“Tombstone,” Fane said with a grin.

Jacque grinned back at him. “Good call, wolf-man. Good call.”

Fane wrapped an arm around Jacque’s shoulder and tucked her in close as they waited for the others to board the van.  With any luck, by this time tomorrow Jacque would mert her first pixie.


As Decebel pulled away from the Serbian mansion he glanced over at Jen, who was looking back at the van Jacque was in.

“She will be fine.”

“I know.” She nodded. “It’s just weird to be separated from her.”

Decebel reached over and took her hand. He raised it to his lips and kissed it gently, a silent reminder that he was there for her and always would be.

“So you want to know about the stones?” Peri asked Sally.

Sally nodded.

“First things first – the stones can only be used if the motives of the wielder are pure. They cannot be used for ill.”

“Good to know. So if they get into enemy hands they are useless.”

“Exactly,” Peri agreed. “Second, the stones are magic in and of themselves, but their magic can only be used and directed by the magic inside of you. Your body is of the earth, and so you are, in essence, an element. The most common use for the stones is to render an enemy’s magic void. They basically negate any dark magic. If you want to go on the offensive, the stones are capable of this as well. While holding the stones, simply picture what it is that you want to do and the magic drawn from you and into the stone will take care of the rest. When all of the stones are being used together they are a force to be reckoned with. The more powerful the wielder, then the more effective the stones will be.”

“So I can’t accidentally kill some innocent bystander?” Sally asked.

Peri shook her head. “Nope. The stones will only react when the magic you are calling on is necessary and on whom it is intended.”

“That makes me feel better.” Sally smiled.

Peri chuckled. “You were worried you would fry some little crumb catcher that was in the vicinity?”

“Something like that.”

“Sally, your heart is too pure for something like that to happen, even accidentally.” Peri’s words were so full of truth that Sally finally felt like she could breathe easier at the thought of using the stones.

“Peri, where did the stones come from?”

“Well, like many things with magical properties, there isn’t any way to really explain where they came from. They showed up when they were needed. When they are no longer needed, they are not available. That is why those who have sought to take the stones have been unsuccessful. The stones are not kept anywhere by the Fae. They just are..”

“Where are they now?”

Peri shrugged. “No idea. They will come to us when it is time.”

“They always show up when they are needed?” Sally asked skeptically.

“They have never failed to make an appearance when they were truly needed. Do not worry, healer, all will be as it should.”

Sally snorted. “You sound like some wise old person.”

“Wise?  Yes. Old? Doesn’t even scratch the surface.” Peri winked at Sally when Sally’s brow furrowed.

“How old are you, Peri?”

“Sally, you are a woman, surely you know better than to ask another woman her age.”

Sally grinned sheepishly. “My bad.”

The rest of the drive was spent with Jen suggesting different games to help pass the time, all of which were vetoed by Decebel because Jen continually added her own rules, which always contained some sort of sexual connotation. It was a good distraction from the upcoming task.

As Decebel pulled the van up to a hotel, he informed his passengers that this was where they would be staying while they were in Ruse. While Jen got everyone checked in, Decebel pulled Sally aside.

“Do you want to share a room with Peri or your mate?” Decebel’s voice didn’t indicate his opinion on the subject one way or the other.

Sally glanced over at Costin, who was talking with Sorin but continually glancing in her direction. She could feel a slight presence of him in her mind but somehow she knew he wasn’t listening to her conversation with Decebel.  That made her trust him all the more.

“I’m fine with sharing a room with Costin,” she stated confidently.

Decebel smiled at Sally, showing her a side that only Jen saw.

“You do realize that you will need to complete the bond very soon, right?” he asked her gently.

She nodded with a blush. “How...how is he going to be with me working with him in the bar?”

Decebel shook his head and let out a deep breath. “It’s going to be very difficult for him. My advice would be to steer clear from any interaction with any males as much as possible.”

Sally rolled her eyes. “We’re going to be in a bar!”

Decebel chuckled. “I didn’t say it would be easy to do, I just said you needed to try.”

Decebel cocked his head to the side and stared at Sally. It was obvious he was contemplating something.

“It might come down to you two at least doing the blood rites now, then the ceremony later.”

Sally’s eyes widened. She glanced back over to where Costin was standing and when he saw the look on her face he began walking in her direction.

Decebel gave Sally a pointed look before walking away.

“What has you looking so alarmed?” Costin asked as he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

Sally looked up into his eyes and her worry eased immediately.

“I was asking Decebel how difficult it was going to be for you to have me in the bar with you.”

Costin’s eyes began to glow, a sure sign he was not happy.

“It is going to take a lot of self-control, but I think I can manage as long as no one touches you. And, Sally mine, when I say no one that includes the males in our pack.”

Sally nodded as she looked at his lips, which were in a tight line. She reached up and ran her finger gently across them, trying to relax them. Costin closed his eyes and she watched as her touch brought him down from the anger he was feeling.

“It’s going to suck to not be with you at night,” Costin told her, his lips once again getting taut in frustration.

“Where are you planning on being?” Sally asked, knowing full well that he was thinking that she was not sharing a room with him.

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