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By:Amy Miles

Gabriel reaches out his hand toward her, obviously wanting to go to Roseline, but a large hand encircles his arm, holding him back. Nicolae peers through the dispersing smoke, gaping at the being standing behind his friend. The man towers over Gabriel. His wings are the color of pure gold, identical in design to the being overhead.

The being lowers his head and speaks to Gabriel. Nicolae is sure his friend will shove him aside and fight his way toward Roseline, but he doesn’t as the second being floats to the ground beside them.

Fane slides to a halt beside Nicolae, his chest rising and falling as he struggles to slow his breathing. Nicolae glances at the immortal from the corner of his eye. “Ever seen one of those things before?”

“Nope,” Fane shakes his head. “I’d say they are angels though, but that’s only because of the wings.”

“Angels really exist?”

Fane shoots him a scathing glance. “I exist. Can we really question their existence too?”

“Good point.”

“Where did Gabriel come from? And what the heck is Malachi trying to pull?”

“I don’t know,” Nicolae mutters, running his hands through his sweaty hair. His black uniform clings tightly to his skin, making him uncomfortable. His crossbow hangs heavily at his side. “I think it’s time we find out.”

Nodding in agreement, Fane moves forward but stops mid-step as Gabriel turns to look at them. His pained gaze makes Nicolae’s mouth go dry. “Take care of her for me,” he calls.

Nicolae shares an incredulous look with Fane as Gabriel wraps his arm around the golden being’s neck and turns his face away as they lift into the air. The scarred angel rises behind Gabriel, flanking him. “Where is he going?” Fane asks, pointing toward Gabriel.

The angels soar into the sky and are soon lost to the night. When Nicolae’s gaze shifts to the balcony above his frown deepens. “Malachi and Roseline are gone.”

Fane frowns. “Maybe we should go check on”

Nicolae’s stomach clenches as a mournful howl echoes through the halls of the castle, resounding off the high ceilings and bursting from its corridors. He blinks and nearly misses Fane’s desperate dash for the stairs. His friend moves so quickly, Nicolae can hardly see his feet touch the ground.

“Was that Roseline?” Nicolae shouts.

Fane doesn’t respond as he leaps from one landing to the next, gracefully springing up to grasp the awning. Nicolae’s feet pound against the steps, taking them two at a time. His stomach twists as he reaches the open balcony and races toward the doorway that leads to the great hall.

He leaps over downed hunters and fallen immortals. His footing is precarious on the blood slickened stone and his pace is much slower than Fane’s, but he pushes himself to run faster.

Nicolae’s chest feels tight as he rounds the second floor staircase and races toward the next landing, the one that leads to the upper room.

Fane leaps through a shattered window and lands just in front of Nicolae. He hardly pauses before bursting forward, taking the stairs three at a time.

Please keep her safe, Nicolae silently begs, unsure of who or what he is pleading with. It doesn’t matter. As he runs, all he can focus on is getting to Roseline.


His stride falters at the sound of William’s desperate cry. His heart begins to pound in his chest; his breath is all he can hear as Fane disappears from sight at the top of the staircase. Nicolae’s stomach clenches as he realizes that he’s heading toward Roseline’s room, toward Sadie.

“Get in here!” Fane shouts, poking his head back into the hall just as Nicolae breaches the top step.

His legs feel jerky as he moves toward the doorway of Roseline’s room. The hair lifts along the nape of his neck as he crosses the threshold to see William rocking beyond the bed.

Nicolae’s hands feel clammy as he catches sight of a growing pool of blood just beyond William. Fane stands rigidly to the side, unable to meet Nicolae’s gaze.

The sound of his footsteps echoes in his ears as he moves around William and sinks to his knees. He blinks rapidly, struggling to accept the sight before him.

Sadie lies across the floor, her head propped into William’s lap at an awkward angle. Her stomach is splayed open revealing muscle tissue, organs and a glimpse of her spinal cord. “Oh, god,” he cries, his hands fluttering over his mouth. He swallows rapidly, trying to suppress the bile rising in his throat.

“Help her,” Nicolae croaks, turning to look at Fane. “Please!”

“I can’t.” Fane rubs his hands over his face, shaking his head. “It’s too late. She’s lost too much blood.”