Chapter 38

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Chapter 38

Madraeus stayed crouched and ready. The wolves stopped attacking and circled him. Blood oozed down his legs and arms from lucky bites. Several wolf bodies lay at his feet. 

Suddenly they came at him all at once. He couldn't stand against the force of bodies. He hit the ground hard. Madraeus looked up to find that some of them had changed into human form.

They grabbed his arms and twisted him around. Someone must have gone for rope because he felt his wrists being tied. Madraeus stopped fighting. He knew that he had no chance of winning against these odds. His strength was depleted from the ritual and he was not up to fighting condition from lack of blood. Not feeding may have been the last mistake of his life. 

The wolves were taking no chances. They dragged him up the slope to the shaft house and clamped iron cuffs on his ankles, shackled his wrists behind his back and then chained the two together. A tiny part of him was flattered that they thought him such a threat, but the rest of him was angry. 

They took him down into the mine. Once at the bottom he was confronted by a gathering of Cecelia's traitors. It surprised him how many had crossed over to her side. Rage at the betrayal of so many that he had known boiled in Madraeus' chest. They'd heard of his capture already and had come to see his humiliation. The guards pushed their way through the crowd practically carrying their prize. 

The guards hauled him down a darkened tunnel and into a garish, glowing room. Cecelia lounged in a chair at the far end. She smiled when she saw him. The man holding his arm shoved him from behind. Madraeus had to shuffle forward to keep from falling. His chains rattled in the stillness as he pulled himself up to his full height to face Cecelia.

She stood and sauntered forward making a slow circle around him.

"You are bleeding on my carpet," she hummed playfully as she reached out and poked a finger into the gash on his shoulder.

Madraeus clenched his teeth. 

"I'm surprised that you came yourself. I was beginning to think that you had lost your nerve, but when I saw what you had done to Justin I knew that you hadn't been tamed yet." She licked his blood off of her finger, "Mmm."

Madraeus just waited.

"I can't even tell you how well this has all worked out," she circled him again, "I knew that chasing after Justin would distract you but this little drama has had no end of entertainment."

"Distract me?"  Madraeus baited but she only smiled at him.

 From behind him he heard scuffling and a familiar voice protesting and complaining. "Let go of me, you big cow!"

He shifted to the side in time to see a man and a woman pulling a squirming Whitney along between them into the room. The guards stood her across from Madraeus. She ripped her arm out of the woman's grasp and kicked for her shin but the woman evaded her foot easily only to jerk her upright. 

Whitney looked terrible. The shadows beneath her eyes and the hollowness of her cheeks were amplified by the glow of the chandelier. Her clothes were covered in dirt and stains. There were holes in her jeans. Most of her arms and one of her shoulders was visible through the rips in her sweater. Madraeus could see multiple bite marks peppering her skin. In that moment he could have killed every living thing with in a hundred miles. Whitney's eyes lit up when she saw him but her expression quickly turned to alarm as she noticed the amount of blood covering his body.

"Well isn't this cozy!" Cecelia smiled. 

Madraeus glared at her.  

"Time for more gloating?" Whitney snorted. Cecelia turned an icy glare on her but Whitney continued, "Can't you do anything without bragging about it?" 

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