Hey Everyone!

Short author's note here, but I just wanted to get something out of the way real quick, of course: For starters, we have some new new music to listen to! Later on in this very same chapter, there is a lil' scene where Vladzotz plays a new song on his organ, so if you'd like to take a gander at the piece that he plays, then you can just follow through with this search into you-tube, or something like that. Whatever works, as I've always said!

Pirates of the Caribbean - Davy Jones's theme church organ

It should be one of the first few results, but just for further clarification, the video in question is uploaded on a channel by the name of Grissini Project! :)

Anyhow, that's that: Your option to behold, of course! Alright, next quick announcement!

Next up, as evident by the title itself, this chapter is part one of two. Some of you might be asking as to why I decided to split it up like this, and thankfully, I have a reasonable answer: It was so long! Both of the two chapters put together totals to around 25K+ words. That's a whole lot, and as fun as it might be to have it all stuffed into one gargantuan chapter, I figured that this one was already long enough on its own already. Wise choice? Perhaps... Regardless, I certainly do hope that you enjoy what this new chapter has to bring, of course! The next one will be arriving here soon enough, and with it, some very interesting new scenes!

Oh, and lastly, this particular chapter takes place about 8 months or so after Vlad and Lucy first met, and roughly a week before Vladzotz abducted Nick, and Castle Fangpyre got torched. The second part (As mentioned earlier just above) takes place about a month or so later, with an injured Vlad thinking back over the event in its entirety and whatnot. Anyhow, I think I'll leave it at that, and you lot can continue reading to see what all happens in this first one!

But yeah, that's pretty much it for now. Without any further ado, let's jump right into this, shall we? :)

Enjoy...


"It hurts to let go, but sometimes it hurts more to hold on." - Anonymous

*BONUS QUOTE*

"When I'm with you, I feel safe from the things that hurt me inside." - Anonymous


2:09 A.M

Tested through time, that which is lively and endearing only has more room to grow, and in turn, flourish.

Ever since the bat lord Vladzotz had first crossed paths with his feminine counterpart, his heart had once again learned to beat in appreciation for others, rather than just for him and him alone. For over half a decade, the male bat had known not what it was like to feel enjoyment, pleasure, endearment, or appreciation towards or for another mammal: The brutal murder of his old family had left him an emotional husk of his former self, with his inner and personal goals centered upon the likes of roiling vengeance.

Years later, when he finally met his match, did he realize that perhaps there was more to life than just what it took from you... But what it gave back to you in return as well...

Lucy Sang had presented herself to the bat lord as a fulfilling opportunity on many levels: Both being high-profile criminal figureheads, the two of them were able to work together on both sides of their respective business spectrums, establishing fortified ties through intelligence sharing, drug and arms trades, mammal trafficking, and other rather malicious vocations and partnerships, with Vladzotz himself using Lucy's ties to the surface-world to only further expand his dark and ever reaching criminal empire.

Meanwhile, while working alongside the bat lord, Sang herself managed to gain a much stronger and more powerful foot-hold down in the Nocturnal-District, for with Vladzotz's watchful eyes hovering over the dark city, the female bat was able to upsize and spread her own range of influence and prestige, with entire new markets that were once locked away down in those plumbless depths being opened up and ripe for the plucking, free for her to shape and exploit in her own image, whatever that may be in the end, and all of it was thanks to her associations and ties with the bat lord Vladzotz.

As the many months past by with fluid haste and mirth, the two vampire bats only bonded even more through time, with a sturdy and dependable friendship being built up from the foundations of their business and criminalistic associations. Alongside their professional partnership, the two of them easily found refuge in one another's company and companionship, with frequent meetings between them both often ending with toasts of fine wine and idle chit-chat; Topics as erratic and varied as their respective mental states, ranging from subsidiary small-talk, to full-blown business development and synopsis.

All the while, they only grew upon one another even more, each new meeting and gathering igniting a powerful spark of ambition and appreciation in both creatures, respectively.

Vladzotz himself was a being whose life was limited to small, insignificant joys: Anger issues, all of which were directed at the world around him and those that inhabited it, had been frequent and pestilent throughout the majority of his adult life, the sources ranging from all manner of emotional hearths and beginnings. Yet, around Lucy Sang, his internal rage and bitterness was quelled and pacified, instead replaced with a more jocular feeling of delight and recreation: Accompanied by his female counterpart, the bat felt at ease with both himself and the world around him, neither of which had been present in his soul ever since the untimely deaths of his old family some seven years past.

On the other hand, Lucy Sang sought refuge from a life of pain and hurt, her humble beginnings plagued by the most unthinkable of deceptions and betrayals. Throughout her entire life, there had been very few whom she could safely trust, and even fewer still whom she could see as friends, in her own eyes. Most of her previous criminal alliances had been hollow, and naught but ash: Partnerships built and structured around a common goal, yes, but in reality, were never anything more than a means to an end. The female bat was far too used to being reviled, feared, hated, or just plain ignored by those around her, ranging from her old and long-forgotten family, to anyone that dared get in her way.

However, she was not viewed as anything less than beautiful, in the eyes of the bat lord Vladzotz. He himself saw past both her flaws and misgivings, and truly considered her as something more than just an end goal, or the result of a poorly-structured criminal alliance. Around Vladzotz, Lucy felt truly appreciated and safe, both traits having been an incredibly rare and frugal feeling to behold for nearly her entire life, yet here, so suddenly, they were present: Knowing that there was a sturdy shoulder to lean on during tough times, and a dependable friend to sympathize with when needed, the female bat, for one of the first times in her entire life, felt both safe and appreciated.

Around one another, the two respective bats found great enjoyment and gratitude, so much so that they met up together nearly every chance that they could get, so as to relax and unwind, indulging in tranquil chat and business development around a nice bottle of wine and a few sheets of salted crackers. To the both of them respectively, their corresponding counterpart was an outlet for positive times and appreciation, and an escape from the mental and physical stress of their professions and hobbies.

Lucy herself quite often visited Vladzotz's ancient family manor, the crown of his criminal empire down in the Nocturnal-District: The House of Fangs, Castle Fangpyre.

There, she would work alongside her male counterpart as the two of them constructed more and more business ties and agreements, nearly all of which were concluded with broken bread and lively conversation, both respective creatures relishing in the enjoyment of one another's pleasant company and frequent companionship. Whenever she would arrive, the two of them would retreat into the depths of the mansion to plot out their nefarious schemes and ideas. After concluding their work, relaxation ensued, yet if there was one thing that both creatures raptured upon more than just about anything else, it had to be their respective tastes in music and the fine arts.

As with most mammals of the large-eared variety, music itself was a highly dynamic and gratuitous sense to behold upon the ears, of which were often able to detect underlying tones and rhythms that made each and every individual song all the more unique and diverse. Being vampire bats, both Lucy and Vladzotz respectively had incredibly extraordinary hearing, perhaps even, the very best in the entire animal kingdom.

Vladzotz, having grown up in a rather lavish upbringing, and donning an archaic personality and mindset, personally preferred classical pieces, especially those that he played upon his towering organ, the powerful and haunting chords causing the very framework of The House of Fangs to shake and jitter as the sounds filled the winding hall-ways.

Lucy too enjoyed listening to music, especially that of soft jazz and and classical. Every once and a while, upon concluding her business practices and leisurely chatting with Vladzotz, the female bat, after excusing herself for the evening, would slip away to another part of the property, where she would simply relax and listen closely to the sounds of the bat lord's organ, thrumming deep from within the inky confines of the old manor.

But now, only upon her latest visit to Castle Fangpyre, did its master at last present the organ chamber in its entirety to the young bat.

After a full week of careful and meticulous planning over the details of their latest cooperative scheme, the two bats at last decided that it was time for a well-earned and much anticipated break. Lucy herself chose instead to pay a surprise visit to Vladzotz, all the while personally hoping to catch him as he played his organ, in specific. Letting herself in through the front door, the female bat promptly made way to the aforementioned organ chamber, deep within the heart of Castle Fangpyre.

Upon at last finding it in all its glory, she pressed against the large oaken doors and set foot inside the room, all the while taking in the sight of her brand new environment.

The room itself was large, with soft, blood-red and royal-purple swirls lined into the carpets, of which were lain out across smooth and wooden floor-boards beneath their feet. Lining the walls to the left and right of the room's center, thick and black-colored columns flanked in rows, where they held up the weight of the ceiling above. But of course, the crowning feature of the entire room was undoubtedly the massive, towering organ in the very back wall, with shiny brass pipes rising dozens of feet into the air, nearly scraping against the roof of the manor itself.

The wide, wooden frame and mantle of the large instrument was carved with smooth designs, swirling and stretching outwards into a pair of monstrous bat wings.

Though, sitting in the very center of it all, Vladzotz himself was seated upon a padded stool, of which was positioned between the triple-decks of varying black and white keys, his bony and skeletal fingers pressing upon them quickly, each point of contact enticing a long, low groan to emanate from within the mantle of the organ before traveling upwards, reverberating through the many pipes before being spewed forth from the varying slits and holes, the ensuing sounds filling the dreary silence of the entire room.

As Lucy approached from behind, all the while making sure to close shut the doors at the entrance, she couldn't help but reminisce over the very last time that she had set foot in this particular room, which, ironically enough, had been back when she first entered Castle Fangpyre with the intent of looting and even simply exploring it, to an extent.

Back then, she recalled how Vladzotz had been playing incredibly slowly upon his organ, his notes so soothing that they had even caused he himself to fall asleep!

But now, the bat lord drummed the keys beneath his fingers with a fiery sense of passion and ambition, each respective note being very quick and very powerful. He rolled his shoulders in their sockets, causing his lengthy arms to flow delicately along with the song. He played quite aggressively, with lots of back and upper body movement; Some few keys being quite literally smashed beneath his sizable talons as he pressed against them, the coming notes all very rapid and very powerful, like an energized heart-beat.

If there was any way for Lucy Sang to describe what she heard right then and there, it would had to have been anger personified.

Returning her attention to the player behind the piece, the young bat could easily tell that he was quite engrossed with the likes of his solo performance; Eyes closed shut, mind completely and utterly oblivious to her sudden and quiet entrance, so elusive that even he with his enhanced hearing and other senses did not detect her as she crept across the open space of the room, closing the distance between herself and her male counterpart, who reverently played upon his towering organ without a single care in the world.

Simply choosing to watch, Lucy continued inching forward a little bit at a time, all the while listening in on the many diverse and colorful sounds that flowed in and around her ears, reverberating through the air and causing her fur to stand on end as a shiver of euphoric enjoyment coursed its way up the length of her spine: She adored listening to Vladzotz as he played upon his towering organ, for as the enticing melody filled her ears, she felt relaxed and secure, both being traits that she seldom experienced on her own.

For several short more minutes, the female bat continued to listen to the methodical and peaceful organ music, which grew slower and more tame with each passing second, until at last the piece was concluded in its entirety, and Vladzotz himself inhaled deeply through his nostrils before exhaling audibly from his fanged maw, his upper-body slouching over slightly as the oxygen fled swiftly from his lungs. The bat lord's ears drooped delicately, but instantly perked up in detection as Lucy cleared her throat from behind.

Turning slightly to the right and glancing over his shoulder, a toothy smile spread its way across the length of the male bat's muzzle as his blood-red eyes locked upon the form of his dear friend Lucy, who herself stood casually some dozen feet away, all the while slowly strutting closer and closing the distance between herself and her male counterpart.

"Bravo... Bravo." The female bat praised with a warm smile, clapping her palms together in approval. "A truly enticing performance, if I might say so myself!"

Meanwhile, Vladzotz had risen from his stool and now looked down upon the smaller vampire bat, his coming words laced with an undertone of curiosity and mirth;

"Well, now this is a rather pleasant surprise... You didn't happen to break in through any windows, now did you? Those are surprisingly expensive, you know."

The female bat stifled a slight chortle beneath her breath as she crossed her wings against her chest and threw her hip out to the side.

"Oh, just get over it already! I break in through one window nearly a year ago, and you're still holding it over my head?" She teased. "You need to get your priorities straight!"

"Is the security of Castle Fangpyre, the very head of my criminal empire, not a cause worth flaunting?" Vladzotz retorted with raised eyebrows, to which Lucy snorted aloud;

"You and your secrecy... Always so consistent, huh? Granted, given how easily I slipped in last time, I can understand where you're coming from."

Vladzotz slowly nodded his angular head in agreement.

"Indeed: We've always prided ourselves on our clandestine business practices and security, but I do admit that you've proven yourself as quite fluctuant, my dear..."

The bat lord seated himself upon his stool once again before turning around and facing the organ, putting his back to his guest. He then cleared his throat audibly and inquired;

"So, what brings you here, Lucy? If I'm not mistaken, we previously scheduled our latest assignation for tomorrow evening, no? Why the sudden appearance?"

Smiling as she uttered a low hmm sort of noise from within her throat, the female bat edged ever closer to her male counterpart, soon positioning herself directly behind him.

Lucy then fervidly took to answering his previous question;

"True, but I don't get breaks like this too often, and after all the stress from work as of late, I'd prefer to spend it where I feel most relaxed, safe, and appreciated: Here!"

Her male counterpart nodded his head in seeming understanding.

"Hm... Although I'm quite flattered that you so enjoy my company, next time, a little prior notification certainly wouldn't hurt, after all."

Vladzotz then leaned forward towards his organ and rhythmically pressed against a few keys here and there, causing the organ to drone a very soft, sleepy tune: Much more quiet and peaceful than earlier, yet still reverberating with a slight undertone of power and strength, though still not as much as before. As he played, he spoke aloud;

"Policy gives my men the right to engage against any intruders, you know... We wouldn't want them to mistake you for someone with more hostile intentions, now would we?"

Donning a sultry smile to herself, the female bat strode forward to the flatter edge of the organ's mantle, rather close to the many keys, and lifted herself up onto the wooden frame, carefully seating herself upon it before crossing one leg over the other and eyeing her male counterpart with two glowing emerald orbs. All the while, she calmly stated;

"Come on, Vladdy, we both know that there isn't a single mammal in this manor I couldn't take on..."

She then giggled, thinking back on the day that she had first met Vladzotz, and how she had managed to trick him into ensnaring himself in the sticky vines of the glow-worms.

"Including you, sweetie!"

The male bat momentarily lost his expert composure, and accidentally fumbled on a single note as he glared his gaze towards his female counterpart. He stammered out loud;

"Eh, well..." Vladzotz then chuckled lowly. "If it ever comes to that, I'll make sure that our next field of battle is devoid of any disgusting, apprehensive obstructions..."

"Yeah, then you might actually have a chance!" Lucy teased, cocking her head to the side and eyeing her male counterpart with a smug expression.

"Perhaps I would, perhaps I would." Vladzotz mumbled to himself, a slight grin playing at the edge of his muzzle.

For the next half-minute or so, neither creature spoke to one another, both instead choosing silence as the bat lord continued to play upon his organ. With curious emerald eyes, Lucy watched his skeletal fingers as they drummed up and down the length of the black and white keyboard, each note that his sizable talons pressed upon enticing a deep groan to emanate from within the smooth wooden body of the massive organ.

Lucy closed her eyes shut breathed in deeply, relishing in the cool feeling of relaxation as it coursed its way up the length of her spine, causing her fur to stand on end. The sweet music that filled her ears was very relaxing and peaceful, easily causing her muscles to unknot themselves and her posture to slacken slightly, her body overcome with a meditative sense of rest and leisure.

She very much adored listening to classical music in general, but Vlad and his organ were something else entirely.

The female bat reminisced to the very first time that she had set her eyes upon her male counterpart: It had been very much like it was now, with the dark atmosphere, peaceful organ music, and the two of them all alone and to themselves in the spacious depths of the organ chamber, their only accompaniment being the tuneful composition that filled both of their sensitive ears, respectively.

At the time, Vladzotz's musical skills meant next to nothing to her, but only now as she thought back to the particular event in its entirety, did she realize just how talented her male counterpart truly was: He played expertly and near completely without any sort of flaw or grievance, his red eyes closed and bony fingers forced to perform without any sort of help or assistance, for he seemed to always play his organ devoid of any music sheets or other means of aid.

To Lucy, the prospect of such abilities were nigh unfathomable, but even she realized just how gifted he must have been to be able to perform as he did.

All the while, she continued to watch and listen as the piece continued, the melodious and harmonic notes only causing her to grow more and more at ease.

Eventually, both to break the silence and to sate her own personal curiosity, Lucy then took to acquiring the attention of her male counterpart.

"Say, Vladdy..." She started, effectively causing the large bat to acknowledge her with a questioning hmm sort of sound. "How'd you learn to play like that?"

"Ah, interesting question, my dear." Vladzotz claimed, lifting his talons up and hovering them above the keyboard. "But might I be of inquiry as to why you ask, precisely?"

"Just curious, I guess... I do like listening to you play." She cooed in response.

Nodding his head in understanding, the male bat proudly exclaimed;

"I do owe most of my musical prowess to the likes of my teacher, my very own father, Vladzotz the Second: It was he who tutored me beginning at the young age of just six years old. Every day we would practice for hours on end, performing with this exact same instrument, and after years upon years of tutelage, I at last mastered the pipe organ!"

Vladzotz then rapidly ran his clawed fingers down the length of the black and white keyboard, his thin talons becoming a mere blur of fast movement in Lucy's own eyes.

"Hmph..." The female bat huffed playfully as the ensuing notes from her male counterpart's demonstration faded away softly. "Showoff!"

The bat lord chuckled beneath his breath, a smile playing at his lips. "Yours truly." He mumbled lowly in response, all the while pulling his fingertips away from the keyboard.

"You must've really gotten the hang of it all, huh, seeing as you don't even use any music sheets." Lucy continued, pointing a polished claw tip towards the empty frame.

"Very much so, my dear." Vladzotz confirmed. "Though, most of the pieces I know nowadays are exerted more so through muscle memory than anything else."

Once again, he reached outwards and played a quick and very fast paced, yet delicate tune, causing his female counterpart to cross her arms across her chest and snort aloud;

"Like I said: Showoff!"

Vladzotz stifled another short laugh, his smile only having grown even wider, by this point. Meanwhile, Lucy noticed that tips of his large ears were tinged slightly red in flattery: Deep down, she secretly wondered if he'd ever been complimented over his considerable musical talents quite like that before. Biting her lower lip as she eyed over the many different keys lain within the smooth wooden mantle of the organ's body, she simply couldn't resist blurting aloud her coming few words;

"Can I try?" She requested excitedly, her eyes lighting up with anticipation.

The male bat locked vision with her, and near instantaneously noticed the bright and beaming expression that held refuge across her face; Clearly, she really wanted to try her own on his organ. Although personally a tad bit hesitant at first, since his organ was very dear to him, Vladzotz quickly decided that in the end, no harm could be done from it.

His organ may have been one of his favored possessions, but he treasured his relationship with Lucy Sang far more.

"Of course!" He exclaimed as he rose from the small bench and backed away from the organ, all the while stretching one of his wings outward and gesturing to the keyboard.

Smiling wide in excitement, Lucy then lept off from the smooth wooden mantle and immediately made her way to the center of the organ before seating herself where Vladzotz had been just earlier. Raising her head to the ceiling, she took in the sight of the massive organ, its many dozens of majestic brass-colored pipes towering over her, all of them winding in and around the intricate woodwork of the wall frame before vanishing behind the back of the mantle, gone from sight and mind.

Lucy lowered her gaze back to the many black and white keys that were spread out before her, three full rows of which extended around her in a sort of semi-circle. Knowing that each and every single one of them connected to the gargantuan metal pipes, the female bat felt a very giddy sense of power and control; This monstrous instrument was hers to command and control, and all that she had to do was tap on the keys with her fingers.

How hard could it be?

Carefully raising up one of her arms, Lucy lightly poked her index finger against one of the white-colored keys directly in front of her. The near instant that her finger pressed down upon it, the organ groaned loudly a single time in brief response. Shaking in excitement, the female bat whirled her head around over her shoulder and smiled wide at Vladzotz, whom was simply standing casually a few feet away, his talons locked together and drumming against one another silently. As he locked eyes with Lucy, the bat lord then rolled one of his wrists in a go on sort of gesture, to which his female counterpart bit her lower lip down in anticipation before turning back around and facing the organ once more.

Lucy swiftly shifted her weight around in the padded bench, causing leathery squeaking noises to emanate from her body suit as it rubbed against the material. She lifted both of her arms up and hovered them above the keyboard, spreading her fingers and eyeing over the many different keys. Sparing another fleeting glance behind her, the female bat locked eyes with Vladzotz one last time before returning her attention towards the keyboard and bringing her paws down upon a few random keys, the ensuing notes sounding quite distasteful and out of tune, but still failing to quell her fervid excitement and anticipation.

Delicately mashing the very tips of her claws down on random keys, the mantle of the organ lightly shook as the powerful and reverberating chords coursed through its structure, traveling up the lengthy brass pipes before blaring out from the many slits, the coming notes not exactly easy on the ears, but still quite strong and developed.

After a few more seconds of pressing against random keys just to get the feel of the instrument itself, Lucy then decided to try and play something a bit more coherent and structured than the garbled mess that she was currently producing. Alongside that, she simply sought to impress Vladzotz, even in the slightest way possible at the time.

Using her clawed thumb and middle fingers, respectively, she singled out a few choice keys from the far right side of the board, where the higher-pitched notes rested, each one eagerly waiting to be played upon. Lightly tapping twice against every other pair of keys, Lucy gradually moved across the length of the keyboard, the pitch of the many notes descending lower and lower as she slowly moved from right to left. Now that her performance was more formulated and planned out, the coming musical notes sounded much better and even more powerful than before, but all were still a very far cry to the quality that Vladzotz himself had ousted from the organ just mere minutes earlier.

Although the audible comparison between the two vampire bats was quite noticeable and obvious, neither of them berated the other on their respective levels of skill.

"Ooo, this is fun! No wonder you play it so often!" The female bat stated before snickering in amusement.

Eventually reaching the very end of the keyboard, Lucy stopped playing her single scale and instead took to repositioning her clawed paws in the center of the board. Using all of her available fingertips, she then randomly and messily pressed against the keys below, some few notes of considerable quality, but most others sliding off as sub-par, at best.

She cringed as another horribly out of tune note found its way to her large and sensitive ears, and she audibly uttered a disapproving eh sort of sound just moments afterwards.

Meanwhile, from the behind of his female counterpart, Vladzotz frowned upon hearing her deplorative growl of disapproval, and his expression softened as he noticed the vexed and disgruntled look growing upon the sides of her face. The bat lord took note of her slovenly posture and misplaced arms, and even her clawed feet, which just barely reached the row of pedals at the base of the organ's wooden mantle.

Quickly eyeing over her body and posture, the male bat observed Lucy's small paws as they played against the organ without any real form or composition.

Steeling his resolve, Vladzotz paced over to Lucy and stood directly behind her, lifting his talons and placing them on the female bat's shoulders, which were exposed from her skin-tight bodysuit. The bat lord watched as Sang slightly jumped in surprise at his sudden contact, but quickly relax as she glanced over her shoulder and locked eyes with him.

"Here..." Vladzotz murmured. "Allow me."

Without waiting for her reply he then slid his palms down the lengths of her two arms, all the while resisting the urge to run them back up again just to further experience the smooth feeling of her fur against his paws. The thick membrane of skin that stretched between his three longest fingers spread out to around half of their fullest extent as he positioned his paws directly over Lucy's, his large and leathery wings now partially enveloping her smaller form.

Now, Vladzotz's own arms were placed above Lucy's, and his clawed fingertips connected with her own. Then, like a puppet-master influencing his stringed marionette, he pressed down on Lucy's smaller fingers with his own, causing her pointed claws to press against the keys of the organ once more. However, instead of novice, out of tune notes emanating from within the massive instrument, the coming sounds were fruitful, and expertly performed, each chord droning with a great and masterful sense of power.

Together, the two of them played a song of the male bat's choice, for he was the one truly pulling the strings behind the act itself: As Lucy's thin fingers pressed down upon the many different keys, Vladzotz's wings guided her own, effectively spawning a brilliant and calming musical tune to ensue upon each point of contact. Eventually, the slower portion of the song came to an end upon the conclusion of one, final drawn out note, but then suddenly and without warning, the male bat picked up the pace and speed of the song, causing Lucy to cry out in surprise as her own fingers now drummed speedily and very quick against the keyboard, all the while being directed beneath Vladzotz's own.

"Whoa!" She exclaimed, startled at the sudden increase in speed and tempo. "Haha!"

Lucy's heart beat rapidly in her chest, and another gratifying surge of energy coursed through her body at the sudden and amazing feeling that accompanied the action. Now, the song that the two vampire bats performed was an energized version of the previous one, with underlying notes of power and deep, resonating chords that caused the room around them to shake and tremble lightly.

Vladzotz reached outwards some more, guiding Lucy's fingertips to the far left side of the keyboard and mashing them down against a few choice keys, a great and strong slew of sounds surging from within the instrument. The bat lord then did the same with his other paw, and Lucy's in turn, soon adopting a slight repeating pattern of performance, with one paw pressing down on the keys while the other momentarily rested, and vice versa for a brief few seconds.

With Vladzotz guiding her from behind, the female bat imagined herself as if she were a part of some orchestra: A masterful and talented performer of the fine arts!

It was a wonderful and very exciting feeling to experience, and gave the young bat all the more mirth and enjoyment from Vladzotz's actions.

Gradually, over the next minute or so, the song slowed down more and more, with the two vampire bats dialing down on the speed and tempo until the many different notes and sounds were once again soft, slow, and peaceful as the night itself. The song may have ended for the most part, yet still, Vladzotz held his paws over Lucy's, his leathery wings enveloping the majority of her smaller body, and encasing her in shadow.

All the while, Lucy could feel Vladzotz's heart beating against her back, and the heat from his body as it radiated off of his chest and pooled within his wings, warming all that stood between, including the female bat herself. Encased in Vladzotz's large wings, Lucy felt a gratifying sense of security begin to build up within her breast, causing her to calmly relax, her muscles to soothingly unwind, and a longful, dreamy sigh to escape through her mouth.

As her eyelids begun to droop ever so slightly, Lucy raised her head upwards and locked vision with Vladzotz, whom still loomed over her rather smaller form. His expression too was that of relaxation and comfort, all accompanied by a minuscule smile that edged across his muzzle. Within his blood-red eyes, Lucy could see a flickering light of doting and amorous endearment, if not accompanied by something a tad bit more primal searing behind his two corneas.

Leaning upwards slowly, Lucy's eyelids closed shut in leisure, her last sight being Vladzotz softening his own expression as he lowered his head closer to her face, closing the distance between the two of them until their lips met in their very first true, genuine kiss. The female bat's puckered lips pressed lightly against the male's very own, and another pleasurable exhale of oxygen escaped from between her teeth, the hot air brushing delicately through the wiry black fur on Vladzotz's face.

Just when Lucy was about to reach up and pull Vladzotz's face even harder against her own, a loud and startling bang sort of sound emanated from the behind of them, causing both vampire bats to jump in trepidation and surprise as they turned around and took in the sight of a small polecat running towards them, clearly having just busted through the twin oaken doors at the other end of the organ chamber.

"Lord Vladzotz! Sir! Sir!" The polecat cried out, but suddenly choked up once he locked eyes with his boss, whom harshly glared at him from the other side of the room. "Uh..."

The crimson-clad polecat stopped in his tracks and slowly backed away, all the while chuckling nervously to himself, clearly having just realized that he had so blatantly interrupted his own boss's first moment of intimate affection in years on end, with Vladzotz having his wings wrapped around the smaller female, whose face and lips were just mere inches away from his own.

"WHAT IS IT?!" Vladzotz roared in anger.

The polecat visibly straightened himself out before stammering quickly;

"Your scheduled m-meeting with t-the crime-lord of the Rainforest-District is about t-to start, my Lord! Al Catpone has j-just arrived, sir!"

"What?! That flower-picking feline is here now?!" The bat lord snarled from across the room, to which the polecat nodded hastily in confirmation, causing his boss to growl lowly.

Vladzotz mentally cursed himself for being so forgetful: As soon as Lucy had made her appearance, he had completely forgotten about his meeting with Alphonse Catpone, the resident crime-lord of the Rainforest-District, whom was here now to negotiate with Vladzotz over their long-term smuggling agreement that they initiated several years back.

Releasing his hold and stepping away from his female counterpart, the bat lord jabbed a finger towards the mobbie as he snarled his coming words;

"Escort our guest to the briefing room, and tell him that I'll be right there! Catpone isn't a fan of waiting, so try to stall him as I prepare!"

The polecat nodded before whirling around and scampering off, no doubt quite shaken up from his boss's sudden fit of rage and aggression.

"Wait, did you say Al Catpone?" Lucy suddenly questioned aloud, causing Vladzotz to curiously glance at her. "Oh, guano... That guy does not like me."

"Of what accounts?" The bat lord questioned.

"Well, I might've gotten my hands on some stacks of cash from a few of his smuggling ring-leaders, a while back."

"You stole some of his drug profits, did you now?" Vladzotz mused, his tone expressing minor admiration. "Most who even try wind up missing the next morning."

"I managed, obviously."

The bat lord nodded his head a single time and then took to recomposing himself; Slowly breathing in and out to calm his racing heart, which beat fervidly within his chest.

"You're a Lord?" Lucy suddenly asked with an undertone of respect and admiration, all the while eyeing Vladzotz up and down with her emerald green eyes.

"Yes, technically. The title was passed down from my grandfather, as a point of fact." The male bat replied nonchalantly.

"Gees, Vladdy, what isn't passed down in your family?" Lucy asked teasingly. "Your name, that locket, even this house, and now the literal title of Lord?"

Vladzotz shrugged. "It comes with the Fangpyre birthright, as I've always said." He stated with a slight grin.

"Don't you have an important meeting to get to?" The female bat remarked, causing her male counterpart to seize up in sudden realization.

"Yes, yes of course! I do so apologize for the inconvenience, my dear, but this meeting is of the utmost importance! You are most welcome to stay here, if you'd like...

The bat lord blinked and momentarily hesitated as he exhaled slowly through his nostrils.

"But if you must go... I understand..." He concluded, his tone slightly somber.

"Hm... Don't worry, Vladdy..." Lucy cooed softly, edging closer and placing one of her wings upon his shoulder. "I'll wait for you."

Vladzotz lifted his gaze and looked upwards, locking eyes with his female counterpart, whom smiled back warmly.

"Thank you, my dear." A grin played at his lips. "It will give you plenty of time to work on those organ skills of yours, won't it?"

"Oh, take a hike, you." Lucy retorted, all the while rolling her eyes and elbowing the male in the shoulder. "Go make some deals, or something."

"Gladly."

And at that, the bat lord nodded one last time towards his friend before making his way down the length of the hall-way that connected to the organ chamber, making sure to close the large oaken doors on his way out, so as to give Lucy some privacy, the thought of which caused him to make a mental note to remind that polecat mobster to learn to knock before so suddenly entering, next time, when or wherever that may be.

Soon enough, Vladzotz managed to find the entrance to the aforementioned briefing room, and momentarily composed himself in preparation for his meeting with the jaguar crime boss, whom the bat knew was just on the other side of the wall to his right. Breathing in and exhaling calmly, Vladzotz then pushed against the set of double doors and set foot within the briefing room.

Inside, the small, but spacious room was lain with varying tables, and the walls were lined with many different maps, charters, and other boards tallied full of various information and pieces of concern and thought. Wooden chairs were strewn here and there, but on the far side of the room, standing opposite to Vladzotz, the larger, hulking form of a yellow-spotted jaguar glanced over one of the bill-boards nailed on the wall in front of him. Upon closing the door behind himself as he entered the briefing room, the vampire bat watched as the comparatively towering feline turned towards him, revealing every last detail of his rather masculine appearance.

A dark brown trench coat wrapped itself around Catpone's towering frame, the very base of which nearly scraped against the floor-boards down at his ankles. His vest and slacks were the very same color, save for the forest-green button-up that was hidden beneath his other articles and thick layers of clothing. The feline's orange-ish yellow spotted fur stood in stark contrast to the earthy and natural colors that he adorned himself with, its only true accompaniment being the small, purple flower that was pinned to his left breast pocket with a sharpened stick of metal: Vladzotz recalled how Catpone liked to carry around poison-soaked pin-pricks disguised as ornamental decorations within his clothes, and made himself a mental note to avoid touching the jaguar, if only to avoid accidentally poking, and in turn, poisoning himself.

The cat's dark green eyes were webbed with lines of red and watery capillaries, the two corresponding colors clashing horridly, if only to draw attention to the center of his black pupils, which stood as thin slits of darkness in a sea of prismatic abnormalities. Nodding his head over in a gesture of respect, the jaguar removed his mud-colored fedora, the bowl of which was lined and wrapped with dead and withered vines of poison ivy, and dipped low in a bow directed towards the master of the manor, Vladzotz himself, whom nodded in approval at the sight of the jaguar's respectful bout of submission.

Straightening himself out and fixing his large hat back onto his head, Al Catpone grinned as he locked eyes with Vladzotz.

"It's been a while, Vlad." The jaguar rumbled, his uptown and mafia accent causing the vampire bat's huge ears to twitch slightly in distaste. "How you doin', bo?"

Vladzotz smiled wide, displaying his many sharp and pristine fangs. He spoke aloud in formal response;

"Quite busy, as always. Though, I have been feeling surprisingly generous, as of late... Perhaps the two of us could amount to some healthy agreements, this time around..."

"I certainly hope so..." Catpone agreed before his expression hardened. "D'you got any idea just how much dough I've lost tryna' get my goods down here?"

"Really now?" Vladzotz mused. "Do tell."

The jaguar briefly removed his fedora so as to scratch at the back of his upper neck and furry head. All the while, he grumbled out loud;

"Real behind the eight ball on this one, bo... The district border patrol 'round here's been gunnin' extra hard fo' any smuggled merchandise, 'specially to and from the Rainforest-District, my home turf. Now, both you's and I know that we can't have any of 'em hookin' in on our latest squeeze, now can we? I been bustin' my tail gettin' all these drugs and other bric-a-brac down into this stinking pit you call home, and you've barely lifted any fingers, bo! Is' time fo' you's to carry your own weight, Vlad! Help me with this one!"

The bat lord made a deep and throaty hmm sort of sound from his gullet, clearly not too amused by the jaguar's sudden accusations. Vladzotz then stated;

"Perhaps... I haven't been playing my part. At least as much as we had first hoped. I suppose that I am guilty for the crime of omission, for which I apologize. But, don't be fooled, Alphonse: My business association is far from through with you, my friend, indeed! I'm nearing the conclusion of my latest little side project, and once it's behind me and no longer able to divert my attention, I'll refocus my full ministration to the smuggling agreement between the Nocturnal-Mob and the Rainforest-Outfit. You have my word."

"Attaboy! Thas' the stuff I like to hear!" Catpone exclaimed, all the while removing his cigar from his mouth. "So, when you's say side project, you mean what, exactly?"

Vladzotz smiled darkly and narrowed his blood-red eyes.

"Oh, I'm glad that you asked, Alphonse! You see, the Nocturnal-Mob is a rather frequent contributor to the city's growing list of assassination victims, as I'm sure you know already, but this next target is a far more personal one to me, least to say, and that makes it all the more tantalizing! This particular target will burn for his crimes..."

"So, I presume that you's yappin' on about clippin' that filthy grifter, Nick Wilde, then?" Al asked. "I hear you's been after 'im fo' some time, and all. What's the hold up?"

The bat lord sighed and shook his head from side to side, all the while continuing his previous explanation;

"Unfortunately, other matters have dissuaded my attention for quite some time, at this point, though make no mistake: We've been watching him for months on end, learning all that we could. It's only a matter of time, by now. We've waited... Ever watchful, ever patient, for the moment to strike! And when we do, it will be magnificent!"

"Good stuff, I say!" The jaguar rumbled. "Sounds like you's really got yer priorities straight, ah? But yeah, this target the same perp that tried burnin' this place down?"

Vladzotz's blood-red eyes narrowed, and his fuzzy face darkened at the sudden reminder of the target's old crime of arson against The House of Fangs.

"You really know how to kill the mood, don't you?" He hissed lowly, causing Catpone to purse his lips and mumble aloud;

"Daw, don't be like that, bo! I was just askin' a question, after all. Besides, there's no need to be hidin' anythin' behind anythin', especially considering yer track record here."

"You're talking about the Fire of Blackwood, aren't you?" Vladzotz muttered beneath his breath.

"Mostly, yeah..." Catpone shook his head. "That was a real brash move at the time, bo. Those mammals didn't deserve it... Didn't deserve to die like that."

The bat lord growled and bit back bitterly;

"You're one to talk, Alphonse! And you have no right to judge upon my actions... I did what needed to be done."

Al Catpone sighed and grit his teeth before recomposing himself and saying aloud;

"Maybe I do carry my own sins as well, but what you did was on a whole 'nother level, Vlad... The whole neighborhood of Blackwood-"

"Don't say it!" Vladzotz interrupted quite loudly. "Tis' but a bitter memory of ash and dismay, just like those that burned along with it! Let's leave it at that!"

"Young, old, predator, prey... You didn't care... You took them all." Catpone stated, almost trance-like.

Growling beneath his breath the bat lord audibly scoffed and put his back to his feline guest, facing the other way and slumping his head in thought as the memories from that eventful night returned to his mind, filling his head with bright and fiery images of death and destruction, roiling flames twisting about and smothering the dim and rocky land of the Nocturnal-District.

Vladzotz recalled all too well the night that his old family had been killed, and the horrible things that he had enacted upon the neighborhood of Blackwood in his bout of rage.

The entire neighborhood that had once surrounded the bat lord's lair was the very first to be subject to his fury: In wretched retaliation against those that had purposefully turned a blind eye as his own manor withered from flame and fire, and as a wicked reminder of his power, Vladzotz had the entire community burned to the ground, all the while watching with gleeful malice from his inverted perch as the land was reduced to charred rubble and black powdery ash. That single, dark event was what had first ignited the bat lord's ever sloping descent into true, irredeemable madness, and only further fueled his viscous, unquenchable thirsting for vengeance against all that sought to do him harm.

Despite the great pain and suffering that he had enacted, Vladzotz did not regret a single bit of it.

In the end, the authorities didn't even suspect him, mostly because his own home had nearly been destroyed as well, though not even by the same fire, unbeknownst to them.

"Look, Vlad, bo..." The jaguar suddenly began, effectively snapping the bat out of his previous train of thought. "I'm sorry... I shouldn't have brought it up."

The bat lord sighed deeply.

"There's no need to apologize, my friend." He murmured. "But to answer your question in the first place, yes, the target is the very same arsonist..."

Silence ensued for nearly a full minute of somber thoughts and bitter memories, only broken when Vladzotz at last inquired his associate of his latest slew of criminal work;

"So, how are things happening along up on the surface world, hm? I'm quite connected nowadays, especially with my latest ties, but admittedly, things still slip now and then."

"I am like any other mammal." Al Catpone claimed. "All I do is supply a demand."

Vladzotz laughed darkly.

"So do we all, my friend!" He chanted reverently.

For the next hour or so, the two mammals took to continuing the discussion over their business antics and practices, going back and forth between various topics and prospects before at last the jaguar excused himself for the night, exiting Castle Fangpyre, no doubt bound back to his very own place of residence somewhere in the Rainforest-District.

Meanwhile, the bat lord himself retreated into the deeper confines of his manor, intent on returning to the organ chamber, where he only hoped that his female counterpart still awaited for his inevitable arrival. Eventually, Vladzotz managed to find his way back to the organ chamber, where he promptly threw open the thick double doors before closing them behind himself and eyeing over the room, scanning for his female counterpart.

At first, the bat lord failed to see anything out of place or extraordinary: The room was dark, as always, but seemed to be completely empty of occupants, save for Vladzotz himself, of course. Glancing over the space in front of him, the male bat searched around for Lucy Sang, whom appeared to be nowhere in sight, despite her previous promise of staying and waiting for his return.

Just mere moments after sighing in disappointment, a flicker of shadowy movement caught his attention in the corner of his eye, and he turned around just in time to spot the smaller form of the female bat as she plowed head-on into his chest after apparently dropping from the ceiling, knocking the wind out of him and causing him to fall over onto his back.

"Surprise!" Sang cried out cheerfully, her wings wrapped around his chest. "Heya, Vladdy!"

The bat lord audibly groaned in discomfort. "Was that really necessary?" He questioned irritably, but with a slight undertone of amusement.

"Just because you asked that, yes; Yes it was. You always gotta be on the look out, Vladdy! Ya never know when someone might jump ya!" Lucy exclaimed.

"I'll keep that in mind." Vladzotz grumbled to himself.

"So, how'd everything go with Al, huh?" Lucy questioned curiously, with wide emerald eyes and perked-up ears. "I heard some shouting earlier... What happened?"

The male bat cleared his throat and mumbled aloud;

"Ah, well... Hrum."

He pursed his lips, soon locking eyes with his female counterpart and watching as she raised her ankles up, pointing them both toward the ceiling, and unhooked her claws from his sides before crossing them over Vladzotz's chest, supporting her upper body as she looked down upon him.

In that moment, the male bat became very much aware of the lack of proximity between himself and his female counterpart, whom leisurely lounged quite literally on top of him, pinning him beneath her own body. Looking into her mesmerizing jade-green eyes, Vladzotz didn't see any shred of discomfort, disdain, or disapproval. Still awaiting his inevitable response, the smaller female bat lowered her head and rested her chin atop her own arms, all the while politely maintaining eye contact with her male counterpart.

If that wasn't enough, he also felt her speedy heartbeat as it drummed through her skintight bodysuit and against his chest, seemingly in sync with his own heart's tempo.

"It went swell." Vladzotz finally managed to utter aloud. "Much progress was made, I'm proud to admit."

"And I'm assuming that all the shouting and yelling was progressive, huh?" Lucy berated to him. "You have a surprisingly loud voice, you know."

"Do I now?"

"Yep! I heard you all the way from here!"

"Really?"

"Don't say it, wretch!" Lucy mimicked in an attempt at Vladzotz's deeper sounding voice. "Tis' but a bitter memory of ash and dismay!"

"Hmm... Not bad." The bat lord mused lowly as a wily grin parted his lips. "Terrible impression, though."

"But not inaccurate." The female stated. "So, what was all the yelling about, anyways? You seemed pretty upset."

"That is of no concern, my dear, especially now." Vladzotz muttered as he lifted his upper body off of the ground. "I'd prefer not to say, anyways."

Shifting his weight around uncomfortably, the male bat effectively caused his female counterpart to disconnect from his larger body and stand up before helping Vlad to his own two feet. Vladzotz brushed off his vest and slacks, soon clearing his throat quite audibly before slowly pacing over in the direction of the massive pipe organ, of which was situated on the far side of the room. The bat lord sighed as he stared up at the towering form of his precious organ, known and very dear to him for the majority of his life.

"Hey, you alright there, big guy?" He detected Lucy Sang inquire from the behind of him.

Vladzotz snorted through his leaf-shaped nose, and grumbled aloud;

"Just a bit... Stressed."

Earlier, he may have claimed that his previous business meeting with Al Catpone had gone well enough as it had, but deep down, the bat lord was rather irritated, for the jaguar crime lord had oh-so carelessly brought up the one memory that enraged Vladzotz more than the mere thought of the arsonist that had murdered his family all those years ago.

The bat lord bared his sins without regret, but even he couldn't deny the terror that he had enacted upon the residence of Blackwood and its people, all completely innocent, yet still; knowing that Vladzotz and the Nocturnal-Mob resided in Castle Fangpyre, they had not called the fire department to save them, and so, were still deemed as guilty in the crime-lord's eyes. Not long after the incident, Vlad ordered his men to set some of the other nearby houses ablaze as vengeance for their owner's purposeful ignorance, and as a reminder of his power. He also hoped that if the original arsonist was still around, that more fire might help flush them out of hiding. The neighborhood had been ablaze for hours on end, with dozens of homes having been torched by the Nocturnal-Mob, all on the orders of Vladzotz himself. Dozens had suffocated in their sleep from the noxious fumes, and when all had been said and done, over thirty different mammals had lost their lives that fateful day, including the likes of Vladzotz's old family, respectively.

At the time, the ZPD branch down in the Nocturnal-District - Precinct Six - hadn't suspected him and his mob of being the culprit. Since Vlad's own household had suffered damage and casualties along with the rest of the former neighborhood, no one had questioned him. It didn't help that the officers of Precinct Six were infamous for inadequacy.

Whenever he thought back on the event, Vlad grew disgusted with himself for the unprofessional outings that he had enacted, but in the end, regret was not one of them.

He then felt a light, but firm pressure apply itself against his right shoulder.

Glancing over his collarbone, Vladzotz locked eyes with the one thing that seemed to make him happy in a life full of pain and misery.

"Stressed, huh?" Lucy Sang murmured before squeezing the muscles on his shoulder. "Ooh! You do feel kinda pent-up, Vladdy! Hmm..."

The female bat moistened her lips as she drummed her talons against his collar.

"Maybe I can help with that! Hee hee!" She giggled pleasantly. "Perhaps a massage, or something?"

Vladzotz chuckled lowly and rubbed at his neck with his claws, clearly feeling rather bashful and reserved to Lucy's sudden advances.

"I think I'll be fine, my dear, though I do appreciate the consideration... Thank you." The bat lord claimed as he cracked his neck with an audible pop sound.

"Alright, suit yourself, sweetie!" Lucy stated, her expression still laced with sultry suggestion.

"Besides, I find that playing the organ always seems to help relieve me of my woes..." Vladzotz declared. "Come."

Waggling his claws at his female counterpart, Vladzotz beckoned her forward into following him as he approached his organ before seating himself on the bench in the center of the ring of triple keyboards, raising his head and eyeing over the majesty that was his precious pipe organ. The male bat traced his clawed index finger down the entire length of the first row of keys, causing the organ to groan aloud with a flurry of different notes descending in pitch, before ascending once again as he ran his claw right back over them.

From the behind of him, he detected Lucy Sang utter a throaty hmm sort of sound from within her mouth, as if she was contemplating over something of interest.

Meanwhile, the bat lord took to draining away his other senses and focusing on the instrument in front of him; It was just him and his organ in all of its majesty and power. It was at his command, and under his control, every last key, pipe and string. And so, he played: With chilling indulgence clouting his sinuses as his blood red eyes closed shut, Vladzotz swiftly pressed his many talons down upon the very first black and white keyboard, rolling his wrists and causing the coming notes to rapidly descend from a higher to lower pitch, droning on until he held the final note for a few short seconds before releasing the pressure from it.

Pushing his clawed toes down upon the pedals at the very base of the mantle, the next few notes that followed were greatly amplified in power and intensity, so much so that the very foundation of the room itself shook and trembled with fervid trepidation and mana. Vladzotz drastically picked up his speed and tempo, his fingers rapidly pressing hard against the many different keys down the length of the board.

The faster parts were always his favorite, for they often reflected a great and wondrous sense of power and authority...

Yet this time, something felt missing... Something important.

He failed to undergo the same rush of influence and adrenaline that he usually felt whenever he played upon his organ... Something did feel missing...

That was, until he looked back and locked eyes with his friend, Lucy; Judging by the position of her eyes, it was clear to the male bat that his female counterpart had already been staring at him before he himself turned around. Vladzotz smiled warmly, and all the while continuing his song, shifted his weight around in the bench and nodded to the empty spot that he had created, gesturing for Lucy to join him at the organ.

Returning the very same smile, the female bat promptly approached the base of the organ, and seated herself right next to Vladzotz, watching him as he reverently played upon his massive and towering pipe organ, the sweet, powerful, and reverberating sounds of which filled the sensitive ears of both vampire bats, respectively, their twin minds relaxing as their physical bodies experienced the earthly pleasure of music itself, with Lucy herself quite literally having a front row seat to the male bat's masterful performance.

As the song continued onward, slowly and peacefully, Lucy begun to feel her eyelids droop in a conscious desire to rest, her body overcome with a chilling sense of relaxation that caused her fur to stand on end as a satisfying shiver of indulgence coursed its way up the length of her spine, causing her emerald eyes to roll up into the back of her head.

Softly sighing in pleasurable bliss, Lucy smiled pleasantly as she shifted around in the bench and edged even closer to Vlad. Closing her eyes shut peacefully, the female bat leaned over and rested her head against Vladzotz's shoulder, purring softly as she nuzzled against his arm. Meanwhile, the male bat tried to ignore the bouts of affection that Lucy had been displaying toward him, but in the end, he chose to accept them wholeheartedly, letting her rest against him, and soon enough, she was fast asleep against his shoulder, the quiet organ music having lulled her into peaceful dormancy.

While Lucy slept against him, Vladzotz couldn't help but think over the past few hour's events, but of all that he had experienced thus far, none stood out in his mind more so than that single kiss between the two of them, several hours past; Their first true, genuine kiss. He mentally relished in the enticing feeling of Lucy's soft lips pressing against his own, and the hot air that she had blown across his face, the mere thought of which caused his wiry black fur to stand on end in a rather pleasurable reminiscence.

For far too long, the bat lord had been deprived of such endearing feelings and thoughts, but now, he realized that perhaps, they never even left him in the first place...

Perhaps... They were just waiting for the right moment to shine.


Hey Everyone!

Woohoo, the first new chapter of the 6th arc is here! Well, technically... It may be but a simple bonus chapter, of course, but it still counts! :)

I had a wonderful time whippin' this new chapter up for you lot, even if it took quite some time, at that: All worth it for you, my friends! But yes, this is intended to be the (First part of the) third and very final chapter of the 'Sangpyre' mini-arc, as some of you have dubbed this little project as (I ship it!). For now (With the exception of part two), it'll be the last one that follows along in the specific footsteps of Vladzotz and Lucy respectively, but just like that one scene back in chapter 63, Mental Bastions, I'm sure that there will be some more references, hints and nods, and perhaps even the occasional cameo or minor appearance from Lucy and Vladzotz in this story, but don't expect another full-blown story arc, or something like that: I don't want to retread through previously explored territory too much, but still, both of these respective characters will be seen and/or mentioned in the future chapters to come, near and far!

Anyhow, do be sure to tell me whatcha think of this, from the music, to the different scenes that take place, and even this whole 'Sangpyre' ship thing, too!

Also, feel free to let me know if you'd like to see more 'Sangpyre' chapters (Again, excluding part two) like this one in the future! I had a whole lotta fun creating all of these, very much so, and have plenty of more ideas that can be explored between these two and their relationship with one another.

Oh, and just as a point of fact for fun, I'm gonna take to quickly answering these three minor, yet surprisingly common questions that I keep getting about this story and its many different characters: For starters, some of you have asked me via PM about Ratsputin's hair, and why it's so bloody long and fabulous. Simple answer, really: He was preparing for his chemotherapy, and wanted to grow out his hair beforehand to experience what it was like.

Secondly, a few people also have brought up Shahaz the Stinger and his collection of pebbles, and although I believe I mentioned this before, I'll answer this again real quick here: Pangolins don't have teeth, so they need to swallow small rocks along with their food (Insects) to help grind them up. Shahaz carries his rock collection (He likes rocks) around with him at all times, in case he's bored and wants to examine something, or if he's just hungry. :P

Final question: Vladzotz's namesake. Okay, Vlad's first and middle names are both two different words simply switched around a wee bit: Vladimir (Standard Slavic forename), and Camazotz (The Mayan god of bats). Flip the names around a little bit, mix them together, and you get Vlad's name! Vladzotz Canomir!

Also, something that apparently nobody seems to have noticed as of yet...

Translated through their respective original languages (Slavic and Mayan), the 'two-part' name of Vladzotz literally translates into Lord of Bats. Bat Lord.

Coincidence?

Anyhow, that's pretty much all I got for now. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for chapter 69, Bad Romance Part Two, comin' your way soon enough!

'Till next time...

Peace!