Chapter Five

“Kolty, please, it’s not what it looks like!” Alisbeth begins to sob uncontrollably.

He purses his lips, holding back the shouting pressing at his throat. “We had a deal, Alisbeth.” He looks over to the demon hunter.

His horns are tied to the head of the bed. Ropes dangle loosely from his wrists, stretched and singed black, their ends frayed from where he must have torn free. Alisbeth starts talking so fast that nothing comes out as actual words, while she gestures between herself and Grimory.

Anarchaia physically bites back a sob, a hand reaching up to cradle his cheek. “Grim, say something.”

The Demon Hunter groans and shifts. “Whuh…? Oh, Ana.” A thick hand comes up to cover his face and he chuckles when he remembers. “Oh, man,” he laughs drunkenly. “That was insane.”

Koltira’s eyes widen. “Y-You didn’t kill him?”

Alisbeth sucks in a deep breath. “NO! That’s what I was telling you!” She pulls the sheet over her arms and wraps it tighter around her bony shoulders.

“All the same, we had a deal.”

Grimory pretends not to notice the conversation going on at the end of the bed. “What’s the issue here?” he drones.

Anarchaia gives him a shove. “You had me worried to death!” she hisses, still suppressing tears despite her relief.

The Blood Elf turns to her and his lips spread into a cocky grin. “You were worried about me?” He then grunts as her hard fingers make contact with his cheek.

Panting in rage, Anarchaia lingers for a moment then storms from the room, fists balled at her sides.

Alisbeth sinks down in shame. “I know, but you left and I had a little whiskey and—”

“You what?” Koltira spins in a slow circle, rubbing his hands down his face. “I can’t believe you. I absolutely can’t…” He stops to stare at the huge red blotch growing larger on the sheet around Alisbeth’s thighs.

Grimory winces as he burns through the ropes binding his horns and sits up. The cuts on his ribs open anew and he presses a palm over what he guesses is the deepest one. “It’s all right. We didn’t hurt one another…too badly.” He groans. “And we have potions now, so…”

Koltira ignores the demon hunter and points at the sheet. “Show me.”

Alisbeth purses her lips and pulls back the sheet. Gashes like claw marks seep blood from her hip, buttock, and thigh. “It’s fine, they have potions—”

Koltira turns his gaze on Grimory, his eyes bright with fury. “You son of a bitch!” He steps forward to throw a punch bearing all of his weight at the demon hunter’s jaw.

Grimory releases a pained growl as he’s punched full on the face. Blood flies from his lip and stains his pointed teeth. “She told me to do it!” His eyes burst into emerald flames. A mutated claw swipes upward from the sheets in hopes of making contact with anything.

Koltira leans back to narrowly dodge Grimory’s claws.

“Stop it!” Alisbeth cries through her tears. “I did, I told him to do it!”

He doesn’t listen, clasping his fists together and raising his arms over his head to throw even more of his weight into Grimory’s stomach.

The demon hunter rolls out of the way moments before he’s struck, planting his feet firmly on the wooden floor with gnarled claws at the ready. His head swims from the alcohol or blood loss—he’s not sure. The blackness of his hands creeps up his arms. He snarls. “You’re awfully jealous for just a teammate.”

Koltira grits his teeth, his nostrils flared and brow furrowed in a snarl. “I didn’t give you permission to touch her,” he growls.

“Wasn’t aware I needed permission,” Grimory grunts, swaying on his feet.

Alisbeth crawls forward and clambers to her feet, her legs buckling under her as her own blood loss makes her weak. “Please,” she begs. “It’s my fault. Punish me.” She pulls at his ankle.

Anarchaia bursts back into the room with so much momentum she nearly stumbles. “What is going on in here?” She glances between Koltira and Grimory, the tension making her raise her hands should she need to do anything.

“He put his claws on her,” Koltira says.

“But I asked him to—”

Koltira grips Alisbeth’s biceps and pulls her to her feet. “And you’re not supposed to have weapons! Do you remember the Troll?”

“I remember the Troll,” she whispers meekly.

His anger dwindles to see her so upset. He pulls her into his arms and strokes the length of her ivory hair. “I can’t always clean up after you. That’s why you’re supposed to tell me what you’re doing.”

Grimory and Anarchaia give one another a glance.

“Well it sounds as though it was consensual,” Anarchaia says after a moment, her shoulders relaxing. She avoids looking at either’s nudity. “And if everyone’s calmed down—” Her attention is pulled back to Grimory as his back collides with the wall. He slides down, leaving a trail of smeared blood. The mage bounds over to him, a potion from earlier that day already conjured in her hand. “Ugh, did it need to be so violent?” She hisses, uncorking the vial.

Grimory closes his eyes and smiles once again at her fussing over him. “It’s not fun if it isn’t.”

She pushes the vial into his mouth before he can make more of a fool of himself. “Shut up and drink, you idiot.”

Koltira narrows his eyes. “Don’t you ever touch my wife—”

Alisbeth sways and sets a finger to his lips. “Shh. Things we’re not supposed to say, ’member?”

Grimory winces as his wounds begin to heal, the skin sizzling as it regenerates. The word wife makes him look up at the two. A pang of guilt passes through him but he quickly pushes it back down. “There were two people involved in this decision, friend.” His smirk is gone and he glowers.

“Stop talking, Grim.” Anarchaia pulls his pants to her hand with her magic and shoves them into his hands. She presses a solid fingertip into his chest. “And stop being so careless. I’m not always going to be here to pull you out of a perilous situation.” Her knees crack as she stands back up. She turns to Koltira and Alisbeth. “Please accept my apologies for his behavior.”

“I don’t-rrgh!” Grimory groans when her heel meets with his stomach.

“It won’t happen again.”

“He’s only mad that you hurt me,” Alisbeth sighs. She slips down, unable to support herself. Blood has trailed down her leg to pool under her foot. She lands in it with a soft whimper.

Koltira grabs her. “Shut up and heal already.”

“But—”

“Use me.”

Alisbeth reaches up her hand and splays it out over Koltira’s face. His eyes roll back and he gasps as what looks like blood seeps from every pore and into her palm. When she finishes her wound is scabbed over and she appears less sickly. He falls to the floor and groans.

Anarchaia’s shoulders rise again and she cringes. “H-Hold on, that’s not necessary!” She quickly takes a knee by Koltira’s side, another potion already at the ready. “We have plenty of these! You don’t need to do that.”

“If you fuck her, she doesn’t get a weapon and you don’t touch her.”

The Demon Hunter slides one of his legs into a pant leg and narrows an eye, unfazed by the sight. “You two have a strange relationship…”

Alisbeth waves the mage to leave her alone. “I just need to hunt. Can I hunt?” She pokes a toe into Koltira’s face.

“Yeah, we can do that. Get us both patched up.” He glances at Anarchaia. “Save your potions for yourselves.”

Alisbeth rolls over, feeling much better. She grins at Grimory. “Next time we have to tell him first.” She winks, rolls herself in the bloody sheet, and begins crawling around the room to look for her clothes.

Grimory grumbles something under his breath in Alisbeth’s direction and stands, brushing himself off and rubbing at his jaw where Koltira had punched him.

Anarchaia straightens and the potion dematerializes. She sighs heavily, putting both her hands over her face and rubbing. “HrrrrrrrrmmmmmI’m gonna go be alone for five hours.” Her hands fall to her sides and she lolls her head to one side in an exasperated manner. She shoots a look at Grim. “Please stay out of trouble until then. Please.”

“I could have handled it mys—”

Please.

He glowers at her for a long moment before giving an indignant tch and turning his head away.

Alisbeth crawls halfway out from under the bed with a boot in her hand. “What was that?” She smiles up at Grimory.

“There won’t be a next time,” Grimory whispers to her as gently as he can. He throws himself back onto the bed, hands behind his head.

Koltira drags himself to his feet and gives Anarchaia a pinched smile. “I…this probably goes on the list of complications you asked about. I honestly didn’t expect it.” He runs his fingers through his hair, dragging the ends behind his shoulders. “My armor is in your room.”

Anarchaia lolls her head to the opposite side in a feeble attempt to relieve the stress from her shoulders. “It’s fine,” she responds tiredly. She makes for the hallway again, her boots tapping on the floorboards. The fact that no one is out of their room and intruding on their business astounds her. She assumes everyone is in a drunken coma. “You’re free to come retrieve it.”

Koltira bends to speak under the bed. “Ali, I’ll be back in a minute. Do not do anything.”

“Okay,” she smiles at him. “But I can get dressed, right?”

“Please do.” He catches up with Anarchaia. “Something tells me you two weren’t honest about your relationship, either.”

Alisbeth pulls herself out and kneels to stare at Grimory. “Oh. I thought we had fun.” She frowns slightly. “You didn’t have fun?”

Grimory opens an eye to glance at her, smiling some. “Oh, I had fun.”

Alisbeth cocks her eyebrow at Grimory. “Then why can’t we do it again?”

“I don’t like to mess around with married women,” Grimory responds matter-of-factly, closing his eyes once more. “Makes me feel bad.”

Alisbeth climbs up to scrutinize Grimory. “But it’s okay. I didn’t kill you, so it’s okay. You don’t have to feel bad.”

Grimory looks down at her when he feels her weight on the bed again. “It’s not about you killing or hurting me.” The candlelight flickers across his face and faintly glowing tattoos.

Anarchaia stops as she opens the door to her room and jerks her head in Koltira’s direction. “We’re just friends.” She steps inside, unbuttoning her hood and tossing it into the armchair. Her thin fingers grasp at the back of her robe and she pulls it over her head before throwing that as well. A sigh escapes her as she sits and quickly undoes the laces of her boots, the stress of the night fueling her desire for rest.

Koltira sighs as he enters the room. He avoids staring at the mage as she undresses herself, instead focusing on re-clasping his breastplate, pauldrons, armguards and gauntlets. He clears his throat of the awkward air surrounding the four of them. “I’ll be out of your hair by sun up. Ali and I just need something to fight.” He makes to leave, stopping in the doorway. “Our runeblades. Death knights are able to steal the life of our opponent and take it for ourselves. That that might interest you.” He turns to leave.

Anarchaia makes to kick her boots off but realizes the door hasn’t been closed. “I’ll make note of it later.” She rests her hands on the bed at her sides, the toe of one boot still pressing gently against the hem of the other. Her jaw clenches. “You don’t have to leave if you don’t want to. I understand if it’s because of Grim, though.” Her head lowers. “And I’m not angry if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Koltira stares at the floor for a long moment, then lets himself out of the room without a word. He returns to Grimory’s room to find Alisbeth on the bed with the demon hunter. “Ali, why aren’t you dressed yet?”

The demon hunter’s eyes come to rest on Koltira in the doorway and he readjusts his shoulders to get more comfortable. “Your husband seems impatient. You should probably go spend time with him.”

Alisbeth pulls on her clothes in a furious rush. As she heads out the door she finds one of Grimory’s boots, scoops it from the floor, and throws it at his groin as hard as she can. Her eyes bright with annoyance, she shoves Koltira out and closes the door before she knows if the boot actually hits him or not.

A loud cry of agony rings through the entirety of the inn.

Koltira retrieves their weapons from Bloodmist and leads Alisbeth into the woods. He stops and sighs. “We’ll head back to Acherus once we’ve recovered.”

“Back? Why? I thought we were going on an adventure!” She smiles in excitement.

He smiles sadly. “Maybe another time.” He leads her farther from the inn, searching for wildlife.

Alisbeth goes first, healing her wounds with the life blood of a lone wolf. “I’ll wait here,” she says, sitting and urging him to continue without her.

He smiles. “I won’t be long.”

She returns the smile and watches his back as he disappears into the darkness. Then she stands, shoulders her axe, and takes off at a sprint.

Koltira returns to where he’d left Alisbeth, only to find emptiness in her place. “Alisbeth?” Crickets sing of the temperature. A wolf howls in the distance. The tips of the trees rustle with a soft breeze. But she does not respond. “Alisbeth!” he calls out. “Alisbeth!” he screams as he runs through the trees, unsure where he is going, but hoping it leads him to her. He finds his way back to the inn. After a quick check to make sure she hasn’t stolen Bloodmist, he races inside to the tavern. “Ali?”

But the tavern is empty.

He thunders up the stairs. “Alisbeth!” He hisses, trying to project while also trying not to wake anyone. Koltira raises his hand to knock at Anarchaia’s door, but stops. Then he hears voices—hers and a male’s. He backs away and continues down the hall. For the second time that night, Koltira bursts into Grimory’s room. “Alisbeth?”

Grimory’s eyes flutter open and he lifts his cheek from his pillow to glance over his shoulder. He sighs in exasperation and pushes his face back into the pillow. “She’s not here, Captain Punch-First-Ask-Questions-Later.” He grumbles something about locking his door and closes his eyes again.

Koltira rushes down the stairs and back out to the stables, preparing Bloodmist for riding.

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