Hunting In the City – The Cafeteria

The cafeteria was loud and noisy and I ate the piece as Walker stabbed the canned vegetables that were likely very bland. I frowned. “I can make you better than that.”

He looked up and frowned at me. “So you do cook?”

“I do. I taught myself how when I was 10.”

“Why?”

“Because I needed more food then I could get in the cafeteria.” In the middle of the last word my tray swooshed across the table. I looked up to the now towering black man over my side of the table. “Nice to see you too, Aaron.”  My voice dripped with sarcasm.

My former roommate looked over at Walker and frowned, “You buddying up with him?”

Walker grinned. “If I am. You gonna throw my tray across the table too?”

Aaron ignored me. “I don’t suppose so, why you with the fag?”  He grabbed the top of my head and messed my hair up in attempt to piss me off.

“Rivera assigned my case to him. ”  Disdain and disapproval rolled off his tongue.  “He’s lead on the dragon robbery now. I’m sure she’ll get captured and tried and some other lucky guy gets to kill her instead of me.”

I interjected, “You could still kill her, if it all came down to it. Just make it a condition of working with me. I’m sure they’ll obliged you. Who likes killing a creature they’ve not had to hunt down, at least you volunteer and you did the work to get here there.”

Walker looked at me like I was crazy. I added. “I’ve never worked with anyone before there has been no one to make the claim. I don’t see why if she’s found guilty that you can’t do the deed. I’m not going to.”
Aaron laughed. “Wuss.”

I shrugged. “I can take your ass any day, Aaron.”

“Oh really?” He grabbed the back of my neck .

I wove a solid bar of air between me and Aaron and used it as a lever to bring him to the ground and I was on top of him as he landed, my knee on the base of his throat. He was looking up at me in with wide black eyes and I smiled down at him.

“Really.” I stood up and offered him a hand up. “I don’t have to play nice anymore, Aaron. Remember that.”

He slapped my hand away instead of allowing me to help him. He frowned at Walker and walked away from us.

Walker refrained from laughing until the big black bully of my youth was out of ear shot. “I will have to remember you don’t fight fair.”
“Do you plan on fighting with me?” I asked as I finished the bread in the bag since my sudolunch was gone.

He shook his head and blond strands fell over his gray eyes before he pushed it back into place. On another day he might be cute, but I didn’t mix work with pleasure.

“So. What do you have on your mysterious dragon?” I asked so we could begin the arduous task of hunting dragons.

Walker pulled his laptop out of his bag.  After everything booted up he pulled up several files. “These are the photos we got of her using her fire breath. We have little more than these pictures.”

“You try to finger her for other robberies?” I asked.

“I did. Facial recognition was crap, she never looked at the camera. They did a good job casing it.”

“What did she take? Money? Stuff out of the safety deposit boxes?”
“Reports says she took nothing.”

“What?” I was confused now. “Nothing?”

“She put in a USB stick into all the computers and ran a program. In other cases she took the money from the drawer. But that was it. Other than she’s a dragon we could let the police handle her.”

“I’d like to know what they put in the system.”

“The human police won’t tell us anything.” Walker frowned. “They have a security group working on it. Won’t say who. Our contacts can’t get shit from them. Maybe it’s just cause I’m a newb. I don’t know.”

I got up and sat down next to Walker so we could both look at the laptop and loo at the pictures. She never looked at the camera, but her man had a leather jacket with a patch on it. “Did we get any good pictures of this here?” I pointed to it.

Walker shrugged. “I don’t know. Why?”

“I think I know the patch.” I frowned, if I was right this was not a good thing.
We searched the few images that Walker had, but there wasn’t much to go on. The image however got clearer in one and it was a patch I recognized. I pointed at the image. “Zoom in here?”

Walker looked at me with disgust. “What?” I asked. “It’s your laptop. I will not presume to use it.”

Walker smirked. “I figured maybe you didn’t know how.” He pushed the laptop my way.

I used the track pad to zoom in to the patch. I could make out the dragon head even though the picture was pixalated. “I’ve never seen it on a patch before. The Last Phoenix tattoo their skin or use brands. They don’t wear leather jackets. But they are very much like a biker gang.”

“The Last Phoenix?” Walker asked.

“A dragon gang. They are harmless – for the most part.” I stood up and closed the laptop lid. “Let’s go to the Archives. We can find out where they like to hang out.”

Walker put his things away and laughed, “What, you don’t know where they like to hang out? I thought you were tight with the monsters.”

“I wouldn’t say tight.” I grinned at him. “I have two friends who are supernatural in nature.”

We left the cafeteria, but I didn’t get far. A woman stopped in front of me, she looked back at her friends with a giggle and then back at me with her bright green eyes. I remembered her from school.  

She smiled at me. “Hi. That was a pretty cool move.”

I smiled. “Nothing special. What can I do for you?”

Her green eyes sparkled as she glanced back at her friends again who were nodding at her. “I bet you don’t remember me. I’m Beatrice Magellan.”

“I remember you Treec. You’ve lost weight. You look good.” Treec had been a large girl as a child. It was uncommon as a Venatori. Our metabolism prevented it. But some of us didn’t get the better part of the gene pool – to heavy on the human DNA.

Walker grabbed my arm. “Come on, let’s go. We have a job to do.”

“Soon as Treec asks me what she wanted to ask me.” I gave the girl with some nice curves a smile, “Well Treec?”

She blushed. “I was hoping we could talk over dinner sometime.”

“Talk about what?” I asked.

“I heard you were almost up on time … ” She paused and looked back at your friends yet again, then back at me like she as a blush crept up her neck and over her cheeks.

I couldn’t help but grin while I waited for her to finish her question.
We stared at each other for several seconds. “up on what?” I asked with a mischievous smile.

She sighed and her blush grew deeper. “I heard you were looking for partners to um… have children.”

“I am.” I pulled my phone out. “How about Monday night at 6pm?”

Treec shrugged. “Really? I didn’t think you’d be interested…”

“Interested in you?” I asked and she blushed again. “Why?”

She looked down and shuffled her foot against the floor before she spoke quietly, “I’m not your usual type.”

I took her hand and lifted it to my lips. “I don’t have a type, Duckling. 6pm on Monday. I’ll pick you up and we’ll go out.”

She nodded, and she turned redder as she turned back to her friends.

I started for the door and Treec’s friends all giggled as I walked by. I gave them a flourished bow as I passed them with a wink. The cafeteria was back to its original state. We left the noisy chaos.

The Last Phoenix (in order)

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