"So," I continued, "are you going to take us to him or not?"

Thoughts I couldn't read churned behind his eyes. No doubt he was scheming about how he could work this to his advantage, probably figuring out how to escape us before we even reached Robert. It was what I would have done.

"Las Vegas," Victor said at last. "We need to go to Las Vegas."

Chapter Eight

AFTER THE BITCHING I'D DONE to Abe about always going to remote, crappy places, I should have been excited about the prospect of going to Sin City. Alas, I had a few reservations about my next epic trip. First of all, somewhere like Las Vegas was the last place I would expect a semi-crazy recluse to be. From the bits and pieces I'd heard, Robert had dropped off the radar and wanted to be alone. A busy, tourist-filled city didn't really fit that description. Second, cities like that were perfect feeding grounds for Strigoi. Crowded. Reckless. Low inhibitions. Very easy for people to disappear--especially when most of them were out at night.

Part of me was certain it had to be a trick on Victor's part, but he swore up and down that it was true. So, with no other leads, Las Vegas became our next destination. We didn't have much time to debate the matter anyway, knowing the guardians would be searching Fairbanks for us. Admittedly, Lissa's charms had altered our appearances enough that they wouldn't be looking for people with our descriptions. They knew what Victor looked like, though, so the sooner we were out of Alaska, the better.

Unfortunately, we had a slight problem.

"Victor has no ID," said Eddie. "We can't take him on a plane."

It was true. All of Victor's possessions had been seized by prison authorities, and in the midst of disabling surveillance and taking out half a dozen guardians, we'd hardly had time to go searching for his personal stuff. Lissa's compulsion was phenomenal, but she was exhausted after wielding so much at the prison. Besides, guardians would likely be watching the airport.

Our "friend" Bud the car rental guy provided the solution. He hadn't been thrilled to see his car returned with all the scratches from Eddie's daredevil driving, but enough cash had finally stopped the human's muttering about "renting to a bunch of kids." It was Victor who thought of an alternative plan and suggested it to Bud.

"Is there a private airport nearby? With flights we might charter?"

"Sure," said Bud. "But it won't be cheap."

"It's not an issue," I said.

Bud eyed us askance. "Did you guys rob a bank or something?"

No, but we were packing a lot of currency. Lissa had a trust fund that doled her out monthly money until she was eighteen, as well as a high-limit credit card. I had a credit card of my own, leftover from when I'd sweet-talked Adrian into funding my Russian trip. I'd let go of the rest of my assets, like the huge bank account he'd set up. But, wrong or not, I'd decided to keep one card on hand, just in case of emergency.

This was certainly an emergency, so we used the card to pay for part of the private plane's cost. The pilot couldn't take us as far as Las Vegas, but he could take us to Seattle, where he was able to connect us with another pilot he knew who could go the rest of the way. More money.

"And Seattle again," I mused, just before the plane took off. The little jet's interior had a set of four seats, two on each side facing each other. I sat next to Victor, and Eddie sat across from him. We figured that was the best protective configuration.

"What about Seattle?" asked Eddie, puzzled.

"Never mind."

Little private jets aren't nearly as fast as big commercial ones, and our trip took a large part of the day. During it, I continued asking Victor about his brother's role in Las Vegas and finally got the answer I wanted. Victor would have had to tell us eventually, but I think he'd gotten a sadistic thrill out of prolonging the answer.

"Robert doesn't live in Las Vegas proper," he explained. "He has a small house--a cabin, I suppose--out by Red Rock Canyon, miles outside the city."

Ah. Now that was more what I'd expected. Lissa stiffened at the mention of a cabin, and I felt unease through the bond. When Victor had kidnapped her, he'd taken her to a cabin in the woods and tortured her there. I gave her as reassuring a look as I could. It was times like these I wished the bond worked both ways so that I could truly send her comfort.

"So we'll go out there?"

Victor snorted. "Certainly not. Robert values his privacy too much. He wouldn't let strangers come to his home. But he'll come to the city if I ask."

Lissa eyed me. Victor could be setting us up. He had lots of supporters. Now that he's out, he could call them instead of Robert to meet us.

I gave her a tiny nod, again wishing I could respond back through the bond. I'd thought of this as well. It was imperative we never leave Victor alone to make unsupervised calls. And actually, this plan to meet in Las Vegas itself made me feel better. For our own safety from Victor's henchmen, it was better to be in the city than out in the middle of nowhere.

"Seeing as I've been so helpful," said Victor, "I have the right to know what you want with my brother." He glanced at Lissa. "Looking for spirit lessons? You had to have done some excellent investigative work to find out about him."

"You have no right to know about our plans," I retorted sharply. "And seriously? If you're keeping track of who's been the most helpful here, we are totally beating you on the score-card. You've got a ways to go to catch up after what we did at Tarasov."

Victor's only response was a small smile.

Some of our flight time took place at night, which meant it was early morning when we landed in Las Vegas. The safety of sunlight. I was surprised to see how crowded the airport was. The private one in Seattle had had a fair amount of planes, but the Fairbanks airport had nearly been deserted. This strip was chock-full of little jets, many of them screaming "luxury." I shouldn't have been surprised. Las Vegas was the playground of celebrities and other wealthy people, many of whom probably couldn't lower themselves to fly commercial with ordinary passengers.

There were taxis there, sparing us the ordeal of another rental car. But when the driver asked us where we were going, we all stayed silent. I turned to Victor.

"The middle of the city, right? The Strip?"

"Yes," he agreed. He'd been certain Robert would want to meet strangers somewhere very public. Somewhere he could easily flee.

"The Strip's a big place," said the driver. "You got any place in particular or should I just drop you off in the middle of the street?"

Tags: Richelle Mead Vampire Academy Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
Articles you may like