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chapter 20 and 21

Chapter 20

A third clang and your hand-cuffs slackened. The chain had been severed. Korin grinned as you stared up at him in shock.
“You know my acting’s bad, yet you always look so surprised.” He muttered to you, as he drew a dagger from his boot top, leaving the sword where it was. He didn’t have the strength right now to use it effectively. If he failed, at least Aylen could use a sword. “Wish me luck, lass.” He turned, and walked back toward Seth, who was reading a report now, ignoring your ‘dead’ bodies. He didn’t even look up at Korin, expecting nothing but full obedience from his new slave.
“This…is for Esiladae.” Korin echoed the first words you had ever said to him, facing the real murderer. Seth blinked as it computed, and looked up sharply. He jumped away from the chair as Korin sliced into it, not nearly fast enough. Korin paced closer to him, moving the fight away from your family.
“Aylen, come here, quickly.” You tore your eyes away, and quickly went over to where your parents were. Your father removed what was left of the hand-cuffs, using a corner of his shirt as a barrier between the silver and himself, each one seeming to take an eternity to remove. You all turned at the shouts from further down the hall, where there really wasn’t much light. You tried to see who was winning, but you couldn’t. All you could see was the jumble of thrashing limbs that meant that the fight had reached the ground. The two men were tumbling over and over, each trying to render the other incapacitated. Someone succeeded, and the victor rolled away from the loser.
You waited a minute, to see if you could discern who the winner was, but there was no sign. Neither of the two bodies lying on the ground moved. At the distance, you couldn’t see if either was breathing.  
Unable to stop yourself, you rushed over, ignoring your parents shouts of ‘stop!’ Korin was leaning against the wall; Seth was on the floor, dagger hilt-deep in his chest, piercing his heart, a small lake of dark blood surrounding him. You ignored your dead brother and went immediately to Korin’s side.
His eyes were closed, but his chest still rose and fell with his breathing. You quickly took inventory of his injuries, willing him to live despite them.
His chest was bleeding lightly; a long, but shallow cut across it, from shoulder to opposite hip. He was covering a shallow stab on his ribs that was bleeding as well, trying to staunch the blood that flowed. Other small wounds covered his body, scratches and little cuts at most. These were still deadly though, due to his deficit in blood that could be safely shed. You immediately started ripping off strips of your shirt, and using what remained of his—what little remained intact and bloodless. He opened his eyes when he felt you press the cloth against his ribs, and his hand automatically accepted it, and held it firmly in place.
“Are you alright?”
You stared at him, completely flabbergasted. He was bleeding in several different places after being almost-drained by your brother, and he was asking if you were alright. ‘He’s insane.’ You thought weakly. He mistook your silence for a no, and tried to sit up. That would have been all well and good, but it made him bleed more. You pushed him back down, which was too easy a task in itself, and continued to patch him up with strips of shirt. You could feel him looking at you worriedly.
“Aylen?” He asked softly, “I’m sor---“
“How dare you?” you cut him off angrily. He stiffened under your hands, hearing the anger and prepared for the worst. “I thought you were dead, and you ask me if I’m alright?!” you asked rhetorically. “I was afraid he’d killed you!” you waved a hand in Seth’s corpse’s direction. “Never mind that he nearly killed you once, but then, then you go and decide to try to get killed again!” Your voice was high, and tears were running down your face again. “He nearly drank you dry! And-and—” You broke down completely and sobbed.
“Oh,” was all that he said. What else could he say? Korin had been expecting something entirely different to come out of your mouth. He hesitantly reached out a hand and pulled you toward him. You buried your face in his uninjured shoulder and cried some more. He rubbed your back awkwardly, uncomfortable with being the cause of the tears.

Chapter 21
“Um…” You looked up to see your parents standing over you. You smiled weakly.
“Hi, Mom…Dad.” Your father looked about ready to have a conniption. It was alright to hug, but it was NOT alright to hug a young member of the opposite sex, especially when he had just saved the family from a psychopathic murderer. That goes double for when he’d been held captive in the dungeons for a couple of days. Your father was also, by this point, unhappy about Korin escorting you home on an over-a-month-and-a-half-long trip. Certainly not when you had run away from home to avenge your brother. Why, if that was the case, is the killer standing—?
“He’s actually sitting, Dad.” You interrupted, imperiling yourself further. Korin shot you a look, thinking dire things about your survival instincts.
“Sure, throw yourself into the path of a raging maniac. If it wouldn’t start a war, I’d introduce him to Leda. They have similar theories on affection.” He muttered in your ear, making you laugh.
“What did you just say, boy?!” your father demanded. Korin’s face went carefully blank and innocent, just like it had when you had threatened to ‘divest him of his tongue’ several months earlier.
“I was just remarking on your, err, lung capacity, sir. It’s quite enviable, actually.” Korin attempted to appease your father, which just enraged him further. Any second now, your father would burst a blood vessel.

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