Blood in Siberia
Chapter 20: Off To A Bad Start
I would’ve said more. I didn’t know exactly what, but you could safely bet your ass that it was gonna be good. However, I didn’t get the chance. Wufei’s hand tightened around my neck in a way that I understood as ‘shut the hell up.’
“Turn him loose,” Wufei growled, grabbing the Prince around his neck with his free hand.
“No,” the Prince growled back, grabbing Wufei around the neck with his free hand. I could see both of their faces turning red, but neither one was going to relent to the other.
Boy oh boy. Talk about being in a pickle! “Packmasters,” I wheezed. Once again I tried to say more, but Wufei wasn’t having it. The squeezing now meant ‘shut the hell up, or else.’
“I know your secret,” the Prince whispered with a threatening smile.
I could’ve cheered. The expression on Wufei’s face was one of absolute boredom. “And that would be what? That I like Girl Scout cookies?”
“That your Untouchable is your Primus.”
The sneer on Wufei’s face was the most condescending I had ever seen. “That is news only to you, Peacecraft.”
“Well here is some news for you,” he growled. I felt a sharp pain in my chest that didn’t belong to me. “G and his zombies found the body of my cub!” His voice broke. “You have failed me!” He began to shake uncontrollably. Unfortunately, his grip in my hair was nice and tight. I swore I could feel my brain rattling around. But then Wufei let go of the Prince’s neck to grab his wrist. That made the shaking barely noticeable, and my brain was very thankful.
“I will have my retribution ten times over,” the Prince whispered harshly. “And it will start with your Untouchable.”
One word immediately came to mind: Fuck!
Wufei and I glanced at each other, and in that glance we were able to get on the same page. The Prince’s mind was lost right now because of the death of his cub. Any rational thinking he was capable of has gone bye-bye for now. Did he give a shit if we went to war? No. The worst, for him, has already happened. Did the Shenlong give a shit? Most certainly. We wanted to go home. That wasn’t going to happen unless we got him outta our asses.
“My Untouchable can find who’s responsible for taking Noin, and for everything else,” Wufei said, parroting my earlier words.
“You are responsible!” the Prince insisted stubbornly.
“I am no more responsible for this than for the sky being blue,” he sneered.
The Prince looked down at me. I met his eyes. From his stare, I could see he was carefully weighing me and finding me wanting. “No.” He turned his attention back to Wufei. “He is an useless creature.”
“I would not have an useless creature as my Primus, Peacecraft,” Wufei shot back. “He is the savior of his town due to his cleverness, and the gnomes have a great affinity for him. What do you have to lose?”
The Prince released me, standing tall and looking like an insulted lord. “My Untouchable.”
“Whom is already missing.” Wufei released me, standing as well. The ground then rose, and I nearly cried in happiness when my body was free. Thank god! With no compunction whatsoever, I flopped to the ground and closed my eyes. I was so cold I wasn’t feeling it anymore. “Your trackers, your Alphagué, and you have been unable to find her location. I doubt my trackers would be any more successful,” Wufei painfully admitted. “However, I think I have a solution.” I felt his eyes flicker to me for a second, and I smiled. His worry for me was almost palpable. “My Primus has a talent like the psychics that the American police use,” he lied. “He may be able to find a trail that way.”
The Prince thought about it. “I am still unimpressed.”
I almost snorted. Butt-muncher.
Wufei took a deep breath, and released it slowly. I could tell by the sound of his breathing that it was taking everything he had not to go ballistic. “Then what is your wish, Your Highness?”
I winced. Wufei sounded as giving as concrete.
“Untouchable,” the Prince whispered. “Look at me.”
I did. When his eyes met mine... I wasn’t sure what to think. His eyes were that cold blue color, but they were always lit by an inner fire. The expression in them now was something I didn’t understand. They were empty of fire. They didn’t even contain the expected chill! But they weren’t neutral, so what did that mean?
“Your Untouchable will find Noin immediately,” the Prince announced with authority, his voice carrying to everyone. “Until that time when she is brought to me, I will take your Special as Collateral.”
Wufei’s face went blank. I could tell he wasn’t expecting that at all. “Your Highness,” he started, sounding low and slightly murderous, “I am willing to extend something of mine as Collateral in order to show my intent to follow through. However, using my Special is unacceptable.”
“This is not a request, Chang.”
For a tense moment, I thought Wufei would refuse. His contained fury was scratching its fingernails down my crappy shields, snagging holes and making them worse. But just as suddenly it stopped. A signal I totally missed was given. The Shenlong stood down as Heero made his way to the Prince’s side. Then he turned and faced his Pack, his expression clear of any emotion.
“How pathetic,” the Prince started, voice tired. “Treize would be so disgusted if he saw you now.”
“Eat troll shit,” Wufei snapped back, voice tired also but still full of heat. “Don’t bring him into this. Besides, you are one to talk.”
The Prince looked like he was about to come back with something that would kick the war off proper. Then he sighed, and batted the air around his head as if brushing away Wufei’s words. “Take them to the castle. Incarcerate Yuy. Warm and feed the Untouchable. He will begin as soon as that is done.”
Being warm and fed was exactly what I needed, so I didn’t kick up any fuss about his orders. I was surprised though, when Sedici stepped forward instead of Otto. I mean, I didn’t like Otto or anything, but I was kind of... used to him, I guess. I knew jack shit about Sedici.
With an apologetic nod I was picked up. Hmm, not bad. Sedici was gentle, but it didn’t feel like I would slip through his hands. Nice. Anyway, I caught Wufei’s eyes before we got too far. In front of his enemies, he smiled at me--well, more of a soft smirk--with a slow, slightly-there nod. I slumped against Sedici and exhaled. Wufei felt it was going to be all right. The feeling was radiating off of him in waves. I began to believe it was true too. Quatre was badly hurt, but surely he’s had worse injuries than that? He’s thousands of years old. At that thought, I grew more confident. I was sure he’d seen and lived through barbarism I couldn’t imagine.
Then I grew more confident in myself. Wufei felt it was going to be all right, therefore he had confidence in me. I was a kick-ass clairvoyant. So kick-ass that the top two werewolf leaders would tear the world apart to have me. Yeah. I was hot shit.
I rested against Sedici as Heero followed a step behind us. Looking over his shoulder, I caught Heero’s eyes. Reaching from under Sedici’s arm, I held out my hand to him. With a small smile he grabbed it, and we held on as tightly as we could. I didn’t see any fear on his face, but the way he held onto my hand said otherwise. I had no idea what he would face being held as ‘collateral,’ and he probably didn’t either.
Once again Wufei, thanks a bunch.
With the speed of a whirlwind, Sedici tossed Heero to some guards, had me bathed and dressed in a snowsuit (I’ve never seen a snowsuit much less wore one), and shoveled some soupy slop down my throat. Way, way too soon for my liking, Sedici and I were stomping our way across the grounds. At night. What’s worse was that this was in the middle of buttfuck Siberia, so streetlights and other outdoor lighting was out of the question. We went on our quest with nothing but a rinky dink flashlight, which only I needed. Fucking hell.
I was so pissed I couldn’t focus. My thoughts were running amok, but one featured predominately: Who the hell was this Treize person?
Needless to say, Sedici and I weren’t accomplishing anything. For one, I didn’t know the area and was wandering about aimlessly. Two, Sedici wouldn’t help! He didn’t tell me anything about the location. In fact, he didn’t even speak! He just followed me around like some reluctant puppy! When I finally snapped and yelled at him about it, he took the lead. So instead of him following me aimlessly, I was now following him aimlessly. I swear to god, it was the blind leading the fuckin’ blind.
On the verge of blowing my top, I mentally said ‘the hell with it’ and took over again. Pretending that Sedici obliged me and died, I truly began to try to figure out how this shit all started. Plopping down on a rock, I let my thoughts clobber me with questions.
First off, Noin was taken even though she had to be obviously pregnant. I couldn’t see how the one who took her couldn’t have known that it was the Prince’s baby. Hell, she was an Alphagué! I couldn’t see anyone else having their hands on her except the Prince, or perhaps Otto.
How the hell was she taken? Knowing Catherine as I did, I couldn’t imagine someone forcing her against her will. She’d kill them within two seconds, and that was if she felt like playing with them first! If she was pregnant, I imagined she’d be even deadlier. In fact... yes, she would be deadlier. So, if Noin was anything like Catherine, then I could safely assume that she was one badass bitch. Such a badass could not be taken consciously. They had to have taken her unconsciously. Alright. How could you incapacitate a werewolf? Silver, silver bullets... silver collar? No, no way. It would have to be something done at a distance. But I had my answer. I couldn’t see anything else that could put a supernatural creature down like silver could, unless it was another supernatural creature...
“Sedici, what other creatures live in La Grange Two?” I asked, turning to face him. He stood a comfortable distance away, with his back facing the quarter moon. It gave him that same gorgeous appearance it seemed to give all werewolves. Unlike Otto though, his silver eyes looked dull, and the stars on his face didn’t give me the same wow factor. “Hello?” I said when he didn’t answer. He just looked at me with a bored expression. “Hey asshole, I asked you a question!”
“Don’t tempt me human,” he enunciated slowly. “It is taking everything I have not to kill you.”
At my wits end, I covered my face with my hands. This wasn’t going to work. I knew that if Otto was with me, he would’ve told me. I uncovered my face. “I can’t help y’all find her if you don’t tell me what I need to know! Quit being a dick!”
He raised an eyebrow at me, but didn’t say anything further.
“Fuck this!” I announced, sliding off my rock. “Find her your damn self since you’re so capable!”
I stomped about three steps before Sedici appeared before me. He reached for me, and without thinking I slapped his hand away. “Don’t you fuckin’ touch me!” I shrieked, and launched into a screaming fit that would’ve given Hilde tears of joy. I was cold, homesick, terrified, and the most exhausted I have ever been in my entire life. And since Sedici was the only creature in the vicinity, he was going to get the full brunt of my fury.
It was right when I was in the middle of calling Sedici a gerbil-raping, donkey-blowing son of a bitch when I felt... things. Lots of them. Specifically, lots of them surrounding us. Turning my back on Sedici for the moment, I watched as a thick mist magically appeared, and frowned in concern as it grew thicker. There weren’t precise shapes, but I could discern arms, legs, glowing eyes and teeth. They were a part of the mist, not something that hid in it. I had no idea what kind of creature this could be. “What’s causing this?”
He sniffed a few times. “Death,” he said.
I shook my head. “Death, how? Like ghosts?”
He continued to sniff the air. “Maybe.”
I turned away from him, cursing underneath my breath. ‘Maybe’ was not going to cut it with me. I’d be dead before he figured out what the hell was going on!
Nervously, I let down my shield. When my ‘gift’ had been injured before, it behaved as a radio would in between frequencies. It’s been injured several times since I’ve been here, by more than Wufei. I was afraid my head would explode just from an attempt to use it!
Nevertheless, I closed my eyes, reached out and gently touched the mist with my fingertips...
/ Hungry. Want. Want. /
These creatures didn’t have thoughts. They were masses of dead essences, bound and held together because of someone’s will. Their disembodied states allowed me to see them, and to see the will that bound them. Each mist-person had what was some sort of spiritual string that had the texture of yarn, tied haphazardly around them. The color of the string was a silver that bordered on white. Each person’s string had a tether that reached so far into the distance that I couldn’t see the source of it. It seemed to stretch on for miles, and miles, and miles.
I gasped as I came back to myself. It felt almost as if I had left my body. “They’re ghouls.”
Without warning, I was grabbed and spun around to come face to face with Sedici. “Ghouls?!” he nearly shouted. “Can you be mistaken?”
I thought back over my impressions. I could practically hear the will of the one who was controlling them. “No.”
Sedici didn’t hesitate. He crushed me to his chest and took off at a fierce run. He didn’t even bother to find a path to run on; the dude made his own. If a tree was in our way, he plowed the hell through it. Boulders were dust when he was past them. I hoped nothing alive would be in our way, because he was not going to stop.
Unfortunately, the mist moved with us. I could see fleeting hands reach out for me, teeth snap at me, and red eyes filled with malice. My mind was still open to them, and I could hear their /hunger/ and /want/ reaching a feverish pitch. My head started to throb from their desire...
Wait a minute! “They want to eat us!” I yelled.
“No shit, stupid!” Sedici yelled back. “That’s what ghouls do!”
I thought about that for a moment before I started screaming like a little bitch. I knew my voice was going through Sedici’s head like a nail, but I didn’t care. He would just have to deal.
I screamed in true terror when several somethings reached from the air to grab me, one of them managing to claw their fingernails down my left cheek. After a few more attempts they succeeded, snatching me out from under Sedici’s arm. I landed hard on my back, seeing stars as well as having the breath knocked from me. Turning on my side I made out Sedici out of the corner of my eye, and the sight nearly made me vomit. The werewolf was fighting all out, but the ghouls were tearing strips of skin off of him... and eating it.
I tried to get up, but my muscles were contracted from the fall. My head was spinning, even with my eyes closed. I felt the hands of the ghouls on my feet, and started to kick. I nearly made myself sick at the image of them tearing my skin off and eating it. It wasn’t until I was a good distance away that I realized they weren’t going to eat me. They were taking me somewhere.
I redoubled my efforts. Unfortunately, it wasn’t getting me anywhere. My fist or foot went right through their misty bodies, but their misty bodies had no problem picking me up and carrying me. One of them even smacked me upside the head to make me behave! It was the most bizarre thing I had ever experience.
Just when the thought of impeding doom crossed my mind, a torch came into view. The ghouls shrieked in pain before dissolving. I landed on my back, again, and suffered through the not-breathing, seeing-stars thing. Again.
Someone was standing over me, holding the torch to the side so as not to burn me. I blinked a few times to get my eyes to focus. When they did, I gasped and scooted backwards until I backed into a tree.
G stepped forward calmly, then squatted down to my level. His fur coat seemed to dispel the snow, making him appear as a black hole in a sea of white. Gently, he took a hold of my chin and turned my head from side to side. Then he peered into my eyes. He looked into them so intensely I thought he was reading my thoughts. With that thought, I threw my shields up.
“Your pupils are not focusing properly,” he told me in his nasally voice, “but it’s mild. And I see you’ve been scratched by one of the ghouls.” Right when he said that, the left side of my face started burning.
“Oh god.” My eyes widened. “That doesn’t mean I’ll turn into one of them, does it?”
He gave me a close-lipped smile. “No,” he said. “We just need to clean and bandage it up. That’s all.” The humor in his voice calmed me down.
“Rest a moment.” He rose. “Once we’re clear, we’ll escort you back to the castle.”
It was then that I looked around and noticed that there were dozens of torches lit. The mist was nearly gone, shrieks were dying out, and calls of what sounded like ‘all clear’ were being shouted back and forth. I let my head drop back, closed my eyes and exhaled. I was safe. Hopefully, Sedici was alright. I didn’t think past this little ‘outing,’ but I was pleasantly surprised to find we were going to stay at the castle. Hell, the Prince could’ve demanded we not return until we found Noin! I could tongue G right now, I was so grateful.
I opened my eyes to comment, and found that G was staring intensely at me. Very intensely. It reminded me of the look Quatre gave people sometimes, when he was debating whether it would be worth the effort of hiding their bodies if he killed them. “G?” I asked, quickly standing. “Is there a problem?” He stepped towards me. I edged away from the tree and took two steps back. He took another step towards me. I took three back.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said quietly.
“Yeah, well...” I shrugged. I didn’t know what to say, and I was too tired to try.
He shook his head. “You’re exhausted,” he said, so empathically it soothed my frayed shields.
“Yes,” I said tearfully.
He waved his hand. “We will discuss this with the Prince tomorrow. For now, you must rest.” He paused a moment, then said, “Edward. Come,” in a weird, hollow voice.
I had no idea what to think. I tilted my head, resembling a dog. “What did you just do?”
He gave me another small smile. “I Called one of my children to me.”
Uhh... yeah. “The zombies are your children?”
“Yes. I consider myself their father, as I am the one giving them life.”
Something told me not to ask the next question. It said I would be sorry if I did. So it was no surprise that the words came out anyway. “You gave them life? But they’re dead!” I took an unconscious step back. “What are you?”
He closed his visible eye. “I am the Prince’s necromancer.”
I felt my breath whoosh out of me as my knees gave out. Luckily, a pair of arms caught me around the waist. Looking up, I saw the one I labeled as ‘my zombie’ when I was kidnapped.
“Take him to the castle,” G said, walking in the direction where Sedici and I were attacked. “Give him to Otto. Come back to me when you are dismissed.”
Without a word, Edward picked me up and started carrying me towards the castle. I laid my head against his chest, not giving a shit that he was slightly decomposed and smelled like mildew. I just wanted to sleep.
“Stay away from him,” Edward whispered.
Fuck! Couldn’t anyone give me five god damn minutes?! “What?” I snapped.
“Stay away from G,” the zombie said. “Unless you want to be his lover.”
I sat up so fast Edward nearly dropped me. “What?!”
He stopped. “He wants you,” he breathed. My head started spinning again. “He wants you badly. He’s been obsessed with you ever since we brought you.” He started walking again. “He’s trying to bargain with the Prince. If he does especially well, or if he can use us to kill the Shenlong Packmaster, he wants you as his prize.”
I didn’t say anything. I dropped my head against Edward’s chest again, and quietly cried. I was so fuckin’ sick of crying, but I couldn’t help it! I had no other emotional outlet available to me that wouldn’t get me killed.
At least Edward didn’t try to call me out for it. In fact, he held me tighter. In his arms I felt his apology, and his determination to keep me safe from the ghouls of the night. In all their forms.