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She swallowed, and then moved away, ducking her face from his grasp, hating how he knew her weakness so well. She rose from her knees. The Djavul stared up at her a moment, then gracefully stood to his full height.
“What did they want?” she questioned.
Vojtech smiled. “You have a job to do.”
She rolled her eyes. “I know. That’s guarding you. It’s a thrill a minute.” She gestured toward the ruined soldier beside them.
Vojtech frowned. “I actually thought you were growing bored here. No attacks in three months, only this idiot sneaking around in the desert.” He shrugged. “It seems Olofsson is losing his fear of me.”
“Good.” Scarko’s words mingled with fury. “Let him. It’ll serve our purpose for the second Holy War.” She stalked back to the Warskian soldier’s head, lifted it by the scraggly, blood-drenched hair. “So, what did the gods want?”
Vojtech watched her carefully, hands clasped before him. “You’re to go to the city of Kezda. A boy there is immune, it seems, to Vrakan abilities. You are to kill him.”
Scarko dropped the head with a thud. “What?” she hissed. “Why me? I’m your guard. Send someone else.”
Vojtech smiled. “As much as I enjoy you bossing me around, the gods are not so easily convinced.” He wiped his hands on his black robes and sighed. “This boy is a street fighter,” he wrinkled his nose, “taking on Vrakan defectives from the Warskian army. While he isn’t able to die from the usual Vrakan methods—ice, wind, fire, shadows—I think your magic could kill him. That’s why you.”
Scarko left the head on the stone floor and stalked toward the stairwell, behind the Djavul.
“I’m sure he’d die by sword just fine. Tell the gods I won’t go. A street fighter—the nerve of them…”
She made to pass Vojtech, but he snaked a hand out and gently stroked her dark blonde braid, the color of damp sand. She spun around to face him, fury in her eyes. But it was equally matched in his.
“I am the Djavul of the Order of Saints, Scarko Kadezska. You will not blasphemy our gods here. You know as well as I do that we cannot resist their orders, and we should not. They have guided me thus far.” He took a step toward her, brushed a cold finger against her cheek. “You will do this, and you will return to me.”
She stuck her tongue out at him and turned, clomping up the stairs. She heard him chuckle softly as she pushed open the doors from the dungeon, the Shadows on guard making way for her, black thread entwined in their grey cloaks, same as hers.
“Watch him,” she said unceremoniously.”
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