Stellan stopped and whirled around.

I couldn’t see up the dark staircase from the odd angle I was hanging, but I didn’t need vision to know who had spoken.

Stellan chuckled.

“Or what? You’ll talk to the witch?”

Heavy footsteps approached us down the steps. They didn’t stop until they’d reached us. I caught a glimpse of Caleb’s black leather boots.

“Put her down.”

“Go to hell,” Stellan spat, and started walking down the staircase.

Caleb walked around Stellan and stood on the steps beneath us. His eyes were fixed on Stellan, his face expressionless.

“I won’t say it again,” he said quietly.

Stellan lowered me to the ground. I groaned as my body made contact with the sharp steps. Stellan remained standing in front of me, blocking me from Caleb.

“Why do you want her so much that you’d defy orders, huh?”

Caleb attempted to walk past Stellan toward me but Stellan reached out and shoved him back.

“You’ve already had her, haven’t you? Now you just don’t want to share.”

Caleb reached out and gripped Stellan’s throat, pinning him back against the wall.

Stellan swiped his claws out and tore against Caleb’s chest, dangerously close to his heart. That started a full-on battle between the two men.

I scrambled further up the staircase, out of the way of the two of them as I looked on in horror.

After barely two minutes, both had ripped the skin on their faces and chests to shreds, and although their bodies healed within seconds, the wounds could barely heal fast enough before they were ripped open afresh.

With one strong thrust, Caleb managed to make Stellan lose his footing. Stellan went crashing down to the bottom of the stairs. Caleb launched himself upon him and, gripping his neck while holding his chest down with both knees, snapped it. A loud crack echoed off the walls as Stellan became limp, his eyes vacant.

I knew that he was not dead. Disjointing a vampire’s neck just paralyzed them temporarily.

Caleb looked up at me, breathing heavily, his eyes blazing into mine.

“Go back to your room and wait for me.” When I hesitated he hissed, “Now!”

I rushed back up the stairs, locking myself in my room.

I had no idea what was happening or what his plan was. Stellan had spoken of the witch’s orders. What orders?

I’d been waiting for about ten minutes when the door unlatched. Caleb stalked into the room, his skin now almost fully healed from the fight.

Before I could open my mouth to ask questions, he gripped the top of my head and dragged me out of the room by my hair.

“Wh-what are you doing?” I gasped, wincing as his fingers dug into my scalp with each step.

He ignored my question. He pushed open the door and hauled me into the witch’s apartment.

I breathed out in pain as he yanked my head upward. As he forced me to my feet, I found myself face to face with the witch.

Chapter 34: Caleb

The witch’s cold eyes settled on Rose’s distressed face. Then she looked up at me, frowning. “What are you doing with her? I told Stellan—”

“I know what you told Stellan,” I said coolly. “But he wants some rest after his last task. I’m doing this instead.”

She looked from me to the girl. I made sure to keep my face devoid of emotion—something I’d gotten good at over the years.

Finally, she nodded. “Very well. You have my permission. You know what must be done?”

I nodded and took Rose by the scalp. Pulling harshly enough so that Rose moaned in pain, I dragged her back out of the witch’s chambers.

As soon as the door shut, I scooped Rose up in my arms and carried her down the steps. Rose tried to ask me what the hell I was doing, but I ignored her until we’d exited the castle, run down the mountain and reached the port. I set her down at the edge of the frozen jetty while I opened up the hatch of a submarine.

Only once I’d lowered us both inside of it and locked the hatch did I bend down and examine her wounds closely. I swore as I saw how much blood was still oozing from the gashes Stellan had made.

I took her hand and led her into the control room, where I sat her down in one of the seats. She continued to glare at me, her expression full of pain and accusation. I rummaged around in the overhead cupboards until I found a first-aid kit—something we always kept on board, since we transported humans regularly in these vessels.

I bent down next to her and began treating her wounds. I salivated as I wiped up her succulent blood and disposed of the tissues. Once I’d fixed bandages over them, I stood up and looked down at her.

“Rose,” I said quietly. “I’m sorry.”

She looked up at me, her eyes still wide.

“I had to scare you. The distrust in your eyes helped convince her to let us go.”

Her soft lips parted as realization dawned upon her.

“And now?” she asked, her voice hoarse. “Where are you taking me?”

“I’m taking you home.”

Chapter 35: Derek

We’d been at a loss for what to do. We had no idea where to even begin looking. And of course the police were even more clueless than us.

We had searched the condo. There had been clear signs of a struggle—the sofa was in disarray, water splashed all over the kitchen, the kettle on the floor along with a knife. A mirror smashed, several paintings fallen off the hooks. The windows had been left wide open—and since there was no record of them leaving the apartment on the CCTV cameras outside of the room, the only conclusion we could come to was that they must have escaped with the four teenagers out of the window. Given the height of the building, unless they had parked a crane alongside it, this wouldn’t have been possible for humans.

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