Chapter 27
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 “Are you the Wanderer?” Asked Erin, not stashing away his gun. Daphne glared at him. She knew full well that Erin would let her die, if it meant that he and Andrew could get out of here alive.

“I beg your pardon?” Asked Edward, looking confused. Erin supposed that the man looked genuinely confused. Or, he was a good actor.

“The killer that gauges out eyes, puts rose petals in pockets, and then skips town,” said Erin. Both Edward and Anna shared a look, then, Daphne hit Anna in the chin and managed to get her gun. She pointed it at her and heard the safety going off from behind her.

The servants were all pointing their guns at her. Edward chuckled as Anna glared at him.

“There is some misunderstanding here. Anna and I are no killers. We do move around a lot, but that is because of our work,” Erin wished that he could read thoughts — now. It would have made it all much easier.

“Prove it,” demanded Andrew, his gun in his hand and pointed at the nearest servant.

“I am sorry to say I cannot. Not in a way that will convince you. You just have my word. And, my offer that I will help you find the real killer. That sounds fair, no?” Asked Edward, and Erin looked at him. Truly looked. The aged vampire looked calm and collected. As if Daphne was not pointing a gun at his wife. As if, Erin was not holding his gun so that he could shoot him in the knees.

Erin turned to Andrew, careful to not have Edward done to him what Daphne did to Anna.

“What do you think?” Andrew sighed and turned on the safety of his gun before stashing it away.

“He is too normal to be a killer. And, we are not even sure that we are searching for a vampire,” said Andrew. Erin followed his lead and stashed away his gun. Daphne looked at both of them incredulously.

“She pulled a gun on me! How could you say they are not the killers?” That was a valid point, Erin supposed. But, Edward must have known that they were secret agents from the moment he and Andrew stepped on the yacht. So, obviously, the married pair had prepared.

“Look, Daphne, it is not them. And, I could do with a bit of vampire training. That is, if the offer still stands?” Erin turned to Edward, who nodded.

“I do like helping the authorities,” said Edward with a thoughtful look. “Provided that you don’t tell anyone what I am. I hear that our kind is hunted and kidnapped for laboratories these days. Which, I’ll have you know, is better than what happened during the time of the Spanish inquisition. Back then, the priests flat out tied us to pyres and kept us there until we were nothing but ash.”

Erin gulped. Ok, so, maybe, his situation was not as bad as it could be. He knew that he could learn a lot from Edward. Alister had not been experienced. Or, he had simply not cared enough to stay and educate him. Erin had been a mistake, after all.

“Now that we have put all the unpleasantness behind us,” said Edward just as Daphne handed Anna her gun back. “I think the food should be brought forward.”

At these words, the servants stashed away their weapons and went through the door. They came back carrying three plates and two glasses. There was some gourmet dish on the plates, from where Erin was looking, but he had no idea what it could be. The glasses were filled with blood.

“Deer blood. Edward doesn’t drink anything else,” said Anna as she placed a napkin on her lap. Andrew and Daphne did the same, and Erin picked up the glass. He took a sip. The blood was ok, he supposed. Honestly, he still preferred pig blood.

“What type of blood do you drink, Mr. Hudson?” Asked Edward after taking a small sip out of his glass.

“Pig. The butcher back home things we are crazy about blood pudding,” chuckled Erin. He felt himself relaxing somewhat. Edward and Anna were not going to be hostile, as long as Erin, Andrew, and Daphne weren’t, either.

“Hm, to each his own. Personally, I prefer to tame and look after my blood source,” said Edward. Erin resisted the urge to snort. Yes, well, with all that money he could afford to have a herd of deer. And he could feed them, too. Must be good to be from old money. Erin lamented on the fact that he, himself, wasn’t.

“You will get there,” said Edward with a smile. “Give it a century of good financial choices, and you will get there.”

“Could you not read my thoughts?” Asked Erin. This was unnerving.

“Ah, my apologies. It is a habit of mine. Most vampires don’t mind,” Erin nodded and then tried to clear his mind. He still got the idea that when he learned to read minds, he could read the minds of his clients and figure out what they wanted before they could ask for it.

“Can minds be read from a distance?” Asked Erin. Edward nodded.

“As long as you have something of the person you wish to intrude on. But, that takes a bit of mastery. You won’t be able to read the minds of people that way for quite some time,” Erin grinned. He got another idea.

“So, if I get my hands on some rose petals the Wanderer has placed in his latest victim’s pocket, I can read his mind and find out who he is?” Edward looked thoughtful at that.

“Time is of the essence, no?” Asked Edward, and all three nodded. “Then, I will do it. I will be available all of this week, but I will have to go on a trip the next one. Meanwhile, I can give you your first lessons, Mr. Hudson.”

“Please, call me Erin,” said Erin. “Mr. Hudson makes me sound old.”

Edward grinned and nodded. They continued dining and, when the clock chimed for midnight, went to the drawing room for Erin’s first lessons.  

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