Academia of the Beast: A Dark Retelling of Beauty and the Beast(7)

“I know. The dances at Mez have nothing on these girls,” Khia added.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually had fae blood.”

“I doubt it. There’s no way the king would allow it.”

“How would he know?” Aude asked, challenging her playfully.

Khia shrugged with a laugh. “Good question.” She looked down at the bottom floor. “Shots! Let’s go to the bar.”

Allyn groaned, already feeling like she had too much as Khia took her by the hand and pulled her along. They walked along the balcony until they reached a set of metal stairs that led them down to the dance floor and bar areas. All of the flashing lights were a bit disorienting but in addition to the music it made her adrenaline pump.

Before she knew it, she found herself nodding her head to the music. They stood at the glass bar, where the attractive male and female bartender showed off their bar skills, doing tricks with the alcohol and glasses.

As they drank their second shot of the night, Allyn’s eyes wandered around the club and its many sights. She set her shot glass down and froze when her eyes went to the VIP section. Something odd happened. Her ears seemed to grow hot and quiet as she peered past the open curtain and into the darkness. Someone watched her, a man, in the darkness. She held her breath, realizing that there was a silver glow to his eyes.

Despite the entire room going silent, she could hear her own heartbeat and the world seemed to slow.

She swallowed, clutching the bar. No, she thought. Not now. If she didn’t gain control of her mind, she feared what would happen—what would be revealed. The Digital Underground was the last place she wanted her secret to be seen.

When the mysterious man stood and spoke to one of the VIP guards, she feared that he had seen something. Did her eyes glow as well, flicker with light? Did she miss a shard of red power escaping her fingertips?

Worried, she stepped away from the bar and began to run when someone stepped in front of her. A young man with light brown skin and closely cut hair smiled at her. He was of medium height and wore a black suit. Something about him told her that he wasn’t one of the clubbers.

“Hello,” he said, in a posh northern accent. “I’m Edan. And you are?”

Allyn swallowed, confused by the sudden question. Was he hitting on her? She could never be entirely sure when it came to men.


“Lovely name,” Edan said, smiling, his white teeth glowing in the neon lights. “I’d like to invite you and your friends to the VIP lounge.”

“Sure,” Aude said pulling Khia away from the crowded bar. “We’d be happy to go to VIP. Do you have food back there?”

“Of course. You can have whatever you’d like,” he said, his eyes scanning over the both of them and how Aude’s arm was around Khia’s waist. “This way.”

Allyn shook her head as he turned his back. “No,” she whispered to Aude. “I don’t want to go. I don’t feel right about it.”

“Hey,” Khia said. “You promised us that you would try to have fun. Come on. Everyone knows that VIP is where the real fun is.”

“Who wants to party out here with all of the peasants?” Aude asked, motioning to the hundreds of people on the dance floor and filling the club.

Cautious, Allyn followed behind them, her eyes on the darkness inside the VIP section. Something warned her—screamed at her to turn around and escape while she could. When she glanced behind her, there was a guard with a device on his ear. He followed as if to keep her in line.

Her heart really started to race then. She rubbed her sweaty palms onto the bottom of her dress and tried to keep the terrified look off of her face.

Once she took the steps up to the VIP section, something else replaced her fear.


Inside the curtains was more ancient writing etched into the dark walls. Glowing lights cast a dim glow on the different sections of the long hallway. There were several square-shaped sofas around tables with well-dressed upperclassmen and women seated around them.

The people inside were different—calmer and more refined than the hyper clubbers outside in the general population. Even though they sat in seats that encircled glass tables piled high with champagne and liquor, they seemed to be in a different state of mind.

Drugs, maybe?

She averted her eyes from staring at the men and women that made out right there in public. An older gentleman in a suit had his hands up a skinny blonde’s blouse as she straddled him.

Allyn swallowed, definitely not liking what she saw, and what she guessed was expected of her and her friends.

She tried to relax as her heels tapped along the black floor, but when they stopped at the back of the section her eyes locked with the man in the far corner.

He looked vaguely familiar, but there was something about him that made her face flush, her heart stop, and her eyes widen. Never had she seen eyes so icy blue. Even in the dark, they stood out to her. His hair was dark, and short, unlike the long styles the men were wearing in town.

“Have a seat, ladies,” Edan said. “I’ll have the private waitress tend to you.”

Still frozen in place, Allyn had to force her feet to move forward. When he looked away, she was broken from her trance and was free to far away from him as she could.

Something isn’t right. Leave, Allyn. She fought with herself until she found her hesitance replaced with intrigue. The man in the fancy black suit with the red tie was mysterious. There was something about him that pulled her closer.

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