Warlock 3 - City Of The Dead

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 34 (v.1) - Alucard's Paradox

Submitted: December 17, 2017

Reads: 157

Comments: 7

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Submitted: December 17, 2017

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It was cold, the bitter air scraping against Kathrina’s skin as she was carried away at such a speed she couldn’t even breathe. She was still surrounded by the vermilion smoke, unable to see where she was or where she was headed. Alucard’s hands were gripping tightly onto her left arm and thigh, carrying her in his arms. He stopped occasionally so that she could breathe, keeping her from suffocating – she had never been within the mist Vampires created when they travelled, and she hoped she’d never have to be again; they travelled so fast that the world around them couldn’t keep up, so fast that it was impossible to breathe.

However, every time they stopped, Alucard had made sure to keep Kathrina beneath his cloak; she knew it was because he didn’t want her to know where he was taking her, but she could only assume it would be his castle. But she didn’t question him. For the entire journey, the two of them remained silent, and didn’t even share a glance. Kathrina didn’t care though. She wasn’t exactly here to get to know the guy… or was she? If she was going to be working beside him now, then it would probably be in her best interest to learn who it was exactly that she was working with.

But now wasn’t the time for such a conversation. After just a few mere seconds of resting, Alucard turned around sped into action again, racing forward. But a short while later, they came to an abrupt stop – this time, the vermilion smoke vanished, and Kathrina could actually see where she was – her eyes instantly lit up in both awe and astonishment.

They were standing in what seemed to be the entrance hall of a monumental castle, the ceiling arched and covered in murals of knights, horses and dragons. There were brightly glowing torches lined all around the hall, leaving no corner unlit. The walls were covered in paintings similar to the murals on the ceiling consisting of the faces of noble-looking people and their families. What caught her attention the most was a very large painting of a black dragon, it’s eyes glowing blood-red, glaring at her. It looked a lot like the dragon Gahi had transformed into back when they fought him at the Gateway, but it seemed a lot darker…

The floors were covered in stunning red and golden colored carpets, spreading and covering every inch of the ground. Surprisingly, the air was warm and felt rather relaxing. There were also several wooden doors lined along the walls, all of which were closed and looked like they had hardly ever been used. Dust had settled on all the picture frames, and a collection of twisting cobwebs clung onto the ceiling, but they didn’t take away the beauty.

There was a door directly ahead of them at the very end of the hall, it’s wood a slightly lighter color than the others. There were suits of knight’s armour lined across the centre of the room, all of them holding either swords or spears. A large chandelier hung from the ceiling, hundreds of candles burning in it, the wax sliding down the golden metal and splashing onto a suit of armour directly beneath it.

Taking her eyes off the beauty surrounding her, Kathrina looked up at Alucard who was standing beside her, admiring the ceiling.

She frowned, ‘’where are we?’’ she asked.

‘’Zhis is my castle’’ he said, still staring at the ceiling.

Kathrina went back to looking around; this was that giant castle that hung from the cliff at the end of the city? This was Alucard’s castle? She had expected it to be a dark, gloomy, freezing wreck, but the moment she had been carried inside, the heat had hit her face like crashing waves, slightly overwhelming her. It was beautiful here, and like something she would have expected to see back in the Teshika Kingdom.

 

Just then, Alucard held out his arm, so she put hers through it, following him as he started walking towards the door at the end of the stunning hall.

‘’Do you live here all by yourself?’’ Kathrina asked, looking up at him again.

He frowned, staring ahead as they walked, ‘’I zo not live, I zimply exist. So, I exist ‘ere, yes’’

‘’You exist?’’ she frowned, staring at his vacant face, ‘’what do you mean?’’

They reached he door, and Alucard grabbed the handle as he looked down at her, ‘’vhen zomeone ‘as been around for as long as I ‘ave, zhey begin to vealise zhat living is not vhat immortality is. ‘Owever, vone vould go insane vithout a purpose, I zee you already figured zhat out’’

But before she could ask anything else, he pulled the handle down and pushed the door open, holding his hand out, allowing her to step inside first. She stared at his vacant face, but slowly turned to face the open door – she abruptly stepped inside and once again, her face was hit with a bombardment of overwhelming heat.

She looked around, but gasped quietly as she almost immediately noticed a rather large dragon skull displayed on the right wall above several brightly burning candles. She then looked to the left, noticing another, slightly bigger in size and with two more horns on its jaw bone. At the very back of the room was a huge skull, unlike anything Kathrina had seen. The skull had restraints in the form of chains tied around its jaw, like the dragon it used to be had been trapped, restrained and then killed.

This was rather strange, but she felt as if she had already asked enough questions. She silently looked around, more dragon skulls hanging from the walls, a giant table at the centre of the room with many silver goblets and plates laid out on it, candles lined and burning down the middle of it. There were large stained-glass windows in this room, the moonlight from outside shining in, leaving a crimson and violet mirage of color on the stone floor. There was a red and golden rug on the floor beneath the table, and another covering the stage that sat at the end of the hall, presumably where a band would sit and play for the guests that sat at the table. This had to be the dining room.

Realising she was done looking around, Alucard started walking forward, Kathrina’s arm still in his. They walked past the table, heading for a door at the end of the stage. He glanced down at her, realising she was staring at the largest dragon skull again.

‘’You are curious as to vhere zhat came from?’’

She flinched, startled that he was watching her, but she looked up at him and nodded.

Staring back ahead, he smirked, ‘’zhat belonged to a very, very old friend ov mine’’ he said, ‘’vut he vas a vather sly bastard – I killed ‘im’’

‘’Was he a Teshika?’’ she asked without even thinking.

‘’No’’ he laughed quietly, ‘’no, ‘e vas vhat you people vould call a God’’

Kathrina’s eyed widened with shock – a God? Was he serious?

Alucard reached out and opened the door, stepping aside and allowing Kathrina to enter first again. She walked through and stared ahead, realising she had stepped into a long, gloomy corridor. She had no idea where he was leading her; maybe he was just showing her around, and she was actually rather enjoying the tour. As creepy as she felt this was, the castle had already amazed her, and this was the prefect opportunity to get closer to Alucard, and see what kind of person he really was.

As he closed the door behind him, he continued to lead the way, holding Kathrina’s arm in his as she gazed out of the huge windows that covered the walls of the corridor, the silvery moonlight from outside shining against the windows, but for some reason, it wouldn’t enter the castle. It was as if there was some kind of force restricting the light from entering.

The further they walked down the hall, the more ominous it became. They turned left into another corridor; this one’s walls were covered in paintings of men, women, and horses – there was even a painting of a black demonic-looking dragon, it’s eyes glowing bright red. It was hung between two pictures, one of a smartly dressed man and the other a smartly dressed woman. Kathrina only got a quick glance as they walked past, but the man looked a lot like Alucard, his hair dark crimson and spiked thickly on top of his head. But his eyes didn’t have the same fiery look to them; instead, they were a dark hazel, and there was a pleasant smile on the man’s face, almost as if he was very content. Alucard didn’t give her that impression at all.

She frowned, still walking, thinking. But then, she suddenly lost her footing, tripping on something-

Abruptly, Alucard grabbed her, keeping her from falling flat on her face, ‘’you should vatch vhere you are going’’ he frowned.

Kathrina frowned angrily at him, shoving him away as she looked back and realised she had tripped over the handle to a trap door on the floor. Irritated, she stood up straight and put her arm back into Alucard’s, totally embarrassed that she had almost fallen. Without uttering another word, Alucard continued to lead the way down the corridor.

Shortly after, they reached a door – it was wide open, and it looked as if there had been several locks on it that had recently been ripped off, the wood behind their bolts shredded and cracked. The room inside was a mess, too. There was a table covered in glass jars and an old, cracked cauldron. Beneath the table were what looked like two padlocks – they were probably the ones that had been on the door.

They walked inside, but when she looked up at Alucard this time, he looked rather irritated. She frowned, but continued looking around; her eyes immediately noticed what looked like a torn suit on the floor slumped down beside the wall, blood all over the floor around it. There was also that strange green and yellow slime that came from the Lurkers lingering on the floor. Had something happened here?

‘’Ve ‘ad a couple of intruders not too long’’ he said, irritancy in his voice, ‘’I gather you know zhem?’’ he asked, looking down at her as she slowly looked up at him.

She frowned, but then remembered the night of the masquerade. Tsunami had disappeared, and Elijah had chased after him. They returned later, Tsunami donning Elijah’s suit. She didn’t know what had happened, but this must have been where it took place.

She looked up at him, ‘’I guess’’

Alucard frowned, but then started walking towards the end of the room where a small table sat, piles of scrolls and paper thrown upon it. There were shattered planks of wood all over the floor, and what looked like a broken wooden box large enough to hold a man. The walls were damp and covered in moss, the ceiling decorated with dozens of cobwebs, spiders festering in them at a disgusting, unsettling rate.

 

Suddenly, Alucard let go of her arm and dragged his arms across the table that had the box on it, pushing everything onto the floor.

Kathrina jumped, slightly startled by his sudden outburst, but it wasn’t an outburst at all. As he cleared the table, she watched as he reached forward and grabbed hold of one of the bricks in the wall, one that seemed to be sticking out a lot more noticeably than the others. He gripped it with his fingers and gradually pulled it out, dropping it onto the floor. He reached into the hole in the wall and grunted quietly – a loud click echoed through the walls around them, followed by the sound of shifting gears and machinery, a quiet hissing coming from the ceiling.

Just then, the wall behind her shifted, making her jump again, backing away from the wall as the dust on the floor beneath it started twisting around frantically, another wave of overwhelming heat escaping from the bricks as the started sliding to the left, scraping loudly on the stone floor.

Alucard took her arm in his again and stared ahead as the brick-door slowly disappeared into the wall, a gloomy room inside being revealed.

Unsure of what to think or say, Kathrina waited in silence, watching as the door slowly stopped moving, the eerie sound of shifting machinery gradually silencing. But then, she stopped and thought – if this really was the room where Tsunami and Elijah had been, had they discovered this room as well? If so, why hadn’t they said anything to anyone else?

Startling her again, Alucard suddenly yelled something in another language, stomping his left foot on the stone ground, the spur on his boot clinking loudly. Abruptly, dozens of candles started lighting in the gloomy room in a slow sequence, beginning at the door they were standing by, simultaneously going left and right, lighting all around the seemingly circular room until they met at the very end of the room. Shortly after, a large chandelier hanging from the arched ceiling burst into flames, filling the entire room with a bright, yellow light – And Kathrina could not believe her eyes.

 

Meanwhile, Henry, Logan and Joe were untying the ropes binding the ships to the Archipelago’s dock while everyone else remained on the deck in an unsettling silence, eyeing each other sceptically. It was now a possibility that Harley was a Werewolf, and it was Opus’ fault. Elijah had recognised the distinctive scent on Harley not too long ago, and now everyone was conflicted whether they should believe Elijah and brand Opus untrustworthy, or believe that Opus really didn’t mean for his procedure to remove the venom from Harley to fail.

Luka was already completely convinced that the old man had purposely allowed the curse to develop within Harley, especially since they recently discovered the only way to defeat Alucard was with Werewolf venom, and Opus had made it thoroughly clear that he cared only for killing the Elementals. He didn’t need any more convincing that this old half-Warlock was no good. But they needed him, so killing him wasn’t an option.

Elijah wasn’t exactly worrying about the old man anymore. His concerns were focused around both Harley and Kathrina. She had been the one that had stabbed Harley, obviously, seeing as she was the sword wielder, and there was the possibility that Harley was going to blame her. If he did start bad-mouthing or even thinking such a thing, he’d beat the shit out of him until he realised the only one who deserved the blame was Opus. But then there was the fact that Harley was now a Lycanthrope. That was just as bad as gaining another Demon within the group.

Tsunami was the most conflicted. He liked and trusted Opus; he had known that man ever since he first arrived in Niagraad from his home realm, and he had always been there to guide him. Opus had stopped Tsunami from losing his sanity back when Kathrina and Logan were taken by the Warlocks, and he had helped him to understand so much – he had even played a part in helping him gain the control he has over his Demon blood. But Tsunami also trusted Elijah. He didn’t particularly like the guy, but he did know that Elijah knew what he was talking about – and his judgement was normally always perfect. He had been right about Harley back in Japan, he had been right about Vira*, Alikmarta, Alikmartol – it felt wrong to question his judgement.

Alpha didn’t care. He was enjoying the discord, although he did feel slightly concerned about the fact that Harley may very well be a Werewolf. The unmistakable scent lingered on him, but that could have just been because of the venom from the sword – he had no way of telling for sure as he never really learned to use his Demon senses to their fullest potential. He just stood beside his brother, watching as Luka and Elijah glared at the old man while Harley frantically looked back and forth from them all.

Octavia was rather worried too. She wasn’t sure if Elijah was right, but if Harley was a Werewolf now, that would cause a lot of problems for her. Katokirinkata and Lycans were deadly rivals – just like cats and dogs… no pun intended… maybe. She shook her head, straying from the subject. If Harley was a Lycan, they’d probably start having territorial issues. She always kept herself to herself, but her instincts would force her to act harshly towards him, just like his would for him.

Thea didn’t particularly care either. She was worrying about the fact that Kathrina had been taken by Alucard – she had expected Elijah to act more extravagantly, but right now, he seemed too composed, too collected. He may have just broken down after his attempt to save her failed, but that wasn’t enough. She wanted to see him show more emotion – she wasn’t convinced that he cared. It seemed like what had happened earlier and everything he had said to Kathrina was true. Did he really not care about her? Did he really not love her? Had he really used her? Had Thea been right all along? She thought that she would be glad to find out that she was, but she felt no sense of victory at all. In fact, she felt terrible. She had spent three quarters of her time with her sister nagging to her about how terrible Elijah was, about how he was just using her – and Kathrina had spent all that time trying to convince her otherwise. Now, she realised that her sister really did love this man, and she mustn’t have tried fighting Alucard because she had had her heart torn to pieces finding out that the man she had spent nearly all her life loving and caring for was just a fake. Thea had never felt so disappointed in herself – it was so overwhelming that she couldn’t even try to attack Elijah.

 

Glaring at Opus, Elijah snarled in frustration, ‘’we have no reason to trust you anymore – I will find a way to kill you without damaging that weapon!’’ he growled, ‘’in fact, I need not even wait – I am more than capable of protecting that sword!’’

Opus frowned, ‘’you would dare to try and kill me?’’

Luka placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder, ‘’Eli, calm down. The last thing we need is a repeat of earlier’’

Elijah snarled again and shoved his brother away, ‘’I know how to kill Warlocks – I’ll torture the shit out of you until I decide it’s time to let you die’’ he growled.

The old man’s face slowly lit up, ‘’torture?’’ he asked pleasantly – suddenly, he raised his hand, his pupil-less eye glowing brightly-

Suddenly, Elijah gripped his left wrist, a quiet sizzling sound coming from it as the summoning rune on his skin started glowing a bright orange – Elijah grunted painfully, gritting his teeth as he stared down at the glowing rune.

‘’You do not know the meaning of the word’’ Opus growled, clenching his raised hand tightly.

Abruptly, Elijah yelled in agony, dropping to his knees as everyone gasped in shock, Luka stepping back as his brother dropped.

‘’What the hell are you doing?!’’ Tsunami yelled, staring at Opus who glared down at Elijah who was holding his wrist tightly, growling angrily between his painful yells.

Opus didn’t answer. He clenched his fist even tighter, watching as Elijah yelled in torment, his forehead down on the deck, his entire body trembling because of the pain Opus was inflicting upon him.

Luka panicked and crouched down, trying to comfort his brother while searching for the reason for his pain – how was Opus causing this torment?

But, just then, Opus lifted his clenched fist right above his head and opened his hand, ‘’I pity you – you are a loathsome, little man with no respect nor gratitude for anyone else’’

Elijah yelled again, letting go of his wrist as he placed both of his hands over his face, blood starting to vigorously pour down it.

‘’I can just as easily take from you what I gave- ‘’ Opus paused as he lifted his other hand, his Warlock eye glowing brightly as Elijah was upended and forced down onto his back as Luka stumbled and fell back in shock, staring at his brother who grunted, holding his hands over his eyes, blood dripping down his face and onto the deck – ‘’or are you forgetting that I am the reason you can still see?’’

Luka opened his mouth to speak, but Opus jerked his left hand, sending him crashing back into the wall of the cabin – the group stumbled back in both shock and fear, unsure of what to do – they had no idea what Opus was capable of, but now, they were seeing it first-hand.

Opus walked over to Elijah as he yelled painfully – he lifted his right leg and stomped his foot down onto Elijah’s chest, making him cough violently – ‘’so long as that rune is on your body, I own you, and you will do what I ask, or I will kill you and replace you just as easily as I did Regis. Do not dare to threaten me again, or I will torment you in such a way you will be begging for death – ‘’ he leaned down so that only Elijah could hear him and whispered, ‘’Kathrina bares the same rune – your attachment to that girl benefits me greatly – try to leave or plot against me, and she’ll suffer for your wrongs’’

Elijah continued grunting painfully, blood still falling down his face as the old man slowly lifted his foot from his chest and backed away, his eyes dimming as he lowered his hands. Then, he turned around and stormed off, the group parting as he moved towards them and disappeared below the deck.

 

As the old man left, Elijah exhaled in relief, the pain ceasing. Luka scurried over to his brother, grabbing his wrists, trying to pull his hands away from his face, but he struggled and fought him.

‘’Eli!’’ he growled, ‘’let me see!’’

Elijah growled angrily, but slowly moved his hands away from his face – Luka frowned, the sight of all the blood unsettling him; it looked as if Opus had made Elijah’s eyes bleed violently, much like they would so if one overused a Psyche-Jikato.

‘’Are you alright?’’ he asked.

Gradually, Elijah opened his eyes and nodded, grunting both angrily and painfully.

The group quickly rushed over as the ships jolted slightly. Joe climbed up onto the ship to see what was going on, but then called for Thea who was going to have to help push the ships out to sea. She wandered over to them and shifted, using her dragon form to gradually push the ships.

Tsunami held out his hand for Elijah, ‘’what did he do to you?’’ he asked as Elijah grabbed his hand.

As Tsunami helped him to his feet, he irritably dragged his hand across his face, wiping the blood from it and looked at everyone’s cautious faces, ‘’watashi wa kare o korosu tsumoridesu’’ he growled quietly.

Standing up, Luka shook his head in disapproval, ‘’no one is killing anyone, brother’’

‘’You just gonna let him throw you around like that?’’ Alpha mumbled, frowning at Elijah as he continued to clean the blood from his face.

‘’No’’ Elijah growled.

Shaking his head again, Luka placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder, ‘’we need to focus on Kathrina’s rescue, then we can work out what to do with him. While we sail back to the city, I need to repair that seal in your Teshika mark – I also want to take a closer look at that summoning rune – I feel as if it is more than what he told us it was’’

‘’You think?!’’ Harley called, still standing exactly where he had been, ‘’he was clearly using that to torture him!’’

They all looked over at Harley, realising they had completely forgotten about his predicament.

Luka dragged his hand over his face in frustration, ‘’and we have to see if Harley really is a Werewolf’’

Elijah shook his head, ‘’I will do that; you need to go and talk to that old bastard’’

Merek grinned, ‘’yeah, go kick his- ‘’

‘’He wants to know about the amulets you have found. While you tell that to him, see if you can figure out what he’s up to’’ Elijah instructed, ignoring Merek’s overenthusiastic attitude.

Sighing, Luka nodded, and started walking towards the entrance to the lower deck as the ships jolted violently, Thea flapping her wings angrily as she struggled to heave the ships away from the dock. Merek followed, as did Reiner and their other two companions.

 

Harley shuddered again as he watched Elijah make his way over to him, still cleaning the blood from his face. The group stood there and watched, just as desperate for an answer as Harley was.

Without so much as a warning, Elijah grabbed Harley’s collar and pulled him closer again. Harley stumbled forward and stood there, confused as Elijah moved his face to his neck again. He had no idea what to say, but he felt rather uncomfortable having a Demon this close to him, and the fact that it was Elijah just made it worse. But he waited, trying to remain calm as he heard Elijah inhale quietly.

‘’So?’’ Alpha called, ‘’he a dog or what?’’

Elijah glanced over at Alpha from the corner of his eye.

‘’Oh’’ Alpha said, but then he started laughing as Harley looked over at him, starting to panic.

‘’What?!’’ he called, staring at Alpha.

Alpha grinned, ‘’you’re about to find out’’

 

Kathrina stared ahead as Alucard slowly let go of her arm. The two of them walked into the bright room, the heat hitting Kathrina’s face again as she looked around. There really wasn’t much to see in the room apart from another collection of dragon skulls hanging from the ceiling by thick, rusting chains. But what had startled her sat at the centre of the room.

Sitting beneath the giant glowing chandelier was a man; his hair was stained crimson with blood, but it was clearly white in color. It was long, falling just past his shoulders, and his skin was so pale he might actually be a Vampire. But Kathrina didn’t get that feeling from him. He was sitting on his knees, arched over, his face pointed to face the ground. He was breathing – she could hear his weak, frantic breaths from where she was standing. The man was dressed in a torn hazel-colored shirt and black trousers, several tears in them. He had no shoes and it looked as if he had been down here a long time, his pale skin patchy with dirt and blood. There were rusted chains wrapped around his wrists like snakes, his skin beneath them red raw from irritation, dried blood on the metal. The chains descended down into the floor, and more were attached to his ankles as well as his neck, a collar made from the same metal firmly locked around his throat.

‘’Who is that?’’ Kathrina asked, looking up at Alucard who had a rather disgusted look on his face.

He started walking towards him as Kathrina followed, ‘’zis is the vone man zhat managed to kill me’’ he said, stopping a few feet away from the prisoner.

Surprised by his honesty, she slowly looked down at the prisoner who hadn’t moved at all. It seemed like he was too afraid to look up and see who Alucard’s companion was. Kathrina frowned as she stared at the restraints, realising the chains were actually silver.

‘’It vas very ‘ard to subdue zhis perpetrator, but ‘ere ‘e is – defeated’’ he growled, kicking the man’s thigh harshly.

‘’He killed you?’’

Alucard nodded, ‘’vut little did ‘e know zhat I cannot die – getting impaled by zhat sword you so carelessly vield is vather painful’’

Sword? Did he mean the Elemental sword? Was he saying that this man here had been capable of using the Elemental sword?!

‘’You may speak vith ‘im, ‘e von’t be ‘round much longer now zhat I ‘ave you’’ Alucard said as he turned around and started walking back over to the door, ‘’I vill be vaiting ‘ere – vhen you are done, I vill show you to your room’’

Kathrina looked back at him and nodded. Then she slowly crouched down in front of the man, staring at him. He didn’t look up, not did he react in any way when Alucard had kicked him. Was he even conscious?

‘’Um… hello?’’ she asked quietly, unsure of what else to say.

But there was no reaction from him.

She frowned, ‘’hey!’’ she growled impatiently.

But still, nothing.

 

Over by the door, Alucard was watching. Noticing that his prisoner wasn’t responding to Kathrina, he tapped his foot on the floor, the spur clinking loudly as he called, ‘’hei! Raspunde la fata!’’

Instantly, the chains clinked loudly as the man looked up and stared at Kathrina – the look on his face was a mixture of panic and confusion. But as he stared at her, he slowly frowned, his frantic breathing slowing.

Kathrina stumbled back slightly, startled by his sudden reaction; he looked terrified, blood stains all over his face, spreading down from his eyes – Kathrina frowned – his eyes were white in color, their pupils rounded much like her own. At first glance, she would have thought he was blind, but she would tell by the look of bewilderment in his eyes that he could see her.

‘’Y-Yes?’’ he asked, his voice brittle and gravelly.

She stared at him, but frowned and asked, ‘’who are you?’’

‘’M-My n-name… ‘’ he paused and looked over at Alucard, but then looked back up at her, ‘’E-Edmund’’

‘’Edmund who?’’

He coughed violently, but then cleared his throat and looked back at her, ‘’M-Mikaari’’

Why did that name sound familiar to her? She had heard it before… but where? It didn’t take long for her to remember – back in Japan, Opus had told everyone about Cassius and Edmund: the first sword wielders. Was it really him?!

She looked back at Alucard.

He grinned, ‘’it is true. Zhat man is just like you – except ‘e is bound in zilver – all ‘e can do is sit zhere and mope’’

Edmund shuddered fearfully, looking back down at the ground.

Astonished, Kathrina looked back at him, ‘’you’re one of the first sword wielders?’’

He nodded frantically, the chains binding him clinking loudly.

Kathrina was amazed. She felt sorry for him though; he had been locked down here for god knows how long, and was clearly being tortured repeatedly. But why had Alucard kept him alive? If this really was Edmund Mikaari, why hadn’t Alucard killed him?

She frowned and slowly lifted up her sleeve, revealing her summoning rune. Edmund’s face lit up in astonishment and hope as he stared at it and looked up at her.

‘’I’m here to replace you’’ she said, putting on an unusual stern tone, ‘’unlike you, I’m not so stupid as to try and kill Alucard’’

Edmund frowned, but then looked back down at the floor, grunting painfully.

Rolling her sleeve back down, Kathrina stood up and started walking back over to Alucard who held out his hand. As she placed her hand in his, they turned around and walked out of the room, leaving Edmund alone again.

 

As the hidden machinery started clicking again, the door closed behind them. They walked out of the room and started walking through the long, gloomy corridor again.

Kathrina looked up at Alucard, ‘’why do you have him in there?’’

He looked down at her, ‘’I gather you ask zhat because you are vondering vhat I need you for?’’

She nodded.

‘’I ‘ave spent ze last zree ‘undred years looking vor a vay to remove zhis void magic from my body’’ he said, looking ahead again as they turned right into another corridor.

Staring up at him, she frowned, ‘’why?’’

‘’Zid you not commune vith Alikmartol? Did ‘e not tell you vhat this magic is?’’

‘’No’’ she answered, looking ahead, ‘’we just killed him’’

‘’Relentless’’ he laughed quietly, ‘’I like zhat. Tell me: vhat is your name?’’

Kathrina frowned. She had only just realised that she hadn’t even told him her name yet – it surprised her that he had shown and told her as much as he had without even knowing such a thing. But if she wanted to keep this going, she knew she’d have to answer – ‘’Kathrina’’ she said, ‘’Csernis’’

‘’Csernis?’’ he asked, ‘’as in ‘Cassius Csernis’?’’

‘’He was my father’’

Alucard laughed again, ‘’’ow coincidental. Vell, zhat man you saw back zhere vas Edmund Mikaari, who just so ‘appens to be Cassius’ closest ally – or friend, as you people call it zhese days’’

‘’Edmund and my father were friends?’’

As they turned into another corridor, Alucard nodded, ‘’both of zhem came ‘ere to kill me, but all zhey ‘ad was zhat sword. Zhey failed. I captured the white-‘aired one, but the black-‘aired one escaped – ‘e left ‘is friend like ‘e was nothing. Your father was a coward-‘’

‘’I already know that’’ she said irritably, ‘’he was an idiot. I never got along with him’’

Glancing down at her, Alucard frowned, ‘’you seem so full of ‘atred. Did zhat white-‘aired man ‘urt you zhat badly?’’ he question, a hint of concern in his voice.

‘’Yes’’ she answered abruptly, taking no time to even think about Elijah.

‘’Vell, it must be a thing vith zhose white-‘aired ones. Zhat vone ‘ad an ‘abit of upsetting ze other people zhey ‘ad vith zhem’’

‘’Edmund?’’

He nodded, ‘’zhey are Spirit Teshika, yes? All of zhem are bitter and rude’’

She looked up at him again; he knew about the Teshika and how they differed from one another? That must have been why he had wrapped silver chains around Edmund: if he hadn’t, Edmund would be able to use his Psyche-Jikato and shifting abilities. Alucard was clearly a lot smarter than Kathrina had thought.

‘’I ‘ope you’re not like zhem, Kazrina’’ he said, looking down at her, ‘’I vould ‘ate to ‘ave to put you in ‘is place down zhere’’

She shook her head, ‘’no, I want to be here. I told you, I have no other purpose’’

He smirked and looked ahead again, ‘’zhat is a relief to ‘ear. Tell me, Kazrina: vhat kind of Teshika are you? I ‘ave never seen one vith ‘air quite as beautiful as yours’’

Was that… a compliment? Kathrina frowned, confused, but she was actually glad that he was being as open with her as he was. It seemed like everything was going just as she had hoped. She was gaining his trust, and she’d actually have something to do here – it was better than being around people that didn’t appreciate her, and people who had no idea what they were doing.

She looked up at his curious face as they walked and smiled, ‘’I’m a Shadow Teshika, just like my father’’

‘’Oh’’ he smiled looking ahead again as they started approaching a door at the end of the corridor, ‘’you looked very different from zhat smaller girl vhen you shifted’’

‘’I own a unique morph’’ she said, also looking ahead, ‘’it makes us far more powerful than any other Shadow Teshika – my father had it too’’

He nodded, ‘’does zat mean you ‘ave ze same eyes as ‘im?’’

Kathrina frowned, ‘’my father had the Tekashime-Jikato?’’

‘’Yes – ‘e vas quite formidable vith such a power – did ‘e never tell you zhat?’’

She shook her head, ‘’no’’

Alucard frowned, but stopped as they reached the door, ‘’zhis is vhere you vill be staying’’

As he pulled down the door handle and pushed the door open, Kathrina stared into the room, but her mind was too focused on the fact that her father had kept so much from her; Alucard seemed to know more about him than she did. However, thinking about it, she didn’t really care. Her father was a cold, bitter man, and she hated him. There was nothing else to think about.

She took a deep breath and walked into the room, following Alucard.






© Copyright 2019 Kathrina Csernis. All rights reserved.

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