Let the Symphony Last for Eternity
Written By: Lady Lunar Phoenix
Beta: no one
Jonathan decided he didn't like the catacombs, perhaps more so with the Castle acting so out of place. He had walked, jumped, and climbed his way around the place, yet all he could think about was the situation with Leon while wishing Charlotte was with him. As far as he understood each Belmont was trained to know about the Castle. So why would Leon think that the maids were harmless? Maybe Jonathan was wrong? Maybe Leon wasn't from the future after all? If that had been the case he was glad Charlotte wasn't with him, it saved him from looking stupid in front of her.
But that aside, if Leon wasn't from the future, still had Vampire Killer and didn't see the Castle for the threat that it was... could he have been from some point in the past? But if that was the case how could Leon be carrying Vampire Killer? The story went that Trevor was given Vampire Killer by the Poltergeist King before entering the Castle. So how could Leon have been a Belmont that existed before Trevor? If somehow he was than would he even be safe in the Castle? As far as Jonathan understood, a Belmont with Vampire Killer always had equaled dealings with Dracula and the Castle.
It was at that point when he was sitting in the mouth of a passage, his legs hanging over the edge, that he sighed. Perhaps there was more to the bond between the Morris and Belmont Clans that his old man never bothered to teach him. Or maybe it was one of those many, many things that he died before he got the chance. It wasn't easy reconciling the truth of his old man's actions against what the man had done. Was it ever easy though? Live a life, be shaped by that life, then trying to figure out the right path amid all the past mistakes? Would they ever have reached common ground if his dad had lived?
He envied the relationship between the LeCarde sisters and their father, Eric. The bond between hunter and children seemed more ideal to him than his distant relationship with his own father. Then again, he had could just dream up how wonderful such a relationship was since he never experienced it for himself. But he 'did' attend the funeral for Eric LeCarde and there was a certain amount of relief of being spared having to deal with the sense of loss the sisters experience. Being a man didn't make one any less susceptible to loss after all.
But that was neither here nor there. 'Here' was the castle of Dracula, by all accounts of the monsters he had seen, and somewhere one lost Belmont. Jonathan wondered if Leon was faring well, or if he had somehow got in a bad spot with a random monster that wasn't playing nice. He thought back on what Leon had described when he woke up, the hall of paintings, the music playing, so far he had not seen any room 'that' welcoming towards his presence. Each area that Jonathan had encountered since then had been no different then if he had been anywhere else. If he fell and broke his neck it was from his own stupidity and carelessness. Not because a bat decided to knock him off course mid jump or something leaping out from the darkness.
It was comforting and annoying all at the same time, since it made him feel a bit safer, yet it could have been just waiting for him to lower his guard. Thus he didn't, though on the other hand it made him think that maybe the Castle didn't consider him a threat without someone backing him up. After all he was a Morris not a Belmont, yet Leon had been a near red carpet welcome comparatively speaking. So it couldn't have something to do with being a Morris or a Belmont.
Reaching a momentary roadblock sent Jonathan up to his feet and onward until he came across the first door he found since his departure from Leon. He needed to find his fellow blond. He needed to find his fellow blond before Charlotte did and talk the poor guy's ear off. If she found herself a Belmont who didn't know what he was 'supposed to do' in the castle, well... Before she inadvertently screwed the whole time line, he felt he should find the guy.
He opened the door and resigned himself to possible ending up in some strange completely unconnected part of the Castle. For which the Castle did 'not' disappoint him.
Maxim hated the Castle, for all it stood for and for the things he had done. But perhaps he hated himself the most for his mistakes. Despite Justes' lie to Lydia, Maxim couldn't stand the fact that he had brought such harm to the two people closest to him. Lydia was so delicate and gentle, her very being made both himself and Juste want to look after her. Juste was the mage of the trio, the bookworm who could always be found with a book in hand if he wasn't training to fulfill his 'destiny'. Leaving Maxim to what he enjoyed, physical raw power. He wasn't skilled in the arts that Juste was, and unlike others who probably would get jealous at the sight of Juste bending the elements to his will. Well Maxim took greater pleasure in being able to out fight an opponent.
He didn't want to think his actions were one of vanity, that he could defeat Dracula. Because he knew he couldn't, Vampire Killer was mandatory. But just destroying the pieces seemed so easy at the time, perhaps though that had been the lure of Dracula's own power.
He woke in the library of the Castle, not understanding why such a thing had happened at first. After all he had been resting under one of the trees near his own home. For one panicked moment he feared that perhaps his freedom from Dracula's control was but a dream itself. That what he had experienced was nothing more than one of Dracula's mind games.
He walked along the rows of books, the object of Juste's interests and pursuits lost to his thoughts and nagging fears. From the left and to the right all he saw were large bookshelves, so high that one had to have magic to reach the top. In the distance he could see a pale white ghost moving to a table, and for a moment he could only watch. Curious as the figure sat down with a book as though to read. These ghosts always made him curious, how essentially harmless ghosts could be in the castle. Juste never could explain how they came about, or these random candles that provided small forms of help.
But he couldn't afford to be distracted; perhaps the dream, like the candles, were a harmless attempt at helping him? Maybe he 'did' dream that horrible nightmare of being used by Dracula. If that was the case he needed to get to Dracula quickly. He turns his eyes away from the ghost in the distance and returned to the path before him. The floor was a mixture of wood and stone, the walls lined with the same type of wood as what was on the floor. A soft honey finished that aided the numerous candles that lit the rooms. Bright enough for a person to read even in the massive rooms.
Perhaps, that had been a warning from some benevolent angel on what would happen should he let his guard down? The thought of biting Lydia, of betraying Juste played through his mind. Then he shook it away, looking back towards where he had seen that one ghost. Could that ghost been a person like himself? Finding himself inside the Castle he tried to find a way out or a way to defeat Dracula amid the books? Then having died his soul continued its fruitless research? Could that become Juste if he didn't succeed?
No, he wouldn't fail, if this was a chance that was given to him by someone, he wouldn't mess this up. But again, the reality of the dream proved he needed more than physical strength to deal with Dracula. Perhaps he had summoned the Dark Lord prematurely, endangering the whole world in the process. He dropped down to the floor below him, his eyes viewing only more of the same. Maids dusting the books and blobs of energy floating about, it was then that he realized the other aspect of this situation that was off. Why had nothing attacked him?
Why was he walking around the Castle of Dracula surrounded by his minions and no one was coming after him? He would have thought the zombies cleaning would do it or the ghosts. Yet nothing seemed to pay him the bit of attention and he couldn't fathom if he should be grateful or distressed at the lack of, of anything in the castle. A maid made its way past, a tray in hand with used cups and a teapot. It even seemed to notice him since it avoided walking into him.
"Am I missing something?"
They shushed him... Zombies... the undead, dressed like maids, rotting corpse minions of Count Dracula shushed him! So what if he spoke in the library? What minion of Dracula's 'shushed' people?! The maids turned to look at him with that disapproving, yet vacant because they were dead, stare. He waited for the attack, his hand resting on his Stellar Sword, grateful for a battle to ease his mind into something he knew. Yet they only stared.
And before Maxim knew it, he was sulking out of the library like a chastised child and if he wasn't insulted the feeling didn't exist! He had stalked his way towards a door in the distance and opened it with the air and dignity of the offended bumping into a blond that seemed eager to get into the room he was just departing from. Yet despite not truly marching along, Maxim found that he had somehow managed to knock the stranger back into the ground.
The blond before him was calling out for someone, a 'Charlotte' as they bumped into each other. Yet Maxim had no clue as to 'why', since who would storm a door and call for someone who wasn't using that door?
Jonathan, for his part, had found himself standing on top of a platform and began to make another trip down to the lower floors. He found he could hear, from somewhere below, a faint series of voices. One of which he was pretty sure he recognized as Charlotte. So Jonathan quickly passed by a rather large lever, then a gate that seemed to be barring empty air, on his way below. He was wary of just calling out her name, giving a possible enemy a weapon to use against him.
But down below he caught a glance at her blue and white uniform, tattered and blood splattered as though she had been injured. Which left three possible options. Option one, she was actually a zombie dressed like Charlotte to mess with Jonathan's mind. Option two, she was the real thing only she got injured and managed to heal herself considering the fact that she was walking around. Or option three, she got a hold of some paint and was trying to teach him a lesson about carelessness. Again.
He called out to her and for the briefest of moments he saw her whip her head around and look frantically about. Just as she caught sight of him though, she had passed the threshold of the door and just like with Leon, the door slammed shut behind her. For a moment rational thought fled Jonathan, for as much as he teased Charlotte about being a kid, he 'was' fond of her. A little sister to call his own, at least that was the way he thought of her. Thus seeing her injured, even when she had healed herself was rather upsetting. Big brother was slipping up on his job.
Which was why he grabbed at the door. In the back of his mind, he already had a strong belief that he would still end up in another part of the castle. That all this glance would do is assure him that she was here and keep him looking. Because now he had to find Leon 'and' Charlotte in an oversized castle that was clearly playing with them. But instead of seeing his long time friend, or even another part of the castle all he saw was an odd vortex and a suntanned man.
Make that he walked smack 'into' said suntanned man. He didn't even get a chance to tell the stranger not to let the door shut before the stranger walked through the door. If that vortex was the portal...
"Well this sucks..."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to knock you over like that," Maxim apologized as he reached down, extending a hand to help Jonathan.
"It's ok, I saw a friend going through the door and was trying to reach her before the door closed."
Jonathan went from dusting himself off to looking up at the brunette to see a look of mild confusion firmly planted on said face. "You haven't tried any of the doors here have you? I mean since you woke up."
Maxim, for his part was on the verge of answering with an affirmative, since he had been going through doors since arriving to the castle. But the added phrase of 'since you woke up' stilled his words. Did it matter? "Ah, no I woke up in the library and there were no doors until that one I took. But for that matter I didn't see anyone passing through when I left there. Are you sure you're not mistaken?"
"Its the doors themselves," Jonathan explained with a faint apologetic smile. "When I got here I met a man named 'Leon'. But when we tried to go through the door in the room we were in, it slammed shut behind him. I haven't seen him since, but every time I've taken the door to go somewhere I've ended up in a place that can't possible be connected.
"Is that so?" Maxim replied, not believing what he was hearing, yet unwilling to deny the man his point of view. The stranger carried a spear with him, one that gave off a subtle yet quite dark energy, and now that he was standing up right carried himself in an easy going manner.
"Yeah, I know it sounds nuts. But the doors are acting like portals, I've gone from being above ground to underground and who knows how many different parts of above ground I've been." Jonathan shook his head and gave an almost easy smile. There was a trace of concern in his eyes that the smile couldn't quite hide.
"And this 'Charlotte'?" Maxim could see some of his old cocky casualness in this stranger, but also a touch of worry.
"She's a friend of mine. I saw her for an instant as I was coming down those steps, but she was being pulled into the door."
"I saw no one... but I suppose if it's a portal then I wouldn't, all I saw was you and heard you call out that name," Maxim confessed. "Well, I suppose I saw someone, but that was a ghost off in..." Then he stopped speaking. His focus turned inward as he recalled the zombie carrying an used tray with tea supplies. The undead had no need for food or drink and the cups didn't carry any faint scent of blood. "Perhaps I'm wrong, I saw what I took for a ghost back in the library. All white in color, but perhaps that was a person after all."
He turned to go back for the door, but even as his hand reached for it, the blond grabbed his forearm and held him still. "Don't, it won't take you back trust me on this one."
"And you are?" Maxim countered, granted he didn't know who this stranger was, but considering how the monsters in the library behaved he was willing to listen.
"Jonathan, Jonathan Morris," he held his hand out to Maxim, seeing for the first time an amused smile on the stranger's quiet, concerned face. He had never seen anyone carry such a large sword with such casual stance. Even strapped to the back, the blade would get the police on someone's case long before now. Granted he carried a spear, however, he could bind the top up and pass it off as a staff. Sure a staff got looks, but not as bad as a spear or sword.
"Maxim Kischine, you do know where you are correct? Given that spear," Maxim replied, Jonathan 'had' to be a hunter to have such an air about him. Discussing portals and such hinted strongly that this was a Dark Hunter and not a casual victim trapped in the castle.
"The Castle of Dracula, at least I think it is," Jonathan answered with surprising calm and ease.
"You 'think'?" Maxim asked, a cold fear began to grip him, after finally getting a sense of the situation he was in. Was he still dreaming?
"Yeah, last time I was here, a Vampire Artist had taken control of the castle by sealing away Dracula in the Master Chambers. Only, this place... I've seen the zombies dusting and cleaning, the monsters just sleeping or helping the maids. You'd think we were in some polite demonic castle, rather than the one with the penchant killing people for sport."
Maxim felt a chill that had nothing to do with the area they were in, his eyes traveling along the wall behind Jonathan, hoping for a window to look out of.
"Someone tried to take control of the Castle from Dracula himself?"
"Yeah," Jonathan replied with a quiet resigned voice. As though he had yet to come to terms with the fact that it had to be done.
And truth be told Jonathan hadn't completely gotten over it, but when he answered Maxim's question he found himself visually following the swordsman as the brunette took off. Jumping from the landing they were on to the staircase above. "Hey! Where are you going?"
"I need to see outside a window, I know the surroundings of Dracula's castle pretty well... I just need to see if the land marks are still there!"
"Been there, done that," Jonathan muttered, shaking his head he took off after Maxim. "Hey, Maxim, what year is it?"
"1749 and how can you not know that?" Maxim called back, lowering his voice the closer Jonathan got.
"Well now we see the problem, see for me? The year is 1945, yeah I know," he answered, both the look of surprise and the verbal question with a rueful tone.
"That... that is not possible.." Maxim shook his head in disbelief folding his arms across his chest in thought. "That would be over..."
"197 years apart between when you think it is and when 'I' think it is," he took the few remaining steps up and joined Maxim on the landing before a barred metal door. "Not only that, Leon doesn't even know about Dracula yet he's walking around with," Jonathan continued only to get interrupted by Maxim.
"Vampire Killer," the brunette's eyes had begun to scan the ground, out of impulse as he tried to think. Only to see the weapon seemingly discarded on the floor of a human sized cage.
"Yeah but... wait. How do you know that's Vampire Killer?" Jonathan asked, his eyes following Maxim's focus towards the whip. It looked to be resting on the floor of an old cage style elevator, but seeing Maxim kneeling down and reaching for it brought up a red flag to the blond. "I wouldn't touch that if I were you. It won't work..."
"No, it's Justes' Vampire Killer. It shouldn't be here abandoned like this, he needs this," Maxim explained though his arm fell short of reaching the desired goal.
"How can you tell it's his?" Jonathan asked, the whip on the floor looked no different then the one he was carrying hooked under his coat. But that aside, he walked over and began using the Alucarde Spear to drag the whip closer.
Maxim grabbed the whip, pulling it out of its prison and looked first at the whip then at the Morris who had helped him get it.
"The Ceremony links wielder to whip. Vampire Killer compensates for its wielders' weakness, a strong fighter will have a more magically charged whip, while a magic user will find it compensates for their lack of physical strength. It's a magician's tool and a warriors' strongest weapon, so goes the Belmonts."
Maxim's explanation brought a frown to Jonathans' face, one that made the swordsman wonder what the blond was thinking about. But he couldn't dally and turned his attention back towards the castle itself.
"How can the whip change itself so easily?" Jonathan asked, clearly thinking about something, but what?
"I would need proof that you're an ally of the Belmont clan, before I discuss such things," Maxim replied. His voice was firm as he spoke, his knowledge given to him in trust, he wasn't just going to tell a stranger 'everything'. But he was alarmed at the answer Jonathan gave him, not in words, but in a single gesture. The blond reached behind him, tucked under his coat at his belt, a whip was pulled out and held out for Maxim's inspection. He didn't need to touch it, he could feel Vampire Killer, awake and active. And feeding.
It made his sun kissed skin pale as he looked at it, an expression that alarmed Jonathan obviously, yet he couldn't help it. He swallowed and forced his gaze back to the blond before him. "How..."
"I come from a clan that is connected indirectly to the Belmont Clan. We're supposed to look after the whip until the time the Belmont fated to finally destroy Dracula comes for it. I know that it is the reason my dad died. Then again, you're not giving me any reassuring looks about it either." Jonathan explained, there was a cold ball that seemed to settle into his stomach. If this guy was seriously connected to the Belmont clan... if he was to accept that he was meeting people from the far distant past, a past that would have a stronger understanding of the Whip...
"The Belmont Clan has a strong amount of holy power, power that is uncomfortable to those who have no such ability. Holy or demonic, they can't tell, only that it is strong. Which is why Trevor was sent away to live in exile, they feared his unnamed strength. That's the trade off, the Whip changes, and helps the Belmont, in exchange, the Belmont allows Vampire Killer to feed on his holy powers. It's beneficial for both sides, the whip helps the Belmont defeat Dracula, then it feeds on the very thing that makes commoners fearful of the Clan." He couldn't finish the statement, the whip had already taken the man's father, and Maxim knew that it would take time, but it would take Jonathan's life as well. Death on the battlefield, or old in a bed surrounded by family was glorious. Death because, without that powerful holy power, one's life force was sucked away. Death in the prime of one's life and unable to stop it.
"Without holy power, it feeds off the life force then? Well, I haven't used it since I fought Dracula, so I should be fine right?" Jonathan tried to find an optimistic answer to the situation, but Maxim's expression didn't help him.
"Yes, you should be fine."
That was a lie.