The Night Life building was full of people. In the City that never sleeps the Night Life building was the heart of it all with 24 hour lawyer services and 24 schools. This was a place that was truly what New York embodied and it was owned by a vampire.
I didn’t say where I’d meet Il Cane, but I knew she’d find me. I went to Starbucks, which was also owned by a vampire and ordered a large black coffee, I didn’t expect I was going to sleep anytime soon. Dee would have already told Dev and Sage and I was sure to have a fight when I got home.
Walking out a small brunette fell in step with me and I smiled. “Il Cane I presume?”
There was a faint smile. “What gave it away?”
I laughed, “I don’t know maybe the swords hanging at your sides?”
She stopped and looked at me with worry. Or was it anger? “You can see them? they are hidden in a pocket of shadow.”
I turned and looked at her, “You can’t hide from me in the shadows. I can’t see the patterns that hide it. It’s not the same magic as my own, but I can see it. Like I can see the form of a dragon in the the patterns. It’s my gift.”
Il Cane nodded and started walking again. “Join me in my apartment.”
I followed, I was here at her request. I didn’t need to confirm or deny my ascent I was going to go regardless of my wishes now that I was with Il Cane herself. She wasn’t so scary in person. At least she didn’t look scary. But I could feel the power rolling off of her in waves and I also knew that she was holding it back. That was the power of Il Cane.
We rode the elevator, no one else got on with us despite the line that was there behind us. “I will help your father with his problem, if you help me with mine. I cannot be in two places at once.”
I sighed. “How can I help you? I have no resources at my command.”
A faint smile spread across he lips. “I have resources. I need a capable fighter and a diplomat. Ant is one, but not the other.”
“I’m no diplomat.”
Il Cane’s curt laugh startled me. “You are speaking with me. You have spoken to Desmond and Marshall of the CCB on numberous occasions. You bend the ear of Olmos and of Sheridan. The Dragons come when you call. You say you are not a diplomat, but your actions speak louder than your words.”
I did my best not to think about rising above the ground in an elevator. Since leaving the AU building and their glass death trap I was more ammendable to elevators, though my anxiety as it was it didn’t help. The small dangerous vampire placed a hand on my arm and the emotions fled into calm rational thought. Her smile was faint, “You are making me nauseous, otherwise I would not be so bold.”
“It’s alright.” I sighed. “My life is upside down and the heights aren’t helping.”
The elevator jolted to a stop. Or at least that’s what it felt like to me. It probably slide to it’s normal stop with great ease. But I was heightened. “Call me Cari. What I feel of your thoughts, Il Cane is only a title.”
I nodded. “Yes ma’am.” I grinned. “Cari it is.”
Cari punched in a code and didn’t bother hiding it from me. “Did you catch it?”
I looked at her and she clarified, “The code, did you catch it all?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
She smiled. “Good. Use it as necessary. All five floors use the same codes.” She walked down the empty hall towards the large gilded doors at the end. They swung open with no magic, but it was like watching magic as the world bent to Il Cane’s will. She was powerful here, but she was even more powerful in her own home. The men and women here lived immortal lives with her, but remained human. Their only requirement was to feed their master. Il Cane didn’t feed like other vampires – she feed only on the willing and only on six individuals. I’d met her Chevalier with Ant years ago. But he was the only one I knew.
“Nox, sit. We have much to discuss.”