“You think it’s Hallie?” Tawny almost shouted at Fang.
“We could all read part of that scroll, Tawny” he said, keeping his cool composure.
Aya sat next to me, an arm around my shoulders in the same way he held Morrigan as she died.
“One thing I don’t get. It said a Half-blood but both parents were Warm-bloods… humans” he said.
Fang mouthed something at Tawny and she growled. Lilith tutted. All four vampires looked at her disapprovingly. She smiled. Aya’s arm tensed. Tawny and Fang had anger in their eyes. Lilith just ignored them.
“How long ‘til you’re eighteen?” Morrigan asked quietly, almost glumly.
“Six months. Just about. January 5th” I said nervously.
Fang cocked his head to one side as if to say “I told you so”.
“…Smell her blood! Does it smell vampire to you?” Tawny was hysterical.
“No, but it’s not exactly human either” Fang said calmly.
Lilith stood and walked over to me with as much grace as her sister.
“Hallie is… one of us?” she asked and Fang nodded.
Lilith smiled. She moved Aya out of the way. I say moved, I mean threw, and sat next to me.
“I apologise for my behaviour. I am not particularly able to befriend humans. They have the one thing I desire. Life” she said, hugging my waist and pushing Aya away with her foot.
Lilith was made up of exotic scents. There was papaya, cayenne pepper, the scent of Caribbean rain and white lilies. Once again they all merged to form one beautiful scent but it wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Fang’s. Lilith seemed different from the others. Behind her mask of bad behaviour, she seemed cold. She felt cold. Her skin felt like ice. Her eyes were cold. Everything about her screamed ‘ice sculpture’. Yet something else about her said ‘butterfly’. She was cold and immortal but still fragile. Something about her way of life troubled her and it crushed what little spirit she had left. Where did that come from? I know her name and that’s about it, how do I know she has spirit crushing problems?
“In the blood,” she said solemnly, “Your nose is almost as good as mine”.
Tawny’s head snapped up from the parchment she’d begun to read again. Her eyes looked desperate, pleading. “Don’t ever say that! None of you! Hallie is human. 100% human. She isn’t this legendary Half-blood”.
But Lilith was right. I had smelt it about her. At least, I think I had. It came from somewhere and it only happened when Lilith warmed up to me. Fang tried to comfort Tawny but nothing was working. She was too worked up to recognise even Morrigan’s voice. In the end it was the hermit who saved the day. It was the first I’d noticed but the hermit had a very calming voice. He subdued Tawny like a strong sedative and, with the help of Fang, carried her up to her room. The room they left behind became a glaring room. Aya glared at Lilith; Lilith glared at Aya; Morrigan glared at me. I thought back to what happened in the attic. All the times Aya had been right in my face, whether it was his hand or his arm, I’d never experienced what he smelt like. And frankly it upset me. While I was thinking about it, Lilith laughed slightly and I stopped thinking in general. She could practically hear my thoughts in my blood, and my head is a very jumbled place nobody but me should meddle in. Lilith glared at Aya some more until it forced a growl out of him. A growl which shook the dangling crystals on the chandeliers and almost hurt my ears to hear.
“Just as I thought,” Lilith said under her breath but loud enough that I could hear, “The poor boy’s jealous. I wonder if it is just me he is jealous of, sitting with dear Hallie, or if he is jealous of another as well. Perhaps Tawny, she does govern Hallie like a mother. Or what of Morrigan? Like a sister but not a cause for jealousy. Hmm, I guess that is everyone. But wait, there is another. I wonder if he is jealous of Fang”.
Lilith was an excellent manipulator. All I could do was sit and watch as Aya began to seethe with anger. It practically vented out of him in a plume of black smoke. Lilith finished speaking, ending simply with “I wonder if that of which Fang intends would make him jealous”. Aya leapt at her, teeth bared. Lilith merely smiled as Morrigan leapt up to protect her sister. She scratched Aya in the face and looked at Lilith sternly.
“I am sorry, sister. I did not expect him to take it so badly” Lilith said sweetly.
Morrigan merely tutted and stalked off to help Aya.
“The two of us will make a most excellent team. Ayumu has always been my plaything, since the beginning. I ran out of ways to taunt him but your arrival has created a new frustration for him. Wonderful” she said with an almost evil smile. Almost evil because nothing could look evil on that angelic face.
The two of us were disturbed by the sound of two sets of footsteps, one light and almost silent, the other loud and old-sounding. I looked round as the light footsteps seemed to disappear. They belonged to the hermit. Surely it should have been the other way around. But nonetheless, the hermit and his silent step shuffled out of the house, off to his shed, and Fang trudged over to where Lilith and I sat.
“Lille, I have a favour to ask” he said, wiping sweat from his brow.
“Anything” Lilith said, returning to her lack of emotion.
“I need you to check Hallie’s blood. If she’s the legendary Half-blood we need to know about it because things will get a lot harder”.
“She has spent too much time with our kind. All she smells of is venom and Tawny”.
“I know. Which is why I need you to check by taste. It’s the only sure-fire way”.
“No. I will not consume blood until it is time. And I will not consume the blood of a half-breed”.
“So you can smell it?”
“Remove the blood from her body and the scent will become stronger. I will surely identify any vampire cells then”.
Fang nodded and, without even asking my permission, ran the pin of his cufflink over the back of my hand. The red liquid welled up and trickled from my body in a thin stream. Lilith took a deep breath. Her lily-white eyes turned a dusky pink colour then returned to normal.
“There is vampire in her. Though it is dormant the number of vampire cells is increasing. I would say, roughly six months before it reaches a level where it could take over. And, there is one more thing. Her future does not look promising”.