The remaining four had a harder job. With all the boroughs in New York City, how were they going to isolate where Blade could be? One thing they did know was that he liked to hang out in the poorer areas of any city within which he operated, but that still left areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and areas of Queens where the other three were patrolling—and that was just what came to mind. Hondo and Kenta went for the full Ninja gear, while Wiener went for his old hunting clothes, and Vincent opted for a suit more akin for a dapper man of the old west. With the beard, he looked like a modern day Wild Bill Hickock without the long hair. He even opted for a pair of .44 six shooters on each hip, but they were silver magnum rounds. Essentially, whatever he hit, he wanted to assure that whatever he hit stayed where it dropped. Because he was a true vampire, he had the strength to wield them. The Clan had quite the arsenal in the basement, and he could have had his choice, but he liked his pistols, unless it was a full scale strike. Then he went with the FN-FALs that the others liked to carry. However, this night, it would be close quarters, and the others opted for Styer AUGs that evening. They wore them externally to get a message across, and they even carried paperwork that stated they could carry them legally in case the police asked any questions. They also had silver rounds, knowing that one to the heart would be fatal to this kind of undead. They also carried swords: Hondo and Kenta with silver and steel alloy blades, Wiener with a similarly constructed rapier, and Vincent, who opted for a U.S. Cavalry saber, also made the same way. They also carried stars made the same way. In other words, they were ready for anything that was living or undead. Some would figure that this four would get a lot of looks. Yet, in New York City, one could dress like Bozo the clown and walk down the street without anyone questioning them. People would be less likely to say something when they were dressed like that!
They were now on a subway train, wondering where to go next. They noticed that they were in a line that was heading into the Bronx, so they figured that would be a good enough place to go. The train pulled up at the stop nearest Yankee Stadium, and they figured that it would be then good to step out and start there. It was a nicer area around the park, but it would eventually lead to the worse parts of the town as they went. It was not that the Bronx was entirely a slum or a place where all the poor and gangs live—far from it. It was just that the areas where this kind of thing was taking place were once so notorious that the police station in the worst area—the 42nd precinct—used to know itself as Fort Apache: the Bronx, and even still bears that nickname as a reminder of what they once had to face. Ever since Giuliani had started to clean up the city, things had not been that bad, but it was still a rough neighborhood. However, the slum area was sizeable enough to be two things: a haven for undead to hide, and a great area to feed as to where someone going missing or dying would not be given much notice. When the four came of the train, there was just about everything one would expect in a place like that, from bums to street merchants selling their, (sometimes illegal,) wears. They also saw something that gave them some hope. They saw on the wall something only their kind would see. On the wall was the Amayah glyph, which gave them a good indication that they were in a feeding trough for the undead. In fact, as soon as they got off the train, two individuals surfaced quickly, and Wiener smiled, saying, “They just announced themselves.”
They started to hurry, and Kenta asked, “What kind of a welcoming party do you think we’ll face?”
“Nothing right away,” answered Vincent, “but the further we follow them, the more likely we will find action.”
“Perfect,” responded Hondo, “That kind of action may flush out Blade. We follow them, and, if we see more of the glyphs appearing, we know we are coming close to tipping a hornet’s nest. Good thing we brought our cans of Raid.”
The four grinned and nodded, knowing that action was what they wanted. It was certain they were very conspicuous, but they also knew that it was what they wanted.
Back at the restaurant, five large packages were arriving, and Yuriya looked surprised, knowing they were not expecting something like this. She signed for them, and she had them brought them to the service entrance. Once inside, some of the crew looked askance at this, and said, “Did the boss order new kitchen equipment?”
“Not unless she wanted some authentic Japanese cooking tables, because they all came from there,” said Yuriya, as she had some people come up with crow bars. They pried off the lids, and they then saw the coffins. Yuriya was so glad at that point that everyone was in on the deal, or else she would at that moment be erasing memories very quickly. As soon as the box lids were being removed, those inside the coffins were awoken, and it was then they knew that they had arrived. The lids of the coffins opened and out came Elda, Victor, Ren, Chiyuki, and Ai, and Chiyuki’s now six year old daughter Keelin. They all looked very hungry, and Yuriya then said, “Five bottles of the best, heated up to 98.6.”
Once that was done, they were led into the restaurant, where Chiyuki took one look around and said, “Doesn’t the boy get any original ideas?”
The kids sitting in back working on their homework began to cringe at the sight of Elda, but Franklin had not yet met his great-grandmother yet, and he jumped up and ran over to her to meet her, despite the efforts of the others to stop him. “Hello, pretty lady!” said Franklin to Elda, who noticed the adorable child that looked a lot like Jean-Claude, and said, “Oh, you must be Franklin! Your Daddy has told me so much about you! Thank you for the compliment—you have such good taste!”
With that, she snatched him up and started to squeeze him—TIGHT. “Oh, you look so cute, I could eat you up!” she said, and now, suddenly, Franklin was afraid that she just might! It took a slight effort from Victor and Yuriya to pry Franklin from Elda. After he had recovered from his hyperventilating in trying to get his wind back, he pouted and crossed his arms, saying, “Great-grandmother hugs too hard!”
“What’s wrong, honey?” she asked, “I just love you so!”
“…and let’s keep it so you can continue to do so,” suggested Yuriya, now relieved that she and Victor had not decided to start another family yet. . She wondered how Henry managed to survive his childhood. Elda then turned her attention to Keelin, but she had already hid behind Chiyuki’s legs, not wanting whatever it was that Franklin just got! Franklin came over, and Keelin asked who it was. Chiyuki explained that he was her cousin, and the two were then quick to make friends. Yuriya was so glad that there was another child the age of her son and Sophia and with things in common. It was then that Mickey asked the Devil Sisters, “So, what brings you here?”
“Elda told us that there was some trouble here, and things were getting so boring,” said Chiyuki, to which Ren said, mockingly, “Oh, sure, I mean, traveling all over the world and seeing sights the ordinary mortal would never have the chance to see is so dull. I mean, trying to spread the Dream is just so dull!”
Chiyuki smacked the back of his head, and said, “That’s not what I mean, and you know it.”
Ai giggled and said in a knowing way, “Come on, Chiyuki: you always manage to make things interesting!”
“Yeah,” said Ren, “That’s right! Are you talking about something like what happened in Hong Kong in that casino, where…”
“Ren, if you breathe one word of that to anyone, I swear…” snapped Chiyuki, but Kannon then said, “Hey, I heard about that in the news! Was that you behind all that? I mean, did the place really need to implode like that?”
She gave a sly, almost evil grin to Kannon as she got right up into her face, and said, “At least I can say I did something in my life that brought down the house!”
It was certain that Kannon could have fried her where she stood, but she had more respect for Auntie-san than that, and there was no telling just what Chiyuki would do if she were pressed, so she let it go. Victor then said, “Where is General Makka?”
“The Hand is at work,” said Yuriya.
“What are they looking to get done tonight?” asked Ren.
Mickey piped up at this point and said, “Dad and Aunts Karin and Anjou are looking for dirt on Amayah, and the other four are looking for Blade.”
Chiyuki and Ai shuddered a touch, but then smiled, and Ai said, “I remember tangling with Blade once. He backed off when I saved his life, and he realized that I was quite powerful. He let me go, but I know that would have been no guarantee that he would have not tried to do me in if he had the chance.”
“But this time, we are not what we were, and will he be in for a surprise,” said Chiyuki with a sly grin.
“I have worked with him,” said Victor, “And I am just not sure what he would think now that I crossed over.”
“This is why we have to get him into our world as soon as possible,” said Sophia, “He has to learn that he has friends. It is best you do not meet him right away.”
“That doesn’t mean that we can’t have a look around,” said Elda, “I’ve always wanted to see New York. Victor, we need to go see one of the shows while here!”
He clicked his heels and gave her a salute, saying, “Ja, meine Kommandante.”
She smiled and kissed his cheek, saying, “Just remember that!”
Back in Queens, the foursome were now heading for what they assumed to be a safe house, but instead, they went down a back alley and to a spot where there were about four people in line, and a large bouncer. Jean-Claude then asked, “What’s this?”
“It’s a rave club,” said the now very cooperative man, “He runs the place, and I have heard some stories. Please, man, let me go! I’ve heard stories about people who get too close to this place!”
Jean-Claude did, but not before erasing his memories, and then doing what he normally did to criminals to try to break them of their ways. He checked his .45, holstered it again, and the three headed for the door. The man at the door indeed was undead, and he began to scan them as they approached. They seemed to be human, so he figured that there was no problem in dealing with them, and he approached, saying, “Hey, get in line like everyone else. We have a load limit in there.”
He then got on his headset and said, “We got room for seven more?”
“How many humans are there?” asked the man on the other end.
“There are four vampires in line, and three humans who just waked up,” he said, “They all look Goth, too!”
“Let them in,” said the one on the other end, “They want to play ‘vampire’? Well, let’s let them play the hardcore version. There are about 15 other humans in here, and I’m sure the others in here will love it!”
Harmon at that point was excited. He knew that if he stayed loyal like this, he would be turned in no time. He could not wait to see what these three looked like.
Jean-Claude was looking to pummel the guard, but he was surprised when the guard said, “They got room for you three, go ahead.”
He looked surprised, at first, but then nodded, and started to go in. Yet, the guard then said, “Ah, the blades have to stay outside—no weapons.”
The three looked at him, and were able to assess with their abilities that this one was not emitting any body heat. Jean-Claude then walked up to him and picked him up with one hand like he was lifting a small child, and he said, “They stay with us.”
He started to reach up for the headset, but Anjou had already done a flip over him and snatched it away. Jean-Claude then threw him into a wall. Before he could react, Karin already had two stars into him, and he was ashed that moment. The other four there were locked in fear, but figured that they were just four humans, and they got lucky. In a flash, they vamped out and moved in, but the three of them had drawn their blades and had their heads off before they could blink, all dropping to piles of ash on the ground. The last one tried to run, but Jean-Claude managed to drop a couple of rounds into her before she got far. “Alright, this is the place to look. Let’s go in,” said Jean-Claude as he holstered his pistol, and they headed in.
Once inside, the ear-splitting sound of fast metal was coming from the stage, and everyone was in various states of dress, some literally letting it all hang out. The sight disgusted Jean-Claude, in that, he always believed in liberty, but not in license. He knew that license was liberty to the point where one does what one wants, no matter if it hurts one’s self or others, and with no care of the consequences of one’s actions. Of course, the band was lousy, but he asked himself what he could have expected. He came near the bar and the man behind it said, “Hey, big guy, what’s your poison?”
“Cola,” he said without flinching.
The man behind the counter looked at him oddly, and rolled his eyes as he filled a glass. He then said, “Is that a rum and Coke?”
Jean-Claude then said, “Just a cola.”
“Whatever,” he said, and he looked at the other two and said, “What about you ladies?”
“Sprite,” said Anjou.
“Dr. Pepper,” said Karin.
Now he really looked at them oddly, and he said, “No liquor tonight? What gives?”
“You ever heard of date rape?” asked Karin, “I don’t like going into a place like this and then waking up in some man’s bed, wondering what in the world I just did.”
“Weird!” he exclaimed as he handed them the drinks, and then they noticed the mark on his wrist. Looking him over, they realized that he was human, and that he had to be the familiar. Jean-Claude wanted to stir up some problems to have an excuse for a fight, and to cover for himself, so he said, “That is one lousy band.”
“Hey, man, you get what you can,” said Harmon, “Besides; you think they care about art?”
“Even that kind of music needs structure,” responded Anjou.
“So, you two could do better?” he asked.
“Watch us!” was Jean-Claude’s answer. He and Anjou went up to the stage after they finished their song, and he said, “You guys stink!”
The lead of the band used some choice words, inviting Jean-Claude to have certain kinds of relations with himself. Anjou said, “It seems that the drummer and bass are not bad.”
“You know so much, you get up here and do this!” the lead snapped back, and the other two jumped on the invitation. They took the guitars, and he looked at Anjou, saying, “Circle Sky, Muff!”
They ripped into the lead riffs, and the drummer and bass were able to feel it out and jump in. Jean-Claude took the lead on that song, and everyone was now screaming and jumping. He then went into Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack, and that got everyone riled. It was not as such that he was advocating that music, or even cared for it, but it was more because he wanted to agitate the two band members that were now being taken to school, and by their analysis, were undead. Once they finished the number, they set down the guitars and jumped off the stage. When the other two retook the stage, they were being booed, and Jean-Claude began to back way with a smile on his face, arms spread, as if to say, “Told you!”
That was it for those two. Considering that the handful of humans was to be food later anyway, they figured they would get started on those two that had just showed them up. They vamped up and leapt off the stage, but Anjou and Jean-Claude pulled out the pistols, and ashed them right there. The familiar was going for a gun and the phone, but Karin, (who never left the bar,) was up over the bar in a flash, tossed the gun aside, put him in an arm bar, and slammed his face into the bar as she said, “If you want to keep breathing, you stay put and be a good boy!”
As soon as the undead in the club realized that they may be dealing with hunters, they all started to move in, but Anjou and Jean-Claude unloaded their clips, and then went for the stars, ashing everyone that they came into contact with, in order to get some space to maneuver. Once they holstered their pistols, they pulled out their swords and went to work. Jean-Claude screamed, “If you are not a vampire, I suggest you clear out. This club is a trap!”
The humans in there did not need to be told twice, and they were essentially already on the move, considering how the undead were dying before them. When they saw that, they definitely knew they were in the wrong place, and started to make for the door. However about four undead jumped in front of them and blocked the way. Yet, before they could get, “Where do you think you’re going,” out of their mouths, Karin was already lighting them up as she kept the familiar pinned. In the middle of the mêlée, undead were dropping like flies. Anjou’s sword was the silver and steel alloy, but Jean-Claude’s was still standard steel. However, he was used to aiming for the neck anyway, so it was no problem. Once the tide began to show, the undead were now trying to clear out. Karin was capping who she could, but she could not reload lest she lost her grip on the man, and a couple of undead took a chance at her. She then was forced to release her grip. However, she ripped the phone out of the wall as she threw stars with her other hand, and ashed them before the got far. The familiar was then up over the bar with his pistol and was aiming it at Jean-Claude. In the next breath, he found himself without an arm. “I need him alive!” screamed Jean-Claude, and Anjou closed the wound, with no intentions of reattaching it. Jean-Claude then told Karin to follow up on at least one of the fleeing undead and then to send a bat to let them know where she was. He was hoping he or she would flee to a safe house, and then phase two of that night’s activities could commence. Now that the place was clear, Jean-Claude walked up and towered over him. The man was now pleading for his life, and Jean-Claude said, “You disgust me! You want to be a vampire so bad that you were willing to forsake your humanity before it even happened? Did you even care about the people you hurt? You joined the wrong team! Now you go back to your cronies and tell them that the days of House Amayah are numbered. Tell them that there is another day walker in town, and he’s not happy. Get out of here before I rip your head off anyway!”
Jean-Claude let him go, and he ran for his life. Anjou said, “Was that wise?”
“We’ve been the shadows long enough,” answered Jean-Claude, “Its time they began to learn of the other world to which they’ve been oblivious. If they begin to get sacred, they will stick their heads up, and we can then cut them off. Come on, and let’s catch up with Karin. We need to find one of these safe houses.”
In the Bronx, the four started going down the streets, hoping to be noticed, and they started to get away from the more lit areas, knowing that they just might run into something. One thing that was guiding them was the glyph markings on the walls, in that, the more frequent they became, the closer they were coming to the target. After about ten blocks, the two that had seen them had come back with about ten undead to confront them. The hackles on the vampires began to rise up, and they knew they were being watched. Vincent then said, “Hondo, take cover and be ready to strike. Everyone else, use infrared vision.”
The others either wheeled around their AUGs or pulled his .44s, scanning the wall ledges and rooftops. At about that moment, Blade was on the rooftops, out looking for undead himself to try to get more information than he had on Amayah, and get a plan together to put an end to the house altogether. That was when he was able to detect the undead on the rooftops, and the warm bodies in the street below. He thought that they were getting ready to take down some innocents, and he began to move in as they were beginning to leap down. He then had to take cover as the sound of automatic gunfire ripped past him. He watched in amazement as about four of them turned to ash before they hit the ground. The gunfire was accompanied by loud pistol shots, and a few more turned to ash. Blade pulled his sword and started to take down undead, and when it was done, it was only Blade with the four. Yet, before anyone could say anything, about 20 more undead arrived, and said, “Looks like we get the prize after all! You humans will regret coming here! Even Blade can’t help you now!”
Of course, Blade had fought more than this, and he knew it was an idle threat, but Kenta looked up, smiled, and said, “Actually, the cavalry is on the way!”