Dark Moon (Chapter Thirty One)

We spent the rest of that night trying to discover something more about the , witchie wolves, even Lydia.

According to Nic, she existed, but he couldn't find out anything else about her, which made him nuts.

The man wouldn't get off the Internet. Around 3 a.m. I fell asleep on the couch, only to be awoken by Edward several hours later.

"Dawn approaches," he said. "Let us go and question the native woman."

Mr. Politically Incorrect. I was going to have to watch what he said to Lydia.

From the bloodshot appearance of Nic's eyes as the three of us climbed into Edward's Cadillac, he hadn't slept at all. Shortly after the sun rose, we reached Lydia's.

She stood on the porch as we climbed out of the car. The smirk on her face was disturbing. The way she stared at Edward even more so.

"Lydia," Edward said. "It has been a long time."

"Wait a second." I glanced from Edward to Lydia and back again. "You know Cora's granddaughter?"

Edward snorted. "She is no more Cora's granddaughter than she is mine."

"Who is she?" I asked.

"Lydia Lovell. A familiar."

"Familiar with what?"

"The werewolves." Edward made an exasperated sound and turned to me. "You know what a familiar is."

I did, but-how was I supposed to know Lydia was one?

Traditionally, familiars took the shape of black cats, dogs, or wolves, going places no human could go.

The concept of the helpful spirit being is believed to have originated with the totem animal guides of the shamans. However, since the werewolves were already animals, their familiars took the form of humans.

"She said she was training to become a Chippewa – "

" Chippewa?" Edward interrupted. "She said Chippewa?'

"Yes. Then no. She corrected herself. Why?"

"I've learned a few things from Cadotte, and no true Ojibwe would ever use the word Chippewa."

Nic pulled his gun and pointed it in Lydia's direction.

"Not yet," I murmured.

The gun didn't appear to make Lydia nervous, which only made me more so. Either she didn't plan on any of us living long enough to stop her, or her nefarious plan was too far along to thwart.

Was there a door number 3?

"Herr Mandenauer is right. I work for the werewolves. But soon they will work for me."

"You're raising a witchie wolf army," I said.

Lydia inclined her head.

"But how? You aren't a werewolf."

"Are you certain?"

"Yes," I said firmly, even as my mind doubted.

One thing I'd learned as a J��ger-Sucher, the rules applied only until someone or something changed them.

"You don't sound very confident. But I've spent a lot of time and money to make all of you doubt what you know and who you trust."

Money? The light went on in my head.

"You bought information from the traitor."

Lydia laughed. "There isn't any traitor – or at least not in the technical sense of the word. None of your own betrayed you."

Good to know. Really set my mind at ease.

"If not one of us, then who?"

"Do not waste your time," Edward said. "She will not tell us." Edward turned his attention to Lydia. "I am afraid your lover is dead. Will that destroy your plans, I hope?"

"My plans are right on schedule."

"You wanted Basil dead?" I asked.

"Not particularly. He was an incredible lay. He'd do anything I wanted, anywhere. All day, all night. The boy was amazing."

"Way too much information," Nic muttered.

"He follows orders amazingly well. 'Kill Dr. Hanover,' I said. Next thing I know –  bam, bam.'"

"Actually, it was just bam for him, right, Nic?"

"Yeah. Then he ran away like a girl."

"Hey!" I protested.

"Sorry. How about we try bam-bam on Miss Familiar?"

Lydia laughed again. Why did she find Nic's threats of shooting her so amusing? Maybe she couldn't be shot.

"Why is she so smug, Edward?"

I needed to know what I was facing before I could face it with any sort of strength. Even then…

I glanced at the sun sparkling through the trees. I wasn't going to be able to do much damage at this time of day.

"Lydia is a descendant of Gypsies," Edward answered.

"Romania, tambourines, fortune-telling Gypsies?" Nic asked.

Lydia snorted at the same time Edward said, "Hardly. Gypsies are the traditional companions of werewolves. Familiars. They protect them and in turn are paid handsomely."

"You didn't know this?" Nic asked me.

"I knew."

"Gypsy? Werewolves? You weren't a little suspicious?"

"She said she was Ojibwe. Why shouldn't I believe her?"

"You couldn't tell the difference?"

"Have you ever seen a Gypsy?"

"I'm not sure."

"Exactly. They're a little hard to peg in the wild."

"There are very few with pure Gypsy blood left," Edward said.

"Why is that?" Nic inched forward; I elbowed him back. Who knew what kind of powers she had?

"Hitler killed four hundred thousand in his death camps," Lydia snapped. "He labeled us nonhuman."

"I hate it when that happens," I muttered.

Lydia shot me a glare. "Mengele loved to experiment on the Gypsies as well as the Jews. When he concocted monsters, he made them from bits and pieces of other things."

"His werewolves have Gypsy blood," I guessed, and Lydia dipped her chin in acknowledgment. "But if they're your cousins or brothers. Children… whatever – "

"You say they as if you aren't one of them."

"Fine, if we're related, then why do you want to rule us?"

"Someone has to. If the werewolves banded together, had a leader with half a brain at the helm, someone who didn't get distracted by a demon, or the full moon, or blood on the breeze, they could become so much more than what they are."

Edward had always feared just such an occurrence. If all the werewolves joined forces, what was to prevent every other monster from doing the same? Pretty soon people would be in the minority – if they weren't already.

We had to stop her. If only we knew what she was up to.

Why did she need a witchie wolf army? What could they do? More importantly: How could we kill them?

Hard to say. Hard to ask, too, since I doubted she'd tell us.

"Why get rid of Basil?" I pressed. "Especially if he was so gifted."

"Well hung, you mean?"

I hadn't but… I shrugged.

"I didn't kill him."

"I did."

That voice. It couldn't be.

I turned toward the sound just as a figure stepped from the woods and pressed a gun to Edward's temple.

Oh, jeez! Oh, shit! Oh, hell!