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Vampiric Crusade

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Valin, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Here are the first couple parts of an original story I started working on a few years ago (and currently on hold), which I just figured I'd share a little of. Just a bit of a warning: there's quite a bit of cursing in this, just in case you're offended by that kind of thing. Anyway, I hope you find this enjoyable.


    Prologue

    Nighttime envelops the city, and that’s when things are known to get dangerous. If only I had taken that common knowledge more seriously...

    I thought I would be safe, but looks like those that serve protect the ‘commoners’ royally messed up where I am concerned. This all started when I had to do some last-minute studying for a test I had coming up, so, like any good student, I went to the library. I had not intended to stay as long as I did, but, well… I did, and it became dark out, and I thus break curfew. I thought I was alright because my home is only a few blocks away from the library, but just about every sense of security I had instantly shattered when a creature of darkness, an enemy to all of the goddess’ children, like yours truly, showed up and threatened to do what creatures of darkness do. Big screw-up on my part! Now I’m really in deep shit! In fact, I’m probably cursing myself more than I am the creature that’s chasing me.

    My legs take me as fast as they can take me, but I can’t say that’s doing me a whole ton of good, because the creature is right behind me and gaining. Because it’s dark, I didn’t get a very good look at the creature, besides the fact that it’s humanoid, which only makes things worse for me, because, as I’ve learned about demons and other creatures of darkness, the closer they are to looking human, the worse they are. In fact, I probably would have mistaken the creature for a human if it weren’t for its glowing crimson eyes. If it were a two-foot-tall imp or something, no problem, because even I could take one of those, and everyone going out at night is required by law to take along a weapon for self-defense, like the measly knife I have along. However, I just happened to be the one who ended up in one of those once-every-231-times when someone encounters a demon too strong for a civilian to kill! The instructions in that case: Run like hell and find a Crusader!

    The creature points out my state, “Your speed, your breathing! You have quite a will to live, boy. Excellent! Human blood always tastes better when there is a touch of fear!” Its voice is rather cultured… as well as female. And what was that about how human blood tastes…? Crap! She has to be a vampire! A creature of darkness that drinks blood and now she’s after mine! My only hope is to keep running and find a Crusader who can save me! If I get caught… well… I’ll become a statistic to give the Crusaders an incentive to do a better job enforcing curfew.

    Despite my body’s protests, I pick up my pace. Not being an avid player of sports and just an above-average student in Phys Ed, let me tell you, it’s not easy. I turn one corner after another, yelling for help; probably the most un-badass thing I’ve ever done in my sixteen years. I’m sweating for more reasons than one and my hair, which is dark and goes down past my neck, but before my mid-back, sticks to me like… I dunno… stickers…?

    I look back and notice that the vampire isn’t there anymore. I slow down and stop, taking some deep breaths. Did I lose her? I don’t know how, but alright! Go me! However, my euphoria is cut short as she drops down in front of me. I now have a pretty good look at her. She has long lightly-colored hair, almost completely white, and she really doesn’t look that much older than me, though she probably is. On her back, two bat-like wings extend. The total wingspan is probably ten feet. To my disgust, she’s also wearing a gown with a large bloodstain on it.

    A smirk crosses her lips, revealing her small, but very much existent fangs, “You thought you lost me, eh? I suggest you reevaluate your assumption, boy.”

    “Damn it!” I curse as I turn and start running again. Running the first time wasn’t so bad. It’s uncomfortable, but not hard to maintain a steady pace, but after stopping, albeit briefly, it’s so much harder! I turn a corner I missed before and find a girl dressed in a white cloak with gold highlights running in my direction. I recognize those clothes! A Crusader! I’m saved!

    In between breaths, I explain my situation to the Crusader, “Demon… chasing me… help…”

    The vampire comes into sight. The Crusader steps between us with her arm extended, “Stay behind me! I’ll take care of this hellspawn!”

    The vampire lets out a discontent sound, “Tch. A Crusader. How annoying…”

    “Return to darkness, enemy of the goddess and her children!” The Crusader extends both of her hands toward the vampire, and she recites some words in the Holy Tongue (don’t ask me what they mean, ‘cause I don’t know), “Assuni hiah fuum saein!” With her last nonsense word, the Crusader, a mage, according to her fighting style, fires a flurry of dazzling beams of light at the vampire, who covers herself with her wingspan, then uncovers herself after the attack ends, emerging completely unharmed. The mage attempts another spell, “Afaiah em_” However, the vampire charges, closing the distance between them too fast for the spell to be complete. The Crusader tries to reach for her sidearm, but she is too slow. The vampire’s right hand crackles with dark energy and it sinks deep into the chest of the Crusader. The vampire then pulls out her heart. Blood covers the vampire’s arm and goes spattering everywhere. With her final weak breath, the Crusader gasps, “Fo… giv… me…”

    My mouth is agape with terror and disgust and I feel like I’m about to hurl. My knees start to buckle and I watch the body of the Crusader; my last hope, fall to the ground. The vampire looks at her newly retrieved heart, “This will make for a decent meal later, but for now, back to the business at hand…” She advances on me. My legs give in and I fall to the ground. The vampire kneels in front of me and brings her face so close to mine that she fills my vision. I can’t take my attention away from those crimson eyes, “I hear your heartbeat. Your fear consumes you and you watched your last hope shatter, and you are filled with despair. Your blood will be a most satisfying meal…” I want to say something badass and go out with dignity, but she’s right. I am consumed by fear; So much so that I can’t talk! She leans past my head and whispers into my ear, “But don’t worry, boy. I have no intention of taking your life. I will not take all of your blood. Instead, I will leave enough for you to live… forever. I shall place a curse on you and you will become a darkling, just like me. Consider it a thank you gift for providing me with such a fun hunt. Hmhmhm…” With a chuckle, she brings her head lower and I suddenly feel a sharp pain in the side of my neck. My eyes widen to the pain. My energy quickly leaves me and I become dizzy. It isn’t much long that I begin to black out. The pain leaves my neck and I hear the vampire’s cheerful laughter become more and more distant. Finally, I pass out.

    I don’t know how long I was out. It might have been for an hour or two, or it might have been for a few minutes, but considering that I’m in the same place I was when I fainted, I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. I notice that the entire left side of my shirt is stained with blood. In a common action, my tongue probes my teeth, only to be cut on the third teeth over from my two fronts. They had become very sharp, although I notice that the pain of cutting my tongue isn’t nearly as bad as I remember. However, that is only a minor observation compared to what I’m feeling. I had my energy drained from be before, but now I feel like I have it all back. In fact, I feel like I have more than ever! However, even that sensation feels insignificant next to the next thing I feel: Thirst. Damn it… I’ve never felt so thirsty… and not just for anything either… I’ve never been dehydrated out in a desert somewhere, but somehow, I feel that thirst doesn’t compare to what I’m feeling…

    I definitely feel different, and for some reason, I feel that returning home would be a mistake… Suddenly, I find someone. Not Crusaders… but rather, a family consisting of a father, mother, and small girl. My sense of smell, which is different somehow, picks up a very pleasant scent from the three of them, but at the same time, a horrible feeling comes over me. Despite my mind’s protests, my body feels like it’s acting on its own.

    The mother says, “That boy… he has glowing red eyes. Is he…?” Red eyes? Is she talking about my eyes? But… my eyes are green…

    The father steps in front of his wife and daughter, “A vampire? Damn it! Where are the Crusaders when we need them? Michelle, take Molly and run! Find a Crusader! I will hold this monster off for as long as I can!”

    “But…”

    “Just go! We can’t outrun it! The best I can do is buy time!”

    “Okay… Come on, Molly! We must hurry!”

    “Daddy!” The mother and girl start to run. The road goes on for a long way before a corner.

    The father unsheathes a slender-bladed sword, “Come on, monster!”

    I want to just turn and run, but I cannot control my actions! I dash head-on toward the man, who prepares to strike with his sword. I notice that I am moving fast; very fast; inhumanly fast. Under any other circumstance, this would have been a thrill.

    The man performs a lunge, impaling me through the heart. Despite the pain, I feel happy. Am I going to die? If so, good. I was going to kill the man and his family afterward. This is how it should be…

    The man pulls the sword out and draws a gun from a holster on the hip opposite his sword’s sheathe, and shoots me in the head a few times. I fall to the ground, relieved…

    … However, my relief does not last long, as every wound he inflicted on me suddenly heals, and I’m back to how I was, like nothing had happened. I quickly rise to my feet. The man assumes a defensive stance with his sword, but I rear back and my fingernails suddenly extend and harden into claws. I swipe and rend the blade to pieces, and then throw myself at the man. He is full grown and in good shape, so he SHOULD have been able to resist me, but… he can’t. I overpower him with ease and bring my face to his neck. I open my mouth wide, and the teeth in my mouth that had become extra sharp extend a few inches like the fangs of a rattlesnake. I bite down, and within mere seconds, I drain him of his blood. The taste used to repulse me, but now, it tastes better than anything I had eaten before. It clearly dawns on me what I’ve become.

    His colorless and lifeless body falls to the ground. However, in spite of having a fill that would satisfy a human, I, or should I say my body, is far from content. I turn my attention toward the wife and daughter who are not yet out of my sight. They look behind them to confirm the fate of their loved one.

    “Harold!” cries the mother.

    “Dad!” wails the daughter.

    I hate this! I don’t want to do anymore, but my body still refuses to obey. I charge at the remaining two family members. In what only felt like a few seconds, the mother and daughter suffer the same fate as the father. “A… da…” With her dying breath, the mother tries to say something, but falls short.

    “AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!” A horrible scream is all I can do. I’ve done something unforgivable! I hate what I’ve become. I am what I was told I’ve become: A vampire. An immortal creature of darkness that feeds on human blood. No… Worse even than that: a monster…

    Every hope I had for the future evaporates. I just don’t care anymore. All I want right now is for a Crusader to show up and finish me; to destroy what I have become! Tears fall from my eyes, though my thirst for blood continues.

    A figure emerges from around the corner up ahead: A girl. She is shrouded by the darkness, but I can tell she doesn’t look that much older than the girl I just killed. However, my body has no desire to attack this girl. I suddenly notice why: She has glowing red eyes. Another vampire?

    She notices the situation, “… If only I had arrived sooner…”

    “…” I want to say something, but for some reason, I can’t.

    “You don’t seem to be in control…” observes the girl, “I guess you became a vampire just recently. In that case, I’ll see what I can do about saving you.” She pulls a gun out of a holster on her back. Suddenly, my urge to attack flares up and I charge at what my body just declared as an enemy.

    I rocket toward her with my claws bared. The vampire girl, however, calmly aims her firearm as she unfurls her bat-like wings, and shoots. The shot hits me right between the eyes. The pain is only brief and the wound disappears quickly, but the impact of the shot against my speed knocks me clean off my feet and flat onto my back. I get back to my feet, only to see that the girl is no longer where she was. As I try to find out what happened, however, I feel a heavy impact against the back of my head. I feel dazed as everything becomes blurry. Soon after, I pass out.

    This was the fateful night that happened two years ago, and since then, nothing had ever been the same for me. Since then, life had become more complex and difficult, but at the same time, it was those same circumstances that would one day lead me to my destiny…

    Ziro and the Theocracy of Eluminus

    BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! A sound that feels as if it could burst eardrums blasts from a location, mere inches away from my head, ending a dream about one of my most vivid memories. It’s my alarm clock, and while a much quieter sound would have normally sufficed, in my case, the louder the better, because I would have just slept through the day, otherwise. I wake up with a stretch and yawn… and an immense thirst. I glance out the window that my bed is adjacent and parallel to. Looks like today is bright and sunny… … … Uh, crap. It’s time to do what I do every morning.

    I wake up to a bedroom that definitely makes its place as my most private sanctuary. Of course, there are video games and CDs, stuff you’d expect in a boy’s room. More than that, however, are the DVD cases covering my floor. More than anything (well, except for one unfortunate thing), I am addicted to movies. Genres range all over the place from, comedy to romance to action to horror, and whatever is in between. I even have a lot of girl-oriented films, which I enjoy for some reason. All my movies are watched on a prominent 32” screen TV across from my bed in the corner of the room. Hey, we all gotta have a hobby, right?

    There is a loud pounding on my bedroom door, which is fortunately, locked, accompanied by a high-pitched voice yelling, “Dammit, Ziro! How many times must I tell you to turn that stupid alarm down? I can hear it from my room, you idiot! Just because you have to wake up doesn’t mean you have to wake me up! Do you hear me?” The owner of the voice stomps away.

    With a sigh, I head to the bathroom, which is connected to my bedroom. There’s nothing special about it, just a blue-walled room with a white tiled floor, with the typical sink and mirror, toilet, and shower. I open up a cabinet behind the mirror above the sink, and along with the toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, bandages, and the like, there is a small jar filled with pink tablets. Taking one, I start up the sink, reach for a nearby disposable cup, fill it, and swallow the water and the pill along with it. Suddenly, that intense thirst goes away. Afterward, I do the rest of my morning bathroom things: take a shower, and tie my long mid-back length hair into a ponytail (I never was satisfied with my short-haired appearance for some reason, so I grow my hair out), as well as put on a pair of contact lenses and rub a type of lotion all over my body (more on those later).

    Finally, I head back to my room, open the sliding door to my closet, and put on my school uniform: A stylish white jacket with blue and yellow highlights over a blue shirt and white dress pants. Finally, I leave my room and head downstairs to the dining room.

    Waiting to greet me in the dining room are two girls and a boy. A pleasant aroma wafts from the kitchen as breakfast is being prepared… or at least pleasant to a human, but kinda repellant to me, though it’s a daily ritual for me to just endure it.

    The first girl, a long-black-haired girl, ten years of age, whines, “Korinaaaaa! Tell this lazyass, Ziro, to turn his stupid alarm down! He’s always waking me up and you know I can’t go back to sleep once I wake up! Tell him to stop being such a selfish bastard!” This ‘chipper’ young lady is my younger sister, Sara. She’s the one who was demanding I turn my alarm down. As if you couldn’t tell, she’s a foul-mouthed brat who always has something to bitch about.

    I lazily respond, “And miss waking up? You really think I’m going to do that?”

    The second girl, with long ash blonde hair tied in a French braid, 23 years old, responds to Sara patiently, “Now, now, Sara. You know Ziro likes to sleep in and he’s hard to wake up. You also know that he has school before you, so it’s important he wakes up on time.” She’s Korina, my older sister. A very sweet girl, but don’t let that fool you. She’s good at fighting, and though she doesn’t look it, she is a Crusader. I’m her brother, so I wouldn’t know, but a lot of people say that she’s really beautiful.

    “Hmph…” Sara pouts, no doubt unhappy about the fact that Korina took my side.

    “So… How many times have you complained about Ziro’s alarm now, Sara?” asks a guy with short blonde hair reading the morning newspaper. His name is Raiq, age 22, and he is Korina’s boyfriend. Yup, out of the hundred million guys who wanted my older sister, he’s the one who she accepted. Like Korina, he is also a Crusader, not to mention a great cook, and he comes from a rich family. I used to be skeptical of him, because I thought he was just another sleazy guy after my sister, but I got to know him and he’s really a cool guy. He hangs around the house a lot, and he’s like a brother to me and Sara.

    A ‘ding’ goes off from the kitchen and Raiq closes his newspaper and says, “It looks like breakfast is ready.” He gets up and heads to the kitchen, followed by Korina. Shortly, they walk out carrying plates with different kinds of breakfast food: Eggs for Sara, bacon for me, toast for Raiq, waffles for Korina, and coffee for all of us.

    As we eat, Sara glares at me, still probably pissed off about the whole alarm clock thing.

    I respond by mouthing the words, ‘Bite me.’

    “Hey!” yells Sara, “Korina! Ziro just mouthed something to me!”

    Korina glances at me, “Ziro, did you just mouth something to Sara?”

    “Yeah,” I answer, “I said, ‘You are the world’s best sister.’”

    “Aw, isn’t that sweet?” asks Korina.

    “Bullshit!” yells my younger sister, “You know that’s not what he said!”

    “…” Korina simply returns to her food. It’s not like she’s that naïve, it’s just that she doesn’t want to put up with us right now. Her job as a Crusader is during the night, so she only got back home a few hours ago and is no doubt exhausted. While Sara and I are at school, she and Raiq sleep during the day. What’s breakfast to me and Sara is dinner to her and Raiq.

    Finally, I finish my bacon, “That was delicious! Thank you!”

    “You’re welcome,” says Raiq with a smile.

    I put on my shoes and grab my book bag from the corner of the dining room, “Well, I’m headed for school! See ya!”

    “Oh, yes,” says Korina, recalling something, “Happy Cataclysm Day!”

    “Oh…” Oh yeah, it’s that holiday, isn’t it. All it means to me is that school is going to be a little different, is all.

    "Enjoy school," says Korina.

    "I'll try!"

    I rush out the door into the sunlight, the heat hitting me all at once, intending to get out of it as soon as possible, when I am stopped by Sara’s voice, “Hold it right there, Ziro!”

    I turn and say, “What is it, Sara?” I am impatient for more than one reason.

    Sara hesitates, her cheeks beat-red; Not a usual expression coming from her. Finally, she thrusts a pink envelope in my direction, “Here. Take this…”

    “What is it?” I ask.

    “It’s a pink envelope,” answers Sara.

    I roll my eyes, “I can see that! What is it fo--” I notice something written on the front in blue marker: ‘To Valin.’

    Sara says hesitantly, “If… if you give this to Valin, I will forgive you for the whole alarm thing. Okay…?”

    “Fine. Whatever.” I take the envelope and hurry off. Valin is Raiq’s younger brother. He’s more or less a friend of mine at school and he is nothing like his older brother. He was over once, and it was ironically obvious that Sara liked him, but… a pink envelope? I can’t imagine it being anything other than a love letter. Oh well, it’ll be a good laugh, anyway…

    I leave my residential area and run through the section of the city leading to the transport station that will take me to school, avoiding as much sunlight as possible.

    I’m sure you already know this, but my name is Ziro. I am 18 years old (people say I haven’t aged much since 16, but little do they know is that I hadn’t aged at all since 16. The only thing about me that had grown since then is my hair). I live my two sisters, and Raiq, if you count him, and I go to school. I do have parents, as well as an elder brother named Croix, but they are usually out of the country. However, there is something my friends, nor my family, should never know about me: I'm a vampire.

    Let me start from be beginning. Where I live is known as the Theocracy of Eluminus, a country, once known as a continent called 'Europe' during the Old Era, that arose after a horrific event known as the Cataclysm, which happened on this day, over two-hundred years ago. During that time, demons had broken loose from their world, and wrecked havoc upon the world that existed before. The demons, the children of darkness, were eventually thwarted, although to this day, during the night, they come out and hunt humans, the children of light. Two years ago, I was attacked by one such demon; a vampire to be exact, who placed a curse on me, which made me into a vampire too. The thing about vampires is that they have a never-ending thirst for blood, and will attack any living thing in sight for it. When I first became a vampire, I lost all self-control, went feral, and ended up killing an innocent family for their life-granting fluids. To this day, I hate myself for letting that happen, though I later found out that I had absolutely no control in the state I was in. Anyway, after that happened, I encountered another vampire, who knocked me out. Vampires can easily survive what can be considered mortal wounds, but blunt force trauma to the back of the head can still knock one unconscious, just like a human.

    Anyway, said vampire, her name is Ellen by the way, took me to her mentor, Michael. Michael (I call him Mike) is a human scholar, and particularly an expert in demonology and chemistry. He’s a really cool guy. Thanks to him, I can continue to live among humans, even as a vampire, and his advice even helped me out with continuing to live with myself, even after the horrible thing I did when I became a demon, although I still regret it, though I had regained my will to live since then. Mike had provided me with various things that allow a vampire like me to pass as a human.

    First, the lotion I spread all over my body after I woke up. One things vampires have is a weakness to sunlight. It does kill vampires; Not instantly, but it does. How it works is that a vampire dies after spending fifteen straight minutes in the sun. During the first ten minutes, sunlight is hot, but bearable, then, in the next three minutes, it becomes so hot the skin turns red. Finally, during the final two minutes (and I’m telling you what Mike told me, because I wouldn’t be here if I experienced it myself), the vampire’s skin turns to fire and its body gets barbequed! This is where the lotion comes in; it’s sunscreen for vampires. It basically extends the ‘first ten minutes’ period by thirty minutes, making it possible for me to endure the sun for a total of 40 minutes (the countdown gradually resets when I enter shade, but the lotion weakens in time). Of course, I don’t need it on rainy and overcast days, and other forms of light are harmless.

    Next are the contact lenses. A vampire has glowing red eyes. Without those, one would be almost indistinguishable from a regular human (yes, we have fangs, but they are not very defined, and one has to really look to see them (In fact, most would mistake them for chipped or crooked teeth). The fangs grow by a couple millimeters when I open my mouth wide, but all I need to do to hide those is to politely cover my mouth when I yawn). It’s not that I have bad eyesight. Rather, it’s for the color of the contacts: green, the color of my eyes before I became a vampire.

    Finally, the medicine, and I saved the most important for last. As I stated before, vampires have an uncontrollable thirst for blood and will attack any living thing for it, even against the will of the vampire itself (believe me, I know). The pill suppresses that bloodlust, and allows the vampire self-control. However, it’s not an absolute solution, as the vampire must still drink blood at some point throughout the day and the not-too-distant past, or else, the bloodlust can override the drug’s effect, and I was told that taking more than one in a 24-hour period can be deadly. Bottom line: I am in control of my body, just as long I take my meds every morning and drink just a little human blood at some point throughout the day.

    That is how I have spent the last two years of my life. Because of these things and more, I owe Mike a great deal. There is something mysterious about him, but after all he had done for me, it’s not my place to pry.

    I dash through the city (though not too fast), sticking to the shade of trees and buildings as much as possible. No matter where I am in the city, there is a massive tower in the distance, extending from the center of town, a major religious symbol.

    I pass quite a few sites, where guys in red outfits, the Restoration Team, are at work. They exist to fix whatever collateral damage was caused by the battles between the Crusaders and demons the previous night. I see them patching up a large slash mark in the side of a house, filling in a small crater in the pavement, and replace a shattered window of a local store, though that’s not nearly the extent of their work. Let’s just say there’s no shortage of work for them to do.

    Finally, I reach the transport station and many other students are already there. Needless to say, the male students are dressed in the same kind of uniform as me. As for the female students, they wear white blouses with blue ribbons, under yellow vests and wear knee-length blue skirts.

    As I make my way to the transport, a tram, which leads up to the school, which is on the summit of a nearby mountain, a female voice calls out to me, “Yoo hoo! Ziro!” I turn in the direction of the voice and see a female student with slightly unkempt long brownish-blonde hair, wearing a carefree smile and waving her hand high in the air as she runs toward me. Her name is Ria, age 19, and she had been a friend of mine since last year. She’s kind and cheerful and… okay, I’ll admit that she is kinda pretty. However, a lot of guys are a bit repulsed by her for her utter lack of femininity. She’s a tomboy in many senses of the word, and the fact that she stands at a height of 5’9”, only an inch shorter than me, doesn’t earn her any ‘girly’ points. I’m normally a loner, but for some reason, she wanted to be friends with me. Really, the day I met her, she walked up to me during lunch and asked if we could be friends, right after introducing herself. Well, once one gets to know her, she’s good company.

    I walk over to Ria, “Hey, Ria. How’s it going?”

    “Oh, it’s going, Ziro. By the way, what’s that you’re holding?”

    “Huh?” Apparently, I was in such a rush, that I forgot to put Sara’s love letter into my book bag and carried it all this way.

    Ria reads who the letter is addressed to, “’To Valin?’” She grins slyly and I think I know what’s coming, “Oh, Ziro… I didn’t think you liked Valin that much!”

    “Nonono! That’s not it at all!” I stammer, “It’s from my sister!” Damn it, Sara! I’ll remember this!

    Ria tilts her head to the side, “Your sister? You mean Korina? But… isn’t she seeing Valin’s brother?”

    “Not her. The other one.”

    Ria smiles bashfully, “Oh, Sara, then? But… isn’t she a little young for Valin?”

    “Yes.”

    “Hm…”

    Ria decides to change the subject, just as I feel compelled to, “So, you know today is Cataclysm Day, right?”

    “Yup. That means Mr. Justine will give us a long lecture about something that happened two-hundred years ago.”

    “Oh, come on, Ziro. You make it sound like it’s a bad thing. It’s a classic tale of good versus evil, the fate of mankind hanging in the balance, a ray of hope shattering the terrible darkness! It would make a good concept for a movie or video game!”

    “Yeah? And how many times has that been done?”

    “There’s a difference! This actually happened!”

    “Er…” Crap. Can’t argue with history…

    We walk to the station and get in line, which moves fast as each tram quickly comes and gathers are good amount of students at a time (think of it like a ski lift and you wouldn’t be too far off).

    Finally, a tram arrives for me, Ria, and a handful of other students. We ride over the valley (I got over the height thing ages ago, not that the fall would kill me) and to the mountain’s summit where the school awaits. It’s a classic stone building. It is clean and tidy, which masks the institute’s true age. This is St. Afinia Academy. One might mistake this place for a cathedral, and considering this is one of the first steps to becoming a Crusader, it’s not far off. We’re told this is a holy place that wards off dark beings, but that’s either bullshit or wishful thinking on the staff’s part, because I’m here, after all. It has a front entrance, but that’s not the way we enter the school. Instead, the trams go through the school building itself and go out through a cavern in the side of the mountain on which it stands.

    Our tram enters the building and stops briefly to let us off. From there, we enter the main part of the building and head through the hallways to our first classes.

    “Catch you later, Ziro!” says Ria, as she runs on ahead. We have different first classes.

    “Yeah. See you, Ria.”

    Within a few minutes, I reach my first class: math. It would be an okay class, if not for the teacher.

    I sit silently, waiting for the class to start, but everyone else has their own private conversations, which, to me, sound altogether like just an incoherent noise.

    Finally, the teacher, Mr. Grene, enters. He looks ten years older than he really is, and if you have a temper like his, I doubt you’d age gracefully either, “Alright, shut up, you morons! It’s time for class!” Yeah… he’s a total ass “… Or at least that’s what I would say, if not for today being Cataclysm Day. Therefore, we have an assembly, and I am saved just this one day from wasting my time on the lot of you! To the auditorium! Get moving!”

    Yup, I expected that. It looks like it’s going to be either a boring lesson or an exciting tale, depending on how one looks at it.


    Yeah, this is where a couple of the names I'd been using lately (Valin, Ria) came from. Looking at it now, I sometimes get the feeling my writing skills had somehow diminished since. Anyway, my efforts are currently focused on RoPW, but I really hope I'll find the inspiration to complete this story someday. If you want, I post a couple more installments of this.
     
  2. Heha, lol. It was cool to see those names... can't wait to see what Valin is like, then. I also liked the idea of the Restoration Team... finally I get to see them, even though you introduced them in another story :p
    Anyway, I think your writing talents employed in this are just as good as those in your other story, and vice-versa of course. I'd really love to see more of this story - it's something different, it's by you, and it's good!
    I would advise you finish RoPW first though. After that though =D
     
  3. This is an interesting take an an alternate universe view of vampirism and policemen--essentially, the former became so common that the phrase "Get an officer!" has become "Get a Crusader!" when one is in trouble. The latter portion after the protagonist's initial transformation implies that some vampires would like to be in public eye and live without fear, but the human populace is still prejudiced against even the nice ones.

    Wait...Trueblood?
     
  4. End of an Era

    Well, we arrive at the auditorium and only a few other classes had beaten us here, so most of the seats are up for grabs. I guess that’s the only good thing about Mr. Grene: he doesn’t waste time in getting to things.

    Needless to say, the auditorium is the largest room in the building. Hanging above the stage are seven banners, each representing the world’s seven countries.

    At this point, seating is basically first-come-first-serve. As I look for a good seat (I find the middle rows preferable), a voice calls out to me, trying a bit too hard to get my attention, “Ziro! Hey! Ziro! Over here!” I recognize the voice and look in the general direction its coming from. Sitting alone in one of the rows is a portly olive-skinned guy with glasses. His name is Clive, age 18. He’s my best friend, and he has been for seven years. As I said, I’m typically a loner, and it’s never really bothered me much. I prefer to have a few trusted individuals along, rather than having a bunch of people kissing my ass left and right. Thus I hardly ever actively seek the friendship of others.

    However, Clive was an exception. He is slightly overweight, wears thick-framed glasses (though there is, I’ll reluctantly admit, a pretty handsome face behind those specks), and is into stuff like role-playing games, computers, comic books, etc. You know, stuff that there really isn’t anything wrong with liking, but are considered nerdy by those who don’t like or understand those very things. All these things together, along with his rather withdrawn nature, and he is considered a geek by many. Our former school used to crawl with those anti-geek people, and so, no one liked him. A lot of the time, I saw him eat alone at lunch, play alone at recess. I guess you could say I felt sorry for the guy, so, out of pity, I gave him my company, not to mention, with my addiction to movies, I’m a little ‘nerdy’ myself, so we kind of have some common ground. We rarely meet outside of school, but, by the looks of things, I’m one of his only, if not his one and only friend, and he constantly tries to hang out with me (sometimes, I get the impression that I’m worth more to him than the goddess). He’s annoying sometimes, but he’s so happy around me, that his happiness spreads to me as well.

    I walk over to Clive, whose hand is down on a seat adjacent to his, “I saved you a seat, Ziro!”

    “Thanks.” I sit in the seat he reserved for me, “Well, it looks like it’s going to be another one of those holidays, sitting through a lecture about stuff we were taught since year one of our lives. Wish they’d come around and show us some Glizzerand cinematic production, and actually make it exciting.” Glizzerand is a country located to the far west of Eluminus, and its primary industry is just about any form of entertainment (literature, games, movies, etc.) one can think of. As a result, it’s a popular vacation spot.

    Clive lets out a couple snorts that are supposed to pass for laughter, “Yeah! Or they should show us an anime about it!”

    “That would work too…”

    “Maybe next year?”

    “Who knows. At least I know one person who won’t be bored: Ria. She told me she’d see this as an epic adventure. Maybe it would help if we tried to adopt that outlook?”

    “Ria? I guess. Also, this is Mr. Justine’s first year teaching history here, right. I have his class. He does good lectures.”

    “I see. I guess a lecture is only as good as the lecturer.”

    Soon, the rest of the classes arrive, the seats are filled, and the Cataclysm Day assembly is underway.

    The teachers and other major school officials are sitting in a line at the back of the stage. At the microphone is the academy’s headmaster, an elderly man, who had his position since my mom and dad went here. He makes the opening statements, and considering he had done this, like, fifty or sixty years before, he has no trouble coming up with what to say, “Welcome everyone for coming today…” Like we had a choice “… Today is a day where we commemorate the changes that occurred so many years ago, that made the world into what it has become today, and remember what was lost and what had been gained…” He turns and calls a teacher among the group behind him, “Mr. Justine, would you care to do the honors?” He makes it look like he handpicked a teacher on a whim, though a history teacher always gets picked for the presentation. I quietly mention this to Clive, and he stifles a snorting laugh.

    The youngest teacher of the bunch, probably still in his 20’s steps up; a well-dressed brown-haired man, with about a month’s growth of beard. The applause of the students is quickly drowned out by the excited squeals of almost half of the female students. Yeah… he’s that teacher: the young, good-looking one, who many of the girls like, although he is ten to fifteen years too old for them. I don’t know if he should be flattered or ashamed of himself…

    He steps up to the microphone, and instead of making a proceeding statement, he goes straight to the lesson, “Over two-hundred years ago, the world was a very different place…” A white screen lowers from the ceiling above the stage, and the projector at the back of the auditorium reveals a map of the world: primarily consisting of two massive masses of land, separated by oceans known to this day as the ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Pacific,’ though those are among the oldest territorial names that had survived to the present day “… The world was made up of many different nations…” The map reveals borders, marking the territories of too many countries to count “… and seven continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, and Antarctica…” Why do so many of them start with the letter, ‘A?’ Still, the map is a new gimmick for this annual lecture, so this might be worth our while, after all “… By the way, where we currently live is here…” He points at an island located toward the northwestern corner of the larger landmass “… on an island once known as ‘England.’ What you see is the world during the time of the Old Era. However, those days eventually came to an end, when the gates to the demon world opened and many evils were unleashed…” This is the part of the whole history lesson that gets to anyone. There never has been a really good explanation to how the demon gates came to be all of a sudden.

    “For them, it was most certainly a ‘cataclysm.’ Humankind, at the time, was very combative toward each other, and had developed many powerful weapons, but those could not stand up against the sheer force of the endless demon hordes. The once lush and green world was reduced to a wasteland, and many humans had lost their lives. However, all hope had not evaporated. Eight great heroes, Eluminus, Afinia, Fisa, Belim, Glizzerand, Ushura, Delem, and Xir, had anticipated and prepared for the demons’ arrival. Each wielding a holy weapon said to have been forged by the great goddess, Ifira, they fought back and conquered the demon lords, paving a new path for mankind…” If this weren’t history, I’d write the Eight Heroes part off as a deus ex machina. I mean, according to history, they just came out of nowhere and saved everyone. I guess everyone is so grateful that they were saved that they didn’t really give a thought to where they hailed from…

    “The Cataclysm was the end of what was known as the Old Era, and the beginning of our time, the New Era. The world was remade and mankind once again prospered, though the demon threat was never completely eradicated, as the gates still open each night. However, hope still shines bright, as the Eight Heroes left behind teachings to fight the demons, thus the origin of the Crusaders, those who protect the world against the dark menace. Where we live, the Theocracy of Eluminus, new Crusaders are trained and dispatched all over the world. Even though even the Eight Heroes were powerless against the flow of time, not to mention the heroic sacrifice the hero, Afinia, made to revive the planet’s life force, they left behind their holy weapons to be wielded by today’s commanders of the Crusaders, and the teachings of the goddess, Ifira. I’m sure you all know this, but the seven counties that exist in the New Era are named after the Eight Heroes, Eluminus named after who is considered to be the greatest of them, thus we are the world’s leading power. It is unknown when mankind will finally be free of the demons, but with our current prosperity and knowledge, that day may come yet.”

    Mr. Justine continues, going into some minor details about the story he just told. Before any of us are aware, two hours have passed. Finally, the assembly is adjourned and everyone heads back to their respective classes.

    Lunchtime arrives an hour later. I have to hand it to the school’s maintenance staff, as they managed to remove all the chairs from the auditorium and replaced them with lunch tables within the span of an hour. They deserve a raise.

    Despite how busy the auditorium-turned-cafeteria gets, Clive and I have one side a table all to ourselves, seeing as Clive isn’t very popular and most people are indifferent to me, not that I care. Clive gets a lot of the stuff on the menu: Fries, burgers, sandwiches, potato chips, and orange juice, while all I get are a couple sausages. That’s it; No other food and no drinks.

    Clive looks up from his meal, and asks, “Is that all you’re gonna get, Ziro?”

    “This is all I ever get.”

    “Well, yeah, but don’t you get hungry?”

    “Don’t worry, I’m fine.” What sucks about being a vampire is that blood is the only thing that can effectively satisfy one’s hunger. However, meat can also tide one over, though not nearly to the extent that blood does. This is why I eat bacon for breakfast and sausages for lunch. Meats are probably the only human foods I can still appreciate.

    “You’re gonna die from malnutrition,” Clive attempts at a witty remark. I want to say something of a similar nature about his over nourishment, but considering he can enjoy all kinds of food, unlike me, I’m kinda envious.

    Ria sits at our side of the table, only with a small carton of fruit punch, “Hey, guys! So, what did you think of the presentation?”

    “It was alright,” I admit, “The map display of the Old Era was a nice new touch, even if everything else had been done before.”

    Ria shrugs, “Well, I guess that’s as good a compliment as any, coming from you.”

    “Why hello there, Ziro and friends. I hope you are having a very good Cataclysm Day.”

    “Hehehe!”

    Passing by the table, speaking in a condescending voice, a male student with long blonde hair, surrounded by many giggling shallow-looking female students, smirks at us.

    “Hi, Valin,” I respond in a less-than-enthusiastic voice. Yup, this is Valin (pronounced: VAY-lin), age 19, Raiq’s brother. If the little harem he has along is no indication, he’s popular among the female students who are interested in looks, power, and little else. He is ahead in just about every subject, which he uses as leverage to his ‘I’m better than you’ attitude, and the fact that he’s rich doesn’t help either. Honestly, I don’t think Valin would be talking to me if not for his brother’s relationship with Korina, though he probably uses the fact that he’s talking to another guy as ‘proof’ that he’s ‘well-rounded’ to his female admirers. Overall, I don’t like him, but I don’t quite hate him either, though I make it a point not to spend too much time around him.

    “What do you want, Valin?” I ask.

    “Oh nothing,” answers Valin, “Just saying ‘hello.’ Isn’t that what friends do?”

    “Since when are we friends?” I know I’m acting like an ass, but this is really the way we talk most of the time.

    “Well, aren’t we?” asks Valin, not sounding the least bit hurt by my statement, not that I was expecting him to.

    “Whatever,” I say.

    “…” Clive stares at me in admiration. I guess it’s because he has no idea how I can manage myself in these situations. Well, watch and learn, my friend, it may help you someday.

    “Well, I must be on my way. I’d love to eat with you, but, unlike this table, there are plenty of desirable girls waiting for me at another table. I will see you around.”

    “I’m a girl too!” protests Ria.

    “I wonder about that,” responds Valin.

    “Hold on,” I say, remembering Sara’s latter. I pull it out of my bookbag and toss it to Valin, “You have a new groupie. Congratulations.”

    “Hm…” Valin opens and reads the letter, “’My dearest Valin. I love you. I really love you. I love you more than heavy metal. Please return my feelings… Sara.’”

    “…” If not for the commotion of various conversations going on in the cafeteria, I’m sure we could have heard a draft. A loss for words is the only response we can manage. Just how long did Sara spend coming up with that? Even Ria and Clive look turned off.

    Nonetheless, Valin folds the letter into his pocket, “I believe Sara is your younger sister, Ziro? I’m sure you know my response, as I am not as twisted as to pursue a relationship with a much younger girl. However, be sure to offer my consolations that I believe she will be one foxy lady when she grows up.” I can detect a hint of sarcasm on his voice. With that, he walks away, his groupies giggling like the morons they are.

    Once Valin his far away enough that he knows he won’t hear him, Clive says, “Valin is such a big jerk!”

    “No arguments there,” I respond.

    Ria looks appalled, “The way those girls just cling to him and laugh at everything he does… I don’t understand…”

    Resting my head against my hand, I say, “Somehow, I think you’re better off not understanding, and you should give yourself a big pat on the back for not joining his harem.”

    Ria rolls her eyes, “Don’t even put that thought in my head, Ziro.”

    After a moment of hesitation, Clive speaks up, “I wonder what it’s like to be Valin, though. To have all the girls like you…”

    I gaze at Clive suspiciously, “If you become the next Valin, I’m gonna kick you.”

    “Of-of course not!” stutters Clive, taking my joke seriously, “Even if I could, I wouldn’t be like Valin! No way! The only girl I could ever like is—“

    “Sword Maiden Reisha,” Ria and I complete Clive’s statement in unison.

    “That’s right!” responds Clive. Even though Clive is the biggest nerd I know, surprisingly, the girl he has a crush on is not a fictional character, but still someone equally unattainable.

    Now, Eluminus could not be a theocracy if it didn’t have a religious order calling the shots. Going up the hierarchy of said order, from lowest rank to highest: Priest, Crusader, paladin, Guardian, and finally, High Councilor (and, if you want to be thorough, the goddess, Ifira holds the highest rank). Out of them, each country has one Guardian, who wields a weapon left behind by the Eight Heroes and is the supreme commander of the Crusaders in the country. So, what does this have to do with what turns Clive on? The answer is that Sword Maiden Reisha is the Guardian of Eluminus, who wields the holy sword, the Saint Saber, and is the supreme commander of Eluminus’ Crusaders. To sum it all up, Clive has what can be considered a case of celebrity worship.

    Here is where Clive goes into ‘Reisha Mode,’ “The Sword Maiden is so beautiful, kind, and strong! There is no better woman in the entire world! She is—“

    Luckily, the bell rings before Clive can spend the next thirty minutes describing Reisha’s finer aspects.

    Finally, three hours later, school gets out. I survived yet another Cataclysm Day lecture of the year. Hurray!

    As I walk through the halls to the area where the trams pick up students, I hear a girl, among the rest of the commotion, running and yelling, “Adaliz! Hey, Adaliz!” In a motion that is not at all indiscreet, I turn in the direction the voice was yelling from.

    Sure enough, I see a female student rushing over to a girl with long straight light brown hair managed by a white headband and wearing wire-framed glasses, standing in a perfect, elegant posture. The girl shyly responds, “Oh… Millie. What can I help you with?” The girl then helps the other girl out with some study question, or something like that. Her name is Adaliz, and she had come to this school only about a month ago, from a part of Eluminus across the sea from the capital, which was once known as ‘France,’ but she had already fit in, and is pretty well-known. Her good looks, academic prowess, and her kind, but reserved and quiet nature, has made her very popular among both male and female students. In case you’re wondering, fine, I won’t mince word: I do like Adaliz. She’s the kind of girl I want to protect… but I can’t help but wonder if it’s appropriate to feel this way, because I’m a vampire and all… Dammit, of course it’s alright! I hadn’t gone out of control since the night I was cursed, and I had continued my day-to-day life, like nothing had happened!

    Adaliz finishes helping the other girl, who thanks her and walks away, blushing heavily. I can tell her ‘study questions’ were just a paper-thin excuse to just chat with Adaliz.

    As I continue to stare at Adaliz, however, some kind of impact hits me from behind. “What the hell?” I turn and see that it was Ria who gave me a friendly, but rough, slap on the back.

    “I see you’re back with us now, Ziro,” says Ria, “I called your name four times, but you were still out in Never Never Land!”

    “Sorry,” I respond, running a hand through my hair, “I was just… y’know… thinking about the lecture and all…”

    Ria stares at me with narrowed eyes. I guess she didn’t buy my excuse, but she decides not to pursue the subject any further, “A-anyway, I saw you so I was just saying ‘hi!’ I’ll see you later, Ziro…” Ria walks away. There was something weird about she acted just then, but I can’t put my finger on it. Ah, whatever…

    ---

    I ride the tram back to the city and go home. As soon as I enter the house, Sara is in my personal space, looking up at me, “What did Valin say, Ziro?” She looks hopeful.

    She’s just going to bitch and moan if I tell her she was rejected, so I say something else, “He said you’ll be one foxy lady when you grow up.”

    Sara backs away from me, wide-eyed, “Did… did he really say that?”

    “Yes,” It’s not a lie, and I guess this will suffice for now.

    Sara skips away from me, looking like a joyous pixie. It’s one of those few moments I can say she’s cute when she’s not being bitchy, “Thank you, Ziro! You’ve actually made yourself useful for once!” Oh gee, thanks. I’m probably going to take her wrath head-on later, when she finds out it doesn’t mean she was accepted.

    Not long later, Korina and Raiq wake up and Raiq starts dinner/breakfast (depending on whose point of view we’re talking about here). We have steak, which means meat for all three of my meals today. I’m lucky.

    We sit around the table and eat, our table manners varying from person to person (Raiq’s manners are surprisingly good, so are Korina’s. Mine are average, and Sara is like a barbarian with silverware). “So how was your Cataclysm Day lecture?” Korina asks me and Sara.

    “Boring,” answers Sara, rolling her eyes, though her tone isn’t too harsh, no doubt due to the whole ‘foxy lady’ thing, “I don’t get why we have to sit through the same stupid lecture every year. We learned this shit since practically the day we were born!”

    I grin widely, “Mine was pretty good,” I say, warranting an unfriendly glance from Sara, “A new guy spoke today and he brought up a map of the world during the Old Era. There were so many countries back then! It must have been pretty overwhelming how the world operated at the time.”

    “I can only imagine,” says Raiq.

    “What was the capital once called?” asks Sara, “’Pigland’ or something? A weird name like that…”

    “’England,’” corrects Korina.

    “Close enough. Also, I hear we used to have really powerful weapons back then, like guns surpassing the handguns everyone uses and bombs that could wipe out large areas! Y’know, stuff that renders swords, spears, and all that shit worthless! With all that, how could we get our asses handed to us?”

    Raiq answers, “Because there were so many, plus I’m sure you know that only cylvur weapons can kill certain types of demons.” Cylvur (pronounced exactly like ‘silver’) is a mineral deep below the surface of the country of Belim, a frozen land that used to be called, Antarctica. It’s a holy alloy that demons, including vampires, are weak against.

    “Gr… So stupid…”

    Raiq continues to talk about demons, “But the amount of demons seems to be unlimited, not just vast. Even though the Eight Heroes destroyed the demon leaders, they still invade every night, and it’s been that way for two-hundred years since. Demon gates have been occasionally discovered, but anyone who gets near those are reduced to nothing. I wonder if there is a way to take care of the problem at its source…”

    Dinner continues uneventfully. Shortly after the meal, Korina and Raiq leave for their duty as Crusaders, leaving Sara to wash the dishes as punishment for her behavior, much to my little sister’s chagrin (normally, we alternate days, but she acts up so much that she almost always gets this punishment. So much so, that it’s practically an unwritten rule that Sara does the dishes every night). I head up to my room. On my computer, Clive left me an IM inviting me to join his party on an online role-playing game, but I don’t feel like it. With thoughts of Adaliz in my head, I decide to lay back and watch one of my favorite romantic comedies.

    About halfway into my movie, I hear Sara yell up from downstairs, “Ziro! You have a visitor! It’s Riiiiaaaaa~” She says Ria’s name in a way that implies that there’s something between us, which there isn’t.

    “Tell her to come right up!” I yell to Sara, which I hope she can hear, considering my door’s closed and everything. I stop my movie, reach under my bed, and pulls out a small flask. At this time of day, the effects of my drug start to wear off as my thirst for blood grows. Luckily, I have some reserve blood in the flask in case I have a nighttime visitor. However… the flask only has dried blood encrusting the sides. It’s empty. Crap! It’s a pain in the ass, but I’ll just have to resist the urge to bite Ria’s neck while she’s here. My thirst isn’t so bad that I’ll lose control of my body… at least not yet…

    Ria enters my room. She is now wearing a baggy t-shirt and shorts, clothes that better match her boyish personality. She is carrying a bag of popcorn as well. I swear that girl is about as addicted to popcorn as I am to human blood…

    “Hello, Ziro!” she greets cheerfully.

    “Um… Hi, Ria,” I respond, gradually suppressing my bloodlust, “What brings you here?”

    “With your collection, I bet you have the second ‘Dragon Games’ movie! If you do, I’m here to watch it!”

    I have half a mind to tell her I don’t and make her leave, but I hate lying to my friends, even though I do that a lot to keep my secret hidden. With an internal sigh, I respond, “You know me well, Ria…”

    “Awesome!” cheers Ria.

    I pop the DVD into the player and we watch the hour-and-a-half long action movie. Ria gets excited at every well-choreographed fight scene that comes up, eating popcorn all the while but I, on the other hand, am repeatedly telling the voice that’s in the back of my mind, which constantly says, ‘Bite her,’ to shut the hell up!

    Finally, the movie ends and Ria is in high spirits, “Now I can watch the third movie, which is coming out in theaters this weekend! You’re the best, Ziro!”

    “Glad you liked it,” I respond.

    “Are you going to see the new one?”

    “Dunno. I might wait until it comes out on DVD…”

    “I see…” Ria walks toward the door. C’mon… once you’re out of my sight, you’re safe. However, Ria glances over her shoulder back at me for more conversation, dammit, “By the way… Do you have a crush on Adaliz?”

    Caught by surprise, I step back, my face feeling kinda hot, “Wh-what makes you think that?” I knew it. She knew the reason why I spaced out in the hallway after school…

    Ria says, “Your reaction is all the answer I need. It’s true, isn’t it?”

    “Well… sort of…”

    “Adaliz and I are friends. I can help you out if you want…”

    “Friends? Since when?”

    “We have a few classes together. I asked her if we could be friends, and she said yes.” Sounds like something Ria would do. Somehow, I think Adaliz was caught off guard and accepted her friendship in order to avoid hurting Ria’s feelings.

    “I see. Well, I guess that would be nice, but why would you want to go through the trouble?”

    “Well… you are my friend, Ziro. If there is anything I could do to help you out with these kinds of things, I would. You would do the same for me, right?”

    “Um… yeah. Thank you, Ria.”

    “… Well, I’ll be on my way. Have a good night, Ziro.”

    “Yeah, you too, Ria.” With that, Ria leaves. She would help hook me up with Adaliz? What a good friend… but she seemed unusually solemn… I dunno. Anyway, it’s good news.

    I check the clock on my wall: 9:36PM. Damn. I have a little under a half-hour before the Crusaders set up light walls around the residential areas. I’d better not waste time.

    I open my window and jump out, landing squarely on my feet, despite having dropped two floors. Indeed, thanks to Mike, my day-to-day life hadn’t changed much since I was cursed… but my night-to-night life, on the other hand, had changed quite a bit…

    Sorry for the lack of updates on RoPW. There's just been a lot of distractions lately. I've been working on it bit-by-bit, but it's still going to be a while...
     
  5. Really? Oh, well. I guess it'll be worth it when it comes. This is a nice interlude, though. One thing that... was unexpected, I suppose, was the swearing at parts. Not that I object - there's no rule against it - I'm just not used to it, I suppose. Still.
    Anyway, good work here. I must say, it surprised me that you decided to work on this! :p Not that it's unwelcome!
     
  6. Actually, I started writing this years ago (right now, it's at 500 pages, which is surprises even me, considering that RoPW is almost at 600, despite being written over a shorter time period and it feel like more goes on in this one, overall).

    As for the language, well, I guess I mellowed out a little over the years. Besides, I'm going for preteen-and-up with RoPW, hence part of the reason I'm limiting the cursing to "damn," "crap," and minor compound words that include "ass."

    EDIT: Sorry again for the delay. An incident sometime back had me a tad disheartened on the subject of Pokemon, making me feel a tad unmotivated, but hopefully Pokemon Conquest will get my spirits back up.

    Also, my summer break is coming up toward the end of this month, so I'll likely have more time for writing then.
     
  7. Ah, I thought you had written this chapter in the intervening time. It now becomes clear that you've had 500-odd pages written for some time now and decided to post another chapter to tide us over. I guess.

    Eh, it's okay. Use it if it is in character for it to be used. Which it is here.

    Good news all around then! Good luck with that. I hope you become inspired or something. :p
     
  8. Night Reaper

    Curfew is at 10:00, so there should be only Crusaders on the streets, unless there are certain careless people who decided to go out too late (like me, two years ago). Regardless, using the enhanced sense of smell I gained since becoming a vampire, I can tell when another person is close and avoid them. It is once such benefit to being a male vampire.

    Vampire characteristics differ, depending on whether the vampire is male or female. Male vampires, like me, are also known as wolf vampires, considering we have wolf-like characteristics. We have an enhanced sense of smell and our fingernails can turn into claws. Also, our speed is enhanced, allowing us very swift movements.

    Using my sense of smell, along with my speed, I weave through the city streets undetected. Finally, after about 20 minutes, I arrive at an abandoned building on the outskirts of a section of the city’s business district. I dash up several floors until I reach a corridor lined with doors. I walk over to the second door on the right and knock. I am answered by a short young-looking girl, with long blonde hair, practically down to her ankles, wearing a blank, almost soulless, expression. Honestly, if she were to dress up like a doll, she’d probably look like one of those evil ghost children I see in horror movies. Like me, she has red eyes, which means, yup, she’s a vampire too.

    Unlike me, however, her characteristics as a vampire are different, due to the fact that she’s female. Female vampires are known as bat vampires. Like wolf vampires have retractable claws, bat vampires have retractable wings on their backs, which allow them to fly. Like guys have an enhanced sense of smell, they have enhanced hearing. Finally, they have a greater aptitude with dark force, a power that higher level demons can use, which allows them all kinds of neat tricks, from creating barriers, to creating temporary weapons, to firing the energy off, like bullets (male vampires are capable of it too, but it takes more work to master).

    The vampire girl turns away, glancing back at me over her shoulder, “Welcome, Ziro. Master Michael has been expecting you.” She says this every single time I arrive, word-for-word. Most of the time, I have to convince myself that she’s not a robot.

    She walks into the room with me following. Her name is Ellen and she was the vampire that found me on that night, two years ago. While she looks about twelve or thirteen, her true age is 21, or so I’ve heard. Vampires, being immortal for the most part, don’t age a day after being cursed.

    We enter the room, and it’s like we entered a whole new world. The walls and ceiling are white and the floor is nicely waxed blue tile. Along one wall, various chemicals, potions, elixirs, etc. are lined up in flasks. Along another wall, difficult books of various types are neatly arranged. It’s completely different than the decrepit building on the outside.

    From behind a desk rises a man with short red hair and wire-framed glasses, standing at a height of nearly seven feet, supported by a crutch. This fella is Mike, the man who, as I’m sure you know, I respect and owe my life to. Besides being a scholar who gave me the contact lenses and invented the sun lotion and anti-bloodlust pills, he also used to be an accomplished fencer, that is, until he lost the use of his right leg in a struggle.

    Mike smiles kindly, “Ah, welcome back, Ziro!”

    I respond, “With the way my life is, it’s not like I have anything else to do right now. By the way, a friend of mine came over after school today, but my blood reserve had run out. I managed to resist the urge to bite her, but I need more.”

    Ellen glances at me, “If you lose control and attack Master Michael, Ziro, I will stop you with all my ability. Understood?”

    “Yeah, please do. I’m still in control, but I will need some blood before too long.”

    Mike picks up a small needle from his desk. Then, without hesitation, he pricks his finger, “I’ll give you a few drops, Ziro. Hopefully, I will be enough for you to keep yourself under control.” I walk over and he lets his blood drop onto my tongue. After five delicious drops, he starts to patch himself up. It’s amazing how much good even only a few droplets can do.

    “Thank you.”

    Mike says, “The two of you should head out. Ziro, I’ll prepare some new reserves for you in the meantime.”

    “Okay! Well, we’re off!” Ellen and I leave the room. I head to the third room on the right in the corridor, while Ellen goes to the first left room.

    Inside, which is like a large closet, there is a set of armor, which was designed with mobility in mind, rather than protection. First, I take of my green contact lenses, revealing the red eyes underneath, and undo my ponytail. It’s time to stop being Ziro the ‘human,’ and start being Ziro the vampire.

    I change into a black longcoat with light armor plating on the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and parts of the front. In spite of what it is, it’s surprisingly flexible. The armor is pretty much there to reduce pain as although vampires heal any wound instantly, there is a certain limit to how much abuse we can stand.

    After changing, I pick up my weapon from the back of the room: a scythe, with a steel shaft with two small handles protruding from it, and a large blade, double-edged, angled outward a bit, and, unlike the shaft, made out of a metal that gives off a faint silvery glow. It is cylvur, the holy metal. If the bare flesh of a demon like me were to come in contact with it, it would be like touching molten metal, but for the purpose of my nightly missions, it’s a reliable weapon. Over the course of two years of these nightly outings, I had developed a knack for fighting, and the scythe, along with my claws, is my favorite weapon. I’m always told by both Mike and Ellen that it’s a very impractical weapon to use, but I haven’t had any real problems using it so far. I strap my weapon to my back, and on my way out, grab a blue party mask, which will come in handy.

    I emerge from my room, and at the same time, Ellen emerges from hers, also wearing an armored longcoat like mine, only blue and tailored for her size, with a handgun holstered at her left and a spear, which like my scythe, has a steel shaft and a cylvur blade. Ellen’s weapons no doubt compensate for her height (though, her gun is a regular weapon, as opposed to her cylvur spear. I’ve learned cylvur and gunpowder both explode when in contact, so it’s almost impossible to create cylvur ammo).

    With us all changed, Ellen says, “Let us go.” We descend the building and head into the city.

    So, what do Ellen and I do at night, which requires the use of weapons? Well, a few things, actually. First, even with the aid of the drug, vampires need human blood, no way around it; we can’t cut corners or make due with the blood of other creatures. In order to be satisfied enough to not go berserk, we need to drink the blood of humans. I really hate that we need to do this, but we have thought of a semi-harmless way of going about it, and it has worked. Basically, Ellen and I go after Crusaders. We play predator, going after lower-ranking members of the Crusaders, as promotions in the organization is dependant on fighting prowess (we can tell by their uniforms). After kicking their asses, we bite their arms and drain their blood, but leave enough for them to live, and only be out for a few days. It’s kind of an occupational hazard for a Crusader, so there isn’t a whole lot of reason to feel bad, and we’re not preying on innocent civilians (if we did, I wouldn’t have changed one bit from the night I was cursed…)

    Our second objective is to hunt demons. Basically, while we prey on Crusaders, we also play their role. We do this specifically on Mike’s ever-enigmatic orders, but I am very willing, if I can prevent disasters like the one I caused two years ago…

    Finally, while we’re at it, Ellen and I hope out paths cross with the vampires that cursed us, and through that, hopefully become human again.

    Ellen and I head to the roof of a building in the capital’s shopping district. Around us, walls of light extend toward the starry sky, illuminating the city below. Those walls are light barriers, which are barriers that ward off demons, but can be crossed by humans as if they weren’t there. They are placed around residential districts as well as businesses that double as the homes of their proprietors (which is not an uncommon practice). They were a breakthrough in the never-ending fight against the demons, since they allowed the Crusaders to not have to worry about the civilians as much. Of course, those walls also keep me and Ellen at bay. They are raised at 10:00 and lowered at daybreak. They came to be only a year ago. My life might have been different if they had been created sooner.

    Ellen closes her eyes and focuses her advanced hearing. She tells me what she hears, “Hm… I hear the sound of Crusaders fighting demons from a couple locations…”

    “Are there any lone Crusaders?” I ask.

    Ellen slightly opens one of her eyes and says coldly, “I’m searching, Ziro, so please be quiet.”

    “…” I shut my mouth, as an apology would only mean more noise from me. Ellen is strictly all business, and doesn’t seem to have much in the way of emotion. Even when she just scolded me, her voice was calm and level. I wonder if anything happened to her in the past to cause her current behavior, but Ellen doesn’t talk about herself, and not even Mike gives me those details.

    Ellen turns 90 degrees to her right, “There. Two beings and no others. The pattern of their footsteps indicate no battle or nearby danger.”

    “Well, alright then!” I jump off the roof, and Ellen, her wings unfurled, catches me and helps me float to the ground.

    We head in the general direction, where Ellen heard of the footsteps. As we draw closer, Ellen asks, “Human… or demon?”

    Here’s where I come in. I inhale deeply with my nose, pick up the sweet scent of human blood, and answer, “Human.”

    “Very well,” says Ellen blankly, “It is time to feed…”

    I hate the way she says it, but I don’t know how to put it in better terms. We come to the point where the smell is very strong and look around the corner of a building. Walking rather casually in our direction are two Crusaders, their white uniforms indicating that they are B-rank, the lowest Crusader rank (A-rank (middle-rank) Crusaders wear gold, and S-rank (high-rank) Crusaders wear platinum).

    However, I recognize them. One is a young woman, named Hika, and the other is a large balding man, named Uthu. I don’t know them in my day life, but Ellen and I had encountered them so many times during the night, they’ve become somewhat familiar to me. We had attacked and drank their blood on a ton of occasions. I think we’ve run into them twelve times… no… thirteen… Ah, screw it. I’ve lost count. Anyway, we always encounter them. Fate must be out to get them, or something.

    “Haha! It’s the ‘two incompetent Crusaders’ again,” I whisper to Ellen. That’s my nickname for them, since they are such pushovers, even for low-ranking Crusaders.

    “…” Ellen just says nothing in response. What a killjoy.

    As they walk, Hika says, as if on cue, “I wonder if we’ll run into those two vampires again…”

    “Um… What vampires?” asks Uthu.

    Annoyed, Hika says, “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten again! You’re as big and dumb as you look! You know… those two vampires that always bite our arms and put us in the medical center for a few days at a time! I wonder why they don’t just kill us…”

    “Is it because they’re nice people?”

    “No, they are not nice, you idiot! They are demons! They just bite our arms and not kill us because, I believe, they are telling us that we are not worth killing! My pride is shattered!” If only they knew…

    “Is that bad?”

    “Yes, that’s bad!”

    “Um… Okay. What do they look like again?”

    “How the hell should I know? They wear masks for some reason! All I can tell is that one is a little girl, and the other is some kind of pretty boy…” A ‘pretty boy,’ huh?

    Part of me feels bad for attacking them so many times, but whatever.

    Ellen and I put on masks that cover the upper part of our faces. This is so we don’t get recognized during the day. Our paths hadn’t crossed with Korina or Raiq, yet, but if they knew it was me playing the ‘vampire’ part, things would get complicated. As for Ellen, she lives in Mike’s lab, but she frequently goes out to shop for him, and it would be bad if a patrolling Crusader recognized her.

    Just as we are about to spring out in front of them, however, I suddenly pick up a different scent. I put my arm in front of Ellen, “Hold it! Something’s coming!”

    Behind the two incompetent Crusaders, a demon materializes. It has two arms and legs, but that is the only human-ish quality it has. Its skin is a bright yellow color, it stands at a height of almost eight feet, its hands and feet are both clawed, it has three white eyes and four horns protruding from its head. The demon hisses, “Crusader scum…”

    The two incompetent Crusaders turn around in surprise and let out a surprised shriek. Uthu turns to run, but Hika scolds, “Uthu! We’re Crusaders, dammit! We’re supposed to fight this thing!” How or why they became Crusaders, I will never know…

    “Oh, yeah… Ahhhh!” Uthu draws his axe, and then charges at the demon with a less-than-frightening war cry. At the same time, Hika pulls out a gun and fires a couple bullets, which only seem to have a minimal effect on the creature.

    “Pathetic!” The demon extends its arms toward the two Crusaders and releases a wave of electricity, which knocks both of them off their feet and they are sent flying. Both Hika and Uthu twitch a little, paralyzed by the shock.

    “Crap… I can’t move…” grumbles Hika.

    “That hurt…” groans Uthu.

    I roll my eyes; I should have known those two idiots couldn’t beat a demon like that.

    “Let’s go, Ellen!” I say.

    “Now I will finish—“ the demon stops short as Ellen and I step out from our corner.

    “… You?” groans Hika.

    “Hiya,” I greet, before I glare at the demon, “Hey there, ugly. I haven’t gotten my fill of humor from these two goofballs yet, so you’ll have to hold that thought about ‘finishing’ them.”

    “’Goofballs?’” says Hika, “You smartass punk!”

    Ellen, not sharing my love for deceptively friendly statements, says, “Demon, you are going to have to die.”

    The demon makes a shocked reaction, and then says something that I’m really tired of hearing, since we get this almost every time we confront a demon, “But… Your eyes! You’re like us!”

    “True enough,” I say, drawing my scythe, and walking toward the demon with Ellen close behind, “but, we’ll show you that’s the only similarity between us.”

    Very angrily, the demon retorts, “The difference is that I’m not pretending to be human! Now die!” Like before, the demon releases a wave of electricity, this one much more intense than the one the two incompetent Crusaders got. However, Ellen, using the power over dark energy that female vampires have, creates a barrier, which protects us (as well as Hika and Uthu, who are behind us).

    “Do you have any idea what you’re fighting?” I ask, “In case you don’t have a clue yet, that’s not gonna work.”

    “Damn it!” curses the demon, raising its arms for another attack, “Now take this!”

    “Worthless,” Ellen draws her gun and fires a bullet powered with dark energy, which hits the demon with enough force to send it staggering. Meanwhile, within over a second, I charge in close to the demon who recovers. It swipes at me with its clawed hand, but I dodge and cleave its arm off with a flash of my blade. The demon lets out an anguished howl. The burning effect of my cylvur blade rends the demon’s flesh almost effortlessly.

    “You… bastard…” The demon, clearly not a quick learner, tries to attack me with its other arm, which I duck out of the way of. I swing my scythe again, and my blade sinks tip-first into its gut. I then yank my weapon to the side, out of the demon’s body, creating a massive wound.

    The demon slumps to the ground, coughing. Standing in front of the demon, I circle my scythe’s blade behind the demon’s head, “It’s over. Now it’s time for one less of your kind to threaten humans.”

    The demon growls, “If you hate us, then you… might as well… kill yourself… too…”

    I respond, “As it turns out, I’ll be human again someday. As a human, I can’t let you get away with what you do.” With that, I pull my scythe toward me, the inner blade sinking into the back of the demon’s neck. From there, I quickly circle around it, twisting the blade and cutting off the demon’s head. Its body crashes to the ground.

    The two incompetent Crusaders both look terrified, while Ellen’s expression hadn’t changed in the slightest. Walking toward Hika, strapping my scythe back to my back, I say after about ten seconds of silence “… You’re welcome.”

    Hika tries to sound tough, “I didn’t ask for your help, vampire!”

    “Well, you got it anyway, and considering how well the two of you fight, you needed it…” With Hika still paralyzed, I kneel down and lift her arm to my mouth, “Now, if you don’t mind, my ‘thank you’ reward.” Ellen does the same thing with Uthu.

    We bite their arms and drink their blood, of course, leaving just enough to let them live (we don’t curse them, because the bite must be on the neck for that to happen). The sweet taste fills my mouth. Even a little is enough to feel energized.

    “Not… again…” groans Hika, passing out.

    “That wasn’t… very nice…” says Uthu, at the same time, also passing out. That’s another few days out of work for them. In fact, we’re probably the reason they had lived so long, considering what they have to do. I kneel next to Hika and take the communicator dangling at her waste and press a red button, which alerts the other Crusaders, just so she and Uthu can be picked up and not be finished off by some other demon coming through. With that, Ellen and I escape into a nearby alley.

    “Another victory!” I declare, extending my palm for a high-five.

    Ellen, unsurprisingly, doesn’t take a moment to celebrate, “Indeed. Let us return to Master Michael.”

    With our objectives fulfilled, we head back to Mike’s home, using my smell and Ellen’s hearing to avoid encounters. We put away our weapons and armor, I put my contacts back on, and we return to the lab.

    As we enter the room, Mike says, “Ah, you’re back. How did it go?”

    “Do you have to ask?” I respond with a wink.

    Ellen explains, “We found two Crusaders, who were attacked by a thunder demon…”

    I finish, “We kicked its ass, and drank a toast to our victory afterward, courtesy of those two Crusaders.”

    “Good work,” congratulates Mike, “Another night well done.” He checks a nearby clock, “Dawn is still a few hours away. You’re back early. Ziro, how about you use my bed and get some rest?”

    “Sounds good,” I respond, stretching my arms out. Mike leads me to a room in the back, where is bed is; the same bed I found myself in after Ellen knocked me out on that fateful night.

    The hours quickly fly by before I am awakened. Before I leave, Mike gives me a flask filled with some of his blood and an extra jar of pills, as bad things would happen if I ran out of those.

    I leave the lab. Outside, the horizon is pink as a new day begins. I dash home to get a little extra sleep during twilight, sunrise, and the early morning. Luckily, vampires recover their energy quickly with sleep, so I’ll be as good as new, even with such crappy hours. However, we have a natural tendency to sleep throughout the day, thus my need for a very loud alarm clock.

    Another night’s mission had been accomplished. That’s my life in a nutshell: Acting human student by day and badass demon killer-slash-vampire by night. It’s how my life had gone over the past two years, and it’s something I had gotten used to.

    As I get closer to my home, my mind gears back to my human life. Ria had offered to help hook me up with Adaliz. I wonder how that’s going to turn out for me.

    Ah well, tomorrow is a new day… and a new night…

    Yeah, I hadn't posted any installments for this story for a while, even though it's already been written out. I'd just been toying with the idea of maybe getting this published someday if I ever finish and edit it.

    That said, I'm not sure how much of this I'm going to post, but if you're interested in checking out the original document, with what I have of the story in total, please feel free to send me a PM.

    Also...
    To clarify, I'm not trying to forcibly convince the reader that Ziro is a "badass," exactly. That's something for the reader to decide. Rather, it's just that Ziro thinks of himself as a badass.
     
  9. He is.
     

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