Vampire hunter wasn't going to be my next career move, but Varick thought playing supernatural hide 'n seek was a good way to hone my powers. His logic made sense as always, so now I was stalking him through downtown Portland.
It was a drizzly early summer night, warm and moist, not raining enough to discourage people from shopping through the evening. The crowds at Pioneer Place were thick, giving the vampire and I plenty of cover. He'd announced his plan after we left the movies, and I hadn't had long to put a strategy together.
How did a psionicist track a vampire when she couldn't sense him?
I paused near the MAX stop, running a hand through my damp black hair. He wouldn't register to my senses because he wasn't quite human, nor quite dead. Vampire emotions didn't give off the same energy as other creatures, so I couldn't use my empathy to find him.
Or could I?
Moving out of foot traffic, I found a spot on the concrete wall that surrounded the square. So many people around, creating a sea of emotions and energy. I wasn't a telepath, couldn't read their minds, but I was a strong empath. Picking out frustration, joy, love, anger, I started looking for reactions to Varick's presence.
Lust and curiosity flared in the crowd, strongest right next to me. I blushed at the appreciation of the teenages ten feet away. It's always nice to know someone thought you looked good. They were a mild distraction, but proved my theory should work. I just had to find the correct emotions.
Breathing deep, focusing on my empathy, I expanded my senses. Ki hummed through my nerves, following paths through my entire body, and I began feeding on the excess energy of the crowd. I fueled myself with it, looking for my vampire's trail.
He wasn't disguising himself from anyone, and I found where he'd been almost immediately. Lust and jealousy, desire and intrigue, it was the empathic equivalent of watching heads turn. Cruelly handsome, with long white hair, the vampire certainly made heads turn. Varick had cut across the square, as if trying to make the biggest impression.
I followed the vampire's trail, heading up Yamhill. The crowds quickly thinned out, meaning the impressions did as well. Within two blocks, there was nothing left for me to follow. Grinind my teeth, I tried to keep frustration at bay. I couldn't blame myself for not passing a random test of new skills, but that didn't mean I enjoyed being thwarted.
I needed a way to sense vampires. Just a little something that would help.
Varick's trail ended near an alley. It was dark, shielded from the rain, in a not too busy area. Instincts suggested it was a perfect mugging point, that it wouldn't be hard to pull a victim in. If I were a vampire, I'd hunt here.
Tensed, physical senses stretched to their limits, I stepped into the alley. Varick could be blocks from here, or lurking on the building above me, and I'd never know. What senses did other psis use to hunt vampires?
A single footstep behind me, with no presence of life. I spun, summoning my psi blade, brandishing it at Varick. He was close than I expected, and the tip of psychic energy sliced his side.
Cloth parthed, blood welled, and I gasped in surprise. Cutting him wasn't part of the game. I released my psychic blade, staring at him with wide eyes.
Varick bundled me into his arms, pulling my head back. I cried out as he buried fangs in my neck. He growled once as my blood filled his mouth, holding me tight.
I was lost to pleasure, sagging in his arms. My shields parted, and his spirit wrapped around mine. So fierce and strong, I was consumed by him, but not lost. The play of energy between us sent rapturous jolts through me. Moaning and biting my lip, I shared my pleasure with the vampire.
We were one, nothing to hide between us. There was only joy and pleasure, ecstasy and fulfilled need. We could have stayed like this forever.
It was only to be a quick bite. Varick removed his fangs, kissing me with blood-stained lips. I sighed, kissing him back, wrapping my arms around his shoulders.
"Well played, mein herz." He kissed the side of my head. "Next time we play, I shall hunt you."