The Crimson Cup - Book cover

The Crimson Cup

Decide Your Destiny

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💖GALentine's DAY💖🥀DECIDE YOUR DESTINY🥀200 years before the events of The Lost Princess...Ophelia lives in Fayvein, a town on the outskirts of the vampire realm. She works at a 24 hour bookshop run by her family. However, the shop is at risk of closing down. Ophelia soon discovers that she alone holds the key to saving the bookshop and her family. Help Ophelia make decisions as she embarks on this life-changing journey. Will she compete for the King’s heart in the Crimson Cup or will she find another way to save her family?

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36 Chapters

Chapter 1


The sign on our door declares, Business failure. Palace repossession imminent.

It was hammered into place under the cover of darkness. We didn’t see it at first, no one bothered to tell us, but it’s a final decree from the Vampire Royal Palace.

We’re insignificant to the palace. There it is, in blood-red ink, our doom.

Soon, they’ll replace our family’s bookshop with a military outpost. Hundreds of books will disappear, replaced by men in uniform.

Our library’s books aren’t ordinary. When you open them, the pages glow warmly, pulling the reader into their world.

The first time it happened, I was scared. It was like plunging into the light. Suddenly, I was in the midst of a savage battle, bodies crashing into each other in a gruesome dance.

I floated through the scene like a specter, untouched by the horrors around me. My mind roamed, while my body lay unconscious, nestled safely between bookshelves.

By now, I’ve read every book in our shop. With nothing else to occupy me, I consume a book a day, exploring its world instead of the one beyond my door.

Today, I’m in a meadow. Lying on my back, I brush my fingers through the tall grass. The blades chime as I stir them.

A flurry of pixies zooms past, and I watch a silver unicorn prance around before it vanishes into the trees.

Suddenly, I spot a shadow. It’s a man’s silhouette, lurking just beyond the light. It seems like he’s observing me.

“Ophelia,” a distant voice calls, sounding as if I’m underwater.

Ignoring the voice, I rise and approach the figure, trying to get a clearer view. But as I advance, he retreats into the forest’s darkness, out of sight.

“Ophelia,” the same voice repeats, now with a stern tone.

I sigh, pulling myself out of the book. “What?” I grumble, rubbing my eyes.

“Ophelia,”—my mother, Lucinda, looms over me—“lost in another fantasy world?”

“They’re called books.” I stand and peck her cheek.

My father, Dante, is packing boxes behind her. “You know, the real world isn’t so bad.”

“Maybe the real world would be better if you’d let me leave town,” I retort sarcastically.

“Now, now,” my father chides, “you know the forests near the border are too dangerous.”

“Are they?” I challenge. “Because as far as I know, no one has ever seen anything dangerous out there, let alone been killed.”

“Yes,” my mother begins, “but there are tales that—”

“But that’s all they are, mother…, tales.” I sigh, frustrated by their stubbornness.

An unknown evil is supposedly brewing just beyond the borders.

And while all we hear are whispers, inconsistent rumors, many have been scared away, too frightened to venture to the kingdom’s outskirts.

It seems that all the realms, once living in harmony, have grown suspicious of each other.

Each blames the other for this evil shadow cast across the land. Although no one has encountered it themselves, they somehow still believe in it.

Gone are the days of peaceful coexistence. I can’t remember a time before this isolation.

I feel it more than most because I’m in a unique position.

I’m human. As a baby, I was adopted by a vampire family.

This detail doesn’t help my case to explore the lands outside our town, Fayvein.

Most humans in the vampire world are familiars. They dedicate their lives to serving their vampire masters.

My parents worry about me. They don’t want me discovered and forced into servitude.

Fayvein is my sanctuary. Nestled in a forest, Fayvein looks like it tumbled from a fairytale into reality.

The vampires in Fayvein know about my “condition,” as they call it. It’s our secret.

They’ve known me since childhood and have sworn to protect me. But the same can’t be said for those outside Fayvein.

I think of the sign on our shop door again. The thought of my sanctuary being tainted by a military outpost turns my stomach.

It’s clear the shared fear of what lies beyond the kingdom’s borders has infected the royal palace.

Or maybe they just don’t care for culture and art, preferring death and destruction.

There are stories, from long ago, of travelers passing through, sharing books from their realms—tales of unknown civilizations and creatures from far away.

Stories about the Werewolf Kingdom, the Fae Kingdom, the Witch Kingdom, and even the Human Kingdom are still told to children.

But it’s been so long, they’ve become myths.

As I look around the shop, brimming with books but devoid of life, I know those days are gone. These days, we’re lucky to get one customer a month.

Suddenly, the doorbell jingles.

Startled, I quickly smooth my dress. I hadn’t realized my parents had left the room and I was alone. I can hear them in the basement, sorting through our archives.

“How can I help you?”

I almost gasp when I see a hooded figure. His face is mostly hidden, his hood revealing only icy blue-gray eyes and a hint of a playful smile.

He holds a piece of parchment.

“Could you post this on the bulletin board outside?” he asks, not bothering to introduce himself.

He hands me the paper carefully.

The sign shimmers gold.

The Crimson Cup.

The Royal Palace invites all maidens from the realm to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If you choose to participate, you may have the chance to win the vampire king’s heart.

The event will take place on February 14 of this year at the Royal Palace.

This tournament isn’t for the faint of heart.

The Royal Palace’s familiar crimson emblem is stamped at the bottom of the page. It’s the same emblem that’s on the closure notice outside.

I notice the date right away: Valentine’s Day. I guess the king’s a romantic at heart.

Not much is known about King Atticus.

But his lack of an heir is a hot topic. He doesn’t have a queen, so he doesn’t have an heir. Everyone’s wondering when that’ll change. I guess the answer is…soon.

The king’s probably tired of his council’s constant nagging. But his claim to the throne is shaky unless he listens to them.

What’s a king without a queen?

When I look up again, the hooded man is gone. But another man is standing there.

I recognize him from town: Roanoke Briar.

Moonlight filters through the stained-glass window, casting a red glow on his skin.

Lord Briar is a rich local nobleman. He’s known for being distant, spending most of his time with a small group of standoffish, sarcastic vampires.

They all think they’re better than everyone else and hardly ever mingle with the townsfolk.

I’ve seen him around town a few times, his jet-black hair always slicked back, his dark green eyes judging everyone. But we’ve never spoken.

“Can I see?” he asks.

“Want me to show you around?” I offer.

“Do you have a favorite section?”

“The historical fiction section.” I point him to the back of the shop.

“Ah, the good old days, when everyone was friends,” he says.

I catch a hint of sarcasm. He wanders off, pacing the aisle, running his fingers over the book spines.

“Ophelia, we need you downstairs. Your father and I are…” My mom stops when she sees I’m not alone. Her eyes widen.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a visitor.

Wait till she finds out we’ve had two visitors today. I’d almost forgotten about the strange man with the blue eyes.

Seeing my mom, Roanoke comes back over.

“I can save this…”—he looks around the shelves, like he’s trying to figure out what kind of place he’s in. I think I see a flicker of disgust in his eyes—“place,” he finishes.

Then his eyes land on me. “But in return,” he says, turning to my mom, “I want to marry your daughter.”

My heart drops as soon as he says it. My throat tightens and I can’t speak.

“I,” I start, “I…”

“She’ll consider your generous offer, Lord Briar,” my mom says, bowing her head.

He nods, giving me one last look before he leaves.

“Mom, I’m not marrying him,” I whisper when he’s gone.

“Why not?”

“Are you two arguing again?” my dad asks, interrupting us.

“No,” I say, “Mom just wants to marry me off to Lord Briar to save the shop.”

“He’s not bad looking,” my dad says.

“Then you marry him,” I retort.

“Oh, we’re just kidding,” my mom says, hugging me. “We’ll figure something else out.” She sighs.

I can hear the sadness in her voice. I know we don’t have many other options. My parents have even started packing up the shop.

I don’t want to marry Roanoke. I’m only turning twenty-one tomorrow, and he’s thirty…or rather, he’s been thirty for over a hundred and fifty years.

But I need to save the bookshop. I need to save my family.

“Your dad and I are going hunting. Can you lock up by yourself?”

“No,” I say, winking at her.

My parents stopped drinking human blood when they adopted me, which I think is sweet, but there are others in town who still like it.

As I lock up the bookshop, I think about my options.

I could marry Roanoke and move to Briar Manor. I’ve heard it’s a nice place, grand and comfortable, and most importantly, close enough for me to visit my family often.

And with Roanoke’s money and influence at the palace, the bookshop would be saved.

It seems like the perfect solution.

Then I see the piece of parchment pinned to our bulletin board.

The Crimson Cup

I’d completely forgotten about the competition.

If I could just get a moment with the king, I could convince him to change his mind about the shop, I know it.

I have a decision to make…


Should Ophelia marry Roanoke and move to Briar Manor? Or should she go to the Royal Palace to compete in The Crimson Cup for a chance to win the king’s heart?

Skip to the next chapter to vote.

Chapters are released weekly on Fridays!

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