"You. Want me. To bind. All your males?" Peri's words were clipped and her face told Jen and Jacque everything they needed to know. She thought they had lost their ever-loving minds. She was probably closer to the mark than she realized.
"Yes." Jen and Jacque answered at the same time with no hesitation.
"Look, we know that they would be mad -"
"No child, mad is not the word I would use. The wrath that Vasile would rain down on me... You cannot understand. Have you not been around the dominant and Alpha wolves of the Canis lupis? You know what they are like about their females."
"Yes, yes. We get it." Jen rolled her eyes "But here's the thing, while they are so busy worrying about us poor, weak females, they are totally ignoring the fact that there is a whole, big freaking world out there that needs our help. If Rachel and Sally are the ones who can drop a house on this witch, then we need Rachel. If Jacque and I are the ones to get her here, then WE WILL DO IT. Damn the consequences. We won't let them hurt you when we get back. Just keep them bound the entire time." Jen smiled like she had just solved all their problems.
"You want me to keep them bound the entire time?"
Jen looked at Jacque, letting out an exasperated breath. "Why does she keep repeating me? Am I difficult to understand?"
Jacque shook her head. "I think we are putting her in shock, or she is going to have a panic attack or something."
Peri looked from girl to girl, at a serious loss for their request. She saw the eagerness in their eyes to help and the determination beneath that. She didn't know any other way to do this. So be it. She was going to get her ass handed to her on a platter by the males of the Romanian grey wolves. Who said she didn't like to live on the edge?
Jacque and Jen gave each other silent fist bumps with exploding fingers.
"That's what I'm talking about, Peri! Sticking it to the man! Letting them know that they don't own you, they aren't your daddy, they can't -"
Peri slapped her hand over Jen's mouth and looked at Jacque. "How do you deal with her?"
Jacque chuckled. "She grows on you."
Peri snorted. "What, like a fungus?"
It was Jacque's turn to snort at Peri's remark.
Peri finally took her hand away from Jen's mouth – only after giving her a pointed look that said, shut your mouth.
"This is how we will do this. I'm going to put the binding curse on them now while they are asleep and can't feel it working on them. You gals are going to take the gear I give you and go through the veil. I will give you a sort of compass that will take you to Rachel and Gavril. You must move quickly, quietly, and try to go unnoticed. Meanwhile, I will be here to incur the wrath of five very stiff, pissed-off wolves." Peri smiled and added sarcastically, "Won't that be fun!"
Peri turned to the door and closed her eyes. She began to mumble under her breath and Jen and Jacque looked on, waiting.
"So, how do you think our furry friends are going to be when they wake up and find us gone?" Jen whispered to Jacque, whose eyes were on Peri.
"Let's just say I'm glad that I'm going with you. And you do realize that if you thought Decebel was going to be bad about not letting you out of his sight before, it's fixing to be multiplied by like a million, right?"
Jen rolled her eyes. "He probably won't even let me pee alone when we get back."
"Fane won't be much better," Jacque added.
"Yeah, but Fane is so much more reasonable."
"That's just because you're married to someone from the dark ages who thinks men should hit their woman over the head and drag her back to their man cave by her hair."
"True that," Jen agreed dryly.
Finally Peri turned back to the girls.
Peri got them everything they needed. Jen and Jacque were both amazed as the fairy conjured things out of thin air. Once they had warm clothes, light packs on their backs, Fae food, and water, they were ready.
"Remember," Peri told them, "quickly, quietly."
"Q squared, got it," Jen told her as they followed her to the veil.
Jen and Jacque looked back at Peri one last time before they both stepped through the invisible shield between the two worlds.
Peri closed her eyes as the girls disappeared. What have I done? she asked herself. She was trying to decide if maybe she should just leave Alina a note explaining what she had done and then add that the Fae council needed her. Peri immediately threw that idea out of the window. She wasn't a coward. She would take responsibility for her actions. She would, however, be sure to stay out of reach of any snapping jaws.
"So, I totally feel like we should have the Mission Impossible soundtrack playing in the background as we embark on our little journey." Jen chuckled.
"Did you just say embark?" Jacque asked as she looked over her shoulder at her best friend.
"Hey, I died, I get leeway on any vocabulary improvements or issues."
"That sounds so familiar coming from you. Seems like anytime you get burned alive or die, you suddenly have a license to say anything you want."
"You're catching on, Red. You totally should have milked your catastrophes a little more."
Jacque rolled her eyes as she pulled out the pocket watch-looking apparatus that Peri had given them. All Peri said about it was that it was tuned, so to speak, to Rachel's pulse or whatever. Jen had politely told her that technicalities were not necessary as long as the damn thing worked.
"Okay, it's pointing us that way." Jacque pointed to the left, through trees, bushes, and who knew what else.
"How are we supposed to be quiet when we have to veer off the beaten path, stumbling through tree limbs, thorny bushes, and whatever else gets in our way?"
"Just try to step carefully. We can do this, Jen. For Sally, for all of us."
Jen took a breath, looking into the woods. I've died and come back, she told herself. I can stumble through some cold, dark woods. Anything should be a piece of cake after dying. right?
She nodded at Jacque and added, "I'm with you. We totally got this."
They started off into the trees, trying to be light-footed and not stumble.
"So, how are things with you and Decebel?" Jacque asked, trying to get their minds off the cold and the possibility that an evil witch was at that very moment tracking their every move.