Manira-who-was-not sipped her whiskey sour and spun idly on her bar stool, savoring the feel of the room and the taste of a fine drink, both luxuries she hadn't had a chance to indulge in for well over a decade.
And luxe it was. The drink Callista had mixed her slid down her throat like silk, with a pleasant little burn, and the bartender herself was a pleasure to watch work, like an elegant spider. It was a pity someone had already collared her.
(And when was the administration here going to explain things to the Fifth Cohort, of which Manira was putatively a part? It was fun playing innocent while the boys played the game with her, but it was getting harder to avoid being entrapped without giving herself away.)
The Director probably wanted to give the older students a chance to do just that - entrap the Fifth Cohort before they knew enough to avoid it. Manira didn't blame her. The feel of all those eager little baby hunters still trying out their teeth, and of all their nervous prey, just about jumping into their hunters' mouths - it was delicious, and, like the whiskey, it slid down with a little burn and a nice firm kick.
That alone - good whiskey, and the perfect, hungry crowd - was worth getting shanghaied into this form and into this school. But, like a good late-night TV ad, there was more.
And there he was. Beautiful, as if the finest features had been chosen to create his body, his skin as perfectly pale as if the sun had never touched him, his chest under his shirt traced with lines that were almost, but not quite, Arabic script.
And he was on the prowl tonight. She could taste it on him, hunting but frustrated and yet still determined. So he did slip the leash on occasion. Mmm... good. There was a way in, then.
She licked her teeth, savoring the drag of her sharp fangs over her tongue, and the brief taste of her own blood in her mouth. She'd been craving a taste of Ambrus since she'd seen him her first night here - such a perfect pet, shining all the attention on his mistress.
And her? Dr. Regine was dry toast and lukewarm water. She hardly registered as alive on Manira's meter - a plain, calm, still water. Biscuits without jam. No wonder she let him hunt; no wonder he hunted. He would starve, sustained only by a creature like that.
She felt his hunger as if it were her own (she, who knew all about starving), and felt it spike for a moment as he looked her way. Wonderful.
She slipped off the bar stool, the crowd parting before her, just so, and approached him. That queen-sized bed in her room was going to get some use after all. And then... and then she'd see how long Ms. Dry Toast would keep him, when he remembered what chocolate cake could taste like.
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