168 The Inktress“s Folly*
Illai had struggled at first. This being, whoever and whatever he was, was far more powerful than she'd first ascertained. If she hadn't taken advantaged of his momentary lapse in judgement, she likely wouldn't have had this opportunity. But now, as she dragged him deeper and deeper into the depths, it was all too clear who's element they now resided in.
He'd put up a fight. The shadows he called on were bloodthirsty and cruel, but Illai was one with the water as well as the shadows, his attempts to free himself only passed through her.
Illai was sure that he would drown quickly, and with how deep she dragged him, it should have happened already, but he just wouldn't give up. It was like his instinct for survival took him over. His blood red eyes drawing her closer only for the fangs to pass through her skin like it was water. Because it was. In this element she never let her body solidify. His frustration and desperation was clear, and his roar of discontent was left unanswered as the depth and the darkness swallowed it.
Finally, after a stretch of time that Illai had been too desperate to measure, his red eyes dimmed and his body stilled. She held him down for only a moment more, making sure it wasn't a bluff, then she released him. He drifted down slowly, his water logged lungs unable to lift him to the surface.
Illai grinned at her victory. There was no threat to her Master now. Rassa Moonshadow was dead.
Illai turned and made way for the pirate ships on the surface to see the other spoils they had collected. Perhaps those two companions he'd tried to hard to reach could be of use.
In the depths of the ocean, far from any signs of life, a single heartbeat thumped.
Aegin stilled his hands and looked at Ebony who looked back at him with a fearful gaze. She was being held still by Isaac, her broken leg out in front of her where Aegin worked. Aegin knew he didn't need to say it because she knew, but he spoke anyway.
"This will hurt".
"No shit," Ebony squeaked half-heartedly as she took the rag offered by Isaac and forced it into her mouth.
Aegin took her broken leg in his hands, ignoring it as she flinched and closed her eyes.
Ebony opened her eyes in confusion.
She screamed into the cloth as her bones were put back in place, then Aegin took the stray pieces of wood that Tank had managed to take from the cot and tied them to Ebony's leg as a splint. He took the cloth from Ebony's mouth and used it as one of the bandages.
"Mother of…" Ebony proceeded to curse foully and the sailors around her looked on in shock before smirking.
"Good thing she's not a lady," Tank mumbled.
Aegin smirked with them as Ebony glared at them, "I'd like to see you do better".
"Darlin', you're a tough one. Don't let that part of you go," Tank sighed, "Especially now".
They fell silent as Aegin finished working on Ebony's leg, then moved to sit beside her with his back to the wall.
"He's not dead," Ebony mumbled, "Right?"
"Naïve girl," the voice seemed to hiss out. And the damp puddle beyond the brig bars rose up to form the figure of a woman in a dark cloak, "I admit he put up more of a fight than I expected. But he drowned in the depths and will be forgotten there".
Aegin's eyes narrowed, "You killed him".
"He had to die," the woman replied.
"Why?" Ebony asked.
"He was a threat to my master. Now that threat has been dealt with," the woman replied, "I admit it is a shame that we couldn't get the method for producing the charms from him, but seeing as he was so close to you two-" Her figure stepped forward and melded through the bars before she put a finger beneath Ebony's chin and raised it, "-Perhaps you could be of use in that aspect".
"Go bake in the sun, Inktress," Midas spat from the next cage over.
The woman turned with dark eyes towards him, and Midas smirked, "Yeah, I know who you are. The Hybrid Magician who serves Ishta Alamone like a loyal dog".
"Ishta Alamone?" asked Ebony, "He ordered this?"
The Inktress straightened her back, "You had no place to deny him in the first place. This world is his for the taking, it is only a matter of time".
"This world?" asked Aegin with a smirk, "I think he thinks to highly of himself".
The Inktress glared at Aegin, then wrapped his throat with the dark ink she was so famous for. Aegin gasped for air, and his hands struggled with the watery choker. He couldn't grip it, and yet it gripped his neck so tightly.
"Should I drown you as well? After all, you don't sound like you know anything. Your life is worth nothing now without him," the Inktress hissed.
"Did you behead him?" asked Ebony.
The Inktress paused.
"Did you stab him through the heart?"
The Inktress turned as she looked at Ebony. The ink's grip around Aegin's throat loosened, and he coughed as he chuckled.
"You didn't di you?" asked Aegin, "You should have done your research. Rassa isn't your average being. It takes quite a lot to kill something like him".
The Inktress's eyes narrowed, "What are you saying?"
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A small smile painted Ebony's lips, "We're saying you should do a thorough check before you pronounce someone dead".
"When he comes for us," Aegin said, "You better believe that your ink won't be able to save you then".
The Inktress seemed suspicious. Like she wasn't sure whether or not to believe them. Then she melded back into a puddle.
Illai rushed to the depths, casting out her ink to find the body. But as she stopped in the spot where those red eyes had faded, her heart skipped a beat in fear.
Where was he?
What had she let loose?
Back on the ship, Midas looked at Aegin and Ebony, "What do you mean he's not dead? No one survives what she no doubt did to him".
"He's not human," Jeremiah said from the side. He'd been silent until them, his pride as a Captain pierced and ruined, "What did he call himself again?"
"Vampire," Aegin provided, "And from what I know, they're very difficult to kill".