They watched in horror as Maya’s entire body went into spasms, shaking the bed and rattling the frame.
“Shouldn’t we hold her?” Gabriel cried, starting forward.
“Don’t touch her,” Ambrose barked at him.
The spasms lasted for several minutes. They grew worse before they stopped, until Maya’s small body was contorting into impossible positions, her back arched and her limbs flailing. Sweat was breaking on her brow, and the sounds that came from her throat were horrific.
“Are you sure this is a good thing?” Alice put her hands over her ears, struggling to hold back tears, horrified, but unable to look away.
“Her body is purging itself of death. It’s a violent thing, being reborn.” Ambrose was actually grinning, and Alice felt like punching him.
At last Maya lay still, and this time her eye-lids fluttered open and stayed open, her brown eyes searching the room. For a second Ambrose lingered. He stroked Maya’s face as tenderly as a lover. He was in another time.
Maya spoke, and her voice was small and quavering. “What happened?” And Ambrose jerked away suddenly, as if coming to.
Gabriel ran to her, seizing her in a hug. “You’re okay! You’re alive.”
“I saw….things,” Maya whispered, her eyes wide and frightened.
“And you’ll most likely continue to see things…Maya.” Ambrose said her name like an anchor, convincing himself he was in the present. “You’ve been resurrected. It’s not easy to live with at first.” He glanced at Alice. “But that’s hardly my concern. Our bargain?”
Alice stared at Maya, telling herself it was worth it even as her stomach lurched in dread.
“Yes,” she whispered. “I promised.”
“And in doing so you bound yourself to me,” Ambrose hissed triumphantly, seizing her chin, forcing her to look at him. “You are mine, and with you comes unlimited power.”
She flinched as he seized her arm. “Come, little apprentice. Let’s go home.”
Alice dug her heels into the carpet, resisting him. “What? You said I could stay here! You said my life wouldn’t change!”
He grinned slyly. “I never promised that. You’re the only one who specifically made any promises. I saved the girl, didn’t I? My side of the bargain is done.”
Alice shrieked in outrage, struggling as he pulled her towards the door. Azura was suddenly there, blocking the doorway. “Sir, I really must protest…”
Ambrose merely flicked his hand at her, a little of the silver glow left his skin and Azura was pushed violently aside, striking the wall she crumpled to the ground.
Alice shrieked, “Azura!”
Ambrose chuckled. “Ah, it feels so good to have magic again!” She screamed and clawed at him, but he simply pulled her firmly against him with one arm, trapping her arms at her sides. He started for the door again, and he gave a frustrated sigh as Gabriel jumped in front of him. The Elf was backed by a shaky looking Maya
“I won’t let you take her,” Maya said. “There is no way I’m letting her bargain her life for mine.”
Ambrose looked astonished and confused. “How dare you challenge me! You have caused me nothing but strife.” He stopped, struggling to say something. He was clearly bewildered, lost as to what day and age this was.
“Get back, Maya. Pando…no,” He shook his head, his eyes unfocused. “Maya... Step back. You are nothing to me. I have what I want.” He gripped Alice’s arms tightly. In spite of her panic Alice noticed Altair yank the door of the cabinet open and pull his bag out. He pulled something out and shoved it at Maya.