The nephew of the dead ghoul I had killed almost three months ago had found me. It was far from impossible; the bounty, and my collection of it, was a matter of public record. You could ask for that kind of thing to be made private, but I had never cared.
But that wasn’t the point. If he had shown up at the dorms, or my mom’s place, that would have made sense. But he just stumbled upon me at a cafe we had chosen at random? How did that happen?
I didn’t have time to worry about that now. At my side, Flynn was ready to fight, but hadn’t drawn his sword yet. Laura had already gotten out of the line of fire, which was good. And I could trust Lily to get what few other customers there were out of range. Even the guy installing a speaker on the corner had disappeared.
Good. That meant I just had to focus on the vampire. I wasn’t very good with too many distractions during combat. Such as the fact that this idiot was going to make me miss my meeting with Yuuki and Yuudai.
He had a grenade in his hand, the pin pulled but the level still depressed. With my speed, I should be able to get it off him and throw it somewhere, but I didn’t know where. I wasn’t completely certain, but it looked like a frag grenade, which meant lots of shrapnel to shred anyone that happened to be within the blast radius. Depending on the manufacturer, that could be anywhere from thirty feet to a hundred.
Or five feet, I guess, if he was using one of those McDowell party poppers. Those things used a shaped blast—cut the range to nothing, but they could cut through tank armor like cheese. Of course, no one really used tank armor in Domina. Except Dispater, I guess…
“I followed the demon,” Algol explained, that sad little grin/grimace still on his face. “I saw you meet up with her outside your dorms one time, so I decided if I stuck close to her, I’d find you when you’re vulnerable.”
“Are you an idiot?” Laura asked incredulously. “Lily’s not a demon.”
The vampire blinked. “What? Yes she is, what else would she be?”
“Laura,” I hissed. “Go. Please.” I did not need her in danger.
She opened her mouth to retort—though whether to me or Algol, I have no idea—before nodding and slipping into the building, presumably where Lily had everyone safe.
Algol shook his head. “Whatever, I don’t care.” He turned his attention back to me. “All I care about is you.”
“Justified,” I noted.
He nodded. “Yes, it is, I’m glad you—”
“No. Killing your uncle.”
The vampire ground his teeth—which I saw with some surprise were NOT sharpened into fangs—and gripped the grenade tighter. “For dark’s sake, he stole centerfold pictures! That’s all! I hardly call that enough to earn him a dead or alive bounty!”
“Tried to kill me. Probably more.”
Algol spat, venom in his eyes. “That’s what they all say. Not that I care—AAAGH!”
He had tried to distract me by talking, but I had noticed his grip on the grenade loosening, his arm tensing to throw.
So I had moved forward at super speed and sliced off his hand.
The vampire fell to the ground screaming, clutching the bloody stump of his hand as it pumped blood in quantities far too great for his body to handle.
I handed the…uh, hand, off to Flynn. He’d make sure to keep a nice tight grip on it while we waited for a disposal unit.
Using the tip of my sword, I brought the young vampire’s chin up, forcing him to look at me.
His black eyes were hard and defiant, despite the pain. He knew he couldn’t do anything else to hurt me, but he didn’t care. Hate was the only weapon he had left, and he’d use it as best as he could.
It would be easiest to just let him bleed out. No need to worry about him coming back for vengeance, or even anything so messy and crude as killing him myself.
All I had to do was wait.
“Laura,” I said quietly. “Ambulance please?”
She nodded, pulling out her phone.
“Flynn,” I added. “Lily.”
I heard him rush off to find the girl. She’d have first-aid materials to stop the bleeding.
I could have just let him die.
I had a nephew too.
Behind the Scenes (scene 178)
Yow, short. Well, there was really nothing else to do here, expect maybe add a couple pages of filler, with Akane struggling over the decision or whatever.
Extra update Wednesday.