Crina walked. The tears had stopped, the hurt was gone. She was numb, her mind a blank.
The castle was large, and there were plenty of rooms to explore. It was deserted. The cold air was her's alone, and she drifted through it silently, a stiff figure of heartache.
Somewhere in the underground levels of the castle, hidden at the end of a long cold corridor, she found the room which would come to shape her destiny.
The room seemed to be cut into the rock itself. She stepped inside, long hair drifting behind her, staring. She was standing on a stone platform, staring down a wide, rough staircase. On the level below the platform, there was nothing, except a tall, cloth-covered object Crina took to be a mirror.
The whole room seemed to vibrate with some invisible energy. Crina's breath caught in her throat.
She slowly descended the steps, dark eyes fixed on the mirror. She walked towards it, driven by something she couldn't explain. Her long hands extended towards the cloth...
"It is the Mirror Of Lost Souls." A familiar, impassive voice behind her made her freeze. "Those who have died in and around this castle can be brought back through the mirror."
She turned around, glaring at Dracula. He was coldly handsome, his eyes unreadable. His hands were crossed before him. He did not seem to know of her meeting with Van Helsing.
"Like Ioan, you mean?" she demanded.
Dracula looked at her, then he raised an eyebrow. "What has happened to you?" His voice held no emotion, it was cold, clear. It reminded Crina he was a vampire, he was evil.
Crina flinched away from him as he reached for her hand. Fresh tears prickled her eyes. "YOU have! You killed Ioan, Gabriel told me so, you lied to me!"
Her words echoed around the room. Dracula's expression did not change.
She blinked. "Is that it? No denial, no trying to win me around?"
Dracula, to her surprise, laughed, throwing his head back. His blue eyes looked almost black. It took him a while to stop, then he shook his head. "And waste my breath when you so clearly believe Van Helsing?"
Crina was confused and surprised by the way he was acting. She didn't reply.
"Well, for your information, I didn't kill Ioan Valerious." Dracula turned away, heading for the steps. "Not that you'll believe me."
Crina hesitated a moment. "Wait!"
Dracula froze, but did not turn around. His shiny black hair shimmered in the strange light, and for a moment Crina was mesmerised by the way it shone. The silver clip that held it back was so tiny, so intricate.
"Dracula... are you telling me the truth?" Her voice barely came out; her throat had never seemed so dry.
"I don't need to justify myself to you, Crina." She had never heard him sound like this before, so icy cold, so quietly angry. He still wasn't looking at her, a sign that he was truly disgusted at her. "I honestly don't."
Crina felt fresh tears welling up. "Dra- Vlad. Talk to me." She felt so strange... so weak, so helpless.
"I didn't kill Ioan Valerious," Vlad repeated, more softly now, finally turning his blue eyes to Crina. "I didn't kill him."
"Why would Gabriel lie?"
Then Vlad had hold of her, touching her soft skin, hugging her tenderly. He looked deeply into her face. "Dear Crina, don't you understand? Gabriel and I... we have such history. He has a vendetta against me, my darling. He knows how... precious you are to me. To take you from me would be cruel and he knows that."
"Oh, Vlad." She was leaning right into him, and she believed him. Doubt had left her, there was only her firm belief in his honesty. "I am sorry."
Vlad stroked her hair as he had done on their first meeting. "Crina- I am sorry too. I should have spoken earlier. I know who did murder Ioan Valerious."
She looked up, shocked, pale. "Who?"
Vlad blinked, looked away. "I'm not sure it's wise to tell you. Not after what you did to Viktor..." He looked genuinely nervous, paler than usual.
Crina's eyes flashed. "Tell me," she said insistantly.
Vlad swallowed, then blinked again. "Gabriel. It was Gabriel Van Helsing."
"What?" Crina moved away from Vlad, wringing her hands in despair and confusion. She believed Vlad... but why on earth would Van Helsing, a Holy Knight, kill an innocent man? But in Vlad's eyes there was only truth. Crina felt strange, weak, hot. "Van Helsing must die, Vlad." She looked back to the mirror and thought of Ioan.
Vlad held her tightly. "I cannot change your mind, my love."
To be continued.
A/N: Raise your hand if you're a terrible authoress! -raises hand- I should have updated this ages ago. Sorry everyone! If you're still reading, you rock. Sorry this chapter is so short. Remember to review!