Lizabeth trailed behind, feeling strangely lost in the dark.
Klaus had spoken the truth--one she didn't like to be reminded of. She knew nothing of her birth, and the only one who did was the man she was spiritually bound to. The man who had left her and the other walking dead one day without a promise of return.
It had been a hundred years ago that the system she lived under had been set up. According to her master, it was part of the grand design and whether or not anyone agreed, it would be fulfilled.
He had decreed that the City should be separate from the Underground, and that his followers should wait in the Underground for him to return. Those who followed him covertly in the City were killed and brought underground to live together in a sleepless death, frozen in time until he returned. Before he had abandoned them all together, he left a machine he considered quite intelligent. It was a coal-burning power generator, but instead of coal, it burned bodies.
Her master had given control of the machine to the City. Eventually this led to the Undergrounders becoming either killed on sight or the mutated City dwellers to be murdered in their homes and passed off as Undergrounders. This was the reason Jack had fled into the sewers.
Lizabeth's mission--a self-appointed task--was to destroy this machine that her master had so carefully put together and try to stop the division he had caused.
She had almost forgotten what life was life when he had been here. That reality was slipping away with the years that had gone by. The murders she'd committed, the pain she'd caused, all these things had been locked away in her mind as she had begun to live a less dangerous life. She was not really looking forward to her master's return. The revelation rather shocked her.
"How did he know I would come?" she asked Klaus' shadowed back. "If he knew, why did he not stop me?"
"There are many reasons," came the answer. "Perhaps your master was waiting for a good reason to kill you."
"Hah!" Lizabeth laughed, her voice bouncing off the walls. "I'm already dead. If he killed me, I'd be..."
Her thoughts trailed to Jack.
"You're already alone."
They rounded a bend and hit a wooden door.
Klaus removed an iron key from a pocket in his suit and slid it into the large keyhole below an ornate handle. The door swung open, releasing a smell of must and bone.
"Or perhaps," Klaus said, turning to her, "he was waiting for a good moment to catch you off guard."
"I have no interest in seeing him again," Lizabeth said. "Haven't you forgotten what it was like living under a tyrannical reign?"
"You've grown comfortable in your life. Comfortable with those outcasts living in the dark. Comfortable with your boy Jack. When he comes back, will you still declare your loyalty? Or will you run and hide?"
Lizabeth's skin prickled. She hadn't thought about this subject in fifty years--she hadn't had to. And she hadn't wanted to.
"My loyalties remain the same," she said briefly.
Klaus laughed, his white teeth flashing in the light of the glowing candle.
"What if your master never left?"
"He has. This is a pointless discussion."
"What if he was standing in front of you at this very moment?"
Lizabeth froze. Her body seized up and she couldn't remember how to move. After a few seconds that had the span of the hundred years she'd been free, she fell to her knees and touched her forehead to her master's feet.
When she looked up, the ugly man who'd led her to the tombs was gone.
The man that remained was the essence of temptation. The crevasses in the soft skin covering his shoulders held coffee-colored shadows that flickered as the candle flame moved. His eyes, which were a deep black, were set into a gentle face, with soft lips and a delicate, yet strong, nose. He had long eyelashes, like a girl, yet had the hardness of man.Naked from the waist down, he held a sensual power over the room.
But mostly what she saw was his black wings, which pulsed gently as he watched her. A feather trundled slowly towards the ground, ghosting across the stone floor and stopping next to Lizabeth's left knee.
He was angelic.
"Master," she said. It was a simple declaration of surrender.
"I've missed you," he said, slipping his hand into hers. "More than words can say.
I had a new cause. A new mission for you."
She didn't answer. Her palms were sweaty and her mind drifted away.
"You're mine," he told her. "You always will be. I never left, Lizabeth. I stayed to see what would happen in my absence. And you...well. You were not the only traitor."
She knew, then, that this was the end. Her life was in this man's hands. This man who killed for pleasure and hoarded wealth.
This man who had been, at one time, her lover.
This man, who called himself Lucifer.
"I wanted you to kill the mutated Undergrounders. They were not..." he paused, wrinkling his perfect nose, "...foreseen."
Her mind jumped. Jack. Jack. No.
"My love." He breathed into her face, and the heat smelled of chocolates. "I could kill you with a snap of my fingers."
She closed her eyes. It was submission to death.
"Don't you lay a hand on her!"
Lizabeth jerked around.
Jack stood, panting, in the dark, his hand clutching a pistol, which was aimed at Lucifer.