Confident that security around the compound was impenetrable, the Prince and the Duke conducted an impromptu summit. Still dressed in their tuxedos, the men approached each other across the deserted dance floor, neither anxious to be the first to speak.

The Duke broke the standoff, offering mismatched glasses in one hand and a full bottle of rare, blood whiskey in the other.
“There’s been ugliness between us recently, but I thank you for stepping in to save my subject. I was much too far away to intervene. She would have been dead long before I broke through the crowd. I’m not sure any of us could have changed her either–she’s so accustomed to blood that she may have developed resistance.”

“Well, regardless of our past, there’s no way I would let the miserable little troll kill her,” the Prince answered. “without such a judgmental audience, I would have erased the entire problem.”

“There have been run-ins before.”

“I recall something about a girl fight and a broken arm. In any case, she won’t be a bother for a good, long while.”

“Banished to Europe, I assume?”

“Paris specifically.”

The Duke grimaced as he slammed his third whiskey. “Ah, Paris–my hell on earth. Don’t worry, I won’t be tempted to visit.”

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