I have not heard anything different since the last time we spoke. I am hopeful though…
* * *
Ok, so here is the problem that I’m having today. I really want to get out of Asia. There is just something about going home that has getting your ass kicked attached to it. That is why I settled down in Merry ol’ England and left all of this behind. I was comfortable working for Primus. He didn’t mess with me, I followed orders, he didn’t put kill orders over my head. As long as I wasn’t causing too much trouble he was not bothered by me at all. That is how I managed to get away with half the crap I have as a vampire so far.
Of course that meant having to “leave the nest” and not follow mom’s instructions because it would restrict me to just one side of the world. I figured if I’m going to be immortal and live for hundreds of years I want more than just one continent to wander around on. But, mom was always very sentimental and felt that home was where we belonged, not out there in the world with everyone else and their problems.
The ironic part though, is how I would have been in this exact same situation regardless of if I had stayed or left. Only I might have been more willing if I had stayed. Considered it an honor even. Not so much today.
The night cats following us were also following about 40 other cars. Apparently almost everyone on the road with us was undead and headed for the Tournament of Blades. Every 86 years there is a tournament where the undead face each other in a pageant of glorious bloodshed. The Feudal Era’s remnant of war to overcome territories. A grandiose version of my vampires are stronger than yours. But, the loser’s coven gets fed to the distinguished guests from below.
I am absolutely sure that the blood demons that attacked Genevieve are here somewhere. Someone will recognize me… and Gen is probably here somewhere too. Although she is possessed at the moment and will probably place a bet on my eminent death. I wonder if she would care if we hadn’t broken up.
The arena was an underground cavern hewn out of rock, an elaborate tunnel system that spans under most of North Korea and certain parts of China. Everyone who’s anyone gets shipped here for this fight. Anyone who refuses to fight runs the risk of losing their territory if they do not participate and by lose their territory I mean the blood demons will raid their villages and leave no soul behind, alive or otherwise. That’s when a mysterious “plague” is in the news and that’s if the news actually gets released by the government.
If looks could kill Jared’s cold stares would have cut me into bite sized pieces.
“Why are we not getting the hell out of here again?” he asked angrily. “This is a major setback. We are losing time.”
“If we run they forfeit our existence and send the scaly dragons to eat us. It’s best to stay in traffic.” I told him allowing as many people as I could to pass me.
“What are our chances of winning Bryan? Level with me.” Jared continued.
“You are going to be my sponsor from England, so you will not have to fight. I am going to be the Korean traitor who sold out to England and is helping you try to acquire territory in the East. There are three days of banquets before any actual fighting begins. You will tell them that I am your most prized enforcer but that you have a few others waiting at the northern gates of Hong Kong. That should get us through most of the tunnels where we can make our escape. If they hold me for collateral, you will have 1 day to get to Tibet. Send my brother to get me the hell out of here.” I said quietly through my teeth as I waved to a night cat that I’m pretty sure was one of my cousins.
“Ok. Wait. What? Leave you? Dude, not cool.” Jared said.
“We will not have a choice. They will suspect that we are not legitimate contestants if you do not consent and then we will be dinner for sure.” I said as the last exit was blocked off to drive traffic forward. “Shit, there went the last road away from here.”
“We should have just taken our chances with the Banshees.” Jared said apologetically.
“Nah, I like this plan more. It buys us more time. Besides, while you’re off to Tibet it gives me time to check in with my family and see who’s still alive.” I pondered.
“How far will they let me take you with me?” Jared asked. I could see where his thoughts were going.
“True, it would be expected and underhanded for them to attack you then feast on me thus eliminating any foreign intrusion on this side of the world. But, money talks and they have extravagant tastes. More than kill you, they will attempt to exploit your access to non-Asian based blood then charge our own people a bloody fortune per glassful. I will travel with you as far as the gate, but you will emerge from below ground alone.” I explained to him.
“I will send Bob for you.” Jared promised as he rung his hands and reached for his phone.
“Don’t. The airwaves are censored here. They can intercept any texts that you send. We are on our own.” I told him. “Go to Hong Kong and ask for Delia at the train station. Tell her Bryan calls upon a favor and the code word is Conifer. She will get you into Tibet and send you with a group of vampires who are trained to get past the demon monks. Majun will not leave to help me until our mother has been rescued…” I hinted.
“Shit. Okay. Face the demon monks, then come and get you. Are you sure we can pull all of that off in a day man? Hong Kong is closer but still quite a distance from Tibet.” Jared continued. “And I still have no idea how to get to the Jade Gates and find Amelia if your brother and I fail and need back up.”
“Look. You are the one who has to explain to Lilli what happened here if I don’t make it. So, figure it out. There is no way I’m getting out of here without stepping into an arena unless my brother shows up. Other vampires are not the only opponents. The Blood Demons throw in their own champions to protect their feeding rights in certain districts.” I continued.
We drove into a tunnel that was well lit like a regular freeway until traffic came to a standstill and everyone was asked to get out of their cars. I truly pitied the humans who were traveling on this freeway who were now trapped right along with us. They got rallied into the traffic meant for the tournament.
Regretfully, they would be the appetizers.