Fairy Slayer, page 21
On the front porch sat a lone guard, and we kept low behind the bushes so that he wouldn’t see us.
“Will he have the keycard?” Kalista whispered, and Maaren nodded in response.
“What’s the plan?” I asked. “Do we take him out from here? Can we?”
“We could,” Maaren replied with a smirk, “or we could be a little subtler. Why don’t you sit back and watch a professional at work?”
Then, a shimmer passed over the hunter’s body. The snow-white hair and dark blue skin disappeared and was replaced by the luscious auburn hair and beautiful tanned skin she’d had when we had first met. Maaren adjusted her top so that her breasts strained even further against the material, and then she shot me a wink when she caught my stare.
“Wish me luck,” she whispered before she stood up and stumbled from the bushes like a party girl who’d had too much to drink.
“Oh my God,” she giggled innocently when she came to the fence. “Hi! Yoo-hoo! Hi there!”
Maaren waved over-enthusiastically at the guard, who clambered down off the porch slowly. I watched his eyes go wide as he took in the sight of the very hot, and seemingly very drunk, girl before him.
“Um, do you, like, live here? Because I think I’m lost.” Maaren’s face twisted into a messy pout, and she ran her hand up the right side of her body.
“Where are you coming from?” the guard asked. With my Fae hearing, I could tell his tone was unsure, but I could also see his eyes drag slowly over Maaren’s body.
“Ummmmmmm,” the hunter drew the word out and spun around lazily before she pointed a shaky finger at the road. “That way? Oh no.”
She stumbled drunkenly toward the electric fence, and the guard jerked forward.
“Don’t touch the fence!” he gasped as he rushed to stop her before she touched the wire.
Maaren giggled as she toddled on her feet. “Whaaaa?”
The guard wrenched open the gate, stepped forward, and reached out an arm to pull her away from the live fence. The gate slammed closed at his back as Maaren fell into his arms and smiled charmingly up at him.
“Thank you, handsome,” she giggled again, and she patted his chest sloppily.
“You’re, uh,” the guard cleared his throat nervously. “You’re welcome.”
He righted her on her feet, and I watched her right hand shove something small into her back pocket.
“What is a pretty lady like you doing out here all alone?” the guard asked as he ran his hands over her hips.
“Oh, you know,” Maaren giggled lightly again, “just breaking and entering.”
Shock started to register on the guard’s face, but then Maaren rammed her elbow into the side of his head and knocked him completely unconscious. As the guard fell to the ground, she straightened her shirt where his hands had been, and then she reached out her left hand.
Slowly, his limp body rose into the air as if it was carried on a slab of concrete, and the hunter directed it toward us and followed.
“Way to go, Maaren,” Ariette muttered as soon as the hunter squatted back behind the bushes.
“Thank you very much,” Maaren responded smugly. Then she took the keycard from her back pocket and handed it to Kalista.
“What’s your Hand?” I asked as the guard’s body came to rest near us behind the bushes. “That was pretty cool.”
“Oh, Hand of Air,” she replied with a smile. “I can control the temperature of the air as well as how hard and fast the air moves. I can use it to lift things, too. And, I can fly a little bit.”
“Niceeeee,” I said with wide eyes. I was only a little jealous. “You’ll have to show me that sometimes.”
“It’s a date.” The hunter winked at me and then turned to the hacker beside her.
Kalista had pulled out her new tablet, and I watched her as she set to work with the keycard.
“This is so freaking cool,” she breathed out as her fingers tapped the glass. “You can stay for as long as you want, as far as I’m concerned.”
Her violet eyes were completely entranced by the screen in front of her, and the wide smile never left her face.
Maaren blushed a little, and I found it endearing.
While I kept an enhanced ear out for any approaching guards, I looked up at the night sky that was filled with tiny twinkling lights. In the city, you were lucky if you saw one star at night, but all the way out here, thousands of stars dotted the sky. They shimmered and glittered merrily, and I took a moment to appreciate how beautiful it was. Even with monsters and mad scientists, the world was a gorgeous place.
“Ooohh, I’m in!” Kalista squealed quietly. “You were right, Maaren. That was super easy with the keycard.”
“Being right is one of my favorite things,” the hunter replied with a smirk, and I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Alright, let’s go,” Ariette whispered in the dark. Then she and Maaren crawled off to find the controls for the fence while Kalista and I hunkered down to wait for their signal.
While we waited for Ariette and Maaren to deactivate the fence, I sat up and moved next to Kalista, but the dwarf sighed angrily.
“Alright, whoever does their camera setup needs some serious help,” she growled.
Her slim finger drew a line across the screen, and the camera moved to show us an empty kitchen. It looked extremely normal. Kalista slid her finger again, and we stared at a long, gray, empty hallway. Another camera change and we looked at the front porch.
“None of these show us anything useful about what’s inside,” Kalista huffed. “What? You people don’t feel the need to keep an eye on your lab?”
She flipped cameras again, and we now stared at a control room. Two guards were seated in chairs, with their feet on the table, and pizza slices in their hands. There were a few computer screens in front of them that showed the feeds on the security cameras, but neither paid too much attention. They were too busy with their conversation.
“They have no sound and only four cameras.” Kalista sighed as she put the tablet in her lap. “So much for trying to give ourselves a heads up.”
“I think if you shut down their cameras when we’re ready to go in that will buy us some time,” I said.
“Got it,” the dwarf nodded. “You know, you’d think that someone who’s doing top-secret experiments would be a little better with the security.”
“Maybe he’s got too much in there he wants to keep a secret,” I guessed aloud. If the scientist wanted to hide everything from even his hired help, he wouldn’t want cameras in his lab.
Just then, Ariette’s voice sounded in our ears.
“Okay, guys, I took the fence down,” she said. “We’re headed in.”
“We’re going in now,” I responded.
I heard Kalista tap on the screen, and then she let out a victorious, but muffled, cry.
“Their systems are down,” she said through a giggle. “The idiots are bumbling around on their computers like it’s just a power outage.”
“Come on,” I said as I rolled my eyes, and then we made our way toward the compound. “How do you want to do this?” I gestured toward the gate.
“Honestly?” Kalista grinned at me. “I kinda wanna jump over it.” And with that, the dwarf shimmied up and over it so quickly, I was sure she was part spider monkey.
As she dropped to the ground on the other side, I hauled myself up to her. A few days ago, scaling a fence this tall and avoiding the razor wire at the top would have been all but impossible to do quietly, but thanks to my Fae abilities, it was child’s play. As I landed next to Kalista, I let out another smile of gratitude for the Fae magic that gave me such good coordination.
“Are you’re done being impressed by your own abilities?” Kalista asked, and when I glanced at her, I saw her smirking at me. Then she smacked me on the ass. “Let’s go.”
We snuck up to a window on the ground floor that was partially ajar. Kalista peeked inside quickl
The room was dark, but I could make out a little bit of what was inside. There was a long couch, a TV, and a small coffee table. It looked like a normal living room in a normal house.
“Okay, we’re in Ariette, Maaren,” I whispered in the dark.
“We’re standing at the top of some stairs back here,” came Ariette’s reply, “and I think you guys are going to want to come see what’s down here.”
The two of us snuck out of the room and down a hallway, careful not to make any noise. Twice, we had to dash inside a darkened room as the sound of footsteps passed by, but no one caught us.
At the end of the hallway, two whispered voices called us into a room, and we turned in to find Maaren and Ariette crouched against the wall.
“Someplace, huh?” Maaren asked quietly. “Like a creepy house in a horror movie.”
“The stairs are back here,” Ariette whispered. She stood, and we followed her to the back corner of the room where the floor had been roughly cut out in the shape of a trap door.
“How did you find this in the dark?” Kalista asked.
“I stepped on it when we were avoiding one of the guards,” Ariette replied. “I’m not ready to take them down and make our presence known just yet.” She paused for a second. “Anyway, I wanna check this out first.”
Ariette pulled up the trapdoor to reveal a set of badly carved wooden stairs. They were very dimly lit, but faint moans drifted up from the shadows at the bottom.
“So you haven’t been down there yet?” I turned to look at the elf.
“No,” she said as she shook her head. “Wanted to wait for you guys.”
“Well, let’s go then,” Kalista grunted as she started to step down the stairs.
The floorboards creaked with each step we took. As we descended, the faint moans grew louder, and the darkness began to fade as dim lights came into view. We finally hit the bottom of the stairs and were greeted with a sight that elicited a gasp from all three women beside me.
The stairs had led us into a small and dank room. The floors were made of dirt, and the walls were plain gray concrete. To the right was a solid wood door that was shut and locked, and recessed lights lined the ceiling.
But that wasn’t what made my team gasp. They gasped because the floor was littered with cages.
And inside the cages were living beings.
Some cages were small and held little creatures that flitted about. Every time one of the creatures would get too close to the bars, they’d be met with a sharp jolt of electricity. I could tell those tiny flying things were pixies.
Other cages held goblins and trolls. The ones who were awake had dead eyes and looked like they’d been drugged into complete submission. Still, other cages kept elves and humans at bay. Toward the back wall, I could see creatures that looked strange, like nothing I had ever seen before.
One huge cage sat in the far back corner, and I could see what looked like a lion and a snake inside of it. As I stepped toward it, the creature shifted, and I realized the lion’s head was attached to the snake. It was a chimera.
Across from the chimera’s cage was a huge aquarium. Inside of it, I could see a mermaid. She floated in the water with her eyes closed and I would have thought she was dead if it wasn’t for the shallow rise and fall of her chest.
Every single creature looked sickly and tortured, the way soldiers look when they’ve come home from a brutal war. The ones who were awake flinched at the mere sight of us like they immediately expected brutal pain.
“What is this?” Ariette muttered as she looked around at the half-dead creatures. “This is… this is sick.”
I turned and saw that her blue eyes were filled with tears. So were Kalista’s. Maaren stood stoically as she surveyed the cages filled with Fae and humans, people and beasts. My stomach churned violently, and I heavily debated how seriously I thought I might puke at the sight.
Kalista and Ariette began to try to open the locks to some of the cages that held elves and humans as Maaren stood guard at the bottom of the stairs.
It was then I realized there were still faint moans in the room. They sounded like they came from a singular source, and I froze as I turned in their direction and realized one of the cages held an emaciated young redheaded woman.
The woman wore a thin white nightgown, there were deep purple circles underneath her light blue eyes, and I could see every single bone in her arm. She looked up at me and smiled weakly when I came close.
As terrible as this scientist was, I had never felt so angry at him until now. This woman looked like a mere shell of what I’m sure was a beautiful vibrant human. I wanted desperately to pick her up and take her somewhere safe, but I knew that wasn’t an option yet. We needed to find this guy first.
“Hey,” I said softly as I knelt down next to her. “You’re going to be okay. We’re the Jefferson Guild. We’re going to get you to safety. What’s your name?”
“Jessa,” the woman croaked softly.
“Hello, Jessa. My name is Milton. We’re here to stop the scientist,” I mumbled as I looked for the door to the cage.
“No,” she said as her eyes filled with fear, “you have to leave. You can’t let him get you, too. The things that happened here are horrible, so, so horrible.”
“I’m not leaving you,” I responded soothingly, “I’m part of the Seelie guild. And we’re going to get you out of here.”
I moved around the cage until I found the door. It was locked with a combination lock, and I shook it in frustration. Maaren came up behind me and placed a soft hand over mine as I switched to rattling the door of the cage instead.
“I’ll open it,” the hunter said gently.
She bent down and put an ear against the back of the lock. Then she slowly spun the dial as she listened for the click that would indicate a correct number. I turned back to Jessa and watched as she weakly lifted herself into an upright position.
“Can you tell me what happened here?” I asked as I looked at all the other creatures in cages.
“This guy was going around town,” she replied weakly, “he was telling people he could pay them a lot of money to participate in a study. Said he was a scientist with the guild. Told us to show up to this address. When I got here, someone knocked me out from behind, and I woke up in this cage. Then he kept taking my blood. He kept saying my DNA was a perfect baseline for fusion, whatever that means.” She swallowed hard, and it looked like she was going to cry. “I guess that’s why he kept me alive for so long. Most of the others never came back, but all he ever took from me was blood.”
She took in a deep, shaky breath. Her blue eyes welled with tears, and one spilled over onto her cheek. I put a hand through the bars of the cage, and she grabbed onto it tightly.
“I got it,” Maaren said proudly as the lock fell to the floor with a clang.
I hurriedly stepped forward and swung the door open so that I could help Jessa slide out. She wrapped both her arms around me and threw her head into the crook of my neck as she sobbed. She was smart enough to muffle the sobs in my shoulder as I rubbed her back gently.
“It’s okay,” I whispered into her soft hair. “We’re going to get you out of here.”
Ariette came up to us then, and I noticed she and Kalista had managed to open a few more cages. Maaren moved on and set to work on the lock of the cage next to Jessa’s where an elderly elf lay on the floor. His breath was shallow, and he was so out of it that he didn’t even look up when Maaren rattled the lock.
“Do you know where the scientist is right now?” Ariette asked the crying girl softly.
Jessa shook her head against my chest.
“He’s not h-here,” she gasped out between sobs. “He goes out to the town every night. To find new humans and Fae to… to experiment on.”
Jessa swallowed sharply and buried her
“Okay,” Ariette said, and I heard her breathe a sigh of relief.
“Can you tell us what happened? What has he been doing exactly?” Ariette asked Jessa softly as she turned back to us. We shared a look as Jessa nodded into my shoulder. Both of us already had a very good guess.
“H-he’s been doing ex-experiments on u-us,” she sobbed out softly. Her body fell toward me further, and I brought us to a seated position on the ground because I was afraid Jessa might collapse. Ariette came with us and sat cross-legged while she rubbed the sobbing woman’s back.
“Do you know his name?” Ariette questioned gently.
Jessa hiccuped a few times as she got herself under control, and then she wiped away her tears as she nodded.
“He said his name was Fernell Tamber,” she responded.
Ariette’s eyes went wide, and she sat back for a second as she thought.
“Fernell Tamber,” she repeated slowly, “damn, I would not have pegged him for a crazy. He always seemed so nice. I saw him sometimes in the food hall. We never talked much but… he always asked how I was doing.”
“I want to know what’s behind that,” I said as I motioned toward the wood door at the bottom of the stairs.
“Don’t,” Jessa whispered. “That’s his experiment room. The things he keeps in there…”
Her voice trailed off as she was struck by another bout of tears. She ducked back into my chest, and I held her close and kissed the top of her head.
“Jessa, I’m going to leave you right here with everyone else,” I said softly as I led her to where the other rescued Fae and humans were.
They all had the same dark circles and thin, weak bodies that Jessa did. There was an elf, a human, and a fairy already free, and Kalista and Maaren worked on two other cages that held elves. I helped Jessa sit on the ground, and she leaned against the fairy as she cried. The two held each other, and I could tell they had formed a deep bond while they had both been held captive.
“Okay, let’s go look in there,” I muttered to Ariette.
The elven warrior stepped up behind me and drew her sword. I readied my Hand for whatever might be in there and also drew my gun from my waistband. Then I stepped up to the door and tried the handle. Surprisingly, it wasn’t locked. I guess the mad scientist wasn’t worried about someone breaking into his lab so much as he was worried about his subjects breaking out of their cages.