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Anger soared through him like a thousand ravenous bats. A feral roar bellowed out of his throat and he slammed his fist into his throne, leaving a dent in the gold trim. She was right in the palm of his hand, right within reach. Just a little more and he would have been able to locate her and drag her down to Vykrin. What was stopping him from holding on? From finding her exact location? What kept pulling her back? Wherever she was, he was sure she was guarded by magic and binding spells but her kingdom of Zephendyr was incapable of such intricate spells. Where, then, did they send her? None of their allies would have gone to such lengths to protect the fae princess when they also knew what Varik was capable of. 

“Remi!” His voice permeated the silence of the empty throne room. He snapped his fingers and candles ignited along the walls of the throne room, illuminating the four walls surrounding him. Before he lost her, this throne room was all windows overlooking the beauty that was the fae kingdom. Disgusting, colorful flowers and trees that looked like a rainbow vomited everywhere, surrounded the entire castle. Sunlight poured through and lit up every last tiny mosaic tile that lined the floor. Not anymore. 

Now, the walls were the color of dried blood. Now, he sat in the darkness he felt in his soul. The only light was the flickering candles that mirrored the life he was barely holding onto without his precious queen by his side.

A gust of wind rolled through the throne room doors as they squealed open, the wood grazing against the onyx tile as they did so. Varik turned around and sat on his throne, one leg over the other, hands grabbing the edge of the arms on the throne. 

“You called for me, sir?” Remi’s accent was a thick, deep burr that all fae creatures had.

“I did. Tell me, what kingdoms did Zephendyr contact often?” The more he thought about it, the more he realized he was going about this the wrong way. He shouldn’t have been looking for the kingdoms they contacted; he should have been looking for the ones he didn’t contact. King Theodyn was shrewd and organized. He would have never sent his daughter to a kingdom that could have been easily traced back to him. 

Remi scratched one of the black, curved horns that jutted from his head, a distinguishing feature of the fae. Once upon a time, Remi belonged to the fae kingdom and played a prominent role in running the kingdom, now he was Varik’s informant, a change in loyalty that Varik treaded carefully around, never sure when loyalties were going to shift again. “King Teriyn never disclosed that information to me.” Remi’s gaze dropped to the floor and Varik’s blood boiled. 
“What good is having an informant who has no information!” He slammed his hands on his throne and stood tall, his chest heaving with anger as his fangs slipped from his gums, ready to shred the fae to pieces. 

“S-sire, there is no need, no need, to get riled like this,” Remi said, holding his hands out. “Ye-ye dinnae,” he paused for a moment and Varik saw a look in his eyes that told him Remi was trying to find the right words to say to calm him down. But today, he would not be calmed. He was done remaining calm. 

Five years he waited. Five years he remained calm. No more. Enough was enough. He was promised the fae princess, the love of his life, the only thing worth living for, in exchange for his loyalty with Zephendyr. He gave them the resources they needed in order to protect Zephendyr against the plague that had unleashed on their kingdom and in return, they hauled the princess off to some unknown kingdom where he couldn’t locate her, couldn’t see her, couldn’t touch her. Last night, he had gotten so close. Could feel the warmth of her life reaching out to him. The second she pulled away, he was left cold and wanting. 

He was done being calm. Now, Zephendyr was going to give him his beloved or he was going to take her by force the minute he found her. 

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