Please note: there are two chapters after “in which they stop kissing…” which have been deprecated. This re-write begins from Amrit and Mieve ending up in bed.
This is another commission from @Momerath@wandering.shop for another chapter of Beekeeper. Thank you so much to Momerath for your patience once again!
This chapter involves more violence and a couple brief descriptions of wounds.
His back was a constellation of pain. He was fairly certain something in his spine was damaged. If he didn’t heal the way he did, he’d be panicking. As it was, he was less than calm about matters. Mieve had to – she had to finish these assholes, she had to stop them, and she wanted him to heal one of them.
He rolled carefully onto his side to regard the bandit with the bee stings. Not that they weren’t all stung. But this one was swelling up like a balloon.
“Get his attention,” he rasped. He didn’t want her to know how badly he was injured; he didn’t want their enemies to have any idea at all about his injuries. “I want his word before we start putting him in shape to fix us… mistress.”
He added the last word gently, like a caress, and couldn’t have told anyone why he said it, except the way the creep had snarled it.
She stared at him for a moment before she nodded, a slow gesture, not entirely in agreement.
The next few moments were tense. Amrit didn’t like her being that close to the creep. He didn’t like the moment while he tried to face the creep where he couldn’t see what was happening to Mieve. He didn’t like that he had to turn his attention away from the others, broken as he’d made them, to look at this one.
The thug was gasping, wheezing. Mieve’s bees would kill them soon, maybe even sooner than he could Work. He forced out a quick healing Working, just enough to give the thug a little more time, to open the swollen airway a little bit. Then he glared at the man, although the man could barely see him for all the swelling around his eyes.
“This is how it goes. Do you swear to leave this place and never come back once you are healed, to never tell anyone of this place, and to -” he grunted.
Mieve picked it up, much to his relief.
“-to never do anything such to send anyone after us, that is Amrit here or I – or this place, or to take revenge?”
The man grunted protest.
“If you swear that,” Amrit explained, “I put you back together. If you don’t, I take you further apart.”
“I swear.” The words were barely a wheeze. “As you said – both of you – I swear.”
“Damnit, Cannon,” the asshole clearly leading this raid swore. It was more of a scream than a curse – Amrit was a little surprised the man could even speak.
“Mieve, my lady,” he grunted, “maybe you could silence him? If I do it right now I’m likely to rend his tongue into tiny shreds.”
“I’m starting to think that’s a good idea,” she muttered. He could tell her heart wasn’t in it, though. The bastard had hurt her, gotten his hooks into her hard.
Amrit would make him pay more for that. More and more.
Mieve crossed the clearing with determined steps while Amrit coughed out one Healing Working, then another. He was pleased at the choked, pained sound the bastard Theron made as Mieve – he looked up – shoved his gag in the bastard’s mouth.
“Ha!” he coughed. The bee-stung thug whimpered. He put his attention back to the Workings. A little of this, a little of that, a little of that. He flapped his hand at the thug – Cannon, great name.
Cannon groaned, stood, and staggered out of the clearing.
By that point, the remaining two were coming to again, although from the sounds of it, they’d much rather they weren’t. Amrit’s spine had begun to knit together well enough for him to sit up, although it hurt like a dozen knives attacking him at once.
He looked at the thug who seemed the most aware. The woman. “Same deal. Swear it, and I put you back together.”
She looked over at Theron, looked back at him, looked at Mieve, looked back at Amrit, and looked back at Theron.
“Forget about him,” he urged. “He brought you in here on false pretenses. He brought you here for – what? Goods? Honey and food and wealth? And all he really wanted was revenge because the nest he ended up in wasn’t as cozy as he wanted. Like any of us gets everything they want while the world is falling apart. Like most of us are lucky enough to get anything we want at all. But no. He was collared and he didn’t like it. He was released and he didn’t like that, and now he wants to come back here and get revenge, and he dragged you into a situation he didn’t understand.”
That was more than he had talked in weeks. He stretched his mouth and huffed at the woman. “So?” he demanded. He was getting angrier as he waited, angrier as he spoke, and he wanted to hurt that bastard – and everyone else.
The state of his own body and the screaming pain ripping through him as his body tried to put itself back together was probably not helping anything.
She groaned as if she was just as badly injured as he was. Good.
“Do you swear,” he prompted. “To leave this place and never come back once you’ve been healed and can move. To never tell anyone about this place or otherwise reveal it, and to never make your own bid for revenge or send anyone else against us?”
“Not tell anyone?” she groaned. “But-“
“You need to not tell anyone where this clearing is, who lives here, or what our defenses are,” he clarified. He looked at Mieve. She was still too close to Theron. She was distracted by him, by her pain. He couldn’t exactly blame her, but it still set his teeth on edge.
The woman nodded. He remembered punching her in the face and breaking her legs; something else must have caused the way she was holding her arm funny, or he’d done it and forgotten it. Either was possible. “All right. I swear it. I swear I have no intention of coming for revenge. I swear I won’t come back here or help anyone else to get back here, I won’t tell anyone where this place is or who lives here. And I won’t attack either of you.”
Amrit found he was relaxing, if only a tiny bit. “Good. I witness your oath.” Now where had that come from? He considered his reserves, closed his eyes to start a Working to find the worst of her injuries.
“Aah!” Mieve cried out. His eyes flew open again. Mieve was holding out both her hands, one towards Theron and the other towards the third of his thugs, who was holding a – a bow.
He processed the pain after he processed the bow. He looked down; there was an arrow tip through his chest. He considered passing out. It would be a good idea, he thought; he could stop hurting for a bit.
But Mieve was still outnumbered. Mieve was still outnumbered. He forced his eyes to stay open. He spat out an attack Working at the damned Theron, one that snapped his ribs.
Ribs was an easy Word, in terms of magic; he was good at the Body magic. It wasn’t an easy word in Greek; schimatízo plevrés wasn’t fun to say when you weren’t perforated, much less when you were.
Chéri, hand, was easier, and he tacked that one on to the end of the first Working, getting the man with the bow back for that attack. If it was a brute-force sort of Working, well, the man deserved it.
“You’re-” his voice came out with bubbles of blood. Shit. “You’re gonna have to do the next bit yourself, my lady.” He caught himself and glared at Theron, who, despite at least one visible rib, had the gall to still be standing. “You can’t have her, you know. “