Mist, Sif and Gil went down the walls at a dead run, reaching the gates as Jack and Loki cranked them shut. Gil looked confused.
“What’s going on?” He asked as Jack stood up.
“Malice wants to talk with Mist. Khia’s talking with her now, but...”
Mist looked around as Ashlyn and Brunhilde appeared out of thin air behind her. “It’s time to deal with her once and for all.” The Elder said in a low, saddened tone and blinked them all beyond the gates.
Malice smiled as one by one they appeared before her. “Ah, there you are.” Malice whispered as she left her position and made for the new arrivals.
She circled the group, as if inspecting them. When she got to Mist and Gil she stopped.
“In what universe did you think that you could beat me?” Malice asked her sister.
Gil looked at her levelly before he snarled back. “What do you want, slave?”
Malice felt the rage rise and reached out to grab Gil, only to have her hand knocked away by Jack. The two of them glared at each other before the Valkyrie backed off, hissing beneath her breath.
“What do I want? Vengeance, of course. Bring me the Caliph and I’ll surrender.”
All of the Valkyries could feel her anger as she spoke, there was no hiding the darkness that emanated from her being.
“What has he done?” Ashlyn asked and Malice smiled.
“We can start with the trafficking of young, magically-gifted females, to the enemy!” She winked at the female. “Which, of course, would include, but not be limited to the sale of my own self, to Pathen.”
Gasps filled the air, but Malice was not done. “You ask what I want, well, I seek justice. Bring him to me and I’ll surrender. If not, I’ll knock that cesspool of a city down around your ears and find him myself.” She snarled at the female who had once been her mother.
“You have two days to decide.” She shied away and made for Piper and his troops.
“Malice?” Mist called after her.
“Two days, Mist!” She replied and blinked back to her place upon the tank.
Ambrosia was taking this a little too well for someone with a fifty-fifty chance of survival. She was Human, beautiful and full of life; for now, anyhow. Who knew what the next few days would bring for her? Even the Angel held concern; but Ambrosia was dead set on helping what she called, an ancient warrior.
What if she did die though? What would happen then? For Mist and her sister, and for this, Ezrianna? Would Malice be healed? Would the lover survive without her? Would she be able to live with what came back if Ambrosia did survive? The female was completely oblivious to what was going on. If Ambrosia turned, as they hoped, she’d be a Succubus.
His mind reverted to Maisura; but she was a special case. She was full blooded, royalty even, if there were such a thing among her kind. There was so much about the race that remained unknown. They were secretive, seductive and carried with them a need like no other. For most of them, that need for sinful pleasures would be their undoing. So powerful the call, it often signed a one-way trip to insanity.
Maisura had learned to control her ‘gifts’ as she called them, but she had had help. Valkyrie help. So, maybe Mist could help Ambrosia too? She wasn’t just going to use her and leave her to die, that wasn’t how Mist rolled. She valued life and love above all.
Ahlex’s mind was still running through the what-ifs as his feet touched down on solid ground. Blinking that far was tricky, especially across large bodies of water. You could miss a calculation and wind up in the middle of open water; and then there was the dead zone. Humans called it the Bermuda Triangle, Kalvashians called it the mouth of darkness, for Einherjar, it was the dead zone and every planet had one. Whatever it truly was, you did not want to blink yourself into its core.
“You good?” He heard Monty’s voice and turned to see Ambrosia bent over and breathing deep. “That’s it, a few more!”
“Is she okay?” Ahlex called to them, eyeing the ground around them.
A giant field surrounded in trees and off in the distance one could make out the massive towers and apartment buildings of the big city. Traffic roared all around them and headlights shone through breaks in the trees. It was a park, and a big one at that, but it was okay to move around.
“Are you alright?” Monty chuckled back.
“You ever been to the jungles down south?” Ahlex eyed him.
“Yeah?” He replied.
“You ever, blink yourself into quicksand?”
“You’ve got to be kidding me?” Monty let out with a laugh so loud, it drew voices from a nearby bench. “You blinked your ass into quicksand?”
“That must, have sucked!” Ambrosia let out, taking a few more deep breaths. “Man, I don’t know how, you guys do it, but every time I travel with one of you...” She paused as another wave of nausea passed over her. “Okay, I’m good!”
“To what?” Ahlex blurted out, eyeing the pale skin and bags under her eyes. “Nap?”
“Not before I see Ezri!” She grumbled and made off across the grass.
“Ha-ha, quicksand! Shit!” Monty chuckled again and followed her.
Khia was the first to leave, making for the war room. Mist followed suit, as did Ashlyn, leaving the others to stand guard against the Goblin horde.
“Bring him to me!” Mist snapped, “And remember to bring his books!”
“What are you doing?” Khia eyed her.
“I will not condemn an innocent male!” Mist sighed. “So, I want to see just how innocent he is!”
“You think he would write it in his books?” Ashlyn questioned her.
“No!” Khia smiled. “But even looking at them would satisfy any curiosity the others may have when she hands him over!”
“This is not the first time the Valkyrie have received word against him!” Mist shook her head. “Khia is right, the others would question my motives. With that book, they need not see what is written in it, only that we have it.”
“Our people are not stupid, Mist!”
“No, we are cunning and skilled in the art of deception, when we need to be!” Mist smiled back at her mother. “We know what he’s been doing, but he too, is not stupid and covers his tracks well. With Malice’s very public declaration, it gives us a chance to ‘look into’ the matter.”
“Slavery is forbidden, Ashlyn, by your very own lips!” Khia reminded her. “And to steal Malice and sell her away to the enemy. We know she disappeared that night, but we never found out how. Perhaps the Caliph…”
“I want, my sister back. I want to see her safe and happy and away from that monster!” Mist snapped. “That bastard had something to do with it, and since we can’t get the truth from him, perhaps she can!”
“It is sneaky, Mist!” Ashlyn warned her.
“I am Valkyrie, Mother, but I am also a Petal and we must do what we can to get our Rose back where she belongs....”
That was the last thing she said before the darkness surrounded her and she felt the pull. The whole room swirled around her and a nasty combination of fear and anger brewed inside her. Someone was going to have some explaining to do.