My first Rachel Morgan story, based after The Outlaw Demon Wails. This story should be short...should be. Not sure about how many chapters just yet, but I'll figure it out. Hope you enjoy.


Chapter One

Tiny bits of gravel crunched under my low-heeled boots, and I winced slightly, making sure there weren't any random vampires around my little hiding area. I grounded my heels into the concrete floor, sighing when I didn't hear anymore crunching sounds. Fingering the splat gun at my right hip, I glared down the long, dark corridor of doom. How the hell did I manage to get into these situations? I'd been stuck in this damnable dungeon for the past half-week on what should have been a simple infiltration and retrieval mission. But no, of course not – why would I be able to have a mission that went as it was supposed to?

My werewolf friend, David Hue, had come to me on Wednesday with a job proposal of sorts. A prosperous family of werewolves had been on the outs with a few rogue vampires, and some things went a little wrong, apparently. To sum it all up, vampires lost and the weres won, so the vamps got all pissy and stole the weres' little girl, Angel. Classic.

So, here I am, in a dungeon – or what I call a dungeon – walking with my splat gun and amulet collection, peering around every damned corner like a frightened rabbit. Oh, and did I forget to say that this is like some kind of safe house for all these rogue vampires? Did I also forget to say that there are, like, fifty of them in this place? In a two-story mansion with five underground levels? Did I mention that I'm only on the second underground level because it took me two days to even get into the place without getting myself killed onsite? Ah, and one more thing…

Did I happen to mention that I'm a very stupid witch who's looking for a eight-year-old werewolf girl in the middle of a huge ass dungeon without the slightest idea of what I'm going to do when I find her? Stupid witch, 1. Smart, sexy Rachel Morgan, 0.

Yes, I was moving right along fine. Damn it. I wanted to go home!

As I began to move down the corridor slowly, my eyes shifting back and forth quickly for any signs of danger, I remembered why I had even thought to take the job. I had been so excited to hear about such an easy mission with such a high price, that I'd immediately dismissed any notion of having trouble along the way. I thought that it'd be an easy in, easy out, that I'd be back by Thursday morning. Yeah, right. So, because of my thoughtlessness, I forgot to leave a message for my two partners, one of which was a pixy named Jenks, and the other a living vampire named Ivy Tamwood. I wasn't so much worried about Jenks…but I was damned scared of what was going to happen when Ivy got her hands on me. Hell, I may as well pretend to be dead, since she's definitely going to kill me.

I reached a the end of the corridor, and quickly sidestepped to the other wall so I could look down the stairs leading to the third level. I glanced at the amulet hanging from a string around my neck and noticed it was fluctuating between green and red. Which meant that somewhere nearby, but not completely in range, was an enemy and that things were going to get bad really, really fast. I looked back down the corridor I'd just come through, took in a deep breath for courage, and began to descend the stairs.

I hugged the inner wall of the stairwell, my splat gun cocked and ready as I took each step one at a time. I had made it down approximately twenty steps before my amulet flashed red. Then again, I could understand why, considering there were two vamps amiably chatting with one another at the foot of the stairs. Somewhat surprisingly, they hadn't taken notice of me yet. I mentally patted myself on the back, grinning as I thought about how much better I was at sneaking around vampires. Ever since I asked Ivy to help me with my espionage abilities a few months, there was never a time that she hadn't taken to launching me across the room if I was too loud in moving anywhere silently, and quickly.

First couple of weeks were kind of hellacious, and definitely had me slurping the Brimstone down by the gallon. My wallet had also been very empty from the constant repair of our lovely, church walls. After a month and a half, I was finally able to walk through the church without making too many sounds. Ivy ended up giving me a break, since I did manage to finally move somewhat stealthily. However, it wasn't until the halfway through the second month that things got really fun, and somewhat annoying. By that time, I had finally been able to walk, skip, and run around somewhat silently – humans wouldn't hear me anyway. Ivy had started up a ratio chart with my details of successes versus failures of when I could sneak up on her and not. She even gave me a half a chance and lowered her awareness for a few hours – long enough for me to run up and tap her shoulder.

First few times really surprised her, and she had quickly stood up and sent me flying across the room. I didn't get hurt – she'd also been pushing some heavy martial arts on me – but I never expected her to forget what the hell she'd lowered her awareness for. I was kind of peeved at that.

Eventually, I'd reached a scoring of eighty percent or so, which was a passing grade in my eyes. Out of ten times, I'd been able to catch her off-guard eight times. Of course, that percentage quickly went down to about twenty percent when she raised her awareness after I decided to use my splat gun on her and put her to sleep. I didn't do anything to her afterwards, but apparently, without my knowledge, Jenks's kids decided to do some…things to her. She didn't tell me what, but by the blush she'd had on her cheeks, I didn't think I'd ever really want to know.

So now as I looked down at the vampires who had limited their awareness out of arrogance and a sense of false security, I felt myself grin more and more as I readied my gun again. Okay, I was reaching the point of giddiness now, but I mentally calmed myself and leveled my splat gun, centering in on the ground between them. I pulled the trigger, and watched the gooey capsule fly and slam into the ground between the two, much to their surprise. These two must have been pretty stupid because instead of raising their awareness like I expected, they both bent down to look at the capsule as it slowly cracked open and a white vapor seeped out. I felt kind of cheated – I'd wanted to test my skills, but instead I got two dumbbells that decided a random ball of goo suddenly soaring through the air and landing on the ground with white stuff coming up was commonplace. And if it was, I needed to leave. Fast.

I watched the two fall unconscious from my sleep potion and sighed softly. "You've got to be kidding me, right?" I whispered, walking down the rest of the steps and checking to see if they were truly unconscious. I ran a hand through my red, frizzy, completely unmanageable hair and looked down yet two more corridors. Gut instinct told me to go left, but since it's been wrong before, I went right. I wasn't sure if I was lucky or if some person just really, really wanted to hurry up and save the kid, but not even fifteen minutes later, I was walking down the next stairwell. I'd grown pretty confident after the last incident and figured that the next level wouldn't be near as bad. Of course, I was wrong.

I've had a few friends in the past that were really into video games, and they told me about some weirdo named Mario that always has to save this stupid toadstool princess, and how you have to go through a bazillion underground levels before you can get to her. He told me that the last two levels are always the hardest since that's where a larger collection of guards are stationed, and where all the traps were. Of course, I hadn't really paid attention to the guy, but now I wish I had, because as soon as I'd reached the final step, all hell broke loose.

I was nonplussed when florescent lights flickered throughout the corridors, and a loud – very loud – alarm sounded. I looked around with disbelief, before a shiny thing caught my peripheral vision. Looking up, I saw a camera focused directly on me. Shit.

The next five minutes were a blur for me as I ran down the hall, ducking out of the main corridor and sliding through a tiny crevasse in the wall. My heart pounded as I straightened up on the wall opposite of the crevasse, my arrogant thoughts flying out the window. Apparently, I'd hidden just a few moments before I saw the legs of several people go racing down. How I'd managed to race down the corridor so quickly and hide were beyond me. It was as if my agility and maneuverability had increased tenfold. I guess the fear of dying brutally did that to some people. I turned my head around to look at my options of escape, and found I was in an inner wall corridor, so to speak. Damn. That probably meant they knew about it and were going to check it next.

I gave the little hole – my savior – one last glance before sliding moving silently through the dark, inner corridor. Turning the sharp corner, I looked down the long, narrow walkway, realizing that it probably only looped around and came back to where I had originally been. However, upon hearing several angry, incredulous voices, I quickened my pace nonetheless. When I turned the next corner, I only went halfway down the next path before running into a bricked wall. Oh come, come now…a wall? You serious?

Voices reverberated against the walls and my pulse jumped again, my fear beginning to take a hold of whatever calmness I'd had left. I turned back to look at where I'd come from, and heard them walk closer and closer. Shit, shit, shit! How was I going to get out of this?

Ivy had always told me to calm down, and think of a plan, but right now…I couldn't, and I was absolutely terrified. I moved back, my back molding against the wall as my splat gun shook in my hands. What happened next, I can't even begin to explain. I guess that this place had a lot of hidden entryways, and had been built probably before The Turn, but…

When my panic had fully mounted, and I had lost hope of living to hear Ivy yell at me for my stupidity once more, I felt my knees grow weak and I'd leaned back against the wall. So, it was to my surprise, and the vampires' when they finally turned the corner, when the wall gave way and I fell through. I saw the shock on their faces and their determination as they moved to reach me before I fell too far, but as soon as my feet slipped through, I heard a loud thump of something hitting the wall. The adrenaline having run me down completely, I felt my vision begin to swim as I fell and hit an angled wall hard. I began rolling down the angled wall, and as soon as I cleared it, I touched down on the ground on my feet. A clack of something hitting the ground forced me to look up and see a small, silver object before I fell face-first against the ground and was out.


I'm not sure how much time had gone by that I was unconscious for, but I do remember waking up and hearing this really, really annoying, vibrating sound. I groaned and rubbed my temple as I pushed myself up from the incredibly dusty, concrete floor, looking for the source of my annoyance. Spotting it a few feet away, I grabbed my nearby splat gun and crawled over to the buzzing menace. As soon as I grabbed it and looked at the front, I felt a sense of dread stir in my stomach, as well as a feeling that my stupidity would never end.

I'd completely, and utterly, forgotten about the cell phone I'd stashed in my back pocket.

Well, damn it.

Now I remembered that I'd pulled a stunt like this before and ended up gone on a mission for a couple days without mentioning it to anyone. I'd come back home with a wallet full of a six grand check, a completely torn outfit, – never fight werewolves unless you can morph into something really, really big – and a huge grin. As soon as I'd walked into the living room, and saw Ivy staring down at the table with her hands clasped in front of her, I'd felt like biggest piece of poop in the world. After we'd made amends, which had taken a week or so of me apologizing and having her ignore me, she'd gone out and bought us a couple of phones and family plan. Yay, we were family. She didn't buy me a crappy, old phone either, but one of those new Blackberry 8800 series phones that you could use across the globe. Except for the fact that I'd never had a cell phone before, I was pretty excited, though my excitement was pretty dampened when she said I had no excuse not to call for back-up the next time.

Well, no, I didn't have an excuse as to why I didn't call for back-up, except for the fact that I'd completely forgotten I'd owned one. How stupid was that? As I looked down at the contraption, I winced when I saw I'd had twenty-five missed calls. I'd had the phone off and hadn't made a voice mailbox yet, so… Stupid, stupid witch. Yes, yes I was.

So, it was with great trepidation when I pressed the call button and held the PDA-phone up to my right ear. I heard three long rings before the line connected and a voice came through:

"Rachel?"

I wanted to sob right then and there, but I took a deep breath. Even if I had been afraid of getting killed who knows how long before, I had to keep a good composure or else it would worry Ivy even more. I couldn't have that at all. Apparently, I'd taken a little too long to answer for her likes, and she called my name again, more hesitantly.

"…Rachel?"

Calm, and steady. All right, I'm good. "Hey, Ivy."

A pause ensued on the other side, and I swear I heard a soft gasp, but it could have just been my hearing playing tricks on me. I found that I'd been correct in my earlier assumption, however, because when she spoke again, her words were very soft and her breath hitched at odd times.

"Are you okay?"

Strange question to ask, but I knew that if I answered dishonestly, she'd know later. Then it'd suck even more, but she wouldn't know unless she came to the Rogue Vampire Galaxy Mansion, and I sure as hell wasn't telling her where the hell it was. "Yeah…I'm all right. Don't worry."

She paused again before saying, "David told Jenks and I about what happened." One more pause. "He said you don't have a lot of time left."

Well, hell. "I'll hurry up and finish. Not too much to worry about on my end." Liar.

"Will you be home sometime soon, Rachel?"

Her soft tone and patience were really starting to make me feel even worse about the situation, but would it be right to ask her to bail me? No, not really, so I'd just cruise along on my own the rest of the way. "As soon as possible. I really want that extremely, spicy, habanero curry that you came up with last month."

Ivy laughed gently, and I reveled in the sound. "I'll make sure you get a big portion when you come home."

I smiled, and was about to cut the connection when she said, "Rachel?"

"Yeah?"

"Please come home."

Why do I always feel even worse over being to hold so much power over a living vampire like this? I muttered a quick reply and hung up fast, my vision swimming as I looked down at the ground. I felt two tears run down my cheeks and hurriedly brushed them away. I was awakened from my reverie when I finally came to look at my surroundings, and realized I'd been chatting on the phone while I was still deep in enemy territory. "Crap," I muttered, but rose to stand quickly, holding my splat gun tightly as I looked around. I looked up and around me, frowning when I noticed I was in some kind of foyer area.

I walked down the stairs leading from the large area of nothing and came up to a pair of double doors. Not seeing any other options aside of moving forward, I took a deep breath and pulled open the large doors and stared into the large room. Well, I most certainly hadn't expected this.

Looking at me from the large room, were about five to six hundred people staring at me, all humans, with the exception of one very frightened, little girl in the center of the room. Her eyes were wide and I saw she was strapped to a platform, unable to use her superior strength against the humans around her. I stared for all of five seconds before the humans raced at me, and suddenly I had my gun out, focusing it on the people directly in front of me. I pulled the trigger two times which had two groups of ten to fifteen people falling down into a deep sleep. I jumped back when the crowd reached me and spun the gun in my hand before pulling the trigger three more times, each one taking down more people than before. I still had about five hundred people left racing at me and was forced to abandon my beloved splat gun, which I clicked to my belt hoop on my right side.

I raised my fists when the crowd gained way on me, and threw it forward, throwing my weight into it. The person I hit flew backwards and I swirled around to deliver a couple of round-house kicks to behind me, catching a couple more people and sending them into the realm of unconsciousness. My mass tirade went on for the next ten minutes before I gave up on that method and reached for a ley line. Just as I had learned from my demon "friend" Al in the past half-year, I pulled as much as I could from that line, and imagined it swirling around in a ball inside my mind. I raised my hand and brought it down quickly as a burst of energy raced from me 360 degrees around. Humans were thrown back to hit the walls or each other where they then crumbled to the ground.

Narrowing my eyes, I raced forward, dashing left and right through the swarm of what was now 300 people, and pulled on the line again. As I broke through the crowd, I saw two men smiling at me, their eyes completely black and their fangs apparent. Within half a second, they surrounded me, with the main crowd of humans coming back for a second round. I turned my head slightly, my hair flowing around me as I let loose another wave of ley line energy. The vampires were forced back and flew through the air, along with at least half the humans left standing. Now, I wasn't stupid, so I knew that trick wouldn't work again, and now they'd be wary of me.

While they were busy trying to rid themselves of dizziness – have a fun trip, guys? – I raced forward, my vision swimming as the dizziness began making its way across my senses. Whatever I happened to trip over next probably saved my life as one of the vampires soared over and me and slammed into the other one. I jumped up on the high pedestal, and began to pull at the iron chains, grunting when I found I couldn't do a damned thing to help the little girl free. One of the blood-suckers came racing at me, and maybe Ivy's training had finally kicked in or something, because I spun around, my right leg straight in the front with my back leg bent as I leaned backwards. I lowered my right hand, my palm facing up as my left hand was raised high towards the ceiling.

Honestly, I've never been able to pull this move off on Ivy, but I've been itching to have it work once. I saw it in some book, don't know which, but its success rate is .001 or something along those lines, so no one pays it any attention. I probably shouldn't have, but it was too late now. As the vampire's left hand reached for my head, I bent forward quickly, bending my right leg forward as I made a backwards spin. Before spinning around fully, my lowered right hand raised up and slammed up, the heel ramming into the vamp's solar plexus. With my left hand, I grabbed the man's nearest hand, and pulled it hard using all the strength I had.

The vamp cried out as his right arm was dislocated, but his body snapped back as I pulled him along, my right leg rising as my back leg slowly bent down. I slammed my heeled boot into his face, and with my pulling him back, I heard an audible crack as his head slammed back. I saw the lights in his eyes fade and grabbed his other arm in my right hand. In one fluid motion, I spun around and slammed the dead vamp's body into the one racing towards me.

I had enough strength for one last shot, so I pulled more energy from the ley line and opened my eyes to glance straight in front of me. I felt time slow down as I gathered the energy, and held my hands in a triangular form in front of me as a type of concentration device. The tips of my fingers and the tips of my thumbs touched each other and I looked through this window as I let go of my pent-up energy. I felt the energy push back against me, but held on until I saw it strike everything directly in front of me. The humans and vampires both soared through the open double doors, crashing against the back brick wall hard. Before I fell into an unconsciousness I'd regret, I turned to the little girl, focusing a small bit of energy into cutting the chains off.

I grinned at the kid, feeling myself floating into unconsciousness even as I asked, "Hey kiddo… You're Angel, right?"

She looked at me with big, amber eyes, staring at me. "Who are you?"

"I'm…Rachel… I'm here to…save…you…"

I fell unconscious after that.


When I woke up, I found I was being carried down a long corridor, and for a second, I thought I had been caught by the enemy. When I raced to get out their grasp, I saw two big, amber eyes staring at me, tears beginning to form. I stared at Angel from where I was hunched down on the ground, unable to bear the fact that she had been carrying me as if I was a some kind of teddy bear, and at that I had made her start crying.

"Ah, ah!" I stammered, moving towards her quickly. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Are you okay? What's wrong?"

"I'm so glad you're better now," she sobbed, rubbing her hand across her face. "I didn't know what to do!"

She talks better than I do, too. "Hey, now, I'm fine. No problem."

I felt much better, for some reason, when she lowered her hand and smiled largely at me with bright eyes. I couldn't help but pat her head softly, feeling myself smile along with her. She was pretty cute, for a kid.

"Ms. Rachel, thank you for saving me!" she said, practically bouncing up and down. "Does this mean I get to go home soon?"

Why the hell else would I be risking my ass? "Yeah, kiddo," I said, standing and looking around the two of us. I had no idea where I was, and whatever map David had given me hadn't covered the boss levels. Let me guess, I was on my way to meet King Bowser. Somehow, the idea didn't sound very good. Give me one of those fire-flower power-ups and I'd be blazing. Literally.

I had to try. "Hey, kid. You know where we are?"

She seemed to stand straighter as she pushed back her shoulders. Angel regarded me silently, softly saying, "This is a passageway I've seen those vampires use to exit from the room. However, I've never seen anyone enter from it, so I believe it's a one-way passageway."

Knowledgeable as well. Wasn't she just adorable.

She looked completely normal, so I wondered about the age of when a werewolf could change its shape. I didn't want to put her in any danger if possible, but I didn't want to have her feel useless. I heard that kids can't stand that kind of thing.

"Can you Change yet?"

Angel looked at with surprise, before nodding slightly. "I don't have enough energy to do it many times though, or for very long at a time. Mother has yet to teach me all the basics."

Good enough. "Okay, this is what we're going to do," I said, resting my left hand on my hip as I cocked it. "I lost some serious energy in that last battle, and I'm not sure exactly where we are right now. So, if it comes to trouble, I'll take them on first, and when I engage, you Change. Sound good?"

"I understand."

"Good," I said with a grin. "Let's go kick some vamp butt."


Songs:

Trapt – When All is Said and Done
Frankie J – How to Deal
Rascal Flatts – Life is a Highway

First Completion: 5/7/2008 4:36:06 PM


So, this is my first chapter of my story, Her Faithful Cry for the Rachel Morgan series. Much shorter than I'd intended, but I'd had some trouble working with this. So, there you go. Let's just consider this a prologue.