We landed hours later and Drake grabbed his cell phone to dial Monty’s number and alert him of our arrival as I rested against a tree nearby.
“We’re here, Monty.”
…“Where is here…?”
“Egypt…somewhere. Where are you?”
…“Meet me at the Sphinx in twenty…”
Drake ended the call and turned to me. “How are you feeling?”
I smiled amorously and he met my look with a quick kiss. “We have to get to the Sphinx. Monty thinks he’s found Lily and Zavier. I love this change in you,” he whispered against my neck. “Perhaps a little alone time was all we needed.”
“Let’s get to Monty first; I’d like to know he’s safe.” His lips pressed hard against mine again and I didn’t resist him grabbing a hand full of my breasts as he kissed me.
He and I quickly made our way to the Sphinx; the hot desert sun was beaming down with ferocity warming my skin before the death chill took over my flesh once more. “Why would a vampire want to come here?” I grumbled as we walked to the meeting place.
Monty was standing in front of the entrance to one of the seven wonders. He smiled as he saw us approaching and quickly moved to hug his nephew. “It’s so good seeing you, boy,” his accent was just as thick and lovely as I remembered.
I watched as they greeted one another and made a little small talk before he turned his attention to me.
“And there’s my beautiful niece!” he said squeezing me in his arms.
He let me slip from his grip and I smiled. “Hi Uncle,” I said kissing his cheek. “It’s so great seeing you’re well.”
“You never told her about me, eh, Drake? I may look old dear, but I am very capable of handling myself.”
“I’m well aware of that Uncle,” I smiled remembering the way he’d rescued me from the Savages before. “You’re my hero.”
“The secret of the Sphinx, my dear. What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?”
“Man,” I smiled slyly. “It represents the stages of life, you crawl, you walk and you use a cane.”
“Exactement, ma Belle. Beauty and brains, what do you see in my nephew?”
“Hey, hey! I’m standing right here, Unk!” Drake said with a smile. He moved closer to us. “So where are they?”
With a slight nod, he motioned for the Sphinx. “They’ve been running like fiends from something. Knowing his habits though, I figured he’d return to his prized throne room underneath this place; unfortunately for him, he’s about to find that he’s run out of hiding spots.”
“I just want to rip Lily’s face off,” I said cracking my knuckles.
Drake smiled at me. “You can have first dibs, then.”
We entered into the monument and were immediately met with booby traps. “There are plenty of these things throughout, so be on your guard at all times,” Monty expressed.
“Perhaps we should give Vincent a call? He would know his way around this place very well,” I suggested.
“No, we’ll figure it out. Let’s move on.”
“So who’s going to be the guinea pig?” I asked looking at Drake.
“Oh that’s nice, baby, first Chris and now you. Fine, I know my place in this family,” he smiled. He stepped on top of the foot holder and Monty and I stood on point waiting to see what would happen.
We watched as the fire traps in the room all sealed and the other end of the room became visible. “Hmm those statues look similar to the ones we encountered in China,” Drake noted.
He walked towards one and began pulling it from its position against the wall and pushing it into one of the available slots on the back panel. An instant clicking sound indicated that the item was correctly placed and Drake smiled.
He moved to the other side of the room to do the same with the other statue before walking back to the center of the room.
The room shifted and we were standing in what appeared to be a loot room. There were statues, gems and piles of gold lining the floors of the tomb.
“How much of this is part of the actual Sphinx?” I asked looking around.
The two were ignoring my question as they playfully argued over who will set off the next trap.
“I’m not sticking my hand down there, Monty.”
“Oh come on, Drake, it’ll heal!”
“Then why don’t you do it?”
“Because I’m older, I told you to do it.”
“What kind of argument is that?” Drake laughed.
“It’s the kind that means if you don’t stick your hand in there we’ll be stuck in this room forever.”
I watched them go back and forth and couldn’t help but laugh. “I’ll do it.”
“No! No Zoe, that is definitely out of the question,” he said turning to face me. He sighed. “Alright Monty if I retrieve a stub from that damn thing I’m beating you with it!”
“Oui,” he said stepping back beside me. “Drake is taking on all the work, it’s kind of nice don’t you think Belle?”
“Oui,” I replied to which he smiled.
Drake knelt and placed his arm down the gap on the floor. “There’s something in here,” he said fidgeting with a latch down the dark hole.
“Whoa!” I said watching the floor near him open up to reveal a staircase leading down the ancient relic.
We came to a door and ventured forward. The chasm was eerily quiet which only meant there was something lying in wait, and knowing Zavier, it wasn’t going to be pleasant.
We navigated down the halls to locate the next section or find where we were. “Uncle, how long have you been hunting these two?” I asked as we came to yet another turn.
“Since learning what that witch did. I was of course shocked at first. The Bordeaux clan has been nothing if not loyal for well over 200 years! I cannot imagine what caused Lily to do what she did to Drake.”
“Trust me, standing in front of her that night would have only confused you more. The look in her eyes right before…,” I stopped myself and forced the image out of my head.
“Honey? It’s ok. I’m here now and I’m not going anywhere,” Drake said stopping to check on me.
I smiled and he brushed a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “Let’s keep moving.”
We finally reached the end of the hall, only to be met with a chained door that seemed to only be released by the key latch holder on the wall.
“So now what?”
“Now you get to see the strength of your dear old Uncle,” Monty smiled.
“Oh yeah, he works when he feels he can be impressive,” Drake retorted.
“Of course, Son. Haven’t I taught ya anything?” he smiled.
Monty turned to the chains and crushed them in his palm before opening the door for Drake and me to enter. “After you my Beauty,” he gestured.
We walked through a room filled with stagnant pools of water leading to yet another chained door.
“Allow me,” Drake said stepping forward to break the chains this time.
“My hero,” I feigned excitement. Once he’d removed them he turned to me with a smile.
“You’re damn right,” he yanked me into his arms and bent me over, planting a kiss hard on my lips before strutting through the next door.
“Show off!” Monty yelled after him.
“You encouraged it!” I reminded him.
“Wow…when I finally get my hands on that Zavier, remind me to give him an extra hard kick for each of these rooms,” Monty said staring at the maze of death in front of us.
“You know what? Screw this. I’ve had enough of this place. Can I get a boost?” Drake lifted me and helped me atop a pedestal and I sat and summoned source magic.
“Word of warning, hold on to something,” I reached the height of my powers and sent several whirlwinds throughout the room. They slowly built up in the corner before sweeping through the air, devouring everything in their wake.
“Now let’s get to this throne room!”
“Majorly impressive, Zoe,” Monty said helping me down from my perch.
We came to a set of stairs, the last set as we heard voices on the other side of the wall. “Looks like we’ve reached the end,” I remarked.
“Shh,” Monty held his hand up.
He signaled for Drake to enter through the side of the room and he’d go around to the other. “Zoe, offer us up a nice little distraction.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Walk right through the front door,” he smiled.
They took their positions and I closed my eyes to assume my source before doing just as Monty said.
I entered inside and found Lily and Zavier sitting at the end of the long room. They were formally dressed and drinking glasses of blood.
“Zoe?” Zavier said standing as he watched me approach. “Well talk about a wedding present! Have you come to offer yourself to me? Finally…,” he grinned at me as he neared.
“Just as pretty as I remember. And that scent…your blood seems to only grow finer with age just like the bottle behind me.”
“And you’re just as long winded!”
“Whoa, still as feisty. I could have guessed that. Lily Sweetie, do you see who came for a visit?”
“I see her, Zavier. I can only wonder what it is she wants.”
“I think you both know why I’m here.”
Lily stood and stepped behind Zavier. “Well if it’s revenge you’re after, come back in another 400 years Sweetheart.”
“I won’t need to do that. I have a little help from an old friend of yours.”
“Friend?” Zavier perked up.
I grinned, “Karver Styx says hello.”
Instantly their expressions darkened and I saw a glint of fear in Zavier’s eyes. “Did I sour your mood?”
“Zoe you don’t want to mess with Karver. He won’t release his claws once he gets a grip.”
“Funny, I heard the same thing about you.”
“But really, what did I do that was so offensive?”
“Uh, you had that whore behind you kill my husband, wiped my memories, tortured me, threatened me almost every day for a year, popped in on me when you pleased, made me kill innocent witches…should I continue?”
Zavier thought for a moment. “Karver’s not with you. I can’t sense him. In fact…I can’t sense anyone. You really came here alone? Zoe, I thought you were smarter than that. You walked right in here and threaten me like some silly little girl without the ability to back this up?”
“Oh did I forget to mention, I had another little surprise for you.”
Drake walked into the room. His eyes were molten and his approach gathered fearful stares from both Lily and Zavier. “How?”
“Hello, Lily,” Drake said ignoring Zavier.
“D-D-Drake…how…?” she stood bewildered.
“That’s not the question. The question is,” his entire body went to flames. “How do you want to die?”
“I didn’t forget my promise to you, Beautiful,” he smiled at me. “Have at her, but save some for me.”
“And me!” Uncle Monty said entering the room.
“You’re about to see the reason your lover wanted my source. Though I think a good old-fashioned ass whooping is more appropriate for you, magic would be too easy.”
“Bring it Barbie,” Lily said with a smile.
I charged her knocking her to the ground. The speed in my step surprised her; she was expecting to thoroughly dominate the battle because of her age. I stood over her and watched as the fear took her once again. I smiled as each fist found their spot perfectly.
She kicked at me sending frustrated blows to my midsection and face before I blocked her next advance. Her heels scraped across my stomach causing me to double back.
I pushed her foot away and sent my right hand towards the bridge of her nose. I felt the bone snap under my hand and watched the blood begin to pour.
Drake watched as my hands and feet warped Lily’s face into a bloodied mess. He kept an eye on Zavier to ensure he had no ideas and Uncle Monty stood near him cheering on the action.
Her blows became even more frantic as she felt my strength overpowering hers. I charged at her once more, enjoying feeling her flesh separate from her bone. I was excited knowing she’d pay for the pain she caused, the months of agony both Drake and I endured because of her.
She began to stagger as my high kick caught her off guard. I took advantage and sent a flurry of fists at her watching her stumble and nearly collapse to the ground. She pushed at me before catching me with another heel to the face.
Drake came up and pulled me back, “Let me finish her,” he whispered in my ear.
I stepped near Uncle Monty whose eyes never left Zavier and watched as Drake prepared to send Lily to her forever hell.
“I guess it’s fitting I’m wearing black,” she mused at him. She turned her attention to Zavier and blew him a kiss.
Drake punched his fist through her as she’d done to him, but she didn’t die. Even as he held her heart in his hand, she dropped to her knees, but her body seemed suspended; frozen in time.
Zavier rushed to her as her last word was his name and looked afraid and shocked though he refused to allow himself to mourn her.
“Why isn’t she…?” I started.
“She’s moving to the pit. Her death and torture are far from over,” he grinned. “She deserves more than a simple slap on the wrist, Zoe. And that’s what she’ll get.”
“And you,” he said turning his attention to Zavier. “Karver has his own plans for you.”
“Uncle, can you see Zoe home for me? I have to deliver these two to their new home.”
His eye color softened as he turned to me. “I love you, baby, I’ll see you as soon as I’m done,” he said kissing me.
“What other abilities do you have, Drake?”
He smiled, “That was something Karver gave me specifically for the torture room. We can talk about that later though, get home; give Chris a kiss for me.”
“Ready my Dear?” Monty escorted me back through the maze of sprung traps and outside. “This is a much different place at night,” he remarked as the stars sparkled high above us.
“Yes, much cooler! I can’t understand why Zavier chose the desert for his throne room…it’s a little on the brightside for a vampire.”
We walked in silence before he turned to me. “How long has Drake been able to burst into flames like that?”
“Since he returned, it’s something he received during his time in the pit.” I stopped myself. I didn’t know how much to tell him. “So what’s next for you?”
“Well, with those two heading into what I can only imagine to be a world of pain, I can…I don’t know. I left the Syndicate. I don’t really have an occupation per se.”
“You’re not considering returning there?”
“Never. I’m sick of the politics. Maybe I’ll come and visit with you for a while. I’d love to meet my great nephew.”
“And we’d love to have you.”
He smiled. “Let’s get you back to him then my Dear.” He turned to me once more before changing forms. His voice took on a graver tone and his face was stern. “Watch Drake carefully; power corrupts, it consumes. If he is relying mostly on this new ability, he’ll lose himself quickly. Call me if anything at all happens to him.”
I nodded and we started home.
Drake entered into the Pit with Zavier and Lily in tow, Karver waited to greet them. “Well done, Steele.”
He grinned watching them usher into the torture room. “I’m going to watch a while, Drake. I’d love to see what all the demons here fear you for. And I’m sure Lily is about to thoroughly enjoy her moments in the hell I’ve prepared for you.”
Drake tossed Lily on the table first. He grabbed the claw he’d told Zoe about and stood over her waiting. “Feel free to scream, Lily. This is going to hurt.”