Chapter 13

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The Matchmaking Agents charge across the dingy room – raising their bows and firing arrows in quick succession. I push Klaus toward the ground as another flurry of black cupid arrows fly across the bar. They hit a number of bottles above us; shattering glass and spilling pungent alcohol all over the already sticky floor.

A couple of arrows plunge into Cupid's arms as the first agent reaches him. There's a clattering sound as Cupid throws her across the room into a couple of chairs.

Behind a nearby table I see Romulus, cowering on the floor, his red-rimmed eyes watching the scene unfold. The sadness etched onto his face earlier has now been replaced with hatred as he looks at Cal and the others from the Matchmaking Service.

I wonder if we may have an ally in him.

Cupid, Klaus and I are seriously outnumbered – his services wouldn't be unwelcome.

"Use Ardor arrows, they work on Cupid," barks Cal as he walks purposefully forwards.

I hear an immediate grunt from Cupid as a red tipped arrow plunges into his stomach.

The torture arrow; bad luck old friend...

I sigh heavily then get back up and jump over the bar, taking a swing at the nearest cupid as another Ardor arrow impales into Cupid's leg. He bends over double and cries out. Cal is moving towards him – his silver eyes fixed on his brother's face.

"This is tiresome, Cal," I call out.

Another agent flies at me. I grab her head – look into her eyes.

"Sleep."

She crumples to the floor. I grab her bow, then rip her quiver from her arm; I throw both over the bar to Klaus. He's just sat there, among the smashed liquor bottles on the floor, his dark eyes wide. He looks up at me and pulls a face – gesticulating wildly with his arms as the weapons land by his knees.

I exhale, fixing my eyes on him.

"Hit them with the pointy bit," I say.

Then I narrow my eyes. And I charge.

I pick up the agent running towards me and throw him into the next. They both fall to the ground as I grab another by the neck. I raise him so his feet dangle from the ground. His breathing quickens. He is afraid.

I look into his fearful eyes; enter his mind, find his soul.

"Scream."

I laugh as I let go. 

He crumples to the ground, shrieking, his hands clasped to his head. 

I look to the side. Three Matchmaking Agents are now on Cupid. He disbands them, throwing them off him in a blur of muscles. He grabs a bow and quiver that has clattered to the ground and in quick succession shoots each of them with an Ardor as they lie on the floor.

The bar is filled with the sound of shrieking.

There are now seven agents on the floor. Four, including Cal, advance towards us.

I pick up a table, throw it at Cal. He dodges but it hits a dark haired male behind him – sending him flying back against the wall. Cal turns, shoots three arrows; I dodge two and pluck the third out of the air – sending it to ash between my fingers. He turns and shoots another Ardor at Cupid who, busy impaling an agent with her own arrow, doesn't dodge in time.

He cries out again as a guy pulls him into a headlock.

Behind the bar I notice a flicker of movement. I turn, see Klaus finally on his feet.

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