I winced as the knife bit into flesh. Another splash of blood hit the floor. I turned my head, as the groan reached my ears. I snuck a peek at the were-lion in the chair. He was bound in silver chains, which were burning his flesh. They wouldn't scar, but it was definitely painful. Wounds inflicted by silver take were-animals longer to heal, at an almost human rate. The knife sliced skin again, right above his pectoral muscle.

I felt bile rising in my throat, and walked out of the room. I got outside, and the warm sun and fresh air instantly calmed me down. My beast shifted uncomfortably under the surface. She couldn't understand hurting someone without reason. I tried to calm her, with thoughts of protecting territory, and she was satisfied with that.

I wasn't outside long before Kris came and joined me. He stood next to me, and lit a cigarette. After taking a long drag, he looked at me.

"It won't be long before he's singing like a Canary." He paused, with a smile on his lips. "Pun intended."

I rolled my eyes. "Good. I need to know who sent him. And why."

"Would it be insane to think that he did this on his own?"

I looked a Kris long and hard. "Yes. It would. I've never seen this man before. And statistics say, you're most likely to be attacked by someone you know. Well, I don't have to tell you that."

He tilted his head slightly in agreement. "We'll also have to talk to the Master of the City. See what he has to say."

I nodded. "That'll be a good idea. When are you thinking of doing that?"

"Possibly tonight. You want in?"

"Cant. Date with James tonight. I think I'm finally going to tell him."

"Wow… What made you change your mind?"


The door behind us burst open. Olliver Stone, one of Kris' peregrine's, emerged. "He's talking."

"The Felix sent me. He told me he had a deal with someone, woudn't tell me who, to kill the bitch. I didn't know she was a fucking bird." He spat the last word like it was poison.

"Ha. Well this bird kicked your kitty ass." I spat the word back at him, and turned on my heel and left. Childish, I know. But a girl deserves a little immaturity when there's a clan of were-lions trying to kill her.

Kris came out right behind me. "Looks like we get to go see this big bad Felix now."

((((Flight to Den location))))

We came up to a door, and inside was a small room, similar to a broom closet. Except there was a man inside, blocking another door. The man smelled like musk, sweat and meat; definitely lion.

"We're here to see Markus, your Felix."

"Do you have an appointment?" His voice was thick and husky, as if he was a chain smoker.

"He's expecting us." The man nodded, and stepped aside, opening the door.

We stepped inside, and the scent of lion was overwhelming. I fought to keep my bird from panicking; birds are good prey for cats. We had to go through another door, and a long corridor, until we emerged into a big room. There were golden banners hanging from the ceiling, resembling the inside of a medieval castle. At the back of the room, there was a large throne, with a man sitting atop. There was a man standing next to the throne, resembling the man above. My guess was a brother to the Felix.

We approached the throne, and Kris made some bowing gesture. I stayed standing, feet shoulder length apart, arms crossed.

"Felix Markus. Thank you for seeing us." Kris began. "We had a run in with a were-lion last night, and we were wondering if he was one of your Pride."

"All lions within this city have submitted to me. No one even breathes without my consent. What is the name of this lion who you claim assaulted you?"

My eyebrow raised slightly. Something here was off. "His name, we have learned is Aster."

The Lion tilted his head to the side, as if considering. "I have no lion in my Pride by that name. I'm sorry. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more pressing matters to attend to."

Kris nodded as the Felix stepped off the throne. "Thank you for your help, Felix Markus." Kris motioned with his head to follow him, as he turned on his heel and quickly left the Den of Lions.

Once outside he let out a deep breath. "Why do I feel like he knows more than he's telling us, and we just got the cold shoulder?"

"Because we did, and he does. Which, unfortunately, creates a bigger problem; now that we 'know' that Aster is part of their Pride we can't kill him without sparking a turf war with the Lions. We have to let him go. But not quite yet. We'll let him stew for a bit."

"Greeeaaat." I groan. Will my life get ANY easier? "Can we keep as much of this away from John as possible? You know how he gets."

"Already done. None of my falcons are allowed to say anything, and I'm sure the others will have no problem going along. John can be a little…" He paused searching for the right word. "Overbearing at times."

I just smiled. Kris was as impartial as you can get, and even he knew that John was a nutcase. I told Kris I needed time to think before getting ready for my date, and I would catch up with him later. I shifted, letting my Bird take over for a while, and she hauled ass to get away from the strong musky smell of Lion.

After flying for long enough to get my head together about how to tell James about my feathered alter-ego, I landed at the house. I walked through the door and hopped in the shower to rinse the stink of lion off of me. I climbed out, and wrapped a towel around me, and went to my closet to get dressed. I had a t-shirt halfway over my head, when I heard a soft bump. I pulled the shirt on quickly, and shifted my hands into talons. Taking small steps out of the closet, I crept towards the bedroom door, which was open. I strained to hear anything but silence. I knew I heard a bump, like someone hitting their leg against the table. I slowly stuck my head out of the door, and peered around the corner. Seeing nothing, I ventured into the hallway. The hallway was clear, nothing smelled different, and so I continued to creep towards the living room. I paused, hearing a soft shuffling, like someone dragging their feet across carpet. I decided to get the jump on whoever was in there, and I charged around the corner. Reacting with faster than Human reflexes, I pinpointed the figure, who had their back to me, and tackled them.

"Ow! What the hell?!" James' familiar scent wafted into my nose, and I shifted my hands back to normal. "Vic.. Victoria? What..?" He stammered as I rolled him over.

"Hi honey…" I blushed, and smiled sheepishly.

"What was that for?!" He sat up, cradling flowers in his arm. "Aww, you crushed the roses."

"You brought me roses?" I looked down at the deep red, long stemmed roses, laying disheveled in his arms. "Sorry, I heard you bump something, and you weren't supposed to be home yet, and I thought someone had broken in."

James burst into a fit of laughter. I pouted slightly, and he laid a kiss on my lips. "Guess we really didn't need a dog after all. You're better than any guard dog I could ever get." I rolled my eyes, and he kissed me again.

"Why are you home early?"

"Well, I had some errands to run, and I wanted to pick you up some flowers for our date tonight."

My heart swelled. "What did I ever do to deserve you?" He planted another kiss on my lips, and stood up. He offered me a hand up, and I took it.

"I've got some more errands to run, so how about we meet at Da Marco's at eight?"

I glanced over at the clock on the oven. "Gives me just enough time to get ready; Eight it is." I gave him another kiss, then walked back towards the closet. I heard the front door close, and I got to work picking out the perfect outfit.