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Almost United, But Still Divided

I listened as Aide explained that the queen, Lady Leanor, had arrived with a huge mob intent on overthrowing Lord Lothaire.

"When I saw his face and all the fresh blood that covered him as he let to meet with them," she said, spooning broth into my mouth, "I knew he'd already hurt you pretty bad.

"When I was sure he was gone, I snuck into his room and found you strung up like an animal, bleeding out.

"I called a few of the slaves that I knew would help me and we took you down," she continued, offering me another spoonful. "Then I called for a witch to mend your ribs."

I nodded at this, my hand moving across my stomach to feel my still aching, but intact side.

"They were able to reset the most severe breaks," Aida explained seeing me wince in pain, "but there are still cracks in some of your bones. There was a lot of damage, and there's only so much they can do."

"Can you thank them for me?" I asked, my voice still hoarse.

"Of course," she nodded, setting the bowl aside. "Or you can thank them yourself."

I looked at her, my expression quizzical.

"You need to get up and move around," she said, rising and offering me a hand. "I know your still probably in a lot of pain, but we need to get you on your feet."

Knowing she was right, I accepted her hand and, with help from the dark haired man, got to my feet.

"Ohhhh," I moaned, feeling like my whole body was just a bag of glass grating together.

"I know," Aida encouraged, lifting my arm over her shoulder.

"Alfie," she called, "take her other side."

The dark haired man, Alfie I assumed, did as she asked, only he was so tall I had to grip him around the waist instead.

Step by agonizing step I moved around the room, ready to drop after just two minutes, but since neither of the people holding me up seemed ready to let me go, I had to keep going.

I couldn't believe how grateful I was to hear a knock at the door.

"Let's set her in the chair over there," Aida said, motioning to an over-sized chair in the corner.

Releasing me into Alfie's hands, she answered the repeated knock while he lowered me into its plush cushion.

As Alfie stepped away I saw Aida talking to a female vampire with vibrant purple hair, an obscene amount of piercings in her ears and smudged eyeliner.

As I watched, the two women looked over at Alfie and me, their eyes examining both of us.

Alfie turned to look at the door, his body freezing on the spot.

"Lady Emily?" he asked, looking shocked.

"Hi Alfie," the vampire called, smiling at him. "Henry's down the hall waiting for you."

Without so much as a 'thank you', he ran from the room, leaving me alone with Aida and the vampire, Lady Emily. Through the open door, I heard a tearful reunion between Alfie and whoever Henry was.

Stepping into the room, the vampire moved to squat in front of me.

"So," she sighed, looking up into my face, "you're the one Aric killed our father for?"

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