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  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(100) by Anne Bishop
  • Of course, that wasn’t likely to be a consideration here.

    Raising her arm to rub her forehead, she almost vanished the poker before remembering not to use Craft. She wasn’t used to having her hands full all the time. She tucked the poker under her other arm, since that hand was holding the candle with the witchfire flame.

    "How many more times can we use Craft before we get locked into the spells in this house?" she asked Rainier as she rubbed her forehead. "Have you counted them up? Could we make the pass and go back up the stairs to reach the first floor?"

    "I’m not sure I’ve remembered all of them," he replied. "I think we’re getting close to “last one, the game is over.” You and I could make the pass. If we each carried one, we could take two of the children with us. But that’s all we could do."

    Which meant leaving two of the children behind, prey to whatever might be down here. Not a choice she wanted to make.

    "And there’s no certainty that if we did this, we would end up where we intended," Rainier added.

    “Let’s see what we can find down here,” she said.

    A few steps away from the stairs, the candles guttered and went out, except for the one holding the witchfire.

    “Air currents,” Rainier said, a hint of relief in his voice. “Maybe there’s an exit down here after all.”

    A roar filled the cellar, both threat and warning.

    “Do you think that’s really one of the cats?” Surreal asked when she could hear again.

    “Whoever built this place managed to kill two Black Widows and an Eyrien warrior, as well as who knows how many others in order to have predators for this game. Why not one of the cats? You wouldn’t need one that wore Jewels, just one who was kindred and could make the transformation to demon-dead. Without Craft, it’s our physical strength against the cat’s.”

    “We’d have no chance,” Surreal said grimly.

    “None at all.”

    “I guess that’s the direction wedon’t go in.”

    “Agreed. Now let’s find a way to get back upstairs.”

    Lucivar grinned as he watched the little black beetles cover the bottom of the bathtub, then swell into big black beetles—and pop.

    He hoped Rainier had been the first one to walk into this bathroom, because Surreal…She still believed that particular fear was her little secret, and neither he nor Daemon had any intention of telling her otherwise. But it wouldn’t be a secret for long if she’d been the one to findthese.

    Tersa’s work. Had to be.

    Daemonar would love having a popping beetle. Of course, it couldn’t be a free-roaming beetle. More like a bug-in-a-box. A well-shielded box, because if the boy managed to remove the beetle and leave it someplace as a surprise for his mama…Marian wouldnever forgive him for bringing the thing home.

    He’d talk to Tersa about making the beetle and talk to a carpenter in Riada about making the box. There would be plenty of time to get the thing made as a Winsol gift.

    “Surreal, darling, you’ve got more spine than most of the Eyrien warriors I knew back in Terreille, but I bet you squealed when you saw these.”

    His amusement vanished when he walked out of the bathroom and saw the boy standing in the back hallway.

    Not an illusion this time. The boy wascildru dyathe.

    “I am going to bite you and drink your blood,” the boy said.

    Poor scared puppy. He must have been a sweet child. Even now he sounded like he was reciting a line for a performance at school—and stumbling over the words.

    “The person who killed you…,” Lucivar began.

    “He was a powerful Warlord.”

    The boy sounded more hopeful than sure that he’d been killed by someone powerful.

    “Puppy, in terms of power, whoever killed you was a glass of water. I’m a stormy lake. You come at me, I will rip you apart.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire