Cemetery Gates

With composure regained and a bag of instant death in her hands, the vampire Seras Victoria burned with the desire to hunt and destroy. Her senses were sharpened, and sensitive ears detected the movement a floor downwards, stealthily creeping in. She dashed for the small hallway that she had taken previously to the dungeon and progressed down. Elsewhere, a slight sound of laughter heckled the Cheshire King.

"What's wrong, darling- didn't you have fun? "A sly female voice questioned.

"The fun's just beginning, witch. When I find you, I'll make sure you stay dead." He felt her presence like a smoldering flame and merged into the shadows of the stone walls, resurfacing in a large drawing room filled with heavy bookshelves and a huge desk. Annya was waiting, husametain in hand. She looked as Alucard had recalled her nearly a century ago- beautiful, fierce, and cold as winter. She did not flinch, but stood her ground firmly, a smug smile playing across her lips. Her burgundy hair was pulled into a thick braid that hung almost to her knees, braces of bronze around her neck and wrists, and the garments of the ancient desert caressed her body.

"Vlad, it's so good to see you after all this time-you look much better in your actual form than masquerading as a human."

"Seems like you've made quite a living off of the game yourself, Elizabeth, or should I call you Lamia of the Jin?" She laughed and stepped towards him, one hand gesturing welcome, but the deadly weapon still held close.

"You could still call me yours, Kaleif, but it seems your taste for fools keeps us apart.," Annya went to caress his cheek, but a silver bullet was plugged through her hand, producing a shriek from the demoness.

"Bastard!," She snarled and clawed at his face with razor-sharp talons. "You fool, you bloody, miserable fool! " She gauged his forehead, creating deep slashes; blood poured down, filling the vampire's eyes . Blindly, he raised his pistol again, but the curved blade of the sword collided with it, severing his right hand off with a single blow. Without skipping a beat, he grabbed the woman by her throat with his good hand and pinned her down to the heavy desk. She grinned and wrapped her strong legs around his waist, pulling him down on top of her.

"You always did like to play," she cooed, her serpentine tongue lapped across his temple, relishing his blood. "This is fun, isn't it? Not as much as your little pet was, though. She's such a sweet, sweet girl." His pressure tightened around her windpipe, but she merely laughed and dug her nails deep into his shoulders. "She cried every time I took the lash to her and all she thought of was you, her beloved master. What a pathetic, little bitch…she doesn't deserve you…" she hissed. By this time, Alucard's wounded hand had reformed, and he positioned it over her breastbone to pierce her heart.

"You've insulted my servant and tormented my master-unforgivable acts- your end will be sweet." Fingers thrust through flesh and bone, but instead of crushing the heart, It was as if he had gauged his fingers into a hollow gourd . Annya took advantage of his closeness and pulled his mouth to hers in forceful kiss. The vampire bit into her lower lip and tore a chunk of pulpy flesh off, spitting it out violently. The demoness flung him off, his body crashing into the bookcase. She stood up and wiped her mouth-thick, black blood dripping down her pale arms, soiling her gauzy robes.

"Fool- you can't kill one who's heartless. You've become weak, Vlad- all this time being a human's lapdog has made you forget some of the old ways of battle. I'm not some modern freak of nature, or half-made experiment. You forget that you're dealing with a demi-goddess here." She leaned into his rising form, and grabbed him by the hair, claws digging into his scalp, and pushed him back against the battered case.

"Join with me, or die –easy choice, really. Don't worry, I'll let you still have a taste of your little pets now and again. They're such lovely creatures-for chattel. I can't wait to make them my own, personal harem-the little German one for the days and the kitten for the nights." Alucard cursed her in Turkish.

"Oh really- that's exactly what I did to her, dear. Such a responsive, little girl, but I'm sure you found that out on your own. Tell me Vlad, how it feel to defloweryour own blood relative? "Before she could get an answer, a handful of dirt was crushed upon her forehead in the sign of the cross. The woman released him with an inhuman scream and dropped to her knees.

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..." the vampire whispered. Annya, clawed at her face attempting to remove the burning substance, but she marred it beyond repair. A low, feline growl resounded in her throat, and her form began to shift and change. Alucard stood and laughed, madness echoing in his peals, while a dizzy, murderous joy danced in his eyes.

"Now, now we will fight like immortals!" he cried.

Elsewhere- Down in the Pits-

She clung close to the shadows anticipating movement from any side-particularly that of the centipede that could crawl in from the floor or drop from the ceiling. As Seras passed through the narrow, reeking corridors, she caught a small voice whispering through her ears.

"Over here." It directed. Cautiously, the girl turned the corner, a silver spike ready to strike at any motion. Crouched in the bridge of the hallway was the serving girl, Sasha. She looked up calmly at the vampire and sighed.

"Sorry I couldn't help you- really didn't have a choice, you see." she stated. Seras paused and leaned down to her.

"Why don't you escape- leave her . You can come away with us. " The girl shook her head woefully.

"She'll never let any of the servants leave- and some of her children are so loyal that they won't leave her side until she's gone."

"That'll be soon-master is upstairs with her now." Sasha's eyes went wide.

"He can't kill her- she has no heart-only taking out her heart will complete the act."

"What do you mean,'no heart'?" Sasha grabbed her by the arm and pulled her close, whispering frantically in her ear.

"Go, go quickly down this hall-go to the last door on your left. That's the bedroom- go in there to where anyone could see her ugliness, her cruelty, accept Annya herself. When you find the jars-destroy all of them. " Seras nodded and began off.

"Vampire!", she called after her," Don't forget to crush mine out , too. " Seras stopped dead and looked at her in confusion.

"My hands have been bloodied for over four centuries, girl. It's only right…" she replied mentally. So much pain and guilt washed over the little vampire with the resonance of her message, but she nodded in response and ran down the inky path.

Elsewhere-The Drawing Room-

The figure of Countess Elizabeth Bathory , alias Annya Jarovia, was now anything but human. She had assumed her true form, the demoness Liamia of the ancient , and most noble family of the Jin. She resembled a woman in face and torso, but her body was that of a leopard covered in sharp, grey-green scales, teeth bared and eyes blazing like furnace coals.

"Such a nasty beast you are-come see if you do better as a monster than as a maiden..." Alucard taunted. She hissed and lunged for him, but he dodged, the creature merely snatching a chunk of cloth from his shirt, instead of tearing off his arm. She howled and tore into him, again and again , but the vampire kept up his elaborate dance-he wanted to wear her out and get her in close enough to lace her throat with the rose briar collar. A thought touched his mind – his servant was calling to him.

"Master- she can't be killed! I have to take out her heart! " she cried.

"What in Dis are you talking about?" Alucard had to focus while conversing, the Lamia was getting nasty.

"Hold her at bay as long as you can-I'm looking for it!"

The bedroom was vast and elaborately decorated in lace and satin, a beautiful décor, if you could ignore the human skulls and blood-stains in the corners. A spacious four-poster bed took up most of the area; the girl winced recalling some of her torture she endured there, but calmed herself and continued to search frantically for the rhyme to the riddle. Beauty-reflections-can't see- Mirrors produced little or no reflection for beings of magilk- that had to be the answer.

"Smash the mirror, find the hearts and we're done .", she thought-easy enough . However, there were not one, but three ornate mirrors in the room. She grabbed a large vase from one of the end tables and smashed it through the first one nearest to the door. The shattered glass revealed nothing except the fractured moulding around it.

"Dammit!," she exclaimed. The girl looked around for another heavy object – a silver jewelry box, huge and thick decorated the vanity. She snatched it , and promptly flung it at the second looking-glass. It exploded into a shower of silver fragments and splintered wood, but nothing lay underneath. However, the noise had awoken the sleeping terror in the room.

"Little wretch," the insect-demon hissed. It raised like a coiled serpent from the cushioned chair in the corner-nearest to the last mirror.

"Bloody Hell.," Seras cursed. Great, the only thing standing between her mission and glory was a multi-legged, freak of nature. She hated those things when they were only a few inches long-never mind being the length and width of a kindergartener . It let out an angry cry and lunged - its multitude of legs scurrying it forwards at furious speed. The vampire grabbed the quilted comforter off the bed and caught the creature up in its thick folds. She could feel its segmented body wriggling and squirming violently under the satin; Seras crushed downwards around the beast until she heard a loud cracking noise and a thick, greenish liquid seeped through the fabric. It screeched and flailed, but she held tight in spite of her disgust.

"Your turn to be useful, you bloody freak!," With that she lea pt to the mirror and used the creature as a battering tool, breaking the last mirror. The glass spilled out over her cheeks, cutting them open, spilling blood down her chin and into her eyes. She winced at the pain, but cast aside the now-limp body of the centipede creature and peered inside. Behind the mirror was a small alcove –it smelled of pungent cloves and ancient dust. A low table adorned with candles and small bones encircled four small, amber- glass bottles. She stepped into the space and smashed the first , then the other two with ease- they crumbled into dust as they hit the floor . The last bottle would not break- she tried to crush it under foot, but it would not give. She snarled and cursed , picking up the glass and finally smashing it against the wall-the glass digging into her palm, burning like acid. Seras cried out in pain and examined her damaged hand- a small-heart like scar formed on her palm. She knew what she had to do. She opened the small bag of nails and took out a long one-black and crooked, perhaps close to a century old. She wrapped the lock of Integra's hair around it and poised the point over her pulsing palm.

"For you, my mistress," she stated softly, "Please forgive me for what I have done." With that she thrust the metal through her palm and stifled a scream.

Alucard sensed his fledgling's pain, but grinned in triumph-the deed was done. He turned to the demoness, who seemed to have trouble regaining her balance after his last swipe.

"Having trouble?," he inquired as he glided over to her. The lamia began to hack up a vile blackish combination of blood and ichor-the fire was slowly burning out of her eyes.

"You bastard- I curse you-I curse her-may all of you burn in –" before she could finish the slander, the vampire produced a single, silver nail from his pouch, and thrust it clean through her forehead, ending the existence of the creature perfectly . The body began to decompose to a pile of blood and ash and Alucard left the remains to find his servant . As he descended, he passed the small , curled body of Annya's servant on the stairs, a most peaceful look upon her face.

"Rest now , and may you not follow your mistress-even you don't deserve her fate." He prayed.

In the back of the boudoir, in a small alcove space, his servant lay half -un conscious from the pain in a small pile, her master's coat stained and falling off her exhausted shoulders. He crouched down and gently picked her up, cradling her shaking form to his . She clung to him like a child, burying her face smeared with tears and blood into his chest . She whimpered and her master pecked the top of her head.

"Shhh, we're going home, girl. "

Elsewhere- Helsing Manor- A few weeks later...

For several weeks now, there were no outrageous stories of missing girls or gory headlines to delight and disgust the audience. Life, training, and the domestic pace of family began to settle back into the household . While Sir Integra had begun to sleep like a regular human being again, she began to wonder why on more-or-less a regular basis, her servant had taken to watching her rest .

"I'm feeling much better now, there's no need to for you to hover over me like a mother hen." she replied calmly one evening while out for their usual walk in the garden. Her servant smiled.

"Perhaps, I'm waiting for you to wake up and need to be comforted from a good dream. After all, you might need warming up after ' a cold winter's night on a veranda..' " his voice trailed off mischievously.

Husametain- A large, curved sword used by Turkish Royalty.

The 'German' refers to Integra.

Blood Relative- While not actually related, Alucard uses this term for his servant in the first volume to describe her-"I wouldn't have made her a blood relative if i didn't think she was good." (Helsing, Volume I) Annya makes the coupling as perverted and incestuous as possible to enrage him.

Jin- A form of the word "Gene" or as we know them, "Genie". Jins are desert spirits, usually evil, spawned from Lillith, Adam's first wife according to Judism and Islam. They don't all ways grant wishes and live in bottles... a daughter of the Jin is more likely to steal your soul and eat your heart out.