Dominador Ona as getting restless. After seven p.m., everything seemed to die down in Soleado Valle. There weren't really a whole lot of dance clubs or lounge bars, and besides, he was a cop. Thanks to Trish's last story, every club owner and bartender now knew.
At least the evening hours he spent in front of the TV were greatly improving his Spanish. And it sure beat the hell out of looking pretentious next to Daos, at the tearoom, or looking broke next to the Chief of Police at the Gato Negro.
And speaking of Daos....
The man himself strolled in from the tearoom some time after nine, large dusty book under one arm. He'd been acting strangely since dinner with the girls last night, but Dominador figured he was just being Daos.
"We need to talk," he announced coming to sit on a sofa adjacent to Dominador's.
"This about Hyun-jun?" the junior detective asked, promptly switching off the TV.
"Yeah," Daos began carefully as though he were still trying to figure how to say what he needed to say.
No more baby steps, he reminded himself. 'Cause shit is about to get real in this town.
"Remember that guy you shot in the alleyway?" Daos asked.
"You mean the demon sorcerer who opened a portal that I stupidly followed him through?"
"That's the one," Daos nodded.
That made Dominador sit up straight.
"What?" He shook his head. "How...how come I didn't recognize him?"
"Well," Daos shrugged, "he is a sorcerer."
"And he's here? For me?"
"If he were, we would know," came the humanely vague reply. "But odds are, he's here for the Mayor. That's what the so-called 'Brokers' do; they make deals with people in power."
Dominador looked lost. "But Gomez? What would Hyun-jun want with the Mayor of this town? I mean, Houston...I could understand. Dallas? Definitely! I could even see San Antonio, but...Soleado Valle?"
For some reason, Daos started to relax. Dominador really was his complement in many ways; he caught on quickly, overcame denial easily, and saw things in ways Daos didn't bother.
He could talk to this guy. It finally truly dawned on Daos that he could truthfully, openly talk to this guy.
"To be honest," Daos sighed wearily, "I'm not sure. I too am a little fuzzy on the appeal of this particular town, especially to a demon of his caliber."
"He's a big dog, huh?"
"Im Hyun-jun is one of the highest-ranking members of the dokkaebi," Daos nodded. "The Ancient Koreans described them as trickster spirits, typically harmless, and usually only going after the wicked. Specifically, Hyun-jun is chonggak dokkaebi, the kind that attracts humans."
Dominador mulled this over. "Explains his looks, and I don't just mean his physical traits; he dresses for success. He's all mannerly and sophisticated. And he's so damn charming."
Daos beamed, feeling a little proud at these observations. Dominador was a lot like Daos and Trish in this regard; he noticed everything. He had the shrewd eyes of a detective and the instincts to match.
"You say his kind are typically harmless?" Dominador asked. "Usually going after the wicked?"
"Typical dokkaebi? Yes. Hyun-jun? No. He's one of the very few demons who can wield actual Hellfire. He's known for reducing opponents to ash simply on a whim. He's sadistic, narcissistic, and one hundred percent, absolutely, without a doubt up to no good."
"So how come he didn't kill me when we fought each other? I mean, why even bother going hand to hand with me?"
Daos suddenly realized why he'd been avoiding this conversation. This question was one he'd been dreading above all, because he had absolutely no clue how to answer it.
"I don't know," he finally confessed in a low voice. "Demon sorcerers don't leave survivors, Dominador. For all intents and purposes, you shouldn't be here right now. I just can't see any logical reason as to why Hyun-jun wouldn't kill you."
And that's when something suddenly occurred to Daos. By his count, Hyun-jun had met with Dominador twice now, yet the latter was still alive and breathing. So perhaps this wasn't an issue of "wouldn't", but couldn't.
Daos grew increasingly uncomfortable as it slowly dawned him that for some reason, despite all his power, the dreaded Hyun-jun seemed unable to harm Dominador Ona.
Next: Funny Story....