Isellta watched her leave.
It’s a puzzling thing. he thought. Why did she leave so fast? Ambrose didn’t say anything wrong. He barely even touched her.
Must be a weird human emotional thing.
Because I don’t understand it.
He closed the curtains and walked over to the bed.
Ambrose lay flat on his back.
He has a good face, healthy hair, strong shoulders. So, it can’t be that she didn’t like how he looks.
Could it be because he kissed her hands?
Isellta thought over everything he knew about human customs.
Maybe people in her city don’t kiss hands?
Maybe she doesn’t like being kissed?
Maybe she’s just a confusing human.
He nodded his head at that last one. That makes sense.
I better check on Robin. I’ve left him alone too long.
And Ambrose kept on sleeping.
Robin slept on his side.
His bad eye stayed open at half-mast.
Isellta stroked his eyelashes and remembered.
Olessa smiled at Robin, who was chained tight to the wall. “How’s my favorite guinea vampire today? Sleep well? Oh, right! This is day time. I guess you won’t sleep well then.”
This whole setup is wrong. thought Isellta. But what can I do?
“I have a surprise for you today. You’re going to like it.” She snapped her fingers. “Fey! Remove his muzzle.”
Isellta walked up to him. He unfastened the muzzle’s buckles.
Robin made eye contact with him. Fierce, angry eye contact.
His wings flittered in an irritated gesture. “This isn’t my fault.”
Robin had nothing to say to that.
He uncovered his face and reconnected the buckles to their holding spot in the wall.
Olessa shoved the fey out of the way. “All right! This is going to be so much fun. You have no idea how much I’ve been looking forward to this moment. Why, I didn’t get any sleep last night.”
She pulled a reed-thin dagger out of her sleeve.
“I’m supposed to be impressed?” His voice was roughened from screaming too many nights and days in a row.
“Yes. Impressed and so afraid.”
“You can’t hurt me.”
Olessa laughed as she touched the tip of the blade to the middle of his forehead. She pushed it into his skin.
His pupils widened in shock.
Her laughter continued as she dragged the blade down, splitting his skin.
Isellta’s wings pressed flat against his back. I can’t let this go on. I need to stop her.
The blade sliced through his eyelid, right through his eye. His hands spasmed and his screaming intensified.
“Olessa Caten. I think—“
She snapped a glare at him. “Shut up, fey! You’re not here for your thinking prowess.”
“But he’s hurting.”
“Of course. Do you have a problem with that?”
He glanced at the vampire. “He’s…hurting.”
“And you’re my minion.” She came over to him and touched the dagger to his throat. “Would you rather be one of my experiments? I’m sure if I dig deep enough I can find a way to make you bleed too.”
His shoulders slumped.
“Good. I thought you’d see things my way. Remember: I am a Caten. We’re a long line of pirates, marauders, thieves, backstabbers, pig thieves, poisoners, assassins, and all around no good people. So, don’t cross me, fey. I’ll make you regret it.” She returned to Robin and continued cutting him.
Robin’s screams hit Isellta in his gut. I want to leave. I don’t want to see this. I don’t want to listen.
But I don’t want her to do that to me.
He closed his eyes. One day, I’ll find a way to get us both out of here.