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Rogue (Relentless Book 3): Chapter 24


A FEATHER LIGHT touch against my lips woke me, and I smiled and stretched contentedly before I opened my eyes. Nikolas lay propped up on his elbow, watching me as his fingers caressed my face. His mouth curved into a sensual smile that sent my stomach on a rollercoaster ride.

“Morning,” I said as he leaned in to kiss me.

Good morning, moy malen’kiy voin.

It took me several seconds to realize I’d heard his voice in my head. Nikolas? I said tentatively, earning another smile from him.

His eyes gleamed mischievously. One of the perks of being mated.

“Mated.” The word felt strange and wonderful on my tongue.

Mine, whispered my Mori as it curled up like a cat after a bowl of milk.

Ours, I corrected it, finally understanding my demon’s possessiveness toward its mate. An invisible cord stretched between Nikolas and me, and through it I felt love, a touch of humor, and desire. It filled me with a sense of completeness and intimacy I’d never known was possible.

My thoughts went to last night and heat rose in my face. It didn’t help that Nikolas was grinning as if he knew exactly what I was thinking.

“Can you read my mind?” I blurted.

“No. But that blush makes me wish I could.”

I hid my face against his chest, and he laughed softly as he put his mouth to my ear. “I love waking up with you in my arms.”

His husky admission melted me, and I pulled his head down for a long, slow kiss. When we finally broke apart, I couldn’t help being satisfied when I saw his smoldering gaze.

Nikolas growled playfully. “If you keep looking at me like that, we’ll never leave this cabin. In fact, I might have to find the owner and buy it from him.”

More nights alone with Nikolas in the middle of nowhere? I was totally down with that. My stomach rumbled loudly. “Can we bring food next time? I’m starving.”

He laughed and rolled away from me, which was when I realized he was dressed and I was… not. A fresh blush crept up my face as I sat up and pulled the blankets around me, looking for the shirt I’d been wearing last night. It was nowhere to be seen, but I spotted my own clothes draped over a chair near the fireplace. Nikolas must have gotten up in the night to hang them to dry for me. He’d obviously tended the fire through the night as well or it would be freezing here this morning.

“Your shirt and jeans are dry, but your boots are still wet.” He grabbed my things from the chair and handed them to me, and then he went to the cupboard on the other side of the room. I knew he was giving me a private moment to dress, and my heart swelled at his thoughtfulness.

He came back and sat on the mattress holding a can of tuna, a pack of saltines, and a bottle of water. “Not exactly a five-star breakfast.”

“It’s perfect.”

He put some tuna on a cracker and gave it to me. “It’ll be daylight soon. The storm’s over, so we should head out as soon as it’s light enough.”

“How far is it to the road?”

“About fifteen miles. I won’t be surprised if we run into some of our people on the way. We’ll be home before you know it.”

Home. That word held a whole new meaning for me now. We hadn’t discussed living arrangements yet, but I knew I’d be moving out of my room in the very near future. As in the moment we got home.

He seemed to be considering his next words. “How do you feel today? Is there any change in your magic?”

His question made me realize what else was different this morning. I didn’t feel as empty as I had last night. I reached for my power. The barrier was still there, but it felt weaker, and a tiny tendril of magic slipped free.

I let out a shaky laugh. “I think it’s getting better. Whatever they shot me with must be wearing off.”

Nikolas looked as relieved as I felt. “Good. That means we won’t have to call the faerie.”

“Jealous?”

“I might have been a little jealous once or twice.” An arrogant smile curved his lips. “But I got the girl.”

I leaned over and kissed him, not caring that I had tuna breath. “You always had the girl.”

After our humble breakfast, we tidied the cabin and Nikolas put out the fire. I grimaced when I donned my wet boots and damp coat, and I reminded myself that I’d be warm and dry again in a few hours.

Nikolas opened the door, and I glanced around the cabin before I left. It looked so small and insignificant, yet our lives had changed forever in this room. I’d been half-dead when he’d carried me through the door last night, and I was leaving feeling more alive than I’d ever been.

Outside, the world was coated in a layer of glittering ice. Our breath steamed the cold air and our boots crunched over the icy crust on top of the snow. Nearby, the river roared past, heedless of the ice attempting to dam it in places.

There was no sign of Alex, but his tracks were all over the sloped roof of the small cabin. If someone had told me in November that the surly wyvern would save my life twice, I would have had a good laugh over it. But I was alive today because of him. Sure, he’d carried me off and dropped me in the middle of nowhere where I’d nearly frozen to death, but he’d rescued me from a much worse fate. I would have preferred freezing to what those vampires had in mind for me.

Nikolas tested the snow with his foot. “It’s going to be rough walking with the snow iced over. Climb on my back, and I’ll carry you.”

“You can’t carry me fifteen miles.”

His grin made me forget the cold already nipping at my fingers. “Are you willing to bet on that?”

“I don’t know. What will you give me if I win?”

He laughed and moved to pick me up. “Anything you –” Confusion filled his eyes, followed by horror. “Sara… run,” he uttered before he collapsed to the ground.

“Nikolas!” I knelt beside him, shaking him. “What’s wrong?”

“Lover boy is taking a little nap.”

My head snapped up as a huge blond vampire stepped out of the woods. My heart thudded and my limbs grew weak as four more vampires appeared behind him. One of them had what looked like a tranquilizer gun trained on Nikolas. Didn’t they realize he would wear off the drug in a minute? Please, hurry and wake up, Nikolas.

“Remember our orders,” the big vampire barked at the others as they advanced on us. “We are to bring them in undamaged.”

Them? I stood on trembling legs. “I’m the one you want. Leave him, and I’ll go quietly.”

The vampire sneered. “If we weren’t under orders to bring him, he’d be dead already. And as for you…” He lifted his hand, and I saw a small gun like the one the female vampire had used on me yesterday. Before I could react, a dart hit me in the arm. “You won’t be any trouble.”

Fear choked me as the vampires surrounded us. One of them threw Nikolas effortlessly over his shoulder and another did the same to me. My body recoiled from his touch, and I could smell the faint stench of dead flesh that all vampires carried. Even though my power was locked away from me, I felt a tiny sliver of ice in my chest.

The ice and snow caused no impediment to the vampires who moved swiftly through the woods. Each step carried Nikolas and me farther from the cabin and the hope of being found by the warriors who were out there searching for us. Despair and terror welled inside me, but I refused to let these bastards see me break down. Instead, I focused on Nikolas. I couldn’t see him, but I could feel him nearby and I clung to that like a lifeline. I could face whatever fate awaited me as long as he was okay.

The vampires ran for at least a mile before we reached a clearing where three snowmobiles were parked. My fear grew as I watched two of the vampires place Nikolas’s unconscious form between them and take off down a trail. The blond vampire took the second machine, and I was forced to sit between the last two vampires on the third machine. I struggled not to hyperventilate as the vampire behind me wrapped his arms around my waist and rested his chin on my shoulder.

When I suddenly lost any sense of Nikolas, I almost went nuts. My body tensed to fight, and the vampire tightened his grip on me. A few seconds later, I felt him again as we caught up to the first snowmobile, and I nearly sobbed.

We rode for almost an hour before we came to a narrow gravel road where a white utility van was parked. The blond vampire took the driver’s seat and the others got into the back with Nikolas and me. Once the doors were closed, they let go of me and I crawled over to Nikolas. I sat on the floor with his head cradled in my lap and silently pleaded with him to be okay. I love you, Nikolas. I need you. Why aren’t you waking up?

The drive was bumpy for at least thirty minutes before we turned onto a paved road. I couldn’t see where we were going, but I could tell we were on a highway, judging by our speed and the sound of other vehicles going by. An hour later, we drove into a city that had to be Boise. The van stopped at a few traffic lights, took some left and right turns, and then finally came to a complete stop.

Before the doors opened, I knew we were at the airport because I could hear planes taking off nearby. Fear and hopelessness threatened to suffocate me. Once we got on the plane that was waiting for us, they could take us anywhere in the world, and no one would ever know what had become of us. I could try to run, but I wouldn’t. Even if I could manage to escape, I’d never leave Nikolas. Our fates were woven together as tightly as the bond between us.

“Finally,” said a husky feminine voice that sounded vaguely familiar. “I have been waiting here all night.”

“You were more than welcome to go out in the woods and find them yourself,” snarled the blond vampire. “You’re lucky we got to them before the hunters.”

“That is not my job, Anthony.”

“Wouldn’t want you to break a nail, would we?” He barked a laugh. “Well, they’re all yours.”

She sighed heavily. “Bring them to the plane and then you may consider your job done.”

The back doors of the van opened to reveal the inside of a hanger. The blond vampire grabbed me by the arm and ripped me away from Nikolas. As he dragged me toward the small jet, I heard Nikolas being lifted out of the van and carried behind me. He should have woken up by now. What had they done to him?

The vampire forced me onto the plane ahead of him and shoved me down into one of the wide leather seats. “Stay,” he barked like he was giving orders to a dog.

His companions buckled Nikolas into the seat beside me, and I grabbed Nikolas’s hand, clinging to it for dear life. I rested my head against his shoulder, needing to be close to him. I’m here, Nikolas. I’ll never leave you. I didn’t know if he could hear me in his unconscious state, but I needed to say the words.

“The infamous Sara Grey. You don’t look like much for all the trouble you’ve caused.”

I looked up at the female vampire standing in the doorway of the plane. Her red hair fell in thick waves down her back and she wore a black pantsuit and high heels. I sucked in a sharp breath as recognition hit me, followed by burning hatred.

“Ava Bryant,” I spat. Her name left a foul taste in my mouth.

One of her perfect eyebrows arched, and her red lips parted in surprise. “How do you know my name? I think I would remember if the two of us had met.”

“If we had met before, you’d be dead.” I leaned forward in my seat, and she took a step back. “You met my uncle.”

Comprehension dawned in her eyes and her lips curved into a cruel smile. “Nate Grey. Now that is a week I’ll never forget. Nate and I had so much fun together.” She ran her tongue along her lip. “He was quite delicious.”

I gripped the arms of my chair in an effort not to jump at her. With no power and no weapons I was no match for her, and we both knew it.

“Poor Nate. He had such promise. Did you kill him yourself or did your warrior do it for you?”

“I killed the demon,” I said, deliberately evasive.

She sat in the seat opposite me. “Impressive. Quite the little hunter you are.”

“You have no idea.”

“I can see why Eli was so fascinated with you.” She crossed her legs and smoothed a wrinkle in her sleeve. “He was a foolish male and his weakness was pretty little brunettes.” Her eyes moved to Nikolas. “I should actually be thanking your warrior for taking care of Eli. I never understood why that loser was our Master’s favorite.”

My hands grew clammy at the mention of the Master, but I swallowed back my fear. I was proud of how steady my voice was when I said, “I killed Eli.”

Ava’s eyes widened and then she clapped her hands in delight. “Oh my, this just keeps getting better! I wish I could have seen his face. What went through his mind when he realized a little Mohiri orphan had bested him?”

I leaned back in my seat and took Nikolas’s larger hand in both of mine. “You can ask him that yourself when I send you to be with him in hell.”

The smile bled from her lips. “Your killing days are over, little hunter. When the Master gets through with you, you’ll be begging me to kill you.”

“Don’t underestimate me, vampire.” I said the word as if it was something nasty stuck to the bottom of my boot. “I’m not done with you yet.”

She got up from her seat and stood over me. I didn’t see the syringe in her hand until she plunged it into my arm. “Oh, you’re done. Nighty night.”

* * *

I opened my eyes slowly and blinked several times until the dirty wooden beams above me came into focus. My head pounded, and my stomach churned. I rolled over onto my side and fell off the small stone platform I was lying on. My knees smacked against the stone floor, and I moaned as pain shot through them. I pulled my body up onto my hands and knees, fighting the urge to retch as I took in the damp stone walls and the iron bars that made up one wall of the small cell.

Panic washed over me in waves and I struggled to stand, fighting off the effects of whatever drug the vampire had given me. I didn’t need to look around the cell to know I was alone.

“Nikolas?” I grasped the bars and strained to see past the circle of light provided by the single bare light bulb outside my cell. “Nikolas!”

“He’s not here,” said a small voice on the other side of the cell wall.

“Who are you?” I demanded hoarsely as I rubbed my arms. My coat and boots were gone, and I shivered in the cold dank air. “Do you know where he is?”

A slender arm waved, and I moved to the end of the bars. “I’m Grace,” the girl replied tearfully. “They didn’t bring a man, just you.”

Oh God, Nikolas. Pain stabbed me in the chest. I stood very still, feeling for him, and I stifled a sob when I sensed him faintly. He was here somewhere and still alive. Nikolas, can you hear me? I called to him.

Silence.

“I’m Sara.” I stuck my hand through the bars until my fingers touched her cold ones. “Grace, do you know how long I was out?”

“A few hours. Anna and I were afraid you wouldn’t wake up.”

I drew my hand back and closed my eyes against the throbbing pain in my head. “Who is Anna?”

Grace sniffled. “She’s the other girl down here with us. There was a girl named Jen, but she never came back when they took her yesterday.”

Neither of us spoke for a long moment because we both knew why Jen had not returned. I fought the mounting terror. Be strong. Losing it is not going to help you. I needed to stay calm and clearheaded if I had any hope of getting us out of this alive.

“Where is Anna now?” I asked with a calmness that belied the fear churning inside me.

“One of those things took her right after they brought you in. What if she doesn’t –?”

Grace fell silent as a door at the end of the hallway opened and footsteps came toward us. I could hear a girl weeping as the door of the cell on the other side of me opened and slammed shut.

“Sleep tight, beautiful,” taunted a male voice. The vampire sauntered over to leer at me and Grace. “Don’t worry ladies; you’ll get your turn soon enough.” He snickered and left, and I heard a key turning in a lock.

“Anna, is that you?” Grace called softly.

The crying paused. “Y-yes.”

God, she sounded so young. She couldn’t be more than fifteen or sixteen. Grace didn’t sound much older than that. I rubbed my temples. I’d thought I only had to worry about getting Nikolas and me out of here, but I couldn’t leave these girls behind in this hellhole.

I hung my head helplessly. I had no weapons and my power was still blocked from me. Without my special radar I couldn’t tell if there was one or a hundred vampires in this place. How was I going to protect myself, let alone two teenage girls?

“Anna, this is Sara. She’s the girl they brought in today.”

“Hi,” Anna said weakly.

“Hi, Anna,” I called back. “How long have you girls been here?”

Grace let out a shuddering breath. “I think I’ve been here for three days.”

“Me too,” Anna said. Then she started crying softly again. “I want to go home.”

I walked to the other end of the bars to be closer to her. “We’re going to get out of here. Just hang in there.”

“No, we’re not.” Her voice rose then fell off again. “They’re monsters. They did… things to me. They hurt me.”

I closed my eyes, but I couldn’t stop imagining the vile things this girl had suffered. I could hear Grace crying softly, and it was all I could do to keep myself together.

I cleared my throat. “Where are you girls from? I’m from Maine.”

“I’m from Scarsdale,” Grace replied.

“Mount Vernon,” Anna said.

I bit my lip. Both of those places were in New York. Did that mean we were in New York too? “Do you know how you got here, or were you drugged like me?”

Anna answered first. “I-I think they drugged me. I don’t remember.”

“Me too,” said Grace. “Sara, do you really think we’ll get out of here?”

“Yes.” It was better to give them hope than to admit how dire our circumstances were. Hope could be the difference between life and death in this place.

The sound of the door opening sent my heart pounding, and I stood in the middle of my cell to face whatever was coming. Instead of a vampire, a short humanoid demon with pale skin, a long furred face, and orange eyes appeared carrying a tray of food. Both girls made frightened sounds as the quellar demon slid a plate beneath the doors of their cells. I had met a lot scarier looking creatures, but he must have appeared so alien to Grace and Anna. All I saw was a quiet demon with scared eyes that flicked back and forth as if he expected someone to jump him.

The demon stood outside my cell, and we stared at each other for a long moment. He was probably curious about the new addition, or the fact that I didn’t shrink from him like the others. The sound of Anna pulling her plate across the stone floor startled him, and he hurried away like a large frightened mouse.

I looked down suspiciously at the sandwich and small bottle of water. Why would the vampires feed us if they planned to kill us? Maybe killing someone who was half-starved was no fun for them. I thought about not eating it, but all I’d had in the last twenty-four hours was some tuna and crackers. If I was going to get out of here, I had to keep up my strength.

While we ate, I asked Grace and Anna questions about their families, their friends, and school – anything to take their minds off our situation. Grace was seventeen and Anna was fifteen, and they both had two siblings. Grace was in the band at school and Anna was a science geek. They’d had such normal, happy lives before they were ripped away from everything they knew. At least I had known what was out there before I was taken. Not that it helped me much now.

After our meal, Anna said she was tired and I heard her lie down. Grace whispered that they got sleepy after they came back from upstairs. I asked her about the Master, and she said she had seen a red-haired female and a dark-haired male. She closed off when I tried to ask what had happened to her upstairs, and I didn’t push. Soon she went to sleep as well, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

All I could think about was Nikolas. Where was he? What were they doing to him? A thought came unbidden to my mind of Ava Bryant touching him, drinking from him, and my vision clouded as blood roared in my ears. My body trembled and I gripped the iron bars so hard they creaked. Solmi, my Mori growled.

We’ll find him, I promised my agitated demon. And if that bitch lays a finger on him I’ll rip it off her. Ava Bryant was already going to die for what she’d done to Nate. If she hurt Nikolas in any way, I’d make sure her death was not a quick one.

I lost track of time. I lay down on the hard slab that was supposed to be a bed, but I couldn’t sleep not knowing what was happening to Nikolas. I paced the small cell and thought about last night. No matter what the vampires did to us, they could never take that away. If I died tomorrow, I would die knowing what it was to love and be loved completely.

When the door opened again, I fought to keep my breathing under control. This was it. I was finally going to meet the vampire who had terrorized my family for so long. I thought about my Dad and Nate. Be strong.

The vampire who had brought Anna in earlier appeared. He flashed his fangs at me as he went to Grace’s cell and unlocked it.

“No,” she whimpered when he pulled her from the cell.

He dragged her past my cell, and I got a glimpse of a girl with short dark hair in jeans and a T-shirt. When he opened Anna’s door, she began sobbing. “Please.”

The door closed behind them, and I clenched the bars of my cell as fear and rage and helplessness assailed me. A few minutes later, the unmistakable sound of a girl’s scream reached me. I clamped my hands over my ears and tears scorched my face as I dropped to my knees with the scream echoing in my head.

Why was he torturing them when he finally had me? He’d gone through so much trouble to get his hands on me. What was he waiting for?

The sound of my cell opening woke me from where I’d fallen asleep on the floor. I scurried backward as Ava Bryant appeared behind the quellar demon that had brought us our meal. My eyes went to the syringe in the demon’s furry hand, and I shook my head.

The vampire smiled coldly. “Time for your medicine, little hunter, and Grigor has a special batch he cooked up just for you. Don’t you, Grigor?”

The demon gave a jerky nod and held up the syringe that contained a murky yellowish liquid. He was trembling, and he fumbled, almost dropping the syringe.

Ava snatched it away from him. “You clumsy idiot. Do you know how hard it is to make this stuff?” She threw back her head and laughed. “Of course, you do.”

She looked at me as I got to my feet. “In case you didn’t know it, Grigor here is a quellar demon, and his kind are very talented at chemistry. With the right motivation they can be very inventive.” She rolled the syringe between her long fingers. “Did you know quellar demons are the only ones in existence that are immune to Fae magic? No? Neither did we until recently. It seems they figured out years ago how to block the effects of Fae magic, and they immunize their young from an early age. Quite brilliant, really. Unfortunately, their drug doesn’t work on other demon races yet, but I’m confident Grigor will work it out.”

I swallowed dryly. “What does that have to do with me?”

“We couldn’t exactly bring you to the Master with all that Fae magic shooting out of you, could we? We wondered what would happen if we shot you with the quellar drug since you are half demon and half Fae. The results were better than we expected. The darts they used in the woods had the original drug and we weren’t sure how fast your Mohiri system would burn it off. But Grigor’s been busy making a newer version of the drug that will last indefinitely.”

“Why do you care how long it lasts? You’re going to kill me anyway.”

Her smile made a pit open in my stomach. “My Master has plans for you. You won’t die anytime soon. You’ll just wish you were dead.”

She moved before I could blink, and I felt the bite of a needle in my arm. She injected the whole syringe and let me go.

At first I felt nothing. Then a burning sensation began to grow in my chest and spread through my body. Dizziness struck next, and I had to brace my hands against the wall to keep from falling.

“That should do it. Sleep tight tonight, little hunter. Tomorrow is a big day.” Ava handed the empty syringe to Grigor and walked out of the cell with the demon trailing meekly behind her. She locked the cell and turned to go, but stopped to look back at me. “Oh, I thought you’d like to know I’ve been getting to know your warrior really well. He’s even more delicious than –”

I hit the bars so fast pieces of mortar fell from the ceiling. “I’ll take you apart piece-by-piece if you touch him, you bloodsucking bitch.”

She jumped back. “Temper, temper. You should know that those bars are reinforced to hold back a mature warrior. So don’t waste your strength. You’re going to need it.”

I waited until they left before I sank to the floor and let the despair finally take me. I cried for Nikolas and the suffering he was going through because of me. I cried for the life we should have had together, and for waiting so long to tell him I loved him. I cried for the two young girls who would never see their families again and for all the people I was leaving behind. I cried until there were no tears left in me and I didn’t have the strength to get up off the floor.

Sometime during the night, I awoke to the sound of Anna being led back to her cell. I waited hours for them to bring Grace, but they never did.

I was sitting on the stone platform waiting for them when they finally came for me. After I’d cried myself out last night, a strange calm had settled over me. It was not acceptance of my fate, but acknowledgement that there was nothing I could do to change it sitting in this cell. If there was one thing I’d learned from my life it was that nothing was certain, and you never knew how your circumstances could change from one minute to the next.

Ava Bryant and the other vampire from yesterday approached me, and I didn’t say a word when the male unlocked my cell and ordered me to come out. As we passed Anna’s cell I saw a small shape curled into a ball in the far corner, and my heart hurt for her. Grace was gone, and I had a feeling Anna wouldn’t last much longer in this hell.

We went through the door and down a hallway before we came to a set of stairs. Ava took my arm and the male vampire walked ahead of us as we ascended the stairs. When we came out into a large kitchen, I had to put a hand over my eyes to shield them from the brightness after my day in the dimly lit cell.

Sara?

I almost cried out when Nikolas’s voice spoke in my mind. It was faint, but real, and I turned automatically toward it. I’m here, Nikolas. I’m coming to you.

No, you have to run, he said weakly as the vampires led me through the large house. I was so focused on him I barely noticed my surroundings. The Master… His voice faded away and I felt real fear for the first time since the vampires had come to get me.

Nikolas?

Silence.

Nikolas!

We approached a set of open French doors. Beyond them I could see a large room with a lot of windows. Cold spread through my chest. There were vampires in that room, a lot of them. And Nikolas was in there with them.

I tore my arm away from Ava, and she let me go. I ran through the doorway and searched the room frantically. Vampires sat on chairs and couches or stood in small groups talking, all looking like they were assembled for a social gathering. When I entered the room, they stared at me with an air of excitement.

“Nikolas!” I pushed past vampires to get to the man shackled and chained on his knees in the center of the room. His shirt was gone and his head hung forward so I couldn’t see his face. I fell to my knees in front of him and lifted his head. His eyelids flickered and he mumbled incoherently.

“I’m here.” I kissed his lips and pulled him into my arms without a thought for the vampires surrounding us. I love you, Nikolas. Stay with me.

“Sara,” he murmured weakly.

I pulled away to look at his face. His eyes opened and a sob caught in my throat at the agony in them. Something sticky touched my hand, and I looked down in horror at the two weeping puncture wounds in his throat. What have they done to you?

“How very touching,” drawled a male voice.

I looked behind me at a vampire with black hair and a small goatee, sitting in a high backed chair that resembled a throne. His hair was tied back in a ponytail and he wore an expensive suit. In his hand was a crystal glass of deep red liquid, and I shuddered at the thought of what it was. His dark eyes moved over me appreciatively, making me feel like I’d never be clean again.

I let go of Nikolas and stood to face the vampire who had caused me so much grief and pain. I met his cold gaze unflinchingly, and I was struck suddenly by how unremarkable he was. There was no air of power that I’d expect from a Master, and without his expensive clothes, he’d look like any other vampire in the room.

“Sebastian, how many times have I asked you not to sit in my chair?”

A hush fell over the room. The vampire stood and bowed his head in deference. I turned slowly, recognition and disbelief clawing at my chest. Chains rattled and Nikolas’s cold hand grasped mine as I came around to face my true nemesis.

“We meet at last, Sara Grey,” said the voice of the girl I had comforted from my cell only hours ago. Anna?

Straight blond hair framed a heart-shaped face, and the blue eyes that watched me were cold and alien, yet achingly familiar at the same time. She smiled, showing perfect white teeth and two dainty fangs.

“Or maybe I should say, niece.”


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