Chapter 22

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I felt the pain first. My swollen faced throbbed as consciousness returned to me and I immediately wished it hadn't.

Mia was dead.

I should have been too.

I tried to move, but I quickly found myself to tightly bound.

Peeling my eyes open, I let them adjust to take in my surroundings. The deep green window dressings and elegant desk were familiar. I had been here so many times, most recently just a couple nights ago. I was in Juleen's personal chambers.

My eyes adjusted slowly focusing on the only other figures I could see. Juleen and another Morri, I couldn't tell which one, were speaking quietly, oblivious to me. Carefully, I twisted my wrists against the restraints keeping my arms bound to this chair. I did the same with my legs, twisting them as much as I could one way and then the other in hopes they might loosen.

Realizing I was awake, Juleen turned his attention to me. The cut I managed to land on his face had been healed, but the evidence of it was still visible. A thin but long and jagged scar on his face. They couldn't heal it completely because like Tau said, something about the metal didn't react right with their blood. The realization that he would be forever scarred brought a smile to my lips that immediately caused me to cringe in pain. But I didn't stop smiling. I had nothing to lose.

Juleen returned my smile and a shiver of fear traveled down my spine though I did my best not to let it show. I failed, he knew exactly what I was doing and was enjoying my feeble attempt at strength.

I was not made for this. I was not trained for this.

I was housemaid.

My job was to clean and to serve and go as unnoticed as possible.

My father had trained me to stay under the radar and I had successfully done just that for so long. But he was a liar. He had lied to me about who he was and who I was. Some part, deep in my soul knew that he had been trying to protect me but I was angry and maybe if I had known and understood better, I wouldn't have ended up tied to a chair with the cruelest of Morri leaders grinning at me.

Juleen walked over to me, slowly.

"Faedra was loyal," he said.

He waited, silent until is became clear that he expected me to speak. This was where I begged for forgiveness, where I blamed my grief for the actions I had taken and where I pleaded for my life.

"Mia was innocent."

"What she was is irrelevant," he said sounding amused.

My nails dug into my palms as anger flared at his words.

"I'm impressed," he said after a long silence. "It's not often that a human surprises me."

I only glared. None of what he was saying was worth a response even if I had the wit to come up with one.

"How long have you been working with them?"

I kept my lips sealed and met his gaze head on. I wouldn't say anything to give him what he needed to arrest them.

"What have you told them?"

He got close to my face, close enough that his nose nearly touched mine. "What have they planned?" he shouted.

The unexpected shout in front of my face was enough to make me jerk in surprise, but I kept my mouth shut.

"Oh," he said straightening to his full height. "I will enjoy this. Agro," he called out the name of one of his closest men and instructed him quickly in their own language to untie my arms from behind me and instead to the arms of the chair. The large Morri was not gentle as he pulled the ties from my arms and yanked them forward. He secured them back to the arms tightly enough that I was in a constant pain because of it. When he was done Juleen stepped forward pulling a chair with him. He sat across from me, leaning close enough to reach my hand.

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