How To Make The Ice Prince Fall
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    How To Make The Ice Prince Fall Book 1 Chapter 93

    Volume 1 Chapter 93 Grand Scale

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    "Many of the upper class, I guess. I've got a list if you want to see. Most of the names aren't confirmed though. About what they experiment on, it has to do with the origin of magic in the human body.", Nathaniel explained.

    "Origin of magic...", Katherine repeated and crooked her head to look up at him. "Like why some people awaken and others don't?"

    "Part of it." Seeing her silky hair spread out all over his tights awoke an unbidden possessiveness in him. Knowing she wasn't resisting him, made it harder and harder to control his feelings and keep them in the boundary of what was possible to fulfill. "It's also about the amount and type of magic. Why different countries have different main abilities and so on."

    He didn't mention the mutations, the question why they were different from other abilities and why their number was on the rise. It would only disturb her unnecessarily if he told her about this. She herself had a mutated ability after all. Like him.

    "That's a lot they want to know. Not completely insignificant, too. But can't they research it without experimenting on humans? Or only on those who agreed?", Katherine lamented. Then she slowly said: "I saw a list on your desk the other day. I didn't mean to spy, but... what did the numbers on the hospitals mean? And I think there was a place named Helgrind Jail?"

    Nathaniel stared down at her in silence for so long that she regretted revealing that she saw this paper. Was he mad? His lips were pressed together in a thin line. Just when she wanted to say sorry, he opened his mouth. "What do you need for human experiments?"

    The question was unexpected, but she answered nearly without a thought: "humans?"

    "Right."

    "But that..." She hesitated and then fell silent. It had been an awfully high number behind the jail alone. Counted together it made two hundred or more. Two hundred humans that were tortured somewhere, maybe even dead already. "Even hospitals are in this? And schools?"

    "Everything."

    Katherine's body got cold. For the first time she realized the real scale of the organization. Uncomfortable, she got up in a seating position. It felt wrong lying comfortably when so many lives were at risk.

    "This is too much for us to handle", she said, suddenly afraid. "We need help."

    "No", he directly cut her short. "We don't know exactly who is involved in this and we can't trust outsiders."

    "But Nathaniel!" Katherine looked at him with pleading eyes. "What can we do by ourselves? The both of us can't win against such a big organization!"

    "I didn't say we are on our own." Automatically, he brushed back a strand of her hair when it fell into her face. Both of them froze. After a second, he pulled back and blinked, but a glint of heat remained in his eyes. "We can't trust outsiders, but did you forget I brought my people with me to the capital? And Aston also got his own."

    Katherine's heart sped up again after the unexpected touch, but she still got her wits together. From his words, she realized something. "You didn't send Jack away randomly; you gave him a mission! That was why he was so happy to part!"

    His mouth curled up. As expected, she figured it out quickly. "They gather information about each kidnapping, the places, numbers, people involved. If everything goes smoothly, they'll be able to catch a big fish by tomorrow. Not the leader though."

    "If it's not the leader, then how many big fishes are there?", Katherine asked cautiously.

    Nathaniel held up five fingers, then pulled two down. "Three in the capital, another two somewhere in the country. We suspect they have a few other cities where they capture people, Mudin and Zetur among them. I've got some personnel there, too."

    And outside the country, too. He wondered if he should tell her how far the organization had really spread their tentacles. No, that wasn't necessary. They only had to cope with the Icelands for now. Besides, decimating the organization was only a step to his goal. The real thing should be in one of their laboratories.

    Katherine exhaled. "Five and one leader. Also someone from the royal family. I'm not so certain we can manage that even with your forces... but until we find people we can trust it is better to fight than to sit by idly."

    She yawned, this time for real. Morning was approaching rapidly. Suddenly, the candlelight flickered and died out, leaving them in darkness.

    "Nathaniel?", she asked.

    "I'm here." His hand lightly touched hers and she grabbed and held it, even when he wanted to pull away. Through the gloves, his hands were warm, the fingers long and strong.

    "Katherine.", he warned her, exasperated.

    "I know. Just a bit please."

    He sighed. This night was somehow special. Maybe it was the shock he'd had when he saw the warning written in gold, but his usual defenses were lowered. He didn't have the energy to push her away, wanted to wallow in her warmth. Just this once, he wanted to know what it was like to be beside her.

    "Sleep." Gently, he urged her to lie down on the bed under the covers. She wouldn't let go of his hand for once. Their breath seemed loud in the dark, like it was amplified.

    Though the atmosphere was ambiguous, Katherine knew that Nathaniel would only help her lay down, maybe talk a bit more and then go. Out of his own vocation, he would never cross the line and touch her more than he had to. She didn't want that. Tonight, they'd made so much progress that she gained enough courage to make a bold move. She tugged on his sleeve. "Hug me."

    "Greedy woman", he grumbled and leaned back, but her grip only got stronger. "My shoes are dirty."

    "I don't care."

    There was a rare pleading tone to her voice that made Nathaniel feel twisted. Only lying beside her, feeling her softness and hearing her breath was tempting, very tempting. But there was so much that could possibly go wrong in the dark. With light it was a bit less dangerous as he could see and hinder dangerous movements beforehand. In the dark, he couldn't calculate that. She only needed to brush his skin once and would disintegrate. Black liquid left on the white sheets.

    With a heavy heart, he loosened her fingers and pulled away. He should stop leading himself astray. There was only a small strand of sanity left in him, a strand he had to preserve at all costs. Her warmth was too addicting. "Sleep well, Katherine."

    In the dark, he couldn't see the tears threatening to roll down from her eyes when he slipped out of the door.

    "This damn cold-hearted devil!", Katherine whispered and buried her face in the pillow.

    Inside, she knew that tonight was already a big step forward and she was rushing it too much. He wouldn't let all his reservations go at once. But that didn't alleviate the pain she felt when being rejected.

    "Little steps, be patient", she reminded herself and dried her tears with the blanket. "Haaah."

    This was too difficult. She was never a patient person. Furthermore, in the last encounters with him she could see him struggle only to resist her again. He was acting against his real feelings, she knew it! She just didn't know why he was trying so hard. At least he relied on her now, if only a bit. And he admitted that he cared about her safety.

    Sometimes she wondered if she was still following her original goal or being pulled into the raging streams of his life instead, losing sight of her path. Maybe it was just because her own goal was too far away while he was close by.

    In her new life there was nothing that reminded her of the past anymore, only the pulsing pain in her chest when she woke up from her dreams. Nonetheless, she would never be able to let go of her animosity. In this case, Nathaniel was wrong, she thought. She would never forgive Ethan. Not now. Not ever. This murderer deserved a hideous death.

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