Valkyrie groaned and sat up. "I told you it was a trap," she said

"No, you said it looked like it was a trap," Skulduggery corrected. "That's completely different."

He helped her up as a door opened behind them and Sadistica Tortura walked through, an unsettling smile on her face.

She leaned against the door and stared smugly at her captives,

"Skulduggery Pleasant," she said quietly, "and Valkyrie Cain, what a pleasure to have you both drop in for a nice chat," Sadistica Tortura was tall and slim, with chocolate brown hair which shimmered under the soft lighting of the room they were in.

"Sadistica, the pleasure is all mine," Skulduggery replied with that velvet voice of his,

"Why are you so determined to know my secrets?" she asked casually while picking some fluff off her dark green jacket,

"Why are you so determined to kill?"

"Everybody is entitled to there own hobby, isn't that right Valkyrie?" she turned her head so she was looking directly at Valkyrie,

"Sure, as long as it isn't yours,"

"What is wrong with my hobby?"


Tortura took a step towards Valkyrie who stayed still; they looked into each others eyes as if daring the other to make the first move, Tortura's eyes turned red and Valkyrie was flung up towards the ceiling, she hit it and was pinned there, she moved her head sideways to breathe, but a bubble erupted around her and started shrinking. "Skulduggery!" she shouted as realization sunk in. Tortura always killed her enemies by suffocation. It was the only thing she was good at. She tried to slow her breathing to make the air inside the bubble last longer but panic was rising in her chest. She started gasping as the vital oxygen she needed was being either used up by her or the bubble as it shrunk. Its skin was clinging to her now and blocked her nose and mouth. As she lost consciousness, she could only hear the blood in her ears and the sounds of fighting underneath.

"Valkyrie!" Skulduggery shouted as he realized what Tortura was doing; she was creating a bubble around Valkyrie which he knew would suffocate her. He pushed at the air and Tortura was flung to the ground, she grunted as she got up and turned around. Skulduggery immediately shot her in the leg. She screamed and crumpled to the ground, "Release her Tortura, or I will put a bullet in your brain next time,"

"Very persuasive, but I can't,"

"Why ever not?"

"I've been paid to kill her so I intend to,"

"By who?"

"Not telling," Skulduggery smacked the butt of his gun against the side of Tortura's head and she collapsed. Valkyrie fell lifelessly and Skulduggery caught her in his arms. She wasn't breathing. After a moment she inhaled deeply, her eyes opened slowly, settled on Skulduggery who was looking up in silence.

"Hey, cheer up; nothing can get rid of me that easily," he looked down and gently laughed.