A/N: Hey everyone, and welcome to the final installment of Night Warriors-yes, the final installment! I'd like to say thanks to sanya12, Kairi's-twin, musiclover209, and SpeedDemon315 for their reviews! And I have the answer to the contest from last chapter- Gabrielle was singing "Amaranth" by Nightwish(from their Dark Passion Play album) so congratulations to SpeedDemon315 for winning!

Disclaimer: Twenty-five chapters later...I still don't own it...


This chapter is dedicated to SpeedDemon315, my contest winner. Congratulations!


Chapter Twenty-Five: Gypsy Coronation

Vatican City, Rome

A young friar by the name of Nicholae hurried through the ancient halls of St. Peter's Basilica. A small piece of paper-a telegram-was clutched in his hands, which were trembling visibly. He stopped before the door to Cardinal Jinette's office and knocked with a trembling hand.

"You may come in," Jinette said calmly from behind the door. Nicholae sighed, crossed himself, then stepped into the Cardinal's office.

Jinette sat behind his desk, looking cool and collected as always. He stared imperiously at the young man cowering before him. "Yes?"

"I…I have a t-telegram f-for you, Y-Your Eminence…" he said, his voice barely rising above a whisper. "I-It is from Bucharest…from V-Van Helsing…"

Jinette's eyebrows rose in interest. "Ah…this means he must have defeated Sirius. Does he say when he plans on leaving Transylvania? I have some rather important assignments I wish to send him on…"

Nicholae didn't say anything; he stepped forward and placed the telegram on Jinette's desk. The cardinal took the telegram and read it. His face darkened the longer he looked at the telegram. After a minute, his angered face turned absolutely livid with rage as he slammed the telegram down.

"WHAT?!"

---

Castle Frankenstein, two days earlier

Gabrielle stood before the old vanity in one of the empty bedrooms of Castle Frankenstein. She looked in the cracked, dirty mirror-even though it didn't reflect her- and clutched the edge of the vanity as Catherine laced her into a stiff whalebone corset.

It had been three weeks since Sirius's defeat. Since then, Gabrielle had decided to accept her position as Queen of the Gypsies. She had returned to Vaseria to announce her decision; today was the day of her coronation. Ordinarily, coronations were held in churches, but due to Gabrielle's condition, they instead relocated it to the grand ballroom of Castle Frankenstein.

Catherine gave Gabrielle's laces one final tug. "There. That should do it."

"Thank God I don't need to breathe," Gabrielle commented. "Otherwise, I'd say this was entirely too tight, Catherine."

Catherine smirked as she handed Gabrielle her dress. It was a beautiful burgundy dress, sleeveless despite the cooling air. The bodice had been tailored to Gabrielle's exact measurements, while the floor-length skirt billowed out gracefully. Catherine wore a similar gown, though hers was a deep blue that matched her eyes.

"Here you go, Your Highness," Catherine chuckled, gently teasing her friend. "Careful with it now…don't rip it…"

Gabrielle snickered good-naturedly as she took the dress and slipped it over her head. Her smile quickly faded, though, and her face became more somber.

"Something wrong?" Catherine asked as she began lacing up the back of Gabrielle's dress.

Gabrielle sighed. "Sort of…I'm a little bit nervous…"

"Nervous?" Catherine asked. "About your coronation, you mean? You shouldn't be worried, Gabrielle. You'll do fine, and Gabriel, Carl, Alexsei, and myself will be seated up front, right where you can see us. We'll be praying for you, Gabrielle…"

"It's not really the coronation I'm worried about, though…" Gabrielle cut in. "It's…something else…"

---

The grand ballroom of Castle Frankenstein was packed with Vaseria's citizens, as well as people from neighboring towns that were under the control of the Valerious family-Strenotia included. Originally, the ballroom had been dusty, full of cobwebs, and mice- and spider-infested, having not been used in God only knew how long, but in the space of a few days, the ballroom had been cleaned and set up for a coronation.

Van Helsing pulled restlessly at the collar of his dressy jacket. He was unaccustomed the sheer number of people around him, and he was also unaccustomed to the suit he had been forced to wear. The black pants, black shirt, and black military-style jacket he wore over the shirt seemed tight and confining, plus they were a little too close to Dracula's clothes for his comfort…

Carl hurried forward to the stage meant for the orchestra, where an unused conductor's podium had been placed.

"Um, excuse me, everyone, if I may have your attention..?" he called. "The ceremony is about to begin…"

All the villagers quickly scrambled for their seats, sitting on the rough wooden benches that had been brought in, or else standing in the back. Van Helsing, Alexsei, and Carl took their seats up in the front; the room fell silent, and, a moment later, the doors in the back opened, and everyone stood to their feet as their princess entered. Upon seeing Gabrielle, Van Helsing's breath caught in his throat.

She was absolutely beautiful. Her burgundy gown was perfect for her skin tone and hair color, and clung in all the right places. A black choker encircled her slim, pale throat. Her raven hair had been swept up off her back and shoulders in an elegant bun, with a few strands framing her face. She walked gracefully, seemingly floating, all the way up to the podium. Catherine, who had been behind her, discretely slipped into a seat between her brother and her husband.

Gabrielle cleared her throat nervously. "Ah, hello…so glad you all are here today." She paused for a minute, then continued. "I'm…not very good with making speeches, but as a speech is necessary, I shall simply do the best I can…

"I know everyone here is acquainted with my family and the…misfortunes…we have suffered for about the past two decades. How, seventeen years ago, I, Princess Gabrielle, was kidnapped and presumed dead. How, after eight years of going mad and wasting away from grief, my mother, Queen Lilly, died a slow, agonizing death. How, nearly two years ago, my father, King Boris, went missing while hunting Dracula. How, last year, my beloved brother, Prince Velkan, was killed, trying to accomplish where so many of the Valerious line had failed…and how my dear sister, Princess Anna, died succeeding where none of our family had…"

She stopped for a moment, closing her eyes and taking a breath so as not to burst into tears. She opened her eyes a moment later, having gained her composure, and continued. "And yet, despite my alleged death, I stand before you all, alive, well, and barely any older than I was when I was taken. I know you all wonder how this was possible, and I shall tell you…though I beg you not to scream or flee in terror. You are my people, and you must know that I would never hurt you…"

Many in the room exchanged confused looks, but they continued to watch Gabrielle with bated breath, waiting to see what would happen, what she was talking about…

Gabrielle's eyes faded to an icy blue, and everyone gasped as she crossed the stage, approached a pillar, and actually began walking up the face of the pillar, continuing to defy gravity in this fashion until she was halfway across the high ceiling, standing directly above where she had been standing. After a moment, she left go of the ceiling, plummeting rapidly towards the floor. Several people screamed, but, with lightning-fast speed, Gabrielle turned in midair, landing on her feet before the podium.

In the crowd, a peasant stood to his feet, pointing an accusatory finger at Gabrielle. "Vampire!!"

Gabrielle nodded. "Yes. I will not deny it…I am a vampire. But-"

Her next few words were drowned out, however, as the voices of the peasants rose. Many of them loudly protested a vampire taking the throne. Others began whispering in shock and fear, spreading rumors of Gabrielle's parents trading her to Dracula, or Gabrielle selling herself as one of Dracula's concubines. Quite a few young children began to cry in fear, and their mothers took them in their arms to comfort them.

Frustration began to simmer within Van Helsing. He realized that the situation was fast getting out of hand. He watched Gabrielle look around in fear and confusion, taking a step back nervously. It seemed that it would only be a matter of time before the peasants brought out crosses and stakes to use against their princess…

Just as Van Helsing was about to take Gabrielle's place at the podium and give the rabble a good tongue-lashing, Catherine stood to her feet, lifted her skirts slightly so as not to trip on them, and angrily approached the podium. Her blue irises took on a blackish tinge.

"Listen to me!" she said angrily. Her voice barely carried over the ruckus. "I said listen! Good Lord, would you all SHUT YOUR GODFORSAKEN MOUTHS AND LISTEN TO ME?!!"

The crowd silenced immediately, and Catherine took a breath. "Thank you! Now, yes, your princess is a vampire. But did you not hear her when she said she would never harm you? I've known Gabrielle for seven years now…do you know the number of times she could have attempted to take my life? The number of times is innumerable. But do you know the times she's actually attempted to take my life? None! Gabrielle is nothing like Dracula. Nothing like his three harpies. And nothing like the countless other bloodthirsty vampires out there. She respects humanity, and she can restrain her lust for blood. She only wants what's best for you, her people. And what's best for you is to let her take her take the throne as Queen of the Gypsies. What say you?!"

After the briefest moment of silence, Van Helsing stood to his feet. "Long live Queen Gabrielle!"

Alexsei and Carl both got to their feet, and, along with Catherine, they took up the hunter's cry. "Long live Queen Gabrielle!"

Gradually, the peasants in the room took up the cry as well, and they stood to their feet, until the entire populace was on their feet, their cry deafening. Catherine took that opportunity to demurely return to her seat, and, as the crowd's cheers died down, a cardinal from the local Catholic church stepped forward, holding a small but ornate crown in his hands. Before everyone's eyes, Gabrielle knelt, and the cardinal spoke a small rite aloud in Latin, placing the crown atop Gabrielle's head. When he finished, she stood to her feet and took the podium again, no longer the Gypsies' princess, but now their queen.

She dabbed gently at her eyes, wiping away the blood tears forming there. "Thank you, everyone…Thank you for accepting me for what I am…and for having me as your queen…" She stopped, thinking her words through before continuing. "I'm prepared to lead us through whatever may happen next, good or not…But I cannot do it alone…After all, even the most independent of us all need someone by our side…"

Her gaze fell on Van Helsing as she spoke. He could instantly feel his heart beating faster, sending his blood rushing through his veins. Did she mean what he thought she meant..?

She stepped down from the podium, heading towards the hunter. He stood to his feet, but, overcome by a sudden moment of shyness, he found himself unable to move forward. He felt a pair of hands on his lower back, and Catherine gave him a gentle shove forward, which sent him stumbling klutzily in Gabrielle's direction.

As soon as they were close-less than a hand's breadth apart- she took one of his hands in both of her own. Instead of looking up at him, however, she kept her head shyly bowed, staring at their hands instead.

"Van Helsing…" she said softly. "I never quite knew how to say this, but I…I loved you ever since the first time I saw you, that night in the Valerious family crypt. You…you gave me strength when I needed it. You gave me the courage to fight against Sirius…and you gave me the courage to take the throne and tell my people what I truly was. And I want you to be the one to give me the courage to lead my people…will you do that? Will you become my king?"

There was silence for a moment, then, Van Helsing gently lifted Gabrielle's chin so he could look into her eyes. He smiled gently at her.

"It would be my honor," he whispered to her. "But first…"

And with that, he pulled her close, so that her smaller, lithe frame was pressed against his body. One of his hands snaked around her waist, coming to rest in the small of her back, and he did what he'd been dying to do for a while now:

He kissed her.

He kissed her long and hard, right in front of her subjects. But neither of them noticed everyone else in the ballroom. They were too lost in each other; their lips parted to deepen the kiss, their tongues gently caressed. It was as passionate a kiss as the one Van Helsing and Anna had shared, but this one was slower, not nearly as fierce and hurried.

Finally, after a moment, they broke apart from the kiss. Gabrielle took his hand again, beaming at him, and she led him back towards the podium, where the cardinal was waiting. Van Helsing kneeled before the cardinal, who spoke the same Latin rite he had spoken to coronate Gabrielle, while she stood nearby, beaming like a proud mother. When the rite was finished, Van Helsing stood again, took Gabrielle's hand, and they walked to the edge of the stage as the people clapped and cheered, Alexsei, Catherine, and Carl the loudest amongst them.

No longer was he simply Gabriel William Van Helsing, incarnation of God's Left Hand, holy assassin of all things wicked. Now, he was Gabriel William Van Helsing, incarnation of God's Left Hand, holy assassin of all things wicked-and King of the Gypsies.


Wow! Congratulations, Van Helsing! That's...wow...

Van Helsing: I know. Hmm...(ponders) Gabriel William Van Helsing, King of the Gypsies...has such a lovely ring to it, doesn't it?

Gabrielle: I think so. But so does Gabrielle Alexandra Valerious, Queen of the Gypsies.

Catherine: Yeah, I agree. They both sound pretty awesome!

Alexsei: So...that's really it?

Yes. Well...not quite. See, I wanted to do something special for the last chapter. So...(imitates Dracula) Ladies and gentlemen...I give to you...SPECIAL FEATURES!!!


Special Feature 1: Night Warriors-The Trailer

(Open with Van Helsing's dream of meeting Catherine in forest. Clip quickly cuts to Van Helsing waking up before he even reaches her.)

Van Helsing(VoiceOver): She looks so familiar...(Quick flash of Catherine's face; a shot of her turning her head to the camera)

Van Helsing (VO): She can't be...real?

(Scene changes to Van Helsing and Catherine's introduction at the Vatican)

Cardinal Jinette: Van Helsing, I'd like you to meet your new partner.

Van Helsing: There must be some mistake, Your Eminence. I work alone

(Camera flashes to Universal logo. "Transylvanian Horses" plays)

Narrator: He thinks he has no past...

(Universal logo is replaced by clip of Van Helsing embracing a crying Catherine)

Van Helsing: I'm so sorry, Catherine. I wish I could remember...but I can't...

Narrator: But his past would beg to differ...

(Clip: Van Hesing, Carl, Catherine, Alexsei, and Gabrielle all in Van Helsing family library, gathered around a table. There is a book in the center, and the camera pans over the text in the book, stopping on the names Sirius and Gabriel)

Carl: Well, isn't that a funny coincidence? That he had a brother who had the same first name as Van Helsing..?

Catherine: Coincidence? I beg to differ, Carl. There's a fine line between coincidence and fate.

Narrator: Now, he must return to Transylvania...to fight an evil that's closer than he thinks...

(Clip: Three werewolves and a vampire come out of bushes and surround Van Helsing, Catherine, Carl, and Alexsei. Music: "Stand My Ground"-Within Temptation)

Music: Stand my ground, I won't give in-

(Clip: Flashback-Van Helsing and Catherine fight two men with knives, daggers, and swords)

Music: No more denying, I've got to face it-

(Clip: Van Helsing is fighting Sirius. His eyes are silver-blue, he has huge white wings protruding from his back, and he almost seems to be glowing)

Music: Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside-

(Clip: A pair of enomous, black wings emerge from Catherine's back. She looks back at Van Helsing and Carl; her eyes are now pitch-black)

Music: If I don't make it, someone else will stand my ground.

(Clip: Group shot-Van Helsing, Catherine, Carl, Alexsei, and Gabrielle stop before Sirius's manor)

Alexsei: This is the place.

(Screen goes black. Music swiches to "Intro" by Within Temptation)

Narrator: This year...the truth...will surface...

(Clip: Catherine, Van Helsing, and Carl are in their room at the Vampyre Inn)

Catherine: I never said you were a mortal, Gabriel...and that's because you're not...

Narrator: Hugh Jackman

(Clip: Van Helsing grabs his crossbow and fires a stream of arrows at a vampire)

Narator: Amy Acker

(Clip: Catherine stands before Alexsei and punches a vampire in the face. Her eyes slowly turn from blue to black)

Narrator: Johnny Depp

(Clip: Alexsei leaps forward, becoming a werewolf as he does)

Narrator: And introducing Amy Lee...

(Clip: Gabrielle draws her revolver from a holster on her hip. Screen fades to black, then shot of everyone, with Van Helsing in the front, Gabrielle and Carl on his left, and Catherine and Alexsei on his right)

Narrator: Night Warriors

(Screen fades to black)

Narrator: Evil...is closer than you think...

(Clip: Quick flash of Sirius-as a werewolf-roaring at the camera. Then, screen goes black again)


Special Features 2: Night Warriors Theme Song

Stand My Ground-Within Temptation

I can see
When you stay low nothing happens
Does it feel right?

Late at night
Things I thought I put behind me
Haunt my mind

I just know there's no escape
Now once it sets its eyes on you
But I won't run,
Have to stare it in the eye

[Chorus:
Stand my ground, I won't give in
No more denying, I've got to face it
Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don't make it, someone else will
Stand my ground

It's all around
Getting stronger, coming closer
Into my world

I can feel
That it's time for me to face it
Can I take it?

Though this might just be the ending
Of the life I held so dear
But I won't run,
There's no turning back from here

[Chorus

All I know for sure is I'm trying
I will always stand my ground

Stand my ground, I won't give in (I won't give in)
I won't give up (I won't give up)
No more denying, I got to face it
Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don't make it, someone else will

Stand my ground, I won't give in
No more denying, I got to face it
Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
If I don't make it, someone else will
Stand my ground


Special Features 3: Extended Author's Notes

Van Helsing: Hey...we're back!

Indeed. Extended author's notes, by dear.

Catherine: Cool! (looks around) Ah...now what?

Gabrielle: Oh, Aurora, wasn't there something-?

I was getting to that, Gabrielle. Now...yes, this is the end of Night Warriors-but the saga shall continue! Yes, everyone, I am writing a sequel! So, be on the lookout for Intrusive Dusk-A Van Helsing Fanfic, coming soon! Also, be on the lookout for a Night Warriors companion, Kindred Spirits, which will be coming VERY soon!

Alexsei: (blushes) Oh, come on..do you HAVE to post that one?

Oh, come on, Alexsei. It's sweet...besides, I never really went into the story on how-(gets mouth covered by Catherine's hand)

Catherine: Not. Another. Word. Got it?

(nods and gets mouth released) All right...now, I also have a contest! This one has a big prize, too...the usual chapter dedication, yes, but also a chance to submit a character to be featured in Intrusive Dusk! Here it is:

I never realized it when I was writing this, but two characters in Night Warriors are named after people famous in Russian history! So, for the prize, tell me which two characters share names with famous Russian historical figures, and which historial figures are they named after?

Van Helsing: Oh, I know this one! It's-(gets mouth covered by authoress's hand)

Ah, ah, ah, it's a CONTEST! Don't tell them!

Van Helsing: Oh...right...sorry...

All right, then. Good boy. Well, this is Aurora, and I think I speak for everyone when I say: THANKS FOR READING AND COME BACK SOON!!!