Fairy slayer, p.22

Fairy Slayer, page 22

 

Fairy Slayer
 


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  The door swung open silently, and I took a careful step inside. Everything was pitch black, and I felt along the wall for some sort of light switch. When my hand hit plastic instead of cold concrete, I flipped the switch up.

  The room was instantly bright thanks to the huge fluorescent lights that lined the ceiling. What I saw before me reminded me of a dentist’s office but from a nightmare.

  There was a huge chair in the middle of the room, like the kind that dentists have, but leather straps sat on both arms and at the foot of the chair. The white material of the chair itself had multiple red and green stains on it that were clearly blood.

  Next to the chair was a long steel table with all sorts of terrifying instruments laid out on it. There were vials of silver, green, and red blood lined up in a tray. Another tray was filled with vials of thick black liquid, and notebooks sat scattered across the table. They were filled with black scribbles that were indiscernible to anyone but the writer, but they also had diagrams in them. There were drawings of human and Fae anatomy, as well as the trolls, and other creatures that were probably a part of Fernell’s experiments.

  “Hey, HC, you have got to come to see this,” Ariette called softly from across the room.

  I walked around behind the chair to see what she looked at. The elf stood in front of another steel table, but this one was empty except for a small glass aquarium. The aquarium was filled with a thick, light blue liquid, and something floated in the center of it, attached to a bunch of tubes and IVs. The thing looked like no living creature I had ever seen.

  Its skin was a strange gray hue, and it had no legs. The arms on its torso were skinny and twig-like, and both eyes were shut. As Ariette and I watched a skinny leg began to grow out of the bottom of its torso. Within seconds, the leg was fully formed, and then it began to grow a foot and toes.

  “How much do you want to bet that this is going to be a monster within a few hours?” I asked the elf softly.

  “Nothing,” she replied as she shook her head and turned away from the table, “because I don’t like to lose.”

  The elf strode over to another table and began to sift through the notes and vials of blood and other liquid.

  “He’s been extracting their blood and fusing different combinations of DNA together,” she muttered as her thin fingers flipped through one of the notebooks. “It looks like he’s trying to build an indestructible army.”

  “Why the hell does he want to do that?” I wondered aloud.

  When Ariette didn’t respond with her typical quip, I looked back at the elf. She stared at a thick book that I had missed earlier. Her breathing became erratic, and she slowly opened it as if some monster was going to jump out and bite her head off.

  I approached her slowly and took a good look at the book.

  It was about six inches thick, and it looked like it weighed a few pounds. The edges of the pages were all yellowed and crumpled, and the brown leather that bound it had begun to peel apart. I saw a design burned onto the front that I didn’t recognize. It was full of swirls and rounded triangles and lettering in a language that I had never seen before.

  Ariette ran one slim finger down the page as she stared at it with a mixture of fear and awe.

  “Is that…” I began to ask, but then I trailed off. My heart pounded and my stomach twisted as I realized what that book had to be.

  “The dark texts,” she whispered in horror, “he stole them.”

  “Where was it?” I asked as I scanned the paper in front of me. The same lettering that was on the front cover was also on the page.

  “Under the table,” she responded with a shake of her head. “This book holds some of the darkest magic ever known, and that idiot left it sitting on the fucking coffee table.”

  “Some coffee table.” I laughed humorlessly as Ariette slammed the book shut with a heavy sigh.

  “This is going straight back to the guild,” she muttered with finality, “and we are going to lock it up in some deep, dark hole where nobody can ever get to it again.”

  Her wide blue eyes stared up at me, and I could see the intense sincerity in them. As much as I lacked knowledge on every single aspect of Fae history, I knew one thing for absolute certain: that book had caused a lot of people a lot of pain and terror, and it had no place in the world.

  “Why not just totally get rid of it?” I asked as I stared at the withered pages. Even the yellow edges seemed twisted and nasty.

  “Because…” Ariette hesitated, and I looked up to see her bite her bottom lip hard. I could tell she was afraid I’d judge whatever idea had formed in her head.

  “Hey,” I stepped closer to her and gripped her small shoulders. “What is it?”

  “Sometimes, HC, you have to fight evil with evil,” she finally said, although she still wouldn’t meet my eyes. “If any evil wizard, or Unseelie, ever tries something like this again, or worse, and all we have is a couple of Seelie guilds and some well-trained fighters… we’re toast. But if we have this book, no matter how terrible and evil its history, we will have a much better idea of what kind of magic they are using because it will be in here. That will give us a much better shot at surviving.”

  I couldn’t even argue with her logic. I looked around the lab at the scary looking torture chair, the genetically engineered creature that was still growing before our eyes, and finally at the scribbled notes on white pieces of paper. My chest felt heavy. The room had a tension in it that made me realize just how close we were to the terrible things Ariette was thinking. And, as I took in her wide ocean eyes that pleaded with me to understand, I knew this wasn’t the first time she had seen the world come so close to destruction. And it wouldn’t be the last.

  But she was right about this book. If we could use the spells and knowledge hidden within its brown and worn pages to help stave off that destruction, we owed it to ourselves to do so. After all, the world was a terrible place and this? This was an edge.

  “We’ll take the book back to Hasen and Danira,” I said, and the elf in front of me breathed a sigh of relief. “But we have to make damned sure it never falls into the wrong hands ever again.”

  Chapter 18

  “Nice book,” Maaren said, and her voice startled both Ariette and me. Ariette clutched the dark texts slightly closer to her chest, suddenly wary of the half-Fae as she stood in the doorway.

  “I hope your father won’t mind that we’re taking his people’s history back to the guild,” I said to Maaren as I flashed her a strained smile.

  “He doesn’t ever have to know,” the hunter said with a shrug.

  “Wait,” Ariette said with her brows furrowed, “your father? Who’s your father?”

  Maaren turned to her and debated for a moment whether or not she should say anything. I watched her green eyes narrow before she spoke.

  “King of the Unseelie,” the hunter responded as she lifted her chin, “but we don’t exactly get along. Me working for the Seelie guild and all. Kind of throws a wrench into our daddy-daughter days.”

  “I’m sure it does,” Ariette responded icily. I couldn’t tell what she was so mad about now, but I figured it was best to just move on with the night. After all, we were still in the secret basement lab of a mad scientist.

  “Let’s get back out there,” Ariette added as she turned back to the door “We have to figure out how to get everyone to safety, especially since we can’t call the guild for backup being on a secret mission and all.”

  “Wait.” I put up a hand to stop them as I went back over to the table with the mini troll in the aquarium. In the time we had spent away from it, the thing had grown both of its legs fully, and I could see the formation of sharp teeth in its mouth. I took a deep breath to remind myself this wasn’t a living thing yet, and then I unplugged the tubes that stuck out of the liquid. The thing thrashed around for a moment before it stopped moving completely.

  “Good idea, HC,” Ariette said as I came back over to them, “that’s at least one mor
e that won’t cause mass murder.”

  “And, bonus, we’ll get paid for killing a hybrid troll.” Maaren gave me a wink. “Isn’t it awesome how you can do the right thing and be paid for it?”

  “I suppose it is,” I said as we walked back out to where Kalista was busily freeing all the non-predatory Fae. “I’m guessing we’re leaving those in their cages?” I pointed to the trolls and goblins that were still locked up before gesturing at the monsters in cages along the back wall.

  “Just in case any of them are violent, figured it was best to leave them in the cages,” the dwarf said as she motioned to the ones that were still locked down. “We’ll get them out of here after we take care of everyone else.”

  “Seems reasonable,” I said with a nod. “So, with that in mind, what do you think our next move should be?”

  “I think we should probably take out the remaining guards,” Ariette said, and when no one objected, she continued, “Kalista, how many guards have you seen on those cameras?”

  “I’ve counted four,” Kalista responded, “but there’s not enough camera coverage to be sure there aren’t more. And there’s no sign of Fernell.”

  “Jessa said he goes to town every night,” I said, “but we can still take out those guards.”

  “Agreed,” Maaren said. “The three of us should go after the guards. Kalista, will you watch the cameras and help us out? And stay down here with these poor people? We’ll take out the guards, and then we’ll wait for Fernell to get back before we deal with him.”

  “You got it,” Kalista said with a firm nod.

  “Who’s ready to kick some evil ass?” I questioned as I pulled my gun out of my waistband.

  Ariette and Maaren both held their weapons up a little higher, and they wore matching sharp grins.

  “Milton,” I suddenly heard Jessa say from the ground, and I went to kneel beside the redhead.

  “I’m going to make sure you’re safe,” I assured her softly. “You and everyone. We’re going to get this asshole.”

  “Okay,” she whispered as she looked up at me with watery blue eyes, “just make sure you’re safe too, okay? I-I don’t want to see you in one of these cages.”

  “Don’t you worry about that,” I responded with a wink. “This Fernell would be hard pressed to shove me in a cage.” I reached out and squeezed Jessa’s hand comfortingly before I stood and turned back to Ariette and Maaren. “Let’s go.”

  We climbed the stairs slowly and carefully. When I got to the trapdoor, I lifted it a half of an inch so that I could check and make sure the room was clear before we climbed out.

  As soon as all three of us were out of the trapdoor, Ariette looked around for something to put on top of it just in case anyone tried to come in the room. She found a compact ottoman that was made of some sort of heavy metal, and Maaren and I helped her lug it over the door. Even with three of us, it was difficult. The ottoman wouldn’t stop someone, but it would sure as hell slow them down long enough for Kalista to know they were coming and figure out what to do.

  “Okay, guys,” Kalista said over the comms unit, “right now, I’m counting three guards in the security room, and one in the kitchen. My advice would be to take out the one in the kitchen first, then go after the three idiots.”

  “Got it,” I responded, “first floor or second?”

  “First,” came the dwarf’s reply.

  The three of us crept back down the hallway and peeked in each room until we found the kitchen. It was on the left side of the hallway, and I peeked my head around the doorframe slowly to see what was inside.

  The room was wide and open, with a counter and rundown appliances against the back wall. There was a wooden table off against the wall to my right but nothing else.

  The guard, dressed in a green polo shirt and black slacks, had his back to us. He stood at the counter as he hummed to himself, and we could clearly see the gun on a belt around his waistband. I watched as his hips bopped along to whatever tune he hummed, and his arms moved through the air as he danced and made his sandwich.

  Maaren motioned for Ariette and me to stay put and keep watch, so I looked up and down the hallway to make sure we weren’t about to be found out as the hunter moved in.

  Her footsteps were light and silent, even on the tile floor. The poor guard didn’t even know what hit him as the half-Fae crept up behind him and grabbed him in a chokehold. She spun him around so he couldn’t grab for anything on the counter and one of her long legs came up to block his gun. His meaty hand clutched for the weapon as he choked, but it was no use.

  After a long moment, he went totally limp. Maaren dragged his body over to the pantry to her right and shoved him inside before she shut the door triumphantly.

  “One down, three to go,” she whispered as she crept back over to us.

  “Kal, are all the other three still in the room?” Ariette asked.

  “Yeah,” Kalista replied, “You’re going to have to be fast, though. The room’s pretty small. They’ll be on you the minute you go inside.”

  “Got it,” Ariette replied, “which floor?”

  “Second,” Kalista grunted.

  We headed back into the hallway and rounded a corner in search of the stairs. There was a staircase to our left at the back of the house, but it was the kind that had a landing smack in the middle where the stairs stopped before they continued going up.

  I mounted the stairs first with my gun drawn. As soon as I made it close to the landing, I turned to make sure no one was at the top of the staircase. It was clear, so I motioned for the other two to follow me, and I kept my gun pointed straight ahead in case anyone came around the corner.

  As soon as I got to the hallway at the top of the stairs, I stopped to listen, and laughter echoed through the building from my right.

  Slowly, I roamed down the hallway. Thankfully, the floor was carpeted, and the sound of my footsteps was absorbed by the material as I grew closer to the echoing laughs. I could feel Ariette and Maaren behind me, weapons at the ready.

  There was no way we’d be able to take down these three in silence. We would have to be quick about it and be ready for any retaliation.

  Finally, I made it to the door where the laughter came from. Yellow light spilled into the hallway, and Ariette stopped a few feet back so that she could talk to Kalista without being heard by the guards.

  “Kal, tell us their placement,” Ariette’s voice whispered in my ear as Maaren crept up behind me, and I felt the hunter’s breasts press into my back as we waited.

  “Two are seated directly across from the door,” Kalista replied, “then you got one standing to the left, no, wait, your right, of the door.”

  I inhaled as we listened to the conversation for a moment while I thought of a plan.

  “Nah, Ernie, tell me you screwed her!” one of them hollered out.

  “I did, I did,” came a gruff voice. That would be Ernie. “But then, see, her boyfriend caught us! Turns out, we were in his car, and she never even said a word!”

  “I hope it was damn worth it!” the first one replied. There was laughter for a moment.

  “It was!” Ernie belted out between chuckles.

  “I’ll take the two across from the door,” I whispered to the warriors beside me. “Ariette, you to get the one to the right. Maaren, you be ready in case something goes wrong.”

  Ariette and Maaren nodded in confirmation, and I readied my gun.

  Quickly, I stood and stepped into the open door frame. Shock ran across the faces of the two guards in the chairs directly across from me, but I didn’t give them much of a chance to react.

  I fired at them in quick succession. The first one fell back in his chair when my bullets hit him in the chest, but the second one dove to the side as he narrowly avoided my shot. The third one who had been beside the door attempted to grab my gun.

  He didn’t even have a chance because Ariette’s sword came down on his neck before he got anywhere near me.

&nb
sp; The guard I'd missed earlier fumbled for the gun at his belt. Without thinking, I reached out with my magic and connected with his blood. I felt the pulse of blood in his veins as my Hand tingled. And just as fast, I forced the life-giving liquid to rush into his heart all at once. The guard dropped dead to the ground instantly, gun halfway out of his holster as static crackled in my ear.

  “Incoming!” Kalista shouted into the comms unit. “You got three more coming up behind you. I think they must have been doing rounds outside!”

  “Dibs!” Maaren hollered with a wild grin as she turned to face the new guards that came barreling down the hall.

  “We got them, HC,” Ariette said as she turned and raced Maaren to meet the newcomers. “Save your ammo.”

  Before I could even respond, Maaren used her Hand to throw one of the guards forward, and then he was impaled on Ariette’s shiny sword. Then she kicked him backward off her blade and sent him stumbling into the guard immediately behind him. The poor guy tripped over his dying comrade and wound up falling right into Maaren’s axe as she swung upward, cleaving him from crotch to crown in a single blow.

  As the guard’s body collapsed to the ground in a messy heap, Ariette raised her hand and electrocuted the last one. His body jerked and spasmed as Maaren stepped in and took his head off with her axe.

  The two Fae stood still for a moment as they breathed heavily.

  “Nice work,” Maaren sighed out as she surveyed the dead guards.

  “You too,” Ariette replied as she put a hand on Maaren’s shoulder. They smiled at each other before they turned back to me.

  Something bothered me as I looked at the dead guards. None of them had used magic, and as I took a step toward the closest one, I realized why. None of them were Fae.

 
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