Malice stood beside Peiper on the back of one of his tanks. It felt good to rise on up out of the dust and ride beside him, especially now that they were making for…
“The scouting force is scaling the walls of Misthaven as we speak. So far, resistance is light. Most of their warriors are busy readying the people for travel, or here, as it turned out. It seems they too, have come for the Caliph!”
Malice had been standing near the window when she’d felt her sister’s arrival, admiring the view as the towers of Nasir smoldered in the distance. Malice’s people had arrived just after dusk, sending out scouting parties along all four sides of the fortress. Even now, she readied another wave and take the tower for her own.
Peiper went to give the order to advance and Malice held up her hand. “Patience, Peiper, let’s let the cannon fodder soften them up first.” She chuckled, nodding her head to the new war-chief. “Let your men loose.”
Thank you, my lord, for your bravery on my behalf. My name is, Ari, how may I serve you?” The young female let out, given the all-clear from Mist.
“You could start by telling us what’s going on.” Mist replied urgently, though she hadn’t meant to scare her. “We are Valkyries, from Misthaven. We’re here to help.”
The girl’s eyes went wide as she mouthed the word Valkyrie, speechless, until Gil offered her a butterscotch candy.
She held on to it, gazing at it curiously while he fished out another for himself and popped it into his mouth. She followed in kind, smiling as the sweetness made her mouth water.
“I hate to rush you, my love, but we need to know what happened here.” Mist urged Gil on.
“It started just after dusk…” The girl replied without hesitation. “The Goblins came over the wall, overpowered the guards, then threw open the gates; leaving us that cannot defend ourselves to their merciless assault.”
“What happened to the Caliph?” He growled under his breath.
Ari didn’t know that answer to that question and the ex-soldier looked around the room to find his wives standing on opposite sides of the same door, watching those who fought below.
‘Loki? Belvaya? Ashlyn? Report!’ He heard Mist call out with her mind. ‘Come on…’ She sounded irritated, and concerned.
‘Well, I’m dressed and ready to go, can’t say the same for our friend Loki though.’ Belvaya grinned as she reported in.
‘I’m fine!’ The male managed to spit out as he tried to regroup.
‘This place is crawling with Goblins. You better get here before Gil claims them all!’ Mist replied in jest and Belvaya watched as Loki sped up.
“Did she say Goblins? In Nasir?” Belvaya looked surprised, Malice was supposed to be heading for Misthaven, not Nasir.
“Word has it that Malice has taken a legion of the scrawny bastards as her own! Peiper, leads them!” He growled as he hurried to pull on his trousers.
“And we don’t like this, Peiper?”
“Where have you been?” He shook his head. “Peiper’s an asshole, with his nose stuck so far up Malice’s ass he could tell you what she had for lunch.”
“Sorry, I’ve been busy playing Pirate. Had my own orders, you know?” She muttered and turned to a wall of daggers and blades.
“Heard you’re in need of a new second, what’s his fuck got reassigned or something?”
“Or something!” Belvaya closed her eyes. “But I don’t see myself in command of the Sea Rose for long.”
“And why not?” Loki cocked a brow at her.
“This is Malice we’re going up against. Marwolaeth aside, Malice is the best of the best. Mist can play the hero all she wants, but Malice is stronger, faster and darker; and unlike Mist, she won’t hold back.”
“I think she will!” Loki grinned, attaching the last few straps that held his cloak in place.
“You believe that whore?”
“Who, Marena?” He laughed and made for the display of blades. “Not as far as I can throw her!”
“That same darkness that drives the whore, drives Malice as well.”
“So, Malice won’t hesitate to kill you if you get in her way.”
“She will try.”
Belvaya wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “You may want some cologne; I can smell her all over you!” She sighed and made for the door.
“She is changing, Belvaya, I know you were there.” He caught her by the arm. “You saw it for yourself. Malice and the whore, alone. No Hosts to guard them or guide their words. That was real. That was them, their plan.”
“Or it’s a trap!”
“A trap? To accomplish what?”
“Bringing you to their side, keeping you occupied while they take Misthaven for real, who the hell knows?” She shouted, though it wasn’t Loki she was mad at. “All I do know, is that Malice is tricky at the best of times, when cornered....” She fell silent. “I’ve seen what she can do!” She finished and vanished from Loki’s room.
She’d help Mist win this and get Malice back, but she wasn’t counting on Marena to help at all. She’d played this game before, believed the whore and lost Malice. It wasn’t happening again.
“Mist, where the fuck are you? I need to let loose!”
It had been a long night full of questions, but Ahlexander was finally going to meet her. The one he’d come all this way for. The one who was supposed to help Mist save her sister. It was all fun and games when they’d first appeared in the suite, the commotion of the city below giving his adrenaline a reason to flow; but that was then and this was now, and Ahlex was waiting for the dark-skinned Angel to return with some drinks.
A break, he’d called it, when in fact neither of them had even started the task. No female. No deal. Just a thousand questions, as if he’d been screening Ahlex for something. He wasn’t signing up for a new job, he had a job. He needed her, whoever she was. Seeing as how the Angel was the only one who knew the female’s name, it seemed Ahlex needed him.
He didn’t talk much and those eyes, always glaring. Ahlex couldn’t remember seeing the guy smile, at all. One big bag of wind, with attitude. Just what Ahlex had always wanted; not.
Where the hell was this guy? He needed that drink, bad. This so-called, fancy casino, was driving him mad. So many people, so many free-roaming thoughts and he wasn’t liking what he was hearing. Drinks. Females. Plots to get them home… Disturbing on all levels, but he had to remember why he was here. He couldn’t lose his shit.
“Ahlexander, may I introduce, Alexi?” The Angel’s voice caught him off guard and he looked back to see a tall, lanky looking fucker with platinum blonde hair, swooped to one side.
“Alexi?” Ahlexander let out, a little taken back by the fact it was dude, with the name Alexi.
“Charmed, I’m sure!” The male replied and held out his hand. “Now, my friend Monty here, tells me you have a very special need!”
“Did he now?” Ahlex cocked a brow at the Angel.
Who the hell was this fruit-tart? Maisura had mentioned a female, not a guy who sounded like one. Why was the Angel wasting time?
“Oh, don’t you worry that gorgeous face of yours, we’ll have everything worked out, lickity-split!” He chuckled and pulled out some sort of device. “Let’s see, will you need her for one night, or two?”
“Wait, what?” He inquired as the lights dimmed and the music began.
One by one, an entourage of scantily clad females made their way out on to the stage. Long, luscious legs draped in rhinestones and backsides ruffled in feathers. The way they moved, the rhythm...
“Hey, Lex?” Monty’s voice called him back to the table just as the stage grew dark and what was made to look like a floating island appeared to descend from the ceiling.
“Yeah?” He muttered, captivated by the scene before him.
It was breathtaking, more so for the female who perched amidst the foliage, draped in a sheer gold cloth and her hair, a mass of golden curls. Her deep blue eyes called to him, her lips begging him to kiss her. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen...
“Lex?” He heard his name again and then felt the blow as Monty’s fist hit his shoulder.
“What?” He shot back with a growl.
“The man wants to know how long you’ll require her services for?”
“Don’t I get to meet her, first?” Lex cocked a brow.
“You just did!” Monty grinned and nodded to the stage, or rather, the newest dancer to emerge from that little island; complete with fucking peacock tail.
“Oh Gods, have mercy!” Ahlex let out.
“Ambrosia, she is a star, is she not?” Alexi giggled, but Lex was too busy eyeing the female as she moved to the music. “So, how long?”
“Two weeks, maybe three!” He grinned.
“That’s completely, unacceptable. She is in high demand. I can give you, two days....”
“Nonsense, Alexi!” Came another’s voice, and the whole room seemed to dim as the male drew closer to the table.
Ahlex was well aware of the feeling he received the moment the male stepped into the light above their table. He could sense the darkness inside him, that eerie chill sweeping up his spine.
‘Not what you think!’ He heard Monty’s voice in his mind and looked over to see the Angel with arms crossed.
“You will give this man all the time he needs with Ambrosia!” He went on. “If, he can afford her?”
Was he implying that she was some sort of whore?
“A week should be sufficient.” He replied as nicely as he could. “But I will contact you if there are any changes.”
“Excellent. My sister is a woman of many talents, I assure you, you will not be disappointed.” The male grinned.
“And you are? So, I can pass the word along to my friends!” Ahlex was ready to rip his face off, but he needed the girl.
“Trust me, that’s all you need!” He chuckled and turned to Alexi. “Have her bathed after the show and see her to this man’s room, what was it, Penthouse suite three?”
“Uh, yeah!” Lex let out, his curiosity taking over.
Who was this female, and why was she so willing to sacrifice herself? She had a pretty sweet deal going on, save for the asshole brother.
“Of course, my Lord!” Alexi replied and bowed his head as the male walked away and Ahlex went back to watching the beauty on the stage.
What was her story? He had to know.