As soon as he closed the sliding glass door shut, Daedalus would bet his bank account that his conversation with Pallas would only have a pretense of privacy. Shifter hearing could be miraculous, especially when pressed to cracked-open windows. The distant sound of a chair clattering to the floor in the dining room reached his own sensitive hearing. He could picture his housemates scrambling to find the best places to eavesdrop.
Pallas strode to the center of the moonlit garden. “So the rumors are true. You’ve lost your mind.”
Daedalus chuckled. The other Nosferatu hadn’t changed. They’d been close once.
“Maybe. I wish the one about you was true.”
Pallas spun around. “Which one?”
“You being dead.”
“That would be too convenient.” A familiar crooked smile bloomed on his ugly face.
Daedalus laughed louder and shook Pallas’s hand, squeezing his fingers together as hard as he could. “You’re such an ass.” Bearer of bad news or not, he was still a brother, a tie to his past, and a comrade at arms.
Pallas returned his strong grip. “I learned from the best.” His clan brother, and he used that term loosely since they weren’t born from the same parents, bore the trademark appearance of their people—bald, pale, and deadly. “You’re creating quite a stir in the council, enough for them to coerce me to wake and seek you out.”
They released the painful handshake, and Daedalus shook his numb fingers, grinning as Pallas did the same. “You can tell them, for once, I’m happy.”
He snorted. “Like they care. I can’t believe you’re living with shifters again.” He made a distasteful noise. “Nasty habit. They said you left your post.”
“I did, and I left it in good hands.” Then the fools were killed and the traitors who took over tried to have him assassinated, but Pallas didn’t need to know that.
“Your company is in chaos. I went there before arriving here.”
“No.” Pal Robi Inc. was his private security company, hence it being named after him. What better than hiring an almost indestructible vampire as a guard? The company also served as a front for the vampire political structure in his area. Vampires had revealed themselves, with the other supernatural creatures, to humans fifteen years ago. Vampires were expected to follow human laws and their government, but vampire society had had these things in place long before humans had figured out how to organize themselves. The Vampire Council didn’t expect their people to follow human laws, but Pal Robi Inc. was developed to give his people legal jobs and to police their hunting. In other words, if a vampire couldn’t feed without killing, it was his responsibility to stop that person before humans were aware of it. “I didn’t assign those who presently think they are running my company.”
Pallas sighed. “Are they under your command?” He gave Daedalus a pointed stare. “Currently.”
“No.” Daedalus shrugged. “How much damage can they do? The last thing they want is to draw the Council’s attention. I haven’t truly lost control.”
“Your estate is abandoned.”
“It’s not abandoned. I dispersed my staff to other tasks, and there’s a shifter house sitter. You probably scared the shit out of him.” He’d have to call Stephen and check on him. The young shifter didn't like company, let alone drop-ins from hell.
“A little scare never killed anyone. The council wants you to straighten things out at Pal Robi Inc. and return to your post as Prime. Things are falling apart in the area.”
An alien sourness curdled his stomach. He examined the odd sensation and decided he didn’t like the source. “Or what?” This visit was expected. Not Pallas himself but someone the council would send. The Prime kept the peace among vampirekind in his area. Sort of like a sheriff. If those traitors hadn’t been so greedy and tried to kill him, things would still be fine.
“They’ll make me kill everyone at Pal Robi Inc…” Pallas’s gaze wandered to the house, “…and here.”
“Do you think you can defeat me?” It had been ages since he’d fought one of his own kind. Living among the Vasi pack had softened him.
A hard shield fell over Pallas’s eyes. “Yes.”