Shanoa was walking in what was a seemingly infinite corridor, with yellow stone walls and marble paving. There were torches on both walls every five

meters or so, although she could feel no heat coming from the fire .

For a reason she did not know herself, she couldn't halt or turn around. Not even her hands could move only her legs did, as if she was sleepwalking . She

didn't know where she was or what was her destination.

Suddenly she saw the corridor abruptly end and found herself in another room.

The room was somehow familiar to her there were lots of papers and open books scattered on the floor, and a writing noise could be heard.

Turning to her right, she saw a black-haired man sitting on a wooden chair, writing something she could not see from where she was and not even noticing

her, the room was dark, and the man was using an oil lamp to see .

The man didn't stop writing he seemed like he had been doing it his whole life, never ceasing even once.

« Um,,,Excuse me ? » Shanoa decided to pronounce. However the man apparently didn't hear her, for she didn't even hear it herself.

Deciding to go see who the man was, she started walking.

However, the further she walked the further the man grew away from her, She started running, but it was useless.

Suddenly, another door opened, and someone entered. All Shanoa could see of the man is that he had white hair, indicating his old age and was wearing a

coat, she didn't know what color it was, because she saw only its shadow created by the oil lamp.

The writer didn't notice the other man, for he didn't even stop writing. The newcomer approached towards him carefully, not making a sound.

To Shanoa's horror, the man suddenly pulled a knife from his pocket and raised his hand, now close to the writer.

No matter how much she shouted or how long she ran, Shanoa could not stop the assassin in his act, her shouts unheard and her steps useless.

The air suddenly became very cold, as the picture of the murder became to slowly fade away as if a haze occured.

Afterwards, everything was dark.

« Shanoa, you are awake ! »

Opening her eyes, Shanoa was greeted by Monica who was on the verge of breaking into tears.

« Are you okay ?» Monica asked, as she jumped at Shanoa and hugged her tightly.

Wh ...What's going on ? Was that just a dream ? And what about...

Suddenly, Shanoa threw her hands at Monica's shoulders, pushing her back and said hurriedly, « Monica ! Where is Alucard ? Where is Richter ? »

Monica seemed a bit confused as she replied, « Alucard ? Richter ? What are you talking about ? »

« How did I end up here ? Someone must have brought me home... » She stopped, noticing that she was in someone else's place,

« Is...is this Daniela's house ? » Shanoa asked, regaining her composure.

« Yes...Apparently, Daniela found you near the graveyard, » Monica said, making a step back, a bit scared after her friend's sudden outburst.

« Daniela.. ? Near the graveyard ? Can you tell me where she is now? » asked Shanoa, trying to sound more gentle to appease Monica.

« She..She went to Father Nikolai's house, It seems they had something important to discuss, something important enough not to let the other villagers in,» Monica said, now relaxed.

« The other villagers want to take part in their conversation ? Why would they ? » Shanoa asked, although she knew the answer.

« Well, you collapsed near the graveyard...and knowing your story before you came to the village.. » Monica hardly said, « They think that...there might be

a ….a vampi- She was cut off by Shanoa, « Don't say anything, I understand. » Shanoa said, knowing that Monica's parents had been slain by vampires.

Surprised by Shanoa's tact, Monica smiled, « Shanoa ! You have emotions ! » She said, hugging her again.

« I...I..No !..I mean, I don't have emotions yet ! I ... » Shanoa said hurriedly, red spots flaring on her cheeks.

« You are red like a tomato ! You look just like me when I am embarassed ! » Monica said, laughing heartily, « Oh, I have got to tell Laura about this ! »

« Just...do what..whatever you want ! » Shanoa said, still embarassed, « I must go see Daniela and Father Nikolai, I will see you at home. » She added as

she got up, put on her boots and ran out of the house.

« I wonder what kind of man could have changed her like that. » Monica giggled,

Shanoa knocked at Father Nikolai's door, She was answered by Daniela.

« Oh, Shanoa ! We were eagerly expecting you ! Come in ! » said the woman, welcoming her with open hands.

Thanking her, Shanoa entered, Daniela was sitting with Alucard, They seemed like they were in the middle of a serious conversation.

« Shanoa... » Alucard began, glancing at her, « I suppose you want to know what happened.»

Shanoa nodded, taking a seat in front of him, « Tell me. »

Alucard took a deep breath then began, « What is the last thing you remember ? »

Shanoa thought for a second then said, « When we were charging at Richter... » She noticed that Father Nikolai wasn't here , «...I think...I don't remember

anything afterwards. »

« I see... » Alucard said, his voice trailing off, « We fought him fiercely, but could not get a single hit in. Joachim had his powers, Richter's powers, and the

Ebony Stone's. You got knocked out by him. Now that I think about it, if that didn't happen, we surely would be dead by now... »

« Excuse me ? That ? What is that ? What happened ? » Shanoa asked, piqued by curiosity.

« I understood what had happened only afterwards, Richter's eyes suddenly became blue like they once were, and he stopped attacking us, He said, «

Alu..card...Kill...me...please... » I could see that he was struggling to expel Joachim out of his body. When he dropped his guard, I quickly jumped at him and

destroyed the Ebony Stone, effectively killing Joachim once and for all. » said Alucard.

« What about Richter ? » Shanoa asked.

« Richter...Richter is dead, » Alucard said, looking down, « I do not know what exactly happened with Joachim...but he is dead, »

« I...see, » Shanoa said, suddenly feeling a bit sad, « How does Father Nikolai feels about it ? » Shanoa asked, knowing that the priest was related to

Richter.

« He buried him this morning, after the battle. He is still in the graveyard...Richter was his grandson, after all, » said Alucard, his eyes focused on the ceiling.

« I...I feel like I should go too, » Shanoa said, standing up.

« I think you should wait, » Alucard stopped her, « Nikolai feels guilty, He is the one who gave the Vampire Killer to Richter and trained him in order to

destroy Dracula. He thinks that it was his fault that he died, because he exposed him to danger. »

« That is ridiculous ! How can he think that ? He should feel proud for his grandson, who killed Dracula ! » Shanoa snapped,

« Shanoa...Logically, he should be proud of his grandson, yes. But the death of a loved one... » Alucard sighed, « ….makes you forget any kind of logic, You

can't think clearly, your mind is foggy, all you know at that moment is that you just lost someone you really loved, and all you can think of is that you lost a

part of your life. I am sure you have felt it before, Shanoa...Daniela just told me your story, » Alucard finished, glancing at the older woman .

What he says is true. When Albus died, It felt like my life had no meaning anymore. But I wonder...Is it more difficult for the departed ones... ? Or is it harder an

ordeal for those who stay alive... ?

« You...you are most right. Forgive me. » Shanoa said, feeling guilty. She wanted to bring up the subject of her possible death, but she thought it would

seem a selfish act in these circumstances, though there was something else she wanted to ask the dhampire.

« Why did Richter die ? And what really happened with his body ? » Shanoa asked.

« I still don't know exactly how Joachim took Richter's body, but he used the Ebony Stone, that is a sure thing. At first I thought that Joachim completely

took control of his body and that if Joachim's soul left the body, Richter would die, but when I took a closer look at Richter's body, I saw that his tunic had a

different color than that which I remember. Examining it closely, I found that it had been soaked with blood Richter's blood. Richter was dead long before

we found him, that is the only explanation. » Alucard concluded.

« But you said he talked to you ! He told you to kill him ! That proves he wasn't dead at that time. »

« Indeed , Shanoa . But you should know by now that even after death, a part of a deceased's soul stays in their body for some reason or another . That is

at least Richter's case. He is a Belmont, and thus has a strong mind, stronger than most men. It isn't impossible that his soul remained in his body, perhaps

due to his strong will to live, his will to accomplish his quest no matter what . »

« I understand ….But what is this quest you speak of ? » Shanoa asked, feeling as if she knew what his quest was .

« His quest... He told nobody about it, even his grandfather . But I have a reason to believe that it is somehow related to you, Shanoa . » Alucard said .

« Me ? But what would make you think that ? » Shanoa asked, startled by his revelation.

« This. » Alucard said, pulling something from his pocket .

It seemed to be a photo, an old one . He showed it to Shanoa who gasped at the sight.

It was a photo of a little girl, who was around eight years old . She was smiling and holding the hand of someone Shanoa could not see because the photo

was torn .

However, what surprised Shanoa wasn't the fact that it was torn, it was the fact that the girl looked exactly like her .