Home > Midnight Labyrinth (Elemental Legacy #4)(3)

Midnight Labyrinth (Elemental Legacy #4)(3)
Author: Elizabeth Hunter

A polite, artificial voice filled the living area. “Checking electronic messages for Tenzin.” There was a soft hum before Cara said, “You have six new messages.”

“Read subject lines.”

She complained about it, but Ben was continually amazed by how quick Tenzin was with technology. She’d had limited access to the electronic revolution until an immortal tech company in Ireland came out with the Nocht voice-recognition program. Vampire touch wreaked havoc on any electronic gadget because of their amnis, the electrical current that ran under their skin and connected them to their elemental ability.

Wind and water vampires had bad reactions to electronics. Earth vampires could handle some gadgets a little better than others. Rare fire vampires like his uncle could short out the computer in a modern car just by sitting in the front seat.

No computers. No mobile phones. No iPods or tablets or new appliances.

But then came Nocht.

“Reading subject lines,” Cara said. “From Beatrice De Novo. ‘I need a recipe, don’t ignore me.’”

“Delete,” Tenzin said.

“You should at least write her back,” Ben said.

“I don’t cook from recipes, so that would be useless.” Tenzin turned a page. “Next message.”

Cara read, “From Blumenthal Blades. ‘Desirable saber for your Eastern European collection.’”

“Save,” Tenzin said. “That sounds promising.”

Ben shelved three more books. “Because you definitely need more swords.”

“I always need more swords.”

“From Viva Industries,” Cara read. “‘All-natural male enhancement from Asia.’”

Tenzin laughed. “That’s what he said.”

It took Ben a second to realize Tenzin had actually made a joke, then he grimaced. “Delete!”

“I do not recognize voice signature for the current account,” Cara said. “Shall I log out Tenzin?”

“No,” Tenzin said. “Delete ‘All-natural male enhancement,’ Cara. Next message.”

“From Jonathan Rothwell. ‘Confirming details for upcoming travel.’”

“Save,” Tenzin said quickly, glancing at Ben. “I’ll read that later.”

He kept his eyes on his bookshelves. “You going to Shanghai?”

“I haven’t decided yet.”

Ben tried not to react. Jonathan Rothwell was the personal secretary for Cheng, an honest-to-goodness vampire pirate who ruled Shanghai. He was also Tenzin’s ex… something. Former lover? Current lover? Ben had met Cheng on the very first job he and Tenzin had done together four years before, but he still didn’t have an answer.

It’s none of your business. Ben said, “We don’t have anything on the schedule, so whatever you want to do.”

Ben decided to reorganize the art section of his bookshelves. He’d had the hardbacks arranged by color, but Tenzin had screwed it all up. He might as well reorganize according to style and period.

Tenzin called, “Cara, next message.”

“From René DuPont. ‘Think about it.’”

Ben’s head popped up and his eyes went wide. “What?”

“Cara,” Tenzin called, “move that one to the folder labeled René.”

“You have a folder labeled René?” Ben asked. “A folder?”

Tenzin shrugged. “Know your enemies and know yourself.”

“He tried to kill me last summer in Scotland. Several times.”

Tenzin squinted. “Did he really try to kill you though? I mean, you did steal a sword from him,” she pointed out. “A really valuable, legendary one.”

“One,” Ben said, “I didn’t steal it from him. He stole it from me after I found it. I just took it back. And two, he wanted that old vampire to drain me, so yes he tried to kill me.”

“Your points are valid.” She flipped through the magazine.

“Thank you. What does he want?”

“I don’t know. Do you want his email address?” Tenzin looked up. “He often sends me funny jokes. You might find them amusing.”

Ben blinked. “René DuPont, thief for hire and the vampire who tried to kill your partner, sends you spam emails and you don’t mind?”

“You know, I don’t think he was serious about killing you,” Tenzin said. “That’s just his sense of humor.”

Ben was half-tempted to ask her to forward René’s “funny jokes” just to find out what a sociopathic immortal thief found funny.

Then he remembered he lived with Tenzin.

René DuPont was part of a clan his uncle had strong ties with, so Ben didn’t want to pick a fight unless he had no other choice. He and Tenzin had come off their last confrontation with René looking like the winners and the reasonable party.

Ben smiled. René probably loathed that as much as he loathed Ben.

Or as much as he wanted Tenzin. René hadn’t been shy about expressing his admiration in that direction.

“You know what?” he said. “Never mind. Seeing that name in my inbox would just make my head explode. Tell me if you think he’s going to be in the US or if our paths are going to cross. That’s all I ask.”

“Okay. Cara, next message!” Tenzin yelled.

“From Novia O’Brien. Copied to Ben Vecchio. ‘Monthly meeting at Bat and Barrel?’”

Ben looked up. “Better read the whole thing. She’s been trying to pay off that favor for six months. She and Cormac are getting annoyed.”

“I don’t care,” Tenzin said. She dropped the magazine and flew back up to her loft. “It was a pair of opera glasses, but it wasn’t an easy retrieval. I’m not willing to waste a favor so they can mark it off their ledger. Let them be annoyed. Cara, read message.”

Cara read, “Good evening. Would love to meet and touch base with the two of you when you have a free night. Gavin’s new pub is getting good buzz. Saturday night at eleven work for you two?’”

Ben waited for Tenzin to look at him. “We need to throw them a bone.”

“I don’t understand the idiom,” Tenzin said. She turned her eyes and stared at the opposite wall, swinging one leg back and forth on the edge of her room.

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