Robin’s mind cleared.
His vision, however, remained the same.
He lowered her to the ground and walked away, licking his lips.
Wait till Isellta hears about this.
Ain’t he gonna be impressed?
He thought I was helpless.
He thought I couldn’t hunt.
I can’t wait to see his reaction.
Robin walked all over town and didn’t run into Isellta even once.
Maybe he went back to Raven’s place.
Or maybe he’s gone invisible because I yelled at him.
His expression softened as he remembered.
Olessa left him alone.
And once again in a muzzle.
He wanted to scream, but the muzzle’s mouthpiece kept his mouth firmly shut.
He wanted to kick a hole in the wall, but his legs were shackled tight to the wall.
Blood streamed out of the one eye.
Tears out of the other.
There was nothing for him to do, but wait for Olessa to return with more pain.
When’s this gonna end?
When’s she gonna stake me and let me go?
The prison door opened again.
Robin tried to close his eyes. The muscles in his split eyelid spasmed, which made the bleeding even worse.
He leaned his head back against the brick wall. Strands of his hair stuck to the brick’s coarseness.
Isellta stopped in front of him. He glanced back at the closed door before turning his attention back to Robin.
He unfastened the muzzle and buckled it to the wall.
Neither one said a word.
Isellta wiped Robin’s injuries with a warm, soapy towel. He held it against Robin’s eye until it stopped bleeding.
Robin gave him a questioning look.
But the fey offered up no explanations. He refastened the muzzle and left.
Why’d he do that? It sure weren’t Olessa’s orders.
Robin entered Raven’s house. “Hey! Isellta! You there? I’m home.”
Isellta did not speak.
Nor did he appear.
Robin walked around the house. “If you’re mad at me for yellin’ at you, sorry. I just don’t like being treated like I’m broken goods. Please come out.”
He checked every single corner of the house.
Isellta wasn’t there.
Where is he?
Where would he go?
Robin ran out the door and searched the city again.
Isellta picked up the tea cup and admired it. The outside was flat black with red cherry blossoms glossed on the front and the back. A portion of a samurai poem sat in between. The inside was glossed red and filled with sake.
He took a sip and shuddered.
Such a bad taste.
He took another sip.
Ugh. So very bad.
The waitress slid the rice paper and wood door open. She took off her shoes and knelt at the low table. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a fellow fey.”
“Blech! This stuff tastes so bad.” He looked up at her.
The waitress had smooth black hair and deep brown eyes. She wore a close fitting brocade dress that shimmered in the lanterns’ light.
“So. What brings you to the Red Envelope?”
He looked down at his clouded white drink. “I didn’t know where else to go.”
She blinked rapidly. “Are you in trouble?”
He contemplated the many possible meanings and answers to that question. “No. I’m not wanted.”
“I don’t understand. You seem not right.”
He smiled sadly. “I have always been not right. I’m not as emotional as humans, thank the stars that made us, but I feel. The others say it’s because I’m part human. It isn’t true, of course. Yet…sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be truly right.” He took another sip and shuddered again.
The door banged open. “Isellta!”
The fey rose to his feet as Robin barged over to him. “You idiot!” He punched his shoulder.
Isellta staggered back. “What—”
“What yourself? Why didn’t you tell me where you were goin’? Huh? I thought you’d gone and left me for good.”
“You told me to leave you alone.”
“I did, but I didn’t…” He sighed. “Don’t you scare me like that again. You hear me?”
The waitress blinked her eyes rapidly in confusion.
Isellta didn’t even try to explain, because he was equally confused. “Yes.”
“Good.” Robin picked up the cup of sake and downed in one gulp.
The two fey stared at him in wordless shock.
“All right! Let’s go.”
Isellta put his shoes back on.
The waitress was too stunned to demand payment.
The vampire and the fey left the building.