Candles and incense were lit all around the Valerious house as Voris sat at the bedside of his youngest child, ten year old Sapphire. The older two; twelve year olds Velkan and Anna were all trying to hold on to hope that their sister would be alright from this illness. Voris knew there was only one way to cure Sapphire. "Velkan, Anna; I'm going to have take Sapphire to Count Dracula. He's the only one who knows how to cure Sapphire" he told them. "But father; Count Dracula is evil. We can't offer Sapphire to him" Velkan pleaded.
"Velkan; we have no choice. Count Dracula is the only one who has the cure for the sickness that Sapphire is battling" Voris answered. He took a breath and continued "We do everything for family even if it means having to cross the lines and make a deal with the devil. Now Anna; get your mom's old cloak so I can wrap Sapphire in it. Velkan; talk to the stable keeper and get the coach ready. Go now!" They nodded and took off to do as they were told.
Anna returned a second later with a huge cloak and Voris got Sapphire bundled up. The Valerious' maid, Katara came in and Voris said "Katara; look after Velkan and Anna while I take Sapphire to be cured." "Yes sir" Katara replied with a curtsey. Velkan returned and said "The coach is ready father." "Then I shall be off. Obey anything Katara tells you to do" Voris instructed. Velkan and Anna watched as their dad carried their baby sister to the lair of the devil.
Voris arrived at Castle Frankenstein where Igor and the Count were waiting. "Well Voris; I see you have brought your daughter to me" the Count commented. "Can you cure her" Voris asked. "Yes I can but there is one thing I want" Dracula replied. He looked longingly at the child in Voris' arms and he heard that soft humming sound in her heartbeat. It was the sound made by soulmates. The Count knew exactly what he wanted, Sapphire's hand in marriage. "What is it that you want Count" Voris asked, following Dracula and Igor into the castle.
"It's very simple Voris. I cure your daughter and when it is time; preferably when she turns 24 then I'll take her. That's fourteen years I'll be waiting for her" Dracula answered. "What is it that you'll be taking my daughter for" Voris asked. "Her hand in marriage that's what" the Count answered. Voris was in shock. How was he supposed to agree to give his youngest daughter to the son of the Devil? The entire family's salvation was at stake if Dracula wasn't killed soon. Velkan, Anna, and Sapphire were the last unless they were wed and Sapphire wasn't about to have a choice. Voris looked to his sickly daughter that he held and seemed in deep thought. He didn't want to condemn Sapphire to such a fate but he wanted her to live.
"Very well Count. Upon Sapphire's 24th birthday; you shall receive her hand in marriage" Voris replied. "Good; I'm going to remember that Voris. Now, hand young Sapphire to me and I shall care for her. I shall return her to you when she is better" the Count told Voris and held his arms out for the child. Voris kissed his sleeping daughter's forehead and handed Sapphire to Dracula before leaving the castle. Now he had to explain this to Velkan and Anna. He got back in the coach to return home and wondered how he was going to explain the promise.
Once Voris was gone; Count Dracula carried Sapphire to an empty room for the week. Dr. Frankenstein was already working on an antidote with Igor's assisting him. The most the Count could now was try to cool her raging fever. He removed one of his gloves and started running his hand along her forehead, knowing the cool of his skin would help. He also put heavy blankets on her to try and warm her so the fever would break. He looked at this innocent child in the bed, continued to run the back of his hand along her forehead. The Count had no doubt once he heard that humming in Sapphire's heartbeat, he had found his eternal love. It was also the very thing that would be his redemption but Sapphire would have to love Dracula back. He knew this would be a long fourteen year wait but very worth it and then he would have the most beautiful and strongest bride in all of Transylvania or perhaps the entire world.
Back at the Valerious house
Voris got out of the carriage and went back into the house. "Is Miss Sapphire alright" Katara asked. "She will be Katara. The Count will return her when she is cured" Voris replied. "That is good but it seems that something more is troubling you" Katara replied. "It is. Will you bring Velkan and Anna in here at once" Voris asked in reply. Katara obeyed and brought the two in. Velkan and Anna sat in their father's lap and Voris said "Velkan, Anna; I have to tell you something about Sapphire."
"Is Sapphire still alive" Anna asked. "Yes and she will be cured. There was a promise that the Count had me make" Voris replied. "What kind of promise" Velkan asked. "The Count has asked to marry Sapphire when she turns 24" Voris answered. "What? Father how could you promise Sapphire to the Count" Anna asked. "We have no options. Sapphire needs the cure" Voris told them. "But was marriage really necessary" Velkan asked. "It's not our place to argue anymore. I raised you three with the lesson of keeping a promise that you make" Voris told them. "Yes father" Velkan and Anna replied at the same time. "Good, now off to bed you two" Voris instructed and off they went up to their rooms.
The week was soon up and as promised, Dracula returned to Sapphire. "I shall see you in fourteen years" Dracula vowed. Upstairs; Velkan and Anna watched as their sister was brought home. They no more liked the promise than their dad did. Still; it had to be done. They still had no clue why marriage was so important but they would soon learn that their sister was the key to the family's salvation.