Kay’s voice echoed throughout the building and alarms began sounding.
“Shit, Svenka, get the goddamn door open!” Ren was frantic, pushing on the locked door.
“Stand back Ren. There’s no reason for subtlety at this point.” I raised my foot to kick the door in but she forestalled me.
“The security on this door hasn’t been compromised yet and I’d like to keep it that way.” At the same time Svenka chimed in over the mindlink.
“Good news people. Looks like we have more time than we thought; there’s a disturbance out front that’s occupying the security forces. Hang tight, the bad news is it’s going to take a little more time for me to get that door open now that the alarms have been activated.”
We could hear footsteps coming from down the hall and both had the same reaction but moved in opposite directions, speaking over the link at the same time, “This way, follow me!”
“Shit Ren, I’m sorry, we’ll meet back here in a couple minutes when Svenka has the door open.”
“OK Hex. Watch your ASS you hear?”
“Yeah Ren. You too.” I rounded a corner at speed and nearly crashed straight into a group of security guards, leaping over their heads at the last moment.
“Hey you, stop!” One of them yelled. I desperately lashed out with Glamor and wiped the memory of my passage roughly from their minds.
I twisted the knob off the first door I could find that didn’t have a security panel and pushed it open, ducking inside before they could recover. The mop bucket and the slop sink implied a janitor’s closet and after a few minutes of not hearing footsteps I poked my head out. The building was rocked by an aftershock as I made my stealthily way back towards the room where The Original was kept.
The last of the guards was checking the door Ren and I had just left and I heard him talking into some sort of comm link, “No signs of entrance here, I’m moving on to sector four. Roger that.” He pulled a sub machine gun back to a more ready position on his chest and made his way down the hall in the other direction.
“Svenka. How about that door?” I reached out through the mindlink, “This place is clear now, maybe I can get him out on my own or at least get a start.” There was no response from her but the door made a subtle click and swung silently open.
“Ren, where are you? Svenka has the door open.” I didn’t hear anything back from her either, so with some trepidation I stepped inside.
Lights automatically turned on as I entered and what they illuminated was horrifying in spite of all I’d seen over the last few months. Behind a thick plate of glass was a partially dissected human hanging from gleaming steel hooks. His chest was split and his organs hung from their own hooks, completely spread out to be on gruesome display connected by stretched veins and distended tissue.
Even the arms and legs had been sliced open revealing the layers of muscle down to the bone beneath. One leg had been partially severed to show a cross section of the femur bone, the back hamstring was the only portion still holding it together. Even as I stared at the gruesome sight I was felt my breath catch in my throat; in spite of the terrible damage that had been done to the body the heart still pulsed with a sluggish but steady beat.
As I approached the glass the hair on the back of my neck stood up. The tortured figure’s one good remaining eye turned to fix me with a baleful glare of pure hatred.
“Isn’t he beautiful?” I jumped at the sound and looked frantically around the room for the source. “He is the source of all my genius and you are its culmination.” Although the sound seemed to come from the room I knew it was just in my head; apart from the horrific body on the wall I was the only person here.
“Burnham? Why are you doing this? You know they’re here for your head right?” I was speaking aloud and trying to reach out with the mindlink at the same time, “Ren! Help! I was right, Tsung is here and he’s in pieces. Still alive but in pieces. Burnham is here somewhere too. Svenka, why did you open the door?”
“Ahhh poor … Hex I understand you’re going by now? You were never anything but a tool; I will admit you were a highly effective and efficient tool even if you were unaware of your status as such. You see you’ve managed to bring them all here at once so that I may devour them myself.”
“Where are you? Don’t hide in the shadows like a coward, face me you bastard!” There was still no response from Ren or Svenka and I was getting worried.
“Hiding in the shadows is how I’ve managed to stay alive all these years. You don’t think I’d be stupid enough to show myself now do you? Besides Hex I know better than to come within the reach of your surprisingly large arsenal of destructive powers. I’ve been watching you every step of the way and I must say I’m impressed with the way you’ve eliminated my underlings. Originally I had thought you would be nothing but a flash in the pan so to speak but now I think I’ll keep you around for another purpose entirely.”
“Hex. Don’t panic. You’re right where you should be, the fact that you also happen to be where Burnham wants you is merely coincidence.” Mec’s dry voice was a whisper in the furthest corner of my mind. “You won’t be able to contact your friends for a bit, because he has this room sealed against most communication but in a minute you’ll see just how advantageous that fact is.”
I took a deep breath, running through some of the exercises Donovalo had taught me to calm myself and was amazed with how much they allowed me to focus myself. Walking to the glass I put my hand on it. Immediately a voice thundered into my mind, the force driving me to my knees.
“Why have you come here, to flaunt your freedom? I’ve heard you trying to make contact with her? Release me you bastard, I will slake my thirst with the contents of your veins.” The single eye burned malevolence with an intensity that was intimidating despite the fact that he was disemboweled and behind glass.
“I came here with her to save you. Ren wants to bring you out of this place and I plan to settle a personal matter between myself and that piece of shit Burnham.” My hand was still on the glass and I could feel a presence at the back of my mind, almost like a fly buzzing against a screen door.
The rage in his eye was replaced by a mixture of fear and hope, “You fool, you have brought her here into his stronghold?”
“Sorry but I don’t exactly remember anyone ever telling Ren what to do and getting away with it, much less bringing her anywhere. She was coming so I backed her up, I thought you knew her but I guess maybe not. Now tell me what I can do to get you free or I’m leaving you here.” The building shook again, “I don’t think we have a lot of time.” His attitude was pissing me off and the knowledge that I let some psychotic science experiment barely clinging to life piss me off aggravated the situation.
“I’m afraid I only have moments of lucidity, but I can tell you this much. I’m a lost cause. Get Ren and get out before he gets you and does something worse than he did to me.” The glass under my fingertips seemed to burn with the heat of a furnace and I jerked my hand away.
“-n’t ignore me Hex.” Burnham’s voice grated at my bones the instant I broke contact with the glass wall. “None of your friends are going to make it out of here alive. Little Svenka has failed to compromise my security, sweet Renyovalia has fallen victim to my guards and the fools outside are merely lambs to the slaughter.”
“Fuck off you spineless piece of shit. I’m coming for you and no force on Earth can stop me. You and I have unfinished business.” I was losing control of my anger, threads of Power were leaking and I couldn’t stop them. Burnham laughed in delight.
“Oh that spirit of yours is what made me change my mind about your usefulness Hex. The way you ignore self-preservation is dangerous but I’ve seen you press it to great advantage over and over. Unfortunately for you it won’t help you this time, you’re sealed in this room along with that raving delusional lab rat and I’m the only one who can grant your freedom.”
An image of destruction was forced into my mind, the entire front of the building was destroyed and a tangle of mechanical limbs was extending from it like some massive spider was clawing its way from the wreckage. Several of the arms had pinned struggling bodies to pieces of rubble; there was an aura of Power emanating from it that made my blood quiver.
The image flickered and changed, Ren was surrounded by close to a dozen opponents, some of them Hunters from the looks of things. Her movements were a blur as she was dodging and blocking strike after strike. A multitude of brutal wounds covered her body. Blood dripped from her fangs, her mouth distended in an animal snarl. At some point it was obvious that she’d had the upper hand as there were several motionless corpses littering the floor but now she was losing ground, and fast.
Now I saw Svenka, she was running down a hallway trying to escape from a group of heavily armored soldiers. She stopped to duck into a doorway and pulled a needle from her silver cigarette case. I winced when she jammed it into her neck with a gasp and crumpled to the floor.
I reached out with the tendrils of Power that were already leaking from my body and reached back at the source of the visions. It was easy to find him; I could follow his scent like a bloodhound. However once the trail reached the edge of the room my questing threads were cut as though by a razors edge.
“It’s hopeless Hex.” Burnham’s voice purred in my skull, “Sit and despair until I have time to deal with you.”
His words sent a shiver down my spine like icy fingers and I knew what he was saying was true. I didn’t have a chance, my friends were dying and my allies were outmatched. There was nothing I could do to change it.
“Damn it Hex, don’t fuck this up now. Didn’t you pay attention? You’re right where you need to be.” Mec’s voice whispered in that quiet corner of my mind, and he was pissed. “Don’t worry about the girls, they can take care of themselves, now relax and wait for me to contact you with instructions.”
What else could I do? I paced the room, trying the door even though I knew it wasn’t going to open. Whatever Burnham had done to shield me inside wouldn’t let me use any sort of Power to break out either. On impulse I walked back to the glass wall and put my hand on it again.
“Kill me motherfucker KILL ME!” Tsung was raving; the strength of his sending was like a nail in my temple. “He’s here again; I can feel him like a disease, a canker on my soul, a maggot gnawing at the edge of an infected wound. But I’m bound helpless and at his mercy. He and that goddamn machinist have enslaved me for their horrendous experiments.”
“Wait, what machinist?” My pulse started racing, “You mean Mec? You can’t mean him, he’s a friend-“ Tsung interrupted me with an unhinged laugh.
“Friends with benefits. Friends with knives and syringes and vials of serum. Friends with acid and meat hooks and blowtorches. Friends? Pain is my friend, let me introduce you.” Images flickered through my mind, each one more horrible than the next. Just one of the tortures he endured would have been enough to drive a normal person insane; his hatred of Burnham and of Mec were all that kept him alive. Revenge was the only shred of sanity he could cling to.
I wrenched my hand from the wall with effort and stumbled a few steps away trying to come to terms with what I’d just seen. My only out, the only one who could help me now was a traitor, rotten to the core.
“Sorry Ren. I know I said I would protect you but I guess all I’m going to be able to do is keep these assholes from using us. Time to pay the piper.” Gathering myself, I felt the Power pool in my gut like liquid fire. The destruction I was preparing to unleash would likely wipe half the town off the map but fucked if I cared as long as it took that sonofabitch Burnham with it.
The door slammed open and a wraith dressed in black rags trailing cobwebs of shadow burst into the room. “What exactly the FUCK do you think you’re doing?” The figure covered the space between us in less time than it took me to blink and grasped my face with a skeletal hand. “Let it go. NOW!”
The Power fled from me like a flock of startled doves and Mec backed me across the room, pushing me down into a chair as though I was a child. “You little fucking bastard.” He snarled, “I should cut you apart right here. What did I tell you?”
I stared at him in astonishment, for the moment unable to react. His eyes blazed like the unholy fires of hell, “I told you to fucking STAY PUT! If I didn’t have a use for you I’d break you right now. Shit, I can’t leave you alone but I can’t trust you to come with me.”
I caught the eye of Tsung over his shoulder and it eclipsed the anger Mec was exhibiting. I tried to get control of my scattered senses with limited results. Without my powers I was helpless before him, I scrabbled desperately to find it but I might as well have been trying to climb a glass wall. “If you’d just done what you were supposed to in the first place we wouldn’t be in this mess, but you had to go and fuck it all up.”
“What are you talking about?” I knew I didn’t have much time to figure out my next move and needed to buy as much time as possible.
“You were supposed to infect them all, but you didn’t bite even one single human. What better way to destroy the species than to get rid of their food source. Just like before I was going to unleash death and chaos upon the human cattle in order to wreak havoc upon the beasts who rely on them for sustenance.” He flashed me a macabre grin, the rotting flesh of his face tearing with the effort.
I thought back to the soldiers in Mexico that Ren and I had decimated, I’d certainly bit enough of them. Evidently Mec wasn’t as omniscient as he thought. “What was supposed to happen then?”
“Just like I had explained to you before Hex, something very similar to The Black Plague; a deadly disease that would spread through humankind like wildfire. Those who had the strength to survive would join the ranks of the Hunters, feeding on humans and vampires alike and the rest would simply become mindless dealers of death.”
Oh shit, I wondered what had happened in the beautiful Mexican countryside by Donavalo’s house. One more debt I would be unable to repay.
“Who are you Mec?” I forced myself to meet his gaze. “I don’t understand.”
“You don’t remember do you? Think back to the first time you were able to resist my Power and things will become clear. You really are a troublesome little bastard Hex. After all the work I did to create the mythos of Burnham, after all the devious sneaking and plotting I’m nearly undone by a fucking piece of shit like you. Best of all you don’t even remember who you are.” He reached out and flicked the center of my forehead with his index finger.
The impact flipped the chair over and sent me tumbling across the floor like a rag doll. Pain bloomed between my eyes as though Mec’s finger had punched a hole in my skull, but I recalled the time he was referring to. It had been at Ren’s apartment, the first time I’d met Kay and listened to Mec’s little history lesson. I gasped in recognition, “Wait, you’re James. The son of that bishop who was bitten, but what I still don’t get is why you’re doing it?”
“They threw me to the fucking dogs Hex. After all I did for them they betrayed me when I threatened to reveal our existence to the world. We could have been Gods and yet they were content to skulk in the shadows. Instead of joining ME they turned tail and conspired with our sworn enemies in the Church, sacrificing thousands of us and millions of human cattle in exchange for my Final Death.”
I could see the anger coming off his form in waves, at times obscuring his entire body, “They tried to make me their sacrificial lamb. They used ME; the one who had united the Clans with charisma, skill and raw Power. I brought us to the brink of daylight and then those blind fools threw it all away on the promise of a fucking human.” He spat the last as though even speaking the word put a sour flavor in his mouth.
I was trying to shake off the dizziness still plaguing me from the blow to the head. I still unable to use even the slightest of my abilities and needed my wits about me. Mec continued raving, pieces of his decaying body flaking off like falling snow as he paced and gestured.
“If it hadn’t been for them I would have lived a normal life, died a normal death and been nothing but a tiny ink spot in the massive tapestry of history. When I tried to give back a little for the second life that was granted me they put me on the cross. Well fuck them, they failed to exterminate me and instead I chose to be the flame that will ignite that fabric and burn it to a cinder.” His voice hinged on the edge of insanity. “You made a deal with me too. You wanted Power, the ability to beat the disease that was devouring you alive and I gave you the out you so desperately needed.”
“No I’m sure you’ve completely lost it Mec. The first time I laid eyes on you was when Ren brought me to the Warehouse. Hell, I hardly even remember who I was before that.”
“I KNOW YOU DON’T FUCKING REMEMBER!” Mec was barely restraining himself from violence, his whole body trembled and I could see flickers and flashes around him. He brought himself under control and flashed me an evil grin, “Look at Tsung if you don’t believe me though, he knows you now. He’s been listening in and has put the pieces together, Burnham.”
I stared at him in complete shock, then burst out laughing. “There’s just no way. Burnham’s over a hundred years old; I’m barely thirty.”
“Your body is youthful enough in spite of the hell you’ve put it through, but where do you suppose you are drawing that wellspring of power from?” Mec was slowly advancing on me, “It’s not just anyone who can make use of that kind of strength without shattering their mind. Unfortunately your memory was sacrificed in the process and nothing I’ve done has been able to bring it back. I was hoping your hunger would lead you to your purpose anyway but somehow you were always able to dodge it.”
He stopped a few inches from me; I could see just how leprous and rotting the flesh on his bones was. “But for whatever reason you were stupid enough to get this close to Tsung and you’re the only person he hates more than me. Even more foolish was to let me in the same room since I’m the only one who can let him out. Well other than you, but obviously you’re too damn clueless to remember how.
“I think I finally know how to re-awaken your mind but there’s no point now. Tsung is cooperating nicely by operating my machine outside since I designed it to give him just a little vitae every time he destroys one of those filthy traitors. His mind is only just cogent enough to process normal thought occasionally after what we put him through; honestly I’m amazed he’s even still alive.”
I fought to stay calm and barely managed to keep my fear under control. Whatever Mec had done to me was inhibiting my abilities, but I could still feel the Power pulsing below the surface. Sooner or later he was going to make a mistake and when he did I would be ready. The glass wall that contained Tsung was only a few feet away. Keeping my eyes locked with Mec’s I edged towards it hoping he would interpret it as me moving away from him, not trying to get closer to the wall.
“We’ll kill off your friends and then I’ll feed you to him nice and slow after I’ve used you for some more experiments; the process of transference is almost perfected and when I dissect and study you to find out what went wrong then I’ll finally be able to stop swapping one rotting corpse for another and inhabit a living host.” The madness that gleamed behind his milky eyes burned into mine. He seemed lost in thought for just a second so I made my play.
With one hand I touched the glass wall, steeling myself for the roiling waves of rage and hatred that spilled over from contact with Tsung. “Help me get free of him and you will get your revenge. I’ll kill us all.” I forced the thoughts into his brain, “You said before you wanted to die, I can make that happen.” The image of Ren’s explosion in the harbor was easy to push into his consciousness.
“So that’s what you were doing before the thrice cursed machinist came into the room. I could feel the heat, even through the glass. If you can survive a few minutes longer I will give you the opportunity you seek.” He forcibly broke contact with me, the backlash leaving my senses reeling and my vision blurred.
Mec moved over to where I was in an instant and I was only just able to move my hands to partially ward off a vicious blow. “What the hell was THAT?” His rage was out of control now; I scrambled across the floor trying to get away from him, barely able to avoid brutal strikes that shattered the concrete where I had been the moment before.
“Conspiring against me you little shits? I thought I could keep you around for a little longer Hex but I guess you have to die your Final Death right now.” Although I had been able to avoid getting struck, his advance had backed me into a corner. “Nowhere left to run now little rabbit.” Mec reached into his ragged coat and withdrew what appeared to be a large bore pistol with a gleaming flexible tube attached to the bottom of the grip that ran back under his clothes.
“What was that you said before? Oh yes.” His voice took on a singsong tone, “Time to pay the piper.” In spite of having me dead to rights, he paused and I saw something in his eyes that surprised me. Mec was afraid.
What the hell did I have to lose? I stepped forward until the barrel touched my chest. “It’s all you can do to contain me isn’t it you lying sack of shit? Well, why don’t you use that little toy and end this? Or are you too afraid of what happened to Jam? You know don’t you? You said it yourself; it’s not just anyone who can take what runs through these veins.”
His finger tightened on the trigger but a moment of doubt must have touched his mind. At that moment the room shook again, a crack raced across the wall opposite the Tsung’s enclosure and an alarm began to sound.
“Warning, perimeter breach. Warning, perimeter breach. Inner structure compromised, building integrity unstable. All personnel evacuate immediately. Repeat, perimeter has been breached.”
Mec glanced at the crack in the wall, “How?” Then he glanced at Tsung and saw the triumphant look on his face, “You backstabbing BASTARD!” In that fraction of a second I could feel the Power once again and I embraced it with all my might. Before I could channel it, Mec had turned his attention back to me and pulled the trigger on the strange device he had pointed at my heart.
The first sensation was pain. My ears were ringing and I was no longer breathing. Although my eyes were open I was blind, but I could hear insane laughter.
“This is amazing, I never thought such power existed! It courses through my veins like a river of fire!” I managed to focus my vision and saw Mec standing in the center of the room surrounded by a wavering violet aura. The room was almost completely destroyed. An arm of the mechanical spider Tsung was controlling had broken through the wall on one side, and I could dimly see the glittering of steel extending down the side of the building.
I was lying in a puddle of my own faintly glowing blood which was still sluggishly oozing from a hole the size of my fist in my chest. As I watched Mec’s tattered rotting corpse was rebuilding itself with new unblemished flesh. Flakes of dried skin, blood and decayed muscle fell all around him and the aura kept getting brighter.
“Hex, where the fuck are you? What the hell is going on? That machine turned back on the building even though it had the upper hand and then I can suddenly feel you again? Damn it Hex ANSWER ME!” Ren’s voice echoed in my head and I’d never heard a more welcome sound.
“Run Ren. Find Svenka if she’s still around and run.” I pushed as much of what had happened inside the room into her thoughts as I could, feeling my life ebbing fast. “Thank you for everything. I’m ending this.” I cut the Mindlink and tried feebly to drag myself toward Mec.
“Stop now. STOP! WHY WON’T IT STOP?” Mec was glowing brighter now, the power began to shine through his skin, every vein standing out almost too bright to look at. “What have you done to me? Damn you to hell Burnham WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” This last ended in a high pitched shriek.
Mec was standing over me now, his whole body hurt to look at and I could feel the heat coming off him in waves. His hand burned my skin when he grabbed me by the shoulders and brought me eye to eye with him. “What did you do to me?” He whispered.
I smiled and used the last bit of strength I had to force breath into my lungs. “Annihilo.” I murmured and could feel the archo-scientific machines in his blood react to the command word that had been used to force Ren to be an instrument of destruction. Destruction leapt from his body in an uncontrolled flash.
“Terrorists have apparently attacked and severely damaged a medical research facility in downtown Sacramento late last night. We are unsure of the extent of the damage or of the body count at this point but rescue teams have been working now for several hours to find survivors but as of yet haven’t come up with any that we are aware of.”
Ren flicked the remote and switched to another news channel.
“The destruction is unlike anything we’ve seen before, it appears to have come from within the building itself. While initially it was thought there were a multitude of causalities but none of those have been confirmed after sunrise.” The image switched to a helicopter mounted camera showing the building that was now a pile of concrete rubble and partially melted girders. She tapped the remote again.
“No survivors or bodies have been found although an initial interview with a first responder indicated many casualties.” The screen flicked to a reporter standing next to a pale-faced man in an EMT uniform illuminated by the first rays of the rising sun.
“When we first arrived there were at least thirty if not more bodies on the ground behind me but as soon as the sunlight hit them they crumbled to dust. I’ve never seen anything like it before; all that’s left is clothing. Honestly looking at the damage done to the structure I’m amazed there were even bodies.” He lifted a battered leather duster with a large hole punched in the front before they cut to another scene.
She turned the channel to CNN, “-unsure how extensive the epidemic is, but as hard as it is to believe it appears that a small community in just outside of Heroica Guaymas has been wiped off the map. A general quarantine has been put into effect and the US State Department has mandated zero travel to the area even as they are attempting to ascertain the status of several American citizens in the area.
“Stateside, there are reports of a terrorist attack on a research company in Sacramento having completely leveled the building where it was housed and causing extensive damage to the entire block. Investigators aren’t commenting on the motive and as of yet no group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.”
Ren sighed, turned the TV off and tossed the remote on the end table. She glanced at the bed where a sleeping Svenka was still recovering from the effects of the nano-adrenaline she had used on herself during the fight. Apparently the initial shock of re-introducing it to her system after so many years had almost killed her, but once she had regained consciousness the effectiveness had nearly doubled. Good thing too, since the guards weren’t pulling punches.
Grimacing at the pain that came from sighing with broken ribs she gritted her teeth for something that was more distasteful. Running her fingers through her hair she turned to look at the battered and bruised figure in the corner who stood stiffly, as though not wanting to acknowledge the position he was in.
“Look, I know you report to The Tribunal and they’re going to be pissed about this clusterfuck of a situation. Kay was angling for revenge as far as I can tell and she found out it’s a bitter drink. I don’t know if anyone else survived, it’s only through the extraordinary efforts of an amazing man that I’m here at all.” She shook a cigarette from a fresh pack and paused to light it before continuing.
“The bottom line is we just had a massive breach and the treachery James perpetrated goes beyond anything we had imagined.” Ren took a long drag from the cigarette, wincing again at her ribs again.
“James? Who is James?” He looked at her cigarette with a dour expression.
“I won’t call him Mec ever again except to explain who I’m talking about.” Ren blew a cloud of smoke in his direction, “That bastard was a traitor a hundred times over, no matter how much he deserved his revenge against some of the elders. I certainly wasn’t involved in the underhanded bullshit that went down centuries ago. Having a decomposing brain isn’t an excuse as far as I’m concerned.
“So here’s where I stand as of today, go ahead and bring this back to The Tribunal. They can either reveal our existence or not; I don’t give a shit about that and I’m certainly not going to try and expose myself regardless of what they decide. With a very few exceptions I don’t trust anyone. Especially not humans, their lifespans are too short to be able to take the long view.
“Other than that I feel responsible for the situation in Mexico. From what Hex crammed into my brain before he evaporated I’m pretty sure James and his ilk planted some sort of plague in him; the idea being he’d bite humans and it’d spread like wildfire. Since I’m the one who put him in the situation and convinced him to drink from humans I’m going down there to see if I can help. With any luck I’ll be able to sort out some kind of cure before I get there using what I got from Hex and from another source you don’t need to know about. Barring luck, I’ll do what I must to make sure it’s contained.”
He raised an eyebrow at her but wisely kept his mouth shut, “I would appreciate any help The Reapers want to give me but mark me well; if they try and stop me they’ll find out just exactly why my agent name was The Angel of Destruction.”
The man shifted from the corner and in an eyeblink Ren had a pistol pointed at his head. “I’ll be going now to make my report if that’s OK with you.” He stepped into the light and she noticed his shadow reached much further than it should have. “For what it’s worth, if the Tribunal decides not to support you I’ll lend a hand if you’ll accept my help. There are a lot more of us out there who support the kind of thing you’ve been doing than you know.”
“What I’ve been doing? Exactly what do you think I’ve been doing?” The gun still hadn’t moved from his head.
He looked surprised, “Planning a revolution of course.” He scribbled something on a piece of paper, folded it, bit his thumb and sealed it with a bloody thumbprint. “Look, if you want to get in touch with me just put your thumbprint here. We appreciate your style and the work you did against the Hunters. Too bad about your friend, I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Yeah, you’ll excuse me if I don’t accept your condolences at face value.” Ren realized she was talking to nobody. “Must be one of those Shadowstepping freaks.” She muttered to herself.
“Hey Renyovalia, who was that asshole?” Svenka was sitting up and sleepily rubbing her eyes.
“Nobody you need to worry about darling. Let’s get some sleep, tomorrow is going to be a busy night.”