His hand went around my waist, and he lifted me—straight off my feet.
I opened my mouth to scream. His other hand was already there. Then they just carried me away while my guard stood back and watched.
I fought. I kicked. One lucky kick had my left foot connecting with Selton’s nose. He grunted.
“Stop that!” his brother growled in my ear, far too close to my neck. “We won’t hurt you, female. But we will have our answers.”
I hissed against his hand, snapping and biting as much as I could. It was useless. Dardaptoan warriors are huge. I weighed a third what he did.
But I had three times the determination of these four jerks combined.
I kept fighting and kept fighting as he carried me back into a private hall. A private hall for the Jareth family that I have never been in.
Once they got me behind those walls, I could disappear forever. Security cameras aren’t exactly prevalent in the more private areas of the hotel, after all.
I bit back a whimper when his hands tightened on me.
“She’s a fighter. I can see why a wolf would pick her to while away the time. Quite beautiful. Unusual,” said the brother holding me. The hand over my mouth slipped. I pulled in a rush of air. “It’s ok, female. We’re not going to hurt you. You’re going to tell us what that wolf did with our sister.”
I bit him. As hard as I could. My fangs sank deep. He swore and fumbled me. I prayed he’d drop me.
Instead, his hand returned to my mouth and tightened to the point where I could not breathe.
“That’s a good female,” I heard him say in a patronizing tone. “You just go right to sleep now. Don’t worry. We won’t hurt you…that’s a good girl…as long as you tell us everything you kn—”
Darkness took over. The last thing I felt was myself going limp in his arms.
Well, I’m Dardaptoan. We don’t stay out for long.
When I opened my eyes, my hands were bound—with a Jareth-green hasha. We were in a room with similar green accents. The hotel, then.
The brothers were arguing.
None of them were even looking at me.
I closed my eyes enough to look like I was still out, leaving them open just enough to watch my abductors. I forced myself to breathe steadily and evenly.
“You’ve tied the female too tightly,” one brother said. He was close to me. I forced myself not to react when I felt his warm hands loosening the hasha around my own. “She’s three inches shorter than Meyka, and forty pounds lighter, for Goddess’s sake. What sort of threat could she pose?”
“She has the answers we need. She’s the only damned being in this goddess-forsaken place that does. Or have you forgotten that?”
Selton. That one was Selton—I’m almost certain of it. I’m starting to really despise that warrior.
Maybe I should develop grudges against the Jareth House, in general?
“Does she? Or does she happen to just be a female he found interesting?” Another brother asked derisively.
He grasped my chin in his fingers and turned my head to the light.
I couldn’t help it. My eyes flew open, and I stared into his face.
“That is most likely it. Just a comely female he whiled away the hours with,” he said in disgust, releasing my chin. “Perhaps she rejected him, and he went for Meyka instead. Or she wasn’t enough to satisfy an animal of his appetites. She looks rather frail. Unable to please a male of his…lineage.”
I couldn’t stop myself.
I’d show him frail and unsatisfying.
I snapped at him with my teeth. It truly was the only defense I had left.
I got him, too. My teeth sank in deeply enough to draw blood. And then I clamped down when he swore.
He raised his other hand back. I couldn’t help it; I didn’t mean to flinch like a coward.
But I didn’t want him to hit me. They had already abducted me—what was to keep them from striking me, too?
I let go of his hand and shrank back on the bed. I stared at the four of them, wondering just what in the Goddess I was supposed to do now.
That was the first moment I realized they’d tied me up and dumped me on a bed.
“I will not hit you!” he said harshly. As if the mere thought of it offended him.
“Of course, she thinks you will,” the quietest brother spoke again. I looked at him. I have met him before. I am certain of it. His anger was directed at his brothers now. “She is weaker. And she is terrified. It wasn’t that long ago she was nearly killed by demons and some of their damned poison. I seriously doubt she helped a Lupoiux abduct a female tonight. From what I know of her, she just hides here in the hotel, trying to avoid the demons and mercenaries after her.”
In the Healers’ Hall. He was one of the healers who wanted to see what the demonspirin had done to me. “What do you want from me?”
“All in the three hells we want is our sister back,” the fourth brother finally said, as the one nearest me fussed with blankets he’d tossed over me. “What can you tell us about the wolf that took her? We know you have information we need. You’re going to give it to us.”
Why wouldn’t they just get it? I don’t know a thing about Ryrk and why he stole their sister!
“I-I don’t know where she is. I don’t!”