Seduction is an art. It is subjective, something to practice. It is a hobby of mine. It is a hobby that I constantly play with and use to my own benefits. This hobby has challenges and certain predictability.
Mission-focused demons are hard to seduce, but when carnal by nature, it can be done. The Fae are almost impossible. They rarely give up self-control and prefer to be the player rather than the played. Humans are fairly easy when not sensitive to magic dancing around them. The sensitive ones tend to become enthralled in the ethereal rather than listen to baser instincts. Then there are lower levels: vampires, “dumb” (as in non-sensitive) humans, carnal beasts of pleasure (succubi), all these just wanna have fun.
One of the benefits of my little hobby is the ability to gather information not readily available at first glance. Yes, I have the advantage of reading auras and minds and the ability to make myself attractive to my target. I also have many other talents and tools that gather information without mingling with others, without intimacy. But where’s the fun in that? Probably the Fae-blood talking.
Logan and Nick DeBlanc, brothers on a quest to stop the next attempt at Armageddon, desperately need some R and R before the next revelation in their lives. I can give them that.
And, in a few days, I’ll help them on their way.
I’m not saying that the end of the world is something I can live with. I’ve lived long enough to have been a figure in stopping it a few times already. Probably, I’ll stay close by just in case. It’s what I do, after all.
It’s just that sometimes, I have a wicked need to play.
Logan leans over the table and executes a rather hasty shot that does not put the four ball in the side pocket as intended.
Without magic, I’m not even an average player. Hell, without magic there are few things that I am great at, except maybe record keeping and tossing knives. I practice these talents frequently and without magical aids.
Part of me wants very much to use my gifts and put these tricksters in their place. I resist the urge for the first game, a monumental task as Logan’s confidence slightly crosses the line into cockiness. Nick’s passivity saves them. And the fact that being schooled in the most efficient way to hold a cue stick and how to aim two balls and a stick at a waiting pocket is a brilliant way to innocently merge auras.
It does take a bit of skill to mask the magic from humans who are as insanely sensitive to it as these boys. Even if all I do is magically guide the balls at the wrong time, they will feel and know. As it is, I struggle to hide all that is me, all the while, digging into their psyche so very subtly.
I back off while they take their turns and sip my drink trying to hide the dull throb starting at the back of my head. This is proving more difficult than usual. On top of that, I know I’ve hear the name DeBlanc before…somewhere…somewhen.
The jukebox in the corner skips, pauses a beat, and switches from ZZ Top bluesy to Iron Maiden screech.
A demon walks into the bar.
Yeah, sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.
Demons possess borrowed magic from the big guy downstairs and have perfected the art of blending in wherever needed without showing their true forms.
I see through their camouflage most of the time and recognize the beast before he crosses the threshold. It takes just a few seconds more for Jim to whip his head around to what appears like some every day Joe, squint a little then glance over to me.
Logan relies heavily on instinct and his brother’s reactions. He faces the back of the bar most of the time, covering the rear exit. Nick, on the other hand, watches the entrance.
As Evil filters through the bar, Logan’s eyebrows scrunch. He tilts his head. Nick’s forehead wrinkles. They both straighten their shoulders, plant both feet and brush against various weapons hidden on their person. I wonder briefly if all of this is naturally honed skill, or a bit of magic leaking from the various sigils they wear, or a little bit of both.
The demon takes my spot at the bar. Offering to grab the next round, I sidle right up against the demon so he can get a good whiff of me.
“What do you want?” I ask without looking at him.
God, demons smell awful sometimes. He must have just come up to have so much sulfur on him.
“Looking for Mariya.”
“Well…you’ve got the right bloodline, wrong city though. And damn. I thought she was a more distant relative. How the hell did you mix us up like that?” I smile and meet his eyes, something to which he is definitely not accustomed.
His natural black eyes smoke red, then back to regular human brown. “Where can I find her?”
“Like I’d tell you. But now I know you’re looking for her, I’ll pass along a message.”
“Tell her we know she’s got it and we’re taking it back.”
“I didn’t mean I’d pass along your message. More like, ‘Hey, cuz, watch your back. Mr. Ugly is look for you.’ Though I’m not sure she’s in much danger. You probably couldn’t find your ass if I handed you a map.”
As if trapped in a Dali painting, I watch two faces growl at me, one a scruffy human trucker and the other a feisty blue beast with black eyes and tiny pathetic horns peeking out from under the greasy baseball cap. Awww. Must be his first top-side mission.
“My bartender does not like you. I do not like you. There are a couple of demon-killers in the back, so my suggestion is for you to book it out of here pretty fast.”
He hesitates. Of course, he hesitates. Killing the hunters, killing me would help his side of the bigger picture. I grab the three beers Jim sits in front of me. Brushing against the demon, (By the way, a demon has no aura whatsoever and I have to actually touch to get my point across.) I send something like a taser lined with barbed wires through his body.
“And this is my nice face.”
He nearly falls off the barstool in his haste to put distance between us, gathering the attention of Jim, the boys and even Josh and Katy in the corner.
Jim shakes his head, trying to hide the smirk as he bangs the register keys. I see his satisfied mirth in the mirror behind the shelves.
Josh turns back to Katy and says something that makes her smile. He drops his hand to the table and runs a finger along her hand.
Feeling pretty good about myself, I turn back to the pool tables.
The boys stare.
Damn it. I’m showing off. Damn it to hell. I spent too much time in the last world and got way to use to the absence of all this sensitivity. Damn it!