Velvet Petalpaws Ravensbane was tired, but she was also happy. Mr. Ashes was with her!
We slept side by side, even though he wasn’t a dog anymore… He still smelled the same, but my nose wasn’t as powerful as usual.
I was hungry, oh yes I was, so I set off in search of food. Mr. Ashes didn’t have to bring me everything! When Dark Lord Father was away, I was used to taking care of myself and Dark Lady Mother.
I ran down the stairs and into the kitchen!
I sniffed. I should’ve picked up more food smells. Food-food-food…
Sniff… Was something wrong with my nose?
Even my howls didn’t sound as loud as usual…
But then I couldn’t think about sniffing or howling anymore, because I was so tired… I fell down where I stood.
I heard Mr. Ashes’ footsteps on the stairs. “Velvet,” he said, his voice sounding like Dark Lord Father’s when I hid in the bushes as a pup, “you should’ve told me you were hungry.” He picked me up, just like old times!
“Did you miss me? Did you? Did you?”
“…You can’t go too far from me, understood?” Was that his way of saying he did?
He slowly lowered me to the ground, and I looked into his eyes that were red like raw meat. I touched his face. “You saved my life, Mr. Ashes. I thought you didn’t like me…”
“I don’t,” he said, “but you’re still my student, or maybe I’m still your dog…”
“I can’t smell things anymore,” I said, petting his face, “so you’re probably a better dog than me.”
“Is it so bad just being a witch?” he asked. “You’re a powerful one.”
When I made a sad face, he kissed me on top of my head, oh yes he did! He still had dog in him, even if I couldn’t find the dog in me…
But I pushed him back. “I know you want to mate with Belle, Mr. Ashes. Not me.”
“…Belle?” He sounded surprised. “Well, of course, but…I wouldn’t steal the only living–sort of–woman Val’s shown interest in since he summoned me. Even incubi have honor. …And I might not want to mate with you just yet, but I will when you’re a bit older. We’ll be spending a lot of time together. Close together.”
“I want to mate with you now,” I said, “but I can wait too, since I’m not dying anymore…”
“You’re the most baffling, frustrating female of any species I’ve ever encountered, and yet I think the world would be a far worse place without you.”
“I don’t think I’m a dog-ter anymore…I don’t know what I am.”
“You’re Velvet Petalpaws Ravensbane,” he said, “and that’s all that matters.”
Even if I wasn’t a dog-ter anymore, I wanted to lick his face! But I had to learn how to be more like a normal witch…so I just petted his face and thought about licking it.
But I really wanted to kiss him, so I did! Normal witches kisses, the way Dark Lord Father kissed Dark Lady Mother…
“I love you, Mr. Ashes.”
He mumbled something back, and I was pretty sure I heard “love” too, even if my hearing wasn’t as good as it used to be!
When my parents got back from their honeymoon, Mr. Ashes insisted on coming with me! He even held my hand, saying he’d need a leash if he didn’t, but I wasn’t a dog-ter anymore and didn’t need a leash.
“Velvet,” Dark Lord Father said, “I see you’re still alive and harnessing your dark, terrible magicks.”
“She looks…very happy,” said Dark Lady Mother. “Does our daughter…have a boyfriend?”
“I like him very much, oh yes I do,” I said, “but he won’t mate with me yet. Will you? Will you?”
“Ah…there’s plenty of time for that in the centuries to come,” said Mr. Ashes.
“Velvet Petalpaws Ravensbane,” said Dark Lord Father, “did you make a demonic pact in my absence? After I specifically taught you to do no such thing?”
“I did!” I barked. “He saved my life!”
“I apologize, Hadrian, Primrose, but there was absolutely no other way, save letting her die…”
“Our daughter is…alive and well.” Dark Lady Mother smiled at him. “Are not all relationships…pacts? Hadrian Grimsley Ravensbane swore…to love me for eternity.”
“That’s a good way of looking at it,” said Mr. Ashes.
I was going to love Mr. Ashes for eternity too!