Previously: Funny Story....
It wasn't Daos talking; it was Dominador, and he wasn't helping.
Normally when the Chief went out for her late dinners, she wore whatever she'd worn to work earlier that day. But tonight she'd come freshened up in a sleek black dress and everyone in at the Gato Negro noticed it.
I...am in hell.
Daos felt a brief flash of annoyance with himself. How had he not known this about himself? He could peg a vampire at fifty yards or point a fox demon out in a crowd - blindfolded, mind you - and yet he hadn't noticed he was attracted to his boss this whole time?
I was in denial, he reasoned, greeting the Chief with a polite smile. He didn't trust himself with words just now. Especially since....
"Wow," Dominador echoed again, causing Bibiana to chuckle.
"I get it, Ona," she grinned. "You like my dress."
"Yes, ma'am," he blinked, and then couldn't blink again for several moments.
"I reserved an indoor table, if you don't mind," Daos finally spoke up. "It gets chilly in the evenings and since...." He trailed off as both he and Dominador eyed Bibiana's bare shoulders.
Bibiana chuckled again. Daos gestured for her to enter the restaurant, where the walls were a deep burgundy and the rooms were mainly lit with candles.
They took a table near the window, giving Daos a good view of the street. He wisely sat opposite Bibiana. To his left sat Dominador, still gawking at their boss like an idiot schoolboy.
And just then...all lust and humor went out the window.
Daos felt it, right on cue, the prickling of hair on the back of his neck, the tingling across his whole body which was alternately fiery and frosty. He got this feeling every time without fail, this deep, horrific foreboding sensation whenever a member of the Unclean entered a room.
Without turning around, Daos knew Im Hyun-jun had just walked into the restaurant.
Bibiana noticed the change in Daos immediately. "Something wrong?" she asked concerned.
Daos raised his head slightly, eyes rapidly scanning the restaurant. There was an emergency exit behind her, and a large window to his right. Normally, this would be fine, but Hyun-jun and the Mayor were being seated near the center of the room, on the other side of Dominador, thus making them almost equidistant from the doors and windows. It could be a problem.
Daos leaned in, speaking very lowly, and deliberately, locking eyes with the Chief.
"Bibiana --" which he never called her "-- I need you to listen to me very carefully." He suddenly switched to Spanish, surprising both of his dinner companions. "Whatever happens here, regardless of what you see or hear, do not linger. At first chance, get the hell out if trouble starts. Understand?"
Bibiana nodded mutely, suddenly tense and confused.
"I need a favor," Daos continued his low, hypnotic Spanish. "Don't look up. You see that Korean gentleman to your right?" Her eyes rolled to her right and she nodded slightly. "Dominador and I must go speak with him. Distract the Mayor while we draw him outside." He rose to his feet without waiting for her response. Instead he looked sharply at Dominador and muttered, "Let's go."
Daos led his partner back towards the entrance, making sure he took slow, measured paces. He could feel Hyun-jun's eyes burning into his back as Bibiana tentatively called out in Spanish behind them, "Antonello! Come join me for a drink!"
They didn't have to go far. The partners had taken only a few steps outside the restaurant before they heard Hyun-jun speak.
"That was clever, using the Chief as a distraction for the Mayor. How did you know I'd follow you?"
Daos stopped and turned, with Dominador following suit. Despite his suspicions about Dominador, Daos instinctively made sure to stand between him and Hyun-jun.
The moon was full tonight and the streets were empty. Hyun-jun looked stunningly handsome as always, his youthful skin and jet black hair aglow in the pale light.
"Curiosity always was one of your great weaknesses," Daos bitterly mused. "It's been a while, Hyun-jun. Last I saw, it was big, bright city lights for you. What brings you to the desert?"
"Could ask the same of you," Hyun-jun snickered. "The great Spirit Guardian rescues a town of peasants from the clutches of Naberius, and then sticks around this dusty shithole to do...what exactly?"
Without looking, Daos already knew Dominador's brow was furrowing behind him.
"You're a Spirit Guardian?" the junior detective asked.
"At least that's what all the rumors say," Hyun-jun shrugged. "There are those who believe that the great and infamous Daos is what your people refer to as an Umalagad, an Ancestor reborn as a Guardian. They think that's why he does...what he does."
"You know, I've always been amazed at how smoothly you can dodge the simplest of questions, Hyun-jun," Daos smirked. "It's no matter, anyhow. This is my town and you're not staying."
Hyun-jun snorted, deeply amused. "Oh, that's big coming from you. News flash, Daos, no one's scared of you anymore. I've heard the rasp of the grapevine, the whispers in the dark. Your time as Guardian is swiftly coming to an end. The whole underground has heard of a day when the great and infamous Daos will be no more. To quote the Grey Oracle, there's a water-shaped bullet with your name on it, and you're not long for this world. So beat your chest, Nicolao, and flash your brass. Might as well be a thunderstorm in a teacup."
And with that, the suit-clad demon turned and confidently walked away, leaving Daos to stand numb and mute.
A baffled Dominador came around to stand in front of him. "What the hell was all that jibber-jabber? Was that actually supposed to make sense???"
Daos didn't respond. He couldn't blink, or even breathe. Instead he stood still, dazed, letting the weight of the demon's words slowly sink in.
Dominador was getting concerned. "Daos? Dude, you all right?"
"I'm fine," Daos replied suddenly. "I just...I need to make a phone call."
Next: Another Candid Conversation...Sort of....