Deryn sat bolt upright in the dismal hospital bed. She looked around. The nurse was nowhere to be seen. Setting her ice pack on the table beside her, she slid off the bed and crept to the door.
She swore she just heard a gun shot. The sound was unmistakeable. Deryn slowly opened the door and peered both ways. The hall was deathly silent and dark. Her feet made little sound as she padded shoeless down the hall and in the direction she thought she'd heard them go an hour ago.
Deryn encountered no one as she glided along, keeping ot the shadows. Blisters, this place is confusing, she thought ot herself as she rounded a corner. It seemed there was no end to the twisting corridors. Portraits stared down at her, as if tracking her every move. She shuddered. The sooner they were out of this place the better.
But what would happen after this? The Leviathan was dead, she had no money to return home. She was stranded somewhere far from home with the archduke of Austria-Hungary.
Deryn shrugged away the thought and continued creeping along until she heard a sound. Someone was rushing down the hall towards her. She tucked herself behind a plant and waited for hte figure to pass. it was Volger...
He pushed open a door at the end of the hallway and slipped inside. Deryn followed quietly. There was a set of stairs behind hte door and she ran up them, careful to stay hidden from Volger. He dissapeared at the top of the steps. Deryn followed the sound of his footsteps as he ran, rushing through an open door halfway down the hallway.
Deryn crept closer and she heard muffled voices, moving furniture. The doorway was huge and ornate, carved wood and mechanics all mixed together. The voices were audiable now and she shrank back in the shadows and listened.
Volger was talking hurriedly in German, sounding extremely panicked. She heard the sound of his saber being drawn and a muffled scream. And a faint moaning...sobbing?
She crawled and peered around the doorway. Blood was all she saw. A pool of it on the ground where someone was laying half in shadow. The body was shaking violently. Volger had two men pressed against a back wall with his saber.
"Volger!" the shape on the floor rasped. It's hand reached out for the man's boot and Deryn knew.
It was Alek.
Deryn stood and sprinted through the door, falling to the ground next to Alek. He was pale as a ghost, and his eyes were wide with pain. His shirt was soaked with blood, coming from a wound in his shoulder.
"Deryn!" he whispered. "What are you do-doing here?" Deryn put her finger over his lips, shushing him. Her heart was beating so fast she thought it might explode. Alek couldn't....die......No....
"Volger!" she cried, and the man left the two frightened guards, ordering them to do something. They rushed over to the bed behind them. The man stooped down and inspected Alek's wound. "What in blazes is going on?" she yelled, her voice rising to a panicked squeal.
"Franz Joseph had something besides talking in mind, it seems." Volger said quietly.
Franz Joseph?, Deryn thought. Where the hell were they?
Volger gathered Alek up into his arms, standing and taking a last look at the bed. Deryn saw a body laying there, and a sickening mass of blood and flesh where a head should have been on the pillows. Her stomach convulsed and she turned to follow Volger, rushing to be at Alek's side.
"Where are we going?" she asked. She peered down at Alek's face, his green eyes locked intently on hers. She felt the tears welling up in her eyes as she watched his skin loose color.
"Alek must be seen to." Volger said. Deryn opened the doorway to the stairs and they hurried down, all the way to the ground level. Volger led them to a huge set of front doors and he kicked them open, dashing out into he blackness.
"You there!" he yelled to a guard. The man snapped to attention. "We need a walker, striaght away. To the nearest hospital."
The man took a look at ALek's shaking form in Volger's arms and saluted, taking off into the night. They waited there at the gate, Deryn taking Alek's quivering hand in hers.
"It'll be alright," she whispered. He winched and nodded slowly, closing his eyes. Deryn ran a hand through her hair, pacing next to Volger. She couldn't think straight. Alek was dying, right there before her, and she couldn't do a thing about it. Alek...She loved him. There was no way she would let him die right there before her eyes.
Suddenly a walker came bounding down the road before them, white with a huge red cross painted on the side. It stopped outside the gate and its crew barged through, carrying a stretcher.
"Wir werden sie hier, Sir." a man with a huge moustache said. Volger set Alek down onto the stretcher and the men took it from there, strapping him in gently. They picked him up and Alek lifted his head to look at Deryn. She ran after them, Volger in hot pursuit.
"Nein, keine Passagiere, Sir." but one look from Volger and the men stepped aside, letting Deryn and him board the ambulance. Deryn sat beside Alek while Volger climbed into the driver's quarters. The medic took out a stethescope and listened to Alek's heartbeat as teh walked trundled away.
Alek reached for Deryn's hand and she took it, looking down into his eyes.
"Listen to me, you bum-rag," she said fiercly, squeezing his hand tightly. "Don;t you go and die on me. Understand? I'm not going to loose you, too."
He nodded as the medic cut his shirt off him. Deryn tore her gaze away from Alek's and looked at the wound. It seemed to be a clean shot, and if it had been almost anywhere else, probably wouldn't be such a problem. But it was horrifically close to his heart, and blood was still oozing, though it had started to clot up a bit.
She shuddered and looked back down at Alek. He was clamping his eyes shut as the medic started dabbing at the bullet hole. Alek wheezed and opened his mouth, she tried to shush him but he continued.
"Ich liebe dich, Deryn Sharp."
"I love you too, ALeksandar Ferdinand. Now hush it, you'll be patched up soon."
"Don't - don't leave my side." he whispered. she shook her head.
"Like I would have. Now shush, just relax."
When they arrived at the hospital, the ambulance crew slid Alek's stretcher out and hurried with him inside the big building. Deryn ran to catch up as they brought Alek inside. She tried to follow them all the way, but the doctors yelled at her in Clanker talk and wouldnt allow her through the double doors at the end of the hall.
"You barking idiots! LET ME THROUGH!!!" she bellowed, attempting ot barge through anyway. But Volger caught her arm and pulled her back. "Let go of me, you traitor!"
Volger stuck a hand over her mouth and dragged her back outside the building. Once out in the open, she tore from his grasp and stared him down, her face red and tears in her eyes.
"This is all your fault!" she screamed, pointing at him. Volger stood calmly, his hands clasped before him. "You! You brought us here! It's your fault hes dying!"
Volger nodded solemly. "It is indeed, and you have no idea how very sorry I am to have been the cause."
Deryn snorted, wiping her eyes on her sleeve. "I doubt your sorry at all, you git! How could you do this! You knew what was going to happen didn't you? Why was he in there at all? Why were we even in the same building as the man who hated Alek's family? WHY?!"
Volger shook his head. "Not at all. Franz Joseph had planned to have Alek executed tomorrow at dawn, but he requested to speak with him before that. The man was dying and wouldn't have made it through the night as it were. I gave Alek his scroll from the Holy Father to show to Franz Joseph as a last gift, if you will. I gather he took it the wrong way, though I suppose he had already planned to kill Alek himself anyway."
Deryn stared at the man, her jaw open. Volger had planned this all out, hadn't he? He wasn't a traitor? Deryn didn't want to believe it, but judging by the look on Volger's face, she couldn't help but know it was true.
Deryn slumped her shoulders, defeated. The realness of it all was starting to set in now. The boy she fell in love with was less than a hundred yards away, and he was dying.
"I don't care, Volger. I can't....I don't know!" she said, running her hands through her hair. She turned her back on the man and walked back into the hospital.