Lullaby in the Dark

It was one of those-- now often occurring-- quiet nights.

For the men standing guard outside Casa De Macawber, it was likely not the most thrilling job in the world. Especially since their very presence was enough to get people to behave in the vicinity. Not too many dared venture near… hey, it COULD be a good time to catch some sleep if one really wanted to live dangerously.

But right about the one A.M. mark-- when most normal people were sleeping safely, a very soft, but clearly cold and childishly toned voice rang out.

"If you go out in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise…"

A short verse, long enough for them to glance in the direction of where it came-- and just long enough for the vocalist to sound off from a completely different direction--

"If you go out in the woods today, you'd better go in disguise…"

Another swivel of heads, and potentially a gun or two hefted up. Just depended on whether they took the threat seriously enough. I mean… come on… how scary can a lullaby be?

"For every bear that ever there was, will gather there for certain, because…"

The voice continued, again their focus turning in a different direction.

Then from the stoop, just behind a support-- and just behind some unsuspecting goon…

That voice turned playful, musical, and oh-so happy…

"Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic!" 

A flash of red eyes and the gleam of fangs as nPiper shot forward to tear into the neck of her decided 'picnic'.

    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

      One of the guards let out a surprised shout, which was followed by both semi-auto weapons firing in all directions. The inky darkness in front of them combined with their attacker's speed had set both guards into full panic mode.

      The sound of gunfire quickly attracted the remaining henchmen patrolling the outer perimeter and inner-entrance to the warehouse, and within moments a dozen men were rushing toward the outside gate, shouting orders and loading up their weapons.

      By the time they arrived, however, all they would find was one guard, his back pressed tightly against the gated entrance, his hands gripping his gun so firmly that his knuckles had turned white.

      "TONY! What the hell is happening down there?" One shouted from the security perch above.

      Letting out a squeak, all Tony could do was point his shaking gun toward a pool of blood a few feet in front of him. It was the beginning of a thick, red trail that told the story of a body dragged off into the darkness.

      "M...m...monster!" Tony managed to shout.

      Two of the henchmen exchanged a look. "Could be those robot things again? Maybe we should call in the Boss."

      "Yeah... better let her know. But she ain't gonna be happy."

      "Is she ever, though?"

      "Eh... fair point."

       

      • Piper/ Jade
        Piper/ Jade

        Happy in her little darkened alcove, nPiper ate. She kept an ear open for the guards… they could shoot as they wished. Sure, it would hurt, but it wouldn't kill her. Sometimes you had to take a bullet for a banquet, and she healed pretty quickly.

        But she didn't relish the idea, so she ate quickly. She knew who 'boss' was, and nPiper felt it would be rude to have her mouth full of henchmen when the mistress showed up. She shuffled around a bit, pulling her hair out of the way and pulling the loose straps of her shirt back up. They'd slid down during the minor scuffle she'd had with the guard.

        And in her euphoria, she continued to hum the lullaby she'd been singing initially. It was nice to be away from the little beast… although she was not sure how long nLilly would tolerate her… probably should have just locked her up with some normal and let her fend for herself…

        Eh. Altogether not worth the effort worrying about. The kid hadn't died yet, so… she was more versatile than your common house plant. She'd manage. For now? Noms!

        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

          "A what?"

          'The mistress' in question was looming over a sickly-pale Tony, who was now seated in the interrogation chair normally reserved for trespassers and door-to-door water heating scam artists.

          "A monster! With glowing eyes! And fangs! And it sang!" The wide-eyed Tony rambled on. "Next thing I know it's got Pablo by the neck, and just drags him off into the dark. I shot at it but it was too fast!"

          "That really doesn't narrow it down." Given that he had literally just described Malicia herself to a tee. But the 'grabbing by the neck' part...

          "And you're certain it wasn't the robots?" She inquired further.

          He shook his head. "No, it moved differently and... it... I think it was a woman."

          "Huh."

          Snapping her fingers at the henchmen by her side. "Open the back gate and release Pringles. I am going outside." She announced.

           

          • Piper/ Jade
            Piper/ Jade

            "Much better..." she purred, sitting back on her heels and licking her fingertips delicately. Once clean, she ran her fingertips through her hair, making it more messy and wild looking than not. She then straightened her shirt-- pulling it up so that it covered her chest slightly, but not much. "Why does hunting have to be so ruffling on my clothing?" she pondered with a pout as she rubbed some dirt off of her silk top.

            Full stomach, and in a great mood, she stood up, brushing her knees off. nPiper took a quick moment to hide Pablo--- as in kicking a trash can over on top of him-- and then turned to head back towards Malicia's warehouse, her heels sounding smartly on the pavement. "I wonder if I should go around back… I'm sure those silly boys have figured out that I am around by now… surely they'll have upped their numbers."

            She was talking to nobody, but considering her semi-psychopathic mentality, this was not uncommon. She tapped her bottom lip gently, and then started around for the side of the warehouse. "Hopefully she won't be too angry that I nibbled her hooligan…"

             

            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

              AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

              The sound of three dogs baying rang out.

              Not too far from nPiper, Mal had already discovered the discarded body with the help of her Familiar.

              "Definitely vampire." She gave Pringles a scratch under one of his chins. "And if Tony is right about it being female, I can guess who is paying us a visit..."

              Was her hungry hench-eater sending a threatening message? Or merely sampling the goods?

              No matter, she'd find out soon enough.

              "All right Pringles, lead me to her."

              • Piper/ Jade
                Piper/ Jade

                She paused, turning her ear towards the bay.

                "Huh… that sounds like a really big pack of dogs… " Oddly enough… she knew those kinds of sounds. There were hundreds of feral dogs in the negaverse, and one had to be careful to avoid the packs.

                "Must be some disgruntled puppies getting put out." She said with a shrug, and continued about her way. She came across a side gate of some kind… it followed along to the back of the warehouse where she was sure there would be guards. People tended to forget about the side since it was just wide enough for a person to pass through. Surely nobody would be stupid enough to hang out there. Stupid... or Daring.

                Too bad there were a bunch of pointy things at the top.

                "How barbaric." she declared with her hands on her hips. She began looking around for another way in… a small break at the bottom of the gate to allow overflown water to move out. "Perfect…"

                She got down on her hands and knees. "Gonna be a tight fit… Curse these wonderful curves." But she tried to squirm under nonetheless.

                And very promptly got stuck.

                At her chest.

                "Oh COME ON" she said, trying to back out. Oops.

                Well, wasn't this embarrassing?

                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                  "You look like you could use a hand." Said smoothly from behind her.

                  It hadn't taken Mal very long to catch up. nPiper had essentially circled around the warehouse, and Mal knew the perimeter far better than her guest.

                  Standing with her hands on her hips, she playfully stuck out her foot and gave the vampire's rear end a playful, light kick.

                  "Tight indeed." She teased. "Have you come back for dessert, I wonder?"

                   

                  • Piper/ Jade
                    Piper/ Jade

                    Her tail thrashed a bit as she tried to back out again. "Mistress!" Hard to discern if it was fear or happiness… because it was trailed by an odd little chuckle. "Yes… tight… I think I've put on some weight in all the right places." Which was true. She'd been fed well over the past years, and had filled out quite a bit. Before, she'd been oddly disproportioned… rail thin with an accentuated chest. Like a top heavy bean pole. But being pregnant had also helped there.

                    "I couldn't dream of desert!" she chirped. "I am far to full from the proper meal I had… unless you are offering…?" The sly look she gave was probably the most ridiculous thing considering she was stuck in a less than respectable position.

                    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                      "You know, it's rude to eat one's underlings without asking first." She lectured. "Not to mention a sign of disrespect! Couldn't you nibble on a Girl Scout instead? Or that news anchor who makes continuous puns about my rear-end on live television?"

                      But evidently, Mal was willing to forgive this little transgression, because instead of smooshing the vampire, she carefully bent the metal gate upward, allowing nPiper to free herself.

                      "What are you doing here, anyway? Is my spell still holding up adequately?"

                      • Piper/ Jade
                        Piper/ Jade

                        Freedom! nPiper sat up and once again set about fixing her clothing. "Thank you." Hey, she knew when to give thanks. "Your spell is holding up wonderfully. That idiot has not been able to influence me. Too bad he got me egged before I could get away." a huff.

                        "But as far as I know, he has given up." Hard to tell if she was relieved or not…. She stood up now to face Malicia. "I am just here for the easy pickings. Things are a bit hectic on the other side. Everyone is on high alert… they aren't walking around alone as much." a pout. Life was so hard.

                        "And I figured it would be rude to not come see my mistress… " a cheeky grin. "I figured scaring your men shitless would make it more memorable!" What a clever girl she was.

                        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                          Uggggh, so there's a baby vampire somewhere right now? Gross.

                          "Yes, I would expect the Negaverse to be a 'bit hectic' by default." Even moreso lately, by the sound of it.

                          "You wouldn't be the first to leave a lasting impression on my guards." Or the last. "Though I'll have to tell them a few fibs to invite you inside. Can't let them think I'll go easy on anyone who murders my own workers. I have to inspire loyalty, after all."

                          Fortunately, Mal had a few secret entrances that allowed nPiper to slip inside unnoticed. Meanwhile, the guards were informed that the issue had been dealt with, and they were to return to their posts.

                          Inside the heart of the warehouse, they wouldn't be bothered by anyone. This allowed Malicia to speak openly and plainly about what was on her mind.

                          "I have plans to pay the Negaverse a visit soon enough." She informed nPiper. "I've allowed the greedy power-hungry idiots of that world run loose long enough. It's time for me to pick through what's left of Negaduck's legacy and reclaim it for myself."

                          • Piper/ Jade
                            Piper/ Jade

                            nPiper followed Malicia like a puppy. She didn't care what she had to tell her men… nPiper felt no remorse for taking out someone weaker than her.

                            But her childish whims were subdued by Malicia's announcement that she'd be going to the Negaverse. "Ah…" that… hadn't been what she thought the demoness would ever want. She squirmed slightly, folding her arms over her chest and toying with her hair. "You're right… there are a lot of greedy and power hungry people there…" she frowned. "But… they're not push overs."

                            She appeared to be thinking about something… but then her expression cleared and she smiled. "Either way, I am sure you'll have no issues with taking care of them. You're so powerful after all, mistress!"

                            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                              Always the proper host, Mal offered her some blood tea and biscuits as they sat in the living room to discuss the matter.

                              "I take it you're familiar with a few of them, then." Suspicious of the praise lathered upon her.

                              "Honestly, I have no interest in the Negaverse itself. It's Negaduck that is.... was.... my main reason for heading there. I need to tie up a few loose ends. Speak to a few people. What happens to the city itself is of no real concern to me."

                              • Piper/ Jade
                                Piper/ Jade

                                She eyed the blood tea… not sure of what it was, but her nose was pretty telling in the matter.

                                nPiper settled a bit, realizing that Malicia was indirectly asking for information… "I really only know one of them well." She said gently, reaching out to take one of the teacups. "Was… am, quite.. fond of him." Even if his did hit her. And kick her. And throw her out… all the time.

                                nPiper sure had a thing for jerks. But that one in particular had a strong draw on her. She could ignore nTrevor easy enough, but nHarou always had a way on sneaking back into her thoughts.

                                "The other is an upstart kid. I don't know him, just of him. And his asinine robots." she rolled her eyes. "Haven't had much dealing with him, but if he's made the news network over there, then he must be something." A snort, and she sipped her tea. "Mm…"

                                She sat back a bit, debating only for a moment before deciding to tell Malicia about nHarou. She was stuck in a position of loyalties on both ends… but since she was, at current, kicked out of the compound, her default was Malicia. Plus the whole, freeing her from being a slave thing...

                                "The one I know is called Harou. He is militant, has quite an army of followers. Lives on a severely guarded compound. Has a hobby of beheading and cleaning skulls. He has a whole set of rooms dedicated to them, like his own personal catacomb." She smiled a bit, tilting her head to the side.

                                "Always says he'd put my pretty skull up there one day… but then he goes right into the sex." Which was the jist of their 'relationship'. "So until he gets tired of that, I doubt the threat to me is real." not that it mattered. She sipped her tea once more, trying to think of what information was actually useful.

                                "The angel runs the church basically… she is the third faction. Not vying for power, just wanting to save all the peoples. There are a few other smaller gangs here and there, but nothing more than some kids thinking they have a pair. Nuisances really. It is nHarou and that other kid you have to know about. They're the biggest at the moment."

                                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                  There was a flash of something in her eyes at the mention of Harou. Curiosity? Surprise? Jealousy? Whatever it might have been, it was gone as quickly as it came.

                                  "The robots I'm familiar with." She said. "And the upstart you refer to... as well as the angel. Very familiar with those two."

                                  NegaHarou, not-so-much. But this was the second time in a short while she had heard of him.

                                  "I'll leave them to their little war games. What they all lack is insider knowledge on Negaduck... which will get me exactly what I want."

                                  She grabbed a biscuit of her own and chewed on it thoughtfully for a moment.

                                  "Why do you stay in the Negaverse?"

                                  • Piper/ Jade
                                    Piper/ Jade

                                    Any reactions went unnoticed. She didn't seem the type to pick up on physical cues anyway. Unless they were apparent.

                                    To Malicia's question… "There is no real daytime." she said. "The smog… it filters the sunlight to a very tolerable level for a vampire. So I am not as limited, unlike here." Sunlight here was crisp, and would kill her on contact.

                                    "And not too many people question a dead body. They go weeks before anyone bothers to report them. Makes hunting a bit safer." she shrugged. "And nTrevor hates it there. So I went back to get away from him, and I found a couple good hiding spots for me and the beast." She reached for a biscuit to nibble on… although blood was her sole source of nutrition, she could eat regular food as well.

                                    "But she is getting older now, and is eating more. I cannot share meals anymore, and she cannot hunt fully yet. So… we need more, less suspecting meals." She'd come to stake out her own hunting ground. "If there were more people, and less aware, I'd stay over there." 

                                    The sacrifices she made for her loin spawn.

                                    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                      "So you care for your daughter, huh." Interesting, she didn't strike Mal as the motherly type. But instinct was a powerful thing, and it was only natural to further your own offspring's survival.

                                      "How are you enjoying motherhood?" Propping her elbows up,  she leaned in to listen curiously.

                                      "I hear baby vampires have a lot of trouble controlling their natural feeding urges."

                                      • Piper/ Jade
                                        Piper/ Jade

                                        She glared. "The little beast bites EVERYTHING. Including me… Thank GOD I have a heavy hand… and a muzzle for her. Otherwise she'd be turning, or killing every idiot hobo and child she comes across." In particular, nLilly's children. Who she had made very clear were off limit to any fangs.

                                        "And I am not doing this crap ever again." she said, setting her cup down. "Ruined my figure, then demands to be FED. If it weren't for the fact I enjoy pain she'd have been killed ages ago." Because lets face it… vampire fangs near the areola were not pleasurable to the average person.

                                        Although she sounded annoyed, it still sounded as if she were a bit proud… "But she does have a good bite. She should be able to hunt once she has a chance to practice. Then I can be completely free. After that she can figure out how to survive on her own."

                                        …so you say.

                                        "Besides… I am not sure I can have anymore children." She thought on that. "I have slept with more than one male since then… no protection, and I have't gotten pregnant. Chances are, only that idiot's genetic dumpings are capable of surviving my destructive innards."

                                        "And what about you? Planning any of your own?" As far as she knew, Malicia did not have kids. 

                                        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                          nPiper's rantings amused her greatly, and she quirked a curious brow. "Quite the masochist, are we?" She had noticed the vampire was looking a bit fuller in the body nowadays, but be it far from her to make comment. Besides, she looked better with a bit of curve on her.

                                          "If it happened once, it can no doubt happen again. You could always consider a more permanent contraceptive if you want to avoid the possibility." Gotta love the wonders of magic.

                                          To her next question, she merely shrugged. "I am only fertile during my heat cycle, which has not come around in awhile." Since Negaduck's death, to be precise. "Besides, I have no mates to bear me worthy offspring. For now, I'm running solo."

                                          • Piper/ Jade
                                            Piper/ Jade

                                            A small, playful grin. "Perhaps… I'll admit, she has given me some of the best pain I have ever felt." In other words, definitely a masochist. Probably explained some of her more baffling life choices. She sounded like one of those weirdo moms who continually bragged about their baby's most rudimentary accomplishments.

                                            In a moment of wisdom-- very odd for this one-- "Permanency when it comes to being immortal is something I'd like to avoid. A few centuries might lead me to regret my decision." She made a face. "Although I admittedly cannot imagine myself doing so." A shrug. She was young still by…well.. most general standards, but probably more so by immortal standardsl. Forever stuck at twenty-five.

                                            She listened to Malicia's answer, then opened her mouth as if she had the best idea ever. Then closed it. Wait, no… then thought on it… then made a face that pretty much meant that thinking too much was making her brain hurt.

                                            She reached for another biscuit. "No worthy mates…" she said, to herself. nPiper did not have that hang up… she slept with anyone who looked good and had stamina-- and she usually killed them right after. "You COULD lower your standards…" she said, nibbling. "Or broaden your search. Or make your own, although the genetic creatures I have seen are all pretty brainless." Maybe that was what Malicia needed? Or she had an abundance already.

                                            "But maybe solo is good after being hooked up for so long." another shrug. She'd certainly enjoyed her time off… although she did have to constantly push nLilly away. Silly girl just could not keep her hands off…

                                            From nPiper's egotistical point of view anyway.

                                            "Surely someone will come along. I mean…" another shrug. "You have nothing but time." Which could sound hopeful, or depressing depending on how one took it.

                                            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                              Mal could practically see the gears spinning in the other woman's head, but couldn't make heads or tails of what she was thinking. Vampires were strange enough as is, let alone this one who was likely an odd-ball long before she was changed.

                                              "Well, mortality is an option for you. If your master is ever slayed, you could return to your old life." She reminded her. "For all you know, that could happen at any moment."

                                              To her suggestion of lowering her standards she straightened up. "Certainly not! My body is a gift and only the worthy shall have the privilege of touching it. Especially if I want a good, strong, intelligent litter."

                                              Really, she hadn't considered expanding her search or finding any new men. She was too focused on the power and prestige she worked so hard to build in the past 5 years. Who has time to date when you're raising an underground empire?

                                               

                                              • Piper/ Jade
                                                Piper/ Jade

                                                It was nPiper's turn to sit up straighter. "I don't WANT to be mortal!" she said. "I have absolutely no power as one! According to… to my sources, I sought out to become a vampire just so I could be stronger1" At least that was what Harou had told her. She saw no reason for him to lie about that…

                                                And it somewhat matched up with what nTrevor has said. Only he made it sound like she had begged to be his mate rather than just a vampire. And she seriously doubted that.

                                                She settled back down. "But.. you are right. You shouldn't have to lower your standards… so…" a shrug. "Groom someone. Bring someone into the fold and corrupt them into being what you want. Enslave them. Ensnare their minds… I know you can." she tapped her own forehead. "If you can free them, you can trap them."

                                                That just seemed logical to her. Don't have what you want? Take it.

                                                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                                  She quirked a brow. "And you have more power being forced to live under your master? Your 'freedom' is only because of me. Otherwise you'd still be following him around like a puppy and bending over for his every whim." Literally.

                                                  "Vampirism is not power. It's a curse that comes with many strings attached. You will forever be controlled by your thirst and inherent biological weaknesses. But if that's how you want to spend eternity..." She shrugged.

                                                  On to the next subject. "I don't want a corruptable mate, or a slave. Talk about a yawn-fest in the bedroom! Any male who is too weak to hold his own against me is not worth my time. I like my men feisty and hot-blooded, not weak and malleable."

                                                  • Piper/ Jade
                                                    Piper/ Jade

                                                    She bristled. "I wouldn't have accepted vampirism if I had known about the master slave thing!" She frowned now, not liking the fact that Malicia had pointed that part out again. Or the other resulting bendings and doings. "And I am grateful" she added. "But if I had known of that, I would not have done it. I'd have found another way."

                                                    She was starting to think it was time to go. She wasn't one to let women sit back and take knocks at her. Even ones she liked. nPiper came to a stand. "Well, I suppose you're fated to not have a mate then." Harsh, but to the point since none of her suggestions seemed to appease her mistress.

                                                    Want to wallow in self pity? Alright then. I'm not gonna keep spending my time trying to cheer someone up who doesn't want it. Not when there are necks to be nibbling.

                                                    "I am going to head back now. I came to test the waters, pay my respects…" a nod towards Malicia. "And now that I know it is safe, I can bring the beastie for some practice. Thank you for the tea and biscuits."

                                                    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                                      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                                      "Aw, come now, don't be so sore. I didn't mean to be harsh about it." She purred. "I'm just letting you know your options. You've been placed in a precarious situation, is all. But you seem like the type who knows how to roll with the punches -- you're a survivor at heart. You'll make it all work for you."

                                                      She shrugged at the mate comment. "I'm really in no rush to find one. I have plenty of other fun distractions to satiate my needs. I'm quite happy with how things are going right now." She leaned back and stretched her arms.

                                                      "Well, if you do decide to take her hunting I'd greatly appreciate it if you pick off some of my competition. It'd be a win-win for the both of us."

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