“So, my young friend,” Rikard said early the next evening, “I presume you’re hungry. Shall we go hunting?”
Seth looked at him in surprise. “You’ll go with me? Oh wait, I get it, you want to make certain I don’t kill my ‘victim’.”
“Not at all,” Rikard responded seriously. “I don’t think you have it in you to do that. I would just like to get to know you better.” He smiled then. “I miss having a young one around to tell the truth.”
Seth was surprised again by his words. “Then you were serious about letting me stay here for a while?”
“If you’re willing, yes. I won’t try to limit you in any way. I learned my lesson about that with Owen. Too late, I’m afraid.”
As Seth put on his jacket he asked, “If he’d become involved with anyone other than a dhampir, would you have cracked down so hard on him?”
“A very good question and one I really can’t answer. Kemp was the first one he ever fell in love with, so I had nothing to compare with. I’ll admit that the fact that Kemp was a dhampir colored my emotions.”
“He seems to be a good kid,” Seth commented as they left the house.
Rikard shot him an amused look. “You’re barely older than him you know.”
“I’d hardly say two hundred years constitutes ‘barely’,” Seth shot back.
“Technically you’re correct of course. However in some aspects, Kemp is wise well beyond his years. He’s matured greatly since I first met him. You on the other hand, well I’ll have to wait until I know you better before I decide if you’re mature, or just wise to the ways of the world because you’ve been in it for a while.” He paused to make a decision about where they should go, and then strode forward towards a small shopping area a few blocks from his house.
Seth kept pace, telling Rikard that he’d never been in this area of the city before.
“You’ll like it I think, and it’s not too far from the Quarter, which is where Kemp works.”
“And I should care about that why?”
“Because, young man, I think you find him at least interesting, if not more. Otherwise, why would you be so concerned about his welfare,” Rikard added before Seth could protest.