Revenge P.1 | iv

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It did not take long for Nerina to find Eve. She had left a not so subtle message—a challenge—written in sprawling words where she would be. It was a bold-faced move. Nerina knew the other woman still doubted her. Doubted that she was strong enough. Eve always thought herself invincible. Nerina had her own doubts but she blocked them from her mind. She had killed Eve once; it was not going to be easy the second time but she was going to get it done.

Strung up in the dungeon were two men—release valves for Eve's more than precarious anger. She had fed on and tortured them. Both had been in bad shape by the time Nerina had gotten to them. She chose to pursue Eve rather than to try to help them. Later she would feel some prick of remorse for that but not enough to bring much guilt.

Emotions that had once crippled her were now feeding her. Her anger at Fionn's deception. Her anger towards Eve and everything she had taken from her. Her own anger with herself for not having been strong enough all these years. Hate for everything she was and could not be. Twisted inside out the only thing anchoring her to sanity was her bloodthirsty need for revenge. A slow revenge. She had set Eve on fire once and it had not worked. This time around, she would be using some of Eve's own toys. Nerina's thoughts were dark. She could feel herself slipping into the darkness and slid in with open arms.

Still Nerina was curious when they met face to face.

"How did you do it?"

Eve was sitting on the ground her leg at an odd angle. Eyes on Nerina she snapped and set it. Her little toy was becoming a bother. "Do what little mouse?" Eve knew she was in a vulnerable position sitting. Nerina had only scratches that had already healed.

"I killed you."

"Did you really?" Eve wanted to know how she had escaped. It was better to play the game if you knew whom you were playing with. She had left Nerina in a state. A taste of her blood should not have given her the energy to do what she did. What was stranger still is the fact that the shackles showed no damage. They were opened, not ripped from the walls. "Well, I would wager we have similar taste in friends."

"You wager wrong."

"Is it so hard to believe we could have something in common?" Eve blurred to her feet. Shaky, but steady enough.

"We don't." It was hard to believe and distasteful.

"If you think so, little mouse." Eve went on. Talking would give her leg more time to better heal. "I was dead but I had unfinished business."

Nerina eyed her suspiciously. "The wooden box."

"The chest," Eve corrected. "That you," she said pointing to Nerina, "stole from me." She pointed back to herself. "I want it back."

"Why?"

"That is hardly any of your concern."

"It's a stupid little wooden box."

"Stupid?" Eve laughed. "You have no grasp of the power that is in that box. It. Is. mine. Give it back." Eve took a step towards Nerina. She had lost enough time and now she may have lost even more. She refused to believe all hope was lost at this point. One way or another she was going to get all she wanted. All she deserved. It was her blood right.

"I don't know where it is."

Eve's brow knitted as she looked at Nerina. The words took some time to register. "What?"

"Like I said I thought it was some worthless wooden box so I sold it."

"So—" Eve almost choked over the rest of the word. Her chest tightened to the point where she could scarcely breathe. She crushed the front of her shirt in her fist feeling as if the walls were closing in. Too fast. No air. Can't breathe. "No." Eve shook her head pointing her finger towards Nerina. "No. No. You have it. Give it back."

"I don't have it."

Nerina stood watching Eve as she paced holding her chest. Bending over at one point with hands on her knees. The other woman looked like she was hyperventilating. Like she was having a panic attack. The box meant something to Eve. Something more than Nerina had ever realized or thought it could. When Eve started to scream kicking at the dirt and pulling at her own hair scratching at her own skin Nerina took a step back.

A twig broke under her foot and Eve went motionless. Everything stopped; the silence falling like the blade of a guillotine. Eve straightened adjusting her clothes, her back towards Nerina. She brushed at her red mass of hair. A simple vanity of hers.

"Three days." Eve kept her back to Nerina as she spoke. "That is how long you have to find my chest and bring it back to me. After those three days, I will massacre every village, every single town from here to Venice, one every night. I will gut the men. Slit the women down the middle. The tiny corpses of the children will line the streets on spikes. Every animal. Everything that breathes—will die. I will not stop until I get what is mine. I live tonight and you will only have three days," Eve's voice was even, unhurried as she spoke.

Nerina knew that what she had said was no idle jest. The fight was vicious but in the end, her sire did manage to escape. Now she had three days.

Three days. Then the world will run red.

***

"I brought you back to kill her."

"She has something of mine and I intend to have it back before she dies."

"That was not the agreement vampire."

"Surprise, surprise," Eve said. "A vampire going back on her word." Eve stood looking up at the moon standing guard in the night sky. Half of it remained hidden in the clouds. Stars winked here and there, an owl hooting in a distance. For a mate? For the sake of making noise? Eve hated it. There was nothing she really liked except power and she worried she may have lost her chance at the ultimate. The mother of all that would make her queen. It was a hard pill to swallow and she did not intend to swallow it willingly.

"Why do you want her dead so badly? She is of no threat to you."

"It is not your place to question me."

"And it is not your place to give me orders." Eve turned to face the woman behind her. At least, she thought it was a woman based on her voice. An insubstantial mass of mist and light there were no real features.

"How soon you forget."

"Forget what?"

Eve looked down at her hands as her skin began to prickle. Ash gray veins like spider webs spread out from her fingertips. As they extended up her arm, her skin became ash. Right before her eyes Eve was turning into ashes, bit by bit. Flake by flake her skin now clumps of ashes fell to the ground. With her hands held out in front of her, all she could do was stare at the transformation in complete and utter shock. Fear gripped her mind overriding every other emotion turning her to stone.

"I gave you life," Latvia reminded her. "Without it your quest for this chest," she flicked it off like a simple annoyance, "is moot. You will do as I say when I say it."

Immobilized Eve just stood there crumbling into a pile of ashes her mouth opened in shock. She could feel the death spreading through her body. Where her arms were supposed to be there was nothing there now. She could feel her insides turning into ash even as her legs felt frail beneath her. No sound could leave her lips.

"You gave Nerina three days and I shall give you the same. Fail me and well, she will kill you or I will. Pray she is the one who does, should you fail me."

The mist disappeared and Eve gasped. When she looked down at her hand, it was normal again. She spun in circles shaken by what had just happened. Eve feared little, but that woman, she feared. In her lifetime, she could remember only one other being she had feared more or equally. And she had killed him. Nerina had killed her just as she had killed her own sire.


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