Okay. Now I'm pissed.
Yes, I still love Seto, I may not be in love with him but if someone were to hurt him then that person would find himself missing a few limbs. Same goes for Dorobou, Yami, Ryou and Mokuba. Seth... can take care of himself. Trust me; I've seen the body and Dorobou bitched about the ghost for an hour till Seth threatened to kill the guy again.
But this is not acceptable.
"Kaiba!" I snarl as I slam open his office door. My vampire actually squeaks and jumps at my abrupt entrance. I can just make out another person off to one side but my focus and ire is on one vampire and one vampire only at the moment.
"Yes, kitten?" Said oh so casually, too, in direct contrast with the nervous concern in his scent. Seto still loves me, too, and I think he'd kill for me again if it came down to it.
That doesn't keep me from being pissed off at the moment, though.
"Exactly when were you planning to tell me that someone's been trying to kill Dorobou?"
"You didn't tell him?"
Ah, and my Beta speaks. I guess if I hadn't been so damn annoyed when I stalked in I would have realized his scent was 'active.' Still wish I knew how the hell a three hundred seventy-five year old vampire can maintain a complexion to rival Malik Ishtar's and smell like sunlight, but I digress.
"Well, Seto?" he prompts again, and it's both funny and freaky to see Seth giving his brother the infamous Kaiba 'I am God' glare.
Seto heaves an unnecessary sigh. "I was hoping that the wolves could diffuse the situation before the activity escalated," he admits. "Besides, if Katsuya practically tears other Weres in half for looking at one of us funny, I shudder to think what he'd do if he got his hands on a would-be assassin."
"He's an Alpha, hikari," Seth says for what has to be the thousandth time since he rolled back into town a few weeks ago. "You can't expect him to not act when his human pard is endangered."
Seth, my Beta, is a godsend. The man is a wealth of knowledge; hell, he was the first to realize that I'm an Alpha, which was the whole reason Hirutani tried to keep me a submissive for so long. I like him, especially since his presence makes my vampire happy.
"Damned right I'll act," I say. "If I catch one of these bastards I'll spread him or her out on the front lawn as a warning."
"That... could be messy."
"Not to mention time-consuming."
"Don't think I won't." From their twin expressions I can see that they know I'm completely serious. "And don't keep shit like this from me, Seto. You know I always find out."
I don't bother to wait for an answer, opting to leave the Kaibas to whatever work they were doing when I interrupted. Kaiba Corp doesn't run itself, you know, and I have other things to worry about at the moment.
That bastard my brothers are unfortunate enough to call 'father' has sent people into my territory. That is bad enough on its own, but his people are attacking my pard. Just because my pard consists of three humans, four vampires, one very strange spirit and twenty-odd werewolves doesn't make it any less a pard. And as the Alpha male any attempts on my pard are my problem.
I half-snarl as I stalk back down to the main hall, where I tend to do most of my pacing and thinking. I suppose I could go to my room to do this but, well, I don't really have my own room here. When we first moved in about two months ago I crashed in Seto's room. That lasted all of three weeks, when we realized that attempting to maintain a romantic relationship wasn't going to be fair to either of us. He told me that I could stay there are long as I wanted, but I shifted into Dorobou's room almost immediately. And although he says he doesn't mind, I know at some point he's going to take Yami to bed and I plan on shifting to another room when that time comes.
So, yeah. Hall is for pacing.
All right. Breathe. What are my options?
First option is to let the whole thing slide, allow the wolves to handle it. But since the hits keep coming that rules out number one. Next, I could start shadowing Dorobou and Yami. I know Mai-san is my brother's official bodyguard, but she can't be everywhere at once. I'll keep this option in mind. Number three, I could start calling in some favours. There are about half a dozen members of my former pard who owe me for letting them live after they came looking for trouble. The American and his mate are at the top of the list; Keith needs to accept that he's neither an Alpha nor a Beta. At best he's a Delta male, but until he figures it out he's of no use to my pard.
Option number four, I can call in reinforcements from Tokyo. True, there are no wereleopards there, but the tigers owe me. Kajiki Ryouta has been back and forth a dozen times acting as messenger between Seto and Pegasus, and every time he's apologized for what happened. For a while I was pissed, and there's no way I'll forget, but I did finally accept the apology. In return I was given the offer of help if my pard ever needs it. This situation may well call for an assist.
All in all, I think my best options at the moment are numbers two and three. Of the six leopards owing me, probably Keith, Chono and Dartz are my top three. Actually the latter may be best to approach; when I last, erm, spoke with him he said he hated his Nimir Raj as much as I do.
A knock on the door pulls me from my thoughts. I frown slightly; it can't be anyone trying to get at Dorobou or security never would have let him get this far. Taking a few steps closer to the partially open window I scent the air... and immediately turn around and head towards the kitchen.
I do not want to deal with Malik or Marik right now.
I slip out the service entrance; no one on staff ever makes mention of it as I do this most of the time. Once I'm outside I take a moment to calm my breathing. For whatever reason, Malik always sets my nerves on edge. I've been fortunate enough to have not met Marik... at least as far as I know. No matter, I need to be focused right now, something I have trouble with around that man.
An odd scent comes to me on the breeze and I scowl. There's a hint of Cat to it, either leopard or tiger; I'm leaning towards the former. Honestly, I know my kind are Seto's animal to call, but he's gotten it under control with help from Seth. All these leopards that come are mostly trying to, and I quote, "usurp my position as the Master's favourite." They're all morons for trying to attack an Alpha.
Sniffing the air again, I bite back a growl. This Cat's scent is conflicted, youthful but not young; at least two years turned unless I miss my guess. Luckily I'm downwind of him so I'll be able to catch him off guard... unless he decides to move from his spot. Don't think he's going to, though, since for whatever reason he went from the gate to the front of the house. I opt to ignore how odd it is that this Cat hasn't searched the grounds for me and slip around the side to where I can just see the front stoop and whoever is standing there.
...what the fuck?
And add one more reason to kill Hirutani to the list.
It's a kid. A goddamn kid. At a glance he can't be much older than sixteen, and he's smaller than Yami. He's being very still, but glances at the door every few seconds as if he expects someone to come tell him to either leave or go in... side....
Malik, you bastard. That tears it; the man can't be purely human.
"Kit," I say as I approach the younger Were; he makes a startled sound and looks at me with huge grey eyes. "Are you lost?"
"N-no, sir," he replies, hands clenched into nervous fists on his knees. "The gaijin told me to wait."
The kid shrugs. "Dunno what for. He just said 'wait.' I... just wanted to see him." The last part is said so softly that a human would have missed it completely. He's uncertain, and there are layers of hurt that are almost tangible around him.
I make my decision. "Get up, kit, and come inside."
Big eyes snap back up to meet mine. "What? Really? But the gaijin--"
"The gaijin does not live here nor is he the Alpha; I am. Now come inside so we can feed you and get you cleaned up before I go rip that bastard's head off and spit down his neck." This time the kit scrambles to his feet, brushing the dust from his jeans as he moves. "What's your name, kit?"
"I--it's Ryuzaki, Jyonouchi-sama."
Oh, for--I'm not one for formality, and if Dorobou hears the kit call me that I'll never hear the end of it. "Don't be so formal, Ryuzaki. Inside now."
"Yes, sir, Jyonouchi-sempai."
...eh, I can live with that.
That's the end of Chapter One. Yes, it's rather short, but I can promise that later chapters will be longer. There's so much ground I have to cover in this story, and although sometimes I'll coincide with the events taking place in Blood and Sacrifice for the most part the two 'books' will stand alone.
Just FYI for those who didn't know yet, Angel, Desolate and I have come up with the name for the saga: Endless Loop. Book One is, of course, Color of Life, Side Book One is Cursed Gold. Book Two is the aforementioned Blood and Sacrifice; Side Book Two is the story you just finished reading the first chapter of; Side Book Three is being written by Desolate and may or may not be entitled Silver Blue. Book Three will be all Angel's again, tentatively titled Automatic Paranoia. I have yet to decide if I'll be merely assisting on the final book in the series or if I'll write a third book of my own in the series. Time will tell.