He knew he had a mission to complete, and no matter how unpleasant it would be, he knew he had to do it. Someone had told him that she goes every evening to the cliff and sits there for hours on end. He had to go there today, and find her, corner her and bring her with himself. So he made his way through the forest, choosing not to fly so that she wouldn't know it was he. So he put on his hood, covered his face and began his journey.

Why did it have to be this way, he thought to himself, as he made his way quickly through the forest. Why did he have to be this way with her? There was no way she would understand you, said a voice in his head, that's why you have to do this. She is scared of you, and society has made it this way. There is nothing you can do, except this. Give her the chance to hear you out, and then maybe she will give you a chance too.

From what he had found out about her, she was already with someone. That man was known in the entire village to lead women astray and he was also known as a thief. The count wondered why she was with him. But he had found out about that too. According to people, the man had been voicing his love for her for more than a year now, and she had felt sorry for him and accepted his proposal. They were set to marry soon, but there was a glitch to this plan. The man was a violent drunk and a philanderer who treated Katrina with cruelty. There were horrors this girl knew which she hadn't disclosed to anyone, but rumors travel faster than fire, thought the count. Anyway, he would try his hardest to set her free from this monster and perhaps she would come quietly.

He had reached some sort of opening, and he hid behind a tree. He had been right to come he realized as he watched a young maiden sitting by herself, looking out over a cliff. She was a sight to see, he thought to himself as he looked beyond the tree trunk. She was all alone, which was ironic, because she was a beautiful young maiden, and girls like here were not usually alone. But he knew that she felt alone too, so maybe it was a relief for her to come and find bliss in a place like this. Too bad he was going to put an end to that bliss now…

He walked out from behind that tree and came up behind her, slowly and quietly. He could almost feel her heartbeat quicken instantly and it was resounding in his head like a drum. She knew someone was there, he could tell that she knew, through the muted gasp she took and the way she became immobile.

"Who is there," she said, in a quavering voice, "Stop right there, don't come any closer."

"Why don't you turn around and see who is it then?" he asked softly of the girl sitting rigidly at the edge of the cliff.

She turned slowly, holding her breath and her throat tightening. She saw him standing there and she gasped loudly this time. He was standing above her, blocking her only escape, she noticed.

"What do you want from me?" she asked, with a note of anger in her voice.

"To talk," he replied in a hushed tone.

She tried to hide fear and said, "I'm not going to talk, so you can leave."

He looked at her, screening her thoughts and said, "Oh, but we must talk."

She began, "I don-

"I don't see any harm in talking, do you?" he said softly, "So what's a beautiful girl like you sitting alone on a cliff?"

She looked petrified now, but said, "That, is none of your business."

"Off course it isn't, but don't you think it's a little unsafe here, especially for you?" he added, savoring the last two words.

"You've proven that haven't you," she said, unabashed this time.

"Oh, please don't misunderstand me," he said to the undoubtedly terrified girl, "I am not here to hurt you. I have business with you, and I wanted a proper discussion."

"You, you aren't here to hurt me?" she asked with a blatant note of disbelief in her voice. "Then why am I cornered at the edge of the cliff?"

"Being at the edge of the cliff is your own choice," he said casually, "being cornered is your own perception."

"Then, Let me go," she said.

"What's the hurry?" he asked sweetly. "Lets talk for a moment."

"I am leaving," she said, with finality in her voice.

He realized she wasn't going to listen to anything he said, so he had no choice. He had no choice but to do it. She had to listen to him; she really had to hear what he had to say to her. If she didn't, she wouldn't have the chance to choose.

She turned to face the edge of the cliff and stared out.

"Are you afraid of heights?" he asked, relaxed.

"Yes," she said, quivering, "Very afraid."

He came up behind her, very close and she could feel his breath on her neck as she clutched onto air, situated on the rim of the vertical cliff.

"Then be prepared to be very, very scared," he said softly in her ear. The words had barely registered in her ear, when he suddenly grabbed her and jumped off the cliff. It was at least a two-thousand-foot drop into the river, and she didn't even have time to scream. She had fallen unconscious in his arms and didn't see him transform into his nightly form…that despicable form, the vampire bat.

He carried the unconscious girl in his arms and when they reached the castle, he returned to his human self, and took her up the stairs and into a room. He laid the girl onto a bad and covered her with sheets to keep her warm in the frosty castle. He didn't know what to do now…

So he waited, waited in the room for hours, till it was beginning to become quite dark. He left the room to check on the servants and decided to return after a while. He would find something to do in wait of her awakening.

Meanwhile, as he left the sleeping girl to herself, she had begun to stir.

Katrina woke with blurry eyes and an aching back in a place she didn't know. Had it all been a dream? Was it really him she had seen? She hoped it wasn't, because that couldn't mean anything good. Where was she? It was a quiet room and she could make out it was very dark now outside. Shouldn't she be getting home by now? But still, where was she?

She got out, rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and jumped to life out of the bed. She ran to the door and clutched the handle with dear life and wrenched it towards herself. But no matter how hard she yanked it, it wouldn't budge.

It's locked, she thought, now panicking as she stood at the door trying still to open it. But she could hear footsteps now, and she quickly backed away from the door and moved towards the bed, stricken with fright.

He extended his hand towards the door, slipped the key into the hole and twisted it. The door began to creak open…