Home > Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(8)

Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(8)
Author: Kresley Cole

So why had he captured her? And who were those men with him?

"Do you understand me, female?"

When she nodded again, he snatched the tape off, leaving her lips stinging like fire. She bit back a foul curse, growing less freaked and more pissed with each second. Regin's temper was legendary for a reason.

"How did your sister Nix know we'd been fol owing you? And why did she dispatch you to attack my men?"

"Dispatch?" He must've bugged her car! What exactly had he heard? "You know, it was more of a suggestion, like try the prime rib."

His pale lips curved into an evil sneer. "Have you ever been shot in the head before? I've often wondered what the pain would be like."

"I have been, and it hurts," she answered honestly. "I'll answer your questions, if you tell me who you are and why I've been captured."

His eyes narrowed. "I'm Declan Chase."

He thought his name was Declan. But not for long.

"I work for the Order, a mortal army at war with your kind."

"Never heard of 'em." I'm screwed. "Then why have you taken me prisoner? Why not just kil me?"

Maybe she was to be a war prize? Then history would repeat itself. She had to bite back a hysterical laugh. "You were coming for me anyway, weren't you?"

"You were selected for capture. We also ... study unique immortals."

Something about the way he said that last part gave her chil s. "You mean experiment?"


Yep. Screwed. Her eyes darted around the cargo hold. How the hel could she escape? "And that's where you're taking me now? To a jail? Or probably a lab?"

"We cal it a facility. Now answer my questions," he said, his accent growing thicker.

It was either Irish or lowlands Scot. This Aidan version was Celtic. Before, he'd been a French knight, a Spanish privateer, and an English cavalryman.

"Nix knows just about everything," Regin said. "She's a soothsayer. In fact, I'm sure she's already foreseen where you're taking me. I don't know why she wanted me to attack your men." Unless she planned for me to get captured. Knowing Nix, she probably considered all this a date that she'd set up between Regin and Aidan. "With her, I usual y don't ask."

"We'l discover it on our own anyway." The muzzle pressed harder against her temple. "Tel me, then, did you enjoy kil ing my men?"

Regin rol ed her eyes. "Of course I enjoyed offing them. You guys came to our turf, remember?" Filter, Regin!

"I should off you right here." He began unconsciously running the muzzle up and down her cheek.

She could shriek before he could shoot her, blowing out the glass of this aircraft. She might survive a crash. Aidan would be done for.

Even now she hesitated to harm him. "I can't tell you how much you would regret that."

"Because your kind will exact revenge on me?" He cast her that cruel sneer, a twisting of his lips. "And I can't tell you how many times I've heard that."

She shook her head. "No, not because of revenge. You'll regret hurting me."

"Regret? I despise your kind. I savored hurting you, anticipate the next time I can."

Once he remembered, his actions would put him to his knees with misery.

"Why did you act as if you know me?" he asked.

How to answer that? The sooner he remembered, the sooner he died. In the past, she'd done everything she could to keep him from remembering. I can't tell him. "I thought you were someone else."

When she shrugged as best as she could, the wound in her side erupted in fresh pain. Between gritted teeth, she said, "Since you've brought it up, my kind will exact revenge. They'l unleash hel on you for this."

He leaned in as if imparting a secret. "Then they had best do it fast. Because we're going to interrogate you, and examine you, and then we'l behead you. You'll beg for mercy, but I'll grant you none."

Icy dread shivered over her. "What the hel ," Regin whispered, "did I ever do to you?"

He shoved the tape back over her mouth and yanked the hood down. At her ear, he rasped, "You exist."

Another shot in her arm, and unconsciousness took her once more.

Chapter FOUR

Back at the facility, Declan signed over his unconscious prisoners to the warden, a stout, beady-eyed arsehole named Fegley.

The man hated Declan. The feeling was mutual.

Fegley was in charge of processing the inmates, removing their effects and any hidden weapons, formal y ID'ing them, and collaring them. While he worked, a physician from the research arm would take biological samples for an initial workup, then the prisoner would be transferred to one of the three hundred cel s spread out over two containment wards.

"Which cel are you putting the Valkyrie in?" Declan asked.


"Why there?" Two inmates already occupied that cell. Yes, the facility was overcrowded, and they'd been doubling up, but prisoners were usual y placed with much forethought.

So why put the Valkyrie with a female fey assassin and a semi-catatonic male halfling?

"More prisoners came in while you were gone." Fegley shrugged. "Webb ordered her into that one. And I don't question orders," he said pointedly.

Stifling his long-denied urge to strike the man, Declan turned toward the research ward and his own suite of rooms.

Though he didn't understand Webb's reasoning at times, it wasn't his place to question an order either.

Or to question anything. Even when he itched to know how Webb acquired new information about their foes. Or how this island was kept hidden from their detrus soothsayers and oracles. ...

When Declan reached his suite, he unlocked the executive office he used as a reception area. From that room, two corridors branched off behind concealed panels. One led to a storage warehouse-with an emergency escape tunnel-the other to his private quarters. There he had a sizable multilevel space with a gym, a kitchen, a work and sleep area, and an adjoining bath.

The only home he'd known for nearly a decade.

Inside his inner chamber, he removed his gloves and jacket. There were only two places in the world he felt comfortable enough to shed the layer of clothes that kept his ruined skin hidden: here within this sanctum, and out in the desolate forests on the island.

Releasing a weary exhalation, he sank into the chair at his control console. Above the curved desk and computer keyboard stretched a ninety-six-inch LCD screen. Across that extended monitor, he could pull up multiple broadcast feeds from the facility's cameras.

With the click of a button, he could view-and hear-the occupants in any of the holding cel s, could deploy security measures against them.

From this console he could run the entire base. In fact, he often did.

This military instal ation had once been used only to secure and interrogate prisoners. Now the facility also housed a research arm in a dedicated ward. A team of scientists lived on-site, investigating the immortals' innate defenses, their physical strengths-and especial y their weaknesses.

Webb had turned over control of the base to Declan a decade ago. Since then, Declan's life had fallen into a routine: work out in the morning to deaden his abnormal strength, oversee operations, interrogate some of the higher-priority captives.

Now he reviewed several backlogged cases as he mindlessly ate a military MRE-and awaited a doctor's house call.

After finishing his meal, he pulled up the feed from cel seventy to front and center on the monitor.

Fegley and a guard were just tossing the Valkyrie to the floor inside. She was still unconscious with her head bagged.

"New roommate, fey," the warden said to the female assassin already in the cel . "She's a Valkyrie.

Maybe this prisoner will actual y talk to you."

The fey didn't move to assist her, merely stared at Regin with cold indifference.

Odd. From what he understood, the fey and Valkyrie were ancient all ies. Of course, the assassin wasn't completely fey.

The other inmate-a teenaged halfling-continued banging his head against the wal . The boy hadn't known he was a detrus, hadn't known they'd existed, until he'd been dispatched here by one of the four other magisters. Apparently, he'd committed no crime other than setting his sights on the wrong girl-a magister's daughter.

Upon arriving here and seeing living, breathing monsters, the boy had gone nearly catatonic.

Declan hadn't even been eighteen when he'd faced these beings for the first time. He had survived the encounter.

But not intact. ...

For long moments, Declan watched the even rise and fal of the Valkyrie's chest. Her T-shirt was hiked up, revealing her flat bel y and her wound. The skin there had already closed.

Typical immortal resilience. How many times had he cursed it? With their ability to regenerate, they were nightmare adversaries.

Not to mention when they possessed other powers. Like the vampires' and demons' teleporting or the witches' spellcasting. Without the Order control ing their number, there'd be no stopping them.

He drummed his fingers on his desk. The Valkyrie was fresh from ten murders, and still he was curious about her, wanting to know more than the limited details in her file.

What is wrong with me? Of all the immortals he'd been sent to capture, Declan might hate her the most -for flaunting what she was, for being proud to have offed his men.

And Declan wasn't supposed to be curious; he was simply supposed to act-under orders. For nearly twenty years, he'd fol owed commands, had been the weapon the Order wielded.

He wasn't content in his life, but at least his sense of purpose warred with the strain. He owed everything to Webb-his life, his career, whatever sanity he still possessed.

Someone buzzed his inner chambers. Only three people would dare: Calder Vincente, a former Ranger and his right-hand man, Webb on his infrequent visits, and Dr. Kel i Dixon, the physician in charge of prisoner research.

He glanced at the video of the outer hal way. Dixon, with a familiar metal case in hand.

Though he wanted only to observe the Valkyrie-to relish her reaction when she awakened and comprehended her position-he had business with the doctor. He donned his gloves, then buzzed her in.

She entered, her smile fawning. Which he despised. Sometimes Dixon acted like a schoolgirl fan of his. He knew she was attracted to him, but then for some reason women usual y were. The more coldly he treated them, the more they seemed to desire him.

Yet even if there were any aspect about Dixon to tempt him-her looks were forgettable, her figure boardlike-she of all people should know why anything more was impossible.

She waited for him to ask her to sit. Since the only place in this corner of his chambers was his bed, he didn't.

"How was your trip?"

"The hunting was plentiful."

"That's what we've heard." She pushed her large glasses up on her nose, casting him an MD's assessing glance. "You look exhausted. Were you able to sleep?"

"I'll catch up over the next week." normally, he slept just four hours a night, yet that got shaved down to two on these hunts. And he'd been gone for two weeks, completing lengthy preparations for his three captures.

"How was your heart rate? Any palpitations? Any adverse effects of the medicine?" Dixon had been supplying him with his injections for more than a decade-ever since she'd begun giving Declan his yearly physicals.

She'd been keeping his secrets and keeping him dosed for all that time.

"No adverse effects. I've decided I need to double up."

She set the case on his console. Inside, he'd find two weeks' worth of vials and syringes, a convenient doping kit. "Chase, what you're injecting should knock out a horse. It's going to start affecting your mind, with potential y permanent complications."

He'd long suspected that at some point, she'd begun to add an opiate to the mix, increasing it gradually.

Now he felt certain of it. "Then I must be building up a tolerance, because it's not working."

When capturing the vampire and even the Valkyrie, he'd suffered that familiar rage, and with it had come the customary physical symptoms.

Thought left his brain, while his heart felt like it would explode. His muscles twitched and swel ed as if they couldn't handle all the blood pumping to them. He would experience a marked surge in strength and speed, yet afterward, he would be nearly feeble with exhaustion.

Dixon squinted behind her glasses. "If I hadn't tested you myself, I'd swear you were one of them."

"I am no bloody detrus."

She flinched at the coarse term.

"And you did test me, finding nothing, " he reminded her. Though he did heal faster than most, his cells were still vulnerable to contagion and death. His skin scarred. His broken bones mended with calcium remodeling; an immortal's bone would set as if never broken.

Of course, he'd felt no need to tell her that he possessed animal-like senses, could see in the dark or hear a whisper from half a klick away. "Dixon, you're the one who came to me with the idea of injections.

Now you're pul ing back?"

"I need to do new workups on you, run more tests," she said. "Then we could finally get to the bottom of this."

His attention was back on the Valkyrie. "No more tests. You've subjects enough." Besides, he feared he knew why his strength was burgeoning.

Blood that wasn't my own ...

"If we could find the root cause," she said, "then we wouldn't have to systemical y suppress everything."

They'd gone over this before. In addition to deadening his abilities, his doses suppressed his emotions and any appetites, whether for food-or for sex.

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