Chapter 15.3 – The Return

“Preston!” Antonio exclaims as he appears right in front of Park.

“Doc! I’ve come to help you out!” Preston announces as he brings out Chickenbane. If Preston’s here, that means Salvi and Miss Gupta have already finished defeating the Fengs downstairs.

“I’m afraid you’re too late, Preston.” I tell my tardy minion. “We were just about to clean up.”

“And decide what to do with this guy.” Dominica adds, referring to the cowardly Feng minion.

“Please spare me! Please!” the Feng lackey pleads until I get tired of his annoying voice.

I order the lackey to look at me in the eyes as I chant the incantation for a sleep spell. Within moments, the lackey falls to the ground, sound asleep.

“You put him to sleep, Doc? Is that really enough?” Antonio asks as I sense that he wants to kill the lackey.

“He won’t remember a thing once he wakes up.” I tell my student. “For now, we must go before the sun comes up.”

Preston nods and then approaches the Doctor.

“Since you guys are already done here, I can lead you to a shortcut through the San Myshuno sewers. Salvatore and Miss Gupta are waiting for us at the meeting point.” Preston also elaborates that the Fengs have closed off all entrances to the subway.

“In that case, lead the way, Preston.” I tell my minion as Dominica and Antonio follow. “Park, let’s go!” I order Park in Koguryeon as he finishes looting the Feng goon’s wallet. That’s probably a habit he picked up as we fought through the Fengs.

“Yes, Doctor! Coming!” Park says as he stands and catches up with us.

It’s finally over.

Preston leads us through a series of passages that lead deep into the sewers of San Myshuno. We pass several corridors and go down flights of steps until we see Salvi and Miss Gupta waiting for us at the end. They urge us to hurry as we pass through the sewers leading to a part of the subway that isn’t blocked by the Fengs.

Once we got to the subway tracks, we manage to ride the subway maintenance train, which was operated by a ghoul. He was unwilling to ferry us all the way to the Spice District, but giving him a wad of simoleons changed his mind. Ghouls only think of money; how disgusting. Eventually, we reach the Spice District and retreat into our coffins for the day.

“DOMINICA!” my dear friend Avery screams as I am happy to see her again.

“AVERY! I’ve missed you a lot!” I express myself, not caring that my dad and his minions are also here. “I’m so sorry we came on such short notice.”

“No, not at all! I’m just happy to see you unharmed.” Avery replies as I see tears of joy in her face. “And what about Andre?”

I remain silent for a moment.

“I see. And just when I was getting to know him…” Avery says with disappointment.

“Andre will have a memorial service at Archon Salvatore’s tomorrow night.” Antonio breaks the air of gloominess. “For now, we must do what we came here to do.”

“Yes, celebrate victory!” Park shouts as he heads to the kitchen.

“Even if you are a ghoul, you may attend.” my dad approaches Avery. “Just do not steal anything from the wake.”

“DAD!” I stop my dad from insulting Avery any further, but she just laughs it off. “Avery, I’m sorry. My dad has a very bad history with ghouls.”

“He has called me worse, Nicky, so I’m glad that he’s warming up.” Avery smiles. “I also got all the plasma drinks here, just like you wanted.” She brings over a tray of cold plasma packs from the kitchen and places it on the table.

And then Papa raises an eyebrow. Here we go with the snobby plasma connoisseur rivaling a Melp reviewer again.

“You didn’t steal these from anywhere, did you? Second-hand plasma can be fatal to a vampire, you know.” Papa addresses Avery and picks up a pack, examining it like a researcher.

“Papa, shut up and drink.” I tell my dad, knowing that Avery makes the best plasma mixers ever.

“Those are not the words of a lady, Dominica!” Papa retorts as he punctures the pack with a straw. “Listen here, young lady! Ghouls like her are innately savage creatures that only want to–”

And as Papa took a sip, he stopped with his rant.

“This is actually not bad.” Papa then takes the whole tray to bring to another corner of the room while Antonio follows him asking if he could have some.

“Sorry about that, Avery.” I apologize again, but Avery just smiles.

“No, it’s okay. I’m used to getting insulted by vampires.” Avery says as we hear my dad and Antonio arguing about which flavor of plasma they should get.

After Antonio finishes a plasma pack, he sits down with us at the table.

“So you’re Dominica’s friend Avery, huh?” he asks Avery.

“Yes, and you are?”

I decide to introduce Antonio to her.

“Avery, this is Antonio. my dad’s student. We used to fight a lot in the past. Things are still a bit rocky between us, but I’m glad we’re getting on the right track.”

Antonio smiles and seems to want to return the favor.

“I know that you are already familiar with her, but Avery, this is Dominica, my teacher’s daughter. She was not the greatest neighbor, but we’ve patched things up somehow. She still acts like a bi–”

And at that point, my dad was towering behind Antonio, watching what he wanted to say.

“…big friend that a vampire could ask for!” Antonio finishes the sentence with some nervous laughter.

“You’re still a four-eyed loser, though!” I joke.

“And you’ll always be a goth band reject.” Antonio retorts.

“Well, I’m glad you two have improved your relations with each other.” Papa tells us as we hear wheezing coming through the door.

“That must be Archon Salvatore. I’ll get it.” I tell Avery before she gets up from her seat.

“So there we were, my dear! From the initial thirty goons, they brought in a hundred more of the cheeky bastards!” Salvatore gives another tall tale as my daughter listens to him with intrigue. “One of them charged in and knocked Miss Gupta back, but I saved her, I did!”

“He actually got tired after ten.” Miss Gupta whispers into my ear, knowing that Salvi’s punctured lung greatly reduced his fighting capability. “And it was me who saved him.”

“…and while Miss Gupta and Pretzon were knocked out by this large goon who was almost three heads taller than me, I knew it was up to me to save the night!”

“The large goon he was talking about, he just fled from us. Apparently he was scared of Mr. Preston.” Miss Gupta whispered again. Ah, Salvi. Always the master of telling tall tales.

“That seemed amazing, uncle!” Dominica addresses her godfather. “I hope I could fight like you someday.”

Salvi wheezes and laughs. “You’ve already got your father here to train you, my dear!”

“You flatter me, old friend.” I address Salvi.

“No, no, no! You’re way more skilled than I am in combat!” Salvi wheezes again. “Why, you might be able to beat that old mentor of yours!”

“Perhaps.” I ponder on the thought, knowing that the Don is way more powerful than I am. He’s stronger, richer, and more evil than any vampire I know of in the League. There’s even a rumor that he wants to overthrow the Grand Master from power and take his position by force. Whether it’s true or not, I will only be able to confirm it if I talk with the Don in person.

“The Don must not be taken lightly, my friend.” I tell Salvi, who has started dancing to the loud music playing in the middle of the room.

“Indeed, Domsy! Seeing the result of his machinations against the Archons of San Myshuno has really created quite a mess!” Salvi wheezes a bit and gestures me and the others to join in the dancing to get my mind off the Don for a bit.

I get up from my seat and dance with Salvi, Miss Gupta, Antonio, and my daughter until Aver-what’shername calls our attention.

“Everyone! The plasma fruit kimchi is ready!” she calls us as I see Park carry a bowl of the kimchi from the kitchen with plasma-stained gloves.

Seeing that this will be a great night, we all go to the table and enjoy eating Park’s dish, the thing that made me want to hire him.

We enjoy the rest of the night, knowing that we have done well in San Myshuno.

The Don is still in Windenburg, but we must make our preparations soon. I feel that he’s going to pull another trick up his sleeve. He was always a step ahead of me, even when I was learning under him. Being able to cause such a catastrophe in San Myshuno without even being here is already proof of what he can do.

Maybe I can be like that someday.

We’ll just see what waits for us in Windenburg.

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