Author's note after second update: Hey, so sorry for updating and deleting and updating again. I didn't mean to. It's just that after my first update I received a review which asked me what had happened to Jack, as in the first update I hadn't explicitly mentioned that. That made me realize just how important the girl really was in a way, and it made me decide to change the Original update. So those who have read the first update already, please tell me if you like this better, and if you haven't, well I simply hope that you like this chapter! Please let me know through reviewing!
Chapter 24: Getting Away
I'd followed Jack's trail all the way down to two wooden doors that would lead straight into the arena. I recognized the doors from at least three of the merc ships I'd ever been on. They were normally utilized for entertainment purposes, for example letting two caught creatures or convicts fight one another. Mercs were known to be gamblers, not only with their lives, and this was simply a game to them.
I had known that whatever Kiln had planned for Xia wasn't good, however the extent of how bad it was didn't dawn on me until I kicked those double doors in with a loud growl. I took in my surroundings with a quick glance around and noticed Jack sitting about a yard away from me huddled up against the wall. She had her knees tightly pressed against her chest and her head had formerly been resting on them. Now she was staring at me with wide eyes, mirroring Kiln's gaze from the balcony he and a strange woman were sitting on. They're heads had previously been aimed at the scene in front of them, a scene that made me snarl furiously. Xia stood crouched before a wall, her forehead and shoulder bleeding and her eyes trained on me. They were showing relief, and that fact alone made me want to rip the thing that was in front of her apart piece by piece.
I crouched and bared my teeth at the one eyed creature in front of me as a surge of vicious rage came over me. It let out a warning growl and I narrowed my eyes and cocked my head to the side slightly. I watched it start to scrape its claws against the concrete floor like a bull seeing red and smirked.
"You wanna go?" I asked in a low hiss as I reached for my shiv. I grinned viciously, "Let's go." The moment I said it I took off, running straight towards the thing with my shiv in my hands. Its tongue shot out towards me and I jumped away just in time to avoid it. The stench indicated poison which meant I would have to make sure the thing didn't hit me with that. I avoided it several more times, every time gaining a few feet, until I was right in front of it. This time it was *my arm* that shot out as I cut through the scales on its skin. I backed away quickly as to not have one of its claws come into contact with me.
I repeated those movements several times, playing with the thing, distracting it to give Xia a chance to get to her own shiv. When she had it, and was once again ready to attack, we locked eyes. She indicated the side of the arena with her head and I instantly understood. I focused back on the creature and attacked its face this time, cutting through its cheek. It snarled and I was only just able to avoid its tongue which was set on wrapping itself around me now. I backed up towards the wall Xia had indicated and waited while avoiding the thing's attacks. Then, as I noticed Xia getting closer and the thing attacked once more using its tongue, I cut.
The tongue fell to the ground beside me, poison oozing out of it on one side and blood on the other. The creature wailed and shook its head like crazy to try and stop the pain. Xia used this moment of disorientation to jump up against the wall and onto its back. It didn't seem to notice what was happening, as it was preoccupied with its, now missing, tongue. She moved quickly towards the base of its skull and stabbed her shiv straight through the head, making it wail loudly once more before slumping to the ground, dead.
She jumped off and looked me with a sparkle in her eyes that I found more than sexy. I didn't have much time to overthink that though as we had to get out of here before the guards came after us, which they would soon.
Xia ran over to Jack and the girl to her feet, running back over to my side. "We have to get out of here."
I nodded and all three of us set off running through the thick double doors right into the arms of no less than all the mercs on the entire ship. This should be fun.
We were quick enough to avoid the guards originally sent after us. However it didn't take long before the whole ship knew about our escape and alarms were sounding throughout the halls, mixed with voices and noises of weapons being readied for use. As Jack was starting to have trouble keeping up we decided to take a short break by hiding away. There'd been a small side passage in the hallway, out of sight of the guards that ran past. However the ones that would walk past would surely notice us, and at the moment the sounds of footsteps slowly closing in on us didn't promise anything good.
"I wonder who these prisoners are, that we need this many men to go after'em." I heard one of the mercs that were closing in mutter under his breath. The merc next to him, a woman, must've heard what the guy said as she chuckled darkly. "He's an animal. Worst kind of all. Able to snap your neck with one hand, he's rumored to be that strong. She's the same only her senses have developed beyond anything you can imagine. She would be able to hear what is said on the other side of the room." The woman listed off. "Together, they're the deadliest combination."
The third merc with them quieted both of them down with a shushing noise and I looked to my left at Riddick who I guessed was smirking at the things the woman had said, as was I. Jack, who was standing next to me, however wasn't so much paying attention to what was being said but to the distance between us and the ones who said it. I put a hand on her shoulder to try and calm her down, but as Riddick's fingers stroked the inside of my elbow softly I knew we had other things to do. I readied myself, and the moment they were right next to us Riddick jumped one of the mercs and snapped his neck.
I focused on the second one, which was coincidentally the man who'd wondered what we were like. I grinned and jumped to the side as I heard him grab his gun. I dodged forward and hit the thing out of his hand, kneeing him in the stomach and evading a punch next. Then I grabbed my shiv and cut his throat. I heard Riddick finishing the third one off and as the last thud could be heard I looked over at him with a twinkle in my eyes, "What do you think? Did we live up to their expectations?"
I heard a low rumble in his chest indicating he was chuckling softly and I smirked as I walked over to Jack, who was staring at the bodies.
"Jack," I said, trying to get the girl's attention. "We have to leave. Come on." I held out my hand and she took it, probably glad to have the support. She was still slightly shaking and her breaths were heavy and hitching as if she was trying to keep herself from crying. She'd already started having trouble keeping up with us a minute after our escape. I'd literally been pulling her along by one arm before we hid away from sight. The break we'd had hadn't been particularly long and in the state she was in she wouldn't be able to run for longer than a few minutes. I didn't liked proposing to separate, as I didn't want to lose sight of Riddick and I knew he rather not lose sight of me. However now I started to worry about what would happen to her, or if we kept dragging her along like this, to us if we didn't.
Riddick's eyes locked with mine and I saw that he knew exactly what I was thinking as the same thought must've crossed his mind. There were voices all around us and we would get caught if we had to take the girl with us. However he also knew I wouldn't simply leave her to her own fate. He stopped and turned around, taking me by my elbows gently.
"At the end of this hallway there's an opening in the ceiling leading to the flight deck. I'll distract them, you two go." He told me softly. I wanted to protest, to tell him that I was fine with sending Jack up but not with leaving him myself, but he was gone before I could; the lingering sensation of his strong hands on the insides of my elbows the only thing remaining.
"What is he-" Jack started asking through ragged breaths but I cut her off with a look, telling her to be quiet. We waited until I suddenly heard the voices from before rise. They'd spotted him.
I rushed Jack forward and followed her quickly. When we reached the end of the hallway I noticed the way onto the flight deck Riddick had told me about above us. I climbed halfway up and reached down with my hand to grab jack by the arm and help her up. A gunshot echoed through the ship as I did and I froze, my mind flying to Riddick as Jack hurried up even faster than before. I bit my lip as I contemplated what to do myself. There were sounds of mercs passing underneath me, heading over to wherever Riddick had lured them to. He had however told me to get to the flight deck and I didn't think he'd be happy if I disobeyed him again. Before I could make the final decision however there were two strong arms around my shoulders, pulling me up. I recognized the scent that belonged to the guy instantly, it was Kiln. I kicked him in order to get him to let me go and landed in a crouch a few feet away from him. He chuckled after recovering, "You haven't changed much, Xia. You're still the same feisty one I met all those years ago."
"And you're still the same asshole I met all those years ago." I shot back with a hiss, listening to my surroundings to make sure Jack was still ok. I heard her struggling against someone's grip, and guessing by the smell that made my nose wrinkle in disgust that someone was the blue eyed devil himself.
"Let her go." I ordered while grinding my teeth together in anger.
"Now why would I do that?" Kiln asked me with a mocking edge to his tone.
"Because you were always the one to advocate fair fights."
He walked around me in a circle, towards the sounds of Jack struggling, as he chuckled once again. "But you see, in that aspect I have changed. I have changed a lot." He said and I heard a whimper escape Jack as he was obviously reaching out for her. "Don't touch her." I growled, launching myself at him and as such distracting him from the girl. I knew Jack was scared, even more so than she had been before. This time though the threat was real, close, not just an idea of getting caught. I didn't like the whimpers leave her mouth, I didn't like the sound of her getting hurt. Not just because she was a vulnerable kid who had nothing to do with this all, but because in a way she reminded me of me the first time I met Kiln, and I didn't want this girl to go through the same experiences I'd had to go through in my life. She deserved better.
I hit Kiln square in the face and he retaliated immediately, his fist flying in the direction of my cheek. I avoided it but missed the second attack in the process, his fist making contact with my stomach. I fell to a crouch but quickly recovered and snarled at him, ready to launch myself at him once again.
"I think you'd better stop now, my dear Xia." He told me, obviously feeling superior to me. "Or I might just decide to have some fun with the girl." Jack whimpered as he'd said it and I clenched my jaw and fists. Shit, he knew exactly what would get me to stop attacking him. "You really should get over that complex of yours to have to help those in need, Xia. It's a death trap."
I had a bad feeling. I couldn't explain it exactly, it was just that I knew I had to finish up here fast or something might happen, and I understood that that something was going to happen to Xia. I hadn't liked the idea of separating with Xia at all and in all honesty I shouldn't have done it. I should've listened to my instincts which had been telling me that as long as I stayed with her I would be able to protect her. Like this I couldn't, at least not in person, and I had the distinct idea that I was supposed to be doing exactly that right now.
I avoided the shots that the guards unleashed and the knives they threw. They were mercs, highly skilled in killing. Still, that wasn't enough to get the best of me. Even the most highly trained merc in the universe wouldn't be able to get me; I'd proven that more than once. I was smarter, stronger, more rational, at least that's what I was most of the time. Right now there wasn't much rational about me, which made me even worse. I used my shiv to slit the throats that came close enough, avoiding the attacks that accompanied the merc. There were bodies all around the transport deck I'd run to, but I knew that this wasn't even close to everyone. There would be more coming soon, as the footsteps suggested, and they wouldn't stop coming until all of them were dead, which would take too damn long.
I growled loudly and grabbed ahold of the arm of one of the mercs that had tried to cut me with his knife. I swung him around and hit three other mercs right before jumping aside to avoid another attack and turning away from them in order to run. I had to get to the flight deck fast, I didn't know why, I just had to. I jumped up against the wall of the platform, knowing that if I climbed it I would be able to get to the doorway that I'd noticed when I'd entered the room. I climbed swiftly, still avoiding the shots and knives, until I finally arrived in the doorway. There were two other guards waiting for me there. I crouched and narrowed my eyes, charging and snapping the first guy's neck while kicking the other guy against the wall, unconscious.
I continued my journey towards the flight deck, not bothering to kill the merc as it would only take time. Instead I ran towards the doors I knew would lead to the flight deck. As a lot of things they were the same in every merc ship, like the loading dock had been. These things simply don't change much when they are effective. I saw the keypad on the side of the wall and used the same code I'd seen the guard use for the plastic cube. It worked, the two white doors opening automatically so to let me in and revealing a sight that made my blood run cold right before boiling over in anger.
"Ah, good for you to join the party. I was beginning to think that they had gotten the best of you. But of course no simple merc could get the best of the Richard B. Riddick." Kiln said with a menacing yet mocking tone in his voice. I wanted to growl, wanted to launch myself at him without delay at the sight in front of me, but I couldn't. I had to stay calm, or at least appear calm.
"So you think yourself as more than just a simple merc?" I asked through clenched teeth as I looked over at Johns who had a gun aimed at Jack, who in turn was being held by Xia. She was trying to calm the girl down, which seemed pretty much impossible in the current situation. I narrowed my eyes and caught a glint of metal around her wrists, they'd cuffed her again. She looked up and our eyes locked, hers mirroring the smoldering anger I was feeling.
"Well of course, I am the best." Kiln answered me with a conceited pride that disgusted me. "Never failed to bring in a target."
"Except Xia." I corrected him, wanting to see how he would react and feeling proud of my mate to be able to get the better of this guy. I heard Xia's low chuckle at my words, so did Kiln and Johns. The latter muttered something at her and prodded his gun against her head, the former stopped him with a single hand gesture. Johns showed annoyance at the gesture and I felt myself smile as I realized that the two didn't like each other much.
Kiln's face had changed slightly at my words, though a second later the smile returned to his face. The same smile he and the collector had had while watching us fight the one eyed creature. A smile that showed enjoyment and curiosity as to the development of the situation.
"She is an exception." He said with a slight edge to his voice. "I bet you have found that to be true on numerous occasions." He said with a strained chuckle. "She however has her weaknesses, and when one finds a way to exploit them, one will be able to bring her in."
"Like you will do now?" I asked, which actually made him laugh. "Oh, but I'm not planning on bringing her in." He said. "I plan on selling her. She is worth far more as a work of art, than when brought to a prison she's known to escape within a few days." He smiled in her direction, resulting in a glare from her, and faced me again. "She is a lot like you in that aspect."
I didn't answer that, instead I wondered where the collector was. If Kiln was set on selling us to her, then where was she? Was she hiding somewhere in the vicinity, in case something would go wrong here and she would have to intervene herself?
"She has been brought to safety." Kiln answered my unspoken question, as if he knew exactly what I was about to ask. "You don't have to worry about her."
I noticed the threat in those words and narrowed my eyes as I crouched slightly, "But I have to worry about you?"
He grinned viciously, "You do." Then he pulled out a gun, one that I recognized. It was a tranquilizer, he was ordered not to kill me so it seemed. Now that was good news. Because it also meant that Johns wasn't allowed to kill Xia, which meant that I could go all out on this guy without having to worry about her safety. I grinned at that fact which seemed to catch Kiln just slightly off guard before he was able to regain his composure. He aimed the gun in my direction and took a step forward, a satisfied look taking over his face. The moment he pulled the trigger however I jumped aside, evading the sedative without all too much effort.
The second time he shot I ducked to the ground and locked eyes with him, grinning. "Let's get this party started." I chuckled as I charged forward and slammed him right to the ground, kicking the gun away from him in the process. He pushed me off of him, being stronger than I had anticipated, and pulled a sword from an almost invisible holster on his leg. I cocked my head to the side and took my own shiv out. I wondered how far I could go before he would give up on the whole 'no harm can come to him' thing. I was guessing not that far after all. This guy might be taking care of the product for a collector, but he was still an ordinary merc. And no merc would ever knowingly let their products get the better of them.
We circled each other, anticipating what the other would do. I noticed how he used a gesture of his hand to get Johns to stand down, he wanted to finish this on his own I guessed. In that case, I'd give him a shot, and enjoy watching him fail miserably.
I ran forward and kicked his sword to the side, cutting through the air as he evaded my attack. He swung his sword and I threw my head back to make sure it wouldn't hit me and retaliated with another few strokes of my shiv. He hit me in the face and I backed off, turning to him with a dangerous glint in my eyes as I cornered him up to the wall with several attacks. When his back was pressed up against it I saw an opportunity and aimed straight for his throat. He stopped me however with his arm, and his sword was just inches away from my throat in turn. He kicked me in the back of my knees which made me buckle but I jumped away before he could cut me with his sword. I guess he wasn't trying to keep me unscratched any longer.
He moved forward with his sword and I jumped to the side, grabbing ahold of his arm and squeezing it hard until I could hear the bones crack. He let the sword drop to the floor and I kicked it away, using my other hand to take ahold of his throat and squeezing that instead. I could've ended him quickly using my shiv but right now I wasn't in the mood for that. I wanted this guy to suffer almost as much as I'd wanted Johns to suffer, which was a lot. He struggled against my grip which made me grab him tighter. His airway was being squeezed shut and he was being deprived of oxygen, which meant he was going to die soon. I waited until I was sure that he was gone before letting him go and turning back to Johns. In a way I had been surprised how he hadn't intervened yet. On the other hand, he didn't seem to actually mind seeing Kiln's dead body in front of him right now. To be honest, he looked rather glad. He was smirking, and I didn't trust that one bit.
The moment Riddick turned his eyes towards me I wanted to run up to him and make sure he was alright. I couldn't see him because there was too much light here and I hated it. I had no idea where he was hurt. The only thing I knew was that he was hurt, as I could smell his blood on him. Hearing him fight Kiln hadn't been something I liked, not at all, but the fact that Johns had his gun aimed at both me and Jack prevented me from intervening directly. It wasn't that I was afraid of getting shot myself, it was that I knew that the moment Riddick would hear that gun he would lose because he would be distracted and Kiln used those distractions to his advantage whenever he could. I'd fought enough with him to at least know that.
His eyes traveled from me up to Johns, as his body radiated an alpha sense that even seemed to get Johns to back off a bit at first. However he soon recovered as Riddick's words echoed through the room.
"Give up while you still can Johns, you're the only one left. Maybe if you give up now we'll let you off easy." He told Johns as he took several steps towards him. While he was doing that I whispered as softly as I could into Jack's ear to run towards the others the moment I was grabbed, as I knew that was what was going to happen. Fry, Imam and the other kid were huddled up together on the other side of the platform, they would protect the girl, or at least try.
"You forgot one thing, big guy." Johns said as he grabbed my arm and pulled me up against his chest with force, just like I'd predicted. "I still have your pretty little woman here. And now that that guy is dead, I am finally allowed to kill her." He said with an obvious grin on his face.
I'd bet on the fact that he would be too busy with me and Riddick to notice Jack running away, and I'd been right, he was. He seemed to feel very good about himself for the fact he had outsmarted the two of us again, just like he had done before. However this time things were different. First of all, I wasn't unarmed, second, I was more pissed than I had ever been before at this guy for using both Jack as a threat to me, and me as a threat to Riddick, and third, this was probably the last opportunity I'd get to finally finish this guy off. Jack was now safe with Fry and the rest, huddled against a side wall together, which meant I had full access to Johns without having to be afraid anyone would get hurt. My hands were cuffed, sure, but that didn't mean I couldn't retaliate.
"You're not very loyal, are you Johns?" I asked him with a hiss, more to distract him than anything else. If I talked and moved at the same time, or if he was busy talking, he was less inclined to notice my movements. However Riddick did, and he didn't particularly seem to like them.
"I'm loyal, just not to an outside party. I'm loyal to myself, which is good enough for me." Johns answered me, still eyeing Riddick closely. He had his eyes narrowed in warning, however not at Johns. This time he was warning me, only Johns didn't know that. He was warning me not to do anything stupid. But this time, I wasn't going to listen to him.
"Then what are you going to do with us?" I asked next, feeling my fingers wrap around the shiv that neither Kiln nor Johns had noticed earlier.
Johns laughed, "Well now that he is out of the way," He started, indicating Kiln with his head. "I can simply just kill you two and collect my money." He shook his head and chuckled in delight as he leaned in, his breath on my ear. "I have been waiting so long for this moment." He whispered.
"So have I," I whispered back under my breath right before spinning around and stabbing the guy right through his heart. There was a loud bang and a sharp pain in my side made me stumble backwards to the ground, the metal of the cuffs rattling as I landed with a thud.
Grunts of pain left Johns' mouth as he fell to his knees, raising the gun once more, obviously trying to aim for the person responsible for his inevitable death. The next thing I heard was something cutting through the air, and the gun dropping to the ground. Riddick had thrown his shiv, and I guessed it was right in the guys' neck as that would be where I would've thrown. I heard the gurgling sounds of his last breaths leaving him, right until the moment the body landed on the floor, dead. Finally it was done.
"Get the ship started." I heard Riddick growl at Fry behind me as he hurried to my side, looking at my wound and letting out a quiet snarl. "Are you fucking stupid." He hissed soft enough for only me to hear. He shook his head as he didn't expect an answer and took me in his arms, carrying me inside the ship just as the doors to the platform opened again. He growled once more and put me in a seat with the seatbelt on, right before hurrying out himself. He ran towards the keypad that would get the doors to open as to make it possible for us to leave.
"Hurry Riddick!" Fry shouted as she started the ship. "We don't have much time!" The guards were closing in, I could hear them, as could I hear Riddick moving back towards the ship and the whirring of the doors opening. It all came to me through a dark haze however; it was hard to distinguish what sound belonged to what. The ship shook and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew we were in the air. My senses weren't working all too well however and I felt unnerved by the fact that I had no idea if Riddick was still with me. When I felt his warmth at my side again however I felt better already, though the sound of his voice wasn't reassuring at all. He shouted for a medicinal kit, which I heard the others look for as I slowly slipped away. Not into a familiar darkness, but into a silent one. One that left me without knowledge of anything around me. Normally that would've scared the hell out of me, but knowing for the moment that Riddick was there, and knowing beyond anything that he would stay there, was enough for now. I would be safe as long as I was with him.
Author's note: Hey everyone, I'm so sorry for taking such a long time before updating (it really has been too long) but I had my finals to worry about and a lot of studying to do. But now the chapter is out, and I am more than simply curious as to what you guys think! So please review and let me know what you think about it because I reallllly want to know! :)
Other than that I was wondering if you guys think this should be the last chapter, or if there should be another one (an epilogue if you will or something). Because it's either this one that's the last or the next one... and I know this ending sucks (sorry) but for now it seemed appropriate somehow.
So thankyou everyone who has been reading up till now and extra thankyou for those who reviewed. Please let me know what you think and I hope you liked this chapter!