....The only escape....

            "Milady!!" The door to Lady Zoya's chambers were ripped open several of her ladies-in-waiting rushed in screaming and crying. Lady Zoya stood at the balustrade staring in transfixed horror at the scene of blood and chaos below.  

            "Milady!" One of her ladies-in-waiting clutched at her arm desperately. "Please  milady we must flee!" As the women spoke a nerve shattering roar ripped down the corridor followed by the sound of several pounding feet rushing to meet it.

            "He's here." Lady Zoya said her voice soft, defeated. The ladies around her began to weep, however there was one with the presence of mind to rush back and closed the door. She slammed it shut and locked it tight. She beckoned for the others to join her as she struggled to pull furniture in front of the door.

Lady Zoya fell heavily into her chair at her dressing table. She pulled the vile with the sorceress' pill from her jewelry box. She pulled out the thin cork. The pill slipped into her hand easily. Tears filled her eyes. Was this really her only escape? She shuddered as there came a strong assault against the door. The ladies whimpered but kept their positions, their delicate bodies quivering from the effort.

            "Withdraw." Lady Zoya commanded, standing to her unsteady legs. Her ladies looked at her confused. "Withdraw." She repeated. The young ladies obeyed.

            "Crawl under the bed and don't make a sound." She commanded of her ladies. Her fingers gripped tightly around the pill. The ladies looked at her horrified. The door shook and buckled in from the assault. The beast outside the door began tearing at the furniture violently.

            "Now! Before he sees you!" She screamed at them for resisting her orders.

The ladies scurried under the bed quickly. The furniture was pushed from the door as easily as curtain.  Lady Zoya closed her eyes tightly. She raised the pill to her lips. Her lips parted gently allowing the pill to enter but she held it tightly clenched between her teeth.

Lady Zoya opened her eyes slowly. Standing in the doorway framed by the wreckage, was Saber. He was a man once more. His ripped clothes were caked to him with blood. Every inch of his person was covered in it. He wore a self satisfied smile as she strode into her chambers.

"Do you have the answer to my riddle?" He demanded coarsely, stopping so close to her she could smell the fresh blood on him. The smell of death filled her nose and engulfed her in a deeper wave of fear. She nodded slowly.

Saber gave a wicked smile.

            "Pray, tell what it is?" He asked grabbing her roughly by the waist and lifting her off her feet. Lady Zoya clutched his biceps for support. He lifted her till her head was even with his. He stared into her eyes with cruel disdain, reeling internally with the knowledge that he’d won.

All she had to do now was sallow. She could escape it. She released the pill onto her tongue. It was cold.  It rested there but she could not make herself swallow it. Fresh tears rolled down her checks.

            "Well." Saber prompted his hands pressing hard against her hips.

            Lady Zoya, slid her hands up onto his shoulders, she brought her head closer to his, their foreheads touched.

            "It is you...my king." She whispered softly, shutting her eyes as her lips traced down the edge of his nose. Her lips met his. She had to do this. It was the only way.  She would snatch his victory right from his hands.

The pill rolled back on her tongue and then it was gone. She spit it into his mouth as he opened it for a greedy kiss. She disguised her actions with subtle coaxing gestures, lulling Saber into a false sense of seduction. He was fooled at first. Then suddenly he threw her from him with the most hateful and betrayed expression on his suddenly aware face. She crashed to the floor with a yelp.

Saber gasped. He clutched at his throat but no breath entered his lungs. He fixed her with a venomous stare. He swung at her, crying "You've poisoned me you horrible--" The rest of insult never left his lips, his blow never came.

The villain of all of Siberia, the terror of Russia stood before Lady Zoya forever enshrined in his own encrusted body…a stone statue. His face frozen in a vicious snarl; his arm poised high above his head, forever ready but nevermore to strike.

She collapsed in relief on the floor. The sorceress had been right; that pill had been her only escape from both Saber and death. 

Lady Zoya was finally free.

The End

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