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Last Updated: March 06, 2015 11:14:48

"Gregori," Razvan said, "how much rich soil will you need for the incubator? I can get you a bed of pure untouched soil. It is a distance away."

"How long will you need?"

Razvan was shaken at the sound of that weary voice. He knew it was difficult to remove a fragment of evil, as he had with Travis, and Gregori was already overtaxed in trying to keep his children and lifemate alive.

"Can you hold off the birth another three or four hours if Ivory manages to reverse the mutation on the microbes within her womb?" The sacred cave was a good distance away, and he would have to get there and back before the birth.

"Savannah is advancing fast, but we both will try." Gregori sounded doubtful.

"What of the boy?" Razvan had great sympathy for the child.

Travis obviously loved Falcon and tried to look and act just like him. He followed the Carpathian everywhere, even when he wasn't supposed to. He also looked up to Mikhail, and attacking him must have been traumatic. The boy would feel shame for attacking the prince, even though he wasn't to blame.

As you are not, Ivory pointed out, always quick to defend him.

"We appreciate your offer of the soil," Mikhail said. "If it is anything like the samples you brought us, it should aid the twins."

"If we can keep them alive though the birth," Gregori said, his voice low.

"Go now, Razvan," Ivory said. "I will be fine on my own. If I do not have the reversing spell correct, I will contact you to replay the scene and images in your head in case I missed one small detail."

"Travis will be fine," Gregori added. "I removed the fragment and destroyed it. There are two still unaccounted for. We've checked everyone who was in the vicinity at the time. Are you certain one did not enter you, Ivory? I have been in you, Razvan, and know there is no part of Xavier dwelling within you."

Razvan's head came up sharply. His eyes held death in them, a dark, piercing warning. "Ivory is clean of his evil as well. No one will subject my lifemate to the inquisition that I allowed. No one." He looked from Mikhail to Gregori, ignoring all others in the cavern.

"I give you my word," Mikhail said.

"And mine'" Gregori added.

Razvan relaxed visibly. "Then two more fragments are making their way back to Xavier. They will need hosts."

Gregori sighed. "That was my mistake. I wasn't fast enough to incinerate them."

"I doubt you could have done much in the midst of an all-out battle," Razvan said aloud. "I am glad the boy is all right."

"He loves Mikhail." Gregori stopped abruptly and shook his head. They both knew the psychological damage the child would have because of the incident.

Razvan took a breath and his gaze met Ivory's across the room, knowing she was thinking exactly what she was — Xavier had to be destroyed.

Gregori bent toward Savannah, took her hand, brought it to his heart and stood quietly looking into her eyes, obviously encouraging her. His expression was soft, filled with love, with concern. He put his hand on her rippling stomach and then bent to wisper to his twins. His voice shook with tenderness.

"Stay with your mother just a little longer. Be brave. We are with you, holding you to us, and we will not fail you." He looked up at Razvan and Ivory. "We are counting on you both."

Razvan lifted a hand to clap Gregori on the shoulder in sympathy, but let it fall to his side. He wasn't a man with friends, and was unsure the protocol one used.

"I'll bring back the soil as soon as possible."

Razvan started out of the chamber but stopped and turned to face them all. "Last time Ivory and I had a little fun. We were not in a hurry, so we took no offense at being followed. This time should anyone try to follow me to this sacred place, I will treat him as an enemy and I will defend us."

"Understood." It was Mikhail who answered. "Anyone trying to follow you will be considered an enemy by my people as well." His voice was very low, but the sound carried into the outer chambers where most of the warriors had already gathered and had begun to chant to aid the women and the healers in saving Gregori's unborn children.

"Take the pack," Ivory said. "You may need them. And travel fast, Razvan, Hurry."


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