Return to the Waste Land
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience
- Chapter Five
What the Thunder Said
Dante once wrote that the traitors deserved a special spot in Hell: The Ninth Circle, a place devoid of the God's warm love. A frozen lake that seemed like it was made of crystals. The Fourth city of that realm is Judecca, the town where those who betrayed their Masters belonged.
Judas Iscariot, Brutus and Cassius resided there-forever, gnashed to shreds by Satan's three heads.
Even though fully aware that the Divine Comedy wasn't really considered canon in Christianity and was thought to be more a work of fiction, Integral could not help but wish the Devil had an extra head for Alucard. It burned. Her hand, where the vampire had pressed his lips on was on fire, as was her blood. This must have been what Jesus felt towards Judas' kiss. Integral did not know what hurt more: His actions or her foolishness to allow Alucard stroll around with a part lifted seal.
That was necessary, she told herself – trying to convince herself. I need to shield the Abbey.
"Even if I'm here..." Christ, rather Alucard, started to pace down the altar towards the pews. "In front of you... Some still doubt of my veracity." He paused his way, sparing a look to Holmes, Walter and then Integral where his gaze remained fixed. "You all must remember what was Thomas' reaction to my rising... and how he regretted his mistrust later... 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.' Believe in me... I won't disappoint you." He continued his way,
Indeed, the Devil could quote the scriptures to his favour.
Walter put a hand on Integral's lap discreetly, shaking his head. Integral stared at him for a while. Alucard's speech sank in. He wouldn't do it. Alucard was many things but he wouldn't stab her on the back for this farce. It made no sense.
Integral was in control of the situation. She was the Master of the bloody 'Messiah'!
A smug smirked crossed her features. Integral was sure of the vampire's allegiance. He was hers. It belonged to her line in body and soul, blood of her blood.
'Very good, Integra. Now I really feel like your Jesus.' His mocking voice intruded her thoughts without warning.
Whatever you have planned to achieve with this ridiculous folly... I hope, for your own well being, it better to be good.
His only response was a chuckle. That infuriated her but the knight placated her temper, knowing that they apparently had the upper hand was certainly reassuring.
Louis raised his arms. "As some others before us, we'll be judged... We'll be baptized by the blood. We'll be true fishers of men!" He spun around, picking up the just filled chalice and then showed it to the audience. "In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost," he made a motion to bring it to his lips. "Amen..."
Integral stood. No longer she could keep the charade. She wouldn't allow that idiot to turn into a ghoul. Opening her purse she pulled out a new Walther and fired at the goblet. The crowd was too overwhelmed with the mass to notice her actions until it was too late. The bullet hit the cup. Louis dropped it; the force of the ammunition impact was too much for him to hold on to the chalice.
"We have a wolf among the sheep!" The cult leader called out, leaning on the alter. His face was red in rage. He looked like a surprise child about to be chided. "Let's finish the whore of Babylon!"
A group of bodyguards stepped forward, ready to 'escort' Integral to the exit. The press turned their attention to her now. She winced. Her obscurity was long forgotten after that.
"I know who she is!" Irons pointed out, exalted. "It's Sir Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing! She's a vampire hunter!"
"Murderer of the chosen people!" Louis accused her, striding towards her. In return, Integral just glared, searched a cigar from her purse, pulled it out, lit it and placed it between her lips. "You even mock the House of the Lord with that vice!"
"The House of the Lord has been tainted by you and your people, heathen," Integral said, calmly-inhaling and exhaling her cigarillo. "Any idiot knows the blood of the vampire of your same gender will turn you to a mindless zombie."
"Lies! Lies! We have done it before. Our Christ baptized many! He assured us they were on their way to the chosen realm!" He kept proclaiming as the thugs set themselves to catch Integral. Walter stepped between his leader and the attackers. Whirling his chair with the ease of one hand, he pulled the strings with the other, cutting their clothes into pieces. Ashamed, the nude men left their mission.
"You said that... you have given the blood to many!" Integral's eyes narrowed. Her mind screamed in realization. All those ghouls... They were created by their Messiah during these ceremonies. The adults feasted on their own families. "Detective... We have found the origin of the increase in ghouls."
"Consider yourself under arrest, Mister" Holmes took his place next to Integral, his credentials in full light.
"My Lord, help me! The demons are confusing me!" Louis pledged to Alucard's direction. The vampire's unholy laugh filled the place but it soon was silenced by a thunder roaring outside. The storm had become a tempest. The gathered panicked.
"Your Messiah... couldn't make it on time, so I decided to replace him," Alucard shifted to his real appearance, cloaked in crimson coat and black suit. "And as humans say... the show must go on."
"You couldn't kill him!" Louis growled, arms trembling beside his body. "You're the Devil. The fake prophet who is trying to confuse me!"
"You aren't worth my time, human. I would eat you, but stupidity could be in the blood," Alucard shrugged, grinning maliciously. "Behold what you have done... holy man."
Integral was familiar with the red mist covering the Cathedral. The people gasped as they fell, the water filling in. It was an illusion, she was certain, but it seemed so real to the senses.
The Thames waters were invading everything, menacing to drown. Despite the darkness, the foul stench and the shivery cold, one could distinguish the noises: Shots from a pair of guns and the hellish moans of the brainless ghouls. The figures were easier to recognize now. It was Alucard. He was navigating on the same boat that he had rescued her on. This was a scene before that, his slaughter of the ghouls.
"As you can see," Alucard licked his fangs. The deception disappeared little by little until not a single drop of the river was left. Even the journalists were quiet after that. "Your chosen people's place is hell."
Louis gave a few steps back, shocked to tears... He was shaking in denial, still trapped in his delusion. "No. No. NO!" He pressed his hands on his ears, falling to his knees.
Integral sneered. Truly pathetic. He didn't deserve to live. To shame even more his own family.
All of the sudden, the young man rose. Blinded by fury, he lunged onto Integral with no weapons but his own hands. "You! This is all your fault!"
Even a tad stunned, Integral managed to dodge him easily, sidestepping. "Jail is too good for someone like you and an unnecessary cost for the state," she said sharply as he tried to prove his luck again. Without batting an eyelash, the Hellsing place the cold barrel of her Walther on his temple and pulled up the trigger, blowing off effectively his head. The remains of Louis' brain now decorated the St. Paul Cathedral's floor.
Her eyes stared at it with triumph. Integral loathed the heathen. His idiocy brought death and damnation to many. It was only fair for him to have fallen to her hand. Trapped in her own victory, she didn't notice for the worst, enemies closing distance, surrounding Integral without hope to escape.
"Sir Hellsing! A question if you may! I'm Harry Jones for the BBC!"
The press had her.
Integral blinked, taken aback. How had they sneaked in so quickly? How could she be so careless? She opened her mouth to order Alucard to get her out of there, but when she turned around, he was gone. She felt the vein on her head twitching.
Now is not the time for courage to fail you, Integral told herself, resigning to the vultures' mercy. She really doubted Her Majesty would appreciate the mass assassination of the journalists.
Rain had stopped for good. It ended slow, little by little, just like the advance in building of the city. It happened after the big the tempest on that blasted date when she become 'popular' of all things.
Press followed her as if they were males chasing the female in heat. It was bothersome. Her teeth gnashed to the mere mention. In addition to not having privacy, now Integral received a lot of mail. Fans and detractors telling her she was a monster or a hero.
At least... no one pressed charge for that heathen's death. It would be insulting if they did. He was better off dead than spending time from the State's benefit in a cell. Free food, free bed. Hardly fair.
Pity that Holmes couldn't arrest Irons either. Many were fooled and he was proved innocent. In her eyes though, public humiliation would do. For now.
She leaned back on the couch, allowing herself the luxury of the sin of laziness. Alucard wasn't around, which added a plus to the whole hobby.
Her coat was on the table, the Hellsing was wearing her shirt and pants only. The horrible heat and moisture in the air forced her to unbutton her collar. At least she didn't have to worry about mosquitoes with the King of them shooing the bloody bugs.
Integral changed the channels. They were re-broadcasting Prince William's announcement of his vampirism again. The young prince's words would be used as excuse to save many of the leeches. "I'm still the heir of the throne. The only difference is that I lack of pulse. Is that so important in a true leader?" he had said. The Hellsing admitted that William had shone with such reasoning, especially in this time of darkness.
"No more exclusive interviews with you, Master?" Alucard busted in without invitation. She refrained to toss the remote control at his mouth. The Midian was far from making her feel comfortable again. "Enjoying the spotlight? The new Virgin statue of woman for the peasants' amusement."
The new Elizabeth I comparison brought back unwanted memories. His frozen lips on her skin. Would that scene on the boat always haunt her?
"It's because... I've been keeping a low profile lately. The last thing I need now is someone to accuse me of treason for a statement taken out of context regarding Prince Will's condition."
"Don't you find it ironic?"
Integral hiked a brow, crossing her arms around the chest. "What?"
"Her Majesty is the granddaughter of a direct descendant of my family... And now her kin is a vampire... What would it be like to serve an English vampire king, Integra?"
"The idea isn't exceedingly appealing... However, my family has an oath to the royal house that I cannot break. I would adjust to the circumstances, if William became the King. There's nothing certain for the time being. At least... ghouls won't be proclaimed legal citizens..."
"And what about vampires?"
Integral could not help but notice the interest of his tone. No matter how good Alucard tried to hide it, she could read it as well as he fancied to be able to do with her.
"The Parliament is still debating."
"It's better to be a favourable answer, for the good of us."
"Us?" Integral inquired with curiosity. "You and Seras?"
The Hellsing caught Alucard in a duel of gazes. Her mind swayed from the present, missing completely the buzzing sounds circling around her head until she felt the stung on a side of her neck. She gasped and swapped down the two winged intruders. Mosquitoes. Integral froze at the sight of the small trail of their blood on her white gloves. They had bit her in the artery no less!
Calm down, they may not have been infected.
"Why... why didn't you frighten them away?" Integral demanded an answer, throwing daggers with her gaze towards her servant. She didn't want anything more than to punish his lack of caution. Moreover, she considered there was a strong chance that Alucard had done that in purpose.
"Every now and then... loyal servants are rebellious, Master. Makes things more exciting," Alucard replied. Within a blink, the vampire was at her side, towering on the couch. "If it makes you feel better... I just suffered from their sting as well. Utterly uncontrollable."
Pupils dilated, unable to utter a word as she felt her pulse rate increasing just to decelerate within a moment. Her conscious mind was slowly shutting down. Before everything fade to black, Integral wished that she was just shocked and fainting.
Author's Notes: Edited by kelles, this is the last chapter of this story. Thank all my reviewers and readers for the patience, if you want to point out anything positive or negative, I welcome feedback of all kind. Happy belated birthday, Puck ¾!