Chapter 3

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I navigate the narrow, smog filled streets away from the Cupids Matchmaking Service and towards The Black Bull. There are a few drunks about but for the most part the night is quiet. The humans know to be afraid of what lurks in the shadows. The scent of fear mixes with the air; an acrid, sour note behind the industrial smoke and London sewage.

A Ripper is loose.

A War is coming.

I head into the pub, past a peeling poster reading Valentine's Club pinned to the wall, and make my way to the dark bar. The gentleman behind the wooden surface looks up as I take a stool. He smooths his dark green waistcoat then fixes his eyes on me. His expression is stern but there is a glint of amusement behind his dark irises.

"You're bringing attention to my establishment."

He gestures over my shoulder but I don't need to follow his gaze to know what he's talking about. I can feel one of Cal's Matchmaking Agent's eyes burning into my back. I grin.

"Klaus, my friend, you simply have to lighten up."

He grabs a bottle of red wine from the shelf and pours some into a goblet. He slides it over the bar to me. I raise it and nod. He rolls up his long, white sleeves, places his palms on the sticky bar surface and leans forward - a silent challenge behind his expression.

My grin widens.

He knows what I am but he does not fear me. He's brave for a human. I like that – it's part of the reason I keep coming back.

"The word on the street is that the cupids have issued a warrant for your arrest," he says. "If they raid us then we're done for."

The other reason I keep coming back – of course - is that this particular bar is not just frequented by humans. And under the dingy lights and flow of alcohol, secrets tend to be spilled.

Klaus knows things.

"I've heard the only reason they haven't shut me down yet is they think Cupid is in town, that he might drop in here at some point – as if I need any more trouble. And with you continuing to stop by..." He raises a dark eyebrow at me, "well...I mean can't you go...you know...somewhere else?."

I take a sip of the wine, savouring the spiced oaky flavours, then smile.

"Do you know why they have issued a warrant for my arrest?"

"Of course. They think you're the Ripper."

"And...?"

He raises an eyebrow.

"I know what you are. You're not the Ripper."

"Do you know who is?"

He shakes his head, his expression closed. There's a glint in his eye though that tells me he's got more information to tell. I could find it for myself, inside his mind, but I have no desire to drive him mad. Not yet, anyway.

"Come on, Klaus, my friend. Give me something more than that."

He exhales then leans further forward. He smells like smoke and peppermint.

"Humans are being killed. But others are going missing too."

"Myths?"

He nods then gestures over my shoulder. I turn and notice a young gentleman that I could describe in no other way than glum and wolfish looking, nursing a drink at the back of the pub.

"Romulus. His brother Remus went missing a few days ago," he narrows his eyes as he seemingly catches sight of something else. "You have an admirer, by the way."

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