What you are about to read is the result of a vicious plot bunny attack. For those of you who are following Requiem for a Dream, I apologize profusely for making you wait for so long, but I have had little to no motivation to write it. As of this moment, while the ideas are still fresh, this story will take priority, with updates to Requiem coming as I flesh them out. For now, enjoy the tale of the Dark Waltz.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Mahou Sensei Negima in any phsyical way, shape, or form. All rights belong to their respective proprietors. I only own Horacio Valdez de la Cuesta and any other Original Characters that appear.
How could anyone even entreat the notion to abide in such a residence?
The young girl looked up at the ruins standing before her. The monstrous structure had obviously seen better days. Ivy choked the walls and iron fencing that once kept unwanted guests out. The entrance to the building laid open for any to enter, though those who went in never came out alive. Sniffing the air gingerly, her heightened sense of smell betrayed the prevalent stench of death.
But, I suppose measures must be taken to ensure the mortals stay their distance… maybe with the exception of the occasional vampire hunter attempting to make a name for themselves.
Though she'd rather be in the hospice of a much warmer environment, she counted herself lucky. After all, it was very rarely that anyone would be invited by the great Count himself, especially for those who dared to call themselves Purebloods.
The thought made girl scoff. It appalled her to no end how those who were not born of the blood dared to call themselves pure of blood when they were born of conventional means. Perhaps it was more a convenience to refer to such individuals as Purebloods, for even those of that distinction knew to avoid crossing paths with those of who were truly pure of the blood.
So wrapped in her thoughts she had become that she had failed to recognize the fact that two heavily armoured guards materialized. Each bore a pike and crossed them in front of her path, thus barring her entrance into the castle.
"Speak thy name and thy purpose here," the first of the two spoke in the local tongue, his voice as cold as the blood that ran through him.
"Thou dare to address the Lady Evangeline Athanasia Katherine McDowell of Galloway with such impudence?" the girl replied in the same, her voice colder than ice, "I have embarked to this location on a personal invitation from His Eminence, the most noble Count Dracula. 'Twould do thee well to inform thy master of my arrival."
The guard's demeanor seemed to change upon hearing the name of the young girl. Bowing deeply, he replied, "I prithee forgiveness, for this humble soldier of fortune did not recognize thy visage. 'Tis a great honor of mine to welcome the noble Maga Nosferatu to Castle Dracula. Please, tarry for a moment, and I shall inform our lord that thou hast arrived."
Returning the bow, Evangeline watched with disgust as the young guard leave. If there was one thing she hated, it was being talked to in such a manner. The guard, she knew, was young, but at least he knew his place and who to show respect to. She had gained a name for herself throughout the mainland of the continent. Not only was she one of the Shinso vampires, but she was also versed in the art of magic, something very rarely seen amongst her fellow vampires, both Shinso and Pureblood alike.
She smirked as she relished in the memories of many a vampire killer begging for mercy. But she did not kill them by conventional means. No… she was unlike her brethren. Her magic power more than sustained her in times where blood was lacking. Not only that, but it made for some vast entertainment when she dealt with vampire killers. The one thing she regretted about her immortality was living her life in hiding. After all, if she dared show herself to any that she had encountered years earlier, they would figure what she was and undoubtedly hunt her.
Her recollections were disturbed when the guard returned.
"Our Count requests thy presence in the Grand Hall. Shall I escort Milady there?"
"I shall find my own way," she replied, waving off the request, not even bothering to thank the guard. After all, she didn't earn her reputation by being grateful.
As she entered the foyer at the castle entrance, the hostile environment became much warmer, undoubtedly caused by illusory magic. She stood in awe and admiration at the mere majesty of the castle. Even when she was mortal, the castle she had lived in wasn't this grand, not that she could remember much about her childhood.
300 years… It seems 'twas naught more than yesterday…
She strode up to one of the works of art that adorned the walls. Upon closer examination, she noticed the eyes of the woman's portrait followed her every movement. Upon instinct, she raised her hand and prepared to cast an incantation when a voice called out, "I would take great care if I were thee, niñita. 'Twould greatly upset the Count if he or his porters were to discover that one of his prized possessions was damaged so recklessly."
The young vampire turned to see a man with a thin, pointed moustache and goatee. A rare smile crept across her face as she walked forward, embracing the newcomer.
"Many an age has passed since I have laid eyes on thee, Don Horacio Valdez de la Cuesta."
The Spaniard smiled the same, kneeling down and kissing Evangeline on each cheek.
"Indeed, young Eva. I presume that life has been treating thee with the utmost care, my young apprentice. The trees whisper of your great infamy amongst our brethren inasmuch as that you have surpassed many in power."
"Indeed I have," the vampire smirked, "Would it please thee to see a demonstration?"
"Nay, nay. I see no need for such an action," Horacio replied, waving his hands disarmingly, "The power of magic that emanates from thee is quite alarming. I have no doubt that thou could render me asunder in not but an instance of time."
"And I shall do no such thing. After all, thou art my mentor. 'Tis thanks to thee that I have achieved all that I have in the time that we have been acquainted."
The two vampires turned their attention to a stately looking vampire dressed in the garb of a Venetian servant. Said vampire proceeded toward the teacher and student.
"Buongiorno, and welcome to Castle Dracula. If ye would be of courtesy and follow. My master awaits your presence."
Some few moments later, Evangeline found herself within the Grand Hall of Castle Dracula. She noted that it was extremely grandiose, much more than the places she had resided within the past three centuries. An assortment of vampires of different heritages and ages intermingled, all making light conversation. She scanned the crowd, seeing if she could pick out the master of the castle. Her eyes, however fell upon a certain individual that had dared to cross paths with her many a time. The individual in question turned toward her, his cold grey eyes appraising her sharp blue ones. Rather than react at her presence, he merely nodded curtly and proceeded to disappear into the crowd.
What in the name of God brings that man to this place?
Casting aside her thoughts, she continued to scan the crowd until she noticed a boy about her age (had she still been mortal) who was looking extremely nervous and out of place. Although the smell of death was extremely overpowering, she cast a small incantation which allowed her to isolate the scent of the boy.
She deduced that he had to be no more than 200 years of age since being turned, undoubtedly by the same method as she had been. In this respect, she felt some pity for the young soul, but at least she now had someone to relate to. His hair was a strange two-tone with the upper-half a reddish-brown color and the lower half being black. He wore simple garb, betraying he was a peasant and not of nobility much like the majority of the vampires present.
Seeing as she had no one else to talk to, she made her way to the boy. Dropping her cold demeanor and icy voice, she greeted him in asking, "Art thou lost, little one?"
The boy turned to her, his cheeks turning a slight crimson color as he admired the beauty before him. Evangeline was wearing a pearl white gown that seemed to shimmer in the candlelight. Her long blonde hair reminded him of the Golden Fleece that was only told of in the mythos of the Ancient Greeks, whilst her deep blue eyes blazed more brilliantly than the rarest sapphire in the world.
"I suppose that I am out of my element," he replied, regaining his composure, "seeing as it is my first time being in an abode as noble and decorated as this one."
"Then we are kindred spirits in like ways," she replied, extending her hand in greeting. "May I have the pleasure of thy name?"
Before the boy could reply, a call for silence came as the master of the castle came into the Grand Hall. Count Dracula was everything that Evangeline had assumed he would be. Carrying an air of great power and influence, his silvering hair, pointed moustache, and pointed goatee betrayed his age. He wore robes befitting a nobleman of early 13th century Transylvania. His smile was warm, yet it carried a sinister edge to it.
"Welcome," he said, his thick accent accentuating his every word, "brethren, to my abode most humble. I prithee forgiveness for my tardiness as there are matters most important one must attend to at the most inconvenient of times. But, seeing as we are all well acquainted, let us make merry and light of this evening so fine!"
At this, he clapped his hands together, causing some instruments to materialize and play of their own accord. The young vampire turned to Evangeline and bowed low.
"May I have the pleasure of this dance, Milady?"
Blushing slightly, she took his hand and replied, "Most certainly, Milord."
With that, the two began to dance to the melody: a slow, somber waltz that carried a hint of bittersweet memories and sadness rolled into one. As the young vampires danced, Evangeline could feel some of her lost humanity carry on back through the wordless song. Perhaps it was destiny that brought her to meet this boy. Though she was slightly taller, she let her head rest on his shoulder as they swayed back and forth to the slow tune. But how long would this moment of peace last?
Her answer would come sooner than she thought. Just as the melody ended, a loud crashing sound came from the main entrance of the hall. One of the two guards that had stood at the main gate rushed through the hall right up to Dracula. The stately vampire seemed a bit annoyed at this intrusion.
"What is the meaning of this?" he inquired irately.
"I apologize for disturbing thee, Milord, but a vampire hunter has managed to gain entrance into the main grounds. The guard at the mountain base came to us. Count Vladim and Countess Ursula, both of whom were Shinso, were unable to stop them and perished."
This news seemed to spread like wildfire across all those in the hall. Before a panic broke out, Dracula raised his hands.
"Fear not, my brethren, for I shall not allow such an intruder to make a mockery of our race. I beseech thee, however, to make haste. 'Twould sadden me and make my soul heavy to be responsible for the deaths of those who are under my care. Go forth, and let the sacred night be thine guide."
As the numerous vampires began either to flee or disappear into the shadows, the boy handed Evangeline a small pendant inscribed with what appeared to be runic symbols. She blushed as a look of fierce determination crossed his features.
"Let this pendant be a symbol and a promise. No matter what happens this night, we shall meet again. If not, I will spend eternity scouring the ends of the earth to find thee."
After making his vow, he kissed her on the cheek and ran toward an exit, calling back to her, "Go! Now! And never turn back!"