Little Spiders Everywhere: Deleted Scene from Book 1

This scene would have been right after Lillas returns to Guild City with Evera and Jossus. In it Ravenna and Lillas have a discussion about the current state of the city and the vampira’s relationship with Jin, which Lillas does not approve of. The vampira and the demon hunter notoriously do not get along. Their relationship is so bad that many of the city’s residence have bets out for how long it takes before they just have a brawl. Originally, the only reason Lillas goes to see Ravenna now was because of some emotional blackmail from Jin who wanted her to go to his girlfriend for help with the current vampire/human/demon problem. But that scene changed so he never asks her do anything.

I deleted this scene because actions by Ravenna had a direct result in the twin’s being executed. With this being the case, Lillas has vowed that the next time she seems the vampira she will kill her. Between that and Jin not actually asking her to seek Ravenna’s help, there was no reason for Lillas to seek her out during a time already tense and full of strife.

Here it is. Enjoy.

LITTLE SPIDERS EVERYWHERE

The vampires in Du Rouge were out and in full revenge mode. Lillas studied the scene from atop Ravenna’s building. Possessed humans and vampires ran wild, killing, feeding, destroying everything they could. If Lillas didn’t know better, she would swear she was in some apocalyptic film where only one person survives to starve to death and die alone. Would any survive to rebuild this?

“Is it me or is this shit worse than it was two hours ago?” Jossus said.

“The nightwalkers are waking up. The demon lord is using their anger and fear against them, using them as weapons against their own home,” Evera said.

“I’m sure they don’t feel like it’s their home anymore given all that’s happened,” Lillas said.

“Well, what do we do?”

“Ev, exorcise as many vampires as you can. Jōs, evacuate as many vampires as you can.”

He scoffed. “They won’t listen to me.”

She looked him in the eyes. “Make them listen.”

“Make him your ambassador,” Evera said.

“Alright, you’re my ambassador. I have no idea what the hell that means, but feel free to run with it.”

He smiled. “Alright. What are you going to do?”

“As you can see, we have a serious human problem. I’m going to deal with that.”

Evera flew away, leaving Jossus to lower Lillas to the ground. As soon as she landed, five humans quit the destruction they were causing and turned their focus on her. “Go,” she said to Jossus. “I’ll handle this.” He found a motorcycle, wired it, and was gone. Meanwhile, the human came at her with big shards of glass, lead pipes, even a couple of axes. They growled at her and called her filthy names. She grabbed her blade to help her parry and dodge attacks. Every time a person attacked her, she parried the blow and sent a fireball into their heart. Once the fire removed the demon, she then shot the demon in the head with a red-hot bullet, sending it back to hell.

That was a bitter taste of what awaited her in the rest of the city. As explosions ignited around her, she was not looking forward to the whole meal. But before the entrée, she had to get the appetizer.

All of Jin’s work on the “Wall of Jazz,” in Club Ambiente was now nothing more than another casualty of the demon lord’s attack. Lillas continued walking through the ruins of Ravenna’s club. Water dripped around her from the sprinklers and broken pipes. The stairs were littered with animal bodies that had been shot dead. Tigers, bears, snakes. That was strange, in and of itself. Even weirder was their coloring. They looked like someone had come by and graffitied them. Ravenna had an affinity for animals. The vampira had them painted on pretty much every wall. Lillas had seen animals like these on the steps before. In fact, they were on the wall to the stairs. The demon hunter didn’t know what that meant, but she wasn’t trying to find out the hard way. She pulled Rain from its holster and got it ready to fire.

The building was quiet, which was very strange considering Jin said Ravenna had gotten into a standoff with authorities. There was no way the human-hating queen of bloodlust would have let anyone arrest her. So, why was everything so still when the place should have been crawling with SWAT and maybe even a few bombs?

The hall that wrapped around the second floor was so dark that there was not a hint of life. Lillas lit up the hall in both directions with cold fire. Hundreds of black bodies, the size of her hand, revealed themselves under the glow of firelight. Red, beady eyes stared at her like she was an unwelcome intruder. They were everywhere. All over the walls. All over the floors. Lillas could barely breathe, could hardly think past the sight of them. They oozed towards her like thick black oil. The sound they made as their legs rubbed together was enough to make her soul claw its way out of her skin.

Of their own accord, Lillas’s feet started easing her away from the sea of gross and nasty. All too soon she felt something press against her spine. She really, really hoped she had just backed into a wall she didn’t know was there. That sounded good, since her logical side had long ago run off in the arms of her soul. Lillas kept a tight grip on her gun. The other hand she clenched multiple times, trying to get herself to move. Slowly, very slowly, she turned around.

It was only twelve inches from her nose. It may as well have been a quarter of an inch. The spider was so huge it would even give Evera pause. She was dizzy from the sight. So dizzy that she put her hand up and tried to balance herself by leaning on its nose. As soon as she touched its cold shell, it opened its enormous mouth and let out a piercing scream. Then it was nothing but a spider-shaped pile of ash.

Lillas couldn’t move, even with the eight-legged menace dead. A door opened behind her. She heard breath like a sigh.

“I thought that was you,” Ravenna said.

“Why?” Lillas asked. She still hadn’t moved and was staring the dead spider in its grey flaking eyes.

Ravenna shrugged. “I like spiders.”

“Why?”

“They make great pets.” She looked around at all the spider carcasses. “Well, had I known you were coming, I would have told them to remain in the wall. Ah, well. I’ll just have to get some more painted on.”

Ravenna stopped talking and looked at Lillas, who still hadn’t moved. “Um, do you need help?” Still nothing. “Oh, please don’t tell me the demon hunter is afraid of a few arachnids.” She gave a dramatic sigh before she closed the door. She opened the door Lillas was directly in front of before the first door even clicked shut.

“Come on, little chicken,” Ravenna said, as if baiting a puppy. “Here, chicky, chicky, chicky.”

Lillas snapped out of her fright enough to turn to Ravenna. It was then that she looked at the hall of mini-terrors and saw just how close they were to making their way up her legs. Little ashy bodies were only an inch from her shoe.

“You are nasty,” Lillas said. As she started towards Ravenna, the giant cremated spider crumbled under its own weight. Ravenna couldn’t help but laugh, seeing Lillas covered in carcass dust. She glared at the vampira as she walked into her giant office.

Lillas’s mouth eased to the floor upon seeing the corpses of the SWAT team that had gone up there to get the vampire. That was nothing compared to the sound of animals chewing on their flesh.

“I gave them plenty of warning,” Ravenna said, walking to her desk. “Surely you noticed all the dead carnivores on the stairs. But humans never heed warnings. Do they?” She took a seat on her desk. The statues were now missing. Coincidentally, the animals that were feeding on the authorities remains’ were also golden.

“What is wrong with you?” Lillas asked Ravenna who seemed at complete ease with what was happening. It was the first time Lillas had seen her as a monster.

“They attacked me first,” Ravenna said, showing more conviction than usual. “And Jin, by the way. They were ready to haul him to jail just because he couldn’t tell them where you were. I protected him. You’re welcome.”

Lillas eyes turned red. “Call them away.”

“Now, now,” Ravenna said. “There’s no need for that.” The animals left their food and returned to their pillars before Lillas could melt them. She would pay good money to see Ravenna resurrect her little hellions from that sort of destruction.

Evil. Ravenna was pure evil. Lillas had always thought that. Until now she didn’t understand the depth of the devil inside her. She had to get Jin away from this vampira. He had no idea what he was dealing with.

The door behind Ravenna opened. In walked Viktor Michael. Sworn enemy to both females. And he was using Ravenna’s private entrance that led to bedrooms upstairs. Lillas couldn’t have been more stunned had the daywalking priest balled up and told the world what he really was.

Oh. Wait. No. She could be more stunned. Which she discovered when Selena Howl walked in behind Viktor. And she was no longer human.

When the demon hunter finally got the words together in her head, she stumbled over them with her mouth. “Ah, who…who…why…wha…what are they doing here, Ravenna?”

“Selena was offered a chance for revenge,” Ravenna said. “She accepted.”

“And what is Hitler doing here?” She couldn’t have referred to Viktor with more malice if she tried.

Ravenna paused as she thought about what to the human. She decided on partial truth. “Training.”

Without warning, Viktor grabbed Selena around the waist, holding her back. “What do you think you’re doing, Selena?” he asked. “You cannot attack her.”

“You promised vengeance,” she spat. “She sat back and nothing while Xavier died.”

“No matter your anger at her, you cannot ever attack Lillas. To do so would mean death.”

“Besides, I offered to help them escape.” Lillas looked at Ravenna. “She threatened your life if they left. So they stayed. You want to blame someone, blame her.”

“Lies! She tried to help them. You wouldn’t let her.”

Lillas took a moment to look over Selena’s new vampire body. No defined muscles, not any paler, yep, she was maybe only a day old…maybe. “Look, clearly you’re new to this whole vampire business. Let me school you on a couple of things. First, don’t trust him. Second, don’t trust her…”

“She means those as suggestions,” Ravenna said.

“No. They are not to be trusted. Do you really think a vampire who masquerades as a priest and speaks out against his own people is worth of respect let alone trust? And Ravenna just wants us all to go to hell. Do yourself a favor, get new trainers.”

“You should take greater care with your words, Lillas,” Ravenna said. “You could cause far more harm than you realize.”

She looked her up and down. “Yeah, whatever.” She looked at Selena. “Xavier and Javier were my friends. They did not die so you could become this…whatever it is that you think you are. They would be sad if they could see you.”

“How dare you speak of them?” Viktor held her back. “I knew them better than you ever would, better than anyone.”

“Then you know I’m telling the truth. If they wanted you to be a vampire, they would have made you one themselves. Xavier loved you for who you were not for who you are now.”

Unbelievable. This night was already insane and she hadn’t been back in the city for an hour. Lillas barely had time to get acquainted with the smell of ash and smoke when she heard, “Why did you come here, Lillas?”

She cursed. She knew her dumbass should have made her way across town. But no. She’s standing outside of the she-devil’s home, pontificating on how messed up things were.

“You came to see me for something,” Ravenna said, moving closer to Lillas when she didn’t say anything.

Lillas thought long and hard about whether or not she was going to tell the vampira the truth. She decided on partial truth. “The vampires need to be evacuated.”

“Good luck with that. I’ve been trying to get them out of the city for weeks. No one believes that the demon lord has returned.”

“Well, of course they don’t believe you.  Why should they?”

“I wouldn’t lie about something like this. The demon lord could be the death of us all.”

With no warming or any indication of her intent, Lillas blew Ravenna into one of the brick walls that hadn’t been blown up yet. Then she hit Ravenna with a few jolts of electricity. Refusing to scream, Ravenna took the pain with a few grunts and groans.

“I don’t know what game you and Viktor Michael are playing,” Lillas said, stomping towards her. She released Ravenna and let her fall to the ground. “You are evil. I know that now more than I ever have.”  She knelt down to meet her in the eyes. “And the only reason I’m sparing your life now is because if Jin loses me tonight, losing you, too, may do more harm than good. But know this vampire, if you get possessed, I will not hesitate to turn you to cinders.”

Ravenna gave her a big fanged smile. “Of course you wouldn’t, Love. Because you’re more like your bloodline than you know.”

Whatever the hell that meant. Lillas stood up, not wanting to waste any more time with the narcissist. She ran off in the first direction her instincts took her.

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