It took me thirty minutes to get from Biohazard to Casino, which I spent stewing in my own anger. Normally the sight of an ethereal white castle, strategically back-lit with colored lights and framed by fountains, made me pause. It was so unexpected in the middle of grim ruins and utilitarian post-Shift housing, a beautiful declaration of arrogance and human resilience. But today I didn’t care. I was so pissed off, by the time I reached the ornate gates, my cloak was fraying. I walked into the Casino with my magic boiling.
The first journeyman who saw me, a skinny kid with blue hair and a collection of piercings in random places, started to bow, then caught a whiff of my magic and took off running. I strode through the gaming floor, ignoring the din and garish light show of the slot machines.
A journeywoman swung into my way, swallowing. “May I help…”
I made a heroic effort to get a hold of myself. None of what happened was their fault. “Find someone in charge. Now. Please.”
“Yes, ma’am!” She sprinted up the stairway ahead of me.
I waited. Conlan stared at the dancing lights of the gambling floor, mesmerized.
Rowena hurried down the stairs, the journeywoman at her heels. Today Rowena wore a dress the color of brown garnet that shimmered as she walked. Combined with her perfect figure and ridiculously long red hair, she looked like a living flame. Against all that red and brown, her green eyes stood out and right now they brimmed with alarm.
She saw Conlan and stumbled. The female journeywoman lunged and caught her, before Rowena tumbled down the stairs.
“I need to get a hold of my father.”
Rowena recovered enough to speak. “Please come with me.”
We took the stairs down.
“My father happened.”
She didn’t ask anything else. We descended deep into the underground bowels of the Casino, walked through the maze, and emerged into the vampire stables, rows of cells where the Casino housed their undead. The vamps, chained to the walls within their individual enclosures, strained on their chains, their eyes glowing, their foul magic polluting my mind like dirty smears on the window.
“Daa phhhf!” Conlan declared.
“Yes, phhhf is right.”