Chapter 9 Part 1

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We hurtled down the corridors, Frank taking the lead while Lucas lagged slightly behind. I almost hated to admit it, but I felt a little nervous depending on him to have our backs. There was still a part of me remembering how easily he had sided with Malick before. As long as we continued to be the better option, the winning side, he would do any thing he could to help us out, but what if the odds turned against us again? How long might it be before he decided to stab us in the back?

Although admittedly, my biggest fear in that moment was Berserkers. The demonic guards could well be lurking around any corner ready to squash us into a pulp before either handing us over to Malick, or to Lucifer depending on who had paid for their loyalty. Even together, as powerful as we were now, I feared the thought of facing one of those monsters, particularly while we were still missing a link. And if worse came to the worst, a Berserker body would be hell to try and hide.

Frank led us well though, I should have known that he would. Hadn't he spent almost every night since I'd been gone wandering the corridors of Hell, doing goodness knows what, but at least it had not been time wasted. He knew just the route to take, where we could walk freely down deserted hallways, meeting no one to hinder our progress along the way. It almost felt too easy.

"What if he's not there?" Lucas asked, all of a sudden voicing a fear I hadn't even considered possible.

"He'll be there," Frank replied, dismissive and confident, not even going to the trouble of turning to look at either of us.

"But how can you be so sure, what if he's going with Malick?"

"Malick wouldn't have taken him, not on a job for Lucifer."

"Why not?" I asked, genuinely curious. Surely he knew we'd be looking to get Jesse back with us, so why not keep him a constant figure by his side.

"As far as I can tell, Malick is keen to keep his control of the meatbag a secret, at least for now. Lucifer doesn't know about Malick's new pet yet, and I'm sure he'd have a few choice things to say about it if he did. No, for now Malick won't bring him anywhere near to Lucifer's attention. He'll be there."

The guarantee that this wouldn't be a wasted trip was nice, but it also hung a dark cloud over the horizon. If Malick was so keen to keep Jesse under his thumb, but couldn't take him along, then where exactly was he keeping him? And, perhaps more pressing, what was protecting him?

I stopped suddenly, and stumbled slightly as Lucas bumped into the back of me. "What exactly are we walking into?"

"Nothing we can't deal with." Frank shrugged his wide, sloping shoulders in a dismissive manner and kept his steps quick and constant so that I had no choice but to keep moving with him if I wanted to continue to be heard. There was no way I was accepting that as an answer.

"Yeah, well I might believe that if I knew exactly what the what was!"

"Did that make sense to anyone but yourself, love?" Frank finally stopped and turned around. It seemed that mocking me was the only thing worth pausing in his stride for.

I scowled at him. Yes I was babbling gibberish a lot more than I was making sense, but he knew exactly what I was asking.

"All I mean is that I'm sure we'd all feel more confident about this if you cared to share what you so obviously know. What will we face in there? What does he have protecting Jesse?"

I can't even begin to explain where my mind was wandering. Berserkers of course seemed the obvious choice, most of them were already in Malick's employ. However, they were simple minded creatures, not capable of following particularly complicated instructions, and I had a feeling that Malick hadn't just locked Jesse up in a cell somewhere with Berserker guards on the door. For one Jesse would not have taken it well, especially given how long he'd spent in the Shadow Cell's, and it was clear Malick was relying on keeping him sweet, retaining his loyalties. No he'd put something else in place to keep eyes on Jesse, I just knew it, and somehow I knew it couldn't be good even despite Frank's confidence.

He thought about it. I could see in his facial expression some internal battle, warring over whether to tell us the truth or continue to keep Lucas and I in the dark. In the end truth won out, I think he realised I wasn't willing to take a step further until he cracked.

"Furies." That was it, one word was all we got, but it certainly explained enough for the two of us to understand.

"Furies? Are you serious?" Lucas burst out.

"And you didn't think it might be a good idea to tell us this," I added, dismayed by his audacity.

"Well, I believe love, that I just did tell you."

"But you weren't going to. You'd have been quite happy to let us just wander in there, oblivious to what was waiting. You know what the Furies can do."

"It could be a whole lot worse, love, that's why we take this opportunity now whilst it's still there. Next time he might leave something with more bite behind. Furies we can handle, just keep your heads."

"Yeah, yeah, keep our heads, what about you? They get to you and we're all toast," I ranted, mostly to myself as Frank turned and we started to make our, rather less enthusiastic way down the tunnels.

I could just picture it, Frank infected with fury and wreaking havoc through the halls of Hell. While he was right, the Furies weren't the most formidable of foes, but they were crafty, elusive and second best at concealing their presence, falling behind the Whisperer's by a hair at the most. In that respect I supposed we were lucky we had Frank along for the ride. The trouble was any coming confrontation with Jesse would leave us all more open and susceptible to the Furies power. We would have to keep our heads and play it cool or this could go very badly.

Very badly indeed.


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