Viveka stayed curled in on herself on my bed until her mother and Chester arrived. Then she got up and ran to her mother, crying. Chester saw the bruise left by Cerebus and immediately ran for me but my father stopped him.
"It was not Cian," he said quietly.
"Then who did it?" Chester demanded.
"His name is Cerebus," I mumbled.
"And why did he hurt her?" he snapped.
"Perhaps we should all just sit down," my mother suggested. "Unfortunately, this is the best place for you."
"It's your castle," Viveka snapped. "Kick him out!"
"It's more complicated than that," I said and she glared daggers at me.
"I have absolutely no desire to speak with you!" she yelled and I sighed.
"I figured you'd say that...."
"Please, Viveka," my mother said softly. "Listen to us. Chester, Mary, you may sit with her if you wish."
The did so immediately. Her mother wrapped her arm around her and kissed the bruise on her wrist tightly. No one spoke for a while. I had expected Viveka to cry some more but she was staring expectantly at my mother. Her glare was so intense I'm certain my mother would burn.
"It starts 300 years ago," my mother whispered. "My mother was bitten by King Nelo's father."
"Bitten?" her mother asked.
"They're vampires, Ma," Viveka whispered and her mother gasped, covering her mouth. "They all are."
"My mother loved me and, when I turned 20, she turned me. Nelo was already a vampire and we fell in love. We gave birth to two wonderful children. The first was a girl, the second a boy. People were hunting us, though, and so we had to get away. We found this little village that didn't have a ruler. Nelo, you finish."
My father cleared his throat.
"We passed ourselves off as royalty. It wasn't hard. We were miles and miles away from where we were discovered. We built this palace and kept it as bright as we could. Despite what you may think about us now, we do care very much about our people." Viveka snorted but didn't say anything. "There are two main reasons we do not leave the castle but once a year: The first is because it would raise questions how we were still the king and queen for 200 years. We faked our deaths. The second is because, as you've seen Viveka, my son has red eyes. We don't know why they don't go black. We have magic that makes them appear black. You are the first to notice they are really red."
"So what are your real names?" Viveka asked.
"We adopted them again this time around. I have forgotten how many we've had over the years." He looked at her and frowned. "As I said, you are the only human to notice his red eyes."
"Why? You've been among plenty of other humans."
"We don't know," he answered. "We also don't know why we can't read your mind anymore."
Her jaw dropped. "You've been trying to read my mind!?" she yelled indignantly.
"Just two or three times," I blurted out but she just glared at me again so I went silent.
"Now we're faced with a problem," my father said. "You three are aware of what we are. It is much too risky to let you live out among the other citizens without...."
He trailed off nervously.
"Without what?" Viveka demanded. "Threatening us?"
"Of course not," my mother said. "We'll have to... erase your memories."
The three of them froze. "Come again?" Chester said in a dark voice.
"It's to protect all of us," my father said quickly. "We don't want to do it. It's painful. But we have to."
"How much will you be erasing?" Viveka asked.
"Everything that happened tonight," my father said. "That's all."
"We won't tell anyone," Mary whispered.
"I'm sorry," my mother whispered back. "But we don't have a choice."
It was Chester who tried to run first. My father stepped in front of the door and grabbed Chester by the head. Chester tried to fight him. My father's face was full of regret as he closed his eyes. Then it was Mary. My mother got to her and I grabbed Viveka's arm.
"Please don't," she whispered as the room was full of screams. "I don't want to hurt anymore."
"You'll remember everything except for what happened tonight," I promised. I sighed. "I know I haven't earned your trust but I need you to trust me. It's for your safety. They will kill you."
"Lord Cian," she begged but I grabbed the sides of her head.
She was sobbing. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, putting my forehead on hers, and preparing myself for the pain. I reached my mind into hers and found a complication. That damn wall. God this was going to hurt.
I pushed her down onto the bed and she struggled. I took another deep breath and pushed with all my power. We screamed at the same time as the wall shattered. I found the memories starting with her going home. I saw her mother asking how it went. I saw her walking to the farmlands thinking about how she was starting to have feelings for me. I saw Cerebus corner her and try to turn her. I saw blackness and then her waking up. I wiped those and put in different memories.
She walked home. She told her mother it went well, that I had passed my test with flying colors. She told her mother that she wanted to go to bed. No matter what her mother insists, she will go to bed. She will change into one of her nightgowns. She will get into bed. She will dream about... me. I placed the dream in her mind.
I pulled back, panting. Viveka was passed out and I knew the memories were spinning and weaving their way into her brain. Around the room, my parents were having servants take everyone back to their homes. My father looked concerned.
"What happened?" he asked. "You were screaming and crying as you were modifying her memory."
"The wall," I said, swaying and leaning against the bed post. "I had to shatter the wall."
"So you'll be able to read her mind again?"
"I don't know."
"What did you give her?"
"She went home, told her mother it went great, and went straight to bed."
"That's what your mother gave Mary so that won't be an issue."
"What did you give Chester?" I asked, picking Viveka up to carry her home.
"Just that he farmed some, had dinner, then went home to bed. We have someone to take her."
I shook my head. "No. This is my fault. I'll take her home."