I'm SO sorry for the long wait everyone. I've been really unmotivated. But I'll really really try my best to update again soon. I really will. Please be patient with me. And please review.

The replies are pretty short but I'm seriously rushed right now. I'm really really really sorry everyone. I feel SO guilty.

22rnb22: lol! You're review seriously made me laugh. I've got a bit of lime-ish content in this chapter. Heh. SO I hope you like it and thanks for your review.

Kendra: Aww. Thankyou. Yeah, I have seriously improved since the beginning of this (at least, I hope I have) this story kind of tracks my progress when it comes to writing. Nice word…eloquent. Hehe. I write eloquently. Thankyou! And thanks for all of the advice. I'll seriously keep it all in mind. I don't really bother much with this fic, truthfully. I mean, I'm way more concerned with my original fiction and this is like a practice thing for me. Yeah, that guy was Merloch. :grins: Do you ever read on fictionpress? I absolutely loved your review. You made me smile so much. I'd give you a longer response but I'm really rushed at the moment and I just want to get this out. Thanks again!

The Spiked Dragon: I'm glad you like the story. As for the pairing, it's all been figured out so you'll just have to wait and see.

Chisakami Saiyuki: Aww. I'm sorri. This one's pretty short, too. But the next one will probabli be longer. I've been really dry for inspiration on this recently so I just need to get back into it. I started writing this chapter straight after I wrote the last one so the ending is pretty abrupt. But I promise I'll try and make the next one longer and update as soon as I can. I really appreciate your support.

Doray: lol. Omigasp! Way too many big words. You review hurt my head. Haha. But ive a feeling that that was your intention. Yep, we'll definitely get to chat one of these days. Time zones are evil but we can work it out.

Chapter 16

He pulled off his hood, and grinned.

Hundreds of gasps filtered through out the centre of the town, skittering across the surface like ripples in a lake, reaching the edges then slowly diminishing upon approaching the outer circle.

Merloch cast his gaze over the crowd, once, twice, his hands running over the edge of his cloak, fingering the soft material, allowing it to flow between his fingertips. He had to speak quickly, before they assumed anything, or before they got any ideas. He couldn't risk for them to make guesses, because a single guess could set their state of mind and if they had an idea fixed in their heads, they would be harder to sway.

"People of …the town." His voice echoed through the crowd, silencing them and drawing their attention.

They watched him, calculating, waiting to hear what he would say, ready to catch a slip up and use it to their advantage.

Had all these years with Verloch as a ruler really taught them to mistrust this deeply?

He could see it etched in their features, dancing between their eyelids: that overwhelming mistrust, that searching for an ulterior motive. He had to be careful of his choice of words. If he slipped up once, he had slipped up forever. There were no second chances. It was now or never.

"My name is Merloch-" Another ripple of gasps, then silence "-I am the twin brother of Verloch, the current ruler of this country." Nods of affirmation, recognition maybe? "I know how my brother has been treating you and how scared you are of his force of vampires: Odaiyya and his crew. And I'm here to help you; give you back what is rightfully yours. I know I've been gone for a long time, for those of you who remember me, but now I'm back. And I'm ready, ready to fight. Fight for you, the people, and fight for this country. But to do that I need your support, because I cannot fight this battle alone. And I need to know if you're with me, because if you're not, then I'll just leave it and return from where I came and I won't come back. So whoever is with me, step forward."

Merloch took a deep breath. This was it. If no one came forward he would have to do it the hard way, on his own. If they came forward, then they could work together and he wouldn't be on his own. He owed this to them, as his people, and he owed it to himself.

A thick blanket of silence enshrouded the many figures as they stood in the crowd, waiting for someone to move, anyone. There was a slight rustling, then a voice as a man stepped forward.


"I'm with you."

Merloch smiled, lightly. So he hadn't forgotten about them. There were murmurs within the crowd, then another man stepped forward.

"Me to."

Then another, and another, and another until half of the crowd had stepped forward, then three quarters.

"I'll call my cousins from a nearby town! We'll all help. We want our country back!"

There were hundreds of shouts of agreement.

Merloch's grin widened.

Only a little longer, Sara, then I'll get you out.


Sara grinned, her eyes resting over the thick torrents of water as they lashed against the rocks, unleashing their rampant inferno then diminishing before being replaced by more waves. She loved it here. It was so peaceful, so calm, yet it held a harsh quality: something harder, more concrete, more realistic. It was like watching a battle, a never ending battle of the waters.

She pulled off her shoe, circling her bare foot in the water and watching the ripples as they cascaded across its surface. It made her foot feel cold, cold and numb, yet she loved it. Her foot looked paler beneath the water, cleaner, purer.

Sara pulled off her second shoe and placed both feet in the water, lifting up her toes and watching as the cold water dripped down onto the soft grass. She undid her braid, shaking her hair and letting it dance beneath the wind like a flame flickering over wood. She grinned, what a contrast: Fire with water.

Sara slipped off of the bank and dipped her feet into the water, slowly wading through it and delighting in the cool rush which tingled through her body.

If only everything could be this peaceful forever.

"I can tell that you enjoy this place."

Sara's stomach jumped with shock as she turned, only to see Verloch perched on one of the rocks.

He grinned. "Did I scare you?"

She frowned. "No. Whatever gave you that idea?"

"You jumped."

"It was a rhetorical question."

"But I chose to answer it. Therefore, it's no longer rhetorical."

Sara fingered a strand of her hair, coiling it over the tips, then let it fall back. "Why are you here?"

"Why shouldn't I be here?"

"I didn't say that you shouldn't be here."

Verloch shrugged. "But you implied it."

"It's wrong to predict what another person means." She fingered another lock of hair, coiling it between her fingers once again.

He ran a hand over the base of the rock, then flung his legs into the water, causing it to splash and ripple. "And don't you ever do what's wrong?"

Sara shrugged and ran a hand over the surface of the water, watching as it broke beneath her fingertips. "I never said that I didn't do anything wrong."

"Then you can't tell me off for what's wrong, because you do things that are wrong all the time."

She shook her head. "Just because I do things that are wrong, it doesn't mean that you have an excuse to. You can't always follow the examples of others."

He waded through the water and made his way towards her, leaning beside her. "And why can't you?"

She rolled her eyes. "Because you should retain your individuality and you should be able to judge the difference between right and wrong for yourself."

Verloch grinned and ran a hand through his damp hair, brushing off a few bangs which had strayed into his eyes. "And what if you can't judge for yourself?"

Sara shrugged. "Then I guess that makes you stupid."

"So are you saying that a person is stupid for not being able to understand something?"

She shook her head. "No, that's not what I meant."

"But it's what you implied."

She frowned. "You're doing it again."

"Doing what?"

"The whole implying thing," she replied, annoyed.

He smirked. "I know."

She rolled her eyes. "You're impossible."

"And so are you."

She smiled, lightly. "Then I guess that makes us the same."

He yawned. "I guess it does."

A thick silence once again encompassed them, their eyes resting on the waves as the water beat against their legs. Sara ran her finger through it, watching the ripples cascade over its surface, once, twice.

"Don't you find it cold here?"

Sara shrugged. "I don't know. Do you?"

"I'm a vampire. I don't get cold," he replied, pointedly. "And how can you not know whether you are cold or not?"

Sara shrugged, again, then replied, "When I go in the water, the first step is cold, but then my body gets used to the temperature. Whilst I'm in there I don't feel cold but when I get out I do. So I'm not sure if it makes me feel cold."

Verloch nodded. "Fair enough. It's getting late –nearly lunchtime. Shall we be heading back?"

Sara dipped her hand in the water and watched as it trickled from her fingertips. She shrugged. "I like it here…"

Verloch rolled his eyes. "You're going to catch a cold."

She sighed. "I don't really care."

Another silence encompassed them for a moment, before he asked, "And why is that?"

She shrugged. "Must there be a reason for everything?"

Verloch coiled a lock of her hair between his fingers, reminding her of how close they were. "Where you're concerned, yes."

She decided to ignore him, to not allow him to be aware of her discomfort and instead replied, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Merely that you're an extremely reasonable person." He moved his hand from her hair, allowing it to stray over her cheek and brush the skin, lightly.

Sara frowned. "What are you doing?"

"What do you think?"

Before she could reply, he ducked his head and kissed her. His lips parted hers, slowly, as he pushed her against the wall of rock, a spray of water tumbling down upon them and soaking her to the bone.

Sara pushed him back, catching him off guard for a moment and separating his lips from hers. But before she could do anything else he had dived down again, capturing her lips for a second time. She began to push again but was met with equal force as he pushed her further against the rocky edge. His lips parted hers once more as he penetrated her mouth, kissing her slowly.

After a few moments he pulled away. Their eyes met. A sudden wave of emotion rocked her body. She felt dizzy and light headed and her vision was blurry.

All she could see were his eyes.

His hand brushed over her cheek, pulling a stray lock of hair from before her eyes. He brought his head down again, their foreheads touching.

And all she could see were his eyes…

He brought his lips to her neck, kissing her gently. His fingers trailed over her shoulder. He pulled down some of her sleeve and kissed her shoulder, then moved back to her neck. Sara suppressed a shudder.

Why had she stopped pushing him away?

He stopped kissing her neck, then kissed her cheek lightly. He brought his lips to hers once again. She tilted her head, allowing him entry. He seemed surprised for a moment, before he continued to kiss her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and dug her hands in his hair. His grip tightened, his fingers running circles around her waist as he pushed her further up the rocky edge.

They pulled away, both gasping for air, then dived in once again and kissed each other slowly. The water tumbled onto them, soaking her hair and drenching her skin. His fingers dug into her waist as he tightened his grip once again. She ran her left hand over the side of his chest, then beneath his shirt. She felt his hand stray across her back as he began to gently nibble at her bottom lip. His fingers clasped over the back of her dress as he pulled some of it down, exposing her shoulders.

She could feel the cold water lash against her bare skin accompanied by his lips as they trailed over her shoulder, his finger tracing patterns over her back. She tilted her head, allowing him to kiss her neck as her fingers ran over the skin beneath his shirt. She found the top button of his shirt and undid it as he continued to kiss her neck. His hand met hers. He pulled her toward him and pressed his forehead against hers, their lips barely centimetres away.

"I don't think this is really the best place for this, do you?"

He kissed her hand. She flushed, then shivered. He ran a hand over her bare shoulders, brushing them lightly. "It's pretty cold, so we better get you in."

Sara nodded and stepped forward. He pulled off his cape and wrapped it around her, then pulled her toward him and kissed her once again. She let out a moan as he penetrated her mouth, wreaking havoc upon her senses. Before she could properly respond, he had pulled away.

They made their way back to the castle.

When they finally reached her room, Verloch stopped her.

He ran a hand through his damp hair. His gaze was fiery. He leaned against the far wall and ran his eyes over her.

"What?" She shuffled her feet.

He pushed himself up. "Don't use me as a replacement for my brother."

Before she could reply, he left.