Home > Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(9)

Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11)(9)
Author: Kresley Cole

She couldn't seem to believe that he was ecstatic about that particular side effect.

"Chase, we have been friends for a decade."

Of a sort. I use you. She was his source, his dealer, providing him a bimonthly stash.

From one drug to the next. Just a couple of quid's worth, I'm beggin'. He shoved away the stray thought.

She leaned against the console-in front of the screen. "You're a male in your prime. Don't you ...miss it?"

No. No, he didn't. Even if he didn't suffer that punishing anxiety with each sexual encounter, his body had been ruined.

"Listen, Chase, there's something I need to discuss with you."

"Can it not wait until tomorrow?" Had the Valkyrie stirred?

"It will only take a second. It's important to me. To us," she added significantly.

To us? He cast her a menacing look, the message clear- you do not want to f**k with me tonight.

She blanched. "We c-can talk later, then, of course. I'll let you get some rest." She almost laid her hand on his shoulder, but a chil ing glare made her recoil, backing to the door. "And I'll have additional vials prepped for now, if you want to start doubling up. Just til I can formulate the stronger doses for you."

Be quick about it. "Very good, Doctor."

As the door closed behind her, he realized Dixon would not be easily dissuaded. The daft bitch thought she was in love with him. How could she want a man she innately feared?

He exhaled with irritation. Damn it, he just wanted to watch his monitor, to see his new capture-

The Valkyrie was rousing.

Because her deadly cel mate was kicking her.

Chapter FIVE

Where am I?" Regin mumbled groggily, fighting to wake. Was somebody kicking her hip? "Who are you? Why's it dark in here?"

"Take the bag off your head, you tosser," a female said in a British accent.

Bag. Abduction. Not a dream. "Don't kick me again," Regin warned.

The next time a boot connected with her hip, her hands shot out to seize it, twisting until the owner went spinning to the ground. The move had Regin wincing from the pain in her side, but she swiftly snatched the bag off her head as she labored to stand.

Her eyes darted around. I'm in a cell? So this was the Order's facility?

A black-haired female was bounding back to her feet, her purplish eyes narrowed. She wore tight club shorts, a leather halter, fishnet stockings with ripped holes, and the stiletto boots Regin had already been acquainted with.

"I recognize you," Regin said. "Yeah, you're Natalya the Shadow. Dark fey assassin." She remembered the female's onyx-colored lips and claws. Her poisonous claws. Rumor had it that her very blood was black.

"And you're the glowing Valkyrie."

They'd had a contentious relationship in the past. Regin and her sisters used to snicker and call Natalya the Kil er Fairy. Until she'd flung poisoned knives at them. Now Regin defensively reached for her swords-"No swords for you." Natalya swept back her mane of stick-straight jet hair and began stalking around her, claws bared.

"And no daggers to throw for you."

As they circled each other, Regin flared her own claws as she tried to get her bearings.

Within this smallcel , there were two sets of bunks, a toilet, and a sink. Three of the wal s were made of solid metal, while the front was a wal of thick glass. In the corner was a second inmate, a young male, maybe late teens. Don't know what kind. He was knocking his head against the metal wal , his eyes glazed.

Down a long corridor were even more cells.

Attention back to Natalya. "Aren't you s'posed to be dead?" Regin asked as they each assessed the other for weaknesses. Natalya's gaze flickered over the remnants of her wound, Regin's over the weird collar Natalya wore.

Regin reached up to her neck. What the- I do too? She yanked on the metal band, but couldn't break it. "Not dead," Natalya said. "Just put on involuntary hiatus."

"So are we fighting again, or do you always kick people in greeting?"

"Your m.o. is to attack first and ask questions later. Mine is the same. Seems to me that we don't have that luxury if we're going to escape this place." She lowered her hands. "I think we might need to join forces."

Normal y the fey and Valkyrie all ied. But Natalya was a dark fey-half fey overlord, half demon slave.

"I'll agree to a truce, but I'll escape this place with or without your help," Regin said, lowering her hands as well.

She didn't need any dark-fey deadweight slowing her down. As soon as Regin knew the lay of the land, the schedules, and the security protocols, she'd devise something. "In any case, my sisters will come for me soon."

"That's what everyone else keeps saying, but no one has ever mounted a rescue. We think this instal ation is hidden from the outside."

In a smug tone, Regin said, "Everyone else doesn't have Nix the Ever-Knowing in their corner."

Though Nix might be the one who put me here!

"Seems the most powerful oracle alive could have given you a heads-up about your capture."

"She does everything for a reason," Regin answered truthful y. Her every stray glance or offbeat Nixism could be pivotal in shaping the future. But deciphering these portents took more patience than Regin possessed.

"I've got information you need," Natalya said. "The immortals have a grapevine of gossip passed from cell to cell. In the two weeks that I've been here, I've learned much about this place. And about our captors. For instance, I know the magister took you down personal y."

"Magister?"

"Declan Chase. Tal , pale face, soul ess eyes."

"Completely soul ess." This time. "How did you know?" Regin spied a camera above, placed to capture everything within. She'd bet he was watching her right now. Creepy.

"Because he stabbed you in the side. He's also known as the Blademan. Sometimes the Order catches us in sweeps, and sometimes they target us specifical y. Appears that you were on the magister's shopping list."

"And magister means in charge?" Great. Aidan was the bossman of these mortals-the ones insane enough to provoke immortals.

"I believe a magister is one step below a commander."

Behind them, the young guy's head banging increased tempo. "Uh, you wanna to tell me what his drama is?"

He was handsome and dark-haired, built like an athlete, but he couldn't be more than seventeen or eighteen. He looked disconcertingly human, wearing some high-school footbal T-shirt, broken-in jeans, and weathered cowboy boots. "'Cause I can see this getting old in a hurry." The hair on his right temple was matted with blood.

"He's been like this ever since they threw him in here four days ago. He doesn't eat or drink, just stares and bangs."

"What is he?"

"I can't puzzle it out. He doesn't have horns, pointed ears-or apparently a need to eat. He does have smallfangs, but he also sports a tan line."

"You checked? Natalya, you durrrty bitch."

"Hey, I had to determine if he was a blood sucker or not. Now I don't know what to think."

Doing her best to ignore the banging, Regin asked, "Who else have they taken prisoner?"

"It's a who's-who list of the Lore."

Regin gave the fey the look her comment deserved. "As evidenced by the fact that I am here."

"Volos the centaur king and the Lykae Uil eam MacRieve have been here for a couple of weeks. They brought Carrow Graie in just before you."

Carrow? Regin was good friends with the witch. My man is responsible for all this?

"They've got scads of ghouls, Wendigos, some high-powered Sorceri. Numerous succubae and vampires ..."

Out of the corner of her eye, Regin spied two guards dragging by a towering prisoner. She turned, gasped.

Lothaire the Enemy of Old.

The vampire was drugged, his head lol ing, his pale blond hair stained with blood. His clothes were unmistakably moneyed-his muscular legs encased in leather pants, his shirt tailored to fit his lean build.

But the shirt had a bloody slit in the side. Natalya murmured, "The Blademan took Lothaire down?"

The Russian Horde vampire was diabolical. If these humans could capture and contain him ...

With difficulty, he raised his head, his hooded eyes flashing to Regin, his reddened irises darkening.

Without a word, he bared bloody fangs at her.

Once he and the guards passed, Regin bit out, "Those two with Lothaire ... they're truly human? I think I finally understand what a mindf**k is."

"It's the collars. The mortals cal them torques. They weaken us, dim our powers through some mystical means."

Regin yanked at hers again. "So how do you get it off?"

"They can't be broken. Only the warden or magister can unlock them-with a thumbprint."

Oh, yeah, I'm screwed. "Al righty, then. About that all iance." Regin shot a look up at the camera, rubbing her hand over her nape. "How old are you?" she asked the fey.

"Why?"

"'Cause you could use a little work." She switched to the old immortal language to say, "Because you might understand this tongue."

Natalya answered in the same, "I know it."

"Has there never been a successful escape?" Regin asked, but she feared she knew the answer.

There was a reason Regin had never heard of the Order.

"The fox shifter next door has been here for years-she hears everything, conversations even in other wards. No one has gotten free."

"There's got to be a way."

"It's said we're on an island, far from any coast and surrounded by shark-fil ed waters. The cel is inescapable, the glass unbreakable. To have any chance at freedom, you'd have to get out of the cell first. They only take us out for three things-torture, experimentations, and executions."

"Mark my words, fey. I will escape this place. And if you get me up to speed and keep me there, I'll take you with me."

Natalya tapped her chin with a black claw. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you have a card up your sleeve."

"Maybe I do." Regin had knowledge of an upcoming event.

Declan Chase's imminent demise.

Chapter SIX

What the hell are they speaking?

Declan had observed the Valkyrie and fey's tense interaction with interest. He was fascinated with the hierarchies and all iances in the Lore, the usual predictability of their castes and classes.

But once their initial discord had faded, they'd begun calmly speaking to each other in a different tongue, one that seemed familiar to Declan.

Over the years, he'd studied on his own to learn the languages of his enemies-the vampires' Russian, the Lykae's Gaelic, the rough Demonish of the various demonarchies-but he couldn't place this.

With the click of a button, he started a program to translate their words, confident that he'd soon have a transcript of everything.

Input invalid.

What the hel ? His program couldn't pin down the language. He rang a technician. "I want a translation from cel seventy. Now."

"They're speaking no known language, sir."

Declan hung up, tamping down his frustration. He'd heard tales of an omnilingual fey-an elven creature who somehow knew all languages. He put her on his capture list.

The phone rang. Webb was the only one who cal ed his personal line. Declan had no friends or family. When he answered, Webb said, "You completed all of your captures! Good work, son."

Even after all this time, Declan savored the praise. He knew he'd cast Webb in a father's role, but Webb had been just as quick to put Declan into a son's. They'd both lost loved ones in this war. "Thank you, sir. But we sustained casualties when taking both the vampire and the Valkyrie."

"I saw the videos of the captures. Of course, we knew taking Lothaire wouldn't be easy. You confiscated a ring of his?"

"A plain gold band. He was incensed to lose it, even more homicidal."

"It must have mystical powers. Find out what it does. And what about the Valkyrie? How did she know we were closing in?"

"Her soothsayer sister dispatched her to attack my men."

"Nix the Ever-Knowing did this?" Webb asked, his tone peculiar. "When is the glowing one in the exam schedule?"

Declan pulled up the rotation on his screen. "Dixon won't have her until next week." The facility was backlogged with inmates, and still Webb insisted on bringing in more, no matter how much Declan protested.

"Question the Valkyrie before then. Dig for as much intel as you can get before the docs get through with her. We need to discover how she produces energy, how she channels it-"

"You knew she could channel electricity?" That intel would've saved lives tonight.

"Not until we watched her capture," Webb said. "Think, Declan, she doesn't eat or drink, but she produces continuous, uninterrupted power. She's like a walking reactor. Tapping into her energy source could solve the limitations inherent in the TEP-C."

The Order's charge throwers, or tactical electroshock pulse cannons, were incredibly effective against detrus-at least, against most of them besides Regin the Radiant-but they had limited firing power. "If you can discover what fuels her, we can use it against her own kind. ..."

Turning their strengths into weaknesses. Dixon's team of scientists would cut the Valkyrie open on the operating table to get to the truth. Since they'd need measurable, duplicable results, they'd do it repeatedly.

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