Chapter 4

The scent of blood was strong here. These guys obviously got their food as take-out, rather than dine in. With the way Gramps had been going on about this Slayer chick, Sangria wasn't surprised. If she'd taken out their boss, they were likely to be leery of facing her.

It was a good thing she'd eaten before she got here, or the scent might just have sent her into frenzy. As it was, it made her want to fight even more. Blood tended to do that.

"So?" Lazarus murmured. "What's the plan?"

"Gramps do you know where they're keeping the books?" Deacon asked. Gramps pointed to an alter at the back of the cavern. Deacon nodded thoughtfully. "There is a ward in place. But I believe Pyramus and I can overcome it." He turned to the others. "Might I prevail upon you all to keep the vermin off our backs whilst I and my clan-mate procure what we came for?"

"Gramps go with them and keep 'em hidden." Cameron said. "I count at least ten in there but there's a few nooks and crannies where there might be more. Lazarus, you check that out. Sangria, hit 'em hard'n fast. The rest of you, do the best you can."

Sangria sure didn't need any more coaxing than that. Getting a running start, she willed blood to her legs, giving her extra jumping power, and landing right smack in the middle of the Soulless Vampires. As she landed she struck out with her right hand, smacking one of them so hard she nearly snapped his neck. "Brujah bitch-slap kids." She grinned. "Come get some."

Behind her, Lazarus' form shifted, shrinking and getting furry. Soon a small bat fluttered about the cavern taking in the lay of the land.

Lugh suddenly flickered into view as a Vampire exploded into dust. "Oh dear," he said in a British accent. "It would appear that I am visible." Two Vampires in game face approached him. "Look!" he cried, pointing. "A distraction!" One of them actually looked. The minute he turned away, he lost track of Lugh and could see him no more. The other one found himself staked by Celia, who disappeared again before the distracted one could find her.

Cameron was a blur of punches, kicks and claws, laying open soulless left and right. Though they weren't killed, they were taken out of the fight enough for the moment. One slash left a head connected only by the barest margin. Sangria took care of that.

Two of the soulless attempted to escape, only to find Guinevere and Dominique in their path. The Lesser Vampires revealed their true faces, growling.

"Oh God," Guinevere gasped, recoiling in mock horror. Dominique merely whimpered. Now grinning, the two escapees bore down on them, anticipating a bit of fun. Until both Toreador bared their fangs, hissing, their eyes glowing. "We're scarier than you are," Dominique said in a sing-song voice as the two fled in terror into the waiting claws of Cameron.

Deacon smiled slightly. From the sounds of things his companions were making short work of the Soulless. The lesser clans might be inferior, with the POSSIBLE exception of Ventrue, they certainly were useful.

Then his smile faded. Pyramus was standing by the edge of a pool of blood. He nodded in approval as his subordinate filled several small bottles with the dark red fluid. Never knew when blood like that could come in handy. He looked forward to trying to identify it.

"Not exactly the job we came to do." Gramps growled.

"Be silent Nosferatu." Deacon admonished. "You'll blow our cover. For your information, that blood may have potential despite it's staleness."

It didn't take them long to find the ward. As Deacon had suspected, it was strong. Even the Soulless were capable of great arcane power, and if one could infiltrate a Nosferatu lair and make off with his treasures, it stood to reason that he was not lacking in power. Though his botching of the opening of the Hellmouth spoke of one who had no clue how to properly wield that power. It was just as well that such a fool was dead.

Deacon beckoned to Pyramus to join him and the two stood together, silently testing the barrier.


Miami, 1985

"Take a wrong turn sweetheart?" the biggest of the men asked, leering. The four of them had her penned in, blocking any hope for escape. Sarah swallowed, cursing her boyfriend for pissing her off and making her decide to walk home. Had he not been such a jerk, they could have shared a cab and thus gotten to her apartment without incident.

Instead she found herself trapped in an alley by four men, about to be…she didn't want to think about it.

*ZAP*

Three men. Thank you tazer.

What was it you were supposed to yell in a case like this? Not help, not rape, because no one would come. Fire. That was it, because everyone would come to watch.

One of the men slapped the tazer from her hand. Another seized her throat, choking off any cry she might have attempted.

"Bit-"

*EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!*

The piercing shriek from her air whistle caused her remaining assailants to grasp their ears, giving her a chance to escape. She fled back to the street, and was yanked roughly into a doorway. A woman held her fast, one hand over her mouth, the other arm wrapped tightly around her waist.

"Well done girl. Don't worry my dear child. When I'm through, no one will ever victimize you again."


Sunnydale Catacombs, the Present

Sangria grinned as she took out another soulless. Her sire had been right, and one hell of a teacher. But the soulless were strong as well, and a powerful blow from one sent her sailing across the cave, colliding with Lugh, bowling him over.

"See what I did there?" Lugh asked. "I broke your fall. Completely on purpose."

"And you didn't even cop a feel." She grinned. She'd always liked Malks, and this one was especially amusing.

"Well you landed on my good arm."

Sangria threw him at the Vamp that had punched her, then used her celerity to arrive at about the same time. Being hit with a flying Malkavian made him somewhat an easy target for staking.

"Well that was a bit of a rush." Lugh said.

"Which, flying or being manhandled by a sexy Brujah?"

"….Yes."

From the sounds of things, the lesser Vampires were being taken care of quite handily. Which was good because Deacon and Pyramus certainly did not need any distractions right now. Gramps looked anxiously from them, to the fight, making sure none of the soulless were coming in their direction, but the others seemed to be keeping them quite busy.

"It's done." Deacon said finally.

"What that's it?" Gramps asked.

"What were you expecting? A great unholy noise and flash of light?"

"Something like that yeah."

"Not everyone's a show off. Get the book and lets get out of here. This place is filthy."

"Oh, I don't know," Gramps said. "Once we clean out the soulless this might make a good lair."

"Seemed kind of easy to get to." Pyramus said.

Gramps shrugged. "Yeah, but it's roomy, has that old time feel to it. Just a bit of a fixer upper."

Deacon gave Pyramus an amused look. His protégé was discussing real estate with a Nosferatu. "Ahem, Gramps if you would be so kind as to pick out your book? Pyramus, get the others."

Gramps soon found the book they were searching for, and the Tremere stuffed the rest into their bags.

"Folks we're done here!" Gramps shouted.

The soulless that weren't dead, were in no position to stop them.

"Not yet we're not." Zephyr said. "No survivors, no witnesses. Remember the masquerade."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah." Sangria grumbled, and went and staked the remaining soulless. "Seems kinda silly keeping our existence a secret from, y'know, Vampires."

"Fortunately for the Camarilla, your feelings on the matter are unimportant." Zephyr sneered. "Now, we are ready to depart, and Gramps can tell us where to find these rings."

"Suits me." The Brujah growled. "Less time I gotta put up with you, the better."


Wesley groaned, his eyes opening, then shutting immediately. His head was pounding, and he was hungry.

"Are you all right?" the familiar voice of Rupert Giles asked.

Wes opened his eyes again, and looked around. Hospital. He was in the hospital. That did not bode well. "What happened?" he asked.

"I was hoping you could tell me." Giles said, wiping his glasses. "I received a call from the hospital saying you'd been brought in by two college students. They did not give their names. The doctors say you appear to be suffering from blood loss."

Wes' remaining blood chilled. "Vampire?"

"I don't think so." Giles assured him. "For one thing, there are no wounds. For another, you're alive. From what I can discern, you were never in any real danger from the blood loss."

Wes frowned. "Something else then. Something that…feeds on blood but, leaves no mark? What kind of creature does that without killing?"

"I don't know, but I intend to find out. For all we know it would have killed you but was frightened off by those that brought you in. What do you remember about last night?"

"I went to the University Campus," he said. "To investigate a pillar of flame. I don't know what happened after I-"

"Pillar of flame?" Giles said, startled.

"Uh, well yes. Do you suppose the two events could be-"

But Giles was already out the door. Probably off to do research.

"I, I'll just wait here then." Wes said. "Un-until my strength returns and I can assist you."

To be continued…