Okay... I will ask you now to not kill me after reading the direction this chapter takes.
And I ask all who read this to give me some feedback. Critique if you will. I be a bit unsure of this chapter. But remember to be nice. Flames are not welcome here and will give me a good giggle. Remember, if you find any typos or grammar errors, please mention them in a private note to me. It is fairly embarrassing to see them right in the reviews.
Thanks in advance~!
Anyways, I am updating from a friend's laptop high up in the appalachian mountains!
No, I'm not camping. I am in a very nice hotel. And I am loving it.
That poor girl had been trembling the whole time. Powerful witch or no, Kaya was certainly not one of those who would confirm the easy lay stereotype of the Witches. But Ace couldn't help but ponder the reasons why such an innocent creature would become so bold. He kept his thumb in his back pocket, pressed against the crumpled sliver of paper Kaya had summoned.
"Ace...?" Sabo stopped as Ace stopped, furry ears lying back as Ace sniffed at the air.
Ace exhaled heavily and slumped against a nearby gargoyle statue. His senses were scrambled. The only thing his could smell was that mortal boy's sweet blood. And that lingering aroma was as strong as ever, making the half-starved vampire crave it even more.
"Is something there?" Sabo's voice trembled. He knew what Ace was looking out for.
Law keepers of Lore.
If those bat-winged beasts even caught scent of Ace or Sabo, it would be far worse than bumping into a territorial New Orleans vampire. They'd pounce, showing little to no sympathy for their cause.
It wasn't that Ace and Sabo were criminals in the mortal sense of murder and thievery—though they'd been guilty of the latter. More like, they were guilty of existing.
In Lore even that could be a crime. More for Sabo than Ace. The reason being that Sabo was an eternal child; brought across at the age of ten out of some eight-tailed kitsune's spite. Ace viewed it as unfair. He knew his little fox-friend's story of how he was just a street urchin trying to steal a little food. He just stole from the wrong table. And yet Lore looked upon him as an abomination, something that should never exist.
Yet Ace had heard tales of the Lykae princess. Supposedly, she was also an eternal child. His guess was that this thou shalt not bring a child across was just another one of those laws where the Vrekeners could be paid off.
But even if Ace and Sabo could pay their way out of that little fumble with this world's rules, they still had one little problem: they had broken one of the Three Unforgivable Laws.
One, never fate one of another race...
Two, never speak of Lore to a mortal you do not intend to bring across.
Then there was number three, never, ever, ever turn on your own kind. Especially your own maker. That happened to be something Ace and Sabo had no choice but to do.
Ace shivered at the thought of what would have happened to him if he had stayed with Teach. He dreaded being that monster's pretty little plaything. Every night for his damned eternity would be worse than Hell itself. Sabo was another story. He wasn't brought across for any reason but his maker's own twisted vision of payback. Any other immortal would have seen killing the small boy more humane than locking his aging mind in the body of a child.
Unfortunately, the Vrekeners were not creatures of reason, like Nymphs or the legendary Seraphae. To them, the crime of turning and running from their own kind was a crime worthy of the death penalty.
Thinking of that, Ace swallowed hard and rubbed his palm over his throat. The only way to kill an immortal was to either behead or burn. Beheading was quicker, but burnings were quite popular in public executions. Neither were very cheery scenarios as they played out in Ace's mind.
No one feared death more than an immortal.
For once an immortal dies, they cease to exist completely. No afterlife. Nothing.
"Are you okay?" asked Sabo.
"Yeah," Ace gave a tired sigh. Still no use in trying to scent anything; all he could smell was that boy. "My senses are useless. Can you smell anything?"
Sabo blinked up at Ace. "Let me see." He sniffed at the air, his look soon becoming puzzled. "I smell..."
The little kitsune's head suddenly whipped around, eyes glowing. He slinked around Ace, nose twitching as he sniffed the air again. The fur on his tail bristled.
Ace arched a brow. "What is it—"
"Shh!" Sabo hissed. He looked as if he was poised to pounce. That could only mean he'd caught the sent of something unwelcomed. His little rear shook right before he lunged at whatever he had found.
When Sabo landed, Ace's sensitive ears picked up the sound of something scrabbling to get away. Did it squeak? Whatever it was, it was moving to the other side of the statue. Casually, Ace moved to cut off its not-so-much-of-an-escape route. He was surprised to find himself looking back into those summer sky-blue eyes.
That same boy that had eavesdropped on their conversation with the Witches quivered on his hands and knees. That nervous smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "Hi...?"
Lightning flickered in Ace's eyes. "You?" On impulse, he snatched the boy up by the collar of his t-shirt and pinned him against the statue. The small cut by the boy's temple was still bleeding. The scent of blood made Ace's stomach cramp. His fangs ached to bite. "You're still here?"
The boy's eyes went wide, and then his glance shifted to the side. "N-no..." he faked innocence, pursing his lips.
Ace gave the boy a brows-drawn look. "But you're right here." A very bad liar.
"Not for long!" The boy's knee shot up, landing a kick right between Ace's legs. Ace coughed, dropping the boy. Once free, the boy scrambled for balance, swooping around the fallen vampire and making a mad dash in one direction.
"Ace!" Sabo shouted, paying no mind to the fact that the vampire had just been dealt a painful blow as he charged for the boy. "Don't let him get away!"
"A moment," Ace gritted out, "please..."
The boy was fast—very fast.
But he wasn't a match to a speedy little kitsune. Ace watched as Sabo ran on all fours, quickly closing the gap between him and the mortal.
Sabo's little claws dug into that old t-shirt as his body slammed into the boy.
Yet... it did nothing.
Sabo hung off the boy like a clingy kitten. And the boy remained on his feet, trying to strain his neck to look at the creature behind him. Ace knew all too well that it was at times like this that Sabo truly wished he was bigger.
"What are you doing?" whined the boy. He whirled around, swatting at his back, attempting to brush the minor annoyance off. "Get off!"
"Cut it out!" Sabo snapped.
"You grabbed me!" the boy snapped back, finally managing to snatch Sabo up by the hood and bringing him to eye-level. His head tilted at the sight of Sabo's tail puffed up and curled. "What... are you?"
Just then Sabo swung his legs up to wrap around the boy's arm and without warning, those little fox fangs sunk into the boy's palm.
"Yow!" The boy shrieked, dropping.
Sabo's backside hit the pavement. "Ace! Any day now!"
"Fine, fine!" Ace rose to his full height, eyeing the pair. He focused, then the distance between them blurred. He phased to where the boy stood, looming over him.
The boy's head snapped up and he sucked his lips in at the sight of the vampire. Ace almost believed that the vibrant blue of the boy's wide eyes was actually glowing. But it couldn't have been. Mortal eyes don't glow.
But Ace's did.
Lightning danced within the storm of his irises.
"I..." The boy couldn't seem to find any words.
Ace had plenty to say. "Why are you following us?"
"I'm following you!" Blunt.
Not the answer he was looking for. "That doesn't make it any better!" Ace pinched his forehead, feeling a headache coming on. "You shouldn't..." he paused, unable to stop from wrapping an arm around himself when another wave of hunger pains razored through him. He couldn't take that smell. Don't give in. "You shouldn't..."
"Ace," there was a familiar tension in Sabo's voice.
"A-are..."—the boy swallowed nervously, but there was an odd hint of concern in his tone—"Are you okay...?"
Ace inhaled deeply, closing his eyes as he took in that sweet scent again. His thoughts were becoming scrambled. He began to sweat, knowing that he'd gone without drinking for too long.
He opened his eyes, his vision somewhat hazed by a reddish tint. "You should be worried about yourself." Ace's voice seemed to have changed, becoming rough.
Sabo's ears flattened out to the sides, but his lifted his chin, nodding in agreement. "He spied on us, Ace." He stood beside the vampire. "Who knows what he could have heard."
"I didn't hear anything!" the boy cried. "I promise! Okay? I won't tell!"
"Shut up..." Ace rasped.
Sabo folded his arms over his chest. "No matter what he says, we can't trust him."
"He knows too much."
The boy shook his head.
"So what do we do?" asked Sabo.
"There's no choice," the hunger spoke for him. The storm that made Ace's irises sparked once more. "We have to kill him."
"Wait!" Those blue eyes flashed wide. "What?"
Sabo stepped back, amber eyes glowing. "Agreed..."
"Are you crazy—"
The boy's words died in his throat as Ace pushed him into the stone wall of a nearby mausoleum. He looked up, somewhat dazed by Ace's speed and the impact his back made with the masonry.
"P-please!" The boy cried. "Don't! I don't want to die!"
Sabo squinted at the boy's pleading. "Should have thought about that before..."
"I didn't know you guys were freaking crazy!" the boy struggled under Ace's grasp. "Help!" he screamed. "Usopp! Anyone! Help me! Help!"
"Ace!" Sabo hissed. "Keep him quiet!"
Ace roughly clapped his hand over the boy's mouth, black claws biting into the boy's cheek. His heard tilted sharply as he gazed down at his soon-to-be victim. He wasn't a person, now. Only prey. Ace had to keep telling himself that. Fear mixed in with that sweet innocence of that summer-sky blue as the vampire leaned forward. The boy let out a pathetic whimper as he felt Ace's breath on his ear.
"I'm sorry," Ace rasped. He swallowed hard, hesitating before he flicked his tongue out. He might not have found blood very appetizing, but his body craved it to no end. With one long, slow lap, he sampled the blood that dribbled down the side of the boy's face. He was shuddering, hands moving to grasp at the boy's shoulders. The sweetness, like pure honey, overpowered the tang of salt from the boy's sweat.
The boy was trembling. Scared into silence, for now. He tried jerking away, but the vampire held him in place. Ace knew what he was feeling.
The inability to break away from the twisted seduction of the Vampyre.
Make it quick, Ace told himself as his head dropped lower, lips parting at the boy's neck. Though he doubted that his nature would allow that...
How long had it been since he actually took a victim? Not counting the disgusting corpses Teach and his followers force-fed him during his time as their prisoner, Marco had been his first. And he had not finished with him.
Sabo had been his donor since the moment they met in that London back alley, not too long after Ace had fled from France. However, immortal blood was not very satisfying.
So this... would be his first in over two hundred years.
"St-stop..." That pathetic plea made Ace tense. Those memories flooded back as he felt the boy's palms on his chest.
Could he really go through with it?
"Ace, do it!" Sabo urged him on. Though the little kitsune couldn't bring himself to look. His hat was pulled over his eyes. With all their desire to be human again, neither could ever bring themselves to kill.
But this was necessary, right?
Ace arched his fangs, letting the hunger take over as they plunged into the boy's flesh.
The boy's mouth opened wide in a familiar silent scream. His hands fisted at the fabric of Ace's shirt. His knees gave way. But Ace held him up, pulling the boy's body close to his own.
Ace felt... warm. His immortal heart kept pace with the boy's, quickening and then slowing. He drank deep, feeling his normally stiff body becoming lithe, returning to the life it once had before his mortal death.
Then, a strange thought. Mine...
As if waking in a rush, Ace suddenly withdrew his fangs and pulled back from the boy. He kept a firm hold of his shoulders, unsure of just how much he had drained from him.
Ace's head was reeling, as if he'd been drugged. Oddly, his pants felt a little tighter. He was... aroused?
His eyelids heavy, the boy let out a weak moan—
Something small and hard bounced off the nape of Ace's neck. Surprised, Ace took one hand off the boy to touch the spot where he'd been hit. His head snapped in the direction the assault came from, eyes glowing white.
There was another boy standing further down the path; the other boy's friend. This one had a slightly darker complexion and his nose was... long.
"Luffy...?" Ace murmured.
The boy—Luffy—slumped back, the wall of the mausoleum barely able to hold him up. He slid down into a sitting-position. "Usopp..."
That long-nosed boy's knees were knocking together. Yet, he was somehow able to aim a slingshot at the vampire. "B-ba-back off!"
"Another one?" Sabo backed into the shadows, his furry tail turning into a golden dust and vanishing. His ears changed, becoming more like a mortal's. This wasn't something he liked to do. He found it more comfortable to stay in his true form. But this was a defense from the eyes of a crowd of mortals. Two could be considered a crowd.
That slingshot kept its aim, though Usopp's entire body was visibly trembling. "I mean it!"
"Usopp!" the boy cried, keeping his palm over the still-bleeding bite. "Help me!"
"Working on it, Lu!"
Ace arched a brow. A strange confidence—one he used to have in his mortal years—bubbled up within him as he casually stepped in front of Luffy. He faced Usopp, his eyes still glowing a shocking white.
"You should be careful when picking your fights," Ace said, his thick French accent adding a sort of menace to his voice. He felt loose, warm. The taste of that sweet blood still lingered on his tongue. He smiled, lips drawing back from his fangs. He flexed his claws.
He was feeling good.
"N-no! You should!" Not a very good comeback. Usopp seemed to struggle with himself as he held his ground. He wanted to run. "I called the cops, asshole!"
Ace glanced at Sabo, they both laughed.
Usopp frowned. "I'm serious!"
Sabo snorted. "You think we're worried about something like that?"
Luffy pointed at Ace, screaming. "He's a vampire, Usopp!" That made Ace's eyes flicker back to gray. The last thing he and Sabo needed was another unforgivable law broken. "He's a real freaking vampire!"
"Tell me you're kidding!" Usopp snapped.
"Both of you shut up!" Sabo dashed for the long-nosed boy, leaping and head butting him in the gut. Once Usopp doubled over, the little kitsune managed to sweep a kick under him, sending the much taller mortal flopping right onto his back. Pathetically easy. Sabo then drew a dagger that had been tucked into his boot for just such an occasion when he had an enemy as his level. He sat on Usopp's chest and held the blade to his throat.
"Usopp!" Luffy tried to push himself to his feet, but he didn't have the coordination to even get up on his knees.
Snatching Luffy up by the collar of his shirt again, Ace brought him up to eye-level. "Get it now?" he drawled. The boy thrashed helplessly in his grip. Yet, Ace felt no sympathy. Nature had taken over. He was a vampire. "You're in way over your heads!"
"—We should say the same for you," said a voice from above.
Instinct forced Ace to shove Luffy behind him as he whirled around. Lightning flashed in his eyes as he gazed up. Three forms stood atop the crypt, their gleaming, blood-red eyes staring down at him.