Episode I: With Welcoming Arms
With as many bodies in the dungeon, voices were faint bringing light to the metal rock rhythm. The crimson fog wasn't thick enough to screen the events that trickled within closed doors. Candlelight poured into every corner of the dance floor, turning attention to the vixen on the high platform. Surely they all gawked, hooks against tight pants practically a magnet to the bait before them. She was dressed in chains, in black zippers and buckles, sworn to the pole between her legs. The hood-robed barkeep fashioned his way to his other customers masked with makeup and flaunty jewelry. Michel would contrast the typical client; although dressed in black, he couldn't find himself mesmerized by their dark carnal customs. In the depths of the demonic sanctuary, he should be a target for wondering eyes, yet no one came to swoon him yet. Perhaps he wasn't appetizing enough, or something more. This made his mission that much easier. From the loft, he witnessed the two emerging from the blood-red drapes at a VIP section upstairs. The screen of white fumes from smoking bulb pipes made it difficult to distinguish their faces from the corner of his eye. Cradled in her escort's arms, she walked by his side as they descended the white-light lined stairway. Veering away, Michel took a sip of his Dogfish Head and sat in his casual state once more.
The voluptuous feline crossed his path, brushing past him with her fur-scarf. Her heavy black lined emerald eyes winked down at him, and he'd watch as she walked away in a fulsome corset. Her escort led her to the back door of the nightclub; he'd follow.
The light of his cigarette faintly broke the barrier between light and dark. She was pressed into him, looking into his musk façade with lustful flickering eyes. Her cupping hand stroked his rigid full beard—and in a (Russian) accent, she whispered, "Hugo, take me to your chamber. I have another client at six."
He chuckled as a cloud of smoke warmed his breath. "Ohh, you filthy, filthy woman!" His raspy voice coursed. "Mmmm, but well worth every dime in my pocket." The liquor in his breath washed over her rose lips as he slopped his tongue over hers. The faint sound of gagging withdrew the hairy drunken kiss, and he'd utter, "What was that?"
"Oh, it was nothing, I ensure you." She replied nervously, darting her eyes to the side. "Come, to the gates. You said you had a Falcon Done, yes? Such a lovely hover craft!"
"If you wish, I can buy you one. Of course with it, comes a very reasonable price my little flower…"
They conversed as they walked.
Eager hawks stalked from the skies. Lurking, their eyes turned away from the two; one would never feed on another's prey. The well suited Hugo and his tramp stepped outside of the alley way and into the sidewalk before the nightclub. Michel was standing by the closed gates and both lifeless and soulful bodies were against the exterior of the adjacent dungeon nightclub. Hostiles to and fro, nothing he couldn't handle—but a figure from the shadows down the street made him skeptical. Michel couldn't identify the girl as she closed into the scene. Long auburn hair, about 5"1, young female. "We have a possible by stander." Michel spoke into the earpiece discreetly.
"By stander? Where?" The hidden sniper from the roof of the nightclub whispered. Eren scanned the streets and noticed this so called by standard—an innocent civilian Michel liked to call them. "Oh, you mean a possible hostile! I'll take care of her!" She leaned into position against her sniper rifle.
"Hold fire." Michel commanded. The duo approached him.
"Ah, valet parking. I don't remember having a man handle my dear Dorothy. Then again, I fail to remember where I parked…" He dribbled his words.
Julie smiled, her voice instantly changing, "Would a blade to your chest jog your memory?"
"UGGHHH! AGGHHH!" Twisted metal found itself cozy in the guts of Hugo Wishweld. This sudden assault ceased his demonic transformation, but that only beckoned his buddies to come out of the shadows. One by one Eren fired into the souls of the humanoid demons who screeched and growled in death. She plucked them out of the sky like a pro. They charged like a horde crawling from within the club, from the parking lot, and from every branch of the neighborhood cracks. Michel flung his cloak off his shoulders, baring three blades. He handed one to the raven-haired mistress who was weaponless. Slice and dice was the name of the game, in which Michel and Julie had plenty of experience. The timid girl found herself in a brim predicament. She was at the wrong place in the wrong time, and her wariness only made her look appetizingly vulnerable. A pool of grey slithered swiftly by her feet. The tarlike body sprouted from the ground beneath her, forming into an eyeless bulky creature. His fangs dribbled with a carnal desire for flesh, absorbing the fragile meal's delicious scent.
He grunted, "Fresh from the womb, prepubescent even! A virgin, I think I'm over due!" The humanoid demon cornered them both, a talon grazing her cheek. "Don't worry, the first time is always the most painful! Haaa!" He snatched her by the throat, his venom like tongue lapping over the silhouette of her face.
"PLEASE NOO!" She trembled, the warm blood splatter against her person numbing her every nerve. She'd open her eyes as a death cry scorched in her ears. Against the wall she sunk to her knees, looking at a mysterious stranger sliding out a bloody blade from the carcass' throat. The sight was too much to bear that she fainted on the spot.
"SWEET! Pure carnage! Think we'll get a discount on drinks for making Deleveire street that much safer?" Eren prompted her rifle on her shoulders as she approached Julie.
"Not with the mess we made. And thanks for your feedback back there. You could have blown your cover." She grabbed the dying Hugo by the collar to turn him over as her heel pressed up against his shoulder. "Where is she?"
Hugo, with his eyes barely able to open, fazed into a cloud of insanity. His laugh smothered with blood, he could only endure the pain for so long. "I shall not tell you." He heaved, the pool of blood beneath him cooling with every passing second. "My death, my dying…you have given me the chance to reunite with her. Ahh, what a glorious day! To see…my goddess…calling me into her arms…"
"Worthless." An impale should shut him up.
Eren veered to Michel cradling the unconscious victim. "Hey! What are you doing with that?! Drop her and let's ditch this joint."
Michel arched a brow, confused by Eren's brash words. "And leave a helpless young girl stranded here, of all places?" He turned to her. "I couldn't… besides, she's hurt…"
"Hurt? That's a mere scratch! If the bitch was bold enough to wonder all and about in these parts alone, then I say, let her learn her lesson!"
Michel ignored the loud mouth standing beside him as Julie jointed. "We better part with this crime scene, quickly."
She seemed peaceful at rest. Michel took her bedside as a seat, waiting for her to wake. With what Julie told him, she had just experienced a bit of shock. He couldn't help but wonder what she was up to so late at night. Perhaps she was a hostile? A decoy? The town curfew alarm rung a few hours ago—surely she had heard it. But, Michel couldn't think like Eren. She could be a lost beggar, although she didn't strike him as a peasant with the clean attire she had.
The air was still, almost haunting in this ornate guest room. It was his nerves, his almost pessimistic rub that beckoned him to think of the worst. Whatever her alliance, he felt compelled to help. He didn't know what it was. As he watched the stars flicker from the square window, he thought to himself, not of the mission, but of their hostage. His eyes embraced her petite figure, her innocence… she was delicate, a fragile flower…
"Ugh…" She mumbled, her blurry vision capturing a familiar silhouette. Instantly she jumped back, curling herself against the headboard. Her bright sapphire eyes struck with fear and fright stared at Michel. The longer they lingered in silence, the quicker her memory came to her. Right, he was familiar for a reason. He was the one who slaughtered the demon, saving her life.
"It's good to see that you're awake. Don't worry, I only brought you here to keep you out of trouble."
Here? She didn't comprehend. Where was she exactly? A stinging in her upper arm brought her fingers to the bleeding gauze. She couldn't recall how she injured herself, but was nonetheless thankful it was just a cut and nothing more. She ogled him as he walked over to the desk footing the bed. Her cheeks flushed, mouth agape, mesmerized by her… knight in shining armor!
He was flawless, she thought, his long silky black hair, his deep penetrating burgundy eyes…she had butterflies in her stomach. She couldn't resist such emotions fluttering from within her. He'd approach, and her eyes would retreat elsewhere, hiding her flush with her trembling hands.
"It is best you stay indoors after town curfew." He offered her the grey wool poncho.
"Thank you." She took her poncho, emitting a confused look that summoned him to a seat by her. He didn't question, and she felt obligated to give him some type of answer. So she leaped into him, arms around his midriff. In her nervousness she didn't note his cold person, nor did she care for it. "Thank you for rescuing me…I could have been killed, if it wasn't for you. I owe you my life…" She'd pray she could hear his soft baritone voice once more, but when she looked up at him, her heart sunk. Did her words numb him?
SLAM—the door surrendered to the woman behind it with the most irked expression masked on her face. "You didn't get rid of her yet?! God, Michel! Stop being such a pussy."
The girl turned to her knight, withdrawing her arms around him. "Get rid of me?" She flashed her sad puppy eyes. Too bad Eren was immune. "I don't want to go home! Please! You don't understand…my parents are very strict. I go to Wunstroe High, an all girl's school, and that's all I ever go. It's just school and home, a routine that I would have to endure for eons! So I escaped, with nothing to hold under my name. I needed to live. I couldn't stay in that house for a second longer!"
"Righhtt, and you decide to escape into the bowels of hell? Are you stupid? I think you had a death wish." Eren asserted.
The girl glared at the red head, then openly retreated into the chest of Michel. She held onto him tight. "Please, Michel, let me stay here with you…"
"WH-HHAATT?!" Eren stuttered.
"I promise you won't even notice I'm around."
"First of all princess, this isn't Michel's house. Julie lives here. Second, we are not a babysitting service. We aren't publicized enough, but you should have heard of Everit, the only North Dangathian clan that can send a horde of Sessni's demons packing in their drawers. And third, Mich—"
"I didn't ask you! I want Michel to answer. Well, Michel?" She asked meekly.
"Ugh this is ludicrous! Michel, can you please tell this chick she'll only get in the way, and it'll benefit all of us if she returns to where she belongs? She isn't ready for the big league! You're worried about her safety right?! Well?"
The ambivalence was killing him. He wasn't denying Eren was right, but he couldn't help but feel pity for the girl. They were both waiting for his answer, one near tackling him for answering against her favor, and the other by his side with folded hands and sorrowful eyes. Wedged in this dilemma was brewing his temptation to void Eren's concerns. Then again, Michel had no home...even if he did, he wouldn't feel comfortable having her live with him.
"She could stay here, with me." Julie uttered from the threshold of the door. "Your name?"
"Sophia Mae Lohan Madame." She jumped up in joy. "Thank you very much! I promise I'll earn my stay. Does Michel live here?" She turned to him with much wishful thinking.
"Um, hello? She could just be a spy for Dhampir! Why aren't you people thinking?" Eren stepped between the three, a solid advocate of tossing this new comer out the door.
"Hmm. Well, we'll just have to kill her now, wouldn't we?" Julie chuckled. "Make yourself at home. Now, I don't want to sound rude, but I would like you all to get out of my apartment. It's 2am."