Gil marched down the hall with the others towards the store room and paused by the door where he gave Rob the Mg-Forty-Two. Freya, Jasmine, and Jack walked up behind him, followed by General Swift and his Valkyries Tomoe and Ashe.
“A mark forty-four with special demolition ammunition.” He frowned at his own words. “Malice and Loki could have blown Rihmsjalier all to hell and taken Almaren too with the fall out.”
The General spoke with a scowl on his face. “I knew Loki was bad, but I didn’t think he was a complete psychopath.”
“There’s a chance he knows where the other four keys are.” Gil grumbled, toying with the one he wore about his neck. “Though Vanessa and Morgan didn’t find any on his person.”
“It is not the male I worry about, but the power behind him. Loki is a pest compared to Malice, and it is her abilities that we must be weary of. For all we know, she could already have the keys.” The General let out, though catching sight of Alara and Alura, he quickly changed his tune so as not to frighten them. “Loki will tell us what we need to know, that, I am sure of. There will be no bombs, no fall out to worry about.”
“What is he talking about, Gil? What fall out?” Alara asked with anger in her voice.
“Poison debris that falls from the sky after a massive explosion rocks the lands. It makes everyone sick, even the trees.” He replied with concern in his voice, knowing exactly what the Queen would do if and such thing threatened her forest.
“He would not dare.” Her eyes flashed and she shook her fist into the air. “I will cut him in half. Where is he now?” Alara growled as she drew her sword.
Gil had to laugh, silently. People had a tendency to assume that Elves were these whimsical creatures, nurturing and loving with not a single evil bone in their bodies. That assumption, was a mistake. They in fact, made for some bad-ass warriors. Rangers, as they liked to call themselves. They never forgave, nor did they forget.
“He’s under lock and key, in an absorption cell. As are the suitcase nukes, across the bloody compound. I hold one key and Senna holds the other. There are orders that the two of us are to avoid any situations in which we will be in the same place at the same time. No chances are to be taken.”
As they continued on down the hall, he tried to explain to the Queen that her forest was perfectly safe and that the cell that Loki was locked in would stop him, or anyone else for that matter, from getting in or out. You needed a special combination to unlock that door and only a handful of people knew it. Good luck to any other who tried, for the poison within was strong. With a nod, she accepted his explanation and followed along with the rest as they made for the stairs; and the cells below
“How is she doing?” Loki asked as the Shoohk came out of the room. “Is she awake?”
“She sleeps.” The fur-covered female replied, brushing past him with an empty tray in her hands.
Sure, she slept, but for how long? When would she wake? What would she say? How much of her Uncle Gil’s story had she witnessed? Would his head be on a platter before the night ended?
“Come on, Tisiphone. Wake up.” He whispered into the door, as he’d done the night before.
Gil and his followers proceeded down the corridor and no sooner had they turned the corner; they heard the muffled sounds of a struggle.
“I’ll do no such thing.” The voice was Loki’s.
He was the first down the stairs, sword drawn and Browning in hand as he jumped off the top step, hit the floor and rolled back into a crouch. “Freeze, asshole!” His words were met by laughter from Mist and Sif.
Loki was out cold against the wall of his cell, looking even worse for wear than the first time Gil had laid eyes on him; if that was possible. There were pieces of clothing all over the floor and blood dribbling down across his chin and chest. A moment later, the male groaned, trying to raise his arm, only to land face down, and naked, in a pile at Gil’s feet. Sif was soon kneeling beside Loki with a blade in her hand as if ready to slice the bastard into ribbons.
“Freeze, asshole.” Mist mimicked him. “Short, direct, and to the point. I will have to remember that one.” She added with a laugh as Sif got up and sheathed the knife.
“I heard a sound like meat hitting the floor, and from what I see, Loki got his head handed to him again.” He chuckled.
“Yes, it was Loki. I only had to slam him face first into the wall, twice.” Sif replied as she rubbed her face, where a red welt was forming across her right cheek.
Loki moved slightly, trying to roll over amidst the moans and groans. Gil went to his side to help him and Loki brought his hands up to strangle him, but before he got to Gil’s neck, the newest of the Valkyries had a gun in his face. He didn’t look so God-like now.
“I would reconsider that move if I were you.” He muttered, eyeing the bastard up and down. “Just give me a reason to kill you.” Gil added with a growl as the pasty-faced bastard pulled back. “Did you find any keys?” Gil asked the others.
“No, we did not. I even delved inside his mind, no indication of their whereabouts.” Mist replied without taking her eyes off of Loki, who back even further towards the cell wall.
Once they were outside and had locked the large metal door, Gil looked back at the madman. “If, you behave yourself, I’ll get you some clothes and a healer for that nose. You need to learn to show respect, before receiving it.”
“Why do you not just go home, mortal? This is not your fight.” Loki laughed and shook his head. “I do as she asks, for she holds the strings to my heart. Her word, is law.”
“You’re wrong. You and Malice made this my fight when you started slaughtering innocents. I don’t know what Malice has promised you, Loki, but you made a bad bargain. She’s lied to you, think about that for a while and I’ll make sure you get some food. Might not be the best tasting, but it will fill you up.”
“Do not bother returning with those hellions. Valkyries.” He shuddered. “Only good Valkyrie is a dead one.”
“Malice, is a Valkyrie.” Gil pointed out.
“Malice may have started out as a Valkyrie, but she is now a God.”
“And let me guess, you made her a God?” Sif rolled her eyes and slammed her fist into the cell door. “Be silent, before I have your tongue ripped out.”
“I’ll have to think about that before I visit next time.” Gil said, as he walked from the cell towards the stairs. ‘I can see now what you meant about not being alone with Loki, I can feel the magic he’s trying to use.’ Gil sent to Mist, who simply shook her head.
‘He has compelled many a powerful people, even had Odin under his thumb for a time. If he succeeds in seducing you, you will either wind up dead or suffer as his slave forever. There is no middle ground with Loki. He is a trickster above all else. He may claim to love Malice, but I fear it is a love for what she can do for him, not Malice herself.’ Sif added grimly as the ascended the stairs to the great hall.
‘Sif and I know him better than anyone. Once he gets his hooks into you, it is almost impossible to get free. It took three days of conjuring and meditation to set Sif free from his last scheme.’ Mist closed her eyes as Gil looked around.
‘He’s a piece of work, I can feel the blood lust lurking just under the surface. It’s a wonder that he hasn’t been executed yet.’ Gil replied, shifting back into his Valkyrie attire.
It fit better than the Elven armor, as if they had dipped him into a magical vat and let it cover every nook and cranny. At times, it fit so well he had a hard time remembering he was even wearing it.
They made for Ashe’s rooms, and knocking on the door they waited for her to answer. It took a few moments, but the shuffling of feet across the floor inside her room assure him that she was there. What was she doing in there? How long would they have to wait for the dark Elf to respond?
When she finally opened it, Gil pulled back with a start and reached for the hand gun at his side. To him, it was Malice standing in the doorway and it took everything in him not to unload a clip into her belly. It was Ashe, but it wasn’t. She looked, exactly, like Malice with the platinum blonde locks and devilish curves wrapped up in black leather; the only thing different were the eyes. Icy blue likes the heathen’s, they ripped into your mind to collect your thoughts, but Ashe’s eyes revealed the truth of her soul; a good heart for such a fearsome reputation. Would Loki see right through her?
She was dressed like Malice. The form fitting combination of leather and chain mail she added as she stood before him. The skirting was split up to her hips on both sides, cleverly revealing her long, luscious legs as she posed for them. Ashe was already both desirable and extremely dangerous, a deadly combination if he’s ever seen one; but now...
She walked towards him, smiling as she ran a single, razor-sharp fingernail down his chest. So devious, so sinful, just like the real thing. Her smile struck Gil at once as one of the most seductive leers he had ever encountered and he could already feel the pull of seduction grasping at him. Perhaps Loki would be so drawn to that smile, or that ass, that he totally forgot about the eyes?
“Mist, sister mine, he is very pretty. Do you mind if I borrow him for a while?” Ashe grinned, biting at her bottom lip and damn near sent Gil into convulsions.
“Not at all!” Mist replied with a smile upon her face and for a moment, Gil’s heart stopped. “Though, dressed like that he may start having nightmares.” She sighed, until she took a look at the pale-white, almost Ghost-like Gil.
“Nightmares, or wet dream.” Sif giggled. “The outfit is amazing, my friend. Now all we have to do is fool Loki, and keep Gil from passing out as you enact your master plan.” She looked to Ashe. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“You are worried, for me?” The illusion of Malice threw back her head and laughed. “Do not be. The females of my line are notorious for winding unsuspecting males around their little fingers. It is one of the first things we learned as babes in the cradle. The perfect weapon to be used at our leisure.” Now if that sounded bad coming from Ashe on any normal day, is sure sounded like hell was raining down on the worlds when falling from the lips of Malice.
“Looks to me like it works.” Mist grinned, eyeing Gil up and down. “Are you alright, my love?”
“If Malice has the same kind of hold on Loki, that Ashe projects now...” Gil mused. “I am well aware that, all females, are capable of entrapping the male sex. Hell, some of us don’t even realize we’re screwed until it’s too late. Females are the most dangerous, when least clothed.”
“Are you meaning to say she should approach the mongrel, in the nude?” Sif’s eyes lit up.
“Well, no…” Gil stuttered.
“Why not? I am all for walks in the naked moonlight!” Ashe grinned, and stood before Gil in just that; nothing but moon beams shimmering across her bare ass cheeks.
“Oh, the Gods have mercy…” Gil let out, though made no move to shield his eyes. “Hell, hath no fury like a naked female with revenge on her mind.” All of them laughed at the last line as Gil mimicked a fish hook in his mouth. “Are you ready, Ashe?” He inquired, trying to straighten his composure best he could and brush back the hairs that had slipped down in front of his face. “I know doing impersonation takes preparations.” He asked more seriously this time, hoping like hell they’d allow him to change the subject; and that Ashe would put some clothes back on.
Oh, Loki was in trouble, which was a good thing for them. The bastard had no idea what was coming for him.
“I will be ready by morning and then we shall see what happens. I’m going to have to practice the language of old. It has been quite some time since last I was compelled to speak it.” Ashe bowed her head as her armor returned and he voice took on a guttural tone.
Gil wondered if she ever got homesick? It had to be pretty tough to live in exile, knowing that a monster had your people under her thumb. He shook his head and smiled at her, only to realize he had broadcast his thoughts and all three females were smiling at him.
“While I appreciate the consideration, there is no need to worry for me.” Ashe laid the palm of her right hand against his cheek.
He couldn’t help himself as his eyes followed her hand, looking at those lethal looking nails. He gently took her fingers in his hand and kissed the palm, breathing deep as those claws flashed in the candlelight before his eyes.
A snow-white eyebrow rose as a slow smile crossed her face. Ashe seemed unsure of his reply. Had he done something wrong? He had meant to show her nothing but respect. As if reading his thoughts, which he held open and free for her to grasp hold of, she nodded her head and laughed.
“Done.” She slapped his shoulder.
“Done, what?” He choked out. “What have we done?”
“We have a pact between us.” She said with a grin and Mist and Sif roared with laughter.
Gil was confused. A pact was a good thing, right? It’s not like he’d just signed a pact to take over the world, right? Right? Neither Mist, Sif nor Ashe said anything, leaving his mind in a tizzy. It wasn’t until the genetic memories he possessed, kicked in, that he realized the error of his ways. The kiss of the palm, and not the back of the hand, was a gesture done for only one of two reasons. He had either just proposed marriage or sworn to uphold a blood feud.
Fortunately, Ashe took it as the latter as she stood sharpening her nails, for clearly, he wasn’t naked and tied to a bed, and Mist wasn’t killing anyone. “Do all the dark females file their nails that way?” He let out, eyeing the beveled points.
“Yes, all females of noble birth must have a weapon at all times, to fend off any assassin or the attentions of unwanted males.” Ashe grinned. “You can always tell who the young, unmated males are amongst my people. They don’t have any scars on their faces. We call them beauty marks.” She smiled. “I particularly like yours.”
Was she speaking as Ashe, or Malice? He couldn’t tell, but as she spoke with a voice like a melody, she ran the tip of the talon on her right index finger, down the scar on his right cheek. It was from a knife fight on a mission that he barely survived, and yet now it felt as if she were claiming it as her own. He didn’t flinch, nor could he tear his eyes away from those silver iris’ smoldering not an inch from his face.
Now he understood the power that these women wielded. The feeling of wanting to throw himself at her feet became almost overwhelming, the tingles of anticipation ripping through his veins.
“Whoa!” He managed finally as Mist pulled him away.
“You understand now that Malice’s most dangerous weapon is not some hunk of steel in her hand, but the will of her mind to shape you into a pawn for the games she plays. If you let her into your mind, if she gets to you….” Mist hung her head. “Valkyrie, does not mean invulnerability, my love. If Malice is able to control you, no amount of shielding will protect you from her wrath.”
“Wonderful!” Gil laughed sarcastically. “Is there any way to resist, or stop such cosmic power?” If not, taking down Malice was going to be that much tougher.
“You did it once.” She smiled at him. “Your will is very strong and right now your link with us protects you.” Her smiled turned to a frown. “But if you are not prepared…”
Gil drew the replica of the Browning and the slide made a very distinctive sound as it chambered the first round. “There’s another solution, it’s called shoot first, ask questions later. I know what your feelings are about freeing your sister from Malice’s control, but I may not have a choice.”
“If there is no other choice, then we have failed her.” Mist tried to hold back a tear.
Gil wanted nothing more than to find a way to free Malice from her darkened hold, but as far as he could see, there was no possible way. Her master was fierce, the grip it had on her, strong…
“What of the mirror?” Gil blurted out. “If she can use it to see us, can we not use it to make her see something we want her to see?”
“Like what?” Sif was the first to speak up, while Mist closed her eyes and shook her head.
“It will not work. The mirrors have been destroyed.” She replied, still shaking her head.
“The Guild.” Sif’s eyes lit up and Mist shot her a look.
“The Guild was built by Malice, the Petals are loyal…” Mist laughed, but Sif cut her off.
“To the Rose, and we both know that Malice is no longer the Rose.” Sif let out quickly and Mist growled. “The Petals still sit under your mother’s veil; they do not even remember her.”
“But does she remember them?” Mist sighed. “What if the mirror she used, came from the Guild?”
“You must summon the Rose, Mist. Bring the mirror here.” Ashe bowed her head. “It may help her.”