Chapter 7: Fear Rising

Note: This chapter is kinda long...

"Hurry we need to move." Evan said as he started to walk towards the exit door. Gab had already packed the things he needed while I put on my bag.

I saw on the windshield that D was walking farther now, and had covered a great deal of distance in just a span of a few seconds. The three of us didn't hesitate any further and ran after D while gearing up, droping some things like candy wrappers and flashlight batteries trying to hurry after D.

"Hey D wait up!" I called. Evan was ahead of me first just a few yards from D and behind me Gab was running too. The three of us followed D, while avoiding cars and people since the crowd became a lot thicker as we neared the center of city. Though D was only walking, it was strangely very difficult to catch up to him even when the three of us were running as fast as we could.

"Hey watch it!" I accidently bumped into a strange guy who was wearing a dark jacket with the hod pulled on top of his head. I turned and apologized quickly and stop when I saw how red his eyes were. The man was alarmed as I continued to stare at him and hurriedly disappeared into the crowd.

"Hey Janie what are you doing? We're gonna lose them." Gab had pulled up beside me and placed his hand on my shoulder.

"O..Okay."

After almost an hour of jogging around the city, we reached a station wherein cables cars were set that would allows us to reach the highest peak in the city where the castle stood. Once on top, I felt my ears were gonna pop and I shivered as the cold wind of the night air blew at us. I can see the entire city hundreds of meters below. The sight was amazing, the buildings shined in various colorful lights and several gigantic spotlights danced around the dark sky. And I guessed, that it made the city more alive in night than it was in day.

On top of the hill, only the castle stood. Like a great majestic guardian watching the city down below. Beyond the caslte lies the beautiful Sapphire lake and to either side of the entrance stood large dense trees. The shape of the castle resembled the classic fairytale castle although this seemed ten times larger resembling more a fortress and was painted mostly in crimson red and gold.

"Where are they?" Gab asked searching the area. As I turned towards Gab, something flew right in front of me and went straight towards Gab hitting him on the forehead.

"Ouch!" He quickly placed his hand on where he was hit. Though it was a little red, he wasn't wounded.

"Hey who threw that?!" He asked angrily even though we were standing alone in front of a huge golden gate which was the main entrance to the castle.

I looked down and saw a pebble rolling on the ground.

"Shhh!" I grabbed Gab's arm, he looks at me and I placed one finger on my lips to silence him. With the same finger I then pointed on a large tree nearby. We ran towards it and saw Evan behind it , hiding from plain sight.

"Why are you hiding?" Gab asked.

Eva didn't answer and simply pointed at several large golden orbs hovering around the castle.

"You two were lucky those things didn't catch you in time. Both of you were standing there like a pair of dumb tourists."

"I'm sorry okay but we lost sight of you and D!" I asnwered him in a harsh whisper.

"Where's D anyway?" Gab asked.

Evan pointed beyond the trees.

"He's in one section of the castle wall where security is not to tight. We need to hurry."

We followed Evan as he slowly turned and stood up. The three of us cautiosly walked around the trees, carefully avoiding the detection of several orbs that were still floating nearby. Illuminating the dark areas of the forest outside the castle gates. By the time we reached the place, I saw D standing in front of a gigantic dark red wall about twenty feet high and spanning a few miles wide from left to right.

We stop to catch our breaths after reaching D's side.

"Now where is that secret door?" Evan said as he reached for the wall.

"I wouldn't-"

D was unable to finish warning Evan as he immediately touched the wall with his hand sending electical discharges around his body. It electricuted him and even sent him flying half a yard from behind us.

"Evan!" I cried and ran to where he lay. Though some of his hair was burnt and even saw electricity sparks dancing all over his body, he was still alive and breathing.

I looked up at D and saw that his blue pendant was shinning brightly. Just then I heard a noise and saw that each and every one of the lights on the wall were being shut down.

D took a step forward as the wall in front of him blurred and finally disappeared revealing a secret pasageway.

I cried out when Evan suddenly bolted up right and stood up. He held up both of his hands saying that he was ok though his hair and clothes were still smoking.

"What are we waiting for let's go." Evan said with smoke coming out from his mouth.

I followed him as he began to walk were D and Gab stood; though his knees were shaking. The secret passageway was very dark when we enetered and so, we each took out our own flashlights from our bags.

"Come on!" Gab was shaking his flashlight and when it turned on, he screamed when he accidentally shined on a horrid looking skull with a centipede crawling out of it's socket.

The three of turned our flashlights around and saw rows and rows of mummified corpses that were lined along the walls and ceilings. Some were still intact, others were only skulls or parts of skeleton making the place some kinda of a horror fest. I shined my flashlight on the corpse of a young girl, her angelic face was amazingly still intact and a pink ribbon was still tied on her red hair. I noticed that D has suddenly stood next to me and was also looking at the corpse too. His face was expresionless, but his eyes held a kind of sadness that I could never comprehend.

"What kind of a sick idea is this?" Gab asked Evan still looking at the mumified corpses nearby.

"This place was once a passageway used by human servants from the city to the castle." Evan explained as he started ahead of us.

"Servants who were turned into victims and died in the castle are buried in this tunnel, since the locals were so afraid to take the bodies back to their homes."

"Wow.. this is so over the top in all it's creepiness." I said as I shuddered at the dead bodies my flashlight shines upon.

We started walking in the tunnel with D leading ahead of us. After about half an hour later, the path narrowed so that the ceiling almost touched D's hat. At the end of the tunnel was a thick wooden door; on entering it we found ourselves inside a great hallway with large windows and red velvet curtains on the right in front of us. And on our side, where our door was, were several beautiful landscape paintings on the wall. Looking up we saw beautiful and brightly lighted chandeliers lining up on the ceiling.

I walked into one of the large widows to my right. It's red velvet curtains were parted so that I could see thousands of small yellow pointed lights below. They were people from different parts of the frontier and the capital who are visiting the city . It was almost dawn, but the entire place outside was still vibrant in celebration of it's festival.

"There!" Evan said. And we huried towards a large wooden door at end of the hallway. Evan was the first to reach the door knob and pushed. The door didn't budge and after several attempts by him, the door didn't open a crack. It was only after D placed one hand on the door and gently pushed it did it moved. After it opened just a little bit, Evan told D to stop for a moment.

"Thanks!" Evan said turning to D while whipping his forehead even though I didn't see any sweat on it.

"I must have loosened the door up for ya." Evan chuckled.

"Yeah whatever pal." Lefty muttered.

"By the way, your talking left hand is very creepy."

Evan said before turning around and leaned closer to door to peer inside the next room.

"Okay the coast is clear." Evan said and three of us followed him as we entered the room.

The next room was just as vast and magnifent as the previous one. This time, the spacious room was circular with it's ceiling reaching to almost a hundred feet. It was mostly bare except for the large red velvet windows surrounding it. There were three large doors, one from where we came through, another was at the back of the staircase and one on the left. The most magnificent sight in the vast room was the beautiful and spiral grand staircase.

Beside the staircase leading up to the glass ceiling was an amazing sculptures of mythical creatures made of marble and crystals. The spiral staircase coiled around the magnificent sculpture and the light from the moon above, beyond the glass ceiling, illuminated the staircase making it hauntingly beautiful.

Still, I can't imagined climbing those steps numbering tens times more than all the stairs I've climbed in my life so far.

I was about to turned to the door on the left when I was stopped by D's black gloved hand on my shoulder. I turned and saw D pointing at Evan and Gab who were walking ahead of us towards the staircase.

"Oh come on! Theres gotta be an elevator!"

"No elevators sweetheart." I heard lefty say. "Getting into one might alert the security system, you will be trapped inside."

"One hundred and forty seven steps." D said looking at me. He was referring to the number of steps on the staircase.

"Could you do me a favor D and keep that to your self." I said really annoyed. I wasn't sure though I thought I saw D acutally smile and it kinda boost my confidence that I was kinda eager to climb those dreaded stairs.

Me, Gab and Evan fell to our knees once we reached the top of the staircase, only D stood calmly in the side waiting for us to catch our breaths.

As someone who lived a sedentary lifestyle back in my world, I was the one affected the most and I was actually wheezing in shortness of breath.

It wasn't long when I got my normal breathing back and was the last to stand up from the three. Just as we were about to walk towards the opposite end of the hallway, we heard a strange sound comming from above. It was like the sound of metals banging at each other sending out weird unmelodic sounds and traveled from one end of the hallway to another. The noise grew as it passed over our heads and fainter as it went further to our right.

"What the hell was that?" Gab asked.

"I don't know with you guys, but that sounded like a screwed up plumbing system." I said.

"We need to hurry." D said and we immediately started to walk again following where the sound disappeared to.

"Where is this second piece Evan?' I asked.

"It's in the Grand Ballroom below."

"What?!" Both me and Gab yelled together in disbelief even D raised one elegant brow.

"Why did you make us climb all the way up here?" Gab agrily asked.

"Relax..." Evan turned to him.

"We can't pass throught the main hallway without being detected, theres another much less conspicuous way." Evan explained.

It wasn't long when we reached another staircase, one which is less grander though it was draped in emerald green carpet. We descended the stairs and reached another door, the same size as the one we used to enter the castle.

"It's lock." Evans said and took out a thin metal wire twisted it around and began to pick the lock. Me and Gab tiredly sank on a cream colored couch at the side of the door, while D stood near an elegant mirror with real gold molded on it's edges. I noticed that D's pendant still kept glowing. I realized that a castle as big and as expensive as this must be very heavily guarded even with the mutant guards not around. We managed to get this far inside the castle because of D's pendant.

"How did you know the way inside here?" D asked.

Both me and Gab turned to Evan's direction who was still busy unlocking the door.

Without looking at us he answered.

"Because I used to work here as an undercover human hundreds of years ago, during the alien war, before I was imprisoned."

"Really?" I said amazed that Evan could be a lot older than what he makes himself out to be.

"Yup."

"D knows this place too." Evan added which surprised both me and Gab.

"Yeah...I heard it had something to do with a pretty noble lady." Evan chuckled.

"I do not know what you are talking about." D's tone was flat.

"I know..." he started to laugh.

"Bitches man.."

I stood up, walked close to Evan and gave him a head slap.

"HEY! What the fuc-!"

"Hurry up will you?!" I said giving him a sharp look as I crossed my arms. I know that Evan has a penchant of fooling around with anyone and I know that D can be very patient though he is a very dangerous person that I was so afraid that D might be too annoyed by Evan's teasing, the hunter might cut him down where he stood.

Evan turned to finish his work and after a few seconds he managed to unlock the door.

"Yes... VIOLA!" Evan turned the knob and the door swung open. Evan stepped back cautiously as D entered, I followed after D, Evan and Gab enetered next.

The door where we entered was on the right side of wall beside an embroidered purple tapestry. When I got in, my jaw almost dropped to the floor at how huge the castle's grand ballroom is. The place was about a hundred times bigger than any grand ballroom I've seen stretching far and wide from every corner. The marbled floor was well polished and seemed to have a slight golden glow which was a reflection of the thousands of lights from hundreds of beautiful chandeliers around the painted ceiling. To each side of the walls were hundreds of paintings of various kinds mostly depicting some sort of epic event.

I stared with my eyes wide in amazement at one large portrait on the right where nobles clad in flowing black cloak fought a gigantic tentacled beast which Evan told me was an OSB god. Other paintings were portraits of the most influential noble men and women with fair or dark hair and pale white skins.

D stopped near one end of the ballroom and stood staring up a large portrait above a giganctic door which I figured was the main entrance to the grandballroom.

The three of us followed after him.

"Oh my God!" Gab exclaimed.

"Yeah I know right?" Evan said his eyes glued to the portrait.

"Who is that?" I asked, obviously the only one who was clueless of it all.

Except for D, the two men turn to stared at me for a moment then look back at the portrait.

"What?" I asked.

I looked up at the portrait. It was a man, a tall and broad shouldered mysterious man with a regal and commanding presence. He was dressed in a black flowing cape with blood red lining inside. The artist drew the cape as if it was being dramatically blown by the wind. His hair was dark, long and shiny. His face is eerily pale white although it was mostly hidden by his dark cloak his eyes still stood out which were very blood red in color they seemed to look like burning rubies. Although it was just a portrait, one looked at those eyes seemed to rob you of your soul.

"I've never seen a portrait of him before, only heard stories. Janie I can't believe you do not know who the Sacred Ancestor is." Gab said after sometime seeming to have forgotten that I would naturally not know him since I'm not from this world!

So this is the Sacred Ancestor...

"Who in the world is that?" I asked.

"Maybe this would help." Evan turned to walk towards me. When he stood near my side he leaned close to whisper on my ear. With one hand covering his mouth he just said one name.

One name that I couldn't believe hearing.

"Dracula."

A series of images flooded my mind from cheesy black and white horror movies, to the famous Bram Stoker novel and other adaptations of novels and comic books with far-out plots. I even remembered a vampire muppet in a children's tv series though I forgot what his name was. The name was both eerily familiar and yet very strange.

Yes! I know damn well who Dracula is!

Who the hell wouldn't?

This might seemed strange but there were times when I kinda thought that he was cool...

"WHAT?!" I exclaimed in a harsh whisper and turned to Evan. "For real?"

"Yup for real real real, and theres something else-."

Evan suddenly jumped and shut his big mouth as he noticed D turned and gave him a piercing look.

"Keep your comments to yourself Mr. Chaste." D said in a threathening tone while Evan nervously laughs.

D walked towards the far right corner where a smaller portrait was hung.

Evan gave a slow leering whistle.

"Wow..." Gab said under his breath.

On that portrait was a young woman, and probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She was holding a golden mask and was wearing a black and expensive looking black gown. The diamond studied necklace that adorned her long and white graceful neck had gems the size of my thumbs.

She had long, thick and lustrous blonde hair in the color of vibrant gold honey and it cascaded down her white smooth shoulders. Her skin was very fair white almost transluscent with a pinkish tint on her cheeks. Her features were small and beautifully formed almost perfect. She had pretty doe eyes or doll like eyes in a rare color of voilet, like amethyst jewels.

Under her portait a name was inscribed in the golden plate.

Countess Carmilla Karnstein

Lefty told us that despite having the Sacred Ancestor/Dracula's portrait displayed grandly in their castle, the Karnstein siblings were a member of the opposition. That means they believe in the purity of noble blood and abhorred the experiments combining human and noble blood rumored to be done by the Sacred Ancestor. But the Countess' brother, Lord Adam, seriously fell out of grace from the Sacred Ancestor for some reason. And to save his life, the Countess, a once elusive noblewoman, presented herself to Dracula's court for the first time. And with her great beauty and intellect, Carmilla instantly became a favorite among all the court ladies in Dracula's palace.

I looked back, opposite Carmilla's portrait and saw yet another portrait. It was the same size as the Countess' although in it was a nobleman, a very handsome nobleman. He had the same wavy golden hair as his sister's though it was shorter resting just above his shoulders. His eyes were cruel and cunning, they were in a beautiful emerald green color.

It was none other than the Countess' older brother, Lord Adam.

Lord Adam was one of the nobility's top ranking scientist. Like his sister Carmilla, he was once a child prodigy and an also excellent swordsman. Although it was said that hidden beneath his good looks and charisma, is a cruel and coniving vampire who despises anyone he deems lower than his kind.

D was still standing near Carmilla's portrait, with his left hand disappearing into the back apparently reaching for something. He quickly turns and gave Evan a hard stare after a light suddenly flashed out at the hunter.

"Sorry." Evan said with a sheepish smile.

I was suprisde to see Evan holding my phone. I vividly remember hiding in one of the pockets inside my bag. I don't know how he was able to sneak in and grabbed it. The flash on my phone was accidentally triggered as Evan was about to take a picture on the Countess' portait even with D on the background.

"Give me that!" I snatched my phone from Evan's hand and saw that he had been taking pictures around the ballroom for some time now. Some of the pics were blurred and topsy turvey suggesting that he was hiding the phone while taking pictures.

"It's not here." D said as he took out his hand behind the Countess' portrait.

"He's right." I said staring down at my phone. "It's not vibrating."

Evan got out a small notebook from one his pockets and studied it for a moment before looking up at D.

"According to my sources it says one piece is hidden on the Countess' portrait." Evan closed his notebook and said.

"We'll look somewhere else."

"Where? We can't waste our time searching this entire castle!" I said

"Listen." D said silencing me. D's eyes narrowed as he turned his gaze to the opposite side of the ballroom.

"What I can't hear anything?" Gab said while me and Evan looked around the place.

After a few minutes, we heard yet again that same familiar echoing sound back when we stood up at the grandstaircase. The sound was at first faint and came from the direction at the far oppoiste side of the grandballroom and grew louder and louder as it came close to where we stood. However it disappeared just at it was about to pass over our heads.

"Seriously what is that?" I asked still looking up.

Evan was walking around while looking above when he suddenly stopped and looked down noticing something on his right. On top of a tall slim table stood a stuff animal of a beautiful white cat with real gold for a collar. Evan was about to poke the stuff animal when it suddenly jump surprising us all that it was actually alive. I saw on the table where the cat stood a picture frame of the Countess holding the cat like a cherished pet, with the name Snow white engraved on the picture. My attention was drawn back to the cat as it panted at us.

"SHOO!" Evan tried to scare the cat away by kicking it however he missed the animal and sent his shoe flying.

"Shit!" Evan cursed as he hop forward to retrieve his shoe back. Me and Gab looked at each other while we giggled, D just shook his head.

The cat just ran towards the far side of the room where a single lone figure stood. We had no idea how this stranger suddenly appeared, perhaps D was the only one who detected the stranger. Judging from the form, the stranger was a tall woman (taller than me reaching almost six feet) with a slim and athletic yet curvacious body and was dresssed in an expensive looking sleek black gown. I squinted my eyes and recognized the golden mask she was wearing. I looked back at the Countess' portrait and again at the woman standing in front of us.

"Is that who I think it is?" I trailed off.

"No." D answered, his eyes still glued to the noblewoman. His answer relieved yet puzzled me at the same time.

"The castle's main security computer can replicate itself in the image of the Countess." Evan explained.

"It's a holographic image so it can't do any harm to-" Evan was cut off as something flashed from the hologram towards Evan. Both me and Gab screamed as we noticed that Evan's right hand had been taken off at the elbow. With eyes wide with fright, Evan held up his amputated right arm while green ooze slid down in droplets towards the marbled floor. But just then, the green blood converged in Evan's arm forming into the missing hand, it then changed into his normal skin color and the hand was back again.

I looked back at the hologram of the Countess still standing there. One of her arm was held up as she caught the metallic chain with a sharp looking blade on it's end; this long range weapon was what she/it whatever used to cut Evan's arm off and she drew it out ightning fast.

"Damn that hurts! Thank goodness for regenerative abilities." Evan said.

I still had my hand covered over my mouth shocked at what I saw.

"Look!" Gab called out and we all saw that the holographic image of the Countess had disappeared. It was said that the fear of nobility was deeply rooted in the humans of this world. Even though some individuals actually got passed through that, marjority of the frontier people still feared the nobles, especially those living in a sheltered life in the Capital. Gab was one of them and he started to panic by running around the place in circles for a means to escape. I was chasing him trying to calm him down but it wasn't until D called him to stop did he actually stood still. He ran to D and hid behind the hunter. I and Evan stood a few feet from them.

I felt something was wrong and noticed that D's gaze were trained hard on both me and Evan.

"Look out!" D called out. Between me and Evan, I was quicker and immediately saw a red light descending from the ceiling. I pushed Evan out of the way and he bumped into Gab as the force from my push knocked me over and I landed on my butt.

With my butt still aching I slowly stood up and was shocked to see a glowing red light had spread and created a transparent reddish wall separating me from D and the others. I stepped closer to the glowing wall and was about to touch it when D stopped me.

"Don't." D stepped closer to the wall and held his left hand over it. "This lazer can burn through your bones and cut throught steel, step back."

I did what D told me and the hunter unsheathed his sword. He stood still in a fighting pose with his sword held high before he thrust his weapon towards the glowing wall. Large sparks flew and pushed me back as well as Gab and Evan from the other side of the wall, only D was left unfazed as a hole wide enough for a hand to get through was made from D's sword.

Amidst the flashing light and fiery sparks,we heard footsteps from a high heeled boots echo to my left. The Countess' hollographic image disappered and reappeared again from the other side of the wall and was walking towards D and the others. As the Countess was closing in on the hunter, D immediately snatched his pendant and threw it inside the gaping hole towards me.

I went down on one knee as I struggled to catch D's blue pendant. By the time I stood up, the hole from the wall closed and I heard screams from the other side.

In a movement so fast no normal eye could see, the Countess disappeared and reappeared in front of D. She closed in the few yards where she stood from D in just one blink of an eye. Their swords clashed sending red sparks on the floor.

"Run!" D told me even before the glowing red wall started to move towards me. I staggered as I tried to run towards the opposite end of the grand ballroom. Adrenaline pumped through my body as I managed to reach the far side of the room in a matter of minutes but realized with horror that I was trapped since the large double door in the end wouldn't budge. I slammed my fist on the door and ran towards the nearest wall desperately trying to find a hidden door somewhere. I turned and screamed when the glowing wall was only a few inches from my face before it disappeared.

D's blue pendant still glowed. But the presence of the Countess' holographic image made it's light flicker.

I saw D and the Carmilla clone still fighting. Their movements were so fast and swift they seemed like they were darting from one place to another sending sparks to shower from here and there.

I saw Evan and Gab huddled on the corner of one wall and called out to them. Evan saw me first and was about to ran towards me when he was stopped by something that flew right it front him, narrowly missing him and struck the wall on their left.

It was the cloned Countess' sword, one hand was still held up after throwing her weapon the other, which had a golden gauntlet, held D's sword. The image of the Countess then turned it's attention towards me. With a red gleam glowing from the eyes of her mask, a mechanism was heard and in a matter of seconds, three thick metallic chains held me fast and pressed my back hard against the cold marble wall.

"Guys!"

I called out unable to move from my spot.

D managed to pull his sword free from the Countess' hand and swiftly slashed horizontally at the holographic image. The hollographic image of the Countess' became distorted and dispersed into a thick black fog that spread throughout the entire area swallowing D and the others. It was the last thing I saw before the wall flipped around and I found myself in a cold and pitch black room.

I was breathing really hard and my heart pounded so fast I thought it would burst from my chest. Although it was dark, the place was slightly lighted because of D's glowing pendant hanging from my clutched hand. From it's faint light I saw that I was in a narrow stoned tunnel, like some passageway to a dungeon beneath the castle. Another mechanical sound was heard, like a motor engine starting.

I sensed that I was moving forward. Slow at first, then it was faster, faster that it seemed like the cold wind blowing on my face was freezing my sweat.

"AAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAH!

I continued to scream as I moved faster and faster, like I was in some really scary theme park ride.

The light from D's glowing pendant allowed me to see the stone wall up ahead and feared that I might be squashed to death. It was then that the glowing on D's pendant intensified that the wall thankfully slid open and I could feel an even colder wind blew right through me.

CHINK!

I heard the click of the metal chains release me as I was being thrown out in the cold night air, screaming and landed facedown on the soft grass. When I twisted around I saw the wall I had came through slide back in it's normal place. I raised my hand clutching D's pendant and with joy kissed it for saving my life. D's handsome face flashed through my mind and I skip around looking like some silly schoolgirl who had seen her crush. I happily secured D's pendant on my backpack and stood up to dust my shaking knees.

I looked up and my eyes went wide with amazement. Underneath the bright light of the full moon, I was standing in front of a magnificent maze garden, probably thousands of acres wide with the walls standing up to ten feet in height.

Only one thought came into my mind.

"There is no way I'm going in there."

I ran to either side of my direction but realized with a sinking feeling that both of the huge gates were locked. I couldn't climb them since it was twenty feet high and the pointed tip could easily impale me.

"Screw this." Seeing no other option I entered the maze.

After almost an hour of walking inside and randomly choosing whether to turn right or left, I was about to give up when I noticed something that really caught my attention.

To my far right, on a section of a grass wall, a large rose was sticking out. It wasn't just any rose but it was glowing in a bright crimson red and seemed to illuminate my face as I drew closer. I must have been hallucinating it but I thought I could hear the sound of a beating heart as I stood close to it.

Beautiful isn't? I heard a voice say inside my head.

"Absolutely."

Would you like to touch it?

"I... I don't think-"

It's alright, you can touch it.

"But-"

Just one touch...

And gullible as ever, I touched one petal.

"Ouch!"

I withdrew my hand quickly as I felt a sharp pain on my finger. Looking down, I saw a drop of blood fall from my index finger down to the grass.

Suddenly I heard strange sounds around me, like trees moving and vines twisting around. I looked everywhere for the source of that sound, clutching my bleeding finger. My gaze went back to the unusual rose which had suddenly grown five times it's size and was moving... moving towards me. I backed away and noticed that other red glowing roses suddenly appeared in every grass wall surrounding me.

A hissing sound drew my attention back to the rose that wounded me.

Only inches away from my face I saw with horrow that it had thousands of tiny but sharp fangs deep inside it's petals.

I screamed and ran to my left narrowly missing the monstrous flower as it lunged at me with thorny vines trying to wrap around my neck.

I ran like crazy, turning fom one corner to another trying to avoid the freaky flowers and it's vines that were chasing me.

It wasn't long till I reached, what I would guessed to be the center of the maze. Just a few feet from me, stood a white and beautiful gazebo on top of a grassy small hill. I felt a vibration inside my back and reached in it for my cellphone. I recognize this response back at the underground laboratory and knew right then and there that another piece is nearby.

What I was looking for was obviously right in front of me.

Putting my phone right inside my bag, I ran towards the gazebo and stepped inside. I saw a different portrait of the Countess Carmilla, this time she was wearing a white shimmering dress and under her large white oval hat her golden hair swayed. She was strolling in the garden holding one large red rose casually in one hand.

It wasn't hard to find the gleaming gold piece of the Rothrian key just above her portrait. I tried to jump and reach for it but even with an increase in height I failed to reach it. I looked around for anything that I could step at to reach the piece when I spotted something written on the golden plaque underneath the Countess' portrait.

The Carmilla Rose, bred in honor of the Countess. It blooms only in a cold winter night and feeds on fresh blood.

I looked back at the portrait and realized that the red rose the Countess was holding was the same glowing carnivorous red rose that tried to eat me. That freaking flower is a vampire plant!

I suddenly dropped to the floor as something had wrapped around my ankle yanking me hard against the floor. It immediately pulled me and I grabbed what I could to prevent from being dragged away. Luckily I got hold on a railing and screamed in agony as it pulled tighter on my ankle tearing deeply at my jeans through my skin.

From the corner of my eye, I saw a dark shape descend along the side of the wall from the rooftop. It was on all fours and by the time the light of the moon hit the creature, it stood up and revealed itself to be a man.

An ugly and scary looking one...

His face was brown and wrinkled all over making him look like some old and frighthening beast. All his teeth were sharp and pointed like they could tear through not only flesh but bone as well. His back was slightly hunched up making him look like the crypt keeper. Although his black cloak was ripped on all ends the fabric seemed new. Although he was barefoot with gnarled toenails, he had a gold medallion hanging through his chest with the incription of some coat in arms. I dreaded my hunch that this creature has a vampire master that I would meet soon enough...

"You should have been crushed back moments ago." it said in a slithering voice. "But it seems you had some lucky charm given to you by that half-breed hunter."

I knew he was talking about D's pendant which was tuck safely inside my bag. The pull from the monstrous rose became very strong and I was losing my grip.

"No matter, the Countess' precious roses will see to it that you will be picked cleaned right through your bones. And no magical pendant is going to help you with that." It finished with a sinister laugh.

He held out a transparent orb that look just like a crystal ball. My eyes widden and my pain momentarily forgotten as I saw inside the orb the miniature image of D fighting some sort of dark armoured giant creature.

I screamed in agony as the vines tightened it's grip and could feel my blood dripping on the grass. With my arms aching and my face sweating I looked down and saw with horror a giant red glowing rose emerged from a grassy wall in front of me. I was surrounded by thorny vines crawling towards me preparing to wrap itself around my body.

My mind was in turmoil, I'm not used to fighting for my life but I'd rather be damn than quit and let this monster eat me. In a moment of despair, I felt a certain surge of strenght on my body.

The crypt keeper looking stranger had stopped laughing and frowned as he saw me rip a large portion of the metal railings forming into a stake. After ripping it, I was realeased from my grip and using my new found strenght I plunged it into the monstrous flower's gaping mouth as it tried to pull me into it.

"Eat this!" I screamed quoting an action movie I once saw.

I felt really violent and I even twisted the metal deep inside the flower that after a few seconds, after I yank the spike out, a few chunks of meat flew everywhere, some even splashing on my shirt.

I heard an ear shattering wail before the flower withered away and the rest disappeared into the bushes.

I laid my head on the grass to momentarily catch my breath. I could feel my ankle throbbing and bleeding after the creature's thorny vines had sunk on it almost reaching deep into my bones.

The creepy man just stood there for a moment. I have no idea if he was stupid or just being plain wierd for he just stood there for a moment, not bothering to attack me while I'm still weak. I noted that his gaze on me was grave and serious, as if there was something bothering him.

"It would seem that I have underestimated you." He finally said in a dark chilling tone.

While lying down, I saw again, albeit upside down, the golden piece on top of the Countess' portrait and twisted around to sit right up.

The man noticed what I was looking at and laughed.

"I don't think so."

My jaw almost dropped to what he did next. His form quickly dissolves, turning into some black gasseous ink. It spread around the area and moved towards me so fast I barely managed to evade him. I can barely walk, with the seering pain throbbin on my leg so I hop inside the gazebo but lost my footing again and fell towards the floor.

I looked back and realized with horror that anything this freakshow's black ink touches rots away. The grass and plants once lush and green turned to a withered brown.

With my good leg, I kicked at the frame that held Carmilla's second portrait. It worked for after the potrait rock unsteadily, the golden piece above fell on my open hands and quickly placed it inside my pocket.

I got up just in time to avoid yet another of the creep's attack. Out of the gazebo I tried to escape back inside the maze, opposite from where I had just entered.

But the creature beat me to it. Without giving me a moment's pause he pouced at me but I was ready. In my hands, I held a pink pepperspray and I immediately sprayed it on the jerk's face as he hovered above me.

It screamed and cursed in languages I didn't understand. The blackness went into disarray all over the place, giving me an opening and a chance to get away. Without waiting for the freakshow to recover. I started hoping forward as fast as I could. I made numerous turns from right to left until I couldn't catch my breath anymore. It was then that I reached into smaller space surrounded with numerous windows from the different rooms inside the castle.

I hoped at the center where a marble fountain is found and sat down on it's edge. I took out my bag and placed my new found piece. After securing my backpack, I noticed a cold and familiar sensation on my foot.

I remember this sensation on my eye, back before the plane crash and on my throat at the underground laboratory in Sunfort.

I looked down and saw my wounded ankle glowing in a blue-green light. I could feel something ticklish and cool pricking at my wouded skin. On closer inspection several of the thorns left there by the demonic roses were thrown out of my flesh and in my amazement, my wound healed itself almost back to normal. I briefly touched it and all that was left was a very light scar.

"Yeah!"

I jumped up and was glad that I can run back to normal again. I looked around for a means of escape and realized with a sinking feeling the windows of the castle rooms where too high for me to reach.

I suddenly froze when I felt the ground shook. At first, I mistook it for an earthquake. However, having experienced a sevent point four magnitute earthquake back home when I was in college, I knew whatever this was, it was clearly different. My gaze was drawn on the large balcony to my right. I sprinted towards it and saw a large and amazing courtyard resembling a chestpiece down below with two people I know running hysterically through it.

It was none other than Evan and Gab.

"Hey Guys!" I called out down to them while waving my hand.

Evan heard me first, he halted and turned towards me while pulling on Gab's shirt stopping him from running further. It wasn't long before he saw me up above the balcony and called up to me.

"Where is D?" I asked.

My answer came when I heard a crashing sound above me. I looked up and my eyes were wide with shock as I saw D jump from a large window which was twenty feet high. I ducked as a couple of glass shards smashed on the ground. around me. I cried as D suddenly landed beside me and immediately wrapped his arm around my waist. We jumped just in time to avoid a dark swarm that crashed behing us like a wave.

We landed down below the courtyard where Gab and Evan stood. D dropped me to the ground and walked in front of the three of us with his sword ready standing between us and the monstrosity on the balcony above.

The shards and rumble rose up and returned to where D smashed through like something you would see in a backward motion replayed in a video. It fixed the hole and quickly mended back to normal as if it hadn't been damaged at all.

So much for insurances... No wonder why nobles would let homicidal computers rampage in their castles to kill intruders. Their freaking houses can also regenerate itselves!

"Janie where were you?" Gab asked helping me up.

"I was chased around by vampire red roses inside a shitty maze and also got attack by some crypt keeper looking hooded old man."

Evan abruptly turned to look at me, his face was alarmed.

"Did he have a golden medallion on his neck?"

"Yes!" I answered.

"And he looked like the crypt keeper too!"

Just then, our attention was drawn back to the monstrous black matter descending down to face D. The Artificial computer that largely protects this castle can take numerous forms, especially when attacking intruders. It can take the form of the Countess or something even larger like what I saw in the orb earlier wherein D was fighting a huge twenty five foot armoured steel giant, explaining the rumbling I felt earlier. D had defeated one form and another and was now trying to process what kind of monstrosity it was going to take to kill D. How do we kill such a thing? No matter what D does to take it down after it has taken several forms, it just seemed to bounce back.

No wonder no one dared steal in this castle.

Suddenly, from the dark mass shot several tentacles faster than a speeding bullet. In a swift motion D sliced three tentacles that passed him but one managed to get through and slammed at the three of us sending us flying away.

I managed to hit a tree nearby while Evan and Gab smashed through another marble balcony sending them falling down the Sapphire lake. I could hear their screams and the sound of water splashing as their bodies and a couple of debris fell through it.

Groaning. I tired to get up. The wounds on my extremity were healing but I felt what Evan said about being unable to heal vital points when an agonizing pain spread through my chest as broken ribs squeezed my lungs.

I noticed my bag beisde me was open and out of it spilled D's pendant. While still lying on the ground, I reached for it before throwing it towards D who was still fighting the thing. Even when I didn't call out to him, D's amazing senses and reflexes enabled him to catch his pendant in the air and rolled down the ground avoiding yet another attack from the enemy.

Sharp claws suddenly clutched at my throat causing me to choke. I was raised up, my toes haning a few inches above the ground. It was the crypt keeper back at the maze. His face contorted into a beast-like mask with his shark teeth grinding.

"Now, wretched!" he said while spraying saliva on my face. "I'm going to tear you limb from-"

He was unable to finish his threat as D hurled a wooden needle and in my astonishment, severed my captor's head from his shoulder. Before his headless body dropped to the ground, it suddenly dispersed into hundreds of flying crows and flew above in circles. I dropped to my knees, coughing and gasping for air. I saw the creature D was fighting getting weaker. It's form dwindle in size as it retreated back to the castle while D's pendant glowed brighter.

To my left, D was rushing to me with his sword still in hand. I looked up and saw the flock of crows flying towards me and I screamed as I was attacked by it and flown up in the air. The birds dragged me beyond the balcony and up flying above the Sapphire lake. I held up both my arms as hundreds of birds tried to peck at my face however, I caught sight of D jumping from the balcony, his dark coat spreading.

At that moment, everything was in slow motion as D closed in, he seemed to change in form. His coat spread even further resembling large bat-like wings and his eyes seemed to glow in crimson. He reminded me of some great dark dragon terrifying me even though he was just saving me.

The Sacred Ancestor...Dracula...D

Those were the words that echoed in my head before the hunter burst through the flock of birds sending black feathers droping down the lake, and grabbed me before falling down the deep dark lake. The crows continued to give chase and flew down on us. Before our backs hit the cold water, D held up his left hand and a gust of wind was sucked inside it along with the hundreds of crows. After the last crow was sucked in, D held me tight as we dove through the cold water and before I lost consciousness.

P.S. Other than Dracula, I am also a huge fan of Carmilla. My version of Carmilla is not after the Bloodlust movie, although she is yet to be mentioned in the novels. I kinda imagined her closely to the original Carmilla novel a tall and very beautiful young woman. I gave her blonde hair instead of dark or red and magnetic amethyst eyes. I wanted her to seemed charming and graceful but can also be cruel and lethal. My story will leave traces of her and her relationship to the Sacred Ancesot but I have yet to give her a major part in the story.