She didn't trust the demon, didn't like him. He was brutish, possibly a hardened murderer. She was tempted to tell him where he could shove that canteen, but she needed the contents too badly.
Humans could die after three days without water - indoors. Carrow had been in hell for more than a day, mostly running, and she was feeling it.
"Very well." She parted her lips, and he pressed the opening against them. Water flowed, hot and metallic. Never had she tasted anything as good.
As she drank, she could feel the li"uid already hitting her system, the effects washing over her with the force and speed of a drug rush. Her eyelids slid shut.
Within moments, her headache and twinges ebbed.
He drew the canteen away, but only to let her breathe for a second. "So good," she murmured.
He hastily pressed it back to her lips. She peeked at him, saw how he stared at her, his gaze hooded. He was probably growing aroused by how greedily she hit that canteen.
But she couldn't worry about that. Water ran down her chin and neck, wetting her halter over one of her br**sts. Doesn't matter.
What was wrong with her? She was being manipulated by a demon, was captive to his whims. He could bite her at any time. And I can barely keep my eyes open.
He pulled it away much too soon, his eyes glued to her sodden top. He got a sinful look in his eyes ... then he poured water over her other breast. She jerked back, out of his hold, gasping, "Stop that!"
In the middle of a place like this, purposely spilling water seemed extravagant and wicked. She couldn't contain a shiver, and her ni**les hardened beneath her halter, right before his transfixed gaze.
He gave a husky growl, emanating a weird sense of happiness. Like awe. Like wonder.
"Ara, minde jart," he finally said, hitting his hand against his chest. His voice had gotten hoarse.
"Female, my ... heart?" Again, he tried to make her understand that she was his. So he thought that was the only reason she hadn't surrendered to him? "Yes, I know I'm 'yours,' but I'm a witch. And that means that I'm not going to feel about you the same way."
In a patronizing tone, she said, "Fate doesn't force witches to like people who will only hate them. Oh, why am I even bothering trying to explain this to you?" But it occurred to her that if he were as deranged and violent as his folder said, then why was he still attempting to convince her instead of just forcing her? Why not just tie a rope to her collar and lead her away?
If this was truly a pitiless hell plane where one was either owned or a master, then had she just found the sole demon male who would try to win her?
Huh. For the first time since she'd arrived in this plane, she didn't feel like death was imminent -
An enormous creature sprang through the air, landing mere feet from them. She peered up in horror.
Spiderlike eyes, pasty gray skin, a yawning, fang-filled mouth. From its carapace, eight thick limbs protruded, stretching twice as long as its body. All over its bumpy skin, parasitic creatures had attached, bloodsucking and bulbous with their harvest.
Its antennae were as long as its limbs, flicking like bullwhips, rippling toward her.
One sliced the air in front of her face. Before she could move, the demon knocked her to the ground with a stiff-armed shove to her chest. She clutched her sternum, hacking for air as he faced off against the thing.
The demon roared at it so loudly that pain spiked her ears. His formidable body tensed to attack, his muscles rigid under his chainmail. He was turning demonic, fangs sharpening and horns straightening.
As she sucked in breaths, he fearlessly launched himself at the gigantic beast, maneuvering the battle away from her. Again she marveled at Slaine's strength and speed. No wonder the Order wanted him. He was by far the most powerful male she'd ever seen.
Wait ... why was he not tracing? Though many demons and nearly all vampires could teleport, he'd run to her rescue and wasn't tracing now.
Just as one slime-filled limb splatted beside her on the ground, the demon glanced over his shoulder at her, his expression wild. His eyes were turning black, the calm blue gone.
Not good for the monster ... not good for her.
The thing went on the offensive with uncanny "uickness. She'd never seen, or heard of, anything like this, this monster X. The demon had demonstrated his prowess against the gang last night, but could he defeat something so colossal and fast as this?
She wouldn't be sticking around to find out.
Still gasping, she clambered to her feet, then fled headlong - from both of them. Half-blind in the smoke and clumsy with fright, she tried to ignore the pain in her sternum.
Thoughts tangled in her panicked mind. Run! Has he broken my breastbone? What was that creature? The head had been like a spider's, the body resembling a praying mantis's. Tick-like insects had covered it as they might a mammal.
Are there more of monster X?
The terrain was growing rockier, the brush thinning around larger bone trees. Had she lost them?
Her heart went to her stomach just as her feet left the ground. She screamed until the sudden movements stopped and she could take stock of where she was.
This isn't happening, this isn't...
When she felt a hempen rope digging into her right ankle, she accepted that she was indeed caught upside down in a rope snare, swinging from the branch of a tree. Her hair streamed down, and her skirt had hiked to her waist.
The dusty wind kissed the cleft of her ass.
"The last straw!" she screeched as blood rushed to her head. This had to be one of Slaine's infamous traps. "Ugh!" Hate him.
All around the edges of this clearing, bones lay scattered. Did the demon just leave his victims here to rot away? When she craned her head up to assess the damage, she felt a chill. The rope around her ankle was stained with old blood.
Need to get free, stat. If she could grab hold of the lead rope above her, she could release the tension on her ankle and get it loose. The rope in her sights, she did a sit-up, stretching ... "Got it," she said as she wrapped her fists around -
She dropped back down with a whoosh. What the hell? The bastard had greased the rope. That demonic, vampiric bastard. If she couldn't get hold of the rope above her, then there was no escape. Which he obviously knew.
She hung limply, swaying from her momentum, cursing Malkom Slaine's very birth, until she felt her ring slipping down her finger. "No!"
But it was gone, helped along by the grease on her hands. "Damn him!" She heard a ping. Following the sound down, she swiped her hair from her eyes with her greasy hands -
Her ring had just beaned a second monster X in the head. Another one of those things was directly below her, gazing up with its mouth wide, its body crouching to spring.