CHAPTER 9: A Wish to Live The underwater echoes rang a familiar tune to her ears, begging and luring her

to dwell in its illusory stupor. After what felt like a thousand years had passed, Spencer at last broke from the numbness and opened her eyes. She found herself lying at the bottom of the flooded tunnel. The water was terribly cold, and only faint rays of light managed to shine down through layers of wreckages that mounted up so high she couldn't see the surface of the water. She stayed put for a moment, glancing around in the dark, as she tried to recall what happened. She remembered standing on the platform, whilst the First District was collapsing. She stared down at the madly rippling water, mechanically holding her breath. For all the courage in the world, she wouldn't have jumped in until the ground she stood upon could no longer withstand the weight of the falling debris. She dove into the water and hid herself at the bottom. She took cover under a large block of concrete to avert sunlight and more deadly rubbles that were falling around her. She waited for the whole fiasco to end and, most importantly, for nightfall to come. Hours passed ever so slowly, and her concentration gradually lost its focus to the numbness. She slipped into unconsciousness, and it felt strangely serene under the water that her pain and hurts²her very existence²were veiled away from the rest of the world. She would have been lost there for another century if not for the scream that suddenly thundered in the back of her mind, disrupting her endless dream. Viola«! Spencer closed her eyes for a few moments, and then opened them again. Thankfully, the scream was now replaced by the dull, underwater echoes. She began to move her fingers, slowly at first, to feel her muscles. She had no idea how long she had been in trance, but it was long enough to have stirred her hunger. Gently kicking her legs to push her body from under the concrete block, she swam out into the hollow space between the wreckages. Catching a glimpse of moonlight above, she ascended in a quiet, graceful swim of a mermaid. Rising past the tower of debris, she eventually reached the surface. Her head emerged from the water so quietly that the water hardly rippled. Once she had climbed over the edge, she slumped down on all fours, wheezing. Her body was shaken. Her heart beat so fast in anticipation at the first flow of air in her lungs. The air filled every element of her being with the earthly bliss. One would have given anything for her ability to breathe underwater, but it felt like a curse to her. Her body had long evolved against her own wishes. She wasn't sure if heaven just would not take the likes of her, or it was simply her wish to live. Follow the light, and your life shall begin« The fortuneteller's words haunted her even in the abyss of darkness. But the life she had led was far from what she ever imagined. To walk in sunlight again was one exception that she hadn't mastered. Light seemed to evade her every chance it get, leaving her grasp empty and cold. "Who's there! Freeze!" On her knees, Spencer slowly raised both hands up. She took her time to register the position of the attacker. He was approaching her from behind, holding a gun in both hands. The WOOHP uniform she was wearing didn't particularly put her in a friendly position since she was certain that he was a werewolf. His roar was deep, and his footfalls were heavier than humans. Only good ear of an immortal could differentiate the sounds. Surprised that

the werewolves were still around, she took a quick look around, noting the ruined, deserted site. It must have been quite some times since the fall of First District. "What are you doing here in the middle of the night? Turn around. Slowly." He ordered her, and then spoke into his walkie-talkie. "I've got a WOOHP here. Female. Copy." 'Hah! After three weeks, we finally get lucky! I'll be right over. Copy.' "Turn around. Now," the werewolf repeated. Spencer turned to look over her shoulder, and she could see the stunned look in his dark eyes. She was absolutely not what he expected. From the way he froze, she could tell that he was an inexperienced pack member. At the opportune moment, she charged at him before he could pull the trigger. She pinned him to the ground, burying her fangs deep into his neck. His face paled by the seconds as he feebly gripped her shoulder and arm. His body started to shake as he struggled in vain before falling flat on the muddy ground. Letting go off the prey, the vampire wiped the blood from her lips and stood up. He was a meal she desperately needed after weeks in the water, and it feared her that he wasn't enough to sustain her fierce appetite tonight. For what seemed like a lifetime ago, she was once forced into the water for days. Not knowing of her own strength, she miraculously survived at the bottom of the dark, cold sea. Only she came back to the land and fed upon hundreds to appease her hunger. Or was it anger she regretted to this day? Spencer tried to still her breathing. The thought of those days was most unwelcomed. She tried to focus on the werewolf's warm blood in her veins, catching bits and pieces of information concerning the lair. She couldn't help but sigh in relief that Ian had made it out safely. It appeared that the werewolves still kept the site on watch in hope to ambush WOOHP agents for a possible lead to the headquarters. They believed that Sam and Samantha were held captives. After so many years, they still don't know where WOOHP is« Hideaki Kruger escaped the prior WOOHP headquarters in Tomsk, causing havoc and destroying it in the process. WOOHP then moved to a new location. Spencer was surprised that WOOHP was a loyal agent until the end, refusing to tell her husband where the new headquarters was. But Spencer learned of the location from the time she drank from Ann's blood. Apparently, she was a good secret keeper, and she was never interested in going against WOOHP. The organization had no knowledge of her existence, and the last thing she wanted was to be on the same list with Hideaki. Spencer carefully turned around and looked for a sign of another pack member. He should be here soon, but she was too worried for Annie that she decided not to wait for her meal to show up. She looked up to the dark sky and spread her regal, black wings. She watched the countless stars above as she smelled the earth, cherishing the touch of cool wind against her skin. Indeed, it felt good to be alive.

"They said it's a very dangerous thing to wish to die." In a white sweater and a pair of baggy black jeans, Ian looked up from his third cup of coffee for tonight. His raven, silky hair hang around his shoulders, framing his manly stature in the most bulky way. He mustered a smile for Sally, the woman behind the counter. Considering the tension in the lair these days, Sally had become the only friend he

felt at ease to be around. Cherishing the little privacy he had, he ordered his guards to position just outside the twenty-four-hour diner. "It's quite the opposite in my world, Sally. The longer you live, the more you'll lose," Ian said, finishing his coffee in one big gulp. His black, leather backpack was laid to the side, leaning up against the wall. He had some books with his, but wasn't in the mood to 'read' tonight. In fact, he hadn't had the energy to research since he survived the First District. There were always distractions, and they all went by the same name: Spencer. "You know, if you keep drinking my coffee at this rate, I'll be rich by morning." Ian chortled at his friend's attempt to lighten him up. "I'll have another one. The fourth cup would actually keep me awake." Carrying the hot pot, Sally moved around the counter and came to sit down on the crimson, leather couch opposite to Ian. She poured some more coffee for her friend and grinned. "Have I ever told you that you're my favorite customer?" "Sally, I'm here because I have nowhere else to go. I'm miserable. You're happy that I feel miserable? Two, please." Ian nodded in a grateful gesture when Sally plopped two white cubes into her cup. Ian sipped his drink, and kept his gaze down at the wooden table. He didn't have to look up to know that Sally was scrutinizing him behind that friendly smile. For thirty years, the woman had become his only confidant on the outside world, a sister without blood obligations, and his last resort for a quiet, little chat every human being was entitled to. "You have to let it go. You said so yourself that no one could have survived the disaster." Sally leaned over the table a little closer to Ian. "Especially that she was a vampire. She had no way of getting out of there at dawn. Please don't do this to yourself." Ian involuntarily faked a puzzled look. "Do what? I'm not worried if she's dead or alive." "You're blaming yourself over her death. That's what you're doing. Stop it," Sally hissed. "Every vampire's death is a revenge for my kind." "Are you kidding me? Your father shot her." Sally poured a cup of coffee for herself. Ian looked away, grumbling to himself. Sally smiled as she eyed her friend. "What's your plan now that you knew who really killed your mother?" "Reito Brown. He was also the one who attacked me in the woods. I can't believe it. I was that close to him. From what I heard from Annie, Spencer and Reito were friends for centuries." Sally shuddered. "Wow. They must have a lot in common²" "Not so," Ian said, and then paused. His reply came sooner than he would have liked. "I meant that Spencer was a rogue. She had nothing to do with Uriah. No, she wasn't like him."

For some strange reasons, Ian felt a hollow in his chest having to talk about Spencer as a past. It was inconceivable for him to befriend a vampire, and it felt even more absurd now that he couldn't stop thinking about Spencer. Ian knew that he was never the one to handle guilt well. "Well, then. Are you going to tell your father about it?" Sally sipped her coffee. "Yeah²I« I don't know. He already has his hand full just to keep our lair safe. I just don't want him to set off for another vengeance. I guess I'll handle it myself." Sinking further into the couch, Ian pulled his legs up and hugged his knees. He rested his head against the wooden panel behind him and peeked out the large window to the streets outside. Things seemed normal on this side of the world, where couples walked about, enjoying their nighttime activities. Back at the lair, things had gone depressing and awry. After the pack's merciful verdict, Jerry was sentenced to a hundred years in prison. Now the werewolves knew how paranoid the vampires were when they were betrayed by their own kind. Although Jerry's case was not completely the same as Mai's, the pack members were on high alert even in their own lair. On good news, the First District was destroyed. But it only meant that WOOHP had successfully introduced the immortals back to the hunting game once again. Ian knew that he better be prepared for what was to come.

After a short walk through the thick woods, the sight of the monastery finally emerged on top of the small hill just a few hundred meters ahead. The weight of the soaked uniform felt heavier by the minute, and the energy from the young werewolf's blood had faded fast. Fierce hunger was looming at the horizon like an inevitable wave of tsunami, but Spencer needed to get back home before dawn. A good sleep on a dry bed would at least soothe her from the fatigue. She approached the front door and briefly looked over her shoulders before entering her home. The house was awfully quiet that her good ears failed to grasp even a sound of breathing. Carefully, she walked up the wooden stairs and pushed open the door to Annie's bedroom. It was dark. The bed was empty, and the sheet looked tidy without any sign of it being laid upon. Spencer felt a crush in her chest. Her feet involuntarily took the steps forwards until she came to stand next to the bed. She just stared down at the cold sheet, refusing to believe what had happened in her absence. Three weeks proved to be too long for Annie to wait to say goodbye. Even though the vampire had anticipated the inevitability for years now, she still felt unready to face solitary again. The morning light began to shine through the gap between the curtains, and the warmth only made her body feel weaker. Spencer eventually lied down. The pillow was as soft as she remembered, and the smell of the old woman's perfume still lingered. She squeezed her eyes shut and pulled the pillow closer. Her shoulders began to tremble, and tears were welling up her eyes. However, just when she was about to fall into slumber, her groggy mind suddenly detected a faint sound of footsteps coming from downstairs. Six« No, eight of them« Her home had been exposed, and the intruders downstairs only waited for the sun to come up to attack. Spencer got up from the bed, though wobbly. Her gaze never left the slightly opened door.

"We know you're in there, so don't try to do anything stupid." A rough voice came from the hallway before the intruder's hand slipped in sight, pushing the door wide open with the gun in his hand. A squad of werewolves entered the room, all equipped with weapons. The large, tall, ginger man led his men in, holding a handgun up to the side of his head. He sported a nasty scar on the left side of his thick neck, and had a two-week worth of beard, not to mention that he smelled rather unpleasant. Chewing his gum, he paced around the room, his arrogant gaze inspecting Spencer. He scoffed. "Huh. I knew it. What's with all the basement and shit. That old human lady was fucking weird. By the way, you missed her funeral just a few days ago." From what Spencer gathered, he must be the one on the walkie-talkie with the young werewolf she fed from hours ago. His voice was gruff and his tone evidently harbored anger. But she doubted that the werewolves were fast enough to track her down from the site. They must have kept this house under surveillance for some times now, and it was possible only if Ian lent them the information. Had the dark-haired werewolf sent a death invitation to her door? Most likely. Spencer wasn't sure how to feel about Ian's action, though it wasn't entirely unexpected. But she knew one thing for certain that it was going to get ugly. "Pack her," he said, gesturing for his men to approach the vampire. Spencer sat still like an obedient child. There wasn't much for her to do at the moment. These thugs could not be advised or bargained with. They only loved to end things in bloodshed, and she knew better that she was holding a losing card here. She let a werewolf pull her hands to her back and handcuffed her. Then another pack member took out a thick, black sack. They were fully prepared, and Spencer could only curse in her head for ever bringing Ian here. "You don't have to do this. I already know where your lair is," Spencer deadpanned. At the vampire's bitter smirk, the squad leader snatched the sack from his subordinate's hand and strode towards Spencer. He punched her in the stomach, driving her to her knees and then putting the sack over her head. "Keep your mouth shut, or I'll work you up so badly you wish you'd never been born." He then dragged the vampire out of the room and threw her down the stairs. "Go! Go! Get the van here now!" Once Spencer was led into the open, the warmth from the sun felt like scorching fire on her skin. She began to resist, trying to lose the harsh grips. Each step forwards was agonizing. Every second longer in the sun was unbearable. In panic, she found herself screaming, blindly thrashing to get back inside, or anywhere that would ease the pain. Ironically, she had much to thank the squad leader for striking her head hard enough to knock her out cold. When darkness was all she saw and felt, sunlight seemed far from her worries.

Busy behind the counter, Ian spent the early morning hour helping Sally clean the bar area. The diner was one waitress short on last night's shift. Only Lord knew why Sally still hired

Jim Mc Nair, a certain, young, red-haired, alcoholic waiter, who missed almost one third of his shifts. Sally came through the backdoor, having just taken out the trash, and smiled at the darkhaired woman. "Thank you so much, Ian. Like I said, you're my favorite customer," she teased, earning a pout from the werewolf. "Why are you still hiring that boy? He's so irresponsible. With how the economy is these days, I bet tons of boys out there are begging to work in your diner," Ian said, washing the rag by the sink. He only looked up again at Sally's abrupt silence, and it struck him a little strange to see his friend's gaze drifting away. Eventually noticing Ian's stare, Sally cleared her throat. "I think I owe him one." "Uh-huh." "Long story. I'll take it from here. Thank you." Sally quickly grabbed the rag from Ian's hand. Ian let his friend take the rag, but continued to gawk at her. "He's an intern at the hospital, right? You met him there?" "Long story." "I saw his girlfriend come to pick him up every now and then. It must be hard for you²" Out of the blue, Sally burst into a nervous laugh. "Excuse me. What is this? I've known you for thirty years, and you had to be the slowest person to pick up this kind of things. Now you're making an assumption on how I feel?" "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. It's just that it's so obvious," Ian said, shrugging. Sally turned to face Ian and put up a straight face. "What's obvious? Are you trying to get back at me?" Ian's mouth popped into an O shape. "Getting back²whoa. Wait. What are you talking about?" "You're trying to get back at me for implying that you had a feeling²" Sally's words trailed off when Ian's cell phone abruptly rang in his pocket. Picking up the phone, Ian inwardly thanked for the interruption. Personally, he wasn't sure if he'd like what Sally might have implied. To his pleasant surprise, Alex was on the other line. His former bodyguard was still on a break, and they hadn't had the chance to talk much since the First District episode. "Morning, Alex. You're still an early bird," Ian said, grinning. 'Lord Ian, where are you?' Ian frowned at the sense of urgency in Alex's voice. He straightened up from the counter and discreetly edged away from Sally. "What is it?"

'I just saw them taking in a prisoner. I think it was that vampire we left in the tunnel. She's got the same uniform. It doesn't look good, Lord Ian. I heard that she killed one of us at the site.' Ian felt his head spinning. The light feeling in his chest to know that Spencer was still alive was warring with the crushing feeling to know that his pack would kill the vampire. "Do whatever you can to stop them until I get there." With that, he shut her cell and grabbed his backpack from the table. "I gotta go!" "Wha« What's going on, Ian«! Ian«" Sally ran after the werewolf, but Ian was so fast that the black limo had already driven away by the time Sally came out into the street.

Spencer only regained her consciousness again when she was thrown onto a hard floor. Her hands were still tied to her back. She tried to remain calm and stayed low. The air was too hot her liking and her skin sizzled. She didn't particularly want to imagine where she was at the moment. A rough hand came over her head and pulled the sack off, exposing her eyes to strong UV light. She instantly squinted at the glowing blue bars that enveloped her like a birdcage. The cell was made especially for vampires, and it was large enough to contain approximately five to eight prisoners. Quickly, she flipped and lied face down to avoid the strong light from all around her. Her skin greatly paled in such a short time, while her chestnut tresses bled into the color of platinum blonde. Her crimson eyes began to lose their color to an almost transparent shade, and her sight started to blur to the point of blindness. She was sweating like mad and her fragile skin would have taken more damage if it were not for the thick, long-sleeve uniform she was wearing. "Face up, you scumbag." The squad leader walked in and kicked Spencer in the stomach. At the force, the vampire rolled onto her back again, furiously coughing at the impact. She kept her eyes closed and tried not to move. "Sir." Another werewolf greeted to the sound of quiet footsteps that had just entered the room. "Sir." "Good morning, sir!" the squad leader greeted. "Sir, we caught her at Lu's house. She²" "I've been reported. Thank you, Kenta. You must be tired from the long trip and the mission. We wouldn't have succeeded without you. Now, you should get yourself some rest." Recognizing the unruffled voice, Spencer opened her eyes, but saw nothing but white light now. Frustrated, she felt her body begin to tremble uncontrollably. Fear crept in and threatened to devour her whole. The memory of the old days still haunted her even in this vaulted cell deep underground. "Sir, but it is my responsibility. I came all the way from Detroit for this. I want to stay. I can do so much more. I'll get her to tell where Sam²" "I know you're deeply worried for your brother. But I'll see to it myself."

"But, sir²" "You're dismissed, solider." After a short moment of silence, Spencer caught the furious footsteps heading off into distance, leaving this room quiet once again. The cold air of menace then erupted amidst the heat around her. Although she could not see, she could feel a long, hard stare upon her. Undoubtedly, Hideaki Kruger had recognized her now, and it was going to be as unpleasant as their last encounter. Spencer squinted, trying to get a glimpse of what was going on around her. His dark shadow emerged from the blinding pool of light above. Hideaki had knelt down beside her, glowering down at her. "After all these years, you're still« alive«" Hideaki's tone was calm, but one could not ignore the rage lying within his voice. He looked left and right, examining his captive. He held no weapons, and he didn't need to. The UV light had significantly weakened the vampire. "Ah, you can't see in this light«" he muttered almost in a satisfying surprise. "Most vampires couldn't even hold themselves under this light. They literally went crazy, and then they burst into dust in a matter of days, or hours for some. You see now what you truly are: dust. Nothing more." Hideaki bent lower now to whisper into her ears, and he was close enough for Spencer to see. Hatred filled his gaze. His breaths exuded a murderous air. Forty-seven years had passed, and Hideaki seemed to have shredded off the innocence he once possessed²the purity Spencer once saw in the lost and lonely man who risked everything to be with his wife. "I've fought so many battles, and I've lost so many I loved to hunt down your kind. I can't believe this. For so many years, I tried to find you. But now you're right in front of me. So powerless. So helpless. God, I wish you could see your own demise with your own eyes. I wouldn't miss it for the world." Spencer chuckled as she struggled to sit up. "How many did you kill? Will it ever satiate your rage? It's no longer about her, isn't it? Admit it. You kill because you can. You're no better than us. You're animal²" With one strong hand, Hideaki gripped the vampire by the collar and pulled her off the floor. He swung her against the hot bars and roared in her face. "I'm going to kill you!" Held a few feet above the floor, Spencer blindly kicked her feet, grasping for air. The burns on her back were killing her. Mustering all her remaining strength, she kicked back at the bars and pushed her body off, plunging Hideaki to the floor with her. "Sir! Sir!" A few guards hurried into the cell and caught Spencer by her arms, dragging her off their master. Hideaki sprung up to his feet and promptly struck the vampire down. Groaning, Spencer lied flat on her stomach, her head pounding like mad. "Quite« extraordinary, really«" Hideaki breathed. It must have caught him by surprise that she still had the strength to manage even a small resistance under the light. "You are strong« stronger than most vampires I've seen." Spencer remained quiet, staring blankly into the whiteness around her.

"You're still so calm. I see that you're one of a kind. Why did you betray Uriah, working for WOOHP now?" "I don't work for anybody." "Don't you bullshit me!" Hideaki knelt down and snatched Spencer's collar. "You're the same wicked liar as you were decades ago! You can't lie to me now. Who do you work for? Why did you kill Ann! She did nothing to hurt you!" Spencer snarled, her fangs protruding. "She had it coming, and you knew it. Yet, you let her go on, chasing her foolish dreams. She died because of you." "You bled her dry!" "She was dying²" "Liar!" Hideaki growled, raising his claws. "Dad! No!" Hideaki paused and turned at the voice. "Ian, what are you doing here?" He stood up, worries residing in his voice. Spencer narrowed her eyes at the hurried footsteps approaching. Ian had burst through the door, Alex closely behind. The dark-haired werewolf instantly came to her side, protectively putting his hands over her. "Dad, don't do this. She's a friend," Ian said. Spencer slightly looked down, struck by Ian's shaken voice. She couldn't fathom why the werewolf even cared for her life. Ian was the reason she ended up in this prison in the first place. "It's true, master. She helped Lord Ian and me out of First District," Alex added. Wiping the sweat off his forehead, Hideaki paced around the cell. The heat was already getting him, and he must have wondered how the vampire could withstand it still. "There's something you don't know about her. She's the one who murdered your mother." "Annie Lu told me everything, dad. Mom was already dying from the wounds from car accident. There was no chance. And now I know who attacked her that night on the road." "Annie«" Hideaki stopped for a long moment before he strode out of the cell. "See me in my office, Ian." Spencer caught Ian's deep sigh as Hideaki left the room. When things seemed to calm down, she began to feel uncomfortable at the scrutinizing stare from the man behind her. Hating to appear vulnerable, she tried to move away from the warm hands. She detested the way he must have looked now herself, the sickly appearance like the time when she was a child. But Ian readily pulled her back down, though gentler than she had anticipated. "I²I didn't mean for this to happen. I didn't know they were watching Annie's house. I swear I didn't tell anyone about you. I went there to take care of Annie during the past weeks. I had to

see how she was doing," Ian explained. His voice was small, and his tone carried a pang of guilt. For some strange reasons, Spencer became inept to react to Ian's unexpected tenderness. Although she was not his mother's killer, she was still a vampire Ian had always loathed. "Annie« What happened to her?" "She passed peacefully. She wasn't in any pain. The doctor made sure of that." Spencer took in a deep breath and gulped back her tears. She could only nod in gratitude. "Thank you«" Ian bent lower to whisper into her ear. "I'm going to get you out of here, so hang in there, all right?" Ian then got up and left the cell with Alex. Breathing heavily, Spencer shut her eyes, trying to regain her composure. She needed to save all the strength left within her to heal those back wounds. With her current condition, she could endure the artificial light for only a week at best.

Hideaki stared at the door as Ian quietly entered. So many things were storming his mind that he didn't quite know how to start. Annie Lu was an acquaintance of his wife many years ago, and he never heard of her again until recently. He ordered his men to watch for any activities going about Annie's home without Ian's knowledge, but in honesty he didn't expect the old woman to know so much about his wife's past. Annie disappeared right after Ann's death, presumably dead at the hand of Uriah vampires as well. "Sit down," Hideaki said, gesturing for his son to take the leather chair on the other side of the large, oak desk. The room was dimmed, lit by only the table lamp. On the desk, a black laptop was put aside along with a stack of papers to make room for two cups of hot tea. Thick books filled the shelves on both sides of this stony, rectangular office. Ian sat down and looked straight into his eyes. "I can explain²" "What has gotten into you? I have never seen you getting soft on any vampire before. Don't tell me you believe everything Annie Lu told you. She could have been lying to you." "I thought about it, too," Ian said, taking a cup of tea from his father. "But« but Spencer helped me and Alex. She could have let us die in there. We owe her." Hideaki let out a sigh. He didn't like how his son was feeling indebted to a vampire. He didn't like it one bit. "Not just once. She helped me from the ambush in the woods. Reito Brown tried to kidnap me, dad. He was also the one who killed mom." At the information, Hideaki stared hard at his son. He couldn't believe that Ian had kept it secret from him until now. Ian quickly looked down, sipping from his cup. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you this before. I« I didn't want you to worry too much. And I didn't want everyone to know that a« that a vampire saved me«"

"Your ego problem aside, what did Brown want from you?" Hideaki leaned forward, trying to detect if Ian was hiding anything else from him. "Annie warned me that Uriah wants to get rid of anyone who tries to find the origin. Apparently, I've become a threat to them even though I still don't know what it is." "The legend was what got your mother killed, Ian. Leave it alone. We don't need the origin to fight them." Hideaki was exasperated, leaning back into the chair in frustration. He would do anything to protect his son, but he hadn't cooperated with him so far. And the fear of losing him was clouding Hideaki¶s judgment, though he would never admit it. "But they outnumbered us long ago²long before we were born. Uriah had an army of twenty thousand vampires centuries ago. UV bullets alone aren't going to stop them. We'd underestimated Uriah all along. And Spencer is the only one who knows where the island is." Hideaki took in a few deep breaths at the revelation. His pack was vastly outnumbered, not to mention that WOOHP was now in the game again. "How did this vampire Spencer know so much about Uriah if she wasn't one of them?" The young werewolf looked down, having sensed the sarcasm in his voice. "She« She was raised on the island. But that's all Annie knew." He then looked up at his father with determined gaze. "I'm sure that she isn't a Uriah. She knows Brown, but she isn't one of them." "A rogue vampire«" Hideaki muttered to himself, and then smiled. "How intriguing." Ian eagerly stood up, his face beaming. "Will you let her go?" "That's out of question²" "She'll die if you keep her in that cell." "I've had enough on my mind for today, Ian. You're free to go." "But, dad²" "Dismissed, solider," Hideaki said with finality. And his son knew that there wasn't any good in lingering on. With his head down, Ian quietly left the office. He'd come back and nag him again, but Hideaki just needed some alone times to reflect his next move. He had to be extra careful to deal with the rogue vampire, especially when Ian was in the picture. Sighing, he straightened up in his chair and took a sip from his cup. Grabbing the laptop, he spotted a black envelope underneath the stack of papers. The item must have been there for some times now. He pulled the envelope out and studied it. The envelope was rather heavy to hold only a paper, and there was no information on the sender or addressee box. It came from an insider. With caution, he opened the envelope and found an old, metal pin inside. The emblem of amber moon was emblazoned on the pin, and he knew just what it meant. Gasping, he literally shot up to his feet, dropping the pin onto the desk. It seemed that he wasn't the only one with a forgotten past, and now it had caught up to him.