I had been daydreaming for I don't know how long, slipping in and out of consciousness. I had no way to mark time passage, but it felt like I'd been in solitude for years. I was not the kind of person who liked being alone, I thrived through human contact, and the lack of stimulation in my jail cell was slowly driving me insane.
Crack! In my oblivion I had failed to realize that Freya had entered the room, and losing her patience like any normal Strigoi, she had opted to wake me up from my daydreams by backhanded me across the face. What a great way to start my day! I snarled sarcastically in my head, giving Freya a bitter glare, trying not to move too much to prevent irritating the countless wounds across my body.
I took a mental stock of what I must've looked like; bloodied, thousands of cuts everywhere, bloodwhore sadistically carved into my arm, my leg hanging limp as well as my arm, bites covering my neck, my hair wild and matted with blood, my body thoroughly bruised. I wasn't sure how much more of this I could endure.
She looked at me, studying me as I glared at her. To my utter confusion, she burst out laughing. I felt my glare intensifying. If looks could kill, there were no words to explain the slow, excruciatingly painful death as well as torturous afterlife I'd plan for Freya.
"I just don't see how Dimitri Belikov would go for you! Oh, that's simply hilarious!" She breathed, giving me a look of fascination.
"You leave him alone? You hear me? Leave Dimitri out of this!" I attempted to struggle against my restraints, trying to get at her with what little strength I had left to back up my threat. She laughed even harder.
"Why that's simply adorable!" She chirped, rolling her eyes at me. "Now, rumor has it Dimitri's gift of eternity was ripped away by someone named Rose Hathaway. What can you tell me about it?" She asked, giving me a look of amused curiosity, not bothering to hide her contentment.
"You must have the wrong girl! Maybe it's the other Rose Hathaway?" I exclaimed, sarcasm dripping from my words. Her face darkened as she leaned in, merely inches from my face, grabbing me tightly by the jaw.
"Now, now Rosemarie. We mustn't ruin the fun. If I were you I'd loosen that jaw before I break it, understand?" She leaned in even closer, the smell of decay and old blood on her breath. I wrinkled my nose in disgust.
"Geez! Don't you own a toothbrush?" I exclaimed, contorting my face in repugnance. The smell was revolting.
"Focus, dearie, I wouldn't want to accidently order the death of your precious Vasilissa, now would I?" She asked innocently, eyes wide in fake shock.
"If I had a dollar for every time a Strigoi has threatened me with that, well, I'd be pretty damn rich. Let me know when your insults are original." It was quite amusing how Strigoi made the same death threats over and over until they were no longer scary, they actually made me laugh. Freya had no way of getting to Liss! Lissa was at Court, heavily guarded and completely safe under the protection of hundreds of guardians.
"You forget your place, Rosemarie. I have every capability of making that happen. I have the power to kill anyone I please for my own amusement. I suggest you shut your mouth unless you have something of use to say." She sneered, releasing my shirt and letting me plop back down in my seat.
"Then I guess I'm done talking." I gave her my man-eater smile, infuriating her even further. She leaned back, cracking her knuckles, turning around and starting to walk towards the door. She wasn't going to beat the shit out of me? Had she gone soft on me?
Her fist connecting with my jaw informed me that she had indeed not gone soft. I blacked out instantly, though I could still feel the bruises forming as she continued to punch, kick, and thoroughly bruise every surface on my body. I felt as if I'd been mistaken for a punching bag.
I woke up to ice water being thrown on me, shocking me awake. "What did I say about going to sleep on me?" I sighed, almost to my breaking point. I couldn't take much more of this. I knew I was close to the end… it just killed me to know I'd go like this, without a fight. There was no pride in that. However, I found peace in the fact that I was protecting the ones I loved. I was tired. Weak. I had no fight left in me.
I felt my breath become shallow and quick, like I was hyperventilating. I could feel the edges of my vision become blurry. I could feel the tidal wave of unconsciousness start the drag me under. I knew if I let it take me I'd never wake up. As a dhampir, I knew how to assess my injuries and knew what level of damage I'd taken, and I knew for a fact that my injuries were fatal, I just hoped they wouldn't come looking for me, or worse, find me, dead in an alleyway, or wherever Freya decided to dump my body once she realized I was dead.
I decided with my last few breaths, I would think of happy thoughts. Immediately my mind jumped to thoughts of Dimitri. The way his eyes twinkled when he looked my way, his full smile that gave me butterflies, his strength and power in battle, his ridiculous duster. They brought a weak smile to my face.
Lissa. What would she do without me? I thought of all our good times together at the Academy and in Portland. All of our crazy nights and sleepovers. I tried to laugh, but a sharp pain ripped through my chest. I could still feel the abuse my body was taking. Freya was relentless.
I closed my eyes, feeling incredibly sleepy, only to feel more ice water hit me, but I was already cold and wet, and the shock didn't even register. I was delirious. Suddenly, the abuse stopped.
"Is she dead?" I heard a Strigoi minion ask. I could feel Freya approach me, crouching down to get a good look at me.
"Almost. I'll be back in an hour to turn her. Make sure she stays here, you never know with this one." She ordered. I felt fear consume me as her words registered in my head.
"Wait!" More pain hit me, but I yelled it as loud as I could, which I guess was no louder than a whisper, luckily Strigoi senses are extremely sensitive and she spun around to face me.
I forced my eyes open to look at her. "I'll talk." I gasped, talking had become a strenuous task. A sickening smile spread across her face as she looked at me.
"I knew you'd come around. Now, when is the next time Lissa will be leaving the wards?"
The plane ride just wouldn't end. I knew they were worried about me, I'd been jiggling my knee this entire plane ride, anxiously staring out the window. I'd tried to read my western, but I couldn't find the focus to enjoy the story. The thought that my Roza could be dead landed me in the icy grips of fear as I sat there, tortured by my own imagination, a ball of stress and anxiety. The world was cruel.
I stood up, deciding to pace the length of the plane to stretch. Lissa shot me a worried glance, grabbing my arm before I could pass. "Wait." She whispered. I turned and looked at her, seeing the anxiety in her eyes.
"Promise me something." She said, a grave tone to her voice. I studied her for a moment, curious at her request.
"Anything, Princess." I kept my Guardian mask up, making sure she was completely unaware of how intense my inner turmoil truly was. I didn't need my charge worried over my wellbeing. Rose would kill me at how unprofessional that would be.
"Promise me that if, God forbid, Rose doesn't make it out of this, you'll continue to live your life to the fullest. I know how much you love her, and I feel it's my duty as her best friend to make sure you'll be okay." Her face looked clouded with worry, my heart went out to her. I nodded my head in agreement.
"I will." Lies. If Rose died, I would never forgive myself. I couldn't live without her. It was as simple as that. The only reason I'd keep living, is to protect Lissa for Rose. I'd promised her I'd protect her and Lissa, and if I couldn't keep the promise to protect her, I'd at least keep the promise to always protect Lissa. I knew it would be her dying wish. I just prayed it didn't have to be.