Disclaimer: I don't own Vampire Hunter D. This story was meant for entertainment purposes only. So don't sue, cause I don't have any money! I'm just a poor student trying to make her way into the writing world. ^_^

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Hullo! I managed to make an update before my self-imposed 2 week deadline. Yay! ^_^ I actually sat down on Monday night and wrote this in one go...I was supposed to be studying for my exam this Saturday, but hey, D just couldn't wait. He insisted I write this A.S.A.P.

Looks like all of you enjoyed my going-to-bed-scene *smiles*, but I'm afraid that Eerie, in "Dissolution of Arms", completely crushed my scene with a D-bathing-naked-in-a-river-under-the-moonlight scene. I realized, belatedly, that I had been outdone even before I started writing the chapter *bows head in defeat*. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it *fans herself*; the story's amazing too.

So, I couldn't fall behind ^_~, thus, I started this installment with a little something for the D fans out there who enjoy seeing D in the buff. It isn't much, but I couldn't disappoint Starmaster by not making D take a bath in the tub. It's there for something, isn't it? Hehe.

Thanks for the reviews. ^_^ It's always great to know that you're enjoying my story.

Hope you like this next bit. Chapter 11 is going to be very difficult to write (you'll see why after you read this) so I have to psychologically prepare myself to write it. If you want anything specific to be explained about D's past, just let me know. I'll try my best to find a creative explanation. ^_^

Here we go...

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"Home
Hard to know what it is
If you never had one

Home
I can't say where it is
But I know I'm going

Home
That's where the heart is

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
You can only take so much
Walk on

Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind"

Walk On, by U2

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 10

The Castle of Stormhold

******

The morning sun delivered D from his troubled dreams, shining through the large windows of his room. He had not taken the time to draw the curtains around his bed, being too tired to do so, which allowed the soft sunshine to fall on the pale features of his face, coaxing him from slumber.

Slowly opening his dark eyes, the dunpheal relished in the comfort of his bed before realizing exactly where he was. Sitting up abruptly, the events of the previous night came back to him in a rush. The kidnapped girl, the snake-man…his impending meeting with the Baron of Arkenia. So much had happened in such a small lapse of time that his brain had troubled processing all the information at once.

Shaking his head, the dunpheal threw off the silk sheets from his body, walking towards the bathroom. There, he proceeded to wash his face with cold water, intent on dispersing the last mists of sleep. Once more, his gaze fell on the luxurious bathtub in the corner, which made him contemplate the need for a bath once more. Taking the ends of his hair with long slender fingers, D raised his dark strands to his nose, wrinkling his face at the smell.

Indeed, a bath was called for.

The tub took a few minutes to fill, allowing the dunpheal to explore the cupboards in the bathroom. They were filled with all kinds of soaps and perfumes. Body lotions and hair gels. All this made the hunter smile in irony. Vampires went to great lengths to make sure their appearance was immaculate, as if this fact could disguise the void of emptiness that filled their hearts. D had always wondered how the lords of the night, being such beautiful and fair creatures, could be so rotten on the inside.

Taking up a bottle full of liquid soap, D closed the cupboard he had been examining disdainfully. He walked up to the now full tub, emptying the bottle in it, creating a soft foam as the dunpheal lowered his body into the warm water. The release of tension came immediately, sending D into a genuine state of relaxation. It was not often that he allowed himself such moments, but due to recent events, he permitted himself the leisure of enjoying his bath thoroughly.

Looking around for a moment, he found a bath sponge and proceeded to us it to scrub his entire body clean. After doing so, he washed his hair. He'd contemplated the thought of keeping it short many times and had tried to do so. But in the end, his hair grew back so fast that he'd been basically forced to cut it daily to keep it at the length he wanted it. Not being one to bother too much about personal appearance, D stopped his efforts eventually.

Finally done with his personal hygiene, the dunpheal rested his head against the wall of the tub, lifting his arms out of the water to rest on the edges of the tub. As he did so, he heard a small click and squirts of bubbles started massaging his body. D almost jumped before realizing the large tub was also a jacuzzi; a detail the dunpheal was surprisingly glad of.

Closing his eyes, D allowed his muscles to be soothed, not listening to the inner voice that told him he shouldn't be relishing in such luxuries. It had been ages since he had taken so long to take a bath, but at the moment, he did not care.

There was a time when servants used to bathe him and made sure he was presentable, taking hours just to emerge from the bathroom on special occasions. He was not fond if such attention, and secretly loathed all the pampering, but he endured it all just for one reason: his mother.

Oh how she loved to see him dressed in formal wear. She would personally pick out his clothing and if there were no items that pleased her in his large wardrobe, she would send for some to be made. She would lavish him with praise, saying he was the most handsome of all the vampire lords. Smiling as he remembered her loving voice, the dunpheal softly drifted into remembrance.

*******

"My lady, he is ready," the servant said, as he emerged from the closed doors.

"Good," a soft loving voice answered and from where D stood inside the room, he knew she was smiling as she said so. Smiling to himself, he stole one last look at the reflection on the full length mirror in front of him.

The 13 year old boy that gazed back at him was someone he did not know, yet he felt a certain pride in seeing him.

He was dressed in the finest of suits. The tails of his navy blue coat reached almost to his knees. Beneath it, he wore a pressed white shirt covered by an embroided blue and silver vest. His neck was adorned by a folded navy blue cravat while a half-coat of the same colour hung from his right shoulder, fastened to his chest by a delicate silver chain. A ribbon held his long brown hair back and he wore a small sapphire earring on his left ear.

The concept of royalty would have not done the young Vampire Prince justice as he stood there, clad in such fine garments.

Usually, he hated dressing up like this, but tonight, there was a good reason to do so. D had not made a public appearance in his father's court for quite some time, due to the fact that he hated doing so and that his father didn't usually bother to have him there. One would think the Vampire King did not wish for people to see his son, and D knew his father could barely stand the sight of him. Thus, this event provided D with the opportunity to show the Vampire King how wrong he was.

The young dunpheal had grown much in the past years and was now taller than his mother. She would revel at the thought of him becoming a strong and tall man, and would often tell him he would have many ladies searching for his favour in the future. Why this was a good thing was beyond D's comprehension, but he would smile just to please her. He was aware he now looked older than his years and was somewhat proud of his appearance, something he was not used to.

It wasn't his childhood eyes which stared back at him in the mirror...they were the eyes of a young vampire lord.

Smiling to himself, he lifted his head proudly as he stepped out the door.

"Look at you!" exclaimed Eszti when she saw her son. "You look like the very essence of a Prince. Oh, wait until your father sees you."

'Yes...wait until he sees me,' D thought darkly, a determined gleam crossing his eyes. But his mother didn't notice, she was too wrapped up in gazing at her lovely son.

Giving her his most dashing smile, D offered her his arm in a courteous gesture. Eszti laughed merrily. "You'll steal the heart of a maiden soon enough, my dear. Indeed you will."

"But why would I want the presence of another girl in my life when there is no one more lovely than my mother?" he said playfully.

"Oh you young trickster," she said, laughing in delight. "Your charms won't work on me."

He smiled at her, reveling in the sound of her laughter, as they made their way into the main hall, where the true lords of the night awaited.

*******

Opening his eyes, D smiled as the memory faded. In the end, he had done very well that night so long ago. Impressing the Vampire King's court with his impeccable manners and dashing gestures, acting just like the very Vampire Prince he was. All the time, his mother had looked at him proudly, her eyes shining with love, giving him the courage he needed to face the vampire lords and ladies. But his father, as usual, was another story.

The King had stood, arms crossed, gazing at his son with a dark look in his eyes. Not once in the entire night did Dracul address his son. Every time D would catch his eye, the King would turn his face away, as if he could not endure to look at his son. This gave D courage in its own way, for he knew he was acting his part perfectly and this made his father very uncomfortable. The dunpheal would endure the certain reprimand from the King the moment it came, but now, he would make the best of the moment so as to cause his father the greatest discomfort possible.

Shifting slightly under the water, D smiled at his childish antics and at the small victory he'd won that night. The reprimand from his father never came, and to date, he was not sure why. It was most likely because of his mother's interference; she always stood up and defended her son.

'Mother', D thought, nostalgia being the very essence of the word.

Realizing the water in the tub had gone cold, the dunpheal stood and dried himself. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he made his way into the room to find his clothing. He was not at all surprised when he saw a tray with breakfast sitting on the balcony table. His clothes were nowhere to be seen. It was clear evidence that Toryn, the strange barbarois servant, had been in the room.

D walked towards the balcony, settling in one of the chairs. Exotic fruits and spiced breads filled the plates before him, making the dunpheal's stomach grumble. D hadn't noticed how hungry he was and started the meal without further delay.

As he ate, D noticed a small piece of paper folded neatly underneath a glass. Opening it immediately, he found it was a note from Baron Lengyel.

D:

          It is my pleasure to inform you that I managed to successfully obtain the ingredients for Aury's antidote. She awoke late last night and is now out of harm's reach, but she still needs some rest to recover properly.

          You are welcome to explore the castle grounds at your leisure; there is sword collection in the west wing that will surely appeal to you.

          If you are in need of anything, do not hesitate to ask one of my servants for assistance.

          I look forward to out meeting this evening, and once more, I thank you for the great service you have done for me.

                   V.

D read the note a few times, relieved at the news that Aury would be fine. Still, he couldn't help but feel a certain nervousness at his meeting with the Baron at sunset. There were many things to discuss; many riddles to answers. D was determined to discover the truth behind the Vitéz Lengyel and his vampire council.

Dismissing such thoughts for the moment, the Hunter continued with his meal.

It was not until the dunpheal had satisfied his hunger that he proceeded to answer the question of what he was going to wear. Not wanting to spend the rest of the day inside his room and waste an opportunity to explore the castle further, the dunpheal almost contemplated the thought of going out to look for a servant clad as he was. It was then that his eyes fell on a door just beside the bed which he hadn't noticed before. He knew what he would find in there.

D was not disappointed when a wardrobe, almost as big as the one he'd once owned, greeted him as he opened the door. Clothing made of the finest materials hung on either side. Suits, vests, trousers, shoes, gloves, cravats...anything one could think of as an item of clothing was there.

Always being a practical one when choosing what to wear, D was about to pick the nearest set of clothes when a particular suit caught his attention. It was navy blue, exactly the same colour as the one he had worn long ago. It came complete with a similar half-coat, cravat and vest. Thinking of his mother, D decided to honour her memory by wearing it. Picking out a pair of tall black leather boots to go with the outfit, the dunpheal started dressing himself.

To his amazement, the suit fit him perfectly. It was as if though it had been made specifically for him. Tying his hair with a ribbon, D turned to look at himself in a mirror. The reflection which greeted him would have made his mother proud; he knew it well. The thought only made him miss her even more.

Without a further glance, the dunpheal opened the door of his room, stepping lightly into the corridor, intent on exploring the insides of Stormhold Castle.

******

The symbiont was silent through it all, not wanting to interrupt the Hunter at such a time of personal musings. Despite his good intentions, there had been more than one occasion in which he had been tempted out of his wits to say something.

Left Hand had thought of about a thousand rude comments when he saw D dress as a genuine vampire lord. Some of them had been the best he'd come up with in his whole life (and that was saying something) but he bit his tongue, leaving the dunpheal to his thoughts.

D was acting strange. He was letting his guard down, and the parasite was not too happy about it. Something about the vampires they had met on the previous night had affected the Hunter profoundly, and staying at the castle wasn't helping at all.

Left Hand had no doubt that it brought painful memories to the dunpheal.

'This is no time to be moping about your childhood, D,' the symbiont thought. 'Get a grip, man!'

They had too many things to figure out, many things to worry about. Personal matters shouldn't be involved in work. The Hunter had always made sure of that.

But now, the cold, calculating dunpheal Left Hand had come to know was being overwhelmed by emotions.

'That's what happens when you bottle them up for a thousand years,' he thought sarcastically.

Despite his harsh thoughts, the parasite knew D had the right to set all his childhood affairs straight. More than anyone, the dunpheal deserved to get over his past and live his present happily. But did he have to choose such a bad moment to do so?

Left Hand sighed in resignation. It looked like he would have to keep his eyes open throughout this whole experience. He also promised to keep his mouth shut, allowing D the time he needed. The Hunter had to overcome this as soon as possible so that they could get back to the job at hand. It looked like Left Hand would have to watch out for both of them for the time being; to be his trusted 'right hand'...

'Right hand'?

The symbiont almost burst out in laughter at the thought, doing his best to stifle his merriment.

'Wait 'till the dunpheal hears this one!', he thought proudly, as D, completely unaware, walked down the hall.

*******

The afternoon sun found D sitting in one of the garden benches. Flowers bloomed everywhere as the rays of sunlight played happily with the colours of their petals.

He'd looked around the castle all day, having seen many of the wondrous artifacts displayed in the many rooms. But after a few hours of such wanderings, the dunpheal was instinctively drawn outside. Forced to acknowledge the fact that he could never spend much time inside a building, he was somewhat annoyed because he did not get the chance to examine the sword collection the Baron had suggested. But that could wait. Preferring the company of the clear skies and open spaces, D found the garden much more interesting than many of the wonders he had seen inside.

Attentively listening to the songs of the birds, D grew aware of two nearing presences. They were coming up along the stone path, which crossed the garden at a slow pace, and one of they seemed to be carrying something. The dunpheal smiled, for he recognized them well.

Rounding a bend in the path, Aury came face to face with the one she had been looking for. She increased her pace, balancing the large basket she carried in her hands, Sharaf walking calmly at her side.

"Hi there, D," she greeted as she came up to him, her smile nearly taking her ears off.

"Hello," the dunpheal answered. He looked intently at her before he continued. "I'm glad you are well again."

She lowered her eyes for a moment, as if remembering the painful incident. "Apu told me it was you who saved me, D. He said you rescued me from the claws of that dreadful snake-man."

The dunpheal didn't deny her words with his silence.

"He also said you helped him make the antidote he used to wake me up," she continued, looking straight at D's eyes.

"And well...", she hesitated for a moment. "I just wanted to thank you." Dropping the basket to the ground, the girl raised her arms to D's neck, wrapping him in a hug.

The Hunter was frozen for a moment, not used to such personal contact. But as he felt the girl hold him, he suddenly realized how worried he had been for her and how glad he was that she was safe. Closing his eyes, he returned the embrace, engulfing her small form in his arms.

Momentarily, Aury pried herself lose from D's hold.

"I almost didn't recognize you with those clothes," she commented.

D looked down at his garments self-consciously, he'd almost forgotten about them.

"I think you look great in them", she finished with a smile.

The dunpheal smiled back at the compliment.

"I've brought lunch with me," she added happily, gesturing towards the basket. "I thought we could eat it out here in the garden."

He nodded his agreement.

"Where do you want to eat?" she asked.

"You're the one that knows all the secrets around here," he said playfully. "You tell me where the best place is."

Aury smiled. "Well, there's a nice patch of grass under a grove of oak trees nearby."

"And faeries love to live in oak trees, isn't that right?" D asked.

The girl all but beamed up at him. "Of course! I'm glad you remembered. Come on, let's go," she finished, taking D by the hand.

The Hunter took up the basket in his left hand, ignoring the symbiont's protests, and walked beside the girl, Sharaf following behind them.

Lunch was a delightful affair, at least for Aury. She reveled in telling D all about the castle and its occupants. Information that D found extremely useful. She told him all about the servants and the vampires, letting on a bit about the Council.

By the end of the afternoon, D learned the Council of Stormhold would hold meetings every month, and that these meetings would last well into the night. Aury wasn't allowed to go, so she didn't know what it was they talked about so much, but she knew it was important. Also, from the names the girl had mentioned, D became aware that the members of the Council were the most prominent vampire lords, coming from the most distinct vampire families.

He also learned about the incident with Onyx, and her punishment, which lead to her kidnapping. D sympathized with her, but he also knew she had done wrong, and she somehow had to learn. Being such a bright girl, D knew she'd already learnt her lesson, and that made her all the wiser. He told her so.

Aury blushed at the compliment, before chatting away about some other thing.

The afternoon died slowly, but neither of them seemed to notice, too intent on what was being said, or not said in D's case, to be aware of the time. They genuinely enjoyed each other's company, making the time they spent together sparkle like a jewel in D's perception. He would never forget this girl.

The stars were sparkling in the sky by the time a cloaked figure made itself known to the couple. D became aware of it first, raising his eyes in its direction. Aury turned as well, standing up as soon as she saw the form.

"Apu!" she yelled, running towards the figure.

Vitéz kneeled to catch her in his arms, lifting her up to the sky, laughing all the while.

"I am glad you are feeling like yourself again," he said, eyes gleaming at her. "Even though, I'd left careful instructions that you were not to leave your room today. You were supposed to be resting."

The girl lowered her face for a moment. "I know. I slipped away from Igna this afternoon. I knew D was in the castle, and I was not about to let him wander alone all day," she said defensively.

The Baron smiled. "I'm sure you didn't," he said, turning in D's direction. As his eyes fell on the Hunter, a small look of surprise crossed his face.

The dunpheal was standing now, watching the exchange silently, as the elegant half-cape he wore fell from his right shoulder, dancing slightly in the soft breeze.

Vitéz looked intently at him, his lips curving up in a smile. "I'm glad you found the clothing in your wardrobe to your liking."

"He looks great in them, doesn't he?" Aury asked from Vitéz's arms.

"I agree, they do fit him quiet well," the Baron said, smiling as if he knew something the others didn't. "Very elegant. Makes you think he is something more than what he says he is."

D nodded, not sure of how to act when being complimented in such a way.

Vitéz placed Aury back on the ground. "Well D, I hope it wasn't too tiring to spend the day with this tündér. You see, she has the tendency to talk her head off, zooming from topic to topic like a bee. It can be torture sometimes."

"APU!!"  the girl protested, hands fisting at her side.

"It was no torture," D said in her defense. "We spent a very pleasant evening."

Aury smiled up at the dunpheal.

"I'm glad you did," Vitéz answered with a smile of his own. Turning back to Aury, he said, "Now, I've come to call both of you inside. Dinner's ready and your uncles want to see you."

"Yay! Zacis Kalman and Zacis Beriszl!" the girl exclaimed, jumping into Vitéz's arms once more.

The vampire laughed, hoisting her up onto his shoulders. Turning towards the dunpheal.

"Come D, let us go."

Come D, a voice echoed inside the Hunter's mind.

'No,' D thought. 'I will not let you ruin this.'

Vitéz looked intently at the Hunter. "Is everything alright, D?" he asked, concern in his voice when he saw the dunpheal was not moving.

Come D

'NO', D thought more fiercely. 'You no longer hold power over me.'

"Everything is fine", he said out loud.

"Come on D! The others are waiting!" Aury said from her perch.

The dunpheal couldn't help but smile at the sound of her voice, all memories of his father suddenly fading away. He felt Sharaf bump into his leg, as if urging him on.

Placing his hand on the tiger's head, D stepped towards Vitéz and Aury, coming up to walk beside them in the warm spring air.

******

Dinner was far from what D expected. Having grown up in a castle were the family would eat at a large table, children sitting at the opposite end of the table from their parents, the dunpheal wasn't expecting much conversation.

Once again, his preconceptions about vampires were shaken to the core.

They sat at a small round dining table in a room close to the kitchens. D sat next to Aury, who sat next to Vitéz; leaving Beriszl by the Baron's side and Kalman at D's side. The talk started by the Captain asking the girl how it was that the snake-man had captured her. D thought the conversation would be dark and foreboding, with the vampires trying to figure out why the girl had been kidnapped. Instead, they jested and laughed at every possible moment.

"I'm still not sure what a snake-man could want with the likes of you," Kalman said jokingly, once Aury had finished her tale. "I mean, you couldn't make much of a meal."

"Oh yeah?" the girl answered furiously. "Well I'm not the only one who attracts weird creatures!"

Vitéz and Beriszl sniggered loudly.

D wasn't sure what to make of all this, apart that he was somehow enjoying it.

"And what's that supposed to mean?" Kalman said.

"Well, I'm not the one that goes out for nightly walks with large barbarois women."

Beriszl exploded in laughter, while Kalman went red in the face.

"Now just a moment," he said. "That was different."

"Was it?" Vitéz asked, winking in D's direction.

"Of course it was! I was trying to help her. I didn't know what she was," the Count said defensively, face frowning at the memory.

"Of course you didn't," said Beriszl, finishing his cup of wine. "Tünder here's right; you do attract the strangest of creatures."

"I do not!" Kalman said, temper flaring.

"Hold it, hold it," Vitéz interrupted. "I think D here deserves to know the full version of the story. Let him judge in the end."

"D, don't believe a word they say", Kalman said as he leaned into D.

"I wouldn't believe anything HE says," Aury replied on D's other side.

The dunpheal was caught between the two adversaries, not knowing what to do.

Vitéz laughed. "Well Beriszl, I shall leave the telling of this tale to you, since it was you who found our comrade and rescued him from his torment."

Aury giggled loudly.

"D, it would be my honour to recount the events to you", Beriszl said solemnly.

Kalman gave him a look which told the vampire he would regret all of this later.

The Captain only smiled and proceeded with the tale.

"You see, D, Kalman here, on a winter's night, not long ago, decided to go on a midnight stroll. It was the first clear night after a particularly vicious snowstorm had passed over the land.

"So, the night found our friend here walking along the banks of a river which flows not far away from here. Being winter, the river had frozen. From a distance, Kalman heard a muffled scream, as if someone was trying to escape from a trap. Intent on being a heroe..."

Kalman growled.

"...he went to investigate and to rescue whoever was in need of assistance this night. Along the riverbank, he found a woman, a barbarois woman, trapped within the ice. She was a vine-crawler."

"You know those that grow vines out of their limbs and control the vines on trees?" Aury asked.

D nodded at her. 'A very dangerous enemy within a forest', he thought.

Turning back towards Beriszl, he gestured for the Captain to continue.

"The vines from her feet had been caught within the ice, and she could not get out," Beriszl continued. "Determined to rescue the damsel in distress, our honorable Count aided her and managed to get her out of the ice safely.

"Once on safe ground, the woman turned towards Kalman, and looking straight into his eyes she said: 'Oh my, you are handsome.'

Beriszl imitated the woman's voice for effect, eliciting giggles and laughter from Aury and Vitéz.

By now, Kalman had his face in his hands.

"The Count did not know what to say. He tried to dissuade her, but to no avail, the woman had found her one true love. Now, being the gentleman that he is, Kalman tried to soothe her with words, not knowing of the passionate heart that can possess a barbarois when in love. So, he had no idea the vine-crawler's vines were coming up behind him, capturing him by his ankles and sweeping him, literally, off his feet."

Beriszl stopped to laugh for a moment.

Kalman looked for support in D's direction, but he found the dunpheal was actually smiling, which, coming from the Hunter, was the equivalent of him laughing out loud.

"So that's were I found him," the Captain continued. "Hanging upside down from the vines of the woman he'd conquered. She was intent on taking him home"

"How did you manage to save him?" D asked the first words he'd spoken all evening.

"It was simple," Beriszl answered. "I just told her that Kalman thoroughly enjoyed to burn plants. That he took perverse delight in seeing something green burn to ashes, and had incinerated his own castle garden just a few days ago. She dropped him as if he were a hot coal, calling him all types of names as she made her way off."

"A valiant rescue, if I've ever seen one," Vitéz said, raising his cup in salute.

Aury was giggling madly. Even Kalman was smiling, now.

D sat there, contemplating it all. The story he had been told had to be one of the silliest he'd ever heard. Under any other circumstance he'd considered the tale completely absurd. But now, surrounded by this happy, if somewhat dysfunctional, family, he found he could almost laugh with them. Amazed at the ease with which they shared their experience with him, at the ease with which they accepted him and took him into account, D found himself consciously opening his heart to them.

Once dinner was over, Kalman took Aury into his arms. "Well tünder, think you can beat me at a game of checkers?"

"HA! I can do that with my eyes closed," Aury answered.

"I'd like to see you try!" the Count replied.
"You're on!"

"Alright, and the one who wins gets a go with Beriszl."

"Neither of you stands a chance," the Captain said haughtily.

"We'll see about that!" Aury said, running out of the room, both vampires following, leaving laughter along their trail.

D was about to follow them, when a cold hand grasped his shoulder.

"We can join them later, D", the deep voice of Vitéz Lengyel said in a serious tone. "We have much to talk about, you and I."

D nodded, the laughter of the evening evaporating rapidly, jolting him back to reality. He wasn't a part of all this; he was a stranger in this castle. And as a Vampire Hunter, he had more serious things to worry about.

The seriousness of his job returned to him suddenly. What was he doing? He couldn't relax while he worked. Reprimanding himself greatly, the dunpheal reminded himself why he was here in the first place. He'd never let his personal feelings interfere with what had to be done. Never.

Covering his face with the cold mask with which he always took on a job, D nodded at Vitéz, remembering once more that the one before him was nothing more than a vampire.

The Baron noticed the change in the dunpheal instantly, knowing the Hunter was someone to reckon with as an enemy. Vitéz Lengyel did not wish to make the son of the Vampire King his enemy, instead, he planned to enlist him as an ally. But that process could take time; and time was something he didn't have.

Nodding gravely as well, the Baron led D up another staircase, heading in the direction of his private sitting chamber.

It was time for the Hunter to know his story, for him to know where the Stormblade Baron came from. But most importantly, in was time for Vitéz Lengyel to find out D's own story, to find out why the Vampire Prince had turned into the man he was.

It would indeed be a long night.

******** ********

Any doubts, queries, events, etc, you'd like to have explained about our beloved dunpheal's history? Just let me know. I'm writing his story in the next chapter, and I'm trying to make it as complete as possible, so any suggestions would be great.

Please review! You know you want to. ^_~