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Blood Moon Nocturne

Chapter Text

A long time ago, the world nearly fell into total darkness.

The Lord of Vampires, Count Vlad Dracula Tepes, sought to rule the world and exterminate the human race. To aid in his war he created an army that followed his every command and obeyed his every desire.

Alongside him was Carmilla, his Bride as well as her group of devoted daughters. She worshipped Dracula and sought only to serve him.

Out of an enchanted castle in Transylvania the Dark Lord carried out his war against humanity. His plan was to use a magical artefact of great power known as the Crimson Stone, a gem that connected all children of the night, in a rite known as the Blood Moon Ritual that would grant him incredible power. However, the church as well as a brave band of hunters and magicians managed to infiltrate his castle and confront him. They defeated him and shattered the Crimson Stone before the ritual could be completed. Carmilla and her family managed to escape, vowing revenge for her lover's defeat.

Knowing that there would be others that would desire to complete the ritual and return Dracula from the grave, a powerful magician scattered the shards of the Crimson Stone across time, space, and even other dimensions in order to keep Carmilla from acquiring them.

Hundreds of years pass and the fragile peace brought by Dracula's death is close to ending as Carmilla has returned to the castle and is carrying out her plan to restore her lover and finish the blood ritual.

If she succeeds, the world will be plunged into endless darkness and death.

All that stands between her and her plan is a select group of unlikely heroes from different dimensions, all brought together by their ties to the night...

Chapter Text

Below the watchful eye of Carmilla and her family, below the highest tower of her castle, was what remained of a village. One of many that surrounded the formerly abandoned castle, the helpless humans that lived there were now under attack by the monsters under the vampire queen's thrall. In the hours after the castle's reemergence the villages had been reduced to burning wood and destroyed rubble. Still people were to be found in the ruins running for their lives and screaming for their God to help them.

Too bad the reanimated skeletons and lesser demons would not offer them any respite but a bloody death.

In the center of one of the villages was a intricately adorned fountain that was springing blood and surrounded by the mutilated bodies of villagers of all sizes and ages. No one was exempt from the carnage.

A blue skinned winged demon was gnawing on the remains of a human when its back was pierced by over a dozen small bolts made of blessed silver. It cried out in pain before collapsing onto its meal. Other creatures that had been gathering around the area took notice of its fallen brethren. They had up to this point been unstoppable and so for one of them to die suddenly got their attention.

The one who fired the bolts carefully stepped out of smoke from where he had been taking cover. His dark outfit and wide brimmed matching hat gave him the appearance of a hunter of monsters. His weapon, a large crossbow made of silver and fully loaded with arrows ready to be fired at the pull of the trigger, was pointing at the newly alarmed night creatures. From behind the sights of his weapon the hunter knew he had given away his presence.

"So much for subtlety..." he said in a low voice. At this point, Gabriel Van Helsing knew there was no going back from whatever it was he had stumbled into. Given the strange circumstances that got him to this point he wasn't sure what to expect anymore.

The monsters surrounded him he knew that much, but he had faced death before and he wasn't afraid of it.

Two monsters leapt off the roof of the house behind him but he had heard them and fired his weapon at near point blank range. The arrows were aimed at the hearts and heads. They pierced the skin and disabled any joints they hit. They died slowly because of the holy water laced tips. Van Helsing would pray later.

Another creature, a lesser demon made of bulky muscle attacked him with a club, but it only raised the weapon just above its head when loud pops that was clearly gun fire was heard. Bullets slammed into the monster's right side, blood shot out from large holes made by the impact. Van Helsing didn't wait to see who fired those shots that saved his life as he raised his weapon and fired rapid arrows into the monster's hide. It fell backwards and into the fountain. Only when he knew it wasn't going to get back up again did he turn an eye to see a young woman in red and black with distinct short red hair walking towards him. She had two odd looking weapons pointed straight at him, but even Van Helsing knew those were firearms. Still, the red head that stalked toward him gave off a sense of familiarity. Something he knew wasn't quite human...

The attractive red head lower her weapons only slightly to get a better look at the hunter, "That makes three for me."

"You keeping score for something?"

The woman's pale complexion and otherworldly red eyes confirmed the hunter's suspicions. She wasn't human. She seemed amused as she lowered her weapons to her sides, "A girl's gotta have fun somehow when killing these bastards." Her speech pattern was nothing like Van Helsing's, nor was her attire. The black and red was a skin tight leather that showed off all the curves the attractive woman had. She didn't look any older than twenty but the way she killed obvious showed experience in dealing with death. She looked around and saw the bodies of the monsters Van Helsing had killed. Three on the ground not counting the one the two just shared in taking down. "Looks like we are even. What's your name?"

Van Helsing lowered his weapon but kept his finger arched around the trigger. Just in case. "I'm a hunter."

The woman rolled her eyes, not amused. "Well, duh, I figured that."

He hesitated slightly, but took notice of the woman's fearless stature. If she had wanted to kill him she would have just done so already. Those weird guns with the red liquid in them would have been able to fire bullets faster than his crossbow. Instead she had struck up the chance to converse with him.

He took the chance. "Van Helsing, hunter of the Order in the Vatican."

He thought he had seen a half smile form on the woman's blood red lips. It was like she was amused by his name. "Heh, call me Rayne. I work for the Brimstone Society."

"Never heard of that."

"A bunch of asshole monster hunters, but you seem to understand that group of people."

Oh how he agreed with her. Still that didn't answer where the hunters were. "Well, Rayne, what do you know of this place?"

The woman looked around. Her expression didn't change. "Looks Eastern Europe circa early 20th Century to me."

That sentence caused Van Helsing to raise an eyebrow. 'How can that be? Last I knew it was only 1889...'

Before the hunter could ask further he took notice of Rayne's eyes turning slightly to the left. Van Helsing slowly looked in that same direction and saw another figure standing near the fountain. A silver haired young man who had a single pistol raised to his shoulder level and pointed right at the two.

"Maybe he knows," said Rayne jokingly, her grip on her pistols tightening.

Van Helsing kept his weapon lowered. Like he had with Rayne he could sense something not quite human coming from the young man but it wasn't explicitly evil. He was a good judge of character, which had more than once proven correct in his career.

"You there. You know where we are?" The veteran hunter took a step forward-

BANG!

A shot was fired from the mysterious stranger's gun and the bullet hit the mud just inches from Van Helsing's foot. Rayne raised her pistols, a loud click signaling the safety being switched off.

The hunter put his hand up to stop her. "Wait!"

Rayne wasn't sure about it, "The hell for?"

"Just...wait," he said sternly. He took another chance, but this one might not be worth the trouble. "You're a hunter, aren't you?"

Finally the stranger spoke, "How would you know?" His voice was that of a youthful man, no older than twenty, but his tone of voice carried a heavy sadness that even got Rayne's attention.

"I can smell the silver in the air, and if you wanted us dead you would have killed us instead of firing a warning shot."

The young man lowered his pistol to rest at his side. That revealed short silver hair with bangs that almost covered the young man's eyes but showed off a black flower like tattoo on the left side of his neck. The hunter's assumption had proven true. "I'm Kiryu Zero, of the Hunter's Association."

From his travels Van Helsing knew the name was foreign, Asian most likely. He left that alone for now. "We seem to share the same problems Zero, mind sharing what you know?"

Zero took two steps forward, his pistol in a tight grip. "I know nothing. Nothing of where I am, nor what is waiting for us in the dark."

Surprisingly cryptic for one so young, thought Van Helsing.

A loud roar echoed through the burning village and all three hunters turned with weapons raised as heavy footsteps approached them.

Introductions were over, now was the time for blood.

Chapter Text

Gunfire from one side of the village echoed clear across to the other side where another area of the village was not only on fire but drenched in the blood of the innocent.

Not for long.

A teenage girl in a dark purple leather coat and white skirt was busy getting her feeling back into her hands. The blade she used, a katana with an arch and a red gem near the hilt, was drenched in the blood of monsters she had been slaying in the last few minutes. 'Working on getting used to this all over again, after so long...'

The monster fell at her feet and she felt heavy drops of blood land on the toes of her boots. Saya felt ecstatic about the feeling of her blade in her hands again and felt all the muscle memory returning to her. Still, while she liked the feeling, the smell of death and gore was something she would rather live without.

"Saya?"

The girl lowered her chin and closed her eyes. "Hagi."

The man appeared from the darkened alleyway, a coffin shaped shield attached to his left arm. His dark suit melded into the darkness. "You alright?"

His tone soothed Saya's mind, "Just trying to get used to all this again. It's been awhile." She pulled her sword out of the monster's corpse. Up until a day or so ago, she had been in a long slumber of over fifteen years, and while groggy she hadn't expected to find herself in a place like this. Had it not been for her Chevalier Hagi she would have been quite lost. Yet she knew he would never leave her side, and thus was not worried. That thought alone kept her mind at ease. She opened her eyes, her irises glowing crimson red. "Find out anything?"

She had sent Hagi out to find out information on where they were, hoping to answer the many questions she had gathered in her head. His handsome face hid a silent determination to make sure Saya got what she wanted no matter how tough the challenge was.

This time though, he had come up rather short. "Village is Eastern European from the looks of it but there is no obvious name to it." He would have asked the villagers, since he could speak many languages, but he never saw a living one. They were all slaughtered.

Saya sighed lightly. A minor setback, but as long as she was still breathing she could find out eventually. "We better keep moving then."

Before Saya could sheath her sword a flying monster fell from the sky and landed in a heap a few meters from where she and Hagi stood. It hadn't fallen by accident. Perched atop its fallen form was a girl biting into its neck, her silver blonde hair spread out like wings while a sword had been stabbed into the creature's shoulder preventing its use of its arm. It writhed in its embrace but soon fell silent as its blood was drained.

The woman sat up and wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth, having finished her meal. "That was...different." She looked up and saw the two strangers before her. Both of them had their weapons ready in case things got bloody again. "Who are you?"

"We could ask you the same question," said Saya. Hagi attempted to get in front of her but she stopped him. "I can handle her if need be, Hagi."

"Understood, Saya," said her lover before he stepped back.

"You think you can back that up?" said the newcomer as she stood up from the corpse with a sly smile. Her tone was challenging and she seemed ready for a fight. Though her outfit, consisting of a thigh length white skirt and a black corset that was tied on the front, left a different impression. It looked more like she was ready for a stroll in a park instead of a dark back alley killing monsters. She pulled her short straight sword out of the monster and pointed it at Saya. "I don't know what the hell is going on but let me tell you something, should you want to fight me, I'll drink your blood too if I want to."

"Suffisant."

Both women turned their heads in the direction of the voice that had decided to break up their potential spat. Saya recogized the French word but she didnt lower her weapon as another woman who looked similar in age to both her and the other woman stepped out of the shadows. Her heeled leather boots clicked on the cobblestone road and the tip of her sword dragged behind her.

The woman that had challenged Saya lowered her sword, "The hell did she just say?"

"Enough."

"Huh?"

"French for 'enough.' That is what she told us," replied Saya, her memories of 20th Century Europe started to come back to her, but she forced them to the back of her mind.

"Oh, well, why should we listen to you blondie?"

Funny she said that because she was a blonde as well. Saya's sense of humor caused her to grin out the corner of her mouth.

The newest arrival stepped forward, revealing an olive-green coat similar in design to Saya's but it had buttons along the side. She also wore a very short white skirt and thigh high dark leather boots. Her hair was bright blonde and reached her ankles. The woman's face was almost blank and her complexion was pale as well.

"Because we have bigger issues to take care of other than our bickering." With her left hand she pointed straight ahead, past the other two and right at the monstrous horde that was approaching them. Reanimated skeletons, decaying zombies, as well as other night creatures charged at them with reckless abandon.

The abrasive woman narrowed her eyes at the incoming horde, "Yeah...you're right."

Saya raised her sword again and this time she let Hagi stand beside her. "My name is Saya. This is Hagi."

The first woman took her blade and swiped it across her left palm. Blood began to ooze from the deep cut. "Call me Tsukimiya." She then turned back to the other person that had warned them about the monsters. "What about you? You got a name?"

The third woman walked up and stood between Saya and Tsukimiya. She raised her weapon, a sword with a slight curve in it like a katana but there was a coat of arms engraved into the handle. "F11."

Tsukimiya rolled her eyes, "Seriously? Sounds like a name you'd give a robot."

"...Marie."

That sounded better in her mind, "Much more likeable, Marie. Thanks."

"Eyes forward," Saya's eyes burned red like fire as the monsters began to run at them. "Here they come."

Tsukimiya smiled, while Marie remained stone faced at the carnage that was to come.

Chapter Text

Chaos was unfolding in most of the village, including the church where most of the remaining townspeople went to hide when the monsters invaded. Mostly women and children as well as some elderly where hiding wherever there was enough room. Even the wooden altar where a priest was offering words from the Bible to calm the fearful masses that surrounded him. His speech was often interrupted by the monsters pounding on the large wooden doors, desperately wanting to get inside to the waiting feast.

Yet as soon as a series of pounds ended, wretched shrieks of pain and animalistic growls were heard and the pounding stopped. At first many people thought that the monsters had left, that they had lost interest in getting inside a house of God...

Then came one massive fist hit the doors and they were sent flying back down the aisle. The night creatures began to pour inside and a massive shadow came over the room as a large cyclops with a wooden club in its right hand came inside.

Collective screams echoed through the church.

Yet before the screams could be silenced and the blood of the innocent would flow small silver projectiles flew through the air and killed at least six flying monsters. A black mist went about the floor, going up and down the first few rows of pews and killing the monsters it came into contact with. The large light fixture that hung above the center of the room came falling down and the cyclops only had a second to look up before it fell right on top of it. The bottom of the fixture had a sharp point like a harpoon and it stabbed right into its eye. That was a typically a death dealing blow to a cyclops. Sure enough it fell down in a heap and didn't get back up again.

The people that had been hiding in any sort of crevice they could find began to poke their heads out to see what had happened. The majority of them took quick notice of the bodies of the monsters and the pools of blood that began to expand on the floor, changing the red carpet to a sick brown.

Heavy footsteps from the open doorway turned all frightful eyes towards it. They feared that more night creatures were on the way inside, that their rescue was a slight respite before the horror would return.

A mysterious figure in black with a straight sword in the right hand walked forward, his face stone still while wearing a pair of shades over his eyes. He took a few steps forward and was soon joined on either side by his comrades, a man and a woman.

"No finesse, Blade? That's rather boring." said the woman, sounding disappointed but with a touch of playfulness in her tone. She wore dark purple revealing clothes consisting of a tight corset and tight leather pants. Her lovely looking hands were stained from blood and her shoulder length raven hair flowed in the breeze.

"Shut it Lilith," said the vampire hunter. He was already not liking her being around him and they had only just met up. He had known her through his various hunts around America. He would rather not be around her if he had the choice, but since he had arrived here not of his own will he had little choice. "I hunt the way I want to, vamp bitch."

Lilith turned her chin upward at the comment and put her hands on her hips, "Rude to say to a lady."

Audible gasps from inside the church drew the attention of the three standing in the doorway. The other man who was kneeling on the floor, his skin pale white and wearing tattered red and black clothes, stood up. "Quiet you two, we're not here to cause further panic."

"I think it's well beyond that point, Morbius, we took care of the monsters anyway." Blade said in a more controlled tone. Unlike Lilith he respected the man beside him. Though he was something akin to a vampire the man known to the rest of the world as Michael Morbius had been turned by accident into a blood drinking creature. Thus, one would think he secretly felt sorry for him, though he would never admit it out loud.

"The monsters is not what these people fear now, but us," said the former doctor. What he meant was the people were afraid of them because, with an inherent history of living in fear of the monsters of the night, could tell when vampires were near. And as it turned out, there were three standing in the doorway.

Michael was a pseudo vampire, Blade a half vampire, and Lilith being the daughter of Dracula was a true vampire.

The three had been brought together mysteriously, and for better or worse they were stuck together.

Chapter Text

The ground wasn't the only place where the monsters of the night were attacking. Like cockroaches they scurried across the rooftops, killing any humans in their houses as they hid or tried to flee.

Near the town square on the bloody rooftops, Alucard struck down the monsters that came at him with his silver sword. The dhampir moved with supernatural speed and agility, his movements a blur to human eyes, and he killed as many of the creatures as he could.

But as it turned out he wasn't alone. He could sense others nearby, others similar to him, but unsure if they were allies or foes. He also noticed the bodies of night creatures he had not slain himself, another clue that he wasn't the only one fighting back. And since these beasts were made of darkness they weren't easy to kill, as most professional hunters would be overwhelmed by their strength as well as numbers.

Yet he was in no hurry to find out who was helping him. "I will find out soon enough," said the dhampir.

A woman's scream nearby got his attention and he ran across the rooftops to the location. She was cornered in an alley, her arm bloodied from a scratch but still alive. At least for now.

They only took a few steps forward before Alucard leapt down from the rooftop and got between them and their prey. He pointed his family sword at them. "No further, beasts." He showed his fangs and this caused the monsters to back off only for a moment. Then they charged at him all at once.

He cut them down quickly and efficiently, all while standing in place. Their bodies were now nothing but rotting heaps of meat with pools of blood spilling into the cobblestone ground.

Alucard looked back over his shoulder and motioned for the woman to flee. She did so without a second thought and ran into the street. Alucard came out of the alley himself and saw the sky becoming blood red and it was only now that he noticed the white orb that was the moon before the castle. It was an unnatural night, but if that castle was indeed that of his father, he knew nothing could be right.

A high pitched screech from above caused the dhampir to look upward, just in time to see a monster falling from the sky. He took a leap backwards to avoid the coming beast, and it landed on its back. It wasn't alive, nor alone.

A man in a dark grey overcoat similar to Alucard's black one stood over the beast, a long crimson red blade plunged deep into its thick chest. The monster was dead, and the sword wielder pulled out the blade. It had a dragon's head design for the hilt and handle. The man locked eyes with Alucard, and the dhampir noticed the deep red irises that could only belong to a vampire. Though the man looked to be no older than twenty, he carried the sword like he was a veteran killer and should not be underestimated.

Alucard kept his grip on his own sword tight. "Who are you?"

The other man's eyes narrowed, examining the dhampir with a focus that would have sent a chill up a brave man's spine. "Viktor Nachtmahr, vampire knight of Sera Reinhardt, the princess of Germany."

Alucard's personal memories he hadn't heard of a princess with that name. "I am Alucard, but that aside, do you know of anything that is happening here, Viktor?"

The knight shook his head slowly and stepped off the monster he had just slain. "I do not." Then he raised the blade, dripping with fresh blood at the man before him, "But if you know where Sera is, you best tell me now."

The man's words were threatening but Alucard didn't flinch. "I do not know of a woman named Sera."

Viktor showed his fangs, clearly not satisfied by his answer. "She was taken from her room not an hour ago by a red light. When I went to retrieve her I was swallowed up by the same light. When it vanished, I found myself here in this place."

"So you're here for the sake of someone you care about..." Alucard's thoughts were clouded by the images of a young blonde haired woman he knew very personally. He was lucky that she was safe and sound at their home right now, and for a moment he felt sorry for Viktor. "Then I hope to help you with finding her."

Viktor lowered his sword, no longer sensing anything threatening about Alucard. "You know who took her?"

This time Alucard shook his head, "I have a feeling the lord of that castle might have something to do with it."

Both men turned their eyes to the monstrous structure that towered over the village and the carnage that was befalling it.

Alucard had his suspicions but he wanted to think that it wasn't possible. He dreaded who could be behind this attack. Viktor didn't speak either, but from the expression he had on his face he could not guess who this castle belonged to, nor why Sera had been taken from him. All he knew was that he needed to find her.

More screams were heard nearby as well as roaring of more night creatures as they continued unrelenting in their slaughtering of the hopeless townsfolk.

The two men put aside their thoughts and raised their weapons again.

"Alucard, I must find Sera. You will help me in this?"

The dhampir nodded, "As long as I find out who that castle is controlled by, yes."

"Danke (Thank you)," said the vampire knight.

With that thought the two men went into the darkness to find out who was screaming.

They ran through the blood soaked streets side by side and moving at the same speed with weapons drawn. It wasn't made apparent where they were heading, but Alucard noticed they were being drawn towards the castle. No surprise.

Not only that but the monsters seemed to be moving in the same direction.

Something was drawing them there, and the sound of gunfire grew louder and louder as the men got closer. Viktor killed two of the monsters that got in his way-then had to move his head to the side to avoid getting hit by a silver bolt.

He turned his head to who shot it, and he found Van Helsing. The hunter had the chance to shoot the knight but instead took aim in another direction and killed another monster.

Obviously the hunter had no interest in Viktor for the moment.

Rayne and Zero had their backs to each other and took out their confusion on the night creatures. They unloaded their lead into whichever came close to them. Zero's bullets were made of enchanted silver meant to kill vampires but they worked well against monsters spawned from hell. Rayne had the Carpathian Dragons and they could kill anything if enough bullets were put into them, but they had a drawback.

She felt a sharp pain go up her arms as her own blood was drained from her hands and into the guns. "Fuck this sucks..." She continued to fire anyway because the horde just would not stop coming.

"Tell me about it." Zero also had a problem. Unlike Rayne his ammunition was more limited. He had only five clips with him and he had used his first. A rookie mistake would be to use all of them in a single fight and he was no rookie hunter.

Even with the added reinforcements of Alucard and Viktor, the three hunters were not doing well.

Then came even more help from the nearby church. More gunfire from Blade's pistols helped stem the tide while Lilith and Morbius went hand-to-hand in dealing with the monsters. They tore them to pieces with ease but they still kept coming.

"Put me down!"

That voice got Van Helsing's attention and he turned to see a teenage boy being pulled into the air by a winged beast. Taking careful aim with his crossbow he fired a single bolt and with precision-and some luck-the bolt pierced the ankle of the monster and in its agony dropped the boy.

As he fell Van Helsing called out for someone to catch him, but it turned out he need not worry.

Right away someone leapt into the air and caught him well before he could have hit the ground. It was another teenage boy in all black attire with a black fur trim hooded jacket. His hair was short and dark. He looked like he had just come off the street after a night on the town.

Van Helsing sighed when the two were safely on the ground.

The two boys gathered themselves and the one who fell thanked the one who caught him. "I got caught off guard. Thanks."

"Don't mention it," said the other, who felt the need to say his name. "Name's Akira, by the way."

The other boy nodded, "Call me Tsukune."

The two were the same in age and in build as well as in stature though Tsukune wore a black dress uniform he had received back at Yokai Academy. A silver chain bracelet dangled on his right wrist.

A monster fell from the sky, its torso filled with bolts fired from Van Helsing's crossbow. That was a signal to them that the pleasantries were over.

Gunfire continued incessantly and silver and steel sliced and diced the monsters as they came at the intruders.

Tsukune and Akira were the only ones using their fists, though in the case of the former he had a secondary weapon attached to his hip. A whip given to him by a close friend. It was supposed to be a bane to other yokai (monsters) but it wasn't good in enclosed areas nor when surrounded by friends or allies, so Tsukune didn't use it yet.

Still he had to complain, 'Man I wish I had a damn sword!'

A monster came up behind him and grabbed his head with monstrous claws. He tried to pry them off but the strength behind the grab made his head feel like it was gonna be crushed like a grape-

-until a knock to the back of the monster's head caused it to let the boy go. Tsukune stumbled forward and turned to see Saya Otonashi drive her sword through the monster's chest on the right side while Marie stabbed from the back through the right side as well. A double piercing and it never stood a chance. Saya pulled her sword out and the monster fell forward. Marie's blade remained inside the monster until she was certain it was dead before she too pulled it out.

"You alright?" Asked Saya. She swung her blade to the side and the blood from the monster flew off the steel.

"Yeah, thanks," said Tsukune while silently cursing himself for having to be saved twice in a handful of minutes.

Hagi approached Saya, the coffin shield he carried had blood on it from striking the monster to save Tsukune. "Saya, they keep coming."

"There's no end to them," said Saya as she helped Tsukune to his feet. This whole thing was proving to be annoying in her eyes.

Meanwhile at the fountain Tsukimiya was holding her own against whatever came at her but she had been forced to climb the angel fountain to keep her distance. Not a smart move on her part because she had now restricted her movement. The monsters took out the statue and she fell.

Luckily for her Viktor caught her in his arms and put some distance between them and the monsters. Tsukimiya looked up at her rescuer with a thankful expression. "Nice catch."

Viktor set her down on her feet but she kept close to him, which confused him. "What is it?"

She peered up at him with an interested look, "Nothing."

A trio of monsters flew at the two but Viktor wouldn't have been able to raise his sword in time to defend himself or her, but luckily Van Helsing's crossbow had them covered. Dozens of silver bolts flew past the two and on impulse Viktor put his arms around Tsukimiya to protect her from the bolts. She in turn huddled against him until the firing stopped.

Viktor pulled back, "Are you-"

He was instantly met with a kiss to his lips from the girl. Instantly Viktor wanted to pull back but she had put her hands to his face faster than he could move away and she kept him in place. He had no choice but to remain still until she was finished.

When she pulled back she smiled up at him with devious eyes, "Thanks, handsome."

"That was for saving you?"

"Twice in a row, and thus I rewarded you."

"As nice as that was I didn't ask for a reward," said the knight. He couldn't lie the girl was a vixen in spite of her age.

"I had other motives, to be honest." Putting her hands down Tsukimiya wiped the blood from her lips. Viktor's blood as it was. He hadn't even noticed she had bitten down on his bottom lip, as he had been so surprised by her kiss. His wound had healed instantly.

He rolled his eyes, "You're quite a minx."

Tsukimiya giggled.

"If you two are done flirting we have other problems," said Morbius as he kneeled on a pile of corpses he had made in the last few seconds.

Viktor and Tsukimiya put some distance between each other, but it was the knight who made the obvious observation. The square had been full of monsters a mere moment ago but now, except for the slayers, it was entirely empty. It was so eerie. A place that had been full of death and carnage was now silent to the point where water-or blood- could be heard dripping across the square. All those who had been killing the monsters gathered near the destroyed fountain in the shadow of the dark castle before them and all eyes were drawn to the structure-

-then the sound of flapping heavy wings filled the air and it was followed by a high pitched screech.

Tsukune was the first to call out what everyone else was seeing. "There!"

A large winged creature flew towards them. A purple wyvern, an armless European dragon flew down in an attempt to attack the group. All those who had firearms raised their weapons to unload on it but the speed at which the monster flew created a current that pushed them all back. This caused all of them to scurry and flee just in time for the monster to drive its large clawed feet into the ground. It created a crater upon impact that threw dust and debris into the air.

Chapter Text

All of the slayers took shelter in the alleyways between the buildings.

"Holy fuck! A dragon!?" Said Rayne in complete disbelief. She had never fought anything like that in her missions for the Brimstone Society, even after facing other crazy monsters and zombified Nazis. This thing was at least two stories tall and covered in purple scales. It had a ferocious appearance otherwise and its many sharp teeth were stained with blood of past victims.

Marie and Tsukimiya had their backs to the wall opposite Rayne and both were in the same pickle. As strong as they were, trying to fight a large flying lizard like that was way out of their league.

"This sucks," said Tsukimiya as she stood in front of Viktor, who had followed her into the alley.

"Stay here," said the knight before going back outside.

Tsukimiya couldn't believe what she was seeing. Was he crazy? "The hell are you thinking!"

Viktor went on running towards the monster with his sword in his right hand. Before he reached the beast it took to the sky with a screech. Viktor's eyes followed it as it circled around the square. Soon he was joined by a few others such as Alucard, Morbius, as well as Saya and her servant Hagi.

The wyvern took a dive towards the slayers, screeching yet again as the draft created by its flight caused major damage to many buildings around it. It's mouth opened wide to devour anything in its path.

Hagi picked Saya up into his arms and leapt away from the stampeding wyvern. Morbius used mist to get some distance. Only Alucard and Viktor remained in place and they were ready for what was coming. Using their swords they plunged their steel tips into either side of the monster's jaw and stopped it dead in its tracks. The wings went froward and created a dust cloud that sent anyone nearby flying across the square. Lilith and Tsukimiya had come out to help but were sent flying back into brick walls. They'd live but it still hurt, nonetheless.

Zero and Van Helsing took aim at the stopped creature and fired incessantly to try and kill it. Rayne joined in as well as Blade with their pistols firing from the opposite side.

Still no matter how much lead they pumped into it the wyvern struggled. It finally got loose when it spewed fire from its mouth, causing the two sword wielders to back off for the time being. Badly wounded the wyvern took to the sky once again and yet it was ready for more.

"This is pointless," said Alucard under his breath. He wasn't liking how this was going. No coordination between any of them and this battle would be dragged out until they were all dead.

Viktor agreed, though not for the same reasons. This dragon's scales had not been pierced by steel, but it was bleeding on the sides were its protective scales were less bulked. He had hope to slice the neck of the monster to end its life but that idea was now thrown out the window. "We need to get the underbelly. That is where it might be vulnerable."

"How the hell can we do that? I doubt it will fall for the same trick again," asked Morbius after he appeared next to the two men. Saya and Hagi joined them as well.

That was indeed the problem.

Luckily someone in the group had an idea. Alucard put his sword back in the scabbard on his left hip. "All of you hide. I shall deal with it."

Saya kept her own sword in a tight grip, "You sure about that?"

"I can handle it. Go, and be ready."

"Ready for what, exactly?" Asked the doctor named Morbius.

"An opening," said Alucard bluntly. There was little time to waste.

Morbius scoffed but left in a cloud of mist. Saya and Hagi left as well and, after a questionable look, so did Viktor. They took off for the side streets while Alucard remained in place alone.

The monster's eyes had been somewhat blocked by the clouds of smoke it had created when it had set the buildings on fire. Yet the moment it saw Alucard alone without his comrades it got greedy and went in for the attack. However instead of trying to bite the lone man it tried something else. Using its clawed feet it tried to crush Alucard under its weight. Yet Alucard used his supernatural speed to get some distance at the last possible second. Missing with its intended claws didn't stop the monster as it tried to bite down on Alucard at his new location a few meters in front of it. Using just the strength in his arms Alucard used his superb strength to hold the monster's jaws open, though he was visibly struggling to prevent them from clamping down on him.

But it was all part of the plan.

"NOW!"

The dhampir called out to the others who responded in kind. Morbius went right to the monster's head and with his clawed hands, drove them into the monster's eyes. In its panic the monster tried to fly away but Alucard kept it in place. Instead it tried to lift itself off the ground. It did but that opened up the spot that was targeted. Blades drawn Viktor and Saya came from opposite ends of the wyvern and disemboweled the monster from neck to belly.

The monster let out a weak roar before it fell to the ground. Saya and Viktor appeared near Alucard as the beast drew its final breath. They were soon joined by everyone else who had been in hiding.

"That could have gone better," said Rayne as she put her two pistols on her hips.

"Could have gone faster, too," said Tsukimiya as she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. She was clearly irritated with all that was going on. "I still think this is all sorts of bogus."

"Not the word I would use to describe it but I'll go with it," said Rayne with a sigh.

A loud Click was heard and all eyes were drawn to the dark skinned vampire hunter named Blade. He was pointing his pistols at Alucard. After that display of power, as well as everything else that had happened so far, he was on his toes. He wasn't the only one as now that the threat of the wyvern was over, the group of impromptu comrades now split up and became aware of each other. Or more aware of their hidden nature. All of them, save for Tsukune and Akira, were vampiric in nature. And that put the hunters on edge being so close to their natural enemies.

Alucard kept his head forward but his eyes went in Blade's direction, and calmly said, "I see you wish to kill me, hunter."

"That's the idea," said Blade.

"You think I'd let you so easily?" Alucard turned to face Blade, his left hand on the hilt of his sheathed sword. Even if he could pull it out fast enough, he didn't know if Blade's bullets could take him down before he could get a swing in. Still he would try and that was enough for Blade.

But not everyone else was in the mood to fight amongst themselves.

"Fuck off, dude. He just saved our asses," said Rayne, stepping forward between the dhampir and hunter but facing Blade. Then she had to add, "So did the rest of them." She had meant Saya, Hagi, Viktor, and Morbius but hadn't known them by name yet.

Zero was empty on his ammunition clip and exchanged for a fresh one. He deliberately let the empty clip fall to the ground to break the tension. Not only that but he also had to speak his mind. "As a hunter I know all of this would cause me to question the situation, being so close to vampires, but I don't think this is the right time."

"Shut up boy," said Blade.

"Blade, that's enough," Lilith put a hand on the hunter's shoulder. "We can try and kill each other later. That castle...there's something about it-"

"No kidding," said Tsukimiya as she stood her ground but close to Viktor. That kiss from earlier had been on her mind now that the chaos was low. "I think we should find out who lives in it and get some answers."

As if to answer the woman's idea, the large wooden gates of the castle gates began to open of their own accord. All eyes were on those gates and the clouds around the castle began to ominously part to reveal the first true image of the castle.

They were overcome with awe at the spectacle of gothic monstrosity and those whose senses went beyond the human level felt a wave of power flow over them once the gates had fully opened. Like a wave of water the power that Alucard and the others felt made them shiver with dread.

Yet they moved forward, the gates wide open like arms in a welcoming embrace, and they went on inside with wither curiosity or strength of will.

Walking through a simple arch the group of hunters found themselves in the castle's front courtyard. A large open space surrounded by stone and cold steel. There was nothing between them and the castle's twin wooden doors except for a large fountain that had a pair of statues in the center of it. Then there was the countless number of steel pikes sticking up from the ground with human skeletons, weathered by years of exposure to the elements and appearing brittle as a result.

This detail was off putting to some of the group, though few were vocal about it. One exception was Tsukune.

He had seen many horrors on a daily basis, but this disturbed him more than anything.

"Who would stick skeletons on spikes?"

Akira had been walking beside him and he had some bad news to share with his new friend. "I don't think they were put on as skeletons to begin with..." He came to this conclusion with the blood stains that went down the metal length of the spikes.

Upon realizing this Tsukune almost gagged, "You're kidding..."

"They were more than likely impaled alive and left to die a slow painful death," added Akira.

"Such is a way to make it clear that this place is damned," said Viktor as he walked past the two boys. His destination was the center of the courtyard. He recognized the statues at the fountain and went to get a closer look at it. Water flowed from the figures feet and into the pool of the fountain itself. A silver plaque on the edge of the fountain read what Viktor had suspected to be true.

"The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Man and That They Were Fair," was what he read from the plaque. The artist wasn't as much familiar to him, and the feminine name underneath the name of the art got his attention.

"Islea...I don't think that is who made the original work..." he mumbled. Having the knowledge he had gathered from his bloodline he was certain the artist had been a French man and not a woman.

Rayne came over to him and sat down on the edge of the fountain. She was careful not to touch the water as it would hurt her terribly. "And yet it looks like a master did it. Whoever managed to do it must be a damn good artist."

Agreeing with the woman Viktor took a closer look at the faces of the woman and man and noted how eerily lifelike they were. Like they were cast in stone and were once human...

Those weren't the only statues as it turned out. Along the high wall surrounding the courtyard was a line of menacing gargoyles staring down at the newly arrived and unexpected guests.

For Alucard he wasn't one to mind them, his eyes were looking up at the castle's four massive towers. He had come to a rather unsavory conclusion in the time between his arrival to this place and coming into the courtyard.

"There's no doubt about it now: this is Castle Dracula."

The mere sound of the name of the Lord of Darkness caused a cold breeze to go across the courtyard. In the distance wolves howled and bats clicked as they flew through the air. The breeze turned into a gust and the cold air felt like needles against the bare skin of those who felt it. A sense of dread filled the air, though some might not have understood why.

Alucard lowered his chin and closed his eyes at his own conclusion. He had not wanted it to be true. "It's been five years..." Five years since he had defeated his father Dracula and stopped his reign of terror with the help of the Belmont family of hunters. He had hoped to not see this place again in a century, but a mere twentieth of that later and here he was once again...

"The hell are you talking about? Dracula?"

That sentence had been spoken by the hunter known as Blade. "Last I checked he was sent to hell via a stake to the heart. By me, no less."

A hearty laugh from the fountain was heard as Lilith let her opinion be known. She had joined Rayne and Tsukimiya on sitting on the edge of the fountain like it was a stroll through a park. "He is not so easily killed, Blade. You know this, as do I."

Alucard agreed with Lilith, but something told him she knew more about Dracula from firsthand experience. They all would, surely...

"Um, don't mind me asking but, who is Dracula?"

Tsukune's question, so blunt and naive sounding, felt like a sharp dagger piercing the air. Most eyes turned towards him save for Akira, Saya, and Tsukimiya, and they were so overcome with shock they were left speechless. The boy could feel something was off and rather than sulk back into the proverbial corner in shame went ahead with himself. "I guess I should know, huh..."

"How do you not know about Dracula? He's the king of vampires!" This came from Lilith, who was perplexed as to how someone didn't know who the Count was.

Then she got a double shock when Tsukimiya admitted, "I've never heard of him either."

"Neither have I, and I've been alive a long time," said Saya, having at least two centuries of memory she had never heard of such a creature. The closest she could recall knowing that name was of a European warlord known as Vlad the Impaler, more popularly known as Dracula. Yet he wasn't a vampire, instead that had been made a pop culture trope that mixed fact and fiction to an almost unrecognizable degree.

Then Akira shook his head, "I've heard of the name but I don't recall him being a vampire. He's a myth where I come from."

"Better for you to not know then," said Alucard.

Lilith didn't like the answer and spoke more of her mind. "He is a stain on this planet, and I hope to one day kill him-permanently."

"I wish that were possible. I've tried for a long time to do just that," said Alucard.

"What is he to you?"

Alucard parted his lips to speak when an unnatural wind flowed through the courtyard. It went towards the castle doors, going through the intruders to reach its destination. Out of a cloud of dust and mist stood a young woman in a dark blue dress. She was of an unearthly beauty with pale white skin and red lips. Her eyes were deep red, giving away her true nature. Not that the fangs that peeked from between her lips when she smiled did much to hide it.

"So you're all the reason the Wyvern is dead."

The group stood at attention, weapons at the ready as this girl took steps forward.

"Who the hell are you?" asked Blade as he pointed a pistol at the woman. The safety was off and his finger was ready to pull the trigger at the moment he needed to.

The woman merely smiled, one that made everyone who saw it very uneasy, "I am Laura, and I bid you welcome to my mother's castle."

Chapter Text

"Your mother?"

That question came from Alucard, who wasn't as awestruck as the others at Laura's presence. To be honest he did sense a power coming from her that bellied her delicate, beautiful exterior. She was a vampire, this much he knew right off the bat, but something within told him not to underestimate her.

The woman looked around at the other hunters slowly, as if examining them. "I see there's quite a congregation here. I see beautiful ladies, handsome gentlemen and...ah yes, even human rabble."

Was she judging them? She certainly sounded snobby about who had entered the castle. Not that sort of thing bothered Alucard. If she was old enough to know the idea of immortality then being a bit arrogant wasn't above her nature. Vampires were arrogant by default.

Stepping forward but holding his sword at the ready Alucard spoke, gaining Laura's attention. "You say your mother is the lord of this castle? How did she come to do this? Tell me."

The woman seemed amused by the dhampir's assertiveness. "I admire your boldness, sir, but I don't bow to the demands of rabble."

Alucard bared his fangs, already growing impatient. He needed to know why, if this was the castle of another, that he felt his father's influence in its aura. That simply wasn't natural. "Tell me, woman, or I shall make you."

"You won't be alone," said a voice from behind Alucard, followed by a click of a safety being turned off. That could have been from Zero, or Blade, or maybe even the fiery red head Rayne, but Alucard didn't know.

Though outnumbered Laura's smile widened as if amused. "You are all so beneath me I could-"

A shot was fired at Laura, missing Alucard's head but barely, and though the bullet was shot at a high speed Laura reacted with supernatural speed. Merely raising a handout in front of her she stopped the bullet mid-air well before it could reach her.

"Hmm, interesting..." she said before lowering her hand. The bullet fell to the stone floor of the courtyard. Then she made her move. No one saw her move, even with their own supernaturally enhanced eyes. Laura dispatched Rayne, Zero, Morbius, Blade, and Akira with a single blow each, sending them flying and landing hard on the floor many meters away from where they had been standing. Those that could react didn't fare much better. Marie got a glimpse of Laura and swung her sword to intercept her but the vampiress merely blocked the blade with her bare hand. Viktor had tried to help her with his own sword from the other side but Laura had stopped him with her other hand. With a childish laugh she grabbed the swords and violently heaved the two wielders together above her head. She had vanished into a plume of dark mist before the hit the ground in a heap. Saya stood wide eyed and with her own sword at the ready, but even she hadn't expected Laura to suddenly appear behind her. Wrenching her left arm behind her back Laura used her right hand and her fingernails just barely dug into Saya's neck. Though it broke her skin barely enough to bleed it was actually constricting her windpipe to the point breathing was painful.

As the hunters took a moment to regroup they knew they had been out played. There was no one near Laura to get at her from the sides or behind her. Saya was at her mercy. Alucard remained in place, but now he was flanked by the hunter Van Helsing on his left and Lilith Drake on his right. The former wielded his crossbow, the latter her bare hands and looking very besmirched at the other woman's actions.

"I haven't had this much fun in centuries. You all might have some entertainment value in you after all..." Laura squeezed her fingers slightly closer together as well as pushed upward against Saya's neck, making breathing even harder for her captive. Blood started to drip from Saya's neck and onto Laura's fingers. The vampiress didn't mind it though, long as none of it got on her dress that is. She spoke to the others as they watched helplessly. "My mother doesn't want you here. If you wish to forfeit your lives by going through the castle then that's your choice. But be warned: this castle is a creature of chaos, and none of you will survive its wrath."

'It certainly sounds like father's castle...' thought Alucard, finding little solace in Laura's words.

The tense standoff between the woman and her foes didn't last long as a dark blur leapt into the air behind Alucard. Laura saw it too and shoved Saya forward and quickly raised her arm-and managed to block Hagi's attempted attack with his coffin. He had tried to bring it down like an oversized hammer on the woman's head. Even though it failed it did serve the purpose of getting Saya free.

Laura herself seemed amused to be taken off-guard albeit slightly. "Fufufu, quite a trick, pretty man."

Hagi remained silent, as was his usual.

The same could not be said for his lover.

Once she was loose Saya rolled forward, spun around, and tried to attack Laura while she held Hagi in the air. Laura simply turned into mist once again to avoid the attack and flew upward into the sky before vanishing entirely, her mocking laughter echoing in the courtyard.

Once his feet touched the ground Hagi immediately tended to Saya when she fell to a knee. She was in pain no doubt but her natural healing immediately kicked in and the wound on her throat closed. Though the same could not be said of her pride.

Alucard relaxed his body, as did Van Helsing and Lilith. Those that had been tossed around like chaff were converging on those still standing. The range of emotion that went thought them all was palpable, sitting somewhere between annoyance and stupefied. Then there was Tsukune, who seemed downright frightened at what he had just seen.

"If that woman is that powerful…what other terrors does the castle have in store for us?"

Chapter Text

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.