I forgot to mention last chapter that BiS is officially a crossover! Oburi and the miscellaneous whatnots coming up are from the anime 'Kite.'
Blood in Siberia
Chapter 24: Searching for a Safe Haven
If I had anything in my bladder or bowels, it would’ve been all over the floor. The Prince’s fury was a jackhammer against my shields, and I could feel his control slipping. Wufei’s fury was rising just as quickly, and his body was tense as he waited for the slightest reason to get the fur flying. But my experience with Darlian had taught me that despite what anyone thought, despite what facts they had, my gift was undeniably right. Undeniably.
“Vampires can live forever,” I shot back. “Werewolves and shape-shifters can change forms. Wizards,” I gestured to G, “can manipulate anything magical.” I came from behind Quatre the tiniest bit. Just the tiniest. I wasn’t that brave. “Would a dead person coming back to life be such a stretch?”
“I filleted him to pieces.” The Prince gave me a cruel smile. “Literally.”
I leaned over Quatre’s shoulder. “He’s been dilly-dallying in Earth Magic, Your Highness. I bet he had himself put back together before you finished cleaning his blood off your claws.”
That made him frown. “Wizards can not ‘dilly-dally’ in each other’s magics, Untouchable. They wouldn’t be able to control it.”
“He can’t. Not completely.” I sat down beside Quatre. “I felt his struggle to keep the magics from ripping him apart. But his determination and will are enough to control it to some degree. He’s making it work.” I could see Quatre smirk out of the corner of my eye. Yes, I was very fond of Tim Gunn’s saying. When the hell was the new season of Project Runway starting anyway?
“And you learned all of this through your... physic abilities?”
His condescending drawl made me want to jump up and kick him in the forehead. Quatre seemed to realize this, and pinched me under the robe. “Yes, Your Princeness,” I snarled. “It did.”
He narrowed his eyes at me, but did nothing more. “Gerald,” the Prince said, turning his attention to G. I raised my eyebrows in surprise. I never thought about G’s first name.
G seemed surprised too. His only visible eye widened. “Yes?”
“Is it possible to bring oneself to life after death?”
“Of course,” he said, with a kind of ‘duh’ tone to his voice. “I myself have died seventy-two times. A necromancer wouldn’t be any good if he could bring others to life but not himself.”
My jaw hit the floor. Seventy-two times?! Good gracious. He was so blasé about it too, as if dropping dead was something routinely done after lunch.
“However, I am investigating how he accomplished this. To bring oneself to life is a gift supposedly reserved for necromancers,” G said, scratching his jaw. “That an Air Wizard accomplished this is a great concern, and suggests that he had his life secured before you killed him.” Without another word he rose and left.
I was still gawking when the Prince turned back to me. “And when was I going to be notified of your findings?” he whispered in a dangerous way. I glanced to Wufei and saw the same question in his eyes. Apparently, he wanted me to tell him before I told the Prince!
Irritated, I snapped at both of them. “We just found out last night and were on our way to tell you when G picked us up!” I pointed my finger at the blonde werewolf. “I’m sure Otto would’ve told you what we found if you hadn’t started beating the shit outta him!”
The Prince seemed to have paused again. I couldn’t tell what he was feeling, but I hoped to hell it was remorse. Personally, I couldn’t stand Otto. He and I were on different teams, serving the two baddest. I just couldn’t help rooting for the guy. There was something about him that made you like him, despite wanting to kick his ass.
“We need to talk to Trowa and Otto,” Wufei said, rising. The Prince rose with him, and together they left. As soon as the door closed I turned to Quatre and threw my arms around him, squeezing him for dear life. “You okay?”
“Yes, thanks to you. Sally had that bullet out in a blink.” He squeezed me back then released me. “But don’t sacrifice yourself for me again. Wufei went bananas after that.”
I shook my head. “You got hurt rescuing me. I wasn’t going to leave you.”
He sighed, but said nothing more.
I nodded towards the door. “What happened?”
“Nothing,” Quatre told me. “All of us searched for miles out, but there wasn’t a trace of Noin anywhere. We regrouped at dawn, and found out from G that the four of you took off right after we did. G sent a couple of zombies to search for you guys, but you all were nowhere to be found. After that, Wufei asked me to fly out and see if I could track you down. I was on my way out when I saw you and Heero heading for the castle, hurt. I told G to get you two while I went and informed Wufei.”
I rubbed the back of my neck. It was aching like a bitch. “What’s up with the Prince? He lit into Otto something fierce.”
Quatre sighed again. “They both got it I’m afraid.”
I jerked. “What?!”
He placed his hand on my shoulder, then slid it down to my elbow. “Trowa’s okay, don’t worry.” I settled after that, but I could feel the anxiety showing on my face. “They failed, Duo. They were supposed to protect you and Heero, and instead they harmed you. Otto jumped at you to get answers since he knew that Oburi was dead. Trowa jumped at Otto to kill him, which is a no-no since we’re supposed to be doing the Prince’s will. Heero took the brunt of it all, afraid you might’ve been killed from the impact. Because Heero was Collateral and injured in the Siberian’s care, the Prince would’ve been liable. However, with Trowa guilty as well, Wufei could not get the restitution he would have otherwise. They fucked up,” he finished with a shrug. “Both had to be punished.”
I cringed thinking about Wufei doing that to Trowa. Quatre didn’t seem phased however, so I guess things would be back to normal soon enough.
“He’ll be okay,” he said with a frown. “Trowa and Otto’s combined forces crushed him internally, and trying to get you to safety made it worse.” He brightened slightly. “He’s recovering well. He just needs rest.”
“Where is he? Can I see him?”
“I’m afraid not. He’s being kept away from us as he recovers. Wufei has been pitching a fit about it, but the Prince will not return him to the dungeon.” This time when Quatre frowned, he balled his fists. “He’s being kept in the Prince’s private quarters.” I pursed my lips in thought. Quatre and I have been down there and out. We could plan his escape, but I didn’t know how far he could go while he was injured.
“There is a guard outside of the door, and Otto is probably guarding Heero. Anyone caught attempting to free him is to be executed on the spot,” Quatre whispered, shaking his head. “There’s no point even thinking about it.”
Shit. “What now then?”
“Now, you rest,” Quatre said, pushing me onto the pelts. “You’ve only slept for a day. You need another day at least, and I can tell you feel like shit.” I snorted. Wasn’t that the truth. “You can rest in peace. I will be watching over you.” I smiled as he tucked me in. “Sleep.”
So I slept.
When I woke it was late morning. Quatre was still with me, resting at my side. Apparently, he was under watch just like I was. So he and I had a wonderful breakfast brought to us. With full stomachs we were escorted to private baths, where we soaked our troubles away. Afterwards, we were escorted to a new room where we took power naps. I was contemplating our next round of pampering when an anonymous werewolf told us our presence was required in the Prince’s Receiving Chamber.
Quatre and I followed the werewolf to the Receiving Chamber, which turned out to be the room I woke in earlier. We arrived to find the Prince and Wufei already there with Otto, Trowa and G. The Packmasters still looked like crap, as well as exhausted. Trowa and Otto appeared to be perfectly groomed, with every hair and mole in place. However, they had a different demeanor about them. They seemed melancholy and subdued. Damn. I guess they really had their asses handed to them.
I tilted my head as I circled around G, curious at the stack of books and aged papers surrounding him. They were written in letters and symbols I could only assume was another language. An archaic language. A strong desire to understand went through me, and without really paying attention I plopped down next to G. Reaching forward I touched a manuscript with my fingertips, and immediately flinched back. Clenching my hand into a fist, I tried to clear the turmoil from my mind. These papers were thousands of years old, passed along from wizard to wizard. There had been thousands of them, all of them adding spells, telling secrets, and leaving traces of themselves behind. Their power easily skirted around mine and gave me a migraine the size of the moon. It was taking everything I had not to throw up.
“Duo?” I slowly turned my head towards Quatre, who looked at me with concern. “What happened? You don’t smell so good and you went pale all of a sudden.”
I couldn’t open my mouth. If I did, that beautiful breakfast was going to make an appearance.
“Your Highness, I’m afraid he needs to step out into the hall,” G said while standing. “The shape-shifter should accompany me to ensure my veracity to Packmaster Chang.”
“Very well,” the Prince said. Quatre helped me stand, and kept an arm around my waist as we stepped out into the hall. I covered my face with my hands, trying to block all light from my eyes. I could feel everyone’s concerned gazes on my back.
We went far enough down the hall to be covered in a decent amount of shadow. Gently, G and Quatre sat me down on the floor. I heard them do the same. Then G took my hands from my face to place on his cheeks. “Turn him loose,” he told Quatre, and I felt my friend slowly release me.
G didn’t barge into my mind like I was expecting. He probably couldn’t. My shields were up and solid like Alcatraz. What he did was place his hands over mine, and quietly whispered that I was alright, that it was okay. His touch gave my mind something to focus on, and after a few moments I cautiously lowered my shields.
I didn’t enter his mind and he didn’t enter mine; instead, he allowed his magic to flow into me and out of me, clearing away the residue left by touching the manuscript. I was seeing Earth Magic from a wizard’s view rather than a necromancer’s, and it was beautiful. I felt as if I was in a forest at the beginning of spring. I could feel the soft, moist, warmed dirt under my feet. The sun’s rays ran its fingers through my hair and along the back of my neck. I could hear the plants breathe, and the trees talking to each other. I smelled rebirth, and felt only peace.
When I opened my eyes I locked onto Gerald’s. Both of them. His right eye matched the necromancer side of himself. The iris was a washed-out, milky white. It seemed so appropriate that I wasn’t surprised. “Thank you,” I whispered as I pulled my hands away. I felt worlds better.
“My pleasure,” he said, and I heard all of the nuances in his voice.
The three of us stood and made our way back. G asked me not to touch any of the papers or books, as they were all infused with magic. I promised that I wouldn’t even breathe on the damn things. So when we returned to the Receiving Chamber, I sat as far away from him as possible. While G shuffled papers around, I caught Trowa’s eye. I gave him as discreet a wave as I could, which got me a wink. Otto caught my eye and raised an eyebrow. Not understanding, I gave him a ‘huh?’ face. He snorted at me, but turned his attention to G when he started speaking.
“According to my research, Oburi was reanimated because his soul was stored in a ‘safe haven.’ Think of a safe haven as a horcrux, like in Harry Potter.” My eyes widened in surprise. I wouldn’t think that a real wizard would read Harry Potter. My head was also ready to explode when I saw the werewolves nod in understanding, getting the reference. If I mentioned it to Howard, he’d think a horcrux was a sex toy, and that Harry Potter was a new porn star.
“Necromancers do not need safe havens, as we never truly die. But for those foolish enough to remove their soul, they’d need the power from the death of an undead to actually keep their body animated. Their soul would have to be tethered somehow to their body, else they would be no better than a ghoul.”
Holy hell. If Oburi went through all of this trouble to have Noin, he should be allowed to fucking keep her.
“Oburi had to stake a vampire in order to stay animated as he took out his soul,” Otto clarified. G nodded. The werewolf frowned. “Well, are we missing any?”
“No. I had our nest checked. All are accounted for.” G shrugged. “He would’ve been foolish to stake one of our vamps anyway. More than likely he picked a rogue vampire. If he had whatever he used as his haven with him, he could’ve staked the vampire, filled his safe haven and went about his business in less than two minutes.”
Quatre raised his head. “How can it be destroyed?”
G frowned. “The haven itself is inconsequential. I’d just need to perform a Soul-Drain on it.”
I decided to brave the floor. I raised my hand in a way reminiscent of high school. I jumped when I got everyone’s attention. Their eye color was especially intense in the dim room. “Hey. Uhh... Does anybody have any idea what he’d use as his safe haven, or where he’d keep it?” I got six blank looks. “Yeah. That’s what I thought.”
“I have sent out my most intelligent zombies to find out if there’s any rumors circulating about vampires disappearing, or someone trying to stake them,” G reported, all business. “I’m hoping to hear something soon. Rogue vampires or not, they had to have had acquaintances that noticed their absence.”
“Excellent.” The Prince stood, as well as Wufei. “Search parties are to be sent out immediately to find the safe haven, or any trace of Oburi.” He nodded to Otto who stood and walked out without a word. Trowa looked to Wufei, who nodded. Trowa stood and just like Otto, walked out without a word. Quatre stood as well, along with G who was gathering up all of the papers and books. I stood since everyone else was up, wondering what we were going to do next.
“I am tired of this, Peacecraft,” Wufei said out of the blue, facing the Prince. Quatre, G and I glanced at each other before turning to the Packmasters.
“And I am not?” the blond werewolf answered, facing Wufei. Neither had their claws out, their hackles raised or teeth bared. Yet I knew that both were making a stand.
“My Special and my Primus are to be returned to me now, without fail.” Wufei took a step forward. “I have no affiliation with this ‘Oburi.’ My Pack and I have no part in this.”
The Prince was silent for a moment. Then he sneered, “No.” He took a step forward. “I will release your Untouchable when I have mine.” He drew himself up to his terrible height. “Your Special is where he belongs now. You have no further claim over him.”
Wufei drew up to his own terrible height. “Then the Siberian Werewolves and all that serve them will be annihilated in five days time.”
The Siberian Prince laughed, but it was completely without mirth. “You have that backwards. It is the Shenlong who will be annihilated! Those fortunate enough to survive will belong to me... beginning with your Untouchable.”
As if that was the magic word, the door opened. I could feel the dozens of werewolves standing in the hallway, dressed in military perfectness and ready to serve.
“Escort the Shenlong out of our territory,” the Prince demanded. “Imprison the Untouchable.”
“What?!” I shrieked as G grabbed me by my arms. His face was blank. “No, no! You can’t do this!” I yelled as I fought against the wizard. Sedici appeared out of nowhere and grabbed me by the shoulders. There was no way I was breaking his grip. “Let go of me!”
“Duo!” I turned at the yell. It was Quatre. He was reaching out for me as they hauled him out into the hall.
“Wufei!” I shouted, not giving a shit that I was using his name.
“Duo, no. Stop,” G whispered as I tried yanking myself free. “The Prince of Werewolves has spoken. There’s nothing Chang can do.”
I wasn’t listening. I could only watch as half a dozen werewolves surrounded Wufei with staffs that had sharpened, silver blades at the ends. They were jabbing him to force him out of the door. His attention wasn’t on his own predicament though. His entire focus was on the Prince. He was staring at him in unadulterated hatred.
I turned to the Prince. “This is no way to get people to help you!” I bit G’s hand when he tried to cover my mouth. “You named me Friend of the Pack, remember?!” Everyone stopped. The entire room held its breath. “Zechs...” I said softly. “You named me Friend, but continued to treat me like shit. Despite that, I still helped you.” My eyes were stinging. I could feel the weight of my chest as it heaved. “Is this how you treat those that help you?” When those words left my mouth, I thought about Oburi. He already had his soul hidden away when he was killed. Did he know he was going to be killed by the Packmaster? Did he fail him in some way, and knew that his punishment would be death? Or was he held against his will, and then slaughtered at the Prince’s earliest convenience? All of those questions made me wish I had my own safe haven.
“I am sorry, Duo,” the blond said, eyes tired. I could hear the sadness in his voice. “You have served me well, and will continue to do so as my servant. Refuse, and you will be the first of the Shenlong to die.” He turned to G. “Take him away.”
Stunned, I could only follow G and Sedici in silence as Wufei raged on in the background.
This was a fucking nightmare.