Chapter one: Royalty and Malevolence
I had stood at the end of a large stone table looking over the people that had been seated around it; I remember even now, that they all looked as tired and worn as I had felt. It had been the first time in over a century that the Vampire Royals and the Witch's council had been in the same room. I remember the tension and my hope that the meeting would bring an end to the bloodiest war I and my people had ever experienced.
- Journal ofDarius (1,510)
"Bitch!" I shouted at my office phone as I slammed it down on the receiver. I looked at the small clock on my desk, and banged my head on the top of my desk. It was almost noon. I had yet to sleep or eat today; I had spent the early hours of the morning tailing a cheating husband in order to catch him in the act. Normally I wouldn't spend so much time trying to get a single picture but the man's wife had offered double my normal rate and I really needed the money. Once I finally took the perfect picture it was around seven in the morning. So instead of heading home for some much needed sleep, I went to my office.
I had a number of calls I need to make, then I could go home and get a few hours of sleep before I had to be back to meet with a new client.
Unfortunately, one of my calls had not gone well. One of my clients was refusing to pay on account that her husband swore I had doctored the photos I had taken of him and a male prostitute. The husband told his wife he would never cheat on her and that he would never do something like that with a man. And the dumb bitch had believed him.
I looked around my office, it was a mess. I had spent the last few days running in and out of here only staying long enough to return calls and to eat. I looked at the clock again. I had about an hour before my new client was supposed to be here. So I stood up and starting picking up empty food containers and stray papers. It did not take long before my office looked reasonable, though the smell of day old take out hung in the air. There wasn't much I could do about the smell other than open the small window behind my desk.
At exactly one o'clock there was a knock at my door.
"Well at least he's punctual." I mumbled.
As I opened the door I yelped and stumbled back. I quickly brought my hand to my mouth to stop myself from making any more embarrassing sounds. The men standing outside let out a small laugh and gave me a smile. From the look on his face my reaction wasn't anything new to him.
He stood at over six feet tall with shoulder length black hair. The man was dressed in fitted dark blue jeans, and a simple grey button up shirt. The jeans were expensive and probably made just for him. And while the shirt was simple, it matched his eyes and suited fit him perfectly. Over his grey shirt he wore a fade black leather jacket. "Well at least his nice to look at," I thought to myself while staring at him. There was a vibe about him that screamed "Dangerous!" I could feel power pouring off him and I had to remind myself that he was here for help not to hurt me.
After getting over my initial shock, I had invited him in. I simply stepped back and allowed him to enter. When I showed him into my office, I hesitated. I wasn't sure if he expected me shake his hand or bow. But I figured I wasn't a vampire so I wasn't going to bow. I stuck out my hand,
"I'm Alexandria." His face broke out in a grin and he took my hand in his, "Ash." After he released my hand I pointed to one of the two chairs opposite of my desk, "please."
I was still a little taken back about his presences in my office. I had known that my appointment was supposed to be a member of the Vampiric Royal family; but I had assumed it would one of the cousins. The cousins were normally the more active members of the family, always throwing around their weight and using their titles to get attention. It was probably because they would never be anything more than what they were. After all none of them would ever be able to take the throne, they would never become more then distant member of the Royal family.
But I had been wrong, very wrong, because standing across from me was Ash. He was a real life Prince. He wasn't just a royal he was probably one of the most powerful members of the royal family and also the king's heir to the throne.
This all went through my mind as I crossed the room; Ash was now standing next to one of the chairs.
"Please have a seat." I said softly while moving around to my own chair. I gave him a minute to remove his coat and get comfortable.
He started talking the second I was seated.
"I need help, and I cannot go through the normal channels. I need this to stay quiet and under the radar. A week ago I was at a club, I had ditched my guards; I wanted a normal night."
He sighed. "I had been drinking and met a young man, we drank and danced then headed to his hotel room and in the morning I woke up alone in the room nothing that hadn't happened before. Until I noticed my necklace was gone." He stopped and looked at me.
I was sitting back in my chair with me feet on my desk. I think he was waiting for me to ask questions or maybe for me to be writing something down. But so far he hadn't giving me anything that I felt needed to be on paper. So I waved my hand for him to continue.
I couldn't stop my eyes from rolling. I had been thrilled when I heard a Royal wanted to hire me for a job. Now I was a little less thrilled because it turned into a missing item kind of job instead of something with more a little action. I was sick of looking for missing people and watching cheating husbands.
My business catered to both humans and non-humans alike, even though the two groups were very different. A lot of their everyday problems tended to be very similar, a runway child, missing girl friend, or lost items. I had been a Private Investigator for about five years and my jobs stayed basically identical. My life seemed to have become routine. Very few of my cases ever needed the use of magic. With or without magic, I always find what I'm looking for.
I looked at him and waited for him to continued talking.
"This necklace is a family heir loom. I'm supposed to keep it with me at all times, no idea why. But I need it back and soon. If my father finds out that not only have I been ditching his men but that I lost it." He took a deep breath and seemed to be looking for the right words. "Well it wouldn't be fun. I have tried looking for him myself but people know my face and it makes it hard to be discreet."
I raised an eyebrow, curious as to what he was implying. "Would his father punish him?" I wondered. Deciding not to go with that line of questions, I took my feet off my desk and moved so I could use my desk properly.
"Tell me about the man, name, hair, height, build, and species?" I asked, grabbing my notebook pulling it in front of me. My eyes lifting to look at him, giving him the go ahead, my notebook and pen ready to go.
"He said his name was David, blonde hair shoulder length, shorter then me but only by an inch or two, slim not too skinny but probably doesn't do too much weight lifting. As for species I'm not sure, I know he wasn't vampire, he would never have approached me if he was but I don't think he just an oblivious human because he did give me a slight bow when he introduced himself." He continued while I wrote down the details as he spoke, it was vague and general, but I was already sure that David was not this guy's name, I would have to see if the club had cameras.
"Okay, now the necklace? Was it magic? And describe it for me." I asked without looking up from my notes.
"White gold chain is long with some kind of engravings on it. The Emerald is about the size of a fifty cent piece and hangs to my chest. The chain is enchanted not to be broken and so that no one but the wearer can take it off." At that I lifted my head and cocked it to the side while looking at him.
"Yes, I took it off. It's not exactly something comfortable to wear when having sex." I could hear the frustration in his voice. I couldn't help but chuckle, "No I guess it wouldn't be. What about the emerald its self? Any magic or enchantments?"
"Not that I know of, I have never felt anything from it and no one has ever mentioned anything about it being magic. I really don't know why it's a big deal but I do know my father will not be please if he finds out I lost it, especially during a one night stand." I studied him for a second. He seemed annoyed and had a slight worried look in his eye. From listening to him I could tell he couldn't care less about the necklace it was his father that had him worried. And from the reputation of the King, I could totally understand that.
"Okay, final question which club where you at?"
"Malevolence." He stated and started fidgeting his hands.
I almost gave myself whiplash my head snapped up so fast.
"The demon club?" I asked. Hoping I had heard him wrong. I so didn't want to deal with any Demons.
He sighed, "Yeah, it's one of the only clubs I can go to and not be treated like a prince."
"No shit." the comment was out of my mouth before I had even realized I thought it. This time he raised any eyebrow and smiled.
I told him that he would have to pay be the standard five hundred a day plus expenses, and walked him out.
After he left, I read over my notes and made sure I had the little information I had memorized and got up and grabbed my coat. As I stepped out of my office I shuttered, the sky was over cast and I could smell rain. It looked like it could start raining anytime. While it was still early afternoon there was a chill in the air that showed that winter was around the corner. I jogged into the small parking lot behind my building. My truck was the only vehicle parked there. It was a small classic black truck. It wasn't anything special but it was dependable and got me where I needed to go.
Once inside my truck I started the engine and fiddled with the heater. It wasn't cold enough yet to need it but with it getting colder I wanted to make sure it worked. With the truck going and the heater hopefully starting to work, I pulled out of the parking lot.
As I made my way to Malevolence, I went over what I knew about Demons. I had never met a full blooded demon before, and could have gone happily living the rest of my life without ever meeting one. I knew they could be tricky and that they liked to make deals. Almost always there was a human or witch that was dumb enough to get entangled with demons only to end up owned in one way or another by the demons. I never understood why people continued to try and make deals. I also knew there were different kinds of demons, the really powerful ones could look human, while less powerful demons tended to be more creatures like and at the bottom were the ones that were completely animal. These creatures that had power and could kill very easily but had no higher brain function, these were mostly called lower demons and they were used like attack dogs. When they were sent after someone it was to kill them.
I groaned to myself. I knew next to nothing about them, except that it was really stupid to mess with them. Hopefully asking to see their cameras would be simple enough that I could get in and get out. Fast.
I pulled into the parking lot. It was empty, I looked at my clock it was 4:37pm. I had figured it was late enough the employees would be here but no guests. I had heard rumors about the people that hung out here and didn't want to be around when they started to show up. As I turned my truck off and noticed that the heater had never kicked on. "Great another thing I need to pay to have fixed."
Getting out of my truck, I pushed my senses out. I let my magic roll over the parking lot and towards the building. As I walked I started to get a feel of the building. I could feel the massive amount of magic coming from it, ignoring that I focused more trying to make out if anyone was inside. I pushed a little more magic and was rewarded with what was the equal to a slap in the face from the wards.
"Ouch." I mumbled and pulled my power back. Well at lease I knew someone was in there. Otherwise the wards would have just pushed back at me not attacked.
I reached the front door, and debated going back to the car. Whoever had controlled the wards didn't seem like a friendly person. But I really needed the money and I knew the Prince would be good for it unlike my last deadbeat client. So I knocked.
My hand was barely off the door when it was ripped open. The women that stood there could only be described in two words gorgeous and pissed. "What?" she practically screamed.
"Hello, I was hoping to speak to someone about looking at your camera footage from a week ago? A client of mine has lost something and I'm trying to track it down." Something about her was off, my skin felt warm and I was twitchy. It made me nervous and I started to shuffle my feet a little bit.
She walked away from the door and was standing in front of me. The anger was gone from her face now she seemed happy and was smiling at me. I felt my stomach clench.
"Oh, well I'm not in charge of those, sweetie, why don't you come in and let's see if we can find Ty." She reached her hand out and grabbed my arm. The heat I had been feeling intensified and my head got a little hazy.
"Shit!" I ripped my arm away from her and through up a small wall of magic in between us.
"Succubus?" I asked even though I knew she was. She didn't move from where she was but she did start laughing.
"I'm surprised most people don't realize I have them charmed until its too late, little witch. You shouldn't be here. Your kind doesn't last very long." She stopped talking and started walking back towards the door.
"Wait!" I yelled and stumbled towards her, my wall held between us.
"Look, I'm not here for any drama or to cause problems. I'm a private investigator and I was hired to find someone. That's it. I just need to look at your cameras so I can get a picture of the guy." She had stopped walking when I shouted at her and listened to me. When I stopped talking she turned around and looked at me, I saw her eyes run up and down looking me over. 'Probably trying to see if I'm a threat' I thought.
"Fine, only because I'm in a good mood. Come along and drop your stupid wall, child. It will draw more attention then you want." She then opened the door and walked it.
'Good mood my ass,' I thought.
I didn't want to let the wall down, but I needed the pictures.
"Fuck." I let my wall fall and followed her inside.
The club seemed normal enough. There were some tables, chairs, a few couches against the far wall, and two bars one on either side. The succubus led me to the back of the club and up and flight of stairs. When we reached the top she looked back at me, knocked on the closed door, without another world she started to walk around me and made her decent down the stairs.
"Wait, you're not coming in?" She didn't even turn around just answered me as she walked away.
"Nope, waking Tyler up is never smart and I like my head right where it is." I could hear the smile in her voice. 'Bitch' I thought. As I watched her make her way down the stairs.
I hadn't heard the door open but when I tuned back around there was a man leaning against the door looking at me with a curious look on his face. He didn't look angry, sleepy, curious, and shirtless. But not angry, 'Maybe she was just messing with me.' I looked him over as I started talking. My eyes traveled up to meet his gaze.
"Hi, umm the lady that let me in said maybe you could help me find some footage from a week ago?" I asked while I felt heat flood my face from embarrassment, 'OH yeah Alex you're doing great, you couldn't even remember to get her name.'
He smiled at me and responded, "And what do you need it for?"
He was attractive that was for sure. The man had a great body along with a smile that could charm the pants off anyone. At first, I thought that he might be an incubus, but while I found him attractive there wasn't any pull behind it.
"I'm looking for someone." I said returning his smile with one of my own.
"Well, that's a vague answer." He said while tilting his head and looking at me before continuing, "But Emelia let you in so I guess I'm supposed to show it to you." He pushed away from the wall and entered to room. As I followed him, he reached a desk that had three different computer monitors on it.
"Day?" He asked without looking at me, focused on the computer screens.
" Last Friday." I replied while watching as he searched through the files and pulled up a folder with last Fridays date on it. He never looked at me while he set up the videos across all three screens.
"between 9:00 and midnight"
This time he swung around in the chair and looked at me. "Couldn't you narrow it down some?" He lifted his gaze to mine and raised an eyebrow, "That's a lot of footage and I would really like to sleep some before we open." He didn't sound angry just annoyed. I had made up my mind about Emelia messing with me. He seemed nice enough.
"I was told that was the time he was here, all I know is that my client left with him sometime around midnight. We can start there and work our way back." He rolled his eyes while turning his body back to the monitors and started clicking around on the computer again. After several minutes he pushed his chair back and stood up.
"I have the footage from the front door, from about 11:30 to 20 after midnight. Go through it and see if you can find whoever. I'll be in the shower." He started to walk away and stopped at the door to look at me.
"Don't look at anything else, trust me I will know and don't leave. When you are done I will walk you out." With that he was gone.
I sat down and started suffering through the footage. After about 15 minutes I realized why he was annoyed at the timeline I gave him. This place was packed, people where coming and going constantly and it was a pain to try and pick out anyone particular.
After about a half hour I wanted to break the computer. I wasn't having any luck and I had watched all the footage. So I rewound it and started over. At some point I heard Tyler come back in but he didn't say anything, so I ignored him and kept looking.
A little while later I must have made noise cause I felt him stand behind me. I sighed and turned around and looked up at him.
"No luck?" He asked.
"Nope, umm is there any other exit? Maybe a back door they could have gone out?" I questioned grasping at anything to help with this case.
"There is but not many people use it." He grabbed the chair and pulled me away from the computer, and started going through his files again.
"Could have just asked me to move." I mumbled.
He looked over his shoulder at me and gave me that damn smiled, "Where is the fun in that?"
"Fucking flirt." I thought to myself.
I rolled my eyes and stood up. I moved around the room stretching my legs. The room looked like you basic office, except there was a large window that looked over the club. There was the desk against the wall, facing away from the club. Which I thought was a little weird. There was also a couch under the window and next to it a small fridge, and against the last wall where some filing cabinets and bookshelves. The bookshelves held mostly knick-knacks on them with just a handful of books. There was a door, which probably led to another room, guessing on his sleepy look when he opened the door, probably a small bedroom.
I looked back towards the computer, "is there a bathroom I can use?" I saw him slump his shoulders, then he raised his hand and pointed to the room, I had guessed as a bedroom.
"Don't touch anything, other than the bathroom." I rolled my eyes and made my way to the door. The moment I opened the door, I knew I was right. It was a small bedroom and there was another door to the side. I opened it and it was a tiny bathroom; just a sink and toilet which explained why he showered somewhere else. After going to the bathroom and washing up, I splashed my face with water. I was getting hungry and really wanted something to drink.
When I opened the door, I jumped back. Tyler was standing inside his room waiting, he turned towards me the moment I opened the door. A wide smile appeared across his attractive face while he looked me over again, there was that smile.
"Really! You just had to be standing all creepy in the middle of the room." I shouted at him. While glaring at him, my hands found their way into my hair, my nerves on edge from his sudden appearance.
He laughed, "Come on, I have the rest of the footage up."
I mumbled a "whatever," under my breath and went back to the computer.
"So, same time frame as for the back door. You're lucky. There is only a hand full of people that use it so you should be done quickly." He backed away from the computer and turned to lie on the couch. As he lay back against the arm of the couch, he folded his arms behind his head propping his head up slightly to watch me. I rolled my eyes and turned away from him.
Sitting down again, I started the video. It only took me about 5 minutes of fast forwarding to find Ash and his thieving one night stand leaving the club.
"Finally!" I exclaimed. I turned around when I heard movement behind me and looked at him. He was relaxed on the couch still watching me.
"Got a printer?" I asked smiling wide at him, I couldn't contain my happiness on finally finding Ash and his date after the annoying long search. Tyler raised an eyebrow at me, unfolding his arms from behind his head to sit up. I watched as he twisted to place both his feet to the floor and stood up once again.
"I suppose. Print it and I'll go get it." He said already walking towards to door.
I wanted to say we could go get it but I didn't want to seem like I was hiding anything. I turned around and printed a couple different angels from the video, I made sure to zoom in on the thief's face, and not the Princes.
It only took Tyler a couple minutes to leave and come back with the pictures. After he handed them to me, he made his way towards the door. "Well let's get you out of here."
When we made it to the front door he opened it for me and I was surprised to see the sun was almost completely gone. 'Damn I was in there longer then I wanted to be.'
"Thank you, for helping." I said and started towards my truck.
As I was unlocked the door and getting ready to open it, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I felt my muscles tense and without hesitation I immediately threw the person off me with enough magic to make it hurt. I turned on my heel to face whoever my attacker was; fist curled ay my sides, prepared to defend myself. Surprise spread across my face at seeing Tyler rising from the ground, but it was quickly replaced by a frown and a glare at him.
"Seriously dude, you couldn't make some damn noise." I yelled. I took a breath and tried to slow my heart down.
"Sorry, trust me if I had known you had a hit like that I would have whistled the whole way to you." He said with a shake of his head and I couldn't contain the laugh that escaped my lips, but he continued to speak which helped cut off my laugh, "So I wasn't going to say anything but I'm curious why are you looking for Donovan?"
"You know him?" I asked with surprise, both in my voice and on my face. At least it was a good surprise, I now had a name.
"Yeah, he's a human. Wants to be claimed by a demon, wants to learn magic. He spends almost every weekend here sucking up to anyone who will let him." He huffed out a small laugh turning his head to the side as if in thought, "Actually, I'm surprised he hasn't been killed yet, always pushing his luck. Is that what you're doing? Tracking him down because he finally went too far with someone?" He was standing close to me, too close for my comfort. So I took a step back, hitting my open door. I couldn't make out the expression on his face. My eyes searched his for a hint of what he was thinking.
I couldn't tell if he was hoping I was here so someone could kill this Donovan or if he was going to stop me.
Watching his face carefully, I answered him "I am tracking him down, but not for the reason you think. He stole something and someone wants it back. That's it. I don't think my client cares one way or another if anything happens to him."
And then the smile was back on Tyler's face and he moved back a little holding his hands up in a surrender gesture. The change of his attitude damn near gave me whiplash.
"Just checking, I may not like the idiot but there are others who seem to enjoy him, and I don't think you would want them coming after you."
I started to breathe a little easier once he stepped back. My hands slid to my hips and I looked at him while asking "Any chance you can tell me where he lives?"
The look on his face was hilarious, so I let out a small laugh. "I just tell you he wants to be claimed and has demons that enjoy him and you still want to go see him? Are you stupid?" He sounded angry for the first time since I had met him. It took me by surprise to the point that I leaned back. It seemed Tyler was good at catching me off guard.
I instinctively pulled some power to the surface to be ready in case I needed it. He must have felt it because he put his hands back in front of him, in the peace gesture. "Easy there, little witch. I mean no harm. I have been trying to keep you alive. Getting involved with someone like him isn't smart." He shook his head while staring at me.
It was my turn to be angry. "One, don't call me little witch. And two all I want is the necklace he stole back." I realized I had raised my voice and took a breath to calm down before speaking again. "Look I'm not getting mixed up with him; I'm going to go to his place. Ask for it back and if he says no then I will take it. "
Tyler gave me a look, like he thought yep she's stupid. "And if he has already sold it?" He had let his hands fall back down at his sides.
"Then I go back to my client and tell him, and see if I can track down whoever bought it." I was starting to get a headache from the mix of holding my power so close to the surface without using it and being hungry.
"Fine, I'll tell you where he lives, but you shouldn't go alone."
I wanted to laugh, the guy was human. I wasn't worried about him.
"I'm a big girl, thank you for being worried but I can't look after myself."
He growled, and I could see his eyes darkened to a deep purple. I sucked in a sharp breath. 'Holy shit a he was a warrior demon.' I know why Emelia didn't want to piss him off.
"Witches, they never listen. I'll give you the address but if you die, I will not feel guilty." His voice said otherwise.
After that I left with the address in hand. Once I had started driving away I let myself start breathing again. Warrior demons where powerful, thought they were mostly feared because of their fighting. They were said to be Amazing fighters, the myths and legends said that just one could change the course of a war; just one could even take on an army.
I decided to head back to the office and make some food, and call Ash and let him know what was going on.