“You can leave us, now. Except you Lionel, please wait at the door.”
Coil’s henchmen looked at each others before retreating, walking backward weapons pointed forty-five degree angle at the floor. They were well coordinated with each other, like they’d worked together on maneuvers for a long time. Finally, they closed the door behind us and Coil took the opportunity to drag the chair that wasn’t too far from me and setting in in place to face me. He sat down and stared for a moment. I stayed on the floor, putting pressure with my hands on the gaping stake wound in my leg.
“This is the moment I normally ask you who sent you. You’ll either deny that anyone did or you’ll lie and say someone else did.” He dropped those words as a statement, he wasn’t asking anything. “But I know who sent you.”
“Fuck you.” I articulated.
“The answer is nobody.” At least he wasn’t going to torture me for ages expecting me to give an answer I could not possibly provide. That’s what villains did, right? He picked up the bottle not too far from him. “Holy water, useless.” He then pointed at my hand. “Silver, equally so. By the smell of it, you have garlic in your bag, equally worthless. In fact since we’re establishing weaknesses; I bathe, I go to church and maintain a Christian facade and I’m often in the presence of mirrors and photographers.” I noted he hadn’t commented on the uselessness of stakes, but he might have been leading me on.
“All of these are mistakes easily and commonly made by amateurs would-be hellsing. Most of the information available come from old superstitions and scared peasants are rarely rational. Much like magic does not curdle milk or cause marks to appear on the person’s body, Vampires are nothing alike those of fiction and folklore. Of course, some truth has slipped down, but it’s more of a stopped clock phenomenon than anything else.
Which brings us back to you. If you were sent by someone, not an impossibility, they were equally ignorant or sent you here to die. Neither of which are good prospect. So my first question is this: What made you decide to attack me?”
“And then you’ll kill me?”
“The answers you provide are quite irrelevant to my plans and so, if I wanted you dead, you would already be. In fact you’d have been torn into small pieces, then burned to ashes and these would be mixed with cement into cinder blocks which would be sent to random construction sites around town. That way, even if you should by some chance be an undying talent in addition to your pseudo-vampiric nature you would be gone from the picture. So, please, tell me what made you do this. As an incentive, if you do I’ll call Lionel to administer first aid.”
“You killed my dad.” I was lying through my teeth, but between the moans of pain, I hoped it wasn’t perceivable.
“What was his name?”
“Richard Beaulieu.” I answered, thinking of the first name to come to my head, I felt dumb for using my real last name, but it was too late.
“The only Beaulieu I have killed was called Jonathan, it was in 1972 in Toronto. Unless he kept a sperm sample for a dhampir mother to use twenty-eight or so years later. So you are either lying or you have the wrong person. I would say the former. I would advise you be honest with me, my generosity and patience is running thin.” I thought for a moment he was bluffing, but as if he read my mind he continued. “I, and those of my kind, are settled with a perfect memory. Will you answer my question?”
This really isn’t working out.
“It’s what my kind do, so I thought I could do it!” I yelled, causing a flare of pain in my beaten up torso.
“Excellent. We’re going somewhere.” He said with a smile. Before calling in his minion. “Lionel, please get the first aid kit, the one Mr Abendroth was kind enough to gift us.” He then turned back toward me. “What’s your name, girl?”
“As you probably know, I’m Sebastian Coil, of course that’s not my birth name, but it is my current appellation, I’ve had too many to simply list them. I am an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a patron of the arts and as you know; a vampire.”
Lionel came back, a small gray metal case in hand. He carefully approached toward me, but stopped about a yard away.
“Miss Lauren, will you promise not to assault Mr Fergusson if he come closer to help you.”
“I won’t do anything to him.” I grumbled.
He came closer and opened the suitcase, it didn’t look like a regular kit, instead it contained vials and long wheels of thread. Lionel opened the first vial and began to pour it on the wound, but rather than burn like disinfectant did, I immediately felt a soothing warmth fill the leg, banishing the pain. He then took a needle and the thread, sewing the bloodied flesh, it looked like it should have hurt, but it didn’t.
“Would you be so kind as to tell me how you’ve entered, my domain.”
“I just jumped the side gate, the guard was distracted talking on the phone, then I climbed in the first open window I found.”
“Lionel, who was at the side gate?”
“Please call him down here.” His expression was somewhat harsher, like he was thinking about something awful. “Back to you Lauren. Will you consider giving me my sword back? It was a gift from an old friend, I’d hate for it to be damaged.”
“And what, you’ll just let me go?”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. I have a reputation to uphold as lord of the city, should I simply brush aside an attempt on my life and a slight against my office, it would undermine everything I built. So it leaves us three options, I’ll even give you the choice of what happen.
First option is simple. You die here, I snap your neck quickly, cleanly. It’s painless and will be done before you know it. Your body will not be found and you’ll be just another statistics in the police force’s databank. I’ll even dispose of your body how you see fit; an anonymous grave in O’Malley’s or your ashes dispersed wherever you see fit.
Second option is to simply call the cops. They work for me and won’t ask questions. You’ll be put on trial to explain why you saw fit to break into my house and assault me. If lucky, you’ll be tried as a minor and spent the days until your majority in a rehabilitation center, if you’re unlucky, you’ll be judged as an adult as will more than likely spend a decade or two in prison. I would avoid mentioning the vampire subject, insanity is not a good defense, should it even pass, you’ll be confined in an asylum until you are deemed sane, which could effectively be never. Whichever happens, when you get out, you leave the city and never come back. If you do, this affair will be forgotten.
“And the third option?”
“The third option is simple you can--” He didn’t finish his sentence when the guards that had been at the side gate arrived, looking flustered.
“My apologies, Miss Lauren. I’ll be back to you in a minute.” He said, turning his chair around and facing the new arrival.
“Do you know why you’ve been convoked here, Hector?” Coil asked. The man’s eyes fell on me. He understood how I’d gotten here.”Would you like to explain to me how this young lady escaped your unrelenting watch?”
“I’m sorry sir… It’s just that Emily is back at the hospital and… heh… I’m really sorry, I promise it won’t happen again.”
“It won’t.” Coil got up and walked to him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “I am truly sorry, but I have no other choice but to suspend you for a week at half-pay. I expect you to come back more vigilant than ever. Markus and Alexis are in similar situation than you but unlike them, have not failed to meet my expectation. This is the only time I’ll be lenient. You may go.”
The man seemed stunned for a moment and it took him a few second before he stepped away carefully. Coil walked back to his chair and settled down.
“You didn’t…” I began.
“Kill him?” He finished. “My dear, I may be a complete monster, but I am above all an efficient and pragmatic one. Did you seriously expect me to throw a tantrum and lash out about how I have been failed? I am not deluded enough to think of my men as nothing but pawns or statistic blocks in a game. They are people, they need to be groomed into service, not just intimidated, but actively be drawn into it. To rule, one must be as equally loved as they are feared. I know all of their names, their spouses, their children, I have set 401k for them, gotten their children into good college, and et cetera. If they need something, I am to provide and in turn they are ready to lay down their lives for me.
Which brings us to the third option: Work for me. You walk free tonight, go home to your parents, live normally, with the only exception that you’ll serve me to the best of your ability.”
“And become your henchwoman?”
“No, my protegé. Dhampirs are rare and your talents are valuable. I even promise you won’t ever have to raise a hand against normal humans. You’ll be richly rewarded, you’ll even get to play into those little hellsing fantasies of yours once in awhile. Overnight, you’ll go from nobody to one of the top players of our little shadow world.
The choice is yours. I’m giving you ten minutes to think about it.”