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Negotiations

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A sigh escaped the lips of the Hunter as she sat on the bed in her room, upstairs in the Red Sun Inn. Tsillah, the blue-haired snarky vampire, sat in a chair across the room from her. Tsillah was tapping at a tablet, a beer grasped loosely in her hand. Probably checking security feeds or something.

Grace looked over to her, a dark brow lifting in scrutiny. “You know, it might not be best to be drunk when I need you to heal me,” she said with a grumble. This made the blue-haired vampire laugh and set down the tablet. “Oh, honey,” she said with a grin. “Psionic vampires can’t get drunk. Well, not in the suspected sense of the word.”

“That doesn’t make me feel any better, you know.” She glanced out the window once more, standing and leaning on the windowsill. Tsillah took another swig of her drink, sighing. “Win or lose, you know you still have a job. Can’t imagine fighting this guy is going to be easy. If you survive, well, then that makes my decision all the better.”

“What makes you think I’m going to die?” Grace whipped around, a scowl on her face. Tsillah shook her head. “Aren’t his species a war loving one? Look, I’m great at a lot of things, but I’m no necromancer. You’d better not die on me.”

“He’s already said he won’t kill me.” She left out the part that Noc had said he couldn’t kill her, even if he wanted to. But that didn’t mean Grace wouldn’t be in for a world of hurt. She turned, propping herself up on the window with her back to the glass. “And what makes you think your business partner is going to like the knowledge that I got my ass kicked?”

“It’s not so much that you got your pretty little ass kicked, dear,” Tsillah reminded her. “My partner would be impressed, I think, that a human survived a fight with one of these guys. Of course, if it is decided that we can hire you, you’ll be well taken care of financially.”

“You never even told me who this partner of yours is.” And Grace wasn’t too fond of going into a situation blind. She hadn’t even heard the details of what she’d be doing. Other than possibly guarding a lab.

“I can’t. Not until the decision is made. See, I value the anonymity of my partners. Whether it’s an assumed confidentiality or not. And while they haven’t had that conversation with me yet, I’m sticking to my code.” She took a swig of the beer, tapping once more at the tablet. “See, you’re a Hunter. Surely you understand what having a Code is like.”

“I know it all too well.” She stared at her feet for a little while, her right hand starting up that annoying twitch once more. “And how do I even know that this conversation is actually happening? In real time, I mean.”

“Oh, you don’t. But, since I’ve tasted your energy, so long as you’re alive I can contact you.” Tsillah stood, setting the bottle down. She crossed the room with that supernatural grace that her kind were known for, those white eyes of hers still unsettling to the Hunter. “Don’t you worry that pretty, brunette head of yours too much, Gracie-poo.” Grace scowled at the nickname, but Tsillah continued on. “I’ll make sure you’re very well taken care of. I like you, and that’s a compliment coming from someone like me. Only one other has ever earned my affection like this.”

“I’m flattered.” Grace snorted and folded her arms. She still couldn’t feel the fingers of her right hand, well two of them. She flexed the hand, grumbling softly at the loss of feeling.

“You should be.” Tsillah glanced at that hand, her eyes flashing a bright blue. “I know it must bother you, accepting help from one of the things that you kill on the regular. But don’t you worry. I’m gonna take care of you. I make sure all of my employees are happy.” She giggled, pressing a kiss to the much taller woman’s cheek.

“Why do you have to do this? I’m fucked enough as it is.”

“But that’s the beauty of things, sweet Grace. There’s no emotion tied in to the things I need from you. Just a little loyalty and a bit of dedication. And those strong, powerful hands of yours.” She draped her arms over Grace’s shoulders, smirking at her. “You might be unconscious this time, when I heal you,” she pointed out. “So I’m making the most of this little time you have awake.”

“But I’m not awake, am I?”

“No, but you get the point. Here.” She took Grace’s right hand, trailing her lips along the fingers. “You might be dreaming, but this will be real, darling. And when you wake up, you’ll be able to feel that hand again. We’ll find a way to fix that little curse of yours.” 

Pain shot through Grace’s right arm as the muscles and tendons were realigned and straightened out, the body becoming used to the hand once more. She groaned, slumping against the window, letting out a cry as she felt that familiar burning sensation. But the entire time, Tsillah kept her bright blue eyes on Grace’s face. “Shh, I know it hurts. I’ll make it up to you when I see, you lovely.” 

Grace was panting when the whole process was done, but she could feel her hand once more. She flexed it, looking at the vampire. Tsillah simply grinned and leaned up to flat-out kiss her right on the lips. “Now, I’m going to send you back. Try not to get yourself killed. It would put a damper on all my plans for you, gorgeous.” She touched her fingers to Grace’s head. And that was it. Grace was no longer there, and Tsillah was back in her lab, leaning against one of the tables, color flooding into her eyes once more. 

But that meant it was time. She grabbed her favorite jacket, striding from the lab. She turned to a nymph that helped her out at the place, a grin on her face. “If Malakai needs me, let him know I’m working on something. I’ll be back later. Don’t wait up, beautiful.”

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