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couldn t stop it. Our home was completely consumed in mere
instants. I lost sight of our parents before I could even try to reach us.
And then, I saw you there, miraculously still alive. I didn t even know
what I was doing. I just moved toward you and took you in my arms. I
thought then that we d both die there, because there was no way, no
way I could bypass that inferno. But then& the pendant somehow kept
the fire in check.
102 Scarlet Hyacinth
 The Snow King s pendant, Red said softly, his voice barely
audible. His heart was breaking at his brother s words, torn between
the memories, the realization of what a painful secret Robin had kept
from him, and maybe, just a little bit of relief.  What ever happened
to it?
He sounded dazed, clinging to an irrelevant question so that he
wouldn t have to acknowledge what truly mattered. Robin
nonetheless replied.  That man took it back. He said that day that he
would return to claim what we owed him. But& I never realized he
was serious.
 Why did you hide this, Robin? Red finally asked.  Why did you
keep it from me?
 I didn t want you to hate me, his brother answered.  You re the
only family I have, Red. I couldn t take losing you, too.
 You were cruel, I told him.  You were cruel and selfish and
uncaring, too lost in your own guilt and bitterness to see Red was
suffering. I was like that too once, but I never let my inadequacy
reach such a point.
Red just leaned against me, and the scent of his tears awoke
something ugly and angry within me. Perhaps I would have said and
done more, but suddenly, a strange feeling encroached on my
consciousness.  Something s wrong, I said.
As if on cue, a scream shouted from the living room. Robin s eyes
widened.  Mina! he breathed out in a panic.
He took off running toward the sound of his lover s voice. Red
and I followed, already knowing what we would find.
Indeed, the Snow King was sitting down on the very same couch
we d used just minutes earlier. He had an arm wrapped around Mina s
shoulders and his other hand rested against her swollen stomach.
He chortled when he saw us.  Well, well, if it isn t Little Red and
the big black panther. So glad you could join us.
 Let her go, Robin shouted at him.  She has nothing to do with
Little Red and the Big Black Panther 103
 Oh I disagree. The ice mage smiled as he blew a gust of air in
Mina s ear, and she shivered alarmingly.  I m afraid that the two of
you weren t very nice back in Grimoire. While it does seem you
understand that you can t escape me, you still don t fully comprehend
the urgency of the situation. It angers me deeply that while I wait
alone, the two of you retreat for a romantic tryst encouraged by these
And he truly seemed angry, as proven by the fact that Vlad lay on
the floor, unconscious, his lips going blue. He wasn t moving, and
Vesper kept nudging him with his paw, trying to make him stir. Bitter
guilt twisted within me when Vesper changed shapes and pulled his
mate close, tears flowing down his cheeks. Vlad s other sisters
watched impotently, seeming terrified and not knowing what to do.
The Snow King obviously noticed the scene, because he threw a
look Vesper s way.  Don t worry, young shifter, he said.  I didn t
kill him. I could have, very easily. But I didn t. I have no interest in
him. He ll recover once he gets enough blood, and if he doesn t stand
in my way.
Instantly, Monica and Veronica shot into action, biting down on
their wrists to offer Vlad their blood. Vesper did the same without
hesitation. The Snow King didn t try to stop them.
Clearing his throat, he turned toward us again.  As you can see,
vampires are very vulnerable to cold. Because of their undead natures,
one simple spell can immobilize them completely. I just have to will
it, and their hearts stop. He smirked.  An old and experienced
vampire like the count there can and will snap out of it. However, it is
not so for an unborn half-vampire child. You understand what I m
getting at, right?
Mina released a small sob.  Please don t hurt my baby.
 I won t, as long as your brother-in-law does exactly what I say.
You will help me, won t you, Mr. Hood?
 I m trying, Red replied.  I have every intention of casting the
spell. I just need more time.
104 Scarlet Hyacinth
 You have one hour. After that& well, let s just say I might not be
able to fulfill Lady Mina s request should you ignore mine.
Robin extended his hand, perhaps to cast a spell, or maybe just to
reach for his fiance. He didn t get the chance to do either of those
things. The Snow King retrieved a pendant that had been dangling
from his neck and tossed it at us. Red caught it easily, and the
moment it made contact with my mate s palm, the Snow King and
Mina disappeared in a flurry of snowflakes. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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