Quentin was there to ensure the fight between Jagger and Luca remained fair. Kaleo probably suspected as much. They would’ve been told of the rules when they were first turned. Still, Nicolas sensed Kaleo’s building defiance.
“Don’t do it,” he warned Kaleo.
“What I’m trying to figure out is why you’re letting this happen!” he screamed, obviously wise to the emotional inner war Nicolas suffered.
Nicolas stiffened at what he regarded as an insult. Still, he felt every strike Jagger delivered. He might as well have been living in Luca’s skin.
As much as Nicolas wanted to stand between Luca and Jagger, he couldn’t. Luca would heal quickly. Once the beating stopped, his wounds would suture and repair in a matter of minutes. By the end of the hour, he would feel no pain. That wasn’t the current case, however, since Jagger continued to beat the ever-loving hell out of him.
Kaleo passed Quentin with a quickened pace. Quentin took a weighted breath, reached behind his back, grabbed Kaleo by the neck and yanked him, forcing him to stand nose-to-nose directly in front of him.
“You may not have been thought of as children in this world, the universe where you once lived, but in my world—the new universe I first introduced to you—you are a babe in diapers. Listen to your elders. Nicolas told you ‘no’ and you will abide by what he says.”
Kaleo barred his incisors, though they dropped slowly due to his age and inexperience. By the time he showed his teeth, Quentin’s fangs had snapped from his gums and his dark blue, normally dull eyes, glistened like sapphires.
“Where…” Kaleo gulped. He was unable to speak for a minute as he gazed into Quentin’s eyes. “Where are your shades?”
Quentin’s upper lip twitched. He quickly looked away, breaking their eye contact. Kaleo took a step back. Nicolas snickered to himself, watching as Quentin retracted his fangs and Kaleo’s lips rolled around a mouthful of teeth.
“Relax your mouth, take a deep breath through your nose and swallow a couple of times. You’ll figure it out,” Quentin said, focusing on the approaching vampires.
Nicolas had no idea why Quentin turned so many mortals. He hated teaching them. He wasn’t the parental type. Still, if vampires were hunting, Quentin was the one who’d come back with a prize—another human slated for an infinite life.
Luca looked like he’d just had his spirit pounded out of him. Jagger didn’t appear to have broken a sweat. He didn’t have a scratch anywhere.
“Everything all right?” Nicolas asked, pained by the swell of Luca’s cheek, his split lip and hollow eyes.
“Swell,” Jagger replied.
Luca ducked behind his brother, who’d also learned a valuable lesson when he’d first attempted to intervene. The twins could now consider their time there on Beale Street as instructional based, a place where lessons were taught as much as well learned.
The young vampires were required to follow rules, abide by protocol. When they stepped out of line, they were guaranteed to face recourse. Jagger, Nicolas and Quentin trumped them by a few hundred years of strength, stamina, intelligence and speed.
Dante, on the other hand, had them all beat by a few centuries more. To make matters worse, in recent years, he’d begun to act like a controlling ill-tempered emperor. The young ones better form their alliances with the reasonable blood suckers, particularly since Dante didn’t have friends.
He’d killed the majority of them.