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Blood Moon Nocturne

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Once Laura had made her exit Alucard sheathed his sword. "A creature of chaos..."

The hunter Van Helsing lowered his crossbow and gave the dhampir a questionable look. "What do you know of those words?"

"A long time ago, I met with my father in his castle. He told me that the castle would never be predictable. Chaotic, never ending. I never thought to explore it myself because his word was true. Sometime later, someone I would eventually call friend said the castle was different than the last time she had gone through it. 'A creature of chaos,' my exact words to her describing the castle's nature. Seems this is the same place as my father inhabited, and yet..."

Though he could feel his father's essence emanating from the stone walls Alucard could also sense an equally significant force as well. It was foreign to him, and yet was similar to how Laura's power felt just now. That piqued his curiosity, but that aside he knew what he had to do now. 'If I can feel father's power then he must have been resurrected again. Yet...'

Sighing slowly Alucard knew what he had to do. He didn't want to do it, but he knew it must be done. "My father has to die."

He started walking forward towards the castle's large wooden doors. He had to walk past Saya and Hagi to get to the doors.

"Wait..."

Alucard stopped as Saya stood up, "What about the rest of us? We're stuck in this place too."

The son of Dracula looked from the woman up to the looming gothic structure before him. "If you traverse the castle, don't expect it to be easy. There's no telling what kind of horrors await you in its dark halls."

Tsukune stepped forward. He had been unable to help them with Laura before, but now he had felt his time was now to speak. "Well, it's a castle, right? All we have to do is get to Laura's mother. She can't be that difficult to find-"

"The castle throne is where I suspect she would be, but I don't think she'll be the only one waiting," said Alucard. He didn't need to speak his name, but if his suspicions about his father were true then he would most likely be there as well. Yet that wasn't the only problem that was apparent. While he was used to the castle, he had a feeling none of his new comrades did. So he let them know pretty bluntly. "Yet that is only half the journey. The castle will try to impede you, ever changing its layout to try and keep itself intact. Monsters will also get in your way, some more powerful than others. You are not guaranteed to survive and you might die in the process. Thus, if you so value your lives, I strongly suggest you back out now."

Tsukune lowered his chin, his attempt at being brave shot down.

Yet nobody backed down or voiced a negative opinion. If anything these hunters and rabble seemed determined to go through the castle.

Rayne spoke for everyone. "I think we're in too deep to get out of this. Besides, how else will we get back home? That bitch and her mother might have the answers. I say we go and pay her a visit."

Blade and Morbius nodded, as did many of the others.

Alucard's warning had been heard but nobody took it. He didn't try to persuade them, as he had a feeling his warning would fall on deaf ears. "Do what you wish, but if you happen to make it, I hope we will meet again."

The doors to the enchanted castle opened on their own for him as he approached, and after they closed behind him he was at the mercy of the demonic building.

From the relative quiet of her private chamber, a beautiful woman sat impatiently in a distinctly elegant wooden chair. Her fingers tapped the arm rests impatiently, her long fingernails clicking on the wood.

For Elexina hated to wait. Though normally a well-mannered lady as she was expected to be, tonight wasn't the best night for her to be kept in the dark. Her glowing red eyes pierced the candle lit room, staring at her open balcony door.

'Sister, where are you...' She tossed a length of her hair back over her shoulder, her restlessness growing by the second. Like the rest of the daughters of Carmilla she was a beautiful woman appearing to be in her early twenties. Her hair, pale blonde as well as long and stringy, reached beyond her delicate shoulders. Of course, being a vampire she was always the definition of beauty, and with a matching arrogance that few of her siblings could rival.

She finally stood up from her chair in time to hear a howl of the wind come from her balcony, the breeze caused the long skirts of her gothic pastel pink dress. She could tell who it was that was about to enter her chamber and she was glad. She hated waiting.

As soon as the mist cloud appeared in her room it had vanished, and Laura appeared in its place. The two sisters exchanged looks of differing degrees but both bellied an animosity that went beyond simple sibling emotions.

"You're late, Laura," said Elexina as she put her hands on the front of her corset. She noticed blood on her sister's hand. "You get injured?"

Her older sibling looked at the fresh crimson on her delicate fingers without a qual. "Nay, there were some intruders in the front courtyard. I gave them a scare. They should have left by now."

Sighing Elexina turned and went towards a delicate dining table to sit in another chair. The thought to ask if her sister was alright never crossed her. "Then you best clean yourself up before you return to mother. Lord only knows she wouldn't want any of us to be seen as less than improper."

"Speak for yourself, sister. Improper is marrying a human, which you did without thinking about maintaining the relationship." Laura pointed to her sister's hands. A diamond ring was on Elexina's left hand, signifying her marital status, yet that had changed greatly in the last few days. She had seen to that.

Disgusted that she had to be reminded of that marriage, Elexina retorted snobbishly. "I'll have you know he was a rich man and while under my influence he showered me with love and devotion, or as much as I could stomach."

Elexina was the type of woman who loved fancy items. Pearls and gold, diamonds and furs, as well as lavish luxuries that no one below a seven figure bank account could handle. She had been preying on men with wealth since she had moved out of her mother's shadow. A game she had played with expertise and efficiency for a very long time. This latest pawn she had played had been an English gentleman with some relation to one of the oldest families of Britain and was extremely wealthy of course. He had fallen for the female vampire quite easily and within weeks of Elexina using her beauty to ensnare him they were married and she was set to use him for a long time.

Laura knew of her game and didn't expect anything less of her sister. "Yet it hasn't been even a week and you're single again. What happened? He get wise to your true nature?"

Rolling her eyes Elexina toyed with the ring on her finger before taking it off. "I was careless. During our honeymoon the spell I had on him weakened and he bluntly ask who I was. That surprised me enough, but the fact that we were in the middle of sex made the situation even worse." That last part had been even more humiliating for her.

And Laura apparently thought it was funny as she began to laugh. "I'd feel sorry for you if mother had forced the marriage on you, but I don't."

"...when he tried to call for his bodyguards I tore his throat out. He got his filthy blood all over me, and I only had enough time to make a fake ransom note and dash out the window before anyone came to see what the commotion was about."

Not knowing where else to go under such extreme conditions, Elexina had made the only choice she could, and that was to flee to her mother's castle. Fortunately the castle had been in a state of time-limbo in preparation for whatever her mother had planned, and so the authorities would never be able to find her. Not that they could, anyway. She had never been caught before, even when the answer to the deaths of her many husbands had been right under their nose the entire time.

"Maybe next time you can find a husband who can actually keep your interest for more than a month or two."

Scoffing Elexina's beautiful countenance went smug. "If I were to get a permanent husband, he better be handsome. Not to mention have prestige to his name and fame as well as power.

"Not to mention be rich?"

"Especially that. I won't be with any man who can't spend anything on me."

"Then it's a good thing you go through men like chaff, because you'll never find a man worth eternity to spend with a two-bit harlot like you."

The two sisters exchanged glares, though Laura retained a mocking smile. Though she knew her older sibling was right Elexina was too proud to bring herself to care. She tossed the ring on the table, already making plans to continue her game as soon as the action died down back home.

"Go to mother and ask her when I will be needed for this 'ritual' she has planned. Otherwise I will go to rest."

"She has been keeping details of it a secret, even from me. You'll just have to wait like the rest of us."

Her patience had been thin before, but now it was almost nonexistent. "I've been doing nothing but wait since I got here. I demand to-"

Laura stepped up to her sister until they were chest to chest, and though Elexina was taller she leaned back, slightly unnerved. The look her older sibling gave her was one to be reckoned with. "And you will remember your place. What mother says is law with us. No one is above mother. That means even you, dear sister."

Elexina's eyes narrowed to a glare. She hated Laura's attitude, even though her own wasn't pleasant in the eyes of others. Might have something to do with the fact that she was the oldest of Carmilla's many daughters and was seen as the favorite. Though Elexina didn't aspire to be the favorite in her mother's eyes, she more than wanted to knock her first sibling down a few pegs if given the chance. That time would happen someday, sooner rather than later, she hoped.

Laura backed up, "Now, I will go to mother and see how she is doing. Until then, find something to keep yourself occupied. It will make the time go faster." Then she blinked. "Or, if they haven't turned tail, you could always introduce yourself to the intruders. I'm sure they wouldn't mind a scuffle with you. Hell, maybe one can be your next husband." With a derisive laugh Laura vanished in a plume of mist and went out the balcony doors.

As soon as she had left the normally elegant Elexina slammed her fist on the hard wood table, venting her frustration. The blow made many cracks in the surface and left a deep indent.

"That bitch..." Elexina stomped over to her balcony and stood before the thin metal railing. Down below she could see the many miles of forest and mountains that surrounded the castle as well as the small hamlets and villages.

"Nothing here is worthy of my time." She sighed before leaning on the railing. The moment reminded her of the play Romero and Juliet, where the hapless heroine pondered about her foe and eventual lover. Some similarities were there but only in the mind of Elexina.

Hopefully tonight would be more entertaining than it already had been.

The moment the darkness lifted from his eyes; Alucard knew he was truly inside the castle now. No one else followed him in as he had expected. Even if they had he had a feeling the castle would still force them to split up. It seemed to enjoy chaos as much as it was a part of it.

The hallway was immaculate. French styled windows lined the walls with small blue flamed torches lighting the entire way. The carpet under his feet was red as blood, as were the curtains on the windows. Some of the windows were even open and slamming as the wind hit them. Yet, even with the knowledge of Castlevania in mind, the dhampir couldn't help but notice something peculiar about the environs.

'This is very familiar...' Alucard thought it reminded him of the last time he had gone through the place, way back int he late 18th century in search of Richter Belmont. Maybe the castle was trying to stir up memories? To give him a sense of awareness to eventually mislead him? No matter, he thought, and he ran down the hallway all the same.

It didn't take long for him to be met with the welcoming committee. From beneath the stone floor and even through the windows shuffled in dozens of undead zombies. Clothes torn from battles and their features unrecognizable they staggered towards the new arrival with nothing but feasting on his flesh on their minds.

Too bad Alucard wouldn't just let them. He drew his sword from his scabbard. "You will not impede me." With the quickness fitting the son of Dracula he quickly dispatched all the zombies that got in his way as he went down the hall. Their sluggish movements were no match for him or his stainless silver sword. Very quickly the red carpet was stained with the blood and body parts of the undead.

Still Alucard kept going. He knew what awaited him at the end of this journey, and he while he knew it had to be done he dreaded it, nevertheless. Fighting his own father had been taxing on his soul the last two times, but this time felt a bit different. Maybe because his father had been brought back by someone other than his own followers? Could be, he thought, his father had always liked those who worshipped him like a god.

As the man made his way down the hallway a larger room began to come into his view. Wide open and he could see traces of the night sky. When he got to the new spot he found himself in another courtyard but this one was completely empty and surrounded by tall stone walls.

Stopping in the middle of the open space, Alucard only rested for a second before he heard a glass shattering howl. He peered up at the full blue moon and knew right away he had walked into a trap. "Dammit..."

Sure enough the creature that did the howl appeared at first as a silhouette before leaping down from the tower at the far end of the courtyard. A blue furred werewolf the same height as Alucard and with blood stains on its claws. The idea of a werewolf following a vampire's whim wasn't uncommon, as the beasts were nothing more than domestic pets for their lords and ladies. That also included Dracula himself, and Alucard had seen firsthand how his father had treated his subjects.

The werewolf looked at the dhampir and for a moment it seemed to recognize him. Yet if Alucard hoped it would back off he was incredibly naive. He wasn't, and even though he was the son of Dracula and the castle belonged to his father, Alucard knew a title such as that meant nothing to its inhabitants. They answered only to the lord of the castle and, unless told otherwise, no one else. This was proven true when the monster went after him with sharp claws reaching out and fangs dripping with saliva.

Using his own speed Alucard and the werewolf attacked each other. Claws struck silver and sparks flew from the contact as the two used the walls of the courtyard to propel themselves into the air. The exchange continued, growing feverishly with each passing moment. Neither gave or gained an inch. Yet the average person wouldn't have been able to see it. They were moving at three hundred and seventy miles per hour-half the speed of sound-and though they meant to kill Alucard was clearly holding back. He could have stabbed it right through the heart from the word go but had willingly neglected to do so.

The beast managed to get a swipe in on him, tearing the front of his black and yellow coat. An item went sailing into the air but Alucard didn't have time to notice it as he swung his sword at the monster.

He pitied this beast. A man turned wolf to serve the lord of the castle against his will, how could one not feel sorry for such a soul? It would serve its master until some lucky hunter took it down or when the master himself did the deed as punishment for failure.

'All I can do for it now is to give it the mercy it craves.' Alucard pulled back with his right arm, holding his sword horizontally straight before thrusting forward. In the midst of a leaping attack the monster didn't see it coming, and the blade buried itself deep into its chest and burst out of its back in a fountain of blood. None touch Alucard as he pulled the length of his blade out and pushed the beast back.

A monster like a lycanthrope should have died instantly, but a transformation had to occur before it could die. The blue fur started to fall from its skin and it shrank in size to that of an average human being. Naked and overcome with pain the man grabbed his bald head and screamed into the night as he was finally free of the curse. Then, he fell to his knees, giving Alucard a glancing look of gratitude before he collapsed in a heap on the stone floor.

Closing his eyes in remorse, Alucard quickly steeled his nerves before he walked over to a certain spot in the courtyard to the item that had fallen from his coat during the battle. Picking it up Alucard gave the small picture frame a once over. The small wooden frame was scuffed but largely undamaged. Inside the frame was a picture on either side. The glass holding the two hand drawn pictures in it wasn't cracked, thank goodness. The little item had been given to Alucard as a gift and he would have hated to see it damaged. On one side was a beautiful woman with a man smiling happily. His parent's names were on the bottom of the picture. The other side held a lone woman with a happy smile, her hair up in a tail held with a black ribbon. The name Maria Renard was at the bottom of the frame.

Alucard stared at the picture tenderly, an expression he showed no one else.

While he couldn't help it, seeing the picture of his lover brought many images into Alucard's mind. It had been in his father's castle no more than five years prior that he had first met Maria. The vampire hunter had been in search of her friend Richter Belmont when they had crossed paths. Little did they know that their lives were to be intertwined from that point on. Living together had been a luxury for the lonely Alucard, and Maria had helped him along the way, eventually opening his heart to her. She took him in without hesitation, and the two became very intimate. So intimate that they rarely left each other's side. He had reluctantly left her behind when the castle had appeared, telling her it was for her own safety that he go alone, even after she was adamant about going with him. Not that she was helpless, far from it, but he didn't want to risk losing her. She only relented when he promised he would come back to her in one piece.

'She's quite the fiery one when her emotions run high,' he thought, gleefully reminding himself of the woman he loved so much. He would honor his promise without question or doubt. For her.

He put the little picture back inside his coat-on the opposite side this time-and peered up at the castle and its many towers. He had taken out the werewolf, but what other monstrosities would it throw in his way?

Time would tell, and he still had a ways to go.