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“I’m not here to talk about getting stabbed.”

“Then what are you here for?” Merle glanced over her shoulder at me as I stalked to where they sat. “I imagine it’s something quite urgent since you forgot that it was polite to knock.”

As much as I liked Merle, I had to ignore her at this point. “Can the Prince find me here?”

Tanner’s brows lifted as he leaned forward in his chair. “Outside of what happened, you’re safe here, Ivy. I can assure you—”

“I’m not asking if I’m safe,” I cut him off. “Because no matter what you claim, that’s obviously not true. I’m asking if the Prince can sniff me out here?”

He glanced at Merle, who calmly took a drink from her tiny tea cup, and a moment passed before he answered. “Our presence here is heavily glamoured, even from other fae. Unless they know to look and see, they will not find us.”

I wasn’t stupid. “That doesn’t answer the question, Tanner.”

Clasping his hands together, he tilted his head to the side. “The glamour isn’t infinite. Everything has a limit, Ivy. The Prince wasn’t looking for us before, but by now, I am sure he knows that we exist in New Orleans. He’ll be searching and he’s powerful.”

My heart turned over in my chest. “What does that mean, exactly?”

Merle lowered her cup. “What he’s saying, dear, is that the Prince could poke a hole through the glamour. It would not hold against his will.”

Oh my God. “So you’re basically saying that if he somehow figured out that Hotel Good Fae was here, he could rip away the glamour and enter?”

The smile slipped from Tanner’s face as he nodded. “He could, but we have no reason to believe that he would become aware of us.”

“And why is that?” I demanded. “You have hundreds of fae here. Any number of them could say the wrong thing to the wrong fae.”

“They know what is at stake,” Tanner replied. “None of them want to be found by the Prince. They know what would happen to them.”

Even if that was the case, that still didn’t mean it was unlikely that the Prince would ever find this place. “Did it ever occur to you that he could have someone like Faye on his team playing spy?”

Tanner’s lips thinned. Merle didn’t answer, and I seriously wondered if that had crossed their minds. If not, they were utter idiots.

Pressure clamped down on my chest. “What would happen if the Prince got in here?”

“Besides him taking you?” Merle lifted her chin, her unlined face hiding her true age. “The fae here, without feeding, are no match for the Prince and his warriors.” Merle’s gaze was sharp. “If he comes, they will not survive any attack he may launch.”

I closed my eyes. So the fae who attacked me was right. “Me being here is a danger to all of them.”

“The Prince being in this world is a danger to every living creature,” Tanner said, and when I opened my eyes, he had sat back in his chair. “The fae who consider this place a haven know this.”

“I am thinking a few are not happy about that,” I pointed out.

There was nothing Tanner could say in return to that.

“So, let me get this straight. The fae here are basically safe as long as the Prince doesn’t catch wind of this place? But if he does, he’ll find a way to get in and he will kill every fae in here for shits and giggles?”

Tanner paled. “That is an unlikely yes.”

Unlikely? Yeah. Right. I felt like I knew Drake well enough to know he’d eventually, sooner than later, find this place. “I think you forgot to mention all this in your stay at Hotel Good Fae pitch when I first arrived.”

“He didn’t fail to mention it, dear. He chose not to.” Merle held my gaze. “The safety of those here is irrelevant to the mission of keeping your belly empty of the Prince’s seed.”

I vomited a little in my mouth. “Can you never say it like that again? Please?”

“It’s the truth,” she replied. “These fae would be dead if the Prince discovered the location whether you were here or not. Keeping you out of his hands is the top priority.”

That was hard to swallow. I didn’t like knowing that my life—or, well, my womb—had a higher value than other lives. “Or I could, you know, just die. That would fix the problem.”

She held my gaze. “It would, however, it appears you’re hard to kill when you can feed and heal yourself.”

I sucked in a sharp breath. “I didn’t choose to do that.”

“I know.” Something flickered over her face. Sympathy? Compassion? Constipation? Who knew? “I know you would not have made that call, but there are people here who will make that call for you. And they will continue to do so, to save you.”

She was right. “But me being here means that the unlikely chance of him discovering this place moves closer to the likely territory.”

“It’s irrelevant, sweetie,” Merle repeated.

I blinked at her and then turned to Tanner. “Every time someone goes out there—out in the world beyond the glamour of this building, they run the risk of being seen by one of the Prince’s minions.” My heart lurched in my chest. “Just like when Ren and Faye went out there looking for the Crystal. They could’ve been seen and followed.”

“Faye is careful and she’s aware of the risk,” Tanner stated.

“And what about Ren?”

Tanner didn’t reply and a horrible thought occurred. Did Ren know about the danger of me staying here? No. There was no way he would’ve signed off on putting the fae here in danger. But then I thought about what he’d done for me. I obviously didn’t know what extent he’d go to keep me safe. “You said that me being here was no problem.”

“And it isn’t, Ivy.” Tanner picked up his cup. “We have survived here longer than you realize without being discovered by those we wish to remain hidden to. We shall continue that way.”

“Things are different now. That was before the Prince arrived.”

He shook his head. “Things are just more complicated.” A faint smile appeared, one of approval. “I appreciate your concern for my brothers and sisters, more than you know, especially after what was done to you, but we are willing to shoulder the risk to make sure the Prince does not open those doors, destroying the mortal realm just like his court did to our world.”

Not every fae here was obviously willing to shoulder that risk.

“I don’t appreciate your concern,” Merle retorted. “It’s misguided and will lead to foolish decisions.”

“Do you not care about the fae here?” I demanded.

A small smile appeared, the kind that reminded me of a grandmother’s. “You wouldn’t want me to answer that question.”

“And we wouldn’t ask her to answer that question,” Tanner added.

I couldn’t believe they could be so dismissive of the risk involved or the fact that they thought I’d be okay with this. The inhabitants of this place were fae, but they weren’t hurting humans. Like Tink, they were just trying to scratch out some sort of life. And Tink and Ren were also here. Them staying safe was of the utmost priority to me. “I’m not okay with this.”

“We don’t expect you to be,” Merle answered. “We just expect you to deal with it. You grew up in the Order. You know sometimes you have to sacrifice the many to protect the few. You’ve lived that life every day you’ve breathed. Get with the program, Ivy. It hasn’t changed.”

I sucked in air and turned to Tanner. “You all have to realize that it’s only a matter of time before the Prince realizes you’re harboring me here. It’s not if he does, it’s when he does. What do you do then? How long would the glamour hold against him?”

Tanner took a sip of his tea. “We’d hopefully have weeks.” There was a pause as his pale gaze met mine. “But if we’re lucky, we’ll have days. Hours if we aren’t.”

Chapter 11