Rachel's gut tightened as she watched the blood pour from Jen's mouth. She closed her eyes and laid her hands on Jen's stomach while Gavril held Jen's hair back and held her steady. Rachel reached into Jen's body, seeking out the source of the sickness. She could feel the pain that flowed through her very veins. She reached into Jen's mind and gasped as she felt what Jen did. Her veins felt like they were on fire, like the very blood that flowed through them boiled. She tried to find what it was that was causing it. Infection from her injuries, some sort of bacteria somewhere, but she found nothing. Blackness was reaching into Jen's mind, a dark void cloaking her, and nothing Rachel did could cause it to recede.
Rachel pulled her hands back and opened her eyes. She looked up at Gavril, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Rachel, Luna, what's wrong?" Gavril's voice was gentle as he watched his mate.
Rachel shook her head. "She's dying and it's my fault."
Jen finally stopped vomiting and Rachel took the moist towels Gavril had brought her and wiped her mouth and face.
"What do you mean she's dying?" he asked her.
Rachel looked deep into her mate's eyes. "You know how the darkness was beginning to consume you before you met me?"
"The darkness begins to consume all males without their true mate," he answered.
"I broke their bond."
"What does that have to do with it?" Gavril stepped around Jen's bed. He put his fingers on his mate's chin and gently raised her head so he could see her azure eyes.
"There is darkness in her, consuming her. The kind of darkness I found in unmated males anytime I had to heal them. It's killing her. There's no balance in her without him and somehow when I severed the bond, it's like the darkness in him, the darkness she would keep at bay, somehow seeped into her. I don't know how to describe it."
"It sounds like dark magic." Gavril stroked her face gently watching as his mate's heart broke over the dormant. "You were only protecting us," he whispered gently.
Rachel's head snapped back as if he had slapped her. "It's my job to protect her, to protect others! I'm a HEALER!" Rachel was shaking – so angry with herself, with the Fae, with everything. As a healer, it broke her heart to think she had hurt another. If Jen was going through this, what was her mate enduring?
"Peri said that her mate had been cursed by the witch. Maybe that is why the bond being severed has caused this reaction in her. It may not have anything to do with you."
"Regardless, you and I both know we should have risked whatever we needed to get her back to her mate."
Gavril lowered his eyes, something an Alpha rarely did. Rachel reached up and touched his cheek. He pulled her into his arms. "If I was her mate I would kill me." His voice was soft and deep. "You're right, love. If someone kept you from me, if someone took our bond, I wouldn't be able to stand it." He stepped back and raised her chin once again. "We will fix this."
Rachel nodded once and looked down at Jen. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was labored. She propped a pillow under her to raise her chest up. She took a seat next to the bed and held Jen's hand. "We have to."
Decebel fell to his knees as he doubled over in pain. He felt nausea rolling through him, but nothing came up. His head hung and sweat dripped from his brow despite the cold air. Sally, Cynthia, and Costin surrounded him but didn't touch him.
"This is the sixth time today," Cynthia spoke quietly to Sally. "It's been a week since we started off. He gets worse every day. Pretty soon he isn't going to be able to walk."
Sally took a deep breath and pushed it out through her teeth. Frustration threatened to overwhelm her as she watched the powerful wolf fight an invisible enemy.
Sally growled in frustration. "ARGH! We've been wandering all over this cold freaking mountain for a week! Where is this fairy? What are we supposed to do, drag a half-dead, huge werewolf through the mountains shouting, 'Here fairy, fairy. Come help the poor whittle healer.'"
Costin walked over to Sally. She looked up at him and snarled. Costin lifted a lip in a return and tapped her on the nose. "Calm yourself."
Sally's jaw nearly hit the ground at his audacity. Did he just tap me on the nose? Calm myself? What the -
"Calm myself?" Sally's voice was low as she looked up at the handsome wolf.
"I know you're frustrated, I get that. I know you're scared, I get that too." Costin stepped closer to her and laid his warm hand against her cold face. "But you don't get to lose it right now. You don't have that luxury, okay? You will pull yourself together and we will get Decebel through this. We will find Peri."
Sally tried really hard not to close her eyes and lean her face into his large warm hand, honestly she did. When she opened her eyes Costin's eyes were glowing. Crap, she thought.
She took a step back and nodded once. "Pull it together. Got it. I'm good now, I just needed to have a freak out moment. I've had it, I'm good to go."
Costin smiled that breath-taking smile. "Excellent." Then he stepped over to Decebel and knelt down. "How are you doing, Beta?"
A low growl emitted from Decebel. "Something is very wrong."
"Can you walk?"
He nodded once and struggled to his feet. Cynthia stood on his left, ready to help if necessary. Finally he stood, and Costin and Cynthia backed off.
Decebel's glowing eyes met Sally's. "We really need to find that fairy."
Sally nodded. "I know, Decebel. And aside from screaming at the top of my lungs I don't know what else to do."
"We just keep walking," Cynthia said firmly.
Costin nodded his agreement. He looked at Decebel. "Let's keep going until it gets dark. Can you handle that?" Costin knew the challenge would spur the Beta on.
Costin chuckled. "Good. Let's go, then." He turned to Sally. "You coming, healer?"
Sally stuck her tongue out at Costin as he waited for her to pass him. He simply chuckled at her, making her want to stomp on his foot – childish…maybe. And although she really wanted to slap him for his earlier Alpha-wolf show, she had needed someone to snap her out of it. If it had been Jen, Jen would have slapped her and told her to pull it together. So maybe having a hot wolf like Costin tell her that instead wasn't as bad as she thought.