And So it Begins…

Hundreds- maybe more- of Vampaneze were resting in the tunnels of the Mountain; they were all smirking. They were eagerly awaiting the moment when Kurda would gain them access to the Hall of Princes, and more importantly, the Stone of Blood, so they would be able to kill off every defenseless vampire.

"This is going to be a piece of cake," Gladla, the Vampaneze Darren encountered when Kurda so mercilessly killed Gavner Purl.

"I can't wait," another said, laughing. "Too bad Murlough isn't here to enjoy this!"
Just then… thousands of spiders scuttled into the tunnels, crawling over the unsuspecting Vampaneze. Their hairy, eight legs moved up and down their backs, stomachs, arms, legs, and heads.

"Ah, get them off!" One squealed, trying to shake them off, but with little or no success; a few fell off as he shook, but others kept their position.

His fellow Vampaneze did nothing to help him; they were too busy with the spiders on their own bodies.

Gladla growled, getting up to see where the spiders were coming from.

"Let's go, boys," the Vampire Prince, Arrow cheered, taking out his sword. Arra Sails cleared her throat loudly. Arrow rolled his eyes. "Let's go, warriors, I meant."

"That's better," she said, giving him and wink and brandishing her own sword.

"Do not be so rash, Arra," Larten said, coming up close behind her. "Remember be cautious."

"Oh, Larten," Arra said, smiling. "It's cute how you worry, but you don't have to. I can kill these lowlifes with one hand tied behind my back."

"Somehow, I do not doubt that," Larten replied, half smirking.

Larten went to one side of the tunnel while Arra took the other.

They were slashing down Vampaneze here and there, though a few of their own became badly injured; some died on the spot.

"It's a shame, Vancha isn't here to take part!" Arra yelled from over the battle cries.

"I agree!" Seba Nile shouted back, taking Larten's side to accompany him in battle.

While the battle raged on, Darren hid behind a large rock, observing it. His eyes lit up as Larten killed another.

"He's so tough," he whispered to himself. Darren glanced down at the floor, spotting a spear that one of the combatants dropped; he wasn't sure if it was from their side or the other side, but he didn't really care. He picked it up, looking at the tips with his big blue eyes. He smiled slightly, ready to take his place in the battle as well.

He sprung out from behind the rock, holding the spear in his right hand. "Okay, let's go," he muttered.

A Vampaneze, one who couldn't have been much older than Darren, charged toward the half-vampire.

Darren laughed out loud and held out the spear. His laughs faded as he stabbed the spear straight through the Vampaneze. He fell to the floor, crying out loud at his bleeding body.

"It hurts!" He screeched, writhing on the floor. "Oh, my god!" He gingerly touched his wounds with his fingers, crying with pain as he did so.
Darren looked down at him, tears forming in his eyes. What had he done?

"Oh, my god," Darren muttered. "I… I killed…." He couldn't form any words, and he was callously pushed aside from other people.

Darren ran back behind his rock, heart pounding at what he had done. He had just killed someone…. He thought he could handle it since he was fighting the evil side, but that didn't stop his crying at his horrible actions.

"Damn you all to Hell!" Arrow screamed, stabbing one, who writhed like the young one did. Arrow spat on the floor. "Do not whine! You deserve this, you worthless scum! For what you did to my wife… you all will pay!"

"Sire, calm yourself," Mika said in his deep, cold voice as he calmly killed around him.

"Sorry, it isn't that easy." He killed the one who Mika was fighting against; he laughed out in triumphant. Mika rolled his eyes.

"Having fun, Larten?" Seba asked, laughing.

"Why, yes," Larten replied, laughing along with his mentor; Darren's insides clenched at his own mentor's laughter. Larten glanced over at Arra, who was fighting with Glalda, murder in his eyes.

"So, the vampires send in women to do their fighting, do they?" Glalda mocked. Arra scoffed loudly.

"It will give me great pleasure to kill you; I want you to die in shame for losing against a woman!"

"I assure you, female, I will not die against you!"

"Arra!" Larten called, reflecting a blow with his sword. "Do you need assistance?"

"Not I!" Arra laughed loudly. "I am going to be killing him right…."

Darren gasped loudly as Glalda terribly raised his sword against the amazing vampiress and slashed her side and belly; the blood gushed out of her wound so freely.
Arra fell to the ground, gasping for air.

"I'll teach you some respect," he told her, ready to deliver the final blow.
Darren screamed and ran out, picking up a lone sword on the cavern's stone floor. He pounced on Glalda, yelling incoherent words.

"What is this?" Glalda screamed.

"Damn you!" Darren shouted, digging the sword into his victim's heart until he finally died; he stiffened when he smiled just like Gavner did when he died. He made the death sign. "Even in death, may you be triumphant." He turned back to Arra, rushing to her side. "Arra! Arra!"

"D-Darren," she said, "will I die?"

"No, of course not!"

She grabbed Darren's wrist and pulled him close.

"Will I die?"

"I don't know… maybe."

Mika stopped his battling with a rather burly opponent, and glanced over anxiously at the struck down Arra Sails.

He wanted nothing more than to stand by her side and tell her everything was going to be alright, but he noticed Larten rushing towards. He smiled slightly, silently thanking the orange-haired vampire. If she had Larten, she would be fine.

"Arra," Larten said, sitting by her. "Does it hurt?"

"Talk… about asking… stupid questions!" She growled.

"You always said I had a habit of putting my foot in my mouth." He brushed away blood from her lips.

"I'd ask… for you to… kiss me… but I'm not… in any shape for… it."

"There will be plenty of time for kissing later."

"Maybe… maybe. Darren," she said, looking at him. "Do you… remember when… I beat you… on the bars? You… put up a… good fight."

"Not good enough," Darren pointed out, laughing slightly, trying to keep his worry and sorrow inside his heart.

"Larten, he's… a worthy vampire!" She suddenly yelled, coughing erratically afterwards; her yells put a strain on her throat. "Don't let them… kill him! He's… earned a reprieve! Tell them!"

"You can tell them yourself," Larten whispered. "Once you recover, I will personally take you to the Hall of Princes and you can tell them."

"If I don't, you'll tell them… for me?" She asked hope in her voice. Larten nodded, tears in his eyes.

The stretcher took her away, Larten walking by her side, whispering comforts, and holding her hand all the way out.

Neither Mika nor Arrow heard the conversation going on between the two lovers; they were still fighting. Arrow was having the time of his life, getting his revenge for his dead wife. Mika seemed bored as he once again stabbed another Vampaneze and killed it with one move.

"This is a little monotonous," he remarked, yawning loudly.

"Monotonous?" Arrow exclaimed. "Nay! This is pure fun!"

"It is enjoying, but it can be a little much."

"A little much? Ah, you'll never know how much Vampaneze deserve to be hated until they murder someone you care about."

"You are worried, are you not?" Seba asked, panting slightly; blood was oozing out of a small wound on his side.

Before Mika could reply, Vanez jumped in, ready for the battle of his life. One Vampaneze threw a small dagger straight towards him.

"Watch out!" Darren was about to shout, but he was too late; the dagger hit Vanez in his good eye. He screamed out in pain, falling to the floor and pulling out the weapon. He put his hand over his eye, and removed it to reveal bloody palms. Darren knew by his screams and the blood, Vanez Blane would never see again.

"Take him out!" Seba barked at the paramedics, who nodded and quickly hoisted Vanez on a stretcher to take him away.

"No, I can fight!" Vanez yelled. His screams died away as the paramedics took him from the tunnels.

"An answer to your question, Seba Nile," Mika started, "I am worried. Her wound was rather deep and I have my doubts."

"Do not worry so much," Seba told the young Prince. "If things do take a turn for the worse, Larten will be right by her. The Vampire Gods know how much he cares for her."

"And I thank him for that."

After another ten minutes of bloody, merciless slaughtering, the battle was over. Vampaneze lay dead in the corner; there were more of them than vampires, but some of their clan lost theirs lives as well.

Darren walked through the corridors, his head filling with questions.

He was eventually stopped by Mika Ver Leth whose eyes were dreary; Darren immediately knew something was wrong.

"Darren Shan," Mika said; he had slight contempt in his voice for him. "Arra is dead." He felt the hatred that Arrow felt during the battle; he understand why he had so much fun killing the enemies. However, he knew his loathing for those disgusting creatures couldn't hold a candle to Larten's.

"W-what?" Darren asked. "No, that can't be."

"I am not lying to you. She died only recently."

Darren didn't say anything else and stormed back into the tunnels where the bodies were cleaned up, but the blood, weapons, and horrid memories still remained.

He sat on a large rock, looking around the large cavern when Seba Nile joined him.

"Arra is dead," Darren said.

"I know. Larten is devastated."

"I expected that." He sighed deeply.

"You must not mourn for her, Master Shan," Seba said. "She died honorably."

"No, she died stupidly! This war… the killing… it's no wonder Mr. Crepsley left! And now…a lot of people are dead… she's dead… it's all my fault. For my stupid spider plan. If I knew I would bring this much pain to Mr. Crepsley, I would have kept my damn mouth shut!"

"If you kept your mouth shut, who knows what would have happened with Kurda?" Seba asked seriously. Darren shrugged his shoulders. "Let us leave this terrifying place." He helped Darren up and led him back to his own cell.

Meanwhile, Kurda was sitting on the small bench in the dungeon, his wrists shackled, blood on his face, his blonde hair dirty, and tears in his clear blue eyes.

"I never expected it to be like this," he muttered when news of Arra's death made its way to him. He put his hands on his forehead, ignoring the irritating cold metal feel of the fetters against his forehead, and sobbed.