Niccolo crawled silently up the couch where Zafria sat, completely relaxed. He had taken the form of a small spider- it made breaking into houses almost too easy. Even the Grand Mage... Then again, they were picked for their wisdom, not their strength. Still, this would be a lot of fun. Mevolent had ordered him to give Kerias the fight of her life- injure her so much that even in the magical world, she would take weeks to recover at the very least- but not kill her. The last part was a shame, but at least he would get to have fun tearing her apart. And this time, he knew she couldn't meditate to get herself out of it.
He sent blunt shadows flying at the back of her head, then shifted back into his human form and grinned widely. He was looking forward to this.
Zafira yelped feeling the shadows hit her. Automatically she jumped up and almost screamed. She saw Niccolo. She grabbed shadows and sent them at his head. She glared at him ready for a fight,
"What the hell do you want?" She growled.
Niccolo brushed her shadows aside with a shield of his own. He smirked, and replied, "I'd like to have a little fun, that's all," his voice as smooth and rich as dark chocolate. Then for just a moment- so fleeting Zafria could've sworn she imagined it- an expression of pain flashed over his face, as if he really couldn't stand the idea of hurting someone for fun. But it passed even more quickly than it came, and if anything his grin seemed even more cruel once it returned. He looked at her as if he were a butcher, and she a slab of meat. "Now..." He mused, a malicious gleam in his eye, "Where shall I start?"
Zafira took one good look at him and backed away. She didn't want to hurt him but she figured it was going to end up that way.
"Get away from me!" She spat sending shadow knives for his chest.
"You'll have to subdue me before you lay a finger on me." She closed her eyes for a second and opened them. She was going to have to fight him.
He took one quick glance at her thoughts, and burst into laughter. 'You think you can hurt me?' He said inside her mind, 'I have more power than you've ever dreamed of. I can see the flow of magic inside you. I could tear you apart from the inside out right now if I wanted to- but I want to take this slow. It's more fun that way.' Niccolo did't even bother to block her shadow knives; they passed right through him, as if he had been no more than a ghost this whole time. Then he vanished and re-appeared behind her, sweeping her legs out from under her with a kick.
As he whispered in her head she closed her head and thought,
"GET OUT OF MY MIND!!" And when she opened her eyes he was gone and then she fell to the floor looking straight up at him. Her eyes widened. She figured she wasn't going to win against him.
"I know you fought Aretha," He said aloud, "And in hand-to-hand combat, she overpowered you easily. You should know- her strength is nothing compared to mine." Her eyes widened, and he relished the fear growing behind them. He placed a foot over her ribs and pressed, smirking when he heard several snaps. No lungs had been punctured- he was careful to avoid them. He didn't want her dying; just in more pain than she'd ever felt in her life.
Zafira cried out and the cry turned to a scream. She'd never broken a rib and the experience was not fun.
"What did I do to you?!" She gasped struggling to block the pain from her voice. She tried to get her knife from her belt.
He drew moisture from the air and froze her hand in a block of solid ice before she could draw her knife. "Nothing," He said, and for another split second, even tinier than the first time, he seemed almost saddened by what he had to do. "It's what you will do, to Mevolent. Traitor." He finished accusingly.
She gasped as her whole hand was frozen. She hated the cold. Her eyes looked into his. She didn't know how he knew but she had to survive this. She smiled slyly
"Then do your worst." She taunted. Laughing too.
Niccolo smirked, enjoying the moment. "You don't want to see my worst, I promise you that." He dropped fire over the tips of her hair, letting it burn all the way to her scalp before he extinguished it. "But I'll give you a preview, if you insist." Leaning down briefly to reach, he brushed his fingers over her left leg, and within seconds the whole thing had turned to stone. Then he sent a shadow into her non-frozen hand, impaling it completely and pinning it down to the floor. First he would make sure she couldn't move- then he would teach her the meaning of true pain.
Either from shock or complete fear Zafira didn't speak. She screamed when her hair was on fire and then finally managed to curse Niccolo in Spanish.
"What the hell?!" She screeched when her leg was stone. She was pretty scared now. She didn't know what else could happen to her. She muttered a lot of curses under her breath. Mostly Spanish.
Niccolo couldn't help it; he actually laughed out loud. Her fear and shock at being partially turned to stone were just too much fun! Bet you've never seen earth magic used like that, he thought to himself, but didn't bother telling her. Wouldn't want to distract her from the pain, now, would he? Speaking of distractions- it'd be even better if she couldn't see.
He probed around inside her mind for a bit, finding the place where she processed the light her eyes picked up into solid images, and shut it off. Zafria was rendered completely blind. That would take a while to reverse, even for an expert. He briefly debated shutting off her other senses as well, but decided against it- he wanted her to smell her own blood, and hear her bones cracking and skin being torn apart with crystal clarity. This would be the most fun he'd had in decades.
Zafira suddenly couldn't see. It was freaky and she didn't like it. It was probably obvious in her facial expression showed the fear she had for this.
"What did you do?!" She screeched. Panic in her tone. She hated this feeling of vulnerability.
Ignoring her question, Niccolo pulled a knife from his coat and began to slice into her face with long, clean strokes. He did this for the entirety of about five minutes, and by the time he had finished her whole face looked like a bloody checkerboard. The fear in her face, hearing her cry out- it was intoxicating. Kerias couldn't fight back anymore- she wasn't even trying. It almost made the whole affair that much more boring. Almost... But not quite.
Zafira closed her eyes not caring she couldn't see. She could hear herself screaming. She growled a lot of cursing in Spanish. The pain was horrible and she could feel the wet sticky blood on her face.
"Please." She begged. He had only touched her face she hadn't the slightest idea what he would do to the rest of her body.
She had closed her eyes- big mistake. He quickly took advantage of the opportunity to inflict even more pain and cleanly sliced off her eyelids, just lightly enough so as not to damage her eyes. And she begged. "Please what?" Niccolo mocked, "Stop? Already? You asked for my worst- this isn't even close. Yet." Then he searched inside her mind again, entered her subconscious, and ensured that every time she fell asleep, she would relive this pain in her dreams. The nightmares would last for years at least unless someone corrected them quickly.
Zafira cried out feeling her eyelids cut. Figuring this was as close as she could get she tried to ignore the pain. But it wouldn't help.
"Then do it I dare you you must be bluffing." She laughed trying to hide the fear. Badly though. She was scared to death.
He laughed at her feigned bravery, and shrugged. "If you want worse, I'll give it to you," He promised, then knelt down beside her. He drew some water from the air to clean his knife and then dried it off- simultaneously superheating it- with fire. Soon he had cut a deep, perfect line down her stomach, as if he was preparing her for an autopsey.
Niccolo was slower now, more careful- he was getting into the tricky part. He peeled her skin back bit by bit, sealing her veins closed as he went so she wouldn't bleed to death, and eventually reached her internal organs. He then proceeded to spend about two hours re-arranging them impossibly, knowing it would take weeks even for Nye to heal her properly.
Her eyes widened in shock as he cut and she screamed when he cut her open. Sometime during the process she lost consciousness screaming how she wanted to murder Niccolo. And also for Javier. She only hoped Javier would come home soon. To save her.
Zafria was unconscious by the time he sealed her skin back together again. Tearing her apart hadn't been quite as fun once she stopped screaming, but she was bound to go under at some point. And to think she had actually expressed a desire to kill him... As if she could. This whole affair just proved how powerless she was compared to him.
Better finish up soon, he scolded himself, or you won't have time to destroy the next city before tomorrow morning. He unfroze Zafria's fingers, knowing they were already completely
frostbitten. For a normal person, they would have to be amputated for sure- for a mage? Depends on how long it takes someone to find her.
Niccolo suddenly vanished, satisfied with the amount of damage he had caused, but still decided to keep an eye on the place- he knew Kerias was married, and couldn't wait to see how Javier Fyreheart would react when he came home.
Aretha's Note: Chapter title is a reference to the Avengers movie (anybody get it?). The quote goes like this: "You think you know pain? He will make you long for something sweet as pain." Kinda fits.