“I’m feeling generous tonight,” Azzie said. He gave another squeeze; her bones were close to breaking under his brutal grip. “I should kill you. It would ideally solve everything. I kill you, here and now, Sun flies us to the Claw, we take the wand, and leave. What I came here to learn, however, is what you told Frank about Zhialliandior.”
Moon blinked stupidly. Impossible to follow his train of thought. What on earth did that have to do with anything?
“Nothing,” she lied. The pain was nearly unbearable; she ground her teeth together to hold back a scream. Tears welled in her eyes. She almost wished he would kill her, just to end the suffering.
“Liar. What did you tell him?”
“I couldn’t tell him anything. I wasn’t there.”
He yanked her forward. There was an audible pop as her right shoulder was dislocated. His claws sank into the velvet of her gauntlets; bluish-violet energy and silver ichor seeped from the wounds. She shrieked in renewed agony.
Frank didn’t budge. His soft snores were oddly incongruous with the violence happening mere yards away.
“I dislike repeating myself. Last chance. What did you tell Rhoades?”
“Everything,” she screamed. “I told him everything. The fire, the Elves, the girl…”
Azzie released her. She sank to the ground to cradle her arm. Her tears flowed freely.
“I said it was rumored that a Dharkyn went insane. I never mentioned your name.”
“Of course. You aren’t supposed to know it. You might have given yourself away. If you’d called me anything it would have been the Black Lord.”
“I told him the forest was destroyed and the Elves were looking for him. I said he was suspect, being an Offworlder. I told him about the murder, too, that he was a suspect in that death as well. I implied he would be executed.”
“That last might be true,” Azzie conceded. “The Elite stir the rabble to argue for Frank’s execution, probably to lure Sun and I into the open. That is none of your affair, however.” He moved behind her again and leaned down to brush his lips obscenely against her ear. “Heed me. Meet with Frank once more, before we reach the Claw.”
“What? Why?” She restrained a shiver. His gossamer hair tickled her back, and his breath was teasingly hot against her neck. The stink of sulfur clung to him, so faint but distinct.