Valkyrie must have fallen asleep at some point, because when she woke, they were back in Ireland. Skulduggery had his façade up, but the Bentley was drawing attention anyway, as usual. It looked like morning, but with everyone getting up at ridiculously early hours, it was hard to tell.
“So,” Valkyrie yawned. “Who’s this Lucian we’re seeing?”
“Yeah, I got that bit. He was one of the Dead Men?”
Skulduggery took his time to answer. “An on and off one.”
“What does that mean?”
“He wasn’t always a Dead Man. Sometimes he would go, and come back years later, helping us again. Not many know he used to be a full Dead Man, but then he went off.”
“You said he was a werewolf.”
“I thought you got that bit?”
“But you said no werewolves joined our side during the war, not until the Sanctuary passed that law.”
“He wasn’t originally a werewolf. He was bitten, in a mission with the Dead Men. I was there. When he found out he was bitten in the fight, he ran. We all thought he died, that the werewolves killed him. Turns out he became part of a pack. He joined us again when we started getting werewolves on our side.”
“Wait, how does that bite thing work? Same as vampires, or what?”
“Very much different. Only on the full moon is the bite contagious, otherwise it’s just a nasty bite. Most people don’t get far enough to become a werewolf when they’re bitten.”
“So they can turn into werewolves anytime they want?”
“That’s… not good for us.”
“So what’s Lucian like?”
“Strong, proud. Persistent, determined, dangerous. Very much deadly. But it’s not him you have to worry about, it’s his pack. He’s the alpha, the leader. Being the only werewolf in Ireland means he doesn’t turn away many, so you have both good and bad there. He keeps them under control. Mostly.”
They feel silent as they turned into a small, dirty street. Skulduggery parked the car outside a small phone-order only pizza shop. Valkyrie looked at Skulduggery, and he shrugged.
“No one goes in, and they make money.”
Accepting that a pack of werewolves worked in a pizza shop, Valkyrie shrugged and followed Skulduggery to the door. He knocked once, and a gruff voice growled at them. “Phone order only.”
“I’m here to see Lucian,” Skulduggery said calmly.
There was a pause at the other end of the door. “He’s not expecting anyone,” the voice snarled. “Get out of here.”
“Tell him that he’d be a dead man if he ignored this.”
“Is that a threat?!”
“Just tell him.”
Hearing much cursing and muttering from the other side of the door, Valkyrie looked at Skulduggery. “Was that wise?” she asked. “To make what looked like a threat to a pack of werewolves?”
“No,” he said happily. Then the door opened.
A man was standing there. He was dressed in dirty, second-hand clothes. His hair was unkempt and messy. He looked about nineteen.
“Take us to your leader,” Skulduggery said in a commanding voice.
The man growled and walked forward. Valkyrie saw several pizza ovens, and two more people standing against the wall. Both of them were as unkempt as the man leading them. They went through a door at the back.
It was filled with people. About a dozen were lounging around the room, some playing cards, some talking, some what looked like sleeping. But they all looked up when Skulduggery and Valkyrie entered. A few of them growled.
“This way,” the man leading them said. They walked past they people to a door at the end of the room. Looking around, Valkyrie saw that there were a few that weren’t that much older than her. They entered and saw Lucian Tenacious.
He reminded Valkyrie of Vex. He had the same confident air, the same smile. He had light brown hair. He was wearing jeans and a shirt. His feet were resting on a desk. But there was something dangerous about him, but still oddly kind.
“Skulduggery,” he said in a light voice, layered with an unspoken threat. “What brings you to my humble pizza shop?”
“Werewolves,” Skulduggery said.
Lucian stood. “My pack hasn’t killed anyone.”
“It’s not about your pack.”
Lucian relaxed, his smile shinning back. He walked towards Skulduggery and embraced him. “It’s been a while,” he said.
“Indeed. Last time it was in… was it the beach?”
“No, I defiantly remember snow.” Lucian stood back and looked between Skulduggery and Valkyrie. “I also remember bullets. They were from you, no?”
“And are you going to introduce me to your friend?” Lucian smiled down at Valkyrie, but not in a patronising way.
“This is my partner, Valkyrie Cain.”
Lucian’s smiled disappeared. “Oh,” he said.
Valkyrie looked at Skulduggery, who just shrugged. “Something wrong?” she asked.
He looked over at the man, who was standing in the corner. He was looking slightly afraid.
“I think it’s best if you leave,” Lucian said.
“What? Why? We need your help.” Skulduggery took a step towards Lucian.
He bit his lip. “Mathew, leave us.”
The man nodded and walked out.
“I should have known,” Lucian mummed. “Sit down,” he said in a clear voice, gesturing at some chairs.
They sat, and Lucian sat opposite of them, on the chair he was sitting on when they came in.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Lucian said, speaking to Valkyrie. “The kindest of which includes god-killer and world saver. The worst of which include Death Bringer and…” He trailed off.
“There something you want to say, Lucian?” Skulduggery leant forward.
“Darquesse,” Lucian whispered, and then everything went wrong.
Skulduggery moved quickly, his gun pointing at Lucian’s head. Lucian stood, his own gun coming out and pointing at Skulduggery. There was a shout and all the people from the other room came bursting in.
Nobody moved. Lucian’s smile came back, though it was strained. “Nothing’s wrong,” he said calmly. “I just need to talk with these two.”
The werewolves grumbled, and not believing it, they left. Slowly, Skulduggery and Lucian lowered their guns.
“How did you know?” Skulduggery asked.
“Werewolves are stronger than mortals or sorcerers. When the remnants came, the possessed one of my werewolves. We can throw off the remnants, make them leave. But the one possessed was a cub, very young. He couldn’t get it out, but he could remember everything. He remembered you turning into Darquesse.” He was looking at Valkyrie now. “He remembered you holding a gun to her head.” He was looking at Skulduggery now. “Then he remembered nothing. We all thought you killed her.”
Skulduggery silent. So Valkyrie decided to speak. “Where’s the cub- I mean boy, who saw this?”
“He died. He was killed a few moons after he was possessed, in a fight with a vampire.”
Skulduggery raised his head. “So what now?”
Lucian smiled, but it was a cold smile. “I should kill her, like you should have.”
Valkyrie shivered. She now got what Skulduggery meant when he said they were ruled by instinct.
“Do it and I’ll shoot you.”
“You’re surrounded by werewolves. More likely we’ll tear you apart.”
There was silence. “I’m not going to destroy the world,” Valkyrie said, making Lucian’s head snap towards her. “I’m making sure that doesn’t happen.”
Lucian stood there for a moment. Then he nodded. “If I ever hear of anything with you happening again, I’ll kill you.”
Valkyrie nodded. They all sat down again, but Skulduggery was stiff.
“Why’d you accept that so easily?” Valkyrie asked
Lucian shrugged. “I know about fighting not to kill. Fighting destiny.”
“So does Skulduggery over here… but has he told you?”
“She knows,” Skulduggery whispered.
“So you know the great skeleton detective was once the Death Bringer, the infamous Lord Vile?”
Lucian shrugged. “I heard things.”
Valkyrie was about to ask, but Skulduggery interrupted. “We need your help.”
“I’m all ears.”
“There’s a new pack in Scotland.”
“Good.” When they looked at him, he shrugged. “More numbers are good.”
“They attacked us.”
“You entered their territory.”
“They have no assigned territory yet!”
Lucian rolled his eyes. “You can’t tell us where we can and can’t go.”
“The law created needs to go both ways.”
Lucian scowled. “You hunted us so we barely exist, and now you want to rule us?”
“I bet the same rule doesn’t apply to vampires.”
“Yes it does.”
Lucian was breathing deeply. “Let me guess. You want me to get me pack to fight these werewolves? Forget it. Why don’t you ask the vampire army?”
“There is no vampire army.”
“Yeah. Like the Sanctuary isn’t planning to get rid of us finally.”
Skulduggery stood. “I can’t change your mind, can I?”
“No. The scar between the Sanctuary and the werewolves is deeper than our friendship, as you’ve proven countless times.”
Skulduggery walked out, leaving Valkyrie sitting there. She was about to stand when Lucian reached over and grabbed her wrist.
“You’re not leaving,” he hissed.
She immediately summoned shadows to her hand, but Lucian quickly raised his gun and pointed it at her face.
“Unless you want your pretty little face all over the wall, you shut up and don’t do anything,” he sneered. Then he called out. “Mathew!” He walked in, not finding Valkyrie with a gun to her face at all odd. “Make sure Pleasant doesn’t get past the door again.”
“He won’t,” Mathew promised, then turned around and shouted orders to the werewolves. They started making noises, and Valkyrie hear what sounded like bones cracking. Valkyrie realised they were turning into wolves.
“Now,” Lucian said, his eyes glowing slightly red. “Let’s have a nice chat.”