Round One: Pearl v. Silvia
The dungeon was dark, the only light a thin arc coming from underneath the door. Several oil lamps lit the hallways, but none in this room. This room needed to stay as dark as possible for as long as possible.
Fingers as pale as the moon traced over soft skin, and the glint of the faint light against white teeth flickered for a fraction of a second. He swallowed in spite of himself, her fingernails trailing over his neck. She had made it very clear during his time in the dungeon exactly what she was, and he wasn’t keen on her touching him there. After all, not all vampires ate animals and sparkled. Some of them- for, in the last few hours, it had become quite plain to him that there were many- were dangerous. Very dangerous.
Outside and three floors above, the bars on one of the front windows were knocked from their places. As they clattered to the ground inside, making a sound that no one was there to hear but the culprit, two hands appeared on the windowsill, gripping to the point of white knuckles. With a soft grunt, Silvia hoisted herself up and into the window’s frame, dropping gracefully to land on the neatly tiled floor. She brushed the dust off her hands, breathing heavily and looking around.
There was no visible guard. She hadn’t foreseen that; it would only make her job easier. She drew a wrinkled piece of paper from her pocket, carefully easing out the creases. It was a full schematic of the castle, with rushed marks drawn in to show where various things were or probably would be. Her target, the hostage, was in the dungeon, which was… She looked up, eyeing both of the outgoing hallways. That way.
Back in the blackness, Pearl was beginning to grow impatient. Twice, her fingernails had accidentally dug into the flesh they were playing with, and she had only checked herself at the pained hiss that the boy let out. Things were beginning to distract her. She had waited too long for nothing to happen…
“Fowl,” she breathed, deciding that a little captor-to-captive conversation could do a bit to take her mind off the pressure, “did I ever tell you why you’re here?”
Artemis twitched. It was the first time in a while that she’d spoken to him. He stopped himself from craning his neck to look at her; he knew it would most probably end very badly for him.
“I expect,” he answered, finding his voice small from disuse, “by what you’ve told me that you intend to turn me into the walking undead.”
Pearl laughed behind him, a muffled sound, but definitely there. Before she could speak again, Artemis continued, feeling as if he were speaking to himself in the shadows.
“However, seeing as you’ve kept me here so long without doing anything to me but play with my skin, I must assume that there is something more than the conventional bite involved.”
The cold silence that followed told him he was right. He smirked inadvertantly, for the moment forgetting the position he was in. Artemis could have sworn that some small noise sounded from upstairs, but that wasn’t possible.For an instant, the room was still, listening. And then she let out a laugh, a deep, menacing laugh that made even him shiver.
Silvia ducked behind a large pillar in the middle of the staircase, peering cautiously around and below for any sign of a guard. None appeared. Frowning, she shifted back into the middle of the stairway, jogging downwards and wondering. Why wasn’t there anyone here? If there were no other guards, then she might have to rethink her plan… but there was no time for that now. If something went wrong, then she’d have to wing it.
Pearl pinched a fold of skin on his throat again, without warning. He gasped, feeling his heart speed up. He was afraid, as much as he hated to admit it, even to himself.
“You are, as usual, correct,” her smooth voice told him. She withdrew her hand, replacing it with her head on his shoulder, whispering to him. “I can’t bite you and turn you into a vampire just like that… it’s not that simple.”
As he waited for a continuation, this time he was near positive that he had picked up just the slightest sound from outside… but was it too much to hope that someone was here to save him? It could just as easily have been one of this girl’s friends, here to share in the feast. But he couldn’t concentrate to listen harder; she was speaking again, her voice the merest whisper.
“I have to bite a hero first.”
She vanished from his shoulder, her warmth drawing entirely away from him. And with that, the door was thrown off its hinges, blinding him with long-absent light. He cringed away from it, blinking back the stinging, until his eyes grew accustomed to the change. There was a girl silhouetted against the lamplight, turning her head from side to side, as if searching.
Silvia blinked. Was it really that easy? Her ankle smarted the slightest bit from the impact, but there didn’t seem to be anyone in the room but a very tied-up, very unhappy looking Artemis Fowl. She’d take that end of the deal any day.
Rushing forward, Silvia immediately set at the knots binding Artemis’ wrists to the chair. There was no time for an introduction, at least none that she was willing to waste.
Silvia’s fingers plied the first knot open easily; it didn’t seem to have been tied with too much expertise. That could mean one of two things, she reasoned. Whoever had secured our favorite genius here had either not foreseen an escape attempt, or not cared about a rescue attempt. She couldn’t think of a reason for either of these, really, but what else could it mean? Two strands of rope came loose in her hands, and she grinned. She’d have him out of there in no time.
It briefly occurred to her that Artemis was saying something, speaking quickly to her in a low voice. She waved a hand, dismissing him. She needed to concentrate. Artemis let out a frustrated grunt, and fell silent. Silvia allowed herself a tight smile before setting to work on the second knot.
“Hello there, hero.”
Silvia froze, her hands poised over Artemis’ ankle. There was something about that voice… it felt cold, heartless. She shivered in spite of herself as she felt a chilled hand clamp down on her shoulder. With a pang of fear, she realized that she couldn’t move.
“Who are you?” she demanded, fighting to keep the fear from her voice. The silence was deafening as slender, stone-cold fingers began to play at the skin of her neck. Silvia inwardly cringed, still unable to move.
“Who am I?” the same voice laughed, this time so dangerously close to her ear that the icy breath swept gently over her skin. “My name is Pearl.”
A searing pain burned through the flesh at Silvia’s throat, and a strangled scream escaped her. She squeezed her eyes as tightly shut as she could manage, gritting her teeth against the spreading pain. It was unbelievable, like nothing she had experienced before.
“W-what’s happening?” she squeaked, her voice small and pained. “What are you doing?”
Pearl grinned around her grip on the hero’s throat, sinking her fangs in deeper, and beginning to take the victim’s blood into her mouth. A surge of power flowed through her, the bite already taking its effect. It was a powerful thing, the blood of someone good.
Letting her fangs slide slowly out of their holds, Pearl closed her eyes for a moment. She heard Silvia drop to the floor, letting out a low groan from the pain, and bared her scarlet-stained teeth in a dark smile. This was perfect. Her fingertips tingled with the strength of the power coursing through her, and the strong taste of blood on her tongue set her adrenaline running. Her eyelids flashed open again, revealing tiny pupils lost in a furious red.
“What’s going on?” she growled mockingly, stooping down to cradle the fallen heroine’s face in her hand. At the look of pleading and pain in the poor girl’s eyes, she laughed softly.
“What’s going on, sweet, is that you-” here, she drew her face within an inch of her own- “are about to die.”
Silvia had not the strength left to struggle. She gasped at the sudden jolt of agony that hit her as the other landed a feather-light touch on the mark on her neck. This couldn’t be happening it just couldn’t. But the eyes that matched her blood in color begged to differ.
“What are you?” she choked, wincing even at the simple effort of speaking.
Pearl’s grin grew wider, and she scraped her pointed teeth against her lower lip.
“What do you think?” she whispered.
Pearl stood suddenly, loosing her grip on Silvia and turning back to her captive genius. The girl would be dead within minutes; there was no use playing with her. But while she still held the strength of the heroine’s sweet blood, she might as well have some fun with the boy…
The pain was blinding. Silvia bit back a strangled gasp, and let a shaking arm flop down beside her as she fell back. She lay twitching and writhing on the ground, her life escaping her by the second. It was impossible. She couldn’t die, not now. She was supposed to be a hero…
It took over her. It was as if she was no longer in control of her body. Her arms twisted and flailed, sweeping over the floor in erratic jerks. The feel of cold metal against her flesh shocked her for the first second, before her fingers curled determinedly around the handle. A knife, probably lying there, discarded, after cutting the ends of the rope. This was a chance. A lifeline. It was too late for her, but she could still save Fowl.
With a low grunt, Silvia forced herself to her knees. It hurt like nothing she’d ever felt before, but she had to do this. She couldn’t let herself die without helping him. Her vision still swam, but she could make Pearl out clearly enough. She was only a few feet away, and, as far as she could tell, standing still. Perfect.
With her last ounce of strength, Silvia lunged forward, gripping the knife tightly in both hands. She felt it catch on something, hopefully her target, as it was jerked out of her hands with the sudden stop.
Silvia Song fell to the ground, heaving shallow, weak breaths. Her eyes lay half-open, and her fingers clenched and unclenched, shaking all the while. A soft sob escaped her at the last, rocking her one final time. And then, she was still.
Pearl stared down at the knife embedded in her torso. A red stain was beginning to show on the front of her shirt around it. Reaching down with one hand, she plucked the makeshift weapon from where it was held, and gazed at it.
“Cute,” she said softly, as she felt the skin of her stomach begin to knit itself back together. She sighed, turning back to her prey.
“Such a shame it didn’t work.”
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Congratulations, PoodlePom40; your plan worked! 😀 Sorry to Silversong, but your plan had you playing right into her trap.
The next tale of heroism and treachery shall be found in the top floor of the prestigious Sorana Restaurant.
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A/N: I know there wasn’t much Artemis in this chapter, but he’ll be a more major character in some of the other plots. Like the next one. Until next time.