Charles let out a strangled scream as Erik pounced on him. I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders when I saw him land on the cage. He snarled as he pinned a terrified Charles to the ground. Why wasn't he killing him?
"Let go of me you filthy swine!"
I laughed a little as Ronald carried Kendra back. She was thrashing in his arms, trying to hit him.
"I found our wolf," he said then froze when he saw Erik pinning Charles down.
Kendra elbowed him in the gut and he grunted, dropping her. She ran to the cage and I saw that she had picked his pocket for the keys to the cage. The second she opened the door, I leapt for Ronald. He struggled but I didn't let him go.
"I have some questions for you," I snarled, my fangs growing.
"Now," Erik said suddenly and I looked over. He was talking to Kendra. "Whatever you have to say, say it now."
Kendra walked over on shaking legs. She knelt down beside him.
"Kendra," he gasped. "Kendra, tell him to let me go. Don't let him kill me."
"I hope it was worth it," she said coldly. "I hope it was all worth it."
"Please," he begged.
"You sold me," she said, her voice dripping with anger. "You sold me to a whore!"
"I was looking out for you!"
"That's a lie," she spat. "No. I'm not going to tell him to let you go. Even if I did, he wouldn't listen to me." She stood up and I saw her face in the fire. It was furious but sad. "Mama would be so ashamed of you."
Kendra walked over to me, shaking. I nodded once to Erik who sank his teeth into Charles' neck. Kendra sobbed and I rubbed her back. When Erik was done, I let her go.
"Go wait for me at the road," I said to them. "I will be there in a moment."
Kendra put her arms around Erik's waist. He tried to walk but she was too close so he knelt down and picked her up. I could hear her sobbing into his neck and his words of awkward comfort as I rounded on Ronald.
"All right, Ronald," I snarled. "You knew who we were, am I right?"
"Y-Yes," he said in a high voice.
I tried not to laugh. He thought I would let him go.
"Your arm," he breathed and I looked at the scar. "He-He had them put in a tracker just in case you did escape."
"Who?" I snapped.
I snarled. "What is a tracker?"
"A new device," he said shakily. "It can track your location."
I bit into my arm and snarled again as I pulled out a small black square. It was blinking red. I threw Ronald to the ground and held him down by the throat.
"Let him try and find me now," I growled and shoved it in his mouth.
He tried to scream.
"Erik," I panted, stumbling to him and he put Kendra down, running to me. "Erik, I need you."
"What happened?" he asked but I shook my head, falling to my knees.
He offered his wrist and I bit into it. I drank deeply and broke away before I took too much. I let out a sigh of relief. The blood stopped but the wound still didn't heal over. I heard a ripping noise. Kendra tore the bottom of her dress and used it to wrap around my arm. I couldn't see her face but she was still shaking. Erik tore his sleeve, too, and wrapped it around my neck.
"Are you ready?" I asked them.
"No," Kendra said. Her voice was thick. "The marble needs to reset or something."
"Then we should sleep," Erik said and took us to a tree.
He leaned his back against it and opened his arms. I put my back against his chest; he put his arms around my waist as I gestured for Kendra to sit in front of me. I spread my legs, too, as she cuddled up. She put her head on my bosom, cradling the marble.
"I am so sorry, Kendra," I whispered and she let out a small sob.
"I was so mean to him!" she cried.
I stroked her hair and made soothing noises. Behind me, Roman was placing gentle kisses on my neck and head.
"Be kind to yourself," I said to her. "You said what was on your heart. It is over now, Kendra." I sighed. "I do not blame you if you wish to leave us. We can find a good home for you."
Kendra sniffled and put the marble in her lap. She wrapped her arms around me.
"I'm already in a good home," she mumbled and I closed my eyes, holding her tightly.
"Come on," Erik whispered. "We need to rest."
I felt him shift a little and I got more comfortable. Kendra yawned and was asleep in seconds. I tilted my head and gestured for Erik to kiss me.
"Thank you for coming to get me," I whispered.
"Always," he whispered back and kissed me again.
We decided to transport behind the manor. Erik carried me and Gertrude nearly fainted when she saw us coming around the back. She wanted to run to me but Erik stopped her.
"She is fine," he said and she nodded, shaking.
"I am just a little weak," I added.
"Oh, this is all my fault!" she sobbed and Erik sighed.
"Kendra, the door please," he said and she rushed to do his bidding. "Johanna, it looks like we need some more tea." He looked at Gertrude who was still sobbing. "And put some whiskey in there."
"Yes, Sir Erik."
Erik carried me to the parlor and put me on the couch. Gertrude immediately sat beside me.
"I never should've let that horrible man take you!" she cried.
"It was not your fault," I said but she didn't stop crying until Erik forced her to drink all of her tea.
"And that horrible Maria!"
"What about her?" I asked.
"She said that he was right to take you," she sniffled and I sighed. "She said you really are a vampire and that you shouldn't be alive."
I shook my head, feeling hurt. I wanted to tell Gertrude the truth but I was afraid of what she would say or do. Instead, I helped her calm down while Erik got Kendra to bed. She had cried herself to sleep again and I sighed.
"What is it?" Gertrude asked.
I rubbed my temples. "Something is wrong," I said. "I have been so ill lately and Erik and I cannot figure out why."
When I looked up, Gertrude was smiling. "How have you been ill?"
"I vomit in the morning," I answered. "And I have been so very tired. All I want to do is sleep."
Gertrude leaned forward and took my hand. She patted it.
"Sweetheart, you're probably pregnant."
I gaped at her then looked at my stomach.
"No," I said, shaking my head. "No, not possible. They said Erik and I are not able!"
"Modern medicine is commonly wrong," she said. "How long have you been feeling like this?"
"Two weeks?" I guessed. "I-I think." I put my hands on my stomach. "Do you really think I might be pregnant?" I whispered.
She nestled into the couch and smiled some more, leaning back.
"Let me tell you what I experienced with my three pregnancies," she said.