Shades of Blood(Warriors of Ankh 3) - Page 29

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“October!” Romany shouted, and she swung around to find her. The blonde Neith was standing over a decapitated soul eater, scarlet glinting on the steel blade of her katana. She nodded her head at the open doorway behind her and Tobe raced towards her. The plan was that while everyone else fought, she and Romany would search for her parents.

Tobe held the katana in both hands, taking slow step after step behind Romany who moved in front of her in the exact same cautious manner, weapon drawn and ready to be used. It bugged the hell out of Tobe that she was stuck doing this with Romany. It felt as if she was betraying Eden somehow just by breathing in the same air as this woman who had killed Stellan. No one else seemed as bothered by her presence as Tobe did. Maybe because it was easy for her to forget Stellan had been a soul eater when you saw the grief in Eden’s eyes every time he was mentioned.

Her thoughts and heart froze as a dark shadow moved in front of them. Not a shadow. Another damn soul eater in a tailored suit and chignon. Romany stopped before the obstruction and Tobe waited anxiously behind her. The hallways were narrow, dark and dank. Hardly any room to swing a sword.

The soul eater cocked her head to the side and smiled slowly. A malicious, wicked smile, her blank, grey eyes bright in the darkness. Romany tensed before her, sensing what Tobe did.

But it was too late.

The soul eater lifted her right hand and pulled the trigger of the Glock 9mm before either of them could retaliate. Romany grunted in pain, her right shoulder kicking back with the impact of the bullet.

Shooting an Ankh was futile. Shooting a Neith? Yeah, it could kill them if they weren’t lucky.

Tobe moved to push Romany aside but the Neith was already on the move. Romany’s leg swung up, knocking the gun out of the soul eater’s hands, and then her katana was slicing through the monster’s stomach and back out again, the soul eater falling to her knees, the katana held high in an upward arc before flashing through the air and slicing through the soul eater’s neck. The head rolled from the body onto the ground, the body making a loud thump as it followed.

It happened in seconds.

Tobe gazed wide-eyed at Romany. Impressed despite herself.

That was nothing compared to what she did next.

“Crap,” Romany hissed, ripping at the sleeve on her right shoulder, a difficult endeavor considering the fabric was soaked with blood. Tobe winced at the sight of the wound and nearly died with awe as Romany plunged her fingers into it, jaw clenched, eyes bright with pain, silent agony working her throat as her nimble fingers worked the bullet out. “Aah,” she breathed, yanking the small, deadly piece of metal out. She slumped a little, a bead of sweat rolling down the side of her face as she dropped the bullet and proceeded to tear strips from the hem of her shirt. “Could you…?” she gestured to Tobe.

Tobe blinked and moved quickly, grabbing the fabric and making a rough tourniquet out of it. As she worked, she cursed, and Romany arched an eyebrow. “Problem?”

“Naw.” She shook her head. “That was just bloody cool.”

Romany chuckled. “Thanks.”

“I still hate you.”

“You’re loyal to Eden. She’s lucky to have you.”

“Hmmph.” Tobe gave her a tight nod. “The Neith are lucky to have you.”

“I know, I’m kickass right?”

Finished tying the wound, Tobe stepped back. “And modest to boot.”

Romany grinned and brushed past Tobe. “Let’s find those parents of yours.”

They didn’t need to look far. A door at the far end of the hallway burst open and a distinguished-looking soul eater stepped out, caught sight of the two of them from the corner of his eye, and dashed around the corner. Romany gave chase, but as she neared the doorway he’d come out of, another, taller, equally impressive older man collided with her. Romany stumbled back, the color leaching from her face as he hit her wound. She didn’t waste any time. Tobe skidded to halt as Romany kicked out, a powerful enough kick to send him staggering back into the room he’d been trying to escape from. Romany strode in after him and Tobe quickly followed, her eyes widening. He had backed up, his body tensing, ready to attack. She recognized him. It was the soul eater who’d taken Cameron’s soul!

“This is Rice,” she told Romany.

Romany nodded and Rice just smirked at Tobe. “I’d hoped to get young October here under better circumstances.”

The room they were in was tiny, a door on the far wall. But most exciting for Tobe was the observation window and the sight of her parents on the other side of it, chained up in another small, dim room.

She felt tears of anger and relief prick her eyes and she gripped her katana harder. “The only circumstances optioned to you, you scumbag, is a) die by our hands or b) by The Tribunal’s.”

He narrowed his eyes in confusion, their colorlessness flicking around covertly, searching for escape.

“Oh yeah,” Romany added. “The Tribunal knows all about your activities. Who do you think told us where to find you?”

Anger at the betrayal flashed across his fine features before he could quash the emotion.

Romany smirked. “Hurts, doesn’t it?” She didn’t give him time to answer, stepping forward with an upward, slanted slice of her sword. Darwin slid back, his stomach concaving, hitting the wall in his effort to avoid her attack. At the feel of the obstruction behind him he unexpectedly launched himself at Romany, taking the two of them to the floor. He punched her hard, using her momentary confusion to grab the hand holding the katana and he smashed it repeatedly against the ground until she let it go. Her elbow cracked him in the face but with his weight holding her down he still had the upper hand. Tobe rushed him before he could get out of her way, her knee catching him hard in the face with an awful crunch of his nose. He fell back with a breath-choked grunt, blood dripping from his broken nose and she kicked him again, laying him out so Romany could get out from under him. The blade of her katana rested against his neck and he flinched at it, his chest heaving from his exertions.

“Get Cameron,” Tobe said to Romany.

“No way.” Romany’s steel whistled through the air coming to an abrupt halt on Rice’s forehead. The blade had touched skin and broken it, a fine line of red appearing as she lifted it less than an inch from contact. “You go get Cameron. I’ll watch the leech.”

Shaking but somehow trusting the Neith (even though she really didn’t want to), Tobe hurried from the room, eyes searching every which way for a threat as she headed back the way she’d came. Her heart skittered in her chest as a figure came through the doorway, his face in shadow. Tobe stopped, preparing her sword.

“Tobe,” Noah breathed, coming towards her and she relaxed as her eyes adjusted to the light. He had blood on his cheek and blood spatter across his grey top. She hoped none of it was his but didn’t have time to ask, her eyes widened when she realized he wasn’t alone. Her boyfriend was right behind him.

“Cameron.” She stepped back. “Come on. We’ve got Rice.”

The two warriors hurried at her back, tailing her into the observation room. Romany still stood over Rice, although it looked like the wound on his head was deeper. She frowned at Romany and the Neith shrugged. “He moved.”

“Do it.” Tobe nodded at her, pulling Cameron further into the room. Her boyfriend gazed numbly at his attacker.

With a satisfied smirk, Romany lifted her katana, ready to bring it back down.

Rice moved.

Fast.

He blurred up from his sprawled position and knocked past Cameron. Blood sprayed Tobe, the wet crunch of steel through bone a mere note in the air the movement had been so quick. Rice’s headless body collapsed at Noah’s feet, his kaskara still held high from its fatal attack on The Tribunal member.

Cameron yelled, drawing Tobe’s wide eyes from Noah’s amazing takedown.

“Cam?” she reached for him, his face seeming strained, his whole body taut, his arms out, hands palm up, his body balancing

on the balls of his feet, his chin up and out, mouth open. It was as if he had wires attached to him and someone was pulling them tight. As this horrible gurgling noise sounded from the back of his throat, a familiar blue smoke drifted out from Darwin’s corpse and danced in the air towards Cameron. It wound its way around his head before tickling across his cheek and swooping down his throat.

The last of it disappeared on down there and Cameron’s body gave way. He fell to his knees, choking, tears streaming down his cheeks.

“Cam?” she whispered.

He took a moment, clearing his throat. His head lifted slowly until he was gazing up into her face. His blue eyes were full of relief… and love.

It wasn’t until that moment Tobe had realized how painful his attack had been. For a while there it really had been as if he’d died. With a cry of relief Tobe fell on him, her arms wrapping tight around him. Cameron’s strong arms came around her, holding her so close she could barely breathe. He ducked his head into the crook of her neck, his nose cold against her skin, his lips warm as they pressed a kiss there. Feeling tears choke her, Tobe pulled back just long enough to cover his mouth with hers, kissing him deeply, desperately, telling him how much she loved him.

A throat cleared. Bloody loudly. Tobe cursed inwardly at Romany but pulled back. Cameron smiled at her, a sad, uneasy smile. She wondered how he felt now, knowing what it was like to live with a piece of your soul missing. Not good. But he had it back now. They could move on from this. Together.

“Canoodle after,” Romany said to them. “Your parents are waiting.”


Tags: Samantha Young Warriors of Ankh Fantasy
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