Catalin raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms. “Is that wise?”
“Onyx is not only a good friend but a member of the brotherhood and a noble. I trust him with my life.”
Catalin didn’t seem convinced but said no more. Beth stepped out of Robert’s embrace.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said. He leant in so he could whisper in her ear. “And tell Emily that if you get hurt, I’ll change my mind about her contract.”
“You wouldn’t,” Beth said, stepping back again.
“Don’t try me. Stay safe.”
The vulture made a noise, drawing Robert’s attention. After a few moments, he shook his head. He glanced between Beth and Catalin and Alex before flying out of the window.
Everyone else in the room seemed to be coming to, looking around as if in a daze. They didn’t remember a thing. Beth rushed to get back to her place.
“Right, okay,” said Mrs Lewis. “Today we’ll be discussing the adaptations of bearded dragons.”
And that was it, as if nothing had ever happened. Beth looked up and Catalin met her gaze. She focused back on the teacher when she began talking.
The day dragged by as Beth’s brain kept spouting what ifs at her. What if Robert hadn’t come? What if Rosalyn had beaten him?
She stopped in the middle of the corridor as a thought hit her: Robert had turned into a panther. If he could be a panther, what else could he be? She shook her head and kept walking. Emily was watching her curiously as the two of them walked side by side.
Beth pulled her overnight bag higher up on her shoulder. Emily’s mum, Jess, was picking them up and Beth needed to prepare for the onslaught of questions from Jess. She took a deep breath.
“What happened this morning, Beth?” Emily asked quietly. “In biology with Mrs Lewis. There’s a complete gap in my memory and gaps like that don’t happen without interference.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Beth mumbled.
“Don’t lie, Beth. I know that you know what I am. I know that Robert told you; he said he was going to.”
“You’ve spoken to him?”
“He asked me to invite you for a sleepover, so you wouldn’t be on your own. Very sneakily, I might add.”
“I guess I should have guessed he was going to do something like that.”
“Beth, what happened in biology?”
“There was a snake, and then Robert flies in and starts attacking it. It turns into a bobcat, Robert turns into a panther, they fight and then Robert’s holding a woman against the wall with a knife at her throat. The woman turns out to be Rosalyn, the evil demon who’s trying to kill us all. He also told me to tell you that if I get hurt, he’ll change his mind about your contract.”
Emily laughed. “I would expect nothing less; I gave my solemn vow to him that I would protect you. If I failed in that, I would willingly accept my punishment.”