amadhay: (Default)
 In which Amadhay eavesdrops some

 

 

Amadhay couldn’t help it.

When she heard voices talking in hushed whispers, it was physically impossible for her not to attempt to listen in. Call it curiosity, call it nosiness, she blamed the cat in her. Curiosity killed the cat, after all.

But satisfaction brought it back.

That was why she was currently perched rather precariously on one of the highest shelves in the library. She had been attempting to retrieve a book from up there on blood magic when the vampire and Nico walked in. Both blonds had called out and scoped around before coming to a stop only a few feet away from her. Neither had thought to look up and she supposed that being up there was masking her scent from Cowboy. Either that, or she was in the library so often that it was beginning to smell like her.

“I think Tenshu is getting too close to the Heralds,” Cowboy whispered to Nico, who nodded in agreement.

“I thought he was just doing his job, but the way he talks about the light and water Heralds makes me wonder if there’s something more.”

Cowboy winced. “You’ve noticed too, huh? Have you told Atlas yet?”

Nico was silent for a few clicks and both men simply stared at each other. “No, I haven’t. I didn’t think it was necessary to bring his attention to this, not yet.”

“Thank you,” Cowboy muttered, rubbing at his face.

Nico nodded. “I’m not doing it for you.”

“I know.”

“I worry about Vlad as well,” Nico added after another few clicks of silence.

“Oh? Why?” the vampire asked, surprise in his tone.

“He has yet to actively attempt to claim the fire Herald. I’ve been keeping my distance, as per his request, but he has yet to cement any bond with her. If anything, I would assume they were friends, not regnant and possession.”

The words made no sense to her, but she thought she might have been getting the gist of the conversation. Nico and Cowboy were both worried that Vlad and Tenshu had fallen for Wonder Girls and Co. and their feminine wiles. She wondered why that was such a big deal, what they were planning, but didn’t get to eavesdrop anymore because at that point, the library door opened.

“Red Bird?” Ribbon’s voice called out, making Cowboy and Nico tense. Both men nodded to each other and went separate ways. From her vantage point, Amadhay was able to watch both men avoid running into Ribbon by carefully navigating the book stacks. They were out of her sight when Ribbon was below her.

Deciding to put the strange conversation out of her mind because it had nothing to do with her, Amadhay grinned evilly before taking care to silently move down, one shelf at a time, until she was almost behind Ribbon and the woman was completely oblivious. She slipped behind the tall woman before yelling, “Surprise attack!”

Immediately, Ribbon jumped and turned. As she jumped, her leg lifted into the air into a swinging kick, luckily moving right over Amadhay’s head. “You little wormshit!” Ribbon exclaimed, smacking Amadhay on the shoulder. “I almost kicked your head off!”

“Not really,” Amadhay responded with a grin. “It was completely worth it.”

“We’ll see how worth it it was when I kick your ass,” Ribbon said, grabbing Amadhay in a headlock.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which amadhay isn’t saved

 

 

“I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon,” Atlas said to Amadhay, smiling up at her from his low couch.

Without looking from her, he gestured for Scarlet and Mitch to go. Both paused, but seeing that Stefan stood directly behind Amadhay, they nodded to Atlas and left the room.

Amadhay didn’t smile back at him, which he had expected. “Who is your informant?” she demanded.

“What?” he asked, genuinely surprised at the road this conversation was taking. He had been ready for most options such as ‘Where am I?’, ‘Why am I here?’, ‘I remember you,’ or even ‘You kidnapped me before,’ but not this one. He glanced to Stefan for illumination, but the snake-like man merely shrugged. He didn’t seem nearly as surprised as Atlas was, though to be fair, Stefan had implied that sending him in was a bad plan to begin with.

“Your informant, Atlas,” she reiterated. “What you know is informant information. You wouldn’t be able to know as much as you do without an informant that is close to me. You know things only my friends would be able to know, only my best of friends. So I want to know who is giving you information.”

Atlas gave a soft laugh and shook his head at Amadhay. “Of course I have an informant. But why on Resor would you think I would tell you his name?”

“So it’s a male?” Amadhay raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest. “Of course it’s a male. Rea is the only female and she wouldn’t sell information on me for anything.”

Atlas narrowed his eyes, not liking the look in hers. “Have you figured out your little puzzle?” he asked, trying to distract her.

She gave him a vague questioning sound. “Which one?”

“All those questions you were asking me yesterday. Why you, why I have you here, why now?”

Amadhay shrugged as if she honestly didn’t care, which threw Atlas for a moment until he realized what she was doing. She was feigning disinterest so that he would feel the need to give her information. He opened his mouth to do just that, but she beat him to it.

“Tairyn. Tairyn is your informant, isn’t he?” she nodded to herself. “He’s been away for a while, so getting me to bring your assets in was necessary to learn the grounds. You didn’t just wander to my room, you wandered to figure out where everything was. You knew that I would hurt the cyborg, or maybe you made sure that I would, so that she would go to the hospital wing, which is close to the Procedures, which is where we keep all of our files.

“Tairyn would know that, because he worked there before he was sent on an Over the Water mission. Tairyn was my best friend and the only one besides Christein, Indigo and pre-amnesia Amaya who I told about the dragon and canopy dream. Amaya has lost her memory and even before didn’t know me nearly well enough to tell you everything. Monkey and Indy would die before either set me up. It’s Tairyn.”

Atlas honestly couldn’t help but to stare at her in surprise. He was amazed by the tracks her mind went to figure out a question she should not have been able to guess the answer to, not that quickly. She couldn’t have been thinking about this for longer than she had been awake. He wondered what gave it away first, them putting her back in the remade bedroom from her childhood, or Stefan coming to her. He had wanted to refresh her memory, not out his informant.

He smiled at her either way. “That would be a great deduction, Amadhay, if your dream were only a dream. I thought you would have realized that by now. You’ve been here before. You know us.”

She frowned. “I think I would remember being somewhere this cold,” she stated.

Atlas raised his eyebrow. “Don’t you? What are those dreams then?”

“Nothing but dreams,” she replied firmly, looking away from him. She glanced back at Stefan, who had his arms crossed over his chest in a warning to her that she was being watched.

Atlas leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. “Were they? Then how do we know about all your games pretending to save the princess and defeat the dragon? Hm? What about your food patterns or the juice? I doubt any of your current friends could tell us that.”

“Then you have Indigo too. I was wondering who made the golems,” she said.

Atlas didn’t change his expression, though he did mentally pause and eye her more closely. He had known she was intelligent, probably the second most intelligent of the Hakinato first family, and a quick thinker, but hadn’t expected this kind of quick thinking. She was right, though not for the reasons she thought, since he had made sure Ribbon made the golems to keep Amadhay from recognizing her former servant’s magic. Regardless, she was very right on all accounts except one. He needed to press that one to make her doubt her other ideas.

 “Amadhay, you know you were here before. You remember it.” She shook her head, but there was a hesitance to it that he jumped on. “On your fourth birthday, the day of your party, Mitch and Stefan took you and your sister and brought you here. We entertained you for two months before we gave you back.”

Alright, he was lying a little. They hadn’t brought her here specifically, because this place hadn't existed eleven years ago. It would have been insane to take her back to the other place, because that was the first place Riffle would look. And no, they hadn't given them back, but had been outmatched by the Phoegani, though things had certainly changed since then. If the ease with which they had infiltrated the Phoegani and taken what they wanted was any indication, either they were much stronger than they had been (which was a given), or the Phoegani was greatly lacking (which he was thinking might also be the case).

She frowned, staring at him. He could see her going over the memories she had thought to only be dreams. She looked around the room, which was a perfect duplicate to the planning room in the other safe base that she would have recognized. She quickly took in every detail, moving faster than he could see so that she was almost a blur of motion. Honestly, he was a little surprised that she didn't attempt to attack him. Maybe Stefan was a good enough incentive, if she remembered enough about him to know how easily he would take her down.

“Why?” she finally asked, now standing directly in front of him. Stefan didn't move forward, though he did uncross his arms.

Atlas raised both eyebrows. “Why what?”

“Why did you kidnap us?” she asked. He couldn't begin to pretend that he knew what was going through her mind, but he assumed that she was thinking the same reason then was the same reason he did it now. It wasn't.

“To give your parents a message.”

She frowned. “What kind of message could you want to give the second brother of a clan and the somewhat powerless sister of the Lady of the Lake that wouldn't be better suited for their siblings?”

Atlas almost laughed. She didn't know. “Or should I say it was for Arne Riffle. He, after all, claimed you, which made you a prize. Both of you.”

“What about Hlala? She was claimed too. Why didn't you take all three of us? I'm sure you could have gotten whatever you wanted better that way.”

“We didn't need her. We only needed the two of you. The point was made perfectly then, just like a new point is being made now.”

She gave him a sharp smile. “So you kidnapped me to give Arne Riff a new message? What happened to trying to give me a new life?”

“Oh, I'm going to give you a better life. The message to Riffle has nothing to do with you. You weren't the point of this, but taking you does make everything much easier to manage. Now they'll be so focused on saving you that no one will notice anything else that may be missing.” He gave her a haughty grin. “Not that it really matters either way.”

She narrowed her eyes, taking a few steps back until she was back against Stefan. “I agree,” she said sweetly.

She looked up at Stefan with an innocent twinkle in her eye that he fell for. Atlas knew what she was about to do the moment he saw the relaxing in Stefan's posture. He had to smile when she took Stefan's moment of softness toward her to steal his gun from his belt. She shot Stefan twice, once in the throat and the second time directly between his eyes, before spinning and shooting Atlas in the chest. He felt the pain, there was no denying it, but he couldn't stop smiling at her. That was the Amadhay he expected.

“It doesn't matter because I don't need to be saved. I'm going to get out of here with whatever you took from us. It may not be today, but it will happen. And when it does, you won't be smiling,” she promised even as she watched the powder in the bullet sizzle and bubble out of the bullet hole before the hole closed around the bullet. He hissed as the bullet disintegrated inside of his body, but held his hand out to Stefan, who was reaching for Amadhay.

Amadhay didn't move, studying the hole in his shirt as if she could still see the bullet wound. “What good was that, Amadhay?” he asked her, straightening up and touching the hole, before giving a sigh. “Now you've upset Stefan, ruined my favorite shirt, and wasted three good bullets.”

“Go drown in the Water,” she cursed him, but still didn't move.

He sighed. “Stefan, take her back to her room until she can be trusted to play with others.”



Next Chapter
amadhay: (Default)
 in which Christein deserved it

 

 

“What is going on?” Christein demanded, gripping the arm of a new, young member as a loud sound of an explosion came from the medical bay.

“Someone is destroying the med bay!” the red haired girl squeaked. She quivered, frightened out of her mind and he gave her arm a hard squeeze to get her attention.

“Is anyone down there?”

“Rea for sure, but I was the only one there with her when the woman started attacking.” She flinched, glancing back toward the medical wings as another loud boom came from that direction.

Christein’s eyes narrowed. “You abandoned her?”

“She told me to!” she squealed. “She told me to go find Red Robin. To tell her that her cyborg woke up.”

Christein nodded and let go of the girl. “Good. Go find her then. Get Ghost Sparrow too.”

The moment he was no longer holding her, she ran off like a frightened rabbit, which irritated him. She would be useless to them if she panicked at the first sign of danger. He mentally made note to look into her training.

But not this moment.

He continued to di Carlime’s medical wing, taking care to be as silent as possible so that he didn’t give away his position until he was ready. He could still hear the sounds that, now that he knew it was a cyborg, could associate with lasers. That was a good sign. If the cyborg had already killed di Carlime, there would be no reason for her to continue wasting energy shooting with no target. Reaching for his pistol holster, he became aware that he had come into a cyborg-dragon fight without his own weapons. That was incredibly stupid.

Cursing himself, he began to retreat, but didn’t make it far when the sound of a laser boomed right next to him and the wall crumbled. Luckily, he was able to dodge out of the way and wasn’t hurt. Unfortunately, he was now out in the open and the cyborg was standing right on the other side of the debris.

He stayed still as she moved through the hole of the wall, watching her as she strode forward. She almost passed right by him, but for some reason her attention jerked from her intended path down the hallway and to him.

“Hakinato,” she spat, focusing on him.

Weaponless, he couldn’t think of anything to do but kick at her, so he did. The moment his foot made contact with her body, pain blossomed. The metal grafts cyborgs used in place of skin were, without any doubt, superior to his fleshy foot, even when covered by his thick soled, metal-toed boots.

She scoffed, grabbing him by the throat and pulling him up from the ground. “I’m not supposed to kill anyone, but I’m sure Atlas will make an exception for one of the Hakinato’s,” she mused, a cruel smirk on her lips.

He listened as her lasers warmed up. A standard cyborg laser modification took four clicks to warm up. One click. Two clicks. Three clicks. Fo—the cyborg was hit from behind and dropped Christein, turning her laser at the last click to a new target. She missed. Instead, di Carlime came rushing at her, fire blowing from her mouth even as she ran forward.

Christein watched the cyborg move almost as fast as Amadhay could when using her Gift, but even that wasn’t fast enough to avoid the dragon’s fire when it was going as wide as it was. Christein thought he was lucky not to be hit by the fire, himself. While the cyborg was busy fighting di Carlime, Christein made it back to his feet and backed away from the fight. There was nothing he could do, pistol-less and taser-less. He had loaned Amadhay his taser earlier and now was regretting doing that without knowing when and where she was going to drop the Palnokian cyborg. All of this could have been avoided if Amadhay had followed proper procedure for capture of more powerful people, especially when said person was Atlas Palnoki’s own bodyguard.

Speaking of Amadhay, Christein thought, where on Resor is she? The scared girl had run off to find her nearly five clacks ago, definitely enough time for Amadhay to have heard that something was going on down here and come to check it out. This was her specialty, taking down more difficult creatures that were altered from natural in some way. She was good at taking them apart, most likely from all the time she spent with Ben and di Carlime. For that matter, where was Ben? He would have been just as good as Amadhay in this situation, having more knowledge from his extended life than most of the rest of the Phoegani put together (with the possible exception of Darach. Darach probably knew more than Ben).

Regardless, neither of them were there to back him up, so he needed to think up a game plan because di Carlime was running out of air. He could see it, and if he could see it, he was sure the cyborg could too. The moment di Carlime was out of breath, she’d stop spewing fire, and the moment that happened, she would be at the mercy of the cyborg. If the cyborg took out di Carlime, he could be sure that he was a dead man.

He looked around him for something to use against the cyborg, but only saw debris of the walls and medical supplies like bandages, gauze, and syringes. None of those would help him, he decided, though he did linger on the syringes. He assumed that somewhere on the cyborg, she had normal skin instead of metal grafts covered by fake flesh. All cyborgs did; he assumed it reminded them of a time when they weren’t more machine than Goddess-bodied creatures. It didn’t matter, though, because not only would it be a guessing game trying to determine where her skin was real flesh, but he had to find something to put into the syringe and he didn’t like his odds. Christein felt that he had no other choice. He ran at the cyborg, expecting that the surprise attack would work best.

He was right. He slammed into the cyborg just in time, because di Carlime finally had to take a breath, and the cyborg had been so focused on the dragon that she hadn’t been expecting him to knock her down. But he did. The force of his body slamming into hers made them fall into the debris of the wall.

There was one problem though: Christein was on fire. Even though he knew that he would regenerate, the fact the he was on fire was an all-consuming thought. He writhed on top of the cyborg, who was trying to push him off, but for every inch she gained from him, his struggles kept her down. The fire was burning his flesh, but it was only burning her clothes and hair until finally, she tossed him off of her and he was able to roll to extinguish the flames.

“Did you really think that would hurt me?” she taunted, getting to her feet.

“Not,” he panted, “Really.” His body was already growing new skin to replace the burned one.

“Then what did you really think that would accomplish?” the cyborg demanded.

“This,” the seemingly forgotten di Carlime stated before jamming a syringe into the cyborg’s exposed real flesh side, where there were slight burns. She emptied the liquid into her body. Almost immediately, the red-haired woman began to seize, falling back down to her knees and then to her face. She shook for a few clicks before all movement ceased.

Christein sat up slowly, wincing at the tightness of his new skin. “Is she down?” he asked.

“She should be. I just put enough tranquilizers in her to take down a Feral six times her size,” di Carlime responded blandly, her eyes already moving to discern the damage done to her wing. “Where is Amadhay?”

“I don’t know,” Christein immediately responded, which was his automatic response to that question. At the look the dragon gave him, a look that said she would rip him a new one if he didn’t answer her seriously, he held his hands up. “I honestly don’t know. Last I heard from her, she was going after her,” he jerked his thumb at the fallen woman. “That was zoots ago.”

“I don’t like this,” di Carlime muttered, eyeing the body thoughtfully.

Christein snickered disdainfully. “What is there to like? Your wing is trashed. We have a drugged, incredibly dangerous cyborg out for only Goddess knows how long. And who knows where Ben or Amadhay are. They should have been here if they were on base, but obviously they aren’t.”

“Well I don’t know how true all that is,” a male voice drawled from behind him. By the time Christein had turned full circle, di Carlime was being tasered. He watched her go down before looking to the man who had done it.

He was obviously a dead-vampire, if his iris-less, black eyes and the blood drying on the side of his mouth were anything to go by. The blonde hair and high-crowned hat fit the description Ben had given of the vampire Amadhay was supposed to be bringing in. For the moment they stared at each other, Christein couldn’t help but to wonder if any of the captives Amadhay had brought in today had been properly detained. He was going to guess not.

“How’s that reboot going, Scarlet?” the vampire asked, looking to the cyborg but not making a move toward Christein. Christein didn’t make any moves either. He knew when he was outclassed. He had no weapons on him and his body was already hurting from its last healing. Even at his peak and with his pistol, he doubted he would have been a match for a dead-vampire, especially one who had recently eaten.

“Slow,” the cyborg slurred.

“Are you going to need help getting up or is it going faster than that? Atlas just called us all in to the gate.”

“Di’n’t get whad I needed,” she muttered.

“Then what the Water were you doing? Playing peek-a-boo?” the vampire demanded in irritation. “I’ll have Tenshu grab it on his way out.”

Grab what? Christein thought. He started to back away, thinking that the attention was off of him enough that he might be able to get out.

“Tsk, tsk. Where do you think you’re going?” the vampire asked Christein, turning his unsettling, large-pupiled eyes back to him. He playfully squeezed the taser, making it light up menacingly. “I still have plans for you.”


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 in which amadhay is amaya

 

 

Amadhay wasn’t shaking when she finally made it to the door of Byrd’s Pub, but she was close to it.

Nothing she had dealt with before had been nearly as nerve-wracking as this. She had faced down Ferals three times her size, assassinated high-ranking members of other courts, decimated her competition, even sneaked in and out of Palnoki on several occasions with barely any magic to defend herself and absolutely no way to get backup. But this, this was definitely getting her much more unnerved than any of those previous times. This was walking into enemy territory blind and with a whole lot of animosity against her.

She tried to remind herself that if something went wrong, she was faster. If something went wrong, she could teleport. If something went wrong, she could try again in a different way. That didn’t help her. She was still just barely holding it all together as she touched the heavy door. She stood there, staring at the patterns on the redwood door for a few clicks, working up her confidence, but it was hard coming and even harder to keep. She was about to turn on her heel and leave, when the door opened inward and a smiling, brunet man stood there.

“See? She’s right here,” he called over his shoulder before grabbing her hand and pulling her into the building. She was so taken off-guard that she didn’t think to attack him, which was probably in her best interest. “Amaya, you’ve got to tell Jazz that you aren’t going to be sent back to Hartin. She’s been planning an escape route since you ran out on her earlier.”

Amadhay blinked a few times, not sure what she should say, if anything. The man led her into the main room of the tavern, where a tall redhead (Fire Herald Lazaili Jazz, she mentally recognized as one of Amaya’s closest friends and also the target Arne Riff had assigned her should things get difficult with the girls) was behind the bar, filling another man’s glass. None of the other Heralds were present and, as far as she could tell, neither was Byrd, which was a blessing in itself. In fact, the bar was strangely empty for the time of the day. It was about midday, and considering it was Soulsday, she was honestly surprised that it wasn’t booming with the business of hard laborers wasting away on their off day.

The fire Herald gave Amadhay a once over before grinning wickedly. “So Hynnkel couldn’t get you to wear a dress?” she teased before hopping up to sit on the bar. She swung her legs over so that she could sit on the edge, facing Amadhay and the brunet man.

Amadhay gave a strained laugh, thinking that Amaya would have laughed there. “Not that he didn’t try,” she attempted, hoping that was the right response. When all three people laughed, she assumed she had done well enough.

“Oh, Goddess, tell me he tried to get you into the white one. You look adorable in the white one,” the brunet man drawled, leaning back into the bar. Herald Jazz swatted at him.

“Stop flirting with the innocent one!”

Amadhay raised her eyebrows. The innocent one? She highly doubted that her sister was the innocent one.

“I can’t help it, can I?” the brunet asked the only man yet to speak, “She’s adorable in that white dress. C’mon Jake, you know she is. It makes her look half her age—”

“Which would make her seven, Crow!” Herald Jazz exclaimed. Amadhay was feeling less nervous and more disturbed by the conversation. Why on Resor would a grown man want a girl who looked like she was seven?

“I know, I know,” the brunet, Crow, held his hands up in surrender. He gave her a fangy smile that made everything plainer about him. He was a blood-gorging living vampire. They always had tastes that were just off from being utterly depraved, making them only minimally better than their kin, the dead-vampires. “I just can’t help but think she’s cute when she looks all tiny and innocent.”

“I give you full permission to knock him out,” Herald Jazz offered, looking at Amadhay, who shrugged.

“Nothing I haven’t heard before,” she bluffed, making Herald Jazz hit Crow again.

“Stop trying to corrupt the baby!” she exclaimed, hitting him one more time.

“So how did the urgent meeting go?” the one who hadn’t spoken, Jake, asked, looking directly at Amadhay in a way that made her flinch. He would look at her too closely and see the differences because there were differences. Even if Amadhay actually knew what Amaya looked like nowadays, there would still be differences. Maybe she’d dyed her hair or had new piercings. Maybe she had a scar. Amadhay had a scar, she suddenly remembered, right below her lip. She had it and it was almost impossible that Amaya had it too. What if they noticed that?

“Mee-May?” Herald Jazz asked after a few moments of silence on Amadhay’s part. She waved her hand in front of the younger girls face, making Amadhay flinch back.

Concern jumped onto all three faces and suddenly all of the attention was on her. There was no longer the light-hearted feel, no joking or laughter, just concern. “Are you alright?” Herald Jazz demanded. “Because I swear to Goddess, Escort and all the little Splinters that if they hurt you, I will kill them.”

Amadhay felt like her heart was beating fast and hard enough that she might pass out. “No,” she said softly, and it sounded unconvincing even to her own ears. “No,” she tried again, sounding a little bit surer this time. “I’m fine. I’m just…I’m just tired. I…it’s been a long day and I just wanna take a catnap.”

The men chuckled lightly at her cat joke, but Herald Jazz watched her critically for a few more clicks before frowning. “Are you sure? You don’t look okay.”

“I just need to sleep,” Amadhay repeated. “Do you think Byrd would mind if I took a nap here?” she tried.

Herald Jazz gave her one last, long look before rolling her eyes. “Byrd can go munch on donkey balls,” she stated, making Amadhay give her a look of surprise.

Herald Jazz grinned at her before hopping off of the bar and gesturing for the two men to take over for her. She paused for a moment when she stood before Amadhay, standing over a foot taller. Looking down first at her own feet, then at Amadhay’s, she gave a shrug and let go of whatever thought had come to her. She took Amadhay’s hand. “C’mere, I’ll take you to a free room.”

Amadhay let the much taller girl lead her through the tavern and upstairs to the lodging part of the inn. As they ascended the steps, Herald Jazz put her hand on Amadhay’s shoulder. The younger girl was so tense that she was sure the Herald could feel her muscles coiling. She tried to relax them, but couldn’t. Her second thought when Herald Jazz squeezed her shoulder was that she had been found out. Amaya’s arms and shoulders were much more muscled than her own were, her sister being an archer while she was a magic practitioner making all the difference in their muscle build up.

Herald Jazz made a soft sound, stopping them at the top of the landing, and leaned down enough to look into Amadhay’s face, her eyes searching. Amadhay took a deep breath and clenched her fist, ready to slam it into the redhead’s stomach.

“Mee-May,” she said softly, glancing back down the stairs before looking back to Amadhay, “Are you sure everything’s fine? You’re tensed to Waters and so quiet that I don’t even feel like it’s you. Did Ass Riffly-pants do something to you?” The sheer absurdity of the name the Herald used for Arne Riff made Amadhay giggle against her will, which seemed to be the right move when Herald Jazz gave her a relieved smile.

“I’m fine, I told you,” Amadhay insisted, taking Herald Jazz’s hand from her shoulder and squeezing it lightly the way she vaguely remembered new-Amaya doing.

Herald Jazz didn’t look completely certain yet. She squeezed Amadhay’s hand back before continuing to lead her to a room. “If you’re sure…” she tried, but Amadhay gave her a mute smile and nodded. “You only come here after dealing with your family when you need comfort. So I’m here for you if you want to talk.”

She hadn’t known that. If Amaya only comes here for comfort, she wondered, then where would she normally have gone? Essebelle had made it sound as if Amaya and all of her friends were regulars at this establishment. That would have been the only sense behind Palnoki’s Wrangler and Skeletal Smile coming to this place. Unless…

She glanced at Herald Jazz, wondering how hard it would be to pretend to be Amaya enough to get a little more information. “I just couldn’t go home,” she attempted, watching the redhead closely.

Herald Jazz paused at the door of room 16, turning back to look at Amaya. “Is that why Hynnkel and Croy-li aren’t with you? Did something happen between the three of you?”

Amadhay gave a slight shrug. So she lives with Croy-li and Hynnkel? “Sort of,” she muttered, looking down at her feet. The purple boots were obnoxious against the denim of her jeans, but, she noticed, Herald Jazz was wearing similar boots with a much higher heel and similar, though clingier, jeans. She wondered for a moment if Amaya and Herald Jazz often dressed similarly enough that the redhead wouldn’t have seen it noteworthy enough to comment upon.

“You know you can stay here as long as you want. I can’t promise Blu or Brave’ll keep Croy-li out if you don’t want to talk to him, but we’ll all keep Hynnkel out. Him I can promise we’ll throw out on his ass until you want to be bothered.” Her words were spoken in a way that made Amadhay wonder if there was a little unrest in the group. Croy-li, while not a Herald, was one of the girls despite his gender. It wasn’t surprising that in-fighting would be something some of them would try to avoid. But the seeming dislike of Hynnkel was what interested her. There had been a type of malevolent glee in the girl’s voice at the idea of tossing Hynnkel out, which made it obvious there was no lost love between Amaya’s friends and him. Could she exploit that?

She smiled at Herald Jazz and gave her a quick hug. If new-Amaya was anything like old-Amaya, she would have kept close and made it a long hug, but Amadhay couldn’t convince herself to do that. She wasn’t quite sure how much vampire was in Herald Jazz’s valev and how much elf, and despite the rumors that being a Herald dulled senses, she couldn’t chance the Herald being able to sniff out the slight difference in her and Amaya’s natural smells. That would lead to real problems.

The Herald probably just took it to mean that she was tired or otherwise emotionally weary, since she gave Amadhay a fond smile and nodded at her. “Come down for dinner though, kay? The Team’s gonna come over—besides Croy-li if you want—and hear how everything went.” Amadhay had nodded and almost had the door open when Herald Jazz stopped her, “Oh crap! I almost forgot, you are good, right? They’re not making you go back to the homestead? We don’t have to make a big plan to break you out and move Over the Water or something, do we?”

She sounded so hysterical that Amadhay had to laugh. All that worry over one little call with a tiny ultimatum? These people were comical. If she had had a call like that, Benjy and Monkey would have expected her to just deal with it, not questioned her to Water about it. New-Amaya must have been pretty incapable that her friends were so worried that she would have flubbed something up enough for Arne Riff to force her to rejoin the homestead with no previous warnings.

Unless there had been warnings. Had there? She wouldn’t know. She made it her business not to know the business of either of her sisters. It was better that way.

She waved a hand at Herald Jazz. “Don’t worry. Riffly-butt isn’t forcing me to move,” she responded, trying out a new name for her uncle.

Herald Jazz laughed. “Riffly-butt? I like that one. That’s my new one,” she called as she headed back downstairs without another word about the problem.

With that, she was alone. Checking over her shoulder to be sure that no one was watching, she went into the room and sat on the bed for a few clacks, just biding her time. She knew, because it was what she would do, that Herald Jazz was waiting downstairs, listening for any signs that she (or rather Amaya) needed anything or was having any problems. So she just had to wait the Herald out long enough for her not to notice when Amadhay went to go and get to Palnoki’s Wrangler.

In the meantime, she looked around the room. It was clean, in fact surprisingly so, given she never would have thought of taverns to be well cleaned, considering the draw was the alcohol of the pub, not the bedrooms. Either way, it was clean enough to pass her inspection, with the single bed centered against one wall and a single window showing the street. There was no closet and the dresser was relatively small, not even large enough for her to fit in there for a surprise attack. The room was sparse, with a low table, single (extremely ugly) painting, and (kind of dying) potted plant being the only unnecessary ornamentations.

As far as she could tell, there was no way in aside from the door, considering that the window certainly wouldn’t fit her shoulders, much less her hips. It was only wide enough to fit her head through, but positioned well enough to see if someone was scoping the room, placed at an angle to make it harder on anyone trying to look in. The window couldn’t give a very good view of the room because of that angle.

Who in the Water was Jymothie Byrd that his inn was created like a safe house? Did he know he was housing the Palnoki? Was he a Herald sympathizer? Or worse yet, was he a Palnoki sympathizer? She sat back down on the bed and thought for a moment. Essebelle hadn’t given her much more information on Byrd than Atlas had, which was to say, she knew next to nothing on the man other than he was a human ally of Amaya and her friends (which wasn’t quite the same as being a Herald sympathizer, but she was leaning toward that) who happened to own the tavern in which three Heralds worked and two Palnoki members lived. Deciding to get more information on Jymothie Byrd the moment she was done with this mission, she put her thoughts on the mysterious man behind her.

A knock on the door made her frown. She crept to the door and clutched the knife attached to her right forearm. “Who is it?” she called softly.

“It’s Mitch. I just wanted to check on you. Jazz said something happened.”

She almost laughed. It was perfect. Instead of her having to leave the room, he was coming right to her. She was instantly back on the bed, lying on her side with her back to the door. “You can come in,” she called back at the door. She purposely tried to sound as pathetic as possible, knowing that the predator in the vampire wouldn’t be able to walk away from that type of prey, regardless of whether he was supposed to be her friend or not.

The friend in Palnoki’s Wrangler towards her sister must have been strong (or at least his orders not to arouse negative suspicion) because the vampire hesitated. “Are you sure you don’t want Jazz or Byrd? They’re right downstairs.”

She gave a rather convincing sniffle. “We’re friends too, right?”

“Of course,” he responded immediately, but still didn’t open the door. She didn’t even think he’d turned the doorknob yet. “It’s just I’m not sure I’m the one you should talk to right now.”

“Please, Mitch?” she pleaded, rolling her eyes. She gave another pathetic whimper before the man turned the doorknob.

“What do you need to talk about?” he asked, hovering at the doorway. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see that he was barely in the room. She gathered herself up into a sitting position, hunched over her legs.

“I heard something,” she whispered.

The vampire immediately straightened up, eyeing her warily. “What kind of something?” he asked in response, glancing over his shoulder before closing the door behind him.

“Something really, really scary.”

“About what?” he asked, hovering at the edge of the bed. He didn’t sit down beside her, didn’t even lean over the bed to get closer to her. Instead, he stood there awkwardly with his arms crossed over his chest and his wide-brimmed hat low, throwing shadow over his face. For some reason he seemed familiar to her, more familiar than just some random vampire she had fought earlier.

“You and Tenshu,” she said, looking up at him. It was then, when he tilted his head back in a jerky motion of surprise that she saw his face.

She froze in shock, staring at him. She recognized him. He was the vampire, Mitch, who had helped Lizu screw her over. He was the reason she had messed up the Madra job, he was the one who had beaten her until she couldn’t move, before sending her back to the Phoegani, courtesy of the Huron clan. Mitchell Hunnigan, she mentally tasted the name, vowing right then and there to get back at him in an incredibly personal way. He had made it personal.

“What about us?” he demanded, uncrossing his arms and sinking down onto the bed before her. They both stared at each other for a moment before he blinked twice, rapidly. He gave an abrupt sniff of the air before her just as she curled her fist into a ball.

“Son of a Feral hog,” he cursed, jolting up just before she launched herself at him.

“You double fanged worm,” she hissed, pressing her blade to his throat.

He laughed, “I should have known,” he said before pushing her off of him, an easy feat for the dead-vampire that shoved her all the way back into the wall.

He moved again before her head was no longer spinning from its meeting with the wall, this time with him in control of the situation. He had his forearm pressed against her throat and her back to the wall, his lower body holding her in place.

“What have you done with Tenshu?” he demanded.

He pulled his arm back so that she could answer, and instead, she laughed. “That’s who you’re worried about?” she bluffed.

He narrowed his eyes for a moment, studying her before he seemed to catch on to her implication, his eyes widening. “What did you do to Amaya?” he hissed, baring his fangs at her.

She gave him a cocky smile. “If you kill me, then you’ll never know, now will you?”

“I don’t have to kill you,” he threatened.

“And I don’t have to keep her alive,” she countered.

They eyed each other for a moment, a battle of wills happening purely between their eyes. His iris-less eyes broke contact first, the giant pupil glancing from her face and to the window. He pulled back from her and crossed his arms over his chest, taking two moderate steps away from her.

“Where is she?” he asked, turning so that he wasn’t facing her full on. She recognized the sign of a dead-vampire trying to disassociate a person from prey and chose not to move. She might have been faster than him when using her Gift, but he was definitely much stronger than she was. One wrong move and he would have her. Considering she had only recently fully recovered from his last assault on her, she knew she wouldn’t stand a chance once he had her. Her only hope was to calm his predator senses down long enough to incapacitate him so that she could get him back to base. Once there, there were people whose entire job was to contain prisoners.

“Come with me and you’ll find out,” she suggested.

“Or I could just stall and get you stuck here,” he replied casually, re-adjusting his hat. “I’m sure Byrd and Hynnkel would have a fun time getting the answers out of you. Of course, that’s only if Jazz and Squirrel leave anything of you to question.”

Amadhay faked a laugh, trying to cover her discomfort with bravado. That was exactly what she was worried about, any of the others coming in. She couldn’t pretend to be Amaya when Hunnigan knew for a fact that she wasn’t and planned to out her. She would have to flee empty-handed, again. She couldn’t allow that to happen, not this time.

“If I’m not in contact in one clack, they’re going to hurt her until I get back. Do you want to be the reason sweet little Amaya is hurt?” she taunted.

She didn’t miss the tensing of his muscles. If she had, he would have pinned her again, but instead he grabbed nothing but air. She was once again sitting on the bed, cross-legged this time. “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” she scolded him. “That is no way to treat someone. Screw me over once, it’s luck. Do it twice and I’m fucking stupid.”

He gave her an unimpressed look over his shoulder before turning to face her full on, his arms once again crossed over his chest. “What do you want, Amadhay?”

“Honestly? To destroy you,” she said with a nonchalant shrug even as she mentally went over her every interaction with him to determine how he knew her name. Atlas, she finally decided. Atlas must have told him that she was Red Robin. Recognizing her smell as Red Robin was one thing, associating that smell with “Amadhay” was a whole other. She had been painstakingly careful to be “Daia” in Madra and had had a glamour witch alter her appearance just enough that she shouldn’t have been recognizable as the dead Hakinato ladyling.

She touched her face, only to be reminded that she wasn’t wearing her mask before standing up on the bed. She had meant for it to be smooth and impressive, but the bed was soft and a bit squishy, which made her have to shift so as not to fall over and stand with her legs apart, making her shorter than she already was, even with the extra height from the bed. Either way, she tried for a superior expression. “But I can live with taking you in.”

“And if I go with you?” he asked, no humor in his voice, which made her happy. She remembered him with amusement in his voice all the time. She remembered him laughing as he kicked her down, him joking right before he bit into her shoulder, her back, her hand, an amused twinkle in his eye as she lay on the floor, right before he knocked her unconscious. No humor meant he didn’t have the upper hand this time. Atlas had been right. She did hold all the pieces in her hands.

“Then I won’t hurt Amaya,” she replied with a smirk. “Though I can’t promise the same for your necromancer partner.”

A sardonic grin came to his lips. “Mm, and how’s yours? Still dead?”

Her fists clenched, but despite all of her impulses, she did not hit him. She was almost positive he wanted her to get close enough for him to grab her. “He’s fine. Are you coming or not? We only have a few more clicks before they start cutting into her.”

Hunnigan scowled and glanced at her wrist, where a silver coil was wrapped as a bracelet, marks etched into it in a pattern. “Let me guess. Those are your cuffs,” he drawled patronizingly, giving her a disillusioned look before he put his hands behind his back and turned away from her. “Let’s get this over with.”

With him no longer looking at her, she relaxed, giving a soft exhalation of relief before hopping off of the bed. She uncoiled the silver from her wrist slowly, watching him carefully for any signs of movement. He simply wiggled his hands impatiently, still looking ahead instead of back at her. When she was close enough to wrap them around his hands, he did just as she dreaded, gripping her wrist with one of his and pulling her to his front.

She coiled part of the silver around his free wrist before his other hand also clasped around her free wrist. They stood before each other, holding each other’s opposite wrists, his right one cuffed while her left hand held the rest of the coil.

“If you harm either one of them I will—”

“If you don’t let go of me, I will take your hand off,” Amadhay threatened before he could finish his threat. The coil around his wrist tightened and heated without her moving. She stared up at him, eyebrows raised, practically asking him to call her bluff so that she could do it.

He didn’t. Instead, he let go of her wrists. His expression was stony as she wrapped part of the remaining coil around his other wrist and gripped the silver between coils. “Now we can go,” she said chipperly, smiling at him.


Next Chapter

amadhay: (Default)
 In which benjy is hurt

 

 

“The blond one will be Mitch. He’s Palnoki’s Wrangler, you know of him, right? Good. The one with the ponytail will be Tenshu, Skeletal Smile. You’ll have to keep your eyes on him ‘cause he’s tricky.”

When Amadhay nodded, he grinned and began to tune his intercom headset. Bland static, pure white noise came from the device and made Amadhay tap her DS to check to see if it was still functioning. Amadhay shook her head at Benjy when she saw that it was.

 “Just remember that we’ll still have to find the cyborg after this, okay? She’ll be easy for you, Red,” he whispered. Something about that caught Amadhay, but she decided to think on it later.

When her DS stopped working, she nodded to Benjy. He tapped his intercom headset and said, “Ghost Sparrow reporting. Received?”

“Received,” Benjy’s communications operative immediately replied through the scrambling static.

“I’m doing a mission with Red Robin for Interrogation and the Info Depo, just so you know.”

“Understood. Carry on.” The cutoff of static to end the communication indicated the beginning of their mission.

“Right on,” Benjy smirked, “Let’s go Lil’ Red.” He faded out on her, going to find their marks. Since apparently Benjy’s information liaison kept tabs on where all known necromancers were at all times to keep Benjy safe, it had been easy enough to find the general location of Skeletal Smile. Luckily enough, it appeared that Skeletal Smile and Palnoki’s Wrangler were together, which Benjy had assured her was normal for the pair. All they needed to do was find the two in this small woods. She had already bet the phantom that they would be at the meadow clearing. It was where she and her sister used to go when they needed to talk in private.

While waiting, Amadhay had time to think. There was definitely something hokey going on. She had been too irritated about the interrogation to think about it earlier, but Atlas had really come too easily. She had gone in expecting a suicide mission, and had come out with one of their greatest enemies bending to her will. And there was something in the way that he looked at her. She couldn’t put her finger on it but—

“They’re behind the trees down there. Come on!” Benjy’s voice came excitedly. He didn’t even bother to become visible again.

The thrill of a real, honest mission excited her. All of her earlier irritation about being put on interrogation duty blocked out her worries and all she could focus on was the mission. She had a necromancer to take out. It would be her first. She was excited.

Her first sight of the men was a disappointment. The ponytailed one, Tenshu Tanhakinshu, had on all black, with black jeans, black canvas shoes, a black t-shirt with a skull on it, and even a black leather coat. He was ridiculously pretty and had a slim figure. She couldn’t see a muscle on him. His partner, Mitchell Hunnigan, was no better, wearing jeans, a blue plaid button down, cowboy boots, and a matching hat that threw his face into shadow. He was talking animatedly. While both looked vaguely familiar to her, neither of them looked like they were formidable foes. Still, she had to remind herself that she looked even less likely to be dangerous at only five feet and still plump from aelfe youth.

When the vampire suddenly froze, she knew it was time to move. Using her Gift, Amadhay zoomed down the hill at her top speed, ramming into Skeletal Smile and knocking him a good three feet from the Wrangler. Instantly, she let go of her Gift and in a much slower speed, she tucked into a roll and unfolded onto her feet before Skeletal Smile, who caught himself. He automatically drew his gun with his left hand while aiming his blade on her with his right.

Amadhay just barely skidded to a stop to avoid impaling herself. Blades were always dangerous if she wasn’t careful. She wasn’t too worried about the gun though, considering no one had ever managed to shoot her before. Skeletal Smile’s eyes shot just over her shoulder, and she followed his gaze to where the Wrangler was attempting to attack the only partially corporeal Benjy.

“You!” the pretty-boy hissed.

She was irritated that he wasn’t even looking at her when she was his opponent, not Benjy. She intended to show him why he should be paying attention to her with a quick, incapacitating jab to his ribs, but the necromancer just dodged her, still paying her no mind as he slid another knife out of his coat and threw it past her.

She watched it pass her, but it didn’t connect in her mind that she should have tried to stop it until it hit the mark right in the center of Benjy’s chest. She expected to see it go right through him since he wasn’t fully materialized, but it didn’t, and he instantly became completely corporeal, falling to his knees.

Amadhay and Benjy’s eyes went wide at the same time. “N-no. Please, don’t,” he managed to get out as Skeletal Smile dropped his weapons to clasp his hands together, making blue light surround Benjy. Amadhay started toward Benjy when he screamed in pain.

“N-no!” Benjy screamed pleadingly and she faltered, turning back to Skeletal Smile uncertainly. “Amadhay!” the phantom cried out, pushing her into action.

She had never seen something take Benjy down like that, but she knew she had to stop the necromancer at all costs. Lips moving rapidly, her eyes turned a deeper red as she focused the full power of her incantation on Skeletal Smile’s chest. A bright purple ball jolted her body as it shot out from between her outstretched hands, gaining speed before slamming into Skeletal Smile, dropping him to the ground.

The Wrangler cried out, but Amadhay didn’t even look at him, instead using her Gift to make it to Benjy right as he collapsed. He was jerking violently when she focused her eyes on the blade, readying herself to pull it out. Before she could, however, he went still and the blade faded from existence, leaving only a tag to float to the ground beside Benjy. His eyes were open, staring at nothing, the black slowly but surely turning to what she feared was his original green eye color.

She tried not to allow herself to lose composure. “Benjy?” she questioned softly, cautiously touching his chest where the blade had been, checking to see if the blade was invisible or truly gone. It was gone. She shook him lightly and after receiving no reply, she snatched the tag up, hoping for some clue of what to do for her friend. Right there on it, however, was her worst fear. The runes on it read to declare that it was a seal tag specifically designed to seal an Undead’s soul away. It had done its job already.

“Monkey,” she whispered, needing her cousin to come to help her, to fix this. She stared at Benjy’s dead eyes, feeling her own eyes begin to prickle.

She refused to cry. When Christein did not appear (which really he had no reason to do since he wasn’t really mentally linked to her, he was just incredibly observant), she chose to instead focus all her energy on fixing this. A seal could be broken. Her eyes narrowed as she turned them back to the body of the other man. She appeared beside the Wrangler, not even looking at him as she shoved him away from his partner, who, while barely conscious, was visibly in no small amount of pain. Giving neither a chance to do anything, she grabbed the necromancer by the ponytail and teleported back to base, instinctively knowing, or rather hoping, that the vampire wouldn’t dare to touch her Benjy’s body.


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November 2016

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