He stepped forward and grabbed hold of the rope that had been holding her up by having her hands tied together to the ceiling. Falk pulled until it stretched and ruptured. He allowed the body to fall forward.
Sighing, Falk stepped to the door and opened it. There was a guard waiting outside, she immediately caught sight of Amanda.
“She got free,” Falk said casually, with a shrug, “I feared for my life.”
He turned and walked way.
“Right…” said the guard, not at all convinced since she had at least a few brain cells to put together.
In any case, that was one less uncontrollable element to worry about. Why the Shadow had kept her alive eluded him, but it was certainly annoying. The girl would probably yell at him later for killing Amanda but so what? The important thing was reaching Eliza and convincing her to follow his plan.
Falk walked to the bridge where a small crew of crafty engineers and a couple of ship navigators were keeping the airship’s heading.
The city had grown enough around him, he felt. They were close enough.
“Stop the airship,” Falk said.
Falk liked the name airship, it had caught on easily, which was a hallmark of good invention names.
“We’re not docking?” asked one of the pilots.
“No,” Falk said, “the city will be too crowded, there is absolutely no way we’ll keep people from stealing their way inside. We need to control that.”
He turned to the side, where the Warlock was standing still and quiet, even if partly stiff and disgruntled.
“Stay here and make sure nobody does anything they’ll regret, by making them regret it,” Falk said with a smirk, “I’ll–”
The bastard scoffed at that, interrupting him. Disregarding Falk, the Warlock said the words of a spell under his breath and was consumed by the familiar energy of a spatial displacement spell.
“Hmpf,” Falk scoffed himself, turning around to face a mage but before he could speak, the man spoke from under cover of a hood.
“Eliza will give us orders. Until then, we’ll keep the airship running ready.”
Falk smirked. “Good man.”
“Woman,” she said.
“Whatever,” Falk said as a passing thought. He looked around and frowned, displeased with the lack of a familiar face. “Albert!”
“Albert’s not around,” some other voice said.
“I need teleportation, we have wasted enough time,” he explained.
“Well, he’s the only one that can cast with a group. Except for the Warlock.”
“Yes, thank you, you’re so helpful,” Falk said, as venomously as he could, before leaving the room. He really wasn’t in the mood to be met with the irritating visage of the girl who was running around with a hero complex but, of course, she didn’t care about that.
“You killed her,” said the Shadow.
So predictable, Falk thought.
He walked forward, she had to move out of the way and answered plainly and uninterestingly. “Only because you didn’t. She freed herself.”
“…did she really?” she asked, doubtful.
Falk didn’t stop walking which forced the girl to trail after him like a child throwing a silent tantrum.
“Yes, as she was meant to do since you didn’t kill her,” he said rashly. “You find her trying to destroy our only means of escape, and survival mind you, and you leave her alive. There is no limit to your foolishness.”
Obviously, she didn’t believe him. But what could she do? Without proof? She couldn’t just attack him, he was humanity’s last hope.
“Are you going to kill the beast soldier as well?” the Shadow asked.
There was that as well. The defiance she had shown to save an obvious enemy, and then the Warlock. The latter, Falk could not fault her for, but the former had been accomplished by punching him in full view of many people. If the Darkness wasn’t so swayed by his pathetic heart, moved to guard her, Falk would’ve killed her right there and then.
Upsetting his plans like that. Making him look like anything but everyone’s superior. But again, there was the Darkness to consider.
“He, unlike Amanda, presents no threat,” Falk said, angry yet under control. “Besides, Eliza demanded he live to meet her…as you well know, since you alerted her to his capture. Before you even secured him…”
Eliza was the only reason why the Shadow was alive, along with the Darkness and the Hunter, all elements he couldn’t trust not to get in his way when the time that was coming inevitably arrived.
Falk was confident he could deal with them, and he would. If not with plan A, stranding them in the mountains to die to the Beasts, then with one of his other plans.
“Any man under the Hunter’s guard is more than secured,” the Shadow said, remarkably expertly if he was forced to be honest, which he wasn’t. She said it as a warning, that if he tried to kill him, the Hunter would stop him.
However, she was foolish at the premise for Falk wasn’t the least bit interested in it.
“As ever, you fail to grasp my intentions,” Falk said, patronizingly.
“That much is obvious. I would have been there for Byrnes otherwise,” she said in return, ever talking back.
Falk felt like grabbing her throat and crushing her against the wall. To threaten. To warn. To make her understand she was not an equal and definitely not a better but rather a great deal beneath him. However, the halls were dark and busy with other mages, there was a chance the Darkness was lurking, as obsessive little teenagers are want to do when being ruled by passion.
So instead, he lashed out with a snide and belittling remark.
“Good thing you weren’t, as your hesitation to take her life could have cost both of ours. Now leave me be, girl, I grow weary of your company.”
The Shadow snorted and stopped following him, probably thinking of some profanity-fueled curse in her head that was a play on his “company.” Falk didn’t care, he had to be above her. He had to be above it all, and it shouldn’t be hard since everything was moving according to his design.
“Heard you were looking for me?” a familiar voice asked from his side.
Falk turned to the familiar face and made sure that it was Albert.
Finally, Falk thought, annoyed that all the mages looked the bloody like. Black haired and boring round faces, but Alfred had taken to not use a hood so he could be identified, not out of personal will, the mages had little of that as it was, but out of obeying Falk’s orders.
“Finally,” Falk said out loud. “I need you to teleport me down there, we need to meet Eliza.”
“Only you?” Alfred asked.
“Yes,” Falk answered.
“Hey!” the Shadow called out.
Falk frowned, closing his eyes as if hit by a migraine, which it metaphorically did happen.
“I and the Hunter are part of the Shadow Conclave, too, we need to be there,” she complained.
Shadow…I wish you were as quiet as Zaniyah, Falk thought in annoyance.
However, she had a point. Eliza would probably delay the meeting to get the two.
“Fine, go get the Hunter, we’re wasting time,” Falk conceded.
“No…,” the Shadow said, carefully leaning her head a bit forward, with suspicion pouring out of her tone of voice, “we will get her. Together.”
Falk breathed in, doing his best to refrain himself from a second murder.
The Darkness… Falk reminded himself, like a mantra, keep him in mind. Bide your time…
“Fine,” Falk grinned impatiently, “fine.”