Let Me In | iii

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The Alpha of all werewolves wiped his bloody hand with a piece of cloth. He stepped over the old man exiting the cell. Without further instructions, the werewolves around him moved in to clean up the mess he had made. The man had said nothing about his encounter with Steele. For his loyalty, he had died swiftly. Loyalty in the face of death often withered, but he had held strong. For that, he had earned some amount of respect. Not enough to have saved his life but enough so his end had been—merciful.

On the street, Duncan held his head back sniffing the air. Steele had not been alone. Another vampire had been with him. Duncan smiled. Word had already come to him about the three vampire prisons they had infiltrated and destroyed. Nothing to get bothered about. Sanctioned to death the means of their demise was of no concern to Duncan.

The additional guards at this site, however, had proved lacking. For that, punishment would be dealt expeditiously. The weight of the punishment was for him to decide. All the werewolves knew what fate awaited them for their failure. Punishment, no matter the form, would be most painful. Mercy was not a reward for failure.

At his command, more werewolves were being stationed at key locations. A desperate man would do desperate things, and Duncan was counting on that desperation to cause a mistake. One he would be there to capitalize on. Mistakes always happened when one thought with anything else but a clear, calculating mind.

Awaiting Steele at the Dungeons was a message. One he could heed, or one he could ignore. Duncan was betting on the former. Either way, the results would be satisfying for him.

***

Nerina looked down on the map before her. Too large for a table, it was spread on the floor of the room. The parchment showed its age. It was only a piece of a bigger map that showed the layout of the underworld. Drawn in detail, she could see where they started, where they ended and how they overlapped in some areas. Nerina walked around it, marveling at the vastness of a world human's did not know existed. A world she had not pictured to be what it was.

Steele walked into the room a stick in his hand. With it, he pointed to a dark circle on the map. "The Dungeons."

Nerina moved to that side of the parchment taking in the surroundings. "It's in the center of a forest of—" She couldn't make out the name.

"Norfar."

"A lovely place to visit in the summer?"

"A place no one visits," he corrected though he noted her sarcasm. "It's inhabited by—things."

"Like harbingers."

"Like demons and wayward spirits and banshees and poltergeists and other things that have no names."

She folded her arms looking at him. "How did you get in the last time you did?" It seemed like a pertinent question considering all the things they would have to pass to get in. Passing the harbingers had been a trial in itself. Ghosts? Banshees? Demons? All in one convenient location. In addition, there would be werewolves. There was nothing encouraging about that picture. More and more it was looking like a sure place to die.

"Well, I haven't physically been inside the dungeon itself."

Surprise, surprise. "Then how did you get in?"

"A spiritual journey. Astral projection."

Nerina just stood there staring at him. The look she gave him made him feel awkward. When he opened his mouth to rush and explain she held up a hand shaking her head. There was no way he could make the whole thing not sound so bad. "Distance?"

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