Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: This is 'sequel' to my story Matriarch (in which proposes a personal theory about Wilhelmina Murray's relationship to the Hellsing bloodline), dedicated to Dr. Virus and edited by Lyanna Kane. Set in the Manga.
Integral kept her focus on the still paper target, measuring it slightly before pulling the trigger of her Beretta. Three bullets burst when she opened fire, smoothly passing through the tiny circle where the heart should have been. Smiling brightly, she swept the headphones done and admired her work.
Those were the last ones, Integral thought, glancing at the empty clip inside her handgun. She gave a proud sigh and wiped off some of the sweat gathered from perfecting her aim ever since she had finished lunch. It had improved considerably, she was able to shoot through the same hole. Not bad for a sixteen years old lady.
"Ah, Master, do you plan to become the Robin Hood of pistols?"
Integral holstered her Beretta, turning to glance at her servant, who was materializing slowly to her right. He was wearing that obnoxious black coat that made her wonder if he was laughing at her beneath the collar. It did not help that his glasses and monstrous hat concealed most of his features.
"Maybe if my family name was wronged," Integral said as she straightened her long grey skirt and her black jacket – tidying her unkempt appearance in front of her servant. "Who would you be, Alucard? Maid Marion in disguise, intruding to meet Robin in privacy?" she asked, half teasing. She still retained a romantic side, hidden deeply inside her newfound sense of duty; stories of the heroes, knights, maidens and princes of old had always caught her attention more than those of ghosts and vampires.
Alucard laughed, loudly and sinisterly enough to strike fear in nearly every human's heart. Integral was not fazed. She was not most people and was aware that there was nothing threatening in his laughter, and that it was mirthful in its own spooky way. "Perhaps Robin Hood should remember to wear tights instead of skirts."
"Why should he? Robin demanded that Marion should wear a pink gown."
"You might consider wearing pants, at least. After all, tonight is the first formal hunt, isn't it?" Alucard inquired, expression unreadable from beneath his costume.
Integral nodded, feeling the anxiety grow with every moment; she was counting the seconds of how long she had to wait to prove herself an adult, to stop being considered the doted girl knight.
"It reminds me of the rites of passing of most primitive cultures," Alucard pointed out bluntly. "You don't have to prove to them that you aren't a child anymore. Anyone who has eyes can take note of your attributes…" he quietly studied her body. Integral remained tactfully quiet, trying to ignore his intense stare as the heat grew in her cheeks. "And those who posses a sharper sense of smell, will have noted you became a woman two years ago."
"Yes well, most court girls are introduced to society when they reach this age. I get to fight the undead on my own. I can't say I would prefer playing vapid prances inside a frilly gown to risking my life and soul in some unknown town," Integral replied, acidly. "Regardless, Alucard, have you come to wish me luck? And happy birthday?" she asked, intrigued. She was quite vain for his attention; it made her feel special, having her own knight and protector.
"Those who have true skill like you only need something else…and it isn't exactly good fortune," Alucard corrected her, removing his glasses to put them inside his pockets.
"And what is it? Do enlighten me," Integral ordered, crossing her arms and looking at him half huffing.
"A proper weapon, Master," Alucard replied, sliding his hand inside his black coat. For a second, Integral had the impression the leather material was really composed by shadows. Soon, his hand came out, bringing forth a magnificent rifle. It seemed old and possessed a darkening golden engraving of a cat in the breechblock. "It's a Winchester .22 Calibre Repetition rifle," he explained, turning to the targets and firing once, destroying the head immediately without the slightly recoil on him. "Model 1897. A true relic that belonged to your grandmother, dear Mina," he said, handing the weapon to her eager hands.
Integral took the Winchester carefully by the receiver and traced the cat engraved on the weapon. A cunning hunter in the guise of such small harmless thing, she mused, Just like me. Her craving to predate had increased in an alarming rate, as of late. She needed to shed undead blood. She placed the safety on the notched receiver in order to prevent any stupid accidents from happening. "This is the one she employed to open fire on the gypsies and wolves before you were captured?"
"She was older than you when she made her first hunt, Master, but it would serve tradition that you should employ it as well."
"I am going to take that as a yes," Integral stated, sighing at his way of avoiding the topic. His past defeat was a taboo subject between them. Swinging the rifle, she tried to accustom herself to the weight and shape. She would have to decline dinner in order to practice more with the relic. "The hammer has been replaced," she was quick to distinguish the difference of metal, the contrast of the less unpleasant smell on the bright hammer.
"Unfortunately, your father broke the hammer in the past, he was just too damn trigger happy," Alucard explained with a sly tone as he slowly reached for the hammer and tracing the rifle, nearly brushing her own digits when he purposely grew closer to her hands. "Walter fixed it and made special bullets for your use. And these," he tossed her a velvet bag. Integral opened the package and found out long and big bullets inside. "Long rifle shoots," he elaborated. "Walter must have worked his magic to lessen the recoil."
Integral took one of his wandering hands within hers: the difference in size was laughable. "See if I meet my grandmother's expectations, please," she said, half requesting, half commanding.
"If that is your wish," Alucard agreed, moving to stand just behind her. "But you don't have to prove yourself to me."
"I know. But I want to prove this to myself, I want to see whether I truly earned the privileged to sport my ancestor's weapon," Integral rose the rifle, aiming at the targets' head. She hesitated for a moment, taking the safety and tensing her finger on the trigger.
"Relax, Integral, just enjoy the hunt," Alucard suggested to her, murmuring next to her ear, encouraging and guiding the shot. He moved his hands over her arms, tugging her to lift them further and change her pose. "Your life will be dull if you don't learn to love your job."
Integral closed her eyes, allowing her former servant's words to rest inside her head. His presence was swoon-inducing, partly because of his sensuous presence. She opened her eyes, gazing firmly at the red circles. She was a Hellsing, she would not back down. Integral Hellsing raised her Winchester rifle with Alucard as witness and fired with only two things in mind: Search and Destroy.