Chapter Five

In all of my travels over the course of my lifetime, I had almost forgotten how beautiful the open sea was. Sleek and streamline, the Nautilus maintained a fast pace towards our destination. A good night's rest was just what I needed after the epic hunt of last evening. All of the League's members had gone above to the viewing deck as the alabaster vessel skimmed along the surface. Currently, All members were at the conning tower of the mighty ship for a breath of fresh air.

While Quartermain was cleaning his trusty rifle (notably dubbed Matilda), Sawyer stood next to him with an endless gaze in Mrs. Harker's direction. I growled in disgust, why do those bloodsuckers need to be so dazzling. Deep down, I knew it was only part of their way, luring in their victims to certain death. So caught up in my rage, I hadn't noticed that I had caught the attention of Dr. Jekyll and Skinner. Embarrassed, I changed the direction of my focus to the open sea. As if to satisfy those within earshot, Skinner began to clear his throat. But I already knew what he would ask.

"If you wish to know why I'm so against vampires, let me just say it's more than a matter of prejudice."

"Well, you do show a fair bit of it." Skinner scoffed; I shot him a cold yellow glare and snarled, then caught myself before I could go any further. Nemo broke the silence.

"The solar panels are fully charged. We'll be diving in a moment."

One by one, every member of the league went through the hatchway door and returned to their activities. I took in one last beautiful whiff of salty sea air.

Once night had fallen, the telltale rumble of my stomach alerted me of the time. The low whistle from the direction of the galley confirmed my deduction, not to mention the faint scent of fresh cuts of meat and exotic spices. Several schools of silver fish nimbly danced from the porthole window of my quarters, drawn to the lights like moths to a flame. As I picked the tangles out my short dark hair, a noise from near the bed caused me to pause. I took a few silent sniff of the air and stood up slowly, placing the brush down onto the desk. Turning around in an instant, I managed to catch just whom I thought would be snooping around in my chambers by the back of his neck.

"Just because you're invisible doesn't mean I don't know you're there, Skinner." I sneered. With my fur, claws and fangs creeping out I headed to the door.

"At home, we have a saying. You mess with a wolf, you get the fangs." Opening the door, and throwing him hard into a passing crewman of Captain Nemo's, I concluded crossly "And I would suggest that you brush your teeth. Those kippers you ate last night have overstayed their welcome."

After a hearty meal of seafood chowder and other various boiled shellfish, I was returning to my quarters, when I passed by Gray as he must've been searching for the whereabouts of Mrs. Harker. As I was reminded of my hate of the race of leeches that Harker belonged, I felt a sting on my shoulder blade where Sawyer's stray bullet grazed me last evening. At first I thought I must've opened the wound somehow, but when I reached to check the area, I was surprised to find a small puncture just below it. The mark was similar to the kind one would find after being injected with a needle of some sort. Perhaps I might have scratched at myself without knowing, as sometimes I do. As the mark healed I couldn't help but notice it was slow in the process. Thinking nothing of it, I returned to my cabin for the evening, but not before taking a moment to admire the beauty of the undersea world.

Only moments later, I heard the nervous voice of Dr. Jekyll muttering to himself as he marched heavily down the corridor. Occasionally he would glance at the porthole windows, getting more anxious as his argument became more and more intense. I stayed motionless around the corner, knowing all to well that Jekyll was struggling with the beast that was Mr. Hyde. Suddenly, the doctor knelt down right in front of my eyes, gasping for air as if some invisible force was choking him, and in a sick, twisted way it was. Knowing what would occur if nothing were done, I took a step from around my post and stood my ground.

"Dr. Jekyll, that's enough." I barked, soon enough Captain Nemo came from down the hall.

"Contain your evil, Doctor!"

As Doctor Jekyll stood upright, I calmed myself once more as I could feel my own monster inside grow angrier. Jekyll breathed heavily, the color flushed from his face. I could sense that Hyde had released him from his devious grip.

"I know all too well how difficult it is to be tethered from the inside to a monster." I sympathized "But we mustn't have them free upon this ship."

"Must I take drastic steps?" Nemo continued rather viciously, which I wish he hadn't.

"I am in control." Jekyll protested. Again Nemo prodded bluntly.

"I very much doubt it."

"Your talk is all well and good, sir." The doctor's anger raged on "but your own past is far from laudable." I was somewhat taken aback as I never thought Jekyll being the type to pick a fight with Nemo. The shock of what the doctor had said recoiled in his eyes, I knew he had not meant to snap at our host.

I set to head him off before he could burrow away to his cabin, but my instincts told me to do otherwise. Not in the mood to sleep, I followed captain Nemo to discuss what we knew of the Fantom's plan of attack with Sawyer and Quartermain. From what we gathered, he would attack the conference being held in Venice by sea, and with enough explosives within the foundation, he could send the whole city to the deep with a switch of a button. Obviously this would start the world war he longed for. I could only scent Jekyll drop in when I was checking how the sting in my shoulder was healing.

"From what I can sense, that's not the half of our problems." I stated, as the doctor stood firm and tense at the cabin's doorway.

"Skinner, he's taken a vial of my formula." He said. The concern of what had been said hung in the air until Quartermain spoke up after a brief pause. "Are you sure?"

"Well, he's not exactly a saint, you know." I chuffed.

No sooner had I uttered those words, the sting in just below my shoulder turned into a slight searing burn. I groaned as what had stung me before burned my flesh like a cattle prod.

"Kess, are you all right." The panicked look on Sawyer's face showed as he asked.

"There's something…burning on… my back." I managed to moan between surges of pain. I crumpled down to the floor and rolled over so my mid-back was seen. Quartermain and Sawyer knelt down to my side as Nemo examined my wound.

"There is something sharp sticking out of your back, Miss Talbot. Do we have some sort of device to extract it?" he shouted over his shoulder to his first mate, Ishmael.

"Stand back, everyone." The quiver in Dr. Jekyll voice disappeared and was replaced by the tone a stern, confident man. As he tore off a piece of his white shirt, he continued.

"Nemo, I shall require your dagger."

Briefly in shock, Nemo must have snapped out of his trance because he handed Nemo his blade. Using the dagger, he levered the sharp object until there was enough of it to pull out, which was about as painless as a root canal minus the anesthetics. As soon as I turned around a long, pointed, silver needle glinted in the light and my wound immediately sealed itself up.

"It looks like you found the needle in the haystack." Sawyer joked.

"That's no ordinary needle, Agent Sawyer." I grimaced in shock; I stood one I felt better.

"Only one thing could cause that kind of reaction to one such as myself. A weapon such as a silver bullet or knife, or in this case needle, can fatally harm a werewolf. Even to the point of death."

"This needle is hollow," Sawyer inquired as he looked to the nearest lantern through it. "See the hole. Like the ones you get shots from."

"Or the ones that draw blood." Quartermain finished. Why anyone would want my blood was beyond me, but I could sense a traitor on board this vessel and that danger was close at hand. Little did I know just how close it really was.