Castlevania: The Tragic Prince Scene 3
By Dawn Wilkins
Smacking into a window with all the speed of a supernova hurt. A lot.
Just another experience the half-breed could add to his less-than-normal life.
The moment Alucard crashed into the glass pane light danced in his eyes, revealing the comically twisted expression of Richter. Annette, nearby, also gaped with astonishment. Lightning flared in that same instant, rippling through the skies like shredded cloth. The glass fragmented and, almost before he could shut his eyelids, impaled the half-vampire. Illogical theories by traumatized masses claimed that if something hurt it would last forever and, if true, than it seemed like the vampeal would be suspended in time ceaselessly.
When the half-vampire landed on the drenched grass, pain engulfed him. Unbidden, the retransformation commenced. His whole body molded and remolded. Again, all the internal and external systems reconfigured, this time from that of a bat to that of a man. One almost inaudible moan came from his ashen lips.
A voice. Oh, my, God! Ann, did you just see what I saw?
Another. A bat just hit the window!
The prince opened his eyes gingerly, still very much in pain. Those golden pupils absorbed the flash of ribbonated lightning. alabaster strands tickled his cheeks. With his good hand, Alucard stripped it aside even as it smeared his face. Unconsciousness threatened to steal him away to the darkness but the agony darting up his face suppressed the urge. With pain came thought and with thought came awareness.
...Ma...ri...a...Maria... he breathed.
More sounds reached his ears, heralding the forms of the fabled vampire hunter, Richter and his bride, Annette. Richter had befriended the half-breed when Alucard delivered him from the arcane orchestrations of the dark priest, Shaft. A curious friend, no doubt, since Richters ancestry were dedicated to exterminating the half-vampires race. But Marias insistence and his honorable deed gave the vampire hunter a change of heart and whip. As for Annette, she immediately accepted anyone her husband allied with and damn the fact that Alucards former occupation included blood-sucking.
Infinitely grateful was he ever. ...Thank...God...
Once the duo arrived they did not remain inactive for long. A quartet of arms encircled his and proceeded to drag the vampeal inside. Neither spoke. It appeared that, were they to voice their concerns or questions, poor Alucard would fall into the dark unawareness. Finally, all three reached the safety of the building. The couple gently laid Alucard on the wooden flooring. Both exchanged glances. Both looked immensely worried.
Such was unnatural for the flamboyant tastes and easy-going attitude for Richter, the half-breed knew. The very fashion of the vampire hunters apparel proved it. Auburn strands flourished for a mane. His dark violet cloak contrasted sharply against the white silk of a shirt and the pastel blue of slacks. His wife had beauty similar to Maria. A golden waterfall for hair poured down her back, longer than her sisters and currently her outfit was a simple green dress. Viewing Annettes emerald eyes, identical to Marias, restored remembrance of his mission.
Now worry became fear.
...Must...go to her..
Like a predator loathe to relinquishing its prey, the infinite blackness sought to drag him under. Only by an inhuman force of will did the half-breed remain conscious. And, only because of such an paranormal parentage did he keep the assailing pain from his voice. Polished, he spoke, Shes in danger. She...came looking for me and...we arrived at the cathedral
What one? Annette immediately inquired, rightfully distressed.
Now that the monotone had full leisure of his words, Alucard could continue, unhindered, Its at the outskirts of town. A wall explodednear the waterveinand flooded the church.
Richter whistled in alarm while Annettes face contorted in dismay.
But, we managed to reach a safe room. Maria and I were injured. She was not conscious and I could not bring her here...We must return.
Without another word, the vampire hunter snatched his whip, Morning Star, and crackled it expertly a few times. An attractive whip, with slender inscriptions on the hilt and several gems embedded in the hilt. Beautiful but deadly. Neither as beautiful or deadly as his own weapon, an heirloom blade, but impressive nonetheless. His other hand yanked the violet cloak close. Right. Im going after her.
I shall accompany you." Alucard was surprised at how elegant his voice held. He had been swimming with death after all.
And me, too!
Two pairs of eyebrows, one the color of champagne, the other of chestnut, lifted as Richter and Alucard turned to face a defiant Annette. To even more disbelief, the woman produced a dagger, and sliding it along the hem of dress, made the length far more navigable. She stuck the knife through her belt. Her eyes glittered with a defiance rivaling Marias.
Oh, no, youre, not!
Oh, yes, I, am!"
Inwardly, the half-breed chuckled. She was so much like her sister! Both Belmonts stared each other down. Declining to discover who would emerge victorious (Richter had quite an intimidating snarl while Annette could be formidable once angered), the vampeal spoke, traditionally cold, Seeing as time is of the essence, I dont think we have much of a choice. We must help Maria posthaste.
Though he shook his head sadly, Richter didnt argue. Alucard continued, swift as thought, To the church!
Richter grabbed his wifes arm and proceeded toward the door. Immediately, an inspiration dawned on the half-vampire and he halted the couple with his cool as ice tone, Follow me. Without waiting for an affirmative or negative, he commenced the transformation again. For the third time that day his body mutated, shaped and reshaped, all the while tearing an animalistic scream from his throat.
Vampeal became bat.
His wings extended, hands of the night, talons gleaming. After a hasty nosedive, nearly colliding with the wooden planks, he then banked sharply upward. Regaining control of the currents, Alucard swooped over the threshold. The half-breed thought he heard a chuckle in Richters voice as the hunter hollered, Lead away, bat!
As if the heavens wept the fall of the brightest of angels, another sheet of rain savaged the vampire hunters and their unlikely winged companion. It took mere moments for the three to become drenched thoroughly. Fortunately, this all indicated that dawn was yet hours away. Both Annette and Richter were forced to shout at him to slow every so often lest the blinding shrouds consume his silhouette from view. Lightning illuminated his curves with fierce efficiency but such was of no use if he aviated too fast. It was difficult to remind himself that they were mere mortals while the blood of an immortal vampire coursed through his veins.
Was HE the fallen angel they mourned? Fallen into the path of his father, Prince of Darkness?
He didnt know. He didnt think he ever wanted to know. The half-breed slammed a mental fist on the lid of such thoughts. Self-analyzing had served him as much as emotionsnot at all.
It was a trying time, indeed, as the trio sought to battle the furious gusts and vicious rain. Richter, his footing rarely sure, uttered such a string of obscenities that Annette promptly told him to shut up. Not that her husband was prone to cursing, but the anxiety he surly experienced gave him quite a mouth. All three were on edge.
Those dreadful feelings only worsened when they arrived at the cathedral. If the condition was bad before, now it was far times far worse. Forever seemed to come and go as the hunters and Alucard sought the window hed flew from earlier. Just as all their hearts were quicksand with despair, the bats heightened sense of smell indicated to a broken pane that Annette fingered.
Not waiting for the others, the vampeal darted in. His impatience was rewarded with a rude landing as he lost control of the wind streams and collapsed. Once inside, the retransformation began and he clipped a shriek as the electric agony parched his limbs. He fought off unconsciousness.
Annette appeared by his side, quickly helping him into a sitting position. How they had managed to enter did not become clear until Alucard looked up and saw the furthered shattered window. Tiny shards fell like the drips of icicles after the onslaught of winter ended. Richter, without delay, glanced about for his missing sister-in-law.
Are you sure were in the right room?
The half-vampires golden eyes scanned the area.
He frowned and murmured, his immaculate voice slightly off key. This is the room...the cross! Two obsidian gloved hands, both the injured and uninjured, snatched up the water-protection holy symbol. Ice blazed in his palms yet he ignored it. She was here but...
And thats when he saw it.
Blood. A pool of blood.
Is that Marias? Annettes voice, unusually calm.
I have a bad feeling about this... Richters, this time, and unusually serious.
When a ribbon of light enlightened the chamber, and the life fluid become distinct, the half-breed recognized the writing. A partially coherent pattern, thin lines and curves of blood formed into a number of sentences. It was in a language only a few in this time era would know. He was one of them.
*My dear son. Your beloved mortal is unharmed, by me, and in my care. If you wish to see her again, and I know you do, return to the Corridor of Consecration. Your destiny and I await.
Swallowing, his vampiric heritage keeping the turbulent emotions in check, Alucard whispered, Dracula has Maria... Annette instantly gasped but otherwise seemed in control. Richter looked grim. He wants me to go to him in the next hallway... His voice trailed off in question.
Were going with you, the huntress insisted, pushing back a golden strand.
Cant let you face big, bad vampire alone, can we? her hunter husband contributed, able to leak a tad of humor in. Then he added, Man, how many times do I have kill that monster?
Alucard wondered that himself. Will I spend the rest of my life slaying my father, burying my emotions and residing in a coffin? his silent voice asked. Dismissing that unbidden line of sentiment, the half-vampire gathered his midnight cloak around him and stood, politely refusing Annettes aid. With an elegant gesture and the three huddled. I have a plan...but you must all listen very carefully. Gripping the cross in one hand and the hilt of his sword in another, he let his cultured voice detail the plan...
Save for the steady whisper of water and the trios footfalls, silence pervaded the air. Lightning also rumbled, but distantly, as if it, too, acknowledged the muteness supremacy. Alucard led, his head bowed, white-gold bangs concealing a deathly face. His black cape trailed behind, like the shadows of his past, and he uttered not a word. His companions noted his ill ease and continued to be similarly quiet.
I am sorry, dear friends, to deceive you...but I fear no other way remains, Alucard sighed.
Flames harassed and licked the half-vampires clothing as they sprang like hands to him. Those brilliant sparks reflected off the mirror-emulating walls and flooring. They passed the obsidian pillars, the half-vampire ever in the lead while the vampire hunters followed in his wake.
You are far safer this way...I have created this calamity...forgive me...
So immersed in this heartrending state of mind that Alucard didnt lift his head until a voice, from the darkest pit of hell, snapped it up:
Emotion lightninged to his heart, the half-breed breathed, Father...
Once you laid your eyes on Lord Vladimir Dracula Tepes, the Prince of Darkness, there would be question that the legends spoke true. Dracula emitted such an aura of fear that most mortals run screaming in terror. Like steel from a blade, silver hair poured to his shoulders, and capped a chin. Thin lines embedded in his face only accentuated his prominent demeanor.
Richter growled low in his throat as the Prince of Darkness approached. Paying no attention to that, and not even to Annettes cry of Maria!, the half-breed encountered him half-way. His father stood taller, about seven feet, towering like a shadow from above, and his extensive cape flickered, one side black as night and the other; as blood. As Dracula lifted his sons chin in one white-gloved hand, Alucard did not balk. He met the soulless eyes, though his heart threatened to punch out of his chest.
Youve come... His fathers voice could have been a knife beneath silk. It sounded smooth but underneath was unmistakable danger. One word wrong, one breath wrong, and Dracula probably wouldnt hesitate to slay them all.
To kill me, I presume?
Then, to accept my offer? There was no need to expound on that statement. Alucard was all too aware of the offer, Dracula frequently questing him about redeeming himself in the eyes of his kin and embracing his destiny. The dark eyes trailed over his companions. They tensed. He smiled. It had all the humor and none of the warmth. If true be your words, why are they here?
Alucard swore his heart would flee but he forced neutrality in his tone and face.
They want their friend back....If... For a moment the half-breed couldnt go on. Lightning flashed that same instant, illuminating his fathers malevolent visage. Finally, after breathing deeply, he finished his proposal. If you let them go...and take their friend...Ill follow your path...Ill do as you ask...
Draculas eyes flickered curiously, briefly, as if confused. The next action he did shattered Alucards heart and made his blood run cold.
His father threw back his head and laughed.
When the Prince of Darkness dropped his hand, Alucard nearly got whiplash. Swinging his arm in one perfect arch, Dracula muttered a magical word. Both his friends forthwith collapsed in agony. Annette swore vehemently while Richter gasped. The half-breed had expected it to be vice-versa. Then, his father turned his attention to the sleeping Maria.
You love her, dont you?
The question received no response. Alucard merely gazed at the huntress huddled form. She was as beautiful as ever. Curls spilled from her head to partially conceal her cheek as Maria lay on her side. If her head wound was still present, then the blood had at least ceased.
Ill give you a choice, Adrian...if you suck Marias blood and prove to me you truly have come over to my side then Ill let her friends go. If you should refuse, however, then Ill have to content myself with murdering you all...
Alucards eyes dilated almost to the point of being heard. His father stood, waiting, his own pupils glimmering with the ribbons of light. Groans and protests came from his friends. Maria didnt awaken.
He fell to a knee.
Dawn Wilkins' Fanfiction