Blood in Siberia
Chapter 18: Behind Enemy Lines
I didn’t realize I had fallen asleep until I was thrown to the floor. A body immediately landed on me, covering me. Judging by the horrendous odor, it had to be a zombie. I had a second to think ‘God, please take me now!’ before I heard big somethings land on the roof of the limo. Whatever they were, they were heavy enough to dent the hell out of it. But that became a moot point. I looked over my shoulder in time to see claws punch through the roof and rip it off in one go. Two big, obviously pissed off werewolves surrounded the new sunroof. I chuckled, but it was lost in the whooshing air. Even in werewolf form, Rashid sported his infamous hair.
Hell broke loose after that. There were only five zombies in the back with us, one of whom was on top of me, but the remaining four fought like the devil. It appeared that fighting a zombie was almost worse than fighting a werewolf. They apparently felt no pain. Every claw or punch was taken in stride. Sally ripped an arm off of one, and it didn’t even faze him. He just continued to fight until she ripped the other off. When she caught his leg, I prepared myself for the gruesome sight of his leg being next to go. Instead, she just tossed him over her shoulder and out he went. The change of weight sent the limo swerving for a few seconds, but the driver kept going.
That small victory kicked my butt into gear. I began to elbow the one on my back, and tried pushing myself up to toss him off. I managed to trap him between me and the seat, and had just gotten on my side when he grabbed my throat. He squeezed, and all thoughts of helping the others vanished. I grabbed his hand and kicked at him, doing everything I could to loosen his grip. Looking into his eyes, I saw that it was that first zombie that had me. He wasn’t squeezing hard enough to kill (thank god), but his lips were pressed in a thin line, and I knew he was just as determined to keep me as the others were to get me back.
I heard a squawk, and saw Rashid and a zombie tumble off the roof, disappearing from sight. Sally leaned half of her body inside, and was making mincemeat outta the remaining zombies. Quatre, who apparently had also been tossed on the floor, reached out a slightly clawed hand and cut off one of the zombie’s leg like it was butter. The shape-shifter got to his feet and started towards me as the zombie grabbed his leg and bit him. Quatre screamed, turned and tried to punch him off. It wasn’t working.
The zombie that had me let go and scrambled to the front of the limo. I jumped up to kick the one off of Quatre when I heard a familiar, yet horrifying sound.
It was the sound of a shotgun being cocked.
And I was willing to bet my house those deer slugs were made of silver.
I turned just in time to see my zombie take a shot at Sally. It only nicked her, but the force was enough to knock her out of the limo. She managed to grab the door, but the zombie she was fighting ran into it, taking Sally and the door with him. My zombie immediately turned and took aim at Quatre. At point blank range, in human form, I didn’t know if Quatre stood a chance.
Using every ounce of strength I had, I kicked Quatre in the chest. It only knocked him off balance. But the zombie that bit him finished the job. With his arms around Quatre’s waist, he used his considerable strength (and remaining leg) to lean back, and tossed them both out. I was immediately flung to the floor, where my zombie straddled my stomach, shotgun aimed between the door and roof.
I pushed him further down my body, so that he was sitting more on my hipbones than on my abdomen. Once I was able to breathe easier, I dropped my head to the floor and closed my eyes. Tears ran silently into my hair as the limo rocked with its speed. My chance at rescue had come and gone. I had horrors to face, except now with Quatre gone, I was going to face them alone.
I slowly opened my eyes to the zombie leaning over me. I had to blink a few times before he came into focus. He raised an eyebrow at me, but when I didn’t react he shrugged and moved away. I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, flicking a big eye-booger in his direction. He noticed, but didn’t seem to care. We sat there staring at each other for a few seconds before the silence unnerved me into snapping, “What?”
“He is here to collect you.”
Snorting, I got up and made my way out, careful not to trip over that zombie’s leg. The hole in the roof and door were even bigger up close. God. This was no way to treat a limo.
Stumbling out, I was surprised to see a crowd. Otto was there, as expected. What was interesting was the gas mask he wore. I figured it was to protect him from the dozen zombies that were surrounding us. The stench of them should’ve made him puke himself into a coma.
Standing next to Otto was a really weird looking guy. He had unattractive gray hair that was shaped like a mushroom, with a matching mustache that made his long nose look even longer. His skin had a lot of olive coloring to it, making his visible eye stand out in his face. He wore a beautiful black fur coat that covered him from his neck to his heels. He didn’t have a fur hat like I expected, but with that hair, it probably wasn’t necessary.
What really caught my attention though, was his scar. It ran vertically down his left cheekbone, with horizontal scars across the vertical one where the sutures were. That, more than anything, scared me about this guy. He reminded me of Frankenstein, in that he had the appearance of an animate thing put together with inanimate parts. The surrounding zombies did nothing to dispel that image.
Otto stepped forward as the zombie that drove joined his ranks. The Alphagué pointedly looked over the missing door, the hole in the roof, and my zombie stepping out with a shotgun in his hand. Right on cue, the zombie that was with Quatre hopped into view. He reached into the limo and retrieved his leg, tossing it over his shoulder like a purse. The others could be seen trickling in. One zombie was guiding the other, since it appeared he was missing his face, and the last one arrived kicking his arms ahead of him. Otto turned to the zombie with the shotgun. “Problems?”
With a straight face he said, “No, none at all.”
I bowed my head to hide my smile. Funny or not, I’d be damned if they saw my amusement.
“They are coming,” said the zombie who was kicking his arms. My head shot up at this, and hope filled my chest. “Our stench has slowed them down, but they are still making way.”
“G,” said Otto, voice muffled through the mask. Following Otto’s line of sight, I realized that the mushroom-haired man was G. “Stop them.”
G turned to the zombies surrounding us. “You heard him.”
Without hesitation they took off, except for the six that kidnapped me. Once they were out of sight, Otto grabbed me by the hair and pulled me to him. I did not take that treatment quietly. I kicked, punched, bit, spat, and called him every ugly name I have ever heard from South Park.
He was ignoring me, but it was taking some effort for him to do so. “I must get back to the Prince,” he said. “Guard our rear.”
I almost laughed at that. We had one guy that was missing his leg, another both arms, and one his face. What the hell could they possibly do?
‘Plenty,’ my mind answered. That was my problem, wasn’t it? Underestimating the enemy. Despite losing a leg, both arms and a face, they still managed to get me to Otto. That was my mistake with the Prince too. I saw that smile of his, knew it was a trick, but still fell for it.
Otto got a hold on me and tossed me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Still ignoring my kicking and name-calling, he started for the castle. This continued for nearly a mile, until I got in a good hit. Somehow I knocked his mask off and kneed him in the nose. “That does it!” he shouted, and dropped me to the ground. It knocked the breath outta me, but I knew he wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t gotten to him. A sick chuckle slipped past my lips anyhow.
“You will behave,” he growled at me. “Or I will make you.”
Gasping, I sneered, “Then make me.”
Otto was taking us through a narrow but worn trail between some small hills. On the right side, the hill rose. The left side was downhill. Sliding his foot under me, he rolled me off the trail and down the hill.
It was awful.
Rolling down a hill was probably one of the worst things he could’ve done at that moment. If this has happened to you, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The speed was so great I couldn’t wrap my arms around me to protect myself. The velocity of the roll pulled them out to my sides. If I didn’t have control of my arms, I certainly didn’t have control of my legs, so slowing or stopping my descent was out. I bounced brutally against the ground, where rocks and hard snow had their way with me. The worse was the constant spinning view of the sky and ground. The dizzying sight made my eyes feel like rolling out of my head.
Unluckily, a large rock was in my path. I slammed into it, and the force combined with the sudden stop of my spinning head had me puking, hard. Through my gasps I heard Otto descending, his footsteps knocking the smaller clumps of ice off their beds. They bounced down to hit me in the back of my head. I heard him plop down next to me as he waited for me to finish. Once I was, he waited a few minutes more to allow me to get my tattered dignity back together. Not easy to do when you’re covered in dirt, snow, vomit (yours and others), and smell like zombie ass. Tears of pain were forced from my eyes, it was hell trying to breathe, and I was hurting all over. In all honesty, I was quite ready to die. I could curse Sally for saving me. I really, really could.
Otto sighed, and I was surprised at the sound. It was almost… sad. I heard him shift, and then his hand was massaging my scalp, soothing my aching head. It felt so good, I just let him. I wasn’t in the condition to protest anyway. “Duo,” he said gently. I looked at him out of the corner of my eye to show that I was listening. “Stop this.” I closed my eyes. I was so tired. “I like you.” That made me open my eyes briefly in shock. “I like you very much.” He had my attention. I tried to roll on my back, but he was too close. I ended up resting against his knees. He didn’t seem to mind. “But finding Noin has been left to me, and I refuse to fail.” His voice lowered. “I have never done so before, and I will not start now!” He brushed the bangs from my face. “Despite how much I like you, I will hurt you, torture you, or kill you to get the information I need. Don’t make it harder for you than it has to be.” He kissed my ear. The softness and warmth of his lips made me shiver. “Behave. Do what you’re told and you may survive this.”
I blew a breath out. I got what he was saying. The near future for me was going to be ugly and painful, and he didn’t like it anymore than I did. But he’ll hurt me to get Wufei’s jaws to loosen. And I have to be as healthy as possible, or else my injuries will do me in. “Alright.”
“Good.” Standing, he gently lifted me in his arms. He easily made it back to the path, and cradled me to his chest as he ran. In pain, exhausted, and outta my mind worrying for the others and myself, I fell asleep.
I woke slowly, staring at the blurred ceiling until it came into focus. Faint red lighting danced along the ceiling from some unseen corner, lending an air of seduction. It took me a few seconds to remember where I was, then a few more seconds to realize that I had no idea where I was. I sat up and glanced around, but all there was to see were shadows. The blankets--no, pelts--that covered me were blood red, nearly the shade Wufei used as his color. They fell to my waist as I sat up--wait a minute. I raised the pelts to peek, then dropped them back down. Why was I naked?!
Rolling as much as I dared (I looked and felt like hell), I tried to see if my clothes were laying about somewhere. As I did, I felt quite a few soft somethings slide along my back. In shock, I touched the back of my head. Why was my hair down?!
“We bathed you.”
I jumped at the voice, and stared wide-eyed as Prince Milliardo appeared from the shadows. He had a glass of wine in his hand, which he unconsciously swirled. This time he was dressed in all black: pressed slacks, satin shirt, long overcoat. I couldn’t figure if he just came from a corporate meeting, or met with the King of Britain. He looked absolutely delicious.
I pulled the pelts up to my chin, as if they could somehow protect me from the werewolf. “Why?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Because you were filthy, and you smelled of zombie stink.”
Oh. Yeah. That. “Th-thank you,” I stuttered, and nearly smacked myself in the forehead for doing so.
He gave me a tired smile. “No… thank you. It was definitely our pleasure,” he purred. At my blush, he chuckled, setting the wine glass out of harm’s way. The chuckle made a surge of anger flare in my chest. Just a few hours ago he was battling the Shenlong for my capture, and here I was thanking him for what? Bathing me? This shit was his fault in the first place!
Suddenly hands slammed down on either side of me, making me nearly jump outta my skin. The Prince stood before me, eyes narrowed and frowning. “Watch yourself, Untouchable,” he whispered. “Save your anger for Chang, because I am not the one to put up with it.” He leaned in. “Give me grief, and I will remove your head from your shoulders.”
I was proud of myself. Despite how much I wanted to crap all over myself, I didn’t. I shook a little, and my breathing was ragged, but that was all the reaction I showed. I tried to calm down by thinking of outer space, and I slightly succeeded.
We stared at each other with mild resentment until Otto showed up, breaking the spell. In his hands he carried a thick caftan that was the Siberian’s signature blue, identical to the one he wore. He held it up for me to see with a raised eyebrow. I snatched it outta his hands, not giving a damn what color it was. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, especially in the middle of freezing Siberia. Oh god yes, it was made of wool.
I sighed gratefully as I pulled it over my head, and groaned quietly at the immediate warmth. I pulled the pelts back to me as the Packmaster and Otto moved about, discussing things in Russian and growls. As they did so I looked around, and realized I was on a raised dais. Ah. We must be in the Prince’s private chambers.
The Prince had slipped into a caftan as well, except his was white. The brightness of his clothes and hair made my eyes cross for a moment. Because of that, I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
Otto was suddenly squatting at my side. Grabbing my right arm at the wrist and above the elbow, he held it out and braced it across his knees. Prince Milliardo was there a second later with the biggest knife I had ever seen. The blade must be a foot long! Its appearance was simple and not threatening. But the faint glints of red showed it had seen some action, and the wear on the handle was an obvious sign of frequent usage.
“This is a German Military Bayonet that I took from a German soldier I killed,” the Packmaster said blandly. “It’s thirteen inches of sheet metal. It was attached to an AK47 during WWII, and used to stab solders without having to let go of the gun. I’m certain you’ve seen pictures.”
I was so confused I wasn’t afraid. I just watched the Packmaster’s face, looking for some method to this madness.
“I fought briefly in that war,” he said, keeping his same bored tone. “It was an eye-opening experience. I saw how insignificant humans were, how they would tear each other apart because one insane individual said to. Because of that, I am determined,” he barked, “to take care of my Pack! I do not wish to be such an individual, but Chang is driving me to it!”
It was when he held the knife against my arm that I realized what he was getting at. I started to squirm, but Otto’s hold was like stone. Oh my god oh my god! No!
“Believe it or not, I do not wish to go to war with the Shenlong over you,” he continued, ignoring my panic. “In my opinion, you are not worth it. But I will go to war over Noin, if she is not brought back to me, now!”
“I don’t know where she is!” I screamed in his face. “Hell, I don’t even know who she is, outside of what I’ve been told!”
“But there is you!”
“What about me?!” I tried to pull my arm free. I looked the Alphagué in his face, pleading with my eyes. His face was blank. “Otto! Please! Don’t do this!”
“What is it about you that Chang is willing to fight me, instead of tossing you aside like garbage?!” the Prince insisted.
“I don’t know!”
“Yes you do!”
“He loves me!”
“Ha!” he guffawed, but the smile on his face was anything but amused. “Do you even know about your Packmaster? Hm?” He leaned towards me. “He hails from a House millennia old! He became the youngest Packmaster in the history of our kind after his parents were killed! His strength is unsurpassed by everyone except me. He is deferred to by every werewolf on the planet except for me and mine, and there is no one of our kind that doesn’t know his name!” He grabbed my arm and pulled me to him. With my other arm still held by Otto, it felt as if I was being ripped apart. “He is feared by every supernatural creature there is. Master vampires bow to him save for one, and that is because Chang will not let him!” He roughly let me go. I crawled back over to Otto, and pathetically tried to get him to turn me loose.
“Now I’m supposed to believe,” he growled dangerously, “that some orphaned, human, minimum-waged paid, part-time gas station attendant who lives in the middle of nowhere is so good in bed that he has one of the most powerful creatures name him Untouchable?”
Before I could stop myself, I spat on him and yelled, “Fuck you!”
Everything froze in that instant. I could feel the air quiver from the tension. Then the Prince moved. Raising the knife high, he swung it down fast. I only saw the silver arc before I screamed my secret.
“I’M THE PRIMUS!”
He froze. The knife had broken the top layer of skin, and blood was steadily dripping to the floor in healthy droplets. I was too terrified to feel the pain.
“You’re the Primus?!” Otto repeated, sounding horrified.
I didn’t answer. The stress from Mueller, Alex, Tsubarov, Meizer, Howard, Hilde, and Silver Water, combined with everything that’s happened since I’ve laid eyes on Wufei came to a head. Not giving a shit that they were there, I broke down and had The Conniption Fit of conniption fits.
It took the Prince and Otto only half a second to clear the room, and it was a good thing they did. Unlike them, I was not taking prisoners. But I also knew that I had Fucked Up. After being told all of Wufei’s accomplishments, I gave his enemy something to use against him. He now knew that a nobody like me was second in the hierarchy of the Shenlong. With three words, I made my situation much, much worse.
It was a bad day indeed, when having your arm cut off was the best option.