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|Sacrifice of Love(Grey Wolves #7) by Quinn Loftis|
“Read it again,” Cypher said for what seemed like the fiftieth time. As if hearing it one more time would suddenly cause an epiphany.
“We all agree that it’s a battlefield, right?” Adam spoke up.
“We agreed that sixteen hours ago; quit beating a dead horse,” Peri barked. Her fuse was growing shorter and shorter with every hour. “We only have eight hours until this hunt starts.”
After everyone had returned from their separate fact-finding missions, they had reconvened only to discover that they had all come to the same conclusion about the type of place of which the riddle spoke. They had yet to figure out where exactly that place was located or how they would get there.
Fane, Skender, and Sorin had returned with the troll king, though it was not by their choice. He had demanded to see Perizada and insisted that he help in any way he could. Peri had been surprised and touched by the troll's out-of-character offer. The pixie king had also joined them, though that was because he couldn’t get away from Peri fast enough. He did seem to be a little calmer when she explained that there were no pirates involved. Why pirates were what scared the pixie, she had no idea, and she didn’t care to ask because she had way more important things to wonder about.
Sorin ignored the two fae and did as Cypher requested and read the riddle again. They all listened as if it were the first time they had heard it and then went to murmuring and guessing all over again.
“What does the reference to 'two faces yet one soul' mean?” Alston asked out loud, though he spoke to no one in particular.
“A werewolf,” Vasile said as he growled, “how did I not see that. It’s a wolf, two faces - the man’s and the wolf’s - but one soul.”
Murmurs of agreement and growls of irritation of not seeing it sooner cascaded across the group.
“Okay, so we have a battlefield that has only seen a werewolf for many years. We are really breaking it down people,” Fane said dryly. “I think we just might have this thing figured out by next year.” Fane slammed his hand down on one of the tables and bit back a snarl.
“Fane!” Vasile shouted. “Enough! We are all just as frustrated as you are, but this,” he motioned up and down to his son, “is not helping.”
Fane met his father’s gaze for a count of three heartbeats but then dropped it. He bowed his head as he leaned back against the wall. His shoulders were tense and his fists were clenched at his sides, but he managed to pull himself under control, barely. Vasile gave him a stern look before looking at Alston.
“Did that help at all?” he asked the fae in regards to his questions about the two faces and one soul.
Alston rubbed his chin absently as he considered Vasile’s words. “Maybe,” he answered. He looked at Peri and then said, “I need you to come with me.”
“Where?” “Why?” Peri and Vasile asked at the same time.
“I have a hunch, but before I say it out loud I need to verify it,” he explained.
Peri shook her head. “Wait a minute. You think this place is something that is so evil you aren’t even willing to speak of it out loud?”
“I don’t know, Perizada. That is why I need you to come with me.” He turned back to Vasile. “We will be quick.”
Vasile’s jaw tensed but he nodded at watched as the two fae disappeared.
“What do you know that you don’t want the wolves to know?” Peri asked as soon as she and Alston arrived in the room of the high fae council. “Not to mention the fact that you don’t want to speak with the other members of the council about it.”
“You know as well as I do, Peri, that some things should not be spoken about. And when they must, it should be with as few ears listening as possible.”
Peri waited as he walked over to a large door, one that wasn’t opened very often. Her eyes widened as he pressed his palm to the door and muttered words only the high fae knew. The door vanished. Alston turned back to look at her; his eyes were wide with fear. Peri had only seen Alston fearful a handful of times in their long lives, and she had to say, it wasn’t a good look on him.
“We need to remember,” he told her.
Peri frowned. “Remember what?”
“To know me is impossible, unless the wall is destroyed.” The words of the riddle flowed from his lips and seemed to reverberate off the walls.
“You think the wall being destroyed is figurative?” Peri asked.
Alston nodded. “The words have been haunting me since I heard them, chipping away at my mind, almost like trying to scratch an itch I can’t reach.”
“And you decided the appropriate back scratcher is in our records?” she asked him only half joking.
Alston frowned. “You’ve gotten cranky in your old age.”
“First off, I’m not old. And second, I have always been cranky. Now what wall is it that you think needs to be figuratively destroyed?”
He tapped his head. “A wall we ourselves devised and built.”
“No way,” Peri’s voice lowered as though someone might hear, though they were the only ones in the room. “You think the riddle is referring to a block we put up?”
“Yes. I’m actually pretty positive.”
“I wrote the spell that those exact words are in, the spell that we all cast and weren’t ever supposed to remember.”
“I told you that memory spells are never a good idea,” she scolded. “They always come back to bite you on the ass. This time it just happens to be in the form of an unhinged warlock.”
“What do you think he knows?” Fane asked Decebel.
“Who knows? The fae are as notorious for their secrets as they are for their power. All I care about is that, whatever it is, it will get us where we need to be. He had better decide to share.”
Fane’s eyes narrowed. “Peri wouldn’t allow him to keep anything from us that would help us find our mates.”
Decebel shrugged. “I would like to think not. But right now all I can really think about is Jennifer and how she needs me and…,” Decebel bit back a snarl of frustration.
“And you need her,” Fane finished for him. “We will get them back Decebel. If we have to tear every realm apart in order to do so, we will get them back.”
“I agree with young blood,” Costin said as he walked over to the corner that Fane and Decebel occupied. “The world may wind up being drenched in blood, but we will find our females, and anyone in our way will die.”