Earlier in the day...

Music: 'Get Ready' by Chase Holfelder (cool as fuck song - definitely listen to this one)

Chapter 26 –Race  – Cage's POV

I could not possibly have heard Kieran correctly. I asked through clenched teeth, "What the fuck do you mean she is gone?!"

Kieran flinched as he explained, "I went to check on her this morning, as you asked. When I didn't find her in your personal suites, I checked the library. But she wasn't in any part of your domain. So, I found her caregiver, Ella. She told me that Queen Ileana summoned her."

"What for?!" I hissed.

"She didn't know. She simply left Raine at the door. She thought it was strange when she didn't see her return, but assumed Raine was probably spending time in the library. She did tell me that something was off about Raine's expression and that she had seen her tear pages out from one of the books."

I stopped him. "Back up...What did she mean off?"

"She could tell she had been crying," he supplied.

Fuck, I never should have left her last night. I knew she was upset. I would kill Vladimir if anything happened to her! But why did the Queen demand her presence??  I couldn't risk asking the Queen about it. If Armand knew she had fled, he would question her loyalty and our union. I wouldn't let that happen!

"Okay, get Ella to meet us at the library," I ordered.  I needed to find the book Raine had extracted pages from.


"It's this section." Ella pointed timidly to a section of books.

I examined the books carefully. Some had more dust than others signaling they hadn't been disturbed recently. But others had potential. "Pull all of the ones she touched," I told him as I began to do the same.

Kieran knew exactly what I meant and started to extract just the books it was obvious she had moved. We fanned the pages of each, looking for any torn pages.

The pile on the floor, where we threw the discarded books, was getting to be quite large. Something nagged at the back of my mind. She couldn't have read all of these books just this morning.  No, she had to have spent a great deal of time here and it was obvious what she had been looking for – maps.  I wondered for a moment if her leaving had anything to do with Vlad at all, or was he just the final straw to her escape plan. Fuck.

I forced the thought out of my head. I couldn't afford to be distracted if I was going to find her safe and unharmed. The terrain around our estate was not easy, to say the least. 

"Here!" Kieran exclaimed, pushing a book in my direction.

I took it and examined the text right before and after the missing pages. I murmured out loud, "It had to be a topographically map. From what I can tell, I think it was of a section in the direction of the mountains."

"Shit," Kieran breathed, echoing my thoughts.

Suddenly, his phone rang. He held it to his ear, but I could easily hear Talia on the other end. She told him quickly, "I found it Northeast wing, section 18!"

I turned to Ella and ordered severely, "Stay in my quarters. If she returns, call me immediately. You are not to speak of this to anyone, do you understand?"

Her eyes were wide at my fearsome expression. She nodded quickly and scurried in the direction of my personal suites.

Kieran and I traveled as quickly as we could without causing suspicion, to the location Talia had provided. The slow pace drove me insane, but finally we were there. Talia stood at the end of the hallway, next an exit door.

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