony of not having these wounds heal. Judging from the number of wounds that she could see on him; he must have been doing this many times now. Since that night she first fainted. And these were just wounds that she could see exposed. What about those unexposed ones? Her fingers grew cold, and she could not even bring herself to think of it.

"Wh – why... why... why are you doing this?" it was so hard for her to speak. "How could... how you... could you..." she knew she was starting to trip over her words as she started to gasp harder, breathing heavily. Tears began to pool in her eyes as she looked at him. Pain and sorrow, guilt and anger, confusion and bewilderment – so many emotions were rushing through her – all etched on her pale face which was alarming Zeres who was looking at her. "How could you –"

"Hush, please, Alicia." He fell on his knees and tenderly gathered her icy cold hands between his large, warmer ones. Even through her muddled mind and trembling heart – though small and currently being overwhelmed by the situation – she could feel the undercurrent of calm and care being transferred from his hands that were holding onto hers. His eyes flooded with worry as he stared at her. "Please don’t cry. I’m really fine. I’m an immortal. This is really nothing to me. Unlike the mortals, my body will eventually heal. It take a longer time, but it will heal. Look," he showed her his arms that were wounded from his wrist up to his shoulders. It was as he claimed that the wounds on his wrist, which appeared to be the very first wound he had inflicted to himself, were truly starting to heal. "They’re healing. It’s a very slow process. But they will eventually heal. So please –" Zeres kept reassuring Alicia that the wounds were on the mend.

"So, this is why I always manage to wake up with some strength in me every day." She softly muttered between her harsh breaths, just loud enough for Zeres to catch it. Her face was miserable, and a bitter wobbly smile was on her lips. "You were casting a spell every day, hurting yourself, enduring excruciating pain...for me..." she trailed off and the tears that were pooling finally fell from her eyes like waterfalls as her lips trembled in anger and misery. "And you’re telling me it’s nothing... how... how am I supposed to... how could you do this..."

His hands came up to the sides of her face and his thumbs wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Enough please. Don’t cry." He said, his deep voice was shaken. And when she still didn’t stop – couldn’t stop – he pulled her in his arms and hugged her as she wept, not caring about the intense pain that electrified his body the moment her body rubbed against his wounded skin. All he cared about was to comfort and reassure this person who was crying in his arms.

"Stop doing this... never... again... please... I beg you..." she forced those words out brokenly as she fought for consciousness.

He knew her body was failing again, and she was already succumbing to it despite her struggles to stay awake. Watching her struggle like this every single day had been more torturous to Zeres than the wounds all over him. "Sleep now, Alicia. You need to rest. Do not worry about me. I’m really fine. I’ll take care of you." he uttered as he smoothed her hair as if to lull her to sleep. "I’ve done this before, so I’m pretty used to it already. Now that I think about it, it was more agonizing back then. I don’t really even feel the pain this time – not much anyways. But I can promise you this won’t even be enough to kill me." He continued, knowing that she wasn’t listening anymore, because she had finally lost consciousness again. "I don’t know why it’s not as painful this time compared to the last. Back then, I was screaming in pain every time and I never healed until the day I finally died. Maybe because unlike back then, I am willingly doing it this time..." he trailed off and pulled away to look at her face.

He carefully wiped off her tears and an ironic smile curved on his lips. "I never thought you’d cry for me. The queen I suffered for back then never shed a single tear even if I screamed my lungs out all day."

Standing up with Alicia gently cradled in his arms, Zeres pulled her hood up to cover her head and the two of them disappeared from the room before materializing at a small meadow in the middle of the forest.

Chapter 638 Goodbye

The little meadow was calm, and silvery moonlight was streaming down from the moon softly glowing in the dark sky. The surroundings were so tranquil and peaceful, which was the exact opposite of the range of emotions that was recently experienced by the two people who were currently occupying the meadow. A gentle balmy breeze blew on them as Zeres slowly approached a fine flat stone lying right in the middle of the meadow.

Zeres carefully removed Alicia’s cloak and spread it on top of the flat stone before gently placing her down on it.

He bent and carefully brushed off the rouge strands of the ashen hair that was on her face and then wiped the remnants of her tears which were still flowing down her cheeks. Her peaceful face looked sad and pained even though she was unconscious. Zeres felt his heart clench painfully as he looked at her. This pain was greater than the physical pain that was inflicted on his flesh.

And all Zeres could say was "I’m sorry," as he stared down at her. The look in his eyes were soft and the tone of his voice was miserable. However, the look on his face would cause onlookers to feel as if that this person is seemingly unrepentant of his actions. He could not repent for something he truly believed in. As things stand, he was not sorry for doing all this for someone like her. He was sorry however, for the fact that she had to go through all this because of him. This was all his fault. And he wished she was not dragged into this. He could endure and take all the pain in the world, but he would never let anyone suffer the same because of his existence. And the saddest thing was that Alicia really does not deserve this. She was the most amazing queen he had ever met in his long lifetime and yet, of all the queens, she had to be the one reigning when he appeared.

"Don’t worry... this is the last time, My Queen. I promise." He whispered as he reached out to caress her face again.

But his hand halted in mid-air and he eventually retracted them. He suddenly had the doubt whether or not he should be touching his queen so freely. He had hurt her, caused her so much sadness and even the reason for her losing her powers. Though unintentional, it was still all due to him being there. His existence was perhaps the bane of hers – that was what held his hand back. His gaze fell to the ground before lifting them towards the sky. After some minutes, he drew a deep breath before straightening himself and removing his cloak.

He took a look at himself, taking note on which section of his flesh he should cut on this time. There was almost nowhere else left for him cut, but the small expanse of skin on his left shoulder and that which was over his heart that were left untouched. Every other part of him was already sacrificed as payment over the multiple times he had to cast the spell for Alicia to gain some strength. It did not even cross his mind that what he did was a sacrifice. A sacrifice would mean that his health and well-being is more important than Alicia’s, but since he never thought of it as such, then this could not be counted as a sacrifice. It was without a doubt, a voluntary and willing act on his part.

Without any hesitation, he started the ritual. He uttered a spell and lights began to envelop them. The greenish lights angrily whipped like waves through the air, getting stronger by the second. The forest had gone utterly silent, and the only sounds that could be heard was his low chants and the wheezing waves of the lights enveloping them.

Lifting a dagger, Zeres stabbed deeply into his flesh over his heart and bright scarlet blood gushed out. He didn’t even wince. The light surrounding them slowly turned reddish.

Alicia’s brows creased as her eyelashes fluttered and she began to struggle violently as if she was having a nightmare. Zeres had to hold her still lest she accidentally injured herself. She was already so weak, she does not need more wounds to weaken her.

The blood taken straight from the caster’s heart was the strongest and most potent, so Zeres knew that this would give Alicia strength to last her for a few days straight. She would still remain weak and powerless, but at the very least, she wouldn’t be collapsing every time. The amount of blood he is giving her this time would be enough to keep her alive until... until Zeres finally dies, and her powers would finally be returned to her.

"N... no... please..." she uttered even in her unconscious state and Zeres could not help but feel a warm flutter in his heart and he bent down to lightly press his forehead against hers.

A bitter smile slowly curved on his lips. "Please don’t fight it, Alicia. I’m begging you." He pleaded. "Let me do this or you’ll die." His voice became hoarse and strangled. "I can’t let you die. If you die, I won’t be able to forgive myself and the world... please... for me... accept it."

She eventually calmed down and her struggles lessened until she finally stopped moving, the only sign showing she was still alive was the gentle rise and fall of her chest, signalling her breathing. A single tear fell from the corner of her eyes and Zeres was finally able to breathe easy. "Thank you," he whispered.

Once the ritual was complete, blood can be seen to be dripping from the side of Zeres’ lips. He stared at Alicia as her condition slowly improved, her complexion becoming better by the minute. Her breathing also no longer sounded weak and laboured but was back to normal.

A small smile graced his face and he looked up the sky again. After taking a long and deep breath, he put on his cloak and then gently picked Alicia up in his arms once again.

Moving with much haste, Zeres immediately disappeared along with her and they both materialized in Alicia’s room.

Zeres laid her on the bed before tucking her under the covers, ensuring that she would not catch a cold. His eyes never leaving her as he smoothed the blanket down and checking to see that other than her face, nowhere else was exposed to the cool air. His hand then reached out, wanting to caress her face again. But he stopped himself at the very last moment.

Instead, he bent over and planted a kiss on her forehead. "Thank you for crying for me." He whispered, smiling slightly. "Goodbye, Alicia." He added and then, he was gone.
Chapter 639 Twice*

"Brother!!" Kyle’s eyes were wide as he hastily rose from sitting on the bench in front of the house. His face severe and worried as he approached Zeke. "Zeres is gone!" he exclaimed, ignoring the presence of Alexander and the prophetess.

"Calm down, Kyle." That was all Zeke said. He didn’t look surprised at all, causing Kyle to frown hard.

"You already know he’s gone? Did you see him?"

"Yes, I already know he’s gone. No, we didn’t." Zeke’s gaze lifted to the window of Alicia’s room. "How is Alicia?"

The confused young prince could only answer. "She’s already awake, but... she’s not eating. I think she’s waiting for you."

"I’ll have to speak with Alicia first," Zeke turned to Alex, and once Alex nodded, he entered the house.

Blinking, Kyle finally looked at his brother’s companion and the shock on his face intensified. The last time he met Alexander was when he wandered into the human city, and Alexander caught him. Kyle still remembered clearly how terrified he was when this man caught him and then scolded him. Alexander had said that Kyle should pay for disturbing his precious time with his wife.

And now that he was before him again, Kyle could only shrink away and silently nodded at him. Alexander was truly different from Zeres, even though they were both immortal. Kyle could now confirm that he really liked Zeres more than Alexander or his very own brother, Ezekiel.

"So you’ve grown quite stronger now, eh, Little prince." Alexander flashed his mischievous and challenging smile, his gaze assessing Kyle thoroughly.

"Uhm... yes, I guess..." the young prince still found it quite awkward talking to Alexander mainly because he did not know what to call him. He knew that to the vampires, Alexander was someone even higher than the king, and yet this man had no title or whatsoever.

"Shall we spar? I think you’re strong enough to serve as my warm-up partner now." Alexander smirked, and Kyle swallowed. He was a little taken aback by the sudden offer, but thrill and excitement quickly overshadowed his fear and hesitation.

"My pleasure," he bowed at him again before pulling his sword without wasting a moment, causing Alexander to smile.

Kyle wanted to know why Alexander already wanted to warm up or why he was even here. Many questions were filling his mind, but he knew it was not his place to ask question from this man. It seemed all he must do right now was entertain him the best way he could.

As the two-headed toward the nearby forest, Zeke had just ascended the stairs after exchanging few words with Lucas.

He halted for a second beat the moment he touched the doorknob of Alicia’s room before pushing it open.

Alicia was sitting on the edge of the bed, her food on the tray untouched. She was already wearing her cloak and she seemed prepared to leave.

Lifting her face, Alicia immediately rose at the sight of Zeke. She rushed towards him, nearly knocking on the table where her food was placed in her haste.

Her hands clutched Zeke’s cloak as she looked up at him, not minding that her hood was falling behind her.

"Where is Zeres?" she asked, her voice and gaze desperate.

Zeke’s eyes fell on her hair for a moment before his eyes met hers. He could feel she had more strength left in her than yesterday, though she still remained powerless. He could only deduce that Zeres must have cast a stronger spell on her this time.

"I’ll answer your question. But..." his gaze flew past her and settled on the untouched food on the small table. "Eat your meal first, Queen Alicia."

Alicia pressed her lips tight, and her grip on his cloak tightened. His voice wasn’t soft nor coaxing, his face stern, and his eyes were unfathomable as always. It was as if he didn’t know how to coax at all. But his approach made Alicia move almost instantly.

Without a word, she turned and sat on the bed and began eating.

"Easy, Alicia. The food is not going to run away." Zeke said those words with a straight face as he leaned leisurely against the door, watching her.

Alicia slowed down a little as she threw a glance at him. "But you might run away without even answering me." She told him, and the corner of Zeke’s lips tipped up a little.

"I won’t."

"I don’t trust you now."

He smiled again. "Then why do you still want me to answer your question? You don’t trust me, yet you’re going to trust my answer?"

She stopped chewing, and her gaze flew from the food to him, looking as though she didn’t expect what he just said. Her gaze fixed on him before she returned her attention to her food. She was not used to him talking this way and even smiling. Aside from being not in the mood and situation to bicker with him, Alicia just found the smiling Ezekiel quite unsettling. This vampire smiles too rarely that seeing him smile twice in a row made her feel slightly suspicious and distracted. Was he trying to cheer her up or something by smiling? No way. Wait, was he trying to distract her?

She sighed, forcing herself to focus on her food again. She couldn’t afford to be distracted in this situation.

"Yes. I still want your answer." Alicia answered, and she continued devouring the food that she could not even taste. She refused to appear petty before this man.

He approached her and grabbed the pitcher to pour water into her glass. She wanted to protest, but her mouth was full, so she could only watch him as he poured the water and then looked at her with his expressionless stare.

"I just told you there is no need to haste."


*unedited chapter

Chapter 640 Helpless

Alicia immediately started shooting off questions at Zeke as soon as she finished her meal. Her gaze towards him was severe and impatient.

"Well? Where is Zeres?" she demanded. "When I woke up, he’s not there anymore...and not the kind that is temporary. I can feel that he is already gone away someplace... where that place is, that’s what I would like to know. I knew what he did to me last night before he left..." she trailed off, tugging her lip hard between her teeth. The image of Zeres’ body filled with horrendous wounds flashed in her head and a sickening feeling came over her once again. Alicia knew he had casted that horrible spell on her again despite her pleas before he left her, and it was obvious to her the severity of what he did this time. "He had cast the ultimate power of that spell on me so the energy I gained would be able to last me for a few days. As if... as if he’s not coming back anymore..."

Zeke said nothing and just kept his eyes on her while listening to her as he casually leaned against the wall.

"He told me that the both of you have found the cavern we were searching for all these while and we are going to attack the cavern once you’re back." She paused and swallowed. Her gaze now filled with doubts and questions. "Is that even true?"

"It’s true." He confirmed her statement and Alicia was silent for a moment, still unsure if she should be glad for that one piece of good news or doubt his words. He is not saying those words just to lull her into a false sense of security, right? Her gaze searched him thoroughly, doing her hardest to find any sign of lies in his unfathomable face.

"Then why did he leave so suddenly? Could it be that he could no longer wait and attacked the cavern by himself? And why did you need to go and fetch the prophetess? What kind of enemies are we even up against in that cavern that there is a need for you to go and get back-ups?"

Zeke shifted his gaze from her to the window and answered. "He already attacked the cavern by himself that night before I left." He said and Alicia’s eyes widened in shock. "As for your other three questions, I cannot answer them right now."

She clenched her fists tight, but somehow this piece of news did not come as much of a surprise to her. It was a given that it is impossible for this vampire prince to reveal everything. He always had somethings that was held back, or some kind of secret he needed to keep.

Shaking her head slightly, Alicia let out a deep breath before standing up from where she was seated. "Fine." she said, decisively. "Zeres must be in that cavern right now. We must go to his aid. Now, Ezekiel." Her tone was firm and booked no disagreements. It was now that Zeke saw how she would have been like, as the queen of the witches back when she was in her element in the Black Forest.

Without speaking anymore, she brushed past him and stepped out the room.

By the time she was outside the house, she saw Alexander and Kyle emerging from the forest. Kyle had an amazed look on his face while Alexander was smirking at him.

"You’re good, brat." Alexander said as they approached the house. "I can tell you have sparred against Zeres."

"Yes. We sparred for the first time yesterday and I learned that technique I used on you from him." The boy said proudly.

"Just yesterday?" Alex raised a brow, seemingly surprised. He thought that Zeres and this boy had been fighting and training with each other since the beginning of their journey because this boy copied Zeres’ fighting style almost perfectly when he came against him in their mock fight earlier. To think that he just fought with Zeres once. How interesting, Alex thought as his gaze flew to Zeke who had just emerged from the door. It seemed; the next future Zeke was finally here. And now that Alex thought about it, it was indeed about time.

"Yes. It was only once but we clashed for quite a long while and it was amazing! I wish we could have sparred for a little longer too –" Kyle abruptly stopped the moment he saw his brother.

"We’re leaving now," Zeke announced, and everyone nodded except Alex who now wore a serious face. All trace of his earlier playfulness lost, as if it were never there in the first place.

Without wasting another moment, Lucas leapt into action and everyone followed instantly without a word, except Zeke who was left standing in his spot as Alicia also disappeared. He let out a sigh and leapt off at a slower pace.

A few minutes passed and he spotted Alicia in the forest, her hand against a tree trunk, leaning against it for support. His sharp eyes saw her heaving and trying to catch her breath and he slowed his approach to her, hoping to give her some sort of respect to her condition as he knew she was wary of him being privy to her waning strength.

He landed silently on the ground and approaching Alicia in audible measured steps, he extended his hand in a wordless offer of assistance.

Alicia stared at his hand as she panted, trying her best to steady and regulate her breathing. She gritted her teeth as she scowled very unladylike, under her hood before finally placing her thankfully, no longer trembling hand in his.

He gathered her in his arms and in no time, they were leaping into the air. Alicia did not know how to feel about this situation. She never would have thought she was going to be at the mercy of a vampire as well. But she had long surrendered her pride as a queen. Because right now, she was nothing but a helpless and powerless witch who cannot even move around by herself. She was currently someone even weaker than an average human.