A/N: Well glad you all liked the last chapter; on with the show!
Disclaimer: Don't own. Probably won't.
"Father Leon, must you grind your teeth so loudly?"
Leon's attention was diverted from the pain in his leg to Cardinal Catherina; he blinked before realizing what she meant. "Sorry, Cardinal," he apologized distractedly.
"Really, Father what is the matter?" Catherina asked, far more interested in her agent than in the goings on around her. She had only really come to show respect and support for her brother, Pope Alessandro.
Leon hesitated. He had told no one of his injury and Tres, after him repeating several times that he was fine, had reported it a healing injury. There really was no problem thus far; Ellen came to him everyday to check on the wound, occasionally drawing pus to stop infection. The only real problem with the wound was the damned sharp pain that constantly radiated from it.
"Just a flesh wound," he muttered before looking off into another direction.
"A flesh wound?" The Cardinal repeated skeptically.
Leon mentally winced. He had never before shown any type of pain around the Cardinal; around anyone, for that matter. For him to admit that he was in pain was enough to put anyone on the alert. He had to think fast.
"Yeah… Sister Ellen thought a cut I have might have gotten infected, so she put some of this blasted stinging stuff onto it. Stings like the devil."
The Cardinal rolled her eyes, "Don't be such a baby."
"A baby?" Leon repeated indignantly.
Cardinal Kate was already moving away, towards a group of ambassadors from the Empire. Leon growled at the pain. He could feel a bit of sweat begin to bead at the nape of his neck. Mentally he shook himself.
Just get through it. He told himself.
Out of the corner of his eye, Leon noticed something. It was a movement, and though many people were moving about, this movement was odd, singled out as if it was different than the others. He turned his head, taking in the red and gold decorum and the people moving about. He saw the movement again, a shadow through the crowd. Something in him unsettled.
"Yo, Tres," he called. The android walked to him. He whispered, "Cover for me, I think I saw something."
"Positive." Tres responded automatically.
Leon followed his instincts, sometimes shoving rudely past people. His worry grew, forming a tightening knot in his stomach. He felt as if he was running against a meter.
Soon, the noise of the room picked up, and Leon heard a woman's voice call out to him. He spun about to see Esther, looking regal in her Queen's garb. She looked at him worriedly.
"Father Leon, have you seen Pope Alessandro?"
Leon felt as if someone had dealt him a blow to the stomach. With growing certainty, he knew that it was the Pope he was looking for. And that there was something very unwelcome here.
He rushed through the crowd, pausing only to tell an Inquisition to quietly raise the alarm. The pain in his leg was forgotten, or otherwise very deeply suppressed. He followed whatever it was that he was following into the hallway. Mentally he groaned. This must have been the only hallway that was accessible from the other room that was not lit by a thousand candles and lights. Instead, he had star and moon light from the many windows.
Leon's steps echoed oddly in his ears as he stepped slowly down the hall. The hair on the back of his neck stood up straight. He strained his senses for a hint of the enemy he was sure was nearby.
When he was close to the center of the room, Leon felt eyes on him. He stood stock-still, waiting for a betraying noise or shadow. He refused to move before he knew where the enemy was because he knew it could show panic. He could not afford to show weakness.
Finally, he heard it. A muffled sound, the beginning of the word 'help'. He whirled around, pulling out both of his guns. An emaciated vampire stared back at him, its eyes white and its fangs bared. The Methuselah clutched the Pope to its chest. It was showing signs of being legally insane, which meant he could kill it without any legal problem.
The question was how to do that without killing the Pope?
He raised his gun and shot at the creature, hoping to hit its spine. The idiotic thing curled in upon itself. It was giving Leon an even better shot, as well as protecting the Pope. Unless…
The blood drained from Leon's face.
The thing was intending to bite the Pope in front of him.
Leon cursed and took a shot, careful of his aim. The vampire hissed and bared its teeth. It dropped to the ground in front of Leon, who by all accounts should have been dead by the way his heart was beating, breathing heavily and snarling. It released the Pope, who scrambled back whimpering piteously.
Leon crouched, ready to strike at any moment. The vampire was still. Leon moved closer and attempted at reasoning with him.
"Okay buddy, I think we both know you're going down here. The slammer isn't all that bad, believe me, I've been in it."
Still, the vampire was still and silent. Leon drew closer to him, giving up talking for showing. His gun clicked distinctly as he readied it. When the vampire spoke, it was like a shock to Leon.
The creature looked to ceiling, as if beckoning the heavens. "I wasn't always like this; not always this hungry," he said, his voice rough and grating on Leon's ears. "I had a wife, and a little girl. She had blonde hair."
Leon wondered briefly if this was some ploy to get him to let his guard down. But vampires this far into the madness could not think that well. Leon saw tears running down the vampire's face, mixing with the blood of those he had already bitten that night.
"But… when he killed them, I felt myself slipping. But I didn't mind it, the slipping." He faced Leon and looked him in the eye for the first time that night. His pupil was barely discernable. "Until I got hungry. I liked it till I got hungry." He buried his heads in his hands, pulling at his hair, tears falling to the ground, a roar of agony and anger ripping out of his throat.
As he quieted, Leon stepped forward again, gun still at the ready. "Okay buddy. We can help you; we got medicine to fix that."
The vampire's head snapped up. A small trill of fear went through Leon's body. The vampire's pupil was very nearly gone now, and his lips were pulled back into a snarl.
"I'm still hungry."
And then it lunged.
A/N: Yay, another chapter is up! Review!
Little side note; I'm doing a personal story on deviantart, under the name 'elpmip'. It's called 'Fallon's Fight'. Here's the description:
Men have attacked the Fortress of Stars. After a night of terror and confusion, only a woman, Fallon, and her daughter escape the massacre. Alone and afraid, they flee to the Fortress of Stone.
Now, Fallon must try to become a part of the Fortress' daily life, but the residents are scornful of both her and her daughter. At the same time, Fallon must wrestle with her depression from her husband's and her family's death. With no respite from either, Fallon slowly begins to question her faith and her sanity.
So, if anyone wants to look at them, some keywords are: 'fallon', 'lilth', 'hope', 'love', 'sanity', 'insanity' and 'warrior'. You might have to put almost all these words in to find it, sorry.