Luka stepped on his foot.
Riyu glanced at her.
She gazed back at him.
A smile slowly formed on his lips. “You’re nothing like I imagined Domenico Moretti’s woman would be, princess.”
Misty tried not to take offense even though he said it like she was the worst possible choice that Domenico could ever make.
He beckoned her to follow him. “Come. I have something to show you.”
Luka and Stefan exchanged glances and they simultaneously smiled afterwards.
Misty’s senses prickled. “Are you guys planning something?”
Stefan grinned. “Just go follow Riyu.”
“Please.” Luka said it very politely, but there was no doubting it was a command as well.
Sheesh. Misty was starting to feel glad she was going to leave this place. Spending another day surrounded with arrogant mini-Domenicos would surely drive her crazy.
Riyu was waiting for her impatiently when she came to his study. “Come,” he ordered.
She rolled her eyes. “Does the fact that I’m several years older mean anything to you?”
“It does,” Riyu said seriously, his eyes on the monitor, a smile still on his lips. “It means you will die earlier.”
Misty burst into laughter.
He gestured for her again. “Princess, move more quickly.”
“Okay, okay---oww!” The shining rays of the sun that greeted her from the LCD monitor were so bright that Misty had to squint. Weren’t Caros supposed to be weak against sunlight? So how was it that they were living in a place where there didn’t seem any shortage---
She squinted again and then another. Misty gasped. The shining light wasn’t coming from the sun – or at least not directly. Rather it was the reflection of sunlight bouncing from the shiny steel armors worn by a hundred-strong army.
Ninety percent of the army were Lyccans, and she easily recognized the colors of the different packs, something she had taken time to study when she had worked at Lyccan Hall. There were the black-and-silver shades of the Morett pack and the blue-and-white shades of the Cavalier pack. There were also the colors of the Fontabellas, the Buenaventuras, and even the Fiarinos.
And next to them was a small army of…
Perhaps this was the contingency of human soldiers that Luka mentioned last night?
What were they all doing here?
Thud! The entire army suddenly split into two in simultaneous action, and her heart literally stopped beating when she saw Domenico dressed also for battle as he walked between the two halves, barking out his commands. Domenico looked powerfully invincible and so wonderfully gorgeous that he simply took her breath away. Gone was his dashing billionaire persona, and it was replaced entirely by the Lyccan warrior that he was born to be.
Pack leader or not, Domenico Moretti was a man that was born to lead.
He raised his hand, and the entire army moved in synchrony once more, their boots landing hard on the ground as they twisted to face Domenico.
When he spoke, it was in a cold steely voice, and the words he uttered made Misty’s entire body shake.
“You are here to protect Misty Wall.”
“I want your senses on full alert. No threat is too small to overlook.”
“If there is anything – anyone – that you feel is a threat…” Domenico’s face hardened, and Misty had no doubt any opponent of Domenico unfortunate enough to see that look on his face would have quaked in fear.
“Eliminate the threat.”
Beside her, Riyu said blandly, “He might have been asleep last night, princess, but I think it’s safe to say that he was dreaming of you.”
She couldn’t speak, only managing to nod because she was too busy crying.
Both Misty and Domenico remained stiff, quiet, and tense, almost paranoid in their vigilance as they and the entire army under Domenico’s command crossed the Midways. After last night’s attack, the foggy highway no longer felt nostalgic to Domenico or even to Misty, who had once been fond of hearing stories about the bustling activity that used to take place in the area.
Now, it felt haunted and desecrated, and the fog no longer felt wonderfully cool. Now it felt chilly, a blanket where monsters might be lurking from behind.
“I’ve been thinking…” Misty was the first one to break the silence. “Didn’t you tell me the Midways were supposed to be safe from vampires?”
Domenico nodded curtly. “It had never been invaded by vampires or any other evil creature in the past. But…the Midways have always been mysterious. It’s almost like it’s a living creature, and it’s been around forever. There’s really no way to understand every aspect of it.”
“If the Midways…which we thought was safe…have become possible for the vampires to attack, then…don’t you think it’s the same for the Faeries’ realm?” When Domenico didn’t answer, she looked up, intending to repeat the question.
The words died in her throat at the look on his face.
It was as if death was imminent…for the Faeries.
Worry squeezed Misty’s heart. “I need to do something,” she muttered even as she told herself not to succumb to panic. “When we get to the realm, I will request for a meeting with the High Circle and…would you come with me?” Misty couldn’t keep her voice from shaking. Her mind was tortured by images of faeries battling against vampires, and it was horrible – every image was horrible because none of it ended with victory at their side.
Misty couldn’t let that happen. She wouldn’t, and she was determined to do everything she could to protect the race that had taken her in when she had been so badly hurt and broken.
She looked up at Domenico, unable to hide the fear in her eyes.
“I will always protect you.”
Misty nodded. She believed in Domenico, but…who would protect the Faeries?
Once they reached the realm and got past the shields, Misty wasted no time, sending missives to all members of the High Circle requesting for an urgent meeting. When she reached the tower of the Main Hall, Lysander was already there, dressed in yet another outfit that almost but not quite drowning in lace.
There was, however, nothing g*y with the way he swiftly walked to her side, and there was no denying the strength in his grip as he pulled her into his arms, taking Misty by surprise.