Shadow and Ghost
Chapter 14: Visor Cam
With the final seconds of the pyramid’s shift, walls finished shifting and the floor opened up into multiple stairwells. Bhu’ja out of spite kept her canon aimed at D’lex-dekna until the giant jigsaw puzzle grew quiet. “I think this is a perfect place to talk.” How stupid can I be right now? There is only an assassin I can hardly see and a demi-queen up my ass, so let’s stay in the open. Frowning at her internal sarcasm, Bhu’ja remained focused on her new companion. “So start talking.”
“I can see why Set’rath chose you.” D’lex-dekna leaned against the wall in a poor attempt to act unconcerned about Bhu’ja’s aim. “My dame wants control over the Arbitrators so she can gain a seat on the council.”
“I have no control over that, and neither does Set’rath or the Arbitrators as a clan.”
“I know that.” D’lex-dekna snapped, irritated with the interruption. “And that is why I’ve spent most of my time listening when I should not have been.” She shifted nervously against the wall. “My sire is driven by his need for revenge.”
“Revenge, revenge for what?” Bhu’ja interrupted again, ignoring the quick flash of her comrade’s visor.
“He doesn’t talk about it, at least not when I have tried to hear, but my dame seems to think controlling the Arbitrators will grant him the revenge he seeks.” She shook her head in disagreement to her last statement. “My dame is a fool. My sire is crazy and will use any methods he deems necessary to destroy anyone who gets in his way in getting what he wants.”
“And what does he want?”
She regarded Bhu’ja for a moment. “He wanted Thar’n-thwei dead, but now he is focused on you.”
“Me, why, who is your sire?”
“Nrac…C’jit. I told you this area wasn’t safe!” D’lex-dekna turned and bolted down a stairwell without looking to see if Bhu’ja followed. A plasma bolt exploded where D’lex-dekna had just been standing.
Bhu’ja took off at a run down one of the stairwells, supporting her arm to keep from jostling her shoulder. She paused and turned her shift suit on watching for signs of pursuit. When nothing appeared to be following her, she ran through her scan options to reveal no living thing in near proximity. Now with a minute remaining on her timer she pulled up the map and adjusted the settings to locate her hunt sisters and her prey. One hunt sister was a few corridors away and Bhu’ja figured that had to be D’lex-dekna, but only one other was visible two floors below her…the other two were missing. The Kainde Amedhas were located centrally in a sunken chamber under the cavern. What could those critters be doing? A brief flashback seeing Dto’Luar-ke impaled made her not want the answer to that question.
The pyramid began its relentless shift; Bhu’ja closed her map and began to jog down the stairwell, her jolting steps jarring her shoulder. Shit that hurts! Pausing briefly in her decent she watched for the walls or floor to shift, but to her relief the stairwell remained for at least the next ten minutes. Sighing with relief, Bhu’ja took the current moment to doctor her shoulder. She pulled the acid dipped finger tied at her waist and traced a burning line next to her armor to weaken the exposed blades. With a muted grunt, she broke the blades off letting the shards clatter against the steps. After retying the finger, she grabbed her med-kit, and pulled three syringes out. Oh this will be fun. The first she stabbed next to the remaining blade to administer a painkiller. The next one she stabbed just under her skin to help slow the bleeding and the third went into her stomach to administer the antibiotic. Putting her med-kit away and with a quick test of her shoulder’s mobility, and finding she had most of her movement back she began back down the steps, picking up the discarded blades and placing them in her trophy bag. Perhaps they can provide a clue. She thought as she continued jogging down to a corridor her map had shown as a way to get deeper into the bowels of the pyramid and according to the bio scans, in the opposite direction of D’lex-dekna.
With the next shift, the floor began to pull out from under her feet, opening up into a deep room. Left with two choices, fall or jump, Bhu’ja launched herself through the open floor stabbing her wrist blades into the wall. Scanning the room for life and not seeing anything alarming she finished her decent in a controlled climb. The air in the room’s expanse was humid and beaded up on her exposed skin. Stepping to the floor the uneven grooves announced the Kainde Amedhas had been busy making a home for their new queen. A light musty fog rolled around her legs and gooey secretions squished underfoot. The ambient light from the cavern did not penetrate this deep and Bhu’ja adjusted her vision. The creatures needed to die before she could worry about D’lex-dekna and the assassin had to be wearing advanced plate armor as he was virtually hidden from all her visor settings. I have a feeling he’ll find me before I can find him anyway. She thought sourly.
Scanning the trails left by her quarry, they seemed to head in the same direction towards a room they should not be able to enter. Fingering her Shurikens Bhu’ja began her hunt, stalking a prey that had already claimed two of their numbers.
Watching the video footage for the thousandth time of Bhu’ja shot by an invisible attacker and her hunt sister skewered by a demi-queen, Thar’n-thwei finally made the call to Set’rath.
“There has been a development.”
Within minutes, there was a knock on his private door. Allowing Set’rath to enter, the elder re-secured the door and pulled up the video for Set’rath. “I need you as an Arbitrator to watch this.”
Set’rath straightened his spine, if the elder was asking for him as an Arbitrator, he would not like what he was about to watch and steeled his nerves, bowing his chin slightly to the elder. “I am here to serve.”
Thar’n-thwei started the video from the point when Bhu’ja started her run to jump the cavern, and stopped it when D’lex-dekna ran off leaving Bhu’ja alone. He studied Set’rath’s expression but the man was one of the best when it came to his job. “I need your opinion on the current information.”
The Arbitrator stood statue still as he thought about what he had just seen and heard. “Kha’cti-pa will need to be put on observation, but from a distance, we do not want to alert her just yet, if these allegations from her daughter are true.” Crossing his arms. “Something doesn’t make sense.” Set’rath met the Elder’s eye. “Controlling any member of the Arbitrators, even me, won’t get her a seat on the council, so what good is this course she is on? What revenge would it solve for her mate?”
“That was my question too.”Thar’n-thwei tapped a talon against a small skull decorating his belt. “For now order the watch on Kha’cti-pa.”
“Sir, D’lex-dekna began to say her sire’s name. Do we know who is on record?”
Thar’n-thwei shook his head tossing his dreads in frustration. “She is listed as a bastard, however…” He rewound the video and adjusted the audio, then played it again. ‘Nrac…C’jit. I told…’ He paused the video and gave Set’rath a wide-eyed confused expression.
The elder shook his head in denial. “It couldn’t be who I’m thinking, but if it is it would certainly explain the hatred for Bhu’ja and the Arbitrators.”
“Who is it and why couldn’t it be him?” Set’rath began to feel apprehensive about the answer.
“I knew him as Nracha’var, but as I said it couldn’t be him, even if it would explain everything.”
“Why?” Set’rath prompted.
“He is supposed to be dead.”They stared at the paused video for a moment before Thar’n-thwei dismissed Set’rath to begin his investigation. “Go see what you can find out. I will keep watch on Bhu’ja.”
Set’rath nodded and left the room. He walked the halls of the large clan ship finding three of his top Arbitrators. Discreetly giving them orders before departing to the gym to work out, after seeing the blades in his mate’s shoulder, he vaguely hoped no one would ask to spare.