The Stellenium Era

A Blue Planet Alone in the Deep of Space

...Two Years Later

- Acuna In Flames -

"What the hell!"

When he first heard it, he hadn't taken it seriously. Who would have the balls to do it? No vampire, that was for sure. Not with the guild so close. Yet when he arrived, it was even worse than he had been told. The city of Acuna, which had grown in the past two years due to the presence of two great hunters, was swallowed in flames that spanned the city, consuming buildings and sending pitch black smoke spiraling into the sky. As foundations burnt away, buildings collapsed, crushing whoever was unfortunate to be trapped within the flames, or just be nearby, even showing how ill the fortune of some where by having portions of the building collapse off, crushing escapees just as they made it away from the building, charring their corpses and filling the air with smell of melted flesh, burned away by the incredible heat, leaving bones charred black and so brittle they could break into ash at the slightest breeze. It was a sight that even filled the one-eyed hunter's heart with terror as he passed over the city obscured in smoke and flame, peering through the glass of the black armored Casket Roket, Laplace, as it flew over the city in search of a place to land- but he was beginning to think he didn't have that option.

Even if he couldn't see it... the dark matter in his body now was reacting more powerfully than it ever had in his life. It was making his head spin... if it continued like this, would Nero even be able to supress his vampiric powers? He quickly shook it off, and glanced out the window again. If this was any indication of anything, it meant that right now, there were a lot of undead... no, Vampires, down there at this moment! Flooding the city, sinking their fangs into anything that moved... what surprised him even more was how many there were, enough to cause this reaction. Where one would get such an army of vampires was beyond him, he had barely seen three together in one place as it is, as Vampires weren't exactly pack creatures, beyond the former Dark Tribe as an exception... who ever was leading this operation had some serious connections. If he was going to save this city, he was going to have to split that man's head open.

"Damnit, kid! You were supposed to have it covered!" Lucian hissed as he slammed his fist against the Laplace's control panel, the Casket Rocket automatically switching into autopilot as the glass of the cockpit shot open and peeled back, assaulting Lucian with smoke and wind- but it didn't bother him at all. He stood up, planting one armored boot against the edge of the cockpit, and ran his hand through his violet hair, brushing it back, off of his eyepatch covered eye. He then thrust his hand out, seizing the hilt of his familiar black blade, steam hissing from within the blade as it's zigzagging blade split open into two portions- and the eye upon it's hilt shot open, the blade becoming edged with darkness as he swung the blade up to his shouder, throwing his other hand back and planting it against the flat of the blade.

"You coming, Nero?" The one-eyed hunter then asked, a black ball of fluff suddenly emerging from within his coat, billowing in the wind, his black and red-trimmed armor also humming with the same dark energy that coated his sword. The black ball of fuzz uncurled, and took on it's familiar shape, as a cat with crimson wings rising from it's back, and a x-shaped scar crossing it's forehead, it's white-tipped tail wagging heavily.

"Of course. what would you do without me?" The Terrennial of Darkness laughed as he then floated up to Lucian's shoulder, the swordsman pulling his free hand from his sword to scratch the floating elemental in the shape of a cat behind the ear for just a moment, sneering to himself before fastening the sword to the hooks on the back of his jacket, made just for the sword, and with his arms spread, leaping from the cockpit of the casket rocket, into the sea of smoke and flame below, bracing himself for impact, because he knew this landing was going to be heavy!

"Oh? It seems our first guest of honor has arrived." Said a hooded man in gray as he sat back, atop the statue of a gargoyle at the highest building in the city, not minding if the city burned around him. His legs crossed, he sat with his chin in his hand and his elbow on his thigh, seeming entirely unamused with the spectacle... until that man appeared, flying through the clouds of smoke blotting out the sky. Yes, that was the man he was waiting for! Grinning, he uncrossed his legs and swiftly rose to his feet, tugging on the fur-lined collars of his sleeves and throwing back the hood of his jacket as well, his snow-white hair, with a single streak of black running through it's center being unleashed as he exposed himself, this pale, blue skinned man smirking, exposing long rows of fangs for teeth in his pride, then spreading his arms into the open, the flames behind him suddenly casting a great shadow onto the city below, spreading down the surface of the building, and crawling over the building city, and into it, he cried.

"Now, my followers! Your true meal has arrived! Go, and feast upon the one who has slain so many of your brethren! Throw yourselves at him until he wastes every last breath, and has no more energy to fight with! Then feast upon him, and exact your revenge! Yes, Go To Him!" And with these words, within his shadow rose countless eyes and shadowed forms, growling as they bared their fangs and lunged through the streets en masse, eager to do as their master bid, with hunger churning in their throats and stomachs... but as that shadow returned to it's master, he laughed, sneering as a glow came into his violet eyes, the man raising a gloved hand to wind his finger around the black streak of hair.

"Yes... go and waste yourselves upon him, you expendable garbage... you shall never be able to defeat him. Hel have mercy on your souls for abandoning New Culiacan at the Duke's defeat. You have no reason to continue living... I shall be the one who deals death to the vampire hunter."

"Gahh... Shit! That hurt!" Lucian hissed as he rolled onto his side, and using his sword as a crutch, pushed himself onto his feet, forcing heavy blocks of wood off his body that had fallen onto him upon impact with the ground, smashing through the roof of a burning building on entry, and smashing through the two floors below, crashing against the bottom floor with the debris right after him. However, now freed... he didn't seem to concerned by the flames, instead looking for the entrance, which he found before long, covered in flames. The entire wall was in flames! At the same time, however, within the building, near that wall... were a young brown-haired girl and her mother, coated in dark ash, frantic to get out, huddling near the ground so they wouldn't breath in as much smoke, staring at him with incredible surprise. Seeing this, Lucian clicked his tongue, and with a hiss, approached the flame covered door, giving a short yell as he thrust out a leg and smashed his heel through the burning door with ease, a breeze passing through and calming the flames as the door collapsed away, and he stepped back, pointing to the outside. "Get the hell out of here!"

They seemed eager to do what they were told, the mother clinging to her daughter protectively as they rushed through the burning doorway with Lucian right after, the two girls rushing into the crowd of people running down the broken streets in a hurry to escape, Lucian instead looking in the opposite direction, from where they were running, still hearing screams.

A man screamed at the top of his lungs as even after body after body fell, bursting into ash, new azure-skinned forms were there to replace them with crimson eyes glowing and fangs gleaming in the orange light of the flame, finding his proud yell of defiance withering into a quiet noise as the last energy in his bayonet armed solar gun, with a K for 'Knight', a common model, imprinted in it's side, withered up and the light flowing through the slots in the handgun faded, the weapon folding in on itself. He was doomed now. He knew this, and shuddered with terror, unable to even scream as those armies of fangs came raining upon him.

So someone else did the yelling for him, roaring as his weapon swept through the necks and heads of the airborne dead, and the rest of their bodies burst into ash, his dark blade humming as it drew in the dark energy from their bodies, swinging the sword down to his side as he spun to turn around and face the Guildsman, who could easily be recognized by two things- his uniform, padded with black and blue fabric, in a style the guildsmen were notable for, and with them, the green solar goggles over his eyes, resembling large bugs eyes the way they covered large portions of the wearers face. The blond guild gunslinger finally felt his voice returning as his legs collapsed from underneath him and he fell right onto his ass. Who wouldn't? He was staring the famed Dark Swordsman, who slew the Duke Dumas, right in the face!

"Guildsman! Where are your comrades!" As lucian snapped at him, the boy's focus quickly returned, and he sprung back up to his feet, saluting.

"Evacuating other parts of the city, sir! The scientist Sheridan has sent a rescue party of his androids to pick up the survivors, and our Leaders are still deeper in the city, investigating the source while helping with the evacuation! This corner of the city has already been evacuated!"

"Has it? That makes my life easier." Lucian laughed, a small grin creeping onto his face, "Then get the hell out of here. You need to help them get to the rescue, don't you?" He then waved the boy off, turning on heel, "I can take the rest from here."

"Oh, and sir!"

"Hm?" Lucian glanced back over his shouder, seeing that the boy was no longer saluting, but he was grinning happily, as if some of his lost hope had returned.

"Your partner will be here soon!"

"... Tch! The damn kid should of been here already!" Lucian said, spinning forward again, quickly losing his smile, "What a time to slack off, brat!" And with that, he broke off into a sprint, and beyond that, vanished from sight as his body gained a violet glow, becoming a blur as it zipped down the street, like a bolt of lightning.

With Lucian gone, the golden-haired guildsman sighed a heavy breath of relief, finally allowing some slack into his shoulders, and smiling. Just seeing that man made him feel like fighting all over again, and with a smirk, he spun on heel, running back to follow the survivors out of the city, where Sheridan and his androids would be waiting for them.

"At least he put the survivors from the Vambery to good use!" Lucian remarked as he dashed through the city, the violet glow encasing his body, gifting him with speed beyond any human, only fading for seconds at a time when he would stop to glance around, returning once he was moving again- the buildings that were still standing had been gutted by flames, but were extinguished now, and there were no signs of life.. or unlife. He expected at least a few vampires to be leaping out at him by now, but for a good few minutes. Had the guild already evacuated as well?

The only time he took a full moment to pause was when he saw a body, his boots kicking up sparks as he skidded to a stop, just a few yards away from the charred corpse of a child in the street. Just looking at him made him sick... the vampires probably dragged him out to feast on him before all of him burned up and he became worthless. The sight of it made him grit his teeth... until hairs on the back of his neck began to stand, and that sensation came pounding into his chest once more. The rising sensation of dark matter... and vampires.

He could hear rustling and movement nearby... the body wasn't for a meal. It was to draw him out. They were trying to use this position tactically. "Oh please." He laughed, beginning to turn, snapping his head around to peer into the nearest window, watching crimson eyes duck into the shadows. "You aren't clever."

Then, the corpse lunged at him, Lucian roaring angrily as the small vampire boy's eyes lit up, and he sprung from his position, slamming shoulder long into the hunter and throwing his arms around him, stretching his neck and sinking his teeth into the man's armor desperately to try to bite him- and with glass and wood shattering around them, as Lucian fell, the other Vampires came bursting out of the buildings, intent on catching him as he was down!

"Son of a bitch!" He didn't even hit the ground before the boy was pried off- quite violently, as his armor shifted, and transformed, shooting spikes out to pierce the boy's head, neck and chest, causing him to burst into ash like any good vampire should, Lucian quickly putting a palm to the floor once his arms were free of the vampire child's grip, and using it to keep himself upright, turning his body so he fell onto one knee, and kept the other leg up, spinning on the armor of that knee with the force of his swing, pulling him into a spin that gutted the stomachs of the approaching undead, and ultimately ripped them in two, bouncing up to his feet as the torso of each vampire hit the floor- and smashing the first head he saw into oblivion with a heavy stomp, skewering and stomping the rest on a very similar fashion...


He had no idea torso's could bounce that high. Using just their arms alone, the vampires at his back propelled themselves at him, fangs bared and screeching as they extended their arms, ready for the kill! All Lucian would get however, was a face full of ash, as a series of solar shots blew the vampire torsos to bits, the violet haired man coughing and dusting his face off with a gloved hand, growling as he looked to the expected source of such a thing... a dog-headed man in an orange guildsman's uniform lowering his twin pistols once the vampires were demolished, their lower halves disintegrating as well, the gray-haired man with brown skin in the green uniform, and the heavy chested blond one in the pink uniform beside this man both grinning wide at the sight of an ash faced Lucian.

"Doesn't taste good, does it? That's for years of a faceful of ash you'd give me back when you were Sartana!" Ernest, the gray-haired Guild Leader laughed as he propped up his long, rectangular solar weapon, the Dragoon, against his shoulder, Lucian coughing again as he inhaled some of the ash he just dusted off his face.

"I've heard all the stories from Kay and Ernest. With what a punk you used to be, I'm surprised they didn't see this asshole-ish phase of you coming!" The blond, Bea, proceeded to laugh, Lucian shooting a glare in the guildswoman's direction, and then spinning on heel, pulling up his sword and fastening it to the back of his jacket once again.

"So. Where's Aaron?"

"He was up at Sheridan's when the attack went down." Ernest explained, "He won't be here for another few minutes. He's in the city, but he's too far from us now."

"... how do you-" Lucian spun around to ask how Ernest knew this- only to see the man tapping a pink headset on his left ear, which Lucian quickly noticed Bea and Kay were also wearing, the Vampire hunter frowning again. "...Goddamn sunflower girl. At least I could of got one too."

"She did give you one." Bea then said, reaching into her coat and pulling out a folded up earpiece, which she tossed to Lucian, the man quickly looping it into his left ear. "You just weren't here to get it, while you were off hunting Dumas for a good majority of the last two years. You never stuck around long enough to get a lot of the things she outfitted us with."

Lucian just glared now, but quickly spun on heel, glancing ahead. "I guess all that remains now is to track down the big bad Vampire, huh? I'll cut him down to size once I find him."

"Or maybe... he'll come to us."

"Indeed I will, very astute, Guildsman!" Said a voice in response to Ernest, Lucian's eyes widening in surprise when that voice came from behind him, the hunter spinning around to see the vampire with snow-white hair standing behind him, one finger tightly curled into the black bang dangling over his face, grinnig broadly at him. "Hello, Va-"

In the next instant, he was behind Lucian once more, and bounding away, grinning as he summoned a cane from the darkness into his left hand. How? Lucian didn't even let him finish. His body was coated in violet, his blade a blur as he lashed at the vampire- and still missed, the Vampire pinning the mighty dark sword Vanargandr to the ground as he stood upon the blade, and sprung off it as if it were a diving board, all three Guildsmen raising their guns and firing at once- and while Kay's shots and Ernest's flames were avoided, Bea's missiles from her Witch solar gun, resembling a tree with it's thin body, but wide head, upon which the missiles fired, still tracked him, the vampire sneering as his right hand seized the silver top of the cane, and seizing this hilt, drew the blade hidden within it, slicing the approaching missile in twine!

As it exploded, he came sailing over the golden explosion of solar fire, landing against the wall of one of the decrepit burnt buildings, and standing upon it sideways, somehow magnetized to it as if he were standing upright, a pool of black matter visibly spreading from beneath his boots. He smirked, sheathing his blade into his cane once more, and then twirled it, spinning it along his arm and rolling it over his shoulders and back into his right hand with abnormal skill, even for a Vampire, and swung the cane forward, laughing as he aimed the weapon at the hunter and his associates.

"Didn't even let me finish! You're right to the point aren't you, hunters? But I'll tell you now who I am anyways, because I assure you, you'll want to know the name of the new lord of this planet!"

"What, are you going to call yourself Duke now?" Lucian growled, spinning around and marching toward the Vampire, swinging up his sword so the tip pointed at the wallbound, self-proclaimed Vampire Lord, who proceeded to step off the wall into the street once more, so that he was directly in Lucian's path, cane in both hands, smiling peacefully.

"No!" He then swung the cane forward- his expression dramatically changing as his lips pulled back into an ear wide smile exposing his fangs, his violet eyes suddenly flooding with crimson in his sneer at Lucian, "You shall call me Emperor, Vampire Lord, and Ruler of this world, for I am Allen, Ruler of the New Dark Tribe, who shall weed out the weak and rebuild this world in the way it was meant to be, under vampire rule! We shall not make the failures of the Duke and his failed tribe, and we shall not bend to the Immortals- and we shall prove our power, by sweeping you Guildsmen from the face of this planet!"

"You can't be serious!" Ernest hissed, "You would really try to subjugate the humans again after you've already failed once!"

"Oh trust me, we're different from those last weaklings. A shame the rest of the tribe aren't here. The Duchess and the Queen would have given you wonderful examples, even my Archduchess. But alas, only I am here, and they don't even know I left yet! I guess I'll just have to hold back on you for now."

"Hold back?" Lucian hissed, his knuckles turning white under his gloves from how tight he gripped his sword... growling at the idea of another Dumas coming into this world. "Hold back?" He repeated, lifting his head, "DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH!" He then lunged forward, both hands gripping the Vanargandr as his body became encased in violet, and he darted at the Vampire Lord, whose own body became enflamed with crimson light.

"Come at me then, HUNTER!"

"Kay! Bea! Rrgh... ERNEST! Come on, someone answer me!" Aaron called into his headset, the brown-haired boy with emerald goggles over his eyes coated in violet light as he darted through the streets of Acuna, along a route taken by someone familiar to him not long ago, the wind blowing through the jacket of his new uniform- an orange one, padded with armor, like the one his father was said to have worn, and the scarf of his father, red like blood, still wound around his neck, the hailed 'solar boy' of the guild running with all his might to catch up with his friends, his knight- more modified than others, thanks to Sheridan's intervention, tightly clutched in hand. As the young man skidded to a stop in rounding the corner, he called again, "Hey! Where did you go!"

He got all the answer he needed when Kay came flying into the street just ahead, rolling to a stop on his stomach with a groan and forcing himself onto his elbows and knees, looking up when Aaron rushed to his side, helping the half-beastman Guildsman stand.

"What happened to you!" Aaron asked once the man was steady, able to see holes poked all through his vest, long gashes winding their way up his body, and he got his answer as Kay raised a hand and pointed.

"He did."

Lucian would be spitting acid by now if he were any sort of monster with the rage he was in, bleeding from gashes across his cheeks and forearms as he swung his blade angrily in rage, completely ignoring the wounds, even as deft strikes of his opponent's blade peeled away plates of his armor, exposing a new place to carve into! His Vanargandr split the street as it fell into tore into the metal frames of already burnt buildings with ease, crushing everything in it's path and sending debris about, but never once did his blade strike that Vampire, merely clipping his jacket or his collar when drawing near, only to be batted away by the narrow blade of the man's cane-sword, a swift flick of the wrist hurling Lucian's sword back, swinging his sword arm high over his head, and leaving him open for yet another strike, this time the Vampire digging his blade into a plate over the man's ribs, and peeling it away with a twist of his arm, proceeding to drag his blade through the exposed flesh immediately- and leaping aside as the sword arm finally came down again, completely carving the car that had been behind him in two, the Vampire Hunter not seeming to care about the blood now leaking from yet another new wound!

Then the missiles came once more, the Vampire Lord Allen grinning as their white trails of smoke flooded the sky before the various homing missiles came down at him in formation- which made them that much easier to deal with, the man pulling his arm back, and with a heavy grunt, hurling his sword at the oncoming barrage like a boomerang, the blade becoming a buzzsaw that sliced through the many missiles coming- only missing a few, but those he was not afraid to deal with, grinning as he snapped up one white pants covered leg high over his head, and axed it down on the first missile that came, causing it to explode as it struck the ground, consuming him in an explosion of golden solar fire, and expanding the explosion as the following missiles collided with his position as well, ripping apart the road and sending chunks of the street flying through buildings (even Lucian had to duck to avoid being decked by a rock) on impact, leaving only devastation in their wake.

Without fail, however, Allen's sword came spinning back to his position, his hand extending from the flames and soon the rest of the body as he came hurtling out with sword in hand, solar flames coating his body- yet his grin never once fading as they ate away at him, cracks appearing in his skin- only to quickly seal as dark energy doused those flames and coated his body in red once again, turning him into a blur that lunged past Lucian, Lucian quickly turning to launch after him, his own body encased in violet light- only to see that the Vampire had cut around, grabbing his sword arm by the wrist with his free hand, his cane-sword sheathed again, and violently yanking on the arm, ripping Lucian off the ground and whipping him into the air with enough force to dislocate the arm! Lucian could hear the pops ringing in his air before he crashed head long into his intended target, slamming into Bea and carrying them both into the rubble of a collapsed building nearby, leaving only Ernest, whose flames spewed from his gun in a spreading wall!

Swept up by a wall of darkness when the Vampire drew his sword from his cane again, the blade tinted black with darkness, unleashing it upon the first swing, and overtaking the flames, Ernest' eyes widening in shock as it spread up his solar gun, causing it to jam. He cursed, shaking the gun as the solar lights began to flicker out... and then the gun exploded in his hand, the man letting out a cry of the pain as the dark energy exploded outwards and launched him backwards, shrapnel from bits of his gun burying themselves into his body as he sailed and collapsed against the ground, the grinning Vampire smirking as he raised his sword, and dragged his tongue along it's flat, turning his head to see Lucian rising from the rubble, violet light coating his body once again... and then red light, his eyes shining crimson as his eyepatch fell from his face, floating to the ground, his hair beginning to flare up as the dark terrennial beside him curled into a ball, and dropped into his body, coating him in even further darkness.

"Oh, goodie! Now we can really have fun!"

"Fun? You think this is FUN!" The hunter roared as he went from Vampire Hunter- to Vampire, a second pair of eyes opening in his forehead as his skin turned azure, scales growing over his fingers as his body expanded with dark matter, and he pulled back his lips, letting out one heavy roar before lunging at Allen, who had tucked his arms into his body, and was emtting his own aura of bloody dark matter.

"Yes... and let me show you HOW MUCH MORE FUN IT GETS!"

At that moment, he swung his arms out- all of them, as his sides exploded outwards, ripping through his jacket in a bloody mess as the new addition exposed themselves... six extra arms spawning from within the man's body, grown from the dark matter within him! The hands stretched, arms pulling out until they popped, stretching as far as they could muster... and then they snapped forward once more, fists closing around unseen forms... which solidified into blades and axes of dark matter, Allen laughing as he spread his eight arms and lunged forward at Lucian, with a wall of blades preceeding him. He was going to rip Lucian to pieces!

Only to pause and turn in mid-assault, all eight arms folding together to make a solid wall- their blades deflecting a massive beam of golden light that shot at him from afar, and peering through the gap in his blades, Allen could see the culprit, and smirked, saying, "Ah, seems the second guest of honor has arrived!"

Lucian didn't stop for a second however, and Allen was prepared for this, extending four of his arms aside at once- and causing his blades to cleave into Lucian altogether, the vampire screeching as he was carved into and hurled aside, quickly rolling back up to his feet and lunging after Allen- who was speeding after Aaron now, the solar boy cursing as he raised his solar gun, knowing there was no time to charge again, and firing off shots one after another, Allen laughing as the solar bullets smashed into his body, igniting solar flames across his body, which burned for seconds before the dark power within him extinguished them in a burst of ash, and once he was in rage- four arms came hurling at Aaron, who barely dodged by dropping to the floor, and quickly rolling to the side, able to hear the concrete cracking as Allen's foot came down where he had been- and at last, Lucian caught up, tackling him from behind and slamming him into the nearest object, being a car, carrying him through it as it shredded around them, and continuing on into a collapsed building, which he then leaped back from, roaring as he raised his claws- blood forming at the tips, and then swept them down, carving a bloody red line through the air that struck at the Vampire Lord's fallen form!

"Blood Art? Not bad, Hunter~!"

Even with a line of crimson drawn across his back, the flesh ripped apart so that his spine was exposed after the strike, the vampire rose again, and spun around, two of his upper arms launching forward and burying their swords into Lucian's stomach, using them to hoist the boy off the ground, and smash him down against the ground, and then, drag him along it, before swinging him with such force he was hurled off the blade, rolling down the street with blood oozing out of the wounds, the vampire clasping a hand to his stomach as he forced himself up to his feet once again.

The vampire then gazed at Aaron, spreading his eight arms and calling. "You want to give it a go!"

Aaron growled, a wordless command summoning Toasty to his side, at which point the sunflower grimaced, shaking his head, "No, Aaron. Right now, we need to focus on survivng. Call the Laplace- make a distraction!"

"You got it." Lucian's voice caused Toasty to turn his head, the vampire hunter reverted back to normal, still clutching his stomach, watching the Vampire Lord with an intense gaze, the man popping his back as the wound over his spine healed... and he called, "Laplace, COME FORTH!"

"Oho, the Casket Rocket now!" Allen called, watching as the black skies parted to expose a similarly crimson trimmed black machine, whose hands opened, and from within, shots of crimson light rained down, the Vampire Lord spinning on heel and darting away to avoid them, the ship trailing him on it's own, continuing to fire upon him, blowing craters into the street, with the vampire carefully weaving between the shots.

"Now, let's go!" Aaron called as he helped pull a dazed Ernest to his feet, Lucian nodding, Kay behind him holding Bea in his arms. Lucian hissed at this though- if it had been him alone, he never would have run. But these people...

'... Damnit, I'm going back to how I used to be.' Lucian cursed, before running after Kay and Aaron and Ernest, who had already run off.

... scraps of the casket armor crashed to the ground as it darted into the sky in retreat, it's assaulter about to take off after it- but it ceased with a wave of it's masters hand, Allen smirking as he stood at the feet of his great machine, shadowed in armor. His 'Frame', a full mechanical humanoid with frame like legs, large wing like extensions hovering off it's back visible, fanning out like wings. It turned it's horned head to the sky... and launched into it as well, in the opposite direction of the laplace, bursting out of the atmosphere and vanishing into the stars.

"Well... I think that should get a point across." The Vampire Lord laughed as he drew his six extra arms back into his body, groaning. "I never expected such tenacity though... I gave the Duke too little credit. He's far more powerful than I imagined... to deal with a foe like this." But then he smiled as he reached up to his shoulder, rubbing it. "But next time, they'll see how outmatched they really are..."

He then spun on heel, and vanished, his form fading into the earth like a shadow, leaving not a trace of his presence.

"... This is the beginning of yet another war." Ernest groaned as he tugged at the bandages sealing his shrapnel wounds- none of which had been too deep, fortunately. Those sitting around him, including Lucian, shared at silence when they heard that, the guild leader narrowing his eyes, "They're getting even stronger than ever, and to defeat them we have to become even more powerful..."

He then lifted his head, staring at Aaron, who sat right across from him, "Aaron. We have to count on you and Lucian now more than ever before. We cannot hope to lose this battle. Not to a man that powerful. Not only after we've just gained our freedom from the vampires. Do you-"

"You don't need to ask. I'll keep fighting, as long as there's a breath in me, to protect my friends." Aaron said in a powerful tone, causing Lucian to chuckle.

"You've really grown up, Aaron. I just hope you've got the strength to back up those guts of yours." Lucian said, crossing his arms, "I don't intend on losing this war to the Vampires either. Dumas is my target... but this man is just as bad as him. Two Dumas' in the world is not something that would do anyone any good... Ellen would turn in her grave."

He then narrowed his eyes, "I'll fight. And I'll kill that bastard."

"... Glad to hear we've got you on our side." Ernest chuckled, "First, we need to find out more about this new Dark Tribe. They're even tougher than the last ones... and it didn't take them long to crop up. An army of vampires... they had to leave a trail."

"We'll leave that to Sheridan." Lucian said, "He'll point us in the right direction, and we'll hunt them down. That bastard surprised me, but I'll chop him down to size. Eight arms.. cheating asshole." He grumbled, pulling his arms apart. He then set his hand over his stomach, where armor hit the two holes stitched closed in his stomach, slowly regenerating due to his vampiric nature.

"Don't get too cocky. Especially after that last beating." Bea snapped, and Lucian just shrugged, "We've got your back in every decision you make, but don't forget our survival also rides on you. Don't get carried away, alright?"

"... Yeah. Whatever." Lucian sighed, brushing his hair out of his face... had it gotten longer and he hadn't even realized it? Either way, he wasn't liking this one bit. "... Looks like I'll be dragging you along again, kid."

"I don't know, maybe I'll be the one dragging YOU along!"

"...Quite a mouth you've gained!"

"Want to see what else has improved?" Aaron teased, causing Lucian to grin, cocking an eyebrow.

"Well, this may not be so bad after all."