Still shaken from the very realistic dream, D stood up and began to head towards the door. He had to get out of this place before he lost it completely. He reached the tall, heavy oak doors and grasped the old bronze pull latch. He gave it several good, strong tugs, but try as he may, it would not budge.

Cold laughter reverberated through out the dank, dark castle. D looked around, searching for the source, but the castle lay empty, dilapidated, and full of dust and cobwebs.

"Well, that was creepy", his left hand commented as D then made his way towards the winding staircase. He climbed the stairs, and kept climbing; they just kept going as if they'd never end.

The youth stopped, "There is a dimensional fold in this stairway. Do you think you can swallow up the spell that keeps it continuous?"
His left hand thought for a moment, analyzing the spell for a few seconds.

"Yeah, I can do it.", the Symbiote replied. D outstretched his left hand, and on it appeared a small face. It's mouth opened and a gale blew through the stairway and towards this face as the Countenanced Carbuncle swallowed up the dimensional trap.

Finally, the gale stopped and the Countenanced Carbuncle belched loudly. To any one watching this event, they would have surely found it amazing and amusing as well as positively strange. But the Frontier was home to strange times and strange beings.

With the spell gone, D continued his advance up the stairs until he finally reached the second floor. Here was a large, open space that led to a hall, lined with many rooms. In this open area, by the hall, stood the pale and transparent ghost of the girl.

She looked at D, enraptured - as if she'd forgotten why she kept him captive for the moment - and then she slowly drifted towards the large window to the right of the stairway.

"This is where you took me", she said, glancing over her shoulder at him.

D made no reply, though he'd never seen this girl in his life. Could it have been Him that took her and she was simply led astray by their resemblance?

"Don't you remember?", she asked softly as she turned once more to stare out of the window. "You took me in your arms and said we'd always be together, for ever. And then you gave me your kiss..." She laughed bitterly, and then turned to glower at the Hunter with all the hatred she could muster. "You left afterwards, my body limp and drained on the floor. Now you return and you act as if you've never seen me before in your life!"

"I haven't.", the Hunter replied simply, "Tell me how to leave this place." despite how confused D must have been by all of this, he would not show it. His expression and his tone of voice, both were as cold and empty as ever.

There was a hoarse cackling that rang through the place, "You've got the wrong guy, lady. Look for yourself and quit being so stubborn already."

"Who said that?", the girl turned around fully in search of the source of that scratchy voice. Her eyes landed on D and after a few seconds, her eyes widened with realization.
"You are not He? Who are you?", she asked, drifting towards the youth tentatively.

"I am Vampire Hunter D.", he said, casting his dark eyes down onto her ghostly countenance.

"Vampire Hunter...", she repeated slowly, "You can help me, then? And I'll free you from this place."

"What is it you want?", D wanted nothing more than to be free of this wretched castle. The place was capable of driving him mad.

"Go ye to the up-most tower, there you'll find my grave. Stab me in the heart and break my curse, and ye shall be free to leave this place.", she said, pointing a dainty forefinger down the hall.

Without another word, D walked down the darkened hall and found another stairway. He began to climb the stairs, noticing that they continued to spiral upwards until at last he came upon a small wooden door.
This he pushed upen easily and inside the small, dust-covered room lay a black-lacquered coffin and nothing more. D unsheathed his sword and prepared to uphold his end of the bargain.
In one swift movement he opened the coffin and brought down the tip of his sword into the withered chest of a pale, emaciated corpse. Since it was day time outside, despite the storm, the girl remained asleep in her coffin whilst her spirit wandered in agony. As the sword pierced her heart, one thin shriek escaped her cracked lips and then all was silent once more. Blood sprayed upwards like the sputter of a small fountain.
D then decapitated the corpse and then sheathed his sword.

"Thank you, D.", a small voice whispered by his ear. "The Door is open, you may leave when ever you wish. I go now to my eternal rest. Good bye."

Quietly, D left the room and walked down all those flights of stairs until at last he stood before the front door to the castle. He reached out his left hand and took hold of the door knob. It turned easily in his grasp and the door creaked open. Outside, the storm had ceased.

"Woo! That could have gone allot worse, I say. Well, now that we're free... let's get the hell out of here. No more creepy castles, okay?", the countenanced carbuncle said as D untied his cyborg horse from a nearby tree. Water dripped from the canopy as D took to a narrow dirt road that cut through the forest that surrounded the castle. Where he was headed, no one knew. Only one thing remained certain where Vampire Hunter D was concerned. Where he went, there was always blood shed. Such was the life of this gorgeous hunter.

As he continued down the dirt path through that forest, he picked up speed and soon his shadowy shape faded into the horizon as the sun set and darkness began to gather in the Frontier. And so the Shadow of all shadows, the Night incarnate melted away into the coming night.

THE END.