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✍️✍️✍️✍️ Hellbound With You Chapter 641 - 650 ✍️✍️✍️✍️

PHYSIENTS WILL ALWAYS OFFER BEST STORIES AND LIVE STREAMING ALL TIME

Chapter 641 Nothing

"I’m sorry for all the trouble," she whispered, albeit a little bitterly, knowing that he could hear every single word despite the speed they were travelling at.

He said nothing except for giving her a quick glance. And for the first time, Alicia was glad that he chose not to respond.


 
When they arrived at the front of a large cavern, Alex was already inside while the rest waited outside for Zeke to arrive before doing anything.

Alicia let him support her as he put her down on the ground while she assessed her uncertain balance.

"I’m steady now, thank you." She thanked Zeke politely. She did not hesitate to hold onto his arm anymore, knowing that it would be more of a shameful disaster if she stubbornly let go and ended up crumbling into a disgraceful heap onto the ground.

Zeke signaled everyone to enter the cavern and the three vampires immediately obeyed. The old prophetess’ gaze lingered on Alicia for a moment.

"I can walk now." Alicia informed Zeke and he simply glanced at her before nodding and led the way forward.

As they entered the cavern, Alicia began to realize the uncanny familiarity of the place even though they were still at the cavern’s entrance. Her heart began to thud – whether in anticipation or nervousness – she was not sure yet at the moment.

"This place..." she gasped as soon as they went further inside. This crystal cavern was a bigger version of the Queen’s cavern which was back in the Black Forest. "What... is this place?"

Looking around in shock, Alicia could not even form words anymore and she found herself buried in an avalanche of questions in her own mind.


 
"Zeres is not here." Alexander’s voice jolted her back to the present and she finally remembered Zeres. That’s right. Zeres. Where was he? And this place... wasn’t she supposed to get all her powers back now that she’s here?

She let go of Zeke and walked towards the throne. Hoping, praying, that she could feel something... even a small sign that this place could really give her back the strength and power that she had lost. She remembered clearly what Zeres had told her back when he looked for her in the crystal cavern in the Black Forest. All they needed to do was look for this cavern and everything will return to normal. And Zeres said that this was it. Ezekiel even confirmed that this was the place they were searching for.

So why? Why can’t she feel anything? Why weren’t her powers returning to her? And more importantly, why was Zeres not here?

Dread began to grip her heart as she felt that something was really wrong. But she still pushed on despite the feeling of wrongness permeating her every fibre. Every step she took stole her breath away, little by little, not because of her weakness but because nothing was happening. Nothing at all! This was not how it was supposed to pan out!

At last, she reached the crystal throne, her heart beating rapidly in desperation.

Anxiety churned inside her as she stood in front of it, putting in immense effort to maintain the appearance of being outwardly calm, which was utterly excruciating to her both emotionally and mentally.


 
The vampires were keeping a close watch on her, scrutinising her every move as she slowly and hesitantly sat on the throne that was obviously made for her, the ruler of the witches. If only she would take off her cloak, Kyle had that thought as in his mind, he could already picture Alicia in her glorious silver hair, sitting on that crystal throne, looking all majestic and breath taking – a vision of a goddess.

Zeke on the other hand nodded to the prophetess before turning to look at Alex.

"You said there were legions of undead vampires here." Alex voiced out.

"He must have taken them with him. We need to find the location of their new hideout."

"Do you have any clue?"

Zeke glanced at the prophetess who was already heading deeper inside the cavern as if on a quest to look for something. "No clue. You know witches can teleport in a blink of an eye. We can only follow the trails of the undead vampires."

"Alright. I’ll go –"

"We’ll have to wait for the prophetess to do her job here. I’m certain, she’ll see something."

"You wait for her. I’ll go ahead and find him. We don’t have much time to waste here, Zeke. You know that time is of the essence right now." Alex obviously looked very edgy. He had been since he heard about Zeke’s theory on what Zeres was trying to do.


 
"Fine," Zeke could only relent, knowing that he could not stop him. "But don’t do anything rashly when you find him. Remember what’s at stake here."

"Yes. Yes." Alex waved his hands impatiently and was about to leave when Zeke stopped him.

"Take Kyle with you." He said, causing Alex to whip around and raise a brow at him. But Zeke ignored his response and gestured for Kyle to approach them. "Go with Alex to look for Zeres." He told his younger brother and Kyle immediately nodded enthusiastically. "Make sure to watch over him." He added, gesturing with his head towards Alex, causing Kyle to blink but nodded anyway.

Alex smirked. "You’re supposed to ask me to watch over your precious younger brother, not the other way around Zeke."

Zeke ignored Alex again and continued speaking with Kyle. "If you find Zeres, don’t let Alex do anything rash."

"Y-yes brother."

"Good."

Once the two were gone, Lucas headed outside to watch over the entrance.

Still sitting on the throne, Alicia’s shoulders were trembling. Her face buried in her palms. Tears and laughter were both threatening to burst out from inside her. She finally understood what her gut had been telling her all these while since Zeres spoke to her way back during the time they were still in the Black Forest. It was all a lie. Zeres had lied to her...

______


Chapter 642 Decision

The misery inside her heart was bubbling over so much she found it hard to even breathe. She had foolishly hoped, trusted... and now, here she was, barely breathing in utter defeat. The hope that she had been desperately holding onto was slowly crumbling into pieces, being scattered by the wind. Why? Why did he lie to her? What was the point in trying so hard to bring her to this place then? Was there even any point to all this?

In the midst of her agony, Alicia suddenly stilled. That’s right. If the reason Zeres told her was a lie, then what’s the real purpose of their journey?


 
She lifted her face and the moment she saw Ezekiel standing below, Alicia rose from the crystal throne. A long and deep breath escaped her lips as she forced herself to suppress the misery that was threatening to swallow her whole.

Descending the crystal stairs, Alicia didn’t take her eyes off Zeke as she approached him in quick but measured steps. Ezekiel straightened as he waited for her to reach him, not moving from his spot.

Alicia reached out and grabbed onto the lapels of Zeke’s cloak as she looked up at him, not minding that her hood was not hiding her face anymore.

"Ezekiel..." she said in a hoarse and pleading voice. "I need you to tell me the truth. What is the real purpose of this journey? Why are we here? What is the purpose in us searching for this cavern?" she bombarded him with questions. The only sign of her crumbling emotional state was the trembling of her hands that she could not hide.

When the man just stared at her, Alicia’s grip on his cloak tightened and she hated how desperate her voice sounded as it came tumbling from her lips. "Talk. Now. Please."

A strange glimmer flashed in his grey eyes that disappeared almost immediately before he spoke. And finally, she got the answers to her questions. Zeres had been seeking for a way to die and the whole purpose of this journey was solely for that.


 
"W-why?" she still asked even though her gut had already told her the reason why.

"He said he must die cause that’s the only way for you to live. It appeared that this same situation happened before, thousands of years ago. He didn’t mention the details about what had happened in the past, but he is certain that as long as he is alive, he’d suck all your powers and then eventually, your life too."

A sickening and stomach-dropping feeling came over her once again, and this time it was more severe than the previous one. She shook her head slightly in disbelief because it all made sense to her now.

"We sought for the prophetess’ help per his request and the only thing the prophetess saw in her vision was this cavern." He continued and Alicia did her hardest to speak again.

"That day I woke up before you left..." she cleared her throat for her voice to come out clearly. "Zeres felt different... you said he already came here. What happened? And you said this is the cavern we were searching for... so why is he not here?"

"Since this is the place the prophetess saw in her vision, Zeres thought that he’d die here. But it’s apparently not the case. I told him this cavern is probably just the first clue but... after he attacked this cavern and still ended up leaving it alive, as you have also noticed, something in him changed. He most probably realized one thing and thus made his own decision."


 
"Decision? What decision?" Alicia asked hesitantly. Her heartbeat began to beat in fear and the unease she had been feeling had grown so strong it was threatening to shut her already weak body down.

Zeke was silent for a moment as if weighing whether to answer her or not.

"Please... answer me. Don’t hide anything anymore, Ezekiel." She could no longer keep her façade.

A small sigh left Zeke’s lips as he averted his gaze away from her and stared at the throne. His gaze was distant, as if he were staring all the way through the crystal cavern to the farthest edge of the world. Seeing things only he could.

"I believe he had decided to become the villain, Alicia." He said and Alicia just looked at him, frozen.

"What? What did you say?" a forced bitter smile curved on her lips, as she spoke. Her heart still in denial.

"Zeres had asked me once about Alex in the past when he was still seeking death. He had asked about all the methods Alex had tried out. And then he asked what method Alex had yet to try. I didn’t answer him, but he somehow began to compare Alex with Dinah. And he had realized that the reason why Alex failed to die is most probably because he didn’t do this one thing that Dinah did. Alex never tried to go against the world, and never attempted to threaten the peace after he left his throne. He didn’t try to become the enemy again. And this theory is the most logical explanation why Dinah ended up dying despite being an immortal. The reason the prophetess’s power worked on Dinah was because she was a threat to the world... and Zeres knew that. In fact, I believe Zeres already found the answer even before this journey began. He just tried to find another way, perhaps, for your sake... but he found out that it was futile, and he decided that there is actually no other way."


 
Alicia shook her head in dazed misery. Unable to believe what she had just heard. Zeres, choosing to become the enemy so that he could die... and so she could live... how could she accept this?

"Tell me... Ezekiel," Alicia’s voice had become just a weak whisper as she held on to him to keep her feet standing. "There’s no way he’s serious about this right? Because look... he’s Zeres... he’s not an evil man. He’s a good man. Someone like him can never... become a villain..."

"I know you already felt it, Alicia. When you felt that something changed in him... when you felt he suddenly seemed different... do you think a good man cannot become evil? The devil was once an angel, Alicia."

Suddenly, Alicia’s weak hands moved on Zeke’s collars, tears began pooling in her eyes. "Why... why did you let him go? Why didn’t you stop him?" she asked. She knew she had no right to ask this of him, but she did not know what else to do or say at that moment. Her emotions were getting the better of her.

"Let’s stop him, Ezekiel. We must stop him –" She paused, the words jamming at the back of her throat, refusing to emerge. As she tried, all she could seem to do was repeat numbly, "Let’s stop him."

_________
Chapter 643 Want me to try?*

Outside the cavern, Alicia was sitting across Lucas as they waited for Ezekiel and the prophetess. When Ezekiel had brought her outside, Alicia wanted to protest because she also wanted to know what the prophetess would see. But she knew she didn’t have the right to object if Ezekiel didn’t want her there.

She quickly rose upon seeing the two vampires finally stepped out of the cavern. Her eyes filled with questions and desperate curiosity as she looked at Ezekiel and the prophetess.


 
Ezekiel stretched out his hand towards her. "We need to move now. We found where he is." He said and the moment Alicia placed her hand in his, he immediately gathered her in his arms and nodded at their comrades.

Immediately, everyone left the cavern.

"What else did she see?" Alicia asked as her arms around Zeke’s neck tightened. Their speed was so fast Alicia had to cling to him and face against the wind to speak.

When he did not respond, she bit her lower lip hard. Suddenly, she pulled away to look at him and her sudden movement caused Zeke to slow down a bit.

"Be still, Alicia." He said, but Alicia’s eyes were determined.

"Answer me. I know you are a man of secret and there are always reasons why you don’t want to speak. But this matter is beyond important to me. I am the reason why all this is happening right now, so please, tell me, Ezekiel." She begged. Not caring how she sounded and if she didn’t look and sounded like a queen anymore. Maybe because she was truly exhausted now, so exhausted she didn’t even have the strength to fake her emotions anymore. Now she knew how tough it was to act tough. It was just not possible for anyone to act tough all the time.

Ezekiel glanced at her for a moment before he returned his gaze ahead and didn’t stop his advance.


 
"I’ll tell you when we get there. So stay still so I could speed up." He said, and Alicia frowned at him. She didn’t want to act stubbornly, but... would this man really speak if they were with everyone? There was no way Alicia would dare beg him to talk when everyone was watching, so this was the only time for her to speak with him.

"No. I want you to tell me now, Prince Ezekiel." She demanded and finally, the prince halted just as he landed on a branch of a tall tree.

Alicia pressed her lips tight because she knew there’s a possibility that she had pissed him off, even though his expression remained unfathomable.

"I thought you’d be more obedient but it appeared you’re even more stubborn when you’re in a vulnerable state Queen Alicia." He told her.

"Well, sorry to burst your bubble then, prince. But my stubbornness is all that’s left in me right now, so if you don’t want to deal with a stubborn woman, just answer me, and I’ll shut up and be as docile as you like."

Ezekiel caught his lower lip between his perfect white teeth, smiling in what seemed to be both amusement and exasperation.

"What if I told you I don’t want to answer because I wanted to deal with a stubborn woman?" he said. Something wicked flashed in his eyes that made Alicia blinked twice.


 
"Wha... what did you just say?" was all she could say, completely dumbfounded with what the prince was suddenly saying. What? Did he just say he wanted to deal with a stubborn woman? This Ezekiel? No way... right?

Certain that Ezekiel was probably playing mind games with her again to divert her attention, Alicia glared at him, puffing her cheeks slightly to show him she’s not going to fall to his tricks.

"I said I think I wanted to deal with a stubborn woman right now." He repeated, causing Alicia’s lips to part in another speechless surprise. This was the kind of statement Alicia never imagined to come out in this man’s lips. What the hell’s wrong with him right now? Was this how he behaves when he’s pissed? No... don’t fall for it. This man was definitely just diverting your attention. There was no way in hell the ever so serious Ezekiel wanted to deal with a stubborn woman, especially in this dire situation!!

"Want me to try now? Alicia?" he added, and Alicia’s eyes became wide as saucer as she looked at him as though she was seeing something unbelievable. Wait... don’t tell me... was he going to just leave her in this tree?

In Alicia’s imagination, that was definitely what a man like Ezekiel would do to deal with a stubborn and annoying woman, especially one that was so weak and yet demanding.


 
She swallowed. Not knowing what to do now. She wanted the truth but if this man decided to leave her here, then ask the others to come back and take her... how could she handle such shame? She would also probably lose any chances of hearing what this man would say once he decided to reveal some information. Oh, no... did she make a mistake? How could she thought that she could win against this man?

Troubled and afraid that he’d really leave her, Alicia unwillingly tightened her arms around his neck. She looked at him in frustrated but controlled anger. "No... no need. Let’s go." She said as she settled her head closer to his shoulder, indicating that she’s now prepared to leave with him.

However, she felt his chest moved as if he had just laughed shortly. She immediately pulled away to look. Her eyes narrowing. "Did you just laugh at me?"

"So what if I did?" he asked instead of answering, "What did you think I would do? Did you think I’d hurt you?"

She stared at him, and a small glimmer of mischief flashed in her eyes. "You really want to know what I thought you would do? I’ll tell you, but first... tell me what the prophetess saw."

________
Chapter 644 I“ll go

It was just as Alicia had thought it would happen. As soon as they caught up with their comrades, she did not get any more chances to make Ezekiel speak. Even though she had already expected it, it still frustrated her to no end that what she predicted ended up happening. So, for now, all she could do was to hang on and wait until he had finally decided to speak.

Moreover, Alicia did not have the luxury to even ask anymore as the pace they were travelling at was incredibly fast and she was getting more and more uneasy the closer they get to their destination. Maybe it was due to her being able to tell that they were definitely not heading to a place she was expecting.


 
And her unease continued to build up until it reached its very peak the very moment that they finally halted on top of a hill overlooking a human city. Everyone was shocked that their destination was not a secluded place but an actual bustling city.

"Don’t tell me... Zeres is in this city?" Lucas asked in disbelief as Ezekiel put Alicia down.

"Yes. He’s here." Zeke replied and Alicia could not even speak anymore.

Horror filled their eyes as all of them, except Zeke and the prophetess, looked around in a dazed stupor over the seemingly peaceful and lively human city before them. Even Alexander who had arrived in this place first was rooted to the ground. His fists were balled up and clenched together so tightly, that blood could be seen dripping a little from those clenched fists of his – an obvious testament to the very real struggle of him trying to control himself, his bloodlust.

"I can’t believe he of all people would..." Alex was beyond furious; he was so worked up that he could not even complete his statement. He truly could not believe that Zeres actually chose this place which was teeming with lives – innocent human lives – and not another random secluded place but a large, populated city of all places!

"This is probably his way of showing us how seriously he is taking this. Guess he is that determined about his decision..." Zeke commented, and Alex gritted his teeth. The only thing that had stopped Alex from barging directly into Zeres’ hideout the moment he arrived was the fact that Alex knew what could and would happen if a fight between two over-powered immortals suddenly broke out in the middle of a city filled with humans.


 
"It appeared that Zeres had fully taken over that male witch’s leadership." Zeke continued and everyone looked at him.

"Male witch? That same one who was responsible for creating those undead vampires?" Alex asked in a controlled but still ominous voice.

"Yes. That male witch had actually been planning for a long time since to find an opportunity to create chaos and reveal to the world that vampires and witches truly exists. He created countless undead vampires and placed them in various places around the world because he planned to command them to attack cities simultaneously if and when the opportunity arises. And it seems as if that now would be quite the perfect chance for him to execute that long drawn-out plan of his."

"But didn’t you guys manage to intervene and kill so many of those undead vampires he was preparing for his attack during your journey?"

"Yes. But I have found out that Zeres is now planning to continue on with that witch’s plan, and it seems as if that he’s going to make it happen for real. If..." Zeke paused and turned to fix his eyes into the heart of the city, "we fail to kill him."

Everyone fell into an uncomfortable silence. The fact that Zeres chose a human city was enough for them to realize the severity of their situation. This was not a choice a man who was not hell bent and serious would do. Some of them could not even help but think that this was a move only an extremely evil person could hatch up and knowing this was more devastating for them. Because it was hard for them to accept that Zeres, of all people, had decided to go ahead with this. Though they knew the reason behind it, still... it was a really cruel thing that he had done.


 
"Didn’t you guys already kill off most of the undead vampires just within this past month?" Alex asked after a long while of heavy silence.

"Yes." Zeke nodded. "However, the prophetess saw a massive influx of undead vampires in Zeres’ hideout. Meaning, they are awakening more undead vampires even now. I can only deduce that more witches had since aided Zeres’ as it requires more witches to be sacrificed for them to create more undead vampires in such a short period of time. Even though this place is not one of the world’s major city, a fight breaking out here will cause –"

"You know we can never let that happen." Alex cut Zeke off, gnashing his teeth in anger. There was no way they would let the world know. It will end the years of peace and would probably start an era of great chaos in this world. "I’ll go speak with him." Alex decided. "I will not fight him."

"No, Alex. I doubt he’d entertain any attempt to talk to him now. If he found out that you went there without the intention of killing him, it will only trigger him to do something even more impulsive that could spark off the beginning of that chaos we’re trying to avoid at all costs. If he thinks we’re not taking him seriously, he is not above doing whatever it takes. Worst case scenario is, he’ll unleash the vampires to wreak havoc in this city until we are forced to attack and kill him."

"Then what the hell are we going to do? If we attack him, the result is the same." Alex burst out in exasperation. His eyes turning molten gold as he looked at Zeke. He never thought this problem would ever come to this point. Never would he have thought that Zeres... would finally resort to doing something so drastic such as this.

"I’ll go." Alicia who had been so silent all the while, suddenly butted in and everyone’s attention shifted to her. "I’ll go..."

_________
Chapter 645 Before sunset

The sun was already a red ball, kissing the horizon when Alicia rose from her seat to leave. The group had just finished their short discussion that was mainly revolving around Zeres’ hideout and how would Alicia safely infiltrate the enemy’s camp without fighting the undead vampires at the front line.

Aside from Alicia insisting that she be the one to go, everyone else knew deep down as well that her offer was the most logical thing they could do at the moment.


 
"But will she be alright?" Kyle asked, unable to hide his worry anymore. Even though he somehow knew as surely as he knew his own name that Zeres would not hurt Alicia, it is undeniable that the witch queen was currently in a very vulnerable state. Letting her go alone troubled him so much that he kept glancing at his brother, waiting for him to give that assurance that he will be following Alicia along but in secret.

Kyle felt that his heart was going to explode out of frustration and anticipation waiting for his brother’s announcement. But it never came. Ezekiel only remained quiet and didn’t say anything.

"Don’t worry, Zeres will not harm me." Alicia flashed a small but reassuring smile towards the young prince, touched at his obvious care and worry for her well-being.

"I know, but... someone should at least accompany you in secret," Kyle responded, giving his brother a quick look hoping it would be hint enough for him to say something. Though he was well aware that it was a bad idea to let anyone of them go with Alicia as it could trigger Zeres in alerting his minions to move and start the fight in advance, so he enunciated the words ’in secret’. Though he did not know how, he was somewhat certain that there must be a way that they can carry it out. And the one who could make something like that possible would be no one else than his brother.

"It’s alright, Kyle. I’ll be fine. It’s too risky for any of you to approach any closer." Alicia said reaching out to pat Kyle’s shoulder.


 
Realizing that it was useless for him to keep talking or persuading, Kyle could only drop his eyes to the ground in disappointment and kept his mouth shut petulantly. They all knew that Alicia was the only one who even had an inkling of a chance of approaching and speaking with Zeres right now. They had seen just how important Alicia was to Zeres that he would stop at nothing to save her. There was no one better and who had the best chance possible of changing his mind but her.

"I’ll see you soon..." she smiled at the boy again and Kyle forced himself to nod.

"P...please be careful and come back to us safely... with Zeres..." there was a trace of liquid shine in Kyle’s eyes as he choked out.

"Mm." Alicia hugged the boy. And then nodded at the others before Zeke gathered her in his arms and leapt with her down the hill to the highway bellow.

"Do not attack him, Ezekiel." Alicia told him as they both stood by the road, waiting for the taxi that would bring Alicia to her destination. "I will do my best to persuade him to change his mind." Alicia sounded confident as she said that to Ezekiel however, deep in her heart, she was nowhere near as confident as she sounded. She could only pray and desperately cling onto the hope that Zeres would be willing to listen and seriously consider her words.

Zeke was silent for a moment as he silently stared at her, his face a blank page that Alicia could not read at all. "I will only give you a night and a day Alicia." He eventually responded. "If you cannot return with good news before sunset tomorrow, we’ll be forced to make our move. There is no other choice." He added decisively.


 
Even though Alicia wanted to protest, she couldn’t, knowing that it would be ridiculous of her to do that. She understood that the conditions Ezekiel had just mentioned was already quite a generous compromise on his part with the current situation they were all facing as they knew how dangerous the state of affairs could turn out to be if Zeres truly mobilise all those undead vampires. All she could do now was to try and stop Zeres and if possible, to change his mind whatever the cost before sunset tomorrow. She knew that Ezekiel would not wait any longer than the stipulated time that he had given her.

At that moment, a car finally halted before them. "Well then, I’m going..." Alicia said and when Zeke didn’t say anything, she turned but paused after taking just a couple of steps and looked back at him.

"You really won’t tell me anything about what the prophetess had seen?" She asked, her gaze intent as she waited for him to respond. During their talk with the group a while ago, Alicia had been waiting for the prophetess to speak, but the woman said nothing until the very end. Neither did Ezekiel mention anything of much importance as well, causing Alicia to suspect even more.

Realizing that it was truly impossible to make him say anything, Alicia sighed in disappointment.

"Alright, I understand." She then said and turned around to open the door.

She sat in the back seat and was about to pull the door close when Ezekiel suddenly appeared beside the car and held the door from closing. Surprised and curious, Alicia looked up at him.

Ezekiel’s eyes were trained on the driver and was talking to him as his hand grab Alicia’s hand, and she felt something touching her palms and then his hands were closing her grip on something.

"Yes, boss. I will definitely deliver her to her destination safely." The driver said, smiling and gave Zeke a confident thumbs up, and Zeke finally pulled away and closed the door.

He stared back at Alicia through the window as the car accelerated.

With creased brows, Alicia looked down at the thing he had pushed into her hand and was surprised to see a small silver dagger.
______
Chapter 646 Altar

The taxi arrived at a building that was still under construction right in the heart of the city. The road was barricaded and there was a huge notice indicating that the construction was suspended for the next five days.

Once the taxi driver ensured that Alicia got off fine and confirmed the destination was the correct one, he drove off, leaving Alicia to stare at the dark and eerie place ahead of her. The place looked desolate and was deafeningly quiet.


 
Using the remaining bit of power left in her, Alicia did not waste a single moment and made herself disappear from the dark roadside. When she materialized again, she was already inside the building she was just looking up at a moment ago. She did just as what Ezekiel had instructed her to do, and it appeared that the vampire prince was right – as usual – that the undead vampires were all at the entrance preparing to attack any vampire that arrives at their doorstep.

Their defenses were solely made specifically to go against vampires, thus Alicia found that she easily entered their headquarters without having anyone notice her presence.

The inside of the place was even quieter. Just like what Ezekiel said, the undead vampires were indeed like puppets who remained still as statues, just waiting for orders. They will not make any move, nor noises without any command, as if they were programmed. The only way they would move on their own was if the situation developed according to an instruction given earlier to them.

Since Zeres never was in the habit of using crystal balls, it was not possible for him to see her. And Ezekiel said that the other witches were too busy creating more undead vampires, so it was unlikely for anyone to have anticipated or already seen her arrival.

Quietly, Alicia looked around the lightless building as fast as she could. She needed to find where Zeres was before any witches notice her. Where was he?


 
Because Alicia had already lost too much power, she could not even sense Zeres’ or any witches’ presence around. So, all she could do was wander and check all places, hoping she could find Zeres. She thought that maybe, he would be found inside a room, alone, somewhere in this place. Her guts told her that he was probably at the highest floor, so she planned to materialize there. But her power was too weak to bring her up there and it only managed to transport her three floors below where she had aimed.

Carefully heading towards the stairs, Alicia remained vigilant but unfortunately, her senses were truly useless and extremely dulled now that she did not even feel the presence of a witch already standing behind her.

"Oh, were you trying to escape? You changed your mind right at the very last minute?" a male witch tauntingly asked as he grabbed her. "Too bad, but it’s too late for you to change your mind." He continued and the next second, they disappeared.

When they materialized, the male witch let go of her and she found herself standing on top of a round altar surrounded with candles prepared for rituals. She did not resist a while ago thinking that perhaps the witch would have brought her over to Zeres first. But it seems that her assumptions were wrong and totally off the bat.

She should have known that there was no way any witch would think that she was the queen at this moment, with how weak she was. They would more likely be thinking she was just a weak witch – the weakest one it seems.


 
Trying to search for Zeres, Alicia frantically looked around but all she saw were the rotting bodies of dead vampires surrounding the altar and the witches in cloaks forming a circle around them. The altar where they were standing on was covered with blood. So, she already knew what had been happening at this very place. How many witches have they already sacrifice here?

Her stomach began to knot up when she heard someone yell out.

"Now let’s begin. Make her bleed." Came an order and when Alicia followed the voice, she saw a man that was somewhat familiar to her. This male witch was the man the previous queen had banished from the Dark Forest due to his rebellious mind. It appeared he had completely turned mad now.

But Alicia did not have even a moment to spare a thought towards that mad witch. She needed to find Zeres urgently. Just where was he?

The witch who approached her did not even let her pull down her hood. He attacked her without any preamble that Alicia was caught off guard. The man’s blade slashed her cheek. She had dodged but because of her weakened powers, he still managed to wound her.

She cursed and glared sharply at the male witch. The witch looked shocked for a moment, looking at Alicia. He seemed to recognize her but there was an obvious denial in his eyes.

"Oh, you almost fooled me. Are you perhaps the queen’s twin?" the male witch mocked. "Impossible. You even feel weaker than a mere human. How could someone as weak as you be the queen’s kin? Oh well, whatever." He laughed, madness evident in his eyes as well.


 
He lifted his sword and Alicia pointed the dagger Zeke gave her towards him. If she had power right now, she would have already destroyed every one of these insane idiots.

"You bitch. You voluntarily came here to offer yourself and now you’re going to fight?" the man sneered.

"I am not here to offer myself. Where is Zeres?" Alicia asked. Despite her weakness, she clearly exuded the bearing and mannerisms of a queen and the man was momentarily halted in his actions. But his madness took over again almost immediately.

"How dare you call our king like you’re at his level, you weakling!" he screamed and attacked her.

Alicia dodged and stopped his first attack with the dagger Zeke gave her. However, she did not manage to dodge the second attack in time and she was slashed again. Blood gushed out from her body. But she had managed to return a counterattack and had slashed the witch’s throat in the process.

"What the hell is going on? She killed him!" One of the witches yelled.

"Damn it! How dare she interrupt our work. We don’t have the time for this! Someone, get rid of that witch, now! We can’t afford to waste any more time here!"

Alicia could feel the blood flowing down her body – and with it, whatever little power that was left in her. Damn. No. She have yet to meet up with Zeres!

Gritting her teeth, Alicia’s eyes became icy, and a glint of silver appeared in her eyes as she saw a blade flying towards her.

_________

Chapter 647 Frost King

Alicia knew that it was too late for her to dodge the attack, nor had she any strength left to do anything to save herself. But as the bullet-like blade travelled towards her, she did not flinch nor close her eyes because strangely, despite her hopeless situation, there was no fear of death that came rushing to her.

And then, just as the blade was about to reach her, it was stopped. The tip of the blade barely missed cutting into Alicia’s face as though someone had caught it with their bare hand.


 
Alicia’s gaze travelled from the bleeding hand right in front of her face that was holding the blade to the person’s face and she sagged back in relief. Her weakness and the wound she suffered from the witch she had just killed seemed to suck whatever remaining strength left that she just slumped over. However, before she could crumple to the ground, she was held up by strong arms.

The witches were shocked as they watched Zeres holding the woman.

"My King..." Someone spoke, pulling Zeres’ attention towards them. Everyone was silenced at the sight of Zeres’ eyes as his gaze swept over them. His gaze was frightening in their intensity, causing everyone to subconsciously flinch back at the sheer amount of power radiating out from him. What’s going on? Did they do something wrong?

This was the first time the witches saw such intensity in the silver-haired witch’s eyes. It was as if he was preparing to slaughter them all at that moment, had the woman got killed before he came right in the nick of time.

In the midst of the witches’ fear and confusion, Zeres lifted the woman and turned his back from them.

"I’ll take this woman." Was all he said before disappearing along with the woman from the altar.

"Wha... what was that?"

"I don’t know. I thought we were done for." The witches around the altar mumbled to each other.

"Yeah. It looked like he was almost on the verge of killing us." One witch commented as the rest felt the tremors from that powerful aura still wrecking their bodies.


 
"Could it be because of that woman?" another witch hazarded a guess.

"Seems like it. Do you think he’s in love with that woman?"

"Perhaps, or it might be because that woman looked exactly like queen Alicia?"

The mad male witch from the back butted in. "Silence! Go take another one from the cell now. We don’t have any more time to waste!" he barked out his orders and one of them immediately moved out of the circle while another dragged the dead male witch’ body away from the altar.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" Zeres growled as he gently put Alicia down on a couch as soon as they materialized inside a dark room lit up with candles. His tone greatly contrasted with the way he was handling her.

Alicia forced her eyes to open and when she finally looked up at Zeres’ face, she felt her chest constrict as her heart was heavy and sad, all due to how different he looked right now. His bright silver eyes were cold, and he felt like a different person. Dark fury sharpened the lines on his face as he looked at her wounds.

"Damn!!" he cursed as he ripped her clothes until the huge wound that extended from her shoulder all the way to her collarbones was bared to his view and fully uncovered.

Without wasting a moment, he placed his hands over her wounds and greenish powerful lights immediately cloaked her. The wounds on her shoulder started to heal, and the one on her face was gone in seconds.


 
While he was busy healing her, Alicia did not take her eyes off him even for a second. His hair was shimmering bright like the moonlight, but somehow, he did not come across as an angel of light anymore like how he used to be. He seemed more like the frost king of darkness now.

"Zeres..." she uttered once she felt a little strength coming back to her.

He met her gaze and his silver eyes glittered like a rare jewel from the necklace of an ancient evil empress.

Alicia was momentarily distracted by the comparison in her mind, and she could not speak. She just felt that this just was not the Zeres she knew anymore.

He did not say anything. The moment the healing was completed, he abruptly pulled away when he saw Alicia’s hand reached out to him.

The next second, he disappeared from her sight.

"Wait!" Alicia yelled as she frantically clambered off the couch. But her knees gave out and she was forced to sit still to allow her legs to regain their strength as well as to gain her bearings.

To her relief, he appeared again, holding a clean set of clothes in his hands. He threw the clothes onto the empty couch next to her as he turned his back.

"Get change and leave. NOW." He snapped at her; his cold voice still cloaked with quiet rage.


 
Staring at his back and the clothes, Alicia finally realized that the clothes she was wearing were ripped beyond help. She grabbed her ripped and bloodied collar of her top and held them together with her hands to cover her exposed skin.

"I’m not leaving." She answered stubbornly. The determination in her voice seemed to rile him up and he whipped his head towards her, a threatening gaze exploding in his cold eyes.

"You will leave after you get changed, Alicia!" his voice brooked no arguments, his fists and face becoming so taut. He looked like he was ready to explode in rage.

"No. I am here to speak with you. I will not leave, even if you drag me out."

He gritted his teeth and raked his silver hair before a short quiet laugh escaped his lips. It was a really scary laugher; Alicia couldn’t help but feel shivers even though she was not scared of him.

Suddenly, he was looming over her, his hands against the back of the couch behind her as he looked down at her. A low and threatening voice came from his throat. "Listen to me and get changed now, or else I’ll strip you myself and dress you up."

Alicia could not help but stiffen at his threat. She was powerless right now and the coldness in his eyes made her heart cower a little. However, she steeled herself and did not show him any fear. For some reason, Alicia felt like he was going to order someone to drag her out and return her to her comrades once she was done getting changed. She just knew that this man would never throw her out or let anyone see her wearing ripped clothes.

"You wouldn’t do that." She retorted, looking at him without any hint of doubt.

He went still for a long while, just staring back at her. Until a predatory gleam swiftly lit his eyes, and he pinned her down on the couch.

________
Chapter 648 Never you

His sudden action made Alicia gasp in shock as he hovered over her. Something odd gleamed in his icy eyes as he glared hard at her. His gaze and action at that moment should have elicited genuine and strong fear from the deepest part of her bones, but something inside Alicia told her she had no need to be frightened and there was no need to cower before him. Thus, she glared back at him with a challenging gaze and with everything that she had.

"If you’re trying to scare me by acting this way... I’m sorry to disappoint you but a bluff like this won’t –"


 
"Shut up." He gritted his teeth, his eyes narrowing into cold, brilliant slits as his grip on her hands above her head tightened. "This is not a bluff, Alicia." His heart nearly exploded as he told her that, when suddenly there was a wicked and devious smile which flashed across his face. "It seems that... you’re still unable to understand a thing..." his voice became soft, the tone containing something alarming that caused Alicia’s nerves to prickle in warning.

She did not know what made her swallow hard and her body turn rigid. But still, she refused to shrink back and avert her gaze from him.

"You’ve forgotten how vulnerable you are right now, Alicia. I can do whatever I want with you right now and you cannot do a single thing to retaliate or stop me." He taunted Alicia with bared teeth, his jaw hardening as he moved his face closer to hers, until she could feel his breaths that were fanning across her face. "Or did you think I couldn’t do something this evil?"

Alicia did not once forget that she had lost all her magic. Neither did she forget that even her strength was so greatly reduced to the point she was currently weaker than an average human even. However, there was no way she was going to back off in the face of Zeres’ taunts no matter how scary it seems. She was willing to bet that deep down, he still genuinely cares for her and holds her well-being of high importance to him as he did previously. Why else would he go to the extent of going through all these just to keep her alive?


 
Zeres now had one hand grabbing onto both her wrists as he moved his other hand towards her face and traced her delicate jaw with the back of his fingers.

Alicia involuntarily flinched and he smiled at her response. "Shall I tell you how many witches I’ve already killed now?" he asked. "I can’t even remember the numbers anymore. I’ve watched them bleed and plead for their lives one after another on that altar and..." his fingers paused as his smile widened wickedly, "... I felt nothing. It appeared I was truly born to be like this. This is how I truly am –"

"No." Alicia cut him off. "You’re not. I heard those witches came here on their own volition." She calmly said, her voice firm. "I deduced that that mad witch had summoned everyone to come here to serve you, their new ruler. But everyone who came here are actually traitors in your eyes, because by them coming here to aid you means they’re turning their backs on me – the true witch queen. That’s why you killed them, you –" Alicia confidently narrated what she felt was truly on Zeres’ mind.

"Enough." he gave her the slightest hint of a shake, his ice cold eyes beginning to waver. "You’re wrong," he denied, but Alicia knew she was right.

"Yes, I am right –" Alicia smiled at him self-assuredly, causing Zeres to narrow his eyes again.

"I said, shut up!" he burst. She could feel his strong hand around her wrists trembling a little. "Fine." he breathed savagely. "It seems like there’s no other way for me to make you understand but to just show you how naïve you are to still think of me as the same old Zeres you knew." He said with cold rage. Then as if she were just a doll light as feathers, he lifted her so easily and the next thing she knew, she was roughly laid on a bed.


 
Alicia’s heart quickened as she looked at him, standing by the bed, staring down at her and unbuttoning his dark shirt.

The alarm and fear that Alicia did not seem to register in her mind a moment ago was now creeping up rapidly inside of her. Was he really going to... this person...

Her lips trembled slightly as she watched him – holding herself still and silent – her resolve swiftly dissolving as he threw his shirt on the floor. But the moment Alicia saw the healing scars all over his body and the huge wound over his heart, she found herself relaxing. Those wounds were the price that he had to pay for her to still be breathing right now.

Moreover, no matter how steely his face seems at that moment, Alicia could feel that just behind those callous eyes, he seemed to be begging her to just climb off the bed, put on the clothes he brought her and run away from him screaming.

And she knew she was right again, as he flared in anger the moment Alicia let her back fall onto the bed.

He was half naked and hovering on top of her, the muscles of his body all taut as his hands slammed against the mattress on both her sides in exasperation.

"Go on," she challenged as she stared deep into his eyes. "Do it. Do what you want." .

Shock instantly flickered in his eyes and she could see his throat working and his body seemed to turn into stone. She could hear the gnashing of his teeth. And she could feel how the mattress moved at her sides as he balled his hands into fists as hard as he could.

"You can’t... I knew you will never..." she said, her eyes becoming blurry with tears, her heart was just filled with sadness. "You could never do something like this, Zeres. Never you..." Her lips lifted into a faint watery smile as she slowly lifted her hands to caress his face. "You’re never the villain you think you are."
_______

Chapter 649 Go back

Before Alicia could touch him, Zeres caught her slim wrist. He shot a sharp gaze at her and then shut his eyes in exasperation. His muscles seemed to be turning to steel as he began to pant, furious with her and at a loss in how to deal with her.

After staring at her for a long while, a soft, humorless laugh that sounded totally unlike him escaped his lips. "I don’t care what you think of me now, Alicia. You can go ahead and think of me as the freaking angel you think I am all you want." He said, his voice dropping deeper, darker and colder.


 
"Yes. Because that’s what you really are." Alicia retorted, not backing off. "You are not –"

"Shut up!" He hissed, a disturbing hint of cruelty was dancing in his expression. "Shut up..." he gritted his teeth, his nostrils flared from the force of his breathing as he pinned her down a little harder using just his weight.

Then his expression changed – an expression that hinted to her of the things he was capable of doing but those that she thought the Zeres she knew could and would never do.

She stared up into the fiery threat that were his eyes. And it amazed her how she could hold herself perfectly still. Alarms had definitely started ringing in her head and yet she wondered how she still could not make herself feel the fear necessary for her to give in and give up on him. Was it because she could just tell that he was expecting her to struggle and fight against him at this very moment? Or could it be due to the fact that he looked even angrier when she went fully passive in his hold instead?

Suddenly, he let his head fall heavily on her shoulder. His breathing was rough as it fanned hotly against the skin of her neck as he seemed to struggle for control.

Then a voice filled with sorrow echoed in Alicia’s ear. "Please... leave me alone, Alicia. I don’t want to hurt you... don’t make me hurt you..."

The agony in his voice made Alicia’s heart contract painfully. "Go back to them and... just let me do what I want... please..."


 
For at least a minute, there was no other sound or movement from either of them. Alicia could not help but smile miserably. He wanted her to just let him do what he wanted? He wanted her to just let him become the villain he never wanted to become and then die in the hands of his own friends?

"I can’t, Zeres." she answered as her hand landed gently on the back of his head. "I’m not going to let you do what you’re planning to do. I’m not going anywhere without you... so please, stop this and come back with me. Don’t do this Zeres. Come with me. Let’s go back -"

Alicia broke off as he jerked her hand off from his head and he suddenly flung himself away from her.

She immediately rose and looked at him and saw him already at the opposite side of the room. His hands were against the wall as he hung his head, shivering like a drenched dog, shaking his head.

The sight of him made Alicia feel a little more hopeful. Perhaps it was not too late yet. She could still change his mind. ’He is obviously wavering now. A little bit more.’ Alicia whispered to herself as she approached him cautiously.

"Stay back." He growled with such a force before he turned, resting his back against the wall.

His face had changed again, his eyes now dangerous and predatory as he looked at her. A gaze that should be enough to paralyze any woman with fear.


 
"You’re wrong. There’s no more turning back, Alicia. It’s too late." His voice was stony and unfeeling.

"No –" In a flash, he moved, and his hand was covering her mouth as if to muffle her from speaking further, then snatched back as though he was scalded.

In the silence that followed, Zeres picked up his clothes and Alicia watched him put on his shirt all brooding and almost trembling with undirected rage. His mouth hardening as he gave her a threatening glance, discouraging her to open her mouth again.

But Alicia had no other choice. She was utterly helpless. All she had right now was her voice. All she could do for him right now was to continue speaking. But just as she opened her lips again, a sudden dizziness came to her.

Her eyes widened, knowing that Zeres had cast a spell on her. "No... you can’t... don’t do this... no... listen to me... we need to talk..." she fought hard to maintain her consciousness as she swayed where she stood before Zeres caught her.

Scooping her up in his arms, Zeres felt his throat tightening up at the feel of her fragile body now even lighter than before. He placed her gently on the bed and stared at her pale face.

"You called, my king?" a woman’s voice echoed and Zeres turned.

A young female witch appeared before him and Zeres handed her clothes. "Help her change her clothes," he ordered stoically as he glanced at Alicia.


 
The witch glanced at the woman on the bed curiously before she immediately nodded and accepted the clothes.

Now that the witch stood by the bed and saw the woman’s face, she almost gasped in surprise. She heard the others talking about a woman who looked like queen Alicia. Was this woman really not the queen herself? But she is so weak, almost like she is at the brink of dying! There is no way this is Queen Alicia, right?

"She’s fragile and unwell, make sure to be careful." Zeres’ voice was full of warning and the female witch frowned. She looked at him only to find him already facing the dark window.

"Y-yes, my king." She could only say as she felt the dark and heavy air coming from him. Who is this woman that is able to make him care for her like this?

As soon as the witch finished her task, Zeres immediately dismissed her. He stood by the bed and stared at Alicia’s face silently. He recalled the look on her face and the words she said to him, telling him to go back with her made Zeres’ lips curved into a bitter smile.

He bent and gently pulled the blanket all the way up to her neck. Then his fingers quietly brushed the strands of her hair from her face, careful not to touch her skin. "There’s no way I’d go back with you, Alicia..." he uttered, and gently placed his forehead against hers. "If I do that... you’ll die... and I don’t want that. You don’t deserve to die like this. I don’t mind if you won’t forgive me... All I want is for you to live..."

_________
Chapter 650 Before Midnight

As though she was awakened from a nightmare, Alicia jumped up from the bed, eyes wide-opened.

She looked around. After scanning the room and taking note that Zeres was nowhere to be seen, her heartbeat quickened. What time was it now?


 
Her head whipped towards the window and her shoulders sagged in relief when she saw that it was still night-time. But the moment she realized that it was close to midnight, she climbed off the bed in haste.

She remembered what Ezekiel told her hours ago. He had told her that if there was still no possibility of Zeres’ changing his mind before midnight, she must do her best to distract him and to make sure that he does not leave his hideout until morning. Ezekiel had repeatedly reminded her that she must not let Zeres leave so he would not know what was happening outside.

Since Zeres’ hideout was located at a large, uninhabited space surrounded by huge unfinished buildings, the only way for him to find out what the commotion going on in the city was, could only be done by personally leaving the hideout or by looking through a crystal ball.

Ezekiel had been quite confident that the witches will not take the time to look at their crystal balls as they were all extremely focused on creating more undead vampires. This is especially so in the case where, when manipulating the crystal balls requires more effort, concentration, and power for them to use. The only thing Ezekiel was wary about was Zeres. Even without using crystal balls, the ancient man could still sense a commotion going on even at places that were farther away from where he was. However, provided that he was distracted enough, Ezekiel had been fairly certain that Zeres would fail to realize whatever that was happening.


 
"Why? What are you planning to do at midnight?" Alicia had asked him as they gathered, facing each other. Like Alicia, everyone had also looked at Ezekiel with curiosity.

"We will evacuate the people out of the city by midnight." He had answered, causing everyone to look at him with confusion.

"How the hell are you going to do such a thing?" Alexander had butted in as all of them looked at Ezekiel with the same questioning gazes.

"There’s actually a power plant in this city and coincidentally, the prophetess saw that there was going to be a nuclear disaster caused by an explosion in the near future. She didn’t manage to foresee the details on how that would happen but nevertheless, I am going to make that disaster happen. Thus, at midnight, I’ll cause the accident and force the people to leave this place." He had explained and everyone was speechless.

"I thought the prophetess couldn’t see anything not related to the vampires." Alicia said as she glanced at the quiet vampiress.

"I can see some mundane things from time to time whenever I try to use my power." The old woman spoke up. "Sometimes, I can see both minor and major events happening around the world. But I usually never speak about any of it since vampires were not supposed to interfere with the humans’ problem."

Alicia understood. Because witches had been doing the same and followed the same unspoken code of conduct. Witches also knew many things and they were expected to do nothing about it if it was of no consequence to them. Both races were always doing their best never to get involved in the matters of the humans.


 
Shifting her gaze towards Ezekiel, Alicia’s gaze became severe. "Tell me. Are you planning to evacuate the people because you already knew the outcome of all this? Are you saying that –"

"No." Ezekiel had cut her off, meeting her gaze. "This is only a precautionary measure I’m taking. Unfortunately, the prophetess could not see anything that is able to verify and tell us that a fight between us and Zeres will definitely break out in this place. So, we need to do something beforehand just in case you fail to change his mind. Because we can predict that the fight that will be happening would be of unprecedented proportions."

"But even if we send all the humans away from this place, wouldn’t the human authorities still come over and check things out to identify what was happening? The human government might even send out their military troops."

"You don’t have to worry about it. I’ll be dealing with that issue while you try to get to Zeres. There won’t be any information that would leak out while we’re still here. Humans are usually slow creatures and will take time to come to any major decision making, so their actions won’t be immediate." Ezekiel’s tone held a hint of derision as he explained, giving the impressions that he despised – not the humans themselves, but – their lack of quick wit and response to emergency circumstances.

"It’s a good thing this city isn’t that big and is quite far from this country’s capital. Moreover, no one will dare freely approach a place claimed to be filled with radioactive radiation. They will need time to sort everything out before entering this place. Even if an intense fight were to break out, there’d be enough time for us to settle everything and clear out way before the humans even arrive at the scene." Ezekiel had said with certainty. "So, all you have to do is to make sure that Zeres does not notice anything. He’d probably release his minions the moment he realizes what is going on and we would be forced to fight by then while the humans are still evacuating."

What Ezekiel had said troubled her. Even though the vampire prince was calling this as only a precaution, Alicia could not help but think of the worst-case scenario. ’Is it really hopeless now? Could it be that I really couldn’t do anything anymore?’ she had asked herself but, in the end, she could not give up on Zeres. She won’t give up on him.

But what Zeres did truly crushed her hope. He did not even give her a chance to speak to him properly. She could not believe that Zeres had cast a spell on her just to keep her silent.

Clenching her fists tight, Alicia headed towards the door. She cannot afford to stay here. She must find him at all costs before midnight strikes and she only had few precious minutes left.
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