Skulduggery Pleasant Chapter 2

Here you go! Thank Karabelle in the comments once again please!

Chapter 2

China opened her eyes blearily. She saw a blurry figure standing on the other side of the room, leaning over a wooden table. China herself was strapped and magically bound to a chair in the middle of the room. There was an old, rusty, fluorescent light creaking and flickering above her. Just like in those silly mortal movies, she thought to herself. She blinked a few times to clear her vision. The figure was turning around now. It was clearly a women. As China saw her face she gasped.

“C…C…Cassidy?” China stuttered. Her tongue felt swollen and heavy in her mouth.

“I see that you’re awake, China,” Cassidy almost snarled when she said this. “You’re probably wondering what’s going on. Well, let’s start with this, we’ve known each other much longer than you think and…well, I’m not an adept.”

China frowned, trying to hide her shock. Everyone she had asked said that she was an adept.

Cassidy smirked at her confusion. “For years I had to put up with you and your manipulative ways. I got tired of you bossing me around. You probably think that I give you advice without me knowing that I do it. Of course I know that I do it! I have influenced every recent decision in your life; even the small minor ones. I have helped you decide what book to read, even guided your pathetic love life.”

“All of this started with a book, The Book of Souls. Yes China, doesn’t that name ring a bell. Anyway, I used to work at your library and I was inspired by you and tried to start my own library. As it turns out, the competition was too strong.” Cassidy took her time to glare meaningfully at China. “I decided that I needed to ‘up’ my game, and that was when I was told about The Book of Souls. Of course it was hidden well, too complicated for me to find, so I led you on the path to the book. I even dropped a few subtle hints here and there to make sure that you were determined to find it. A few times I even had to influenced your dreams. Yes, that’s right, I’m a sensitive.”

“You are probably thinking that I made all this up. But I can assure you that this all happened. I pulled in a favour from a friend and now you don’t remember a thing.” Cassidy grinned at China, a wicked grin that made some gears in her brain finally start working. China remember that grin, she could see it now, like someone had dusted the cobwebs from her mind. She was there, back at that night. Cassidy was with her and they were standing in a bleak, grey, windowless room. She was clutching a book in her arms, The Book of Souls.

“Give me the book,” Cassidy hissed, “Just give me the damn book and we can both walk out of here alive and happy. Me with the book and you with a new partner.”

“Over my dead body,” China spat back.

“That can be arranged,” that cruel smile played on her lips as China crumpled to the floor, only now realising that they weren’t alone in the room.

Coming back to the present, China watched as Cassidy picked up a metal object from the table and slowly walked towards the centre of the room. She circled China’s chair and kept grinning at her wickedly. The grin brought back more memories. Cassidy working for China. The small fight they had when Cassidy left. And most importantly that sigil. China didn’t know why she remembered, she just did. She remembered reading it in a book that she found underneath a shelf in her library. But how to escape…

She was thrown back into the past. Strapped down to a hospital bed, in a white room with one other person. The other person was a women. She had wavy grey hair with a black circlet and was wear black ankle boots and a black leather jacket. But her most remarkable feature was her eyes. The were a dark shade of red, a maroon-like colour, but definitely red.

“So Cassidy tells me you caused her a bit of trouble,” the woman had a soft voice, but there was no kindness in it, “She really doesn’t want to kill you so we agreed to wipe your memory. I wanted to kill you. Anyway, I may as well just get the job over and done with. Any last requests?”

“A few,” her past self said, “Who are you? Are you taking my whole memory? And if you are, I beg you to leave me with a memory of one person. Preferably someone of my choosing.”

“Well, Cassidy is so weak that I am only taking your memories of this; me, her and the book. If I took your whole memory she wouldn’t pay me. As for my name… my name is…”

That was when she swung back to the present, with Cassidy pointing what looked like a spatula at China’s throat.

“Answer me when I ask you a question!” she roared.

“I’m sorry,” China said calmly, “Please repeat the question.”

“I said…” Cassidy spoke through her gritted teeth, clearly agitated, “Where did you put the damn book.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I thought that you took it from me.”

“No you idiot! You gave me a fake!”

China smiled at herself. That sounded like just the thing she would do. “Well, it’s a bit hard for me to remember, because someone wiped my memory and all.”

Cassidy cursed and stormed back towards the bench. Then she started to ramble on to herself.

“Oh if Lividia finds out… I’m dead. I hope she finds it. She has to find it. She is Lividia Shanks after all. She’ll find it.” She kept repeating things like this. Over and over again. Until China was sure that she was forgotten that China was still in the room with her. That was when China took her chance to look over the side of the chair she was strapped to and studied the sigil. Just as she had thought, very simple and very easy to counter act on her behalf. But she had one question that needed answering.

“Who was the person who you payed to take my memories?”

Cassidy looked up, startled.

“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter that you know because I’m going to kill you anyway.”

Yeah right, China thought.

“Her name is Lividia, Lividia Shanks. We have a deal going and we help each other out every so often. Especially if we have a common goal. Right now, she is looking for the real copy of The Book of Souls. And when she finds it we will rule the world together.” Cassidy laughed evilly and China held back her own laughter. Such an amateur. “You should probably know what will befall humanity before you die. Well, The Book of Souls usually captures the souls of the bad by just touching them, but Lividia has found a way to make it capture the souls of the good instead. So every puny person with a good soul will be trapped inside the book forever and they have to relive their worst nightmare over and over again.”

“Oh China, I wish you had just given me the book. Then we wouldn’t be in this situation. We could have been friends and shared your library. I wouldn’t have had to erase your memory. I wouldn’t have to kill you…” She sighed deeply. “Don’t get me wrong, I would still give you a chance, but Lividia wants you dead and that means I want you dead. If I don’t kill you, she’ll kill me.”

“Not if I kill you first.”

WHAT?” Cassidy shrieked as China stabbed her in the stomach. She crumpled to the floor, blood spilling out of the long gash in her belly.

“My dear,” China spoke with false sympathy, “Even I can tell that Lividia was going to kill you instead of rule the world with you. Did you hear yourself? Lividia did this. Lividia did that. You really needed to get a life. So you can thank me for that.”

And as Cassidy took her last breath, China got out her phone and called Skulduggery.

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