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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.
[b “You think?”] Dahlia couldn’t help but smile at Gaius’ comment. He was probably just trying to be nice, but it was still appreciated. It caused her to look back to the faux appendages again. They flittered about of their own will, as she had no control over them. She wondered if that would be a problem, but did not dwell on it.
Kael on the other hand was baffled by Gaius’ uncharacteristic lack of restraint with his comment. He had noticed the wrath demon’s interest in the mortal, but he hadn’t thought it had gotten to the point that he was casually flirting with her in front of everyone. All in all it didn’t bother him, in fact the Neu family as a whole didn’t look on relations with mortals in a negative light. It was just surprising to see it coming from his partner. Eris on the other hand was displeased and glaring a hole straight through him.
The look was turned on him when he asked if she needed help. For a moment he regretted the decision, but she backed down shortly after that. Seeing as she was uneasy, he worked quickly to get the thing hooked properly. [b “Sorry about that. I guess I should have picked something easier to get on.”] It just suited her so well he couldn’t help but to have picked the choker, even if there was a sense of irony to it.
As she dropped her hair, he just barely caught sight of her skin rising up. Smirking, he knew Gaius wasn’t going to be the only one with trouble if they got too comfortable around these two. He was just glad Cornelius wandered back to the room and he wouldn’t have to endure the eye rolling.
Within seconds Eris was at the mirror. She wasn’t the only one excited to see what came about, but nothing but her eyes changed. It was strange to say the least. There was some sort of mystery cropping up, but they didn’t have the luxury to focus on it right now. Admittedly, the worst part of it was seeing her disheartened, but Kael didn’t want to say something and make it worse. He waited for Dahlia to jump in, as he was sure she would.
[b “What are you talking about?”] There she was, right on queue.
[b “You all look cool as hell, and I get to be the sugar plum princess.] Dahlia took a lighthearted tone, so clearly she wasn’t taking it too hard, but she really had wanted some pretty eyes. Not to mention she stuck out like a sore thumb in their quartet. That being said, apparently Eris was some sort of nymph. Dahlia didn’t think that was too different from a fairy, so she was a little happy they were kind of similar. Even if it was only a little bit.
With the promise of getting out to do what Eris does best, snoop and drink, she perked up and they left. To Dahlia’s delight it was warm outside. It was a far cry from the freezing streets of New York, but she liked it. In no time they were at their destination.
Upstairs, the armory was full of enticing things, but none of it was enough to keep Kael’s mind off the woman in the waiting area down stairs. Apparently Gaius caught wind of his anxiety and admitted he was in the same boat. It made him feel better about hurrying. Loading down with a couple of guns that could be concealed, the man took up a set of throwing knives and a dagger as well. Tossing the requested ammunition over to Gaius, he took some for himself as well.
Finally there was a table set up with more technological things. He picked up a watch and fit it to his wrist. The sleek metal device had all sorts of apps and usages that would come in handy. Next he moved on to a palm-sized sphere that he stuffed in his pocket. Gazing over the rest of the set up, he picked through the options taking things from here and there. Whatever might be of use and was convenient to carry around. [b “Alright, let’s back down there before something goes wrong.”] Sure Kael trusted Clyde’s loyalty, but he didn’t know who else might walk in. They had no idea who was in with the Malumortis. Not to mention they would still have some explaining to do if anyone saw through the spells on the mortal women. Malumortis or not.
Back in the lobby, Dahlia grabbed ahold of Eris’ arm, as if telling her to stop butting heads with the security guard. Although, it was a little late for that. The bulky man was already asking questions. Quickly, she cut in before Eris could sass back. [b “It’s official business… I don’t think they would be too happy if we started leaking information.”] The woman did her best to smile and be friendly about it, but she was rather nervous.
Despite Eris’ comment, Clyde sniffed at the air again. Inhaling just as deeply as before, if not even more so. The nymph disguised woman looked like she was going to lose it, but Dahlia squeezed her arm a little tighter to try and calm her down. Getting into a fight here would probably wind them up stuck in the safe house for the rest of eternity.
As a first encounter, things weren’t going well. Dahlia hoped it would go a little better in the club, since that was more her friend’s element. But for now, they were stuck wherever this was. There was silence for a long while; the man didn’t bother to ask any more questions. But he did intermittently stare over to them. Maybe he was worried they were going to start some trouble? He did have a doubting look on his face most of the time. Just as she was getting worried that he might have seen through them Gaius and Kael returned.
Kael walked hurriedly back down the hall with Gaius in tow till they made it to the elevator. If he could have made the contraption go faster, he would have. Although, that was a touch unreasonable. Taking a deep breath, the demon calmed himself some. Enough so that he returned to a normal walking pace when they returned to the foyer. He caught sight of Clyde before Eris and Dahlia. But considering the werewolf wasn’t chomping at the bit about anything as soon as he saw them come out, things must have been all right. Although, he did eyeball the two men as though he was on to them that something was off. Knowing that, Kael pushed for a quick departure. Motioning for the ladies to follow.
[b “Thanks, Clyde, see you around.”] He looked as though he wanted to say something, but only narrowed his eyes at the four as they walked out of the building. [b “Alright, from here on out we are avoiding werewolves.”] He sighed, not sure that was entirely possible without knowing exactly where they were going at all times.
The club was some distance from the offices. Kael’s guess was that the angelic didn’t want the demon den too close to their shining hangout. It was a touch dramatic to him, but that was kind of how angels were, especially when you got a lot of them together. The nearer they came, the stronger the ambiance of light became. It made the demon feel slightly sluggish. Which hit it’s peak when they came to the entrance of the bar.
A tall, thin man stood outside. He was dressed plainly. There was no way he was anything other than a bouncer. With no line at the door he appeared bored, but still stern. An expression that disappeared as they approached the entrance. It melted into a smile as he looked at the women. Stepping aside, he spoke cheerfully. [b “Welcome in, ladies.”] An exclusive statement that made it pretty clear Kael and Gaius were unwanted in this establishment.
Dahlia had half expected this with how the guys had been talking. So without skipping a beat she turned to the gentleman holding the door. [b “Sir, will our friends be able to come in too?”] He faltered as she stared up at him doe-eyed, giving her time to continue. [b “It’s just we all wanted to go out together, but it isn’t so safe for us anywhere else?] She motioned between herself and Eris. [b “I promise they won’t start any trouble.”]
He looked conflicted, which made Dahlia feel a little bad in turn, but they needed Kael and Gaius just in case something when awry. Eventually the bouncer sighed. [b “OK.”]
Grinning brightly, she thanked him and continued into the dimly lit building. He returned the sentiment until the girls passed when he gave a warning glance at the demons. Clearly relaying the message that they were to be perfect little angels inside. The red-eyed man didn’t much appreciate it, but there wasn’t anything to be done. He was shocked they were getting in at all.
Inside the atmosphere was like any other nightclub. Somehow, between demons, mortals, and the angelic this was a constant. The music pounded loudly and bodies moved along to it. The darkness made it a tad easier to blend in, but there was nothing to keep the demonic aura around the men in check. So there were more than a few sets of harsh eyes on them, but it wasn’t terrible. Most people were just trying to have a good time and ignoring just about everything else around them.
Cornelius was right, simply saying they would be unwelcome [i was] a grievous understatement. It was likely Gaius and Kael might not even make it through the front door. Kael made sure to keep Cornelius in check. The man might have been a political figure, but it gave him zero authority over Gaius and Kael, or their methods to complete the mission. The simple, yet effective shut down Kael delivered, was just enough to make Gaius grin to himself. He wasn’t afraid of a group of pansy ass Angels, though to be fair, the Angelicals could be just as self-indulgent and evil as any other malcontent. The only difference was the self righteousness they wielded their elitism with. Demons didn’t pretend to do what they did for some great God, they did it because it was in their nature, or they had something to gain from it and were not ashamed to hide it the way Angels did.
From there they established, that regardless if they were welcomed or not, the women would be wearing their glamor. They had a stop to make before going to the Club, and Gaius looked forward to collecting a few toys to play with and use during the mission. The women had changed to go out to the bar and much to Gaius delight, Dahlia was not as baring as Eris with her sheer blouse. With tits like her’s he didn’t want to have to break an Angel’s wing for delighting in his Flower’s flesh too much. Looking at her, he was Reminded of springtime. Dahlia and Eris truly were night at day at times.
They were prepared to leave when given the order to put on their glamor. Dahlia’s glamor was rather enticing, the iridescent wings that had appeared on her back were fitting. She even had little pointed ears, and there seemed to be a sparkle to her skin that was common of Fey Folk... or at least the few Fey that still wandered this world. Most kept to themselves in tight-knit colonies in places where Vampires especially didn’t tend to live in. Fey blood was apparently quite delicious to the blood suckers.
“Fairy or Sprite, you sure can wear a pair of wings,” Gaius tried to compliment to the best of his ability.
From her place Eris cast Gaius an odd look as if to say: Gross! Is that seriously a pick up line? Are you trying to flirt with her? Who do you think you are?
Seeing her expression as she fumbled with the clasp to her choker, Gaius looked away. A harsh reminder he was better off keeping his mouth shut. If only it was that easy. Something about Dahlia made him want to talk to her and get to know her. He wanted to stay close to her. He could sense something special about her, and maybe it was that purity she exuded that made him want to protect her and guard her. It also made him nervous, she’d be a magnet to many Angelic creatures who would also be drawn to that sort of purity... demons too... it was surprising she had lived this long as it was.
Eris grumbled in frustration as once again the tiny clasp slipped out of her fingers. She was ready to chuck the damn thing across the room when she heard Kael approach her and ask if she needed help. She glanced at him, wary of accepting his help, but relinquished the choker anyways.
“It’s being difficult,” she murmured and turned her back to him. She didn’t have to hold her hair out of the way as it was already very short, but she still swept as much as she could to the side for him. He managed to clasp it far easier than she had, and she could feel the subtle sweep of his fingers on her nape, and that included the feeling of his claws. It caused goosebumps to raise on her skin and she wasn’t sure if it was because she still loathed him for assaulting her, or because she found the sensation exciting. The moment it was settled against her throat she stepped away from his reach and over towards the mirror in the common area.
Looking back was the same old Eris. She frowned and looked down at herself and even looked over her back to see if she had wings like Dahlia, but there was nothing.
“I think mine’s broken,” Eris cringed nervously and looked back at the others. Gaius was staring back with narrowed eyes, and an uncertainty in his gaze.
-[i I don’t know what you are... but I know you’re dangerous...]-
Eris couldn’t understand why Gaius’ words from earlier were playing out in her head, but from the look of it, they were replaying in his head too. Finally the glamor began to do its work, and while Eris had no noticeable outward changes like Dahlia, an aura of a Nymph began to emanate from her. There were several different kinds of Nymphs, but what sort Eris was supposed to be was undetermined. To Gaius and Kael who had been around her enough by now, it was simply as if someone had taken a part of Eris’ current aura and amplified a section of it. the only real change seen in Eris was the color of her eyes, which had gone from brown to a shade of red much like a glass of merlot.
“Well mine is lame. Dahlia got kick ass wings, which look super hot on you, by the way.” Eris grinned at Dahlia. “Only my eyes changed.” Eris pouted, but walked over to stand by Dahlia. “What is mine supposed to be?” She asked looked between Kael, Gaius and Cornelius.
-[i Good question. What the fuck is she? I’ve never seen a glamor work on a mortal this way before...]-
“Not all in the Lore look very different from humans. It’s their scent or aura that gives them away to others. As far as I can tell, you’re a nymph of some kind.” Eris looked at Dahlia and shrugged. It was what it was.
“Whatever, I wouldn’t call this much of a disguise, but what do I know?” She asked rhetorically, before marching across the room. “Let’s just go and get some intel... and some drinks,” Eris smirked to Dahlia. They might have been in a shitty situation, but Eris was still going to try and have some fun in the meantime.
There was no argument about leaving, so the group filed out of the room and the safe house into the shaded evening of LA. Despite it being winter, and a cold one in New York; it was balmy and warm. Eris had been hesitant to leave without a coat, but this was a pleasant surprise. Eris followed Kael and Gaius with Dahlia all the way to an office building. It looked dark and empty, but through the glass doors, they could see a security guard keeping watch from the reception desk. There was even a receptionist who was sitting at the desk with him. The moment they walked in, the Security Guard stood up to look at them. Eris could see him sniff the air, and he was a burly guy. Sexy too.
“Oh, Agent Neu, Agent Sin. We weren’t expecting you.”
“Evening Clyde. We’re just picking up some gear.” Gaius stated with an air of indifference towards the guard.
“Roger. I’ll keep an eye on your...” he sniffed the air at them and his eyes narrowed. “Guests...” he settled with and walked from around the desk to meet with the two women.
“Down Boy,” Gaius suddenly warned in a snapping tone. “They’re important.” Gaius said and walked ahead of Kael to an elevator, not bothering to explain to the women exactly what was going on. Not that they needed to know.
Eris swallowed nervously and watched as Gaius and Kael both left them alone in the lobby with the hulk of a man.
“There are seats over there,” He pointed over to a collection of black and chrome leather seats for waiting guests. Eris looked to the seats and then to Clyde who watched them closely, and as they passed by he sniffed at them again, which really irked Eris, as she suddenly stopped and turned on the guard.
“What is with the sniffing thing?” She demanded. “It’s creepy, you need to stop.” Smirking the Guard leaned in and took a final deep breath towards them.
“A Nymph and a Sprite. What would two creatures of light be doing with two demons?” Eris pursed her lips together, wanting to know who this CLyde was.
Upstairs in the armory Gaius browsed through a collection of weapons available at their disposal. There was even an entire wall of swords, cross bows, axes, spears, and bows. Gaius stopped and eyeballed a certain sword forged from silver. It wasn’t enough of a distraction to tell that Kael had been slightly uneasy to leave the women down in the lobby. Truth be told Gaius was a trite nervous about it as well, but Clyde, like any hound was loyal to his masters.
“I know,” Gaius suddenly said. “I don’t like leaving them alone either.” He called them both out. “Clyde will keep them safe, and we won’t take long. Can’t, or he’ll sniff right past those glamours...” he muttered. Werewolves had once been a scourge on the earth. They were out of control animals killing anything and everything in sight, but with years of training and submission to demons and their hierarchy, the Covenant had found a way to turn Werewolves into loyal guards, and servants. Many a demon family had a pack of wolves that served them. The wolves had a safe place to run and live with plenty of fresh meat, and the demons acquired a loyal contingent of guards. It was a symbiotic relationship at times.
Gaius decided to take the damn sword of silver, and clipped it to his side hidden under his coat, then he grabbed three different types of pistols, one rifle and called to Kael to toss him a box of UV rounds.
Kael had a feeling he knew where this was going just as soon as Eris mentioned the local night scene. When Gaius looked to him, he shrugged. [b “She is right. I’m sure that would be the fastest way. It is worth a shot.”] On the couch across from him Cornelius was sending a searing glare to the back of his skull. He couldn’t help but wonder if he older brother would kick up a fuss or now.
The answer was yes and he swiftly interjected. [b “Quite frankly, that is a terrible idea. Saying you will be unwelcome is grievous understatement.”] By the look of him, Kael could tell that wasn’t all that was bothering him about the plan. Cornelius was only choosing to stress that point in the company of strangers.
[b “Well, it is that or skulking around the underbelly. And I doubt that we’ll last long there before someone in their network leaks our location and we have whoever these people are hot on our tails again.”] That was assuming their grid hadn’t bled into more divine than just the mal-aligned Ursula. If that were the case they had a much bigger problem on their hands then the small group was geared to deal with. [b “Not to mention you are staying here to man the door, so the hostile atmosphere won’t really concern you.”] There was finality to his comment. And while Cornelius didn’t look pleased he kept any further comments to himself. Despite the temporary lull, Kael was fairly certain he would get an earful later. There was a lingering tension to the air. Kael wasn’t sure how to clear it without looking like an ass, so he stayed quiet as well.
Luckily enough Dahlia piped up. [b “So, if demons are not welcome here should we be using the disguises or not?”] She wasn’t sure which was best for the situation, as the mortal woman was new as a babe to supernatural diplomacy.
[b “You are definitely going to be in glamor. We’ll end up with more than a couple glares if they know we are hauling around a couple of mortals.”] Walking in with the girls as they were would only act as a catalyst to start something. He felt the need to elaborate a bit. [b “Many races of the divine see it as their solemn duty to protect humanity from the likes of demons like us, so if walk in with the two of you they are likely to start something.”] Or at the very least sweep the two of them away and give a lecture on the ‘Dangers of Dealing with Demons 101,’ a course they did not have time for.
From there they came up with a rough plan, with a few contingencies. There were a few hours of down time before the sun set and they could go out. Kael used this opportunity to get a nap in. It was enough to rejuvenate him for the time being, but he was still looking forward to getting a more complete rest later. Either way he was good to go for the night. And being out of the fog of exhaustion he was able to better focus on things around him. One of such things being Eris’ outfit. He smiled to himself thinking he had done a pretty stand up job. She looked good. Kael thought it suited her, even if it was a little different from what he’d previously seen her in.
By this time Dahlia had also changed. Like Eris’, her clothes had a hint of elegance, but still seemed like something she would have picked out if given the option. Nothing about it stood out, a basic pair of faded blue skinny jeans, a faint pink sweater, and a long rosy brown knitted cardigan to go over the top. There wasn’t anything she could complain about, especially since she was finally cozy again. The outfit was complete when she pulled on her shoes, a pair of brown ankle boots, and wove her hair into a loose braid that fell over her shoulder. Her hair had been a hot mess after the commotion of the night before; Dahlia hoped the braid would remedy the problem if they ended up tearing across the city again.
Gathering at the door, it was just about time to get going. Kael started up again. [b “Alright, first is going to be one of our offices, so the two of you should probably glamor up before we head out.”] Earlier he had mentioned that they had come prepared for a mission to deal with mortals so they packed accordingly. He and Gaius needed to grab some more equipment before they hit up the bar. Just in case.
Pulling the solid bracelet from her pocket, Dahlia shimmied it over her wrist. It was a little on the small side. Hopefully that meant it wouldn’t fall off once it was on. That being said it didn’t take too much effort to get the gold bangle on. As it hanged from her arm she looked at it more closely. It was engraved with symbols nestled between the flares of flora worked in. She wondered if they meant something or were simply for decoration.
Unlike with the fast travel they endured earlier that morning, there was no sensation associated with this magic. Dahlia couldn’t tell if it had worked or not. Looking down at her hands she didn’t see any claws like the guys had. Did nothing happen? She looked back to Gaius and Kael, but in the process her question was answered. On her back was a pair of iridescent wings. Blinking, she wondered if that was the only change. Without a word she turned about and walked back to the mirror that was hanging in the living area. Apparently everything else stayed as it was. It was kind of disappointing. Sure, the wings were pretty, but she had been looking forward to having fun glowing eyes too. Regrouping with the others she finally spoke up. [b “So... Am I like a fairy, or what?”] She figured she should probably know what her cover was if she was going to try and fool anybody.
Despite the glamor only adding the single physical detail, it was the invisible things Kael had been worried about. But somehow the charm worked perfectly. It masked every last bit of Dahlia’s mortal aura and replaced it with something stronger. [b “My guess is that you are supposed to be a harmony sprite, but that’s just judging by the impression the glamor is giving off.”] There was no telling for sure, but the mildly calming sensation was a good hint. The magic behind the spell was amazing. Even if the girls didn’t actually pick up any abilities, this alone was a feat to recon with.
Looking over to Eris she hadn’t gotten the necklace on just yet. Was she struggling with the clasp? [b “Would you like some help with that?”]
[b HELLS KITCHEN, NYC]
Ross walked through the mess and shattered glass that had once been Dahlia and Eris’ apartment. When he woke up that morning and found the voicemail from Dahlia on his phone, he had hurried to their apartment to find it locked, with no answer. He called them from outside the door only to hear their phones ringing through the walls. He left, only to return with a few fellow officers, and the landlord who unlocked the door. They then couldn’t get in until they pushed and shoved as they soon discovered the couch was wedged up against the door. He had to climb in and what he found made his heart sink.
“DAHLIA!?” He had shouted into the apartment, making a b-line for her room. It was empty the bed unkept and her purse still sitting on her desk. The girls were nowhere to be found, their phones were still plugged into walls, but Dahlia’s he found on the floor in the living room. Their computers were smashed to pieces, and it looked like someone had ripped Dahlia’s camera apart and had shattered the expensive lenses.
The small apartment had been ransacked, and a window in Eris’ room was busted. Knowing Eris had a concealed carry and where she generally kept her single firearm, he had tried to find it but found that it along with her black leather jacket were gone. He and his fellow officers even found bullet holes in the walls around the fire escape. It left Ross to worry and to wonder what had happened to his girls. Running a hand through his blonde hair he looked around the apartment apprehensively as CSI arrived to take photos, and SVU did their basic search of the apartment. It was agreed there had been a struggle, and at some extent a break-in, leading to the girl’s disappearance. Ross was a mess with worry, and while others began to document evidence, he secluded himself in Dahlia’s room and sat down on a small vintage chair that sat at her vanity and desk. He looked around at everything. Someone had been searching for something. When they didn’t find it, had they taken Dahlia and Eris? He wasn’t sure, and it left him uneasy... What sort of story were they working on? With their computers destroyed there would be no hope of finding out now.
Looking at the mirror, he spotted a photo of Dahlia with Eris, the two of them were at Rockefeller Ice Skating and posing for the photo with goofy faces, but bright smiles. He felt his face twitch with a small smile, before he pulled the picture out of the mirror frame. “I’ll find you guys... I promise,” He murmured, and stood up. There was nothing more he could do here, but he could start going out and questioning the people that knew Eris and Dahlia. If the men that attacked Eris the other night had done this... perhaps it was more than just a random mugging. His worst fear, was that they had gotten involved with the same perps who were kidnapping all the people who had been going missing in Hell’s Kitchen.
Gaius listened to Dahlia’s views on what she might do, and her experiences so far. She was smart to be cautious and hesitant of his world and it only reminded him that his world wasn’t safe for her. Sure he might have been attracted to her, desired her, and wanted her near... but that couldn’t happen as long as she was in his world. Currently his greatest fear was that he would get her killed. At her sentiment about not being able to take any photographs he gave her a sad grin. Humans would no doubt think it was photoshopped, but it did give him an idea. Perhaps he could give her the story that she wanted, and still keep his world secret. It would be a delicate situation, and he didn’t know how well her friend could write, or if she’d be willing to bend the truth to make it easier for mortals to swallow.
“I’m sorry, as of now, photographic evidence can’t be allowed. I would, if I could, let you have your camera back, but I cannot.”
For a moment his gaze turned down the hall where he was sure Cornelius was listening in on their conversation. He didn’t want to risk the demon figuring out what his internal thoughts and desires were, or risk being removed from his case or having Dahlia removed from him. It was bad enough knowing that once this was over, she’d have no problems walking away and pretending that none of it ever happened. He agreed that Eris wouldn’t be the same. He wouldn’t put it past that one to come waltzing back to this world. Be it as a human companion to some creature, or finding a way to become one of them herself he wasn’t sure. He made no comment about how he might like to keep seeing Dahlia after all was said an done, knowing it might make her uncomfortable. With nothing more to say, he turned back to the computer and began to look for and leads.
Eris didn’t want to get out of the shower. It felt too good. The hot water helped to clean off her body, and clear away the fog in her head. She wanted to remember more of her nightmare. It had felt so real. Dahlia had been there, and so had something else. It was a dark presence that Eris couldn’t make out, much like the other details of her dream. All she knew was that whatever she dreamed of, it had threatened Dahlia and it had everything to do with what they were getting into. Eris would gladly sacrifice herself for Dahlia, as Gaius had pointed out, she was pure of heart. That had to be rare in this world with all its corruption and selfishness. Dahlia wasn’t like that, and Eris tried to be like her in that regard. Still, Eris chalked it up to the stress and lack of proper diet or sleep for the past few days and did her best to keep her anxiety from clawing its way to the surface.
She sat in the tub as the water fell over her, processing all that had happened. Mahlik’s warnings about human-trafficking, the ketamine, and the man from the Wicca shop. It was also rather daunting that she was working with the very men who had attacked her in the first place. The one thing she couldn’t seem to shake however, was the red eyes of Kael. She wasn’t sure what it was about them, but since she had laid eyes on them at the club she hadn’t been able to get them out of her head. She was a barrel of contradicting thoughts and emotions and it was exhausting her trying to figure out which thoughts and feelings to hold onto and which ones to let go. By the time the water ran cold though, she was feeling better and able to stand firmer.
Without anything to really change into and never one for modesty, Eris wrapped the extra large towel around her body and tucked it tightly, while she took a smaller one to dry her hair with. She stepped out into the hall only to come face to face with Kael’s brother.
“Pardon me,” he said stepping back to give her room. Eris managed to step out into the hall and glanced at him.
“You’re excused. Thanks for letting us crash here by the way,” She said trying to be polite to the best of her New Yorker abilities. Cornelius simply smiled at her and allowed her to go her way. She went to the living room just as Kael entered from his shopping excursion. He set several bags down on the table and Eris was quick to start peeking through everything. Kael looked exhausted, but not so much he couldn’t hand them each an item of jewelry. Gaius caught his easily and pocketed it with a simple thanks, while Eris looked to the delicate black choker in her hands to Kael. He said it would help disguise them if they had to go out. She couldn’t help but look back at the exhausted Kael and then back to the choker. It was a shame she couldn’t just wear it, she’d always wanted a choker like the one he’d given her.. but as she looked back at it, she saw a charm dangled from it. Had that been there when he gave it to her? A Golden Apple. She arched a brow at him wondering if this was a joke, but didn’t mention it and put it away in her pocket.
With a quick thanks, Eris took as many shopping bags as she could carry and pranced off to the back room to dress. She had blushed only for a moment when she found one of the bags contained panties and bras and knew that Kael had to have picked them out or a lady in the store did. She changed into the new clothes which consisted of a semi sheer black blouse and new sleek black jeans, which she paired with the new black pointed leather flats now in her possession. She looked cultured and mature... not anything like her grungy look she generally sported.
She re-emerged from the back, dressed and ready to start plotting with the others. Currently Gaius and the two Neu Brothers were debating how they were going to accumulate information.
“Is there a local bar or casino your type goes to?” Eris butt in, dropping into the sofa to sit beside Dahlia.
“I know you called yourself a functioning Alcoholic, but going to a bar is really not a good idea,” Gaius frowned at her. Eris only rolled her eyes and crossed her arms and her legs before staring the three men down.
“I ask again. Is there a Lore Bar where your kind likes to frequent? If they have regulars someone is bound to know something or someone.”
“And you know this how?” Cornelius asked.
Eris shrugged. “I’m a bartender. Want to know the juicy gossip in that area? Go where the locals go.”
“There is... one place...” Gaius said and glanced to Kael. For a moment it seemed he might be asking permission to continue, but this was Gaius and he did not ask for permission from anyone for anything.
“Then let’s go,” Eris said trying to light a fire in some of their pants. Gaius cringed and shook his head.
“Not that simple... we are in the city of Angels...” He could see Kael getting bristly at the realization, but it seemed Eris had a point and they had few to no options. “There’s one club, it’s owned by this districts Magister, and he’s an Angel, I doubt we will be welcomed...”
It was odd to Dahlia that most demons didn’t work in the way she was used to. From the sounds of it demons were all just fabulously wealthy. Money makes more money after all. Either way, she thought it must be nice to have a choice on whether or not you work. When it was a necessity it really limited your options. Survival comes before dreams, but that didn’t stop everyone, and certainly not her or Eris. Gaius went on to talk about the most likely culprits behind the attacks they had experienced. The Malumortis name got tossed around again. This time there were a few more details, but still not enough to tell her anything beyond what they wanted. That probably wasn’t a good sign, however it didn’t seem to be worrying the man seated at the computer any. In turn, Dahlia wouldn’t dwell on it either.
The dark eyed woman was moderately surprised when Gaius called back to continue chatting with her, and doubly so that he seemed to be interested in her wellbeing and plans for the future. [b “I am doing alright. It all hit me last night, so I’ve processed the brunt of it. But I’m kind of surprised how little my perspective on things has changed. It’s probably because I’ve been exposed to so little of what is going on.”] Let’s face it, all she’d seen is a bunch of humanoid demons and the like. They all seemed like regular people to her, save a few choice features. It wasn’t like she had run face to face with a dragon or a unicorn. Now that might be hard to swallow.
Honestly Dahlia hadn’t put much thought into anything passed getting home safe. Beyond that was a mystery to her as well, but here was a chance to think about it. Shifting on the cushion, she brought her arms up to rest her chin on as she thought. [b “Everyone we’ve met so far has been hostile to some extent.”] Even Kael and Gaius had attacked Eris upon first meeting, even if their intentions had been good she was still sour about it. [b “That makes it kind of hard to want to stick around. I don’t think I would look back once we got home… but Eris isn’t like me, she’s a thrill seeker.”] And this was one hell of an adrenaline rush. Chances were good that her friend would wander back to this side soon enough, inevitably it would bring Dahlia back too. But this was all speculation. [b “And it will be a shame not getting to photograph anything from your side. I bet there are plenty of fantastical sights and people that would be worth seeing and sharing. Even if humans think it’s photo-shopped they’ll get a kick out of it.”] She chuckled under her breath at the thought. Especially since she now knew it was Gaius’ job to stop that sort of thing.
Kael had been to this particular coven’s den a handful of times. The last being not so pleasant. Not due to anything on his part, but because there was some sort of squabbling within the clan itself. While witches usually stayed neutral within demon and human matters, they would wreak hell on one another. It just so happened his last visit had coincided with one of those incidents. Standing at the entrance he hoped it would have better luck this time, as haggling was not an option when these ladies were in a foul mood.
Stepping in, he looked around. The front end had been rearranged; apparently they were going with the guise of an antique shop these days. Kael kind of missed the smell of bread from the bakery they used to have as a cover up, even if this was more fitting. Walking around he kept an eye out for any signs to follow. It didn’t take long to see the symbol etched above the doorway where a ‘authorized personnel only’ sign hanged. Not hesitating he walked straight back. There he was met with an unfamiliar face. The young woman had a bored expression on her face, but it soon turned to one of skepticism when he entered the room. More likely than not, mortal patrons wandered in back blatantly ignoring the sign more often than the supernatural popped in.
Kael was quick to get to the point. [b “Hello, I am looking to get my hands on some glamor enchantments. Think you can help me out?”]
Immediately the girl’s face lit up as though she had been waiting a century for someone to ask just that. Without a word she, motioned for him to come closer. Following direction he came up to the counter. He chose then to be more specific in what he was looking for. [b “I need something to mask the human presence and replace it, preferably reusable. There is no telling how long till the situation will change.”] Kael kept finer details to himself, but tried to maintain a friendly atmosphere.
The witch nodded, her striking purple hair fluttering around her face in a short bob. His eyes followed her hand as it opened a shallow drawer toward the top of the counter. In it was an assortment of jewelry. Twirling her hand about she prompted him to take his pick.
The demon had to think a moment; in that time he had another idea. [b “Actually, I think I am going to need a couple other’s as well. Some that will do the opposite.”] Seeing as he had been spending more time amongst mortals he and Gaius might need to suit up as well. [b “Doesn’t have to be as thorough, but it’d be nice if it protected from the light and helped to blend in a bit better.”]
With that out, he made four selections. Each piece different, as groups with matching bobbles always attracted suspicion. There was an earing, a bangle, a ring, and a necklace. The last a thin choker, he thought it would suit Eris and that was of course the point of him taking all this time to pick these out.
Across the counter, the witch waved her finger. A black pen jumped up, dancing above a pad of paper jotting her price for him to see. The number was reasonable. Between what Gaius had given him, and what he had himself, Kael could manage it. That being the case, he didn’t bother trying to bring her down. Time was just as good as money right now. Nodding, he pulled out the coins. Setting them on the glass top, he called for her to proceed.
The process took only a few minutes per trinket and it was rather pretty. Each glowing red hot before returning to normal. When it was all said and done thanked the girl and took his leave with the charms in his pocket save the earring. On the way out he took the black stud earring and pushed it through his left ear. While they had been pierced some time ago, his ears appeared to have mostly closed up. Still, the pain was insignificant.
Within seconds his more demonic features seemed to fade away. His red eyes and the green tint when the light hit his hair both disappeared. They were replaced with a dull amber and black. In all honesty, he didn’t feel any different, at least not until he got outside. The sun, while somewhat annoying, felt harmless. This would definitely make his shopping trip easier.
Looking over the list Eris and Dahlia drew up, Kael was able to get almost everything with ease. Picking their clothes hung him up a little bit. But using a general rule of black for Eris and warm for Dahlia he was pretty sure he did alright. Worse come to worst they could come pick out their own outfits later. And with that his excursion was over.
Coming through the front door, Kael had bags hanging from both arms. Walking straight passed the foyer he entered the living area and unloaded everything onto the coffee table. This seemed to be the place to hang out, as that is where everyone was. [b “I got everything on the list, hopefully that will do it for a while.”]
Now that his hands were free, Kael pulled the stud from his ear and returned to his natural form. Taking the other glamor items from his pocket, he tossed the ring at Gaius. [b “Here, just in case we have to go out in the day again… And these are for you two.”] He handed the bracelet and necklace to Dahlia and Eris respectively. [b “Should just be a basic guise, that way if we end up taking you anywhere you will fit in.”] The words fell out of his mouth as he fell back into a chair. He was exhausted. Now that he had finally sat down the full weight of the magic he had spent caught up to him. Even with that, this was the first time he felt like he could relax in the last twenty-four hours. Something about being in a place so closely associated with home really helped.
Smiling at Kael as he came in, Dahlia was happy at the prospect of finally changing her clothes. But first she was handed some sort of bangle. Examining it carefully, it looked as though it was a regular old piece of jewelry, but no doubt there was more to it. The petite woman didn’t put it on she didn’t feel the need to, but she would show her gratitude. [b “Thank you.”]
“This is good news! I know that Eris can be a little difficult for some people to deal with, but I think you two will get along just fine when you get to know one another.”
Gaius arched a brow at that comment, not really sure if he believed that. He felt there would always be a tension between them, the chit was quick and while she hadn’t openly said anything; she was aware of Gaius’ lingering eyes.
“You are very optimistic,” He murmured turning his back on her and focusing on the computer screen. He was scrolling through boards and threads trying to find a hint at what Ursula was up to and who she was working for. It was a Paranormal members only website, that allowed all the members of lore to communicate to one another via the internet. He didn’t find anything on Ursula, but he did find an article about Atlas’ death. Before he could begin to read it, he heard Dahlia strike up conversation again. For a fleeting moment, his eyes flashed over to the safe house door, wondering when Kael would return. Gaius didn’t trust himself alone with the delicate human... he also didn’t want to leave her presence either. It was quite the conundrum.
She asked him what he did for a living, assuming demons lived similarly to humans. She wasn’t entirely wrong, but she wasn’t correct either. Steeling himself and his primal urges to sit down right beside her and take in her scent, he swiveled his seat around to face her. Hands folded tightly in his lap and thought of the best way to explain it to her.
“Well, I don’t technically have a job. Not many of us actually work, there’s really no pay in it. Most of us accumulate our wealth through investments. Those that do work are generally mercenaries, or work for the government. We do have to maintain our own laws and regulations to follow to maintain our anonymity from humans. However, as you noticed back at the hotel, Humans aren’t entirely forbidden. We have many allies who are humans.” He realized he hadn’t exactly answered her question and wondered how best to answer it. He did technically work, and while the pay wasn’t worth it, the reward of keeping the world in one piece and being able to travel it was.
“Technically you could say, Kael and I are government Agents. Sort of like CIA or M6. We make sure that the Lore Population remains a secret, and take out any that might threaten our way of life, we also deal with other threats from terrorist like organizations... like the one you and your friend have found yourself wrapped up with. We’re not certain though,” He quickly added. “We know that Hades’ daughter has connections to an underground organization that’s networking across the world. They’re old school, global damnation, animal sacrifices, virgin brides, mortals to eat... They want to reclaim the dark ages, basically,” he said with a wave of his hand.
He tried to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal what the Malumortis wanted to achieve. They were in reality, a major threat... but he wasn’t about to let Dahlia know that.
“They’ve pulled stunts in the past, but have never been able to gain ground.” This time was different though, the malcontents were building up to something big, and Gaius wasn’t sure he wanted to find out what it was. Word about the shift in power of the Ruling Elite was already making headlines on the forums, but he was looking for conspiracy thoughts. They were usually closer to the truth than the reported ‘truth’.
Finally he looked over at her, his golden gaze somber and almost sad. He took in the sight of her, dark hair falling in waves, and intuitive eyes pinned on him. She seemed almost expectant for more, but Gaius had no more to tell. Perhaps Kael would be able to elaborate better than him. Gaius also feared how Dahlia would react if she knew just how dangerous the Malumortis truly was, so he thought it might be best to see how she was doing. Also, because he genuinely cared and wanted to know, this way he could find a way to make her more comfortable.
“What about you? How are you handling all this? I know it’s got to be rather... life changing,” He commented. “So it begs the question, do you believe you’ll be able to return to life as normal? Knowing what you know and what you’re soon to know about our world? Or do you think you might stay and become a part of it?”
Looking over the pair of mortals, their arrival in Los Angeles went about how he expected. Perhaps even a little better. Eris apologized, but Kael didn’t particularly mind. [b “Don’t worry about it. I’ll handle it in a bit.”] Then she was quickly off to Dahlia who appeared to still be having a rough go of it. When he was certain everyone was well enough to move, he suggested they relocate. [b “Let’s get somewhere more comfortable.”] This place was an exact replica of the last, so the room they entered in was rather unwelcoming. A better atmosphere would do wonders for an ailing person.
Taking up the lead, he corralled everyone to the living area. Along the way he described what was behind each of the doors. It was mainly an array of bedrooms, but it came him a chance to let everyone know where they would be staying. He and his brother would take the parents’ room, Gaius in Cornelius’, and the girls in his own. There really weren’t any personal touches to the spaces, but he would have to move some clothes and things so that everyone had room for their things. At least that is what he thought. Cornelius peeled off to take care of it instead. They must have been on the same page this once.
There was no time to get comfortable, before Gaius was tossing some coins his way. He wanted him to get in touch with the witches. [b “No problem… I just hope they are in a good mood today.”] The last time he had been in to visit some drama was going on in the coven. With any luck that would have passed by now, it had been a hundred years after all. But there was no saying until he actually got there.
Eris made no attempt to hide her surprise to find that witches were an actual thing. By now, he would have thought that she would have grown numb to it, but apparently not. Her astonishment every little thing was cute. Kael kept that fact to himself though. He doubted she would appreciate it.
With that exchange out of the way, he disappeared to the back for a bit to get things cleaned up. It was a simple task. Then he gathered up the list he had asked the mortals to make. Looking it over, it seemed simple enough. Donning the cap and glasses again, he was out of there.
Dahlia had taken up the couch. Lying there with her arms covering her face, her stomach was still upset. By this point she was regretting not throwing up. This was definitely one of those situations where it was better if you did, but it was too late now. Sighing, she listened as Eris inquired as to where she could get a cigarette. It quickly dissolved into her friend kicking up a fuss about smoking near Dahlia who couldn’t care less. But she let her do as she pleased, waving the two off as they excused themselves. She just hoped they didn’t kill each other without someone to mediate between them.
There was silence while the others were away. Dahlia pondered how well insulated these walls must have been if she couldn’t hear them or Cornelius down the hall. It was very different from their apartment where you could hear every creak on the flat level. Once again she found the quiet unsettling. It took her mind off the gross feeling in her gut, but she wasn’t sure which was worse between the two.
As her nausea was beginning to settle to a tolerable level, the two returned from out in the hall. Neither looked damage, so they must have avoided a death battle. That was good. She didn’t see much of Eris as she went straight to be restroom, but Gaius stuck around. Dahlia was glad to have the sound of his typing to fill the void. Even if it wasn’t much, it was something. Relaxing significantly, the sound of his voice nearly startled her when he spoke. Sitting up, she had to peak over the back of the couch to see him, although he wasn’t looking back.
The comment was double edged. She was excited to hear they would make an attempt to get along for the duration of their time together, however she had some issues with the wording of the last bit. The onyx-eyed woman had the sneaking suspicion Eris had pulled Gaius into some nonsense. She had the tendency to put Dahlia first when it came to dangerous situations. This was likely the culprit to the wariness the petite woman was feeling. Planning to keep an eye out for any of her friend’s risky behavior, she set the feeling aside for the moment. It wasn’t good to look a gift horse in the mouth, so she would take some time to celebrate the good news as well.
[b “This is good news!”] She perked up a bit as she talked. [b ”I know that Eris can be a little difficult for some people to deal with, but I think you two will get along just fine when you get to know one another.”] Sure she said this, but Dahlia didn’t really know much about the wrath demon either. It was a reckless sort of optimism. And besides, half the battle was Eris also putting in effort and if it was mutual agreement that should not be a problem. After all, the chaotic woman wasn’t one to go back on her promises. At least in Dahlia’s experience. So she was confident it would be OK now.
Being in a better mood and having something to distract her from her sour stomach helped a lot, so Dahlia wasn’t keen on letting the conversation drop. The man across the room seemed rather distant, but she decided to pursue the company anyway. It was infinitely better than going back to sitting in silence. [b “So, what do you do, like for a living? I mean I assume Demon society is enough like our own in that way….”] It had seemed like they were on some sort of mission by how he and Kael were talking about tracking down the medallion. She couldn’t think of any other reason they would assault and then stalk a couple of humans. Well, besides them being complete and utter assholes, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Either way she was curious to learn more about him and the world he was from.
Gaius shut the door to the washroom maybe a bit too harshly. He cursed himself, he really had to get his temper under control. Stressful situations were never good for a Wrath Demon. He didn’t like Mortals, the fragile fickle things that they were, but it was made worse by Eris’ arrogance. He had to wonder if she was the Goddess herself… she sure had the mouth to match the woman. Eris had been gone for nearly a millennia, so even Gaius knew that was impossible, but it did not retract from his desire to rip her tongue out, or at least use magic to seal her lips shut.
He took several deep breaths, his hands gripping the corners of the sink in a crushing grip that the marble began to crack under his hands. He tried to think calming thoughts, like how nice it was going to be to rip Ursula’s heart out and crush it in his hand. He thought about the feeling of blood under his blackened nails, the Dark Ages, Homemade Demon Ale, virgin and animal sacrifices, and feral kittens. Usually angry hissing black kittens always did it for Gaius, but he took it one step further and pictured Dahlia. He imagined her stroking his back and whispering calm things in his ear the way he’d seen her do with Eris. The effect was instantaneous. He felt the tension in his shoulders abate, and when he looked back in the mirror, his eyes were gleaming gold for an entirely different reason. There was no more denying it. Dahlia was his Female Fatal.
What a curse that Gaius’ fated female would be a mortal, as fragile and delicate as the flower she was so aptly named after. He reminded himself not to bother with it. The situation at hand was too dangerous for him to indulge in flights of fancy. Besides, and not to be cliche, but how could a Beauty like her ever love a Beast like him? He knew he was a monster. He’d done things… things he didn’t regret but knew would turn any Mortal’s stomach… unless they were a sadistic psychopath. He couldn’t let himself get distracted, and he couldn’t allow the loud mouthed Mortal, Eris to get under his skin. He did commend himself for having not killed her yet, and he felt he was redefining what Control meant for a Sin Demon like himself. There were seven of his kind, all of them prone to their sins, but then again he knew a Lust Demon that did just fine with managing her need for sex and desire. Hell, he knew a Glutton Demon that had started a diet. If that slob could cut back on his primal urges then, fuck it! So could Gaius!
With renewed determination Gaius exited the washroom to see the rest of them standing around and waiting for him. While Gaius might not have looked his usual cool and collected self, he was calm enough for them to continue, and his eyes had ceased their threatening glow. He followed the group down a dimly lit hall, unimpressed with all he saw, not unlike the two women ahead of him. He was used to safe houses and waylays, born of ancient and old magic he was in tune to the magic around him even as Kael instructed the women what to do and what would be happening.
They were hesitant, which was to be expected. Gaius stepped up bored enough with it all, and watched as Dahlia clung to Eris. The mortal looked nervous and afraid, and he didn’t blame her. Either of them, and though Eris did not show any fear, he knew it brimmed under that false facade. Kael warned them that teleportation could be hell on the body and while Gaius could teleport, he couldn’t go very far. Maybe across a city, but definitely not across a continent. Seeing the stress in Dahlia’s eyes as the runic lights began to glow with power he reached out to brush her arm.
“Don’t be afraid, it’s all going to be alright,” he told her, right before the pad swallowed them up and spit them back out.
ERIS felt her insides twisting and turning as she felt she was being picked apart molecule by molecule and then put back together the same way. It was pure darkness and flashing lights, a whirl of nothingness, like being slingshot into the void of space at faster than light speeds before an abrupt stop. Dahlia fell down beside her, even though Eris tried to keep her up, a feat not even Eris was able to manage. Dahlia looked sick and ready to vomit, but was keeping it together far better than Eris was. She stumbled off the pad, her equilibrium off and fell face first into the floor. Groaning and shivering, Eris wasn’t able to keep the contents of her stomach down the way Dahlia had managed to do. She managed to pick herself up enough to vomit on the floor. She didn’t have much in her stomach, but the coffee she drank certainly made for an interesting color. She heaved a breath sitting back and glanced sheepishly at Kael.
“Sorry,” She murmured. “You uhhh, weren’t joking.” She then looked over to Dahlia and saw she was still holding it together, and crawled over towards her. “Are you okay?” She asked and once Dahlia assured her that she was, Eris helped her to her feet. They were both shaky to stand, but managed with the support of one another, like all things they would get through this together.
They were led back into the living space of the safe house and Eris helped Dahlia to a sofa to sit down and catch her bearings, then she sat down beside her. Eris’ stomach was still turning and upset and so she leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes, brows furrowed in discomfort.
“You ladies handled that rather well,” Gaius commented as he shrugged out of his jacket and hung it from a peg on the wall. He turned towards Kael next, and reached into his pocket and offered up what looked like several gold coins -not unlike the medallion Eris had in her pocket. “Hey, can you do me a solid while you’re out? If you can’t, no big deal.” Gaius handed the gold to Kael. “There’s a Witches Coven here. See if you can’t purchase a couple of glamour spells to hide our mortals from prying eyes should the need for them to go in public arise.” Gaius glanced back at the two women and noticed Eris was now watching him with suspicion.
“Witches?” Eris asked. “Does this madness ever end?”
Gaius surprisingly shrugged, perhaps if he didn’t goad Eris as much as she did him it might endear him to Dahlia. “Perhaps not for you, but witches are generally neutral. They sell their magic to whoever can pay the price. Good, evil, it doesn’t matter to them. Magic is magic, and it’s all grey for them.”
“So, like mercenaries?” Eris asked. Gaius blinked, caught off guard by that, as if he’d never thought of it that way and turned to look at Eris somewhat impressed.
“Actually, yes. That would be a good comparison of them.” He turned from the women to Kael and let him know he’d be staying to keep an eye on the women while Kael went and got them clothes and a few other essentials.
Eris watched the men closely, and when Kael left she watched Gaius move towards a bookshelf to find something to pass the time with. As much as she didn’t want to leave Gaius alone with Dahlia, Eris desperately wanted a cigarette.
“Anywhere around here a girl can grab a smoke?” Gaius reached into his pocket, while he continued to browse the books and pulled a cigarette from his own pouch and handed it back to her. “In here?” Eris asked. She had seen Gaius smoke in his own place at the hotel, but she wasn’t about to smoke in someone else’s space. He turned and gave her a look, telling her he wasn’t about to let her out of his sight. With a groan, Eris turned it down and wasn’t going to smoke a cigarette next to Dahlia. Eris could destroy her own lungs, but she wasn’t going to do it to Dahlia. “I’m not smoking in the same room Dahlia is in,” She stated firmly. That made Gaius pause and he put the cigarette back in his pouch.
“Fair point,” he turned to Dahlia. “My apologies, if you don’t mind staying here for a moment.” Gaius gave a wave of his hand as he headed towards the door and, Eris jumped up to follow him out the door and into the tunnel.
In the darkness of the tunnel, Gaius’ eyes glowed like a cats, and he raised a cigarette, but Eris stopped him and instead held up a joint. “Peace offering?” She suggested. Gaius took the joint and sniffed it and slowly grinned.
“It smells like you have good taste,”
“I do,” She quipped and snatched it back before lighting it up, and handed it to Gaius. “So what’s your deal?” she asked watching Gaius take a drag.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re a demon right? What sort of demon are you?”
“The dangerous kind,” Gaius warned handing it back. Eris looked unconvinced and he rolled his eyes. “I a Deadly Sin. I am Wrath.” That caused Eris to snort.
“Sure you’re not Pride?” Gaius actually flashed a grin as they continued to pass the joint back and forth.
“Oh, you don’t want to meet a Pride. You think Donald Trump is the worlds biggest egomaniac-”
“Dude, yes!” Eris gasped. The Devil’s lettuce was doing its job. Gaius chuckled darkly.
“He can’t hold a candle to a true Demon of Pride. You won’t find them here on Earth. They think they’re too good to mingle among mortals.”
“They’re loss, humans are entertaining. Ever people watch?”
“I try to make it a point to not get involved or to close to mortals…” Eris smirked from her place and crossed her arms even as she took a drag off the joint.
“So what’s your excuse for being so kind to Dahlia?” Gaius choked on his smoke and began to cough. “I might be a mortal, but I’m not stupid. Something is up. You cater to her, and you spit at me.”
“She’s nicer than you are… and her heart is pure. You’re….” Eris arched a brow at him, almost challenging. “I don’t know what you are… but I do know you’re dangerous.” He handed her the end of the joint and Eris put it out before saving the last bit for later
“I can’t tell if that’s a compliment or not… but so far I think it’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
“You’re welcome?” Gaius tried and lit up a cigarette and then offered his lighter to Eris to light up her own.
“Look, I don’t trust you, but I’m willing to work with you and your friend. Dahlia is important to me, she’s the only person who’s ever cared about me. I know things are probably going to get even more dangerous. If it gets too dangerous… protect Dahlia.”
“What about you?”
“Doesn’t matter. She’s all that matters to me. You and your friend will keep her safe. This is all my fault, and I don’t want her getting hurt further than she already has.” Eris demanded, voice filled with passion. Gaius could see the truth in Eris’ eyes, and nodded. They both wanted the same thing… for Dahlia to be kept safe.
They returned back to the living space after their smoke break and Eris made a B-line for the bathroom so she could take a hot shower and rinse the grime of the other night off. Gaius sat down at a computer console and began to look through the security cameras, in an attempt to keep himself busy and away from Dahlia. However, there was no avoiding her, not when her scent filled the room, and he could hear her heart beating. “You’ll be pleased to know,” he began, his voice distracted and his eyes still on the computer as he talked to Dahlia. “Your friend and I have made a truce. We could see our arguing was causing you stress. We’ve both agreed to work together to make sure you make it home.”
Watching Cornelius get one hundred and ten percent shut down by Eris was about the best thing Kael had witnessed in his entire life. He even had to cover a smile when his brother looked back to him. But the action didn’t hide much, especially not from Cornelius’ keen eyes. The older male had been expecting something to this capacity when he heard his brother was dragging around a couple of mortals with him. So in the end it didn’t really matter.
Eris was cementing herself a place in his heart. The fondness was regrettable, but not because she was human. To him it was a matter of bad timing. With the situation being what it was. Any attempting to woo her would likely fall flat. Both because she was super on guard to everything the demons were doing, and it would make him feel like he was preying on someone who was stuck with no other options. Not exactly the type of character he wanted to peg himself as. For the time being he would focus on keeping everyone alive and maybe afterward he would stand a chance. If he was lucky.
When Cornelius was finished neither of the girls seemed to be particularly enamored with him, which was a good. There was no telling how Gaius would have reacted if Dahlia had shown interest in his brother. Although the situation still deteriorated when Eris and Gaius started to interact with one another. Getting anything done with those two together was going to be a challenge. Kael wasn’t looking forward to it, especially now that they would have to wait for Gaius to calm down before they went to LA.
Cornelius was surprised when Gaius pulled him into the fray. But he was more surprised at Eris’ moxie. He kept quiet. There wasn’t a reason for him to pick a side, and that seemed to be the same sentiment that the others were taking. Both Kael and the other human were silent as the more fiery pair went back and forth. Although Kael seemed to be growing irritated in his silence.
As for Dahlia she was anxious. Their dependency on these men was far too great for this. Not to mention the subject matter was something that worried her daily. One day Eris was going to get herself into trouble with that mouth, regardless of whether or not what she said was warranted. However, the incident passed quickly as the wrath demon removed himself from the situation. With him gone, she was free to turn to her friend with a disapproving expression. As Eris quickly worked to half-heartedly sooth her friend’s frustrations, the shorter woman accepted it with a sigh. After all, Eris hadn’t been the one to start the fight. But that left her painfully aware of the disparity between how Gaius treated the two of them. For the time being she would chalk it up to their strong personalities clashing. She didn’t have the energy to think about it any further than that.
Pushing up his glasses, Kael turned to Eris in order to answer her question. [b “Well, the plan was originally to go straight to Los Angles then make a run to get some things for the two of you. But now we have to wait for Gaius to chill before we move.”] The red-eyed man wasn’t about to be the one to push Gaius’ buttons any further. [b “Until then you could probably make a list of the things you want. Once we get over there and it is dark, I can go and grab it all.”] There was a chance they would want to go as well, but he hoped they would just let it go. Even if it is safer across the country there was still a chance they could run into problems. And if that happened it would be easier to move without hauling the women along.
Just as Kael was about to ask them to be as specific as possible, Cornelius butted in. [b “You really expect them to let [I you] pick out their clothes?”]
Staring at the other man exacerbated, Kael almost didn’t respond, but the expression on his brother’s face got under his skin. [b “What’s so bad about that?”]
To that it seemed that Cornelius had nothing to say, he just looked his younger sibling up and down before dropping it. Kael really wanted to smack him upside the head. He was so anal about the stupidest things.
Despite all the stress that had led up to that moment, Kael was finally able to relax. Having real security measures around helped see to that. Flopping on the couch, he took in the familiar layout. The place was set up like an apartment. It was spacious, at least more so than the hotel suit they had been in. All the safe houses were configured the same. So the next place would be identical to this one. And even though they would have traveled thousands of miles, it would feel as though they hadn’t gone anywhere.
Time passed relatively quickly there until Gaius emerged once again. With that Kael stood from his position on the couch. [b “Now that everyone is present, we can move on.”] With his words he motioned for everyone to follow him.
Walking down the hall, the carpet seemed to muffle everything. It was a great contrast to the hallway outside where everything reverberated. The dark haired demon corralled everyone into the final room. Flipping the lights on, the incandescent illumination fell on barren décor. Etched into the floor was an intricate series of circles. Archaic writing twisted around the shapes, seeming to pull them all together. This was how Cornelius had entered. The faint impression of ancient magic clung to the air.
[b “Everyone on the sigil.”] The mortals seemed hesitant so, Kael made sure to explain as he went along. [b “We are going to be traveling by lay line. Cornelius and I will activate it and we will be in LA nearly instantly. It’s old but reliable magic.”] Getting in position he signaled for his brother to wait. [b “Teleportation can be rough on the body. There is a chance you two will feel sick after this, but it won’t be anything too serious.”] Kael could remember his first time doing this; his stomach was upset for a few hours. His guess was it would be worse for humans, but there was no saying for certain. [b “Alright, here we go.”]
Kneeling down, the pair dragged their claws across their palms. The slow oozing blood was quickly pressed to the markings below. First the symbols began to glow, and then they were set in motion. Dancing about the floor the bright red glowing of the seal grew more and more intense until it was blinding white. Then there was darkness.
Gripping her arm tightly, Dahlia clung to Eris. No amount of explaining would do away with the fear she felt. Instead she would have to grin and bear it alongside her friend. A lot happened after they activated the seal, but there was hardly enough time to take it in. Not to mention her eyes were glued shut once the symbols started jumping about. It was pitch black up until someone hit the light switch. Dahlia wasn’t entirely sure who turned it on, because just as she went to check, it hit her. An intense wave of vertigo, almost like she just stepped off a record-breaking inversion coaster. The prickling sensation converged at her stomach. Falling to her knees she was trying desperately to hold down her breakfast. A feat she barely managed.
With nothing more to do, and an understanding that even if Eris and Dahlia couldn’t get their story out through their outlets, at least it might help Kael and Gaius’ world reclaim some semblance of sanity. Eris didn’t argue with Kael or Gaius about the possibilities, she was too busy watching Gaius more than graciously relinquish his coat for Dahlia. At her request he took it from her hands and held it up for her to wear.
“I should think you may borrow it as many times as you like. Why don’t you keep this until we can find you some new clothes?” He offered draping it over her shoulders and offering her a genteel grin. Kael made mention that Central Park was their goal for the time being, and Gaius opened the door for them to leave.
Eris exited the room after Kael and before Dahlia and Gaius, who took up the rear. She didn’t doubt for a moment that there wasn’t danger lurking around the corner. Kael had said it best: Humans generally didn’t leave this place once they entered. Which begged the question as to how the woman at the front desk survived this place. They didn’t make it to the stairwell when Eris saw a shadow move out of the corner of her eye. She jumped back, hand reaching to the waistband of her pants for her gun to stop whoever was reaching for her, when surprisingly Kael intervened. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and her eyes were wild with shock. The Vampire had reached for her, was still salivating at the mouth for her blood when Kael began to draw blood himself and issued a stern warning.
[b “If I ever so much as see you again, you’re dead. Got it?”] The Vampire got it, alright, and he took off as fast as he could the moment Kael let him go. Eris was able to gently sigh, letting go of some of the tension that had accumulated in her body. She looked to Dahlia who she was pleased to see was guarded protectively by Gaius. He had drawn her into his chest firmly with one arm around her and the other had drawn a silver dagger. ERis could only wonder where that had come from.
[b “Are you okay?”] The question caught her off guard and she looked at Kael uncertain, but managed a nod of her head.
“Yeah, I’m good.”
Gaius had his own concerns when the Vampire showed himself, and had quickly shielded Dahlia against his chest and was ready to stake the bastard if it came near her. His wrath had begun to uncoil dangerously, hungry to inflict damage to whoever dared to threaten his treasure. Pleased that Dahlia was well, and that Kael was quick to react, Gaius was able to relax somewhat, but he wouldn’t be able to relax until they made it to the safe house. From there it was underground to the subway, which left for a mostly uneventful leg of their trip. There was one rather desolate homeless man who had reached towards Dahlia asking for change. Gaius had to restrain himself from kicking the man back, but surprisingly, Dahlia’s compassion for the man touched him. Between Dahlia and Eris, they dug into their pockets and gave the man a few crumpled dollars. Everything they had left, and in return he blessed them and thanked them. Eris surprisingly shook his hand and gave the man a firm squeeze to his shoulder and told him: “Stay warm, brother.” Gaius found that interesting as he did not peg Eris as the compassionate sort, unless it had to do with Dahlia, but it appeared the two of them were more complex than what he was seeing on the surface.
The winter sun was bright and intense as it beamed down, that it was hard to believe that it was supposed to snow, or that it was only 30 degrees. The bright sun allowed for plenty of dark shadows to be cast and sure enough a figure was hiding in one, and Kael had seen it too. Together they kept their eyes open and made quick work to enter an old stone office building. Clearly built just before the Great Depression, like most things Loreans used. The Buildings were generally condemned and outdated, which made for a good cover as Mortals never used the buildings. Kael led the way, while Gaius ensured no one followed from behind and made sure every door they passed through was locked when he closed it.
“Just where are we going?” Eris eventually asked as they entered into a pitch black stairwell.
“Patience,” Gaius answered simply as the heavy door slammed shut behind him and shrouded them in darkness. “Ms. Dahlia,” He murmured taking her hand gently in his own. It was so small in comparison to his own, not including his claws. “Allow me to help you,” He said and helped her navigate the dark hall just as Kael helped Eris, who begrudgingly accepted his help.
From there it was up to Kael to get them through the security protocols, but when the second door began to open on its own, Gaius tensed and Kael stepped froward away from Eris, but Gaius was there to cull her back to safety with him, so Kael could confront whoever had broken into their safe house. Except it was no invader, it was: “Cornelius?” Gaius questioned softly, but at Eris and Dahlia’s confused look, he simply ushered them into the safety of the hideout while Kael and the newcomer bickered about family and logistics.
[b “Gaius.”] the man greeted. Gaius simply gave a nod of his head, and his general cold stare. He then turned his attention to Eris and Dahlia and apologized with a scripted statement, which Eris clearly wasn’t buying.
“That’s nice, so who are you?” Eris asked coldly and without care.
[b “I am Cornelius Neu, Kael’s older brother. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He reached for her hand and Eris reach out with an intent to shake his hand, but he turned her wrist and kissed her knuckles, which caused Eris to arch a brow and wrinkle her nose.
“Ummm okay,” he winked at her then and Eris’ face twisted once more into grossed out confusion, and she subtly wiped her hand off on her pants. Gaius found it rather amusing that Eris was completely immune to Cornelius’ charm and manners. However, when he reached for Dahlia’s hand and kissed it, and she introduced herself, he felt himself take a steady breath, and his eyes gleamed dangerously in warning to Cornelius. The two women were oblivious to the subtle irritation in Gaius, but Cornelius saw it, which meant he was bound to figure out what Kael had not yet figured out himself, and what Gaius was refusing to let happen…
“Anyway,” Eris began and motioned towards her friend. “This is Dahlia, and I’m Eris. You the guy I’m supposed to talk to about getting us out of this mess?”
“Wouldn't be a mess if you’d just handed over the Medallion in the first place,” Gaius stated from behind her. Eris looked ready to murder him, but instead gave him a scathing look.
“Well excuse me for not allowing myself to be robbed at 3 in the morning in a back alleyway by two random creeps,” She spat back. Gaius curled his lip in irritation but instead of snapping back at her he looked at Cornelius. It seemed Eris was bouncing back to her same irritating self.
“As you can see this Mortal doesn’t have an air of caution or care when dealing with our kind, and is rather mouthy.”
“I don’t care for thieving scum is more like it,”
“You stole the Medallion first!”
“Um, no. Remember? That little shit stole it from Hade’s kid first? We just happened to find where he hid it, you tried to steal it,” she corrected with an impish grin. Gaius wanted the throttle her, it was clear those two were not likely to get along anytime soon.
“Your mouth is going to seriously-“
“What? Get me hurt?” Eris challenged back and scoffed. “Tell my something I don’t already know.”
“Are you crazy or something?” Gaius asked incredulously.
“I prefer the term Mentally Unstable.” At her comment Gaius looked to Cornelius.
“I give you the most irritating Mortal you will ever meet,” He spat and stepped away from them to collect his temper. “Must have a fucking death wish…” He growled storming past Kael and his brother to find a back room and steal a moment of privacy to collect himself.
Eris watched him go with disdain, but it was Dahlia’s expression that had her stopping. Gaius’ attentions to Dahlia hadn’t gone unnoticed by the overprotective friend. She’d be damned if she let Gaius get too close to Dahlia and do something unforgivable. He was a demon, they both were and while they said they wouldn’t hurt them; Eris couldn’t shake the feeling they were in a lion’s den.
“Sorry,” She shrugged towards Dahlia, though it was clear she wasn’t entirely sorry. “He’s just too easy to get riled up,” she explained. “So what do we do now? Dahlia and I can’t really move anywhere until we get some clothes and toiletries and it’s not like we can go back home, even if I give you the medallion now.’ ‘Eris was still kicking herself for not giving it up now. Maybe then they wouldn’t be in this mess.
[b “Well, yeah. Humans who come in here generally don’t come back out…”] The way he said it didn’t sound like he was trying to alarm them, but Dalia felt that way all the same. Especially since these probably weren’t your average young adult novel vampires they were dealing with. These were the real dangerous deal. And she didn’t want anything to do with it.
The petite woman watched as her friend stomached the information along with her breakfast. Eris clearly wasn’t happy about this, but she ceded to it all the same. She even went as far to hand back the medallion they had been guarding. Dahlia wasn’t sure if this was a show of trust or if she was just that worn down, but she felt bad for her friend. She must have been at her wits end.
Eris’ comment about the story made Dahlia smile. She wasn’t sure if the play on words was intentional, but it was incredibly fitting for what they were going through. Now more than ever she was kicking herself for not having her camera. At least then they would have some semblance of proof, even if everyone tried to debunk it. Sighing, she knew she was going to regret not having it for the rest of her life. Even if that wasn’t very long.
Listening as Gaius and Eris went back and forth again, Kael was glad that this time it was somewhat civil. Although he was surprised that after all of this she was still planning to get a story out. If nothing else she was tenacious, but he seriously doubted they would get away with trying to market these happenings to humanity. They wouldn’t be believed, and if for some reason they were, there were plenty of officials dedicated to putting a stop to it. After millennia of keeping things under wraps, demons had gotten pretty good at making sure the general human public was ignorant to their existence. But it did get him thinking. [b “You know, you probably won’t be able to get this out on your side, but it might just be beneficial to document things for ours.”] At the moment, the demon populace was being fed lies. Uncovering that would create more unrest. With that came a demand for the truth that would put their enemy at a disadvantage.
Glad that a consensus had been reached, Kael clapped his hands together. [b “We can talk that possibility out later, for now we need to get the ball rolling.”] Looking toward the door he had no doubt that the vampire was still lurking about. So long as he hadn’t brought any friends they wouldn’t have an issue… probably.
[b “Grab anything you think we will need. We won’t be coming back.”] As he spoke, Kael replaced the ball cap on his head and hung the sunglasses from his shirt collar. He wouldn’t need them quite yet. Aside from those things and Eve everything he had at the hotel was expendable. The mortals hadn’t really brought much of anything, so they were good to go, it came down to Gaius who he didn’t expect to take long. He was efficient.
Dahlia wasn’t looking forward to going back outside. While leaving was the best option, it was also the dead of winter. It was freezing. Glancing back to the coat she had borrowed from Gaius before she wondered if he would be opposed to her using it again. [b “Um… Would you mind if I borrowed this one more time?”] She pointed to the black article.
Soon things were in order and all four of them were ready. Standing at the door, Kael took up the lead. [b “We are heading towards central park. Should anything separate us, we meet there before going forward.”] Looking across everyone’s faces to see they understood he nodded and opened the door.
The immediate hall was clear, so he moved without hesitation but his guard was sky high. Kael wanted to get this over with, but he made sure not to walk too fast. The girl’s had shorter legs and he didn’t want to wear them out in case they had to make a break for it. An occasion that came quicker than expected, as they rounded the corner the bloodsucker was indeed lying in wait. He sprung forward at Eris, but the snake demon was quicker by far. His crushing grip squeezed at the vamp’s forearm, holding it in place with fingers just dangling out of reach of the woman’s shoulder.
The red-eyed man’s other hand came up around the inferior creature’s throat, nails digging in. [b “You are a thousand years too early to take anything from me.”] His voice was low, the words almost a growl. Fear sparked in the light haired vampire’s eyes as he spouted something about neutral territory. Kael nearly laughed in his face. [b “That was out the window as soon as you made the first move.”] That caused the leech to backtrack significantly. He started apologizing and blubbering for his life. It was truly pathetic. Sighing, Kael dug his claws in a little deeper. Deep red blood flowed slowly from the indentations onto his fingers. [b “If I ever so much as see you again, you’re dead. Got it?”] That seemed to be enough for the frightened monster. Dropping him, he skittered off down the hall lightning fast. Kael was left shaking the gore from his fingertips. The blood of the undead always reeked.
Turning back to Eris he asked, [b “Are you okay?”] He knew the guy hadn’t physically touched her, but the encounter still might have shaken her up. Once he knew she was good to go, which was for some reason important to him, they carried on. There were no more encounters to be had in the hotel, not even Zenya at her desk.
Before breaking out into daylight, Kael exchanged glasses. The darker ones protected his eyes from the direct light of the sun, at least to some extent. One thing they didn’t help with was blending in. To be frank he and Gaius stuck out like a pair of sore thumbs. A combination of how tall they were with the fact that they were the only two in the entire state of New York wearing sunglasses in midwinter made sure of that.
That being said no one gave them more than a passing glance, everyone was too busy to care about people being strange. Of course this worked to their advantage. What Kael wasn’t looking forward to was the shuttle ride. Jumping across rooftops was too conspicuous for broad daylight, so they had to travel like mortals. The thought of being trapped in a tin can underground was not appealing when they might have people tailing them. Despite his worries it wasn’t until they got off the subway that he started to sense something was off. Keeping collected he looked about to notice a small, thin figure in the shadows. Falling back some he matched stride with Gaius.
[b “We’re being watched, looks like it is just a scout, but keep on your toes.”] Unless he moved on them, they would continue as planned. For now it didn’t matter if they followed them; they wouldn’t be able to trace them after the warp. Kael kept that in mind as they came up on the main street adjacent to the massive park. They came up on an office building. It wasn’t particularly tall, but it was a touch menacing. It was the sort of place you didn’t expect to see people coming in or out of on a daily basis. However, inside there wasn’t much of anything. It was vacant and looked as though it hadn’t been touched in years. Just as well, as it probably hadn’t.
Leading the small crowd to the door that led to the stairwell, Kael tested it, but it didn’t budge. Whether it was locked or broken, he didn’t know, but he kicked it with enough force to break it from the top hinge. Holding it open, he let everyone else pass. [b “We’re headed for the bottom floor.] With that he slammed the thing back in place. If anyone tried to open it after them, they would hear it.
Taking up the rear now, the dark haired man kept looking back over his shoulder as they descended two floors underground. There laid a set of metal double door, he signaled for them to push through to the hall beyond them. There were no more lights at that point. It was pitch black. He and Gaius could see but Kael was certain the human’s could not. Coming up next to Eris, he grabbed her hand and brought it to his sleeve. [b “Hold on to me so you don’t trip.”]
The corridor went on for ages, and placed them right beneath the park itself. When it came to an end, he found what they were looking for. A keypad on the wall, deftly he typed in a long string of numbers. When he was through, a heavy sound of machinery came form behind the wall. Shortly after it began sliding to the side. A bright light shone through the opening causing him to squint. Kael entered first and urged the others to follow.
As soon as they were all in the alcove, he pressed a button on the wall and the door began to close. Once they were sealed in it was time for the biometrics on the opposite wall, but before he could engage them the secondary door began to open on its own. There was someone inside. Kael wasn’t sure how they got there, but he was ready to rip someone’s throat out by the time the door was wide enough for him to fit through. Rushing in he went straight for the control panel inside. It wasn’t far. There he found someone he wasn’t expecting, and while he wasn’t a threat, Kael wasn’t particularly happy to see him either. [b “What in the hell are you doing here?”]
The dark chocolate brunette looked similar to Kael, the most notable feature being their matching red eyes. [b “Is that any way to greet family?”] The man sighed. [b “Mother was worried, so I came to help out. Besides that, did you really think you would be able to transport four people on your own?”]
Cornelius made sure to greet the others as they appeared. [b “Gaius.”] He spoke the name with a smile and nod; he didn’t bother giving his own name here as they had met before albeit only in passing. The older Neu brother worked under Atlas’ administration just like his father. However Cornelius had been set in charge of demon affairs in Europe instead of the main office. And while he generally dressed the part for such a job, he wore informal clothes at the time being. That being said, the outfit itself accompanied by his horn-rimmed glasses made him look like a hipster.
From there he turned to the ladies, who he paid more attention to. [b “I’m sorry you two were dragged into this mess. We going to our best to get you back to your everyday lives as soon as possible.”] It was a very scripted comment, to be expected from someone so deeply dredged in politics. With that out of the way he introduced himself properly. [b “I am Cornelius Neu, Kael’s older brother. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”] One at a time he took their hands, kissing them lightly. A greeting he held onto even though it had become somewhat old fashioned.
The man took note of the other’s reactions as he interacted with the mortals. He had been expecting to ruffle Kael, even going as far to wink at Eris when he saw his brother stiffen. Kael had always been the type to flock towards humans; it was Gaius that surprised him. The situation was definitely not what he was expecting, but it was what it was.
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