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How To Deal With A Demon

Japan

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a part of How To Deal With A Demon, by βəəlzəβ∩β.

The country of Japan.

βəəlzəβ∩β holds sovereignty over Japan, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Japan

The country of Japan.

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Japan is a part of How To Deal With A Demon.

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Molyneux [86] A Sour Demon
Eris Jones [86] A Reluctant Demon
Masaru [0] "Well, I'm here now."

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"She certainly might. And maybe I'll get a chance to patrol with him after dark, see if that reveals anything. From what you're saying it sounds like he might somehow be affected by emotions, but an argument could be made that he is just uncomfortable with them, and his dislike of humans makes it worse."

Her stomach growled. "And on that note, I'd better make myself some dinner." She carefully put the book on the counter far away from the cutting boards and any chance of a spill, and washed her hands. It was a fairly early dinner, but when her stomach called, she answered. Getting out the ingredients she'd purchased with her food allowance from the cupboard and fridge, she started to chop herbs and marinate a few breasts of chicken, adding a few more for good measure. "You can have some, if you're hungry, I really don't mind."

As the chicken sauteed, she wondered aloud, "A demon that doesn't smell like a demon, doesn't act like a demon, doesn't hunger like a demon... either he's much better at blending in than any I've ever seen, or he's simply a species that the book might not have." She shrugged, her back to Chou as she added more spices to the pan, and a little oil. "But I'm new to all this, so there could be subtle things I'm missing."

The sound of heels clacking on the ground preceded the appearance of Lilith, who peered critically in the cupboards and the fridge.
"It looks like you two got everything," she said slowly, double checking, "but if I find anything missing, there will be another trip in it for the two of you. A nasty one." She looked sternly at Eris, who smiled anxiously.

"We did our best!"

Lilith still didn't look welcoming, but from what she'd heard about her, Eris assumed she was just one of those people that really took a while to warm up to people. Gathering her courage, Eris ventured, "I know it's not exactly... kosher, but is there any way you might be able to give me a few clues as to what kind of demon Molyneux is?"

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Chou barely moved when the steely-eyed witch took account of their stock, long since having learned that it was far better to stand at attention and say nothing until she was done. He only gave a concerned look to the other girl when Eris dared ask their manager about the boss, at one point unknowingly holding his breath for a brief second or two, maybe slightly longer.

The woman dropped her head sideways. ”And why would you want to know that?” She quickly asked and gazed at the horned figure, instantly doubting whatever excuse she’d give for such a question. However, out of curiosity, Lily leaned in a bit closer, hands set against her hips. ”It isn’t very proper to go talking about people behind their backs, more so when they’re paying your wage.”

Chou gulped. ”It’s cool I swear! The boss said we could, he’s down with it! But we’re just not having any luck so far...”

The witch blinked, as if unsure of how to digest the situation. ”I swear,” she huffed, crossing an arm and holding her head in her other hand, ”Molyneux is old enough to know better, and so are you two. What a lame game! Honestly.” Was she the only serious adult left in the world, or frankly just this bar alone? She was the manager, though half the time if felt as if she were managing children, not a business!

”...So will ya help us?” Chou encouraged, sounding hopeful.

She narrowed her eyes, ever so slightly biting her lower lip. ”What’s it worth?”

”What?”

The witch grinned wickedly. ”If you’re good at something never do it for free,” she advised the pair in a somewhat wise, though taunting tone, ”and if you have the info, never give it for a fools price. Understand me?”

They’d do well to remember that snippet, as Chou already was. However the boy had deliberately resisted the effort of informing the witch that upon uncovering the boss’s species they’d all get a raise, at least those who weren’t the boss or manager. Furthermore, Chou also made a mental note to ensure that neither he nor Eris was around once Lily found out that small part of the challenge – for she would for sure flip at the expenses!

”You both can repay me in some way later,” she promised them, running a hand through one of her long ponytails, as if pondering over the matter at great length. ”One thing to know is that old demons tend to have much longer and colourful histories... they’ve done and seen more than any of us, and since one such demon happens to be our boss, and hasn’t eaten nor hurt us, it’s fair to say that we’re safe around him otherwise.” Lily pointed out with a confident nod. Although, while it may have only been her own opinion, in a way it made sense, and certainly the witch was more observant than either of the pair and so she would notice such things.

”Think about it,” she urged them, ”he hasn’t mistreated us, yet he isn’t exactly a lover of all things living and breathing,” the witch took a few steps about the room, though made sure to keep her voice low and heard only by the two accompanying her, ”which means he’s a demon like any other and nothing less. He’s demon, but for whatever reason grudgingly accepts everything around him despite not actually wanting to... and whatever powers he has, he chooses not to ever use them.”

Chou exchanged glances between the two women. ”So?”

”So? It’s unheard-of right? What demon wouldn’t use their powers for any reason?” She hissed back at the boy, and then to the girl. ”Does it look as if anything or anyone is stopping him?” It was food for thought definitely. The witch raised an eyebrow at the pair, hoping to stir some productive thought in both their clueless minds. ”You learn more from observing a demon than you do when just guessing what they are. I’ve studied most demons around these parts, purely as a hobby though sometimes even the Council require some assistance, go figure.”

Admittedly, Lily was shamelessly prideful of that fact. She then noticed something. ”Are you two having... dinner? At this time? I—never mind, I’ll overlook it this time if you make sure to not tell Molyneux that I’m secretly studying him. Otherwise you’ll both find yourselves roasting in a pot, got it?”

They didn’t need to answer, especially judging by Chou’s anxious face; the witch knew they’d keep it sealed behind their lips. ”Oh, and to answer you more correctly. Demons of all kinds need to eat to survive, right?” She answered, ironically with another question, but still. ”He doesn’t eat humans, I know that. So just find out what else he doesn’t want to eat and sooner or later you’ll discover what he actually wants to devour. Human food can only fulfill a demon so much, you understand that, don’t you Eris?”


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Eris listened carefully to Lilith’s harsh words, trying to discern what she could from the witch’s “clues.” To say they were not quite helpful was an exaggeration, but it was true, very little came free and trying to ascertain a demon’s species by asking them or others around them was not exactly the done thing, even with Molyneux’ permission. It was understandable that she might be upset by it, and annoyed at their presumption. Not too annoyed to give them a little help, but trying to parse out what it meant would take some thinking.

She had already been thinking along the lines of what Molyneux might be using for true nourishment, and Lilith’s confirmation just made her that much more determined to figure that part out. What a demon ate usually made the demon, but she’d been over this before—Molyneux ate very little human food, and didn’t seem to consume much of anything else.

Eris grinned at her, sharp teeth on full display. “True, but we both know the consequences if I mess up, both morally and with the Council. Trust me, ma’am, I’m not going to be doing anything to bring myself to their attention.” And there are ways to get what I need, without the Council’s knowing, if it comes to that, a dark part of her thought, but she banished it quickly. It might take some time to come to that point, and who knows what might happen between now and then?

“It’s possible that an old demon, given what Lilith said, wouldn’t need to eat as much,” Eris commented quietly to Chou in the kitchen, eating quickly. Lilith had seemed displeased at the early hour, but it was Eris’ food, and it wasn’t like she was on the clock. She doubted the witch would actually object to Eris making sure that she was at least sated, most of the time, given how many humans came in and out of the bar. “Obviously I need more time observing Molyneux—are you sure you haven’t seen anything like him “eating” the non-human stuff?”

Chou shook his head. “Molyneux keeps to himself, mostly, and if he eats anything like that I haven’t seen it.”

Eris sighed. “No wonder he wasn’t worried about betting a raise on this. It’s going to be much harder than I thought.”

The kitchen was quickly cleaned and, as there were no leftovers (anything left went into Eris’ near bottomless stomach, Chou noted, amused by someone who could eat more than most demons he’d seen), and with her shift done for the day, she went back to Molyneux’ office.

“Do you have anything else for me today, boss?” Eris asked, knowing that she was examining him more than usual but unable to help it.

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”Don’t just wander in here,” he scolded the girl, ”you never know what I could be doing. Knock first.” The man insisted on that last bit, he was ever so secretive after all. But of course before answering Eris’s question there was something else on his mind first.

”So, had any success?” Molyneux inquired, and by the way he phrased the question you could tell that he knew, just somehow, that the pair hadn’t had much. And no, he wasn’t psychic. But the man wasn’t blind either and could tell that Eris viewed him differently, as one would expect. He silently welcomed the added attention, but Molyneux couldn’t tell whether the small insecurity he felt meant that he simply found the gaze irritating, or if he was fearful of unintentionally giving something away without fully knowing it. ”And no, you’re done for today. Do whatever you want.”

On his desk lay a single sheet of paper with many words and numbers and a distinct signature scribbled on the bottom along a dotted line; clearly someone’s written approval over whatever it was. It was official in appearance seemingly, and Molyneux had been studying it sometime prior to Eris’s intrusion. ”I have to go out tonight. There’s some business that requires my attention and I’ll need to do some patrolling too,” he told her, leaning back in his seat and wheeling himself back a few paces from the desk. Only then did it appear that the man got an idea; his chair creaking at that instant. ”Interested? That is... if you’re not too hungry.”

Admittedly he wasn’t in the habit of taking company with him on these outings. For one thing there was the risk factor, and then there was the fact that Eris was completely new to this sort of thing, as far as he knew. ”You don’t have to, and I’m not begging.” He huffed, dragging himself out of the chair. Taking the paper and folding it neatly twice, he slid it into his pocket for safe keeping. ”But if you’re wanting to come then meet me down stairs, otherwise get out of my office. You’ve said your piece already.” He excused the girl with a flick of his hand at that moment, apparently desiring his privacy for whatever reason, but likely it was to gather whatever bits and pieces he’d need for the outing.


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"Sorry." Eris said, her pale skin flushing. Every time she turned around it felt like she was offending him. He wasn't exactly an easy person to become friendly with. Then again, to be fair, she had only been in Japan for a handful of days. It felt like longer, but it wasn't as if she was so charming that a demon who was naturally defensive and reticent to immediately open up to her.

"Not really," she admitted, staying near the door as to not disturb him any further than she already was. "You're quite the puzzle, and although my book is helpful, it's not like it's magical," she added with a chuckle. "But we haven't give up yet!"

Eris grinned eagerly. "Definitely! I've already eaten and I have snacks, so I'll be just fine. And I have money, so I can pick something up on the way if I have to." She knew she sounded overly defensive, but she couldn't help it. Not only was this a chance to learn more about Molyneux' species, but also about the city. And an opportunity to get some energy out away from the constant press of humanity. Hopefully whatever job he had in mind was challenging, that would be fun.

"Oh, ok. I'll meet you downstairs then." Eris hurried out of the office before he could change his mind, pulling a hairband from her pocket so that she could put her hair up into a ponytail as she walked and use another to get it into a bun at the base of her neck. If they were doing anything risky, she didn't want her hair in the way, although the few chunks of hair that escaped on each side of her face were annoying they weren't exactly as easy to be grabbed as the entire mass of it.

Almost bouncing in her impatience, a grin still pinned on her face, Eris waited for Molyneux. There weren't many in the bar, another slow weeknight meaning mostly quiet murmurs and clinking glasses. A small backpack she'd snatched from her room on the way down held snacks, the cheap burner phone the Council had sent with her, and a few other odds and ends. No weapons, unfortunately. The Council certainly wouldn't trust her with anything like that, although she wasn't sure if it was an actual rule... perhaps something to ask her "parole officer" about?

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Before Molyneux could even utter another word the girl had already bounced off out the door, seemingly thrilled to be invited along on his patrol. Honestly he hadn’t seen anyone as eager before however this was a first as certainly not many, if anyone rarely got asked to come along in the first place. Molyneux could only wonder if he had just made a great mistake or not in asking Eris to join him? Well. Trying not to overly thinking about it for now he gathered up a few things from about the room as he moved, though mostly small items that fitted nicely into the confined depths of his pockets. He did, after all, travel lightly.

When all was done the man left the comfort of his office and made ways downstairs, albeit just a touch more slowly, if only to annoyingly drag out the girls impatientness when spotting Eris waiting for him by the door. Again, she was so eager to go. Molyneux hadn’t the foggiest why though, had she been so deprived of something in her life that hanging around him was actually deemed exciting? Who knows. ”Got everything?” He asked with a sigh to the girl when approaching, despite partly knowing the answer already.

He couldn’t quite shake off the feeling that he was still dealing with a child, more so considering what he was about to say next. ”If you’re really set on coming along then you’ll have to do as I say, got it?” Molyneux asked, or rather told the girl clearly. His seemingly dull expression unfaltering. ”And don’t wander off, or talk to weirdos, or touch anything you shouldn’t,” he further insisted and shoved both hands into his coat pockets, ”and just think before you do anything.”

With that small debriefing done the half-demon was quick to venture out the door at once, knowing that the bar was in the capable hands of the manager during his absence. Waiting outside for Eris, once the girl caught up he immediately made his way down the walkway, thankful that it was late and that very few were still out and about at this hour. ”We’re going to visit a woman,” he informed Eris at his side, figuring it best to let the horn-girl know, ”her child’s gone amiss, something like that. The Council don't want some uncontrollable young demon running loose in a city with humans, which is why visiting the mother is our first lead.”


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Eris saluted, only half-sarcastically. "I will follow your lead, boss." She wondered, though, who exactly classified as a "weirdo"? She wouldn't call either of them normal, but it wouldn't be too hard just to follow orders and keep her mouth shut, right? ..... right? Grimacing to herself behind Molyneux' back, she resolved to at least talk a bit less and ignore strangers. Mostly ignore strangers?

Yeah this was going to work out well.

Eris followed Molyneux out the door, listening carefully. "Sounds like a good cause, especially if the child has any obvious demon traits. What kind of demon is it?"

It was dark outside, but Eris' vision adjusted easily enough. The moon was a slim crescent, deepening the shadows between streetlights and garish store signs. The streets were fairly busy, but once they got on the subway and off again in an unfamiliar section of town, it was much quieter. There were still street lights, but instead of shops there were small houses. The Japanese suburbs, she supposed, row after row of houses that were largely similar. Here and there a few people walked down the sidewalks, giving stray glances to the strangers, but it was a stark contrast from the bustle of the area around the bar.

The hairs on Eris' neck stood straight up. She wasn't used to the thick almost-silence of the neighborhood surrounding them, and it was making her paranoid. She trusted her instincts, but she also knew that her instincts naturally distrusted areas when what her idea of "normal" background noise was absent. But, she thought as she delicately sniffed, it also might be that there were quite a few demons in the general vicinity, and that hadn't usually meant good things for her in the past.

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”A werewolf pup by all accounts,” he answered simply, recalling the details given in the original request file. Judging from it, and what Molyneux could deduce, the child in question was of a higher class demon and similarly his mother one might have guessed.

By the time they arrived in the quiet suburbs, the half-demon calmly retrieved the letter from his pocket and immediately glanced over its details to seek out the much needed address. He knew they were in the right area without doubt however the houses were uncannily similar in appearance, giving little in the way of individuality. ”This way,” Molyneux urged when turning and heading down a darkened lane, the shadows of the homes nearby looming over the usually pleasant pathway that was otherwise dead and devoid of presence. ”She ought to live in one of the houses down nearer the end, or so our instructions suggest.” It wasn’t too unheard of for the Council to give the man the occasional runaround from time to time, mostly for his attitude, but in this instance he figured it wasn’t a joke and would follow it as instructed.

”Keep up would you,” Molyneux huffed when sensing the girls uneasiness. Truthfully it wasn’t hard to and her face said it all, practically giving herself away. ”Stray too far one way and something might grab you from the shadows,” he wasn’t joking either quite frankly, ”there’s a reason very few walk these paths at this hour, you know. It’s no surprise that the kid’s missing.” Admittedly the half-demon grinned just ever so slightly at that statement, in part just to tease the horned-girl most likely.

Luckily there was a home on the end corner that stood out from the rest, its windows still aglow with the light from within. No doubt the woman had been made aware of their visit beforehand and was waiting up for them, perhaps desperately, to see if her child could be found before morning. ”So, you’re a woman aren’t you?” Molyneux almost sounded doubtful of that fact when casting a look to the girl as they approached the house. ”Think you can handle an anxious mother?”

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Eris smiled faintly, taking his words at face value. "True. Although I would hope most demons would hesitate to take a child, I know that could be naive."

She scoffed. "Sure, I'll try that, but I warn you, I'm not really used to socializing with women, I've typically had male friends."

Walking up to the door, she knocked politely. A woman, appearing human other than the smell of what Eris could only label some kind of canine, appeared as the door opened to reveal her face and a small portion of her body. Her eyes were red and swollen with tears, overwhelming her small face. No bigger than Eris herself, which didn't mean much when it came to demons, she still looked helpless.

"Hello?" She said, her voice wavering and thin."Who are you?"

"Good evening," Eris said, trying for a reassuring smile--no teeth as a matter of course, attempting to go for as friendly as a horned girl could. "We've been sent to see if we can do anything to help," she looked down the street, assuming that even in a largely demon neighborhood there might be interfering mortal ears.

"Oh." The woman looked uncertain, examining them, and reluctantly opened the door wider. "Come in."

Eris walked in, taking off her shoes in the entryway and stepping up onto the floor in her socks, following the woman to a small living room. The house was well furnished and coordinated, almost as if from a magazine, with details here and there that pointed towards an affluent family.

"I'm Eris Jones, and you are?" She left Molyneux to introduce himself. Or not, as she was unsure how he usually handled these situations.

"Ahhh," the woman looked discomfited. "I'm Mrs. Kobayashi."

"I realize this is a difficult situation, but we need to know as much as we can about what happened if we are to help you find your child. Could you tell us what happened, from the beginning, please?"

Mrs. Kobayashi shifted in her seat. "This morning I took my daughter to school. Natsuko, that's her name, but we call her Suki. And I..." her voice trailed off as she wiped her eyes with a wad of tissues clenched in her other hand, sniffling a little, but managing to hold herself together. "After school, I picked her up, and we went for a run. There's a patch of woods not too far from here, and, well, with our young it's best that they get a run in as much as possible. It helps them keep from, well, changing anything. And we were in the woods, and we were there longer than I'd planned, and it was getting dark, but she was having so much fun, and I..." she caught her breath on a sob, "I wanted her to have a bit of fun before she started on her homework. She has a lot more this year and I hate to see her cooped up inside too long." She covered her mouth, fighting sobs again.

"We understand," Eris soothed. It's completely understandable."

Mrs. Kobayashi collected herself and went on. "We were heading back towards the car, when all of a sudden, Suki disappeared. I thought she'd just gone behind the trees, so I went to look, but she was just ... gone. And I searched and searched for her scent trail, but I was never trained, and it was hours before my mate came, and--" she breathed in, shakily, covering her face again. A man came out of the back, his clothes in disorder.

"I've searched and searched," he said wearily. "I can't find anything." He looked suspiciously at the strangers, with an edge of resentment. "And I don't know that the Council," he spat out, "can do anything at all to help us."

Eris smiled again, trying for sincere. "We will do our best, sir. We are highly motivated to find your daughter, and as quickly as possible. Do you have anything with her scent on it, a strong one?"

He sneered. "If I couldn't find her trail, I highly doubt you can, whatever you are." His wife caught his arm, and he acquiesced to her pleading glare. He left for a moment, and returned with her backpack.

"This should do it." Tossing it at her, he returned to his wife's side. Whatever mates meant in this particular type of werewolf demon, it seemed to be a deep connection. From her reading, however, it did not mean a mystical connection of any sort that might extend to children, giving them another way to track lost loved ones, which was unfortunate.

Eris took a deep sniff. She wasn't trained in tracking, not really, but she'd followed scent before. It had even saved her life a few times, so she was unwilling to skip even the smallest advantage they might have in their pursuit of the child. Poor thing.

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Molyneux was the last to make his way into the home, although honestly he didn't particularly desire to focus on the blubbering woman for too long nor find himself too close to her in-case the woman clung to him. Mothers, you know? In-fact the half-demon didn’t dare tread much further than the entryway with that thought in mind and on top of simply wanting to keep his shoes on, the man could still hear perfectly well from where he remained and thus there wasn’t much reason to venture further in. Eris was there anyway and Molyneux was making good use of her. Besides comforting others wasn’t his specialty, or rather he just didn’t put much effort into that aspect.

Keenly eavesdropping on the entirety of the conversation between the girl and the mother, the half-demon silently lingered with his hands in his pockets; only listening to the subtle details exchanged. Honestly, he couldn’t help but roll his eyes a little with the woman’s consistent tearing up. In a way he blamed her, but voicing such opinion would only lead to trouble, more so as Molyneux distinctly heard another entering, which was revealed to be the woman’s partner. So the child had both parents? Yet neither could protect it nor prevent the kidnapping, which piped at the man’s intrigue quite a bit.

Listening for just a little longer though Molyneux believed that they had exhausted all leads that could be pulled from the couple, which was neither good nor bad. Parents were always a risk; they were too emotionally involved for one and in most cases they usually hid something, whether they deliberately meant to lie or not. The half-demon knew from experience to accept their words with a pinch of salt, even if these two in particular seemed genuine enough. The man wasn’t going to fall to it so easily, not until they had more answers and fewer questions and a solid lead towards the child’s whereabouts.

With that in mind the half-demon made his own way out the door again without barely a goodbye uttered to the group, and soon found himself out on the pathway once more. It was dark and cold and unnervingly quiet. Molyneux hunched his shoulders up a bit when feeling an unwelcomed breeze rush down his neck. If he was feeling the bitterness, what was the missing child feeling? He tried not to care that much, after all it wasn’t exactly his own child out there, was it? In times like this the half-demon was pleasantly content in the knowing he wasn’t a father to anyone, and thus wasn’t obligated to express such concern.

He waited outside for Eris, who was presumably still talking with the mother and father and rounding off the need-to-know stuff. Molyneux wasn’t sure why the council appointed him to do these types of cases as he obviously wasn’t best suited for it, and the only qualification the half-demon had was his knack for eventually “getting the bad guys” as some put it. Did that actually count? Shaking his head slightly and looking to the sky, he saw that the moon was hung high above; a contrast of shadows and light scattering across the neighbourhood. For all Molyneux knew someone might have been watching them at that very moment, using the lonely night to their advantage.

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Eris said her goodbyes as quickly as she could, tearing herself away from the mother's regret and the quiet but ever-growing anger of the father. She felt a bit disillusioned as she put her shoes back on again and went out the door towards Molyneux. This was a community that was at least, from her guess, half something other than human. Did they not care at all that the child was gone, was it a matter of indifference to them, or had their utter helplessness kept them hidden away?

She knew she could be overstating the case, but weren't there demons in their community that could have helped to start tracking the child? There were a wide range of demons, judging by what she'd managed to gather from her book so far, that had abilities that lent themselves well to finding humans, one way or another. Some by scent, or sight, or an aura of energy. Was their fear of being discovered so strong that they would let a child die?

Eris paused at Molyneux' side. Then again, perhaps the chasm between demon species was too great for cooperation, or the kind of demon the child was had inspired hate or fear from those around them. They hadn't seem dangerous to her, but again and again Eris was confronted with her own ignorance in the world she know inhabited. Yet again she admonished herself to read and remember the book she'd been given, a kindness she would not forget.

"I don't precisely know where to start, but if the wind is right and the child is somewhere not too far, I might be able to catch her scent. I'm not sure what kind of demons they are, but I'm willing to check the forest if you are, for lack of a better lead. But you have more experience in working for the Council, and with demon types, do you have any ideas?

She hoped against hope that Molyneux knew what to do, because otherwise she felt like she was flying blind. She wasn't averse to banging on some doors and questioning neighbors, but the attitude of the area seemed more forbidding than friendly, and the first 24 hours of a disappearance--if television was anything to go by--was crucial. And a demon child, a potentially hungry one, would be a danger to them all. A small part of her, small but insistent, believed that if a few kidnappers, human or otherwise, died to feed a demon child that would be no loss, but she quieted it, as she had been attempting to do for all of her other demonic impulses. Those voices were only growing louder, alas, but the distraction of the bar and the book, as well as this case, were helping in that fight.

"Could you tell what kind of demons they were? That could help us find the child."