Soulripper 2

Part 2 – Business Propositions

The first rays of sunlight slipped through the blinds into Cordelia’s room. She squinted her eyes and tried to turn away from the offending light, but to no avail. It was time to get up.

Cordelia fumbled for the alarm clock on the table when her hand found an envelope. Forgetting about her desire to know the time, Cordy grabbed the envelope and opened it. What she saw inside made her gasp in shock. She had seen this before, and she knew exactly who was responsible.

It was a pencil sketch of her. She was lying stretched out on the bed, her nude form painstakingly drawn to be as accurate as possible.

“Angel,” she whispered. It was her best friend that drew this beautiful and haunting portrait.

No, this wasn’t her friend, Cordelia told herself. Her friend had a beautiful soul. The person that did this was the monster within. Cordelia folded the paper back up and put it back in the envelope. She then tucked it in her pants pocket before heading downstairs.

She found Lorne, Fred, and Gunn reading through a stack of files at the counter. Groo was taking stock of the weapons closet, fingering the swords and clubs. The Pylean immediately stopped what he was doing when his saw his Princess.

“Cordy?” he said, the name still sounding strange on his tongue. “Are you feeling well now?”

“I’m fine,” Cordelia assured him. She gracefully avoided the hug he tried to give her. She had no idea how to behave around him after her ‘dreams’ of Angel.

“Hey Sweetcheeks,” Lorne greeted her. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“I’m fine,” she said again. The green demon looked at her skeptically. Cordelia knew he was getting vibes from her, but she silently dared him to call her on it. Finally, Lorne just shrugged and let it drop.

“Was that a vision you had last night?” Fred asked her.

“No,” Cordy answered. “I just over-exerted myself. I was kind of weak from the hospital. I’m better now, honest,” she told the girl. “You haven’t ransacked Wesley’s office or anything have you?”

“No, why?” Gunn asked.

“Because I need to make a call. With Angelus on the loose and Wesley nowhere to be found and myself being recently de-comatosed, I think we should call in some help.”

Lorne, Fred, and Gunn just stared after her. Something was up with the Seer. Groo, still hurt from Cordy’s less than enthused greeting, turned back to the weapons cabinet and began fiddling with a crossbow.

Inside Wesley’s office, Cordelia shut the door for some privacy. Searching his desk, she found a Rolodex. Flipping through the alphabet, she found the card she wanted.

RUPERT GILES
Palmetto Lane, Sunnydale CA
555-1989

Cordelia dialed the number. After a few rings, an electronic voice informed her that the number was no longer in use. Cordelia stared at the phone a moment as if it had grown a second head. Why was that number no longer in use?

Cordelia thought for a moment. They still needed help. With the demon expert missing, and her best friend doing a Darth Vader impersonation, the AI gang needed all the assistance they could get. But who to call? Suddenly, inspiration struck. Searching through the Rolodex, Cordy was disappointed not to find the name she wanted.

Nothing was ever easy.

She had her second Eureka moment in as many minutes. Grabbing the phone, she dialed the operator.

“Hello?” Cordelia asked. “I need you to look up a number for me.”

*********************
Los Angeles was a fascinating city. It was a world-class tourist spot. There were movie stars and big time sports teams.

But Angelus didn’t like it because of that.

He liked it because it was possible to get a good lay and a hot meal in one nice little stop. He liked it because of the miles upon miles of underground sewer systems that allowed for travel to any part of the city at anytime of day.

Walking through said sewer systems, Angelus thought about his game plan.

For years, the name Angelus was a name that was feared by vampires throughout the world. His ruthlessness and sheer brutality was legendary and unmatched.

But then he killed that damn gypsy girl.

Then vampires for an entirely different reason feared his name. He was a nightwalker that hunted and killed his own brothers. He became a mercenary of sorts, someone who was paid to kill others that were just like him. There wasn’t a vampire in this city that didn’t know the name of Angel.

But soon, he thought, they will once again know the name Angelus. But as much as he hated to admit it, he needed help to do that. But thankfully, he knew of the person that could help him.

Lifting the cover off the manhole, Angelus quickly climbed into the shaded alley outside the old factory. This was the palace of Kelemoke.

It had been over a century since Angelus had seen the tribesman, but he always heard his name. Kelemoke was a villager living on Africa’s Ivory Coast when he had been turned in the late 1850’s.

He was from the Order of Versailles, a very powerful lineage that could almost equal Angelus’ in strength. His Sire had been Alexondra, a woman who had been rumored to once been the niece of an Egyptian Pharaoh. While the pharaoh part was probably false, she had been a very powerful vampire.

Kelemoke said he owed Angelus a favor for staking her. And now Angelus had come to collect.

He walked past several other vampires and entered the dark halls that Kelemoke reigned over. While the outside was definitely in need of repair, the inside was an entirely different matter.

Kelemoke had certainly been spoiled by his years in Southern and Western Europe after his turning. The walls had been covered in fine red clothes. Victorian style chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and beautifully cut French furniture from the time of Napoleon lined the walls. Authentic Italian Renaissance paintings were put proudly on display all around.

Very ironic that a man who’s upbringing valued the simply life should become someone who so cherished his luxuries.

“Who are you?” a voice demanded from behind him. Angelus turned to look at the speaker. The vampire was obviously a fledgling. This one could be intimidated.

“Who are you?” Angelus demanded in return. “Do you work for Kelemoke?”

The fledgling was surprised by the harsh tone. This vampire was obviously old and powerful. “Yes,” he stuttered.

“Then tell your master that Angelus has arrived.”

***************
The phone rang seven times before someone finally answered.

“Hello?” the voice asked.

“Dawn?” Cordelia questioned.

“Yes? Who is this?” the teenager asked.

“This is Cordelia in LA. Is Willow around by any chance?”

“Yeah, hold on.” Cordy pulled the receiver away from her ear as Dawn shouted for Willow to come to the phone.

“Cordelia? Is that you?” Willow asked

“Yes, it’s me. Willow? We need your help.”

*****************
Angelus was led to a large and well-furnished room below ground. When the minion left him, Angelus took the opportunity to snoop. Kelemoke certainly had done well for himself.

In the center of the room was a large oak desk that looked 18th century. On either side were plush leather chairs that Angelus felt envious of. Slowly, he took a seat in one of them. Angelus sighed as he relaxed in the highly comfortable chair.

The vampire took note of the large bookshelf behind the desk. There were several first editions of novels by Austen, Twain, and Cervantes. His collection of poetry was quite impressive also. He’d never seen a first edition of ‘Leaves of Grass’ before.

“You have five seconds to prove you’re not that souled bastard before I stake your ass,” a voice with a slight African accent commanded.

“Do you smell a soul upon me you savage Negro bastard?” Angelus smirked.

Kelemoke laughed in return. “Indeed I do not, you Irish whore.” The African extended his hand, which Angelus gladly shook.

The vampire was exactly as Angelus remembered. He had the same piercing brown eyes that he first saw in Barcelona so many years ago. Despite the fact that Kelemoke was only perhaps five foot five, he stood with a confidence that stated he was not someone to fuck with. And he wasn’t either.

Angelus had seen first hand the ferocity and ease in which the vampire across from him killed. He was cool and calculating, and Angelus respected him for that.

“You are without soul,” Kelemoke commented. “How did this occur?”

“I’m not certain,” Angelus said honestly. “One night I went to bed as Nancy-boy, the next thing I knew I was once again without the soul.”

“Interesting,” Kelemoke said as he sat down in his chair. “But that isn’t why you are here. What can I do for you, my friend?”

“To the point as always,” Angelus smiled. “I need minions, and I would like them as soon as possible. You do owe me a favor,” he reminded

Kelemoke looked at the vampire thoughtfully. “Indeed, I do owe you a favor,” Kelemoke admitted. “I shall give you the help you seek, but first, I’d like to know what you wish to do with them.”

“I wish to build a Kingdom,” Angelus said. “And I wish to have a Queen by my side.”

“And you have chosen Los Angeles?” Kelemoke asked. “And this Queen, have you someone in mind?”

“I might have found a suitable mate,” Angelus smirked.

Kelemoke laughed. “This mate isn’t another blonde?” he teased.

“She isn’t,” Angelus laughed. “I have vowed never again to make that error.”

“And may I expect some compensation for the usage of my minions?” Kelemoke inquired.

“Would Santa Monica be suitable?” Angelus grinned. Kelemoke grinned with him. Angelus certainly had a habit of making things interesting.

PART THREE

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