We reunited with Mary and Chance, and Lainie ran up to her cousin, throwing her arm around him.
“What happened?” Mary asked.
“Ran into trouble. It doesn’t matter,” I said. “He saw you?”
“I was quiet enough. It’s like he has eyes in the back of his head.”
“But did he see you?”
“No,” Mary said. “I ducked out of the way as his head turned.”
I nodded, trying not to let Mary know just how much my heart was pounding.
“He’s taunting us, telling us to get inside. He has his wife hostage.”
“Candida. Candy. Or Emily, depending,” I said. I couldn’t keep my hands still as I wrung clammy sweat off one hand with the other, then reversed the process, effectively getting myself nowhere. I was very aware of how cold it was and yet not cold at all. The terrified energy that brimmed inside of me was such that I could have stood wet and naked in a blizzard and the cold wouldn’t have been the first, second, or even the third thing to register.
Snow drifted down around us. It was already getting dark.
“I think I can beat him,” Mary said. “But not him and the soldiers together.”
“He won’t give you the chance, and I don’t want to belittle your abilities…” I said, trailing off as I gave Mary an up-down look. She had a tear in her lip, and her best efforts to wipe her face clean hadn’t mended the messy red mark that ran down from one corner of her mouth to her chin. Her nose had been smashed, and she still had dried blood edging her nostrils. One of her eyes was bloodshot. I could see from the way that she moved that she wasn’t nearly as graceful as she should be. She had her arms folded and leaned against a wall, and I suspected part of her reasoning for taking that pose was that it hurt to move. “…But you’re hurt.”
“Do you have a better plan?”
I glanced at the church, a block away.
“That’s not a yes,” she said.
“Yes,” I said. It wasn’t wholly the truth.
She gave me a look.
I wasn’t sure if she was going to comment. I didn’t wait for it. I pulled away from Mary, taking a step toward the church and the Baron.
Mary grabbed my arm. Quick. “What are you doing?”
I turned around, walking backward, my eyes on Mary. I could see Chance and Lainie just a short distance away, Chance still holding Lainie, who had her head buried against his shoulder.
“Wait. Stay. Don’t do anything, and whatever you do, don’t reveal yourself,” I said. “I’m going to convince him I’m operating alone.”
“Sy,” Mary said.
“Wait,” I said. In the process, I let way too much of the emotion I was feeling affect my tone of voice. My voice nearly cracked. I took a short breath, then said, “Wait. Or we both die, and the rest of the Lambs suffer as punishment.”
“I hear you, Sy. But if you’re talking about me being unable to fight because I’m hurt… are you any better off?”
“I’m not that hurt. Able bodied.”
“But your head… you’re not thinking clearly. No, that’s not right. You’re sharp, but you’re… detached, something’s off. I’m not able to do what I do best, which is-”
“Making people bleed,” I said. “I understand. I’m not in good thinking shape, maybe. But I’m not planning to think.”
“You want to fight?” She asked. She saw the expression on my face change. “Sy…”
“In the meantime,” I said. “Don’t show yourself. It’s all turned around. I’m having to fight. I need you to put the weapons aside and think. Be sharp, be wary. Keep an eye out for opportunity. But whatever you do-”
“Don’t show myself. Sy, I want to be a part of this,” she said.
“You are,” I said. “You’re one of the most important parts of this, believe me.”
It was the truth, but not in the way she wanted. She was one of the biggest considerations I had to keep in mind. I couldn’t let this mission jeopardize Mary, Lillian, or any of the other Lambs.
I saw the look in her eyes, and I relented. “Don’t worry. I’m not expecting to win. But I’ve got to convince him I’m operating alone. We need him to let his guard down. I can do that, but the instant he thinks there’s more than one Lamb-”
“Lambs!” the Baron cried out. “Last chance!”
I tugged my arm free of Mary’s hand. She was still taking in my words, processing the plan, such as it was.
“Do you have a knife?” she asked.
I raised a foot and touched my boot. I’d left the knife behind after meeting the Infante.
“I thought it was missing.” She pressed a knife into my hand. “Anything else?”
“Everything else. If you have anything from Simon’s lab-”
She quickly found and held out a syringe, packets of powder like the ones I’d collected, and one of the ribbons she’d pulled from her hair.
“Anticoagulant,” Mary said, about the syringe. “It’s probably not strong enough to work on the Baron. Or you.”
I kept one packet, took the syringe filled with clear liquid, and grabbed the ribbon. My first thought on taking the ribbon was that it was a memento, not on how I could use it as a weapon.
The thought almost paralyzed me. I made myself move, and I was hasty enough about it that I almost stumbled, my actions too forceful.
The world had been turned upside down. The only way forward was one that wouldn’t let me lean on the Lambs. I was having to fight. Mary was having to hold back. All of my usual social finesse was now clumsy and brutish.
I shucked off my coat as I approached the church, letting it fall. Putting everything where it needed to be, knife in boot, powders between the belt-line of my pants and my hips, I freed myself to work with the syringe. I squeezed out two thirds of the contents, then raised the needle to my face. I hauled out the plunger, and with it, a share of the vitreous fluid from within my eyeball.
It was tricky work, when I was walking as fast as I was. I tore off a corner of a packet and added the contents to the fluid. I did the same for another packet, and then replaced the plunger. I shook it, mixing it as well as I could, and then put the needle into my left eye.
My head pounded as I forced the contents into the orb of my eye. Fluid bubbled out from the insertion point, and it burned as it touched my eyelid and cheek. The same things that Simon had used to make his gas, though the combinations and quantities were wrong. I tossed the emptied syringe aside and rubbed my cheek with the back of one hand. I was careful to avoid the bloated, drug-treated eye itself, which I couldn’t even close my eyelid around.
I fished past the packets in one pocket until I found the eyepatch, and pulled it on. I was just in time to round the corner and find myself near the front the church. A dozen soldiers were gathered at the double doors. More were gathered around the perimeter of the church, with several to each of the side entrances.
They watched me as I approached. All men, older, some with scars and uniforms that had likely been updated or newly tailored for the engagement event.
Not a one of them moved a muscle as I approached, except to turn their heads, following my approach. It was left to me to open the heavy church doors. I had to press my full weight against one of the double doors to get it open. I stepped into the church proper.
The Baron was there, sitting on the stage where the altar would have been, had he had an altar, one of his arms around Candida. He smiled as I entered.
I took in the surroundings. The windows on either side of the church were tall, but high up off the ground, hard to access without a ladder. The little light that shone through was dulled by the dust that caked the window surfaces. Candles throughout the church had been lit, many set haphazardly, and the wind that blew in from behind me made the little flames dance, filling the entire church with a wavering of light and darkness.
Two rows of ten pews, with a black carpet stabbing through the aisle, from door to stage. Of the pews, roughly a third of them had occupants, as caked with dust as the windows were. Some were skeletal, others effectively mummified. I looked at them as I moved further from the door, and I could see the thick, old-fashioned nails that had been driven through the backs of their knees and into the wooden beams that I supposed were knelt on during prayer. Similar nails attached elbows or forearms to the back of the pew in front of them.
A screaming, tortured death as they slowly bled out or died of exposure, I imagined. Forever trapped in a position of prayer, kneeling with hands together. Now that the Baron was atop the altarless stage, it almost looked as though they were praying to him.
Arrogance at its finest.
“The first ones came here to worship,” the Baron spoke. “I insisted they stay. The others came to reclaim their family members.”
I glanced at Candida.
Her eyes were still blind, staring at nothing in particular. She clutched her hands together.
“Are the others lurking outside, Sylvester?” the Baron asked. “Is this the point where you do what you do best, and bait me into a trap? Talk my head in circles while your friends maneuver around me?”
I saw Candida’s lips move. Sylvester.
I wasn’t sure what to read in her expression. I’d made a promise to Lillian that I would help Candida. Was it hope I saw, or despair?
“Or are you alone?” the Baron purred.
The word caught my attention. My eye met his.
“You are. I can see it,” he said. “That’s a look I’ve seen on many faces.”
I remained where I was, halfway down the aisle. Behind me, the door slammed shut.
“When addressed by a noble, law dictates you must reply and reply with due respect, Sylvester,” the Baron said.
The nice thing about walking away from all of this is that I don’t have to pay attention to what the law dictates.
My teeth clenched. I walked between the pews so I could keep walking while maintaining a moderate distance from the Baron. I chose a direction that would keep my good eye pointed his way.
“Nothing to say, then. Shall I put the lovely miss Candida Gage to the sword, then?”
He moved the arm that held her against his side, and gripped her head, moving it to expose her throat. In one smooth motion, he drew his rapier, and moved it to her bare neck.
The barely-restrained emotion that had inured me against the cold made me somehow able to stand still as he drew the sword against the flesh of her neck. A line of blood appeared, then widened. Her hands went up, clutching at his wrist, and yet she was unable to stop him as he moved the sword back and forth, sawing faintly against the flesh of her throat as if he was playing a violin.
Her movements were wrong, not nearly as forceful as they should have been, given the situation. The damage was superficial, the sword fine and of the highest quality, capable of cutting the skin and leaving what lay beneath intact. Her fingernails dragged against the fabric of his jacket, and found no purchase where they should have.
Her eyes weren’t the only thing the man had hobbled.
I didn’t give him anything. Not a flinch, a reaction, or an intake of breath.
He let Candida go, and she flopped to the stage, hands at her neck. All she knew was pain, she felt the flow of blood. She might well have thought she was dying, without knowing the major veins and arteries were all intact.
He hopped down from the stage. I moved through the pews and then back, maintaining a distance, wary.
He had better doctors than either of the Twins, and it had taken more than one Lamb to take out any of the Twins. I’d told Mary that I expected to lose and that it was part of the plan. That wasn’t wholly true. Leaning on Mary like that, relying on her, it was a point of failure for the greater plan. Too much chance that she would be seen.
No, I was alone here.
Since a long, long time ago, not even that long after we had lost Evette and the first Ashton, I had known about the expiration dates. I had known I would be alone in this. That, one day, I would find myself faced with a mission I couldn’t say no to, faced with an enemy I couldn’t win against, without a single Lamb to stand by me.
I’d had bad dreams about it. Some intense, others like bad memories, slipping away before I could remember particulars. The stages differed, as did the enemies I faced, but the feeling was always the same.
It was a feeling that made it hard to breathe.
He felt the weight of his rapier in his hand, as if testing it. Then he hurled it.
I didn’t move a muscle as the blade plunged into the pew nearest me, the end wobbling with the force of the impact.
“Take it,” the Baron said.
I glanced at the blade, but I didn’t move.
“Take the sword, Sylvester. I’ll wait.”
I took a step forward, watching him, and reached up for the handle of the blade. I tugged, and it didn’t come free. I pulled again, and it moved down like a lever might, while the tip remained embedded. A third tugged hauled it free.
His narrow, bright-green eyes mocked me. He moved left, then right, fine clothes and too-fine hair moving like quicksilver around him. Only his face seemed like it was in focus, steady amid hair and clothes that flowed almost like water might. He moved forward, stepping up onto the seat of the pew. He stepped onto the back of the next pew, then down onto the seat of it, cutting a direct path toward me.
He picked up speed as he closed the distance. Both hands on the rapier’s handle, I moved to intercept, ducking low, aiming for the lower stomach and groin, stabbing.
He slapped the blade with the back of a hand, the slap carrying enough force that I felt it in my shoulder. He closed the distance, stepping so close that the toes of his left shoe nearly touched the toes of my right one.
His right leg, however, came up. His knee caught me in the chin. My teeth were already clenched tight together, and I wasn’t sure if that helped or not. Teeth might have broken if my mouth had been open and driven closed, but as it was, the impact shook my head and its contents. I tumbled to the ground, the rapier falling from my hand, and was left sitting in the leftmost aisle, staring up at the man, while the various candles around the church seemed to brighten until they blinded me.
I made a promise to Lillian, I reminded myself.
He was waiting patiently, as I reached for and found the rapier. I wavered a little as I got to my feet and straightened. My eye wandered. Candida was still sitting on the stage, now with a glove removed, folded up, and pressed to the bleeding wound at her throat. Beside her was my imagined Lillian, ever silent.
The lights remained so bright I could barely see the Baron. He walked toward me, confident.
“I was raised being taught that we all have a place in the world, Sylvester,” the Baron said. “But I’ve come to think of that as complete and utter tripe. The world isn’t that inflexible. We break new ground on a daily basis.”
I made like I was going to retreat, then stepped in, swinging. Again, he used his hand, striking at the flatter side of the blade, as if this was all proceeding in slow motion. I was more prepared for it this time, and recovered enough to make a quick slash in the opposite direction. This time, as his hand moved toward it, I turned the blade.
He, too, changed the position of his hand. With the same ease he might toss his hair with a movement of his hand, he moved the blade up and away, the flat of the blade momentarily sliding past knuckles and the back of his hand. It was so forceful I nearly lost my grip on the blade as it went from being pointed in his general direction to being pointed the complete other way.
Reaching down, he seized me by the collar. With a heave, he lifted me and threw me into the pews, through one of the decrepit bodies that decorated it. Dust and death filled my nostrils, while wood found its way into my solar plexus and the side of my neck, leaving me groaning and coughing.
“Advancement is possible. So is falling,” he said. “And both are very difficult, painful things. Change always is.”
He found where the rapier had fallen, put his foot on it, and kicked it, sending it skidding across the floor to me.
“From the moment I was reborn as a proper noble, taken apart and put together as something greater, I grabbed hold of that idea. The pain and difficulty that go hand in hand with change. I was bitter, Sylvester. I realized how this system really works and where I stood in the grand scheme of it all. I saw the injustice of it, and it ate away at me.”
A Baron who would never really have true power. Barely above bastard nobles in status. I had to pay attention to who my enemy was.
I pulled myself to my feet, pulling away a tattered bit of cloth that had transferred from the body to me before I reached down for the sword. I coughed.
“And here I’d wondered if you’d taken something into your mouth, hoping to spit it at me at an opportune moment. Not with that cough, though. What was I saying?” he asked. He was approaching along the pew. He hooked one toe at the base of the skull of the body I’d just been tossed through, flicked it into the air, and caught it with one hand. ” They saw me as dangerous, so they hobbled me even further. Put me here.”
He punctuated ‘here’ by throwing the skull, straight down to the ground. It shattered.
As I retreated, trying to catch my breath, I moved past my imagining of Jamie.
“And here I’ve rotted. Stagnated. I’m a symbol, don’t you see? I’m a noble, seemingly nothing more, nothing less. I’m here because they needed a noble here. I’m expendable. It would drive anyone mad with boredom, left to write letters and beg for permission to go elsewhere or to visit another noble. Just me…”
He moved quickly, three running steps without any warning he was doing it. I only barely got the sword around in time to swing it in his direction, trying to ward him off. He moved back just enough to let it move past him, then hooked one toe behind my ankle, toppling me to the tattered black carpet that ran through the middle of the church. I wasn’t even fully settled there when he kicked me, sending me rolling.
Mere pain was an old companion of mine. I could deal with that more than my skull being rattled or my breath stolen away. I gripped the sword harder.
“Just me and the freedom to do with my little township what I wanted. I latched on to that idea I’d been convinced of as I was reborn. How closely linked pain and struggle are to greatness.”
I stood again, one hand at my chest where he’d kicked me, rapier again in hand.
“Told you not to fight him, Sy,” Gordon spoke, his voice soft but still carrying from where he sat by the destroyed body, behind the Baron.
“Don’t worry, Sylvester,” the Baron said. “I’m not one of those fanatics who put far too much stock in Wallace’s Law or anything of the sort. I’m not going to say that I’m creating better people by doing what I do to them. I simply like to see people suffer, to see how it unfolds, what it reveals about them. And I like to see what it lacks, compared to the suffering that goes hand in hand with greatness. That is where I find you amusing, Sylvester. You straddle that line. So talented, yet so small.”
Small. I did feel small. The hits I’d taken to my stomach and chest were making it hard to breathe, and that paralleled the crushing loneliness I’d been feeling for a while now, compounding it, as if I could no longer shake it or turn my mind from it.
I had to find a way to hurt him, to cut him down, as impossible as it seemed. Had to, for Mary’s sake.
I saw Mary at the window, and for a moment, I thought it was really her, not an imagining.
I knew what I was doing, and why. My brain was reflexively reaching out for pillars of strength to draw on, where they felt so absent. It wasn’t so different from me seeking the easy familiarity of Jamie, after we’d lost him. Just like Jamie, the effect of this reflex wasn’t anything close to being reassuring or encouraging. The candles remained too bright, but the darkness seemed to get darker, and with each apparition that appeared to watch me fail, the loneliness became crushing.
Was this what the Twin had experienced in her last moments?
He stepped close. I moved the sword, then abandoned it, ducking in closer, too low to be in his reach, as I freed the knife from my boot. I turned, looking to hamstring, cut the Achilles tendon, for any vulnerable area-
His hand caught mine, effectively trapping my hand as it gripped the knife handle.
He squeezed, and I felt the strain in the small bones of my hands, fingers threatening to break and dislocate as he ground them against the knife handle.
My free hand went back, seizing the gun I’d put behind my belt. I brought it around as fast as I could, and he struck it with his hand.
Fragments of the gun scattered the pews and grounds of the church, struck so hard the chamber, barrel, and handle had broken free of one another.
He backhanded me across the face, very casually, then slapped me.
Before I could even see straight again, he backhanded me again. I moved my head, trying to put myself out of his reach, and was struck across the head. The jewelry on his fingers had cut me in a dozen places. I had blood running through my hair and down my face.
I saw a glimpse of Ashton, his hair red in a much different way, expression blank, no advice to be offered.
The Baron let go of my crushed hand, and I felt my numb fingers losing their grip on the knife. I caught it with my other hand just before it fell to the ground, and we were so close together that I knew he hadn’t seen.
“Baron,” I spoke, and my voice was ragged.
“He talks after all,” the Baron said.
“I killed your last sister,” I said.
There was nothing. No momentary surprise, no turn of his head to look at me better, no emotion.
I stabbed, and his forearm caught mine, deflecting the blow. The hand at the end of that forearm caught me by the side of my head.
Again, he threw me bodily into the pews, but this time, the throw coincided with pain that swallowed up all vision in my good eye, filling it with darkness and stars. I felt blood flowing.
I blinked, struggling to make out the situation and surroundings.
I could see him dusting himself off with one hand, the other hand held at a distance. He let the ragged bit of tissue fall to the floor and then crushed it beneath his heel. My ear, torn from my head.
“What did you expect, Sylvester? That you would taunt me with the death of my last sister, and I would bare my neck, show you a moment of weakness? I know where I stand in the grand scheme of things, I know where I come from and where I’m slated to go. Where I was slated to go, that is, before you and Mauer handed me the key to a greater future. My sisters… are not so important. I have no attachment to them.”
Again, he made his approach.
He wanted to break me. He sought to keep on giving me chances and taking pieces of me, until I finally gave up. Why? To see some glimmer of what lay within me? For amusement? Because I was the closest thing he had to a peer?
Whatever his reasons, he was succeeding. I could look to the phantoms of the Lambs around me, and I could remind myself of the reasons, but I couldn’t see a way forward, not on a lot of levels.
I stared at the Baron, and I stoked the fires of hatred, knife still clutched in my hand. A weapon incapable of doing the kind of damage I needed to do to the man.
“I’ll wrap this up, change clothes, and go to greet the nobles. If you’re the only troublemaker to show, I’ll find that disappointing, but I’ll find other ways to amuse myself, knowing that the bastards who’ve been lording their power over me will soon get theirs.”
“I know,” I said. I backed away as he approached, and my injured face managed a smile. “I talked to the Infante before I came here. He arrived early, and I told him what you were doing.”
I got to watch as his expression transformed. The amusement dripped away.
“I see. I suppose I should deal with you now and handle that.”
There were no more games, and there was no more intent to break. He stalked toward me, a gleam of murder in his eyes, and I didn’t have the tools to stop him.
He grabbed me by the throat, lifting me off the ground.
Then, with a remarkable sort of ease, the heel of his hand pressed in and something gave, taking away my ability to breathe.
There were no final words from him. No mockery, no comments. His green eyes stared into mine. I tried to breathe and to cough, and only produced the wheezing crackle of air pushing hopelessly against cartilage. I could breathe, but only a whisper’s worth, not enough to survive.
The darkness was getting darker still, creeping in around the edges.
Helen. She was the last of the real Lambs to appear, perched on a pew like a cat might be. I saw her smile as I strained to breathe. A gentle, warm smile that didn’t fit the situation. Very her.
My hand reached up, and I grabbed the patch, pulling it down. The fluid that had collected where the bottom of the patch pressed into the skin now leaked. A crimson, poisoned tear. There was no comment from the Baron on the state of my eye. All the same, really, I couldn’t have quipped a response back either.
Summoning all of the strength I had left, I brought my fingers up into the orb, hard, compressing it. Fluid that had been filling it to bursting jetted out through the holes the syringe had made. A movement of my head directed the thin, twin streams into the Baron’s own eyes. The eye, still not fully connected to my head, still held the vast majority of the poison I’d injected into it.
I’d had other plans for the eye, should the situation had differed. A talk over dinner hadn’t been impossible, nor a situation where he’d had me pinned, his face inches from mine. But this… this had been the most likely scenario. They always liked to pick me up, my legs dangling, and lord their power over me.
You want to know what lies beneath this Lamb, Baron, after you dig deep enough?
He twisted his head away, letting me drop without letting me go.
My fingers reached up, past the somewhat deflated eye, hooking in behind to grab the stem that anchored it. Not fully attached, it wasn’t as hard as it might be to haul it free.
In the moment it looked like he might recover, I squeezed the orb. driving out the last remaining juice in a substantial gush, aimed for his face.
I’m a monster.
He dropped me, and I fell to the ground. Choking, no air to be had, darkness creeping in, I drew out the packets, tearing them. I cast the poisonous and noxious powders at him, striving to overwhelm, to give him no more of a chance to breathe than I had.
I staggered forward, and the blinded noble crawled away from me, hand moving this way and that, as if anticipating that I would draw in close.
I reached into a pocket for another packet, and there was only one thing remaining.
Syringe filled with the Wyvern formula in hand, I approached the Baron. Before I could get there, arms embraced me.
She’d been rendered so weak that I, injured and nearly suffocated, could easily pull out of her grasp. I didn’t. I felt her arms and the warmth of her body, and I stared at the Baron, who was getting further away.
I felt a knife touch my throat, and I tried my best to freeze. Instead, my head lolled forward.
I’d put off sleeping so much over the years, and now it felt like it was catching up with me. Except this was a much deeper slumber.
“Let me help you,” she said. “If this doesn’t work, I’m going to need that syringe.”
Possessively, I held on to the syringe. I didn’t want to let it go. Not even if I died.
The blade penetrated my throat. A moment later, Candida’s finger penetrated the wound. I felt stabbing pains as it moved up, where the throat was blocked.
The pain as she shifted the damaged portion was as bad as anything yet. I coughed, and wind whistled freely past her fingers.
Her finger came free, and her arms let me go.
Again, the candles seemed so bright. My awareness of the world was detached, filled with phantoms, to the point that reality was hard to distinguish. It took me a moment to realize I was staring at the Baron, who was in the midst of recovering.
“Clever boy,” he said, voice clearly affected by with the gas he’d inhaled. “Clever boy.”
I heard the scrape of metal on stone.
“That sword won’t do you any good, Candida,” the Baron said. “My organs are protected. My throat can’t be cut, and you’ve given me immortality, you stupid girl. You’ll have to whittle at me for an hour, and neither of you have the strength to do that. If either of you move one step closer, I’ll call my guards.”
One of my hands pressed to my throat, where the slit marked it, and the other held the fat Wyvern syringe, still in its leather case. I stared at the Baron, trying to figure out the next move.
He could barely see us as we stood there, blinking as if his eyelids had weights attached to them.
It was Candida who did it. Driven by rage, by fury, or something else, I couldn’t say. But she saw a moment where he didn’t seem to be seeing very clearly and she ran. The Baron tried to raise his voice, only to find it strangled by the poison he’d inhaled. Candida carried the thin, lightweight rapier as if it was as heavy as a greatsword, but she managed to raise it for a thrust for his chest. He moved his hand, smacking it aside.
I chose that same moment to stab the leather case for his heart. He caught my wrist.
My other hand, holding the syringe, plunged the syringe into his bleary eye. Both of his hands seized me, fighting me, up until Candida managed a second thrust, piercing his lower chest. I managed to sink it in as deep as it would go. I’d managed the right angle. Past the bone inside the eye socket, and into the cavity where the brain was.
He froze. The rapier blade kept one of his arms from moving to intercept me. The other groped me, searching for a hold.
“Tell me,” I said, my voice a whistle, blood bubbling at the cut, “Tell me what happens to the children you take from Warrick. You pretend they’re turned into Firstborn, but they serve some other use. What?”
His eye locked onto mine.
He smiled, and then he laughed, a choking sound.
I would get no answers here. I wasted no time in depressing the syringe. The resistance I felt told me I was pumping it into the meat of the brain.
The Baron would be mildly resistant to most poisons, but I’d overwhelmed him. Now I gave him a dose of Wyvern that would have left me in bad shape. Twice what I might have been able to tolerate, possibly three times what he could. And as with any drug, it had adverse effects in too high a dose. For Wyvern, it would strip away his wits and sanity. He would lose everything and gain nothing.
I saw as his head leaned back. His mouth yawned open, his entire body twitching.
Ironic, that all he’d needed to do to win was to keep toying with me and taunting me, gradually breaking me down. But the moment he’d sought to crush the life out of me, he’d become vulnerable.
It was done.