THIS BABY IS FINISHED! Woooo! *rips of clothes and does happy dance around room* I've never finished a story in my whole existence, but here it is right now! A finished fic! Happy me! Despite how long I've been working on this thing (it's been years though I didn't decide to put it up until recently), I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. Even though Dracula's castle is nothing like it was described in the novel Dracula, for some reason I always thought that Dracula's castle would be very beautiful and full of ancient treasures. Either that, or the castle is an illusion and you only see what you expect. I hope this chapter makes you as happy and satisfied as it makes me.
The old disclaimer still stands. I do not own VHD.
With a spray of slush and snow in the wake of the spinning rear wheels, Amelia slammed on the brakes in a jolted stop ten feet from Bran Castle. Running up the steps to the front door, she paused with her hand on the handle. The black double doors were enormous; reaching a height of roughly ten feet. The door that owned the handle she had reached towards was held slightly ajar, allowing a sliver of the castle's interior show through. Amelia extended her hand forward, fingers extended to their maximum as they cautiously approached the door. The great door swung inward with a feather light touch of her finger. Perplexed as to how such a large and thick wooden door could possibly be moved with such little pressure, Amelia put a cautious foot inside. Even though it was winter and a cover of snow blanketed the hill on which the ancient structure sat, a chilly gust met her body upon her entry. The chill was drafty, one could even describe it as musty. It wasn't so much the chill that made her shiver, for she was already numb with cold from the freezing Transylvanian winter, but the disturbing aurora that came with it that assailed her body, causing shivers to rush down her spine and her very blood to freeze. Half of her natural instincts, her human ones she presumed, told her to turn back, flee, run for her very life, while the other half told her that there was nothing to fear. Which impulse should she listen too? Obeying her vampric instincts, but not completely forgetting her human senses which desperately tried to warn her of danger, she preceded to enter the threshold of the castle. The heavy doors groaned as they slammed shut behind her. Warning signs sounded off in her head, pleading her to acknowledge the danger she sensed, but Amelia paid them no heed as she continued on through the desolate castle.
The room that was revealed before her upon her entry was an immense, cavernous hall. Towards the back sat a great throne-like chair set against the backdrop of an enormous winding stone staircase that lead to who knew how many floors and rooms. Amelia tilted her head back to observe the ceiling. Her mouth fell agape in awe. A giant crystal chandelier hung from the center of it. It was the biggest, most impressive light fixture she'd ever seen. There must have been over one thousand candles hidden throughout it's gold frame. Crystals dripped like icicles, some extending down several feet. Wow… she thought. It was the only word she could possibly use to describe the antique chandelier's unmatched beauty. Finally ungluing her wide eyes from the spectacle, her gaze flickered to the floor as she began to move forward, and once again she halted and found her eyes fixed to yet another architectural masterpiece. The whole floor of the hall was a mosaic. Though the paint was faded and the art was all but rubbed from the stones in some places, the floor's charm was not lost to the young Damphir girl. Mimicking the stained glass windows of Cathedrals, the stone floor was painted to depict beautiful angels with their powder white wings and harps confronting hordes of demons and evil entities of all sorts, all of which were horrendous and ugly in appearance. The graphic medieval battle scene was bordered with inscriptions writing in an ancient tongue and it's dark violence was toned down with other magnificent depictions.
Amelia continued on, taking her time to observe everything. This castle was an archeologist's dream; filled with the finest works of all ages, it was truly a wonder to behold. She had completely forgotten about the approaching bombers and the fact that D was in possible danger in the very same building. Her fingers brushed the magnificent stained glass windows, caressed the delicate vases made of gold, clay, silver, and copper, and fingered the large tapestries that hung on nearly every wall. Though the door to every room was locked from the inside, she was not discouraged in the slightest. The hallways alone were enough to keep her occupied for a lifetime, and they probably would if the bombing raids hadn't arrived. But arrive they did. Pausing at a particularly gorgeous golden vase that's handle had been worked to the shape of an eagle head, Amelia lifted the priceless object off of its stool. She examined its craftsmanship, tracing every line and curve with her index finger. She was utterly absorbed when a thunderous boom sounded, startling her. Though the blast was relatively far away, the sound wave had managed to travel the distance of hundreds of miles and still was loud enough to cause Amelia to drop the antique vase in surprise. The vase clattered against the floor. Then, the shock wave hit. As Amelia hurriedly bent to gather the vase from the floor, every window in the hall had shattered, glass exploding inward from the force of the blast. Amelia looked out the window at the vast expanse of forest. On the horizon, a wave of heat was catching the trees on fire faster than the speed of sound. Possessing great speed of her own, Amelia took off down the hallway at twice the speed of sound, avoiding the deadly radiation blast by taking cover behind an unlocked door and pressing herself against the invincible stone wall. She sighed with relief. Her legs gave out and she slid slowly down the wall to the floor.
"Man, that was close…" She panted, closing her eyes.
Indeed it was, my dear. A deep, low voice echoed in her head. The voice sounded familiar, though she knew she had never met its owner. With a sharp gasp, her green eyes snapped open and she jumped to her feet instantaneously.
"Who's there?!' She asked, franticly searching the room with her eyes.
There was a low chuckle from nowhere in particular. The sound reverberated around the room, seeming to come from every direction. It echoed throughout the room and in her mind. Amelia continued to sweep the room with her eyes, moving away from the wall to search the room in confusion for the hidden being. She could find no one.
"Who are you?" She asked, though she was stricken with fear, her voice betrayed nothing. Although I've never met him before, he sounds so familiar…wait a minute…that's impossible.
The laughter came again. No, The voice's amused voice echoed in her head while the laughter continued on in the room. It was a very disorienting and maddening experience. Unable to endure anymore, Amelia's senses went into overload. Groaning, she clutched the sides of her head. She was driven to her knees, Improbable maybe but certainly not impossible. My son is but a child at the moment though I sense a strong presence much like it. It is him. I know it. He's here not as a boy but as a grown man…and quite powerful at that. Triumphant laughter danced around the room. My experiment! My one success! How delightful…
"W-what do you mean my experiment?"
The voice did not answer her question, but continued on with its own musings. You're another half-breed, hm? And not of my own creation. Ah, you must be Marcus's daughter. How delightful. Your father and I were quite close, you know. It's a shame about your mother, though it's typical for the human mother to die upon giving birth to a half-breed. The voice chuckled again. It really does seem that we are the superior race…
"D-Dracula!" Amelia stuttered, taking a step back upon realizing the speaker's identity. Though, moving backwards didn't do her any good for the owner of the voice seemed to be everywhere at once.
Yes…that is my name. Though I would much prefer it if a lowly teenage half-breed such as you called me Count- Another blast shook the castle. Bits of ceiling began to crumble and rain down upon Amelia and books and vases slid off their shelves, creating a deafening din.
"Where are you?!" She shouted above the clamor.
You don't need to shout. Even a whisper will suffice...or you don't even need to talk at all. Simply reach out with your mind. Telepathic communication should be easy for you. My son is mastering that very technique and he's only eight years old. Such a talented little boy…I just knew he'd grow up to do extraordinary things…though his eventual profession is one that I rather dislike. But I suppose that can't be helped.
"What? Wait a minute, how do you know that D's a-?"
The Count's voice interrupted her, echoing in her head and cutting off her capability to speak. I know a great many things. I see him now. The determined punk has broken into the catacombs from a secret entrance. He's here now bellow the castle if you wish to know.
Though Amelia didn't speak, the vampire king sensed her confusion.
It is daylight so unfortunately I cannot appear to you in person, but luckily I have the gift of being in multiple places at once. It was another physiological development of mine. The voice held a smug pride in it. Come to me my child for I wish to see you in person.
Amelia opened her mouth to ask the legendary vampire how on earth she was going to find him in the enormous castle when he spoke again. Your senses will tell you were to go. Let your human limitations leave your body…
Amelia closed her eyes and slowly rose to her feet. She could feel a familiar hunger pulling at her insides. Raising a pale wrist to her lips, her own elongated fangs sank into her own flesh.
Down in the Labyrinth bellow the castle, the force of the atomic blast caused the whole foundation to shake. Ancient stones rained down upon the Hunter from the ceiling. D ducked and dodged the crumbling ceiling, which had endured the strain of supporting hundreds of tons of stone castle for a thousand years. A single staircase ascended up to the castle above. Without hesitation, D turned into a streak of black, flying up the stone steps with unnatural speed to escape the falling rubble bellow.
He was in a room. The floor, walls, and ceiling were made of polished white marble and the hundreds of pillars that connected floor to ceiling all held D's dark reflection. A flicker of emotion gleamed dimly in D's dark eyes; nostalgia.
"You're memory of this room in particular is especially strong…" his left hand said aloud. "That is most interesting. I wonder why this room holds such meaning for you..."
Though he could wonder until the end of time, even D's left hand would probably never know what tied D to this room. The Hunter was a master of his emotions and thoughts. Even a being that was connected to him physically only knew what D allowed it to know. Just then, a dark, deep voice much like his own flooded D's mind. The being that spoke was nowhere in sight.
So my son has returned to me as a grown man. How interesting. I've always wondered what awaits you in your future years. It seems I am privileged to find out earlier than I expected…
Amelia's eyes glowed red as a new strength enveloped her. She sensed a door hidden behind a wooden bookcase across the room. It wasn't with her sense of smell, sight, or hearing that she noticed the door. It was simply a feeling that couldn't be described nor compared to any other feeling she'd ever had. She just simply sensed it. Moving the bookcase aside with ease, Amelia crawled through the door.
A sort of crawl space lay behind it. She crawled along its dark interior with an unseen sort of drive as if she was being pulled by an invisible thread. After crawling for quite some time – Amelia couldn't tell how long – she began to hear voices ahead. Upon crawling another hundred feet she came to a wrought iron grate. On the other side of the grate lay an enormous room, if one could call it that. The place was an immense cavern bellow ground that stretched along the width of the entire castle. Stalagmites and stalactites hung from the ceiling and floor in a fashion that brought to mind the special effects of a B-rate horror film. The voice of Dracula chuckled inside her head once more.
Just punch out the grate. It said. It sounded as if he was holding back laughter. Come on, go ahead. It should be an easy task for someone like yourself.
Amelia did just as the voice had said and upon crawling out of the cramped tunnel space, she found herself standing before a crowd of vampires. Men and woman alike, and even a few children made up the huge pack that much have been a thousand strong. Amelia noted their white skin, pale as death, and their bright crimson eyes. Every eye was on her, every figure frozen like deadly, beautiful statues. A tall, dark form draped in black stood at the front of the enormous army.
Come my child. The voice of the vampire king commanded.
As if being pulled by an invisible thread, Amelia slowly advanced towards the infamous Count Dracula and his followers with silent, zombie-like steps.
"It's been awhile." D answered the voice of his father stiffly. "I came here to find a way back to my appropriate time, as I'm sure you're already aware."
Yes, yes, I am aware. The voice said, then it laughed. It's funny that you would choose to come here of all places on this human-ridden planet to seek assistance. I'm not even sure if I should oblige…any assistance from me will surely cost you.
"How?" Though it seemed like D should be worried – after all he was being threatened by the one being that would wield absolute power over the whole planet in a tyrannical reign that would last several millennia – his beautiful face remained as placid and empty as ever. His voice was no exception either.
It seems you are in acquaintance with the half-breed daughter of Marcus Valentine, which is a fact I find most interesting. As you must be well aware, your younger self at present refuses his rightful place at his father's side as a part of the vampire's master race. I am willing to make a trade…
D's reply was a cold remark of the highest cruelty. "Amelia is of no value to me."
Ouch. The vampire king replied. Have you no regard for lives other than your own? Even I'm not that cold hearted…my son, what have you become?
"A Vampire Hunter." And with that, D took off, leaping twenty feet in the air. His gleaming blade nearly touched the white marble ceiling as he descended downward, slashing at the air. There was a cry of pain and a tall, black form appeared a hundred feet away from the deadly Hunter.
You know my tricks well, D, though I suppose that is to be expected. Your skills are great as well, though again I am not surprised. Come at me then Hunter. How great is your strength? Try this!
A great ball of blazing energy flew at the Hunter. Invisible with speed, D dogged the energy ball and extended his left hand in a counter attack. A storm of rough wooden needles assailed the vampire king from D's left hand. Each and every one was burned to charred black dust for around the lord of the Undead, a ring of white fire blazed. Dracula was unaffected by the light and heat for the fire was chemically induced. With a sweep of his great black cloak, the white hot fire was extinguished. D leapt from the floor and slashed at his father. Easily deflecting blow after blow, the vampire laughed hysterically.
How delightful! We're evenly matched! Ah, splendid!
The vampire withdrew a hand from his cape. Covered in a thick liquid metal, the material could cut through marble. D recalled seeing the weapon on another Noble's hand on a previous job long ago. Naturally it was one of his father's developments. With a single swipe, he deflected D's blade and plunged his hand into his son's gut. Able to twist slightly to avoid his vital organs from being pierced, the hand only cut through his lower ribs and kidney. D gritted his teeth and, covering his injured right side with his left hand, he stabbed with his right. Just then, an ear splitting screech rang out as yet another atomic bomb exploded, this time it was within yards of the ancient castle. The force of the explosion collapsed the castle entirely. The ceiling caved in upon the dueling father and son and the magnificent marble room was destroyed. Covering his face with his long coat, D crouched, shielding himself from the falling rubble. A blazing wave of five thousand degrease hit the two and in the middle of the destruction, there was a ripping sound as a black hole appeared in the air. It was a rip in the dimension caused by the nuclear blast combined with the sheer power of the Sacred Ancestor. With all the strength he could muster, D leapt into the fast closing hole as the vampire king and his ten thousand undead followers were buried in the rubble. As D vanished from the present world, he heard Dracula shout after him.
Though I am only a thousand years now and am young, when we next meet I will be unmatched in power!
Down bellow in the cavern, Amelia escaped her trance as soon as Dracula was buried under the rubble. Fighting the hands of thousands of vampires, she fled from them and the castle for forever. Above ground, the radiation and heat did not bother her preternatural skin. She saw D in the distance as he leapt into the air and mysteriously vanished without a trace as if he was swallowed by some unseen hole.
So, he made it back… She thought. She felt a presence beside her and turned around to find a small pale-faced boy looking up at her with large, brilliantly blue eyes. The child's clothes were tattered and dirty. His dress was odd, looking like clothes you would find in an eighteenth century novel. His black hair was long and thick. Realizing the identity of the child, Amelia smiled.
"You must be D." She said softly. The child nodded, backing away from her. Distrust colored his innocent eyes.
"Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you." Amelia crouched down to his height and held out her hand. "My name is Amelia. I...I hope we run into each other again someday."
The boy did not reply to her, nor did he take her hand. He simply stood staring at her as if she were a monster. Still smiling kindly, Amelia stood. "It's going to be a rough road ahead." She said, looking out over the burnt trees and the former village of Bran which now lay in ruin, riddled with burnt corpses. "Stay strong, kiddo." Amelia left the abandoned child, knowing that if it truly was D, he'd get along better by himself.
Thousands of miles away, across the ocean, a small group of twenty slowly emerged from a concrete structure bellow ground. Looking out over the ravaged land, the leader of the group motioned for the rest of the survivors to follow. They were the only living being around for miles.
Much like before, the world that lay behind the dimensional rip was black, sightless, smell-less and soundless. D fell, or rather traveled quickly though the empty space; it was impossible to tell which direction he was drifting. He could have been falling upwards for all he could tell. There was a bright, blinding flash of white and the next instant, D opened his eyes to a dark blue sky. He could see the green tops of trees in his peripheral vision, but not their trunks and the blue sky stretched on forever in front of him. He was lying on his back. Springing to his feet, D examined his surroundings.
He was back where he belonged, the year 12090, but the setting was slightly different than when he'd left it. For one, the oncoming light of day erased the stars and moon and tinted the sky a dark blue. The castle ruins had crumbled to dust and lay scattered around the remains of the once beautiful courtyard in which he had been dueling Luna Lukami, the vampire Countess. His dark eyes scanned the ruins, searching for the Noblewoman. He found her soon enough. Her body lay crumpled and broken on the withered ground. There was a fist-sized hole in the left side of her chest where her immortal heart had once beet. Fresh blood surrounded her corpse in a crimson pool.
"Looks like someone did the job for us." A hoarse voice observed. There was the sound of whistling air as the possessed appendage inhaled a deep breath of the early morning air. "Ahh! It sure feels good to be back! What an adventure!"
D made no comment as he slowly approached the vampire's corpse. Kneeling beside the bloody cadaver, D withdrew a black silk sack from the Countess's snow white gown. He emptied its contents into his black gloved hand. One million gold coins.
"I guess this was your payment." His left hand said. "I'm surprised whoever killed her didn't take it first…"
D secured the sack inside his black coat and stood, turned on his heal, and left the destroyed castle behind.
Outside the ruins, the morning sun had fully risen, illuminating the sky with bright blue light. The form of D's cyborg horse was exactly where he had left it – tethered to a large tree on the forest's edge. Approaching the cybernetic steed, D noticed something different. There was another figure astride D's horse. D's stride quickened slightly and as he walked, his right hand reached for the long sword on his back, prepared to fight to the death with another foe. Ten feet away, the identity of the stranger became clear. D lowered his arm from the hilt of his weapon and came to a stop in front of the beautiful woman astride his horse.
"Surprised?" An all-too familiar voice greeted him, though her voice no longer held the innocent cheerfulness he had expected from it. It was Amelia, though she looked much different now. In place of her modest school uniform and jeans, she wore tight-fitting black pants and knee high boots. A large holster hung from a gun belt around her hips bearing an enormous revolver-like weapon. The collar scooped low on her white shirt and a black girdle was cinched tight around her slender waist. The long baggy sleeves were rolled up, exposing her pale forearms and her long black hair was done up in a sloppy braid that hung down her back. Her face had changed somewhat as well; the lines of her mouth were tighter and sterner and her brilliant green eyes had lost their light; their depth and emptiness matched D's exactly. The two Hunters stared at each other, unmoving. Neither one spoke for a long while.
"You were right you know." Amelia said finally, her tone melancholy. "Everything you said would happen happened. I was there that day...at his castle. I haven't forgotten, you know."
D nodded. His sad eyes mirrored hers as he reflected on that very day which he had experienced as a small child and then again a second time not two hours previous. "Yes, I know."
"How long has it been?" the Huntress's lips turned up into a small smile. " About 10,100 years?"
D's normally unchanging mouth turned to a rare grimace. "Give or take."
A second long silence descended upon the pair of half-breeds - both Hunters. Though when they had first met when she was only a child they had seemed so different, they now seemed so alike. The morning was well underway and hidden birds sang away in the trees. Amelia made no move to dismount from D's horse.
"If you don't mind, I should go." D said finally. His voice was soft and quiet.
The Huntress nodded. "My horse was torn to bits by a lesser dragon." She said. "If it doesn't inconvenience you too much, I would appreciate a ride to the next town. There's one not far from here."
"Very well," D replied, "Move over then."
Amelia slid herself to the back of the saddle and D mounted in front of her. In response to the click of his master's tongue, the cyborg horse broke into a trot down the shady dark road leading away from the sunbathed ruins. The corpse of the Noblewoman crumbled to dust under the sun's bright rays, scattered away into the forest by the slight breeze.
Man...I cant believe it's finally over. I had said that I was going to post an extra chapter for this fic, but after writing a near complete draft I decided against it. Writing romance just really isn't my thing....especially with VHD. I always feel like I'm degrading the author's characters and I respect D's character way too much for that. Plus, I'm sure none of you want to see my sex fail.
Well, I have finally come to the end of this long fanfic.
I hope you enjoyed it!