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"No," Kell agreed, "not an ancient. Not a vampire, nor our kind."

"What, then?" Cassandra asked. "None other live in Drommende."

"There have been rumors of angels in Drommende," Kell said. "Avenging angels."

Cassandra lifted a brow. "That doesn't bode well for us. But there are scarcely any humans remaining here, and they are friendless. The ancient texts warned of what might come."

Kell followed her from the throne room to the antechamber. "I'm going to the observatory. If there are any changes in my father's condition, please notify me immediately."

Cassandra smiled to herself as she ascended the stairs. Kell wouldn't mock her authoritative tone, but he should. She didn't know what she was doing, and she hated herself for pretending.

Since the herb woman had died, her father had had no way of obtaining the concoction he needed to remain human. As the oldest werewolf, he was fated to spend most of his time in animal form, now only turning human for a few days each month, during the new moon.

Before Cassandra ascended the winding staircase to the observatory atop the massive high-rise her pack called home, she stopped in her chamber to change. The blazer and skirt must be kept pristine should she be called to a second interview. To all appearances she must appear as a human who was accustomed to neat clothing and modern modes of grooming.

She loosened her hair from its pins, where it fell in massive lengths of curls below her knees. Thoughtfully she regarded it in the mirror. It would be an encumbrance in the laboratory, and it would make her stand out. Yet it was a symbol of her royalty. She was a princess to her people.

Yet her duty as their princess was to serve them as best she could. She must protect their identity at all costs, which meant protecting her own.

Cassandra opened the drawer of her sewing desk and removed a pair of jewel-handled scissors, examining them thoughtfully in the sunlight.

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