Drake (Book 1)

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[65]-It is for thy sake


5:47 p.m.

The gate to the catwalk rose, its chains rattling and the rusted metal screaming. Lyn dashed past Rain and hurdled over the rails to meet Drake at the bottom. She heard footsteps scramble above as mercenaries made their way down. A part of her wanted to lament — almost grieve Sullivan’s death. But not now…

Regardless, he held a place in her heart no matter how trivial. A distant memory she might stumble upon one day out of the blue. She turned away at the sight of his corpse, cut in half from the shoulder to his waist. It withered into ash and dust and dispersed among the chamber, illuminating under the floodlights.

She ignored the light drizzle that doused her, rushing to Drake as fast as she could. But she stopped suddenly as Drake turned and averted his gaze to Rain, standing a few feet away.

When did she get there?

Rain strolled towards him with a black trench coat in hand as he slipped his arms into it. He folded the collar up, concealing half of his face; drenched abs and olive skin peeking from the coat. Rain stroked his chest and smirked at Lyn.

She grinned and said: “Do you trust me now? I told you Sullivan wouldn’t be able to resist coming.”

Drake nodded.

He turned without a word and walked towards the darkness looming from the tunnel before him. Rain trailed after and his mercenaries followed. Lyn gasped audibly. “Drake!”

He took one more step and planted his feet, looking over his shoulder, blue eyes glaring. Her beloved sister, Ella, flew down the steps in a furious shuffle. The first thing she did was lunge towards Lyn, arms wide open.

“Lyn!” Ella cried, overjoyed.

Lyn caught her, caging her arms around Ella. The sisters exchanged a glance; opposites in every aspect. Lyn, a ballerina, and once a master cosmetologist. Ella, a pious and garrulous woman, who was also somewhat of a klutz. But the love they shared and cherished was limitless and unconditional. A recurring trait in the Valeska family.

They fell to their knees and Lyn held Ella by the shoulders as she assessed her. After studying every angle from head to toe on Ella, Lyn smiled and kept her tight. “You remember?”

Ella broke into tears, and her voice cracked. “I remember everything.”

“Take your sister and go…”

Her body stiffened, any jubilation or elation from before felt like water down the drain. Lyn’s gaze met Drake’s, and he regarded her coldly.

She kissed Ella on the top of the head and stood. The giant Abbas stepped between her and Drake. Although he didn’t draw a weapon, his stern expression was simple: no one was going past.

Lyn gasped. She looked above where more mercenaries watched. She turned behind where Godfrey stood, his face ashen, but his eyes pleading. He, too, wanted their master back. Lyn clenched her fists. She and Ella were orphans. They had lost one family previously; she couldn’t bear the pain of losing another one.

As if standing before a court, she pleaded — no, stated her case, her voice resolute and unswerving. “Drake, I don’t know what you’ve been doing down here. I don’t care what you’ve done or what you’re planning to do. I want to be by your side. You jump. I jump. Remember-”

“What use are you to me without your pearls?” Drake’s voice was calm but stern. “I told you a long time ago, weakness disgusts me. You fight like one of my huskarls; wear the trappings of a huskarl and move like one, but this can be imitated. Huskarls have no fear, and I sense much fear in you, Lynda Valeska…”

Her force contorted into misery. Even Rain, the woman with a heart of stone, choked.

His words strangled her; defeated her very being. She stumbled back and cried; then she fell to her knees. Ella rushed to her sister’s side, looking daggers at Drake.

Lyn managed one word: “Why?”

Drake faced the tunnel. “Lyn, the truth is — the day we met. I was going to kill you…”

Her whimpering ceased. Drake’s words were flat and lacked substance.

He continued. “I was going to eat you. But I saw your fierce determination to live and defy death’s touch. You reminded me of Anna and Irene. So I spared you. That’s all there is to it. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

She watched him disappear into the gloom of darkness with Rain. Before Abbas departed, he patted Ella on the head. “Goodbye, little bird.”

Lyn fell forward, planting her hands on the flooded floors. She had no more tears, instead she stared at her reflection. And after deep rumination, she slapped her palms over the reflection, over and over, screaming at the top of her lungs.

Her cries travel down the tunnel, reaching Drake. He closed his eyes and grimaced.

“That was cold,” Rain quipped.

“It was the only thing I could do to protect her…”

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