The Last Huntress

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The Lair of Ba'al

Never would I have thought my feet would stand over the infamous crest of Ba’al’s clan. Yet here I was, feet placed strongly over it while I faced a hooded vampire that led me to this room at knifepoint. I could barely feel Howl at my side, after nearly taking out a second vampire on the way here when he tried to stop her from coming in with me, they allowed her entrance as well.

With the length of my cloak and the new way it was sown, none of them could tell I was missing an arm. It wasn’t terribly important that they didn’t know but I wanted to control the amount of knowledge about me since I’ve left the dome. They only need to know what I want them to know.

The hooded vampire slowly lowered the knife at my throat and turned like a good little soldier before walking back to his post near the main throne sitting a little too far away from where I had to stand to wait on his majesty.

Suddenly, the thumping of staffs sounded off on the ground around me. It made the room echo and thump with a solid rhythm. But it was only making an entrance for him to come through.

Ba’al strutted his way into the room and gazed over it with an iron glare. It did nothing for my fear levels. I didn’t fear him as a child and I won’t fear him now. Even if his men were the ones that killed both of my parents and millions more of the human race, he was never going to enact fear into my body.

When his umber eyes finally fell on me no chill went up my spine, the only thing that happened was the itch in my left palm as it waited for a chance to make contact with the monster himself.

“Redley Riker, as I live and will never breathe...You’ve finally taken my note to heart and came for your visit.” His voice was as annoying as I imagined. I’ve met him once before but his minion did all the talking. The baritone made my ears vibrate as he bellowed out his welcome. The hooded vampires stood at his sides as if he needed the protection. With the big bad wolf next to me and my reputation as a slayer of his own kind, it made sense.

“Clear the room,” He commanded suddenly and when no one moved but whispers could be barely heard amongst his staff he stood from his throne and commanded again in a stronger tone.

“I will not repeat myself. Do you all believe that I am too weak to be alone in a room with the vampire slayer? BE GONE!” He shouted to the room and I watched from the corner of my eyes as his people scattered. The doors slamming around the room made a tiny smile form at the corner of my lips. They thought they would be privy to this conversation, what idiots.

The high arches and deep reds of fabric caught my attention for a moment while the room fell into a silence once again.

“Apologies, my people usually aren’t so scared of visitors.” They should fear more than just me, but I wasn’t going to say that out loud. Not while their leader stood on the platform in front of me. Howl stayed next to me and stayed as still as a statue, she knew the go word it didn’t need to be reviewed before entering his lair.

As he walked away from his throne and descended the small flight of stairs that led up to the platform, he got closer and closer to us. I could tell his features from a line up of a thousand greasy, tall, and pompous men if my life depended on it. His brown hair only got in the way of his long nose and almond-shaped eyes. The umber color burned behind his bangs as his steps brought him closer and closer. I steadied myself and made sure my eyes didn’t break from his and when he stopped right in front of us, I didn’t back down or cower like I know he wanted me to.

“You would think the people under you would fear me less since I’ve been off the market the last few days.” I waited for him to break first. It was like a dangerous game of chicken but it was with eyesight alone and I was going to win. That was only solidified when a grin broke on his face and his eyes darted to the floor like a smiling teenager which made me want to gag and barf on the floor.

He took two steps back from me and squared his shoulders. I couldn’t ignore the dressings he was adorned in. It looked like one of those history books I had in my house. I guess this was the Victorian era once again. From his button-up vest and the cape to match, he looked like something out of a book about his kind by some stuck in the past writer who had nothing better to write about at the time. Pompous didn’t come close.

“I’ve noticed your absences, it wouldn’t have anything to do with your departure from the human village, would it?” He pegged me right on the nose and I hated that my life was the only gossip these things wanted to talk about.

“I’m not sure what you’re saying. I’ve been on a hunting trip for a while, that doesn’t mean I’ve left the village.” I steadied my voice and kept my stance, he wouldn’t get anything out of me that I didn’t want him to.

“Interesting, did you like my present?” He asked, changing the subject slightly.

He spoke about Comfrey and the premature turn he started and wanted me to finish. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing what that boy took from me.

“Would that present be the viral turn of my last family member? Because I received the gift, and then destroyed it without another thought. You really should learn to shop in a different area.” I joked with him but kept any details of what really happened under wraps. I still didn’t have a full proof plan for what I was doing here, but again, he didn’t need to know that.

“The present wasn’t just from me, there is someone I want you to meet but I don’t think it’s the right time.” He pursed his lips and took another step closer to me trying to make me move even an inch.

“I’ve met plenty of your people here today, but enough of this bullshit talking. I came here for a specific reason. I wish to declare something.” His face was too close to me now, and the soft vibrations from Howl next to me told me she thought the same thing. Raising my hand to her I made sure she didn’t just attack out of nowhere. We had our plan and she would stick to it.

“Maybe a declaration of the final winner? It’s been years, too long has this fight gone on. If you secede I will grant the last humans sanctuary and they will be off limits. Unless of course, they wish to be turned. Then none of us would have control over that.” He smiled and reached for a lock of my shorter hair. I pulled away from his grip making his smile widen more. He finally got a reaction from me. Damn it.

“I will never secede. I wish to declare a full-on war. No more of this battle by battle bullshit. No more of me killing each of your men and women one by one. I want a battle to end the war.” I spoke from the depths of my anger and when he pushed his face closer to mine I knew he would take the bait.

“A final battle to end the war? If that’s what will put this to rest then I will have no issue taking the last of your people and draining them of their blood. Victory will be far off if it’s just you, young slayer. I hope you have an army.” I had an army, one I’ve trained for years, but I wouldn’t need them. I wouldn’t need anyone but Howl by my side and my dagger gripped in my hand.

“I’ll give you an army, then I will take your kingdom for the human race.” I stood for a few seconds before I turned to walk out of the main room we have been talking in. But I guess even that was too easy to ask for.

From all angles, his men descended from the ceiling and hidden pieces of archway around the room. Trusting vampires was never in the plan, they thought they got the drop on me? I’ve been in need of a bath, I guess one of blood will have to do for now.

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