Over the next few days, Sanguis mostly sat on the bed and read the book. His only complaint about the accommodations was that the pillow was a bit too soft for his taste, and the fact that he was bleeding everywhere and it was slippery.
Valerie came to visit him often. From this, he learned several things.
First, that Valerie was clumsy around large amounts of blood… or always. It was hard to tell, since he had always have large amounts of blood around him. She slipped several times. Eventually, she brought a bucket and mop so that he could clean up.
Second, there was an armed guard outside. They wouldn’t talk to Sanguis when he tried, so he gave up eventually.
Third, that he could use magic when the door was open. All he did was move some of the blood to different parts on the floor, subtly, but he wanted to know what it was that stopped him, and it appeared to be something about full containment in this room.
Fourth, that the vampires weren’t sure what to do with him. They’d found nothing directly suspicious about him in their investigation, which surprised Sanguis not at all, since he really had been quite normal. The bullets were recognizably from a specific group of hunters, and him being shot helped corroborate his story. However, the fact that he could read the blood magic book was an oddity, as well as the fact that he hadn’t died of blood loss. Blood mages were somewhat of a wildcard in the politics of this society where magic and vampires were real. For some reason, though, they let him keep the book, and Valerie could visit him as much as she wanted.
Valerie came to visit a lot, actually. Although she didn’t have much new to tell him each visit, she stayed around after, and read books on her tablet. At the same time, Sanguis read about blood magic. He didn’t really understand the mechanics behind blood magic. He understood how to move blood around, and that the blood itself was converted to energy, but it was hard to visualize what the various magical arrays did… especially since he couldn’t test them.
Valerie stayed a long time, and Sanguis was pretty sure she only left when her tablet’s battery died. On the third day, Sanguis asked, “Don’t you have work or something to be at?”
“Not anymore. Since the hunters found my apartment, they could easily find my job. Why, do you want me to leave?”
So, they read in silence, mostly. She sat at the end of the bed, since there wasn’t anywhere else good to sit and the floor was pretty much covered in blood. Sanguis had gotten sloppy on the cleaning.
The sound that woke Sanguis was a small thud, like someone stomping their foot, perhaps. He was a bit groggy, but he could think of any number of things it could be. Someone dropping something, for example. He didn’t really have to guess for long, though, as the door opened up, and someone he’d never met entered his room. He didn’t really think of it as a cell, with all the spare room. He may have been a bit abnormal, in that regard. Not that Sanguis knew what normal blood mages were like.
This new man, likely a vampire, made Sanguis cringe immediately. He could just feel something wrong with him. Although, there were a couple more compelling reasons to be uneasy. First was that Sanguis could still see a little bit of the guard outside the door, just his arm, but it shouldn’t have been on the floor in front of the door. It was still presumably attached to the guard, though. Likely, he’d been knocked out by this vampire, who had a truncheon… or maybe just a club. Sanguis wasn’t sure on the exact difference.
The vampire sneered, making it obvious that he wasn’t human. His canines were quite long. “So, you’re that blood mage spy. Nobody’s killed you yet, for some reason. We’ll have to change that.”
Sanguis wasn’t sure why anybody would bother talking to someone they were going to kill. It seemed… inefficient. Sanguis wasn’t always efficient. In fact, he usually hesitated about everything, including interactions with people. Even now, he put his hand in his right pocket, with a hesitant look on his face.
The vampire didn’t spend too long sneering, and soon jumped into an attack. He slipped a little bit on the blood, though. Sanguis just hadn’t cared that it was all over the floor, but now he was glad. It gave him enough time to block the truncheon. Not with his arm of course, because he liked it being not broken. He just used some more blood, since it was everywhere.
Sanguis always hesitated, both in action and with interactions with people. At least, until the last few days. He’d interacted with Valerie, if not normally, at least confidently. Here, too, he would act. At the same time he blocked, his right hand came out of his pocket, and tossed something into the stupid, open mouth of the vampire. It was reflexively swallowed.
Sanguis didn’t like pain. He didn’t like being in pain, but he also didn’t like others being in pain. Generally, he would prioritize himself over others. In this case, though, he almost regretted it. The screaming was horrible, and the vampire instantly doubled over, face contorted in agony. Then, he finally threw up the silver bullet, and passed out. Sanguis was glad. Not necessarily that the vampire seemed to have survived, but that he stopped screaming.
Sanguis immediately went to check the guard. While the guard hadn’t said anything to him, he had no grudge against the guard. In fact, he knew it was quite likely they were there to protect him as well as to watch him. He found them, looking relatively unharmed, not that he was a doctor. He felt for a pulse. Then, he panicked. No pulse. The guard was dead. Sanguis wasn’t sure what to do. He quickly took off running down the hall. It hurt, because he hadn’t realized how much running involved moving his upper body, which still had bullet holes.
He rounded a corner and saw another guard. “Quick! That guy… my guard needs help!” He immediately ran back the way he came. The other guard ran after him. Sanguis wasn’t sure if he was following or chasing, but he didn’t really care right now. He stopped in front of his room and pointed to the guard on the floor. “Someone hit him and broke into my room, and now he doesn’t have a pulse!”
The other guard, weapon out, had obviously been chasing Sanguis, but then he paused with a puzzled look on his face. He stopped, tilted his head and said, “Why would he have a pulse?”
Sanguis slowly let out his breath, thinking for a second. “I guess… maybe he wouldn’t?”
At the same time, the guard groaned, and reached for his head, before rolling over onto his back and looking around.
“Yo, you okay?” Sanguis grinned down at him. “The guy who knocked you out is in here.” Sanguis gestured into his room, then stepped inside. He looked at his assailant, but there was no sign of movement. Sanguis stealthily retrieved the bullet, and pocketed it again. He’d certainly been a lot more proactive in the last week.
The guards came into the room to see Sanguis sitting on his bed. The room guard rolled over the body. “Yep, that’s him. Boris.” He held his head. “Cracked my head real good.”
After that, the guards cuffed the vampire on the floor, and then one of them, presumably, went to get some people with authority who could help figure out what to do next.