Stratagus twisted the blade in Adrian's flesh. Adrian cried out once more as blood gushed down his leg and stained the blade. Stratagus drew the blade. His eyes traced the flow of the blood rolling down the edge of the blade, he looked over to Adrian’s good leg, contemplating.
“Too easy.” He muttered to himself. He nodded and they released Adrian. Adrian fell limply to the ground his hands clutching his wound as blood spilled out between his fingers.
“I don’t think you’ll be running anywhere now will you?” Stratagus demanded a self-satisfied smile on his face. He glanced up at Toby, who tried very hard to hid his disgust but he couldn’t hide his worry.
“It’s not that I don’t trust you.” Stratagus assured him softly. “I just don’t trust anyone.” Stratagus’ whipped the blade off on his robes and wore it like a gold metal as he strode back towards his throne. Toby bent to pull Adrian to his feet, the guards helped him.
“Oh what a glorious day Roshell, what a glorious day.” Stratagus gave a sigh of pleasure as he lowered himself back down into his throne.
“Do you love me?” Roshell asked, her hand climbing up Stratagus’ arm.
“Sister, don’t do this now.” Stratagus said, his tone quickly turning cold.
“It’s just a question.” Roshell whispered, already knowing the answer as her hand slipped back down her arm.
“Which do you want the truth or another lie?” Stratagus asked without looking at her.
“I guess that’s my answer.” She said, hurt in her quivering voice as she removed her hand from his arm
“Enjoy the lie.” Stratagus offered indifferently.
“Enjoy your show.” Roshell said stiffly, looking straight ahead of her. "I hope it's everything you ever desired...and more."
Toby bent to help Adrian to his feet. His arm braced across Adrian's back as the his other hand pulled Adrian's arm over shoulder.
“Can you walk?” Toby, hissed in Adrian’s ear as they struggled to stand. Adrian labored to pull his injured leg under him, his breathing strained. He tried to put weight on his injured leg, it buckled under him, a new onslaught of blood gushed out. He winced in pain leaning heavily on Toby.
Toby cursed under his breath.
“Help me.” He hissed at the guards that stood and watched the struggle. The guards roughly grabbed hold off Adrian and half dragged, half carried him inside of the cage. Toby instructed the guards where to place Adrian. His mind was racing. He could almost hear Kat’s distress as if she were standing right next to him. He was reminded painfully of his promise to her and finality hit with the vast impossibility of the that promise. They had done all they could, their plan was perfect. But it had all hinged on Adrian running, his ability, to run.
Toby sighed, his mind sluggish unable to find a solution, all his thoughts looping back around to the one daunting notion that, they had failed. This man would die. Toby was barely aware that he and the guards had left the cage. He stood outside the cage, his breathing shallow, his hand calmly holding onto the door of the cage. His eyes fixed on the slumped figure of Adrian, huddled in a corner of the cage. He already looked dead. Toby’s eyes scanned the crowd until they met with Evelyn's. Her face frozen in disbelief, her mouth hung open in shock. He could see her heart breaking in her eyes as she watched her husband unmoving. He'd never thought she could look so vulnerable.
A hideous buzzing ripped through the tense silence. Everyone’s eyes darted to the sky. Toby kept his eyes fixed on Evelyn. He already knew what the sound meant. The Cursed Firefly was here. As Evelyn caught sight of the bug her face melted into an expression of fear and disgust before, slowly solidifying into determined expression. In that moment Toby, knew she would never give up on her husband until she was dead, and facing off against the firefly certainly meant she would die. But Toby had promise Kat neither of her parents would die. And he would never give up on that promise until he was dead. His grip tightened around the door of the cage. He removed the top hat from his head and discarded it on the floor.