After a while of riding in Rachel's arms at a human's pace, Ishan could see Kato coming toward them in the distance. He judged that the lone vampire was at least several kilometers ahead and moving closer fast. The other two vampires had since gone on ahead and were now lost in the dark of night. Within several minutes, Kato arrived with a sense of urgency quivering in his tone and every muscle in his body.
"Kato, what is it?"
"They're dead, master. They're all dead except for my brother, thank Anansi," Kato said, praising a god Ishan knew to be from Kato’s native land.
"There were many. The only ones my brother remembered for sure were Luciano, Eduardo, and Gabriel. Most were still fledglings. They destroyed most of the lab equipment, too."
Ishan stiffened when he heard this.
"Is the data safe?" he asked.
"I don't know. Some of the others are trying to get the backup systems online to check."
"Why would they do this?"
"They want what Peter wanted, master. They want to take action against the Empire now. They attacked us in Peter's name. They follow him now," Kato said with anger.
At the mention of Peter's name, Rachel seemed to twitch in surprise.
"Rachel, can you run with me on your shoulder if I hold on?"
"Yes," she said, distracted.
He looked at Kato. "Kato, you take Hank."
"Yes, master," Kato said, his accent becoming more and more prominent.
Hank made a face of dread as Kato picked him up. Within a second, they were all racing toward the southern entrance of the city drainage system. Ishan tried not to notice the feelings and memories that came from holding onto Rachel's body. Now was not a time to mourn for lost love. Especially when there were more recent friendships to mourn.
* * *
Hank put all his willpower into holding the meager contents of his stomach as Kato moved like lightning. He soared through the various tunnels, swiftly changing direction with the slightest bit of effort. More than once, Hank’s hair brushed against the ceiling or some corner between tunnels. He held onto Kato tighter than he had ever held onto anything before. Within seconds of entering the tunnels, they came to a dizzying stop. It took several minutes for Hank to realize they were already back in the lab. Once he did, he wondered if it was truly the same place. It seemed only a shell of its former self. All around him bodies, blood, and broken glass littered every space. Rachel gently set Ishan down and he fell to the floor, his body shaking with the loss of many. Without lifting his head, he spoke loudly to Kato.
"Kato, have the ancestors been summoned?"
"No, master. I was waiting for your word."
"Kato, you have it. Please, call for them."
Kato nodded and was gone in a blurry flash. Ishan struggled to his feet. Seeing this, Rachel rushed forward to try and help him, but he shrugged her off of him. She backed away to give him space.
"So many good friends. All gone over nothing more than politics!"
The word echoed off the egg-shaped ceiling as if Ishan had just yelled it again behind Hank.
"Hank, come with me."
"Master, let me help you," Rachel said.
"No, I must speak with Hank alone," he said with absolute authority.
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Shining in Crimson: Empire of Blood Book OneHorror
Set in a dystopian, religiously-demented American Empire, the city of Las Vegas is no longer a city of sin. Now called Necropolis, it is a city that eats sin. The vampires of Necropolis wait patiently for the Empire's weekly drop off of guilty Penit...