“Welcome to your own personal hell,” Rachel said, twirling Miss Murder’s knife threateningly through her fingers. “I’m so glad we have this chance to talk.”
Miss Murder just glared back, unsurprisingly mute. Zoe and I hung back, willing to let Rachel take the lead on this. She was the one who had a personal history with the assassin, after all.
“I’m gonna make this really simple,” she continued, running the tip of the knife along Miss Murder’s cheek. “All you need to do is tell us where we can find the Celestial. You ready to sell him out yet?”
Both of Miss Murder’s hands were bound, and it was obvious she couldn’t talk. Was Rachel just mocking her? Was it part of her interrogation technique?
“You must be getting tired of him, right? Always following orders, killing on command? Or is that what you want? Is that all you are? A living weapon? If not him, it would have been your family, right?”
Slowly, the anger began to fade. Her eyes darted across to mine, then focussed back on Rachel again. She seemed to be ignoring Zoe entirely.
“You can’t mean to tell me you’re really okay with what he’s doing, are you? The number of people he’s killed? The number of people he’s had you kill? You think all this power he’s amassing is safe? You think you’ll be safe, when he doesn’t need you anymore?”
Miss Murder closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. Was Rachel actually getting to her? Was she just playing us? Was there something I was missing?
“You’re already planning on turning on him, aren’t you? You know he’s dangerous, probably better than any of us. But you have to have realised you can’t stop him alone. He’s too paranoid for that. He’s prepared for anything you can do.”
Slowly, she nodded. She didn’t look relaxed, exactly –that would have been impossible with the light current running through her –but she did seem composed. It worried me. It would be too easy for her to have just decided to help us. More likely, she had a plan of some kind.
I looked at Zoe, who was staring intensely at Miss Murder. It looked as though she were trying to decipher something, but didn’t have all of the information. Not unlike me.
“I know the two of you have been through a lot together,” Rachel continued. “I know that you don’t have anything without him. So I’m going to make this really simple. I’m going to offer a trade.”
Miss Murder’s head snapped up, a sudden intensity in her stare. Rachel smirked.
“Give us the Celestial. Give me the Celestial. We’ll take care of him, and you’ll be free. In return, I’ll give you Charlie.”
No, of course, this makes perfect sense. Rachel’s playing her own game, here. The only two significant threats to her are the Celestial, and Charlie. If she can take them both out…
Miss Murder cocked her head to the side, a silent expression of surprise and a request for clarity. Even Zoe seemed surprised.
Should I allow this? Give up my quarry so easily?
There was no way Miss Murder stood a chance against Charlie, though. Even if Rachel armed her and sent her at Charlie like a missile, what could she hope to achieve? Teleport her underground and leave her trapped? Even something like that didn’t seem like it could stop Charlie.
“You want to know what I took from Charlie?” Rachel asked, but the question was directed at Zoe and I.
“The reason she’s still a threat to us?” Zoe asked. “Yes, I would love to know.”
“I took her heart,” Rachel said.
“Her heart,” Zoe repeated, sounding unimpressed.
“Not literally. The organ is just that, an organ. But back when we were still… together, we experimented. She wanted to find out just what she could survive. As it turns out, she can survive complete obliteration.” Rachel flashed us a grim smile. “All it takes is one teeny, tiny piece. And I have just such a piece.”
“Still impossible,” Zoe said. “For so very many reasons.”
“Believe it or don’t,” Rachel snapped. “The important thing is that Charlie wants it back. That makes it valuable.”
Miss Murder looked contemplatively at Rachel. Then she smiled. Zoe frowned.
“Sabrina. Do you have the girl’s phone?”
“Yeah,” I said, remembering pocketing it before tying her up.
I dug it out. There was a messaging flashing on the screen.
“On my way,” I read out. “It’s from Ami.”
“Check the last message sent,” Zoe instructed.
Surprisingly, the phone wasn’t actually locked. The message history with Ami was the first thing to come up.
“She sent ‘Suspect trap. Sending location. Back me up?’ just before she attacked us at the warehouse,” I said.
“Fuck,” Rachel said, whirling around. “She probably followed us here. Zoe, can you-”
“On it,” Zoe said, heading for the door.
The door was hurled off its hinges, throwing Zoe backwards. She reacted quickly, but Ami was already through the door, blade drawn.
I felt psychic hands pin me against the wall at the same time as Rachel was knocked off her feet. The straps around Miss Murder’s limbs all snapped, and she was pulled forward out of the chair, separating her from the current that was keeping her from teleporting away.
Rachel and I recovered at about the same time, pushing through Ami’s telekinetic assault and lunging for Miss Murder, but she vanished before either of us got there.
“Fuck,” I snarled, using my momentum to move towards Ami. She’d learn not to interfere in our business. The hard way.
I watched as Zoe evaded Ami’s cutting strikes with practised ease, getting close enough to rake her claws across Ami’s face. There was a splash of blood, and Ami staggered back, but before either Zoe or I could follow up the attack, Miss Murder appeared again, grabbing Ami and teleporting them both away.
“Follow them!” I bellowed. Zoe was out the door in a blur of movement, but Rachel stopped me from following with a hand on my shoulder. “The fuck?” I demanded.
“Following them would be a waste of time,” she said. “Zoe’ll track them some of the way by scent, but if Miss Murder was that easy to track, she wouldn’t have survived this long.”
“I’m not giving up that easily,” I said. “She’ll tell him what we’re planning, he’ll be prepared, we won’t stand a chance. Fuck. Since when is she in league with Ami?”
“For a while now, actually,” Rachel said, seemingly unconcerned. I wanted to hit her.
“You knew? And you didn’t do anything to stop it? You didn’t even warn me?”
“Why would I want to stop it?” she asked. “She never would’ve given up any information about the Celestial, even if we actually did resort to torture. And I’m not comfortable torturing anyone, regardless of who they are.”
“Then, what? You were just pretending to help me? Did you just want to see how far I’d get before it all fell down around me? I thought you wanted to take out the Celestial.”
“I do. And really, I’m a bit disappointed you still think so little of me,” she said, feigning pain.
“What’s the plan, then?” I demanded. “What are we going to do now?”
“Wait a little,” Rachel said, shrugging. “See where Miss Murder goes. Eventually she’ll return to the Celestial. Then we just hit him before he has the chance to get ready for it.”
She laughed, and pulled out her phone. A few taps later, I was looking at a map, with a blinking dot on it.
“Come on, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book,” she said. “I embedded a tracking chip in her. Ami rescuing her was all part of the plan, since she knows she’d never escape on her own. Seriously, Sabrina. What kind of a person do you think I am?”
“So she’s gonna lead us to the Celestial?”
“Soon as she parts ways with Ami.”
“Let’s go, then,” I said. “Let’s go tear his fucking house down.”
Next: I Just Want You To Be Safe (Bonus)