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Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

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Red Thorn looked in to the dark swamp that was ahead. "Leave. I can take it from here." He told the goblin that was standing next to him. It grumbled, upset about using up so much energy to find this place and not get to see why. Thorn waited for the goblin to leave before he looked back at the swamp. Gross trees and water surrounding a small island in the middle. Thorn took out a small stone from his pocket, rolling the green rock in his hand. He snagged it off of Nessy, knowing she would not want to help him on this quest at all. He threw the rock into the water, making it bubble. As steam appeared, a castle made its way into his view, in the middle of the marsh. Thorn took a step forward, feeling hard ground under his boot. Before he could even take one more step a lizard crawled out of the swampy water. It growled, spreading its wings in an attempt to intimidate him.


"Out of my way, las. I'm not afraid to hurt her favorite pet." Thorn said, not even flinching when the beast hissed. It shuffled on the squishy ground before moving back into the murky waters. Yellow eyes watched in the water, beasts hiding their serpentine bodies from sight. Thorn knew they were there. Guardians and pets of the woman he was seeking. He took another step forward. None of the reptiles moved to stop him. Thorn walked on, going to the gate of the castle. There were two bog creatures by the gate, holding up their spears when Red Thorn confronted them. He waved his hand and a knife appeared.


"I know your gal. She knows I'm here." Thorn said. One of the bog creatures came forward, but did not get very far. Once they fell, Thorn moved throughout the castle easily. Soldiers and serpents were around the castle, wary of the god walking in their midsts. Yet, they trusted him. The soldiers and pets remembered him from before the war.


"I could smell you a mile away, Red Thorn. Actually, ever since you came out of that chained pit in hell." Your voice echoed through the castle. Thorn smirked, pausing in his trek up the staircases. He went faster, knowing all the turns and directions in this castle. The smell of fire-burnt stone that made up the walls. Blood and booze stained the stone floors and wooden tables. The castle was different, though. It still had that burnt smell to it, but now it smelt of incense and herbs. Oils hung from the ceiling in vials, making the air smell less like the fire that heated this whole castle.


"So, you've been smellin' me, huh?" Thorn said, opening the wooden door of a master bedroom. Artwork and oils hung on the walls, along with talismans. A fire was burning at one end of the room and a bed was on the other. It was large and filled with pillows. You were laying in the bed, a rag on your forehead. You looked over from your position on the bed, seeing the man standing in your doorway.


"Fire, death and sex. That's your signature smell, right?" You smiled a little. "Nessy got to you. That's the only way you could've gotten the emerald. I only gave one to her." You turned your head back to stare at the ceiling. Thorn walked across the room and rekindled the fire. He squatted down, wiping his hands of the ash that coated the wood.


"I'm going to lead an army. Your help would be nice." Thorn said, looking over his shoulder. You laughed, but ended up coughing.


"Help? You? With a war? Like I don't remember how the last war played out." You scoffed, trying to pull yourself up. Your body ached and hurt as you sat up, looking across the room at the god.


"This time it will be different." Thorn said darkly. "I swear."


"You betrayed me. You ruined me for the last centuries. I'm stuck in a bed because of you." You said, wearing a thin gown over your body under the covers of your bed.


"You didn't heed my warning. I told you not ta force the lock." Thorn said, standing up. The light of the fire moved over his bare upper-half.


"I told you not to put the stupid enchantment on me. I told you to take it off, but what did you do? You got banished before you freed me." You said, baring your teeth. Your teeth grew pointed for a moment before changing back to normal again. You felt light-headed and fell back against the bed.


"I told you not ta force it. You'll just keep gettin' sick." Thorn walked over to your bedside and kneeled down beside it. You looked over at him, dark circles under your eyes.


"Who knew a fancy trinket could destroy a goddess like myself." You sighed heavily.


"It's powerful magic, las. Nessy helped me find it. You know, she likes ya." Thorn smirked, drawing circles on your hand. Tracing the black symbols tattooed on it.


"That's only because your dick hasn't been anywhere near my body, Thorn." You turned, so he could not see the smile on your face.


"I can always change that, ya know." Thorn stood up, looking down at you. He put his hands on either side of your shoulders, watching your eyes on his face.


"Take this enchantment off my neck and I'll consider." You said back, pulling the sheets down a bit. A thick, heavy necklace covered almost your entire neck. It was a dull gray metal with two blue gems in it. There was a lock hole in the front, right by your esophagus.


"I put that 'round your neck for your own good. Cadros hasn't found ya yet, has he?" Thorn tilted his head to the side. You narrowed your eyes, staring up at the god.


"He doesn't have a bone to pick with me. If I gave you my soldiers, then he'd have all the more reason to come after me." You said, reaching a hand up to touch the lock around your neck.


"I could give you so much if you agreed to play this war with me." Thorn said, leaning his face close to yours. You could feel his breath warm your face not like any fire could warm you.


"How about you give me what you promised before you got yourself banished? If I got all my powers back. . . I'd be more ambitious to help." You said, peering up at him.


"I'll get your powers back, las. . . and more." You felt his warm lips press up against yours. It could be seen as an innocent kiss, but this was a pact. A pact to regain power.

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You needed help to stand up and leave your bed. Thorn told you that the only way he would take the lock off your neck is if you visited the castle he brought up from the ground to live in. You kept yourself out of sight as you traveled to this new castle. You rested on the back of a swamp serpent, who carried you on your way. You felt weak and wore a cloak over your sick body. Your eyelids felt heavy along with your limbs as they wrapped around the creature's neck. You refused to let Thorn see you like this, weak without your powers. You could feel the lock draining your magic away from your body. You could remember the day he cursed you with the chains like it was yesterday. You still wanted vengeance. You could still hear his words in your head before he was banished to his own hell. Your memories were always right.


"Cadros will kill you and me. You know that, right?" You said, leaning back on your chair. You used a knife to pick at your nails as you glanced at Thorn. He was dressed in his armor with his hair long.


"Cadros can't hurt ya if I win this." Thorn smirked, confident as always. There was not a hint of doubt in his voice, but you knew this was not going to be some walk in a bloody park. This was a war and war brought chaos and destruction.


"I've given you my soldiers. . . four of my dragons and the willingness of my creatures. And you want me to give you my life now?" You asked, looking up at Thorn now. Your eyes were narrowed, watching the god carefully. He was young, ambitious and out for blood. You had never really been that way, but you could see the blood-thirst in his orange eyes.


"Yer a real mother of monsters, las." Thorn said, watching you. There was something about you. You were smart, strategic, persuasive, strong and not one to be trifled with. You barely glanced at him. He did not know why he craved you when he could have any woman he desired. "I need ye to keep your life. I need ye to take yourself out."


"Out? What are you talking about, Thorn? This war is going to start when the moon is full in the sky. You need as much force as you can get." You said, putting your knife back in the sheath on your leg.


"And that's why I have your army. I don't want ye out there risking yer neck over me, beautiful." Thorn stepped towards you. You could hear the kinks of his chain mail as he took his steps.


"Did you give this same speech to Nessy?" You asked, taking your legs off the table. Your chair fell back down on its four legs, making a loud clacking sound.


"Nessy's not helping me, love." Thorn said, stopping right infront of you. Your fingers drummed on the edge of the knife handle, needing something to distract you from how you felt about this situation.


"Do you want to die? That's what's going to happen if you don't let me fight Cadros with you." You pushed back your chair, standing up to stare at Thorn, eye to eye. Thorn came closer to you, backing you up to the table.


"Its a crime for me ta want ye safe?" Thorn asked, his hands planting themselves on the edge of the table. You could feel his arms on either side of your waist as he leaned forward. When his lips were on top of yours, you knew you should pull back. His hands were on the side of your face, holding you in place. If only you had pulled back. Then you would not be in your current issue. His hands fell to your neck and that's when you felt the clasp around your neck. Thorn stepped back from you, seeing the anger blazing in your eyes.


"It's for yer-"


"What the fuck did you just put one me?!" You screamed, pulling out your knife. Thorn grabbed your wrist to keep you from stabbing him.


"It's a trinket Aye got from Nes." Thorn said. You strained your arm, wanting the knife to hit his chest. He pulled your arm down, making you drop your knife. You lunged forward, teeth as sharp as daggers and nails turning into claws. A wave of nausea hit you and you fell to the ground before you could hit Thorn. You curled up, holding your head in pain. The bulky necklace felt like it suddenly weighed twenty pounds. Thorn knelt down beside your body.


"What. . . what did you do to me?" You growled out, gripping your head painfully. The pain started to subside, but you felt a draining feeling.


"This charm will drain your magic and keep ye from usin' it unless aye unlock it." Thorn said. He looked down at you, seeing the weak look on your face.


"Why? Why would you do this to me?" You asked, getting up on your knees. You tried to stand fast, but ended up collapsing. Thorn caught you before you hit the floor, letting you down slowly.


"This'll protect ye from Cadros. He can't track ye from yer magic now." Thorn said, stroking the back of his hand against the side of your face. "I won't let him kill ye. I rather ye waste yer energy than watchin' him kill ya infront of me." He said. You were still upset, but you could almost see a soft side. Were you his soft side?


"You selfish prick." You had growled out, turning your eyes away from the god. He stood up from his spot beside your fallen body.


"When I win this war, ye'll thank me. Oh, and ye can blame Nessy for the poor choice in jewels." Thorn said before he walked out of the room. That was the last time you had seen him until the prior night. You heard from Nessy how Thorn had been cursed into fire and chains. Cadros never touched you. You had been in his pressence, but you guessed that he pitied you and that's why you lived. From that day you grew weaker and weaker. You cursed Thorn and hoped that he was suffering in the hell he was thrown into you. But now he was back. And he wanted to pick off where he had left off.


You cursed Thorn for the thousandth time as you rested with your serpent on the edge of a road. You needed rest and the charm was not helping. That's how Thorn found you for a second time. Sleeping, on the edge of a road, leaning on a monster.

Chapter Text

Thorn put his hands on his hips, looking at you passed out at the side of a dragon. He sighed, not thinking the charm took so much out of you. He would have to talk to Nessy about the amulet and see if she forgot to tell him anything when he was originally looking for it. The dragon growled when Thorn came close.


"Don't make me kill ye." Thorn threatened, holding up a knife. The dragon did not back down, hissing loudly at him. Thorn sighed, putting the knife back. "I'm the only one ta take that damn thing off her neck." He pointed. The beast growled loudly, but put his head back on the ground. "Nice, beast." Thorn smirked, walking over. He put an arm around your waist and another under your legs, lifting you up off the ground. Your head bobbed backwards, almost like you were dead. Thorn sniffed your hair, still smelling life on your body. He started walking to his own castle, the dragon slinking behind him in dismay. Thorn kicked the door open, ignoring the creatures yelling at him. Isla stood up from a spot at the large table, quickly following after Thorn.


"What have you been doing? I need to talk to you about what's been happening." Isla said, looking over his shoulder at the woman he was carrying. Your dress was pale green and fell loosely against your body. "Please don't tell me that's another one of your conquests." Isla groaned.


"Thanks for asking 'bout her. When she wakes up, I guarantee ye'll like her." Thorn smirked, shaking you a bit so your head fell against his chest instead of like it was hanging before.


"I'm not interested. I still need to figure out what I'm doing about Alec." Isla told him.


"Alec? Ah, right! Yer lover." Thorn nodded, remembering now who it was. Isla rolled her eyes. She followed Thorn to a room where he laid you on a bed. You moved a bit, eyes fluttering open. Thorn kneeled down beside your bed.


"Awake now, are ye?" Thorn said, putting his hand on your own. You turned yours over, looking over at him.


"I thought I couldn't wake up to a worse face and here you are." You muttered, turning your head to the side. "I prefer the girl over there. Who's this?" You asked, looking Isla up and down. "Please don't tell me that's another one of your conquests." You sighed.


"That's exactly what I said when he came walking in with you." Isla commented, crossing her arms. That made you laugh, showing your slightly sharpened teeth.


"He wishes. The bloody god won't leave me alone with his lustful desires. How do you manage?" You asked the other woman. Isla smiled, seeming to like your response, much to Thorn's displeasure.


"I try to leave here as much as possible and come back when he's not around." Isla responded. You smiled, glancing at Thorn.


"I'm (Y/n), a goddess if you may. Who are you?" You asked curiously. She smelled like human, but with a hint of something else.


"Isla. It's nice to meet you. Thorn hasn't mentioned you before." Isla stated bluntly. You liked it.


"Fiery. I like you. I'm cashing in a favor. Your boy, Thorn, here cursed me before he went and died, leaving me cursed. So, he's finally back to back back this fucking trinket he stole from his whore of a mother." You turned your head to Thorn. He had stood up and his arms were crossed. He reached forward and wrapped a hand around won of the gems.


"You can thank Nessy for that trinket." Thorn commented. "And I'm not the one that can take it off." He added. The mood in the room suddenly changed, you staring at him. This was one of the first times Isla had seen him intimidated by someone.


"What?" You asked, voice scarily even. "You can't release me from this shit curse YOU put on me?" You growled. Your teeth sharpened and your nails curved into claws. Isla took a step back, especially interested in how they retracted when the necklace started to glow. You got a faraway look in your eyes, suddenly exhausted again.


"If it was such a shit curse, then ye would've figured it out already." Thorn leaned over you. Your eyes narrowed, having a new glow to them.


"You better get that witch girlfriend of yours to take this off." You growled. Isla could see two strong forces working against each other now.


"Isla, could you please give me and beautiful, here, a moment?" Thorn looked over at the other woman. She nodded, happy to leave the room. He turned back to you. "Listen, gorgeous. No point in pissing me off while ye here. Nessy's charm, so only she can remove it." He explained.


"I can't piss you off." You rolled your eyes, looking away. Thorn grabbed your face by your chin, pulling it to face him.


"Love, ye are my anger." Thorn said, staring into your eyes. "Stop being so modest about it." He let go of your face. "Nessy will be here soon to free you. Then, I get what I want." You watched him lean back, hands on his hips again.


"I miss when your hair was long and you wore armor. You look like a street walker now." You tried to hold back your smile.


"You liked my hair and armor?" Thorn smirked, his frustration disappearing. "You can see more now, though." He put his hands on his hips.


"I liked undressing you with my eyes. That was the fun part." You smiled a little. "Go find Nessy, so I can get my powers back." Thorn leaned over your body and kissed your forehead.


"For you, I will." Thorn promised.

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Nessy stood over the well of water that was held in Thorn's castle. The water from below played off the walls as the colors changed. It was originally an eerie green and now it was transitioning to a bright blue color. She tossed some dust and a hand full of bones into the water. Steam came off the water, making a hissing noise. Thorn walked down the stairs, kicking skulls and bones out of his way, announcing his presence.


"How much longer until it's ready?" Thorn asked, watching Nessy go through a list of items in her head. She threw in a few more pinches of a spice, sniffing the air. "What's tha smell? Rose?" Thorn asked, scrunching up his nose.


"How did ye bind her to the charm?" Nessy asked, looking deep in to the water.


"I cut her lip when I cursed her. That bind worked well." Thorn said, crossing his arms. Nessy looked annoyed now.


"A blood bind, then?" Nessy spat. "Could ye have made it harder?" She sighed, tossing her whole pouch of powder into the water. The liquid hissed and burned, turning green again for a moment.


"I was bein' thorough. Don't she just bathe in the water to break the charm?" Thorn asked. He had not listened when Nessy explained the dangers of the curse he had placed on you. It was really coming back to bite him in the ass.


"Not if it be by blood." Nessy turned on him, letting go of the skull she held in her hand. It made a thick plop in the water, going up in flames. "It's a bit more complicated, Thorn." She looked at her ingredients now.


"You'll do what has ta be done." Thorn said, turning around. Nessy shook her head and sighed.


"Bring her down." She decided, standing straight up. Thorn walked back up the stairs, going to go get you from your room. Nessy took a moment to rub her temples, taking a deep breath. The next second, she was watching Thorn help you down the stairs. His arm was wrapped around your waist tightly, holding your entire weight with his body. Your eyes were half-lidded, exhaustion wracking your body. Nessy noticed how different you looked from how she remembered. Your hair and skin lost its color. Your eyes were not bright and your teeth were flat and straight across, instead of pointed. Your body even looked smaller, weak. The energy and power that you used to have was greatly diminished. The charm had worked its way through your entire being. Thorn slowly let go of you, making sure you could hold yourself up. Nessy held a knife and quickly cut Thorn's arm. He cursed loudly and put a hand over the gaping wound, glaring at Nessy.


"Yer blood bound her, yer blood will free her." Nessy spoke. Thorn held his arm over the pool, letting his blood drip into the water. The blood swirled like snakes swimming in the blue water.


"Is that all?" You asked, skeptically. You stared at the water, feeling the heavy necklace that was locked in place. The veins on your neck stood up, climbing up your face.


"Not quite." Nessy said, wiping off the knife. She swung her arm, slitting your throat with the blade. You choked, moving your hands up the gushing blood. Nessy hit the backs of your knees and you fell into the pool, the water burning and steaming from your struggling form. The blue water started to turn a dark, blood red as you thrashed around. Thorn turned and wrapped his hands around Nessy's neck, throwing her against the stone wall.


"What are ye doing?!" Thorn yelled, looking to the pool of red water. "Are ye trying to kill her?"


"This is what has ta be done, Thorn. It won't kill her." Nessy said calmly. Thorn loosened his grip, letting Nessy go. She rubbed her neck, watching over the pool of water. It grew still for a moment, the hall being completely silent. A hand burst through the surface of the water, pulling a body from the red water. You gasped for air as your head broke the surface of the water. The necklace had broken off, falling off your neck. Your clothes had burned off, leaving you bare to the water. The thick, red liquid dripped off your body, singing off of your hot skin. A wave of energy flashed from your body as you stood, announcing your new gain of powers. Nessy dropped her arms, watching you walk to the edge of the pool. Your eyes were dark and your teeth were sharp. Talons extended from your fingers as you walked up. Tattoos burned their way into your arms, back and legs. Dragon wings wrapped around your shoulders and symbols of carnage covered your body. Horns cut through your skin and curved close to your face, making you gasp. You stood on top of the water, power oozing off of your body. You were a new person, a whole new entity. The water dripped down your skin like snakes crawling off. You felt refreshed, like coming out of a burning fire like a phoenix.


"The beast is back." Thorn smirked.

Chapter Text

You walked casually through the halls, not even fully aware of your bareness. Nessy followed, trying to wrap a robe around you as you walked. She pulled you back by your arm to wrap it fully around you. A sigh escaped your lips, wanting to move fast. You felt pride for walking on your own. To feel power in your strides. Nessy's arms wrapped around your waist, tying a rope to keep the robe together.


"Ye can slow down, ya know." Nessy said, sighing when she saw you starting to walk faster. Thorn was already lost to Isla as you walked by, going to your room. She followed, not letting herself be lost in the castle.


"You helped Thorn curse me to illness." You turned on Nessy, frustration seething off of your entire being. She stood her ground, standing tall. She could understand why you were upset and focusing it on her. "Did you want to get rid of me? Did you hate me that much? You only brought my powers back because of your love for that idiot." You started throwing accusations around. Nessy scoffed, crossing her arms.


"Get rid of ye? Like, I'd ever want to do that. Ay didn't want ya to die and get damned like Thorn did. I wept when he was damned and I woulda wept if ye were, too." Nessy said, taking a step towards you. You looked her in the eyes as she came towards you.


"Thorn loves ye. I can't help it, either." Nessy let the back of her hand gently touch your cheek. You had forgotten what such a soft touch felt like. You let her hands cup your face and be near you.


"You're just attracted to power." You said, shifting your eyes to the side. You did not feel like staring into her eyes anymore. It was getting too hard. Nessy saw the way you avoided her eyes, looking to an insignificant side of the room. Her hands dropped, slowly untying the rope that held your robe together. You did not remove her hands, letting her slip the robe off of your shoulders. Her fingers traced over the tattoos of the webbed wings and symbols over your collarbones. The flames in the valley of your breast. She leaned forward, placing her lips on yours. With dainty fingers, you let Nessy's dress fall off of her body. You were quick to move, pulling her over by your bed. Her back hit the sheets and smiled when she saw you above her. And that was enough talking for then.




You laid on the bed, staring at the ceiling. You flexed your hand infront of your face, seeing your fingers straighten and bend. Nessy had her head buried in your chest, playing with the soft strands of your hair. One of your arms was wrapped around her loosely.


"Your skin is as warm as I remember." Nessy commented, rubbing her thumb against a mark on your sternum. You were about to say something when Thorn interrupted. He came in the room, stopping when he saw the scene.


"Aye see. Ye lock yer legs for me, but open 'em for her." Thorn said, making you roll your eyes.


"Maybe I just don't like you enough." You smirked a little. Thorn narrowed his eyes, not liking when he could not have something. You sat up in the bed, stretching your arms before pulling on the dress you had brought with. "This will do. I'm leaving."


"Leaving? What do you mean? You owe me." Thorn said quickly, watching you move around the room.


"I have to go to the swamp to get some things in order. Don't worry your pretty little face." You tapped Thorn's face with your hand. "I'll be back. I made a promise, didn't I?" You rose your brow.


"You best remember that promise." Thorn said, hand brushing down your arm.


"Like I could forget." You laughed, leaving the room. Thorn and Nessy exchanged glances as you left.


"Ye harlot." Thorn laughed, looking over the room.


"She instigated. Ye can't blame me." Nessy shrugged, running her hand through her hair. "To think she's been deprived these long years."


"Can't imagine how hard that must've been." Thorn rolled his eyes when he heard that.


"Now, I'd want both ye in this bed." Nessy told him. Thorn smirked when he heard that.


"Ye really are a harlot, aren't ye?" He laughed, making his way to the bed.




You threw the doors open of your castle, letting the ground beneath your feet sizzle from the heat radiating. Serpents slithered from corners and ones with wings flapped them in excitement. A few grew quiet, though, being in the presence of two great powers. You stared ahead of you.


"Belatucadros." You greeted. "It's a pleasure to see you again."


"The pleasure is all mine." He stood from his seat.

Chapter Text

You poked your dinner with a knife, biting it off with your sharpened teeth. Beltucadros sat across from you at the table as he ate the food you had offered and drank your booze. He stared at you, watching you eat so fervently.


"I haven't eaten like this in years." You commented, letting your animalistic tendencies show. The sharpened teeth, claws and snake-like tongue. Horns were growing from points on your face.


"Six hundred ta be exact." Cadros responded.


"Six hundred years. . ." You pushed your chair back with your feet. "What did I do to deserve such an honored visit from Lord Belatucadros?" You asked, putting your hands behind your head. Cadros smirked, finally being able to address his reason for being there.


"Six hundred years and I've never seen ya livelier than now. I wonder why that is. . . have ya heard that one of our favorite gods is back?" Cadros watched you carefully as you took a sip out of his glass.


"Thorn. The whole reason I've reclaimed my powers is him." You smiled, fiddling a spoon with your claws.


"Also the reason ya lost 'em in the first place, I remind you." Cadros leaned forward, bigger than you.


"Trust me. . . I remember. . . Six hundred years. . ." You breathed. "Six hundred years of barely eating. Six hundred years of sickness." You stood up. "Six hundred years of being bedridden." Your face became reptilian as your horns curved around. "Six hundred years of having a weak body and no magic! I remember, Belatucadros! Trust me, I remember." You seethed, fire flying off your tongue. The serpents curled around the legs of the chair and table.


"And yet ye went back to him." Cadros said, standing up. You both stared at each other from across the table, your face returning back to its normal way.


"Power over pride. I prefer to be able to roast whoever questions me alive. That'd be easier than being weak and answering to why I never claimed my power back." You stood up straight, biting a good chunk of chicken and swallowing.


"He's always been taken by ye." Cadros mentioned, eyes looking you over. "Especially with your strengths restored. Although, your vices are still in place." He took a drink.


"There's no virtues for a lady of monsters. My vices keep me in place." You sat back down in your chair, taking a deep breath. "And he's taken by anything that's walking and has genitals." You laughed.


"True." Cadros nodded. "You're different, though. . . Something about ye, but I can't place my finger on it." He tapped his chin with his finger, pretending to think it over even though he was not.


"So, why are you really here?" You asked, tilting your head.


"Are you planning on helping him in this war?" Cadros asked.


"I didn't help in the last war, so why would I help in this one?" You returned with a question, cracking your knuckles. You stared at him hard, not wanting to flinch.


"I don't want to kill you. I prefer you to other creatures." Cadros admitted, sitting back down.


"Then don't kill me."


"I wouldn't, but I have to keep my enemies in check." Cadros swirled his drink.


"I'm not an enemy." You growled.


"Are you Thorn's enemy?" Cadros asked. You were silent for a moment, flexing your fingers.


"No. . ." You answered quietly.


"Then who's side are you on?" Cadros gripped his glass tightly, starting to lose his cool.


"That's for me to decide and you to find out."