Chapter 1

Chapter 1

"I thought you were finished with fighting monsters." Twenty-year-old Vanessa said coolly as she dropped a massive crossbow down onto the table in front of her father.

"Well…one would think that, wouldn't they?" Gabriel Van Helsing replied as he turned to face her.

"Then what would one not be seeing?" Sighing, he rubbed his forehead, deciding how to word his next sentence.

"Rumour has it that Dracula is back."

"I thought you killed him."

"So did we all!" Piped up Carl as he scurried back over to the table, head buried in a giant leather-bound book. "Now, if we can onl-" He stopped abruptly as his gaze rose, eyes landing on Vanessa, taking in her five-five, fit and toned frame. "Why, Van Helsing, you didn't tell me you'd met someone else!" As he went to clap his old friend on the back, he suddenly wished he hadn't said it, the young woman looked taken aback, awkwardly pulling at her waved chestnut hair. Van Helsing laughed quickly, breaking the moment.

"This, Carl, is Vanessa, my daughter."

"Oh….oh dear, I'm quite sorry." Carl stammered as his eyes flittered around, searching for anything else to look at, eventually settling for the book he had began earlier.

"Go on about Dracula." Vanessa spoke to her father, "How is he back if you killed him twenty-two years ago?"

"He's been reborn." Gabriel only manages three words before Carl butted into the conversation again.

"In a very different form than last time, if I don't say so myself."

"What form?"

"We don't know…that's the problem, and there seem…." He flipped through a couple of tan, aged pages, "To be no other records of vampires being reborn."

"So you're trying to tell me that the reason you're keeping giant crossbows in the house is because you've heard that Dracula is back?" She raised an eyebrow in the direction of the vampire slayer.

"It's to make sure we're protected."

"Meaning?"

"If Dracula is reborn, he will come after me, there's no doubt about it. I was the one who killed him last time, he'll want revenge, and he may not take it out on only me."

"Meaning that you're worried that some million-year-old vampire is going to barge through our front door and attempt to kill me?"

"Well… I don't think that he'll be that blunt about it. If he has been born into a different form, there's a very good chance that no one will recognize him. He knows that I've got a daughter, and I have no doubts that he will go after you." At this point, Vanessa dropped herself down into a chair, enforcing the point that she wasn't going anywhere.

"And because of this concern, your plan was to keep me locked up in the house with giant crossbows while you're out having all the fun and adventure?"

"It's not all fun Vanessa."

"Well it sure beats staying in the house all day and night!" Her eyes twinkled as she looked at the man sitting across the table from her.

"Vanessa, no! There is no way that I am letting you help in this."

"Not even the smallest bit?"

'No."

"Why not?" She whined.

"People get hurt out there! They don't know what they're doing, what they're up against, and they get hurt."

"Well…lucky for me I've heard every story imaginable about Dracula, The Frankenstein Monster, Werewolves," She ticked them off on her fingers as she went, "And you've taught me everything there is to know about every kind of monster."

"It's too dangerous!"

"Come on! Please! I've been training with you since I was 9 years old, that's got to be good for something!"

"You know as well as I that the world of vampires, and Dracula is not a world for women to be involved in, especially you! I don't know what I'd do if you got hurt. Think of what your mother would say!" Vanessa sighed heavily, rolling her eyes as she did every time her father used that line.

"You seem to keep forgetting that one: I've never met my mother, and that two: that what she would say is completely un-matter-able because she happens to not be alive. Also, for the fact that it was childbirth that killed her, not some demon vampire, besides, what about Anna Valerious, Dracula was after her for how many years, and she's still alive!" Carl's head perked up from searching in his book, his mouth open to speak when Van Helsing shot him a glare that would send anyone running, obediently, he turned back to the stained pages.

"It just isn't right."'

"What?"

"Having you fight against these…things! If Dracula's back, God only knows what he's brought with him-"

"A little bit of everything actually." Carl dared to pipe into the conversation again, "He's been preparing to fight." Vanessa smirked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"You see? There's no way you can take on an entire army by yourself. You've taught me all your tricks, at least let me have a go at a scenario." Van Helsing sighed wearily, swinging himself into a standing position as his coat swished off.

"Alright, fine. We'll do a scenario." The man began to tread across their headquarters, Vanessa and Carl at his heels, until they reached the training facilities. With mats on the floor, and mildly padded walls, it was prime space for anyone to learn the basics of how to fight off an attacker, whether it be human or beast.

"So what'll it be?" Vanessa asked, stepping into the room after her father.

"You be yourself, I'll play as Dracula. As you clearly know you're going to have a fight, we won't pretend that he's sneaking around. We'll fight, and the minute I get this-" He gestured to a scarf in his hand, "-around your neck, we'll consider if as if you've been bitten."

"Alright." She took a breath to steady herself, "You want everything I've got?"

"And more." Van Helsing braced himself stronger when he saw the smirk playing on his daughter's face.

He lunged forward to start the attack that Vanessa was waiting for, she pushed off heavily, flipping in the air, her booted foot colliding with his chin, he staggered backwards as she landed, only to push off again. This time her right leg swung up, aiming for his cheek bone, Van Helsing saw what she was doing, grabbed the oncoming ankle, and twisted her leg around while kicking the back of her other knee. The twenty-year-old spun to the ground, bracing her fall with her hands. Gabriel's boot was coming heavily toward her chest, she gracefully rolled out of the way and popped back up to her feet, unexpectedly, a fist collided with her cheek, she staggered backwards, but still managed to block the next two blows. Swirling around, she jabbed an elbow into his ribs, and then his nose, Vanessa spun around once again as he recovered, thinking she had it done, only to find a scarf being wrapped around her neck. One last more flew into her mind; she braced herself, and then heavily swung her knee directly into her father's groin. As Van Helsing crumpled over in both pain and shock, the stifled laughter of Carl brought a smirk to Vanessa's face while she stood confidently over him.

"So? Have I got what it takes?" She cooed.

"Well…"Gabriel straightened up slightly, clambering into a chair, "There are still some weak spots, but that was without weapons, so I would say you're just about there."

"Great."

"If you're going to be fighting with us, you'll need to learn the details of everything from the last expedition, and what we know of Dracula so far," Carl spoke from the corner beside the door to the room. "Come with me, it's only just begun." Vanessa exited the room ahead of the friar, who turned back to his other companion, "Will you be joining us?"

"In a moment Carl."

"Ah, perfect. We'll be in the meeting room." With that, he scurried off through headquarters, picking up random books, tools and instruments on his way into the meeting room.