Just like that, she said it. “And I’m Chaos’ fiancee.”
I wanted to die of humiliation. Ugh. I crossed my arms and glared her down. “You don’t own me. What are you even doing here?”
“Wait a minute,” said the scientist, scribbling away at his pad. “Fiancee? What’s your name? Who are you?”
“Al is my ‘presenting’ name. It’s what everyone calls me, and what most people can pronounce,” she said snottily. “And,” she pointed to one of the eagles on her coat. “I’m the daughter of the Thunderbird.”
Mark looked like his brain might have exploded. “Thunderbird?”
“Native mythology,” I said, just in case, oh I don’t know, “Which no one cares about!” Which absolutely wasn’t true and I knew it, but I had to throw something at her. My dad was famous! Hers was, well… not so famous. So I considered our engagement to be a step down in my life.
She grinned. “Oh yeah, I’m just a sad little twerp compared to,” and she gestured to me. “This thing.”
“Thing?” I squawked. “You-” but I stopped myself. There was the sound of a car coming down the road.
“Hide!” hissed the scientist.
“In this snow?” Al gestured to the foot of snow all around us. “They’ll just track you.”
“Got a better idea?” I hissed, knowing that, again, she was right.
She squared her shoulders. “Stnad your ground and face them ‘like a man’,” and then she burst into sniggers.
“Oh, very funny,” I sneered.
The car rounded the bend in the distance, lights coming into view. It wasn’t driving particularly fast. Did vampires drive fast? Did they speed? There were (surprisingly) no highways in hell, so I wasn’t sure where they got their driving skills from.
“Al, do you have a dice on you?” I hissed, fidgeting. Should we stay and fight? Run and fight? How could I tell?
“You lost your dice?” she asked, completely shocked. “Wow. This is going bad.”
“I didn’t lose it, someone took it from me!”
She made a face. “That’s even worse.”
I scowled. “You go rot. Do you have a dice or not?”
She shrugged. “Of course not. I’m not an addict like you.”
The car approached, slower and slower. Al kept herself planted before us, practically in the middle of the road. She looked at the car, daring it to run her down.
It didn’t. Whoever it was drew to a stop before it even bumped her highness’ legs.
Because that’s how things always were for her. Everyone was all ‘ooo, a wise spirit!’ or ‘ooo, such majesty’ or ‘ooo, so amazeballs’. She just had to exist and people worshipped her.
And here I was, busting my ass and everyone was calling me stupid.
I wanted to throw a snowball at her face. An ice-cold explosion across the face. Would serve her right.
But uh, the car was stopped. Vampires began piling out. And like, way more than was safely allowed in a car. There was almost ten of them that had been all squished up in that car.
At their head, a big beefy guy with a waxy shaved head stepped forward. “You kids lost or something?” he sneered at Al.
Al turned to me, imitating his sneer. “Yeah, you lost or something?”
“What?” she wasn’t on my side? What the hell, Al? Fiancee from hell, indeed!
“We uh,” I held up my freezing hands to my shoulders as if I was surrendering. Just to show I had no weapons. “Uh,”
Al grinned at me. What a jerk. Such a jerk.
Heyyyyy. She was a jerk, right? And she wasn’t supposed to be here, at all. Like, full nope on the nope-scale.
I tried not to grin. “We’re hunting a demon. You may have noticed it, it killed a bunch of spawns riding in a truck the other day.”
The frown on the chunk’s face told me that yeah, maybe?
I pointed to Al. “She’s right there. Help me catch her.”
“Wait, what?” Al looked from him to me and back again and back again. She pointed to her collarbone. “Did you just – I did not-”
Yeah, I threw her under that bus.
“Be careful,” I said to the vampires. “She’s a high-level demon. She just incarnated so she’s still really powerful-”
The vampires nodded. We were now working together. Like wolves on the prowl, they stepped out to encircle Al.
Al who, to her credit, wasn’t freaking and squealing. She merely adjusted her sunglasses. “I’m going to pay you back for this, kid,” she said.
“Bite me,” I snapped.
She clicked into action like a wound-up toy that had just been let free. Wham! Punch to the beefcake’s face! Double wham! Kick and punch another vamp! Then Yoink! Up she jumped, transforming in a blink into a golden eagle that was pumping its wings and rising up, up.
Several vampires lifted guns. Oh shit.
“No don’t!” I yelped, throwing myself forward. I flung my arms out, trying to block their aim. The large beef of a dude glared me down.
“What?” he barked.
“You don’t want to kill her, you want to capture her!” I invented.
There was a pause. I glanced back up. The eagle, aka Al, had vanished over the forest.
“You’d better have a good reason to have stopped us,” intoned the bald beef.
I lowered my arms. I smelt an opportunity. And who was I to turn that down? “Take me to your leader,” I said. Eyebrows were raised all around. The scientist cleared his throat softly. I repeated, louder this time. “Take me to your leader. I want to work with you. We need to catch this demon. We can join forces.”