Well, I made a decision. Used Val’s suggestion. It was a good one!
The fireplace was big, stone chimney, hearth and surround. There were spiral finials on the corner of the mahogany mantle and scones on the wall on either side. Liam waved a hand at it all. “This. You don’t think she’d be so ridiculously obvious, do you?”
Anna snorted. “She was fairly ridiculously obvious and a stereotype in almost every other way. Why not this one too?”
Together they stepped to the wall sconces and pulled down on them. Nothing happened. They looked at each other and Anna giggled. “So maybe she’s not that obvious.” She turned to face the room from the fireplace and looked it over. Nearly every inch of wall was covered in tapestries or paintings. It was like Skeena had been trying to show her wealth by over-decorating. “It has to be here somewhere. I guess we’ll have to poke and prod at the walls again.” It was almost a question.
“Aye an’ we should hurry.” Liam started a more thorough search of the walls on his side of the fireplace and it didn’t take long before every inch of wall had been pressed on, every painting had been tilted and all the paintings and tapestries had been lifted from the wall.
Anna sat on a large trunk that rested behind an overstuffed sofa and slumped. “I was so sure it was here.”
“I was too. I would ima-“ Liam broke off as Anna sat up in alarm. “What happened, pet? Are you alright?” Worry was evident in his voice.
“The trunk vibrated, I’m sure of it.” She leapt to her feet.
Jake was becoming rather concerned about Sarah. She had lost a lot of blood and her pulse was thready. She may be a Vampire but she was a living Vampire and that meant she could die. Without help to either make her live again or turn all the way, she was permanently dead. Jake couldn’t let that happen, too many people relied on her and loved her.
He carried her to the base of the stairs and laid her gently on the floor. He got rid of the corpse of the guard by tossing it into the dungeon and leapt up the stairs by twos. He hammered on the trap door that guarded the entrance to the dungeon. “Hey! Sarah needs help!” He banged again. “Hello! Help!”
They stared at the trunk for a moment then Liam ripped it out of the way. Anna tore away the ugly rug that lay beneath and tossed it aside. They both gaped at the well fitted door that was cut into the floor. A flat handle nestled into it near the edge closest to Anna. She bent over and wrenched on it, fear for Sarah and anger at Skeena lending her strength. She tore it right off its hinges.
Jake stared up, startled at the sudden disappearance of the barrier. He barely registered the identity of the faces above him. “Move it! Sarah needs help. She’s dying. Is the Prince dead?”
“Yes.” Anna hurried down after Jake, Liam on her heels.
“Good! Now Sarah has a chance. If she lives.” Jake stopped by Sarah and knelt beside her. He stroked her hair. “We need to find her help.”
“I am the help.” Anna’s voice was quiet.
Jake looked up. Then he jumped to his feet. “Princess! I am so sorry. I should have recognized you immediately.” His eyes cut to one side. “Consort. Thank you for your aid.”
Liam nodded as Anna knelt on Sarah’s other side and brusquely assessed her injuries. “She will not survive these. I can turn her but she will have some extra abilities if I do so.What, you didn’t think I was going to show you the Change did you? *evil cackle* The other option is that you do it.”
Jake shook his head. “My apologies Princess but I have not fed recently and do not have the reserves.”