When the World Falls to Darkness

A kingdom at war, a web of truth and lies, a vicious game of friendship and betrayal, and a world that will kill you, whatever path you take.
When the World Falls to Darkness, nobody is safe.
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Beautiful cover by River_Summers.

(I also promise much more frequent updates starting July, when exams are over. :D)

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24. Interrogation

Vixen glared at the angel. His wings, once white and smooth and beautiful, were now ruffled and bloodied. Good, she thought. The more pathetic he was, the easier the interrogation would be.

When he woke up.

She turned to Skye, who was sitting with her head down by the fire. She was shivering, and Vixen briefly considered finding her a spare cloak, but decided against it. If the angel woke up, she needed to be ready to interrogate him. There was no way she could sacrifice a powerful first impression for the comfort of a Guardian.

"When he wakes up," Vixen reminded Skye, "you will shift, and you will ensure that he cannot escape, and that he will not even want to try."

Skye nodded obediently, before edging closer to the fire.

Vixen turned her attention back to the angel. He'd started to stir, but he had yet to open his eyes. It had been a long wait already, but she'd kept him alive. She needed answers, after all. Any wait was worth it if she could avenge Amaguk.

The angel murmured in his sleep, and there was a brief flicker of his eyes. Vixen reached for Amaguk's sword; Skye threw herself from her seat by the fire.

But then he calmed again, and they allowed themselves to relax.

"Four days now, right?" Vixen asked. 

"Correct," Skye confirmed, and Vixen nodded.

"If he doesn't wake up soon, we'll have to wake him ourselves. I don't want to be tired when I interrogate the filth."

"How might we go about waking him?" Skye asked tentatively.

"We throw water over him. If that doesn't work, pain might be our only option."

"I understand," Skye nodded. "I can collect some cold water from the stream, if you wish."

Vixen considered it. She'd waited longer than most dwarves would have, but she could last another few nights without sleep.

"Fine," she said eventually, and Skye stood, still shivering, and slipped into the forest.

Vixen turned back to the angel. The wing had started to bleed again, and if she didn't stop it, there was a chance he could bleed to death. She would leave him to that fate after interrogating him.

Scowling, she lifted her hands and held them above the wound. The green energy leaked from her skin and into the wing, giving it an eerie, unpleasant glow. Again the angel stirred, and she faltered. The magic dissipated in an instant.

Good enough.

She left the wound and stood waiting for Skye. Around her, the forest seemed still, as though the angel's presence had terrified the birds into silence; the animals into hiding. Even the trees seemed to hold their breath.

It was funny, how patience lasted for days and then slipped away so suddenly.

"Vixen?" Skye asked, and Vixen turned to acknowledge her. In her arms was one of the water carriers from the saddlebag, and it was brimming. Vixen dipped a finger into it, and, upon deeming it cold enough, took it and threw it over the angel.

His eyes snapped open and his bloodied lips parted in a gasp; the second he saw Vixen, he lunged for her throat.

In an instant, Skye was there and pinning him to the ground; her claws dug into his slender shoulders and her fangs were merely inches from his face. Vixen could only be glad that the whole thing was over too quickly for her to flinch.

Slowly, trying not to allow nervousness to seep into her features, she lashed rope around his wrists, tightening the rope securing his ankles to a tree. Then she cleared her throat, and faced the angel with an iron expression. She hoped it concealed her fear.

"What is your name, angel?" she demanded.

"People call me Frostblade," he smirked. "You should fear me."

"You should fear me," she growled. "Have it be known that your cooperation is the only thing that can keep you alive."

He laughed - a mocking, hollow laugh that would echo through her nightmares like a vengeful ghost for years to come.

"Trying to scare me, dwarf child?" he sneered.

Her scowl deepened.

"War makes monsters out of children. You will answer my questions or you will die. Understood?"

He snorted incredulously. "Why is it you hate me so much?"

"You killed my brother," she growled. "Amaguk Saan."

"Doesn't ring a bell," Frostblade sniggered. "Probably died too quickly to be remembered."

Her fist collided with his jaw before she could think, and the angel gasped in pain. Before he could notice the uncontrollable emotion gleaming within her eyes, she bit her tongue to fight back the stream of insults. She needed answers, not a fight.

"You can punch, dwarf," Frostblade managed eventually, spitting out a mouthful of blood. "But do carry on. I rather enjoy irritating you."

She grit her teeth and forced herself to calm down. She couldn't allow this... this coward to take any advantage over her.

"Who hired you?" she hissed.

"I have multiple clients," he scoffed. "You expect me to remember all of them? Unlikely."

She clenched her fists. "Who would send you to eliminate a dwarven champion?"

He shrugged loosely. "There's one who springs to mind."

"Oh?"

"Ichiro Kouta. Lives in Elveros. He's a childhood friend of the prince - Takahiro - but he's just a spy."

Vixen took a step closer. "Why are you telling me this?"

Frostblade laughed coldly. "I love watching people tear each other apart. I was going to sell him out anyway. He was starting to get annoying. Boring. Like your brother, I suppose."

That was the final straw.

He didn't even have time to wince before she'd punched him again, and this time, his eye suffered the blow. A sharp exclamation of pain burst from his lips, and the pain in his voice filled her with a strange kind of satisfaction.

"Ichiro Kouta," she muttered. "Elveros." Then she turned to the assassin, and fixed him with a deadly glare. "Thank you for your time."

And she slung her bag over her shoulder, and left him to rot.

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