Special Guest Stars:
Katie Couric as Lisa Lance, Felicia Day as Finola and Ronny Cox as Senator Townsend
Lindsay Wagner as Velika Petrova, Bonnie Hunt as Veronica Wyndham-Price, Emma Caulfield as Anya, Iyari Lymon as Mira,
Harris Yulin as Morgan Travers, Eriq La Salle as Dr. McClelland, Andrea Parker as Eris Pantelles
Demon Bar – Afternoon
Seated at a large rectangular table in the corner were Katherine, Jocasta, Lex, James, Mira, and Livia. James sat at one end of the table. On his right sat Katherine and Jocasta and Lex. The chair to his left was empty. Next to it sat Mira and Livia.
As Katherine and Jocasta chatted amiably with the blue-skinned and orange-haired bartender, the rest of the party shifted nervously in their seats. James looked at his watch and then at the door. He sighed in relief when he saw Giles coming in.
“There he is,” James announced.
Giles hurried to the table and took the seat opposite James. “So sorry,” he said. “Meeting ran long.” Once he had caught his breath and given a friendly wave to the departing bartender, he looked at James. “James, you said you had news for us—news that we couldn’t discuss in the Council.”
“Yes, that’s right,” James replied. “You know how we’ve been concerned that there was a leak somewhere in the Council? Well, I’ve finally tracked it down. Someone has a spy program tied into our security. It allows him to use our own security cameras and microphones to monitor everything that goes on in the Council.”
“Ooo! Ooo! That’s what I said!” Lex interjected, tapping his chest and then raising his hand.
“We’re not giving prizes for guessing right a month ago,” Giles chided. Then he turned to James. “Have you tracked the spy’s location?” Giles asked.
James shook his head. “Whoever’s doing it is good. Really good. He’s got some kind of masking routine that uses a constantly changing encryption. So far, I haven’t been able to crack it.”
“He must be good if he’s got you stumped,” Jocasta commented.
“Not stumped…just temporarily…stymied,” James said defensively.
“This is really creepy,” Katherine said. “Knowing that somebody’s been watching us. I-I-It’s just the offices and stuff, right?”
“Slayer quarters too,” James announced.
“What?!” Livia objected.
“No way!” Mira exclaimed.
“What’sa matter?” Lex teased. “You two haven’t been up to a little naughtiness, have you? Hmmm?”
Livia blushed and glanced quickly at Mira—so quickly that it was almost unnoticeable.
Mira, however, just glared at Lex. “Shut up!” she said, giving Lex a kick under the table.
“Ow! Ow!” Lex cried. “Man, I wish Toni were here. She’d get you for that.”
“Oh yeah? If Toni were here, she’d be the one kicking you,” Jocasta said, giving Lex a nudge.
“Okay, okay,” Giles said, breaking up the tease-fest. Then he turned to James. “So, what are our options here?”
“Well, we can leave the spy program in place and let it run as is. That would give me the chance to crack it. Or we can disable the spy program entirely.”
“If we disable it, then we can’t track down the spy, right?” Lex asked.
James nodded. “That’s right.”
“But if we don’t disable it, we’ve still got a leak,” Lex said.
Again James nodded. Everyone frowned as if they were thinking really hard.
“So…if we leave it alone, that means we’ll have to really watch what we say and do so we don’t reveal anything critical,” Katherine said.
“But we can’t be too obvious about it,” Jocasta added, “or the spy will know that we know, you know?”
“Even if we can do a decent job of covering it up, we can’t control what everybody else in the Council is saying and doing,” Livia pointed out.
“True,” Mira said.
“Grrrr,” Lex complained. “This makes my head hurt.”
“I know it’ll be tricky,” James said, “but if you could give me just a little bit more time, I know I can crack this thing.”
Giles thought for a moment and then said, “All right. We’ll give it another day or so, but keep at it.” James nodded enthusiastically. “And one more thing,” he said to James. “Can you set up some kind of ‘fail-safe’ for the security system? You know, a way to instantly cut the spy program’s access in the event of an emergency?”
“Maybe you could arrange a simulated security grid failure,” Jocasta suggested. “You could make it look like the grid has crashed. That way, the spy won’t suspect that we’re on to him.”
“Good idea!” James said.
“Excellent work, James,” Giles said sincerely. Then he addressed the entire group. “Are there any other issues we need to discuss?” When no one replied, Giles said, “I’ll see you back at HQ then.”
Giles hurried away, giving the bartender another friendly wave. James and Lex shortly followed.
“Oh!” Jocasta said. “I forgot to remind Giles about the testing. I’ll be right back,” she told Katherine before running off to catch the chairman.
Katherine walked over to where Livia and Mira were standing. “Well, I guess I’ll see you guys tomorrow, at the magic testing. Are you excited about it?”
“No,” Livia announced firmly, giving Katherine a cold stare, causing the blonde slayer to look away.
“I am,” Mira interjected quickly in an effort to smooth the awkward moment. “I think it’s a great idea myself. I mean—”
“I’m outta here,” Livia interrupted. Then she turned and left the table, heading for the door.
Mira looked at Livia’s retreating form and then turned back to Katherine. “Sorry,” Mira said in apparent apology for her commander and best friend.
“It’s okay,” Katherine said. “She’s got a right to be mad. So do you.”
“Hey, I’m cool with it. I know it wasn’t your fault. Livia’ll come around. You’ll see. And if she doesn’t, I’ll just kick her ass.”
Katherine laughed at that.
“Well, I’d better go catch up,” Mira said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Mira dashed for the door, getting through it just as Jocasta made her way back inside.
Demon Bar – Later
“Livia, wait up!”
Mira jogged to catch up with Livia, who was marching quickly away from the bar. Livia paused for a moment, but continued on her course as soon as Mira was beside her.
“What the hell was that about?” Mira asked.
“What was what about?” Livia snapped at her.
Mira reached out and grabbed Livia’s arm, pulling her friend to a stop. Livia huffed in annoyance and didn’t look at Mira.
“Look, I get that you’re angry. I was too. But what happened with Katie wasn’t her fault.” Mira sighed. “Besides, that was a month ago, Livia. I’m not hurt anymore. So why can’t you let this go?”
Livia wrenched her arm away from Mira. “That’s not what this is about!”
Mira frowned and looked at Livia with concern. Livia suddenly blinked and looked away, unable to meet Mira’s gaze.
“Then what is it about? You say you understand that it wasn’t her fault, but you still treat her like she’s got the plague. What gives?” When Livia didn’t answer, Mira took a step closer. “What if it was you, Liv? What if you’d been affected by that curse?”
Livia shivered slightly at her words, but didn’t move.
“You think you would’ve done better?” Mira asked. “You think you would’ve stayed sane, while Katie couldn’t? ’Cause she’s weak or something?”
Once again, Livia didn’t reply. She shifted her weight and studied her feet.
Mira stepped closer and touched Livia gently on the shoulder. Her voice lowered as she leaned toward Livia. “If I can forgive her, why can’t you?”
Livia shrugged Mira’s hand off her shoulder and took a big step sideways. She swallowed hard and finally looked Mira in the eye. For a moment, her gaze softened. Then, just as quickly, she turned and began to walk away.
“She hurt one of my slayers,” Livia called over her shoulder. “I take that personally.”
Washington, DC – Senator Townsend’s Office – Same Time
“Ms. Pantelles, what a pleasure to see you again,” Senator Townsend drawled.
Eris walked fully into the luxurious office, extended her hand to the silver-haired man, and gave a stunning smile as he bent to kiss it.
“Senator Townsend. It’s been too long.”
“A nanosecond is too long, my dear.” Townsend grinned lasciviously, his gaze flickering briefly to Eris’s neckline.
“You’re too kind, sir,” Eris replied, smiling pleasantly.
The senator turned to walk back to his desk and missed Eris rolling her eyes. When he looked back at her, her expression was, once again, charming. Townsend waved a hand at the chair in front of the desk.
“Please, have a seat. What can I do for you today?”
Eris crossed her ankles as she sat down. Before responding, she pulled a data rod out of her purse and slid it across the desk. Townsend eyed it warily, then gave her a questioning look.
“Hubris has a proposal that I’d like you to present to Congress,” she said.
The senator picked up the data rod and twisted it in his fingers. “I’d be delighted to help out, but what exactly is the proposal regarding?”
Eris leaned back in her seat and fully crossed her legs. As expected, the senator’s attention immediately shifted from her predatory grin to her shapely legs.
“Why, the Human Defense Treaty, of course,” she replied.
“Oh, of course,” Townsend said, chuckling indulgently at her. “And why, pray-tell, are you bothering Congress about a treaty that you don’t have?”
“Because,” Eris said, her expression turning from playful to deadly serious, “I intend to take it.”
Jocasta’s Apartment – Night
As moonlight peeked through the blinds, Jocasta lay in her bed, snuggled against Katherine.
Jocasta murmured contentedly, “Mmm. I forgot how good this could feel. Us…together…”
Katherine gave Jocasta a squeeze of agreement.
Jocasta sat up and faced Katherine. “I’m sorry I let things go on as long as I did. Sometimes my temper just gets the best of me, and I—”
“Jo,” Katherine interrupted, “we’ve talked about this already. You’ve apologized, I’ve apologized…and it’s okay. Really. We both did things we wish we hadn’t. The important thing now is to focus on this…spending time together, really getting to know each other.”
Jocasta smiled gratefully then gave Katherine an earnest kiss. “You know what would help with that process?” she asked in hopeful voice. “If you were here with me all the time. You know…kinda permanent-like?”
Katherine briefly returned Jocasta’s smile then ducked her head. “I’m already over here practically every night.”
“I know, but it’s the ‘practically’ part I don’t like. I want you here every night, and I want to wake up with you every morning.”
Katherine didn’t respond right away. “I want that, too,” she finally said. “I do.”
“But…” Jocasta prompted.
“I just…I-I-I think we went too fast at first, a-a-and I don’t want to make that mistake again,” Katherine replied. She reached over and touched Jocasta’s cheek. “I love you so much, and I just don’t want to do anything that might mess things up.”
“It won’t mess things up. I promise,” Jocasta said. “It’ll make things better.” She looked deeply at Katherine. “When you were under that spell, I was so afraid that I was going to lose you. And I was kicking myself for letting my stupid anger keep me from making things right between us. But I also realized something. Tomorrow’s not a guarantee, especially for people like us. I just…I just want to make every day count.”
Katherine’s eyes welled up with tears, and she kissed Jocasta desperately. When she pulled away, she met Jocasta’s eyes. “I do, too,” she said, “but let me think about it, okay?”
Disappointment entered Jocasta’s eyes, but she covered it up quickly. She forced a smile and nodded. “Okay,” she replied.
“Thanks,” Katherine said sincerely before pulling Jocasta into her arms for a hug. Katherine nudged Jocasta’s ear with her nose, then planted a few lazy kisses behind her ear. “Just remember,” she whispered huskily, “slow can be good.”
As Katherine started trailing kisses down Jocasta’s neck, the watcher grinned and giggled with delight.
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – The Next Morning
Giles stared intently at the data pad in front of him as Jocasta sat at her desk.
“Your proposal to begin testing slayers for suitability for magic training looks good,” Giles commented as he scrolled through the document. “You’re starting this today, you said?”
When Jocasta didn’t answer, Giles glanced up from the data pad. He found Jocasta staring off into space with a goofy grin on her face. Giles rolled his eyes then cleared his throat loudly. Jocasta finally stirred. She blushed when she discovered Giles glaring at her.
“I was just…”
“Living in the land of Katie, I know,” Giles said with a mild smirk.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just can’t help it. I’m happy.”
“And I’m happy for you,” Giles replied. “But…I don’t want you losing focus on this project. It’s important, Jo.” Giles’s expression turned serious. “I’m…I’m taking a lot of heat right now, and I believe that this magic reintegration plan is the key to everything. I need to know that you’re giving this a hundred percent.”
“I am, Giles, I swear,” Jocasta assured him. “Everything is set for the first run this morning. It’ll go great, you’ll see.”
Giles’s face relaxed a little, and he let out a deep breath. “Well, I’ll leave you to it, then,” he said before rising from his chair. “Call me later?”
When Jocasta nodded in affirmation, the chairman left the office.
Watchers Council – Outside Gray Sector Lab – Later
Livia and Mira sat in a line of chairs that had been placed outside the lab to accommodate the number of slayers being tested for magic. As Livia fidgeted and frowned, Mira paced excitedly in front of her commander.
“Sit down, will ya? You’re gettin’ on my nerves,” Livia complained.
“Sorry,” Mira said as she returned to her chair next to Livia. “I’m just psyched about this whole magic thing. I mean, can you imagine? With seraphim suits and magic, we’ll be able to kick some serious demon ass. Doncha think?”
Livia crossed her arms and shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t know.”
“You don’t seem too thrilled about the idea of this magic reintegration plan. How come?”
“The Council outlawed magic for a reason,” Livia said. “It’s dangerous. Besides, we’re doin’ fine without it. So my take is: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
“But if the bad guys are using magic, how are we going to counter that?” Mira asked. When Livia didn’t answer, Mira continued. “Me personally…if I can get another weapon in my arsenal, I’m all for it.”
At that moment, the door to the lab opened, and Katherine stepped out, holding the door for one of her slayer test subjects, who was leaving.
“I’ll see you next week then,” Katherine said to the slayer before dropping her eyes to the data pad in her hand.
As the exiting slayer walked by Mira and Livia, Mira asked, “So how’d it go?” The slayer smiled widely and gave a thumbs-up sign. Mira returned the gesture and said, “Cool.”
Just then, Katherine called Livia’s name. Livia rolled her eyes, groaned, and got up.
“Be nice,” Mira ordered.
Livia groaned again and said, “Okay.”
When Livia got to the doorway, Katherine smiled graciously and said, “Hey, Livia.”
“Katie,” Livia said in a cool but not cold voice before joining her inside.
Watchers Council – Inside Gray Sector Lab – Seconds Later
Katherine shut the door and faced Livia. “Look, if you don’t want to do the test with me,” she offered, “I can arrange for you to take it with Jo instead.”
“No, I’m fine,” Livia replied. “Don’t worry about it.”
“It’s just that, well, the test is very sensitive to emotional energies, and if you’re not comfortable with me, then—”
Livia cut Katherine off with a wave of her hand. “I’m okay with it…with you. Really.” Livia gave a small smile. “I’m not a hundred percent, but I’m gettin’ there.”
“I understand,” Katherine replied sincerely.
After a awkward moment of silence, Livia finally clapped her hands. “Well, let’s get this freak show on the road, shall we? I’m ready to get it over with.”
“You don’t have to do this, you know,” Katherine reminded Livia.
“It’s not like I have a choice,” Livia said.
“Of course, you have a choice. We’re not going to force anyone to be tested or to learn magic.”
“I’m a commander,” Livia said pointedly. “I’m expected to set a good example to the other slayers, whether I like it or not.”
Katherine grinned at Livia. “Got the lecture from Commander Petrova, huh?”
Livia nodded ruefully.
“Well, this test won’t hurt a bit, I promise,” Katherine assured Livia. “And it won’t take long either.”
Watchers Council – Outside Gray Sector Lab – A Little Later
As before, Katherine opened the door and held it. This time, a very serious and very unhappy Livia came through.
Katherine gave Livia’s arm a squeeze. “If you need to talk…”
Livia forced a smile. “I’ll be fine. Thanks.” Then she walked away.
Mira immediately ran up to her. “So? So? How’d it go?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it,” Livia said. “I’ll catch you later, at the debriefing.”
Mira watched with a confused look on her face as Livia strode away. As soon as she heard her name called, though, she perked up. She clapped her hands together gleefully and said, “Magic, magic, here I come!” Then she dashed to the door to meet with Katherine.
Watchers Council – Slayer Debriefing Room – Later
Velika crossed her arms as she looked around the room at the gathered slayers. She’d called in only a small group, as most were currently out on patrol or other assignments, but they seemed to make up for their limited numbers with a lot of noise. There was some minor pushing and joking as each woman took her seat.
Livia and Mira seemed to be the only ones not participating in the cacophony. They instead sat slightly slumped in their seats, their arms crossed, and their expressions serious as if they were deep in thought. Velika waited a few moments before rapping her knuckles on the table in front of her.
“All right, listen up,” she called out.
The room quieted, and Velika took a moment to meet Livia’s gaze. Indignation seemed to flash in her head slayer’s eyes, but when Velika blinked, it had vanished, replaced by a careful expression of compliance. Velika resisted the urge to shake her head in exasperation. She grabbed the projector control instead and began the briefing.
“These pictures came in about twenty minutes ago,” the commander said as she turned to the screen where the images were being shown. She clicked the button on the control to move to the next image.
“According to reports from the responding officers, the perpetrator is demonic. About eight feet high. Distinguishing features include bat-like ears and a furry exterior. The only ability we’re aware of at the moment is a noxious venom that it shoots from its mouth. We’re uncertain if the venom is meant to merely stun a victim or if it actually kills. The lab is looking into it at the moment.” Velika set the remote down and turned back to the group. “Now so far, this demon has been reported only in a single location. We’ve got one victim, and I’d like to make sure we don’t have a second. Hansen, Fitzgerald.”
Livia and Mira stood from their chairs and moved to the front of the room. Velika handed them each a case folder.
“Coordinate with Command and keep me updated.”
Livia and Mira nodded and exited the room. Velika watched the women leave, then glanced down at the pile of remaining case folders. Picking one off the top, she addressed the room again.
“All right. Moving on.”
Watchers Council – Noon
News net reporter Lisa Lance shifted on her feet for the umpteenth time as she stood hunched behind a row of hedges outside the Council Headquarters. She looked at her watch and then peeked over the shrubs to glance at the main entrance.
“Bingo,” she said with a grin when she saw Chairman Sebastian Giles exiting the Council and heading for his skimmer.
Lance hurried over to Giles’s location.
“Mr. Chairman! Mr. Chairman!” she called to get his attention.
Giles stopped and looked up. When he saw who was speaking, he frowned and turned away, resuming his walking. “I have no comment,” he told the reporter firmly when she joined him.
Lance held up her hands defensively. “I’m not here to ask questions,” she said. “See…no microphone, no camera crew.”
“Not one I can see, you mean,” Giles replied.
“Not one at all, I promise,” she said. “Totally off the record here.”
“Ms. Lance, what exactly do you want?” Giles asked as he stopped and glared at her.
“It’s not what I want,” she answered. “It’s what you want.”
“I don’t have time for word games,” Giles said harshly.
“It’s not a game. It’s an offer. I want you to come on my show, do an in-depth interview.”
Giles scoffed. “You must think I’m an idiot. You’ve done nothing but attack me and the Council. Why would I be fool enough to agree to an interview with you?”
“Because it would be your chance to tell your side of the story,” she replied. “Right now, the only voices being heard are ours. If you want to change the tide of public opinion, you need to be heard.”
“We’ve issued public statements,” Giles said.
“Straight from the source, nothing but PR propaganda,” Lance countered, “with no opportunity for serious questioning.” Lance paused then put on a charming smile. “If you really want the public to believe what you have to say, you have to be willing to put it to the test, in a public forum. You have to be willing to truly debate the issues and answer the tough questions. That’s what I’m offering you.”
Giles looked at Lance intently as if considering her offer. Then an expression of resolve came over his face. “Thanks, but no thanks,” he said with finality.
Lance shrugged and then handed Giles her card. “If you change your mind, call me.” At that, Lance strode way.
Giles glanced at the card and then at the retreating Lance. Then he shook his head and put the card away.
Restaurant – About An Hour Later
Giles pushed his dessert plate away and waved at the waitress. When she glanced at him, he held up his cup to indicate that he needed a refill on his tea.
“Me too,” Veronica said before claiming Giles’s unfinished French silk pie.
Giles held up two fingers, and the waitress nodded her understanding.
“I had a very interesting conversation before I got here,” Giles commented.
“Oh yeah? Who with?” Veronica asked as she scooped up a bit of the chocolate pie on her fork.
“Lisa Lance,” Giles replied.
Veronica immediately stopped her fork’s motion toward her mouth. Then she slowly set it back down on the pie plate.
“What?” she responded in alarm. “You didn’t actually talk to her, did you?”
“As a matter of fact, I did,” Giles said, “and she had a very interesting proposal.”
“I bet she did,” Veronica said sarcastically.
“She asked me to come on her show…on the news net. She wants to give me the opportunity to tell the Council’s side of the story.”
Veronica and Giles paused as the waitress came to refill their tea. When the waitress had gone, Veronica continued. “Sebastian, please tell me you didn’t agree.”
“I realize that she’s been very damaging to the Council, but she seemed sincere in her desire to present both sides.”
“The only thing she’s sincere about is improving her ratings.”
“Perhaps, but she made an excellent point about our press reports. The public sees them as mere propaganda. If we really want to convince the public, then we must be willing to debate the issues openly in an objective forum.”
“But she’s not objective,” Veronica insisted. “You can’t trust her!” Veronica looked at her watch suddenly. “Oh! I gotta go. I have a committee workshop this afternoon.” Veronica paused then stared Giles right in the eyes. “Lisa Lance is nothing but a shark. And if a shark’s been taking bites out of your leg, you don’t agree to move closer so that you can explain to the shark why it shouldn’t do that.”
Giles chuckled at the analogy.
“See you later?” Veronica asked as she finished gathering her belongings.
“Of course,” Giles said with a smile.
At that, Veronica hurried away, leaving Giles alone. He sipped his tea then sighed and leaned wearily back in his chair.
Council Skimmer – Later
Giles sat in the seat of his skimmer, deep in thought. He pulled out Lance’s card and looked at it intently. After a long pause, he punched the numbers into the skimmer’s console and waited. In few moments, Lance’s image appeared on the monitor, and her voice came from the speaker.
“Mr. Chairman,” Lance said amiably as she sat comfortably in her office chair.
“I’ve been thinking about your offer,” Giles said, “but I must admit…I don’t trust you. How can I be sure you’re sincere?”
“I give you my word as a journalist that I will give you your chance to speak, to tell your side of the story,” she promised. “That’s what you want, right?”
Giles thought for a moment. “All right, I accept your offer,” he replied.
“Excellent!” Lance said excitedly.
“I hope I don’t live to regret this,” he said.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Chairman,” she assured him. “I keep my promises.”
Lisa Lance’s Office – Moments Later
Lance smiled at her blank screen then punched in some numbers. She waited as the phone rang. Shortly, Horatio Tyrell’s image appeared on her monitor.
“The Chairman called me back,” Lance told Tyrell.
“Did he take the bait?” Tyrell asked.
“Hook, line, and sinker,” Lance replied with a grin.
Tyrell shared Lance’s grin then ended the call.
Local Cemetery – Evening
Livia and Mira walked silently down the street. Mira had her hands shoved in her pockets and was staring at the ground as she walked. Livia attempted to focus on the patrol, but it was obviously difficult. Finally, Livia stopped and rubbed her hands over her face.
“We cover this sector already?” she asked, her voice muffled beneath her palms. She uncovered her face in time to catch Mira’s shrug.
“Does it matter? Not like the creeps are gonna stand still for us,” Mira replied.
Livia nodded silently. She rolled her shoulders back and looked both directions down the street, then across it at the entrance to a cemetery. She glanced at Mira and pointed her thumb at the graveyard. “Let’s hit it again, just to be sure.”
Mira hummed absently in agreement and followed Livia through the gravestones. The silence seemed to get to the women at the same time, and they began to speak at once.
Livia cracked a smile and waved for Mira to continue.
Mira cleared her throat. “It was positive, wasn’t it?” she asked, looking down at her hands as she cracked her knuckles. “Your magic test?”
Livia only nodded in response. Seeming to sense that Livia wasn’t going to reveal anything more, Mira opened her mouth to say something else. Livia’s sigh interrupted her.
“I just…I can’t get my head around it, Mira. They know this stuff is dangerous. They’ve seen what it can do.” Livia’s eyes grew cold, and she looked down at her feet. “What it did.” She paused and then continued angrily, “They’re playing with fire, and they don’t even care.”
Mira stopped walking and looked at her friend. “Well, at least you can say no. They’re not gonna force you to learn any magic. I didn’t even get to choose.”
“Aw, Mira,” Livia said as she reached out to lay a comforting hand on Mira’s arm.
As soon as her hand made contact, Livia suddenly grabbed the other slayer and threw her forcefully to the side. Mira made an indignant sound, but she was drowned out by the scream of the demon rushing toward them. The creature held what looked like a large golden knife in one hand.
Livia twisted out of the way as the furry demon rushed past her. Her mouth dropped open as she watched it run away; then she was almost trampled by the next creature. It rammed into her, causing her to nearly trip. She hopped sideways to give herself room to move and yanked her sword from the holster on her back. She immediately lashed out at the demon with a kick to its midsection. The creature stumbled back, howling in fury. It shook its head, flopping its bat-like ears from side to side, then fixed Livia with a deadly glare.
“Whoa, ugly!” Livia cried. She looked down at the creature’s bizarre clothing and smirked. “Boy, you gotta stop lettin’ your mama dress you.”
Apparently unimpressed by Livia’s taunting, the demon roared again and took a step toward her. It didn’t get far before Mira leaped onto its back and pulled hard on its head, forcing the creature to bend backwards. The demon screeched and reached back with its long arms. It plucked Mira from its back and tossed her aside. Mira’s fall was broken by a tombstone, which c racked under the impact of her body.
Livia didn’t have time to see if Mira was all right because another high-pitched scream sounded. Livia tore her eyes from Mira’s prone form just in time to see the first demon return.
“Aw, crap,” Livia muttered, as the demon in front of her lashed out.
Livia slashed at areas that seemed vulnerable, but the demon kept moving aside, avoiding her blows. She heard a few grunts and yells coming from Mira’s direction and glanced over quickly to see the recovered slayer fending off the first demon.
Livia suddenly swayed on her feet, and her opponent used the distraction to get in a good shot. Livia cried out as the creature’s claws tore through her shoulder. She spun and kicked, trying to knock the demon off balance. The kick connected, but had little effect; the demon didn’t even stumble. Livia’s sword dropped from her hand as she tripped and fell onto her rear. The demon stalked forward. Livia’s eyes widened, and she struggled to stand, but the pain in her shoulder forced her back down.
“Oh no. No no no no…”
The demon fell upon her, ignoring her feeble punches. It clamped its gaping mouth around Livia’s entire shoulder and bit down, sinking its teeth deeply into the slayer’s flesh, causing blood to spurt onto the ground.
Livia struggled, screaming in terror. Her eyes sought out Mira, but the other slayer was dodging out of the way of a third demon that had come up behind her. Livia screamed again as the demon clamped down tighter onto her shoulder.
End of Act One