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Chapter 86 – Fifty/Fifty – Raine's POV

Cage fell back on the bed, his face contorted in agonizing pain. My heart thundered in my chest, and a panicked scream escaped my lips.

This could not be happening!!

We had just been joined – finally.

I could not lose him now!!

I leaned over his body and begged him to answer me, to tell me what was wrong, but he either couldn't hear me or the pain was too immense for him to respond. Brialle and Armand were by my side in an instant, but I could tell from their shocked looks that neither had any idea what was happening to him.

My veil fell into my face as I whispered urgently with Cage and I impatiently jerked it out of my hair and threw it down. 

Without warning, two iron hands gripped my hips from behind.

I startled and tried to pull myself free. But his grip was too strong. I couldn't move an inch. I whipped my head around to find Felaern staring intently at my lower back. He hissed, "Where did you get that mark?!!"

I looked at him in stunned confusion. Cage was immobile, obviously in unimaginable pain, and Felaern wanted to discuss my mark?! Anger rose up in me and I replied furiously, "It doesn't matter!! Can you help him or not?!!"

Felaern ordered through his teeth, "It most definitely matters! Now answer me!"

My lip quivered. He had never spoken harshly to me before and admittedly, I probably shouldn't have provoked him, given his amount of power. I explained shakily, "Both Armand's mark and that one showed up when I ingested Armand's blood. Armand's mark faded as his blood left my system but that one did not."

Felaern eyes widened as he demanded, "You've had this mark all of this time?! Why did you not tell me?!!"

I tried to keep my tears at bay as I whispered, "I didn't know I should..."

The sternness of his features softened when he saw my distress. He ordered Armand, "Roll Micage over!"

Instantly, Armand rolled him to his stomach. Cage groaned in response.

A scream escaped my lips when I saw the mark – my mark – on Cage's lower spine, exactly in the same position as mine! However his didn't have the fine black lines of a tattoo. No, his was scorching red welts. It looked like he had been branded!

I began to tremble out of control. It was clear I was the problem. I had somehow caused his suffering! Tears coursed unchecked down my cheeks. I cried hysterically, "What did I do to him?!"

Felaern replied grimly, "You have transferred your royal mark to him. Your union triggered it, and most likely my power unintentionally accelerated it."

Loud murmuring of surprise could be heard in the crowd. Right at the peripheral edge of my senses, I thought I heard Quinn curse, "Fuck, I knew it!" But I couldn't focus on him.

"MY royal mark?!" I gasped. "What do you mean?! I do not have a royal mark, other than Armand's!"

Felaern shook his head and replied emphatically, "You most certainly have your own royal mark!"

"But...But, only Bloodline vampires...Have royal crests..." I stuttered, still trying to make sense out of the chaos flooding through my brain.

"Indeed," he confirmed and added, "We have not seen a new Bloodline vampire in well over a millennia."

Wait! What was he implying?!!

"No, no, no..." I mumbled, as my mind refused to accept his explanation.

He exhaled heavily and explained, "The answer is stunningly simple. Frankly, in hindsight, I am shocked I missed it. Your unusual scent – that of a Bloodline, but not one of the five that existed – was because you are a new Bloodline. It makes perfect sense that you would carry your own unique scent - and your own royal crest."

There were more loud gasps by the attendees in the room.  I gaped at Felaern and uttered incredulously, "But I cannot be a new Bloodline...I am not even a vampire!!"

"You most certainly are a new Bloodline...A new origin. Your union with Cage caused your crest to automatically transfer to him. It was necessary because while you created it, if he survives, he will sire the line....Starting with you," Felaern added.

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I asked desperately, "What do you mean IF he survives?!"

Oh no, no, no...!!

None of this could be true!

A coldness I had never felt before, wound its way through my body, down into my very bones, at the thought of losing Cage – and it would be my fault!

Felaern shook his head and answered gently, "Transferring a royal mark is never easy. But Micage is strong. There is an equal chance he will survive. There is nothing I can do for him. Only time will tell. Thankfully, the normal transfer is about twenty-four hours."

So, he had a fifty/fifty chance of living?!!

And in the meantime, he would be in agony for hours!

I rocked back on my butt and stared at Felaern in complete disbelief.

Cage's groan caused my attention to immediately snap back to him. I took his hand and whispered in his ear, "I am so, so sorry for doing this to you! Please...Please live!! I need you!!"

Abruptly, there was a flurry of activity around me, people moving purposefully to cover Cage with blankets and add pillows to make him as comfortable as possible. I felt a soft hand on my back. I looked up through my tears to find Braille staring down at me. Her own eyes glistened with emotion, but she spoke firmly as she handed me my panties, "Here, put these on."

I obediently moved to put them on, unable to really think for myself right in that moment. She turned to Armand and ordered softly, "Give her your shirt."

Instantly, he unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it off. She wrapped it around my shoulders and helped slide my limp arms into it. She proceeded to button it for me as if I were a small child.

When she finished, her deep sable eyes met mine again. I stared at her in desperation. I didn't think I could contain my hysteria much longer. She knew. I could see that my pain hurt her as well. And the love in her eyes overwhelmed me.

I could no longer hold back.

Deep sobs ripped from my throat. She sat next to me and gathered me into her arms, rocking me gently as my entire frame shook. After a few moments, her soothing voice penetrated my despair, "Shhh...Do not cry, my child. He is strong. His love for you is even stronger. Nothing could pull him from this world. Nothing could make him leave your side."

I sniffled and worked to pull myself back together.

"That's better," she murmured approvingly.

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