With my hunger satisfied, I helped a very groggy Dana from the end of the bed, where we had sat, to the side, raising the covers for her to climb under. The vampire spell, a companion ability to the vampire charm, stops coagulation during the feeding, then enhances coagulation when feeding stops, but it also puts the provider in a narcotic state, preventing a struggle and dulling the pain. I understand it makes feeding me a pleasant experience.
Dana’s a persistent lady; even in that state she tried to pull me into bed with her. Even though she had behaved herself while I was feeding.
After successfully evasion, I sat on the bedside a while, watching her. This is something lawful vampires do. We keep a watch over our providers until they have fallen asleep, because occasionally they have a bad reaction to the spell instead of sleeping, going into a frenzy and becoming a danger to themselves.
Let me clear a few things up. I’ve seen many depictions of vampires with thick, almost wolf-like fangs, an inch longer than the rest of the teeth, which would certainly do horrible damage. Vampire fangs are actually quite thin. And they are only moderately longer than our normal teeth, because rarely do we need them to punch inward more than a quarter inch.
The blood itself is just a medium. It’s the human-stabilized mana carried by that blood that we actually need. To get it, we must feed slowly. We open up a vein (a small one, not the jugular, which we instinctively avoid, because there’s no benefit to killing a provider instead of receiving a full feeding) and patiently wait for the blood to flow into our mouth. We don’t suck the blood out, and our fangs are not syringes that draw it.
While I sat there watching her, I heard a scream and a crash. Tiana FBM kicked in instantly. I grabbed my badge and knife out of my bag and ran out into the hall.
I identified the commotion as coming from downstairs and descended as fast as I could. Yeah, Mother was about to get her wish. I was heading into a fight in nothing but panties.
The one causing the noise turned out to be a large man, apparently high on something. He was yelling for ‘Crystal’ and demanding she come out. Furniture was kicked over, the doorman who had admitted me to the establishment was on the floor, bloody and unconscious, and the transgressor held one of the girls from behind with a knife to her neck.
“Oh, he’s a big one,” I muttered under my breath. He probably could have played in the NFL.
I finished pinning my badge to my panties, then pulled my knife and dropped the sheath. The man stopped yelling at everyone else and roared at me. “F***! Little girl wants to have a knife fight? Stay on your back where you belong, stupid harlot!”
“Honored Guest,” I said to him politely, “Why don’t you let go of her and play with me instead?”
“Hah! Skinny thing like you couldn’t handle a real man!” then, realizing how close I was getting, he raised his knife to press against the girl’s throat and yelled, “Stay back!”
The girl had already been terrified. Now she began hyperventilating. I had to get her out of there before she panicked and cut herself on the blade.
I didn’t like to do it, but I cranked up the vampire charm on her, instantly calming her down. Then I turned on him and gave him a different stare. “Remove the knife from her neck.”
He obeyed the compulsion spell. I told him “Let the girl go.”
Now, he fought it, trying as hard as he could to disobey. It looked like he would overcome the command this time, so I dashed forward and pulled her out of his grasp. She wasn’t able to stay on her feet, as groggy as she was, now, but she was on the floor behind me now.
Unfortunately, he was now way too close. He swung his knife down at me…
Tiana’s skill as a fighter is quite good. FBM was able to dodge the knife completely, and my next move was to step up beside him, my leg behind his, and shove his chest. He went down on his back. As he tried to get up, I nailed him in the head with a roundhouse kick and knocked him out.
“Send for the city watch,” I told the girl who looked oldest.
An older woman entered the salon from the direction of the front entrance and stated, “No need. I have already done so.”
I knelt and bent over the girl on the ground. She looked up at me with a smile. “Are you ready, Honored Guest?”
The girl sounded drunk.
“Huh?” was the only answer I could think of, in my confusion.
She reached up and got me around the neck, pulling me down toward her face. Barely in time, I managed to twist and make it a kiss to my cheek instead of my lips.
“Stop!” I yelped. “You aren’t well right now!”
“Huh? Oh. Why’m I on the floor?” she asked as I untangled myself from her arms and stood.
“Honored Guest,” the older woman asked, “What’s wrong with her?”
“I put my charm on her to calm her down. I was afraid she would panic and injure herself on the knife. You will need to keep an eye on her until it wears off, or she might run after me.”
“Charm? Are you talking about a vampire’s charm?”
I nodded. The girl was wriggling a bit, and doing her best to entice me. I looked toward the woman who seemed to be the madame of the establishment.
“It should have been a light one, but I may have overdone it slightly.” I then tapped my badge. “I’m a royal knight. I apologize for the disturbance and the trouble. Can you tell me what her fee might be?”
The woman’s eyebrows rose. “You want to hire her?”
I shook my head. “She can’t work anymore tonight. That’s my fault, so I need to compensate for it. Well?”
“She earns us a half-crown per night.”
“I’ll get my clothes and bag from upstairs and then pay you.”
# # #
I arrived home feeling both energized and worn out. I guess the former was physical and the latter was mental. Benedetta informed me that Mother would be dining at the Palace…
Remembering the information I had received from the HR lady, I wondered if ‘dining at the Palace’ was her euphemism for ‘trysting at the palace’?
So I asked Genette to have my dinner delivered to my sitting room, went upstairs and tackled that book again. Neither Robert nor Tiana had attended school for three years, and I figured I needed to get back into the habit of studying. It was a very old work, and decoding the language was a little like reading Chaucer.
A half-hour or so after opening the book, Genette came in. I thought she was bringing dinner, but instead…
“Young Mistress, you have a caller. Shall I have dinner served in the dining room instead?”