Aurora looked around cautiously as she stepped out from her hiding space in what used to be an alley. Walking around at night was a risk, but she had yet to find a suitable place to stay the night that would protect her from the light drizzle and the harsh wind. She had never been in this area before, but after a half an hour of watching and listening she felt secure searching the area further.
The formerly busy square was now reminiscent of a graveyard. The entire area seemed void of life. Of the many buildings surrounding the square, none of them stood at their full height. Several piles of rubble from dilapidated buildings spread into the square. A broken fountain sat in the square’s center. In its current condition, the statue of an angel at its center was barely recognizable. The angel’s head been knocked off and was lying on its side in the murky water that filled the base of the fountain. One wing had been torn completely off and only half of the other remained. The left arm, which had been extended outward from the body in a gesture of welcome and friendship, had been broken off at the elbow.
Aurora found the statue strangely intriguing. Though she knew it was safer to stay close to what was left of the buildings where she was less likely to be seen, Aurora began to walk toward the statue. As she stepped into the square, she pulled up the hood to her dark, dirty hoodie and tucked her long blonde hair into it. It had been pointed out to her many times that the length and color of her hair made her an easier prey, but she refused to cut or dye it. There was so little left of her old life to cling to, she refused to lose anymore of her old self.
She gazed cautiously around the square as she moved. Her footsteps were light, barely audible. Out of necessity, she had gotten use to moving with stealth in the past year. Though she stood about 5’6” normally, she looked smaller sneaking across the open area crouched low. She was slim, but healthier than most humans. Food was often hard to come by in this new world and many humans spent their days near starvation, begging for scraps. Aurora had adapted and learned how to survive better than most. Underneath her baggy clothes, her body was well toned. When the world had been normal, she had been in decent shape from studying martial arts for years and her parents making sure she had eaten three healthy meals a day. This world had trimmed most of the excess fat off of her. Between struggling for a meal and constantly traveling on foot for the past year, her body had changed into what it now was.
As she moved toward the statue, the clouds shifted and the moon peaked out from behind them. The light from the moon cast a shadow from the statue. Just as Aurora walked into the shadow, she heard a hint of laughter.
“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” said a smooth male voice. Aurora wasted no time. She ran toward the edge of the square and jumped behind a pile of rubble. “There is no need to hide, my dear. I have no desire to hurt you.”
Aurora’s heart was racing. She couldn’t believe how stupid she had been. A year. It had been almost a year since the world had been turned upside down, since everything had turned to hell. She had survived a year in this hell and she wasn’t going to die now.
Aurora crawled as quietly as she could between piles of rubble and broken walls. She had to get to safety, though she had no idea how she was going to. “I can hear you moving, my sweet. I can smell your lovely scent. Come on out and let me get a better look at you,” he called from the center of the square. She risked looking out at him. He was tall and emaciated. His dark hair was long. She couldn’t tell how long because the wind was whipping it around. He turned his head so she could see part of his face. The smile on his face disturbed her. As he continued to turn toward her, the smile got even worse. The moonlight shown over his pale face and she could see one of his long, sharp fangs.
Cautiously, she pulled her head back and pushed herself against the wall she was hiding behind. Corned by a vamp at night in the middle of nowhere, Aurora thought to herself. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
“My patience are starting wear thin,” the vampire called out to her. The tone of his voice had gotten harsher. “This will be much easier if you cooperate. You will be safe in my harem. Come on out, my sweet.”
Aurora heard his words and thought about her options. She couldn’t run because they were always faster. She could only hide for so long, eventually he would find her. The chances of sneaking away were nearly impossible. There was too much space between one hiding spot and the next. The vampire would see her moving between them. Fighting him never even crossed her mind. She would have to think harder, there had to be some way out of this. Aurora decided to take a risk and see where the vampire was one more time. She pushed herself up off the ground to get a better look. Her hand slipped on the wet ground and she fell hard.
The vampire moved quickly. Before Aurora had the opportunity move, he appeared. She looked up and he was standing about two feet in front of her. “I win,” the vampire said, looking down at her with his dark eyes. The harshness that had touched his voice before had disappeared. “It is time to leave. I will take you to my harem and you will be safe,” he continued, stretching his hand out toward her, like it was only natural she would take it.
She glared at him and his smile widened. She wouldn’t be another beauty for his collection. “I won’t be some blood whore in your harem, you pathetic vampire,” she spit in his face. She scurried back until she met a wall and was trapped.
The vampire wore a shocked expression. His features twisted in fury. He wiped away the spit and growled, “You’ll die for that one, bitch.” He pulled out a dagger and lunged forward toward her.
Half a second later, the vampire froze mid stride. A blade materialized on his neck out of nowhere. Aurora could tell by the look on his face that the vampire had been as oblivious as her to this new threat’s approach.
The new threat wore a long black cloak closed with silver buttons in the front. He was broader and taller than the vampire, making him look almost fragile. Black combat boots covered his feet. As his cloak swayed in the breeze, Aurora could see that he carried a dagger on the right boot. He wore black and red fingerless gloves. His white hair flowed down to his shoulder blades. Because of the way he was standing, his hair covered his face, blocking it from her view. The sheath to his sword was attached to the left side of his belt. His right side was facing her allowing her to see only the end of the long sheath sticking out from under his cloak. There was a slit in the back of the cloak so the long sheath was not confined underneath it.
At first site, Aurora thought that the blade was more spectacular than its wielder. She had never seen anything like it. The hilt of the sword was white in color to match his hair and had what she could only call blood red veins twisting around it. These veins were also present in the blade. One vein ran up the center of the five foot long, slightly transparent black blade with many smaller ones running to its edges. The blade did not look metal, but as if it was made of some precious stone. She had seen a black diamond once and it looked just like it. The veins made the sword look almost alive. The blade was slightly curved like a katana, but she could tell that both edges were razor shape. It could easily take the vampire’s head off his shoulders.
“I suggest you don’t move,” said the blade’s wielder. “You have no idea how big of a mistake you have made tonight.” He turned his head as he spoke and Aurora caught a glimpse of his eyes. They burned crimson. That was enough for Aurora to know what she was now facing. Only enraged demons had eyes like that. A vampire and a demon now, Aurora thought to herself. Maybe they will distract each other long enough so I can get away.
The demon moved slowly forward displaying amazing control over the long blade. He kept it less than a millimeter off the vampire’s neck as he moved, passing the entire blade just over the vampire’s pale skin. The vampire did not move or breathe. He didn’t even move his eyes to try to get a glimpse his opponent. Instead he just stared straight ahead into the darkness like a statue.
The demon placed a hand on the back of the vampire’s neck and grasped his hair. He pulled the vampire’s head back slowly, forcing him to bend his back slightly and expose his entire neck. Aurora watched the vampire’s neck move as he swallowed. His skin touched the edge of the demon’s blade and it cut into it. It was a very shallow cut, but Aurora could see blood dripping from the scratch. The veins on the blade reacted to the vampire’s blood. They seemed to pulse from the edge of the blade that touched the blood down to the hilt of the sword.
“You picked the wrong girl to try and recruit for your harem, bloodsucker,” growled the demon into the vampire’s ear. Aurora heard the words, but they made no sense to her. She had no connection to this white haired monster.
Upon seeing the immense fury on his face, Aurora attempted to back up further before realizing she was already backed against a wall. She had once seen an enraged demon tear apart a unit of heavily armed and armored human soldiers like they were helpless children. He hadn’t even flinch when the bullets had hit him.
The demon lifted the vampire by his hair and flung him about twenty feet into square. The vampire rolled a couple more feet and then slowly pushed himself back to his feet. His hand went to feel the back of his head. It looked to Aurora as if he was checking to make sure his hair was still there. The demon placed the sword back into its sheath and turned toward the vampire.
“She had the scent of no man or beast on her, demon. The human was no one’s property and perfectly fair game,” he smirked as he said this. It seemed the distance between them had allowed the vampire to regain some of his confidence.
The demon sprung forward and in seconds had driven a knee into the vampire’s stomach. It was a powerful blow. Aurora could see the vampire cough up a bit of blood while he was momentarily lifted into in the air.
“Not all of us consider humans property, scum. You should remember not long ago, we were the same as them.” The demon backed up slowly toward Aurora as he spoke. He seemed to be staying in between her and the vampire. There was no way for the vampire to get to her without going through him.
Aurora decided this was her opportunity to escape. The demon seemed too interested in the vampire to bother with her and the vampire’s path to her was blocked off by the demon. She began to shuffle slowly toward an alley she could disappear into. After moving only a few inches, the demon’s head snapped toward her. “Stay,” the word was fierce and forceful. Aurora was enveloped by a sudden feeling of fear so strong it froze her in place.
The vampire decided to take advantage of the moment to make an attack. He threw a fist toward the demon, who dodged it easily, as he did most of the blows that followed. Few made contact and those that did didn’t seem to phase the demon in the slightest. In frustration, the vampire lunged for the demon’s throat with his sharp fangs. The demon dropped onto one knee and drove a fist into the vampire’s stomach as he passed over him.
The demon jumped back and stretched his hand out to the side at about the height of abdomen, palms facing the vampire. She saw him spread his fingers and watched his black claws grow into place. He moved forward walking quickly up to the vampire who was just getting to his feet. He brought the claws of his right hand down across the vampire’s cheek. The vampire screamed in pain and jumped back as far as he could to put distance between himself and his opponent.
The vampire wiped some of the blood from his face and tasted it. Pure hatred contorted his face as he realized how much damage had been done. His hand reached swiftly to his side and gripped the hilt of a small dagger. He flung the dagger from his side directly at the demon’s head.
The demon moved his head slightly to the side, lifted a hand, and caught the dagger by its hilt. He launched it back at the vampire with such speed he had no time to react. The dagger hit the vampire’s knee and went straight through his leg. The vampire’s scream was blood-chilling. He dropped onto his other knee and grabbed the one that had been penetrated. Aurora wondered why the demon had not just killed the vampire. He could have several times already. It was obvious the vampire was outmatched by the demon as much as she had been by the vampire. It seemed almost like this fight was personal. It was almost too gruesome to watch, but her eyes would not move away from the fight. All thoughts of getting away seemed to have been erased from her mind as she sat on the cold ground paralyzed in fear of the demon’s relentless assault.
Aurora saw the demon unclasp the sheath to his sword and slowly draw the magnificent weapon. The vampire’s head rose. He knew the end was coming, his fear was apparent even from the great distance between them. The demon jumped forward toward the vampire clasping the hilt of his sword in both hands. He raised the sword over his head and let it stretch behind his back as he flew toward the vampire. Aurora again wanted to turn her eyes away, but found herself unable to. A deep feeling of dread ran through her as she realized she would have to witness the demon cleave the vampire in half.
In her peripheral vision, Aurora saw something else spring from the shadows of one of the destroyed buildings just as the demon landed and drove his sword toward the vampire’s skull. The new comer landed just in front of the vampire and with a beautiful silver dagger clenched in both hands, stopped the demon’s vicious attack, leaving only an inch between the vampire’s forehead and the sword’s black blade.
The demon and this new arrival stayed in this position with their blades locked together several seconds before the demon jumped back toward Aurora. He continued to pace backward until he was just five feet in front of her. Though he held the sword in front of him in a defensive stance, ready for any attack, the demon’s posture seemed less aggressive.
Aurora could see the new threat clearly now. His blood red hair went down to the middle of his back. He had a jovial grin and she could see his fangs. He wore no shirt and over his heart there was a symbol that seemed to be branded into his skin. It looked like a star that was exploding and moving away from it in four directions were silver daggers just like the one he held. He was slender but toned. His pure black eyes looked upon the demon as he smiled. They glowed emerald in the night. Not a fierce burning like the demon’s enraged eyes, but more that of a cat whose eyes caught the light in the dark. He wore normal black jeans with a belt and pair of boots similar to the demon’s. The buckle of the belt was a same symbol that was etched into his chest and the short sheath of his dagger was attached on the right side of the belt.
“Celestial,” the demon muttered to this new vampire.
“Daemort, my friend, it has been some time,” Celestial said as he sheathed his dagger then looked at the other vampire, sighing and shaking his head slightly.
“I assume this is one of your new vampires, Celestial?” Daemort followed suit and placed his sword back into its sheath, but Aurora noticed he kept his hand on the clasp.
“Yes, Blair here is a recent addition to my covenant,” Celestial responded.
“He isn’t much of a fighter,” Daemort commented roughly. “How long have you been watching?”
“I’ve been watching since the fight started,” Celestial answered. “I was close enough to feel that a member of my covenant feared for his life, so I came to see what was happening.”
Blair looked up at his master in shock. “You’ve been here the whole time and you just let him do this to me?” he yelled.
In response to Blair’s question, Celestial turned around quickly and backhanded him right across the still bleeding cuts from the demon’s claws. “Never talk to me like that,” he growled. “Yes, I was watching. I wanted to see how you would react and I was very disappointed. You actually stayed to fight. I thought you were smarter than that, Blair. Do you realize how powerful he is? Luck wouldn’t even help you beat him in one on one combat. I expected you to run, but you didn’t so I watched until I was forced to intervene to save your life.”
“Why would I run, he’s just a demon, how strong could he be?” Blair countered.
“Blair, you should have been able to tell you were outmatched, I can’t believe you can’t sense such a difference in power. He awakened on par with me. A pure demon of immense power. Few awakened higher than us, and just as few were on our level. The only ones more powerful us in the beginning were the Brotherhood themselves. Daemort, that name you may not have heard, but there is one that all the Chosen have heard rumors of. Blair, meet the White Haired Demon of Death.” He bowed slightly and stretched his arm out toward the demon.
Blair looked at the demon in shock and Aurora could see the fear this name inspired in him. It was clear he couldn’t believe he had fought him and survived.
Celestial turned back toward the demon and said “What did he do to anger you so, Daemort? It’s rare that I have ever seen you enraged. You usually keep your emotions much more controlled. How has my subordinate offended you so?”
Daemort did not react immediately. After a half minutes pause, he stepped to the side and turned to look at her. His eyes were no longer burning red, but had transformed into a mesmerizing light blue. She looked at his face and saw something she recognized in those eyes, but she couldn’t place it. They were now filled with emotion that was so far from angry it seemed unimaginable after the fight she had just witness. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had looked at her that way.
Celestial looked from Daemort to her and back at the demon, “Is that her...?” He asked in a voice she could barely hear from the distance between them. His tone and expression made it clear he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“Yes, it is,” was Daemort’s only response.
Celestial’s gaze locked onto her and Aurora clenched her teeth. She couldn’t imagine how any of this could be about her, but this was the second time she had been referred to as the reason for his anger with Blair. As he began to walk slowly toward her and the demon, it became clear to Aurora that he studied her with nothing but curiosity and amazement. His movements reminded her of someone trying to approach a skittish cat without scaring it away.
He stopped about two feet in front of the demon. The perplexed look remained on his face for a few seconds, and then quickly changed to a joyous smile. Aurora jumped in surprise as Celestial stepped forward quickly with a laugh and trapped Daemort in a rough hug. “Marvelous, I cannot believe you found her. How?”
“One of Orpheus’s tips finally panned out,” Daemort replied, looking unconformable being hugged. As Aurora watched their exchange, she thought she saw a slight smile touch the demon’s lip.
“Orpheus is always quite determined when there is a profit to be made,” Celestial responded. “It was inevitable between you and Khaos looking for her and Orpheus’s intelligence network assisting you that you would find her if she was alive. Though we did all have our doubts on that matter.”
Daemort turned his head toward Aurora, “It was a small chance. But following it has finally paid off.”
Aurora found that the fear that had constricted her voice in her throat and paralyzed her limbs had abated. She looked back into the demon’s eyes and asked, “Who are you?”
Daemort didn’t answer in words. He simply lowered his head and moved a hand to the back of his neck. When he brought it back in front of him there was something in it. He threw it down to Aurora and she caught it. It was a simple silver necklace with a heart shaped charm on it. It wasn’t possible. She could barely breathe looking at the necklace. It didn’t make any sense, but when she looked at his eyes again she knew it was true. “Oh my God, Vlad. You’re one of them,” her words barely a whisper.
“Yes, I am,” Daemort replied. Aurora saw a brief hint of sadness before his expression turned cold once more. He turned back toward Celestial. “I suppose you won’t let me kill that little bastard?” He asked, nodding his head toward Blair.
“You know I can’t let you kill him, Daemort,” they were both talking in low voices so the conversation wouldn’t carry to the other vampire. “He is a member of my covenant and I cannot just stand by and let you kill him. Don’t worry, he will be punished for his stupidity, but I can’t let you kill him in my presence or leave him here to die. I would lose the respect of my subordinates. They expect protection for their loyalty, you know how it works,” he chuckled. “Even in this new world we have to deal with politics if we wish to lead.”
“Fine, I’ll let you deal with him because of our friendship,” Daemort said in a growl of reluctance.
“Good, I would hate to have to fight you over it,” Celestial replied with a wink. Daemort smirked in response. Celestial looked around as if he was expecting someone else to arrive. “Where is Khaos hiding? I thought she would have shown her face by now.”
“Khaos isn’t here,” Daemort answered. “I came on this mission alone.”
Celestial raised an eyebrow at Daemort. “She can’t be happy about that. Khaos was never one to stand being left behind.”
“She wasn’t exactly pleased, but she understands my reasons for wanting to do this alone,” Daemort said. “Your vampire isn’t looking very good over there.”
Celestial looked back at Blair. Aurora saw that Daemort was right. The vampire was lying on his back breathing heavily. The pool of blood welled under his lower body from the wound on his leg. “No, no he doesn’t. I should probably get him back to the covenant before he bleeds to death.” Celestial looked down at Aurora. “You’re lucky he found you, Aurora. It’s a chaotic and harsh world we now live in. Few humans ever receive this kind of protection. No one will harm you as long as you’re with him. Remember that.” She could see in his eyes that he believed ever word he spoke.
Daemort and Celestial clasped arms and shook. “Give my regards to Khaos,” Celestial said to Daemort. Daemort nodded in response. Celestial walked back to Blair and picked him up from the side where the dagger had punctured his knee. He grabbed the other vampire’s bloody dagger and they started to walk away. They were gone in an instant. Aurora couldn’t believe they could still move so fast with one of them injured.
Daemort looked at Aurora and the worn clothes she was wearing and asked, “Are you cold?” The weather was unpleasant. A light drizzle fell from the sky and a strong wind blew westward. The temperature had dropped several degrees as the day shifted to night.
An expression of shock filled Aurora’s face. “Am I cold?” She said lightly as she pushed herself to her feet. “Am I cold?” She said with a little more force, her features turning from shocked to angry. “You disappear a year and a half ago without a word to me or anyone else and the first thing you have to say to me is, are you cold?” Aurora was screaming now. “What the hell happened to you, Vlad? We searched for you everywhere for months, but there was no trace of you,” she poked him roughly on the shoulder. “How could you just leave like that? And then all hell breaks loose and I finally find you alive after a damn year of this shit and I find out you are one of them? And you want to know if I’m cold?”
Daemort sighed and removed his cloak. “Perhaps I should have thought a little more before I spoke,” he held the cloak out to her, but she didn’t reach to accept it. “I will explain everything, but now is neither the place nor time for it. Please take the cloak. It will keep you warm.”
Aurora pushed his arm away. “I don’t want your cloak. I want some kind of explanation. Now,” she demanded, crossing her arms stubbornly. “What happened to you?”
“Aurora, you should know it is not safe here,” Daemort responded. “You have already almost been killed tonight. Come with me so we can speak somewhere safe.”
She laughed coldly at him. “Safe? Nowhere is safe anymore. Why would I go with you? Those are the same lines that vampire tried to use on me. I don’t have any reason to trust you anymore, Vlad. I wasn’t frozen in place by any normal fear,” she stated glaring at him. “One look from you and I couldn’t move.”
“I have looked for you for a long time. I didn’t want you to run away before I could talk to you,” he replied as if it was pure logic. “I understand you have no reason to trust me, but I can keep you safe. I promised you a long time ago that I would protect you. Now I just need you to let me.”
“I don’t know you anymore. The only thing I recognize about you is your eyes,” she replied. “As far as I know, you are just one of the monsters now.”
“You may not recognize me, but you know who I am,” Daemort answered. “A lot of things have changed since we were last together, but how I feel about you has not. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t done horrible things. All of the Chosen have done horrible things. We were reborn in blood and trained to deal death. But I fought through it for the hope of finding you,” he looked at her with familiar emotions and Aurora felt an old flutter fill her stomach. “It is a harsh world, Aurora, to have survived this long you know exactly how true that is. You will find very few people you can trust in it. You may not believe me, but I am the one you can trust most,” he reached a hand out toward her. “Aurora, would you rather continue to be alone in this world or take your chances with me?”
Aurora pondered over his words for a minute before deciding. She ignored his hand. “Fine, where are we going?”
“Khaos and I have a base not far from here. It is where we live and conduct our business,” Daemort momentarily eyed the necklace Aurora still held onto. When he looked back into her eyes, he added, “We will be able to talk safely there.”
“Good,” she lifted up the necklace and put it on, letting the charm fall under the neckline of her shirt. “How long will it take to get there? It has been a long day.”
“Walking, it will take about three hours. We could get there much quicker if I carried you and you would be able to rest,” Daemort offered.
Aurora looked at him scornfully. “I can walk on my own.”
“Fine,” he grabbed his cloak off the ground and began to walk away. “Try not to fall behind.”
“Who is Khaos?” Aurora asked as she caught up and matched Daemort’s pace. It was a faster walk than she was use to, but not so fast she would wear out quickly.
“She is my business partner.”
“What kind of business?”
“We are bounty hunters.”
“Oh great, you’re killers for hire,” Aurora responded with a bitter laugh. “That’s reassuring.”
“It should be,” Daemort replied bluntly. “We have survived a lot of dangerous situations.”
“So have I. And I haven’t had to kill anyone,” Aurora countered.
Daemort did not respond, but he picked up his pace slightly. It was comfortable for him, but just short of a jog for Aurora. She didn’t complain, concentrating on keeping up with him. They remained silent as they traveled. Once outside of the rubble of the destroyed city, the landscape seemed almost peaceful even with the dreary weather. The lack of cars and people made for a quiet trip. There was the occasional clap of thunder in the distance and the howl of the wind, but nothing else. The landscape was open so that even in the dark of a stormy night it would be impossible for anyone to sneak up on them.
After about a half hour, Daemort slowed his pace. At this point, Aurora’s breathing had become heavy and she was thankful for the change. The remainder of the walk was long and quiet. Daemort said nothing to her and she had nothing to say to him. She wasn’t use to traveling with a companion so the silence didn’t bother her. It gave her a chance to contemplate the events of the evening. To be with someone she knew before the world had gone into this downward spiral should have been comforting. Finding Vlad had been her reason for wandering from human community to human community and never settling in one place. Discovering that he was one of the creatures that had caused all this destruction made everything much more confusing.
When Daemort stopped, Aurora almost ran into him, lost in her own thoughts. They stood in front of a ramp that led down into the ground. “We are here,” Daemort said to her, ignoring that fact that she had almost collided with him.
“This base of yours is underground?”
“Yes, it’s safer that way. It allows for greater security,” he answered, before leading her down the ramp.
She looked at the small enclosure they had walked into. There was no door. They were surrounded by concrete in every direction except the one they entered from. “How do you get in?”
“The entrance is hidden, only Khaos and I can open it.” Daemort turned from her and pressed on the seemingly solid wall. A small square pushed in with a small click. As the square moved back to its original position, a hidden door on the wall of the passage moved to the side, revealing a small keypad. He typed in a long code on the keypad. A few second after he stopped typing, the keypad concealed itself and simultaneously the wall in front of them slid open. It revealed a door with a two hand shaped scanners. Daemort removed his gloves and placed his hands onto the scanners. A blue light ran from the top of each scanner to the bottom. As soon as it hit the bottom, the door pushed open, splitting down the middle.
Daemort walked in, but Aurora didn’t follow him immediately. He looked back at her questioningly. “Is it as complicated to get out as it is to get in?”
“Only Khaos and I can open the doors to leave as well,” Daemort responded calmly. “Once inside, you will not be able to leave on your own.”
“So once the doors shut I am trapped unless you let me out?”
“I have no wish to keep you prisoner, Aurora. You followed me here, just trust me a while longer. If you wish to leave, you will be allowed to,” he turned from her and walked into the entrance.
Though she was annoyed by his obvious confidence that she would follow him, she walked through the door. Once she had passed the threshold, the doors shut behind her. The hallway they entered was about twenty feet long and sloped slightly downward. There was a door in the center of the left wall, but Daemort walked past it. At the end of the hallway there was a final door.
Daemort placed his hand on the doors handle and turned to Aurora. “This is the last one before we enter. Khaos will probably be waiting for me. She will probably be surprised that I found you. Just a warning, she is very…affectionate.” He looked into something on the front of the door. “It’s a retinal scanner,” he explained, anticipating her question before she could ask it. She heard the click of a lock just before he pushed the door open.
It was much warmer inside the base than it had been outside. Aurora was relieved for the increased temperature. She let her eyes move slowly around the room. It was a simple, furnished room. It looked more like a basement than anything else. There were a few recliners and a couch surrounding a coffee table. In one corner there was a generator with a couple computers and some other electronics plugged into it.
“Daemort, darling you’re finally back,” said a girl who ran in from another room. The girl threw herself into his arms, paying no attention to Aurora. She was slightly taller than him. Her fiery red hair mixed in with his white locks as they embraced. She was one of the most beautiful women Aurora had ever seen, even though she was wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans. Aurora couldn’t imagine this girl being a bounty hunter.
“Khaos, I found her,” Daemort said this lightly to keep the emotion out of his voice.
Khaos finally looked behind him and noticed Aurora. Her face lit up with joy as she looked at him, as if she was channeling the emotion he was attempting to hide. She hugged him again before turning her attention back to Aurora. “Finally! This is so great. We put a lot of effort into finding you. So many times he’s gone out looking for you and come back disappointed. We were starting to lose hope,” she hugged Aurora, lifting her right off her feet in her excitement. It happened so fast that Aurora couldn’t even react.
Khaos put Aurora down and walked over to Daemort. She slid an arm around his waist. Aurora gave a questioning look to Daemort. He averted his from her momentarily before speaking. “Come, there is one other person you should meet before you get settled in.”
Daemort walked to the hallway at the end of the room and turned down it. Aurora followed because there wasn’t anything else to do. At the end of the hall, he came up to a door and knocked on it. “Come in,” said a voice from inside. He entered and left the door open. The room they entered was filled with computer equipment and electronics, including two generators. There were multiple monitors on the walls as well as tables covered with microscopes, test tubes, and chemicals. It was what one might imagine a secret government research lab to look like.
Most of the monitors were on, but only one was busy with activity. A dozen windows switched between one another quickly. The images on the monitor stopped and the chair in front of it turned toward them. “Congratulations, Daemort. Victory is finally at hand,” the boy said with a smile. He looked like he belonged in this setting. His bowl cut was unkempt and light brown. His glasses were thick and his forgettable brown eyes had dark bags underneath them. He was slightly overweight and was obviously human.
“Thank you,” Daemort responded with a small smile. “Aurora, this is Fred. He is our technical genius. He pretty much runs our base.” Fred gave her an awkward smile and a quick wave.
“Hello, Fred. It is nice to see another human here. Are you here by choice?” Aurora asked bluntly.
“Of course I am. Khaos and Daemort are very good to me. They took me in and offered me protection. I share with them my expertise and they share theirs with me. I wouldn’t dream of leaving the base.”
“You don’t ever leave?”
“No. Why would I want to?” Fred stated matter of factly. “I have what I enjoy here. All that is out there for humans is death and starvation.”
Aurora chose not to respond. After a few seconds of silence, Khaos took over the conversation. “I think it is time you give of the details of this fruitful mission Daemort.”
Daemort leaned against a tablet as he gave Khaos and Fred the details of the rescue. Aurora paid little attention. She caught a word here or there, but mostly thinking to herself about her current predicament. She had no idea whether or not she had made the right decision, but she was stuck with it at this point.
“So Heaven’s Dusk has expanded its hunting ground out that far?” Khaos said when Daemort was finished his tale. “Celestial and Twilight have gathered quite a little army around them.”
“That does seem to be the case. But if they are all as weak as Blair those numbers will matter little,” Daemort replied.
Khaos laughed. “Few can deal with you at your normal power level. Enraged you are a monster. I’m guessing he is an average fighter. Celestial is not one for quantity over quality.”
“Perhaps, but it is of little consequence. It was good to see Celestial and better to bring Aurora home.” Daemort stretched his arms above his head and yawned. “It’s getting late. We should be resting up. We have a lot of catching up to do tomorrow. Khaos, could you gather us some clothes for Aurora to sleep in and wear for the next couple of days?” Khaos nodded and slid out of the room. “Aurora, if you follow me I will show you where you can stay for the night,” he walked out without her acknowledging him, leaving her no choice but to follow.
Daemort walked up to one of the doors in the hallway and pulled out a key to unlock it. He opened the door and handed her the key. “You can stay in here for now. This is my room. It should be adequate. We have other rooms, but it will take a while to get one set up.”
“If I am staying in your room where are you going to stay?” Aurora asked.
“I spend most nights in Khaos’s room,” he replied without looking at her. “The training room is down there,” he pointed to a staircase. “We will probably be in there when you get up. There is a bathroom in the room if you want to shower or anything and plenty of music on the computer. The walls are soundproof, so don’t be afraid to play it as loud as you want.”
“A shower would be a relief. They are few and far between these days,” Aurora responded.
“You can enjoy them from now on. We have plenty of hot water. Just so you know, that’s the only key to the room, so no one else will be able to get in once you lock it.”
“I guess if I can’t leave it is at least nice to have privacy.”
“It is a necessary precaution.”
Khaos popped out of her room carrying an armload of clothes. “This should get you by for a while Aurora. When we have a little more time we can get you some of your own.” Aurora took the clothes from Khaos and laid them out on the bed.
“Alright, you should be set for the night. We have a lot to discuss tomorrow. There is a lot you should know and will need to know to survive. How we came to be and such things. Knowledge few humans have. If you need anything, there is a button on Khaos’s door that we will respond to.”
“Very well,” Aurora replied. Both Khaos and Daemort left and she locked the door behind them.
Khaos and Daemort walked together to her room. As soon as they enter, Khaos began to disrobe. She sat on the edge of the bed wearing only her panties waiting for Daemort. “You’ve had quite the day. Ready for bed?”
“Yes,” he replied simply. Khaos stretched out onto of the covers and watched him get ready for bed. While she had just thrown her clothes on the floor, he took the time to put things away neatly. He joined her in bed in his boxers after about a minute, setting his sword beside it.
Khaos curled a leg around his waist and laid a hand on his chest. He put his hand in her hair and she snuggled into his neck. “You think we can trust her?” she asked him.
“I think so. If she wants to stay safe, she will stay. Where else is she going to go to get protection? The humans can’t offer it. They can’t do anything when one of us sets our minds to destroying them. Yes, I think we can trust her.”
“You don’t think I will cause a problem?”
“No, the love that was once between us is one sided now. She is here because it is convenient and I offer protection. That is all,” Daemort stroked her hair and added, “now we should sleep. We have to be up early, it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.”
“Alright,” she said, kissing his cheek then adding in a whisper. “Don’t stay up all night, you need sleep, too.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t be awake long,” they both knew this was a lie, but she did not challenge it. She just pulled tight against him and resting her lips on his neck as she faded off to sleep.