The Queen hadn't wanted to let him out of her sight, but Caspian had finally made his excuses, and escaped across the border before she could change her mind. He had been gone a while, and, while Tasiankia'd probably forgotten about the ashenevaei whelp she'd given into his care, she would still have his head if the girl died.
So it was that he made his way, quickly, to the apartment in Toronto where she was kept. She'd be waiting dutifully for him, of course, but she might need some looking after. She got lonely when he was gone too long. She'd be waiting… probably right by the door.
He knew when he opened that door that something was wrong. The door was locked, of course, but the apartment smelled wrong, stale. Ylva never let the place get stale.
"Ylva!" he called out, moving quickly from room to room. It wasn't so much that he was worried she might be hurt or missing, as that he would need to make haste to bring his fury down upon whoever was responsible.
She couldn't have run off. Her orders precluded any attempt at escape or seeking rescue, but even in the beginning, she'd laughed at that idea. Like any smart mutt, she knew no one wanted her. Nonetheless, he confirmed that she was gone now. Someone had taken her; a monkey-fucker, most likely. Any other explanation seemed too far-fetched.
He swore, looking through her favorite hiding places one more time. No, she was truly gone. "Who the fuck…" Whoever they were, they would die.
"What have you done with her?"
Caspian spun around at the unfamiliar voice, readying a half-dozen offensive spells. The intruder was a tall man, well-built and dark-skinned; he held himself as if expecting a fight. Well, he wouldn't be disappointed, but first...
"I?" Caspian's eyes narrowed, becoming inhuman yellow slits. "What have you done with her, interloper?" Was the stranger a Mara? One of Ylva's long-lost family?
"Rescued her," the man spit back at him.
"You idiot," Caspian snarled, then hesitated a moment, calculating a deliberate pause to throw this buffoon off, and hopefully extract some useful information. "Is she dead yet, or is there still time?"
"Dead?" the man frowned, set off as much as Caspian had hoped. "You evil bastard. You gave her orders to kill herself. No wonder she wanted to get back to you."
"You haven't answered the question," Caspian pointed out, taking a long, slow step forward. "Now, if you're so interested in saving her, tell me where she is."
"Tell you where she is?" He shook his head. "What do you think I am, crazy? You tell me where she is!"
Caspian's pause was slightly more legitimate this time. "You really don't have her? You lost her?" he roared.
"She ran off!" The man spread wings that hadn't been there a moment ago, posturing angrily. "Your orders made her leave!"
"You'll tell me all about it I'm sure," Caspian hissed, rolling his arm and evoking bands of force to hold the man fast. He would answer all of Caspian's questions, oh yes, and be thankful to die at the end of it.
His victim struggled in the hold, spitting out the beginning of a Working. "Tempero…"
Caspian ate up the distance between them in two unnaturally long strides, grabbing the man by the throat. "I don't think so," he said coldly. The whelp struggled futilely in his hands, grabbing on to Caspian's wrists and pulling with superhuman strength, gasping for air.
Superhuman, but not nearly enough; Caspian had exceeded that level of power long before this child was ever considered. He flung his victim aside, into the wall, with a satisfying crash. Far too much of a crash, and from elsewhere in the apartment...?
"Fucking idiot," mumbled a voice, as Aelfgar stepped up behind Caspian.
So, his nemesis had returned! And more than likely... "This was all part of your plot, eh, Viking?" A long staff shimmered into existence in Caspian's hands; this would be something closer to a fair fight.
"Plot?" The grizzled half-breed tossed the wounded Mara out the window. "You give yourself too much credit."
"So I suppose you're going to tell me you don't know where my pet is either, then," Caspian yawned, gesturing with the staff. "You've just come to die. Come on, then."
"The only 'pets' of yours I care about are the kids of Regine's you tortured." The Viking swung his giant axe in a broad, obvious move towards Caspian's neck. He ducked it effortlessly, shifting to the side and swinging the staff up in a short, controlled strike at his opponent's knee.
"Oh, and they were fine pets for a time," Caspian said conversationally, with a wicked smile. "If you haven't fucked that girl, you really should."
Aelfgar didn't answer, except to shove a short length of wood through Caspian's thigh and into the wall behind him, pinning him temporarily. A minor irritation, likely less damaging than his own attempts to cripple his foe. The shaft was disintegrated with a few sharp words, and Caspian whirled to track Aelfgar again.
But Aelfgar had gone, out the same window he'd thrown the Mara whelp out. Caspian hissed in displeasure and sat back on his haunches, thinking. The hunt was on.
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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