Robin relaxed as the cold water battered like hail against his skin. His shoulders went slack.
He closed his eyes.
An unwanted memory surfaced and he wasn’t even sure why it had to be that one…
Olessa readjusted her musketeer hat. “Oh! I have such an exciting plan for today’s experiments. I am going to test the durability of your face.”
Robin’s gaze turned to the tall, skinny fey standing next to her.
That’s the fey’s name.
Isellta Mal Hoven.
Isellta returned his gaze with a solemn sort of sadness. His black wings flittered.
What would it take to make him smile?
What’s it matter? What do I care? Nothin’. That’s what I care. Absolutely nothin’. He’s with her. He ain’t doin’ nothin’ to help me out. So what if he ain’t happy? None of my care.
He ain’t nothin’ but a heartless fey, anyway.
“So, after that whole ado—“
Robin pulled his attention back to her.
What? Was she talkin’ this whole time? Must have zoned her out.
“—let’s get this party started. Fey! Give me my gloves.”
Isellta cleared his throat. “Olessa. I don’t…” He glanced at Robin. “I…”
“If you don’t get them, I’ll use them on you.”
His wings flittered again.
She smiled at him. “Now, that would be an interesting experiment. How well would fey skin last against my gloves? How many blows would it take to make your skin break and how long would it take for you to heal?”
His wings went flat against his back. “I’ll get them.”
Robin scowled at him as he left the scene.
Isellta returned shortly with a rectangular black enameled box.
Olessa unfastened the intricate brass lock and pulled out a pair of black iron gloves. She put them on and strutted over to the manacled and muzzled vampire. “Look at this.” She held up her gloved hands.
His pupils widened.
Thick spikes made out of wood and metal protruded from the knuckles and the back of the glove.
“Isn’t that lovely? Fey! Unmask him.”
Isellta stepped forward and silently unfastened the muzzle.
Robin cast an imploring look at the fey.
don’t let her do this! Help me.
Isellta fastened the muzzle to the wall. He made eye contact with him as he unbuckled and lowered the mouth guard.
“help me. don’t let her hurt me.”
Olessa shoved Isellta out of the way. “All right! Let’s see how well your skin can tolerate this. I’m going to wager that you’ll crack after 200 blows.” She balled her gloved hand into a fist. “But we’ll see.”
She raised her fist.
His pupils widened further in fear.
Robin’s heart pounded as he remembered the smell of the wood.
The metal spikes striking his skin.
Again and again.
Over and over.
Over 300 times.
His face had felt swollen and bruised afterwards. But Olessa never did break his skin.
I can still feel it.
I can still feel it!
He looked up into the falling water.
The water merged with his tears, blending them away.