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She'd risk it. Besides, how could the cops ever think she could rip a man to bits?

Confident that she was okay, she walked out into the night and the glass door swung back with a soft whisper.

***

“We may have a serious problem,” Roberto decided as he stood, arms crossed over his chest, watching the large screen TV with great interest.

Cian looked up from where he sat at his glass and chrome desk nearby. His four flatscreen computer monitors were flashing a variety of images and text. His hazel eyes rimmed with dark lashes regarded the other man, then looked toward the TV. “What is it?”

“Cult killing in East Texas,” Roberto answered, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. He was on the slim and petite side of the scale in appearance, but had broad shoulders. His dark hair was sleek and swept back from his high brow. His green eyes flicked toward Cian. “It looks highly suspicious. ”

“Like something he would do?” Cian frowned and stood up sharply.

He was medium height despite his age. He was not exactly sure how old he was, but he was old enough. Clad in jeans and a black t-shirt, he did not look like the man behind countless successful business and companies sprawled across Texas. He looked like a young man in his late twenties with short, scruffy, brown hair.

“Something he would definitely do,” Roberto answered. “It's mass confusion and people in complete terror of Satanists. ”

Bare feet padding across the floor, Cian peered at the TV for a long moment, watching and listening to the repeat of the evening news. His ever faithful human servant, revenant, or whatever the latest tag was from some gawdawful game or book, stood next to him rubbing his chin, and looking deeply thoughtful. Emulating Roberto, Cian crossed his arms and looked equally disturbed.

“It sounds like a fledgling kill,” Roberto decided.

“I agree. He probably turned someone and let them loose. ” Cian collapsed into a leather and steel chair and let his legs sprawl out in front of him.

“They are probably already dead by now if they are this insane. ”

“Not a clean transformation, I don't think,” Cian answered in his light Irish lilt.

“Should I go and check it out?” Roberto asked.

“No, not if he is still out there. I don't want you risking it,” Cian said firmly. Rubbing his face with his hands, he looked more and more upset. “Dammit. It's been so long since he has been heard of I had hoped that someone had finally found a way to kill the bastard. ”

“It's hard to kill someone so old,” Roberto said with a soft sigh and turned down the sound on the TV with the remote.

Cian nodded slowly, and then tilted his head back. The soft lights of his loft apartment in downtown Austin gave off a warm glow and gave a nice sheen to the hardwood floors. He loved his home, but the mere thought of The Summoner being somewhere in Texas, no matter how big the state was, did not make him feel safe.

“God knows I tried to many times,” he finally said.

“I could go and see if the fledgling is still around and kill it before it causes more harm. ”

“Too risky. You know the games he plays. He may be trying to lure me out of my territory. He'd use you as a pawn,” Cian answered.

“There may be more than one. They found one forest grave with an occupant and another that was empty. ”

Cian shook his head and swore softly. His Gaelic accent was more pronounced when he was upset. “It sounds like he's either playing another one of his damn games or he is trying to lure me or someone else out. Someone who gives a damn about keeping us hidden behind the veil. ”

Roberto sat in the chair across from him and leaned forward. Steepling his fingers together, he peered over them intently. “If there is a fledgling and it is mad and out there killing-”

“I'm getting married in two months,” Cian said sharply. “I worked hard for this life. You know it. I'm not about to leave my city to go out there and hunt a fledgling down and kill it. Most likely the fledging will get itself killed by the sun. It may already be dead. ”

“What about those?” Roberto waved to the screen as it once more showed the parade of body bags being taken from the fraternity house.

“They won't rise unless blood was exchanged,” Cian assured him.

“But they could also rise as ghouls,” Roberto reminded him. “More dangerous than a fledgling at times. ”

“I don't think so. Modern technology seems to have that phenomenon under control. Morgues, autopsies, and embalming. Pleasant ways to deter the mindless undead. ” Cian rubbed his fingers along the curbed armrest of his chair. “Can we contact an independent contractor to deal with it?”

Roberto slowly sat back in his chair looking very thoughtful. His green eyes looked toward the Texas Capital building looming out of one of the windows. “Perhaps. I'll make inquiries. Since the purge of '78, not many want to deal with you. ”

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