She still gave him no response. He came closer, placing his hands on one shoulder. He gave her a slight nudge. When that still gave nothing, he bared down, clasping her, and forced her body towards his.

Even in the moonlight, he could see her dilated pupils, absent from seeing. His first instinct was that someone had drugged her and left her in this room. He placed his hand on her other shoulder and gave her a rough shake while calling her name.

Finally, she blinked, though her eyes still seemed distant and haunted. Dena looked up at him for some time before she recognized him. She gasped as she blinked rapidly.

“Kay?” she asked in confusion.

“What are you doing here just standing in the dark?”

She didn’t answer for too long. Several seconds passed before she held up a clenched fist. A haunted whisper passed by her lips when she said, “Waiting for magic…”

There was something wrong with her words. Or maybe right. Realization hit him. She’d spoken the language of the Fae. It had been so long since anyone had spoken it. There was no way even Bast could have taught her those archaic words.

“W-what?” he returned, full of shock, awe, and a twinge of fear. Could he have heard wrong? Was it wishful thinking?

She ignored him and his confusion. Instead, she opened her hand to reveal its contents.

“The man in the cloak. He said you wanted me to have this.”

He looked down at what she held before him. His stomach flipped as rage spilled through him. Na’ahmeh’s necklace…One of those bastards had managed to slip it to her, after all. Had used his party as their gateway to Dena.

“It’s beautiful, Kay. I love it. How did you know I love garnet?”

“Lucky guess,” he said, voice shaking. If she noticed his fear, she didn’t mention it to him.

“Will you help me put it on?” she asked. She didn’t wait for a response before turning away from him. With one hand, she moved her curled locks out of the way and the other had the dark red orb hanging from its golden chain, waiting for him.

He swallowed hard, hating himself for even considering. But, for some reason, her request was a demand he couldn’t reject. He wanted to be close enough to brush his fingers along her neck.

Kay took the necklace from her. For a moment, he thought to toss it away to prevent what could happen next. However, he gave in to his desires and carefully helped her with the necklace. His long fingers danced across the expanse of her neck, not caring how inappropriate the touch was. He heard her breath hitch for a moment as he touched her.

Once he clasped the damning jewel to her, he sealed her fate. He had never been more disgusted with himself. But he swallowed that feeling, burying it deep within. Hands back on her shoulders, giving them a squeeze, he spoke to her.

“There you go. An elegant piece for my elegant lady,” he said, voice thickened with mixed emotions.

She moved away from his hands enough that she could turn to him. Dena swayed a little as she looked up at him with a confused smile.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” he said. He raised a hand to her face to brush an errant curl away.

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