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Изменено (Azidamadjida): 3/29/2017 12:27:36 AM

REEF MOB, Ch. 69: Lokis the Wicked

Welcome to my second crossover with Kell of Scar! If you’re looking for his last chapter, you can find it [url=]here[/url], and if you missed the last chapter of REEF MOB, you can find it [url=]here[/url]. Or if you need to find a previous chapter, you can find them all in the [url=]Table of Contents[/url]. Please give a bump or leave a comment if you enjoy this and any other chapter! ***  The desert winds whip sand across our faces, our crews behind us doing their best to see through the grit. Vesrik and I lead the way out front, the Kell utilizing his tech and senses to guide us to our destination. “How much farther?” I yell over the wind. “[i]Close[/i],” he growls back, purposefully avoiding looking at me. He’s done so ever since we met, giving me a once-over before purposefully directing his gaze elsewhere. [i]What’s his problem?[/i] I wonder as I hold my hand against the sun to scour the sparse landscape. [i]Though if he’s the Kell of House Scar, I can only imagine…[/i] I suppress a slight shiver, burying the aches and pains that echo through my body. [i]Mother never told me we’d be allied with the House of Scar – but why’d she pick me to go? Did she send me specifically because of my past with Taniks? Why?[/i] Vesrik stops and looks around shrewdly, hand on his blade, and I jerk myself out of my reveries. “What is it?” “[i]Here,[/i]” he answers. I look around, seeing nothing. “You sure?” Not looking at me, he nods. [i]Why won’t he look at me? Does he share his kin’s opinion of mine? “Yes, they should be – “[/i] Before he can finish his thought, the air shimmers around us – my hand cannon instinctively flies into my hand as I see the others arm themselves, but it’s too late – the shimmering shapes solidify into glaring beasts, shock blades drawn and scorch cannons aimed as they reveal that we’re surrounded. “[i]Talons,[/i]” Vesrik growls, holding his arms wide as a show of non-violence. The others behind us do the same, and I begrudgingly holster my hand cannon. “[i]Brothers, we seek audience with your Kell at his request.” * He waits,[/i] * one of the Talons purrs, not lowering his weapon an inch. * [i]Follow.[/i] * He touches something on his wrist, and a well-worn, fabricated cave shimmers into existence a short distance away. We follow him toward the entrance, his companions falling in behind us, and step into the world of the Talons. As we make our way forward, I can’t help but look around in awe – the subtle craftsmanship of the Talons is truly impressive, utilitarian but creative at the same time. The tunnel looks like melted rocks blended with metal, geometric patterns and grooves carved throughout – as I look around, I notice one of the Talons dragging his hand along the wall, fingers dancing along the shapes and grooves in its surface – “It’s a map,” I whisper breathlessly, amazed at the ingenuity behind their design. The Talons notices me watching it and hisses threateningly. “[i]Forward,[/i]” it rasps, and I roll my eyes at it, shaking my head, but do as it says. I catch Vesrik turning quickly away, and wonder again why he won’t meet my eyes – “What’s your deal?” I finally ask, too annoyed to ignore it anymore. “[i]Deal?[/i]” he asks curiously, staunchly looking forward. “Yeah, you Scars all got something against us?” He stiffens as he walks. “[i]No.[/i]” “Then why won’t you look me in the eyes? You think I’m beneath you or something?” “[i]I travel with Awoken in my crew,[/i]” he answers. “[i]I do not think they are beneath me.[/i]” “So just me then? Cuz I was a Tanis?” Vesrik falls silent, staring purposefully forward. “Come on, don’t get all tight-lipped on me now – “ One of the Talons cuffs the back of my head, hissing at me. “Oh, you did not just – “ He cuffs me again. “[i]Silence!![/i]” “Gonna regret that…” I mutter in a playfully dangerous, sing-song tone. The tunnel quickly branches off, and the Talons lead us through several more junctions to disorient us before finally we emerge into a larger cave, deep underground, where more Talons are at work loading weapons and armor into crates for transport. As I look around, wondering what they’re doing, our Talon guides lead us through the cavern and into a smaller cave in the back. As we enter, they all kneel reverently. I follow their eyes and see their Kell. He's predictably huge, with giant horns extending from his jaw like pincers, the Talons' golden shades painted across his battle worn armor. His eyes cut quickly between Vesrik and I, not even regarding the crews behind us. “[i]Here they are at last, the Kell of a forgotten House and his Tanis.[/i]” “My name is Mariel,” I growl at the beast, forcing my face not to show the unfamiliar way it rolls off my tongue. “And I belong to no one.” The Kell laughs. “[i]Of course you don’t,[/i]” he answers blithely, his speech surprisingly good for an Eliksni. “[i]Which is why you’ve come of your own volition, yes?[/i]” I glare at the insinuation, but bury my murderous feelings. Vesrik, meanwhile, simply nods his head to the Kell. “[i]Lokis,[/i]” he purrs. “[i]We come to uphold our end of the agreement.[/i]” Looks nods back. “[i]And you will be repaid when justice has been served.[/i]” “Justice?” I ask, still curious. “What justice?” Lokis sneers at me. “[i]For my son,[/i]” he proclaims, his voice rising to echo around the cavern imperiously. “[i]I was told you were made aware of your mission before you came. Did you forget it already?[/i]” I feel the sting of his words, and fight with all my strength against the instinct to go for my hand cannon. I cut my eyes around the room, seeing the other Talons watching me, grips tightening on their own weapons. “I was told you needed help hunting down a monster,” I tell them. “A monster who killed my friend. And the monster who held me captive.” “[i]And you wish him harm for rescuing you?[/i]” Lokis asks, almost amused. “He took my own ability to seek justice,” I answer defiantly. Lokis merely seems to grow more giddy. “[i]And you, Vesrik?[/i]” I look at the Kell of Scar, who sighs. “[i]I seek justice for my brother.” Brother? Who could be his – [/i] “Taniks?” I mutter suspiciously. “[i]Yes,[/i]” he says, bowing his head. [i]Why’d Mother send me to work with the brother of the beast who – “I am sorry,[/i]” Vesrik continues suddenly, finally looking at me properly. “[i]My brother was always…[/i]” “A depraved sonuva bitch?” I supply snidely. “[i]I am sorry for what happened to you,[/i]” Vesrik repeats. “You only want to kill the monster to avenge your brother,” I spit angrily. “[i]Yes,[/i]” Vesrik responds. “Then good luck on your own,” I answer, turning to leave, already thinking of the wasted trip, of why Mother would even send me on this – The Talons block my path, though, and Lokis calls to me: “[i]There’s more than just revenge in this for you. I was told you’ve grown partial to our ether.[/i]” My fingers instinctively twitch toward my pocket where the vaporizer is hidden. I turn slowly, composing my face as best I can. “So?” “[i]So we can offer enough that you’ll never want for any ever again.[/i]” I have to consider the offer – [i]Is this why Mother sent me? But why?[/i] A voice whispers inside me, something almost forgotten, but always there: [i]ether[/i] I face Lokis once more. “Let me get this straight: you and Vesrik get revenge for your families, and I just get ether out of it?” “[i]And you can avenge your friend,[/i]” Lokis answers. “[i]I have made this offer to you because each of you seeks justice as much as I do.[/i]” I breathe deeply to calm myself, mulling over the plan. [i]Mother wouldn’t have asked me to do this if she didn’t have a good reason, and it’s not like we’re not getting anything out of it…nor does it look like I have much of a choice anymore.[/i] “And how are you planning on getting into Reef space?” I ask finally. “You’d need to bring troops with you if you want to storm the Prison of Elders, and the ships we brought are crowded enough already – “ “[i]We bring our own ships,[/i]” Lokis answers, gesturing to a waiting Talon. They nod and walk down an adjacent tunnel, reappearing a moment later with chained prisoners in tow. He kicks them violently to the ground in front of us as Lokis sneers again. I feel my eyes widen as I look at the prisoners on the ground. [i]Guardians. “Our…volunteers here will be more than happy to lend us their ships,[/i]” Lokis says as he steps down to tower over the Guardians, pulling the shattered remains of their Ghosts from behind his back. “[i]After all, they won’t be needing them any longer.[/i]” In the blink of an eye, Lokis draws his shock blade, whipping it across the air in front of the Guardians – for a second, everyone remains still, watching him, and then slowly the Guardians’ head tumble from their shoulders and their corpses collapse to the ground. Lokis sheathes his blade, looking back and forth between Vesrik and I. “You seem like you’ve got everything figured out,” I tell Lokis. “So what do you need us for again?” “[i]Cover,[/i]” he answers. “[i]You and Vesrik will lead the Corsairs away from our ships long enough for us to blend with the Guardian traffic and infiltrate Vesta.” So we’re just a distraction[/i], I think hotly. [i]Still, at least we’ll be a well-compensated distraction… “So we are in agreement?[/i]” he asks pointedly. “[i]We are,[/i]” Vesrik answers without hesitation, though I can see his eyes purposefully looking away from Lokis. The Kell turns to me, tapping the hilt of his blade. “I could do without the threats,” I answer defiantly, looking him dead in the eyes. “But it is a hard offer to refuse.” “[i]Good,[/i]” Lokis smiles behind his ether mask. “[i]Then justice may yet be served.[/i]”

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