Conner stopped where he was walking, his heart ripping in two. Alina was standing, relaxing in the villain's arms.
I will not let her get hurt.
"So I see you've fully entrusted your heart to this murderer," said Conner, breaking the silence that had been existing between Alina and the wretch. "You know, if I didn't think the two of you were in love." His voice was sardonic.
Alina jerked from the villain's arms. "Conner. Please. Listen to me. This isn't what it seems! I'm not - that is to say, this isn't - oh, Conner, you must understand me!"
Conner wasn't in the mood for understanding.
"I see you've ensnared Alina," Conner said, facing the villain. "What's your name, anyways, you worthless son of a - "
"Stop!" Alina cried. "Don't talk to him like that!"
Hands clenched into fists, Conner turned to Alina. "Why not? What is he to you? A lover?"
Alina closed her eyes tightly. "Stop, Conner. You don't understand what's going on!"
"You love this dog?"
Eyes opening, Alina took a deep breath. "Conner..."
"Say yes or no. Do you love him? You do, don't you?"
The villain was trembling. "Stop, Alina. Don't say anything. Don't say you love me. I should've known better." There were tears in his tone. Addressing Conner, he said slowly, "You called me a murderer. I want you to know that never in my life have I ever - "
"Yes, you have. You killed Molly's brother. You know Molly - your first victim of confession?"
The criminal's face was pure white. "You lie!"
"No, I don't! Don't you remember that group of men you used to associate with? You stopped in Summeridge for a couple nights once. It was then that you, being the worthless fool you are, killed Molly's brother in a tavern brawl. You were spirited away by those who were with you. Don't you remember any of this? No, of course you don't. You were drunk. You were every bit as much of an idiot as you are now."
The criminal turned to Alina. "Tell me he's wrong!"
Alina fell to the ground, shaking with tears. She couldn't speak.
"God, tell me he's wrong!" the villain screamed out into the air. "You're lying!"
"No. You're a murderer, and you must be punished accordingly." Conner's tone dropped. "Let me rephrase that: you will be punished accordingly."