Thief: Chapter 10

Thursday, 4 February 2016






Chapter Ten




    “Daddy?” Mammon asked, both eyebrows raised. Of all the things he had expected to hear from the girl’s mouth, that certainly hadn’t been one of them. “I’m not your father. I don’t have any children.”
    She pouted, and then smirked. “Sure you do, pops. You just weren’t a great dad. Kind of a deadbeat, actually.”
    Mammon glowered at her; he’d never seen this girl in his life, and if he had, he probably would have snapped her neck long ago. She was annoying him.
    She carried on, unperturbed. “My mother is Colonel Lyricia of the 1st Battalion. That should jog your memory.”
    Mammon didn’t even try to stop the laugh that escaped him. “You presume too much, girl. You could rhyme off her name, address and a list of her best features, and I still wouldn’t remember the slut.”
    Her face contorted into an ugly snarl.
    “Calm down.” He snapped. Tiresome girl. “I only seduce people I want something from. If I slept with your mother, it was because she had something to offer me other than her companionship. Whatever it was, it couldn’t have been that memorable.”
    The girl inhaled, sharply and irritably. “Fine, whatever. Since you obviously don’t know, I’m Lorelei. I just came here to help you out, dad. You seem to be in a bit of trouble, you know, now that you’ve pissed off all of the royals.” She grinned, pale eyes lighting up. “Besides, I thought we could get in a little father-daughter bonding!”
    Mammon snorted. “Bonding?” he muttered, glancing at his exhausted, wounded dogs. They weren’t panting as hard, and were quietly checking each other for damage. He was glad to have stopped running, if only for their sakes. If they didn’t have time to recover, they would cease to be of any use to him. And by the sound of it, he needed all the allies he could get right now. Not that he trusted Lorelei as far as he could throw her. The girl was hiding something; that much was painfully obvious. 
    And what could that possibly be, he thought sarcastically. Satan and Lucifer both called for his blood, and if Lorelei was anything like her father, she was all ready to sell him to the highest bidder. No doubt his pretty head would fetch a handsome price. But, he had to admit, he was rather attached to it. A smile curved across his pale lips, lifting the edges slightly. His supposed progeny would soon learn the first lesson her father would ever teach her; never cross a double-crosser.
    “So you want to help me, hmm? Somehow I doubt that.” Power flooded his veins in an instant, his eyes filling with black. Darkly glowing tattoos wove their way across his pale skin.
    Lorelei blinked in surprise, then let out a low chuckle. “Should’ve known it wouldn’t be that easy.” Her light-gray eyes abruptly turned black as she tapped into her power. “Why don’t you make this easy on yourself and just give up now? I’d almost feel bad, hurting an old man like you.”
    Mammon snorted again. “Worry about your own hide.” He said, warping behind her fast as a whip and curling his fingers towards her neck. She disappeared just as quickly, materialising at the far end of the clearing.
    Freja growled low in her throat and made to rush Lorelei, dark markings swirling below the surface of her blood-smeared skin. “Stay.” Mammon ordered, giving her and Fenris a look. He wanted to test the girl’s abilities himself; he didn’t need their interference. Lorelei wasn’t nearly as dangerous as she thought she was. “I thought you came here to fight, not run and hide.” He called, voice ringing as it echoed off the preposterously large tree trunks.
    “Fight, yes. Die?” In a snap she was in front of him, so near that he could feel her breath on his face. “Not today.” She pulled away from him, but he was too fast for her, feinting alongside her and gripping her arm. She tried to shake him off, to no avail. With a hard jerk, he twisted her around and pinned her arm behind her back.
    “No?” he breathed, mildly disappointed that it was over already. The fight he had anticipated had been little more than a sorry spat; frankly, he had hoped for more from someone claiming to be his child.
    He was about to say so when she suddenly twisted back around and rammed a short blade into his side up to the hilt. “No.” she snarled, dissipating in a blink.
    Hissing softly through his teeth, Mammon reached down, probing the fresh wound with bare fingers. He held them up to his eye-level, rubbing the fresh, rapidly cooling blood between thumb and fingers. “Interesting,” he said, looking from his bloody fingertips to the girl.
    He smiled coldly at Lorelei, who stood a good ten yards away, holding the arm he had twisted. With the odd way it was hanging, he assumed he had dislocated it. Good. “Well. Perhaps you aren’t as much of a disappointment as I thought. Who knows! At the rate you’re going,” His breath hitched as he pulled the short blade out in one smooth motion. “you might become daddy’s favourite.” He tossed the knife to the ground, carelessly stepping on it as he walked towards Lorelei.
    He had what he wanted; there was no point in drawing this farce out any longer. Plans rapidly constructed themselves in his head now that he had a better idea of her capabilities. Yes, she would do quite nicely, he thought. Naïve, misguided little Lorelei wouldn’t realise what role she played in his own grand scheme until it was far too late to stop him; he would make sure of that. He just had to make the next bit convincing.
    He was sure that the sharp blow to the back of her skull was convincing, as was the knee to her stomach as she bowled over gracelessly. The swift kick he dealt her face with his scuffed, filthy shoes had to have been convincing; he’d really tried on that one. He stood over her as she moaned, hands over her bloodied mouth. Something was missing. Ah! Of course. One short second later, he had the dirt and blood encrusted blade in hand.
    “I almost forgot to return this to you, sweetheart.” He said, smooth as silk. “Let daddy help you put your toys away.” He said, plunging the knife into her torso, making a matching wound on the exact opposite side of his own. Her cries of anguish fell on deaf ears.
    “Fenris. Freja. Here.” He commanded, and the dogs rushed to his side. Deftly, Mammon grabbed their hands in his. “Been lovely catching up with you, dear. We must do this again sometime.” He said, smiling pleasantly at the girl writhing in pain on the forest floor. “Now, daddy has to go talk to some very important people about a business proposition.” He braced himself for teleportation. “Be a good girl.”
    He smirked, warping away from Lorelei and the forest of tall trees. He made sure she was following his trail before he changed directions. Stupid girl. Just as he’d banked on. She’d learn by the end of this to never, ever try to cross him again.

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