The Protectors
Author: Fox Wild

Chapter 26
Getting In Tune

Chapter 26

 

 

Getting In Tune

 

 

 

Snow and Bait walked into a club operated by vampires, like all their other squads and teams, they were no longer bothering to hide their scents or presence.  Snow had reasoned that this would make the vampires nervous and cause distractions... and it had.  They weren’t alone though, with each team that entered any vampire establishment, Squat’s shadow steppers were in close tow. 

 

It was easy to pick out the vampires from the humans by the way they looked at them in their werewolf clan uniform.  Humans would give them an odd look, maybe laugh and point, then go back to their drinks and conversation.  Vampires on the other hand, glared at them and held their looks.  Some tried to make a hasty retreat out, only to meet their fate from the shadows once outside.

 

Snow and Bait took a table near where the bandstand was.  Bait flagged down a waitress who tried to bypass them.  “Day walker, come here!”  His voice was different when he spoke, sounding both high and low in separate voices along with his own. 

 

The woman stopped and walked towards him as though she was being forced with each step.  Once she was at the table Bait ordered a beer for Snow and himself.

 

“You aren’t welcome here, or your friend.”  The waitress struggled to say.

 

Bait smiled at her.  “Bring us our drinks slave.”  He said then looked away from her to his mate.

 

The vampires in the club started closing in around them, they intimidated humans to move from the tables near them or forced them if they argued any and took the tables for themselves near their intended victims.  The waitress returned with two beers and placed them in front of Bait and Snow respectively.

 

“Twelve dollars.”  She said to Bait.

 

He smiled up at her and said, “Our friends at that table will pay for them” and pointed at the vampires that had taken the table to his left. 

 

Now that the tables closest to them were occupied by vampires, humans in the club were starting to get the idea that something was about to go down and clearly didn’t want to be a part of it as most started leaving. 

 

Snow wasn’t sure how many made it out, but the vampires started stopping humans from leaving, they wanted hostages.  This time it was Snow who spoke in an odd voice of several tones and ordered them to let the humans go.  This time the last remaining humans got up from their tables and hurried to the door and out.

 

The waitress was looking at her vampires wondering what to do about the tab, then decided herself to simply leave and walked back to the bar.  The bartender was clearly another vampire, and there were at least ten day walkers in the club.  One of the vampires started speaking to Bait as his radio pack buzzed.

 

He had turned to look at the vampire and was listening to what he was saying then held up a finger.  “Hold that thought.”  He said then pulled out his radio.  “It’s the Sheriff, I have to take this.”  He said to the vampire then took the call.

 

“Inquisitor Bait here Sheriff, what can I do for you?”  He answered the call with as the vampires gave him a look then looked at the others sitting with him.

 

“You want to get an aerial view?  Any particular reason why?”  Bait said to whatever Sheriff Hanks had said.

 

“Something James said huh?”  Bait said back next.  “I understand that feeling all to well Sheriff, I’ll have Sea Mist bring the Sea Stallion tomorrow.  Let me know what you find out.”  Bait responded then they said their goodbyes and he returned the radio to its place and looked to the vampire who had spoken to him.

 

“Sorry about that, it was the Sheriff.”  Bait said with a smile at the vampire.  “Now, you were about to foolishly threaten myself and Lady Snow?  Please continue.”  He said with a patronizing look.

 

The vampire laughed at him.  “A human and a werewolf, alone in a room full of superior fighters, you seem to over estimate your chances.”  He said with a seething voice. 

 

Bait held up a finger again at him.  “Yes, all clear, human free.”  He said after he keyed up his throat pickup.  Then he looked back to the vampire.

 

“Who said we came alone?”  He stated with a smirk.

 

Snow and Bait picked up their beers and started walking towards the door, when he snapped his fingers Squat’s Squads came from the shadows and already had their blades at the necks of the vampires near them, shotguns and arrows were leveled on the others. 

 

The sounds of the executions were behind them as they walked to the door, sidestepping to allow the two werewolves bringing the fire hose into the club in.

 

“You’re right lover, that was more fun than the way we did it before.”  Bait said to Snow with a smile as they walked down the street, free beers in hand.

 

Werewolves dotted the sidewalks and openly walked up to small groups of day walkers and vampires that were out trying to catch wayward humans with their lies.  This was having the desired effect on their foes, and threw off any coordination in planning they might have had. 

 

Snow and Bait were heading into another club when Max called them on the radio.  “Trustee Snow, go ahead command.”  She said as she took the call for them.

 

They walked into the club while they listened to the report and sat at a booth along the wall midway into the club.  “Say that again?”  Snow asked Max with disbelief in her raised and moderately shrill voice.

 

Both cupped hands over their earpieces to block out the sound of the club around them to better hear what Max was saying.  “A vampire came to a smaller den team and asked them to fill a human head with our smash bottles, and asked for one of our swords.”  Max repeated.

 

Bait and Snow looked at each other with shocked looks.  “And they did it?”  She asked.

 

Max hummed and hawed a bit then answered.  “I, ah, guess.  They didn’t know what to do, no law against giving a vampire holy water and a sword.  It never happened before, ever.”

 

“Did they have field cameras on?”  Bait asked.

 

“Yes.”  Max answered.

 

Bait and Snow exchanged a look.  “Can they get us a picture of this vampire?  Was it a woman?”  She asked.

 

“Just a sec.”  Max said and the clicks of hold were heard as he checked with the team that had encountered the odd interaction.  “Affirmative and… yes.”  Max answered.

 

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Alexander tried to spit the head and hand out, the bottles of holy water had crushed when he chewed the head and Ruth’s hand releasing the holy water into his mouth with some running down his throat. 

 

Ruth had lunged forward, a sword was in her hand, he noticed the heavy gloves now also, as the werewolf blade she held plunged into his heart.  With a swiping blow he knocked her away from him and the sword went with her.  In the end his attack only aided in her escape from his chambers when she landed on the door out.

 

Alexander was disorientated, but it wouldn’t last long.  Ruth was on her way out the door before she fully landed from the blow her former master had launched her with, and closed it behind her with a forceful slam then took off running as fast as she could with the werewolf sword still in her hand.

 

The hallways was a hundred and twelve feet long, then there was a triple flight of stairs.  Ruth was halfway up the stairs when she heard the door of Alexander’s chambers crash apart as he went after her, she pushed harder. 

 

Slaves were starting to come after her, she wielded the sword at them, it gave an eerie blue glow as she did and made a screaming sound.  The heavy welding gloves she wore were boiling with smoke.

 

She cleared the top of the stairs and swung the sword again taking out the two slaves charging her as she reached to her pocket and pulled out a small box with a lever on top and started clicking it down fast several times.  She leapt into the air and started flying up as the plastic explosives she had planted along the passage out of her former master’s chamber detonated sealing him in.  She was well away from the church by the time the slaves of the coven realized what was happening around them.

 

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“Mud and Morning Dew are dead.  Don’t know how, not a mark on them.”  Max reported over the radio. 

 

The nights operations were coming to a close when the call came in.  Mud and her mate had been working a few blocks away from where Snow and Bait were when Max relayed the news to them.  Bait got the location and they headed off to where their bodies were.

 

“It looks like he attacked her.”  An officer was saying as he looked at the position of the two werewolf bodies against a wall.

 

Bait started walking the scene and looking over the bodies and the area around.  He motioned for everyone to move back then followed with a verbal order and to not touch anything.  He called for a camera and started taking crime scene photos of the site.  The others watched as he worked for about half an hour, then he went to the group.

 

“He didn’t attack her, look at his arms, how he’s standing, his feet.  He wasn’t attacking, he was shielding her from something.”  Bait said as he looked at the officer who had suggested Morning Dew had attacked his mate again.

 

The man gave a puzzled look.  “What would he shield her from that she couldn’t handle?  Mud… if it was that bad…”  His eyes drifted back to where the bodies of Mud and Morning Dew were, he didn’t want to think of what horror took them both.  His head nodded as he realized Bait was right, he had tried to protect her and died with her.

 

“Bring me a plastic bag and some tongs or something, I want to pick this up.”  Bait said pointing to one of the soldiers.

 

He walked over to the trashcans next to where their bodies were.  The woman he told to bring a bag and tongs handed him what he needed and he reached down with the tongs and picked up an odd looking oversized egg shaped thing and dropped it into the bag.  He looked at it as he held the bag up then looked at the woman. 

 

“Another bag, and a scoop.”  He said.  The woman nodded and went to get what he requested.  When she returned he scooped up some dust from a pile a couple yards in front of where the bodies of Mud and Morning Dew were, their eyes still open and faces gripped in terror.  He sealed the bag, handed it to the woman and took the other bag from her and started looking at the object inside.

 

“Take that to River Stone, I want to know if it’s vampire or not.”  He said as he walked over to Snow.

 

“What’s that?”  She asked as she looked at the bag he was examining.

 

“Looks like some kind of grenade.”  Squat said from beside his sister.

 

“That’s what I was thinking Squat, but what kind of grenade kills a werewolf and doesn’t leave a mark.”  He looked back at the stiff stone bodies of Mud and Morning Dew.  “And does that to them.” 

 

His attention returned to the grenade in the bag, he moved it around and looked closer at it.  There was a mark on the flat opposite end of where the pin and actuator would be.  “Looks like a weird L.”  He said.

 

Squat leaned in and looked at the mark Bait had found.  He reached for the bagged grenade and turned it.  “Not an L, a 7.”  He said, then his face fell.

 

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Hovlek was in deep thought while sitting on a stone in the middle of a tunnel in the new construction area.  He wanted to be alone.  He’d asked to be relieved of combat duty for the night, something troubled him inside.  Without asking why, Snow had granted his request. 

 

Now he sat here, looking at the floor between his knees unsure of what he felt.  He was softly reciting werewolf rhythms of comfort and understanding, seeking wisdom about what he was feeling and why it troubled him.  The only thing he felt, was the need to remain where he was, so there he sat.

 

“Sir Hovlek the Bull, a bishop you still are, though you do not practice.  I am not of age, but I ask that you recite the rhythms of werewolf duty upon me.”  A girl’s voice said.

 

Hovlek opened his eyes and again looked at the ground between his knees.  His body moved with the deep inhale he took.  He let his breath out slowly and he nodded in slow small movements as understanding entered him.

 

“Child…”  He began.

 

“Orphan.”  She interjected.

 

Hovlek’s head raised but he didn’t look towards the owner of the voice.  He took several deep breaths as he stared off and thought.  His head started bobbing again.  “Hovlek will do as you ask child.”  He said then stood slowly and with distress and looked at Worm.

 

His face was grim, his eyes soft, he voice clear and without accent or fault.  “Normally I would ask the young one, that they fully understood what it was they were about to undertake, but you, daughter, you I will not ask this foolish question of.”

 

He raised his hand and placed it on Worm’s forehead, she knelt and lowered her head.

 

“I am ready.”  She said.

 

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“Care to explain this?”  Bait said as he walked into Seven’s shop, dropping the grenade in the bag on a bench.

 

Seven turned around and looked at him, after he took in the expression on Bait’s face, he looked down at the bench and what was on it.  He stepped closer, his eyebrows lowered and the bridge of his nose creased as he looked at the object.  His hands moved out quickly and he snatched up the bag and began rolling the grenade in his hands as he inspected it.  After a minute he looked up at Bait again.  “What is it?”  He asked.

 

Bait’s eyes narrowed.  “I was hopping you could tell me, I found this by where Mud and Morning Dew were killed.  There’s a number seven on the end.”  He said in a cold cutting voice.

 

Seven looked at the end, then opened the bag and pulled the grenade out.  His head started moving side to side.  “No, not a seven, an L…”  His face dropped, his eyes became scared, his scent confirmed the emotion inside him.

 

Bait watched as the guardian gadgettier flushed and became jittery.  What would make him fearful?  The mark identified someone specific, someone patriarch Boxtemmill was afraid of.  Bait’s mind was clear, he had nothing to do with the death of two of his command officers. 

 

“Talk.”  Bait said sternly yet consolingly. 

 

Seven looked up, droplets of worry had formed on his upper lip, Bait listened and watched intently as Seven took a deep breath with a slow nod told his story.

 

“Lolith.”  Seven said.  A hint of some kind of recognition flickered in Bait’s eyes.  “If you ever played old Dungeons and Dragons, you may know the reference, and I tell you this, it is for that reason she chose the name, when she was no longer one of us.” 

 

Seven rolled the grenade in his hands again, thoughts were trekking though his mind, working on what was in his hands.

 

“She used to be a werewolf.”  He looked up at Bait again, shaking his head with a scoff.  “Something happened, some kind of darkness took her, no one knew what, how or why.  She just became… dark.  Evil, good, I don’t know.  She started doing… things.  She seemed to play one side against the other for her own amusement.  Until the immortals banished her that is.  That was over a thousand years ago now, no one has seen her, but from time to time, something with her mark shows up.  Like she’s letting us know she was still alive.”  Seven looked at the grenade again.

 

His head started it’s side to side movement again.  “No, impossible.  Can’t be, I never…”

 

Bait thought Seven looked like he was going to faint when he looked back to him.  All the color had drained from his face.

 

“OUT!  Get out!  I need to work, I need to know, I need to look into this thing!”  Seven yelled then started pushing Bait from his shop.  “Go!  I need to work, Go!”  He went on as he practically pushed Bait through the door.  “Please.”  He added more calmly.

 

Bait finally stepped away from Seven’s pushing.  “I’m going already!”  He charged but not angrily.  He gave Seven a commanding look accompanied by a pointed finger.  “The moment you know.” 

 

“Absolutely.”  Seven answered then took the grenade and turned from Bait and was working.

 

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“Is that her?”  Bait asked Snow in the command deck showing her the pictures Max got from the team the vampire made the odd requests of.

 

“Yes, same one that was with Alexander, the one that had Sea Mist and Worm hostage.”  Snow answered.

 

Bait nodded.  “Ruth, Ruthless as she likes to be called.” 

 

The bells of the clocks chimed again, night was over and the safety of day had returned.

 

She looked up and stared off into space for a moment then went to a radio and tapped her request in.  She picked up the microphone and keyed it. 

 

“This is Trustee Snow to all troops, this is a command order of ‘hands off’ on Dragon General Ruthless for Alexander.  I say again, the order of ‘hands off’ is given for Ruthless, Alexander’s Dragon General.”  Snow said then released the switch on the microphone, set it down and walked back to her mate.

 

He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

 

Both of her eyebrows went up and she moved her arms out from her sides.  “I don’t know why, there’s something here.  Something different.”  She gave her lover a befuddled look.  “I want to see how it plays out.”

 

Bait nodded.  “I understand that sentiment.” 

 

“She practically apologized for what her master did to Sea Mist, then she gave me the shotgun, walked up and gave it to me.”   Snow shook her head and scoffed as she started to pace around.  “Now this.  She walks right up to a crew of werewolves, assures them she isn’t there to attack and asked for their help, asks werewolves for help, a vampire!  Now if that doesn’t warrant letting it play out, I don’t know what does.” 

 

Bait watched her as she paced.  “I’m not disagreeing with you my lover.  Let it play out.”  He said confidently.

 

She stopped pacing and looked at him.  “I know, I’m trying to convince myself it’s the right thing to do.  Want to make sure my freewill isn’t frelling with my judgment.”

 

“It’s not, I…”  Bait started, the radio cut him off.

 

“Snow, Bait, front door!”  Teagan’s voice cried out urgently.

 

Snow and Bait looked fast at each other then both broke for the door.

 

Teagan was standing with the front door open, when they came to her she pointed at the step in front of the door on the outside of the house.  A painted rock and a werewolf sword laid across the small concrete slab that made the front step of the house sat on it.  Placed before dawn.  Teagan followed as Snow and Bait stepped out and bent to look at the rock.

 

“Is that supposed to be a blackbird?”  Snow asked puzzled.

 

“Looks more like a crow by the size I’d say.”  Bait answered her.

 

They both looked at each other trying to figure out what was meant by this.  Neither had any answer as Seven called to Bait on the radio.

 

“Bait, NOW!”  He said urgently to his commander.

 

“Got to go, Seven.  Deal with this, I’ll see what he’s figured out.”  Bait said then kissed Snow on the cheek and headed off.

 

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When he walked in Seven looked excited and his face broke into a wide grin.  He managed to contain himself until Bait got to where he was standing over the pieces parts of what had been the grenade.  Now it was a pile on a sheet surrounded by papers and prints.

 

“This is something I was working on, a light grenade.  Uses the light cells you and Snow invented, pull the pin chuck it into a room full of bad guys, and you get fifteen seconds of intense light guaranteed to wipe out a room of suckers.  But this, this thing wasn’t anyways near as good as what I had in mind, crude, inefficient, and produces way to strong of light, more than needed.”  He raised and lowered himself several times on his tiptoes as he grinned at Bait.

 

A light grenade would be handy.  “And Lolith built this?”

 

Seven nodded and looked at the plans he had spread around and started pointing at certain pages as he explained.

 

“Yes, see me chum, the flashlight failed, but the small lights inside the shell, well slugs, they worked great.  I was shooting for somewhere in the middle you might say, between your Venus lights and the into the body light cell.  Portable, and reusable.  This one isn’t really reusable, uses many of the concepts I had, similar basic design and shape, but inside, nothing like what I had in mind.”  Seven guffawed.  “Hadn’t even finished drawing it yet actually, was still piecing it together in me mind you know.” 

 

Bait looked at Seven, the skin on his forehead moved down as he mulled over what Seven said then his eyes wandered off and across the plans and parts for a minute or so then back to the gadgettier.  “So… Lolith had access to your plans?”  Bait asked trying to piece his own puzzle together.

 

Seven’s grin faded from his face as he pondered Bait’s question.  His eyes widening as he looked at the plans.  His mouth opened partially but he said nothing as his eyes darted around the top of the table in thought.  The gadgettier clearly hadn’t considered this part of the scenario.  Looking back to Bait he half shrugged.  “I… don’t see how.” 

 

His lips pressed together hard and he looked at the plans and held his hands out to them.  “Haven’t even finished drawing it yet, these are the only plans, haven’t been sent to anyone, well, because they aren’t finished me chum.”  He looked back to his commander.

 

Bait looked at the plans.  Seven had his originals on one side with the papers hand drawn that he had made of the grenade he took apart.  Seven’s plans also had a computer drawn image of the intended look of the final product.  The two grenades looked too much alike for Lolith to have come up with the design on her own.

 

“And no one else knows of these plans besides you?  Any of your helpers, Silence, Squat, anybody?”  Bait asked.

 

Seven looked at the table as he carefully thought out the answer to Bait’s question.  He raised his hands, palms up, near his shoulders with an ‘I got nothing’ expression.  His head started a side to side motion and his eyes widened slightly.

 

“No one that I know of, haven’t been working on it, been to busy with everything else.  No time for a side project.  These plans have been stuffed away.  Last time I even had them out until now was when… was when I talked to Snow about her light cell design.”  He looked at Bait.  “She could have seen them, I never actually showed them to her, I was going over her schematics.” 

 

He looked off again before he went on and looked back to Bait.  “She could have seen them, but Snow?  She’d never give them to anyone or tell anyone about it, she’s a gadgettier like me.  She keeps her mouth shut on gizmos.”

 

Bait considered what he was told, and thought about Snow.  He fully agreed with Seven’s deduction, Snow would never tell anyone about these plans, not even him unless there was some reason.  But would she have snooped in his ideas?  He returned to the gadgettier.

 

“Anymore from the Clay files?”  He asked changing the topic.

 

Seven wasn’t able to follow where Bait’s mind went.  He thought for a second before answering.  “Not that I’m aware of, outside of what you already know.  I have Silence going through them, checking for anything out of the ordinary, things that stick out or might give us a clue.  She’s pretty good at that, better than me.”  Seven shrugged.  “Not knowing exactly what we’re looking for, well, makes a bit more of a challenge to find stuff.  And the stuff you do find, have to decide if it means anything.”  He gave Bait an exasperated look.

 

Bait nodded his understanding back to Seven.  He’d been down that winding road himself to many times in his life, and recently.  “I might have a direction to dig.”  He started.  “Have her look for accuracy.  When the reports started getting… too accurate, too specific.”  He said looking intently at his gadget master.

 

His head moved in small motions of understanding.  “Like they had come from someone who was there.”  He looked at Bait’s eyes.

 

“Exactly.  If you can, find out the who and the where the reports came from, give me a timeline, the when.  See  if there’s a pattern of some kind.”

 

The two men talked on for a bit on other issues and problems, then Bait headed off to look at his walls again.  Thirteen days remained of his life.  He slipped off to a private bathroom as the waves of nausea took him over again.

 

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Snow was sitting naked on the pullout bed Hovlek used gawking at the TV in the room with the news on.  Due to the small size of the shower in the quarters they now had, group showers weren’t happening so waiting ones turn was required.

 

She snorted when she looked at her mate and pointed to the TV, Bait came and sat next to her and watched what was on the tube.

 

A female reporter was talking.  Authorities aren’t releasing too much information on what happened here, some are speculating it may have been a gang incident while others are saying it was a college prank of some kind.  The picture changed and views of clubs and bars where ‘attacks’ happened were being shown.  A man was interviewing a woman and her boyfriend about what happened.

 

I don’t know what was going on, they were dressed alike, in some kind of weird uniform.  They didn’t do anything really.  I think the owners of the bar had something against them.  These guys just started circling around them.”  The woman pointed at her boyfriend.  I could tell something was about to happen, that’s when I told Jeff I wanted to get out of there.”

 

The man asked her what happened after they left the bar.

 

The two people being interviewed looked at each other.  The boyfriend clearly didn’t want his girlfriend to go on, but she did.

 

It was amazing, no (beep), these (beep) things came out of nowhere!  People popped out of thin air, like some kinda David Copperfield (beep), (beep) then they morphed into these huge ass hairy (beep) werewolf (beep beep beep).  (beep) was flying everywhere, no (beep).  That’s what happened, tell him Jeff!”

 

They watched as the reporter finished with the two people, then closed his report and handed the show back to the anchor.  She spoke briefly on some reports about the events then announced a police spokesman had a statement and the view changed to a man in a suit behind a podium.

 

Reporters could be heard shouting questions at the man.  He ignored the calls and messed with papers he had on the podium then looked up at the cameras. 

 

We would like to assure the public that we are looking into what happened last night and we are going to find whoever is responsible.”  The man looked down at his papers then up to the cameras again.  There has been no evidence to support the claims people have made that mass murders happened in these clubs, bars and other establishments last night.  Not a single body has turned up, no blood or any indication that anything like what was described to police officials actually happened.” 

 

He looked at his papers again.  We are of the opinion that the City has been the victim of an elaborate prank.  We suspect a highly organized group, possibly entertainers and magicians or special effects persons orchestrated the events last night.”  A smile came to the man’s face, a strategically placed smile.  I can assure the citizens of this City, that they are safe and that there are no such things as werewolves and vampires and the City of Anaheim has nothing to fear from these creatures of ancient lore.”

 

The camera view passed over the crowd in front of the man speaking to show the reactions of the people.  Suddenly Bait caught a face he recognized.

 

“Is this recorded?”  He asked looking to Snow.

 

She looked at him with a wondering look.  “No.”  She said with a shake of her head.  “It’s a regular news broadcast, just turned in on a bit ago.”

 

Bait made a vexed sound.  “No, I mean that TV recording shit everyone has now, back up live TV and watch it later stuff.”

 

“Oh, I think so.”  Snow answered and handed Bait the remote control.

 

He took it and fiddled with it then the picture started backing up.  He started playing it again as Snow watched then froze it at a specific point.  He worked the controls more and was able to zoom in on part of the picture he had frozen.

 

“Who’s that?”  She asked looking at the face that Bait had made prominent on the screen.

 

“John Smith.”  Bait said with a cold suspicious voice. 

 

Snow looked away from his eyes when he looked at her after he told her the name of the man.  She could tell this meant something, something that she may not like.  Bait had been putting pieces together now, no more dots, no more pieces.  He only needed to arrange them, and he had done that.  Some of what he had figured out he’d talked with her about, mostly to help finished the picture.

 

The door to the quarters opened and a naked Sea Mist popped her head in.  “Showers running, unless you want to wait.”

 

“No!”  Snow said fast and rose fast and headed towards the door, stopping and looking back at her mate.  “You coming?”  She asked.

 

Bait already had his shoes and socks off and was working on his shirt.  He dropped his clothes at the end of the bed, went to their room and put on his flip-flops and followed after the girls.  Sea had managed to secure a larger shower room.  As they went along several people looked at them and said ‘shower?’  Soon they had a small group going with. 

 

“That’s another change in the new dens I am going to make, no more single showers in rooms, we’re going to put large shower rooms around the den and hot tub rooms, maybe a swimming pool.”  Bait said as they walked along.

 

“Now you’re thinking!”  Sea Mist said.  Several others, including Snow chimed in with their support of the idea.

 

During the shower time, Bait had another brain storm.

 

“I want everyone out of the den today, everyone.”  He paused for a moment and smiled.  “Matter of fact, I want everyone to go to water and amusement parks today.  Make that an order, unless the Trustee objects.”  He said looking to Snow.

 

Raising an eyebrow at him she answered “I don’t object at all, I am curious about your logic on this one.” 

 

Bait chuckled.  “I think it’s our duty to make sure these places are free of day walkers and safe for humans to play in.  And it’s a good way to let ourselves be seen by vampires and their slaves, send them a message that we’re watching everywhere.”

 

Snow nodded.  It was logic, at one point.  She also thought this might be his way of getting their people into the sun more while working.

 

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After they finished showering Bait informed Snow he wanted to head out and try and find Mr. John Smith who just happened to pop up in their area and asked that she come along.  She was all to eager to head to the big city during the daylight hours and have a look around.

 

“Give me fifteen minutes to get ready, need to brush my hair.”  She said then went into the small bath of their quarters. 

 

Bait agreed with a shrug and went to his computer in the living area and started digging on another thought.  He had brought up the archives of news reports from around the area, filtering to those that involved death by murder.  The thought of Ruth had kept wafting through his mind. 

 

Snow came walking up behind him and looked over his shoulder at the picture he had displayed on his monitor.  “Taking a sudden interest in super models are we?”  She said with gentle smiling chide.

 

Her eyes remained on the screen as Bait looked back at her.  He said nothing, her face told him she would arrive at the destination on her own.  She went quickly to her desk and grabbed the printed picture she had of Ruth and brought it over and held it next to the screen and looked at the two images side by side.

 

“No frelling way!”  She exclaimed.  “It’s the same person, that blonde bomber is Ruth.”  Her voice had become almost a whisper. 

 

Bait nodded in agreement then clicked the image down showing another, this time he scrolled through pictures of a young girl of about ten up until the missing persons picture that was in the police files with the report filed on Ruth Goldstein’s disappearance.  The pictures showed well the changes in her appearance over the years and the drastic change before high school.

 

“I found these when I started researching murders over the past couple months.”  Bait brought up the Windows toolbar at the bottom of the screen and brought up another window he had saved.

 

 “I found this, college girl at a break party, stabbed her friends with a dagger then took her own life.  No one noticed it because some facts that made it stand out weren’t available when the story was first reported, and when they were found out, it was back page news.  She used a silver dagger to kill her friends.  The same night the distraught boyfriend and football captain hung himself.”  Bait looked at Snow. 

 

He gave Snow a moment to read what was on the screen before he went on.  “There were also a couple other things that happened, for starters Melvin Visser from South Africa who was attending on a science scholarship disappeared along with Gretchen Twitchel, Betsy Miller and several others.  All students at the same college the murders happened at and the suicide.  Also the same college Ruth went too.  The football star that hung himself had been her boyfriend.  Two of the unaccounted for were top in their classes, just like Ruth.”  Bait finished with his information and looked to Snow again.

 

Her head rocked back and forth slowly.  “She’s recruiting for Alexander, building up his viceroy again.”  She said looking to her lover.

 

Bait’s lips pressed together in a negative manner.  “I don’t think so, at this point I think Alexander will stick whoever in place to fill in, he isn’t concerned about long term building now, he only needs to hold things together long enough to finish the portal and open it.  I think our little dragon is building her own army of smart people.”

 

Snow had a questioning look now.  “Why?  If Alexander is opening the portal, what would she need them for?  And he would never allow her to spend time on something he saw as a waste.”

 

“Seven to Lord Bait, over.”  Came an urgent call over the radio.

 

Bait held up a finger at Snow then keyed his pickup.  “This is Bait, go ahead.” 

 

“Sir, your Grace, I need to see you… alone please.”  Seven asked, his voice carried a multitude of tones, all of them made the hairs on the back of Bait’s neck stand up.

 

“Copy.”  Bait said then ended the call.

 

“Seven, he needs to see me, alone he said.”  Bait informed Snow.

 

“Oh.”  Snow answered with raised eyebrows.

 

Bait smiled at her.  “You know Seven, he’s just being extra careful.”  He assured her.

 

Bait started for the door telling Snow to get ready, that they’d leave as soon as he finished speaking with their gadgettier.  “See if you can find my keys for me, I could have swore I hung them by the door…”  He said as he looked where their keys and fobs hung with his missing between two other sets of keys.

 

“Will do.”  She answered then he went out to meet with Seven.

 

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When he walked into where Seven had said to meet him, the young man’s jaw jittered as he looked to Bait.  His eyes held remorse, regret, betrayal?  At least the question of it.  Seven had uncovered something and it bothered him greatly, that much was for certain.  Bait didn’t say anything as he came to where Seven was sitting on a table.

 

Seven reached into a bag with him and pulled out a tablet computer and pulled up a page and started talking.

 

“Her mind… you… you’re both a lot alike.  You and Lisa.”  Seven started.

 

“Lisa?”  Bait said not seeing how his daughter fit into this mess.

 

His face was turned down and he moved only his eyes up to look at Bait for a moment then talked on as he returned to the tablet.  “She’s actually the one who connected the dots.  Silence has been teaching her about werewolf life, and Lisa has been helping me mate with her work.  She’s yours for certain.”  Seven cleared his throat and got on topic. 

 

“It’s… strange, I don’t know what to make of this, what I think, isn’t possible.”  Bait saw pain in his eyes now.  “Most of the reports with the accuracy you asked about, there’s no listed source, but… a significant amount of the reports all involve missions Sadness was involved in.  Recent ones, Snow.  In almost every case, she is the common denominator.”  Seven handed the tablet to Bait.

 

He held Seven’s eyes in disbelief for a moment before taking the tablet.  He thumbed through the pages on the tablet reading the reports Seven had selected as his proof, that his daughter had given him as proof.  Even the night she dropped herself on his doorstep, that was the clincher, there were facts about what happened between them that no one could have known unless they were there.

 

“Then there are the reports on clan Squat.  Beautiful Flower knew her son’s plans, where he’d looked, before he reported anything.  She informed the Clay’s about his activities while he was still on the road as it were.” 

 

Bait looked up at Seven.  “And the timeframe, could you determine a time when these reports suddenly became too accurate?”  He asked with a lump in his throat and a hard ball forming in his stomach. 

 

“The night I died.”  Lisa said from behind him. 

 

Bait wheeled around.  Lisa’s face was solemn.  “After that night, everything your mate has done, has been reported to the Clay’s.”  His daughter told him.

 

Bait didn’t like the implication.  Snow?  A rat, a mole?  “I know what this looks like, Squat wasn’t leaking information to his mother, like all the other Frost children, he can’t stand the woman, they all hate her with a passion, Sea Mist, Snow, Foch, Carson, any of the kids.  None would support her or betray their friends for their mother, the woman of pain and misery.” 

 

He looked up at Lisa.  “Can you get the reports on the night you were assassinated by your mother?  That night?”  He asked.

 

Lisa took the tablet from him and in a few seconds had what her father wanted on it and handed it back. 

 

Bait flipped through the pages, found one he was more interested in and read all of it.  He continued on for another five minutes reading the reports.  What Snow hadn’t told him, what he hadn’t asked about.  Neither had thought it important at the time, now, it put a missing piece in place.

 

Bait’s voice was hurried when he spoke.  “The night my vampire wife attacked us, Snow was there, there’s nothing in the reports detailing that event, Snow tried to catch her, they fought.  Snow was injured bad.  She never mentioned it.  River Stone was the attending, she needed time to recover after.  She spent a week at her father’s house.  Where her mother was.”

 

Bait looked up at Lisa.  “After she left clan Frost, how long after did the accuracy show?”  He asked.

 

Lisa knew her father was on a path, she ran the knowledge she had shared through her mind again.  “The day she left.  She’s reported to go straight to Westbridge, the details of her report to them are also in Clay’s files, but Westbridge kept that information to themselves, the only other place her report shows in is Westbridge files.”  ‘Good girl’ her father’s face was saying to her.  Lisa smiled.

 

“Frell!”  Bait yelled.  “She doesn’t even know.”  He said then held up a hand to call for quiet.

 

Snow, your nose ring, did you get it when you were recovering at your father’s den?  He thought to his mate.

 

A moment passed.  yes, I had the den jeweler make it for me and engrave Lisa’s name on it.  I’ve just never had the heart to take it out, she called me mother.  Came back from her.

 

Bait fumbled with the tablet, he never used one and didn’t know the layout.  He looked around the room and spotted a standard computer in the corner and rushed to it.  He tapped at the keys and brought up personnel files and searched.  “Cool Water was the jeweler.”  Bait said as he read 

 

Lisa and Seven were looking over his shoulder as he went through the personnel file on the jeweler that made the nose ring Snow wore. 

 

“Nothing, he’s just a jeweler, and a damn fine one at that.  That’s all there is, all he’s done is jewelry, and his mate Daisy Field, offspring, he’s been with clan Frost since it started.”  Bait leaned back in the chair.  There was no hard connection, somehow Beautiful Flower was getting information from Snow without her knowing about it.

 

“Heh, Daisy Field, now there’s a name that hasn’t crossed these ears in many a year.”  Seven smiled and chuckled lightly.

 

Bait looked at him fast.  “You know her?”  He asked probingly.

 

Seven looked a little sheepish.  “Well, we were sweet on each other, she almost made her offer to me.  We both have the gift of gadgets you know.”  Seven’s face lit up and he smiled of fond memories.  “You know, it was her skills in miniaturization that made my radio pack possible, wouldn’t have been able to build it without her or my ladybugs, a lot of the things I’ve invented, Snow too, because of her work.”

 

BOOM!  There was the hard connection.  That left one other avenue.  Bait looked back to his daughter.  Her face told him she was right with him.  He could tell by Seven’s scent, he was too. 

 

“The reports on clan, House Squat, they’re continuing?”  He asked her.

 

Lisa nodded.  “Since Snow arrived, they’ve gotten better, more details.”

 

Bait hurried back to the personnel records again, this time with a specific person in mind, the only person left.  Lady Beautiful Flower’s attendant, she was the only one that remained at Clan Frost when everyone else abandoned ship.  He pulled up her file and went straight to the part that listed the woman’s mate.  “Darby.”  Bait said as he read the name.

 

“Mother freller!”  Lisa said loudly.

 

“Watch your language young lady.”  Bait said with a glare at his daughter.

 

She scoffed.  “Got that from you too.” 

 

“Beautiful Flower had Snow bugged in a way she knew she wouldn’t ever take the bug off, then used Darby’s mate to force him to feed her information.  Frelling bitch.”  Seven said.

 

Bait and Lisa nodded together at his true statement.

 

“Can you block the signal?  Stop her from hearing what’s being said?”  Bait asked Seven.

 

He nodded.  “Aye mate, what’s being said, and what’s being seen.  Damn shot be sure there’s a camera in there too.  My ladybugs, got the camera from Daisy Field too.”

 

Bait nodded, that made sense, the accuracy of the reports would require seeing what happened as well.

 

“Good, I’ll let Snow know what’s… no, I’ll get her here, you disable that thing then we tell her, just to be safe.  I can tell her through her mind, I just don’t want her to know yet and start throwing a fit.”  Bait told his friend and daughter.

 

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remain calm, don’t say a word, we’ll explain in a second.’ Bait thought to Snow as she was surprised by Lisa and Bait grabbing her and Seven coming at her with a strange device towards her nose.  He put two clips on either side of the ring with wires that ran to a box that he was making adjustments on.  Seven cackled once then made some more adjustments.

 

“Got it, just like you asked.  Disabled, but still usable when we want.”  Seven said then removed the clips then returned and told Snow to take the ring out.

 

She was still in the dark about what the hell was going on and why they were so interested in her nose ring but she did as she was asked and handed the ring to Seven. 

 

He placed it under a scope of some kind and put his eye to a small eyepiece to target the device in.  In a few seconds her ring was on the display and it zoomed in to a microscopic level, then you could see the lens of the camera and the seam where the two halves of the ring were put together.  Seven took some tools and carefully opened the ring.

 

Snow gasped when she saw what was inside.  Being a gadgettier herself, she was well aware of what was inside.  “Inconceivable!  That frelling bitch bugged me!”  She screamed while stomping a foot and thrusting her arms down from her sides.

 

Seven looked at Bait with an accepting look.  “Aye chum, good thing you didn’t tell her till now.”

 

Bait shrugged at him with a look of ‘I know’ then focused back on his mate.  “You’re going to love the next part.  Darby’s mate, is your mother’s attendant.  That’s how she’s been getting her information on Squat’s activities.”

 

“Inconceivable!  That frelling bitch!”  Snow was puffing from her anger, her pacing now matched her breathing, fast and hard, her steps and breaths short and quick.

 

“I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”  Seven said looking at Snow.  “Inconceivable that is.”  Snow wheeled his direction with a killing glare.

 

Her right hand went across her front with a finger aimed at Bait.  “He already unloaded that line on me, you don’t get the opportunity.”  She said with heated breath in a loud angry hiss.

 

Seven smiled as he looked at Snow, pointed his own bobbing finger at her from his middle and responded, “Now that’s conceivable.”

 

Snow gawked at him but a moment then was taken by laughter.  Her head shook a little as she gave Bait a glance.

 

“So, what ado bout this Darby fellow.  Is he to be judged Inquisitor?”  Seven asked with a respectful tone as he turned to his business face.

 

His question caused Bait to put his hand to his chin in thought.  His eyes became bright and had a sparkle to them.  “No, I think Mr. Darby has been put into bad situations enough.  I think we let the fellow off the hook, right in front of the one who put him on it.”

 

As Snow and Bait turned to each other, conniving looks formed on their faces as their eyes met and their minds merged.

 

“Now, I likes the sound of that me chum, I likes the sound of that.”  Seven said smirking to himself with his own hand on his chin.  He chuckled lightly as he looked up at his commanders.  His face wilted slightly.  “Now, that’s creepy, the ways you two’s looking at each other now, likes you thinking to each other, talking without speaking, creepy stuff like that.”  He said then chuckled again as his face brightened.

 

Their eyes remained locked, they didn’t turn to Seven in any way.  “Inconceivable.”  They said softly in unison, their voices merging in a way that sounded ghostly.

 

Seven shivered.  “So, um, yeah, care to let me in on your little secret?”  He asked as he looked around at the frost forming on the windows.

 

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“Did you find my keys?” Bait asked Snow as they rode the room elevator up.

 

Snow looked over at him.  “Ah no, are you sure you didn’t leave them at Sea’s or Kevashka’s or, I don’t know, any of the other hundreds of places you’ve left them lately?”  She gave him a head leaned in look and blinked purposely faster at him.  “Use mine till you find yours, not like I ever use them.” 

 

He snorted.  “Me either lately.”

 

They exchanged a look of ‘eh’ as the elevator stopped and left through the front door towards where Bait’s truck was stashed.  They were talking casually as they rounded the back corner of the house.

 

“Where the hell is my truck?”  Bait asked the air with a vexed voice.  Snow just stood and looked at where the truck had been and the tracks out.

 

Bait looked up towards the sound of the riding lawnmower, Shyhon was on it and he caught her attention and waved her over.  When she saw him wave, she stopped the mower and shut it off then ran to him and bowed to Snow then knelt in front of Bait.

 

“Stand, please, not that much formality for normal everyday stuff.”  He said to her, she smiled and stood.

 

“You wouldn’t have happened to see what happened to my truck?”  Shyhon nodded.

“Okay then, what happened to my truck?”  He pressed on.  Shyhon looked pleadingly at him.

 

He was starting to become cross with her until he remembered his orders to her.  “Permission to speak granted.  Now, what happened to my truck?”  He asked.

 

A soft musical voice came from Shyhon.  “Your Grace, Worm left with it just after I started mowing.”

 

Bait filled in the rest himself.  Worm using his truck was almost normal now, he’d been using her as a gopher.  No one would have thought anything of her climbing into his truck and taking off.  Shyhon wasn’t told anything was wrong from her sight, therefore, she wouldn’t have been any different than anyone else. 

 

“We’ll have Seven pull up her location on the tracker.”  Bait said looking at Snow and starting to turn back towards the house.

 

“Don’t think so.”  Snow said and pointed to the ground beside where the truck had been.  Bait turned quick and followed her finger, there on the ground was part of the tracker.  Worm had disabled it.

 

Bait scoffed hard, outwitted by a… she was a werewolf.  Not just a twelve year old human kid, and he had been training her, as had everyone else.  They were all to eager to educate the young one.  Werewolf nature was just that, a willingness to pass on knowledge.  He calmed some and started walking normally back to the house.

 

“Bait?”  Snow said, not following yet.

 

“I’m getting one of our company vehicles, you want to come with or wait up here, we have things to do ourselves.”  He answered her.

 

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River Stone was standing by the door watching the bishop perform the rituals before burial over Mud and Morning Dew in the makeshift hospital room.  Suddenly, Seven burst into the room yelling for everyone to get away from them.  He grabbed the bishop and hurled him back from the bed of Mud and into River Stone.


“They’re not dead, they’re not dead!”  He was screaming.  “Get away from them!”  He turned and faced the shocked people in the room.  “Light, super intense light, nuclear level, grade.  Nagasaki.  Those there, werewolves, they were just like this.  We were put into rooms, forgotten about for months due to everything else… they woke up!  This is just like that, the grenade didn’t have an optolimiter!”

 

Nurse Prizz’s gaze on Seven changed from the hard indignant icy dagger infested stare, softening to an accepting understanding realization of what she just heard.  Slowly her head pivoted towards Doctor River Stone, who’s face bore a similar realization of fact.

 

“Doctor…” Prizz began, trailing off not needing to further her question.

 

River Stone’s head slowly started to nod.  His eyes darted around the figure of Mud in the bed before him as he took one step, then another followed by another in a slow methodical labored movement towards the bed as his mind wheeled for answers. 

 

“Everyone out, oy vey, except you two.”  Doctor River Stone instructed, indicating Seven and Prizz as the two whom should stay with a flick of his eyes.  “Close the door behind you.”  He added to the last person out the door without looking, who did as they were told.

 

River Stone looked penetratingly at Seven, Prizz remained quiet as River Stone took the two steps needed to get right in Seven’s grill.  His nostrils flared as he looked down at the shorter man, his eyes narrowed slightly.

 

“Explain, you said we.  We were put into… how do you know about all this?”  River Stone said to Seven.

 

The young patriarch made a nervous low laugh.  He looked down and his eyes moved about the room as he prepared his response, his face working along with his thinking. 

 

“Yes, well, in my line of employ good doctor, it is, well, you see I do study many things.  Knowledge you know, need it to advance things.  We… well I got excited and said something I didn’t mean, I misspoke.  But the event, well you see it is very much real, it’s a… well, oddity.  Never happened before.”  Seven laughed nervously again.

 

River Stone’s hand moved in a flash, slapping Seven’s face hard.  The force of the open palmed slap spun his head, the bones in his neck could be heard snapping as his face turned to his back.  Seven collapsed to the ground from the severed spinal cord in his neck.  River Stone stood glaring down at the limp body of Seven, waiting for him to regenerate and stand.

 

Once Seven was standing and looking shocked at River Stone, who closed in on Seven again, he spoke harshly to him again while Prizz watched quietly on.  “Cut the bullshit Guardian, speak clear and plainly, your slip of the tongue was truth, speak the truth now without any diffusion.  I will slap you into submission if I must.  Your choice.”  River Stone’s voice and face were hard and accusing.  He knew the game well, and the reasons behind it.

 

Seven’s face twitched, a low growl rumbled in his throat as his arm swung towards River Stone with the same open palmed slap, River Stone didn’t move or even flinch as Seven’s hand closed on him at a rapid rate that slowed and ended in nothing more then a soft caress of River Stone’s face.

 

River Stone slapped Seven again, this time with an upward motion that sent the young patriarch flying against a wall and crumpling to the floor.

 

“I know the rules you live by boy, you cannot touch me in anger, you cannot attack me, boy!”  River Stone said as a fog filled Seven’s eyes.

 

He looked up from the floor River Stone had sent him to as the room became filled with a hazy fog.  A voice came to him that he recognized.  Boy, only his father had ever called him that.

 

Boy, look at me now boy. The voice said.

 

Seven looked up.  “Father…”  He said to the face of patriarch Boxtemmill the Sixteenth. 

 

Patriarch Boxtemmill was looking at his son, the look was hard and soft at the same time, love and intensity conveyed.  His head raised slightly in a noble manner.  There is much, very much wrong in the ways we have taken to my boy.  Yours, boy, it not to continue errors.  End this now.  Seven’s father said to him.

 

Seven started nodding from his place on the floor, the fog faded and he stood with resolve.  He took the few steps he needed to get right in River Stone’s grill this time and looked up at the taller man with conviction.

 

“Fair enough.”  He said then smiled contently.  “I was one of many that were frozen at Nagasaki.  I was there.  It was like being frozen in time, I’ve never figured out why until now.  Bait was right.  We need light.” 

 

He looked from River Stone to Mud and her mate with a turn of his head.  “This, to them, what happened, the grenade, not as strong but the effect good doctor, that is the same.  How long it will last, this I don’t know, but I assure you, our kin are alive.”  He looked back at River Stone, his face had relaxed.

 

“Speak what else you know boy.”  River Stone said, his voice had a hardness to it, but carried compassion. 

 

Seven’s head started moving around and he looked away from River Stone and moved to a chair and sat with his hands on his knees, placing his face in his palms as he looked to the floor, he mind walking through things he knew, then he started talking, plainly and clearly the truth.

 

“I had tried to make a torch, hand held, like a flashlight, that could be used against vampires.  It wasn’t very practical in the end so I left it for a while, working on other things but keeping the idea in the back of my mind.  A more portable version of the light.” 

 

“The bullets for Bait’s shotgun, they used the torch light and worked because they are inside the beast.  I made notes, drew plans, never made anything though, to busy actually and… well, didn’t think the concept was needed considering.  No one has seen the plans, I thought maybe her Grace Lady Snow had, but she didn’t, couldn’t have, nope, I know this now.  Snow was bugged, Beautiful Flower had done this thing to her, filthy she is, do this to her own.”

 

Seven cleared his throat, raised his head on his palms, not looking at anyone or anything in particular and continued.  “Darby, I believe he is the one whom snooped, plundered my shop for ideas, things, my devices, my secrets, Snow’s, I pity him, Lord Bait too.”

 

Seven paused a moment.  “He is good, pure, our Bait.  He’s the best of us.  My plans were incomplete, the ones on paper, on computers, flaws in the design by themselves.  The grenade I had in mind would work, but I needed to build a photon and wave control limiter for the device, my optolimiter, to keep the light from being to intense.”

 

Seven sighed.  “He couldn’t have known, the design was still in me brain.  Still in Snow’s.  I needed her mind to help me finish it, but no time, not yet, more important things we had.  Lolith, she somehow got the plans, she must have built one and found what I knew it would be and used it through lies, to both undermine the vampires she serves, and the were-kind she loathes because she is now separated.  A mind of chaos.”  Seven let go a betrayed breath.  “This is my fault.”

 

“Snow, bugged, Darby?”  River Stone said with a confused inquisitive look at the young patriarch.

 

Seven raised his eyebrows as he lifted his head and looked at River Stone and nodded.  He went on to explain everything he knew to River Stone, the Physician of the Third Order.

 

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Snow wasn’t sure exactly where Bait was taking them, but he seemed to be taking a rather indirect route.  They were nearing the big city on a interstate talking casually when a smirk came on her mates face that didn’t make sense given their current topic of conversation. 

 

He wasn’t looking down the road like he was watching traffic, but rather at something in front of them down the road.  Snow looked from him and tried to deduce what the smirk was caused by, she hadn’t been particularly paying attention to what was around them as they cruised down the road.  Now, looking forward, it wasn’t hard to figure out what it was that Bait was smirking about.  He'd just been waiting for Snow to notice on her own.

 

She gawked at the billboard as they approached it.  There, big and bold on the sign was a picture of Bait, smiling mischievously with the caption that read ‘Alexander, Bait’s coming for you’ on it with their enemies name at the top beside his face, and the rest of the text near the middle of the sign.  The shotgun he designed was in his hands and held it up in the bust photo.

 

She spoke without turning to him in a shocked surprised and bewilder voice.  “This was your big plan that you said I would object to!?”  She shot out as she gawked on at the billboard.

 

She finally looked over at him.  “Yup.”  Was all he said before he looked over at her with the mischievous smile that he wore on the billboard.  “But wait, there’s more.”  He said and laughed.

 

A few more miles down the road where he took an exit, there was another billboard, this time with Snow’s picture on it, she vaguely remembered the picture being taken.  Her face was in a battle cry, sword held out in motion.  The text on this sign had Alexander’s name placed the same as the first and read ‘A Snow-storm is headed your way’.  As they drove on to their destination other billboards featuring Kevashka, Mud, Hovlek and other key players were on display. 

 

“Just wait till you hear the radio and see the TV adds we placed.  Alexander is going to be a touch upset, should rattle his cage good.”  Bait said looking over at her from the road with a smile. 

 

Then he reached between the seat and console, pulled out a file folder, and handed it to Snow.  “These are pictures of other billboards I have up near the church, advertizing our concert.  Humans will see more of us calling him out, but vampires will see the concert add.  Little something I cooked up with Seven and Fyodor.  Things are going to get interesting, don’t you think?”

 

Snow’s face of disbelief left as she started laughing.  She flipped through the pages in the file and read the text for the ads.  She was shaking her head and near tears from laughter.  “You’re a genius, this is pure genius!”  She rattled out between breaths.

 

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As they pulled up to the gray government building, an older man on the steps to the door noticed them, and hurriedly opened the door and went in closing the door behind him and most certainly locking it. 

 

Bait’s mouth cocked an open mouthed smirk as he watched the man and parked right by the steps.  He and Snow got out of the sedan and went to where the door was, Bait pressed the button for the buzzer.  A few moments later a voice answered them, the owner had been watching from the camera aimed at the door.

 

“This is FBI property, no unauthorized persons are allowed, leave immediately!”  A voice said from the intercom speaker near the door.

 

Bait laughed slightly and cocked his head as he did.  “Open the door John, or I’ll open it myself, only time I’m telling you.”  Bait said aiming his mouth in the direction of the intercom.

 

The speaker clicked off and a few moments later the locks on the door could be heard being undone.  Bait stepped to the side as the door swung open.  A gray haired man in his sixties stood in the doorway.

 

“Duncan Galt, what an unexpected displeasure.  Here to seize all my files again?”  John Smith said with a vexed face.

 

Bait pushed his way in, John tried to resist him.  “This is my mate Lady Snow.”  He said as he forced his way past the man, Snow followed.

 

The odd introduction put John at a disadvantage.  His attention focused on Snow for a moment.

 

“Not interested in your files here, just like the last time I was here, I’m sure they are very vague and empty of any real truths you know.”  Bait said as he looked around the room, ending on John. 

 

John Smith gave Bait a smug cocky smile.  Now that the two uninvited guests were inside, he closed the door and locked it again.  “To what do I owe this visit from you to?  You’re not with the CIA anymore.  I’ve been keeping tabs on you.  You can’t just waltz in here and start pushing me around this time.”  John said as he unsnapped the strap on the pistol on his side.

 

Snow snarled.

 

“What’s with the freak?  You running some street gang now Galt?”  John Smith chided with a sideways glance at Snow.

 

Bait smiled at him politely, the effect was creepiness.  “If you’ve been keeping tabs on me, then you should know I’m not exactly separated from the company.  Part of a special operations unit now, very covert… oh, I guess you wouldn’t know that... we’re covert.”

 

John’s face dropped and his eyes narrowed.

 

Bait walked off on his own, heading towards the main part of the building, Snow behind him and John Smith trotting to catch up.  He was making objections to Bait just helping himself to his facility while they made their way to where the main office, John’s office, was.  There was no one else in the building.

 

“How’s the X-File gig going John?  Still chasing vampires and werewolves?”  Bait asked.

 

John snorted and smiled condescendingly at Bait with a shake of his head.  “I don’t work X-Files, unexplained phenomenon, science Galt, not like on TV, you’re the spook and ghost expert.  I deal with real science.  You’ve seen my files, you and your men came in and took them all.”  John ended with his hands on his hips looking defiantly at Bait and only giving Snow a shallow glance.

 

Bait was looking around the room disinterested in John and what he was saying.  “Bait, Lord Bait, your Grace, Inquisitor Bait take your pick, I don’t go by Duncan Galt anymore, Bait is my werewolf name.”  He said, then looked John in the eyes as the expression on the man’s face changed showing the knife Bait had driven into him, and the fear.

 

“I have seen all your files, and I don’t mean the ones you let us have, rather, the ones in your home and in your private office in a warehouse.”  Bait winked at John.

 

John looked very apprehensive now, he knew Bait wasn’t lying, the facts he spoke came as no shock to John relating to his title.  Concern boiled in John’s face.

 

Bait sat down behind John’s desk and put his hands behind his head as he leaned back, John was only watching him with a suspicious air.

 

“Penelope Jordan, tell me about her.”  Bait said.  Snow stood behind John.

 

He gave a head turned look back at Snow before he answered.  “Nut job, convinced vampires are real, werewolves too, only she says werewolves protect humans, total loon.  If you’ve been listening to her, you’ve been fed a line of bull.” Bait could see John believed what he said about Penelope.

 

Bait smiled contently.  “She’s not wrong in the least John, and you hunting vampires doesn’t concern me at all, kill as many as you want.  I’m concerned about your werewolf hunting escapades.  That bothers me since I’ve signed on with them and they are the protectors of humankind, they are the real vampire hunters.” 

 

John snorted loud and defiantly at Bait.  “Bullshit!  The vampires aren’t nearly as bad as the werewolves.  Those bastards rip up people just for fun by the hundreds.  The vampires only take what they need to feed on and try and keep a low profile.  While you and your team have been wasting time with vampires, I’ve been the one taking out the real threat, werewolves, and if you’ve singed on with them…”  John pulled his side arm and moved to sidestep Snow.

 

Snow changed to her were-self as the gun went off, blocking line of sight to her mate and taking the shots herself.  She returned to her human form after she snatched the gun from John’s hand.  The wounds smoldered from the silver he put into her.  She inhaled deep and the bullets fell from her and she smiled and looked to Bait.

 

“Silver don’t hurt no more.”  She said with her toothy grin.

 

“Doesn’t hurt any more, proper English dear.”  Bait said with a whimsical smile as John stammered and fell back from Snow onto the floor.

 

Snow curtsied to Bait, “Silver doesn’t hurt me anymore my lover.”  She said with a smile as she removed the clip from the pistol, and using her tongue, lifted and removed the remaining rounds one by one and swallowed them.  Then placed the barrel of the gun in her mouth and bit it in half, chewed and swallowed and finished the rest of the gun while John watched with a stunned face.

 

Bait looked over at him while Snow entertained herself.  “She hasn’t been getting enough iron in her diet lately.  Now then, about these werewolves you’ve been hunting.  Show me what you have on them, from your private files, else my lover here will encourage you as only she can.”  Bait’s smile added to the creepy in the room and frost started to form on the walls and door of the windowless office.

 

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John showed Bait everything he had, his tension against Bait seemed to be diminishing.  “They started showing up before I took over the department.  They change into…” John shot a look at Snow, “werewolves, not exactly like… her, and as far as I know, not at will, just during the full moon, moonsun they call it.” 

 

John’s face showed he was remembering.  “And when they do, all hell breaks loose.  After four or five years, they change and never go back, killing everyone and everything till they... I don’t know how to describe it.  It’s like they self destruct or something.  The vampires keep them in check, keep them from going all ape shit during the full moon usually.  Then they just let them go, and you tell me you’re with these beasts?”  John gave Bait a disgusted look.

 

“That’s impossible.”  Snow said with a disturbed look.  Her head was shaking as she looked off.  “That kind of thing hasn’t happened in millennia, why unmated aren’t allowed to be part of operations.”  She said.

 

John scoffed at her.  “I’ve got news for you sister, it’s happening, reports of werewolf sightings have suddenly increased over the past few weeks, now there are all kinds of claims of seeing them.  Police discard them as nuts.” 

 

Bait and Snow looked at each other and communicated without John hearing.  Bait looked back to the desk.  “Timeframe is all wrong, something’s out of place.”  He said absentmindedly.  “Something James said…”  He trailed off while reaching to his side.

 

He pulled out his radio pack, selected a contact and keyed his pickup.  “Hyden, my office two hours.  Be there.  Out.”  Bait said then stuffed the radio back where it belonged.

 

“Hyden Bishop?  Interpol?”  John Smith said bringing Bait’s full attention to him.

 

Bait’s mind worked fast and he hid the face he had made at first mention of the name Hyden Bishop.  “Yes, you know him?”  He asked.

 

John’s head nodded.  “Yeah, he was here… oh a little over a year ago now.  Was asking about werewolves.” 

 

Bait’s face was suspicious and conclusive.  “And you told him nothing, am I right?”

 

John nodded again with a grim serious face.  “Right.  There’s been others, over the years.”  His observation of Bait’s face told him to go on.  He was starting to feel some kind of alliance with his former nemesis. 

 

He looked down as he pulled at his memories.  “Yeah, before him… Sebastian Night, claimed to be from Division-W of the CIA.  He was asking about vampires and werewolves.  I did some checking, no one knows about Division-W, some got nervous when I asked and still denied its existence.  Some odd pale fellow showed up, what was his name, really weird…”

 

“snZm?”  Bait put out.

 

“Yeah, snZm, I have his card here someplace I think.”  John said with a look towards some file cabinets.

 

“That’s okay, I know how to reach him.”  Bait said casually.

 

John looked at Bait with an assuming look.  “Let me guess, Division-W is who you’re with now?”  He asked.

 

Bait nodded.

 

“Anyways, this snZm guy, after I started asking about Division-W, he shows up and tells me if I like my job and breathing I best forget about Division-W.  So I did.”  His face relayed the severity of the threats made against him.  “Before him, Director Leyland Goodspeed, he was the first one to ask me about werewolves and vampires, claimed to be the head of my department.  Had the right ID and all, I still gave him nothing.”  John looked off in thought.

 

“Let me guess, when you checked up on him, there was no record of him.”  Bait offered.

 

John Smith looked back to Bait with an affirming look.  Then his face crunched, a new thought entered his mind.  His head bobbed a bit.  “Strange though.  I was expecting a visit, not exactly from you, no surprise though.”  He started.

 

Bait cut in with a concerned look.  “You were expecting another visit?  Why’s that?” 

 

John wasn’t resistant at all now with information.  There was something in his eyes that said he was accepting that Bait and Snow weren’t the enemies, that whatever was going on, he needed to help them as much as he could.  He was starting to think his life might depend on their help now.

 

“Yeah, yesterday, this woman, I was here late, after what happened I had a lot of new information, about an hour after dark she showed up.  I was just getting ready to leave and she caught me in the parking lot.  God she smelt bad, sour… reminded me of someone… anyways, she was asking about werewolves also.  Wanted to know if I knew where any might live.  She flashed some bogus ID at me and shot me a line of bullshit.”

 

John’s eyes widened.  “She scared the hell out of me.  I played her off, told her the office was shut down and the computers were in their backup cycle and I couldn’t access the information till morning and to come back then.  She said she’d be back tonight for my files.  I agreed and she left.”

 

Bait had his suspicious look again.  “She reminded you of someone?”  He pried.

 

John looked up nodding, his mind was distant now.  “Yeah, didn’t really think of it till now.  Back some twenty years ago, when I first took over this department, a man came to see me.  He smelt like she did, sour like.  Really bad smelling even though he looked well groomed and was well dressed, if I remember right he said his name was Fyodor.”  John looked between Snow and Bait as they suddenly looked at each other.  The name meant something to them.

 

Snow reached into a pocket and pulled out a photo.  “Is this the woman that visited you?”  She asked showing him the picture she had of Ruth that Seven had modified so humans could see it.

 

John’s head started nodding slowly as his eyes walked over the image.  “Yes, that’s her, let me guess, she’s one of the bad guys.”  He stated.

 

“What did Fyodor want?”  Bait asked.

 

John looked from the picture slowly to Bait and shrugged.  “He was asking about a book, well, a page from a book.  Wanted to know if I had any recovered artifacts.  Specifically a page that would have an odd language on it that might have been torn from an old book.  I had just taken over the department, I gave him my card and told him to call me with the specifics and I would look into it.  Never heard from him.”  John said.  His face crunched again.  “That’s another odd thing.  Your wife asked me about a book some time ago, said she was looking for an old book that had syllable poetry in it.”

 

Bait and Snow looked at each other again in silent communication.

 

he’s not going to be alive tomorrow, Ruth will see to that.  She thought to Bait.

 

agreed, we need to protect him, and I need to speak with Hyden.  He thought back.

 

“John…”  Bait started looking to the man from Snow.

 

“Yeah, I know.  I need to get out of here, the shit just hit the fan, you don’t need to tell me that.”  His face was grim with understanding.

 

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The immortals had been digging into problems and coming up dry.  Bait on the other hand had succeeded in the digging.  They couldn’t force John Smith to talk, he was human and they couldn’t touch him.  They had been trying to put an end to things before Bait came on the scene and failed.  The rules prevented them from telling certain things to Bait or anyone else.  Everything had it’s order.

 

“It was a good idea Lord Bait, sending him to Clan Boxtemmill, he will be safe and out of reach there, he will be treated well I assure you.”  Hyden said to Bait while they talked in Bait’s office in their quarters.

 

Bait nodded.  “Thank you Bishop Hyden, your Grace.”  His face changed along with the topic.  “I need you to tell me everything about human recruits, half turns, vampire day walkers have a life expectancy before they either have to become full vampires, does the same hold true for humans in service of werewolves?”  He asked.

 

Hyden’s lips pulled tight.  “Yes, ten years.  After a human enters into service and is half turned, they spend the first five years of their time in our service, helping us.  After five years they must make a choice, either to return to human life, or to continue on and become a werewolf and fully sacrifice their freewill.  They still have their freewill during the first five years, and should they decide to carry on, they loose it.  The next three years are their learning years, they are educated on our customs, duties, how we exist.  Then in their final year, the ninth, they may be chosen for mate or be turned, but they are never allowed their final year without being turned.”

 

“Why not?”

 

Hyden looked down with heavy eyes.  “Because, at the hour of the day of their tenth year from half turned service, if not turned, they become the Fierce.  They go insane and destroy everything living around them.  It’s the dark side of service and why a half turned is never allowed to go beyond the day and hour of their ninth year end.”

 

Bait’s face held a look of trepidation and realization of truth.  There were no more dots to connect, no more puzzle pieces to place, everything was complete.  All the villains had been revealed, now was the time for action and cleaning house.

 

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Carson and Rochester were on their way through their recruiting area and enjoying themselves in the sun, something their masters couldn’t do.  They were commenting on this very fact and how lucky they were to not be full vampires. 

 

Rochester said it was the best of both worlds and he would never become a full vampire, Carson agreed stating that being able to terrorize humans in broad daylight was the best.  He didn’t like the life as much when their night masters were on their asses.  Both were in their eighth year of servitude to their dark masters now. 

 

Life was good.

 

They were walking through the run down park not far from the nightclub they called home.  It wasn’t much of a park now, as even during the day it was a hangout for drunks, dealers and drug addicts and the prostitutes that were afraid to work during the night.  However they had become less and less now, their daylight walker whores had brought most in line and had either become day walkers like themselves, vampires of the night or food. 

 

“Shit, look at that would you, somebody’s mommy wasn’t doing her job.”  Rochester said with a presumptuous laugh as he nudged his counterpart and pointed. 

 

Carson looked over and started laughing with Rochester.  “Yeah, this is too sweet.  Lester is going to love us for this morsel.”  He agreed ending in a loud laugh.

 

They had just rounded an unkempt hedge of bushes and now had view of an area near the center of the park that had once been a picnic area.  Some of the concrete tables and benches were still intact, though most were broken with the pieces tossed around and used for other purposes... like bashing in the skull of someone owing money and not being able to pay cash, so they paid in other ways. 

 

A human arm was the evidence of one of those other ways.  It lay several feet from where the red haired, freckled faced, girl sat with her legs crossed as she played with her dolls on the top of an unbroken table under a large oak tree.

 

Carson and Rochester both sniffed the air, proud smiles grew on their faces as they put elbow nudges into each other and moved quicker towards the girl.  She started singing as they approached and she paid them no mind, seeming unaware of their coming even though the breeze in the air carried them towards her.

 

“I love my dolls, you must believe me, it plain to see, they really love me… I love my dolls…” the girl sang somewhat loudly and in a voice of bubbles and joy as her face beamed at the dolls she was enjoying.

 

The two looked at each other laughing in their shared thoughts with a final volley of nudges in excitement.  “Hey, little girl, how you know that song?  Ain’t you bit young to know that?”  Carson said as he announced their presence. 

 

“Yeah, where’s your mommy?  Ain’t you scared to be out here all by yourself?”  Rochester followed with.

 

Both were still laughing at their good fortune.

 

The girl ignored them as she made the dolls dance in rhythm with her singing.  The two day walkers slowed their pace slightly and gave a look to each other. Their laughter had stopped and they smiled reassuringly at each other.  It was rather odd, but the girl was human.  She was probably abandoned here by her mother while she was out ‘scoring’ her needed fix.  Kids of druggies often weren’t scared of dangerous looking men, they were usually surrounded by them.  Easy pickin's.

 

“Hey, little girl, you hear me?”  Rochester said with an abrupt harshness. 

 

The two men stopped about five feet from the red haired freckled faced girl, who still played with her dolls but stopped singing, her smile widened.

 

“The song is Dolls from Ace Frehley’s second solo album after leaving KISS in nineteen eighty-two.  It was track eight on his album Frehley’s Comet which was released July seventh nineteen eighty-seven.”  The little girl recited to the men.

 

Carson and Rochester looked at each other and laughed before looking back to the girl and taking a couple steps closer.  She still sat cross legged on the table with her side to them.  In addition to the dolls, she had a plastic water bottle and what looked like the remote control to a toy car or truck.  Probably to the Barbie car that went with the dolls.

 

“Interestingly enough, Ace Frehley also had a song title Rock Soldiers where he sings about how he was stoned and drunk while driving with the devil on his right, and interestingly enough…”  the girl’s head moved diagonally to the side as she looked onto the men, “… you are on my right.”  The little girl’s hair fluffed around her as she spun herself to face the oak tree with her dolls.

 

Carson and Rochester looked at each other and laughed harder with elbow nudges.

 

“Check this shit out, if she ain’t a spitfire snot.  This is going to be fun!”  Rochester said to Carson who nodded his agreement.

 

“No shit, this brat needs to learn her manners.”  Carson laughed along with.

 

The two men looked around as each circled one end of the table to stand in front of the girl, ensuring no one was near, and checking the air for scents of a trap.  Carson looked under the table as Rochester checked behind the tree. 

 

They stood in front of the red haired freckled faced girl, gave each other pleased looks with a laugh then looked back to their prize.

 

“Rock two three four, rock two three four, rock two three four.”  The girl sang and bounced her head as she sang and made the dolls dance.

 

“Hey!”  Carson said loudly at the girl and jerked his chin up as he did.

 

“Yes dumbass?”  The little girl around twelve said.

 

Carson looked over at Rochester with a laugh and a nudge again.  “Check this shit out aye?”  Rochester laughed with him and they looked back to the girl.

 

The girl stopped the dolls and set them each in front of each knee with the dolls facing each other and standing.  The two men watched what she was doing, somewhat curios as to what she was going to do next. 

 

The girl reached up under her skirt and pulled out a deck of cards with the red backs up and neatened the stack and flipped the top card over onto the surface of the concrete table between her knees.  It was the ace of spades.

 

“Interestingly, this card, in my culture represents vengeance.”  The girl rotated the card so the point of the spade was towards her.  “With the spade faced this way, and the flag ended A turned upside down so it looks like a V with a line through it and placed center on the spade, then it is the symbol for vengeance to my people.”  The girl said and flipped the next top card over. 

 

It was also an ace of spades only this time, with the point towards her from the start and a white letter A in the center upside down like she had described.  “I designed this myself.”  She raised her head and looked at the two men as she bent the cards in and let them shoot up in front of her face.

 

Carson and Rochester watched the cards fly, looking at some that landed on the ground face up, all the cards were the same as the second card the girl flipped over, an ace of spades with an upside down A in the center of the spade in white.

 

“These dolls represent too.”  She said as she looked down and took a doll in each hand and started playing with them again.

 

Carson and Rochester looked at each other again, only this time with confused, questioning looks.

 

“Her mother must-a been whacked up really good when she got knocked up with her.”  Carson said with an elbow nudge into Rochester who vocalized his agreement.

 

“Ok little bitch, I’ll bite, what do your dolls represent?  Your dead mommy and daddy that you miss so much?”  Carson prodded the girl with as he made mocking whiny sounds when he spoke accompanied with mocking fists rubbing at his eyes as though he were crying.

 

The little girl smiled a very large toothy grin and giggled hard causing her to snort.  “I borrowed them from a girl I met today.  Her name is Chastity, her parents were murdered by two despicable men of darkness.  I promised her I would return them after I killed the men who murdered her parents.”  The little red haired freckled faced girl said as she joyfully played with the dolls.

 

Carson looked around nervously, he was getting a bit rattled by the girl, Rochester leaned in and sniffed her better. 

 

“This kids been watching too much TV, either that or she’s been natching off her mom’s supply, ya know.”  Rochester said in an uneasy tone to his friend. 

 

“My mother’s dead.  This doll represents her.”  The girl said as she moved the doll from it’s place near her knee to the middle of the area between her knees.  “And this one represents my father,” she moved the male doll in facing the mother doll and made them kiss, “they loved each other a lot, and he died after my mother died, because of her death.”  The girl held the dolls still now, facing each other.

 

There was no laughter now from Carson and Rochester, the looks between them were nervous and scared. 

 

“How’d your mother die?”  Rochester asked in a wavering voice.

 

The girl laid the dolls down side by side with their heads on the same end and covered them with the second card she had flipped with her mark of vengeance on it.

 

“You shot her with a four barreled shotgun that you got from Lolith loaded with silver bullets.  Then you shot Lady Sea Mist with a pistol and kidnapped me.”  The little girl said raising her head in a snap as the red hair and freckles vanished revealing the face of Worm.

 

“And I made a promise.”  She said as Carson pulled his pistol while she reached to the toy remote control and pressed a button.

 

Worm took a breath and became a hard shelled turtle as the silver bullet came from the barrel of the gun at her and ricocheted off her shell harmlessly.  Above Carson and Rochester the shafts of the solenoids attached to the water canisters aimed down from the tree above slammed into the plungers of the canisters. 

 

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No one had asked Hovlek where he was off too.  It was usually very easy for him to slip off unnoticed.  He had made his way into the city and climbed to the top of a building that gave him a good vantage point.  He watched as Worm laid her trap.

 

When he saw the water erupt from the park below he smiled with a grunt.  It took keen eyes such as a werewolf’s to see the small hard backed turtle come shooting out of the water, he nodded with another grunt.  He was pleased.  “Smart one that one.”  He said then turned and walled away.

 

Hovlek swung his leg over the back of the large motorcycle, pulled it from resting on the kickstand then kicked the beast to life and rumbled off towards home with a smile on his face.

 

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Snow and Bait sat down in their quarters and actually relaxed and talked like they hadn’t been able to for quite sometime now.  John Smith was safely away, both had all their research work completed, and now only the nights operations were on their to do list. 

 

They were trying to take their minds off of their worries for a bit and had the TV on hoping for some entertainment.  They were watching a rerun of an old movie that both enjoyed when the station broke and played a commercial followed by a news update.

 

…city officials are still unable to answer any questions about the flooding in Carson Park today, they have ruled out what had originally been reported as a water main rupture as no broken pipes were found in the area.”

 

“Related to this story; police are still trying to find the cause of explosions in the basements of several nearby buildings when the water from the park ran into them.  There isn’t any thing certain yet, but authorities are estimating wherever the leak was, it released around fifty thousand gallons of water.  Officials are not ruling out a water truck as the source yet, but have stated the city nor any road construction companies have water trucks of that capacity.  In sports…

 

Bait and Snow looked at each other with surprised smiles.

 

“You don’t think that was…”  Snow started leaving her thought unfinished.

 

Bait’s face cocked a half faced smile.  “Our little Worm?”

 

They both started nodding to each other and thinking.

 

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Their orders for their troops nationwide were simple: “Go out, do your duty, have fun doing it, and most importantly, be yourselves!”  Snow had ordered with Bait smiling his agreement next to her.

 

They were getting ready to head out themselves for the night’s duty when Vikki came to their quarters.  Bait asked him in and he stood looking at them both for a bit while moving his weight from foot to foot trying to come up with the words he wanted, finally his eyes went to Snow.

 

“You, your Grace, you I never doubted for service too.”  He looked to Bait.  “But you, a human?  This I questioned, even though my magnificent brother Hovlek,”  His head nodded slightly with a soft smile, “he trusts you.  I have seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears and smelt with my own nose, you are who my brother says you are.  I have no doubt in me now.  Vikki gives to you, Lord Bait, Inquisitor of were-kind, and beloved Snow my Trustee, my service.”  Vikki ended with a proud full chest out thump on his chest and a smile.

 

Snow looked to Bait before looking back to Vikki and speaking.  “And just what does Vikki’s service bring us?”  She asked.

 

Vikki chuckled with a proud tone.  “I, Vikki of the line of Lord Leyland give to you, five thousand Valhalla guardsmen, chosen by the Valkyrie of my people, five thousand of the most vicious and foul mouthed warriors to ever breath human air!”  He raised his arms from his sides above his head with clenched fists and gave a howl.

 

Bait smiled.  “Thank you Vikki, five thousand of your warriors is a valuable gift.”

 

Vikki finished telling them about his warriors and where they were at and asked for their orders for them.  Bait repeated Snow’s earlier orders to all and told Vikki to make sure his warriors enjoyed themselves.  Vikki laughed hard and assured him, there would be no problem with that.

 

After Vikki left them Bait looked at Snow with a different smile.  “A five thousand member hammer crew, this should be interesting, going to be a good night tatter!”  He said with a laugh.

 

Snow shook her head as she laughed with him.  “My brother is starting to rub off on you.”  She said as they went back to getting ready.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Out in the field things had a different tone tonight.  Music was in the air, literally as small street bands had sprung up, dotting the street corners in the areas the vampires had been recruiting and in the parks if there were any.  Street magicians and other performers joined them doing tricks, some were dancing and performing other talents. 

 

Some of the werewolves had taken to clubs operated by vampires, taking over the DJ stage or bandstand and performing themselves.  It would be a chaotic night for sure, for the vampires at least, but for their kind, it would be fun and work all in one.  They were all in place well before nightfall.

 

As darkness slithered in, Snow and Bait found themselves near a small park sitting at a table while Squat and Sea Mist started up a small band that was drawing some attention from the onlookers who had started moving into the park to listen to the music. 

 

Monroe Park named, after the actress, was about half a block wide by half a block long and as much deep.  A parking ramp garage filled the one edge of the park while buildings with vacant business fronts filled the back with rundown apartments above.  It wasn’t long thereafter a sour smell joined the crowd.  Now it was show time.

 

No one was bothering with neutralizer for their scent anymore.  The vampires in their midst weren’t quite sure what was going on, they mingled with the crowd as they tried to position themselves unnoticed near a werewolf, intending on picking a fight.  With the amount of werewolves in the area, the air was difficult to read, and the vampires didn’t notice while they were closing in on musicians, shadow steppers and others were closing in on them. 

 

From behind the vampire someone would step in, either from the shadows or not bothering to step into the shadows, take the head in one swipe with one hand, and with the other, stuff the head and body into separate dimensional pockets for safe ‘keeping’ completely unnoticed by the humans around who were focused on the show. 

 

After a while Snow and Bait left the show Squat and Sea Mist were putting on for the humans and wandered the streets.  One of their street magicians caught a group of vampires as they were escorting their harvest to one of their clubs, hosing them down with the water cannons, making sure to move the humans away before the vampires blew. 

 

To ease the nerves of the freaked out humans, the magician then caused his own explosion with smoke and from the shadows werewolves stepped dressed similar to the now missing vampires.  The humans were oblivious to the change in height and accepted the stunt as a magic trick and clapped.  Then they were ushered off to the promised party at a club the werewolves now controlled.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Snow had put a chess table in one of her pockets and she and Bait would set it up in areas where most humans out for a good time wouldn’t go, but vampires surely were to travel.  They would set up and play their game, starting to argue about a move when they detected their prey.  They were looking for slaves of a specific master, they would continue to execute the wrong ones until they found the right ones.  Even if they didn’t find the right ones tonight, it was still a win-win situation.

 

They had moved many times now, and were on the other side of the city from where they had started for the night.  They were thinking about moving again as they hadn’t had a single bite at that spot when Snow wriggled her nose and scanned the air.

 

“Jibble’s vamps, two, coming from the…” she sniffed around, “that way.”  Snow finished and pointed small from the top of the table as to not be seen by their prey.

 

Bait nodded and the two exchanged thoughts.  They started talking loudly to ensure they attracted the attention of the vampires they wanted.

 

Bait: “You always want to use your sword, I say it’s time you tried the shotgun.”

Snow: “I’ve used the shotgun, not in the field, but I’ve fired it, sword is much quieter, I say we kill them with swords.  You never use yours, and you should now that you can.”

 

Bait shook his head at her.  “Come on Snow, you’ll love killing them with the shotgun, watching them fly back, the look on their faces, it’s magical.”

 

“Magical, from a shotgun?  Bait you want to talk about a magical feeling, slice through one with a sword of living metal, now that is a magical feeling!”  Snow argued back gesturing wildly with her hands as she looked at him.

 

Their prey closed in.  Had they looked in their direction they would have seen the confused looks on their faces as they cautiously walked up to where they sat.

 

“Okay, okay, okay.”  Bait said as he motioned over the table like he were telling someone to slow down.  “How about we kill them with water cannons?  That’s always a blast and I know you enjoy it, the whole werewolves and water thing, how about that?”  He asked with upturned palms as he looked at her questioningly.

 

Snow looked off to the side near them opposite the direction the two vampires were coming from in thought for a moment then looked back to Bait with a question on her lips.  “Bait, how about this, we each stab one in the chest with our blades as daggers, then…” Snow motioned with her hands adding excitement to her idea, “put the business end of the water cannon in, pull the blade out and hose them from the inside?”

 

“Excuse me?  What the hell are you two talking about?”  The lead of the two vampires asked with a perplexed face. 

 

Both looked to the two vampires.  Snow spoke first.

“How we want to kill you.”

“That is if you actually attack us.  If you don’t, then we can’t”

They blinked in unison twice when Bait finished his line.

 

The spokesman for the two vampires chortled and looked over at his partner who took his cue to laugh with his boss before he asked his question.  “So, let me get this straight,” he began looking between Snow and Bait, “you can’t attack us, unless we attack you?”

 

“Right.”  Bait answered.  “Now that I’m Inquisitor and she’s Trustee, thems the rules.”  He added ending with a mater of fact tight lipped expression and a head bob.

 

The lesser of the two vampires was looking around ending on his leader.  “We’s ain’t in no neutral either, how can they not attack us if we ain’t in no neutral?”  He asked.

 

The leader snorted.  “Dumbass, don’t you read, the Trustee, Inquisitor and High Bishop are like the Immortals, only they can’t be harmed at all, and can’t ever attack either.  These two, if they are who they say they are, can’t attack unless we attack first.”  He looked to Snow and Bait.  “I guess that would also have to mean that they can be hurt… killed, aye?”

 

He looked back to his cohort.  “But I’m not wanting to find out.  Lots of things they can do if they are.”  He looked back to Snow.  “Just who are you two anyways?”  He asked forcefully.

 

“I’m Snow and she’s Bait…”  Bait started and looked between them after his mix-up, “no, wait, I’m Bait and she’s Snow, I said it backwards the first time.”  He motioned between the two of them as he explained.

 

Snow shot him an open mouthed ‘smooth move’ look.  “Yeah, I’m Snow, the one with breasts lover, sheesh.” 

 

Bait countered with ah ‘oh ya?’ expression.  “If you’re going to use that as a reference, I could be Snow then.”

 

Snow scoffed back as the two vampires watched them slack jawed.  “Oh, nice, this from Mr. ‘I prefer small breasts to big ‘uns.  Thanks, see if you get to see them anytime soon now mister.”  She said with mock offence.

 

“Excuse me?”  The leader of the two interjected again.

 

“Yes?”  Snow and Bait answered in unison and looking together at the speaker.

 

He looked at Snow, gave her a sniff and said, “You, you’re the werewolf, you’re the one who can’t lie, are you really Lady Snow, Trustee and is he really Lord Bait, Inquisitor?”  His face said he was very confused by the situation.

 

Snow nodded.  “Yes, I am really the Trustee Snow and he is really the Inquisitor Bait.”  Then she gave the man a disappointed look with a negative head shake.  “But I’m the one that can lie and he’s the one that can’t.”  She pointed with her fingers and crossed her arms over each other.  “It’s kinda been flip-flopped, weird I know but that’s how it worked out.” 

 

The vampire watched her face intently and laughed at her answer.  His eyes moved about but always went back to Snow.

 

“She’s not laughing, and she sure smells like a werewolf.”  The lesser one said.

 

“Watch,” Snow advised then stood straight, “I’ve got huge triple D breasts.”  She said and stared straight into the eyes of the vampire.  Seconds passed, she didn’t laugh.  “Bait, say ‘I’ve got a ten inch penis’.”  She instructed looking to him.

 

“Snow has a ten inch…”  Bait started.

 

“No!”  She cut him off.  “Come on, you know what I mean, I don’t have to make it an order, do I?”  Snow said as the two vampires looked more perplexed as they exchanged looks.

 

“Why can't I say I’ve got huge breasts, that would work as good as what you want me to say.”  Bait argued back. 

 

Snow gave him a look and he complied with a sigh.  “I’ve got a ten inch penis.”  He said with a sober face.

 

The vampires watched him, Snow was too.  Her expression started to grow to surprise.

 

“He isn’t laughing lady, either he can lie or…”  The leader began to say to her, cut off by Bait’s laughter.

 

Snow gave a look of being had.  “Nice hold, went the full thirty seconds didn’t-chya.”  Bait was grinning back at her.

 

The lead vampire of the two started reaching for his pistol under his topcoat.

 

“Uhgt-tut now.”  Bait said waving a finger at him.  “You pull that out and that would be attacking, we get to go then.”  His face bode warning.  “I’ve got the Guardian in my back pocket here, he’s one tough cookie.”  Bait started to chuckle and shake his finger more.  “Now you wouldn’t want to meet the Guardian, he’d swallow you whole.”  Bait wasn’t laughing when he finished with a side cock of his head for emphasis. 

 

He moved his hand away from the pistol holding both his palms up towards Bait.  “Heh, you are good, werewolf good.  I can’t tell if you were joking or not about having the Guardian in your back pocket.”  He gave a nervous laugh.

 

“Is that even possible, could he keep the Guardian in a pocket like they have?”  His counterpart questioned leaning into his leader.

 

The man shook his head slightly at the question, keeping his eyes on both Bait and Snow.  “Don’t know, and I don’t want to find out.”  He changed his attention fully to the two at the chess table.  “So just what is it you two are doing here?  What is it you want from us?  That’s what I’m figuring, why more of your little puppies haven’t axed us already or tried to.”

 

Bait reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelop, Jibble was written on the front.  He held it out to the lead vampire.  “I want you to deliver this to Jibble.”  He said then Snow added, “And that’s an order.”

 

Both of the vampires looked at her distant eyed.  “Yes your Grace.”  They answered softly and in unison, mesmerized by her stare and voice.

 

Then they turned together and walked off leaving Snow and Bait to their game that they packed up then headed back in the direction where Squat and Sea Mist were, and their ride home.

 

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Ruth was keeping to high places, the werewolves were totally out of character now.  No neutralizer and very in your face so to speak.  Walking right into vampire establishments and making themselves at home.  Woe be it to any vampire that walked into a club expecting to find sanctuary. 

 

Thus, she kept out of sight and stayed to the tops of buildings where the werewolves weren’t, for the time being.  She had been hopping from area to area observing the antics of her foes when she spotted Snow and her hot lover.  Bait was a well built man, muscular toned, but nothing like Hovlek, Sir Hovlek the Bull.  She almost lost sight of them as she fantasized of him being on top of her.

 

“Where are you two off to?  What are you up to now?”  She questioned aloud to herself from her high perch.

 

She followed them gliding from building to building, then soaring high when there wasn’t a building tall enough to keep her out of scent and sight.  She watched as they set up a table and played chess, faked it for the most part that is. 

 

When vampires approached them they would start arguing about nonexistent moves the other hadn’t even made.  It was a nice ploy, their prey was distracted by their antics, once known Snow and Bait would start insulting the vampires causing them to attack.

 

“What are you two doing?  Why bother to insult them?  Is this how werewolves get their jollies or is this some human element Bait enjoys.  Doesn’t seem his style.”  She analyzed to herself as she soared. 

 

She watched as they moved from place to place, catching two and three groups of vampires often at one spot before heading to the next.  This last place seemed to be a bust for them.  Aw, poor babies, they seemed dissatisfied in the lack of prey here. 

 

Maybe she would give them something to struggle with.  She had a couple hundred of her own slaves now, a much higher grade than that rat bastard Alexander had.  Hers weren’t retarded.  She so despised the stupid.  Her feeding had taken to finding the dumbest humans she could and purging them from the race. 

 

Two of Jibble’s men approached, sadly, they were the next contestants on Snow and Bait’s game of mousetrap. 

 

This time though, they didn’t argue about a move, this was different.  Had they decided to change it up?  Now they were arguing about killing, how to that is.  Apparently the two men of Jibble’s where the subject matter. 

 

She lowered herself to hear better, they were acting different too, they weren’t trying to get them to attack it seemed.  “What the hell are you guys up to?”  She said aloud again.  One of Jibble’s men looked around when she spoke, he glanced up and Ruth decided it would be best to keep her thoughts quiet.

 

She watched and listened and soon had the answers to her questions.  “Can’t attack unless attacked, that’s useful information.”  She said aloud again then placed a hand over her mouth, no one looked, good.  She really had to watch that.

 

After the two groups parted ways, Ruth went after Jibble’s men.  She dropped down in front of them cutting them off.

 

“Yo, shitheads.”  She said loudly to them as they scrambled to pull their guns.  Ruth shadow stepped into them, putting a blade at the neck of the senior vampire.  “Calm down Sparky, I’m one of you, only far better.”

 

“You’re Ruthless, I know who you are, what do you want?”  He said with a scared voice.  His counterpart was frozen with fear.

 

“I see you’ve been playing nice with werewolves, playing messenger for them.  Give me the letter Bait gave to you.”  She instructed.

 

The man shook his head.  “No… no, Lady Snow, she ordered me…”  He stammered as Ruth cut him off verbally. 

 

“And I’m ordering you to give it to me.”  She said and pushed out with her mental control. 

 

He reached into his jacket and pulled out the letter with Jibble’s name on it and she snatched it from his hand.

 

“I’ll see to it that this is delivered myself.”  She informed him.  After I read it for myself.  She thought to herself.  Smiling at her control now.  Thinking out loud had become a bad habit.

 

She sent the two back on their way then went to pickup the trail of Snow and Bait again.  Finding them she followed at a safe height and distance watching them work as they went. 

 

They were talking as they turned down an alleyway where Ruth saw two more vampires down from them.  Snow and Bait hadn’t picked up on them yet.  They served a master that belonged to Alexander, she almost called them to warn them but changed her mind.  Soon enough Snow alerted Bait to their presence, but he picked up their scent about the time she spoke.  He was good with that nose for a human. 

 

Snow was a good protector for her mate, with him being human and all.  No vampire got near him.  These two fought moderately well, one had the chance to get a shot off at Bait, Snow interceded and caught the bullet in midair, then took it to the one who fired on her mate and shoved it up his nose. 

 

She knocked him to the ground and grabbed him by the legs.  Bait iced his girlfriend with his sword, he could hold one now.  Being Inquisitor seemed to agree with him.  Snow swung the man by his legs bashing his head repeatedly into the side of a trash dumpster until his head was a bloody pulp then tossed the body away from her mate before it exploded.  Ruth couldn’t help but admire her style.

 

“Damn girl, I’d love to have a crew of you on my side.”  She muttered to herself then clapped a hand over her mouth.  I’ve got to work on that.  She thought to herself.

 

Ruth followed them as they went on until she figured out where they were going, which was back to where Snow’s brother and sister were.  She pealed off and ahead of them.  She would intercept them along the way now.

 

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Snow looked off in thought as she considered what Bait said as they walked along.  Rocking her head back and forth she gave her thoughts.  “I guess I’m fine with that, I feel no objections, and I’m not acting in freewill… and I’m learning things are happening for a reason and it’s best if I don’t interfere if I feel nothing in objection.”  She looked at her lover with a decided smile.  “Go for it, I’ll even help.”  She said.

 

Ruth dropped down like a rock in front of them, Snow pulled her sword fast, Bait followed with his shotgun.  Snow closed on her placing the tip of her blade at her throat with a growl.  “Hi guys.  Fruit smoothies?”  Ruth said smiling at them.

 

Bait and Snow didn’t move, they looked her over.  She had a plastic dome covered cup with a straw sticking out of the top of each dome in each hand and was holding them out to them.

 

She nodded at the cup in her right hand.  “This one is kiwi, strawberry, pineapple and mango,” she nodded to the other one, “this ones kiwi raspberry banana.  Who gets which one?”  She asked in a friendly voice still smiling. 

 

I can’t pull the trigger!  Bait thought out to Snow.

I can’t attack either, she isn’t attacking!  She sent back.

 

“Come on, what’s the matter you dumb ugly vampire slut?  Too chicken shit to attack us or what?  Or has your master Alexander pulled your fangs and made you a wussy like he is?”  Snow hissed at Ruth.

 

Ruth tossed her head back with Snow’s blade still at her neck and laughed loud and hard.  “Oh man, you are so right about Alexander, got to give that one to you Lady Snow, you sure nailed that one.” 

 

She looked at Snow and puckered her lips in a kissing movement and smacked her lips at her.  “As far as being my master, you might say I’ve decided to freelance on my own now.  Fruit smoothie?”  She asked again still holding out the drink cups.

 

“Shit!”  Snow said and pulled her sword away and backed next to Bait while facing Ruth.

 

“No kidding.”  Bait said in agreement with Snow, then finally lowered his shotgun and put it away.  Clearly Ruth had learned the rules.

 

Ruth laughed again.  “Thems the rules, isn’t that what you guys always say?  You can’t attack me unless I attack you, right?  Thems the rules.”  Ruth shrugged her shoulders as she continued to hold out the smoothies.  “So, who gets which one?”  She asked again still maintaining her overtly friendly smile.

 

Snow and Bait sighed in unison and looked between each other then reached for the smoothies and took them from her.

 

“At least drop the fake friendly, making me a bit nauseous here.”  Bait said as he sniffed the drink through the top of the dome.

 

Ruth sighed with a motion of her arms at her sides with an ‘oh well’ expression.  “Try to be nice and what do I get.  I hope you two aren’t still pissed at me about the whole hostage thing.  Wasn’t my idea believe me, only a dumbass like Alexander would try that.  How is Sea Mist anyways?  Was Doctor River Stone able to restore her sight?”  Ruth asked with what sounded like genuine concern for Sea Mist.

 

Snow glared at her when she asked.

 

Ruth made an indignant face.  “What?  Can’t I be concerned for her?”  She said to Snow.

 

Snow replied with venom.  “I find it hard to believe that a vampire would, first, give a rats ass about a werewolf’s wellbeing, and second, actually be concerned about one of their victims.” 

 

Ruth’s face dropped to an understanding look.  “I know, but, what he did to her…”  Ruth’s face showed disgust, “I… just didn’t like it personally, frell it if you can’t see that, you can just lick my split okay.”  Ruth ended in a huff, but made no aggressive moves.

 

The three of them looked at each other awkwardly for a good minute.  Neither Snow or Bait drank from the cups but only looked at them suspiciously. 

 

Ruth snorted a sigh.  “Look, they’re fine, I got them from a stand not far from here, the same ones they sell every human, okay?”  She held her palms out at her sides for a second when she finished then shook her head at them as she turned and started to walk away.

 

After a few steps Ruth turned around and held up Bait’s letter to Jibble so he could see the writing on the envelope.  “I’ll make sure this gets delivered to Jibble personally.”  She said with a conniving smile, then turned and put the letter away and started walking again.

 

Snow stopped her with a word, her voice had a tone up and tone down from her own voice as she spoke.  “Ruth.”  She said, the vampire stopped and looked back wide eyes.  “You will deliver that letter to Jibble unopened.  You will have no one read it except Jibble and you will place it in his hand personally, unopened and having been read by no one else.”  Snow ordered.

 

Ruth gapped back at her, she tried to say something, then finally said, “Yes your Grace.”  Ruth turned to go and as she left she shot out, “Bitch!”

 

Bait stopped her next, his voice working the same way Snow’s had.  “Ruth.”  He called out, again she stopped and turned wide eyed.  “Is there anything wrong with these smoothies?”  He asked.  Snow chortled beside him and shook her head at him with a smile. 

 

Ruth’s head shook no.  “No your Grace, I wasn’t lying when I told you I got them from a stand near here.  I ordered them from the human attending the stand and have done nothing to them or had anyone tamper with them in anyway.  You are safe, your Graces.”  She said with a small bow then tried to walk away again, finally storming off cussing.

 

Bait put his lips to the straw as he watched Ruth storm off and tasted the smoothie.  “Hm, it is good, how’s yours?”

 

Snow gave a head shrug and tried hers.  “Good, I like it.  Who would have thought a vampire had good taste in fruit smoothie mixes.”  She said as they walked on to where Squat and Sea Mist were at.

 

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“So you can command a vampire, and I can get one to tell me the truth.”  Bait said offhandedly as they walked among the crowd around where Squat and Sea Mist were about to end their night’s performance. 

 

“To a degree, and that was about the extent of it, what you saw tonight.  I can’t order them to surrender and be killed or anything like that.  Tell me where Alexander’s portal is.  Well, we know where it is, I just couldn’t force one to tell me.”  Snow informed her mate.

 

He nodded while drinking the smoothie as they walked up to where Sea Mist was putting away her bow guitar.  Squat was still shaking hands with people who where telling him how good he was.  Sea Mist made herself scarce so she wouldn’t have to mingle.

 

She moved her head around with her nose up, sniffing.  “Hey, where’d you get those?  They smell good!”  She asked as she looked back at them from where she was kneeling as she put her other instruments in cases.

 

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”  Bait said with a smile.

 

Snow chimed in with a laugh.  “That’s an understatement.  I don’t even believe it.”

 

Sea cocked an eyeless eyebrow at her sister.  “What Ruth give those things to you or something?”  She said with a snide tone.

 

“Yes, she did.  How did you guess?”  Bait said.

 

Sea Mist gave them a shocked expression.  “You’re shitting me?  She gave those to you?”  She faced between the two of them as they nodded at her.  “And you’re drinking them?  Would you like me to get River Stone now, or after you keel over?”

 

“No need, I forced her to tell me the truth, nothing’s been done to them.  We good.”  Bait informed the bewildered Sea Mist.

 

She shook her head at them again, she clearly had further issues with what transpired.  “Why would a vampire general of Alexander’s bring you fruit smoothies?  What are you, part of an adopt a vampire friend club or something?  First she sends Bait flower, now she’s buying you both smoothies?  What the frell’s with this tuna roll?  And you two biscuit heads?”  Sea was a mixture of bewildered and concerned.

 

Snow sucked the last bit of smoothie from her glass.  “Well, I think her original intention was to let us know she had thwarted our plan to have a letter delivered to Jibble, then I thwarted her plans for thwarting our plans, and the drinks were just a cover, but Bait thwarted her plans with those as well.”

 

Sea Mist was staring at her sister with an expression of disbelief.  “Okay, um, yeah that sounds like a whole lot-a thwarting going on, think I’ll go and ah, do something.”  She said with a hand gesture pointing towards her other instruments.  “I have to get ready, something I have the feeling I need to do.”

 

“She did ask about you too.  Wanted to know if you were alright.”  Snow interjected. 

 

Sea Mist turned back to her sister.  “Oh?”

 

“Yeah, she actually seemed sorry about what happened to you.  She isn’t serving Alexander anymore either.”  Snow shrugged.  “Sounds like trouble on Alexander’s front all around.”

 

Sea Mist made a face as she thought.  “You know, she did seem awfully pissed about what Alexander did.  She even handled my holy water trying to wash his urine out of my eyes.”  Sea Mist's face made a puzzled look.  “She is a strange one.” 

 

She snorted and looked at Bait.  “You might have to judge her for being good, wouldn’t that be a twist eh barnacle belly?”  She giggled when she finished speaking.

 

“Where do you come up with your sayings?”  Bait said to Sea Mist with a scoff.  “You kind of sound like Ruth you know.”  He said with instigation. 

 

Sea Mist gawked at him.  “You take that back mister, no way do I sound like some snot sucking garbage heap of a vampire!”  She crossed her arms and looked off.  “If anything she sounds like me, I was here first.”

 

“I’m just kidding Sea, nothing personal.  Now, what was this you said about something you felt you had to do?”  Bait asked.

 

Sea dropped her faÇ;ade and gave a shrug as she turned back to face the two of them.  “I don’t know, it’s, like when I stepped in front of Worm to take the shot aimed at her, the same way her mother did, I just felt I had to you know.”  Sea Mist said not understanding herself why she felt the need to do things sometimes.

 

Bait and Snow looked at each other.  “Say that again?”  They both asked.

 

“I don’t know why I feel I need to do things sometimes, I just have too?”  She said a bit lost.

 

“No, about Worm and her mother.”  Bait directed.

 

Sea had a questioning look on her face.  “That I had to step in front of her and take the shot from the other gun just like her mother did?”  Sea Mist’s face changed as she realized she hadn’t said that before, she had forgotten herself until now.

 

“Shit, shit, that means… we weren’t the targets, Worm was!”  Sea Mist filled in as she caught up with her commanders.

 

Bait nodded.  “Damn, never would have thought of that.  Ruth probably didn’t even know.  That’s why Alexander took his anger out on Sea Mist instead of Worm.  I still don’t know why, doesn’t matter now.”  The three of them looked off in thought for several minutes as they worked thoughts in their own ways.

 

“Go, do what you have to do, if you feel you have to, then do it.”  Snow ordered.

 

Sea Mist moved off hesitantly then with resolve and gathered up the last of her things and went to her vehicle and took off, leaving them to catch a ride with Squat.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

“You’re sure about this?”  Blade Dance asked Sea Mist as he helped her set up the stool she would sit on and his standup bass.

 

Sea Shrugged to him.  “No, not sure about anything.  I just feel the need to do this for some reason.

 

Blade Dance looked at her for a moment as she tuned her acoustic guitar then finished with his bass and checked it’s sound.

 

Sea Mist faced out over the city from their spot on the top of the highest building on their side of the city, clouds rolled below and even the sounds of the city below couldn’t be heard.  She started singing, Blade kept beat in his mind and started with the bass when he was supposed to with Sea Mist joining in on her guitar a few bars later.  Their music carried out across the silent sky over the city.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Ruth would deliver her letter as ordered on the next night as there wasn’t enough time left for her to make the journey to Jibble’s safely tonight.  She didn’t have the resources she had had when she was a part of Alexander’s coven. 

 

She had a safe place to spend the days with her newly built coven, but not a formal coven like she would need.  They were just starting out, and may not have the time to finish if Alexander won this war.  She was working hard to see he didn’t. 

 

Now she sat high on a building looking out over her hunting grounds, she fed on her way here and was about to head down to safety as dawn was getting to near.  She was thinking about what had transpired tonight, how strange it was now in her new life to do what she did.  It was during her thoughts that a sound caught her attention, sound that wasn’t normal for this high up.  A solo singing voice carried across from the other side of the city.

 

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone… it’s not warm when she’s away….”  A bass rhythm filled in as the voice sang, she soon recognized it as Sea Mist’s voice.

 

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, and she’s always gone to long, anytime she goes away…”  Sea Mist’s voice sang on as the guitar picked up with the song Ruth recognized.

 

Ruth hung her head as she listened.  Sea Mist’s voice cut through her as she sang.  The words of the song echoing in her mind.  Wonder this time where she’s gone… wonder if she’s gone to stay…  She almost cried.  Almost, but she didn’t.  Then she dove down towards the ground and out of the range of the music that carried over the city, unheard by anyone now.

 

 

 

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