“Your pet is…” Sima poured wine before offering Wren a glass. “Fascinating.” She took a sip of her own wine. “I had thought such as he was…” She shrugged. “Impossible.”
“My Adam is special.” Wren smiled proudly before taking her own sip. Even having gone through Renee’s journals, she still wasn’t sure how much of what he could do was him and how much was the talisman. As long as the talisman was intact, she need not worry for his safety, at least. A healing spell focused upon it would restore him to as good as new, even if one of the mercenaries had managed to shoot him. Renee had used such talismans to create near-mindless, unstoppable killing machines utterly subservient to her will.
“I had a pet of my own until he was stolen from me.” Sima gave a wistful sigh. “As soon as I learn where he was taken, I intend to get him back.” She smiled. “He was such a sweet thing, a rare beauty.”
Giroux came in a moment later, and smiled at Wren. “Matters are settling, ma chere.” He took the glass of wine Sima offered. “Tell me, what else do you know of the, er, project?”
“That what the girl is carrying is not something that can simply be recreated.” Wren sat. She had no real idea why, or if it was the girl that was special.
“Sadly true. Which means it must be recovered at all costs. I would prefer the children be recovered as well. They are gifted, and such individuals are precious and rare.” Giroux nodded to Sima. “Madam Sima has some skill at convincing individuals to be…” He smiled. “Compliant.”
Sima laughed before raising her glass toward Wren. “Pajari hired me to make you…” She smirked. “Compliant.” She sipped her wine. “Considering your nature, it would have been an interesting challenge.”
“Not really.” Wren gave Sima an appraising look. “You’d look lovely in a silver collar.”
“You…” Sima laughed again. “I like.” She twitched a shoulder. “I was also hired because I happen to be acquainted with the wolf accompanying the children.”
“We have identified him as a mercenary. Earliest known identity was Matthias Ahlgren, and he uses the name Matthias often enough that it may actually be his.” Giroux set a piece of paper on the low table. It showed a sepia toned photograph of young men in military uniforms. The largest of the men was circled.
Wren frowned. The uniforms looked like something out of an old movie. “When was this taken?”
“World War II.” Sima smiled at the expression on Wren’s face. “Matthias and I are fairly close in age.”
“You look good for a century.” Wren nodded before turning to look at Giroux. “He is why you needed the silver bullets?”
“You called him the most dangerous werewolf currently alive.” Giroux took another sip of wine. “I am not inclined to argue with that assessment.”
“Tell me about this chosen one.”
“Any animal?” Patrick was staring at him.
“I have to see it first.” Adam took another sip of the cognac.
“So that’s why you’ve been dragging us to zoos.” Patrick gave a low whistle. “I thought that was just the sketching thing.”
“It was partly the sketching thing.” Adam shrugged. “I can’t really come up with a situation that would require me to turn into a zebra but they were really fun to draw.”
“Chase scene across the Serengeti?” Patrick raised an eyebrow.
“Is that…” Adam blinked. “Something I can expect to have happen?”
“Eh, working for these guys, I’ve learned not to be surprised at anything.” Patrick leaned back in the chair and took a drink from his own glass. “I mean, I shot this one guy in the face nine times and he kept coming. Turned out he was a vampire.”
“Vampires are real.” Adam exhaled.
“The guy that can turn himself into a bird is surprised vampires are real?” Patrick snickered.
“Just…” He winced a little before looking back up at Patrick. “Do they sparkle?”
“If you use enough enough c4 those bastards light right the fuck up.” Patrick chuckled. “About the only way to take them out, since they move too damn fast for stakes to actually work. Even the thralls can just about take on werewolves.”
“Have you worked with a lot of er…” Adam frowned. “Werewolves and…” He set the glass down. “Things.”
“Few wolves. The little ones are good to have at your back. Alphas scare me. They get their blood up enough they don’t do so well at telling friend from foe.” Patrick set his own glass down, then took a coin out of his pocket. “I’ve got…” He held his hand out, then the coin slowly levitated out of it. It spun a few times before setting into his palm. “And that’s pretty much it. Lot of variation on gifts. You can fly, I never lose a coin toss.”
“Bet you have fun in Vegas.”
“Yeah, I don’t go to Vegas anymore.” Patrick winced. “There was this thing and a dragon and…” He shook his head. “Yeah, I just avoid the shit out of Nevada.”
“You impregnated a twelve-year old girl with the clone of a nephilim?” Wren stared at Giroux.
“My fee…” Sima took a sip of her wine. “Just doubled.”
“How bad are we talking?” Wren turned toward Sima.
“Heard of a fellow named Vlad Dracul?” Sima raised an eyebrow.
“You cloned Dracula?” Wren’s eyes widened.
“No.” Giroux laughed softly. “That is beyond the realm of possibility. The child does indeed have the blood of such a creature. We had just enough material to create a single embryo.”
“So you put your only egg into a basket that wandered off.” Sima took a sip. “Do you know the girl’s gift?”
“We do now. The girl is a seer, the boy a healer.” Giroux leaned forward. “Yet another reason we want both back alive. With their abilities, they could be extraordinary assets.”
“How did they end up with this Matthias?” Wren glanced down at the picture again.
“Pure chance, it seems. Our contact said only that the boy, Daniel, hired Matthias.”
“If he’s a mercenary, why not just make him a better offer?” Wren frowned. “These kids —”
“Because Matthias is a good mercenary.” Sima shook her head. “Which means as long as he’s paid, he stays bought. I just wonder how this kid could afford him in the first place. He charges more than I do.”
“A very good question.” Giroux nodded. “We are operating under the assumption that Daniel got his hands on one of Trent’s accounts. Without knowing which one, however, we don’t know how long Daniel can keep paying Matthias.” He sighed. “So we’ve chosen to err on the side of caution, and are assuming we are going to have to eliminate the man.”
“Not like you could hire him anyway.” Sima shook her head. “He doesn’t do cabals.” She smirked. “Doesn’t like witches.”
“How much do you know about him?” Wren raised an eyebrow.
“Enough that I generally prefer to keep a country or two away from him. He…” Sima looked up at Wren. “Did you learn about My Lai in school?”
“You mean Vietnam?” She blinked. “He was part of that?”
“Yeah, he was part of Vietnam. Not that particular massacre, but others like it.” Sima met Wren’s eyes. “And he did worse after. I know what kind of monster I am, and the guy scares the hell out of me. Frankly, I’m not convinced we won’t be rescuing these kids.” She finished her wine. “So what caliber silver bullets did you make?”
Wren hadn’t made good on her promise to visit Notre Dame. She’d spent much of the last few days with Sima, going clothes shopping. At least he hadn’t been dragged along for that, though he had been made to watch a few fashion shows. Sima gave him the creeps.
The mercenaries had gotten more friendly, despite him having killed four of them. Or maybe because he’d killed four of them. A couple days ago, they’d had taken him to a shooting range and spent the day teaching him about various firearms. It had taken him the better part of a couple hours, but he’d gotten to be a decent shot. The next day they’d taken him out to a spot in the hills and taught him how to use a sniper rifle. It had been way more complicated than he’d expected, but he’d gotten the hang of it after a while. They’d seemed surprised when he’d started hitting the target, but since he couldn’t speak German he really wasn’t sure why. Oscar was a good instructor.
He was making friends with cold-blooded killers. Ah, Paris. Adam looked up when Patrick entered, carrying a box. The man was grinning. “You are seriously under utilizing this trick of yours. I brought some things to help.” Patrick set the box on the table and gestured to it.
“Oh?” He opened the box, then looked up at Patrick again before he began removing the contents. “Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park 2. Jurassic Park 3. Jurassic World. Dinosaur Island. Carnosaur. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.” He tilted his head at a movie. “Lesbian Cavewomen 3: Dawn of the Dildosaur?” He looked up at Patrick again, and the man grinned. Adam rolled his eyes. “Raptor Ranch.” Then he picked up the book. “Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual…” He opened it. “With the pages stating out dinosaurs helpfully marked already.” He set it down and stared down at the table. “I don’t understand what you are trying to suggest.”
“I’m saying…” Patrick sat down across from him. “That their werewolf tore through three of ours like a hot knife through butter. We go up against that, I want a fucking T-Rex backing me up.”
“T-Rex is scavenger.” A woman with a heavy Russian accent entered. He thought her name was Stasya. “Tank better.” She nodded to Adam. “Do triceratops.”
“No.” Patrick shook his head.
“Yes. Good for frontal assault.” She folded her arms before waving a hand. “Charge.”
“Yeah, but only that. It’s unidirectional. If we’re going for a tank, ankylosaurus.”
“I see point.” She nodded to Patrick before turning to Adam. “He is right. Ankylosaurus.”
“One…” Adam sighed, but the corners of his mouth were twitching. “The moves don’t exactly get dinosaurs right.”
“We can hit up the natural history museum.” Patrick shrugged.
“Kid museum has big dinosaur exhibit.” Stasya smiled. “Is fun. Has 3-d movies.”
“You like dinosaurs?” Patrick raised an eyebrow at her.
“Who does not?” She gave him a confused look, which just made Patrick grin wider.
“Two…” Adam rolled his eyes. “I have to actually see a real one or have someone who has shift me before I can take the form, and there are no real dinosaurs around anymore.”
“You can do bird, yes?” Stasya sat down. “Hawk?”
“Yeah, I can do a hawk.” He nodded.
“Hawk is raptor.” She picked up the Jurassic park cause. “Raptor is raptor. See?”
“Yeah, I can follow the logic…” Adam started to smile. “But logically I shouldn’t be able to transform into anything that has a different mass than I do.”
“Kid…” Patrick held up another of the movie cases. “Dinosaurs.”
“How old are you?” He shook his head at Patrick.
“Dino…” Patrick waggled his eyebrows. “Saurs.”
“Could try dragon.” Stasya tilted her head.
“Wait, dragons actually are real?” Adam blinked. “He wasn’t shitting me?”
“Remember when we thought werewolves were movie?” Stasya turned to Patrick.
“The good old days.” He nodded. “Kid, you are seriously under playing your talent here.”
“Is good thing.” Stasya shrugged.
“How so?” Patrick frowned at her.
“He is pretty young man, changes shape, any animal he want.” Stasya waved a hand. “He could make killing working in porn.”
Adam and Patrick just stared at her a moment before they both burst out laughing. It felt kind of good.