Skulduggery Pleasant: Death's Dawn

"I grabbed the axe off of one of them, snapping it with a sharp crack, twisting around and driving it into the skull of another. These guys were easy to kill, but we were being overwhelmed. I was almost at Tihana's side again, when I felt the rock hit my head.

"Oh bollocks." Blood trickled down the side of my face, and then I passed out."

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42. Chapter 41

Shadow Wolf - Tihana

I walked away from the inn as soon as I could. I was not, I repeat NOT going to tolerate that. I mean, sure, I had known some of the previous members of the Chase household had to have done that before, but they had at least stopped when I had entered the room. Bloody hell, no, they would not have kept devouring each other's faces off with me standing there. Hatred burnt brighter within me for Valkyrie Cain. How I wanted to rip her limb from limb. Perhaps I would some day. I sat on a bench in the small garden of the building, leaning back and letting the drizzle cool me. I had reverted back to my human form last night. Then, I had made sure Tyrian was healing. Surprise surprise, Valkyrie was by his bedside keeping him up. I wasn't usually the one to snap, grumble and shoo people from Tyrian's room. It was his mother who did that. I didn't much like acting my age. Acting your age was boring, full stop. But no, instead I was forced to get her out of the room. Of course, she didn't take to it kindly. She didn't understand what sort of a debt I owed to him and his family, she didn't understand anything. She was merely a silly little human child, making my life difficult. By the time I was ready to face them again, the rain had turned into small droplets, from the fine mist that had fallen before. It was probably around lunch time now, and no one had come to find me. I took a deep breath, standing from the bench and strolling back inside. A few unfamiliar faces sat at the bar. I paid them no heed, heading straight for the stairs and walking up them. I knocked lightly on the door. Valkyrie's smiling face fell as she opened it, stepping to one side to let me pass. I raised a challenging eyebrow as I went, stepping fully into the room. Tyrian lay on his bed, hands behind his head, fully clothed with boots and all, lying on the duvet and watching me. He could pretty much tell I was serious. We stood in silence for a few moments, until Tyrian dropped his gaze to my knife. I fingered it slightly, placing my hand over the hilt. "We move tomorrow, me and you. We're fighting a dullahan." He looked slightly confused, a frown forming on his face. 

"What were they again?" My face was still set in a line. Just as I was about to speak- Valkyrie did for me. "They're big, headless horsemen who will kill you as soon as they speak your name, or they lash you to death with their whip." I shut my eyes, pausing slightly before turning. "Yes. Which is why you must be careful. 

"Ooh, slave much?"

"No, not really. They'll lash you to death with the spine of another human they have killed. It's  pretty quick." His eyes widened slightly. "Seriously? Spine-lashing? Literally? In two ways? Lashing your spine with a spine?" Valkyrie answered for me once more. She grinned as she did. It made me cringe. "Yes, silly." Then, she turned to me. "Can I come with you?" She winked at Tyrian- probably thinking I could see. God, this girl annoyed me. My voice was cold as I answered. "No. You need to be here with Skulduggery, waiting to see if anyone else needs help." Her retort was quick. "Can't you stay, then?"

That was when I lunged for her.

 

I lunged, bringing myself to the ground on top of Valkyrie. She seemed startled, already her hands working to try and push me off. If she could get them over my belly, she could use air to push me off. That's exactly why I didn't let her. I pressed down on her arms, pushing them down beside her body. Angry determination was the only expression on my face. I moved my legs under me, kneeling on her with my arms pinning her down.

She raised her leg, arching her back as best she could, trying to throw me off balance. Sadly, it worked, and I felt myself slip, freeing on of her arms. She raised it almost instantly, using it to push the air. Instead of flying back like she had hoped, I merely fell over in one of the less elegant ways. I fell back, slightly winded. I regained myself quickly, standing up a moment or two after I had landed. Valkyrie was taking a little longer to move. I stood sideways on, prepared to kick her in the face as soon as she even tried to stand. Instead, she rolled.

I kicked anyway, catching her leg just as it moved past, and kept going, forcing it into a slightly more awkward position. She rolled onto her side, and stopped, raising her own leg once more and kicking me in the knee. I hissed in pain, feeling my knee buckle as I fell back toward her. This time, calm surrounded me. There was no more playing. I was ready to snap her neck now, she'd pissed me enough.

As I fell, she raised her fist and punched me in the face. I definitely didn't appreciate that. I moved my elbows, angling them down, handing on her outstretched arm. Even beneath the black clothes, the bone snapped in two. She cried out, trying to move her arm back. I held it, using it to keep her in place as I moved toward her throat, pressing down with my forearm, pushing her back so she was flat on her back. My free hand kept her non-broken arm pinned, and the rest of my body was placed in such a way that she couldn't move her legs. She flailed again, trying to kick me or something.

In answer, I slapped her pretty little face, red marks burning on her cheek where my palm had collided. I could feel the wolf awakening, and my nails began to harden and lengthen once more. “You try to take the one thing I strive to protect? The heir to the family who helped me?”

She looked back up at me, trying (and failing) to spit in my face. “What? You actually care? It's not just a 'debt'?”

I raised an eyebrow, leaning in close, beside her ear. I could hear her shallow breathing. "No. I don't care one little bit for humans, to tell you the truth. I merely owed the Chase family a debt. They took me in after humans murdered my pack. It's humans that invented necromancy. It's humans that ordered the undead to kill them all.”

Tyrian stood up from the corner, finally plucking up his courage. He shook violently. He'd probably never seen me this angry. “Tihana? Get off Valkyrie...”

I looked back at him. “How 'bout no?” God, this bitch deserved it.

He crossed his arms. Valkyrie was wincing as ever movement she made sent pain running down her arm. “Really? What has she done to you?”

I released my hold, standing closer to the door than I was before. “What has she done to me? What hasn't she done to me, is the more suitable question.”

He was about to say something, opening his mouth.

I gave him a cold smile, eyes sarcastic. “No, no, she's only stolen my partner. You've only sided with her, you've only ended my debt to you.”

Valkyrie stumbled to her feet, clutching her arm, starting daggers at me. I watched her, smiling. “You monster! You are, in no way, under control!”

I kept smiling, seeming to ignore her. In truth, I took her comment with pride. I took a step forward, toward Tyrian and his little girlfriend. “My my, little human. I hope you understand. Next time we meet, we are enemies. Next time we meet, your heart is mine for the taking.” I turned on my heel, claws changing back to nails, eyes returning to their normal colour. I left the inn without another word to the pair. I could hear a muffled conversation that started as soon as I left the room. What I had said was true. My debt was paid, I was now free to seek vengeance for the injustice done to my pack.

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