A/N: Here is chapter ten for you guys! Should I mark that as a fanfic milestone? So, since I left the last chapter on a cliffhanger, I decided to get this one out fairly early. I hope this chapter is alright, there is some more plot build up in it as well as some action. Not guaranteeing that it is well written action, but it's there.
Is it rude of me to ask for some reviews? They really do motivate me to get the chapters out to you guys, so if you want to put a fire under my ass, that is the best way to do it! Nonetheless, thanks to all the people who read and followed this story!
I wanted to plan my attacks, like these beasts would react predictably, but I quickly left that idea when one of the Balverines charged at me. It jumped at me, autopilot kicking into gear as I swiftly tried to dodge it, though I wasn't successful as I felt something sharp stab into my side. The force of the swing sent me slamming against the bars of the cage, the impact making me feel breathless for a few moments as I felt the sharp pain of the wound on my side.
Panicked, I swung out when I noticed the beast right in front of me once again. I stabbed the sword into the beast, the balverine letting out a pained yowl as it backed away. I released the sword, leaving stabbed into the beast as I pulled out my pistol and aimed towards the eyes. I fired off a shot, a short light flashing as the gun fired, letting me see where the other beast were for a few moments. I was only able to see one nearest to me, off to the side of the cage. I kept firing at the balverine, as it seemed to shake off most of my bullets until I shot it in the head once again.
I heard the balverine that I had just shot slump to the ground, making me rush towards it and grab at the sword. I wanted to swing it around to hit the balverine that was charging towards me, but I soon realized that I couldn't pull it out as quickly as I had hoped. The beast didn't swing at me, but slammed into me, sending me sprawling over the dead balverine and onto the floor of the cage, my pistol clattering across the ground. I quickly pulled myself backwards across the floor, I was having a hard time breathing, my breath coming out in gasps as I reached out and grabbed at my pistol.
I could hear the growls of the remaining balverines, including the approaching one. I could also hear that Reaver was talking to me, though I was having a hard time hearing what he was saying over the blood rushing in my ears and the ringing. My attention was snapped back to the large figure that was now towering over me, the beast dipping down and opened it's large jaws.
My arm swung up, aiming my pistol right into the mouth of the monster and I fired off the shot. I kept firing off into the beasts mouth, making sure the bullets hit its target. I barely had time to react as the beast fall forward, trapping me against the wall of the cage and his body. My eyes widened, my hands moving up to grip at its shoulders and tried to shove it off of me. It was heavy, especially since it was now dead weight. Luckily, I was able to use it as a shield to the oncoming claw of the next balverine, the pain in my side starting to become distracting as I rolled out from under the dead one and scrambled to pull myself upright and ran towards the other dead balverine that still had the sword lodged into it. I stepped over to the other side of it, planting my foot against its chest and pulled.
I fell back against the wall behind me as I sword dislodged itself, my body wanting to give out. My vision was becoming blurry, my limbs shaking with adrenaline. I had to do this, Reaver wasn't going to save me. I had to save myself and kill these beasts, my fist tightening around the handle of the sword as another balverine charged at me, my sword jabbing out and stabbing it right below the neck, the beast jumping back as I pulled my sword out and raised my pistol. I fired off a shot, hitting the balverine in the chest, the beast stepping backwards a few steps with a growl. It was still very much alive, the other pair of glowing eyes watching me from the other side of the cage.
I can't keep this up for much longer, I have to kill them quickly.
I fired off another shot, hitting the balverine in its head. The beast slumped forward, hitting the ground just a few steps away from me. I held my side, feeling the warm liquid there. I tried not to panic, but it was hard not to when I was bleeding pretty heavily and I noticed the last balverine jumping at me from across the cage. I let out a yell, trying to back away from its attack, but he managed to get me.
I felt the claws rip across my face, barely missing my eye and ripped down to just below my chin. I let out a pained yell, stumbling back a few paces before my legs buckled and I collapsed onto the floor. I was having a hard time focusing, my arms felt like lead and I was staring into the face of death once again.
"Oh, come now!" I heard Reaver exclaim, "you are laying your weapons down after you have come so far? Do give my balverine a struggling opponent, at least."
You are not going to die here! A voice yelled in my head, not in front of him, and certainly not for his entertainment!
With some renewed strength, I flung the sword across myself as the balverine lunged down towards me, jaws wide open. His jaws clamped around the blade of the sword, backing off with a yelp as the blade cut into his mouth. I pulled myself up, backing up towards the back of the cage, firing at the balverine all the while.
It was enough to keep distance between me and him, my back hitting the bars of the cage with my pistol still raised. I watched as glowing eyes approached me quickly, the beast lumbering slightly and slower than it once was. I held my gun up, aimed at its head.
There was a sudden rush, my raised arm tingling and vibrating with power. I felt it move from my forearm to my hand as the beast got closer, then to my fingers, and finally I pulled back on the trigger. The gun went off with its usual loud bang, the sensation leaving me as soon as the bullet left the barrel. I heard the balverine let out a short yelp before it slumped forward, landing on the ground with the rest of his cage mates.
It was done.
I could feel the sharp pain in my side and across my face, my body spent. Slowly, I pushed myself off the the bars of the cage and turned around to look at Reaver from inside the cage. I was expecting him to stand there and mock me on form and grace, all the while keeping me locked inside the cage with the dead balverines, but what I found was the door to the cage slightly ajar and an empty room.
I had did what he told me to do, and, as most of our training sessions went, he left once it was done.
To more important things, I mocked, like gathering more balverines for his sick game. I really shouldn't have expected anything more...
I was a little surprised at how lucid my thoughts were becoming, I had been expecting jarring pain, possibly passing out in the cage, but it was actually starting to fade bit and bit. It still hurt like hell, but it was getting somewhat manageable. Gingerly, I reached up to my face and ran a finger across one of the long gashes there. It stung painfully, making me wince, but there was a part of it that seemed to be closing up on its own.
Hero side effect? I thought to myself, finally walking towards the cage door and started to head back up into the manor. I wasn't too sure if it would completely heal completely by itself, but I should at least clean the blood off so I could get a better idea of what needed to be fixed.
I wrung out the wet rag, the water in the bucket a faint red now. Gingerly, I finished cleaning off the wounds on my side, most of them closed up, but left some nasty scars to add to the small ones I already had from my first encounter with Reaver. Slowly, I lowered my white shirt that I kept with me for sleep wear, shifting so that I could grab a hand held mirror that I "borrowed" from one of the other maid's dressers, hoping all the while that I wouldn't be walked in on.
Holding it up to my face, I brought the rag up once again and wiped at the blood on my face. I noticed that some of the smaller claw marks had healed up nicely, but the deepest one looked like it wasn't going away any time soon. I frowned, turning my face and examine it a little more. The scar ran from just below my eyebrow and down my jawline before curling up slightly just under my chin. It was glaringly red and ugly, something I will probably be carrying around with me for the rest of my life.
I'd make an interesting story, at least. I knew that getting out of there with my life was enough of a reward for carrying around a few scars, as unfortunate as it is, having one of them on my face.
I washed off the last of the blood, glancing down at my destroyed uniform, wondering if I would need to ask for a new one. I would have to, seeing as I couldn't walk around with the torn one.
I won't need one if I leave, I thought to myself, then shook my head.
There are people here you need to protect. You promised Page that you wouldn't let her down.
There has to be a limit, though. I could have very well died down there and Reaver wouldn't have given a rat's ass about it. These scars should be enough proof to Page as to why I would have left. I could return back to the sewers of Industrial or just go to Brightwall or something...
I jumped slightly at the timid voice, making me drop the rag into the bucket and turn around. Silvia stood in the doorway, holding the door open slightly. Her eyes widened as I turned to face her fully, her hand moving up towards her mouth.
"Avo," she whispered, "w-what happened to you? You...you didn't have those before, did you? Surely you didn't, but they look like you have had them longer than a few hours..."
"I've always had these," I said quickly, Silvia looking disbelieving, "maybe you didn't notice them before."
"Very well," she said, clearing her throat, "I wanted to inform you that Master Reaver is looking for you."
"Of course he is," I muttered to myself, standing, "alright, thank you Silvia, I'll go to his study-"
"He's in his bedroom," Silvia said, smiling slightly, "he told me to send you there."
I stared at her for a few moments, processing that before I had to hold back the sneer that threatened to cross my face. What would he want to see me in there for? The least he could do was let me get some rest before forcing me to be in his presence again. I felt some rage crop up, making me wish I had my weapons on me once again. I was forced to hand them over when I met Reaver in the ballroom once again after exiting the passageway, part of me wanting to strike him with the sword, but I had been too weak at the time.
"I'll go there, then," I said after a few moments, trying to keep the biting tone out of my voice, "thank you."
"You're welcome," Silvia said softly, looking at me with a confused look on her face, knowing that her eyes were on my scar. That would have to be something I would have to get used to, I guess.
It didn't take much to find his bedroom, I had been in there before to help another maid clean a few times before, but when I was to met with Reaver, it was usually in his study or somewhere else. To say the least, I felt uneasy. Though, I couldn't help the small chuckle that bubbled up within me.
If all of this was just a ploy to get me into bed...
I approached the door, fighting myself not to just walk in there. Firstly, I had no idea what could have been going on in there, and secondly, he was still above me, as my employer, regardless of how much I hated him at the moment. I knocked on the door a few times, standing back slightly before I heard Reaver invite me inside.
Carefully, I pushed open the door and peered inside. The room was a little dark, the curtains drawn and a small fire burning in the fireplace. The room was...red. It made it seem darker than what it could have been. I made a mental note to skip the favourite colour question on my list of small talk topics as I walked a little further into the room. Reaver looked a little more relaxed without his coat, glass of wine in hand as he glanced over at me from where he was sitting in a chair by the fire.
"You wished to see me, sir?" I asked, clenching my jaw slightly, keeping my hands at my sides. I curled my hands into fists at my sides, watching as Reaver quirked an eyebrow at me.
"Indeed," he said, "though, I wasn't expecting to see you in such a state of undress."
"My uniform is torn up from my fight today," I said, my tone flat. Reaver smirked at me as he turned away from me, waving me over towards him.
"I certainly don't mind it," he said, "it is rather pleasant to see you in less formal attire, you do come across as quite a prude most of the time."
"Thanks?" I muttered, mostly to myself, before I spoke up, "I won't be needing another one, though. I am no longer working under you."
"Oh? Are you now? I don't recall giving you permission to do so."
"I don't need your permission," I stated, "after the way I was treated today, you can't expect me to keep working for you. I have a right as a worker to leave a job that unnecessarily puts my life in danger."
"Right as a worker?" Reaver asked, looking like he was amused at the prospect, "what right?"
"To be treated fairly," I said, narrowing my eyes, "you run factories, your workers have rights, don't they?"
"The only right they have to anything is a three minute break, which I had increased from three seconds out of the goodness of my heart," he paused, waving his hand slightly, "and by order of the queen."
"That's it?" I asked, "you can't keep workers chained to a job, they aren't slaves."
"Of course they aren't salves, I do pay them," Reaver said, sipping his wine, "though, I see you have no understanding of industry."
"I'm not working in a factory," I stated, "I am cleaning up your messes and doing household chores. Being locked in a cage and fighting balverines isn't in those guidelines, so I am leaving. I put up with your pistol being pointed at me every other day, along with the many other things you do, but I am not going to die for you. More so, I am not going to die for your entertainment."
"As I had said, what happened today was training," Reaver said, "just like you had asked for, I had showed you how to shoot a gun. From the looks of it, I had payed you fairly well."
"That was not training," I stated, "I almost died, you put me into something I wasn't properly trained for and you left me down there while I didn't even know if I would make it back out."
"Shooting at bottles and cans won't teach you anything about fighting," Reaver said, standing from his chair and walked towards me, "though, if you are so adamant on leaving, then I will gladly...let you go."
"I mean that you let me walk out the front door, alive," I said, feeling my heart start to race. "I just want to leave."
"I don't believe that I can let you do so, seeing as I don't trust you enough not to talk about what happened here," Reaver said, his grin downright sinister, "as you may not know, I am trying to show the queen that I am reasonable and accommodating colleague. I do have an image to uphold."
"Yes, because kidnapping people off the streets to work in your factories shows that you have the worker's rights in mind. Very reasonable, keeping your workers like slaves."
"You may view it as such, but I do need to keep my business intact somehow," Reaver said, "though, with the queen taking money from my generous hands, I do believe that she may be willing to wave off such claims. Regardless, I don't feel like taking a risk that she may believe you out of pity. Do you still wish to leave?"
I flinched when I felt the hard metal of the barrel of his pistol pressed against my temple, something about the action putting a sense of terror into me. I had his pistol pointed at me before, I was scared then, but now...
I felt something building inside me, making me shake and my eyes fog up. I stared at the floor just past where he was standing, inhaling a shaking breath.
"I just want to go home," I said after a few moments, my voice breaking pathetically.
"To Bowerstone?" Reaver asked, "why ever so? No house can compare to mine, and I am letting you live here."
"Bowerstone is not my home. This manor is not my home," I clenched my teeth, "Albion is not my home. I don't think it matters if you shoot me, I'm convinced that this is some sort of punishment for some wrong doing I have done."
"I believe you are just rambling on about nonsense," Reaver said as I felt his pistol being removed from against my temple, though he still kept it pointed at me.
I took a deep breath to keep my voice from shaking and the tears in my eyes from falling, though I felt like just falling to my knees and sobbing into the floor. I wanted to tell someone about everything, to have someone listen to me and not think I am some psycho.
"Right," I muttered, "I'm just a heretic, right? If it is work or die, and you want to keep me here like a slave, Master Reaver, could you be so gracious as to let me go to bed now?"
"I had only called you up here to make sure you weren't bitten," Reaver said, waving me off, "it would have been wonderful to have a balverine to replace the ones you killed."
"I'm just scratched," I said, taking my leave and headed down towards my bedroom. Though, I barely made it past the main foyer before I sunk down into one of the sofas and covered my face with my hands.
I had almost told him everything, he probably would have shot me to spare himself from my "insanity". I shook my head, letting out a humourless laugh, a few tears escaping.
I felt helpless when I had fallen to my death, and I felt the same way now.
"Bryn," Silvia called out towards me, making me look up from my sweeping. She walked towards me, a leather bound book in her hands.
"What is it?" I asked, not wanting to interact with anybody today. I had even skipped training, though the lack of response from Reaver lead me to believe he skipped it as well.
"That young man that had stopped you yesterday," Silvia said, "he approached me today and told me to give you these."
She held out the book towards me, along with what appeared to be a note. I frowned, taking them from her and examined the book. It looked like everything inside was hand written, a few pages missing and some laying loose. I lifted up the note and examined it, reading over the short words there.
This book should explain to you what I had tried to tell you yesterday. Please, if it is any use to you, keep it. If not, return it. Regardless, I live in Millfields and would much like it to speak with you in person.
"What is it?" Silvia asked as I tucked the note inside the book, giving her a small smile.