Accidental Surrogate

Chapter 134

– Ella Finds a Passage


I wipe the tears from my face and scan the room, Sinclair’s voice ringing in my mind. I’m still upset with
him for making me share my location, but I’m determined to escape before he can endanger himself
coming after me. If there’s a way out of this room, I’m going to find it.

Let me help! My wolf requests eagerly, as exhilarated with adrenaline as I am.

You are helping. I roll my eyes. Whose instincts do you think I’m using here? Certainly not my useless
human ones.

And it’s true, The stronger my wolf has become, the stronger all of my senses have become. My ears
are cocked for the sounds of anyone approaching the room, my eyes are hawkishly raking over every
nook and cranny in the bedroom, searching for the tiniest details on the walls and floors. My nose is
scenting the air, trying to determine if there are strange draughts of air beyond the interiors of the small

More than anything, I’m tapping into the strange and mysterious gut feelings which have recently been
becoming more and more pronounced, hoping this sixth sense will help point me in the right direction.
These are all things I wouldn’t have been able to do before – at least not in the same level of
sharpness. I pat my belly. “Mommy has a silly wolf, Rafe.”

The canine in question snorts in my head, Not as silly as his fathers.

You may have a point there. I remark fondly, thinking about Sinclair’s possessive, overprotective inner
animal who has a conniption if his scent fades from my skin or tries to bribe me with stolen children so

I’ll let him avenge my honor. A deep pangrises in my chest the more I linger on my mate, love and long
overwhelming me all at once.

It’s okay, we’re going to see him again. My wolf assures me, every bit as heartsore as I am – if not
more so. The sight of Sinclair’s battle scarred body is fresh in my memories, and the pain I feel for the
pain I love suffering thus is almost too much to bear. I’ll never forgive myself if he’s hurt worse than he
already is because of me. You’re right. I answer with renewed determination. “Mommy’s going to get us
out of this.” I add to Rafe, rubbing my navel.

I begin to walk along the interior walls, checking behind every painting, lifting every vase, shoving at the
bookcases and tilting and tugging each and every book. I scour the space with a fine-toothed comb,
feeling along the plaster and trying not to get dissuaded when I come up empty handed. Still, it’s
difficult not to feel a little pessimistic when everything I attempt fails.

At last I come to the fireplace, poking and prodding at the mantle, applying pressure to the heavy grey
stones and lifting the grate. Nothing happens. I run my fingers along the underside of the square
opening, praying that I find some sort of button or handle, but again I find nothing. Still, something is
telling me to keep trying. I’ve been hopeful with the other objects and furniture, but now I have the
surreal sense that this is right.

As a last ditch attempt, I begin fiddling with the tools situated next to the fireplace, lifting the brush,
spade and tongs. Finally I attempt to lift the poker, but it won’t budge.

I yank at the handle, but it remains firmly in place, as if it is glued to the floor. My heart begins to race,
and instead of lifting, I try to pull it from side to side. With a forceful tug, it finally deploys, shifting
towards the floor with a pronounced click. There’s a rumble and the scaping of rock against stone, and
suddenly the back wall of the fireplace disappears.

It takes all my restraint not to jump up and down and cheer. My spirit soars, and I hurriedly flit around
the room, pulling the curtains closed and unmaking the bed. I’m listening intently for the sound of
anyone approaching, terrified that a guard might walk in while the passage is open, but also afraid of
making more noise than I already have by closing it. I dash to the desk and frantically try to figure out
what to write. The cipher Sinclair suggested isn’t the problem – the question is what on earth I should
say to the man who abducted me.

Eventually I settle on the following:

To His Royal Highness and Her Unholy Pain in the Ass, Lydia,

For what it’s worth, your plan wasn’t the worst idea. It was, however, an absolute miscalculation to think
I would just sit here and accept my fate. Really, if you’re going to kidnap someone, you honestly ought
to learn a few things about them first. Even though I may look like a helpless damsel, it’s not in my
nature to surrender. Please consider doing more research in advance of your next scheme, or I’m
afraid you might be doomed to fail again. Losing may be what you’re accustomed to, but if you just
apply yourself and put in the work, you’d be amazed at what you can achieve. And while I offer this
humble advice for your diabolical schemes out of the goodness of my heart (I do worry that if you
continue to be such an utter and complete failure, it might further degrade your mental health and
you’re already plenty psychotic), I must warn you against targeting me again. Continuing to move
against Sinclair is not only dangerous, it is phenomenally stupid. Eventually he will lose his patience
with humoring your pathetic schemes and fight back – and you will die an excruciating but well-
deserved death.


Ella Sinclair

P.S. Go fuck yourself.

Dropping the pen, I pause to glance at the go-bag I took to the safehouse. I don’t want it to weigh me
down, but I can’t afford to lose the herbs Adolpho gave me. I grab the tin, leaving the rest behind, and
tuck it into my pocket. I quickly return to the fireplace and slip inside, every nerve in my body singing
with excitement. We did it! This is actually going to work!

My wolf howls with delight, and I search for a way to close the passage from the inside, soon finding a
similar lever as the one disguised as a poker. The stone closes behind me, and suddenly I’m in utter,
complete darkness. If my wolf was fully awake, I’d probably be able to see through the pitch black
tunnel, but instead I can only make out dim shadows. Still, it’s certainly better than nothing. Thanking
the goddess for the first step of my escape, I pray that this passage leads me straight out of the palace
and that I don’t have to navigate a complicated maze of tunnels that might let me out in another room
or worse… get me lost. If I want to get notice to Sinclair before he canstage a rescue, I have to be

I set off at a trot before remembering I’m supposed to be on bed rest. You’ll be more stressed by
remaining in danger than you will by a little exercise. My wolf reasons, but I’m not sure. I slow to a
quick walk, telling myself that this is better anyway in case the ground is uneven or I come across an
unexpected step.

I’m relieved when the tunnel continues straight on ahead with only a few twists and turns, but no
intersections with other passageways. However my relief soon turns to fear, because I walk further and
further into the darkness with no end in sight. I’m not sure how much time passes, but seconds turn to
minutes, and minutes turn to what feels like hours. I have no way of knowing if my mind is merely
playing tricks on me, or if I really am walking as far as it feels.

The longer I work, the more I begin to feel paranoid about my plan. What if there is no end? What If I
just keep walking forever and never get out?

You’re being irrational. My wolf answers in a soothing tone. This tunnel is here for a reason, it can’t go
on forever and the fact that it’s so long is a good sign, there’s no way we’re still in the palace.

But where is it going to let out? I fret. At this rate I’ll never be out in time to get in touch with Sinclair.

We’ll figure it out. She replies. Don’t stress more than you have to. Think of the pup. I nod in
agreement, and apologize to the tiny being inside me. “I’m sorry, Rafe. It’s okay, I’m okay.”

I wish I could say the tunnel ended soon, but instead it goes on for miles. I walk until my legs are weak
with exhaustion, and when I finally reach the end, I’m so relieved that tears fill my eyes. Of course, my
tears transform from happy to horrified when I finally emerge from the passage.

If that tunnel was meant for evacuation, then it certainly did its job. It empties out into the frozen
wilderness of the mountains outside the city, so far from civilization that I can’t even see Moon Valley in
the distance. It’s the coldest month of the year, and the landscape is buried beneath a thick blanket of
snow. I’m wearing the simple clothes the Prince provided so I could change out of the dirtied and
bloodied outfit from the kidnapping: no coat, no gloves, hat or scarf.

Suddenly I’m praying that Sinclair staged his rescue earlier than planned, because if he doesn’t find me
soon… I’m going to die out here.

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