Soulripper 3

Part Three: Vinco Vici Victum

The gang was really starting to worry about her.

That morning she made a telephone call, to whom they didn’t know. On her face was a mixture of sadness and resolve. She then sat on a couch in the lobby and didn’t move for three hours. Then it happened again.

She gave a long cry of anguish, or at least Fred thought it was, Lorne wasn’t so sure. Her body went limp once more, but this time she was able to stay conscience. She refused any attempts of aid, a fact that discouraged Groo mightily. He didn’t like it when his princess wasn’t happy and healthy, and right now, she was neither.

“What do we do?” Gunn asked.

“I think we just give her time,” Fred said. “I still think she trying to comprehend that Angel isn’t Angel anymore.”

“I think we’re all trying to come to terms with that one, Cupcake,” Lorne added. “But I’m getting some strange readings from the Princess. I think she may be hiding something.”

The three turned at the sound of the front door opening. The small form of Willow Rosenburg appeared in the doorway, followed by a dark blonde form that they didn’t recognized.

“Cordelia?” Willow called. The Wicca spotted the brunette on the couch, but was confused when she didn’t respond. She jumped in surprise when a green hand touched her arm.

“Hello there,” the green demon greeted. Both girls looked at him with a tinge of fear in their eyes. “Wow, a couple Wiccans,” the demon noted. “Strong ones, too.” He held out his hand in greeting. “I’m Lorne. The bald fellow over there is Gunn and the cutie beside him is Fred.”

Willow took his hand tentatively. “I’m Willow,” she said. “And this is Tara.” The blonde behind her shyly smiled and waved. “Cordelia called me and said she needed help.” She saw that Cordelia was still staring out into space. “What’s going on? Is Cordelia ok?”

“She didn’t tell you what’s happened?” Lorne asked surprised. Willow shook her head. “Well then, sit down. I’ll fix us a couple Sea Breezes and tell this twisted tale. But a long story short: things couldn’t be worse.”

*************
Angelus stalked silently along the rooftop of the old warehouse. His demon eyesight allowed him to see through the windows and the darkness of the neighboring building. He motioned to the minions on the street across from the building.

It was nearly time to attack.

With ease, Angelus leapt the twenty feet and landed on the opposite rooftop. Followed by a pair of minions, he crept to the glass sky roof in the middle. Peering down, he saw nearly two-dozen vampires.

The Steiner Clan.

William Steiner was a relatively young vampire, just over a century old. But he was a good businessman. William ran a racketeering organization in Buffalo during Prohibition.

During the Cold War he had gained a reputation for developing the best fake identification money could buy. Vampires, as well as Russian defectors, paid good money for him to create birth certificates and Social Security papers for them.

Starting in the mid 1980’s, Steiner moved to Los Angeles and became a major player in drug trafficking. His main claim to fame was helping turn Metamphetamine from a local drug of choice into a pipeline stretching into the Midwest. He also ran Crack and LSD, as well as some guns, but Metamphetamine continued to be his main crop.

But Angelus didn’t care about drugs, although a few of his minions might. What he cared about was the fact that William Steiner had power. With power, there could be resistance, and with resistance, Angelus’ hope for creating his own empire could be shattered.

So William Steiner had to be destroyed.

The vampires inside were stunned when the front and rear doors were shattered. His minions rushed in and immediately began to drive back the enemy. Angelus decided to make his grand entrance.

All looked up as Angelus dropped in a shower of glass. Leather duster flowing, Angelus was a menacing sight. Drawing a stake from his pocket, he dusted the first awestruck vampire he saw. Two more quickly followed before Steiner’s minions remembered to fight back.

Angelus then drew the sword strapped to his belt. Leaving the fight to his minions, he went in search of Steiner. Kicking open a door, the smell of steam told him it lead to a boiler room below. Throwing caution aside, Angelus rushed down the steps, his demon senses trying to pick up the scent of a vampire he’d met only once before. Thinking he found it, Angelus allowed his nose to lead him.

A hatchet whizzed by his head and opened a steam valve. The hot gas momentarily blinded Angelus. Steiner quickly used the opportunity to attack.

The small vampire used his speed to beat a reeling Angelus back against a boiler. The elder vampire managed to deflect the blows of his opponent’s sword, but just barely. He was still hurting from the steam.

Steiner swung his sword in a quick arc towards Angelus’ head. The elder managed to duck as the sword punctured another pipe and blasted the younger in the face. It was all Angelus needed. Quickly turning, Angelus delivered a vicious cut to the younger vampire’s side.

Steiner tried to turn and counter, but a quick slice severed the hand that held the sword. Steiner’s scream of pain echoed throughout the basement. Angelus’ grin grew wider at the sound.

“Veni, Vidi, Vici, William,” Angelus taunted in his Irish accent. “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

One cut was all it took to end William Steiner’s existence. His head didn’t even hit the floor before his body turned to ash.

“Sorry Billy,” Angelus said. “It’s just business.”

*************
“Is she okay?” Tara asked as she sat next to Cordelia. The young brunette seemed to be in a trance of sorts. Her vacant eyes were dilated and her breath was coming in short pants.

“She seems to be doing that often,” Fred observed.

“Cordelia?” Willow asked. The redhead gently laid her hand on the other girl’s shoulder.

Cordy gave a short shout of surprise and nearly fell of the couch. It took a few moments before she was able to remember where she was. Finally, she looked up and saw that Willow had arrived.

“Hi,” she said with a small smile. “I didn’t hear you come in. This must be Tara?” The blond next to her smiled and nodded. “Now that you guys are here, let’s go to Wesley’s office and talk shop.”

Cordelia slowly stood up and led the way to the office. A confused Tara and Willow followed. The rest of the gang looked on. Maybe these two would be able to help get their friend back.

**************
“Kelemoke!” Angelus called out triumphantly. The vampire led his minions through the halls of Kelemoke’s palace. In his right hand Angelus held a leash, the collar around the neck of a young girl. The brunette didn’t look a day over 16. The frightened child stayed as far behind the vampire as she possibly could. When she reached the end of her leash, Angelus would jerk the cord, making the girl whimper in fear all the more.

“Angelus!” the tribesman greeted. “Did all go well?” Kelemoke took Angelus in a quick embrace that the other returned.

“Indeed it did,” Angelus replied happily. “William Steiner is no more.” He then motioned to the girl behind him. “For the use of your men, I bring you a gift. How rare it is to find a girl her age still a virgin.”

The vampires laughed as Kelemoke happily took the girl’s leash. “Thank you for the consideration, Angelus. But I have a gift for you as well. I hope you find her suitable.” Kelemoke motioned to a minion who brought out a petite blonde girl. This girl looked to be a teenager as well.

“I’m sure I can find a purpose for her,” Angelus said. Angelus turned to one of the minions behind him. “Take her to my quarters. And I better not find any marks on her when I arrive,” he warned his minion. Turning back to Kelemoke he said, “Shall we go to your office and discuss business?”

“Certainly Angelus.” Kelemoke turned his prize over to a minion that dutifully took the child to his master’s chamber. Leading Angelus towards his office he inquired, “So William Steiner’s clan has been defeated?”

“Indeed they have,” Angelus answered. “There were perhaps six who offered their services to me. They will replace the three that we lost. Now that Steiner has been destroyed, it shouldn’t be difficult to take the rest of north Los Angeles.”

“True,” Kelemoke said. “Alexander of Yorkshire has a small clan in the north. Thomas Hobbes is in control of the Hoffman Clan since Jacob was killed two years ago by yourself I believe.” Kelemoke grinned at Angelus’ smirk.

“It was Soulboy that buried a stake through his undead heart,” Angelus said with some disdain. “But Alexander is an idiot and Thomas is little better. Neither is capable of handling leadership of a clan.”

“That is true as well,” Kelemoke admitted. “The Hoffman Clan had been a major rival of mine until Jacob’s demise. How do Americans say it? Thomas isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer?” Angelus laughed heartily at his friend’s use of the saying.

Reaching the office, Kelemoke threw open the doors and walked to his liquor cabinet. “So when do you plan on making your next move?” Kelemoke inquired.

“In two nights,” Angelus answered. “I have ‘other’ business I must attend to tomorrow night,” Angelus answered vaguely.

“Well,” Kelemoke smiled. “Try not to cause too much trouble.” He handed Angelus a glass of brandy.

Angelus accepted the offering and smiled. “I wouldn’t dream of it,” he smirked.

*************
“So you’ve been having X-Rated visions of you and Angel…?” Tara started.

“Doing the nasty?” Cordelia finished for the shy Wicca. Tara blushed at Cordelia’s frank verbiage. “Ever since I’ve woken I’ve seen flashes of Angel and I doing things I wouldn’t allow myself to dream of.”

“Are you sure it isn’t just your imagination?” Willow began. “Because I know back in Sunnydale, you kinda had the hots for Angel.”

“No!” Cordelia shouted. “Angel is my best friend. I don’t think of him that way.” Cordelia sighed and amended her statement. “Okay, occasionally I do, but I remember just as well as anyone what happened the last time this guy got a really good lay. No matter my feelings for him, I wouldn’t risk that if it meant there was even the slightest chance Angelus could return.” The brunette plopped down in Wesley’s chair.

“But still, you think that somehow you and Angel had sex and that he lost his soul?” Willow asked.

“Well,” Cordy said, “I’m having sweaty sex fantasies about my best friend who just happens to be currently soulless. You think there might be a connection?” she asked sarcastically. Cordelia sighed and rubbed her temples. “I’m sorry Willow,” she said. “It’s just that things are so bad right now, and I have no idea what to do.” She looked at the Wiccans with tear filled eyes. “I just need to figure out how to get Angel back.”

“W-w-well,” Tara stuttered, “there might be something that we can do. Something that might help unlocking your memories.”

Cordelia wiped the tears from her eyes and looked at her with a determined look. “How soon can we do it?”

PART FOUR

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