MoboReader> Adventure > Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required

   Chapter 38

Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 13294

Updated: 2017-12-12 12:04


Gatsby.

There“s something incredibly cruel about asking a boy to choose between his girlfriend“s safety and cookies. Because no matter how much he loves his girlfriend, 98% of him only cares about the food.

And I“m sure it“s the same way for the ladies, too. Heaven would die for me—she already has. But as for passing up cookies for my sake? I“m not sure. I wipe my mouth with the inside of my wrist to knock away any possible culmination of drool. The hunger pangs wash through me with an intensity I“ve never felt before, not even when Angel cooked for my birthday and locked me out of the kitchen. I sink lower on my knees, my head bowed as Owl shakes the cookie box.

"Heaven?" I try to be snarky. It“s weak. "What do you want to know about her? The last time I checked you wanted to slash her neck open."

Owl laughs, a small, polite little laugh, as she tips her head to the side. Her black hair cascades down her back like an inky waterfall, and I can“t help staring. It“s clear where Angelos gets his good looks from, though I think he“s be appalled if I mentioned it. Owl smiles good-naturedly.

"No. I wanted to kill you, cat boy. Though I was a little rough on the girl, I“ll admit. I suppose James makes me act a little..." She makes a flourish with her hand, lips pursed as she searches for the right word "...aggressively, if you know what I mean."

"James?" I raise an eyebrow.

"Fallout."

"Oh." The bars chill the back of my neck and I can“t help shivering. The villain nods, resigning to reading the packaging on cookie box over and over, grinning to herself as if thinking a funny joke. A few moments of silence pass between us before she resumes her little monologue.

"I might have unmasked her, broken her arm, crushed a bit of her." The woman blows out a breath from her nose. "She is no match for me."

Part of me wants to shout "She could kick your lousy butt!" and defend Heaven“s honor, but Heaven can defend her honor pretty well without me, and said outburst would make this meeting go a lot rougher between Owl and me, so instead, I twist the collar of my shirt around my finger and ask, "Then why do you care? And how do you even know her name?" My eye twitches when I speak. Each breath brings a tide of blood and sweat, perfume and cookies. It“s a fight to keep from gagging.

Owl snaps her head up, and for a tick of a moment, she almost looks childish, grinning, her hands squeezed together, her eyes lit up like glow-flies. I suppose every supervillain needs someone to vent their brilliant plans to, and that, I suppose, is where those long-furred cats come in. Even Heaven used to do that, pick up one of the Larries and burst in an angst-filled monologue about the follies of youth. I feel a prick in my chest. I“m not gonna sell her out. I“m not a traitor. I repeat it over and over in my head, just to make sure I get the picture and get it good. I am not a traitor. I am not a traitor. No matter what anyone says, no matter how badly I want those cookies, I am not a traitor.

"You must remember that I“ve been gone from Starlight a very long time. After the first wave of superheroes were... disposed of... and I become Syndicate“s new leader, I decided to leave. I suppose I was quite annoyed to come back and see what James did with all this territory."

"And what“s that?"

She snorts, her hands seizing up in a gargantuan gesture that doesn“t match up with the rest of the dignified villain I“ve seen. Briefly, I wonder if she“s drunk.

"Nothing! He did nothing with it. All the time spent crushing those heroes and he lets the new generation run rampant, like rats. You spend years clearing them out of your house, and when more come, you let them settle. It“s ridiculous."

"Yes?" I try not to stare at the cookie box. My hand slides onto the bar. I drum my claws against the steel, listening to the cling, cling, cling. Her gaze narrows as she stares at my hands. "I see." I try to sound agreeable and k

e, and takes a bite. I crawl to the back of the cage and stick my hands over my nose.

"Stop it."

"You don“t like how your friends use you, do you? When a villain goes after them, you have to pay. When Catalyst wanted my son, she took you instead. When I wanted the superhero girl, my henchmen brought you here. Isn“t that right, Felix?"

"Stop it!"

She laughs. I hear her take another bite. "I could take you out of that cage, you know. Feed you. Give you free run. Maybe not all that much freedom at first, but enough for you to shower, change. I could use you, if you joined me. I promise it could be quite profitable for you. You could have anything; I have money to spare."

"Join you?" I laugh a dry, humorless laugh. "Why? To be your pet tiger on a diamond-studded leash? I don“t think so. All I want, lady, is for Heaven to stay safe."

A pause. "That can be arranged."

I stop laughing. "What?"

"I can ensure your girlfriend isn“t hurt. I just want a chat with her, is all."

Somehow, this seems incredibly unlikely, but she has my attention. I lift my head and look at her. She“s still eating. My stomach growls again, and I don“t know how much will-power I have to hang on to. "About what?"

Owl stretches out, a cruel little smile on her face that makes me shiver. "That“s for me to know and you to find out."

"No deal."

"Then you“d rather I left in your cage to reflect?"

I shudder in spite of myself. "You said you“d give me cookies."

"I said that could be arranged. I“m arranging it."

I cross my arms and glare, but Owl knows she“s struck something. She takes another bite and finishes off the cookie, licking her fingers. "You“re cruel."

"As cruel as Poison would be to Heaven if he got her hands on her?"

My hands fall into my lap. It“s a trap. She“s tricking me. The woman“s a supervillain. I don“t want her near Hev, but I heard what Poison said about Hev being broken from the inside. That she would need him and Snare. No. Gats, it“s a trap, it“s—

"You poor thing." Owl shakes her head and clucks her tongue. Strands of glossy hair bounce against her neck. "You“re shaking, you know? I think I“ve given you a nervous tic." She rises back to her feet, and I stare at her boots, making out all the faded seams. "I should leave, shouldn“t I? Give you time to reflect—"

"No!" My voice trembles so deeply I hardly recognize it. I scramble to the bars. "No, Owl, please. I“ll tell you anything you want. Just don“t leave me here."

She smiles down at me. "You are the smarter one. I knew you“d come through."

I nearly choke.

No, I“m not the smarter one of the group.

I“m the traitor.

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