Fiction~~Ice Wind's Bride~~Ch. 10

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Ice Wind's Bride
Chapter 10 - Dead

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Bey twisted in between the arms of two guards, every dirty trick he’d ever learned snapping out at vulnerable toes and groins. “I’m going to skin you like a rotten eel and pound your insides to fucking jelly!” Another three men who’d been standing just outside the doors came up. Bey nearly puked as one jabbed him in the stomach before he could do anything else.

“Save your breath, bride. You’ll be the one turning to jelly soon.” The large bastard smiled with a nasty grin and Bey wished he had puked, right on the man’s embroidered cuffs. This one hadn’t been with them outside the castle. He deserved a good first impression.

Battling every step, Bey couldn’t keep away from the stairs leading up to the wall, and the falls. His eyes caught short, wild glimpses of the inner bailey with every jerk forward. The main hall looming behind him blocked a good third of it, but there were armed men everywhere. Guards at the portcullis, guards practicing in the yard, guards hovering along the battlement.

The only place there weren’t guards were the damn stone steps that were getting nearer no matter how hard Bey fought.

The main castle was set up against the back wall with the stairs running in between both like a dark tunnel. Bey couldn’t see the stairs where the shadow cast by the huge building draped over them, the shade nearly black this late in the day. As they managed to get him onto the stairs, the dark void swallowed the wide steps like a gaping pit.

Bey pulled desperately and whipped his head up so he could see the walls above them. Almost no guards there. And if he couldn’t see into the shadows, none of the guards on the wall likely could, either. The perfect time to get free. Snapping with his teeth at the man holding his right arm, Bey turned his neck to scan the wall again. Why were there so few guards on this side? Where were they hiding? Everywhere else had enough guards to fuel a bonfire made of dicks.

The roar of the falls sent his nerves jangling with renewed vigor as it answered the question instantly. Backed up against the cliff, the falls pouring over the side near the corner, why would they need guards? Who was going to attack them from this side?

So who was going to stop Bey from getting away from this side?

Bey grew more vicious, testing the hold on his arms. They were still tied behind him, but he’d deal with it as soon as he was free. Get a sword, cut the bonds. Bey would think of something, because Silva was not going to be left alone with his uncle to be married off like some damsel in distress. The guards’ grips slipped around his arms, barely keeping him reined in. Patches of ice smeared over the ridges carved in the steps, left-overs from the spray, and made them all slip to the side as Bey kicked out. He tried to breathe in through the veil that was picking up droplets of the icy water filling the air, then lashed out again, nearly catching one man in the balls. They responded with a particularly vicious punch to the head and Bey slumped in their arms.

Took them long enough. Silva would have taken a prisoner out at the first squirm.

Stumbling, Bey dragged his feet as though dazed. His eyes closed to slits where he could gauge how close they were to the shadows where he could lash out. Lull them a bit, let Zhenya look back at him just like that, thinking Bey was some pathetic May boy who could be subdued that easily.

Dumb bastard. Bey wouldn’t be subdued if they cut off his testicles. He’d just be pissed enough to make sure no one made it out alive.

The guards swore as they slipped on another patch of ice and nearly dropped Bey. His knees hit the ground so hard Bey thought for a moment that he’d cracked his knee cap. Another issue to take up with Silva’s cousin the second he was free. Zhenya looked back at him from the step above and jerked his head impatiently. Another minute, with Bey limp and moaning softly in a way that sounded almost sexual, and then they were in the shadows between the keep and the wall. The red sunset hitting the stairs a few yards above them glittered off gouts of spray from the falls.

But for now, they were in the shadows.

Bey exploded. Lashing out with foot at the nearest guard’s knee, he knocked the man against the wall. Missed the knee, though, Bastard had twisted, avoiding the worst of the kick. Bey shoved himself to the other side, slamming the other bastard into the other wall. He collapsed as some fucker swept his legs. Bey was dragged back to his knees by the first guard, held there to face Zhenya as he knelt down and glared at him.

“Cease. Now.”

“Fuck you and the bitch who birthed y-”

Zhenya punched him in the gut. The two guards tightened their grip as Bey sagged, wretching. “We don’t have time for this!” Zhenya leaned in close, hand holding tight to the back of Bey’s head. His eyes darted behind them back down into the courtyard for a moment. “Shut up and listen if you want to live to see Silva again,” he hissed.

What shit was the silver-haired prick trying to pull now? “Kiss my sexy ass, you fuckin-” Bey bit his tongue as Zhenya shook Bey’s head with a short jerk of his fist.

“We’ve got a minute to speak, so listen well or you’ll end up at the bottom of the falls, southerner.” He glanced behind them again and swore. Directed his next words to the guards. “Anton’s watching. You know how well he can see into the shadows. Get the southerner up. Move slowly, like he’s making things more difficult.”

“He is making things more difficult,” the guard muttered.

The men around Bey dragged him to his feet. With another covert glance behind them, Zhenya dropped back to keep in step; there was just enough room on the wide steps for all of them. The sound of the falls was muted in between the building and the wall, but Bey’s blood pumped so frantically through his veins that it was like the falls thrummed inside of him. Even dulled, the roaring water was loud enough that Zhenya had to lean in before Bey could hear what he was saying. The bastard twisted Bey’s arm a little as he did it, adding to the pain.

“Listen! We’re taking you up to the back corner for your execution, just above where the falls drop over the edge. I always allow prisoners the choice to jump unassisted and retain their honor.  You’ll have a few seconds of freedom before the bowmen assume you’re stalling and fill you with steel points. You need to use it.”

Zhenya was helping him? Bey stared into his face, seeing past the blue eyes and silver hair. Intensity, resolve, anger, but no deceit. All right, then. A few seconds. A few seconds might be all he needed. “Once I’m free, where’s the best place to- Fuck!” Zhenya wrenched his arm up higher, nearly bending Bey over. “Fucking asshole!”

“Quiet! Do not try to escape on your own! Look at my cuff.” Zhenya released Bey’s arm into the guard’s care and put a hand at Bey’s throat. He tilted his head back and up, aiming Bey’s eyes at the corner of the wall above him where the light shone. The veil pressed against Bey’s face and made it harder to breathe. Bey wanted to twisted his head and rip out Zhenya’s wrist like a dog for nearly strangling him. Didn’t matter if it was a naked, buxom farm maid or a silver-haired fanatic with Silva’s eyes: Bey hated being unable to breathe.

Zhenya’s free hand pointed up to the falls, the inside of his wrist turned toward Bey. The veil loosened a hair. Zhenya’s mouth hardly moved as he whispered, “Look at it! See this design? Memorize it.”

The inside of Zhenya’s cuffs had a different embroidery than the rest. The heavy silver silk made a blockier design, a squared spiral knot rather than the simple whorls on the rest of it. Bey took a few seconds; he wouldn’t forget it or the bruises he was getting from Zhenya’s hold. “Got it.” What would he need it for?

“Good. The top of the wall is decorated with carvings. When you get up on it, find the section with the same design. Stand directly on the design before you jump off.” Zhenya let go of his face and they started up again.

Bey growled, struggling again. Jump? From the wall? His entire body broke out in a sudden sweat, nausea curling around his body. They went up another step. “Are you crazed?”

Zhenya growled back. “I live with in the same house as my father. Sanity isn’t a virtue here, bride. ” Bey spat at him and Zhenya grabbed his hair again. He pulled Bey’s head back until pains shot from his neck down his spine. “Listen! If you don’t want to die, you have to open your blocked ears and listen!” Bey stopped struggling, just long enough for Zhenya to lean in again. “Don’t jump far from the wall. There’s a ledge about two men’s heights below, directly underneath the design that you’re looking for. You can’t see it with the spray, but it’s there. It’ll be slick, so for the sake of the moon don’t scrabble around. If you roll off, you’re going straight to the canyon floor.” Zhenya was earning himself a beating for touching Bey like this, but still, every movement of his face and body screamed sincerity.

Bey tucked away everything that didn’t make sense and focused on that. There was a ledge below the wall that he could get to. He trusted his instincts about people enough to believe that.

A ledge with a drop that went on forever below it. Bey’s mouth dried up on him. Jump into the fucking canyon? Back in Varlan, Bey could have predicted the date that would happen: when the eternal gardens withered and died. The same day Bey passed up a blowjob from Silva. Now?

Gods save him.

Bey stared up at the cloud of glittering spray above the wall and swallowed the bile creeping up his throat. He could do this. If there was no other way, he could do it. 

But if there was any other solution that Bey could find when he was up on the wall, he was taking it, because jumping into open space was eating at the edges of his sanity. Swallowing, Bey stared into Zhenya’s face and superimposed Silva’s image on it.

Bey was not letting him down again. He would do whatever he fucking had to.

Zhenya spoke rapidly as he glanced above them and yanked sharply at Bey’s head again. “There’s a natural tunnel that goes into the mountain from the ledge. There will be an oiled pouch just to the right, inside the entrance. It has a torch and some flints. Make your way along the main tunnel to the area that connects to the castle. Don’t deviate. Some of the smaller tunnels branching off wind around enough that you’ll never find your way out. I’ll meet you in the area with the fire, at the end of the tunnel. There’s a small bag with travel cakes and water. I won’t be able to bring Silva until tomorrow night. Wait for me.

The man still radiated sincerity, but two days? No way that was happening. Silva needed to be out and safe before anyone had a chance to fuck with him too badly. And there might still be a way to get out before they reached the wall. There was almost always a way.

They got him moving again with little effort. Bey watched the shadows paling as they climbed, calculating quickly how far he might be able to run before bowstrings sung after him. Enough time to get some shelter behind the castle? If he could just get his arms free…

Zhenya stopped them one last time; a few of the forward guards were already highlighted by the sunlight above them.  “Don’t try to run on your own. You’ll end in a bloody smear. If you have any love for your husband at all, you’ll trust me and jump. I…don’t know what condition he’ll be in by the time I can get him out. If he doesn’t have someone to help him away from here at that point, I don’t know if he’ll make it.”

Bey stared at him. Zhenya had the same hair as Silva, face not quite as thin, eyes not quite the right shape, but blue and piercing. And Bey could hear Silva so clearly, looking at him.

We need to LEAVE, Bey!

Bey blinked, scoffing at himself, but he couldn’t shake the feeling of familiarity. Zhenya had that same intensity, like he knew what was the right thing to do, and it shook Bey to see it.

Zhenya glanced up the stairs and suddenly turned and hit Bey hard in the stomach again. Bey vomited, cursing at him weakly while the guards carried him over the mess. A guard stationed on the wall above laughed and made some comment to another man next to him. Bey hadn’t even seen them.

Fucking Zhenya. He could have done something else to sell it. The second Bey saw him again, Zhenya was getting a face full of fist.  Reminded Bey of why he didn’t trust anyone, no matter how sincere they were.


Nobody but Silva. Sometimes.

You fucking princess, get your pathetic, womanly ass up!

Don’t you fucking dare die!

Bey closed his eyes, the hollow pain in his chest fighting for dominance with the nausea in his gut. Always. He trusted Silva always. Stupid ice princess. Bey had to get out of this and get Silva’s pale ass away.

They were almost out of the shade now, just a few more steps. “Struggle,” Zhenya said suddenly, leaning in to hiss it loudly just loud enough to be heard over the falls. “Anton will be watching. We need a reason it took longer to get out of the shadows.”

No problem. Bey took a fierce delight in slamming his head into Zhenya’s face and jabbing a foot down on the nearest guard’s instep. They both swore, Zhenya lurching back. Bey got a heavy boot near his knee just as they emerged into the light, along with another painful wrench to his arms. He yelled out hoarsely, swearing at them all. It would look like they’d hit his knee directly rather than just below it. Which still hurt like a mule’s kick, but he had full use of his leg.

Bey fought like a rabid dog as they walked towards the corner of the wall. It had a wide, flat ledge filling the corner and ran along the side, as long as two hay carts. Dragged over, he used the opportunity to swing his head around and look. Was there any other way he could get out of here? Guards lined the side wall. Not good. Another two were at the corner, bows ready. Really not good. Everyone was watching him.

Trying-to-fuck-a-rabid-bear-with-a-stick not good.

Bey bared his teeth, the roar of the falls loud enough to block anything he said. And then they were at the edge. The wall here was many feet thick, with a sheer drop on either side. There wasn’t even a parapet aside from the few feet of overlap where Bey was expected to climb up.

Zhenya’s men pushed him at the wall. One sliced through the bindings on his arms. Bey’s limbs fell to his sides, useless for a few seconds as the guards let go. Zhenya gestured.

Up on the wall. They wanted Bey to get up on the damn fucking wall, falls on one side, courtyard drop on the other, ice coating the top in the cold. Not going to happen. He’d get out of here another way. There had to be another way.

Looking at the wide, misty expanse of canyon over the edge of the wall, Bey swallowed painfully, his head swimming. The height was breath-stealing. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t hear anything but the roaring falls. And he couldn’t see another way off. There were too many men, and the wall was too icy to successfully climb down, even if the guards all politely shot at squirrels rather than filling him full of holes.

Bey shuddered, eyes trapped staring at the canyon. How the fuck was he going to do this?

He couldn’t stop himself from struggling, cursing wildly when the guards lost their patience and shoved him up on top of the wall. One of them wrapped their arm around his neck as they fought and took the opportunity to growl his into his ear. “Trust Zhenya! He could have simply let you die at the foot of the falls, southerner!”

Bey wanted to fling himself back down and take them all with him off the wall, if he was going to go, and instead found himself on top, just enough room to take a step from front to back. He glanced back at the Zhenya.

“Jump!” Zhenya yelled. It was an order and a reminder, both.

Bey turned. He closed his eyes and swayed. The ground was so damned far down he couldn’t even see it. He had to take a deep breath, getting a face full of silt-laden spray, and then opened his eyes again to look for the next place on the wall to step.

The spray spilled over the wall with every gust of wind, testing Bey’s balance. It saturated his veil and blinded his eyes until he forced them to ignore the pinpricks of icy water. The canyon loomed, partially obscured by the water, but not enough.

Swaying again, Bey took a clumsy step to the side. The wind screamed past in a sudden gust and Bey lost his footing, stumbling to the side another few steps before he caught his balance, white faced and shaking. He stared at his toes, breathing hard, trying to look at the stone under his feet and nothing else. The design caught his eye next to his right foot. A knotted square spiral, turning in on itself, gouged out of the top of the wall. It looked as old as the symbols around it, but it was still easily deep enough to see.

He was supposed to jump from here?

Bey wrenched his head around to look at Zhenya one last time. Blue eyes focused on him, stray silver hair whipped around his face in the wind. Zhenya’s expression was flat and cold. But the intensity – it was like looking into Silva’s eyes when he’d been haranguing Bey to leave. Just before Silva’s face had gone slack from his brother’s magic, when his blue eyes had been glassy and blank.  

Please, for once in your stubborn life, just trust me.

Bey snarled, twisting back to stare over the edge into a solid white wall of white, rumbling water. His knees almost collapsed. “Zhenya, you’d better not screw me, or I’ll come back and haunt you until you slit your own throat,” he muttered, teeth clenched. He couldn't see anything, definitely not the damned ledge. Just a huge, formless void covered by rushing tons of water spraying into the air.

Bey thought of Silva, with his ice princess voice turned on full blast.

…just trust me.

Using every bit of courage Bey ever had, plus some he felt that he must be borrowing from some benevolent god, he jumped. Bey nearly bit his tongue trying not to scream. He fell for a terrifying, disorienting second and slammed against stone. He gouged a furrow along the inside of his mouth as his face hit the stone and his teeth hit the inside of his cheek. Bey spread out, grasping with clumsy, gloved hands at the stone, terrified he was going to roll off one way or another.

His heart was still pounding more loudly in his ears than the heavy thrum of the roaring falls when he finally accepted that he wasn’t dead. Still alive. He’d been right: Zhenya hadn’t lied. At least not to Bey.

The question was, why?

Shivering - and he was never going to mention that fact to anyone, ever - Bey let his eyes adjust to his surroundings. A dark, jagged hole was to his left, in the wall. Weaker than a starving urchin, he crawled there, clinging to the ledge with his fingers and toes. He didn’t breathe easily until he was fully surrounded by the dark. Off the ledge and away from the hideous drop around it.  Slumped against the rough stone of the cave, Bey slowly pulled himself back together.

He didn’t know how long it took him, only that his body was shivering with fine trembles from the cold rather than fear by the time he could pay attention. Bey looked back at the only illumination in the cave: the misty white entrance, turned a golden color now with the sunset. He could see that it had been a natural ledge at one time, the well-weathered surface was familiar, but someone had widened it out and added masonary around the edges. Bey couldn't even imagine how you would keep it dry enough for that to work, right next to the waterfall as it was.

But it was easier to hit now. Before, one in a thousand might have landed on it. Now, Bey thought that anyone standing on the design would hit it every time they leapt to their ‘death.’ As long as the ice coating the ledge didn’t have them slipping off into the abyss, it was a pretty sure bet to catch any jumpers.

This was not a first time occurrence, obviously. Zhenya must have helped more than just Bey. But so the hell what? It was always easy to tell a few truths to gain trust; everyone and their mother knew that. Oldest cons in the book always involved a little truth to draw in the guileless. Truth didn’t mean trust should be given.

After all, Zhenya hadn’t said anything about what was going to happen after he brought Silva into the caves, only that he was going to. For all Bey knew, Zhenya had a nice little slaving trade going on here with all the warm bodies who was supposed to be executed. Get a little trust and then make a little profit. Bey could see a set up like that without too much effort.

As Bey found the small cache of torches Zhenya had told him about, sealed against the water and easy to light with the flint, his mind ran in complicated circles. He lit the torch and headed into the blackness, leaving the falls behind.

What was Zhenya’s angle?

Bey didn’t believe for a minute that it was Bey and Silva’s welfare. If he’d been all that concerned for their safety, he could have let them go any time on the journey here. More than once there’d only been a guard or two on Silva, with the deep woods right next to them. Matvey hadn’t kept them apart and in the middle of the camp like Vasha had.

There shouldn’t have been any issues with overtaking a guard and helping Bey and Silva get away. Two of the men who’d dragged Bey up onto the wall had been with them the entire way. Zhenya would have had help with any rescue efforts he’d decided on. So why the hell do it now, when it was ten times harder to get out?  Didn’t make any sense at all, and that had Bey’s hackles bristling high.

He was getting Silva as soon as the castle slept, when the darkness was fuller, whatever Zhenya thought was going to happen. With his hood up and his veil concealing his features, Bey thought there was a good chance he could sneak through the castle without getting caught. The most difficult part would be finding Silva, then finding a way out of this ill-begotten cesspit. Whether Bey had to torture the first guard he saw or follow one around like a sex-starved puppy, he’d find out where Silva was. Then they could get out of here.

Silva would understand. Neither of them could simply sit and wait for someone to save their asses from the fire.
Bey banged his head on the stone ceiling and saw stars for a moment. The entire top of the cave was getting lower the farther he went. Shit, was he still going on the right path? Cursing under his breath, Bey retraced his steps and started making his way into the tunnel again, paying more attention this time. Yes, there were a lot of small paths and passageways leading out, but none of them were as broad as the one he was on. It was just getting a bit tight for comfort. Bey made his way forward carefully, ducking to avoid another concussion from a hanging spike of rock. He had to walk in a crouch at one point to get through.

“Glad I’m not afraid of small spaces,” he muttered. Heights were plenty for one man to deal with.

The tunnel opened back up quickly, leaving the natural cave behind. Marks from man-made tools gouged the walls now, crudely chipping away the surrounding rock, and after far too long, stone blocks replaced the irregular smoothness of the floor. Bey could hear his own footsteps echo strangely, giving the false impression of another set of feet, following in the darkness. He would have been happier if someone else had been there; he’d feel much better with someone to beat on until he could leave.

The torch cast shadows that flickered in and out of the passageways leading off to the sides. The blocks went up to the edges and then stopped, leaving the uneven edges of the cavern to take over again in each side-passage. Bey shivered, feeling a small eddy of air cooling the bare skin around his eyes, and wondered if any of the openings led outside too. It might be worth exploring, very very carefully.

If Zhenya tried to betray them, or they were found out before they could get out of the castle, this might not be a bad place to hole up for a while.

Bey would need to get some extra food and hide it somewhere safe in here. He shivered again. Yeah, and some damn blankets.

He thought of Silva.

And an oil. Or lotion. Anything slippery and wet that Bey could use to sink into Silva’s body and let them both forget all this shit. It had been over two weeks since Bey had been inside of anything other than his own hand. They needed this. And Silva…. Bey would find him, and whatever had happened to him, they’d get him through it.

Bey didn’t doubt there would be something. Pyotr was too vicious, and life too uncaring, for Silva to come through this unscathed. But Silva was strong, and Bey was going to utterly destroy everyone who had any part in hurting him, no matter how long that took.

Knowing your enemies had died, and died badly, was a good way to get through the pain.

Turning a sharp corner in the passage, Bey examined where it finally ended. There was a solid door, opened already, leading into a small room that had nothing left of the original cave. It was all tightly fitted blocks of stone. Creeping up on it, torch held in his hand so he could use it as a weapon if he had to, Bey shoved the door open all the way.

No one was there. The room was tiny, smaller than Silva and Bey’s quarters in Varlan. There was a door on the far end, a simple cot to the side with a crude table next to it, and a small bit of food and a jug of water, as promised. The fireplace set into the side wall opposite the cot had a tidy fire burning already with a supply of wood in the wood bin that would last for nearly a week. A sconce in the wall waited to accept Bey’s torch.

All Bey had to do was wait.

Yeah, and offer to bend over for the entire guardhouse while he was waiting. Never going to happen.

Bey sat down and ate a bite of food, ignoring his nausea and the complete lack of interest in consuming anything at all. He needed to keep up his strength, get warm, and get Silva as soon as he could. Bey could barely stop himself from heading out to find him immediately. But as much as Silva teased him about jumping into the fray, he wasn’t suicidal. He needed night time, with most people sleeping. Not to mention the dim torchlight to help conceal his identity until he could get close enough to the people who weren’t sleeping. And then he could hurt them.

Waiting, for a little while, would be better. Wait until dark.

While Pyotr and that slug Matvey were doing who-knew-what to Silva. Bey snarled, punching out at the wall. He couldn’t get Silva now. He couldn’t. There was no way he could do it right now and not get caught.

But letting Silva suffer while he waited, unmolested, in this ridiculous little room, was agony. Vision of Silva ran through his head, one scenario after another. Silva trying to escape and dragged back to be whipped. Silva screaming as they sliced the bottom of his feet to keep him from running. Silva stripped and bound, Matvey forcing himself on him over and over and-

“Fucking son of a bitch!” He hit at the wall again, breathing raggedly. Bey looked at the blood on his knuckles and hit again. The pain helped him think.

The pain made him feel connected to Silva, stupidly enough.

“I’ll make sure they all suffer,” he growled. Even Zhenya, if the bastard didn’t try to intervene with anything done to Silva. There was no way Zhenya would make Bey believe that he couldn’t keep Silva whole, if he really wanted to.

Bey finished off the food quickly, chugging a good portion of the water. He stood near the fire, gloves off and coat unbuttoned to help him warm up. Dyring off could wait until later. As soon as he was warm enough to be safe, he wrapped himself back up like a package in his gloves and coat, plucked his torch out of the sconce, and started back to the cliffside. With firelight as his only illumination in the room, he couldn’t tell when the sun set. He would need to be at the falls entrance to see the flow of daylight.

And he needed to explore. Better if he found a few good hidey holes before he searched for Silva. Certainly better to have an escape route rather than wait for Zhenya like a plump partridge in a cage. If he were Silva, he might hope that Zhenya was as much on their side as he seemed. Bey didn’t work that way. One of the few things Bey had total faith in was that people could come up with a thousand reasons to tap into the worst parts of themselves.

So, Bey would make plans. He’d hide the remaining water, at the very least, where Zhenya couldn’t find it. And then once night had completely fallen, he was going for Silva.

He just hoped Silva kept his head so he wasn’t too damaged.

Bey hated thinking about Silva being tortured or raped so much he still wanted to pound the wall until his hands were jelly, but that didn’t make it untrue. But he also knew with Silva thinking Bey had been killed, he wouldn’t rest until Pyotr and Zhenya were dead. Bey clamped down on the fear that thought sent flying through him. Silva had never agreed with Bey that there came a time and place where he needed to buckle under and take the hit sometimes. He always fought. Silva didn’t understand that moment where you gave up and gave in. He never understood that, no matter how often Bey had tried to pound that point into his head. There were points in life where you ate your principles and did whatever the fuck you had to in order to survive another minute.

And then you crawled up off your belly, licked you wounds, and found the person who’d knocked you flat and gutted them in their sleep.

“All you have to do is survive the day, princess. Just don’t fucking give up.” Bey gave in and slammed his fist into the wall one more time, just thinking about everything that might be done to Silva. In all the time Bey had known him, there was something about Silva that never tarnished. As much as it drove him crazy, Bey had always admired that a little bit. But thinking of that shine rusting away underneath all of Pyotr’s cruelty?

Bey couldn’t allow that. He fucking couldn’t. If Pyotr and Matvey hurt Silva at all, they were corpses. They just didn’t know it yet.

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