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Cornelius spent much of the night worrying over what was happening outside of the house and a great sense of relief came over him when the four returned. His brother especially. He didn’t like this feeling of helplessness, but it had become commonplace over the past few days. There was information he wanted to get out of Kael, but by the time his younger brother came home that morning he was much too exhausted to have a serious conversation. And there was no doubt in Cornelius’ mind that he would push it off after that too.
The master bedroom was suit-like and gave him enough room to do his own thing while his sibling slept. He passed time reading some of the books stocked on their parent’s shelves. While there wasn’t anything that particular took his interest, it gave his mind something to focus on. That being said he was easily distracted by the sound of footsteps down the hall. One of the girls had gotten up, though Cornelius couldn’t tell which.
Eventually he grew bored with the book, and decided to make his way to the living area. There was a television set up there and while he didn’t generally have time for that sort of thing, he currently didn’t know what to do with himself. It was worth a shot and might gain him an indoor hobby, as apparently he was missing one.
Coming down the hall, the man heard a loud grumbling. Confused at first it only took a glance into the living room to figure out what it was. He laughed under his breath at the woman seated at the computer. When he spoke, his words still held a needless sense of formality. [b “I’m sorry, if we had known we would be keeping humans we would have stocked better.”] While demons did eat, the actual need was sparse. In between that, it was generally an action of pleasure for them.
Taking a seat on the couch, Cornelius paused before turning on the TV. He looked over at Eris with curiosity. Maybe she would be willing to get him up to pace? Not know how much of the previous nights happenings she understood, he decided against asking. Instead he pushed the button the remote and began flipping through channels until he found something even moderately interesting.
Several hours later Kael rolled out of bed. He was fully rested, or at least he wasn’t feeling the affects of the teleportation’s magic drain anymore. There was a bathroom attached to his room so the shower was his first concern. Glancing at the clock on the nightstand he’d been out for roughly six hours. It was entirely too long, but it wasn’t like there was anything else he needed to be doing at that point in time.
Out of the room, Gaius was the first one he ran into. He relayed that Eris had made an online shopping order that needed to be picked up. [b “Yeah, I can go out and get it.”] It was an excuse to be away from Cornelius, so he didn’t mind.
Running his hand through wet hair, he tried to fluff it some that it would dry faster. Kael returned to the room in order to collect his glamor. He’d need it to leave during the daytime, at least if he didn’t want to have to prowl about like a creep. And he didn’t. Fixing the small stud back into his ear, the glamor took its hold immediately and he headed out to the living area to see just where the woman had placed her order.
Eris was on the computer, while his brother took up the loveseat. He didn’t take his eyes from the flashing screen as Kael crossed the room, but he did take the time to comment. [b “Ah. Our sleeping beauty finally rises.”]
[b “Shut it.”] The quip accompanied an eye roll before he pressed on to see where he needed to be going. [b So, I hear I need to make a food run. Where did you order from?”]
As he asked the question, he could kind of see that the mortal was displeased with something. For some reason Dahlia’s words from the night before came to mind. [b “Your friend popped off to Max last night, saying something about you getting restless when you are stuck inside too long. I’m not sure if she was being serious…”] Sure Eris had left the house last night but she had spent the entirety of the night locked in that club. [b “… but do you want to come with me?”] It wouldn’t be a long trip by any means, but it might help. Plus he was low-key excited by the prospect of getting to spend time with her. He was still curious to know more about her, as she continually piqued his interest.
From behind him, Kael heard his brother shift on the couch. [b “Max? As in this district’s magister Max?”] His tone was almost accusatory; as he knew the angel also ran the nightclub they had attended.
Letting out an inaudible groan, Kael turned around. [b “Yeah, a lot happened last night. I will fill you in in later. She hasn’t eaten since yesterday morning and we kind of ruined that when we came to LA.”] Cornelius didn’t look happy to have his answers pushed off again, but he didn’t fight it. Kael was right, the girls hadn’t had anything to eat in entirely too long. He was kicking himself for forgetting such a critical thing.
Looking back to Eris he decided to try and tempt her further. [b “This way you can also grab anything that was forgotten on that list, or that I chose poorly on.”] He referred to his trip to town the day before, although this would also be convenient for forgotten food items.
What a night it had been. Gaius was more than relieved to be back at the safe house, and Eris was too. All of them were quiet as they made their way back to their bedrooms to rest. Gaius stayed up though, not really needed to sleep but maybe a few hours every two days. He wasn’t the only one. Eris had been able to sleep the majority of the night in Max’s office, and she was the most awake of them all.
She curled up with Dahlia for a little while in the bed. It didn’t take her friend long to fall asleep, and in the quiet of the room Eris began to try and recall her last memory from the night. Frowning and staring at the ceiling, Eris could only recall drinking a glass of wine and overlooking the dance floor when she felt a haze coming over her, and after that nothing. She’d never felt so well rested before either, and considering sleep was generally out of reach for her, it was incredibly odd that she slept all night in a loud dance club.
The Safehouse was quiet, with the exception of quiet voices she could hear in the living area. Slowly getting out of bed and not disturbing Dahlia, Eris crept down the hall until she could see in the living room. It was only Gaius. He stopped mid conversation and glanced over his shoulder. Eris cursed -apparently there was no sneaking up on him.
“Shouldn’t you be in bed?” he asked.
“Shouldn’t you?” Eris challenged back. He frowned but looked back to whatever was in his hand.
“I have to go. I will contact you again soon.” He clipped a small compact shut and dropped it in his pocket.
“What was that? Who were you talking to?” Eris demanded to know. Fear that Gaius might actually be a traitor swelling within her.
“It’s a compact mirror. It’s enchanted to allow communication between realms.”
“So who were you talking to?” Eris demanded to know again.
“A Contact of mine in Hell.” ERis blanched at his blunt and open answer. She wasn’t so sure. She knew how well these guys could lie.
Gaius spent the next half hour filling Eris in on everything that had happened. Informing her that they had another name, and the man they were looking for last night was found. They had managed to talk to him and worm that new name from him. When Eris asked who it was, Gaius looked her dead in the eye and said: “Amon, but you would know him as Satan. He is Lucifer’s right hand.” That had thrown Eris for a loop and she sat in dread that the Malumortis had sponsors from Hell. Why wasn’t she so surprised?
“Did your friend know anything?” Eris dared to ask.
“No, but she said she’d contact me if she heard anything.” Eris supposed she would have to be satisfied with that answer for the time being, and got up to grab her coat.
“Where are you going?” He asked in a stern fatherly way. Eris frowned.
“To get food. I didn’t see a kitchen in here, or a fridge or anything. Dahlia and I do have to eat you know?”
“Yes I know. I can’t let you leave though.” Eris grit her teeth. She wanted to go out. She wanted a black coffee a sprinkle donut, and some damn sunshine. Gaius wasn’t budging, and said once Kael was awake one of them would go get food for the girls to eat, and in the interim he placed her before a computer and made her shop for groceries online to be picked up. For the first time Eris glared at the ease of technology.
A digital shopping trip wasn’t the only thing she did on the computer. She opened up a document and began to type. Gaius had retired back to his own room, and left Eris to play on the computer.
[center [font “courier” [b Demons in Hells Kitchen]]]
[center [i Article by Eris Alcone, Photos by Dahlia Morgan]]
[font “courier” There are many things in this world we still do not understand. Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Is there anything at all, or is there some small glimmer of truth to everything we think we know? I wondered one such question when the number of missing people began to climb, and there was no explanation in sight. Not even HKPD could come up with an answer. Every visit was met with more head scratching on their part and a lot of excuses. The public is tired of excuses. We want to know what’s really happening in our little corner of New York City. I can promise you, it’s not pretty. I was recently approached myself, but thankfully not by those in question.
There is always an underground subculture, be it the people who live on trains, migrant homeless individuals, or more darker individuals who can profit on the exploitation of vulnerable people. We stumbled on one such underground culture during our pursuit of answers to the growing number of missing peoples.]
Eris stopped and looked at the document. She clearly couldn’t tell the full truth or people would call her mad. She knew she had to find a way to write this as to shed light on the Malumortis as a cult full of human sacrifice, while trying to keep Kael and Gaius’ world a secret. Also, how would she be able to use photographs if Gaius and Kael would refuse they have a camera? That was parcel in part the reason Eris wanted to sneak out. She wanted to get herself and Dahlia their own burner phones, and to at least get Dahlia one of those disposable film cameras.
She was tempted to try and sneak out regardless, but Gaius had warned her before going back to lay down that if she did try to leave the whole house would know it. She felt trapped, and she didn’t like it. She would have continued to work on the article, but she heard a noise coming from the back. Not sure who it was she made quick work to save the document and hid it in a random folder until she could move it to a cloud storage. When whoever was entering the living area did enter, Eris looked for all the world as if she was just doing research. A wiki page on Amon was pulled up on the screen to act as a cover. She worried that if Kael and Gaius knew she was writing her article they might get angry, and she didn’t want to risk that.
Her stomach growled loudly, and she groaned dropping her head to the table. “So… hungry…” She whispered, resenting the demons and their lack of need to eat food, and the fact they didnt have any food here. One of those horned buffoons couldn’t wake up soon enough to go pick up the grocery order Eris had placed. She knew Dahlia was bound to be starved when she woke up too.
Dahlia didn’t appreciate her question being ignored. Irritated, she only half listened as Gaius relayed what they had discovered. Or at least what he was willing to share with the angel. She made note of that, as she didn’t want to be the one to accidentally leak confidential information.
Honestly, she hadn’t planned to pay much attention to anything Max had to say after that, aside from where he’s tucked Eris away. But the comment about keeping her friend rubbed Dahlia the wrong way. [b “No, I’m afraid she’d make a terrible pet. She needs to be let out regularly or else she will go stir crazy. It’s not ideal, you see, so I will keep ahold of her.”] Her tone was less than amused. He kept treating her like an object, and she hated it. Eris was a human being.
With that she reoccupied herself trying to locate her friend. The man was helpful enough for that, as a door appeared out of thin air. Swiftly walking in, she didn’t even bother to turn on a light. Eris was exactly where he had said she would be. Perhaps she was worried over nothing? She felt a bit silly after making such a fuss out of it. But when she saw how peacefully the other mortal was sleeping something felt off again. Eris doesn’t sleep well normally, not like that, and especially not in a strange man’s office. Not wanting to make a fool out of herself again, Dahlia ignored it.
[b “Yep, we came back as soon as we could.”] It didn’t really need explaining, but she was excited to talk to her lethargic friend.
Wrapping her arms around Eris, Dahlia pulled her into a tight hug. The thin woman smelled of wine, which might have explained why she was in such a lull. Either way, the disguised woman didn’t dwell on it. She’d missed her friend an awful lot. All sorts of things had happened, and the woman hadn’t had anyone to talk to it about. At least not anyone that would understand. Kael and Gaius were nice enough, but they had context to the world the women were dabbling in. She wouldn’t find the empathy she wanted there.
Allowing Eris to take her time, she slowly helped rouse her friend, so that she would be ready to leave whenever the others stopped talking. She couldn’t hear much from in here, but she didn’t really mind that.
Kael didn’t know why he was surprised at how pretentious this guy was, but he was. If a lead was dry you had to deal with it, that was kind of how this line of work went, but apparently to Max, he and Gaius were the disappointment in this scenario. What was even odder was that even after that, he wanted to prolong the acquaintance.
[b “Yes, we should be in L.A. for a while. If we hear anything while in your jurisdiction we will be sure to inform you.”] He couldn’t image what else they were find that would be worth the aggravation of coming all the way back here, but you never know. It was usually best to keep things pleasant when the future social climate was uncertain. And because of that, he decided to play Max’s game. [b “In return, we’d appreciate it if you called on us if any suspicious demon activity crops up.”] As he spoke, Kael fidgeted around some.
Max lifted a brow, with a pleased smirk. [b “Well, well, I never imagined you would be requesting to run errands for me.”]
[b “Yeah, well, we aren’t exactly swimming in viable leads at this point. We will take what we can get.”] This was going pretty much how he thought it would, but he still took a less than enthusiastic tone. Had to keep up appearances.
Max hummed. [b “I do appreciate it. I’ll be in contact if I catch wind of anything that might be helpful to you all.”] Conveniently the girls exited Max’s office and his eyes were pulled there momentarily.
Hands moving behind his back, the snake fiddled with his watch. It dispensed a small device and he took it on his finger. Being incredibly careful not to touch it to anything just yet, Kael had his hands back in front of him by the time Max turned back to the pair of demons.
[b “Also feel free to call on me if you need a sitter for Erin. We wouldn’t want her in harms way.”]
[b “We’ll keep that in mind.”] At that point the conversation and Kael’s patience seemed to be wearing out. However, with both the women with them now, it wasn’t a problem. They bid the magister farewell and made for the door once again.
Just before descending the stairwell, the red-eyed man reached out for the handrail. Tapping his finger against the wall just shy of the rail, he hoped the bug stuck and was oriented correctly. If it was, the device should pick up conversations taking place up in the loft here. There was no saying if that would be of any use to them, but there was no harm in it. A wire in that office however, that would have been almost guaranteed to be useful, but unfortunately that wasn’t feasible at the time being. Perhaps if they ended up coming back it might be worth the effort.
For the final time that night the group shoved themselves in a car. Kael barely kept his sanity by reminding himself he would get to sleep just as soon as they got back to the house.
He wasn’t the only one that was tired. Dahlia had been up all day and night and she was ready to get some rest too. It didn’t help with how groggy Eris had been earlier either. Sleepiness was contagious. Allowing herself to rest her head on her friend’s shoulder, she quickly nodded off. Sleeping for the duration of the ride, she did not stir until Eris moved to unbuckle her seatbelt.
Getting out of the car, there was still a bit of a walk before they were where they needed to be. Kael knew he and Gaius should use this time to go over their findings, as it was safely out of Cornelius’ earshot, but he let it pass. His fatigue was getting the better of him and he wasn’t a hundred percent sure if he’d be of any use in an informational break down.
Gaius agreed with Kael -Cornelius couldn’t know about Amon. The last thing they wanted was for an all out War to happen. Cornelius would go to his family, who would go to the Covenant who would come to him to revoke his status in the human world. All for being related to the Lord of Hell. Not only that, but Gaius’ presence in Hell would mean he’d have to explain to not only his father and the other Lords of Hell, but also Lucifer as to why he had returned. Gaius was actually tempted to do just that, but to go straight to Lucifer himself and avoid his father all together.
Gaius silently mused over his thoughts in the car, his eyes barely taking in the passing flashes of streetlights. He didn’t like the idea that Hades’ daughter and his father were apparently in cahoots together. What were they planning? What was the end goal for them? He was almost afraid to find out... almost. He had reverted back to his quiet and brooding ways, the permanent scowl was returned to his face, and his eyes gleamed dangerously. He still wasn’t 100% back to his normal self, and he feared he wouldn’t be until he had some real answers.
He also glanced over at Dahlia, who seemed anxious to get out of the car quickly. Perhaps it had something to do with Eris and being apart for the better part of the night. He wouldn’t put it past her, and he fully expected this from her, which was why when she bolted from the car to the club when they finally stopped, he didn’t make a move to keep her still. There was no danger here for her. Max had been fooled into believing Dahlia was a Sprite, and so there was nothing to worry about in that regard. Surprisingly Kael stepped in though and stopped her. Dahlia was determined that something was wrong with Eris, and Gaius frowned wondering how she’d been able to know that.
“It’s alright, Kael,” Gaius spoke his first words since leaving the table during the conversation with Citra, his eyes on Dahlia’s back as she hurried inside and they followed behind. “I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn if those two share a special bond, besides... I’ve never seen her this feisty before. I want to see her chew Max out, maybe one good thing will come out of this night,” He commented, stuffing his hands into his pockets and following her inside.
He took his time with Kael to ascend the stairs up to the loft, and just as before they seemed to be blocked by Max’s lap dogs. However, Dahlia had walked right past them and up to Max who was counting up receipts and balancing registers before they closed for the night.
[i “Where is she?”] Dahlia demanded of him. Gaius looked around and frowned. Good question. He couldn’t see where Eris was either. Max seemed unaffected by her demand. Instead he finished counting up the receipts in his hand before setting them aside and looking up at Dahlia.
“I hope you bring me good news?” Max asked smiling up at her, and then turning his gaze over towards the entrance of his loft. “Oh let them pass,” he waved. Gaius glared at the guard as he walked past with Kael to approach Max. “So did you find Desmond?” He asked leaning back in his seat at a cocky angle.
“He was there, just like you said he would be.”
“Did he have any valuable information?”
“Only a confirmation of what we already know,” Gaius answered dully. “We’ll be taking our mortal now.”
Max hissed over his teeth and frowned. If Gaius wasn’t mistaken the man looked like he didn’t really want to hand Eris over. “I don’t feel like that’s good enough. I was hoping to get more out of you three... I have to say, I’m rather disappointed.” Gaius glared, his eyes glowing dangerously gold. Max only grinned further seeing Gaius riled up, but Max was a smart man, he didn’t get to be Magister for nothing, and with a heavy sigh he moved to stand up. “However, her mortal,” Max corrected motioning to Dahlia. “Is in my private office.” He raised a hand towards the bar and the door appeared from in the wall and opened slowly. “You certain I can’t keep her?” Max asked as Dahlia made her way to the office. “She’d make a good House Pet. She reminds me of a cat,” Max stated with amusement.
It was dark inside, but Max allowed Dahlia to enter it. Deep down he wanted to close the door behind her and lock them both in, but he figured he could still use Gaius and Kael. He wanted answers too, and he wanted for Dawn to return. He watched as she entered the dark office, and he approached Kael and Gaius. “No harm has come to the Mortal, as promised. I imagine, if you both learn anything else you’ll inform me of your findings. I’d hate for this new relationship to not do well.”
Inside the office, Eris was laid out on the sofa fast asleep. She looked for all the world peaceful and comfortable. No harm had come to her, and if anything she looked healthier. Though, it might have been the lingering effects of the wine that had her cheeks so rosy. At first touch from Dahlia, Eris’ eyes slowly opened. She stretched slowly and yawned much like a cat that Max had described her as. As she came awake, so did the lights in the room, slowly brightening until the room was awash with a gentle glow. When her eyes finally settled on Dahlia, a smile crossed Eris’ face.
“You’re back,” her voice was heavy from sleep, but she remained laid out on the sofa until she managed to sit-up. Shockingly she didn’t seem to be in a rush to leave.
Dahlia did her best to follow the conversation, but all the stuff about politics and different federations was lost on her. Well, she did get the point that things were a mess and they obviously weren’t working together real well. It wasn’t all that different from the shit show that was going on the mortal’s side of things. Politics must be awful no matter where you go.
That aside, eventually Dahlia got pulled into the conversation. Not that she needed to participate, but this Citra guy felt the need to bring her up. And he was terribly rude about it, he even when as far to accuse Gaius of being lovesick. For her, that was when he lost all semblance of accountability. Why were they talking to this guy again?
After some pushing, and a lot of staring each other done, Desmond got to the name-dropping. The first one was boring, as even Dahlia knew Kara was involved with this mess. Clearly that wasn’t what they were after. It was the second name that she didn’t recognize, but it was crystal clear that Gaius and Kael did. They did not look at all pleased with this information and that frightened her. In fact this might have been the most expressive she’d seen Gaius, aside from anger or frustration that she assumed came with the territory of being a wrath demon. He even went as far as silently excusing himself from the table. At that, the mortal wasn’t sure if she should stay or go. In the end she stayed seated as the conversation continued around her.
For Kael, that was the last name he possibly wanted to hear, right after Lucifer himself. This was going to be borderline impossible to deal with. He quickly brought his attention back to Citra. [b “Desmond, I swear if I find out you are lying... I will hunt you down and rip out your throat. Not even your father’s influence will stop me, so you’d better be absolutely sure that is what you heard.”] Both their families were political, but the Neu’s had a better track record for covering up their messes. Especially when times were as chaotic as these.
[b “I already told you I have no reason to lie.”] He seemed steady in his conviction; Kael doubted he was fabricating this.
Sighing, Kael went on to demand a source and a list of those who were privy to this information. Luckily those lists were short, as the entourage in the background seemed to be embolden by the fact that it was only he and Dahlia now. [b “Alright, that’s all I need.”] He tucked away a napkin that he jotted the names down on.
[b “About fucking time,”] Desmond stood from his seat. [b “Have fun trying to get to the bottom of this cluster fuck…”] The man straightened his shirt, brushing off the shoulder Kael had grabbed. Sharp eyes flittering over to Dahlia he parted with one final comment. [b “Try not to rub off on the sin demon too much.”]
Kael glared at Desmond his whole way out, and some more when he was no longer in sight. His gaze set straight on the door. Sighing again, he brought his eyes back to the table and his drink. The gin was untouched. Taking his time he sipped at the short glass. He needed to decompress, and shoving himself back into a cramped car wasn’t going to do it. [b “Hey,”]
Dahlia looked up from her table when she heard Kael’s voice. She didn’t think the two of them had had a proper conversation yet, at least not without the others. [b “Yes?”] It felt awkward.
[b “It sounds like things are going to get a lot harder from here on out… If Gaius and I separate like this again. Stick with him if at all possible.”] It pained him to make it sound as though he was incapable, but if his hunch was right Gaius was going to be able keep track of her in a fray a whole lot better than he could. It was in the girl’s best interest. Kael just hoped he wasn’t over stepping his bounds by bringing it up.
Yet another thing she didn’t fully understand, but she nodded. [b “Yeah, alright.”] At least the instructions were clear enough.
She watched as Kael took his sweet time with his drink. Dahlia desperately wanted to get back to Eris; and his lollygagging was driving her up a wall. With nothing much else to do she also drank her whiskey. It took the edge off some. Sure, it didn’t really make her feel any better, but what else could she do?
Keeping an eye on the mortal’s pace, Kael made sure they finished at the same time before escorting her back out of the building. There they regrouped with Gaius. While he looked as though he had regained his composure, Kael could tell he was still a little off kilter. They really couldn’t catch a break; perhaps it was reprimand for dragging mortals into this mess. That seemed to be a fairly common thing, though they would have heard about it. The gods were not were not generally discrete about that sort of thing.
While waiting for another car, the red-eyed man came up next to his partner. Not uncomfortably so, just enough that their conversation would be more confidential. [b “When we get back to the safe house, Cornelius does not hear about this.”] His brother was a huge nark. As soon as he caught wind they were dealing with Amon it would go straight back to his parents and then there would be trouble. It was an additional layer of headache they didn’t want nor need.
The next uber to arrive was a larger vehicle, but it didn’t help. Kael still felt like a sardine shoved in a can. This adventure needed to be over so he could go to bed. His weariness was returning. He hadn’t rested enough for all this. Not to mention it was getting early. They probably only had an hour or two before sunrise. He really didn’t want to have to skulk around in the daylight again. His mood was worsening.
Somewhere between point a and b, Dahlia was overcome with a sense of dread. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something had gone wrong, and that Eris was in trouble. The more she thought about it, the more her arm seemed to itch. Whatever had a reaction with her tattoo seemed to have an issue with the marker as well now, but to a lesser extent. It itched, however there was no pain. Looking out the window, she tried to distract herself with the sights. While this was another large city, it varied greatly from NYC. In the end the sights were not enough to quell the nagging at the back of her mind.
No sooner than the car stopped, Dahlia was out of her seat and headed toward the entrance to the club. Kael called back for her to stop from the car, but it didn’t deter her. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for her to feel a hand on her shoulder, halting her progress. [b “You need to wait for us.”] It was Kael again.
Her voice was shaking. [b “Something is wrong. We need to get Eris, now.”]
He looked at her, confused. [b “How the hell would you know that?”] There was skepticism in his voice even if he wouldn’t put it passed the angel inside.
[b “I’ve just got a feeling, now hurry up!”] Pulling away, it wasn’t hard to part from his gentle grip.
They went straight in, the bouncer didn’t bother to stop the trio. The place had cleared out some, but there were still many heavily intoxicated beings littering the nightclub floor. Walking passed them as well; Dahlia went straight up the stairs. As expected Max was there waiting with a smile. Not immediately seeing her friend, the woman was quick to speak. [b “Where is she?”]
Eris remained in the loft with Max, arms crossed and looking sour. She was stuck with the arrogant prick while her friends got to go check out a demon bar. How funny... when had she begun to think of Gaius and Kael as [i friends]? She shook that from her mind and instead focused on the fact that she was stuck here and they were off doing awesome spy shit. It had to be way cooler than this place. This place didn’t even have vodka. Max hadn’t left her side either. He remained in his loft, enjoying his nectar and managing his business while he watched his customers like a king lording over his serfs. He was however, quite attentive to his mortal guest, and once he had finished going over an order form with one of his employees, he approached Eris with two flutes of wine. It was a clear crisp white, and from the smell, Eris could tell it was a Pino Grigio. Not unlike the Cabernet she had drank earlier.
“Wine always goes straight to my head,” she commented as Max sat down right beside her. He was strangely warm, and relaxed as he looked over at her. Eris was accustomed to men being forward with her, and was used to being just as tall as the average man -what with her supermodel legs as Dahlia liked to call them. She arched a brow at him and he only chuckled. Max was a tall and warm gentleman, and Eris wasn’t sure how to handle that.
“Wine is one of the few mortal beverages that is a gift from the Gods. Jesus turned water into wine, and before him The Greeks planted the first grapes on the hills surrounding Mt. Olympus.”
“It was Dionysus who was the God of revelry and wine. Maybe he planted them and not all of the Gods. I couldn’t picture Hera or Aphrodite getting dirt under their nails,” Eris snickered taking a sip of her wine.
“You know your Greek lore?” Max asked, he was surprisingly delighted by the prospect. Eris shrugged drinking the wine.
“I am Greek,” she said as if that should have been explanation enough. “My family still lives there. I came to the states for school, and just... fell in love with New York City. Decided I didn’t want to go back, at least not now.”
“Does your family still practice the old ways?” Max asked out of genuine curiosity.
“My mom doesn’t, don’t know about my dad seeing as how I never met him, but my Aunts and the rest of my family do... Why am I telling you this?” Eris suddenly asked realizing she was divulging way too much and being too honest with him.
“Maybe it’s the lingering effects of the ambrosia.”
“Maybe it’s all the wine I’ve drank...” Eris glanced at her own glass of wine as if it might be the culprit to her loose tongue. She had, had nearly four glasses by now. She would guess she was close to polishing off a bottle at this point. “Why are you interested if I do or don’t?”
“I’m not. What I’m really interested in knowing is how you came to be such good friends with a Sprite...”
Eris shut up as tight as clam. He wasn’t going to worm that out of her. Not if she could help it, and she didn’t think she could unfortunately. “You don’t strike me as the type in need of a fairy godmother,” he teased, but Eris gave him a look that said she wasn’t talking, and instead she downed the last of the wine and stood up to walk over to the railing and looked down at the crowded dance floor. she needed the railing as getting up had caused her head to start spinning. Slightly dizzy and feeling warm from the wine she tried to focus on the entrance going Dahlia and the others would walk in soon.
“Why would you care how I came to know a sprite?” Eris tried, hoping to figure out what he was really up to. His attentions to Dahlia hadn’t gone unnoticed by her.
“Our kind don’t generally associate with Mortals. You’re such fragile little things...” he cooed watching her from where she stood. “She must be very protective of you.” Eris smirked. Sure Dahlia could be a bit protective, especially when Eris was on the verge of a total mental breakdown, or in the throws of a panic attack, but other than that... it was Eris who usually played the role of guard dog. “I will admit there is something... different about you. It’s almost as if you’re not...” he suddenly chuckled and waved it off, as if the thought was humorous to him. “but that’s impossible...”
“What?” Eris asked, her own interest spiked. Max slowly slid his cunning blue gaze back her way and grinned.
“Tell me about your fey friend, and I’ll tell you what I think you are.” Eris threw her arms up and groaned rolling her eyes.
“Oh my, I suppose I shall have to live with my ignorance,” she snapped with sarcasm. “You think she’s protective of me? You have no idea how protective I am over her. If it wasn’t for Dahl-“ She tensed and saw as Max arch a curious brow at her slip of tongue. “Dawn.” She corrected quickly, and cursed herself internally for almost fucking that up. “I.. I wouldn’t be standing here.”
“Now why would you say something like that?” Eris shook her head. Not willing to go into it, but the Angel stood up and approached her. HIs look of humorous cunning had melted into one of concern.
Before she could move, or realize his intention he had her surrounded, and pinned to the railing. His broad chest hovered just a breath away from her back, and his arms came on either side of her to rest his hands on the railing just beside her own. She tensed. His nearness made Eris uncomfortable. He was overly warm, and the energy he radiated was compelling her to speak truthfully.
“Why- why do you care?” Eris finally managed to ask, swallowing the tension back down her throat.
“I’m simply curious...” she could feel him lifting a lock of her short black hair up towards his face, and knew by the way she felt his chest brush against her back that he had inhaled the scent of her. She felt an impulse wash over her, to tell him something she hadn’t told a soul. Besides, Max was an Angel, she could trust him. Right?
“I met her on the subway one day. We became fast friends. I know a lot of people and I’m sure they might call me their friend, but... I don’t see them that way. They’re just... people in my life whose company I enjoy. They weren’t like her. She was kind and funny, and genuinely cared about those around her. I’d never had a real friend before until I met her. I’ve shared everything with her, she’s more my family than my actual family is. I love her.” Eris said simply, but there was a sadness in her voice. “When I say I would not be here if it wasn’t for her... is because I have issues. When I was in school and away from Greece, my family, everything I had known... the stress of school, being alone in a new country, my limited English at the time, Insomnia and my anxiety pushed me to a dark place. One night, shortly after meeting her, I took a whole bottle of sleeping pills and drank almost an entire bottle of vodka. I passed out in my bathroom, and she found me. She took me to the hospital and when I was in rehab for those six hellish weeks... my family never once called me, but she visited me everyday. She was the first person to show me true compassion. Now I would do anything in the world for her.”
Behind her Max smiled, having truly enjoyed the story. Before Eris could stop him he wrapped his arms around her into a warm hug. From where she stood Eris felt her cheeks heat, even though there was nothing sexual about the way Max held her. Somehow, she knew he appreciated her sharing it with him. His embrace was calming and suffocating in a warm delightful way.
“She sounds extraordinary.” His voice was a gentle whisper and ERis could feel her eyes getting tired, a haze descending over her.
“She is,” Eris agreed softly. “I don’t like being apart from her for too long.”
“She gives you a sense of calm?” Max asked knowingly.
“Yes...” Eris breathed, her eyes now boring holes into the entrance, wishing and willing for Dahlia to walk through at any moment. She was feeling oddly tired all of a sudden.
“Puts you at peace?”
“She exudes light doesn’t she?”
“She is the light in darkness...”
The warmth Max exuded was lulling Eris into a languid state. Between the copious amounts of wine, ambrosia, and Max’s strange presence Eris’ vision was dimming.
“What’s happening to me?” She nearly slurred. Max didn’t answer, and instead Eris was slowly lulled into a peaceful sleep, the sounds of the music and the flashing lights fading into nothingness.
Erin went limp in his arms and he placed a simple kiss to her dark tresses before lifting her up into his arms and carrying her towards his private bar. With a gleam of his eyes, a secret door showed itself in the wall and moved out of his way to show a spacious and modern office. In the office was a soft sofa where Max laid Erin down to rest. He presided over her with curious eyes.
“What are you?” he asked himself as he studied the pretty mortal laid out on his sofa. Carefully he knelt down beside her and took up one of her hands. He made quick work as he conjured a needle and pricked Erin’s finger and placed two little droplets into a glass.
He swirled the glass with her blood up to the light. He had other problems to ponder on though. The Sprite had been different as well, and if he didn’t know any better he would have thought she too was a mortal; but both women were odd and left him slightly confused as to what they really were. His only thought on the sprite was how pure her aura was. When she entered his club, he was instantly drawn to her light aura, and hungered to obtain it. A creature with light like that, aside from other angels, was incredibly rare. Her aura was different from all of that. It was as if she was Purity incarnate.
Ursula was another matter to contend with as well. She had been a former lover of his many centuries ago. He had once accompanied a Roman legionnaire north into Germanic and Scandinavian territories to eradicate the pagan religions and extend the reaches of the Roman Empire. In one gruesome bloody battle, Ursula had come down from Valhalla to collect the fallen. Upon seeing her Max wanted to have her, and for a while she was his. She had been a force of great light power, and much how he wished to posses Dawn’s light, he had taken Ursula’s. He didn’t want her to die, not by the hands of another. He still considered himself a master over the Valkyrie, and her light powers had made him stronger. Now she was a shell of her former self, and if anyone was to destroy her, it would be him. Out of all the creatures whose light he had stolen over the years, Ursula had been the only one to get away from him and survive...
This was not Gaius’ first time in this bar. He had visited it once before, and just like the last time he wore a look of irritated boredom. He ordered a glass of chilled vodka and listened to what Kael had to say. Gaius’ money was on the kitsune being in the basement as well, not that it mattered as luck was on their side. Citra rose up from the basement with a small entourage, and much to Gaius’ surprise Kael was over there in the blink of an eye and leading Citra to an empty table.
For a moment it seemed those with Citra might step in, but Gaius had stood up as well, and downed his entire glass of bourbon in one go. However, his eyes never left the trio of men following Citra. It seemed they might just attack him, but Gaius had a look about him that nearly begged them to invoke his wrath. He was Wrath incarnate, and it would have been most unwise to draw it out of him. The group seemed smart enough and backed off for the time being, allowing Gaius to escort Dahlia over to the next table so they could sit down and get in on the conversation.
Kael had called him out for his connection with Caulfield, but Citra wasn’t about to go down with that ship. Unfortunately in regards to Atlas’ murder Citra was telling the truth. Had had nothing to do with Caulfield’s plans and saw himself able to be released from the table; but in true Neu Fashion Kael forced the fox back into his seat.
[b “There has been a string of mortal disappearances over on the East coast. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you? Or maybe the Ketamine hoarding that’s been going on?”] Gaius waited expectantly for an answer, and just as he figured Citra wasn’t going to comment. Just like a politician, always dodging the questions and quick to turn the conversation elsewhere... such as Dahlia’s presence. Gaius normally would have remained impassive and indifferent by his crude comment. He had been known to call mortals worse in the past, but for some reason when Citra called Dahlia a bitch Gaius wanted to deck the fox square in his pretty face.
“Don’t change the subject,” he managed with cool indifference. “Answer the questions. You know about the human disappearances and the ketamine. We can smell the lies on you.” He couldn’t actually smell it, but it was a nice bluff. One Citra quickly saw through, evident by the way he scoffed at him.
“Well I’m not talking with a fucking fairy sitting at the table,” Citra demanded looking Dahlia over with uncertainty and maybe something like vague recognition. Gaius didn’t want to entertain the thought that Citra and whoever he ran around with knew who Eris and Dahlia were, or were at least onto them.
“She’s with me, Citra... and she does not leave my side. Now talk.”
“Fancy yourself smitten? With [i that]?” Citra asked incredulously pointing at Dahlia. He almost looked disgusted. Gaius remained indifferent and simply stared the fox down.
It seemed the men were at a stalemate. Citra didn’t want to answer the questions, and Gaius was not about to entertain the questions posed to him. Sensing that Gaius refused to budge, Citra was at least intelligent to realize that despite his status in the government, Gaius would have no qualms reaching his hand into Citra’s chest and ripping his heart out. Citra knew what happened to hearts once they landed in Gaius’ hands... they were crushed to dust.
“Fuck you...” Citra finally snapped. “Fine, I’ve heard some things. I know there’s a group that’s been busy recruiting in the NYC area. They meet once a week at some warehouse near the Hell’s Kitchen Piers.”
“Why didn’t you report it to PLEA at the very least?”
“Because you and I both know PLEA is a joke. It’s a PR stunt to keep our constituents in Mortal Governments happy. Why do you think the Covenant sends PC to handle these things and not PLEA?” Gaius’ gaze narrowed. The prick had a point. PLEA was the acronym for the Paranormal Law Enforcement Agency, while PC was the containment unit that kept the real shit from hitting the fan. PLEA was great for squabbles between covens or packs, but when it came to mortal entanglement or conspiracy’s, PLEA was ill equipped.
“So you felt it was a waste of time and resources to even bother? Is that what you’re saying?” Gaius challenged a slow smirk forming on his face. “Or were you just trying to save your own ass? I think you’re involved somehow with the disappearances and the ketamine... rumors of even profiteering from human trafficking. Why that? Are you selling humans to Vampires now?” Citra looked ready to leap across the table and take Gaius on, but that was a loosing match no matter how scrappy Citra was in a fight. It was his quick whit that had earned him his place in the covenant’s parliament not his natural strength. Gaius knew he had the strength and skill over Citra, Kael had it too, but both of them would easily admit that for all of Citra’s faults he was incredibly intelligent and cunning.
“I have no idea where you heard about human trafficking. Like I said, all I’ve heard is rumors. I do have one name though... but it’s going to come at a price...” Citra mused with a sly grin towards Kael.
“Why don’t you just give us the name and we won’t report you to the Covenant for withholding information for an investigation?” Gaius asked simply, cornering Citra to answer regardless of what he wanted.
“We already know about her. Give us something better.” Citra glared not wanting to divulge anymore information, but his desire to leave outweighed anything else.
“There is one other... but I don’t think you’re going to like it...” Citra sang his warning. Gaius looked unamused, and waited for the answer as patiently as possible. “Amon.”
For the first time a look of dread and fear crossed Gaius’ face and he tensed in his seat. Amon, commonly known as Satan to Mortals... was also Gaius’ father, and Amon did nothing without the expressed desire of the King of Hell... Lucifer, God’s fallen Son.
Citra chuckled. “Why would I lie about that? What would I gain? Other than the pleasure of seeing that look on your face,” he smirked. Gaius quickly reverted to his usual glare. His eyes promising retribution. “Take it or leave it. That’s just what I’ve heard.” Without another word Gaius stood up and left the table, leaving Kael to finish the questioning.
Outside the air was cool and crisp. It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t hot, but there was a charge in the air that told him something was off. He quickly lit a cigarette even though he could have easily smoked inside, he didn’t trust himself. He hadn’t seen his father for nearly eight hundred years, and the horrifying possibility that his father had a hand in all of this was threatening Gaius to loose his cool. He wanted to rage and roar, he wanted to break something under his heel, to crush and destroy.... All he could do was pace back and forth, cigarette hanging between his lips and his hands pushing through his hair and past his horns with anxious fervor. What were the odds that both Kael and Gaius’ family were getting dragged into political uheval and conspiracy?
At the door, Kael wasn’t shocked at the troll’s proclamation. They probably didn’t see creatures of light, or mortals here too often. At least not unattached to vampires. What got him was how strongly Gaius protested. He went as far as laying claim to Dahlia. It was extreme, even for for a cover. But then again, with how bizarrely attracted his partner had been to the woman, he should have expected something along these lines. In fact he was frustrated that he hadn’t noticed how big of a deal it was sooner.
Despite being completely oblivious to what the wrath demon was truly implying, Dahlia’s face flushed a brilliant shade of red. Even without that piece of knowledge, it was strange to have a man assert himself over her like that. It seemed to work though, as the squat man backed off with his ogling. At least for that she was thankful. They passed him without issue after that.
The atmosphere here was one that Kael was much more used to. It was the sort of place they wouldn’t look twice if you got into a fight. Sure if you got too rowdy you’d be asked to leave, but the occasional brawl was generally over looked if you took it outside. That being said it also meant that many of the patrons here were almost looking for a fight. And the red-eyed man didn’t really want to have to knock through a line of guys just to get to kick some info out of Desmond.
Kael kept his eyes peeled for the target, but did not immediately see him. He followed after Gaius with Dahlia to the bar. They flanked her making it pretty clear that she was off limits. Often times he forgot how much of a presence the wrath demon had. He had gotten used to that sort of thing growing up, and now spent so much time with him that it just kind of faded into the background. It wasn’t until times like this cropped up that he remembered it wasn’t everyone’s normal. This time he was glad, it drew all the attention to Gaius and made it easier for Kael to stay under the radar.
[b “My guess is that he is below, foxes like dens.”] The comment was offhand as he turned in his seat to give the room one more lookover. The final glance confirmed his suspicion that he wasn’t in this room. [b “Yeah, he knows me, but so long as he doesn’t recognize me before we grab him it will be fine. Worse comes to worst and he runs, I know for a fact I can catch him.”] While it had been a while since he’d seen the kitsune, there was little doubt in Kael’s mind that he was still in better shape than him.
About that time the bartender meandered over to the group. She was tall for a woman, white hair falling straight down her back. [b “What do you want?”] Her words were cold and to the point.
[b “A double shot of Gin.”] The drink was more to keep eyes off of them while they plotted. Shooting a look at the others he encouraged them to do the same.
Dahlia wasn’t much in the mood to drink. While most of the pain she had experienced had passed, her side was still aching. She paused when the pale woman looked over her with expectant eyes, as if saying not to waste her time. [b “… Jack and coke.”]
When the three of them had given their orders, the bartender was off again to fill them without a word. Kael got back to what he was saying immediately. [b “Like I said, if he is here he’s probably down stairs. If you take the lead going down and ask around I am sure he will pop up. I will hang back just in case he thinks he can sneak passed you.”] It was liable to happen; Desmond didn’t care for direct confrontation. [b “Once we have ahold of him we won’t have a problem.”]
Quick as she left, the icy woman returned with their drinks. Sliding her the money for it, Kael said a quick thanks and he disappeared again. He doubted she would bother them again.
Just as he was about to give Gaius a description of the target, he heard footsteps. They fell as though treading up stairs. Going silent, he turned toward the stairwell. As soon as he caught sight of who came up, he backtracked on the plan. [b “Scratch that. He came to us.”] Up and out of his seat, the snake was across the room in seconds. This earned him a few sidelong glares, but no one moved from their spot.
Gin in one hand, the other was planted firmly on Desmond’s shoulder. [b “Hey buddy, we need to have some words.”] A less than pleasant smile formed on Kael’s face. His hand squeezed tightly to let the kitsune know it wasn’t a request. Leading him to an open table, he motioned for Gaius to join with Dahlia.
The woman barely saw Kael move before she noticed he was gone. Looking around the room, she spotted him with a wisp of a man in tow. He was calling them over. She looked to Gaius before moving, sticking like glue to him as they made their way across the floor. The whole time she clutched her drink in hand, afraid to let it down even in plain sight. If she couldn’t see Kael running around, God knew what the rest of the people in here were capable of.
The red-eyed demon didn’t wait for the others to take their seats before getting started. [b “So, Miles Caulfield is a friend of yours, correct?”]
Desmond’s shifty eyes shot over to Kael, his mouth moving just as quick. [b “No, no, no. You are not pinning this shit on me.”] He shook his head furiously, not taking his eyes from the man he was speaking to, even as the other’s joined the table. [b “I helped land Miles the internship, but I had no idea he was going to go fucking mental once he got there.”]
Looking Desmond over, Kael had known him long enough to know when he was lying. And somehow he wasn’t. He did however continue his fast talking streak. [b “If that’s all you wanted, then I am getting out of here.”] He moved to stand, but Kael grabbed him again.
[b “Nope, you’re not off the hook yet.”] He easily pulled the sandy blond back down. [b “There has been a string of mortal disappearances over on the East coast. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you? Or maybe the Ketamine hoarding that’s been going on?”]
Immediately the fox’s behavior changed. He looked away from Kael and to the others across the circular table. [b “No comment.”]
There it was. Digging his nails into the man’s collarbone, Kael spoke through gritted teeth. [b “That’s not an option today.”]
Desmond winced, but didn’t give in. Instead he opted to change the subject. [b “How about you two tell me why you are hauling around some fae bitch?”] He wore a smug look, as he glanced between Kael and Gaius.
Gaius was salty over the way they had to leave one of their mortals behind, but he supposed it wasn’t all bad... they still had Dahlia. They weren’t even halfway down the block, when Gaius had lit his own cigarette to hear Kael ask for one. For the first time in a long time a look of shock crossed his features, but he didn’t comment. He simply removed a cigarette from his carton and handed it to Kael, promptly lighting it for him. It wasn’t like Kael to lean on this habit, he must have been under more stress than he had thought. Or maybe it was something else? Honestly, Gaius didn’t blame him, Kael was under a lot of pressure from all sides. Between his family, the internal issues with their own division of their ruling government, and their mission; it was surprising that Kael hadn’t fallen back on more demonic tendencies. As far as smoking went for Gaius, he was a demon of biblical proportions. Fire and Brimstone might have smelt like hell to mortals and most other creatures, but for Gaius the feeling of smoke in his lungs was a comfort of home.
His dark disposition only grew darker as he began to smell blood. With a slow glance to the side, he saw the origin was none other than Dahlia. When had she begun to bleed? Had someone knicked her while they were leaving the club? The idea that someone had harmed him, nearly threatened to send him into a rage, and he blew smoke out of his nose as he eyed her. His eyes even gleamed suspiciously at her, until she promptly excused herself. Gaius wanted to follow, be lingered behind as they waited for their Uber to show up. He watched her rush into a convenience store, and he walked over to stand beside Kael. The two of them making a pair, with their odd eyes and the curling tendrils of cigarette smoke that surrounded them.
“She was bleeding. I could smell it...” Gaius muttered darkly. “I don’t know how anyone could have hurt her, but she did drink Ambrosia...” it was no mystery to his kind that Ambrosia could do strange things to Mortals. Perhaps that was why Eris’ glamour stopped working? Gaius couldn’t be sure, she had smelled strange from the first time they had met. He’d smelled something different about her when he’d lifted her to retrieve the medallion. She had been stronger than she looked too, and he’d never seen a mortal her size hold their liquor that well. He had suspected something off about her, but tonight had only confirmed he was right. Eris was not all she appeared to be. However, he was more concerned about Dahlia at the moment, and what was happening to her.
They didn’t have to wait too terribly long, as Dahlia exited the store just as their Uber arrived. Gaius opened the door and watched Dahlia’s every move with an unreadable expression. Both men waited for her to enter the car, her glamour back in place, and once they were nestled inside, the car took off.
It was ridiculous having to across town twice in a night, and they would have to do it twice more. To get Eris and to return to the safe house. He was half tempted to flash them where they needed to go, but he didn’t think Dahlia would be able to hand it. The Transport Pad they had arrived on had nearly made her lose the contents of her stomach, ERis had lost the contents of her stomach... there was no doubt in his mind Dahlia would have vomited violently from his ability. Maybe with time and practice she might get accustomed to it, but they didn’t have the time for it now.
The club they were heading to was in a more shady part of town, just on the outskirts and before the ghettos of poverty stricken individuals stuck in the disparity of income inequality. The doorway to the club was illuminated by an old awning and red neon lights above it claiming its name. The park lot was deserted save for a few cars of modest make, but the asphalt was cracked, potted, and faded from a lack of maintenance over the years. It looked like a dump in comparison to the last club they’d come from, but as Gaius stepped out the smell was a dead giveaway. All creatures of night crawled through this place, from other demons, to Vampires, and even dark fey. A single bouncer sat on an old stool outside and he looked as if he’d see better days, from the look of his face, Gaius assumed the man was probably a troll. There was even a sign on the front door that said: No Wolves allowed.
Gaius turned towards Dahlia before he opened the door so they could get out and reminded her to put her glamour back on. Once she had replaced the bangle, he opened the door and helped her out. Seeing Dahlia and her wings had the troll guarding the door perk up a bit. He smirked almost knowingly to Gaius and Kael, sensing what they were.
“Creatures of the night,” he greeted. “Is this tasty morsel for me?” The troll asked leering at Dahlia. Gaius curled his lip and his eyes glowed dangerous.
“She is mine, so hands off,” He warned. Dahlia would be unaware of what it meant to make a claim on a mortal to another member of the Lore, but Kael would. Hopefully the snake wouldn’t look too deeply into it and see it as a way to keep Dahlia safe when they entered this den of darkness. That seemed to make the Troll a bit more prickly, but no less agreeable with them. He simply scoffed in disappointment and crossed his arms before hiking a thumb at the door.
“You may pass, but you might want to keep an eye on your pretty fairy... there’s a fair few Fangers in there.” Gaius tried to hide his displeasure with the notion that Vampires were in attendance to the club, and glamour or no glamour, even the dimmest of Vampire would be able to smell Dahlia’s true blood was not Fey in any sense of the word.
“Appreciate the heads up,” Gaius murmured and led Dahlia into the club with Kael hot on their heels.
It was dark and lingering in the air was smoke and incense. The smell of marijuana was prevelant as was cigarette smoke. The music wasn’t overly loud but loud enough. There really wasn’t a dance floor unlike the club they came from, and it truly was more like a bar than a club. There were several dart games going on at the far wall, pool tables, and plenty of small stages where creatures of all kind danced on poles. There were even a collection of humans laid out on soft velvet seats as Vampires drank their blood, all of them in a euphoric consenting state. A fair few eyes fell on Gaius when he entered. When you were as old as he, sometimes it was hard to not be recognized, but those that seemed to sense who and what he was, moved out of his way with no issue and in a way with a heavy dose of fearful respect. He quickly found a place at the bar to sit down, pulling out a stool for Dahlia and glancing over at Kael just before they took their own seats protectively on either side of Dahlia.
Unlike the Angelic club, this dive bar had a full range of liquors, draft beers and other casts of more magical brews. The bartender had yet to approach them and so Gaius took the moment to lean over the bar, to whisper to Kael. “Let’s keep our eyes open. If we can’t see him here he’s either upstairs or downstairs in the basement. Do we even want him to know you’re here? He knows your face, doesn’t he?” Gaius asked concern lacing his words.
The tension made the air seem thick. Dahlia hated it, but what was worse was that she had no idea what was going to happen. Trying to focus on her contact with Eris was all she could do to block out the fear of the unknown. The closeness was enough to keep her okay until they got their lead and the atmosphere seemed to lighten. The mortal was thankful, but it didn’t last long. When Ursula was mentioned everyone seemed to tense up all over again, even the angel who had seemed to make a point out of keeping a mostly straight face.
Gaius was dead set on ending the traitorous woman. It was hard for Dahlia to listen to. She wasn’t used to anyone making such casual, yet serious, comments about literally murdering another person. Even if the Valkyrie had tried to hurt Eris and her, the idea didn’t sit right with the woman.
It was around this time that Dahlia felt a twinge at her side. It was irritating, almost like there was a tag on her clothes that she had missed and it was rubbing her ribs raw. But as annoying as it was, she nearly forgot about it all together when Max called for Eris to stay with him. Her heart sank straight to the floor. The sensation only became worse when it became apparent that they could not refuse him. Once again she felt the urge to out herself so that she could be with her friend, but the look on the other mortal’s face made it clear she would be pissed if she even tried. Dejected, Dahlia stayed silent even at the blond’s offer for her to stay.
Kael also had a hard time keeping quiet, but he was more on the spectrum of telling Max to fuck right off. Balling his hands into fists, he squeezed tightly. His claws pressed hard to the skin, eventually breaking it. There the blood welled warm under his nails. He knew this was nothing more than a ploy to make sure Max got the information he wanted; the angel didn’t even care about Eris or her safety. Focusing on his stinging palms, he spoke carefully.
[b “We’ll be back as soon as we can.”] The snake wore a smile, but his eyes were narrowed into a sharp glare from behind his glasses.
Their business here was done for the moment and the bouncers that previously blocked them stepped aside. The trio descended back into the thrall of bodies, heading straight for the exit. Guarding the door was the same bulky man that had let them in. He let out a loud sound of relief as the demons departed, but said nothing else.
Not stopping until they made it a couple of blocks from the club, Kael was hell-bent on getting as far away from the looming presence of light as he could. It wasn’t till the aura was faint in the distance that he stopped to hail another uber. Unfortunately Desmond’s play place was on the other side of town. Exactly where they’d just come from. A fact that irritated him to no end seeing as they had to come right back here again afterward.
Facing Gaius, he held out his hand. [b “Cigarette…”] Kael hadn’t smoked in decades, but it turned out this was the occasion that broke him. [b “A light too, please.”]
As soon as he had what he wanted he backtracked to the last street corner, putting about twenty feet between him and the others. There he took a long hard drag. The end of the cigarette glowed bright enough to match his eyes as he did. By the time he finally exhaled, he’d taken the thing down by a fourth. Kael slowed his pace from there.
Despite the distance Dahlia caught whiffs of the smoke as it dispersed through the comfortably cool night air. She didn’t mind it as it distracted from the worry in her chest and the pain in her side. What started as a mild annoyance was growing. By the time they’d left the club the discomfort had reached searing. Accompanied by a hot feeling dripping down her stomach, she was scared. What in the hell was happening?
Afraid that if she told the guys, they might want to see what was happening, the woman kept it to her self. She didn’t want to have to take her shirt off in front of them. Struggling to think of a way to get some privacy, eventually Dahlia remembered seeing a small store on the way here. [b “Um… I need to use the restroom. I’ll be right back.”] Her words were slightly uneven as she spoke, but she didn’t wait for Gaius to tell her no before starting off back the way they came.
Kael looked at her confused as she went to walk passed him, but catching the smell of blood he had an inkling as to what might be wrong. She repeated the excuse, and he nodded looking around the corner. He could see the store from the there. Quickly he took his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out a few tattered bills. [b “If you buy something you’ll stand out less. Don’t forget to kill the glamor.”]
Taking the money, the woman pulled the bracelet from her wrist and continued for the store. Going straight to the single stall bathroom in the back, she locked it swiftly before hauling up her shirt. The small, smudged mirror on the wall reflected the dark liquid slowly oozing from what had previously been a tattoo. It was blood, but nearly black as it was tainted with the ink that had once been imbedded in her skin. Moving in close to inspect it more carefully, she wondered was her body rejecting the ink. Now that it was gone the flow seemed to be slowing up.
Pulling handfuls of paper towels from the dispenser, she wet them and began scrubbing the drying blood that was caking to her pale stomach. All the while she wondered if this was the glamor’s doing, or perhaps the ambrosia. Those were the only two things that she’d done differently in the last hour or so.
Once clean, all that remained were the puffy red remnants of mysterious symbols and the feeling that something bad was going to happen without them. Shaking the thought, she inspected the spot again; it looked as though it would scab over given enough time. When she was confident that was the case, Dahlia moved to cleaning what little blood had seeped into her sweater. Thank god it wasn’t a tight fitted shirt or she would have looked like she’d been stabbed. There wouldn’t have been a way to explain that away, especially since she didn’t even know how to explain the currently situation. When all was said and done, she exited the room and went for the front end of the store. Grabbing a small bag of chips she stood in line at the single open register. All the impulse items stared at her. One of which was a pack of sharpies. Biting her lip, she grabbed it and tossed it on the table when it was her turn.
After paying, she ripped open the package. Tossing the plastic in the trash, she pulled back her sleeve to do her best rendition of the marks that had been on her ribcage. Strangely enough, it comforted her. Blowing lightly on the ink, she made sure it was dry before pulling the cardigan back down and exiting the store. Dahlia stowed the markers away in her bra before slipping her bangle back on and returning to the others.
Even when the uber arrived, Kael didn’t leave the corner. They waited until Dahlia returned before loading up. The smell of blood had lessened, but permanent marker replaced it. He had entirely no idea what that meant, but he wasn’t brave enough to ask.
Eris couldn’t believe it at first, but when Kael had suggested Max let her go, she could have run over and hugged him. Thankfully she didn’t have to as Dahlia was there to comfort her. Eris didn’t understand, why wasn’t her glamour working? It wasn’t Mr. M that made her uneasy, it was the failed glamour and his attentions to Dahlia. He had no idea about Dahlia, but he’d seen right through hers. It just didn’t make sense. Dahlia helped to keep Eris calm and grounded, and having her hand to hold was the perfect way to accomplish that. She decided to keep her mouth shut, she’d said more than enough and a look from Dahlia only solidified her idea to stay quiet.
Gaius wasn’t a huge fan of divines or Angelics. Ursula had been the exception, but now even she was on his shit list. If he ever saw her again he fully planned to cut her head clean off from her shoulders. He might even keep the skull as a paperweight. Just for shits and giggles. He rose from his chair slowly after Kael and crossed the room to speak with Max. Now that they were apparently invited into the conversation. Damned Angelics always were elitist bags of shit.
Gaius flashed his own badge in tandem with Kael’s, looking bored as usual, but under the surface he was grateful. Grateful that Dahlia’s glamour was working exceptionally well. Grateful Max hadn’t seen through her. He let Kael give Max the information they had... within reason. Kael was obviously withholding some of the information to keep Dahlia’s origin secret. He appreciated that too. He spared a glance to the women, as Kael spoke with Max, and observed that both women were watching apprehensively. He didn’t blame them. Their whole world had been turned upside down.
[i “So you decided to spread your problem over here?”] The angel criticized. Gaius couldn’t help but roll his eyes, but before he could say anything, Kael surprisingly beat him to it.
[b “Oh yes, we thought we’d prance right over to even things out across the states.”] Gaius quickly placed his hand on Kael’s shoulder helping him to keep his cool. If Gaius could do it, he had faith Kael could too. It was only then, that Gaius interviened, always one who was willing to ‘play the game’ so to speak.
“It’s been a stressful week, Magister. We would not be here unless it was imperative we be so. Trust me when I say we loath being here as much as you loath our presence in your establishment.”
The Angel gave it some thought, letting the music of the club fill the temporary void of conversation between them. The Magister was thinking, probably wondering if he truly wanted to hear what two demons had to say. He did relent in the end and asked them why they had chosen to come to LA, and Kael was quick to relay that information.
Desmond Ciara was their biggest lead, as was his connections to the Malumortis. Kael did a fantastic job of tying everything important together while leaving out some of the more dramatic bits of information. Gaius remained impassive and patient as Kael demanded the angel tell him if he knew of anything. Gaius wanted to grin at the look of irritation on the Angel’s face even as he relented and gave them the information he knew.
[i “When Citra comes to town, he usually spends a couple of days there before disappearing again. If you get over there you might actually find him, but then again he could have sneaked off by now.”]
“LEt’s hope that’s not the case...” Gaius murmured, and held his hand out for the women to stand. “Come on ladies, we have our lead.” Gaius wanted to get both women out quickly, especially Dahlia because Max had been obviously drawn to her for similar reasons that Gaius had, and because of the knowledge that Eris was mortal. Angelics liked to think of themselves as protectors of mankind, and he wouldn’t put it past the holy little shit to try and keep Eris with him. Though if he did, Gaius doubted it was for her protection and more for use as leverage against them. “We don’t want to waste anymore of Mr. M’s precious time,” Eris stood up with Dahlia prepared to leave, when Max spoke again, stilling them all.
[i “Since I’ve been so helpful I expect to hear your results.” ] Gaius glanced at Kael, and decided to take the lead this time, he shuffled the girls behind him to try and use himself as a barrier between Max and the women.
“You are the Magister of this region. We will of course oblige you in this request, but it would be prudent to help us remain unfettered in our investigation. I hope this situation will allow us to build a bridge of partnership, or at least understanding in future investigations.” Max seemed to consider Gaius’ words, but a slow smile spread across his face, and there was nothing angelic or kind about it in Gaius’ opinion.
“Of course... but, no one has given me the name of this treacherous Valkyrie. How am I to confirm such accusations if I do not have a name”?
“Ursula Tijis.” Gaius answered without hesitation. Max tensed in his seat, clearly knowing exactly who she was. “And for her sake, I hope you find her before I do.”
“What will you do if you find her?” Max asked, but there was something else in his gaze, a familiarity with Ursula’s name a wariness to know what might happen to her. Gaius didn’t give a rats ass if they were former lovers or siblings in arms, he would do what his sin hungered for him to do.
“I plan to kill her. I do not take betrayal lightly.” Max studied Gaius for a moment longer, but whatever he wanted to ask, he kept it to himself.
“You’re the wrath demon aren’t you?” Gaius’ look alone, was enough to confirm Max’s question and he grinned though he was frustrated and put out by this new development. “I thought so. I know her. Though, I can not tell you if she is working with Citra. She has been known to mingle with demons. Though... I’m sure you already know that.” Max gave Gaius a look over, but Gaius didn’t back down from the angel’s judging gaze. “If you do catch her, try not to kill her...”
“I won’t entertain a different option. Her head is mine-“
“You’re not the only one she has betrayed.” Max snapped. “Catch her, and I will see to her delivery to Asguard where she will face her sisters and her maker.” Gaius seemed to consider it for a moment but then shrugged.
“I make no promises...”
Gaius moved to escort the women out, but before he could get to the corded rope that sectioned off the loft, Max stood to his feet and his guards blocked their exit.
“Oh come now Wrath, you know better...the mortal stays,” he commanded. Eris frowned and looked to Dahlia, and while she was nervous she kept a brave face.
“If we refuse-“
“You cannot refuse, I am Magister and you are in my domain. My command supersedes you.” Gaius grit his teeth and looked at Kael. Sensing their frustration, Max smiled. “You can have her back as soon as you return from Citra’s little hovel with your intelligence. For now, she can keep me company. Come here child,” he said to Eris with hand extended. She frowned, but her nervousness was slowly giving away for her own frustration. She looked to Dahlia with fierce determination.
“Stay safe...” She whispered to her dearest friend, and then looked to Kael and Gaius. “I’ll be alright, just make sure you come back.” She tried to smile and play it off as if her being left behind was not a big deal, but as Eris looked back at Max... she had a feeling there was more to learn from this Angel.
“Come, come child, if you’re so scared to sit with me your lovely friend is always welcome to stay.” She glanced back to see him grinning warmly at Dahlia. Eris couldn’t believe the thought in her head, but she would have preferred Gaius to Max. Reluctantly she stepped back towards Max but set her eyes on the group.
“Don’t have too much fun without me.” She grinned, before turning to face Max. “And I don’t scare easily.”
Max grinned at her, amused and nodded his head. “Of that my dear child, I have no doubts.”
Relief washed over Dahlia when Eris jumped back in. However, it was brief as Max seemed to dog them for more and more specific answers. She kept glancing back to the men at the bar, as she was unsure how confidential they were supposed to keep this. It didn’t really matter though, because Eris, true to her nature, laid it all out bluntly. A tact that seemed to work relatively well, she even managed to catch him off guard. That was until he grabbed her. Dahlia nearly jumped out of her skin. Somehow, it was the same for her fellow human and that was enough to drag more of the truth out of her. Even still, she was trying to cover for Dahlia. Fearing that might end up getting them separated, the petite woman began to attempt to stutter out a confession as well, but Max’s attention was already set on the demons at the bar.
With little more he could do besides watch the scene spiral into chaos, Kael finished his drink. His crimson eyes dead set on the magister. Setting the thick pint glass to the side on the bar, he mirrored the look of displeasure straight back at Max. [b “Why don’t you let her go first, then we will think about telling you what we know… You’re clearly making her uncomfortable.”] He nodded his head toward Eris whose hand was still help captive. That was one of the things he hated about the divine. They were so into themselves, as though they could do no wrong, that they overlooked the atmosphere around them. The man in white retracted his hand shortly after.
When Eris pulled back, Dahlia took her now empty hand and squeezed it gently. It had been strange to see her so shaken, enough so that she wanted to do something to help. Grounding them to one another was all she could think to do.
Kael stood from his seat, prompting Gaius to do so as well. The pair joined the rest of the party at the set of couches, but did not sit. [b “Sorry, but this is kind of confidential. I’d really rather not shout it across the room at you.”] Sighing, he wasn’t quite sure where to begin with this mess, and what should be left out as to conceal Dahlia’s humanity.
[b “We are with LPC, demon division obviously.”] As he spoke, Kael flashed his badge. Lore phenomenon control was a large network that had branches throughout the worlds and races. Certain standards were upheld throughout the entire system, so this would give them some level of credibility. Still, Max didn’t seem to have a noticeable change in disposition.
[b “The basics are that we were assigned to find a transportation token that fell into human hands, but before we could get ahold of the one who took it, she found it.”] He motioned over to Eris, [b “Clearly, that complicated things, as we didn’t want to bring any more mortals into this than we had to. But it turns out we weren’t the only ones after the talisman. We chose to intervene when things got ugly.”] That basically summed up why she was here, which wasn’t a question he asked. [b “Among the attackers, there was a Valkyrie. And all of this happens to coincide with one of our leading men being assassinated. We do know that was an inside job, so for the time being we are trying to find which leads connect before we call in for help.”] Ursula meant they had to be suspicious of the creatures of light, the situation with Atlas meant they couldn’t trust their own higher ups, and the token was one of Hades who generally kept neutral ground, so all the bases we loaded. It was frustrating just thinking about it.
[b “So you decided to spread your problem over here?”] The angel had a less than amused expression on his face.
Narrowing his eyes at the man, Kael snapped back. [b “Oh yes, we thought we’d prance right over to even things out across the states.”] Taking a deep breath, he cleared his head some. Though it wasn’t enough to completely rid him of the irritation the blond caused.
There was a moment of silence between the five of them. The pounding of the music and hum of chatter seemed to fade into the distance despite being so close. Max eventually broke back in. [b “Fine, then why did you come here?”]
Kael continued even though he really didn’t want to keep the conversation up. [b “We have a lead. It’s likely that Desmond Citra had to do with the internal affair. He is a known conspirator with the Malumortis, which is one of the only groups willing to openly assault mortals like we saw with Erin over there. She also happened to be investigating the human disappearances previously mentioned, this could have also made her a target, but we know for certain they were after the token.”] He didn’t feel the need to bring up the surrounding circumstances with his own family, as it would only land them in more trouble. [b “Desmond frequently slinks about L.A. We hoped to find him, or any information that might lead us to him and his cohorts…”] Done dancing around the point, the snake got straight to it. [b “So do you know anything?”] If the regional Magister didn’t have what they needed, Kael was certain no one in this bar would.
By how Mr. Max reacted, it was clear he wasn’t used to being spoken to this way, much less having information demanded from him. [b “Yes, I know about the fox. He skulks around from time to time, but hasn’t done anything notable enough to be driven out.”] He wasn’t keen on helping these men, but he also wanted them out of his club. [b “I last heard that he was down on the east end, they’ve got some sort of hang out they think I don’t know about.”] He waved his hand in dismissal; it hadn’t been a threat. [b “When Citra comes to town, he usually spends a couple of days there before disappearing again. If you get over there you might actually find him, but then again he could have sneaked off by now.”] Kitsune were known to be clever things, he wouldn’t trust one for anything. Though Max wouldn’t trust many species of demons.
Not one to help dark entities for nothing, the clean-cut man spoke again. [b “Since I’ve been so helpful I expect to hear your results.”]
It wasn’t an unreasonable request, but Kael despised the idea of being this guy’s dog, to any extent. Not to mention he didn’t particularly want to come back here. Especially now that Eris had been outed as mortal. It would only increase the chances that he would try and snag her ‘for her own safety.’ Something the bespectacled man most seriously doubted the angel could ensure.
Max sat quietly looking between the two women and listened to their story. Dawn and Erin from the East Coast. He studied them closely, but kept his thoughts and his expression reserved. Demons did not venture into his club, though they might in his district. They had their own places to go, and it was intriguing that two Fey would be with two demons. He was curious to know why. Dawn was impressed that he had spotted them so quickly. He ran a tight ship, and everyone in his region knew it. The West Coast was his region to magistrate over the districts in under him, knowing who he was should have been understood by two of their kind.
[i “But then again that makes sense. I’ve heard things are run better over in this district, I just never imagined we’d run into the man behind it all right off the bat.”] He watched Dawn closely, and saw her friend was staring at him intently. He only looked from Dawn once to study Erin, and she certainly had an interesting aura about her.
“So what brings you here?” He asked leaning back in his seat and crossing his ankle to his knee and steepled his fingers. The women shared a glance, before Dawn continued, mentioning how a mess was brewing over on the East Coast with no explanation. That caused him to look from the girls towards the demons were were watching him and the women closely.
[i “Of course there are a couple of rumors flying around, but you really can’t trust what people say.”] Max let his eyes drift back towards the women and a slightly amused grin crossed his gorgeous face.
“Yes, I’ve heard some rumors myself, that the East Coast has a situation going on. The Covenant lost one of its prominent members, and there’s been an influx of demonic activity, not surprising given the population of their kind in that region.” He didn’t even bother to glance at the two men lounging at his private bar. “We’ve heard a few things here, but it’s not my region to worry about. I oversee the North American West coast and so what happens to that area of this continent is none of my concern. I don’t worry about the mess Demons find themselves in, I’m surprised any creature of light would.”
“We don’t discriminate,” Erin finally said, capturing Max’s attention. “We’re also worried that what’s happening over on the East coast, predominantly in New York, will in time effect Angelic and Fey... humans are already paying the price with several disappearances.” Max eyed Erin with a look of curiosity. She had quite the interesting aura, nothing special, but it was interesting. Nothing in comparison to the alluring draw of her friends purity, but interesting none the less. However, he was more concerned about her comment in regards to human life.
“How do you know about this? This is the first I’m hearing about humans being involved. That changes things...” he mused. For a moment he watched as the two women exchanged looks, but Erin was the one who continued.
“We have a strong connection with a human Police Officer in New York, who’s given us information about the missing people, the few they’ve found have had a brand burned into their flesh. We also caught word of a human trafficking plot involving large amounts of Ketamine being distributed in the streets, however, we’re unsure if those are related to what’s been happening. They could be connected or all separate situations.” Max nodded his head in thought, still studying the two of them. The pretty sprite’s wings twitched, maybe in nervousness, maybe it was nothing. He personally kept his wings hidden, only letting them free in dire situations. The Sprite was no doubt special, that much was obvious by the light she radiated, however the other was harder to read.
“Interesting that you would work with humans,” Max said leaning back in his seat, and draping his arms over the back of his chair. “Why didn’t you report this to the Arch Angels?” He watched both women exchange another look but before they could speak he cut them off. “I suppose it doesn’t matter-“
“It does when one of our suspects includes a Valkyrie,” Erin rushed to say.
Max was caught off guard by that, and for the first time his face showed a truly shocked reaction. Something like frustration and horror crossed his face.
“That is a heavy accusation,” he warned them his eyes going cold and steely.
“We know. We came to LA in hopes of finding some answers. We just weren’t expecting to run into you,” Erin stated with a sigh.
“This is not what I was expecting when I summoned you up here.”
“What were you expecting?” He heard one of them ask, but he wasn’t looking at them, he had his gaze on the two demons, making sure they hadn’t moved.
“To share drinks and conversation with two gorgeous women,” he stated simply. Erin was suddenly grinning at him.
“Well, you’ve gotten all that. Maybe just not the conversation you were hoping for?”
Finally Max grinned. “Touché my dear. So what can I help you with?” Erin leaned forward then and stared him down. He finally got a good look at her wine colored eyes and leaned in himself, and that was when it hit him. The part of her aura that was confusing him. He didn’t even hear the question posed at him when he suddenly reached out and took Erin’s hand.
She gasped, trying to pull free but he held firm. “What’s the deal, man?” He frowned at her his eyes searching hers.
“What are you?” He asked of her. Erin frowned.
“What kind?” Erin’s jaw slackened, before she snapped her mouth shut looking nervous and unsure. “Don’t want to tell me, or not sure?” He saw her look to the two demons, and for some reason that made him angry.
Eris could tell that her Glamour wasn’t working, not near as well as Dahlia’s was. That was obvious by how Mr. M was staring her down and studying her. It was uncomfortable and she desperately wanted her hand back. She had a split second decision to make, and in her eyes it was either expose them all, or just herself.
“Don’t look at them, look at me. They can’t help you in here...” Eris looked back at Mr. M a frown on her face, and the rare feeling of fear bubbling in her gut.
“I’m human,” she admitted, but when’s he saw his gaze flicker over to Dahlia she quickly added, “they all found me... I found something I wasn’t supposed to, and they’re helping me.” Mr. M released Eris and while he didn’t look entirely convinced, he seemed to believe her and that glare on his face turned towards Kael and Gaius at the bar who were watching with extreme displeasure.
“What did she find?” He asked them coldly. “What is happening on the East Coast?”
They hadn’t been in the club more than ten seconds before Eris bee-lined for the bar. The two mortals weaved through the crowd to get there, but the same cloud of people seemed to part slightly when Kael and Gaius walked by. The snake demon sighed at this, but followed toward the bar anyway. The circle around them seemed to widen when Eris and Gaius began to bicker.
[b “Hey, she’s right, we really should just sit back for now and see what they can come up with.”] They were a hundred times more likely to get information out of anyone in this club. That being said, Kael absolutely detested sitting around waiting for something to happen, especially in a stuffy place like this.
When another bouncer made his way to the small group, he half thought it was over. Instead they had earned the attention of someone on the second level. An honor he wished could have avoided or at the very least turned down, but the man in white was hell bound to have the girls’ company. Though, it seemed as though he was more targeting Dahlia. A fact that worried Kael as Gaius was already on thin ice in this establishment and she did not look the least bit comfortable with the situation.
Dahlia couldn’t help but wonder how this scene had managed to play out the way it did. One minute she was minding her own business drinking her glass of wine, knowing that she would likely have to drink Eris’ as well because the stuff went straight to her head, and the next there was some guy hounding them to come talk to his boss. And despite having a rule of never assuming anyone was singling her out, it really felt like this bouncer was paying more attention to her. It didn’t help that everyone kept telling her it was her call if they went or not. She expected it from her friend, but it was strange to hear it from Gaius too.
Thinking it over, it was probably a good bet that this man had information, but there was also the chance that she had just stood out too much and he’d seen though her. She knew this damn glamor was way too flashy. In the end the choice was made for them, as the man on the ledge had a change of heart and invited the demons as well. Whelp, there went their out.
Once they were upstairs, they were away from the few prying eyes that bothered to look their way, but it wasn’t any more relaxing. In fact, Kael was rather skeptical about the whole situation. This guy must have been pretty desperate to get Eris and Dahlia up here if he allowed them to come along. And desperation never led to anything good. The fine-featured man even passed them some drinks. It was nothing more than a ploy to get them to sit at the bar. Even so, Kael took the drink. Sipping at the glass, it tasted fine. At the very least it wasn’t laced with anything. A small consolation for what they were dealing with.
The ladies were on one of the few plush couches that littered the upper level. It wasn’t far from the bar, so everything this Mr. M said was in earshot. He wasn’t shy about his distaste for the demons, but he moved on quickly. Still, Kael kept his eyes set on the three of them. He made no effort to move closer. This was fine for the time being.
The petite woman was set to have Eris do the talking for the time being. She had set the remainder of her wine on the bar downstairs and forgotten it, which was upsetting. As that would have been a perfect excuse to turn down the handsome man’s drink. Now there was nothing and the idea of drinking ambrosia was unsettling. Wasn’t this stuff supposed to make humans immortal? Watching Eris down hers, Dahlia prayed for the best and followed suit, and damn was it an experience. Ambrosia was unlike anything she had ever drank or eaten before. It made her feel light and kind of fluffy. But even that sensation couldn’t mask the anxiety that boiled up when Max started asking questions back. Even Eris seemed to be stumped at what to say.
Worried that if they let the silence sit for too long things would become even harder to deal with Dahlia just started talking. Now, she wasn’t the best liar, but she did know lying by degree was the best way to not get caught. Focusing on keeping her story close enough to the truth that it was easy to remember, she hoped that Gaius and Kael could hear her well enough and that she didn’t mess anything too vital up.
[b “I’m Dawn and this is Erin. It’s lovely to meet you, Max.”] She tried her best to smile genuinely, but the man was intimidatingly pretty and keeping eye contact was difficult. [b “We are actually from over on the East coast, at least that is where we’ve spent most of our time. I’m impressed that you were able to pick us out as new comers so quickly. You must be quite attentive.”] The faux fae woman hoped she wasn’t laying it on too thick. Buttering him up would most likely make it easier to get information, but it might make it harder to leave too. Dahlia really didn’t want to be stuck here, but if things got too bad she was sure the guys would come barreling in. At least it seemed so with how closely they were watching things unfold.
[b “But then again that makes sense. I’ve heard things are run better over in this district, I just never imagined we’d run into the man behind it all right off the bat.”] Watching his features carefully, Dahlia was having a hard time reading him. There didn’t seem to be a single flaw, or fault there to tell her whether her flattery was doing any good. [b “Truth be told there is some sort of mess brewing back home, Things are going to hell in a hand basket, and no one is coming out to explain what’s going on.”] Huffing a bit at the end, that last sentence was pretty much true. New York was currently full of crazy shit and the two of them still didn’t have any concrete answers. Other than it was some supernatural nonsense. [b “Of course there are a couple of rumors flying around, but you really can’t trust what people say.”] Sighing, she looked over to Eris. Her immediate expression wasn’t horrified. Dahlia took it as a sign that she hadn’t royally destroyed their chances of things running smoothly here.
As for Kael, he was about half way through his pint of ale. Not because he was particularly fond of it, but because he was taking a drink every time this situation made him feel like dying. There was the fact that they ran straight into the magister, the fact that he was asking questions, that they hadn’t gone over a backstory at all, and that they were separated so they couldn’t help the girls in the least. So far they hadn’t said anything completely damning, but it was only a matter of time before things started to not add up. Eris and Dahlia didn’t know anything about how the lore world ran. This set up was so bad it was almost laughable.
Gaius was ready to go back down before Kael, and he was all to willing to oblige when Kael finally decided he was done and to head downstairs. Gaius didn’t comment on the fact that both of them were moving a bit faster than they normally would have to get to the elevator. They convinced themselves it was because the werewolf would eventually be able to smell past the glamour, and not the fact they were concerned about the women. For Gaius it was a need to get back to Dahlia, and he hated how slow the elevator moved. Gaius spent that time loading up clips and his pistols. By the time the doors opened, he placed his final gun into a holster, with iron rounds, and a slim dagger also made of pure iron. He had equipped himself to fight both light and dark Paranormals, because who knew what the fuck they would run into in LA.
Returning to the lobby, Gaius was pleased to see the girls exactly as they had left them. Huddled together and still maintaining their staring competition against Clyde. Clyde hadn’t backed off, unable to keep his nose to himself, but backed off when Kael called for the women. Kael led the way out, with Gaius taking up the rear and seeing to it the women got out quickly by holding the door open for them.
“Alright, from here on out we are avoiding werewolves.” Kael stated. Eris’ jaw slackened and glanced back to the lobby and at the Guard. Her glare turning into a look of intrigue.
“Werewolf, huh? Well that explains a lot…” She murmured before sauntering off to follow the others. Gaius glanced back as well, he knew he shouldn’t have, because Clyde was still watching them, and a slow smirk curled on his face -validated in knowing that Kael and Gaius were up to something.
The Club was on the other side of town forcing them to take an Uber to get there. He glanced at Kael as they grew closer to the location. He felt it too, that suffocating light, and it only agitated him further. Just as he expected, it was a bright light on the strip, with a single bouncer who quickly allowed the women to enter, but upon seeing the horns and auras of Gaius and Kael, he wore a look of disgust. Eris and Dahlia were already passed the door, when Dahlia turned around without skipping a beat. Her pretty doe eyes and sweet smile worked its own magic, making the bouncer relent and give them pass. He watched Kael enter, but when Gaius walked to follow, he was blocked with a heavy hand to his chest.
“Sin Demon… you better behave,” he warned. Gaius glanced down at the hand still on his chest and to the idiot who touched him. In his pockets his claws curled in vicious need, but he steadied himself.
“I always behave… remove you hand, [i please].” Gaius eyes glowed dangerously in warning. Glaring the bouncer let him go and Gaius was able to pass into the bar.
Eris was in awe of the inside. It was definitely a club, but it was a club filled with expensive modern furniture, glittering lights, a suburb sound system, massive dance floor, and a huge bar.
“Oh wow…” was all Eris could say and made a B-line for the bar curious to see what drinks they had.
“Well hello there,” Eris looked up to see a bartender greet her. “What can I get you to drink, we have Nectar, Ambrosia, Wine, Chinese Peach Ciders, Asguardian Honey Mead, you name it…” She noticed they did not have a wide collection of liquor or beers. But there were bowls of grapes and fruit, platters of it just sitting out. She wasn’t sure what sort of effect any of those would have on her, but she knew what wine did to her. Went straight to her head. She would need a clear head if they panned to gather any intel, but they couldn’t not have a drink in hand and look like they were having fun. She ended up getting two glasses of wine, one for herself and the other for Dahlia, and turned to point at Kael and Gaius as they entered the area. “Put it on their tab,” she grinned.
From a private loft booth in the club a man in an all white suit stared down at the bar, his eyes on the two demons. He was tall, with tanned skin and short blond hair, he also sported the most piercing set of green eyes encased in thick dark lashes. He was beautiful, and rather Adonis in his appearance. He was streamlined and fit, with angled cheekbones and a firm jaw. In his hand he held a crystal goblet filled with golden nectar. He sipped from it lazily while watching the new quartet that had just entered his club. What were two demons doing in his club with two fey? The bouncer had called up to him the moment they had walked inside altering him to their presence. As long as they upheld the covenant they could stay, but the moment they grew hostile he would not only toss them out of his establishment, he’d see to being their jailor, judge, jury, and executioner.
Behind him was the spacious private lounge, cushy velvet white seats lined the cloud like walls, as did a separate private bar with a glittering white marble top. It was just himself, as he had no company with him save for the burly looking guards who stood at the stairs leading to his loft that overlooked the entire club. There was something about the group that entered that seemed…different, or at least one of them was different. He could see her wings, the sparkle of her skin, and the light her aura emitted… right at her core. It made his eyes hone in on her, and when she turned to smile at her friend he was struck with further curiosity. He had never seen either women in his establishment before, because he would have remembered a face like that, and he most certainly would have remembered that purity. It was suddenly shadowed by an inky darkness that cast its shadow over her, and he finally decided to give the trash she was accompanied with more observation. One was a snake demon, nasty little creature, but the other was an ancient Sin Demon. The sort from biblical times, and as he looked the man over he could see that it wasn’t just any type of Sin, it was Wrath. He was going to fire that bouncer for letting a ticking time bomb into his club. Suddenly gold eyes were staring back, and they narrowed causing him to grin.
“Two Fey women, at the bar. Now,” he ordered in a deep smooth voice to one of his lackeys, who without a word went off in procurement of what his boss desired.
Back at the bar and finally with all of them having drinks in hand, Eris suggested splitting up into pairs, and to let the girls do the talking.
“From the looks of things, people here don’t really like you. I wonder why…” Gaius could only glare at her.
“What do you suggest we do?” he challenged.
“Go grab us a both or table, while Dahlia and I talk to the bartender,” Eris suggested, but from the looks of it Kael and Gaius did not like that idea, but they were both aware, no one would talk to Eris or Dahlia if there was a scary demon hovering over their shoulder. “Please? Come on, just trust us,” Eris tried, but before the men could even answer, they were approached by a bouncer. Immediately on the defensive, Eris moved to block Kael and Gaius. “Hey man, we’re cool here they’re behaving-“
“Mr. M would like for you to join him in his private loft,” The man informed Dahlia, and then glanced at Eris.
“What about our friends-“
“Only you two, Friends not invited.” he sneered giving Kael and Gaius a dark look. Eris was hesitant and glanced over at Dahlia before the two of them looked up to see the railing of the private loft and there standing shadowed by the light was a man in a white suit, and he raised his glass towards them. Eris frowned and looked to Dahlia.
“It’s your call. If you don’t want to go up we won’t go up-“
“Mr. M insists that you join him.” the bouncer interrupted but his eyes were on Dahlia. behind her Gaius stepped forward and towered over her protectively.
“She’s not going with you if she doesn’t want to. Neither of them are.” Gaius growled. The bouncer glared before turning to look back up at Mr. M. The man gave a nod of his head, and the bouncer turned back to the group.
“Very well, all of you will follow me.” He said turning on his heel and leading the way back to the stair case and waiting for them all to start climbing up it before he followed them.
They walked the stairs up to the booth where another pair of bouncers were standing at the entry way. They herded them into the space, and found that Mr. M was now at the bar collecting shot glasses of ambrosia.
“Ahh, I had hoped you would join me.”
“We had a choice?” Eris challenged. It made Mr. M grin at her as if amused.
“Come take a seat, ladies.” He seemed to be ignoring Gaius and Kael, until he turned around with two mugs of Demons ale. Eris frowned looking at Dahlia before they crossed the space to share a couch. At the bar Mr. M handed Gaius and Kael the ale. “For you gentlemen, I don’t drink it, but I do keep a case of it in times like this. You see,” He said smirking at Gaius who reluctantly took the offered glass mug. “It’s not very often we are visited by your kind here, and it’s quite strange why two fey such as yourselves would be flittering around with these two sour looking men,” he turned to hand the women each a shot glass.
“What’s this?” Eris asked.
“It’s ambrosia, we make it in house,” he bragged with a suave smile directed at Dahlia. Eris was put off by all of this, and by this odd man who took his seat and held up his shot glass before Eris and Dahlia. “Salute” he cheered before shooting the liquid down his throat. Eris looked from her shot glass to Dahlia before she shrugged and took the shot.
Eris gasped at the sensation of drinking Ambrosia, it was cool and sweet, sliding down her throat and making every cell in her body tingle.
“Who are you?” Eris finally asked.
“I am the owner and operator of this fine establishment you have come to visit. I am also the regional Magister of this area… Mr. M, but you ladies may call me Max. Tell me, who are you and where are you from? I’ve never seen you two here before, and I never forget a lovely face.” Eris glanced at Dahlia curiously, and partially stumped. They hadn’t decided on a backstory… then again, they hadn’t been expecting anything like this either.
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