15 February 1865

Caught between the romantic and nostalgic fantasy of Jackson Dereks and the demonic lust of Kadul and Kanarl, it is perhaps merely a compromise of physical needs that I went to bed with Remy Lafayette. While I awoke this morning with the same physical purity as I took to bed I shared with Remy, my mind is less so. Though I have taken care to limit certain aspects of my time in the employ of Kraken Moor in this journal, I am not following that path today when I say that I slipped into bed, our arms found each other’s back, our bodies pressed together, and after our hearts found common rhythm, sleep covered us as the bed’s final blanket.

We did not say a word to one another.

Remy was still nestled against me when I woke. The clock on the wall told me the time was after 8, which meant that Poseidon had taken a second shift in watching Julie. I had thought that perhaps he had entered my room and seen us entwined and thought the worst of me, but when I pulled on my brown leather pants, boots, and white shirt and went to relieve him of his duty, I found both the dark-skinned man and the vampiress missing.

A single moment was all that I was allowed to panic as the sounds of laughter and smells of sausage traveled up the stairs to greet me.

When I arrived in the kitchen, I found Poseidon and Julie laughing as if they were old friends.

Ah, Miss Sharper,” Julie said with a laugh and tilt of her head, “did you and Remy enjoy yourselves last night?”

I refused to blush, but evidently I was not successful as Julie and Poseidon found the reddening of my face very much amusing.

Breakfast?” Poseidon asked, plating sausage, apples, and bread with butter onto a white plate and setting it at the small table. He then plated an exact plate for himself and Julie and the three of us sat down as if it were the most normal of mornings.

Poseidon and Julie turned their humor back to the incident from yesterday, concentrating on what had happened to the vampiress. Neither of them could believe Remy had led the squid outside and the relating of that incident brought the morn’s good humor to an end.

What was he thinking?” Poseidon asked Julie. “I had thought him capable in battle but after the events of yesterday, can we trust him to see the mission through?”

I felt defensive for Remy, given that he was not here to defend himself, but I was also in no mood for another rebuke from Julie, so instead of defending her brother, I asked instead, “What mission?”

To blow up the Dolphinae house,” Poseidon said.

Blow it up?”

Poseidon nodded.

You disagree?” Julie asked.

At killing the progeny of the Kraken? No. But the Dolphinae house is but one in a row of houses. We cannot kill innocents in order to rid the world of the squid.”

Can’t we?” Julie asked, making a full correction in her seating so she could face me on her right. “Is not the world more important than 2 families?”

Is the world most important? Yes, but the option to sacrifice 2 families cannot be made until all other options have been exhausted.”

Other options?” Julie asked, amused. “Such as?”

Fire,” I replied. “It seems to me, though I do not, of course, have your experience with killing people, that using explosives to kill the squid is a very shortsighted idea.”

Really?” Julie asked, her smile growing. “And why is that?”

I raised from the table to place my plate in the sink. “Because there’s a hole at the bottom of the saltwater pool.” I made a show of turning back to her. “Or is the goal to send all of the squid into the River Thames?”

Poseidon smirked, and it was Julie’s turn to have her face run red with excess blood.

As he had stepped in to save my embarrassment earlier, the demon fighter now stepped in to save the Lafayette sister. “There is a steel gate at the bottom of the saltwater pool, Miss Sharper. Those squid aren’t going anywhere.”

Begging your pardon, Mr. Poseidon,” I replied confidently, “but even if the squid cannot open that gate, surely the Dolphinae can.”

Poseidon opened his mouth to rebuke me and then shut it. “Good thing my skin is too dark to run red,” he mumbled. He scratched his face and again I was struck by how he looked a decade younger than he had before he imbibed his concoction of herbs and liquor. Certainly, the bath he took in this house helped, but his graying hair had returned to black, and his wild hair that had been pulled back into a ponytail had been cut short, making his appearance much more palatable in the city. After a long thought, he continued slowly. “I believe we need a contingency plan,” he said slowly. “If the Dolphinae are still lost to their lust, blowing the house up is our best option,” he said, holding up a hand to still my response before I had time to offer it. “The houses on either side of the Dolphinae location are empty,” Poseidon assured me. “They own half of that street.” He continued with his plan. “If we find the Dolphinae are assisting the squid, fire is our best option.”

And what if we get there,” I asked, “and find the squid have already escaped into the river?”

Then we don’t have to waste our explosives trying to kill them,” Poseidon replied before shoveling the last of his bread into his mouth as a sour mood came back to the house.

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