Dahael worked, sharpening the second of the two daggers she carried. The first was already sporting a gleaming edge, sharp enough to slice through the strongest demonic skin, human bones. Her thin arm moved back and forth as she swiped the dagger back and forth over the strop, honing the blade.
Bashiok laid back on the concrete floor of the parking garage, watching her.
“Quiet for once,” he said after a while.
“Too quiet. Don’t like it,” Dahael remarked, testing the edge with her thumb.
“Maybe calm for once. Don’t ask for trouble.”
“Don’t need to ask. Trouble on the horizon,” she said, glancing up at her mate. “And a vampire,” she said more quietly, glancing toward the stairway that led down from the loft. Sure enough, within moments, Shanti walked through, scanned the pitch black garage for the imps. Her keen eyesight made it possible for her to pick them out of the darkness, and she walked over to them, crouched beside Dahael after greeting both imps.
“Guys. I need your help,” Shanti said quietly, as if afraid of being overheard.
“What needs, vamp?” Bash asked. Dahael went back to sharpening her dagger.
Shanti took a deep breath, afraid of voicing what she’d been worrying about for weeks. “I think Levitt is up to something. He keeps sneaking off. I tried following him, but…”
“Demon’s wily,” Bash said. “Not easy to sneak up on that one.”
“No, it’s not,” Shanti said. “But you guys would have better luck than me.”
“Not doing, vamp,” Dahael said, finally satisfied with the edge of her blade. She set it down beside her. “Demon’s all right.”
“Yeah? Then what’s he up to? And why did he get angry with me when I tried to follow him?”
“Demon’s business. Not yours.”
“If he’s working against Molly and Brennan, it’s my business,” Shanti said, iron in her voice. “Things are bad enough without their own people betraying them.”
“Demon’s not moving against Mistress,” Dahael said. “Not in him.”
“How do you know?” Shanti asked, exasperated. “Do you know what he’s doing?”
“We do. Imps know,” Bash said.
“Like we said. Demon’s business. Not yours.”
Shanti let out a snarl. “You just expect me to believe that? How do you know he’s not lying to you? How do you know he’s not pretending to be loyal, while stabbing Molly in the back?”
“Demon’d be dead, he tried harming Mistress or any of hers,” Dahael said in a low voice. “Kill him myself.”
“Wouldn’t happen, anyhow,” Bash said.
“Yeah? What makes you so sure?” Shanti asked.
“Mistress fought him. Could have killed him. Should have, maybe, monster he is. Mistress made a different choice,” Dahael said. “Sound familiar, bloodsucker?”
Shanti remained silent. Remembering coming to Molly, begging for death, and Molly giving her a life instead.
Dahael seemed to read her thoughts. “Could you betray her who breathed life into you?”
“No,” Shanti said. “I’d die first.”
“Demon’s no different. No more worries,” Bash said, laying back and closing his eyes. Best to rest when things were calm.
* * *
Levitt directed the six demons from the Nether, members of Molly’s army who’d been trapped in the mortal realm, away from the one they’d sworn to protect.
Needless to say, they were all pretty pissed off about it.
Levitt listened next to the building, trying to detect sounds from inside.
He could hear them. Two opposing demons. One of them pretty powerful. These two had tried to grab a woman off the street earlier, but ran when Levitt and another of Molly’s demons gave chase. It took a few hours to track them down, but Levitt was confident. He could practically smell the stench from one of them. Some injury or other, healing badly. It permeated the air with the scent of rotting meat.
He glanced at the other demons, held up two fingers, signalling the enemies inside.
The demons shifted in anticipation, swords flashing in the meager moonlight, the hiss of knives being unsheathed.
Levitt raised his fist, and the demons stormed into the rundown house.
The opposition barely had time to register the attack before they were cut down. They would not cause any further trouble in the Angel’s city.
The demons buried the bodies. While they worked, Levitt taped up a huge plastic template over the front lawn and driveway, filled the voids with black spray paint.
When he peeled it aside, two huge black wings adorned the ground. He nodded to another demon, who painted the words. “The Angel Walks Among You” underneath the wings.
She was here in spirit. And she’d be back.
And when she did, she’d find her lost girls still being protected in her name.
“Vamp wants to know what you’re up to, demon,” Bash said as he examined Levitt’s handiwork. It was freaky the way the imps seemed to materialize out of nowhere.
“She has enough to do. And she’s safer with Brennan,” Levitt said.
“Tougher than you, demon.”
“If she got hurt, I’d never forgive myself,” Levitt said. “And My Lady would hate me,” he added as an afterthought. “Anyway. It’s not like she isn’t busy enough without adding this.”
“And she’s pretty and makes your little demon heart go pitter-pat,” one of the brawny demons from the Nether said, and Levitt punched him. The demon just laughed.
“Come on. We have work to do,” he said, and the demon crew walked into the darkness.
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