Part 2094 – Failed Negotiation

Robin isn’t here.

No sign of him.

No trace of him.

Except for that one prison cell. How can it smell so much like him if he isn’t inside of it?

What if he’s been staked?

Maelin stopped.

Do vampires bleed out when they’ve been staked? If they do, could I be smelling his blood?

Maelin ran up the aisle.

I need to talk to Preyuna.

***

Preyuna was fairly certain that she was going to vomit.

The pain kept dulling down only to spike back up with any movement, with every single touch.

She swallowed hard. “Oh, Mighty Lord And Heavenly Beast of Idiocy. Can I please heal myself now?”

Mark Caten licked his upper lip. “I don’t think so.”

“Mark, please!”

“You called me a beast of idiocy. I resent such an insult. Therefore, you must wait.”

The pain spiked again.

She wanted to scream. “Please. I’ll do whatever you say.”

His eyes sparkled with a malevolent glee. “Whatever I say. Ahh, I love open-ended deals like that. There’s so much I could ask for. The sky…no. Heaven itself is the absolute limit.”

“Marvelous. Please. Let me heal my wings.”

“Hmm-hmm-hmmm. So many possibilities. Where should I even start?” He rubbed his hands together.

Preyuna enjoyed a small fantasy of his hands bursting into flames and turning into charcoaled nubs.

“Well, I think I’ll go with the obvious.” He stepped in front of her and tilted her head up. “I want you to solemnly swear your loyalty to me.”

“I don’t see what’s the point in that. I already can’t kill you.”

“Hahahahahahaha! So true. But I want your loyalty. I want you to stop thinking about leaving me. I want you to—”

“I can’t do that. I am Queen of the Fae. I need to go back to my people.”

He looked surprised. “Whatever for? What can they give you that I cannot?”

“Freedom. Love. Respect.”

He yawned. “It’s amazing how boring and tedious you can be. You open your mouth and all I hear is ‘eeeehhh! muh muh muh blah blah blah sniffle snort whine’.”

She glared at him. “Well, maybe you should get your hearing tested. There’s obviously something wrong with your ears.”

He grabbed her hair and jerked her head back. “And there is something wrong with your brain. You should know me better by now, my sweetened condensed milk cupcake. You should never, ever insult me during a negotiation.”

“Oh? Is that what this is? Could have fooled me.”

He dug his fingers closer to her scalp and pulled again.

She clenched her teeth as the pain in her scalp collided with the pain in her wings.

He scrutinized her expression and smiled. “Looks like this negotiation is over.”

“Mark, please.”

“No!” Mark Caten released her hair. “No.” He traced the outline of her lips. “Not yet. You’ll have to wait a little longer.”

“I’ve waited long enough. I demand—”

He grabbed her shoulders and pinned her against the chair.

The pain was an electric storm. It was a pulsing light. It was swords and daggers slicing through her nervous system.

She opened her mouth wide to scream.

He covered her mouth in a hard, unrelenting kiss.

She screamed anyway.

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