Dean spent the morning going over the Impala with a fine tooth comb trying to see if any harm came to his baby. He popped the trunk to find that all of the weapons were still there. “Did you think that we would hide everything you need for a job?”
Dean looked up from the trunk to see Angela walking towards the back carrying something huge slung across her back. He watched as she paused at one of the stone pillars of the fence and peer at it. She removed something from her pocket and drew something on it muttering to herself. She then stood up and walked to another pillar and did the same thing. Putting a .45 into his jacket, he closed the trunk and followed her.
When he came out of the house that morning, he was surprised that they were in one of those middle class brownstones. It explained the layout of the place. He was even more satisfied that the Impala didn’t suffer any maltreatment. If anything, it was cleaned to make it look brand new. Dean grudgingly had to admit one of those two chicks knew a thing or two about cars.
He managed to catch up with Angela marking up the backdoor of the house. What surprised Dean was that there was nothing on the door. He shuffled his feet slightly and said, “So…”
“The Impala is to your liking I take it?”
“Yeah. Looks brand new.” Dean shoved his hands into his jeans pocket. He took a sigh and asked, “So what are you drawing all over the place?”
“Sigils to hide this place from just about anything that exists in the world. All members of the order stay here and it is their job to make sure the sigils are current.” Angela finished drawing on the door. “There. Those were fading. Now they’re up to date. They’ll last until the next job.”
“Can only see them under dark light?”
“Well it’s stupid to use spray paint.” Angela showed him her pen. “Besides this is special. Funny how we have chemical geniuses within the order. They think of just about anything.” She then flipped it in her hand and put it back into her pocket. “So anything you need Dean?”
“Nothing really.” Dean started to wander back towards the Impala.
“You have free run of the house. I suggest though that you stay within the confines of the yard. Your injuries need more time.” Angela looked at Dean’s retreating form. She removed the staff she had from her shoulder.
Dean stopped and turned around. He then walked back. “You plan on keeping us prisoner here?”
Angela leaned on the staff. “No. Trying to keep you and your brother alive. You stumbled onto something bigger than any hunt you’ve ever done. Suarez is the leader of those vampires that attacked you. He is into the occult and I can guarantee you he has something up his sleeve. Now that he knows the Winchesters are on the trail…” Angela then shrugged her shoulders. She then picked up the staff and walked towards a corner of the back fence. She knelt down to feel in the grass for something.
“And how do you know this?”
Angela didn’t say anything right away. Having found what she had been looking for, she took the staff, twirled it above her head and then jammed it hard into the dirt. It was a wonder the wood didn’t splinter. When she was finished, she replied, “I fought him once maybe twice before. He came close to killing me both times.”
Then with quick movements, she walked into the house, slamming the door. Dean sighed as he rolled his eyes. Knowing that there was nothing else to do outdoors, he followed Angela inside.
The lights were dimmed in order to accommodate the sensitivity of their eyes yet it didn’t bother Suarez at all. He had lived long enough to acclimate to brighter lights but his skin was still sensitive to sunlight. He stared at the dozens of faces looking at him and gave a feral smile. He said, “Brothers and sisters, we are now very close to achieving what no other of our kind has been able to achieve. We now need one more body, one more soul to complete the ritual for us to walk with those of the third kind.”
A cheer sounded forth.
Suarez held up his hands to gain quiet. He said, “Now I know some of you have concerns. The rumors are true and an old friend has come to try to stop us. Some of you know her has the Blood Knight, others the Queen of Vengeance but mostly known as the Malachi.”
The room was filled with shouts. Some were of protests. Others were calling for blood. Suarez took it in before waving his hands. He spoke louder, “Do not fear my brothers. She will not succeed.”
One of the minions came forwards and asked permission to speak. Giving the go ahead, Suarez listened to the whispers of the minion. He grinned even more as he listened to what was being told of him. He waved his hand in dismissal and addressed the crowd at large, “My brothers, it appears that we have a treat. Not only is she here in the beloved Windy City but so are the Winchester brothers.”
“Yes and I know that any other demons and brethren know they are around. Therefore I am creating a bounty for them. For bringing them in alive and relatively unharmed, they can have the pleasure of dismembering the Ice Bitch.”
There was a murmur of agreement as Suarez dismissed them and headed down the hall past the rows of antiques. He was joined by his right hand man who said, “Sir. Is it wise to start a manhunt on the Winchesters?”
“You worry too much Cisco. It will distract her. She will do anything to protect them.”
“You don’t know that. I’ve seen her sacrifice innocents to save the majority.”
“What you saw was justice being dispensed. They may have looked innocent but more likely they were as guilty as sin. She will protect the Winchesters. It’s in her nature.”
Cisco looked around before saying, “If that is the case then how will they find them? The two guards were killed and whoever they attacked was gone.”
Suarez looked thoughtful as he entered an office. He peered through the one way window at the customers in the antique shop. The owner agreed to help him in exchange for not harming his family. Suarez made the promise loosely, not revealing his intentions. “If I know her, she would have taken them to one of the safe houses the Centurion has scattered. She would take every precaution.”
“Well when you had Rosalinda pull her into dream walking to try to kill her, she pulled in one of them but forced him out. He hasn’t come back since.”
“Of course. Dreamers can die if they dream walk and get killed there. She knows this and hid him.”
“So what do you want to do?”
“They have to come out some time. Issue the order to have one of our trackers track them to the safe house they are using. If that doesn’t work then we will have to use magic.”
After his second left, Suarez sat in his chair, looking out at the customers buying and browsing. Come out, come out, wherever you are.
Dean was looking around the house trying to find anything to do. He wandered the hall and came across a study and moseyed on in. The shelves were full of stuff, some that Dean recognized using on the job. There were some items that he didn’t know about. One object in particular caught his eye sitting on the desk. It looked like a miniature man dressed like and eagle. He was about to pick it up when a voice came forth, “You might not want to do that.”
Dean jumped and turned to find Akira holding a book looking as if she were passing by. “I was just… uh.”
Akira walked in with an amused smile. “You did nothing wrong. I was just warning you.” She walked over towards the desk and took out the pencil she had tucked behind her ear. She held it out and suddenly the little man dressed up moved and snapped the pencil in two with the beak. She looked at Dean, “Kachina. They are believed to be the spirits of the world.”
“I thought that was something you buy at a gift shop.” Dean was surprised that the thing moved. The realization that he might have lost a finger occurred to him and he began to wonder how many other things were that dangerous within that house.
“They are replicas unless they are blessed by a shaman. The figure then can become possessed by the kachina they represent. They can be summoned by the right words to use in battle.”
“Then why did that thing move?”
Akira gave a slight laugh. “That ‘thing’ moved because it was bound but given the freedom of choice to a limited degree. This kachina uses it to defend itself unless you give the correct phrase to indicate a friend.” Akira then leaned over and said, “N’de.” She then held out her hand and said, “It’s all right.”
The kachina then came to life and jumped into her hand. It then looked over at Dean and said something in an Indian language before leaping off her hand and jumping on top of Dean’s shoulder. Dean’s reaction was to try to bat it away. “What is this thing doing?”
Akira started laughing. She was at it for a while until she got control of herself. She then said, ‘I might be mistaken but I think this particular kachina has a female version of the spirit. In short, you’ve just got yourself a girl friend.” She then started laughing again while she picked up the broken pencil and her book.
“What am I supposed to do with it?”
“No idea.” Akira then checked her watch. “Well you can bring it downstairs and help with lunch. We can’t do much until I figure out which rite that Suarez is after.” Akira brushed right past Dean and headed towards the staircase.
Dean scowled and then looked at his shoulder where the kachina was sitting. It was looking at him and he stared back at it. It then gave a peck on his cheek and retreated down his back to the other shoulder before Dean could bat it away. “Fine you can stay there. Just… don’t do that again.” He then followed Akira downstairs. “Why couldn’t you have picked Sam?”
Meanwhile Sam had gotten bored with watching the translator at work. Akira had been right in saying that it can do quite a bit on its own so he decided to look for Angela. His conversation with Akira gave him skin and bones about her. He left the laptop alone and walked out of the library. He heard the sound of pots clattering in the kitchen and bypassed it. He came across two doors that were partially open. One was empty with a made up bed. The second one had noise coming from it. He knocked on the door, “Um… hello?”
Angela had been examining where she had been backhanded the night before. She hadn’t done it earlier since the wards needed attention and she wasn’t that concerned over it but Akira bugged her over it earlier. She was peering at the mirror and giving a cursory look. It was now faint and would be gone by nightfall. Bruises didn’t matter to her. It was the cuts that she had a problem with. Starting to think about blood, Angela began to hear things. It was interrupted when she heard the knock on the door and Sam’s call of hello. She sighed and walked out of the bathroom. “Something you wanted?”
Sam was momentarily taken aback by the abruptness of her question. He had expected it though and recovered. He shrugged his shoulders, “Nothing urgent. I just want to talk.”
"Bored with Akira’s translator already?” Angela then walked out of the room and towards a small closet. Opening the door, she pulled out a slender bag and slung it over her shoulder. She didn’t really want to be caught in a conversation with either Winchester but she couldn’t avoid them forever either. As added insurance she added a ward that would prevent them from leaving until nightfall so that kept them in the house pretty much all day. She could minimize it though by doing other things and let Akira do the explaining. She headed towards the basement.
Sam followed knowing that she didn’t really want to talk. He gave a slight chuckle. She was very much like Dean, preferring to keep things inside. He kept up fairly easily and replied, “There is only so much you can do while it does all the work.”
“Watch out for the Terminator moment.” Angela paused at the door leading to the basement and pulled it open. She turned on the light and walked down the stairs and when she was sure Sam was behind her, she gave a slight flick of her finger and the door closed. She didn’t have to look. If she freaked them out, it was probably for the best. She did say, “Chaser ability.”
Sam didn’t say anything; he didn’t even flinch. He had seen it with Max and he was reminded about what he considered a failure. For some reason it was comforting to find someone who had freakish abilities even though she wasn’t completely human. He followed Angela down the narrow staircase until it opened up into a large room. It was an underground training area. “Nice place.”
Angela put the slender bag on a table and proceeded to pull out some of the weapons that were only used against powerful foes. They included a bow, a spear and a short sword. She checked them over and laid them out. “This is considered the best of the safe houses with the largest training room and a majority of every weapon possible.”
Sam looked around. It reminded him of a martial arts dojo as he looked and saw the rack with weapons on it. He walked over and picked up one. “You guys like to fight hand to hand?”
Angela finished her examination and picked up the short sword. It was nothing like Absolution but like her blade, it had abilities that could take down anything should the worst come to pass. She needed to train just to get a feel for it since it had been a while since she last wielded the Orion weapons. She twirled it around in her hand and replied, “The order is ancient. Tradition dictates we learn all forms besides using salt rounds and silver bullets. Even you know that some things require a blade every now and then.”
“You got that right.”
Angela couldn’t help but laugh a little. She walked over towards a corner where there were some practice dummies. Along the way she grabbed one of the practice wooden swords that was roughly the same weight and size as Absolution. She began using basic forms with the short sword in her off hand. She just had to get the feeling back. She spoke, “Feel free to look around. Just be careful if you touch the bow or the spear.”
“Bows and spears?”
“Like I said, the order requires us to be familiar with all forms. Besides you never know when a bow will come handy.” Angela stopped her practice and walked over towards the table where the other weapons were. She reached into the bag and pulled out a silver arrow. She showed it to Sam, “Silver arrows,” and handed to him. “Looks heavy but when fired by a bow, it will make whatever you’re hunting nice and dead. The little groove in the tips allow for salt to add to the wound.”
Sam took the silver arrow and looked at it. He figured that Angela was just being polite. Glancing at her, he noticed that she was rather stiff. He handed it back to her but she refused to take it. She asked, “You want to try a shot?”
Sam was surprised at the question. “Uh…”
Angela watched the reaction. She was risking much if she chose to reveal what she knew. Perhaps though it wouldn’t hurt to say something just as long as she avoided certain issues. She chose her words carefully, “I heard that you are quite the archer. Much better than your brother Dean… unless that was a misunderstanding.” She deliberately emphasized the doubts.
Sam recognized the goading attempt. It was much subtler than what she used on Dean but it still was nerve striker. He gave a slight scowl and picked up the bow. “And just how did you know about that?”
Angela gave a wicked grin and crossed her arms. “The order has many resources and they get interested in hunters outside the order. Wouldn’t surprise me if one of your friends was one of the order’s scouts.”
“So you spy on us?” Sam looked at the dummies in the corner. He pulled back and started to take aim.
Angela shrugged her shoulders as if she didn’t care. “Take it as you want… Sammy.”
Sam released the arrow sooner than he wanted when he heard her call him the nickname he hated. He turned to look at her and said, “It’s Sam.”
“Whatever,” Angela replied and walked over towards the dummy that Sam had hit. It was dead on even when she goaded him. It was an old training technique. It was one thing to make a kill shot when in practice and another if you did it under duress. John had trained the boys well and she was pleased. She had followed the reports of their exploits since Sam left Stanford and wondered if it was luck or true skill. Some of those instances, she followed, without notifying anyone within the order to check for herself. “Nice shot. Even pissed you make a kill shot.” She yanked out the arrow and walked back towards the table.
“You’re unbelievable,” Sam replied not sure if to be angry or not. He put the bow back down on the table.
“Now you’re throwing a fit for one of the oldest of training exercises,” Angela sounded incredulous. In truth she wasn’t. She had to push them away. Less meddling and there was a chance. “Unbelievable.”
Sam gritted his teeth. He watched her expression and while it was smug her eyes said something different. There was a reason for this. He let the anger go. “Fine. I get it. Dad used to do the same thing when he trained us.”
Angela was stunned but she didn’t let it show. She was not even sure of what to say at the moment. She was saved from answering by the sound of steps running down the stairs and Akira came bursting in and saying, “I found it.”
“So this ritual allows for the vampires we hunt to become like you two?”
“Yes and no,” Akira replied to Dean’s question trying to ignore the fact that the kachina was still on his shoulder trying to kiss or peck him every five minutes. It was amusing to watch Dean trying to stop it and seemed that his efforts only goaded the spirit to continue. “The ritual allows for one vampire to become like a Shadow Chaser. The price, besides the blood and souls of innocents is that the vampire actually becomes a host to the spirit of an Ancient, which is bad.”
“Oldest of demons,” Angela explained, “Not only they can do the whole black smoke like you’re used to but they can physically manifest themselves into a physical form. Nice thing is that their physical bodies are entombed. Bad thing is that anyone stupid and willing can summon their spirits.”
It was a lot for Sam and Dean to take in but to Angela’s view, they were taking it pretty well. Heck they had been hunting the lower level things for most of their lives so it really wasn’t that big of a shock. It was Dean who asked, “Okay so how do we stop it?”
“The ritual calls for forty souls and forty rivers of blood. I checked your computer on the map you made Sam and found that they need one more and it must be harvested and the ritual must be performed during the hunter’s moon,” Akira offered. “It’s a live sacrifice.”
“Okay so we stake out the place like before and bust in guns blazing,” Dean said after pushing the kachina away for the thousandth time.
“Sounds like a plan… if you are willing to go against the possibility of twenty to thirty of vampires like Suarez,” Angela muttered. “Well I do know some people and I do have a few ideas on how to take out a whole nest. We just need a few things but we don’t have them here.”
“Why not just go out and get what we need?” Sam shrugged his shoulders as if wondering what the problem was.
“If I know Suarez he would have demons on his payroll keeping an eye out for us. That could be a problem but as long as the wards on the house are up, we should be able to repel them,” Angela offered. She wasn’t particularly thrilled with the Winchesters running around with a possible bounty on their heads and neither was she thrilled that she and Akira may have bounties as well.
Akira was looking at the translation on her computer. Most rituals like this tended to have a counter ritual that would be used to battle against the possessed one. That was if the ritual could succeed. She scanned the scans and read it in the original language until one passage caught her eye. She ignored the conversation and read the passage. What she read was a possibility and it could work if they couldn’t stop the ritual. “I think I found something.”
Realizing that they didn’t hear her, she repeated herself much louder, “I think I may have something.”
The discussion of planning for the hunt stopped. Angela asked, “What did you find Princess?”
“A backup plan Ice Bitch,” Akira replied. “There is an option should we fail to stop the ritual.”
“And what is that?” Dean asked. “Cause right now ganking the bloodsuckers before the ritual sounds like a much better idea.”
“Experience has shown that things don’t always go according to plan,” Akira replied, “Besides what I found could be considered somewhat of an anti-ritual.”
“A lot of the ancient rituals, particularly ones used by demons and the like, have rituals designed to fight the original ritual. In this case, this ritual would create a full Champion to fight the Ancient. From the looks of it, it requires some preparation and ingredients we don’t have.”
“Then we have to get what we need,” Angela replied.
“So you have a plan?” Dean was starting to like this Angela chick.Angela gave a grin, “Oh yeah but you might not like it.”