We read for several hours. I rubbed my eyes. So far I had found two books that contained what we were looking for. One held the ritual needed to possess each race and the other the names of each demon available for possession. Roan had set aside three books and I kept passing him the ones in his language.
Finally, we both finished our last book and put them next to each other. He went first.
"All right," he said. "I found one important thing from this book: The ritual has to be done on a full moon. That might be when our traitor did it. It would explain why Elder Donne was acting so strange during the negotiations with Elder Arlan."
"From this book, I learned that it takes a long time to become strong enough to perform such a ritual. Whoever did this is old. From the third book, I learned that this ritual has only been done two times before on a vampire."
I nodded. "I had some better luck with these two."
"Tell me," he said.
"The first book goes into detail about the ritual. Whoever is doing this, found it in the library and was stupid enough to put it back. With that in mind, I believe they were so consumed by it that they were careless. For the ritual to be done, you need the demon's name, a lock of your hair or blood, a lock of hair or blood from who you want to possess, and the proper offering for the demon you want to summon."
I opened the second book to the pages with the names.
"This is a list of each demon that can be summoned for each race. I've heard of them and there are two that I think are behind this. The first is Mepmun," I said, pointing to the name. "Mepmun was known for rising to the earth and possessing all races to do their bidding. His payment was blood and, at the end of the task, he would consume whoever summoned him. It if is Mepmun, then the summoner is incredibly stupid."
"And the second?" he breathed.
"Is Cliadun," I sighed. "Unfortunately, I think we're dealing with him. He is known for being summoned to... to impregnate humans." He groaned. "Usually he comes as an incubus but I think the summoner made a deal with him to wait. It's my impression that, by getting me pregnant, I will give birth to a demon that can destroy all of our realms. If you get me pregnant, then the child will be manipulated by Cliadun."
"Remember: they don't know we know. We would be able to protect our child." I shook my head. "But this has to end now. Remember what Adelpha said? We must do it before our wedding or we don't have a chance."
He shook his head. "But what would our child, if we can get pregnant, have to do with all of this?"
I sighed. "I don't know, Roan."
"All right. Let's go commune with them again. I'll have to teach you how to seal my room, though. Even though he just implied it, I have been forbidden by Elder Donne from doing it. Now, here's how."
We sat in front of the combined altars. I bit my lower lip. I held my hand out to Roan and he took it, lacing our fingers.
"Are you ready?" I whispered.
"Yes," he breathed and we closed our eyes.
Immediately, we were in a strange realm I had never seen before. We were still sitting, holding hands, but Adelpha and a void stood in front of us.
You have returned, Adelpha said in her soft voice.
Then you know who the traitor is.
There was no mouth, but I knew that came from this black and blue void.
"No," I said. "We believe we know the name of the demon, though."
Of course you do, Caricus said.
"So it's true," Roan breathed, gripping my hand. "But I can't think of anyone who could summon him!"
Adelpha looked at him and he lowered his head in respect.
Vampire Prince, you have been alive for many years. You know the power of magic. Dear Lillian, I have given you the gift of sight not just for distance but into people as well. Think, my dear. Has anyone in the palace struck you as suspicious?
I frowned and thought for a long time. I went through a list of everyone I met. Then I remember my first dinner and my head shot up, my eyes wide.
"It's Lethan," I breathed and Adelpha nodded sadly.
Yes, I am afraid it is.
"So what do we do?" Roan asked desperately. "What can we do?"
Your seed has entered your beloved, Caricus said and we stared at each other with wide eyes. The wizard known as Lethan wishes to speed the pregnancy and force your child to do his bidding.
I groaned. "Which is why he's been forcing me to live like a vampire," I muttered.
You have two choices, Caricus continued. Indulge this demon and tell him or kill the host body.
"Won't that kill Elder Donne?" I asked.
Adelpha sighed. Yes.
"There's no other way?" I whispered and she looked at me for a long time.
Perhaps, dear Lillian. But only you will know the answer. Know, though, that you did a foolish thing, Vampire Prince.
Roan frowned. "What did I do?"
You threatened the demon, the void said in its echoing voice. He is suspicious. You are running out of time. Either indulge him or kill him.
They didn't give us a chance to respond before we were back in our room. We sat in front of the combined altars quietly. Neither deity moved and I stared at Roan.
"Kill him," we said in unison.
I paced the bedchamber, waiting for Roan to return.
Our plan had been simple: Roan would go to the wizard's tower to tell him I was interested in learning how to use magic as the next queen. When he was given permission, he would come get me and we would kill him together. I hoped that would spare Elder Donne but I wasn't positive.
But the more time that passed, the more worried I got. Why hadn't he returned?
Suddenly, someone pounded on the door. I hesitated before opening it. When I did, it was Roan and he looked awful.
"Roan," I gasped, catching him before he fell over. I shut the door, sealing the room like he showed me, and took him to the bed. "What happened?"
"He knows," he said in a hoarse voice. "He knows, Lillian, and he's on his way to the Meeting Hall now with Cladiun. He's going to tell Elder Arlan that we-we have betrayed everyone. We are to be executed tomorrow."
I shook my head. "No! What did he do to you?"
"I'll be fine," he said, his eyes half closed "But you need to go warn Elder Arlan. I will meet you there."
I cried. "I don't want to leave you here."
"I will be safe. I swear it. Go now. Go as fast as your elven legs can take you."
My lower lip trembled as I kissed him. He kissed me back and I changed into my hunter's outfit.
The sun had gone down so it was easier to hide among the grass and trees. I could see the two vampires in the distance. They were taking their time and I knew it was so as to not arouse suspicion. I jumped into the nearest tree and stalked them.
I looked at the barrier. I had to make a decision. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes and jumped to the other side. I felt a terrible pain in my stomach but, aside from that, I was fine.
I didn't bother waiting to find out what was wrong. I jumped to the ground and stumbled, sick from whatever the barrier did.
"Lillian!" Petunia said. "What are you doing here?"
"Where is Elder Arlan?" I gasped, clutching my stomach.
She frowned. "He's been summoned to the Meeting Hall. Why? What happened?"
I ignored her and ran as fast as I could, stumbling. I cried in relief when I saw he was at the base of the stairs.
"No!" I shouted and Elder Arlan froze.
"Lillian?" he asked. "What are you-?"
"Don't move!" Elder Donne shouted when I was feet from Elder Arlan. "Keep moving, Lillian Greentree, and I will kill you."
"Elder Donne!" Elder Arlan cried with a frown. "How dare you threaten my elf?"
"She comes to bring dissent among our races!" Lethan shouted and I shook my head.
"No, Elder Arlan," I gasped. "No, don't listen to them. Elder Donne is possessed!" I said, gripping him desperately and groaning as I threw up.
"Possessed?" he repeated. "What are you talking about, Lillian? And why are you so sick?"
"Don't listen to her," Elder Donne said. "She is lying."
"I would never lie to you," I said, unable to stand on my own.
Elder Arlan caught me before I fell. "Lillian, what's going on? How were you able to cross the barrier?"
"Please," I sobbed, gripping the front of his robes. "Please. Now is not the time. Y-You need to use your magic."
He frowned. "I can't Lillian. Not against a fellow Elder. Adelpha will curse me."
I pounded my fist on his chest, tears streaming down my face.
"He's not Elder Donne!" I cried. "Please Elder Arlan! May Adelpha curse me if I am wrong!"
He looked into my eyes for a long time before looking at Elder Donne.