For the first in a long time, Silena felt alive again.
She had forgotten what it was like to be around him again, not just as her Maker, not in the sense that she depended on him for life-force, just being around Nic, irritating him gave her that familiar thrill that she'd missed. She'd missed him too, but that didn't matter, not anymore.
The boutique was perfect for her, so much that she couldn't believe it was coincidence it had been given to her. Golden columns were arranged around the room, with hooks where jewellery had once hung. The far wall was made completely from a gilded mirror, where drapes hung either side, rather pointless seeing as she had no reflection anyway. A circular counter in the centre of the boutique had once been lit, glass cabinets at the bottom where the most old and expensive products had lived. There was a chaise longue in the room, but it was lacking in other furniture, and Silena had been told that she would have to visit the hobgoblins in the storerooms below to get what she needed.
She sat down on the chaise, spreading her faded purple skirts around her idly. It had worked, and she smiled with joy, he had remembered. The Nicolae she had fallen deeply in love with was still in there somewhere, she had worried that the vampire in him had grown too strong, but in his weariness, perhaps he was becoming himself again. Just as she was lost in thought, the frosted-glass automatic doors - now broken, of course, were slid open to reveal a girl that Silena sensed was still in her first century of life. She was dark-skinned, her dark hair in a no-nonsense plait to her hips. She was pretty with full lips and thick eyebrows, she was dressed in jeans and what Silena believed was called a "hoody".
Looking curiously in the room, the girl saw Silena and snorted. "Wow, you from a fairytale or somethin'?"
Silena stood up straight, still remembering the manners her mother had taught her as a young girl. She looked at the girl, leant against the doorjamb with her hands in the middle pocket of her hoody. She was hit with a strange feeling and immediately figured out what the girl was - lycanthrope. It was all of a sudden clear, her pocket would conceal dark, claw-like fingernails, and Silena could see when she concentrated, the golden flecks in her eyes. Yet, there was something off about her, lycan were lively creatures, just as free-spirited in human form, hence they didn't react happily to orders and capture.
But this girl looked pallid in a sense, her body frail within the large hoody that had once fit her well, dark circles under her eyes.
"Hello," said Silena, perfectly calm and composed. "It's nice to meet you." She had met many lycan before, she was hardly afraid of them, despite the legends that said she should. Vampires and lycanthropes were supposed to hate each other, and why they weren't constantly fighting in Sky Valley remained a mystery.
The girl sniffed loudly, and her nose crinkled. "You smell like death," she said uncomfortably, "I'll take a wild guess and say vampire."
Silena's expression was unchanged. "Is that going to cause problems?" The young lycans were always difficult, they thought that their abnormal strength and senses was enough to take on a vampire who had lived for thrice as long. Then they complained when their compatriats were injured or torn apart, it was just plain idiocy.
The girl shrugged, "not really. I don't have a problem with most of your lot...just some." She glanced in the direction that Silena knew aligned with the glass dome, and past that the window of Nicolae's apartment. They hate him. If I'm clever, I can't let them know that I'm his. Not if I'm to be of use here.
"Well, I'm not with their sort," she said, pulling back her shoulders and standing confidently. Lie. "I was Made not Born," not lie. "I'm from a clan directly under the ancients. I came with Lord Elias' party to ensure his safety."
"Lord Elias is kind to us, you mix with the right circle, vamp."
"I am not 'vamp'," said Silena with a bite in her words, she had been called a manner of derogatory terms over her second life, but she counted that as one of the worst. "My name is Silena," she crossed a leg behind the other and sank into a short curtsey. "And yours, wolf?"
The girl's lips contorted up into an amused smile, "Lilian. I live in the sports department."
"Above Nic - I mean, above Lord Nicolae?" she asked curiously,
"Yeah, sadly. We catch his stench whenever he comes and goes. Blood, whisky and whores, you can't miss it."
That's not how he used to be, Silena thought despairingly, he used to smell of piped tobacco and '4711'.
"Hey, listen," said Lilian, speaking warily, and examining her up and down. "We're having a meeting in the underground lot tonight. All of us are getting together to discuss...problems at Sky Valley. You interested?"
"I wasn't aware there were any problems that needed sorting,"
Lilian glanced across again, "there's one big problem, that's for sure." That told Silena everything. Nic, they're trying to hurt Nic? The fool... he thought nothing could harm him, he was so cocky, how was he not aware of such a thing going on? He thought he was so powerful, yet he was so ignorant at the same time.
I have to help him. If my Maker dies, then I - no, that's not why. I have to protect him, that's why I'm here.
Silena snapped back to reality and grinned falsely at Lilian. "In that case, I wouldn't miss it for the world..."