Leaving Sora, Diane smirked. Walking past the guard and into the hallway, she ignored shy greetings from several researchers as she continued her way to the maximum detention area. Her mind was a flurry of thought, internally debating several different anomalies.
First the group of monsters in Tennessee and now this gigantic capture in Miami; why is the monster community so active at the moment? How did that pack leader get so many werewolves into the United States without so much as a warning flag raised from their supernatural division, there must be a new transport method, a dimensional gate? Some of the records pulled from a few of the infected make it transparent the pack has been in operation within Miami for the past three years and without detection. If they can stay undetected in Miami, there could be monster groups in every major city around the world. It certainly is exciting!
She passively licked the inside of her teeth as she brought up her tablet. She pulled up several updated reports on the werewolves as she moved. What’s this? There were a few werewolf surfaces after the initial capture. A few casualties, but contained and covered up with U.S. aid. Could these be the Germanic breed? That would make sense, which means that man found in the crater would likely be the Alpha. We’ll have to check them to find out who’s the carrier of the virus. Which one is the purebred?
Her lips curved slightly as she added the information to the report, ordering testing done for the Germanic strain. They couldn’t have handled it alone though. It was a good call for Gerard to request a joint Spiritual Pressure sweep with the U.S. We’ll be able to check to see any abnormal spirits and lock down the city’s unregistered monster population. What new specimens will they bring for me?
Now this Vulpes, a half breed, somehow … but is she really? I’ve never heard of any story with a Vulpes of half-decent like this. How is it possible? Some stories have Vulpes offspring with fox-like characteristics, Vulpes mothers hoping their children don’t eat beetles and the like, but nothing like this. Taking out a phone from inside her bag, she called Gerard. “Gerard, some additional details are coming clear. Keep that Irish man we found with the Miami group here, under armed guard; I’ve confirmed he is the Vulpes’ father and I need information from him.”
Gerard’s gruff voice spoke with an edge of exhaustion. “I’m sorry, but the man was pretty badly injured. He’s already been sent to our Californian Branch Hospital for GI Surgery; we didn’t have the proper personnel on base to deal with his wounds.”
Diane’s teeth ground together as she seethed. “When will he be transported back?”
Gerard huffed, “How should I know his medical diagnosis? I’m swamped as it is and in a meeting with the new U.S. Senator. Contact the branch yourself if you really want answers, and next time, contact Betty, I’m quite busy.”
She ended the call with a rumble in her throat. Her displeasure boiled, but those feelings were suppressed as she rounded the next junction, and paused mid-step. A short Chinese girl walked her way. Every time saw the girl she had an amused grin in place that irritated Diane. What is so funny and under such conditions? It must be her nature as a Vulpes.
The girl’s night black hair was thick and silky, weaving back and forth with her movements. Large yellow eyes darted around as she studied the employees that passed, winking at the men, which couldn’t help but trip over themselves at her strut; she had a way of walking that women usually obtained through heels. Her two long tails laced around each other, swaying behind her. Both tails were of contrast colors; one black with a white tip, and the other white with a black tip. Large black, white-tipped ears were up and stiff, listening to conversations throughout the base.
Since she’d left her cage, she’d managed to shed her given attire somehow and found a dress. It had the traditional Chinese style top and fashionable mermaid cut at the skirt. It kept its eastern elegance, while also showing pieces of western fashion, colored a graceful black and white finish with embroidery. It had the traditional mandarin collar with handmade floral buttons, sleeveless, floor length, fully lined, and seemed to be made of brocade silk with how it flowed with her body. Diane guessed she’d made an exit point for her tails. She finished the outfit with shiny black flats around her delicate feet.
Stopping with a slight tinge of interest, Diane asked, “Fen, why are you freely walking around?” She’d just met the Vulpes a few hours previous when she’d bound her to the base and set triggering spells on the ward to keep her in check. When she’d called her beast, it had earned her a sharp look that made Diane smile. However, she wanted answers, so annoying the fox would only waste her time.
Diane judged that Fen wasn’t as diverse in abilities as Sora; however, she likely knew how to make use of hers to a greater extent. Fen wasn’t the first Vulpes she’d met in person, but the first húli jīng and they were very well known for their bloody appetites.
Fen’s eyes narrowed, but her smile rose as her hands laced behind her back. “Ah, Dio,” she said in her mild Chinese accent. “I’m not alone,” she said with a bright smile and Diane heard a snap from her fingers, still hidden from view.
Diane licked her lips, repressing the slight tinge of alarm that crawled up her spine as a very tall black-haired man hurriedly walked around the corner. He had a passive expression that bordered on docile, but she’d seen a small demonstration of what he could do in the arena. She only hoped her seals on Fen, and her precautionary wards would keep him in check since she had to use the thread on Kari. He held a cafeteria tray with a dozen steamed buns.
Honestly, she was stunned how well a bai-hu could take on human form; of course, most monsters had at least the ability to take the outer shape of humans. He was a giant for current Chinese standards, standing over seven feet tall, a little taller than the other man recently brought in. Well-proportioned to not be bulky, he exuded a sense of dominance around him, despite his lax demeanor. His attire had also changed; he now wore the clothing they’d found him in, a plain white T-shirt that fit him well and custom made dark blue jeans with a tan leather belt.
Towering over Fen, he held a distance that allowed him to stare down at her. “I have the buns, Fen. Did you need anything else?” His bright blue eyes shifted momentarily to appraise Diane before returning to Fen. His voice was deep and rich but held no accent.
Looking up, she nodded with praise, chirping, “Wonderful work, Jian, and I do not need anything else at this minute.” Turning to smile at Diane, she said, “I was just telling our good friend Dio that I was not alone.”
Jian’s gaze shifted to Diane. “I see.”
Diane hid her light reserve with a smirk as Jian’s natural fear induction filtered past a few of her dampening wards. It took a few seconds before her more powerful wards activated. He’s actively using his intimidation aura against me, amusing. It’s not like he’ll do anything and if I take damage, so does Fen. It’ll be fascinating to dissect their relationship and why he cares so much for a Vuples. Her eyes shifted from the two as three guards from a detainment squad rounded the corner. They stopped several feet behind the monsters and watched wearily, breathing labored.
Restraining a sigh, Diane cleared her throat. “Remember to behave yourself, Fen” she paused, and her words slowly died as Jian moved past her to follow Fen, who had already broken the conversation with a turn of her back and a raised hand in dismissive accent.
She stared after them, watching the guards follow, but keep their distance. Fen leads Jian around by the nose. She has two tails, which means she’s at least one hundred years old. White signifies she’s met Inari as well … what could be the story between them? Curiosity ate at her for several seconds before she rearranged a few priorities. Growling with frustration, Diane muttered, “So much to do!”
She continued to her previous destination. Pressing the button on the closest elevator, she waited. The wolf girl’s name was Kari from school records—why would Sora and her want to play school? Kari’s certainly violent enough; she nearly escaped after she awoke if not for my intervention. Thinking back on the incident, she grinned. She’s no werewolf, that’s for sure. She tore apart those bars and shrugged off silver bullets like flies. She might be … but I shouldn’t speculate. Information is key.
Getting into an elevator as the doors slid open; she glared at the occupants, it took less than three seconds for them to leap out of the space. Pressing the key to the maximum detention floor, she stationed her eye at the retinal scanner for confirmation. After it recognized her identity, she leaned against the back wall.
Most of the Tennessean monsters were willing to cooperate once they realized they were trapped; Kari didn’t even give me time to explain. She wasn’t hesitant in the least in killing three men and putting four more in emergency care; one took his own life, so he can’t be counted into the equation. Yes, she’s vicious; to make me use the thread Morgane stole from those dwarves in Scandinavia.
Diane pursed her lips as she thought on the unsealed report. Yes, she is dangerous, but the way she acted after awakening—that fear in the recording. What horrified her to that extent? She doesn’t seem like the type to frighten easily … I’d even say she could give the bai-hu a tough time if recovered—perhaps. Was it just waking up in an unknown place? No, she took it very well, but a few moments into her study of the cell and she became utterly terrified.
Becoming irritated, Diane momentarily chewed on her inner cheek, muttering, “I know there’s something I’m missing…” The board calls me to inform me not to wake the dragon or Valkyrie until the dragoons arrive … how am I supposed to gain any information!
Stepping out of the elevator and into the maximum detention floor, she examined the branch with disdain, thoughts shifting. Why did the designers insist on having their most dangerous security cells housed on the same storey? It makes no logical sense to have everything that can bring this center to its knees on the same level. If one broke out, it could free the others. An evacuation wouldn’t even be possible.
Making her way to the main security room, she went through a few safety protocols and finally made it into the monitor lined room. To her surprise, it was a flurry of activity. Stopping one of the men, she asked, “What’s happening?”
“The Valkyrie, they can’t administer any more medication to her!” The man quickly said before holding his hand to his ear. “Benjamin! The scientists say the atmosphere surrounding the Valkyrie’s body has dropped to ninety-three kelvin! Every sedative that comes near her freezes; the thermal suits are beginning to fail!”
Diane was momentarily stunned. Ninety-three kelvin? How is she doing this while unconscious … I have wards on her? Grabbing the man’s headpiece, she put it on and yelled, “Benjamin, why wasn’t I informed that my wards weren’t dampening her abilities?”
Her head snapped to the monitors, and her breath caught. Ice covered the Valkyrie’s bed and crept outward, jagged shards branching out at a constant rate. No, she can’t be using her abilities? I locked her Spiritual Energy, did I not? Starting to second guess herself, Diane bit her lower lip. I don’t know that much about Asgardian physiology or their true abilities, but I put eight of my personal wards on her, each housing different suppressant functions, plus a few of Morgane’s enhanced wards.
Benjamin responded as thirty heavily armed men waited around the glass box that housed the Valkyrie, the camera’s visibility fading as frost coated the inner lining. “I was only informed thirty seconds ago! It only just started happening!”
Diane’s breath caught as she saw her wards frosting over across the Valkyrie’s skin. She’s countering my wards … how? There is nothing more I can do at this point. I can only hope that the emergency wards will activate in time. Diane swallowed, making her cough as the lights in the room and throughout the entire base went red, the siren blaring.
Her eyes widened as the box exploded and frost overtook all thirty men, coating their heat radiant suits, freezing them alive. The few cameras that survived the destruction fed back rainbow hues dancing in brilliant arcs across the Valkyrie’s luminescent armor. The ice around her reflecting the dazzling radiance of Gungnir in her hands.
Her head was high, and her glowing icy eyes appraised the room for only a fraction of a second before she bent her knees, causing her plate skirt to fold like water. Effortlessly she kicked off the ground, and flew into the air, darting toward the upper observation room. She dispersed in a cloud of fog, passing through the ballistics glass, whatever the mist touched ice formed. She rematerialized on the other side, her spear blurring into action to create bright lines that shot around the entire room. The fleeing researchers froze in place, frost coating their skin. The spear halted its imperceptible motion, resting behind her back; she appraised the researchers around the room without emotion.
Diane’s stomach tightened as she obtained a clear visual of the Valkyrie’s entire body. In dismay, she realized her wards had moved from the Valkyrie’s skin to her armor. She studied the girl, trying to determine which restrictions were left. Out of all my wards, only three of Morgane’s are left! Even as Diane watched, two wards shattered, falling from her armor. Ice started to snake up the edges of the last ward. How can she be this powerful? Do Asgardians use something more than Spiritual Energy?
Vision moving to the door, the Valkyrie swiftly closed the distance and again turned into vapor; the tempered steel instantly frosted and exploded into millions of shards as if it were a porcelain doll. Reappearing on the opposite side, she continued without hesitation. The shards struck the Valkyrie’s armor, but not a single shard scratched her skin as Gungnir vanished into action.
Diane’s teeth closed around her thumbnail as she breath froze in her chest, three guards rounded the corner. Before their eyes could even settle on the girl, silvery threads pierced their bodies, and they froze. Her eyes shifted to the camera the Valkyrie was about to enter, Benjamin was waiting for her to come into view, holding an FN scar. He pointed it at the death angel with a yell as she rounded the corner; he pulled the trigger, letting a string of bullets fly toward the girl.
Her spear vanished again from view as her hands blurred, and sparks danced across the air as she elegantly glided toward Benjamin with light steps. The whip-like white light twirled across the hallway and struck Benjamin’s weapon, which locked as ice gathered across the muzzle and into the gun.
The weapon dropped from his hands and Benjamin didn’t even make it halfway to his pistol as the whip laced in front of his eyes; the Valkyrie had closed the distance in the blink of an eye. The light reached inches from Benjamin’s face before dispersing. The Valkyrie was locked in place with an expression of intense concentration across her face, Gungnir’s razor edge was held stationary a foot from Benjamin’s nose.
Diane and every person in the room leaned closer to look at the monitor with bated breath, and she noticed her final ward; it was one of Morgane’s special wards, she only had one of greater strength. Ice had crept up two-thirds its length, but after two more seconds the ice shattered, and the Valkyrie dropped to the ground, her unbound, bright blonde hair fanned out, covering her face and back.
Diane sank into a nearby chair. With Benjamin and his men distracting her, they bought enough time for the ward to fully activate. Diane estimated that she’d be unconscious for a good day with that ward’s strength, but she couldn’t be sure with what she saw. Her glowing armor and Gungnir produced a bright light and vanished, showing the spandex attire, she’d been issued once arriving.
Pressing a hand against her chest, Diane breathed a sigh. I need to place many more wards on this Valkyrie; the more potent ones I have from Morgane. Benjamin had fallen to the ground, his shaking knees unable to support his weight, she didn’t blame him.
Several men entered the hallway with a stretcher and cautiously approached the girl. They finally found enough courage to lift her onto it and wheel her to a new detainment room. Diane quickly exited the room, following the instructions being issued over her stolen headset to the new holding area.
She passed Benjamin as he walked the opposite way, looking down at the floor, apparently deep in thought. Arriving at the room, Diane took out three of her most powerful suppressing wards and placed them on the Valkyrie’s body and watching the monitoring attendants and guards set up the new room. Her eyes locked on the girl’s necklace, it was back.
Frowning, Diane ordered for robotic instruments to be brought in to remove it. While she waited, she explained what the new wards would do to the chief observatory tenant and sketched an outline of the necklace on her tablet. She eagerly watched as the right equipment was brought in and a robotic arm extended toward the necklace.
However, before the extending fingers touched the diamond, it vanished in a flash of pure white radiance. The operators were completely lost at what to do next, so Diane dismissed them. That confirms it. That necklace is much more than a showpiece, but what then? It must be extremely powerful. It reacts to being taken off her neck, no matter the means, it seems, meaning it has some form of conscious thought or awareness.
Humming with irritation, she made her way back to the main observation room. How was she able to break past my wards when she was unconscious? It must have something to do with her abilities, but maybe it has something to do with her identity. How can I even determine who she is if I cannot talk to her?
Diane ground her teeth as she searched for an answer, but found none. If I try and wake her she can easily escape any barrier with her ability to turn into that icy mist, and if she can combat my wards while unconscious what could she do consciously? Restricting wards, like binding her to the base won’t work.
Shifting her thoughts to her weapon, she took a deep breath. Gungnir was supposedly destroyed in Ragnarök, so why does she have it and how? Does that mean Ragnarök is actually Ragnarøkkr and Asgard was recreated, even Gungnir?
Reentering the observation room, Diane found a set of guards examining the screens with watchful eyes. Everyone was on edge with Kari’s incident and now the Valkyrie. She glanced at the screen showing the slumbering death angel. Her eyes narrowed as current information fed over her earpiece. She did not kill a single person in her escape. They were in a form of cryostat that was released upon her falling unconscious? Why would she do that, she obviously had the means to kill, and that must have also diverted a portion of her focus?
Taking a seat, she glanced at the screen showing Kari; she was bound by Morgane’s golden thread that kept her tethered to eighty-ton support pillars. The bonds were the only thing Diane had that could secure a physical beast that used little to no Spiritual Energy. She’d tried a few other materials, but they failed miserably. She had hoped to use the wire on Jian, but at least he was cooperating.
Shifting her gaze to the Dragon’s monitor, she dully studied the feed. She was still asleep inside the dimly lit room; no one was allowed to enter. She had been clothed with the standard subject elastic coverings and sat in a tank of drug-laced solution. They had to continue to increase the medication keeping her under as her body continued to gain stronger immunities. It was the strongest mental inhibitor the organization could create. She’d have to put even more wards on her in the coming day, but if there were too many wards activated on a single soul, they would counteract each other; she had to be careful not to combine certain groups.
Finally, her vision shifted to a blank widescreen display. Sighing again, she said, “Put the Valkyrie incident on the screen.” The tenants complied, and she watched the video play with a frown.
The Valkyrie had broken free of her restraints as her consciousness returned; somehow flash freezing all restraining measures. Then Gungnir appeared in her hands, emerging from a single glowing pulse. It immediately blurred with her hands, causing a sweeping wind to billow outward and ice over everyone and everything in the room. The remote tranquilizer injection devices that had been placed on her had instantly frozen over beforehand, becoming inoperable, and crumbling as she moved.
In a matter of six seconds, she’d subdued every one of her captors. A few seconds more and she merely passed through the ballistic glass fifteen feet above her, jumping the distance with ease. She then immobilized the scientists and passed through the two-foot-thick steel door, which instantly frosted over and exploded. All my wards were destroyed by this point and only Morgane’s were left, and soon only one will remain. Almost all containment attempts devastated within seconds.
Benjamin appeared and fired his weapon on sight; she watched the Valkyrie’s spear vanish. Dozens of sparks flashed as silver lines danced across the air with lightning speed. Dropping the frame rate to its slowest function, she followed the graceful motions of the spear and found that the shaft bowed. Her movements are confident and purposeful, her hands fluently moving as if she knows exactly where danger is coming next. The blade cut the air, leaving white threads that extended feet past its length before dispersing, giving the effect of a glowing whip.
Benjamin’s gun jammed as one of the thread struck the muzzle, and he didn’t even have time to put his hand to his waist for a new weapon before the silvery threads reach millimeters from his face and then—cut. The Valkyrie fights my last ward for fifteen seconds before dropping to the ground unconscious. Was it Morgane’s ward overtaking the creature’s will with the momentary distraction Benjamin had created or the more probable cause was all the focus she was diverting to the incapacitated guards and researchers—perhaps both.
Sitting back in her chair, she stared at the image of the fallen Valkyrie with wonder. The warrior race of legend that host an indomitable will and ferocious tenacity. I’d say we only saw a glimpse of what this girl is capable of. She’s likely even more dangerous than the dragon from what we know right now; she’s so diverse, precise, and reacts without a moment’s hesitation, taking in her surroundings with ease. Nothing like the monsters I’ve studied.
Passively examining the frozen scene for several minutes, she shifted her attention to the door as Benjamin walked in. He first made a quick analysis of the room’s occupants than the monitors and finally moved beside her chair, staring at the display with stony eyes. His lips were dry, and she could tell that just seeing the image of the Valkyrie put fear in him.
He spoke after a minute of study. “I owe you for that ward or whatever it was. I never guessed it would break past the containment measures I place—not like that.”
Chuckling humorlessly, Diane said, “Actually, it would have bypassed my wards as well if it had not been for your daring venture, and her perplexing decision to not kill your men. Another second and it would have nullified the last ward. Your intervention may have caused the slightest shift for it to activate.”
Benjamin nodded, and Diane could hear his hard swallow. “I’ve been in some life-threatening situations before, but that … I haven’t even been on the job a week.”
Humming thoughtfully, Diane said, “That is something I cannot puzzle out. She could have killed all your men with ease, but instead, she incapacitated them. They are all fine?” she asked.
“Astonishingly,” Benjamin replied with a gruff tone. “They’re suffering mild symptoms of hypothermia, but that’s it.”
Nodding, Diane smiled, “It is exactly like the werewolves you found frozen at the capture site. They reverted to human form and were completely unharmed other than a slight case of hypothermia. We do not know much about the Valkyrie; we have never even encountered one in our history. Perhaps they have some code of honor? It would make sense with their legends.” she theorized.
Expelling a huff of disgust, Benjamin said, “I don’t know and don’t care. This monster is too dangerous to keep around, even unconscious it is a risk. How soon ‘till this one goes into the arena?”
Diane’s thoughts shifted instantly. “If I have anything to say about it—never. She should not be paraded around for investors, and whom would you suggest putting her up against?” Trying to shift his train of thought, Diane said, “You saw what the dragon did to that werewolf leader—I am still unsure what he really is. He does respond to silver, in a minor way, but he is not something to be taken lightly, surviving an impact like that.”
Benjamin’s mouth turned into a dark grin. “Actually, I’d like to see the dragon fight against that tiger.”
Diane would have protested, but even she was curious who would be the victor. The Imugi was still underage, and the bai-uu had already shown its willingness to kill, although for means Diane didn’t fully understand, and what she didn’t understand made her curious. Rising from her chair, she said, “I will be going.”
Benjamin’s eyes defocused as he listened to something over his earpiece. “Roger, I’ll be there shortly.” Vision returning to Diane, he sighed as he rose. “Gerard and the new Senator expect a briefing.”
She took one last look at the primary monitor above the security desk, showing the solution tank with the dragon inside. Leaving, Benjamin and her took different routes as she began walking toward the maximum-security recovery bay. The halls were filled with guards and the best researchers in the States, but Diane regarded only a few as true academics and rivals. Entering the district, she made her way to the furthest section of the bottom level, a room with a meter-thick carbon steel door. Verifying her identification, she stepped into the observation space.
Thick glass separated the area into two rooms, one high above for surveillance and the other for the creature receiving medical treatment. Going through the second door, she walked down the retractable stairs and sat in a comfortable chair a few meters away from the bed. Lying on the mattress was a very tall man that was bound from neck to toes in splints; he was almost as tall as Jian.
Diane studied his bemused expression with distaste; she found the more confident ones make the best information hubs, but usually, they were poised for a reason. “Eric,” she said while taking out her tablet and opening his file. “That is what you prefer to be called?”
A guttural laugh left his throat. “Call me what you will, the outcome will be the same.”
Nodding absently, Diane asked, “You told the previous investigator you are a—Fenris Wolf? However, in your blood work, we have found a virus that has a strong resemblance to the Germanic werewolf strand.”
Eric smirked at her question. “There are many types of Werewolves, my dear. The Fenris is no Man-wolf though. We are the oldest and strongest breed of wolf.”
A light smile touched Diane’s features as she noted Eric’s pride was where she’d find her notch. “Oh—are you referring to the Fenrir of Nordic legend? Loki was said to have made the ancient wolves; you are a descendant of one?”
Eric’s face screwed up with fury, and the cast around his waist cracked as his body shifted. “Loki never created Fenrir!” Eric scoffed, “He took the credit in releasing and healing Fenrir, but Fenrir was alive before the birth of Odin!”
“Fascinating,” Diane whispered. “Would you be willing to tell me the story of Fenrir and how could mere gods killed such a—beast?”
Eric’s vision narrowed, but his smile kept its place. “You’re a slippery one. Perhaps you took a note from those Vulpes you talked with and how’s the Valkyrie? I owe her a chat.” He commented wickedly.
Humming with interest, Diane typed a few notes. “Your sense of smell is much keener than I thought. Do you know that other—wolf girl?” she asked, trying to shift his thought directive and seeing if he would verify her name.
“Which wolf girl are you referring to? There are a few in my pack.” Eric asked with an expression of complete control.
Chuckling, Diane said, “I believe you know which one would cause us the most trouble. She killed four guards and put three more in intensive care. The three will take years to fully recover, if at all.”
Eric’s dark countenance sunk further, “You must be speaking of my sister; yes, you’ll have a lot of trouble with her. Even I have difficulties with her at times.”
“That is not a good thing, Eric,” Diane shook her head regretfully. “Her name is Kari, I believe, and if she is more trouble than she is worth—they will put her down.”
Eric burst out laughing, which was shocking due to his conditions, several cracks appeared in his casts. “How do you plan on putting her down? She’s even stronger than I am at this moment. There are very few creatures that would pose a threat to a Fenris Wolf.”
Sitting back in her chair, Diane tapped her tablet pen against her lower lip. “A Fenris Wolf is she…” Humming lightly, she leaned in closer with a testing smile. “What about an adult bai-hu?”
Eric’s laughter cut and his eyes narrowed dangerously. “Is that the other scent I smell on you? How on earth did you find and subdue an adult bai-hu in this age?”
Excitement crept back into Diane’s features. Her tone thickening as she said, “That is an interesting question. On earth you say, where else could I find such beasts; I am assuming you are not talking about outer space. That leaves pocket dimensions.” She said with a glint in her eyes.
Eyes slits, Eric’s smile returned. “I see—you’re a woman of interest. You want to know everything about us, and you want an insight into the monster community.”
Diane’s smile widened. Clearing her throat, she said, “I think we could work out an arrangement. If you have anything notable to share I’m more than willing to listen; such as how you could possibly be beaten.”
Eric’s lips peeled back to show his razor canines; he knew he had her attention. “We can start with better décor and how about some meat, I prefer monster.”