When Sonia awoke again, she was in an enormous bed, a red canopy hanging above her and satin sheets covering her. She sat up with a jolt, looking for any signs of her foe. Only the pale, carriage driver was present, standing at the door to the bedroom. She lifted her sheets slightly to see she was at least modestly dressed in a silk nightgown before throwing back the sheets.
"Where is he?" she asked. The servant gestured at the window. She turned to see the sun hanging low in the sky. She must have been out the entire day. That meant Pasha would be sleeping now, too. "What does he want?"
The servant pointed his bony finger to the closet where a long, red gown hung in waiting for her. "Of course," she grumbled, "dinner." She stared out the window once more. There was still enough time, she could escape now. She could commandeer one of Pasha's horses and return to London and never set foot in this manor again. To Hell with Pasha. To Hell with Roosevelt and to Hell with werewolves. "The Magus Device," she muttered as she sat back down on the bed. Eyes clenched shut, she nodded. "I'll be down directly."
Sonia stepped down the cascading stairs into the dining room, a lavish table awaiting her with Pasha sitting at the head. He stood and bowed. Sonia paused and watched him, her hands drifting to the bandages her borrowed gown covered. Continuing closer, she was met by her host who wore an unmarred blue suit and a bright smile. Forcing herself to act within the rules of proper decorum, she presented her gloved hand, which he took and kissed. She shivered.
"You look lovely tonight," Pasha commented as she took her seat.
"Well, I suppose a bit of rouge can hide the bruising," she replied. At that moment the gaunt servant approached, setting down a bowl with red liquid inside. She stared at it for several moments before turning to her host.
"Tomato soup," he assured her, taking his seat.
She took a cautious sniff before indulging, finding herself quite famished. Still, she presented herself as a woman of class, resisting both the urge to slurp the soup down in one go as well as the urge to hurl obscenities at the man across from her.
"I was quite impressed by your performance," Pasha continued, his servant setting a similar bowl before him. "I see life in America has not dulled your talents; you almost had me."
"If I was truly attempting to kill you, I would've done it during the day," she remarked.
"A wise decision. So, what information was so important as to make you come all the way to London?"
"I've been contracted to kill werewolves," she answered.
"My student is having difficulties killing wolves?" he replied with a furrowed brow. "I feel insulted."
"I'm not being contracted to kill a handful of wolves, Pasha. I've been contracted to kill them all."
The vampire's scowl was quickly replaced with a slight smile. "All of them?"
"Yes," she replied between spoonfuls of soup. "It seems the United States is suffering from... an infestation."
"Any country with werewolves is so cursed; they are an abomination."
"I suppose you would be the expert," she replied.
"You jest, Sonia, but I have seen monsters that would make Hell itself quake. Werewolves are a disease that must be purged."
"Good. Then you'll help me?"
"With conditions," he replied.
Sonia lowered her spoon, scowling. "Name them."
"In time. I can assume that you have no issue killing the foul beasts, yes? It is finding and attracting them before the moonlight fails you."
"Indeed," she confirmed. "If we attempt to track them the traditional way, we may hope to kill one a month, perhaps a pair. It won't even keep up with the rate at which new ones are spawned."
"Then you have no choice but to gather the infected souls together and purge them all at once. Very well. I believe I have the knowledge you seek."
"Good. Then let's not waste time, the trip back to America is long."
"Unfortunately, I believe the book I require was burned in an unfortunate accident last night." Sonia's eyes narrowed and her fists clenched. "But... if you give me a few days, I can perhaps remember the formula for a proper Wolf's Bait."
"A few days?" she exclaimed. "The full moon is less than a week away and I have a very long trip back."
"Then it would be in your best interest to help me relax so that I might recall the formula more quickly."
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.