Dark Wolf Page 11

I’ll be more careful this time, Dimitri, she promised. I have to do this. You know I have no choice.

The entire time she’d been asleep she’d dreamt of poisonous silver piercing his heart. His beautiful blue eyes had grown ice-cold as they stared lifelessly at her. Accusingly at her.

“You’re too late. Why were you late?” he’d asked her.

It was a dream, sívamet. A nightmare only. You eased the pain for me.

There can be no untruths between lifemates, she quoted him. It would be impossible to lessen your pain. The threads of silver remaining are still in your body burning just as severely as the ones I removed.

Perhaps that is so, but it felt less. Your love kept me safe from the Moarta de argint—death by silver.

Is that what they call this torture?

It absolves the Lycan council from all guilt. They didn’t kill me. Essentially, I kill myself by moving my body constantly to try to get away from the pain and the silver works its way deeper. They can go to Mikhail with a clear conscience.

That made her furious. How could the Lycan council sentence Dimitri to such a torturous death and then go to a meeting with the Carpathians discussing becoming allies with them?

I’m going to remove more threads, Dimitri, but I won’t be able to get them all. I’m going for the ones closest to your heart.

She didn’t wait for his reply. She entered his body as pure spirit. The hooks she’d tampered with had remained closed off. No new silver had dripped into his body, but the ones she’d left had made progress. She knew what to do now. Calling on her mage heritage, she again used her gifts to push the silver from his body.

Silver, silver, so deadly, so bright,

I summon earth’s power to stay your blight,

As you were created and formed deep within,

I command you, silver, to remove and ascend.

Silver threads that twine and harm,

I release your hold of snaking charm.

I call to you, silver, harken my call,

Retrace the path from which you fall.

Harken to me, silver, hear my command,

Remove yourself doing no further harm.

This time she added a new element in order to lessen the pain of the burn for him. She’d been so exhausted and she’d just left him the night before. She’d been unconscious when she’d returned to her body, but she’d had plenty of time to think about how he was suffering.

Corydalis, Valerian, Meadowsweet all,

Cloak the pain that does now fall.

The silver responded with the same reluctance, almost as if it was alive, moving backward, away from his heart, the tiny silver beads burning his skin as they pushed through pores to drop to the ground below him.

Elation swept through her. The silver responded to her commands. She could see it moving backward away from his heart, as on the other end, it pushed through his pores and dropped to the ground in tiny little deadly beads. However, everywhere the silver touched burned him, both inside and out. This time she wouldn’t leave him until she was certain she had healed every possible wound on his body that she could reach before her strength gave out.

Aloe sweet aloe, green and bright,

I call to your essence, seeking what is held hidden inside.

That which is sticky and filled with balm,

I seek of your essence to heal what is burned.

Kathalai, ancient name,

I call forth your power to steal away pain.

The elements were removing themselves at her command and the pain was lessened with the herbs. She managed to remove three more threads before exhaustion took hold of her. There were still several others, coming from his calves and his thighs, two from the hooks in his hips, but the silver from those hooks hadn’t progressed nearly as close to his heart as it had from the ones she’d removed.

Can you manage this pain a while longer? I would take it from you if I could.

You have kept me alive, csitri, and just touching minds with you has made me stronger. Where are you? This is a dangerous place.

Those holding you, are they rogues?

No. Lycans. You cannot possibly understand the danger they represent. They will not hesitate to fight any Carpathian rescue party. You must relay that message to whoever travels with you. My brother. Any of the other warriors with you.

Skyler had to move away from him, backing down that psychic trail. She needed to rest. I am human, not Carpathian and no such rescue party accompanies me.

There was silence. She found herself back in her own body, lying in the hammock Paul had slung between two trees for her. She stared up at the canopy overhead. The wind gently moved through the branches, setting them swaying. She loved the sound of the breeze as it rustled the leaves and the feel of it on her face. She was ice-cold, but the fur coat lay over her. Somehow, even in his weakened state, Paul had managed to take care of her.

Skyler. In spite of the pain in his voice, Dimitri sounded commanding. He’d only used that voice on her a couple of times. Did you come after me on your own? Is Josef with you?

She had known this moment would come. She had hoped it would come much later. Pressing her lips together she nodded, even though he couldn’t see the gesture.

We have a good plan. Once we free you, none of them can possibly harm us. She infused absolute confidence into her voice. She believed they could rescue him or she wouldn’t have had Josef and Paul come with her. She would have come, but she wouldn’t have involved them.

It’s only getting those hooks closed off and the silver out of your body and then we’re home free, she added. You know the Lycans can’t defeat you.

Skyler, I want you to turn around and get out of here. I mean it. I’m not asking.

Even if you did ask, it wouldn’t happen, Dimitri. I’m coming for you. I’m not the child everyone thinks, and you, better than most, know that. You’re mine and these Lycans have no business trying to kill you.

Dimitri, in spite of the pain, and exhaustion, couldn’t help the burst of amusement at Skyler’s furious rant against the Lycans. She was unique. Special. His own personal miracle. So many people underestimated her. He loved the fire in her. He loved everything about her.

He was proud of her courage and tenacity, in spite of the fact that he wanted her out of danger. He didn’t want her anywhere near the Lycans. He didn’t trust what the wolves might do if they discovered she was working to free him. Still . . . how could he not feel elated and overwhelmed with her love, that she had dared such dangers to come for him?

He was a Carpathian male, an ancient hunter and his first instinct—his duty—was to protect his woman. Skyler was his other half, and to know that he had put her in danger was far worse to him than the seemingly endless pain he had endured.

You must leave. I cannot have you in danger and survive this.

There was that moment of silence that made his heart stutter. Had she spent too long trying to stop the silver from poisoning his system? Was she unconscious? Even though he knew she was much closer, the distance was still difficult. She had to use so much energy to bridge the void and then twice that to heal him.

He was well aware he couldn’t push that poisoned silver from his body the way she had done it. She’d been meticulous, and more, everywhere the silver had burned through him, she’d soothed the terrible burns.

You cannot survive this without me and you know it.

Relief swept through him. She was weak. He could feel her energy level was very low, but she wasn’t anywhere near the state she’d been in the last time.

I am grateful that you are removing the silver from my body. Once it is done, I can escape myself. You cannot come any closer.

She made a little sound in his mind, a hmph of annoyance. You cannot unwrap the chains that bind you. If you could, my love, you would have done so weeks ago.

Dimitri was beginning to feel a little desperate. She couldn’t stay. He was helpless to aid her if she got into trouble. She was correct about the chains wrapped so tightly around his body. Had it not been for the unusually strong connection between them, he could never have reached out to Skyler. He had tried reaching his brother, Fen, but to no avail.

Sadly, I’m all you’ve got right now, Dimitri. The three of us. Josef and Paul will do whatever is necessary to help me set you free.

He loved her friends. He’d come to know them through her, and her love of them. The two boys were brothers to her, family, but they were boys, not men, not in the sense of warriors who were experienced in battle. They had no idea what they were facing, and how in the world could they possibly protect Skyler from a pack of Lycans?

He took a deep breath to try to keep still. The burn twisting through his body set him on fire. He could barely force his body to stay under his control, instead of moving continually in an effort to ease the never-ending agony bent on destroying him. He had to admit it was a medieval torture worthy of a Machiavellian punishment.

Skyler, I love you more than life itself. He told her the stark truth in a low, compelling tone. Compulsion wouldn’t work on her, but he could use his best, loving persuasive voice. My brother, Fen, will come. He is already on his way. He spoke with absolute confidence. He knew Fen would come for him. I need to know you’re safe. More than anything else, I need that. Stay where you are and continue to drive the silver from my body. That will buy the time my brother needs to find me. You can reach him and know the time it will take for him to reach me.

Skyler took her time mulling that over while his heart accelerated with fear for her. She gave a little sigh. The idea is to get in and get out without anyone knowing we are here. If I call to your brother, he will have no choice but to let my father know. Gabriel will come. With him will be Lucian. Maybe others. There could be a war just when Mikhail is trying to make peace with these cretins.

He knew she was right. Her family would come and there would be hell to pay. Worse, if the De La Cruz family found out Paul was with her, they would come, and there would be no stopping Zacarias if one hair was harmed on his nephew’s head.

Skyler wasn’t going to back down. Desperation set in. He was helpless, chained by silver, hanging in a tree with hooks in his body to slowly poison him. Moarta de argint. He couldn’t save her if she was attacked.

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