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It wasn't the first time he'd returned covered in blood

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It wasn't the first time he'd returned covered in blood. He shook off Eugene, adopting the expression of menace his men knew well. They fled out of his path as he snagged a blood pack from cold storage and locked himself in the spare, gray room he called his office.

A report cube waited on his empty desk. Valentinianus slammed the cube with a fist, biting into the pack as the report hummed and flickered across his desk as a three dimensional digital read out. The doctor's information didn't surprise him, but the confirmation left a sour after taste in his mouth. Pausing, he dropped the empty pack in the bin, pressing his hands to his eyes. Skin and muscle twitched, knitting back together. He released a breath, the painful hunger assuaged.

Valentinianus continued reading the report to the end, until one clawed hand closed around the cube and crushed it. His father was a fool. There was information he needed to relay to Mack. He would grab another blood pack before he washed and changed. It would make it easier to fall back into Eugene. And he needed to be Eugene when he returned. Not this, he could never bring this part of him to the Edgewise.

He stood and hissed at the pinch of pain on his chest. Frowning, he peeled back his shirt and coat, staring at blackened skin. A burn from the vial of blood in his pocket. He pulled the vial free, staring at it. Why? What had set it off? That was perhaps the most troubling mystery of all.

Slowly, so very slow, the burn began to fade.

"I think, you need my help," said Cesario, a flush coloring her cheeks

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"I think, you need my help," said Cesario, a flush coloring her cheeks. She couldn't quite look Calponia in the eye.

Calponia frowned. "Help with what?" She gave herself a cursory glance over, but there were no new open wounds or other small disasters.

"Ah, about that," said Mack from behind her. "Would you kit her up? Lady Agatha might want to take the risk but I would like Cal to move as freely through Arden as possible. The storage room will have everything you need."

Cesario scowled at him. "Are you sure it's a good idea to bring her?"

"Hey, right here," said Calponia.

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