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“Out of the question!” Corrine seethed. “If there’s one thing I’m going to make sure of, it’s that you two keep your asses right here.” Her eyes burned as she looked at us. “You need your heads examined if you think I’m going to release you again after what you did.”

I already knew that there was no point arguing with the witch. I could sense Corrine’s moods well. I could tell when there was some leeway, but now, she was immobile as a mountain.

“Corrine,” Eli said. “If I’m going to do this, it needs to be now. Can you go and get Adelle? You’ll be quicker retrieving her than I will. In the meantime, I’ll begin making preparations.”

Corrine nodded and, still glaring at the two of us, vanished from the room.

My eyes followed Eli as he too left the room.

Ben was still fuming. I touched his shoulder and said, “I’m going to see Griffin. I need to take my mind off of all of this or I’m going to go insane.”

Ben grunted. I walked out of the room, and, once I was in the corridor, I began sprinting.

There was no time to lose.

I had no idea how long it would take Eli to make preparations, but I had to get to that submarine before he did.

Chapter 14: Rose

My heart hammering in my chest, I raced along the jetty, shooting back glances every so often to check nobody had followed me. I approached one of the two remaining submarines in the Port and, reaching out onto its roof, pulled myself up and unbolted the hatch.

It was the smaller, faster vessel, and I was positive that Eli would choose this over the other one.

I half expected Eli to be already seated in it making preparations, but breathed out a sigh of relief to see that he was not. I pulled the hatch shut above me and scrambled down the ladder. I rushed down to the lower level of the deck and hurled myself into the small storage cabin directly beneath the control room. I cast my eyes around for anywhere to hide. I rummaged around, throwing about old rope, tarpaulin, blankets, until I found what I was looking for: a metal chest. Large enough to fit a man. I pulled the lid open. It was filled with weapons: mostly wooden stakes, daggers and UV ray guns.

I looked at the weapons, then cast my eyes about the room again. Grabbing a blanket, I emptied the chest of all the dangerous objects and bundled them up in the fabric. I tucked them into a corner of the room, hoping that there were other weapons upstairs so that Eli wouldn’t need to come down here looking for them.

Then I curled up in the metal box and pulled the lid down over me. The metal seemed thin, but I hoped it was just thick enough for Eli to not be able to smell my blood. I also hoped there was enough oxygen to last me the journey, because as soon as either of them noticed I was there, I would be booted off, back to The Shade. I couldn’t afford to come out until they were both off the sub at our destination.

I waited with bated breath until I felt the submarine begin to move, slowly at first, and then it lurched forward. I suppressed a groan as the back of my head banged against the metal wall. I breathed in deeply, trying to calm my nerves.

You made it. We’re moving now. They haven’t found you.

Now that the vessel was moving and the pounding in my chest was beginning to subside, the implications of my actions were beginning to dawn on me. I hadn’t had time to consider how worried my brother and Corrine would be to discover that I had disappeared yet again. It was the last thing they needed—they had both already lost everyone else dear to them. I might be the straw to break the camel’s back.

But somehow, that just wasn’t as important as leaving with Eli and Adelle.

I also knew that I’d likely end up a prisoner again, dead, or worse. But, as crazy as it was to realize, I still preferred to take the risk than just continue sitting in The Shade.

I felt guilty for betraying my brother. I knew he’d want to go, but he wouldn’t have wanted me going. So I just couldn’t tell him. There was no time to argue with him and I couldn’t miss this opportunity.

My heartbeat quickened as I thought of Caleb. What had been a sore nerve was now a throbbing bruise.

I realized now more than anything why I had such an urge to come for myself. And it was more than discovering what had become of my parents.

I wanted answers. I wanted to hear them directly from that vampire’s own mouth.

And I wasn’t going to stop hunting that boy down until I got them.

Chapter 15: Rose

We couldn’t have arrived soon enough. When the submarine halted, I breathed out a sigh of relief. I’d been trapped in that narrow trunk for hours, and the air was becoming heavier from lack of oxygen.

But even though we had stopped moving, I dared not budge yet. I heard footsteps overhead. Someone was coming down the steps.

The door unlatched and footsteps approached. Eli, I assumed. Perhaps he was looking for weapons. My breathing quickened. I closed my eyes, bracing myself for the lid to open and Eli to discover me.

But just as hands clamped down on the box, there was a pause and then he stepped away, moving toward the right of me. I heard the clanking of wood and clinking of metal.

Eli had noticed the weapons in the corner just in time before he opened the chest. After a few more seconds of rummaging, the footsteps retreated and the door clicked shut again. The chest must have been thick enough to contain the sounds of my breathing, even to Eli’s sensitive ears.

I waited several minutes more until I could no longer detect footsteps above me. I heard the hatch opening and closing, the sound reverberating around the metal frame of the submarine.

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