Chapter dedicated to _VStorm_

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Chapter dedicated to _VStorm_. Thanks for adding the book to your list and voting!

Chapter 42 – It's What I Do – Raine's POV

Armand had commanded me to meet with him thirty minutes before my departure to Quinn's nation. I stood outside of the massive door leading to his personal suites, thinking how odd it was. No less than a few days ago, he had sentenced me to die and now he had invited me to speak with him privately.

I only had a few hours of restless and fitful sleep after leaving Cage's suites last night, and my entire body felt the strain. Or possibly, my pain arose from the massive bleeding hole in my heart. I shoved that thought away. I would be on the floor, curled up in a ball in another minute, if I didn't get control of myself.

I trembled slightly as I knocked on the door. Almost immediately, a butler, of sorts, opened the door and ushered me through several rooms until I entered Armand's office. It was decorated with heavy, dark furniture and lavish accoutrements, just as I expected it would be.

He acknowledged me with a nod of his head and motioned toward the chair nearest to him. "Sit."

I dropped into the chair quickly and sat silently, waiting to hear what he wanted to discuss with me. He studied me intently. I flushed slightly, wondering what he was looking for. Finally he asked quietly, "Why?"

I stared at him dumbly. I was going to need a little bit more clarification, in order to answer him, but none seemed forthcoming as his gaze held mine and the seconds droned on.

I mumbled, "Why what?"

"Why did you beg for my life? Why did you give your life for mine?" His eyebrows furrowed tightly, as he struggled to understand my earlier behavior.

Oh that.

I didn't have an answer for him and muttered, "Apparently, it's what I do."

He watched my expression intently, trying to read my thoughts behind it. I kept his eye contact and remained silent. After another long moment, he simply said, "Okay."

I raised an eyebrow, surprised that he seemed to accept my non-answer. I speculated he must have known about my prior sacrifices for Cage and correctly related the two.

His voice rang with authority as he explained, "You have much to learn. Pay very close attention to all that Talia teaches you. Meeting with Quinn and his counsel will be similar to what you experienced here."

I let out a gasp, as the air whooshed out of me. Meeting him and Vladimir was one of the worst experiences of my life. I had no desire to re-create that horror. He looked surprised at my response and then said quickly, "No, I simply meant his hierarchy structure and government is similar to mine."

Oh, okay. I took that opportunity to resume breathing.

He continued, "Talia will instruct you on the protocol for respect. Follow it exactly; however never forget that you are the daughter of the warrior. You have already shown tremendous strength against impossible odds. Be wise about it, but do not be afraid to reveal your inner fortitude."

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