Here, the surfing season was in full fury, and the waves were high enough to set records. On this night, the moon would be full. The timing was perfect to move his plan one step closer to fruition. Next year, , would be the year of the dragon, and time was slipping away. Chen had deliberately chosen to break one of the three crystals that held darkfire captive, and had done so to disrupt the last major firestorm of the Pyr.
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Here, the surfing season was in full fury, and the waves were high enough to set records. On this night, the moon would be full. The timing was perfect to move his plan one step closer to fruition.
Next year, , would be the year of the dragon, and time was slipping away. Chen had deliberately chosen to break one of the three crystals that held darkfire captive, and had done so to disrupt the last major firestorm of the Pyr.
The darkfire had broken his special tool, the brand he used to enslave Pyr and Slayers. Instead of working alone, Chen had decided to take on reinforcements. He knew that he needed to have each of the four elements accounted for in order to enact his plan.
He himself had an affinity for fire and for earth. He had mastered some ability to control air and water, but had intended to enslave other dragon shifters with those affinities. Time was passing, though, and the darkfire was loose—Chen was doubling up the options to ensure his own triumph.
Chen had discovered, to his own surprise, that he rather liked having minions. It was pleasant to sit back, pull the strings, and let others do his dirty work for a change. Viv Jason, for example, was pledged to gather the Pyr with an affinity for air, the one Chen had been unable to snatch so far himself. The party animal who called himself Thorolf. Chen looked forward to that delivery with anticipation.
He knew her pledge to bring him Thorolf was but an introductory move in what would surely be a battle for supremacy between them.
Chen smiled at the promise of that. All in all, he felt that his new scheme was moving toward its culmination like clockwork. Chen sat with his back to the wall in the bar, the corner table allowing him an unobstructed view of the beach.
He was in human form, in the guise of an older Chinese man. He liked this form, as people tended to underestimate him when he used it. He ordered a glass of juice from the pretty waitress, ensuring that his English was faulty, then waited. He felt a thrill when he saw his prey jump out of a convertible, hauling his surfboard and shouting to his friends.
This young Pyr—powerful, tanned, and confident—was the perfect target. It was a bonus that Brandon was estranged from his father, unknown by the other Pyr, and ignorant of his abilities. Chen adored how useful Brandon would be to him. Never mind how responsive the young dragon was to the Dragon Bone Powder.
Chen would bait the trap a little more before harvesting this prey. Brandon was in his early twenties, his age difficult to guess given his rumpled good looks. His hair was dark auburn and tangled. His smile flashed white, his blue eyes twinkling. He wore only shorts and a Hawaiian shirt that was unfastened, the wind whipping at the fabric and revealing glimpses of his collection of tattoos.
More than one woman watched him walk toward the bar where Chen sat. Brandon smiled only for a dark-haired girl who got out of the same car as he did. She flicked the barest glance at him, then turned away to join her friends. Brandon leaned his surfboard against the outside of the wooden bar with care, then ducked into the shadows, heading straight for Chen.
Brandon grinned at the waitress, unaware of his easy charm or his affect upon her. Thanks, Chen. Everything was falling perfectly into place. Ancient Chinese remedy. She was chatting with her friends on the beach, so pointedly ignoring Brandon that Chen knew the attraction was mutual. To think that his prey would be so eager to step into the trap. It was beyond expectation.
He had chosen the bait well. I also remain only one more day. His beer came, frost on the bottle, and he drained half of it immediately. Brandon met his gaze, his smile fading. Brandon winced. He eyed the girl. He finished his beer. Then he squared his shoulders and nodded. Watch the board for me, huh? Chen closed his eyes and savored the sensation. He could hardly wait. Brandon returned moments later, something in his hand.
He laid the scale flat on the table, his hand over it. His fingers were shaking slightly. Chen smiled. He glanced around the bar, but no one was paying attention to either of them. The waitress was polishing glasses, her back to them. The bartender was frowning over his inventory. Everyone else was watching the surf. Chen opened the vial of Dragon Bone Powder over the table and tipped a bit of it into his palm. He blew so that the fine powder took flight and Brandon closed his eyes, inhaling it.
He visibly shimmered, so aroused that he was on the cusp of change again. Chen watched for a moment, transfixed by the power of the powder over the Pyr. He felt the pulse of sexual desire as well, but the effect seemed magnified for those dragon shifters who had not yet turned Slayer.
He opened his eyes and they were bright with anticipation. You have seen this before. Brandon glanced down, clearly intending to pass over the scale. He looked at Chen in confusion. Brandon laughed.
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He pulled into his parking spot behind the theater and flung himself out of the car. He locked and armed it without a second thought, his hand on the stage door before the car had given its last beep of acquiescence. Fred was there, sweeping the door open for him with his usual flourish. At least something was going right. Lorenzo hated being late. A lack of time before his performance compromised his routine of calming himself before the show. That lack of composure could lead to mistakes.
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