I felt a presence behind me when I headed out of the casino back towards Alex’s place. I wasn’t sure the time, but I knew I was way early still. As I walked I had a strange feeling, it was almost like someone was following me.
I let my senses go and felt everything around me. It was freeing yet painful to feel a new busy city. New York magics had become part of me but Vegas was another beast. It was familiar yet strange. I felt vampire in the distance, weres were everywhere. I felt a few Venatori around me and there were no dragon’s. Too much glitz here to keep your hoard here in Las Vegas.
I kept walking and as I did I felt one particular essense following me, I’d felt it before – several times. I headed down an alley way again this time hoping whoever would follow me. I pulled the veil around me as entered fully. I didn’t walk in far before turning around to see a man standing in the entrance glancing down the way I’d come.
He was handsome in a rugged sort of way, his dirty blonde hair and his well kept facial hair were nice but he had the power of were around him. I stepped out of the veil and smiled, “Can I help you some?”
The man chuckled, “I should have figured you’d lay a trap like this.”
“And you are following me, why?”
“Let’s just say I saw what you did with those boys.”
“What boys?” I asked a little confused. “You me the wolf and the kid in the casino?” The first being easy to spy on, but the latter not so much.
He chuckled again, “I’ve got pretty good eye sight, and can read lips well. All part of the job.”
“And that job is?”
“Right now, to kill you.” There was no action on his part but it wouldn’t take much for him to wolf out so to speak – even if he was a primal cat of some sort, that was as much as I could tell about his magic.
I frowned in response, but he continued. “Don’t worry I’m not going to. At least not anymore.”
“Anymore?” I asked.
“I shot at you twice this morning, surprised you didn’t notice. But then you and your beau were wrapped up pretty much in each other at the time. And you’ve avoided everything else I’ve set in motion.”
“Why are you trying to kill me?” I asked.
“You pissed someone off, they hired me to off you. I’ll have to return the money. I don’t kill philanthropists no matter what I’m paid.”
“Yeah, you know do gooders. And from what I’ve seen you do nothing but good. You help a boy you don’t even know. You are looking out for one of your own who is different. Though I’m not sure how he’s different.”
“The boy is an omega. His pack should protect him instead they shun him for being weak.” I interjected. “And Matt’s a null, he’s special too. Which makes him misunderstood. The Venatori don’t listen to different. Everything has to fit into their little boxes.”
He laughed. “Precisely my point. Any other Venatori would have kept on walking at the very least. The kid could be dead now. But you, you didn’t do any of what I expected. You don’t talk like them. Sure you talk fast and I can’t always make out your words, but you don’t shoot first ask questions later.”
“So you know me from what two days in Vegas?” I smirked.
“After the first missed shot I did some digging.” The man at the end of the alley said. “The CCB in New York has quite the file on you.”
“So you work for the CCB?” I asked.
“I work for whoever pays me. But I have connections with the CCB. They pay well.”
“You kill for a living?”
It was his turn to smirk. “I kill Venatori for a living.”
I sighed, I knew there was an assassin who killed Venatori on missions. He was regarded as being honorable by the supernatural community – had his own set of laws he followed. But he still killed us and he was hunting me. Not good. Though I wondered who had hired him. And I asked him as much, “Who hired you to kill me?”
He grinned at me and took a few steps raising his hands to indicate he was unarmed or at least not going to reach for his weapons which he didn’t really need as he was a werecat of some sort. “I can’t tell you that, Nox. But I can tell you my name.”
I interrupted him, “It’s Darwynn. I know. We all know about Darwynn’s Laws, both sets of them actually. Pretty ingrained in us as myths and legends for one and scientific fact for the other.”
Darwynn smirked, “So we both know each other by reputation it seems.”
“Really? You knew of me before this hit?”
The space between us quickly closed and I could see the amber color of Darwynn’s eyes. He was one of those who had been forced to shift for too long and his eyes got stuck with cat eyes. I’d only seen seen one man with wolf eyes, he was an abused man, he’d attacked me and I defended myself. It was one of the rare kills in my file. He gave me a curt nod, “The New York city kid who is friends with the Prince of New York, works closely with the packs and even has vampire and CCB friends. Of course I know about you. I can’t imagine there is a corner of the world that hasn’t heard about the strange Venatori. Why do you think the landscape of New York’s supernatural is changing. You just dealt with a dragon trying to make his name. You are dealing with vampires here, yes?”
It surprised me to hear Darwynn had heard of me. But Scarlet Snow seemed awful knowledgeable as well. The Vampire prince, Abraham too. “All because of me?” I chortled my response. Yeah right!
“Not you exactly. But the flux of power. New York is a key resources. Whoever wins the Venatori territory, wins the world.”
“That’s not how it works. Mark Green only runs the Venatori.”
Darwynn laughed. “Yeah. A weak old man who is too stupid to kill his only competition.”
“What’s that mean?”
Darwynn shook his head. “Nothing kid. Just change is coming. You can smell it on the air. Every supernatural in Vegas can feel it. Winds of change.” Darwynn turned his back on me and started to walk away.
“You know there is an open and active agreement on you right now.”
Darwynn was smirking as he turned around to look at me. “You going to collect?”
I shook my head. “No. A life for a life.”
He laughed, “So I spare you and you’ll spare me.” And even as he spoke I was winding threads of air around him and as the end of his sentence came to a dangling end I pulled them tight and captured the most wanted man in the world – the hunter of the hunters.
I grinned at him. “You think I’m an easy mark?”
His eyes grew wide as he realized he was trapped – captured. Completely at my will.
I laid a finger against his lips to stop him from speaking, and let the threads loosen. “Just remember Darwynn. You aren’t just letting me walk away from this. I’m letting you walk away too.”
I dropped the threads completely and the therian in front of me nodded. “A life for a life. You aren’t going to report a sighting?”
“No. I won’t even mention you tried to kill me. But when you go back to your employer and tell him you are done. I need you to tell him, I won’t be so nice the next time someone’s sent to kill me.” I heard the white hot heat in my voice .
The small hint of fear had vanished from Darwynn’s face and was replaced with a humorous smirk. “And there it is. The very reason the world fears the strange Venatori boy. A cold, hard threat. I don’t think I’ll be able to do it justice.” He chuckled to himself as he turned to walk away. “A pleasure, Nox Sétanta. I’ll be watching you.”