Chapter Thirteen

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When the dust had cleared, he was furious. Stumbling to his feet, Dark grabbed for his cutlass, only to remember it had been taken away. All around him was pandemonium. The cannon fire had stopped; disappointingly, Duncan and the others had survived.

Simultaneously celebrating his own good luck and cursing Duncan's fortune, Dark seized the nearest bit of rubble and flung it at Pivens' head. The bastard crumpled, and Dark was quick to relieve him of his weapons.

Ready to spit fire, Duncan flung curses at Dark while he dispatched Pivens' as backup. Whoever had fired on them was dismebarking and closing in. With a growl Duncan turned tail and ran for the mouth of the cave, clearly hoping to save his own skin.

Dark didn't give chase. He sheathed the stolen sword and ran back to the collapsed wall. After several mintues of futile clawing, hands clamped down on his shoulders, dragging him away.

Livid, ready to pummel whoever had stopped his rescue attempt, Dark turned to see the cheery, self-satisfied face of Kent.

"Not you again," Dark growled. "I'm busy, Kent. Shove off."

"Yes, I can see that," Kent said, wiping a bit of dust from his uniform.

"Are you the idiot who nearly killed me?" Dark asked through clenched teeth. Ken'ts friends held him by the arms, but he didn't fight back yet.

"Actually, I was chasing Grimm. I'm in pursuit of many criminals, not just yourself," Kent said matter-of-factly.

"How heartbreaking for me."

Kent snickered. "Since you are here, I'll consider it a bonus. My men are searching the island for Grimm as we speak."

Dark broke from his guards with a couple well-placed jabs, then seized the lapels of Kent's uniform in his fists. "You bloody idiot," he hissed. "You nearly killed us. You may have succeeded in killing Zaina."

Surprise showed through Kent's smugness. "Zaina? She's with you?"

"She was. The wall collapsed."

Kent brushed Dark's hands away, then turned to his men and started shouting orders. Two of them grabbed Pivens, who was coming around, and hauled him out of the cave. In minutes a handful of them had returned with shovels and pickaxes to dig through the rubble.

"Sufficient?" Kent asked Dark, his mouth curling.

Dark seized an axe and turned to the black wall of rock. "We'll see," he muttered.

He didn't have time to waste. He started swinging.


~oOo~

Even after several minutes, my eyes would not adjust to the blackness. Every step was blind, and I waded around, hoping I was moving forward.

The third time I tripped on the uneven ground, my hands scraped against something sharp. I had no doubt I would be covered in scrapes and bruises if I ever found a way out. If I found a way out.

Finding my courage, I pressed my hurt palm to the nearest wall and continued forward. Following the tunnel, I prayed, would lead me to an exit.

Since my pace was so slow, it felt as if I'd been trapped for hours instead of mere minutes. Being unable to see, unable to hear anything except the oppressive muteness of being underground made me paranoid. A drop of water, I thought, fell onto my shoulder from above my head. I startled so badly I hit the wall with my hip painfully.

Groaning, I held one hand to my side, one hand still on the wall and kept creeping forward.

It was so dark it made no difference if my eyes were closed or open, yet my mind conjured up shadows that weren't there, or gusts of impossible wind to torment me. Fear roiled in my gut, churning until I felt sick. Shapes danced in my peripheral vision, but whenever I turned to look it was just more darkness.

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