In the Shadows of Dryden

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Chapter 24 - Born enemies

It was a good thing that Rick and Vrejh both were waiting for a fight with the Ghost because their adversary was fast in launching himself over them. They managed to dodge the attack but just barely, still earning a slight scratch on the left side of their body.

Vrejh kept his eyes pinned on the Ghost, doing his best to follow his movement, flanking the vampire and attacking but no matter how fast they attacked, the Ghost was just too fast in dodging and counter-attacking.

Caio turned and tumbled sideways, positioning himself behind his opponent so he could pull Vrejh’s hindlegs and thrown him against a tree. Vrejh hit the tree hard, letting out a whimper as he hit the ground. The vampire had a perfect opportunity to attack him again but no attack came. The wolf shook his massive head, growling and baring his canines towards the vampire that seemed to wait for him to stand. Slowly, he stood. Moving a few steps forward, the wolf began circling his adversary, watching and waiting for any movement. When the Ghost decided to attack him, he promptly sidestepped on the last second, letting the vampire miss him just enough so he could bite hard over his attacker’s right shoulder.

‘Finally!’ Said Rick. ‘Keep on it Vrejh! Don’t let him go!’

Immediately, he felt how the Ghost winced with the pain but that was all the reaction the vampire gave, not even making any painful sound. Vrejh felt his jaws being forced open, so he tightened the pressure of his bite even more. When Caio realized what the wolf was doing, he slammed his back, together with the wolf, into one of the many trees around them. Over and over again he kept on slamming himself against that tree until the wolf loosened his grip enough. Then, he elbowed the wolf in the guts, getting the canine teeth off his flesh before throwing the wolf away from him.

Despite being elbowed, Vrejh managed to land gracefully on his four paws. His claws creating scratch marks on the ground.

“Why did you attacked those innocent girls?” Asked Rick, letting his wolf concentrate on the fight so he could do the talking.

The Ghost glared at him, ignoring his bleeding shoulder that was already starting to regenerate. Ignoring the wolf’s question altogether and breaking into a sprint, the Ghost jumped up to the tree, circling the wolf as he used the trees like solid ground to propel himself forward.

Vrejh had already stopped trying to follow the vampire’s movement with his eyes. He had thought about listening for telltale sounds to pinpoint the Ghost’s location, but it proved near impossible to make a good guess. One thing that the vampire speed couldn’t avoid was the gusts of wind created from his high speed and that could be used against him if Vrejh was patient enough. With that in mind, he concentrated on the sandalwood smell of his enemy and the movement of the wind. It wasn’t an easy task. He honed his abilities, concentrating until the attack. Vrejh managed to dodge and even countered with a bite that the Ghost dodged.

They kept this dance of attack and counter-attack for some minutes, neither giving any ground to the other, both fully invested in the fight.

“I know it was you! Why did you attack those innocent girls?” Asked Rick again while they exchanged attacks.

“I have no idea of what you’re talking about.”

“Sure you do! The several innocent girls murdered and left around the forest are just a game to you. You’re an animal!”

Caio squinted his eyes, throwing daggers at the wolf. They both moved forward in a mutual attack on each other when a solid ice wall formed right in between them, causing them both to hit it hard. They shook their heads to try and chase away the light dizziness they felt from the impact, their heads turning almost simultaneously to the winter-wolf standing to the side, growling mightly at them.

‘That’s enough! Why can’t you two talk like civilized species? I know that werewolves and vampires are born enemies but enough is enough!’

Vrejh and Rick stared at Fang wide-eyed and with an open jaw. They had read that winter-wolves could talk but ever since he met this winter-wolf, he had never pronounced a single word. Fang was the only one of his kind that he had ever seen too since winter-wolves were more of a legend than anything else.

Caio stared at his companion looking annoyed for the interruption.

“Why are you interfering, Fang? You know I need this fight.”

‘No! You don’t need this fight! You need to talk, both of you!’ Fang turned his gaze to the alpha wolf in front of him and just held his gaze.

When Fang talked for the second time, Rick realized that the winter-wolf wasn’t really talking like a person would but he was mind-linking his thoughts to them. It was mind-blowing to think that a creature that wasn’t from the same species as him or even from his own pack would be able to accomplish such merit.

“You can mind-link… us?” Rick asked, perplexed, but the winter-wolf didn’t answer. All he did was to hold his gaze on the alpha.

“I know about the murders but I’m not the one behind them.”

Rick snapped his face towards the vampire, his expression turning serious. Caio was stone-faced, although he didn’t really want to just sit and talk, he forced himself to calm down. Fang was one of the few friends he listened to. Their bond had been created many centuries ago when they first met, and so he trusted the winter-wolf.

“Don’t bullshit me, vampire! I found your castle and the gemstones you used to carve and place inside the girls.” Accused Rick, his gaze was like two blue fire orbs.

The mention of his castle and the gemstones got Caio to backstep, a mix of emotions and questions going through his mind, his gaze softened into a confused frown as he glanced sideways. He got so deep into his questioning thoughts that he didn’t even hear the many pops and cracks of bones readjusting into another form. His gaze going back to the werewolf only when he spoke again.

“I can see that I got you! Spill it! I know it was you!” The said werewolf now stood in his human form, naked in front of him.

“You found my castle?” Asked Caio, ignoring the accusation.

“Yes! I had to fight the tough guy you left guarding it. You can probably still find his corpse in the forest near your damn castle.”

Caio winced, visibly worried.

“How many of your minions have you been sending to commit those crimes?”

Caio looked back at him, his head shaking a “no”.

“Stop denying it! I found footprints that totally disappeared nearby some trees. I just had a demonstration of how well you can act around trees an instant ago. How long are you gonna deny it?”

“As long as it takes for you to understand that you’re barking at the wrong “tree”!” Replied Caio, emphasizing the word “tree”.

Rearing his reply caused Rick to clench his hands into fists beside his body.

“What do those gemstones represent to you? Why did you carve them into different organs, replacing the respective one in the victim? What are those organs you took meant for? Why did you use a pentagram and how many witches do you have working with you?”

The vampire let out a loud “sigh”, massaging his forehead with one of his hands.

“I wonder if all werewolf alphas are as hardheaded as you.” Caio’s hand dropped down to his previously injured shoulder. “You ruined my coat!”

“I really don’t care about your damn coat!”

“I noticed!” His gaze went back to Richard, moving his shoulder around and popping it loudly. “They don’t represent anything to me. I did not carve them and…” He paused, remembering all the questions. “I didn’t use a pentagram nor do I work with witches. Now, if those are all your questions, I’m gonna head back home.”

“What did you do with the actual organs? Why did you remove them in the first place?”

“I didn’t even know about gemstones being used in place of some stolen organs. How in the nine hells am I gonna know what they are for or where they are? Figure it out yourself!”

“Then why have I found those gemstones in your castle!”

Caio lifted an eyebrow at this stupid question.

“I thought you were smarter than this alpha. I will let your reasoning take whatever conclusion you so feel fit. I grew tired of your presence and it seems like I might have more important business to attend to than play with you.”

Without waiting for a reply, Caio took off in a sprint, leaving. Richard started to move forward to follow, now that the ice wall was gone, had melted away. The thing he didn’t expect was what happened next and all because he had forgotten about Fang. The latter didn’t wait any longer to breathe his ice breath on Richard’s feet, instantly freezing him to the ground before he sprinted after the Ghost.

“Damnit!!”

Richard kept trying to move around to break the ice holding him in place but he found it difficult to break it and inevitably, being forced to watch while the elusive Ghost and his winter-wolf companion disappeared through the forest vegetation.

‘Well, there is no point in chasing after him now. Let’s go home. I’m hungry!’

Richard didn’t answer Vrejh, instead, he kept on trying to get free. In the end, he let out a sigh and waited until the ice had melted a bit before shifting to his wolf form, easily breaking off the ice around his paws. With one last glance toward the spot where he had last seen the Ghost and his companion, Vrejh turned and walked in the direction where he had left his clothes.

***

“Hey Emina, can you bring some more beer for us?”

“Sure, Ben. Coming!”

Ben nodded a “thank you” to her and turned his attention back to the other guys.

“Man, it’s getting harder to work with all those attacks going on.” Said a blue-haired guy.

“Don’t remind me of that!” Said a green-haired guy popping his neck in an attempt to relax his sore muscles after a long day of work.

“It cannot be helped. It’s not like someone else can do that for us.”

“We know, Ben but a little break would be amaaaaazing!” Retorted a blond guy.

The four guys were sitting in a large circular room furnished with several long wooden tables and chairs. Big tall windows allowed for the sunlight to come in and illuminate the vast room during the day, while beautiful glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, were used during the night. Several runes and carved figures decorated the walls, almost like telling a mythical story. The room could easily accommodate over a thousand people but only four were sitting down by a table eating and drinking beer.

“Here we go!” Said Emina with a big smile, placing the four beer mugs on the table for the guys.

“You’re the best Em…” The brown-haired guy called Ben was saying when the massive wooden doors of the dining room slammed open. They had been there for no more than ten minutes. Now, all five stared at a particularly mad looking guy standing where the doors once were. The silence in that enormous room was such that you could hear a pin drop. The man entered the room, his eyes pinning on Ben.

“When was the castle attacked?”

Ben immediately stood from his chair, leaving his plate of food and beer on the table and stretching his body into a respectable position.

“Sire, the castle was never attacked. I can personally guarantee it!”

The green-eyed man scanned the five people by the table.

“Emina, you’re dismissed!”

“Yes, Sire. Excuse me!” She said before rushing back to the kitchen.

The remaining guys were also standing by the time they saw the huge blue-eyed snow-white wolf stride into the room and stand by their Master.

“Has anybody from the castle been in a fight with a werewolf?”

The four men exchanged glances before answering “No!”

The green-eyed man looked down at his wolf companion. The guys knew that they were communicating with each other.

“What about the underground patrol?” His green eyes moved between each of the guys, observing them.

“Nothing unusual to report, Sire!”

“Jax, Pax, and Dax go to the underground tunnels and inspect all the locations where we can find gemstones. Update me as soon as you’re done.”

“Yes, Sire!” They said in unison.

“Ben, double the castle security for the time been.” After giving them the orders, he turned on his heels and left the room. The long strides of his brisk pace resonating within the corridors of the castle, signaling the Master’s ill mood. The few castle dwellers he passed by discretely stopping to look at him. His body moved in auto mode, knowing exactly where to go and the fastest way there while his mind was working overtime to understand what was happening.

‘Could I have been mistaken? Although he did mention he had found those gemstones in my castle and it’s true, no… scratch that. The gemstones are not exactly in my castle.’ He thought as he arrived in front of a wooden door decorated with golden foliage. Giving it a light knock, he pushed the door open, stepping inside the room.


AUTHOR’S NOTE:

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Sorry for the delay in updating. Been really busy with my thesis. The added sickness didn’t help me with the updates either. I’m gonna try my best to update at least once a week.

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