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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43. Chapter 42

*wipes tears from eyes* Ah well, alls well ends well!

Sword Lord - Tyrian

I sat on the bed, Valkyrie next to me. Her arm was in a sling. This was not what I was hoping for. Why couldn't Tihana understand? Valkyrie hasn't 'taken me away from her'. I almost felt as if she was just off on a motherly miff, doing the whole "That boy is too young to be in a relationship!" I'm 16. I mean, jeez. Hopefully she'd be back soon, and we could talk over this. I shifted a little, looking down at my lap, at my hands. Hands with which I've fought many, many beings. None of which I would have survived without Tihana.

"Wait here a second." I told Valkyrie quietly. She nodded, and I headed to Tihana's room. There was a cobweb in one corner, her stuff still strewn all over the place. Neatness was not one of her strong points. I went to her nightstand, expecting to see her book there. Instead, there was nothing, just the outline of it in the dust. I put my finger in the gap. I wasn't dreaming. No book. Tihana takes her book with her wherever she goes. It was then that it clicked. I sat myself down on her bed, looking at my hands. The hands that I wouldn't have if not for Tihana. I was crying, I realised, hot, salty tears running down my face, stinging the grazes on my cheeks. I'd let the best thing that had ever happened in my life, the reason I still have a life, go. And it hurt. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and it was the most easy, and yet the most painful thing in the world to turn into Valkyrie's arms, and sob.

Tihana was really gone.

 

I wiped my eyes on my sleeve. Great show Tyrian, really good way to impress your girlfriend, sobbing on her shoulder.

"You better now?" Valkyrie said gently. I nodded, still afraid to speak. She rested her hand on my shoulder, comforting me just by being there.

"I- I need to tell you something." My voice was deeper, rougher, older. They say sadness can make your body act differently. Guess I didn't know it affected my voice. Valkyrie nodded at me, signalling for me to continue.

"Let me tell you a story. This was my first adventure with Tihana. She was two-hundred and eighteen, I was twelve. We were sent to deal with a woman poisoning the people of the village to get what she wanted. Blackmail, if you will. We knocked on the door, came inside, and talked to her over tea and crumpets. We'd worked out an agreement. She'd stop in return for alchemy resources, a risky deal, but she'd signed all the contracts. We were about to leave, when a very traditional booby trap was pulled. We were hoisted by our ankles to the ceiling. She put a great big pot below us, and began to lower us into it. Tihana was tired, she hadn't fed for weeks. She passed out quickly from the rush of blood to her head. I was there, alone, young and in the face of death, swinging by my ankle. The woman had gone to have a nice long nap. I writhed, and wriggled, until the skin on my ankle was rubbed raw. I began to panic, and then something amazing happened. Fire sprung to my hands, and at first I thought it was some evil spell put on me. And then I realised, it was my magic. Magic my mother had, my grandparents had, everyone of my bloodline has. I burnt the rope away, and locked the woman in her room, before cutting Tihana down. We burnt the woman in her house, left to char to ashes. But I learnt that Tihana was not a strong, amazing, undefeatable werewolf. She, like all of us humans, showed a flaw. And today she showed us another one. The urge to be a in a group, to be needed, to be loved." I looked at Valkyrie. "You didn't cause her to leave, but you helped. I caused it, and I'm going to fix it. She needs to know you aren't replacing her. Your not the mother after my mother, the sister. Your my incredibly hot, strong, witty and clever girlfriend. Or, at least I hope you are. I don't really think this is going to go on much longer, what with you hating her, her hating you, me going to find her, all that crap." I stood up and headed back to my room, starting to pack. Valkyrie hurried in after me.

"You can't just leave! You know she'll kill you! She said it herself, she hates you!" She stormed up to me and grabbed my wrist, stopping me from dropping matches into the bag. "Also, Skulduggery won't let you go, and neither will I! I care about you!" I slid her hand off my wrist, and turned to her.

"Tihana is my friend, even if I'm not hers. I can't leave her out there, to get killed by other humans. Only I can control her transformations. You can come if you want, but I'm going, and no one is going to stop me. Namely because I won't tell anyone else." She stared at me for a second, and then gave me a quick kiss.

"I'm going for you. Tihana broke my arm, she's hurt you, she tried to kill me, she's threatened to kill you. I'm going for your safety, so you don't do something completely Tyrian. Come on, before Skulduggery gets an inkling. You know what he'll say." She pushed the window open, and motioned for me to go first.

"Oh no, please, ladies first."

"Ah, but gentlemen just before."

"No, no, I insist."

"Together?"

We linked hands, and prepared to jump out of a window. Just a days work.

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