Page 27

The Skull Ruler (Skull 3) Penelope Sky 2022/8/5 16:54:50

Case came to my side. “I agree. There has to be something we can do. We have all his men who can help us. We can’t just give up.”

“No. We need to do something, and we need to do it now.” I walked farther into the room then stopped when I noticed something on the kitchen table. I halted as I examined it, trying to figure out what it was. When I came closer, I recognized the ring, the skull diamond Balto always wore. It was on a necklace, and there was a note.

I’ll always be the Skull King. And you’ll always be my queen.

Tears dripped down my cheeks as I lifted the necklace and examined the flawless diamond he wore every day. Enormous and beautiful, it was a ring so big that it would never fit on any of my fingers. That was probably why he’d put it on a chain. I placed the necklace around my throat and turned back around.

Heath looked away, like the sight was too painful.

My brother came toward me, his face bruised and swollen from the abuse he’d received while with Lucian.

I lowered my voice so Heath couldn’t hear. “I need you to help me.”

“Help you what?” he whispered.

“Lucian said he would use his explosives on Balto. When he’s killed his other enemies the same way, he uses a small building on his property. It’s made to buffer the sound so no one will hear it. That’s probably where he’s doing it.”

“Alright. But what does that matter? If there’s really a bomb vest on Balto’s body, we can’t just disarm it.”

I’d lived with Lucian for years. He’d asked me to keep him company even when he was working, so I saw him in the lab all the time. He’d even taught me how to disarm bombs if someone ever tried to take me away from him. “I think I can…”

Case’s eyebrow rose. “You’re serious?”

“Lucian taught me a few things while I lived there.”

“But are you sure?” he asked. “Because if you’re wrong, you both die—”

“Yes. And even if I weren’t sure…I’d still have to do this.”

Case glanced at Heath. “We’re going to need his help. I’m not going to be able to get you to that compound without him. There are men posted everywhere, I’m sure. We won’t be able to do it alone.”

“Yeah…I guess you’re right.”

Heath watched us with suspicious eyes. “What are you two talking about over there?”

Case looked at me. “If he’s difficult, I’ll distract him while you run for it.”

“Alright.” I moved closer to Heath. “I think I can disarm the bomb if you get me to it.”

Heath crossed his arms over his chest. “Why do you think that?”

“Because Lucian taught me.”

His eyes narrowed. “Even if that’s the case, we have no idea where he is—”

“I know exactly where he is. And I need you to take me there.”

Heath continued to watch me, arguing with himself in silence. He had his orders from Balto, but if there were any chance he could save his brother, he would want to take it. “Balto wants me to keep you safe, not get you killed. It would make this whole thing pointless—”

“That’s a chance I’m willing to take. Are you with us or not?”

Heath placed his hands on his hips, looking pissed just the way Balto did. “If we pull this off, he’s going to kill me.”

I finally smiled, the tears still fresh. “Let’s go.”

Heath took out the men guarding the perimeter. There were only a handful on that side of the wall, so he took each one out without much fuss. Bodies hit the ground, and we pressed up against the stone wall.

Case knotted his fingers together to give me a lift. “I’ll throw you over.”

“Let me go first so I can cover her.” Heath stepped on his hand and jumped to the top of the wall. He pulled himself over then dropped to the other side.

When silence continued, we assumed everything had gone well.

Case helped me next. “Be careful, alright?”

“I’m serious,” he said. “If you can’t figure out how to disarm it, you need to leave. No sense in getting yourself killed. I need you, alright?”

“Okay, Case. We really don’t have time to talk about this.” I jumped on his hand then launched myself onto the other side.

Heath caught me then pulled out his gun. He nodded to the small building I’d described. “Get in there. I’ll keep an eye right here.” The area was covered by trees and bushes, as if Lucian was trying to keep it hidden in plain sight on the property.

I turned back to him.

“Remember how worried you were about Case? Well, this is my brother. So please disarm that bomb.”

I nodded, touched by what he said. “I’ll do my best.” I moved to the door and was relieved it was unlocked. I stepped inside and came face-to-face with the concrete cushion that would keep the bomb contained. The door was made of black metal, the room behind it so small that most furniture wouldn’t be able to fit inside.