LAST CHAPTER FOR TODAY!
351Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡaLZ1UuDYuW
351Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡSfoXCis4P4
Crack!Malich’s head knocked back as his majesty’s influencer struck him in the face for what seemed like the hundredth time. Malich laughed and spit blood on the enforcer’s shoes. Crack!
He was struck again. He didn’t know how successful Kahlem’s men were at the Red Towers and could only hope his people had somehow gotten to safety. He was a fool to challenge his brother’s authority. He’d brought death sentences down on his people with his arrogance.
Malich wouldn’t allow himself to think about the fair-skinned beauty that’d plagued his thoughts as of late. He couldn’t bring himself to wonder if they’d harmed her somehow.
A soldier appeared and whispered to the one in charge, Captain Larik. The Captain knelt down in front of him. “We’ve captured the Red Towers, your preceptors, your pupils and your mistress. We do not however, know the whereabouts of the Alumni.” He smiled wickedly. “I’ll tell you what. Give us the location of the alumni and we won’t slit your mistress into pretty little pieces.”
Malich lunged at the Captain, muscles taut, “Go to hell.”
“Very well then.”
The Captain nodded to the enforcer who grabbed hold of the chain attached to the shackles at Malich’s feet. He drug Malich out of his office, down the corridor and into one of the large gathering rooms. All of his disciples were gathered there, shackled, heads forced to the ground. Preceptor Killian and Dax were among them. He wondered how his brother’s had managed to infiltrate his fortresses so easily. They had to have had help.
“Attention everyone. I am willing to grant mercy to whoever can lead me to the alumni,” the Captain offered. He waited for someone to speak and to Malich’s surprise several of his disciples raised their hands. The Captain smiled. He was about to interrogate them when Malich heard a familiar sound singing through the air. All of the disciples had their throats severed before they could utter a word as a boomerang blade sliced through them all, returning to its owner.
Malich’s heart clenched. He’d recognize that form from anywhere and the black cloak drenched in blood. Hazel eyes met his and he shook his head. This gods dammed beautiful fool willingly walked into a herd of wolves.
“Kill him!” The Captain shouted.
Malich smiled. They didn’t even know they were fighting a girl, let along one only seventeen cycles. They’d probably shit themselves from embarrassment if they did. Guards approached and he watched, aroused, as she disappeared and reappeared like a ghost slicing through his brothers’ soldiers like a lethal ballerina. She’d learned a lot in the two turns she’d trained with Mekhi. Although she still had that temper.
Lastly she approached the Captain and poised to strike, “Stop!” Malich called out to her. The Captain was on his back, hands held up in surrender. Blood dripped from her sword. Arya twitched her fingers and every shackle in the room fell to the floor. He’d told her a thousand times not to use her gifts, but it was clear she’d defied him yet again. And she was growing stronger.
Malich approached, walking up beside her and taking the sword from her hand. “You mustn’t be seen,” he whispered to her. “Go. I’ll come to you.”
Without speaking, Arya nodded. Speaking would give her away. She met his eyes once more, then backed away and disappeared.
Pressing the sword to the Captains throat, Malich ordered his disciples to shackle the Captain. Dax took him to the dungeon beneath Malich’s cell for questioning while Malich attempted to reestablish order.
He ordered the heads of the slain soldiers impaled to the gates of the Red Keep and their bodies burned. Putting Preceptor Killian in charge, Malich joined Dax in the dungeon. He’d already begun working on the Captain.
“Anything?” Malich asked.
“Nothing yet Majii,” Dax replied, turning to him. “Was that who I think it was?”
Malich nodded, “Aye.”
“You’ve been holding out.”
“Not intentionally,” Malich assured him. “I must go. Return my home to order and I will return once I’m done checking on the others.”
Dax nodded and Malich left the room. He ordered one of the servants to take him to the Red Towers and boarded a passenger carriage.
All he could think about was the girl who’d saved him. She’d saved them all. His arrogance led to this attack and jeopardized that which he held the most dear. No one could know about her. Not until he learned more about her. It wasn’t safe. What she did tonight put her at risk. His life wasn’t worth the risk.
The ride was taking forever. He had to see her…to lay eyes on her and know she’s okay. It had been a turn since he’d taken her virtue. He knew his silence would haunt her, but he needed to solve the conflict in his own head before he could face her again. She was everything he’d ever wanted in a companion, but now that he had her, he had something to lose. He’d burn the world to the ground if anything ever happened to her and that scared him most of all.
Malich wondered if there had been casualties, if she’d been hurt. She didn’t look hurt, but he knew first hand she’d mastered the art of ignoring pain. All of the beatings he’d subjected her to accomplished that. She could disassociate better than any soldier he’d ever seen. If she were hurt he wouldn’t know until she collapsed.
He kept telling himself he was checking on the others but truthfully it was Arya he wanted, no neededto check on. She once told him she’d give her life for him, and even after his silence she’d come to his rescue.
When they finally neared the Red Towers it took all of his strength not to go running into the towers. The guard detail had been tripled and fresh guards were placed outside. They quickly made way for him to enter and closed the gates behind him. His boots crunching in the gravel on the road leading to the stone stairs in front of the Red Towers, Malich schooled his features into neutrality. For one to know how much she meant to him was a death sentence for her. He didn’t want her to know either. It was safer that way.
“Malich,” Mekhi called to him, relief in his eyes.
“No casualties, thank Anan, but Arya…she’s…”
“Where is she?” Malich cut him off.
“My chambers with the other preceptors.”
Malich headed to Mekhi’s chambers with him in stow. “She saved us all, you know. She’s not like the others is she?” Mekhi asked, carefully examining the Majii.
“She’s just a girl,” Malich shrugged.
Mekhi gripped him by the arm, forcing him to stop and face him. “She wields herself like a fucking God, Malich, and judging by how anxious you are to see her I’d say she fucks like one too.” Malich glared at Mekhi, confirming his suspicions. “We’re partners are we not?”
“Then you need to start confiding in me. That girljust shredded through an army of a hundred men, disappearing and reappearing like a gods dammed phantom. Thankfully her cloak concealed her identity but anyone who knows her would know she’s the phantom. Whatis she?”
“I don’t know. I’ve been trying to find out ever since she made her gifts known.”
“If anyone ever gets their hands on her…”
“Your job is to see to it that they won’t,” Malich snapped at him.
They entered Mekhi’s chambers and Arya stood staring out a window, still covered in blood, a sword still in her hand. Preceptor’s Nyx, Azure, Treva, Cadmi and Cirrus all stood watch making sure to keep a careful distance.
“Arya,” Malich called out to her.
Slowly she turned to face him. Her eyes were both murderous and pained. “They were going to kill you…I hadto,” she told him.
Malich slowly approached her. Her gaze was hollow and her eyes seemed almost vacant. There was so much blood on her. Reaching down, he removed the sword from her hand and handed it to Nyx. She looked down at her hands and began to scrape at her skin with her nails. Worried, Malich placed a hand over hers to stop her.
“Clear the bathhouse. I want everyone in their rooms. No one is to know her identity,” Malich ordered.
Preceptor Azure nodded and exited the room to do as instructed. When Azure came back Malich took Arya’s hand and she winnowed them both into the bathhouse. A fresh pair of clothes and towels was brought to them.
Arya was unable to move so Malich bathed her, wiping her clean. He took her to her chambers when all of the blood was washed from her person and tucked her into bed as he’d done all these years. He started to leave when she stopped him, “Please…stay,” she asked. He hesitated. She needed her rest and he needed to speak with the others. This was only the first attempt by his family to destroy him, but there would be more and they needed to be ready.ns 126.96.36.199da2