Home > Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(6)

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(6)
Author: Patricia Briggs

Horrified, I realized that they were playing good vampire/bad vampire. Bad Vampire had been sent away, and I was supposed to feel like Good Vampire was my friend. Just how dumb did they think I was?

Good Vampire, formerly known as Thug Vampire, made a soft, sympathetic sound and sat down next to me, his body turned toward mine in an intimate, sheltering way. “It looks like it hurts, poor piccola. That’s all you needed, one more bruise.”

I straightened, scooted away from him, and dealt with the resulting dizziness. I needed to be sharp, and I was anything but.

Vampires weren’t fae, who always had to tell the truth. I could tell when a human was telling a lie—but, in general, the older the creature, the better liar they were. If he wanted to negotiate with my pack, any kind of negotiate, kidnapping me had been the wrong move. If he was who I thought he was, doing it wrong was highly unlikely. So maybe negotiation wasn’t what he was after.

Wulfe had told them I was powerful. Wulfe knew them better than I. So why would Wulfe have picked me out?

And all the while I tried to figure out the vampires, some part of me was frantically beating at the silence in my head where the pack should have been. Where Adam was supposed to be.

“Piccola,” said Good Vampire, his voice soft and chiding. Apparently he thought that I should have leaned against him and let him take care of me instead.

Why had Wulfe told him I was the most powerful person in the Tri-Cities? Vampires lied all the time—but Wulfe was more like the fae. It amused him to always tell the truth and make people believe it was a lie until it was too late.

Most powerful person in the Tri-Cities . . . hmm. Well, maybe so, if your perspective was skewed enough—and “skewed” was a good word for Wulfe. I decided it was also the kind of power that would keep me alive for a while longer and so should be shared with Good Vampire. Staying alive was the first task of any hostage.

“I am Adam Hauptman’s mate,” I told the vampire. I didn’t meet his eyes. My coyote shapeshifting was accompanied by an unpredictable resistance to some kinds of magic. Vampire magic especially had a hard time with me—but it wasn’t anything as reliable or useful as immunity.

Good Vampire made an encouraging noise, but said, “We know that.”

“Right. But it gives me power. There is this also: I was raised in the Marrok’s pack, and his oldest son is a very close friend. Siebold Adelbertsmiter counts me as his family—and even the Gray Lords treat that old one with respect.” They had, last I heard, finally found part of one of the fae who had trespassed against Zee. It had showed up on someone’s dinner plate. “You might know him as the Dark Smith of Drontheim.”

The vampire beside me didn’t move a lot, but I caught it. He knew who Zee was all right, and, for the first time, was surprised and maybe a little impressed.

“I’m also a liaison of sorts,” I continued as if I hadn’t noticed. “The local police department turns to me when they need help with the supernatural elements in our territory. I may be fragile, but I stand on the shoulders of giants—which is, I expect, why Wulfe named me to you. Political power, not intrinsic power.”

People would care if he hurt me was the subtext of my speech. I was pretty sure he heard it, but on the other hand, sometimes subtle wasn’t as effective as shoving it in front of his face.

“The Marrok treats me as a daughter,” I said, to that end. “My fae friend has killed to protect me. And my mate . . .” I tried to put it into words that were not a direct threat. “He would be very unhappy if I were hurt.”

“The Marrok broke all ties with you and your pack,” the vampire said.

I shrugged because that still hurt. “Yes. But that does not mean he would be indifferent if you hurt me. And Elizaveta Arkadyevna works for our pack.” Elizaveta was powerful enough that her reputation should have drifted to the far corners of the earth. His lack of expression told me that he, at least, knew who she was. “So do the goblins.” That last bit was probably not as impressive as it should have been, but it was true.

The vampire was quiet for a moment, then said, “You do not mention the vampire.”

“Vampire?” I asked, clueless.

“The one who has you blood-bound to her,” he said. “I tried to break the binding while you slept.”

And suddenly I wasn’t too busy to be terrified. I reached up and touched my neck with fingers that tried to shake. There were two puncture wounds in my neck.

I hate vampires . . . I hate vampires . . . I hate them.

This was the reason that vampires would never, ever be able to let the humans know about them. If a powerful enough vampire bit someone, especially more than once, that vampire could control them. They called it the Kiss. It was what allowed the Mistress or Master of a seethe to control the fledgling vampires who could not maintain sentience without feeding from a more powerful vampire. It is what allowed the maker to control his fledglings. A human who had been given the Kiss was a pet.

Thug Vampire had tried to make me his pet when I was unconscious and unable to defend myself.

“I could have done it anyway,” he said. “But it would have killed the one you are bound to, and I’m not sure I want her dead.” He smiled, reached up, and stroked my cheek.

I held myself where I was and didn’t jump up and scream. Mostly because I was certain that, dizzy as I still was, I’d land on my butt. But also because I thought that he was trying to work a bit of magic on me, and I wasn’t sure I wanted him to know it wasn’t effective. Tomorrow, his power might work just fine—but for right now, my quirky resistance to his magic was resisting for all it was worth.

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