-It followed me home
Godfrey heard sobs coming from the hall as he carried a platter of tea. He passed a door and stopped before peering in. He saw Lyn alone and in the dark, curled in a ball. As she looked up, he could see the redness in her eyes and disheveled hair. She wiped away her tears and straightened her posture.
The butler cleared his throat. “The project manager is waiting downstairs. He needs a signature to allow the repairs. That fight made a bloody mess of the place…”
“Godfrey,” she said, though it sounded more like a whimper.
Godfrey raised a brow and placed the platter on a dresser. He sauntered over and sat next to her, placing a hand over hers. They shared a glance, and Godfrey smiled. Her cries continued as she spoke, while trying to compose herself.
“Godfrey, I’ve made a terrible mistake; I’m not pregnant, the results were false…”
She cradled her knees into her chest.
“How do you know?”
“Because I had my period the other day!” she replied, almost shouting.
Her words left Godfrey dumbstruck, and he stood there a moment, trying his damndest to stifle the rage quelling within. Sure, by human standards, Lyn would be in her seventies. However, she kept the appearance of a twenty-year-old but arguably acted as a teen. It made no difference; he put up with her childish antics ever since the first day she arrived at the estate.
But Godfrey always asked himself the same question: What did Drake see in this girl?
He never questioned his master’s decisions somewhat out of respect and the other half out of fear. Several of Drake’s brides lived and breathed at the old estate, now razed to the ground by Lyn’s doing. He also reminded himself that the sobbing girl before him accumulated a vast amount of wealth, selling the black pearls, which were priceless. But also, Acheron’s sister’s weapon, now rested in the hands of a Sultan.
All this fighting because of a pregnancy test… And now Drake is off doing God knows what. I need to find him…
“Lady Lyn, I might have an idea where he is. But I will go — alone.”
Her eyes brightened, and she cocked her head to one side, forcing a smile. Godfrey gave her a reassuring simper and squeezed her hand before taking off. He left the platter, the tea on top still steaming with cubes of sugar beside it.
“Thank you Godfrey…”
Godfrey scoffed. “I’m not doing this for you.”
Water gushed from the surrounding drains in the maintenance chamber where Drake and his mercenaries lived in their temporary sanctuary. He raised a small device into the light, eyeing it from every angle. Serina stood across from him, tossing her tools on the workbench and collapsing.
She leaned against the bench and said: “It’s finished…”
Drake formed a grin and glanced at her. She closed her eyes and relaxed, her head tilting over to one side. Before he could call her name, she was already snoring. He chuckled and continued gawking at the marvelous construct in his hands. Serina had delivered — right down to every specification.
He made a note to commend Abbas later for sparing her life, another scientific mind to add to his motley group. Sure, Nicholaj was equally skilled and ingenious, but also mad. Serina balanced that madness with her voice of reason. Constructing such a benevolent device would be preposterous to Nicholaj who only scoffed at the idea. He considered killing the old bastard, but he was still one of his creations. But as decreed by God, killing his own creations vindictively was taboo.
He secured the tubes of the breathing apparatus, a light hiss of air escaping from them. Serina described the device as the first of its kind: lightweight, durable, and recyclable. The device used the body’s own natural painkillers, combining it with filtered oxygen to deliver a constant flow of anesthetic gas to the user.
Drake continued fiddling with the device. A figure loomed behind him and without looking back he addressed it. “I was wondering when you would come back, Rain.”
She studied the chamber as droplets of water fell from above, drenching her bare shoulders and wavy pink hair. The mercenaries guarding the door stepped forward to manacle her, but Drake waved them away.
“No, she’ll kill you. Leave us.”
The man nodded, lowering his weapon and departing with his companion. A grin formed across Rain’s face from ear to ear. She dared to step forward, unwavered by Drake’s presence. He eyed her dubiously as she approached him; he admired her courage — or foolishness.
Rain glanced at the apparatus, then to Serina. “You two have been busy. Abbas told me you were constructing a mask.”
“So, Abbas wasn’t lying about you being the spy.”
Drake regarded her coldly. He snatched her by the neck and growled. “I should devour you for all the trouble you’ve caused…”
Despite being in the clutches of death, Rain never faltered. She looked him deep in the eyes. “I know you could…” she breathed.
His grip loosened, and her hands caressed his broad chest. Her lips gravitated towards his, teasing them with nibbles and light grazes. Drake could no longer bear the seduction and pulled her towards him, barraging her with savage kisses. Rain reciprocated, unleashing the carnal desires trapped within her. And so their unholy union was consummated, with the exchange of blood and the tasting of each other’s flesh.
She moaned as he gorged on her blood, throwing her arms over head and falling back, her body hovering only inches above the floor. He released his fangs from her and gasped for air, snarling from a blood drunken rage. Before he could devour Rain whole, she uttered a single phrase in an ancient tongue long forgotten.
“Remember, you must die…”
He released her and shook his head, almost as if scrutinizing himself for his actions. Rain snickered and placed a hand over her blood-soaked neck, that also cascaded down her shoulders. Drake ambled around his platform in a pensive state. Mercenaries patrolling the catwalks above watched silently before resuming their rounds.
“Did that please you?” Rain asked.
She snaked her arms around his enormous frame; at least, as much as her arms would allow and leaned against him. He reached for the apparatus resting on the bench and placed it in her hand. As he turned to Rain, he peeked at Serina, still fast asleep and sprawled across the floor. Rain eyed her, pursing her lips.
“Take this to my chambers,” Drake commanded. “Wait for me there. I’ll tell you who the recipient is.”
She grinned and took off without a second thought. But before leaving, she whispered in his ear: “I’ll be naked.”
Her fingers interlocked with his for a moment as she pulled away, loosening her grip on them, compelling him to pursue her. Perhaps he would have, if not for the lingering scent flowing through the tunnels and dispersing into the chamber. Drake sniffed the air and growled. The mercenaries caught wind of it as well, and their eyes glowed with predatory clarity.
Rain tilted her head. “What is it?”
Drake turned his gaze towards one entrance, obscured by a small waterfall flowing from a broken pipe.
Godfrey trod the sewers, clearing each tunnel and entrance with the high-powered flashlight in his hands. Water dripped and echoed from every direction. His feet splashed against the drowned floors that rose to his ankles. Putrid stains of green and yellow covered the walls with patches of moss. The essence of mercury and copper from rusted pipes suffused his nostrils.
He blanched as something brushed against his leg, scurrying behind him. His heart lurched, but settled just as quickly. Godfrey sighed, realizing the culprit nothing more than a rodent. He continued his quest, descending into the darkness of uncharted caverns, relying on nothing more than the spiritual bond he shared with Drake.
There was no doubt in his mind: Drake was here and he was close.
He came upon an intersection and stopped to determine his next path. But a shadowy figure emerged from the darkness to his right, striking Godfrey with the buttstock of his rifle. Godfrey collapsed as they dragged him by the knees towards the middle tunnel; his bowl hat the only testimony of his journey lying floating across the flooded floors.
A jarring pain accompanied him, as if his skull would split in two. His body was limp, and the mercenaries heaved as if he was a cumbersome sack. He saw nothing but the outline of his captors and a faint light coming from the tunnel ahead of him. Then, much to his reluctance, he succumbed to sleep.
When Godfrey cracked his eyes for the first time, he thought it was a dream. He blinked, and as his vision cleared, Drake’s warm smile greeted him. His body felt heavily laden, and he planted his hands to the ground and attempted to rise.
“Don’t get up…” Drake said, his voice soft but threatening.
Godfrey gasped, the flood lights above overwhelmed him, inducing him to heave.
“You shouldn’t have come here old man…”
Godfrey propped himself on his elbows and chuckled. He hardly recognized his master, who looked no different from the thugs who captured him. He did however note that despite this; they were well-equipped, well-trained, and also — well-fed.
“Perhaps…” Godfrey replied, rising to a knee. “But there’s something you deserve to know.”