The wind was mild that one summer's day. The rain had ceased, and the sun was out of hiding.
A man in a light brown overcoat was waiting by the Carnocoff fountain. He had short brown hair, was tanned, and was wearing sunglasses.
The reason for the sunglasses, no one knew. But he always wore them.
Another man who looked as if he were decomposing walked over to the fountain. Half his ear was missing.
He faced the other man.
"Scapegrace.", he nodded.
"I'm about to die and you call me here for an urgent meeting. What's happened?"
"Lord Vile happened. He's back, and worse then ever. He killed a whole city last night."
Scapegrace's mouth dropped open.
"I..He..Impossible... He can't be back!"
"Why not? He brought Pleasant back to life, he could easily do the same to himself."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because we're making an army, and we need you. Lord Vile could rule the world. We don't want that, do we?"
"No, we don't. But I'm about to rot away. I have two days left. How am I supposed to help?"
"Here, drink this.", Sanguine said, giving him a vial full of purple liquid.
"What is it?"
"A cure", Sanguine answered, smiling. He'd started to like Scapegrace. He was a good man. Sanguine liked that.
Scapegrace drank the liquid and almost instantly his body started turning normal again. His skin turned peach, his ear fixed, and he was a human once again.
"Thank you so much!", Scapegrace screamed, starting to jump and dance like a crazy fan.
"So you're in?", Sanguine asked.
In another part of Dublin, a man was screaming in agony.
"Why, Lord Vile, why?!",he shouted.
Lord Vile decided to kill this one quick, he was boring. He blasted him with several spears made from shadows and the man's screams fell silent almost instantly.
"I got what I wanted, anyway.", Lord Vile said to the dead man.
He turned to go just as the window to his right burst open and a man in a blue pin-striped suit and a bowler hat tumbled in. Lord Vile realized this wasn't a man. It was a skeleton.
"Skulduggery Pleasant", Lord Vile said in disgust.
"I hope you haven't been a bad boy today, Vile."
Skulduggery Pleasant leaped as a distraction, bringing his left knee forward. Vile ducked, but that's what Skulduggery had been hoping for. Skulduggery put a foot on Vile's bent back and jumped, using fire to throw himself upwards.
Vile screamed in pain, but the flames burnt as quick as they had touched him.
Vile gathered up all the shadows in the room, and considering it was night, there was no moon, and the only window was broken, there was a lot of shadows.
The shadows grew bigger than Vile. They reached the ceiling, and the floor.
He thrust with all his might, and Skulduggery couldn't do anything to save himself. He was going to be smashed to pieces.
Just then, there was a bright light, and the shadows stopped.
Then they started retreating, going backwards, but Vile pushed even harder, his might being very strong.
A voice spoke. A voice of pure elegance.
"You can't beat me, Lord Vile", China Sorrows said.
"I..could always... beat you", Vile said, struggling against the shadows.
"Doesn't look like it, seeing how you're coping right now."
"We shall meet again, China Sorrows, and you shall rue this day."
The shadows burst and when Skulduggery ran through the remaining ones, Lord Vile was gone.
"Thanks", Skulduggery said.
"Why would you do such a stupid thing, Skulduggery?"
"I need to know if it was him."
"I understand, but you can't do it alone. I was using all my power and that was his weakest."
Skulduggery looked down and sighed.
"It's OK", China said.
"It's not. And I know what you're thinking right now, but I don't want to get anyone hurt."
"Too late for that", China said as she stumbled to the floor.
Skulduggery quickly bent down and rested China's head in his lap. Her nose was bleeding.
"I'm so sorry.", Skulduggery said.