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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57. Chapter 56

As I stepped out of the cave, and back out into the open, I looked back at the skeleton. “You know what?”

“What?” He sounded unimpressed.

“We'd be much faster if I was in my other form.” I grinned.

“Yeah, but I'd also probably be your chew-toy, I don't want to be stuck in your mouth, thank you very much.”

I looked up at the sky. “Too late for that, Mr. Pleasant.” In the darkness, my transformation was hard to make out. For human eyes, at least. I'm sure Skulduggery had no problem whatsoever. My mouth and nose elongated into a rather elegant muzzle, my bones changed shape and size, warping into their other dimensions. In the space of a few seconds, I went from pretty weak human-thing, to rather bloodthirsty werewolf.

 

Tihana looked at the skeleton with wolfish eyes, baring her teeth in a half-snarl. She didn't much like having to restrain herself, after the days she'd had, running free without a care in the world. Skulduggery was backing away, hands out, probably forming a shield of air, in front of himself. “Nice doggy...”

She looked at him, huffing in annoyance, before walking forward and lying by his feet. He looked at her warily, still holding his hands out in defence. "Oh god, what a way to make me feel like a monster. Oh wait. I am one, aren't I?" He started to lower his hands.

“Hah. Hah. Yeah. You are, kinda. Are you going to eat me or not? Because if you are, I'd appreciate it if you told me.”

"No, I'm not going to eat you. Your bones would probably be as tasteful as dust anyway."

“I'll have you know my bones probably taste amazing.”

"Sure. Now get your skeletal butt on my back and we'll go save these kids."

 

She lurched forward, paws hitting the ground with a loud thud. The skeleton held tight to the fur of her neck. "You're the first human other than the Chase family to ride on my back."

"And doesn't that fill me with confidence." His voice was nearly torn away by the branches hitting him square in the face. Or skull. It depended on how you looked at it.

"Hah. Don't worry, Mr Pleasant. I can smell them now."

"Good."

"Not so good, I also smell dullahans."

"Well fuck me." He let go, holding himself in the air as Tihana came to a halt.

*I suppose I should switch to my mental communication now.*

"Probably." He muttered back, as they started forward. They were both silent, creeping north as Tihana's nose picked up the growing scent. As the group of horsemen came into view, she spoke again. There were at least ten, around five to both Tyrian and Valkyrie

*You take these lot, I'll take the other.* He nodded slightly.

Taking down the first was easy. The dullahans weren't expecting an attack. It was the rest of them that were hard. Spine whips lashed at her from all sides as she dived into the legs of the horses, Within seconds, the crying of human and animal like could be heard in that clearing. The two mentors worked furiously to help their students. All Tihana could hear were Tyrian's moans. Valkyrie was silent. That's what worried her the most.

She tore the arms off one, sending head and hands flying into the others. Tihana gave a furious snarl, hauling him from his horse and onto his back. His voice whispered to her. "Why not tell me your name, little werewolf? I'd love to know the name of my killer before I reached my end."

She grinned back at him in her wolfish way. "Not a chance, matey. Besides. You've already met your end." She dug her claws into his torso, before springing off onto the next one. This one was younger, less experienced. She put it out of its misery fast, rounding on the next before you could cry wolf.

Only two were left. Tihana risked a glance back to her skeletal friend. He was in a similar position. Her eyes glinted with mischief as he 'met' her gaze.

*Race you.*

He dipped his head slightly, before fire leaped from his palm into the chest of the nearest dullahan. He twisted and turned between his confused pair, kicking here, punching there. They were starting to wish they hadn't touched the two teenagers.

Tihana tore open the chest of her final opponent, snarling as her last breath left. "Stay away from my humans."

With that, I promptly changed back to my human form. I shook Skulduggery's hand, each of us acknowledging our effort. He moved to the sorry heap of Tyrian as I moved toward the still form of Valkyrie.

The first thing I took note of was the shallow breathing. The second was the coolness of her skin. I moved my hands under her form, holding her close as I stood. It wouldn't do if I dropped her.

I felt her stir as I joined Skulduggery, who supported a battered Tyrian. The first thing Valkyrie muttered was a quiet "Skulduggery?" before she noticed her warmth and corrected herself. "Tyrian." I smiled softly

"No, cub. I am neither a skeleton nor a... thing."

She opened her eyes, looking at me in confusion. "Tihana?!"

"Who else would I be? Superman?"

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