Once in the tunnels everyone’s vision adjusted to the darkness. If I’d been with other Venatori I would have created a light, but I was pretty sure Ryan and I were just fine. I didn’t know who we were going to meet down in the subway tunnels but I had a feeling.
Gauging from the distance we walked I could assume we were pretty near the AU building. And when I saw a ball of fire floating above a man’s head I knew we were meeting Venatori. Which meant I was meeting my father and Emilio. This wasn’t going to go well.
My father and Emilio were standing there with Walker and a few other Venatori of who I did not know. I almost wished in that moment I had penciled on the Exuli tattoo on my temple. Ant was a bundle of reassurance in my head. I spared him a glance and sighed. This was going to be a fucking mess.
Ryan laughed. “We have your back.”
Ant shook his head in the shadows. “How do you do that?”
Ryan smiled. “I know how to read you, which means I can read him. it’s all about observation. You are standing ready to take down whoever attacks him and that means he’s feeling anxious about meeting his father and the other Venatori up ahead. So I wanted to let him know we were on his side. And I wasn’t just talking about Cari and I.”
I opened up my scenes and I felt other vampires hiding in the shadows. “They are here as back up, we aren’t going to ambush anyone. But we don’t trust the Venatori anymore than you do.”
My father stepped out in front of the others and he frowned when he saw me. He flung the light in my direction. I knew he’d notice. His hand reached across and took my chin and tilted my head to check for the tattoo. He leaned it the other way. “What did you do to him?”
“They didn’t do anything to me.” I said. “It’s a long story. One I don’t have time to tell you right now. We have vampires to find.”
Cari pointed down the tunnels. “There is an old nest a few blocks that way. What do you need Nox?”
“What kind of vampire am I hunting for?”
Kai looked at me with confusion. “A vampire, son. There are no kinds.”
“I wasn’t talking to you, Kai.” I said and looked at Cari. “What kind?”
“Old. Second generation. Third possibly, so no one distinct power. Empathy maybe Dominion.”
I nodded. “Did you get Alec to try to call the vampire?”
Cari nodded. “I have. And I tried Desmond but he won’t see me.”
“If this doesn’t work. I’ll talk to him.”
She smiled at me. “I knew you’d say that. But this will work.”
“If you say so.” I smiled.
Kai frowned at me. “Okay tell me what you are doing son.”
“I’m going to search for a specific type of vampire magic. Don’t tell me you didn’t notice that they weren’t all the same.”
Cari sighed. “Most of the New York vampires are shadow or empathy variations, the Venatori wouldn’t know the difference except in other parts of the world.”
Kai asked, “So we are training the kids to fight vampires thinking they are all the same?”
I nodded. “Yep.”
I looked at Ant, “You ready to do this?”
He nodded. “Do we need to sit down?”
I offered him my hand. “I think we are good.”
Ant laughed. “I miss the nails.” He took my head. “Don’t get us killed.”
“I’ll do my best.” I closed my eyes and I focused on my connection to Ant like I had done before. The physical contact helped. I didn’t really know what I was looking for. But I let the power flow through the tunnel walls. I could feel all sorts of magic. Pack magic. Dragons. Vampires. Hell I even felt Venatori magic and human magic. I could have sworn I felt the soft electric surge of Sage’s ability out there. Several blips of it across the city. New York was full of magic. Much more than London had been. I wondered why that was.
Ant muttered. “Evangeline’s necromancy keeps most magic away.”
I nodded. I found old vampire. I opened my eyes and looked at Ant. “You felt that too?”
He nodded. “Could be Bernstein though.”
“Could be. But let’s look anyway. If you have my back. I can keep looking.”
Ant nodded. “I always have your back.”
Ryan and Cari fell into step as Ant and I started walking. She called after us. “Your friends in the shadows Kai Viddens should stay here. The five of you can join us.”
I kept my senses wide and looked back at the Venatori. They didn’t like the idea of working with the vampires. I shrugged. “You can stay there too if you like. Try to kill my friends here and you’ll deal with me.” To go with my threat, I let my power flair and a wind whipped through the tunnel full of suffocating hot water.
Kai sighed. “Nox, you don’t have to show off.”
“I wasn’t. I was showing you I had the power to carry through with my threat.”
One of the other Venatori snorted like I was telling a joke. Ryan smirked. He moved on top of the Venatori, there was a small dagger at the man’s throat. “Can I poke it Mom?”
Cari rolled her eyes. “Ryan, stop playing with the help.”
Ryan pouted and stepped away. “Me, I’ll use this. I saw him make a vampire go crazy with just a thought.”
“It was a lot of thoughts actually.” I said.
“Still thoughts… he could have killed the vamp instead of letting it go back and deliver a message.”
Ryan was tossing the dagger up in the air and catching it. He was being the big bad scary person. And I laughed because all the Venatori including my father were wary of him. And Ryan was probably the least scary of the four of us. He winked at me, he knew he was the least scary. That was the point.
My father caught up to me. “Is everything alright with you?”
I nodded. “Peachy.”
Ant laughed. “He just died and came back, nothings wrong.”
Kai stopped in his tracks but Ant and I kept moving. I think my dad was having a few issues adjusting to the new normal. I didn’t blame him.