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- As per usual, the card reader on the apartment door wasn’t working. Reynauld blew an indignant breath through his teeth and placed one of his bags down on the carpet, punching in the code manually. The tiny green light flickered on and he proceeded into his apartment, kicking the hefty oaken door shut behind him. His apartment was mostly dark, the only light being the leaking rays from the living room archway.
- He stepped into the lit area and dropped his payload on the coffee table. Two grease-soaked bags of fast food wilted on the glass, the one closest to the edge toppling over from its lopsided contents. One of the wrapped burgers rolled out and plopped onto the tarp that covered the carpet. Reynauld watched in disgust as one of his underlings reached for the paper-wrapped heart attack with broken, gnarled fingers.
- The sight was something to behold, one that Reynauld wanted nowhere near his homestead. He had two assigned servants, whose main priority was to act as bodyguards. However, they often ended up on late-night escapades and assignments courtesy of Reynauld’s father, the terrifying don of the Dellucci family. The more regal of the pair was a mischievous and dashing vampire, a sultan of the night. His name was Percival, and despite his apparent agelessness, he vehemently insisted his younger years had nothing to do with King Arthur’s knights. He maintained an enticing youthful appearance, stuck eternally in his mid-twenties with an enchanting, fanged smile. On the opposite side of the coin was Gulch, a dog-eared young man who was every bit as resilient and durable as a vampire, but entirely ensnared by the mortal coil. Not quite a werewolf, but the closest thing the Delluccis had come across thus far. His vicious nature and disregard for anything more than violent and blind loyalty often led to severe recklessness and injury, the worst of which was on display right now.
- Gulch was stretched out on a thick tarp, marinating in his own blood. Several bullets had punched through his cut, and a long gash ran from the top of his shoulder to his lower back. Reynauld wasn’t entirely sure of his specific race, but his kind seemed to be able to bounce back from near-death experiences and heal even the most gruesome of injuries with only light scars to prove they had been wounded. Percival was on his knees beside the eviscerated mutt, taking his sweet time to sew up the wounds. Every few moments the vampire had to take a momentary break to lick his fingers clean, sucking down the crimson liquid with loud, obnoxious slurping sounds.
- “Be patient, partner,, I’m working,” Percival said with a half-hearted sincerity, licking his blood-soaked fingers clean. Gulch finally managed to sink his nails into the burger wrapper, shredding it with a few flicks of his wrist and dragging the morsel towards his toothy maw. His kind needed an immense supply of food to fuel their naturally supercharged bodies, and vampires could sustain themselves on any suitable source of blood. Reynauld’s endless bank account paid for the calories required to sustain Gulch’s regeneration, and in turn the half-beasts endless supply of blood kept Percival from snacking on civilians. It was the perfect system, or so Reynauld’s father had thought. The prodigal son of the crime lord found his lackeys to be annoying at best, and restraining at worst. Two persistent shadows that always ended up finding their way back to him, insisting they would protect and pamper him while they stained his carpet red and drew all sorts of otherworldly antagonists into his peaceful life.
- “Quit messing around, patch him up,” Reynaud grunted, plucking a sandwich from the upright bag and collapsing onto his couch. The two had barged in and shackled him with the responsibility of fetching food; the only place open this late was a 24-hour burger joint with a notoriously slow drive thru. He watched as Percival went still, smiling softly rather than doing as he was told.
- “Awfully sorry about this, Master Reynauld,” the vampire cooed. The young man on the couch furrowed his brow.
- “Don’t call me that. Next time, go to one of my dad’s safehouses. Don’t wake me up at 2 AM and bleed all over my apartment,” Reynauld hissed.
- “I’m not bleeding, M-” Percival piped up candidly, barely stopping himself before his instincts pushed out another affectionate “master.” His bloodred eyes slid down to the jackal-eared hitman on the floor, and he quickly went to work sewing up the rest of Gulch’s holes. He didn’t let himself get distracted by the fragrant crimson that surrounded him.
- “What on earth knocked him up so bad?” Reynauld asked after swallowing the last bite of his food.
- “Another vampire seems to be in town. She doesn’t like us very much,” Percival replied, his hypnotic gaze sliding up to meet Reynauld’s. The aloof and unwilling master was so disenchanted and frustrated with his pesky “servants” that Percival couldn’t charm him even if he tried.
- “Is she going to follow you two back here? Do I need to invest in garlic and stakes?” the young human asked, slouching against the back of the couch.
- “Oh heavens, no, we managed to scare her off. Otherwise, she surely would have come for all this delectable beastblood.” Percival’s stare moved down to Gulch. “Doing okay, pincushion?”
- Under normal circumstances, the dog would be barking back with enough toxicity to poison an elephant. For now, though, it seemed he had finished his first burger and promptly passed out from blood loss. Reynauld didn’t show much concern; the wolf would awaken in the morning and scarf down the other 4,000 calories cold.
- “New rule,” Reynauld grunted, and Percival stood up. “My orders take precedence over my father’s. No going out after 9:00 PM unless you’re with me. I’m tired of you two waking me up in the middle of the night.”
- “That sounds reasonable. So you want us to drag us along when we’re give nightlife assignments?” the vampire snickered playfully. Reynauld growled, getting up to head to his bedroom.
- “That isn’t what I said,” he huffed.
- “Yes, but you can’t possibly expect us to sit around in your apartment all night,” Percival continued. Reynauld turned to glare at the undead over his shoulder. “This city never sleeps, and neither do we.” Their gazes both temporarily darted down to the slumbering Gulch. “That’s why your father picked us to protect you.”
- “Yeah, whatever,” Reynauld hissed, waving off his pesky cohort and slipping into his bedroom. “What could you possibly need to protect me from?”
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