11: He Who Seeks a Monster
Six men all dressed in black cloaks rode across a fog-covered woods as the full moon shone brightly above them.
Two of the men pulled a large wooden cart behind them; the clattering of the cart as they went adding to the ominosity of the night. On their faces, although mostly hidden by the darkness, were the expressions of men on a mission; and that was exactly what they were.
The man ahead of the group drew his horse to a stop as they reached underneath a tree just where the woods met the river. “Here,” he signalled to the other men and they dismounted.
“Sire, why are we out tonight?” asked one of the men in the group; the youngest of them all. “Are you worried that perhaps the English King may have diverted some his troops this way?”
“Believe me, son, the English King is the least of our problem right now,” replied the man. “Our world is being threatened by a force more sinister than any man marching across the country; a monster.”
The leader nodded to a man at the back and the latter went to pry open the large wooden cart. Inside of it laid nothing but weapons; so many that they could easily arm a small army. Swords, arrows, crossbows, daggers, throwing knives; they all glistened in the moonlight.
But as the curious young man stared at the weapons, he realised that there was something different about them. Silver, he realised; the weapons were all made of silver instead of steel like a regular weapon.
The leader saw the young man’s look and decided to ask, “Have you heard the news of the attack on the towns at the border?” The young man nodded affirmative. “Well, that was the monster. It's an abomination travelling all over Europe to lay waste to everything in its path. We are slayers, son, and it is our duty to seek out this monster and eradicate it from God’s own earth.”
No sooner had the leader finished speaking that the fog suddenly billowed and a figure was spotted far into the woods. But the figure was gone as fast as it had appeared and none of the men could say exactly what it was.
“It’s here,” the leader warned his men and they all immediately went on alert; a weapon in each hand.
Stepping forward, the leader shouted into the night, “I know you’re out there, Monster! Why don’t you come out and let me send you on your way to hell?”
“Perhaps I could send you on your way instead.”
The return was only a voice from the darkness of the thick of the fog but next thing the men knew, a whoosh swept past them and the leader went down on his knees, gurgling as he tried to abate the flow of the blood that had suddenly begun to gush from his neck; his throat had been slit. He fell to the ground and died soon afterwards.
Frantic with fear, the other men began to shoot arrows indiscriminately at anything and everything in the vicinity; they wanted the monster dead and fast. But they all got was nothing.
“Over there!” One of the men again spotted the figure on top of the wooden cart. It moved with so much inhuman speed that all they could see for each brief second was a blur.
It zoomed from the top of the cart and towards the closest man; catching him by the throat. A snap and the man fell to the ground, dead. He was tossed effortlessly aside just as another came at the figure with a sword in hand. But all he came to was a fist plunged into his chest.
On and on, the figure went; the scream and death of every of the men following his movement. Until finally, only the young man remained.
Unsure of what to do, the young man turned to run. But no sooner had he taken a step towards escape that he was suddenly flung off his feet and into a tree.
The young man crashed into a branch and it pierced his chest from behind, hanging him limply on the tree just as the figure finally came to a stop and a tall, blonde young man with eyes the colour of diamond in the moonlight was revealed.
“You!” gasped the dying young man.
“Yes, me,” Michael replied; and he crushed the young man’s chest with just a press. “The Minotaur.”
“You were a terror, Michael,” Regina said to him, sighing as she recalled one of the ancient vampire’s numerous rampages. “You still are.”
“That, I am,” he replied, smiling coyly.
Michael had never had any regret over his actions. To him, He’d done what he’d done; and he would do nothing to change nor apologise for the events. Regret was for those without power, he always believed. But he was as powerful as they came.
“But as it turned out, I didn’t kill this mortal girl,” he said to Regina. “Someone else did and left my name on her body. Expectedly, I'll very much like to meet that fool of an impostor and set him straight, painfully as I can manage. So, have you heard of anyone in your establishment or outside of it who have been asking around about the Minotaur?”
Regina seemed to muse over question as she got up from the seat which she had assumed during the course of their discussion and walked gracefully across the room to pour herself a glass of Scotch. She offered Michael a refill but he declined.
“I’m sorry, Michael, but I haven’t caught wind of anything like that,” she eventually replied after a while. “I really wish I could have been of more help to you.”
“Don’t worry yourself about it, Regina, you already are,” he replied, smiling.
Michael retrieved the photograph he’d given Regina and immediately took his leave from the nightclub. Thing is, the ancient vampire had caught a whiff of something off the mistress of Charon when she answered his question. Something very subtle but still noticeable to his keen senses. It was deceit.
Regina had lied when she said she didn’t know anything about the Minotaur imposture. She did and it picked at the ancient vampire as he stepped into the night what information the eight hundred year-old vampire knew.
But even more than that, it bothered him why she had elected to conceal it from him.