Cormac Jareth looked at Ambrea and Kellis. “Leave us. We have questions for your sister.”
“I don’t think Jume needs to be alone,” Kellis said hotly. “I’m staying. As her representative. To protect her interests.”
“She doesn’t need a rep unless she’s done something criminal.”
Like abduct a young, deaf human and keep her as his captive mate? Like Cormac had? Mickey’s cousin—Cormac’s new female—was deaf, after all.
I almost asked it. I don’t know where the impulse came from. But it was there.
Maybe demon-spirin loosened a Dardaptoan’s tongue, so to speak?
This Equa was a good friend of Theo’s. He’d been involved in the taking of the Taniss Four. I had no doubt that he—actually Kellis’s boss, along with Aodhan Adrastos—was about to interrogate me like I was a criminal.
I’m trying not to be nervous. But it’s hard. I’m not a criminal. I’ve not done anything wrong.
The worst thing I have ever done in the past ten years was sneak out of class to go to the bathroom and wash my face this afternoon. If that’s a crime, lock me up and throw away the key.
I do not feel up to this. Not at all.
“In the event of a medical incapacitation, a familial representative is allowed and required by section 1.345b of the Dardanos City Code.” Kellis shot back. “Remember that…sir?”
I was getting the strange feeling that Kellis didn’t like this guy at all.
Well, I don’t blame her. He’s terrifying. I don’t like him much, either.
He’s the best Predatoi our Kind has ever seen. The Demon Hunter, he has been called for centuries.
Demon. No wonder he was so intense. Those things…I never want to see a demon again.
“I’m n-not sure why the d-demon came for me,” I said as Ambrea scooped a sleeping Alleah into her arms and my sisters left me.
Like I had known she would. She settled on the bed next to me, her hand going around my uninjured one. She’s smaller than me, she and Alaun both, but Kellis can be fierce.
Especially when she’s as afraid as she is now. I can feel her fear as strongly as if it were my own.
The healer, Barlaam, brother to our king, started pulling the tape from my other arm.
I tensed, even more than I already am. I am not certain I wanted to see what the demon did to me.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked quietly. “Am I going to be ok?”
Barlaam smiled at me reassuringly. I have met him many times before. He and Thadd are good friends and colleagues. Plus, he was in and out of Theo’s office on a frequent basis.
He brought me roses on my sixtieth birthday. And to tell you a secret, he caught me under the human mistletoe hung in the hotel lobby when I was fifty-nine. He gave me my second kiss that day. Short, sweet, a memory I will always cherish, though, of course, he meant nothing by it. He was the only male to have ever given me flowers.
I had forgotten Mak. I looked at Kellis. “Where’s Mak? Is he ok? Was he injured?”
Kellis squeezed my hand. “He’s fine. He’s with Aodhan Adrastos in the prison cells now. He asked to be allowed to…participate…in the interrogation of the demon.”
She’d hesitated. I knew what an interrogation meant. They were going to get the answers out of the demon. Even if it meant beating them out of him.
Sometimes, Dardaptoan laws could be exceptionally archaic. Especially when there are threats to our people. Theoretically, I can understand the how and why of that, but that doesn’t mean I condone it.
I had heard Mishja and Theo arguing about that hundreds of times over the last few decades.
Barlaam finished with the bandages.
He swore. My attention jerked to him immediately. “What is it?”
I was terrified to look. What if Thadd had been wrong? What if the demon medication had failed? What if it just prolonged the inevitable?
I was afraid to hope.
“Barl?” Cormac asked.
“It’s…healing.” He shot me a look, one filled with amazement. “Kindara was right. She’s done it. It’s healing.”
Ok. So I’m beyond thrilled that we’ve found something to help our people heal. But…it is my arm they are oohing and aahing over here.
That deserves some decisive action on my part.
It is time I look for myself.