There was no fighting when we reached the villa. We found Isabel outside casting some sort of spell. She was covered in blood and both Ryan and I rushed to her side. She smiled at us, “It’s not mine. Ant bled for me.”
Ryan raised his eyebrow. “His blood works to keep the villa safe. We need to do the same at the other locations as soon as possible. They will be safe while we take care of this threat.”
I nodded. “What do you need from me?”
Isabel smiled. “Nothing more. You saved my mother. You put an end to the vampires who attacked.”
Ryan laughed. “He sent one home with a message. Valence is going to come after your people for that.”
I sighed. “The boys are safe in the Night Life building. My father and Dorian can take care of themselves. But I can’t convince Sage or Dev and Dee to move out of their houses – even temporarily.”
Ant said from the shadows. “I can give them no choice.”
I let out a long huff of air. “No, that won’t do any good. I need to call Sage and I’ll ask him nicely. And I need to apologize to Dev too.”
Ryan grinned, “Yeah, sorry about that. Which one’s Dev?”
Ant shook his head, “The ice blue eyes – the rock star.”
Ryan nodded his head. I changed the topic. “Igor has a mole, their entrance was a secret to werebears. He blamed Lena, but she’s dead. But I don’t think it was her.”
Ryan added. “She was dating Rhia. She was one of Damian’s allies, Aurora called her people home when this all started. She wouldn’t betray Aurora.”
I asked mostly because I didn’t know, “And Aurora would never side with Valence?”
Ant shook his head. “No. Aurora is 100% behind Mother. She was against creating another enforcer – with me and Tony to help and Cari’s ability to Shadow walk there was no need she could police both regions.”
I nodded. “Alright, then we need to strength the strong holds for our vampires, the bears and the wiccas. And then we go find Rhia. Maybe she can help us figure out which of the werebears had dalliances with vampires other than Lena.”
Ryan asked. “Why dalliances? Couldn’t they just have been friends?”
“Do you tell your friends about your secret tunnels under the Night Life building?”
Ryan sighed. “No. So they were either using the tunnels to sneak in, or they let it slip while in the fog of sex.”
I nodded. “That’s the most likely scenario. But it’s possible it was a long game they have been playing. Did we get our bear ambassador?”
Ant laughed. “Ambassador?”
I nodded. “Sure, why not?”
Ant rolled his eyes, “Yeah he’s patching a wall he busted through in the fight. He’s afraid Il Cane will skin him alive in human form.”
“Why is he afraid of that?” I asked.
Isabel giggled. “Be this one, ” she pointed at Ant, “may have let it slip that his mother likes bear rugs.”
Ryan get loose a hearty laugh. He was bent over holding his stomach. He could barely speak. “Did you show him the rug?”
“I was standing on it.” Ant said with a slight grin, his fangs peaking out his lips. It was a little creepy, but I was used to it. Isabel shivered a little.
“I suppose you have to see it.” I said.
Ant nodded and lead the way through the house and into a trophy room. Not the kind you win at sports – the animal kind – stuffed animals that were once alive. “Did Cari hunt all these?”
Ryan laughed. “No Cari has an aversion to meat, this is a reminant left over from a time when Cari and Edwin were lovers.”
“Edwin?” I asked.
Ant frowned. “Edwin was a therian. He was a big game hunter before he became therian. It’s how he became one to begin with. After he turned he kept the trophies around to remind him that he was an animal. Mother keeps them to reminderself that people can change. Edwin was Chevalier to Dimitri, but he died of some strange disease that affected therians in the new world. Dimitri was heart broken and sent the things here to Cari. To do with what she wanted. Mother couldn’t bear to throw them away. But as a joke, Sal sent Cari a bear skin rug with human apendages made of vinyl resemebling human skin. Mother didn’t find it funny but we keep it on the floor to wipe our feet on.”
Ant pointed to the rug and grinned. “It kinda looks real.”
And it did. It looked like a bear with human arms and legs instead of bear claws. It was creepy. “Cari has an aversion to meat? I asked.
Ryan laughed. “I knew he’d ask about that. The smell of cooking flesh makes Cari sick to her stomach. Always has even as a human.”
I grinned. “The scarest fucking vampire in the world is a vegetarian?”
Ryan nodded. “Amusing isn’t it. Thankfully it doesn’t translate to blood or we’d all be fucked. A hungry fucking vampire sucks, but Il Cane hungry, the world better run and hide and pray the sun never sets.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.