Chapter 2

For a slit second, Nicolas was stunned by the beauty in front of him. The dark eyes that boared into his own crimson orbs were brimming with purpose. Her cheeks were slightly flushed by the cold, giving her a look of almost unnaturally health. And her hair. Nicolas allowed his eyes to linger on her hair for an extra split second. Her midnight curls were heavenly. As he watched, one slipped into her eyes. Her slender fingers pushed it back behind her ear.

"Thank you for saving me the trouble of finding you," She said with mock politeness, smiling coldly and looking oh so pleased with herself. "I was hoping that you'd search me out. I love when things go as planned."

Nicolas watched silently as the girl stood up, with all the grace he would expect from one trained to slay vampires. He noted she was almost a foot shorter that he was. But even so, somehow, her appearance demanded as much respect as if she were six feet tall. However, just like her grace, this was not a special trait in a vampire slayer. It came from conceit. Nicolas had never known a vampire slayer who did not think they were above everything else.

"Well, thank you for giving me the chance to do the same, slayer," He challenged. His mouth twisted into a smile identical to hers. "Perhaps you should learn not to stand out. I knew where you were a block and a half from here.

The smile disappeared and the young woman watched him coolly, now cautious. She did not reply, pursing her lips instead. To anyone but a vampire, the young woman could have been a statue. She was silent, motionless… breathtaking.

However, Nicolas had no intentions of being caught off guard by the breathtaking vision in front of him. He had things to do, even if they did concern her. "While you're deciding what to do with me, I suppose I should introduce myself," he continued as if this were meeting between a man and a woman on the street. "My name is Nicolas Amboise, although most people just call me Lord Amboise. I'm sure you've heard my name before."

"Do you always introduce yourself before a fight?" the young woman asked sharply, finally breaking her silence and scowling at him.

"Only when I find myself in the presence of a lady." Nicolas retorted, smirking. He bowed to her scornfully. "Now you should introduce yourself as well. Its only polite."

The response was brisk. "Elsandra Enderson."

The vampire's smirk grew larger. "Lord Borieal's niece, are we?"

"As a matter of fact, yes," Elsandra answered disdainfully. Nicolas watched, amused as she seemed to lengthen her neck and raise her nose in what he guessed was pride for her lineage.

"So now that you know whom you're dealing with, I do think we should get this over," Elsandra told him, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning casually on her right leg. "You see, I promised some people at the Establishment that I'd have you finished off by sun up." Looking down at her waist, she calmly pulled the black velvet cloth off her belt to reveal her silver weapons. Elsandra looked up slowly and deliberately, catching Nicolas's gaze. Then she smiled her cold smile again.

"Sun up?" Nicolas repeated, eyeing the dagger and revolver. The three slayers he had just killed had had the same sorts of weapons. He doubted they would give him much trouble. "I'm surprised. I'd think an expert slayer such as your self would take much less time to slay me than a whole night."

"Of course," Elsandra agreed. "Then I promised my friend that I'd slay you by three o'clock." She laughed quietly, letting the piece of black velvet flutter to the ground. There was no use for it anymore.

Elsandra let a hand brush over her weapons. "What do you prefer to be your demise?" she asked, keeping her gaze on Nicolas. "A revolver or a dagger? Personally I prefer the dagger. It's more classic and makes less noise. But there's always the few who like the revolver. It does its job quick and I'd guess that it's less painful. But I wouldn't know if that's true myself."

Nicolas let out a light laugh and shook his head. "You're underestimating me if you think that either of your weapons will do me any harm." He told her. In all truths, Nicolas wasn't worried in the least by the weapons at the slayer's waist; it was the skill that he had heard Elsandra commanded that caused him unease. Even for a powerful vampire, which Nicolas certainly was, a Class A Slayer was a force to be reckoned with.

Of course there was no point in showing the slayer that he was nervous about anything that had to do with her.

"I'll take that as 'Lady Enderson, I think I would prefer if you used both on me.' " Elsandra said, imitating his voice as best she could. Nicolas found her imitation quite ridiculous and smirked as Elsandra laughed.

"I don't believe I said that, Elsandra." Nicolas retorted, still smirking.

Elsandra stopped laughing immediately and glared at him. "Call me Lady Enderson." She demanded.

Nicolas made another mocking bow in her direction. "As you wish… Lady Enderson." And then he disappeared.

Elsandra pulled her weapons out quickly, her revolver in her left hand and her dagger in her right, waiting for the vampire to reappear. She knew how these things went. He would try and take her by surprise, perhaps by appearing behind her. Or just to her side. Wherever he reappeared, and whenever as well, Elsandra would be ready for him.

Nicolas landed on the top of one of the buildings that made up the alley and gazed down at the Elsandra. Although she was alone now, she did not move out of her defensive position and kept her weapons up and ready. Elsandra seemed to be smarter than most of the other slayers he had dealt with before. The others had lowered their weapons and that had simply been the end of them. But Nicolas had time to wait. Elsandra wouldn't be able to stay ready for anything all night. And when she put her arms down… Well, he'd be ready.

The minutes ticked by and Elsandra continued to stand there, waiting for Nicolas to return, unmoving. Nicolas watched in amusement as the young woman's face contorted more and more in fury. Apparently he was making her angry. He chuckled quietly and continued to gaze down at his prey. Elsandra's little scowl was absolutely endearing. There was no doubt that she would be entertaining company.

"Get back here and fight me already!" Elsandra yelled finally, stomping her foot a bit in irritation and tightening her grip on her weapons. "Did I scare you off or something? Go crying home to your castle? Your coffin?"

Nicolas laughed openly and jumped back down into the alley, landing quietly a few feet in front of Elsandra.

"I assure you, you did not frighten me." Nicolas answered, smiling calmly at her.

Seeing that the vampire had reappeared, Elsandra moved to attack. She wasn't going to wait anymore. As fast as she could possibly manage, Elsandra lunged towards Nicolas. Her right hand was extended, wielding her knife straight at his heart. Nicolas quickly moved to the side so that the weapon plunged harmlessly into empty air.

"Really," He chided, the smile not leaving his face. "Do you honestly think you can take me on with a mere dagger? I'm much too quick to let that knife do any intentional damage and not stupid enough to let it do any unintentionally."

"But perhaps I'm smart enough to outsmart you." Elsandra answered, a resolute smile flashing across her features for a moment.

"I highly doubt-"

Nicolas was forced to abandon his sentence as Elsandra suddenly aimed the revolver at him. He quickly moved to the side. I seriously hope she doesn't make me shuffle from side to side all night. Nicolas thought to himself, a slight frown replacing his smile.

Out of nowhere, Elsandra was lunging at him with the dagger once again. Nicolas moved backwards, slightly shaken that she had managed to get the dagger only centimeters away from his heart. This girl, like the rumors had said, was not like the other slayers. No one had ever gotten that close to defeating him before. It became clear to Nicolas that he was going to have to take this fight seriously.

Regaining his composure, he caught Elsandra's eyes with his, freezing her to the spot with his power. Most vampires used this technique to render their victims helpless before drinking their blood, but Nicolas had not found the need to use it in years. By the time he had his hands on his prey they did not know what was happening to them.

Nicolas took a step towards Elsandra. When he had first heard that Lord Borieal was sending her out to kill him, Nicolas had been curious. He had planned to observe and interact, but leave the girl quite alive, although probably not pleased with her situation. However, Elsandra had turned out to be a formidable fighting partner. Nicolas couldn't just let her walk away unscathed. And the scent of her blood was quite inviting as well. The feminine, floral smell emanating from her body was especially strong.

Nicolas made up his mind at that moment. Elsandra would be his sixth victim in London although she would not end up dead.

As Nicolas reached out to grab Elsandra, she broke out of his spell and jumped backwards, swinging her dagger menacingly in his direction. "Lay a hand on me, vampire, and I swear in God's name that I will give you the most excruciating, prolonged death I possibly can."

"So you can break out of my spell." Nicolas said, sincerely interested. "Something your uncle taught you, I assume?"

"As a matter of fact, yes." Elsandra snapped, keeping her dagger outstretched in front of her. "And don't think it's the first time a vampire's tried that trick on me either."

"Of course." He replied, nodding understandingly. "And what about this? Have any vampires tried this on you?"

For the second time, Nicolas caught Elsandra's eyes and cast the freezing spell. However this time he used twice the amount of power, willing her to be completely stationary.

And Elsandra truly did find herself frozen. Mentally scowling, she fought the spell with all of her strength. Slowly, no faster than a snail would move, Elsandra managed to shift her right arm with the dagger farther towards Nicolas. She doubted her efforts would do anything in the way of defeating the vampire, but it would show him that he couldn't control her.

Nicolas raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Still fighting?" he asked, pushing some of his hair away from his eyes absently. "Impressive, but you're really just wasting your time. I'm sure you know there's no way you could ever defeat me at that pace. It'll be daylight before you straighten out your arm." Even so, Nicolas now knew not to underestimate this girl. He strengthened his curse, putting all the power he possibly could into it.

Elsandra's arm stopped moving and she once again found herself entirely frozen. This time though, no matter how hard she pushed against the curse, she could not get herself to budge even a millimeter.

Nicolas chuckled, knowing that she was struggling against the curse. He took another step towards her, so that he was only a foot away from her now and plucked the dagger out of her hand. It dropped to the ground, spinning away from them into the darkness of the alley.

"Miss Enderson," he said, taking the revolver from her as well and letting it drop. "I am quite likely the most powerful vampire you will ever meet. You are skilled to have lasted this long against me, but there was no real question that I would win in the end. And I believe I have won."

Grabbing her wrists, Nicolas brought her hands up over her head and pushed her back against the wall. For the second time that night he let his eyes linger on her face. After a moment they drifted down to take in the rest of her body.

Elsandra watched, completely powerless to do anything else. There had been times in her life when she had been terrified. There had been the time when her uncle had not returned with the rest of the slayers he had left with. She had thought he had been killed. And then there had been her first real hunt.

But the fear she had felt during those moments did not even come close to the horror she felt as Nicolas gazed down at her. She was at the mercy of a vampire. A vampire who had killed two of her colleagues and had been able to disarm her, a Class A slayer. Elsandra had never heard of such a potent power in a vampire before.

Nicolas bent his head so he was face to face with the frozen girl he held hostage. "I should kill you right now." He told her quietly, whispering into her ear. "You're a threat to my way of life. Slayers should not be allowed to become as skilled as you."

He allowed his lips to gently graze the tips of Elsandra's ear. Then Nicolas lowered his head even more bringing his mouth to her neck. He could hear her heart beating faster and faster and practically smell the terror coursing through her blood. Nicolas smiled and opened his mouth slightly, letting his fangs brush softly against the delicate skin of her neck.

And then, faster than Elsandra could see, he released one of her wrists and gave Elsandra a swift blow to the head. The young woman gasped in pain and collapsed into Nicolas's arms.

Smirking, he rearranged her so that he could gaze down into her face. She looked so peaceful now, so delicate and breakable. It was a wonder that such a girl could have given him so much trouble.

Shaking his head, Nicolas pushed off and leapt into the air, holding his prisoner securely against him.

It was a few minutes after midnight when Nicolas stepped into the entrance hall of his manor. He had made good time returning from London considering that he had been carrying a passenger. Granted, said passenger barely weighed anything in Nicolas's opinion, but it was still more weight than he usually returned with.

"I need a maid." Nicolas called into the darkness of the hall.

A second later a woman hurried out a door that was nearly invisible in the unlit hall. She stopped a few yards away from Nicolas and bowed, awaiting orders.

"See to it that my guest is situated in one of the extra bedrooms." Nicolas ordered.

The woman hurried to take Elsandra out of her master's grasp. Nicolas slipped her into the maid's outstretched arms, making sure that she wouldn't drop her before stepping back.

"If she is to awake during the daylight hours, make sure that she does not leave her room. And…" he trailed off, eyeing Elsandra's clothes. "Undress her. I do not believe Miss Enderson would be pleased if she was put to bed in her dress. It might become wrinkled." He chuckled quietly at his joke. The maid's expression stayed blank and unreadable."

Nicolas's eyes wandered back up to the young woman's face. "She received a bit of an injury prior to arriving here," He continued. He could already see a bruise forming at the beginning of her hairline. "Find something to sooth it as well I suppose."

"Yes sir." The woman said quietly. She turned from Nicolas and headed towards the stairs, Elsandra in her arms.

Nicolas watched her go for a moment before heading up the stairs as well. It was time to let his advisor know of the outcome and repercussions of the night's fight.