“What’s going on here?” Victor questioned the man.
Seftis chuckled as he walked to the side. “Such an optimistic man. That optimism made it so you did not see what was right in front of you.”
Victor glared at the Councilman but said nothing.
“I’m talking about your wife, Victor.” Statement gained Victor’s glance back to the woman pressing a blade to his back. “She’s quite an actress. Don’t you agree?”
Victor’s glare returned to the old man. “What do you mean?”
“Surely you can’t be this oblivious? From the very beginning she was working with me. She worked to gain your trust. To win your heart. And in the end, she still hates you, and wishes for Vampires to go extinct.” He laughed. “Truly, Victor, you must have seen the signs.”
Victor staggered a little. “That can’t be true.”
He turned and look at his wife. Her eyes stared at him, but they were lifeless. No emotion showed in them.
“She’s been a great asset for me.” Seftis said as he walked back to the center of the alley. “It’s a shame she failed her mission today. She was suppose to take out Dracula and leave before you knew. I guess her luck ran out.”
Victor bent closer to Elizabeth, hoping to see some sign that the Councilman was lying, but all it gained was a moved that brought the dagger closer to his throat. He held up his hands, showing he wasn’t going to hurt her, but that didn’t change her actions.
“What do you mean her luck ran out?” Victor called back to the man.
The vampire prince could practically feel the smirk the Councilman gave. “She’s been helping me control this war since her disappearance. What do you think she was doing during that month you were searching for her?”
“You...” he said in a shocked breath. “You killed those people?”
Elizabeth remained silent during the whole thing, though she deeply desired for control long enough to tell him everything. Her hand trembled as she fought for control, but she couldn’t say any words she wished. Victor noticed the tremble. He didn’t know why it happened, but his chest ached as he heard everything that was held from him.
“I’m giving you a fair warning, Victor.” Seftis called. “Stay out of our way, or you will just be another pile of dust waiting to happen.”
“What do you gain from this?!” He shouted in anguish. “Why are you doing this?”
He heard a small laugh. “I gain everything.”
Footsteps. They became distant, but Victor remained in front of his wife. Watching her. She stayed still, waiting until the Councilman was a safe distance before slowly backing away from Victor. In a flash, Victor grabbed the hand that held the dagger and twisted it away from them, causing her to drop the weapon. His other hand went and cradled her head as he bent down and planted a kiss on her lips. It was a strong kiss, and Victor hoped it would some how resonate with her. The punch to his gut said otherwise.
He staggered back and called out to her. “Wait.”
Elizabeth watched as his knees hit the ground. She still held no emotion in her features.
“Please,” Victor pleaded. “Just tell me the truth. Why are you doing this?”
“You just heard the truth.” She explained. “Everything the Councilman said was true.”
“No,” Victor stood up. “I don’t believe it. It can’t be true. Elizabeth, please,” he reached and grabbed her hand. “Everything I told you was true. My feelings, for you, are real. You can’t tell me that after all that time together, after all those moments we shared, that you don’t feel anything.”
Elizabeth opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She fought for control. She wanted to tell him that he was right. She wanted to declare that she loved him then and still loved him. She wanted to throw everything away just to tell him everything.
Victor noticed her struggle, and he knew what he needed to do. He grabbed her hand that held the crossbow and, like before, lifted it to his chest, where his heart would be. Elizabeth watched as he did this. Her head screamed for him to stop, but he didn’t.
“Prove me wrong.” He challenged. "If you truly don't have any feelings for me, then you best kill me now. Because I know your plan and will stop at nothing to stop you."
With that, he closed his eyes and waited. He felt her hand tremble in his. Though it was difficult to put her in this situation again, he needed the clarification. For all he knew, Seftis was lying partially. Victor didn't believe that Elizabeth would do as he said willingly. This came back to the theory of her being controlled.
"If she is truly being controlled, then the controller can force someone to do something they would not do in their normal lives." He thought as he continued to wait.
He heard the squeeze of the trigger, the sound of an arrow being loosed from its bolt. But no pain came, the arrow instead created a sound of breaking through wood.
He let out a gasp and his eyes opened to see Elizabeth with tears in her eyes. Her free hand and pushed the one holding the crossbow away from Victor's chest, saving him. She was panting, exhausted from all the energy she had spent, fighting the madman.
The crossbow dropped, and her hands continued to tremble. Elizabeth's hands reached up to her mouth as she took in a harsh breath, and fell to the ground.
Sobs filled the area around them as she broke down. Victor bent down and placed a hand on her shoulder. Without hesitation, he pulled her into a hug and allowed her to cry in his chest. Several moments passed like this, and Victor knew she was truly Elizabeth again. She was being controlled. He didn't know how, but he would find out.
"You have to leave." He hear his wife say.
Victor pulled away to look into her green eyes. "What? No, I'm not leaving you out of my sight again."
"Victor please!" She begged. "I don't know how long I have control right now. I can still feel him in my head. I can't have him hurt you, by using me."
His chest ached. He understood why she was telling him this, but he didn't want to lose her again. His hand cradled her face in his hand. His thumb stroked her cheek for a moment, wiping away some tear trails.
"Victor." Her voice plead.
Bending forward, he kissed her once more with passion. His other hand pulled her closer to him as he enjoyed this moment with her. Her hands rested on his chest, and she moved in sync with him. This was the most free she felt in a long time. But she couldn't take the risk.
She pushed him away, gaining a sorrowful look from her husband. Standing up quickly, she stepped away from him.
"I'm sorry." She whispered, and then ran away, trying to protect the man she loved with all her heart from herself.