Currently without beta
After roughly 1600 miles of hotel-hopping, changing disguises, and stealing rental cars, the troupe was in the home stretch; from Bucharest to the Carpathian Mountains. It was a long drive, and the three of them couldn't afford to stop for any extended length. There was one coffin and one available seat. While one drove, another kept watch for Lucy, Mina, or some other harbinger of their doom. The car was so tiny that the back passenger seats had to be lowered to allowed room for the coffin which both driver and passenger used as an arm rest. It was crowded, tense, and quiet.
On the second night, Anderson's turn to drive Alucard's turn to keep watch, the two managed to find themselves on an empty stretch of road in the countryside. They were closing in.
"Ah thought Wallachia was a region in Romania, not a town," Anderson commented sometime around two in the morning. It was more to stay awake than to acquire information. Since the carnage at the Headquarters, he hadn't been able to sleep more than a couple hours at any given time. He felt himself nodding off at the wheel a few times.
"It's both actually," Alcuard replied, "The region is more official, it's labeled on maps and such, but the town isn't. Some people think it doesn't exist."
"Hmm…" the lack of streetlights wasn't helping. Anderson felt himself slipping again.
The paladin jumped at the sudden noise and tried to hide it unsuccessfully. "Wha? Why?"
"Don't question me," Alucard growled, "pull over."
Anderson shrugged and complied, too tired to argue further. When they came to a stop, Alucard turned and looked at him, "Get out."
Anderson shot him a glare.
The glare didn't go away.
"Catch up on your sleep," the vampire explained, opening his door, "Who knows how long we'll have in the city…" he sighed and gazed down the road, "we're almost there, I can drive until sunrise."
Anderson got out, and watched the darkness, "Fine. Ah dinnae like it, but fine."
They switched places.
"I have better night vision anyway."
They drove for a few miles in a slightly more comfortable silence. Anderson, miraculously enough, managed to find a comfortable position in the tiny car. Curled up, his knees against the dash, his glasses tucked away in his coat pocket, and his arms folded across his chest, Anderson closed his eyes and felt sleep encircle him. "If you bite me, Ah swear Ah fuckin' kill you," were his last words to Alucard before unconsciousness.
The vampire paid the threat no heed.
He drove, embracing the peaceful silence and the aura of his homeland. The urge to roll down the windows and let in the night air was pressing, but Alucard didn't act upon it.
Kris had a rough layout of the catacombs after her second trip outside. She'd found several hidden doors, and several more unlocked doors that went nowhere. She was still stuck.
Every time she went out, though, she ventured farther and farther from her cell, but hurried back lest she be missed. Her last trip had gotten her all the way to a portrait gallery labeled 'the hall of mirrors'.
Kris swung her door open cautiously, surprised that no one had noticed that the door was broken yet. She turned left and headed up the hall (the only thing to the right was the brides' parlor, and while there was a door there behind the bookcase, Kris didn't want to risk bumping into them).
Around a corner and down the hall, Kris passed her previous checkpoint: the glass door and the brightly illuminated gallery. The hall opened into a wide room edged in worn, dusty coffins. Ghouls and zombies lay on the floor staring stupidly in several directions, gnawing on limbs, and groaning. Kris picked her way past them and they didn't seem to notice or care. At the far end of the room was a flight of stairs.
She took them up two at a time and was greeted by a locked door. Kris sighed and struggled with the lock for a few moments, pushing and pulling the door, jiggling the glass doorknob and such. A little concentrated pressure at the jamb, et viola, the door opened. Super-human strength came in handy sometimes. Once inside she tested to see if the door would shut and lock again. It did.
Another hall lined with doors. Kris rolled her eyes and tried the first one on her left. It was open, and led nowhere. The second was likewise empty.
The third one was locked, but Kris saw no harm in trying to force it open, this one was a bit louder than the last and she had to hit it twice, but it did open. When she tried to shut it, though, it didn't catch. She paid no mind to it.
More stairs opposite the entrance and only one other door here.
She took the stairs up, but was again balked. Kris tried to open this one the same way as the last two.
With a sigh of resignation, she headed back to her cell.
Kris jumped thinking someone had come after her, when in reality it was the unchecked door. It was locked and didn't open when she banged on it.
Something on the other side pounded again as she started to walk away.
"You miserable little cretin!" a voice beyond the portal snarled, "As soon as I get out of here I'll have your heads!"
"And just who are you to say such things?" Kris said to the door.
"Let me out and I'll show you."
Kris clicked her tongue, "Now, now, I don't think I like your tone," she realized she was having too much fun with this, "and even if I did, I couldn't let you out."
"I'm important, let's just leave it at that."
"So you're a hostage too, eh?" Kris took a step closer.
"Hosta-" the voice paused thoughtfully, "Where am I?"
"We appear to be in the basement of some castle," Kris answered, "Did you see anything on your way in?"
"Me neither," she tapped the door; "I don't know how to get this door open. It's reinforced, like the one at the top of the stairs."
"Yeah the- oh nevermind," Kris sighed, "I have to go back to my cell before anyone comes looking for me, I'll come back later and we can formulate a plan to get you out of there. Or, at least, to my level of freedom."
The voice seemed more calm now, even flattered, "Thank you," it said.
"Before I go: just who are you anyway?"
The voice coughed, "I'm Sir Integral Windgates Hellsing."
"Fancy title," Kris scowled at the door, "I'm Kris."
"Nice to meet you Miss Kris."
"The title," she explained, "its Sister. Now I must go, try not to have them move you while I'm away, or I may never find you again. Play nice."
Alucard was relieved to find out that Anderson didn't snore nearly as loudly in a car as he did normally. In fact, aside from deep breathing and the occasional whimper set on by a difficult sleep, the man made barely a sound. Because of this, when a wolf howled next to the car, Alucard could hear it perfectly.
He tensed and looked around; he didn't see anything at first. After a few moments, he relaxed again.
Again the wolf howled, behind them this time.
Alucard adjusted the mirrors, trying to catch a glimpse of what it was. He shook it off, though, once he realized what he was doing.
It was probably just some dog on the side of the road. Nothing to worry about. He took a deep breath to quell the paranoia.
And again the dog howled. It wasn't getting any farther away.
He checked the mirrors and saw the rolling shadows that lined the sides of the road roll and gather like fog. Alucard turned the headlights off and sped up blending in with the road as well as he could. The blackness behind them became more pressing, more tangible. It took a vaguely dog shaped form.
The gas pedal clinked against the floor panels. Alucard wasn't even watching the road ahead of him anymore.
A pair of glowing red eyes formed on the mass they seemed to stare at him through the mirrors. He took a chance, trying to catch a glimpse over his shoulder to see just how close it really was.
The thing was much more formidable than it had been in the mirrors. It had several sets of dark, yellowed teeth, foaming saliva dripped from the corners of its mouths. The eyes were alert, calculating. Searching for him. He turned back around. The wolf-howl surrounded the car now.
"Anderson!" he nudged the man's shoulder.
The paladin woke with a start and floundered in his coat for his glasses. Even with them on he couldn't see anything, "What? What happened?"
"Brace yourself," Alucard was deathly serious.
Anderson didn't argue and braced his arms against the dashboard.
The impact was sudden. The window behind Anderson's seat shattered inward and the entire vehicle swerved to the left. The front tires found gravel and dirt before finding the road again, darkness blinded everyone for several seconds. Both men felt nails digging into their shoulders and arms, but were powerless to stop it until the car stabilized. By the time that happened, though, the darkness had vanished.
The wounds were superficial and regenerating.
"What the HELL was that!" Anderson ground his teeth.
"Lucy," Alucard responded, "she's been chasing us for a while."
"How do we lose her?"
"We can't. I can't go any faster, and she could probably pace me anyway."
There was banging on the coffin behind them. "Guys? What happened? Did we crash?"
Anderson shot a glare over his shoulder; all he saw was blackness out of the back window, "Not yet."
"What does that mean? Guys?"
"Enough, Police girl," Alucard growled. Seras shut up after that.
Eyes reformed in the mass and Alucard swerved to avoid a second impact. Anderson slammed into the door. When he looked out the window, the paladin saw a pair of hazel-green eyes staring back at him.
The eyes were gone a second later. Another keening howl filled the night.
"Can you fire a gun with any accuracy?"
"Going 130 kilometers per hour on a pitch black road shooting at something I can't even see?" Anderson asked, "Sure, I can try."
Alucard, somewhat reluctantly, passed Anderson his Joshua 454.
It was heavy, but balanced in his hand, "Sweet mercy, is this what you shot meh with?"
"That and the Jackal."
"Ah presume you got that fixed," Anderson remarked, rolling his window down. Given his height, the positioning was awkward in the tiny car, but he managed to get into a position from which he could comfortably shoot. Anderson would've preferred his bayonets, but he didn't have the space to gather the momentum required to throw them effectively. He settled for what he had.
"Don't fire until you see her eyes," Alucard adjusted the mirror again, "be ready for anything."
Anderson felt glass shards dig into his arm as he wrapped it through the broken passenger window, "Aye."
The blackness formed into its lupine shape. It consumed what little starlight there was as well as the reflectors on the median. Another ear splitting howl; rows of huge cracked teeth and black claws stretched toward them. A pair of red eyes opened near the trunk.
Anderson fired; the force of the shot sending his hand back to his shoulder and the force of the wind brought it back down. The bright light from the discharge illuminated Lucy. Her face, head, and shoulders were vaguely human, its skin a bright, putrid grey-green speckled with black spider veins, fading into a mass of pitch blackness. A head of stringy blood-red hair and solid red eyes, black lupine ears and her mouth set in a vicious snarl marked with yellowed fangs and long, black tongue.
She stared at him, and Anderson fired again. The bullet tore into her shoulder and she shrieked, colliding with the car. Alucard swerved violently, nearly jerking Anderson from his seat in the window.
"Hold on, tighter then."
The eyes returned and Anderson managed to get one more shot off before she disappeared into the shadows.
Alucard was unconvinced, "Stay put, she'll come back."
And she did.
The black mass reformed some seconds later. This time on the driver's side of the car near the rear door. Anderson tried to line up a halfway decent shot, but couldn't. The shadow wound up.
The impact rocked the tiny car and the sound of shredding metal filled the night. Alucard applied the brake and the resulting squeal was deafening. The car skidded across the road. Alucard turned into the impact and pressed himself against the door. The car tilted dangerously.
Anderson clawed at the roof, trying not to fall onto the pavement that sped below him.
The car slid to a stop and the paladin slipped back inside.
"Where is she?" he panted, hading the gun back to Alucard.
"I don't know," the vampire responded breaking the rest of his window out. He pulled himself out and onto the roof, and Anderson took his place behind the wheel.
"What is going on?" Seras just couldn't keep quiet anymore.
"Come out an' see for yerself," Anderson unlatched the coffin.
A black streak came through the open latch and settled in the seat next to him just as he started to car. The streak became Seras seconds later.
He straightened the car out, "On the roof."
The blackness started forming again.
Mina watched the car chase from the crystal sculpture on her desk, the count's book open in her lap.
"Hmm…" there was a lot less screaming than she had anticipated.
Schrödinger appeared behind her. "Enjoying the show, Countess?"
"They're just outside the mountains," she said, not answering his question, "Maybe we can take one of them out before they reach the city limits."
"Be careful, the count's gun is formidable."
"I can see that."
The two of them watched the crystal intently. The car had nearly flipped onto the human. "So close," the boy hissed.
"Oh well," the Countess flipped through the spellbook in her lap.
The boy leaned in closer, "You may vant to pull her out of there, the count's ready to fight."
Mina glared at him, "Lucy knows her limits."
"Ja, and she isn't exactly the brightest light in the room."
"Even if she dies, I can inspire enough fear in them to rethink taking me on. Buy myself even more time to grow my army. Create more monsters like her." She grinned to herself, "I might even use Flanders's precious little nun."
There was a knock on the door.
"Excuse me, Countess?"
Mina and Schrödinger looked up, "Yes, Emma?"
"The nun's lock is broken," she reported "I thou-"
"I know," Mina said, "She can't escape the catacombs. All of the doors leading in or out of there are heavily reinforced. She can't go far."
"Cabin fever can do horrible things to an unstable person. A little new scenery could help her." She returned her attention to the book, "Fret not. I'm keeping a close eye on her. Eventually she'll stop wandering. Probably when she finds out Flanders is roomed down there."
"I have reason to believe she's going to break the Hellsing woman out."
"Oh ho?" Schrödinger laughed, "Vhat fun! They'd make quite a duo!"
"They won't get far, Emma," Mina said calmly, "Don't question me further."
Emma opened her mouth to protest, but a glare from Mina silenced her.
"Move along Emma."
The scantly-clad woman obeyed.
"Ooo," the cat-boy pointed at the crystal and winced, "That's gonna hurt."
"Why don't we just get out and fight her?"
Anderson glared at Seras for a second and then brought his gaze back to the road, "This car is the only thing preventing us from being sitting ducks. You saw what she did at Headquarters."
"All those people…"
"On their home turf. We're in her territory now, who knows what she'll be capable of."
Seras gestured, "Move left, get back on the proper side of the road."
Anderson swerved back. Seras had become his eyes while they drove with the headlights off.
Shots were fired overhead. Shrieks and howls of pain followed. The car was jostled forward and to the side.
Seras shouted and slammed into the dash. "What the-?"
Seras grit her teeth, "What is this thing?"
"Your master calls it Lucy."
"But I-" she stammered, "I thought Lucy was just a werewolf."
"Lass, Ah've been huntin' creatures of Hell for decades and I haven't seen something like this." Seras pointed and he swerved to avoid whatever it was. "An' judging by the way your Master's acting, it's somethin' to be feared."
A shriek, a loud thud against the trunk, and the blackness began to dissipate a bit.
"Is she dead?" Seras asked after some time.
"I can't be sure," Alucard called back, "I know she's wounded, but she disappeared. Probably back to Mina." He paused, "How much gas is in the tank?"
Seras leaned over and checked, "About a third."
"Keep going until its empty."
Anderson was more than happy to oblige.
Kris picked her way back to Integra's room when the coast was clear and they tried to formulate a strategy.
"Mina knows," Integra said when Kris knocked on her door.
"That I'm out here?"
"That you can get out, and that you've been talking to me," she answered, "The cat-thing told her."
Integra laughed, "Looks like you haven't met him yet."
Kris sat on the floor, "I guess its fruitless then. If we come up with a plan then they'll repair the lock on my door."
"Even if you did get me out of here, where would we go? What would we do?"
"I know where all the doors are downstairs. There are several ones hidden behind bookcases and such. Some of them even have stairs. We could get out of this basement."
"But now we can't come up with a plan," Integra added, "Mina's watching our every move."
"Hmph." Kris folded her arms across her chest and leaned against the door, "Well, I guess we're stuck…again."
"Unless…" Integra pondered aloud, "Unless we don't have a plan."
"Yes," she replied, "The guards leave the door unlocked when they enter because they believe they can over-power me if I get belligerent. Maybe you can figure a schedule."
"There aren't any clocks down where they normally keep me," Kris explained, "A schedule could be pretty hard to come by."
Kris made a disapproving noise, but didn't argue, "Well, it looks like you're not getting out any time soon." She stood, "My apologies."
"Good bye, Sister." Integra knocked on the door.
Kris left back the way she'd gone before.
Never once had she encountered someone in any of the halls, but today was different. She opened the first door in her path, and turned right. A few seconds later and she heard footsteps behind her.
"Looky who's got some backbone."
Kris whirled around the woman that had bandaged her up several days ago stood behind her. She tapped the toe of her booted foot against the floor. Kris sneered; the woman was dressed like a harlot and was an eyesore to the poor nun. She was carrying two transfusion bags filled with blood.
"It's good to see Flanders didn't get to you." The woman said taking a sip from her transfusion bag, "You know he lives down here?"
"I wouldn't be surprised if he did."
"Heh," the harlot grinned, her fangs glittered in the low light. "You're interesting." She offered Kris the unopened transfusion bag, "It's O negative. Very good."
Kris waved the offer off and turned back to her path, "No thank you—"
"Edna." She finished, "I don't drink human blood." Kris opened the door at the end of the hall and started down the stairs.
Edna pouted after her. "Spoilsport. Heh, oh well. More for me."
Sometime after the sun rose Anderson was pulling into a hotel parking lot. Alucard had taken refuge in the coffin at sunrise, Seras had fished a pair of sunglasses and a black wide brimmed hat out of the glove compartment.
Once parked, everyone filed out, Anderson had to use a bit more pressure to open his door, and Alucard came out as a shadow. They surveyed the damage.
"Lucy did a number on us," Seras said, examining the rear passenger window, she looked up "How's it-"
The look of shock and discomfort on their faces told Seras that the men didn't like what they saw.
She came around to the driver's side. The doors and everything beyond on that side was dented, scratched, and torn. Flecks and smears of black blood smudged the larger tears.
"Holy shit." She gasped.
The men nodded.
"And just think," Anderson commented, "We're not even there yet." He looked to Alucard, "Maybe we should go back and prepare. Call for reinforcements."
"No," the vampire responded, "That's what she wants."
"Then what do we do?" Seras whimpered, "If this is just one of her monsters who knows what she has planned for us when we get there."
"And she already knows we're coming," Anderson added, not taking his eyes from the damage, "She's getting ready."
"All the more reason for us to hurry." Alucard turned his back to them, "We need another mode of transportation."
"We're in the middle of nowhere!" Seras argued, "Where are we-"
Alucard shot her an angry glare, and she was quiet. He moved and pulled his coffin out of the trunk, he slung it across his back the same way Seras had done with Harkonnen over a year ago. Only the coffin didn't have a strap, it just floated there at his back.
Seras watched as her master started off down the road on foot. Anderson turned to follow.
"So we're just going to walk?" she asked, "In the blistering sunlight."
"It's all we can do until we find a new vehicle." Anderson explained over his shoulder, "Like you said, we're in the middle of nowhere."
End chapter 6
Whoo. It's longer than the last one, my god.
And ACTION. I told you, you see I told you there'd be some in here.
Band camp tomorrow! Yeesh.
Review as you see fit.