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Charging directly into an angry vampire's room did not strike Shrowdy as being a suitable course of action. Keeping an ear on the sounds coming from inside the boudoir, he one-handedly unclasped his cape and used one foot to keep the door slightly ajar while he made a bundle out of it.

Inside the boudoir, Mona was keeping her eyes firmly on the door, clutching the toys she intended to use as projectiles. Despite no sign of movement, something in the back of her mind was telling her that Shrowdy was still there. She could not explain what it was; she just knew he was there, just like she knew her name and her birthday.

The door began to open wider and a black mass rushed in a blur through the opening. She immediately swung the doll towards it. It struck true to its aim and the small black bundle landed on the vanity table, knocking down perfume bottles and making the vanity mirror stagger dangerously. At about the same time Mona became aware of the trap, Shrowdy threw the door open and lunged for the left side of the bed. The toy butcher knife narrowly missed him and smashed into the shelf above, breaking one of the urns containing the remains of one of the Baronesses' unfortunate husbands. The ashes began to spread into the entire room, creating a choking dark cloud. Mona edged slightly towards the open balcony door.

"More ammunition!" she coughed before shielding her mouth and her nose with her cape, bloodshot eyes darting across the room in search for the enemy.

With her spare hand, she managed to catch a puzzle box that Froderick had lifted out of the toy chest and threw in her general direction, a move that had cost the bat a few tumbles and a harsh landing in a box of wooden inquisitor figurines. Mona was listening for any sound that could reveal her opponent's position. She was listening so hard that she thought she could almost hear the poor man's ashes set across the room like soot. A few squeaks. A small piece of bone slid from her bed curtain and rolled towards her, stopping duly when it reached her cape. With a horrible realization, she looked up and saw the Baron's enormous head peeking from above the canopy of the bed.

That very moment, the two rats that had secretly been watching the scene hidden behind the vase on top of the drawer thought that the time was right and pulled out two blue caps and notebooks from a nook in the wall.

"It's a beautiful night here in Draxylvania folks, and you're about to witness the most anticipated vampire match of this season: Shrowdy von Kiefer versus Mona "My Love"!"

"Don't leave your rat holes ladies and rodents, because I get the feeling this fight will write the history of our castle!"

"And round one begins! The Baron tries a body slam on Mona, but she's a fast little critter and ducks to the right. Von Kiefer lands in his toy chest! Vampire girl is heading for the vanity table… what is she doing, Paolo?"

"I don't know, Rico, but she's… oh! She got that vase and she's getting ready to throw it! The Baron is stuck in the toy chest, thanks to a tube of Superstickygooeystuff. Mona wastes no time!"

"That's right, there she goes! The vase draws a fine curb in the air and strikes Kiefer straight into the kisser! Mona scores!"

"But wait" continued Paolo, agitating his notebook "the Baron makes an unexpected recovery and whoa! He's already at the vanity table, folks! He's got her by the arm! Will he use brute force to bring his opponent to submission?"

"What's this? No, she's escaped by turning into a bat! She's flying towards this vase, take cover!"

"We'll be back after a short break" announced Paolo and they both dived into the hole in the wall.

Are you tired of your mundane life? Always fearing Pyewacket, scraping for food and going to your home to a pesky wife?

(The scene changes to a small rat being chased by a large, orange dyed one, who tries his best to look as feral as the resident feline. The chased rat tumbles inside his shabby looking rat hole where a chubby she-rat with a worn-out apron begins to squeak at him.)

Fear not, then! We have the answer to all your problems. Take a cruise aboard the Ratohaven, your one way to freedom! We offer a safe trip inside a luxurious wooden boat, breakfast included. Once leaving the castle and reaching Vlad's Landing, you can settle in a nice, warm, cat-free home where you can get all the food you want! Order now!

(The scene changes to the same rat, now snuggling with a slim she-rat wearing a blonde wig, on a clean floor in front of a fire, holding a large piece of cheese in his claws and smiling from ear to ear.)

For more information visit Gilbert in the dungeon.

"We're back, and batgirl has grabbed the vase and is heading towards the Baron again. Will he fall for the same tactic twice? Kiefer covers his head while Mona launches the vase towards him, wait, it passed his head, it's going to crash… holy cheese! Mona's partner Froderick caught the vase-"

"What skill!"

"-and smashed it directly against the doomed Baron's head! The crowd is delirious! The two bats exchange high fives and then batgirl resumes her human form and tries to flee the ring… she's got the doorknob in her grasp…. rats! Shrowdy grabbed her dress, I'm sure that counts as harassment… ouch! The green man slams his opponent against the bedpost, Mona crashes…"

"I think we have a winner, rodents. But wait, Froderick attempts to do a last stand and launches himself directly into the Baron's face, but ah! he swipes him with one blow. He lands in his cage... now that's got to hurt. Look how that cage staggers!"

Paolo climbed down from the drawer using the gilded handles as steps and scuttled over to Mona. He raised his right paw up into the air and counted: one, two three. Then he sighed and declared the Baron the winner of the match. Shrowdy did a little victory dance, then stopped abruptly and threatened to stomp on the rat.

"How dare you spy on me and make a mockery out of my struggle, rat!"

Before he finished his sentence, Paolo had already vanished under the bed. His other companion had bid his audience goodnight and disappeared as well. Shrowdy gathered Mona into his arms and lifted her up. The task was proving to be more difficult that he thought, since Mona was taller than him and he had to be careful not to bump her head against anything and keep from stepping on her hand at the same time. He was one step away from the bed when he heard a small snap. He had stepped on Mona's black cape and the clasp had come undone. He took a few moments to look at the purple puncture wounds on her neck, which still hadn't healed. He remembered how Mona kept touching them obsessively in the first few weeks of her stay at his castle. She had been so worried about them getting infected that he ran to Stoker's place one night and asked that poor woman to make a black cape. Mona was reluctant about the present at first (if by reluctant one understands trying to smother him with it), but one night she descended from her room wearing it, muttering about how she was feeling colder and colder.

Shrowdy let the cap fall and placed the girl rather awkwardly on the bed. He grabbed her cape from the floor and threw it over her. On the other side of the room, Froderick was shaking his head and staggering back and forth in his cage. When his vision cleared up somewhat, he saw two huge eyes glaring at him from behind the bars.

"I know how ugly you are, no need to come this close to prove it" he said.

An instant later, Shrowdy's fist connected with the cage, making the thin bars vibrate. Froderick winced, but maintained some of his composure. The vampire pressed his nose between the bars and spoke:

"Listen here, tick-infested rat. If I hear one, just one teeny tiny little sound coming from you while the men are working, I will come here, I will take Mona and I will throw her out the balcony and into the water. The lake ward will dispose of her."

Froderick was actually taken aback by the Baron's threat. He knew the man adored Mona with slavish devotion and him harming her was something he could not easily imagine.

"Like you'd ever do that."

"There are many more where she came from, of that you can be sure. And she isn't the first - but she soon may make place for yet another one if you don't hold that wretched mouth of yours shut!"

This time, it was something in the Baron's tone that told Froderick it was safer not to argue - or make any sound at all. The vampire turned away from the cage and passed the vanity table, where he collected his cape. He then headed for the door, walking stiffly. He slammed the door shut with such a force that the lids of the urns from the shelves near the bed clattered. The effect of that dramatic exit was marred by the fact that his cape got caught in the door. The bat watched how the black piece of fabric became smaller and smaller as its owner pulled it from the other side of the door. With Shrowdy gone, he looked around the room and became alarmed when he saw the black spot on the covers of the bed. The air in the room felt heavy and left a taste of ashes on his tongue. The cage door was locked, as he had expected. There was nothing left to do but wait. He removed the wooden tip of a soldier's sword from his behind.

I am sorry for taking so long with the updates. The epilogue will be posted soon.