She looked down at her hand in horrifed fascination. There was so much blood, more than she had thought a body could contain, and it had splashed all up her arms, a few drops landing on her face. Asbsently she licked her lips, and tasted salt and copper.
"My, my," said a voice in the darkness. "She survived Mister Ross. Well, I never."
It had been hard, but everything was easier the second time. Without even looking she reached out toward the voice and twisted, and there was a horrible ly familiar noise of cracking bone and organs twisted out of shape, and then there was a gurgle. Someone screamed who wasn't her, and then a voice said "You little bitch", followed by an indescribable but horrible noise.
After a while Door became aware there were three corpses on the floor, one whole, the others in four neat pieces each. The whole one lay in a puddle of blood. She only remembered killing two of them. She looked around for a bit, then, still moving in a fog, began to look through their pockets, wiping most of the blood off her hands on the big man's sleeve first, and trying not to feel revulsion at touching it. Something. There had to be something.
The Marquis tilted his head, and picked up her father's pocketwatch. It dangled in the air, casting bright reflections. Door frowned at it. "There's something fishy here," she said.
"And what, my dear girl, would that be?" The Marquis nodded at the watch, then tucked it in his pocket. "I admit the answer seems clear. Your father wanted you to seek help from Islington, so seek help we shall."
Door held up the wooden ball and tossed it in her hand. "Who put it away?"
The Marquis's expression twisted into a frown. He was not accustomed to little girls seeing things he had blatantly failed to notice, and he did not much like the feeling. "I am forced to admit, the answer fails to present itself to me. Surely a member of your family, though?"
Door shook her head. "Wouldn't have to be, if he had left the cabinet open. It just seems odd. They murder him, and then they put his journal away." She frowned at the wooden ball again, and spun it in her hand.
"They didn't want you to find out what was in it," the Marquis suggested. "But you did, let's go."
Door shook her head. "They could have taken it away altogether. No - " Her brows furrowed, and then a small sound of surprise escaped her lips. "It's all wrong," she said suddenly. "They're using Islington as bait for me. He said something else, and now I'll never know what." With a strangled sob she dropped the ball. It bounced forlornly across the floor and rolled into a corner.
"It's alright," Door said, and ignored Richard's look of dismay. "I'm the one who wants the key, so it's only fair that I undergo the Ordeal."
Richard bit his lip and tried to look resolute, not realizing the two were mutually exclusive. "You don't have to. I sort of jumped in on the riddle bit. I can ..." He trailed off as the monk escorting them shook his head. "I can't, can I?"
"No," Door said. "I'll do it. You wait here. Everything will be fine."
They were led to an antechamber, and Richard sat with Hunter and stared at the door. He didn't try to cover his nervousness with chatter; somehow, with Hunter, it seemed futile. She didn't look nervous in the least. Finally, he burst out, "What's going to happen if we don't get the key?"
Hunter gazed thoughtfully at him. "Then we have failed, and lost all hope of Door discovering who killed her family," she said, in much the same tone she might have said There was a fly in my soup, but I fished it out. "I doubt she will fail."
"How do we know? What does this Ordeal - " He broke off as the door opened. Door stood there, looking nervous and pale and with tears trailing down her cheeks. She ran to him and he took her in his arms, feeling nervous and stupid. You okay? seemed a terribly inadequate thing to ask, so he didn't. He was beginning to feel inadequate all round.
"So what now?" he said after she had stopped shaking. If they didn't have the key, he had no idea where to go.
She smiled through the tears and opened her fist to reveal a small silver key. "To market, to market," she said, and gave a thin but genuine laugh. Richard felt inadequate and useless and foolish for ever doubting her.
"I can tell you where your sister is," gasped out the Angel Islington, and with a noise like a gigantic wooden ruler being twanged across the largest desk in the world, Door wrenched the door half-shut. The angel gasped and pulled itself up closer to the pillar, holding on with both arms instead of both hands.
Door stared at it, her expression unreadable. Croup and Vandemar were silent, staring openmouthed. "Tell me," she said, almost shouting but still barely audible over the terrible roar.
"The Warrens! The Warrens off the Underside Line! I hid her there - she's under the sign - "
Door closed her eyes and let go. The door flew open.
The angel screamed as it vanished, but Croup and Vandemar fell silently out of sight.
Door regarded Richard thoughtfully. "Is that really what you want?"
"It's what I've been trying to get all along," he said. He didn't seem convinced. Hunter's knife gleamed in his fingers.
She touched his shoulders. "You have a place here," she said. "You fought the Beast, and won. The Earl has offered you a knighthood. Stay. What do you have up there?"
"My whole damned life." Richard flipped the knife over and frowned. "I have a nice ordinary job, and a nice ordinary apartment, and a nice ordinary fiancé - well, I don't really have her anymore." He closed his eyes. "And last time I saw the apartment it was getting rented out from under my nose."
Door nodded firmly, her decision made. She gently pushed the knife out of the way, then leaned in and kissed him. He opened his eyes halfway through and made a horribly undignified squawking noise, and she giggled but didn't break it off. When they finally separated, she sighed. "Do what you want," she told him, "but your place is here, if you want it."
There was something in Richard's eyes that looked almost noble, despite the general air of disoriented sleepiness. He took a deep breath. "Maybe you're right. It wasn't much of a life, anyway."