Annette tried not to yelp as she felt the poke of The Builder’s knife in her back. On either side of her stood the remaining two assistants, who’d had both their share of jabs already.
“Hey, you know what might get us to move faster?” She asked her deranged spouse while turning her head to look at them. “Actually letting us go look. You know, instead of leading us around like cattle?”
Her request just agitated them even more. They sheathed their knife, only to step forward and smack her against the face with the back of their hand.
Once more, Annette was on the floor with a bloody nose. This was possibly one of those times where she wished she couldn’t feel pain along with her immortality.
“What was that for? All I did was ask a question!” This earned her getting her feet stomped on, leading to her feeling the appropriate pain.
“Quit whining and go find them, then!” The Builder then delivered a swift kick to her flank, just about knocking the wind out of her. “Should’ve hit you harder in the face. That nose of yours makes you look like a fucking kike!”
By the time Horse-Face reached down to help her up, The Builder was already stomping off, grumbling about how everyone around them was useless. Annette just pushed him away as she stood up again.
“I don’t need any help, least of all from a filthy rapist,” she spat at him before she turned in the opposite direction, with Ox-Head following behind her silently.
“Well, I’ll be dog-goned!” Dennis was holding the now finished translation that was handed to him by the Twin. “That had to have been record time!”
He and Blaise now flipped through it, each taking half to get through it faster. Meanwhile, Shark and Sinbad were playing with Sagebear, while Harwood and The Twin were checking Marc’s stump.
“Hey, I got a question,” Marc said to The Twin as Harwood was putting on fresh bandages. “Where’s that friend of yours? Seems like he up and disappeared, it looks like.”
The Twin put on a crestfallen look, and waved toward another hallway. This seemed to tell Marc everything, who responded with a solemn “Oh.”
Sinbad and Shark could then be heard laughing behind them, watching Sagebear shake their tied together socks as a makeshift toy. When Shark took hold of one part of the socks, it became a friendly little game of tug-o-war.
Occasionally, Blaise glanced over from her reading, and giggled herself.
“Now, ain’t that the cutest sight ya ever saw?” She didn’t even point out that Shark and Sinbad’s socks probably smelled funny. Or Sagebear already knew this, and didn’t care.
“Yeah, it’s adorable all right,” Harwood answered as he left The Twin to finish up. “But right now I’m worried about Miss Annette. I do hope she’s not been turned into dim sum filling…”
Marc just snorted. “I don’t care if she lives or dies.” Before Harwood could reprimand him for saying that, Marc cut him off. “Frankly, anyone who knew my stepdad isn’t someone I’d want to cooperate with!”
No one else said anything to him, though Sinbad looked to have a look of pleasant surprise at hearing this. He then shook it off and continued to watch Sagebear play.
“We’re not actually looking for your friends, are we?” Ox-Head piped up as he watched Annette clean the blood off her face. “Because we already know where they are-”
Ox-Head was then shushed when Annette put a finger to her lips.
“Of course we know where they are. We’re just not going to tell The Builder. What they won’t know won’t hurt everyone in hiding, all right?”
To Annette’s request, Ox-Head just nodded. Soon, they reached his and Horse-Face’s room. Annette took one look in and got an idea.
“Hey,” she said to him now as she motioned for him to approach. “Think maybe you could wait in here until I get back with ‘news’?”
“News?” He then seemed to understand what she was probably getting at. “Oh, okay!”
Annette smiled, before ushering him in. “If you behave, and not tell The Builder what I’m doing, I promise to get you as many pears as you want once we get out of here. Sound good?”
Nodding eagerly, Ox-Head skipped into his room. Once he was by his bed, Annette quietly closed the door. He then sat on his bed to begin waiting for her return.
“I hope Andromeda doesn’t forget where they are,” he said to himself, unaware that someone had entered his room via teleportation. He kept thinking out loud:
“And maybe if I tell her I was hiding her ring for a while, would she get mad? I don’t want Andromeda to be mad at me-”
He was interrupted when his hair was yanked back, and he was pulled up forcibly. The assailant leaned in towards him, their breathing heavy. Then they whispered into his ear:
“Mind repeating that for me?”