Chapter 79 – Healing – Alaric's POV

There was no way I could have heard him correctly! But the look on his face assured me I had. I hissed angrily, "Why the fuck did you not tell me before?!"

General Raed's expression was fierce as he replied pointedly, "She was protecting you, and you know it wouldn't have changed his decision."

Angry growls erupted from my throat.

This couldn't be happening!

I had only agreed because I thought her pain would be limited to just a few minutes. Now, I knew she had days of unbearable agony ahead! I hastily pulled out my cell phone, and arranged for our strongest pain medication to be delivered to my home, as well as bandages and supplies for her back.

I couldn't look at her back right now.

The guilt was overwhelming.

I  had done this to her.

And I wasn't quite sure how I was going to be able to live with myself. I had failed her today. Utterly and completely failed her. If I had just been by her side when Marku was here, none of this would have happened!

It was a damn good thing my father wasn't still in the room, because I didn't think I could stop myself from trying to kill him. His response hadn't surprised me, but once again, it illustrated the vast difference in the way we chose to rule. I would never disregard the circumstances  surrounding an offense!

And I was confused as hell over his questioning with Felaern and her tattoo. When Raine was capable, I would ask her about it. But right now, she didn't need my questions. Right now, she just needed me to get her back to our home so that I could care for her. I crouched down next to her limp form on the floor. She was  whimpering, but I wasn't sure if she was even fully conscious. I needed to get her away from here quickly, but moving her was a problem.

The General interrupted my thoughts when he added, "She does heal faster than a normal human, so we can anticipate she will again now."

His words offered me a little hope, but not much. Her back was ravaged severely. A normal human would take weeks to experience a reduction in their suffering. Crushing guilt washed over and suffocated me in its grip again.

"How am I even going to be able to get her home?!" I hissed in frustration. "There is no way for me to carry her that wouldn't cause her even more excruciating pain!"

"Put her on the animal. He will carry her wherever needed," the General replied.

My attention cut to Loki. The General was right. It was the best solution we had. If she lay on his back, it would keep her back from being bent. I crouched by Raine's head and promised softly, "I am going to get you home soon, love. I have to move you now. I am sorry."

Her eyelashes fluttered and tears continued to stream freely down her face. I gritted my teeth and slid my hands beneath her. The instant I moved her just a little, she let out a terrifying scream of pain. But I couldn't stop. The faster I had her positioned, the better.

Gut wrenching sobs tore through her chest and scream after scream released from her lips, as I laid her gently on Loki's back. The big cat held perfectly still. He knew the importance of his responsibility. As I set her in place, an almost constant stream of vibration released from his chest. He wasn't purring, but he was definitely communicating to her in some way. And whatever he was doing seemed to help. She still whimpered and cried, but to my immense relief, her screams quieted.

General Raed, Loki and I walked slowly across the compound. Without a word of command from me, Loki stayed exactly by my side. I was hugely thankful for his connection to her. I thought the cool night air also soothed her a tiny bit as well, because I knew her back had to feel like it was on fire.

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