|Reaver's Rear Passage|
|Series||A Twist in the Road: The Black City by Jewelist|
|Previous||Sacrifice to the Shadow Court|
|Next||A Recollection of Memories|
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5. Reaver's Rear PassageEdit
"Phoebe!" I hollered, and prying the woman's hands off me, I put her on the side, and dropped to my knees next to Phoebe. I could hear her shallow breaths, and then she went limp. Falling over onto her side, her crow hair streaked across her face, I pushed a few strands back. Her familiar, oval face. There was no change, and she looked perfectly normal. "Phoebe?" I asked quietly, and I put my hand in front of her mouth. Soft, cool air hit my skin, and relief flooded me. "Oh thank you... Thank you.." I whispered thanks to no one in particular, and then, shakily, I lifted my friend into my arms, and stood.
The young girl that had clung to me was standing, her tears drying on her face. Her eyes, a sable-emerald green, were no longer glassy, and she was fiddling with mid-back length, chestnut hair. "Are you alright, miss?"
"My name is Elizabeth," She said quietly. "And yes. I will be fine." She tightened the apron around her thin waist. And though thin, she wasn't petite. "Is she alright?" Elizabeth gestured to the limp pile in my arms that was sleeping, and I wanted to say she would be okay. I prayed she would be.
"I don't know." I blurted. Elizabeth nodded, and I asked, "Do you need an escort anywhere?" She seemed like she would fend on her own alright, at least, until she hit the marsh again. Then she would be in danger. Plus, I didn't want to confront Reaver just yet. Beneath my fear for Phoebe, there was boiling rage at him setting me up for something such as this. It was Reaver, though. It was only to be expected. "I can accompany you."
"It would be appreciated," She answered. "If you would see me to Bloodstone, as long as it isn't too far out of your way."
"That is actually where we are going, ourselves." We. Ourselves. Those words sounded so good to say aloud. I would say the same about Marten and myself, but knowing they have two different meanings now, I felt good. "Where are you going?"
"My uncle's," She said quietly. I had known Phoebe a short time, but I had grown used to her mild quiet. This Elizabeth girl was almost her opposite. I peered down at Phoebe's face, half of it hidden against my chest, and I almost winced. She had done nothing to me. And I rejected her because she tried to tell me the truth. 'What kind of person am I?' I asked myself, and hoped I could find the answer some day.
"We should get moving, then. It takes Hollow Men a while to move if there's nothing around. And the sooner we are gone, the less they will notice us." I had no problems keeping Phoebe up. She wasn't heavy, even without my strength. Elizabeth tagged along after me, and I followed Marten, who was trotting ahead a few yards.
We emerged into the rotten air of Wraithmarsh, and Marten began to lead us down a path. Almost the entire way to Bloodstone, I looked at Phoebe. She didn't stir, no sign of waking up. I chewed my lip in worry.
"Is she your sister?" Elizabeth asked, as we were going down the hill that led to the waterfront. I shook my head. "Oh, I'm sorry. Wife?" I could have laughed.
"Heavens no. She's a friend, nothing more." I said firmly, and when Elizabeth nodded slightly, I changed the topic, "Where is your uncle's house?"
"Uh, that way. I'll go from here. It was nice meeting you, and thanks for saving me." She smiled in what looked like a flirtatious manner, and then ambled off. And once she was out of sight, I headed to Reaver's place. As I rounded the corner to enter his yard, Phoebe coughed. I quickly laid her down on the cool ground, and her eyes flickered open.
"Are you okay?" I asked immediately, kneeling beside her. She reached a hand up, and punched me in the stomach. Feeling foolish, I realized I had worried about her so much that I hadn't given a thought that she might still be mad at me. "Okay, I deserved that..." I doubled over as she sat up. "Are you okay, though, really?"
"I'm fine. Being stripped of your immortality isn't what I call pleasant, though." I wasn't sure whether or not she was aware that I was staring. 'Being stripped of your immortality?' Finally, she met my eyes. "I'm sorry. I'll explain later." Something in her voice reassured me that I would get answers sooner or later, so I didn't press any further. I watched Phoebe as she stood up, joints popping. "How did I get here, anyways?" She asked, looking around.
"I carried you," It was the truth. She stared for a minute, then her eyes fell to the ground. "Well, I guess this is it. I have to go tell Reaver the task has been done." I turned, ready to walk away, when she stopped me. Her hand had a hold of my wrist. "Yes?"
"I'm coming with you, you know." She took a few steps to walk beside me, releasing her grip. I didn't say anything, but instead, nodded. We strode up the steps and in through the front door once again. Once through the front room, and into the second, we found him.
"Well hello yet again," Reaver greeted us with his fake cordiality. "And looking as youthful and spirited as ever! Aren't you a tricky one. Good for you.”
"Perhaps you would like to stick to our deal, Reaver. The task you asked has been completed, and now you are going to help us." I was about to say something else, but there was a loud explosion. A man appeared above.
"Reaver! There has been an attack on the city! Lucien's men are everywhere!"
"Oh, dear." Reaver gestured for us to follow, and he crossed over to a book case. Phoebe and I exchanged glances. The next we looked over, the case was moved and revealed a secret passage. "Follow me, kiddies. We haven't much time to waste." Phoebe and I weren't far behind. Within minutes we were in a damp set of tunnels with old book cases everywhere and miscellaneous junk. Reaver was walking ahead, smugly talking about something.
We hung back, even as Marten scurried ahead. Our footsteps fell in unison as we followed. "Are you still angry with me?" I asked quietly. Phoebe shook her head.
"I wasn't angry in the first place. I was hurt. The first friend I make here, I lose. It seemed so typical of my luck. My rotten, rotten luck. I had even trusted you enough to tell you who I was. Well sort of... And, not was, am." I didn't know how to apologize or respond. "It's rare that I truly get angry." Phoebe said softly. "And I am sorry if I acted rude."
"You're apologizing, to me?" I looked at her as if she were crazy. "I am the one that-"
"Are you two even listening to me?" Reaver was turned, facing us. "No matter." He began walking again. We kept up, this time.
"What was that?" Phoebe asked, just after we heard the echo of an explosion, and felt the vibration of the ground.
"I believe we are about to be ambushed." I said, and drew my sword. Reaver did the same with his pistol, Phoebe with her daggers. Just as she had done that, we entered a more open tunnel, and Lucien's men poured down on us. We fended them off, making good progress with three fighters. "Let's move on, before they run up this way." All three of us sprinted through the next tunnels, coming to another open-like area, this one with two bridges and several tunnel mouths. "Brace yourselves!" Our second round of Spire Guards, and we were still making good progress.
"Sparrow, behind you-" I whirled around to see Phoebe throw herself into a flip and kick the Spire Guard across the ground. It took a lot of effort not to stare at her. "I'll explain later, promise." She grinned sheepishly, then went back to fighting. Before I slammed my sword into another Guard, I mentally asked myself just how many times I was going to hear that.
"That's the last of them!" Reaver said smugly as he shot the last bulky figure. "Onward, kiddies." Reaver jogged off, and we were left with nothing else to do but follow him once again. I gave Phoebe a questioning look when I seen her dark glower.
"If he calls me a kid one more time, I'll make him permanently the size of one." I had to think about it, but after a moment, when I got the pun, I grinned broadly at her.