- Crystal Kingdom
“It can still be simple,” I said. “Killing an innocent will only complicate things.”
Bayle snorted. “Since Kennet turned against me and deposed me, I’ve been sentenced to doing Viktor’s dirty work. I’m up to my neck in blood! What’s one more bitch?”
“Viktor will turn on you too,” Konstantin warned him. “The same way he’s turned on me.”
“I’m not an idiot like you. I just wanna get paid,” Bayle sneered. “And right now, Viktor is offering a massive reward for delivering the three of you.” He nodded toward Ridley, myself, and Konstantin. Then he looked down at Tilda, almost speaking in her ear. “What’s one more body to add to the pile?”
“If you hurt her, you will not leave here alive,” I growled at him. “I will kill you with my bare fucking hands, Bayle.”
Bayle started to laugh. “Oh, you really think so?”
Something flashed in Tilda’s eyes, and her body tensed up. Her expression hardened, and there was a resolve in her that I knew all too well from training with her. Tilda was a master of restraint, but she could destroy someone if she wanted to.
“Wait,” Tilda said in a stilted voice. “This is Bayle Lundeen? Bayle, who conspired with Kennet? Bayle, who’s one of the reasons my husband is dead?”
I nodded once. “Yeah. That’s him.”
For the first time, Bayle seemed to realize he might have bitten off more than he could chew, and he looked down at Tilda with new appreciation. Tilda may be pregnant, but she was still tall and strong, with muscular arms and powerful legs.
I was sure that when Bayle had first captured her, she’d been more docile so as not to risk him hurting the baby. But now she was pissed.
With one sudden jerk, she flung her head backward, smashing into Bayle’s face. From where I stood several feet away from her, I heard the sound of his nose crunching. Before he could tilt the knife toward her, she grabbed his wrist, bent it backward, and, using her other arm as leverage, she broke his arm with a loud snap.
It all happened within a few seconds, and Bayle screamed in pain and stumbled back. His arm hung at a weird angle, and blood streamed down his face. But Tilda wasn’t done yet.
With a swipe of her leg, she kicked his legs out from under him. He fell back into the mud, and Tilda kicked him hard in the groin, causing Konstantin to wince beside me. Then she jumped on top of him, punching him repeatedly in the face with both fists.
His body had gone limp, but I wasn’t sure if that was because he was unconscious or dead. Either way, Tilda apparently decided that she wanted to be certain. She grabbed the knife that he’d dropped on the ground beside them, and she stabbed him straight through the heart.
And then she just sat there, kneeling on his dead body and breathing hard. None of us said anything or moved. It felt like she needed the moment to herself.
When she finally stood up, she shook her arms out, probably both because her fists hurt from hitting Bayle so hard and also to get rid of some of the blood.
“Do you feel better?” I asked her.
She nodded, still catching her breath as she walked over to me. “Yeah. We have to do something about these bodies, though. The humans will get suspicious.”
“That girl is a fucking beast,” Konstantin whispered as she walked by, and he looked at her with newfound admiration.
“You should see her when she’s not pregnant,” I said.
Tilda went into the SUV and used a bottle of water and a shirt from her bag to clean off the blood. Eventually, the rest of us would probably want to do the same, but right now we needed to focus on getting the bodies out of here before another car came by.
While Ridley and I went to grab Bayle’s body, Tilda moved all our bags into the backseat so we wouldn’t bloody all our things. Konstantin grabbed Drake’s body, throwing it over his shoulder, and then dropping him unceremoniously in the back.
The challenge was not only moving Måne’s massive body—which took all three of us—but also loading it into the back of the SUV. We had to fold him into a very strange position to get him to fit.
“There’s still one big problem,” Tilda said. While we stood at the back of the vehicle, beside the open tailgate, she was still sitting in the backseat and turned to look at us over the pile of bodies. “These guys were clearly Viktor’s men, and they found us. How?”
Ridley shook his head. “When we left Doldastam, we threw out our phones, and we ditched the Range Rover and rented a car. I don’t know how they could possibly track us.” Then he looked over at Konstantin. “Unless someone told them where we’d be.”
“They tried to kill me too, remember?” Konstantin snapped. “And how would I know that we’d be at this exact spot on this exact shitty road at this time while Tilda was taking a piss?”
“Then how did they find us?” Ridley asked defensively.
“Probably the same way I found Bryn.” He turned back to the bodies and pushed Måne out of the way so he could dig in Drake’s pocket. Then he pulled out a lock of dark curly hair and held it up to Ridley. “He was tracking you.”
Ridley’s face fell, and he ran a hand through his hair, as if he’d be able to feel a missing lock of hair. “Shit.”
“Shit indeed.” Konstantin gave him a hard look, then he slammed the hatchback shut. He walked around the car and got inside, leaving Ridley and me alone.