Her footsteps hammered through the side streets as she navigated by the little knowledge of the dingier districts of D9 that Professor Oakstaff had taught her. Only once or twice did Elenia’s breath catch, but adrenalin pumped her arms and legs.
She guessed she’d been the only one to see Dagger get up and sprint away because she’d not wanted to hear a single word about Lorden’s mother. In truth, jealousy had stabbed her the moment Dagger had mentioned that word. Mother. Like it was poison. Indeed, Queen Ophelia acted as if she were poison sometimes, though that didn’t stop Elenia loving her.
Nor did it halt her curiosity.
But right now, Dagger was the more pressing matter, and she pushed her calves to continue pounding along the road-side. Every now and then, she caught a glimpse of Grimwald’s CTO uniform, familiar and blazen blue, amongst the steel grey of the apartment blocks and plasma globes. He swerved this way and that, in and out of the alleyways, and always away from the main lev-ways.
Yet, he never wavered from heading towards what she knew was his true destination:
The castle. After all, CTO or maggot, Dagger’s objective had been to see the King on his knees this entire time. And who knew what D9 would become if Dagger had rule of it. A dystopia. A disaster zone. It made the hairs stand up on Elenia’s arms.
Or maybe that was her tracking skills. Those without so much of the skill as Lorden. She frowned, squinted around the alleyway, but Grimwald-Dagger had disappeared. He hadn’t darted past her – of that she was sure – and he hadn’t swerved out of the pattern he’d been speeding towards the castle. He’d simply…disappeared.
So, where had he dodged? Not hide nor hair here showed of Dagger in this street. Elenia swallowed. The air cluttered, as if something was…off.
Although to some degree it pained him, Devil burst through the tarmac, his wings unfurling like a blaze of glory. He, in his true dragon form, was finally free from the underground to ravage those of this overground whom his rightful master demanded—
Devil shook his head, trying to dislodge the thoughts. This was not him. These were thoughts Dagger was putting into his head, slices of treachery and dependence. And had it not been eons – even when Adrian and Hetta Damroc had lived – since he’d been tricked into servitude to Dagger? How had he not found a way out by now?
He’d known it would come to bite him in the ass.
Yet, he’d rather enjoyed having Dagger on a leash, too.
But that had been on the condition of Dagger being in his own body. He’d never written his part of the ‘agreement’ to refer to a Dagger consciousness in another human body.
Now, Devil landed between the Hearst building, a minor factory of autobots, and what counted for a gallery in this day and age, where his body almost spanned the entire lev-way. His stretched his wings, leathery panels they were, until they tickled against the outer structures of both buildings. He felt one of the windows give; with a flick, the glass bent completely and shattered down onto the side-street below.
Then the scream. Ah, yes, his prey. She had fallen right into his trap. If one could even call such a mediocre human manoeuver a dragon trap.
He’d opted to catch Elenia on her own. The one who left the group…too easy. A smile crossed Devil’s dragon lips. He almost laughed. Instead, he rounded the corner until he saw her tawny head, waiting like every human prey did when they knew their time was up.
He licked his lips, almost automatically. Princesses. Were they not the best meat?