“Mevolent?” Death Rose asked as she spied a man walking through the forest almost parallel to her. “Is that you?”
The man spun, wearing a black veil over his face and dressed in a wonderful black suit. “Death Rose? You’ve grown up so much! How is my dear Serpine?”
She bit her lip and averted her gaze from his face, however tempting it may be. “Uh, dead, m’Lord. He died four years ago.”
“Well done. You remember-”
“‘Never look at the face because the psychics can replay our memories,’” she quoted with a smile.
“As wonderful as ever. You were always my best student.” He paused. “Though I do have to ask, why are you here?”
“Rumors, m’Lord. I was sent by the Irish Sanctuary to investigate this castle. They heard rumors about your return so they sent someone capable of taking down anyone who might stand in her way.”
“You’ve improved?” He clapped his hands and started walking again. “Good, good! Would you be able to take me down?”
Death gasped and stopped following. “I’d never even dare of thinking of that, m’Lord!”
“In that case, come in. It seems we have a lot of catching up to do.”
After Death had been inside the luxurious castle three nights had she noticed how much she’d missed her master. She missed his kindness and his acceptance. He was always like a father to her and the Grim Reaper to his enemies.
“I missed you,” she admitted one night as they sat on the large red sofa in front of a roaring fire place.
“Me too,” he replied and ruffled her hair. “I remember when you wore that pink frilly dress I gave you and had your hair in two plaits. Now look what you’re wearing!” He gestured to her grey skinny leg jeans, her tight, white leather jacket and her knee high, black leather boots. “What’s wrong with leather, m’Lord?”
He snickered. “It is made out of animal skin, you, my dear, should be wearing animal fur.” He gestured to his cloak of rabbit fur that was fastened around his neck with a gold chain. “Skin is for the lower class, the peasants and army. The generals and the general’s daughters should wear fur like the royalty.”
She smiled and looked at her glass of water in her hands. “I do not wish to be rude, m’Lord, but I can’t.”
“Why?” He sounded skeptical.
“Because I can’t see myself changing from skin to fur. It isn’t me. I’m sorry, but thanks for the flattery.” She smiled and left the room. “Goodnight, m’Lord. Have pleasant dreams.”
“Same to you, Miss Rose.”
Death Rose stood there, frozen in shock as she saw one of her friends pinned against the wall the next day. Master Mevolent stood in front of Fabi, the point of the sword he held expertly, inches from her pale neck. Fabi’s brow glistened with sweat and her chest rose and fell in a quick rhythm.
Death took as small step forward in the still room, heads snapping to her direction. “Master Mevolent,” she said as quickly as she could muster, knowing what would come next, knowing him… Torture. “Might I take the prisoner to the cells? You know I can handle myself, m’Lord. Think of it as training, since she is a lower class opponent.” She bowed her head slightly, keeping her eyes locked on the back of Mevolent’s head.
He turned slightly so his veiled face met hers and she shifted her gaze to his feet. Black dress shoes with black laces. The plastic covering on his left shoelace was missing. His black socks were barely visible under the ankles of his black pants. “Very well then Miss Rose. Keep it quick.” He gestured to Death’s new colleague, Kane Slit, and then back at her. “Mr. Slit, make sure there is no trips along the way.”
Slit nodded and spun on his heel as Mevolent lowered the sword from Fabi’s neck and flicked the back of her thigh with it. “Off you go.”
Death and Slit walked in silence as Fabi grumbled in between them. Death kicked her friend’s leg as they walked and Fabi glanced over her shoulder. What? She mouthed angrily.
I got a plan. On the third kick, duck, Death mouthed back. She kicked Fabi once, twice then three times and Death launched herself at the burly man.
Her arms encircled his waist and the momentum pushed them both to the tiled floor. Death splayed her hand in Slit’s direction and suddenly he was gasping, getting crushed by his own weight. “Don’t move, don’t tell our master and most of all, don’t say a word.”
Death leaped up and unshackled Fabulous. “Run straight ahead and take a left then go down the sloping corridor and you will meet a dead end. Place your hand on the brown brick. It is the only brick like it. It has a symbol carved on it and follow that path until the end. If you stop walking, the cave will collapse and I’ll be responsible. If you screw this up, you’re dead!” Death shoved her. “Move! And don’t come back. Forget what you saw, and live a happy life without me. It was grand while is lasted.” She sighed. “Go, I have to serve my master.” She waved as Fabi ran off into the dark corridor and spun on Slit. “What to do with you now?”