The Adept

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Survival

HEIDI

Just as he was about to repeat the ritual, a Vampire dagger pointed at Lord Voltaire’s throat. He glanced at his side where a pale arm extended from.

“Move and you die.”

“Victoria,” he muttered in disappointment and surprise.

Lord Voltaire released me and backed away slowly. Vicky moved in front of me, still holding the dagger at him.

“Do not do this, Victoria.”

Tears streamed down her face. “I can’t let you kill her.”

“Going against the wishes of your King is treason.”

“You asked me to raise her like she’s one of us,” Vicky retorted. “I won’t stand by and watch you take her life.”

Lord Voltaire sighed and raised his hands. “I care for her just as much. But this is much bigger than a friendship. I’m protecting the three realms, Victoria!”

She held her gaze and dagger. She shook her head, “I won’t let you do it.”

Disappointment filled his tone. “I love you, Victoria. But I need to do this for the the survival of the three realms.”

He exposed his claws and swiped at Vicky. She ducked in time and ran her body into him. As she landed on top of him, she raised her dagger to stab him. He resisted her hands with his, their eyes locked in wordless communication.

Lord Voltaire, being quicker and stronger, used her weight against her and countered the pin. They rolled and he pinned her onto the ground. He held her wrists as she attempted to pierce his torso with her dagger.

“You cannot win me, Victoria,” he spoke calmly. Vicky gritted her teeth. “I taught you all that you know.”

“Heidi!” Vicky yelled to me instead, “Run!”

Lord Voltaire managed to shove her hands away and the dagger slid into the shadows of the factory, somewhere between the heavy machines. At the other end, Tristan got up and lifted his wand. But before he could cast a spell, Lord Voltaire’s eyes widened and threw his hands to his throat. He was gasping for air.

“Voltaire?” Vicky turned to me, “Heidi, stop it, you’re hurting him!”

I stared at her and shook my head. “That’s not me.”

A black mass swooped down and tackled Vicky across the factory. They crashed onto the heavy machines, breaking and bending every piece of metal and plastic. Renee pulled out her dagger and Vicky countered with a kick to the hand. Lord Voltaire continued to choke as he fell to his knees.

“I could feel your dark energy a mile a way, Vampire,” Rose said as she balled her fist at him.

She walked through the door, her red hair flowing behind her. I had never seen anyone get the better of the Vampire King the way she did.

“Let him go,” I croaked. My throat was sore.

Rose raised an eyebrow as her golden eyes landed on me. “You. You went off the radar. I couldn’t detect your aura this whole time.”

I frowned. Tristan was silently moving behind her to get a precise angle.

“How’d you do it?” She narrowed her eyes, taunting yet curious.

Arsonion Oblivion!” Tristan cried and shot out an orb of fire towards her.

As it reached her in an instant, the orb dissipated as it entered her anti-magic shield. Seeing this, Tristan leapt from behind the shelves where he crashed into earlier and booted Rose from where she stood. She fell but caught herself as she rolled to the side. Vicky and Renee fought in utter chaos in the corner of the factory while we stood with Lord Voltaire in the middle, facing the Necromancer.

“Where are the others, Rose?” Tristan asked, his stance ready to defend. “I’m tired of your games.”

Rose got up off the ground, wiping away the blood from her nose with the back of her hand. “Somewhere leaders like to congregate. But they can’t hear you if you called them.”

“She’s locked them at the town hall,” Lord Voltaire muttered between breaths, “in a dark magical bind. They are not conscious.”

Rose sneered wordlessly. I held Tristan back before he could cast another spell.

“She has an anti-magic shield around her. Your spells won’t work.”

The Necromancer tilted her head at me. “You would know since you have it in you. Just project it, Danielson. We’re an equal match.”

“Don’t listen to her,” Tristan warned me, eyes still fixated on Rose.

“All your life,” Rose continued, ignoring him, “people make decisions for you. They think they know what’s best for you. The Sages, the Vampires…even your own parents.”

“My family’s history is their own business,” I retorted. “I make my own choices.”

She grunted, “You keep saying that like an automaton. You tell yourself that lie all the time. They said the same thing to me when I was a child too, you know. I am a threat to everyone around because I am not fully human.”

Tristan furrowed his inky eyebrows. “What do you mean you are not fully human?”

The Necromancer looked genuinely surprised. Then she grabbed Lord Voltaire by the collar, “You mean you failed to mention to them about what I really am?”

“She’s half Vampire,” Lord Voltaire avoided Tristan’s gaze. He was still struggling to breathe as she held her fist at him again.

“That’s not possible,” Tristan muttered. “You’re a hybrid?”

“It’s a rare case, I know. I have all the brains of a Spellcaster and the brawn of a Vampire. Which makes me, basically, unstoppable once I have that energy that is in her.” She nodded at me.

“You will never win,” Lord Voltaire gritted his teeth His palms were on the floor as his breathing got shallower. “Synto will not win.”

Rose pulled out her blade and plunged it straight into Lord Voltaire’s breast. Her quickness caught us off-guard. Tristan swung a roundhouse kick to her face but she caught it and held up her palm in his face. She chanted something under her breath and he fell unconscious immediately. She tossed his body aside and walked over to me.

I backtracked and she held up her palm at me. I flung back, crashing onto a wall across the factory. Rose’s eyes grew black as she approached Lord Voltaire.

“You are weak,” she snarled. “What you’ve taken from my brother will now be returned to him.”

She twisted the blade in his chest, his red eyes widened in agony. A black mist was released from his gaping mouth and entered into her. I pulled myself up with the shelves around me.

No!” I cried, wincing from the pain on my back.

The dark energy in me swirled, its coldness binding my bones. Rose fell back as the dark energy fully entered her and Lord Voltaire fell limp. A cry tore through the factory from the second floor where Vicky and Renee were.

The Necromancer steadied herself and turned her attention to Tristan. She pulled out her blade from Lord Voltaire’s chest, his black blood dripping from it.

I shoved the shelf before me and it crashed loudly, awakening Tristan. I could not hold it down any longer. I held out my palm towards the Necromancer.

“With this growing power in me,” she raised her blade to Tristan, “I’m going to end the bloodlines of all the leaders, starting with you.”

I balled my fist.

Tristan’s red eyes fell on me as soon as Rose began to choke. I stood behind her, clenching my fist till my nails pierced the skin of palm. I gritted my teeth.

“No, Heidi,” Tristan muttered weakly, “you promised.”

I felt my aura pulsate. The coldness inside me had spread to every inch of my body. Rose dropped her blade and fell to her knees, hand to her chest.

“She was going to kill you,” I said, a tear escaped my eye.

“Heidi,” Tristan said slowly, eyes wide, “let her go.”

Low whispers in my ear but I could not make them out. The energy in me was at its peak.

“The aura is consuming you, Heidi, let her go.”

“She will kill you,” I said.

Rose let out a cackle amidst her struggle. Blood spewed out of her mouth and dripped from the corners of her lips. Her golden eyes flickered to me, their fine veins bursting.

“It looks like Synto has found a replacement for me.”

She dropped lifelessly to the floor afterwards. Renee screamed from above just before Vicky clawed her face. In the midst of the chaos, Renee somehow disappeared, leaving Vicky by herself. Then she jumped over the railings and landed on the first storey, running straight to Lord Voltaire. She knelt beside him and cradled his head in her arms. He was still alive.

“Tristan!” Vicky cried.

I held Tristan up and we headed over to them. Lord Voltaire’s breathing was slow. His eyelids half open and red eyes glazed.

“He’s not regenerating,” she added. “I need you to heal him.”

“The blade has anti-magic properties,” I said to her. “No magic can heal this.”

Tristan knelt beside him and hovered his hands over the Vampire King’s chest. Then he shook his head, “I can’t feel his aura. It is completely blocked—Rose must have poisoned him.”

Vicky held Lord Voltaire’s head to her face. “Hang in there, okay? We’ll get you through this.”

The Vampire King tried his best to open his eyes. “My Victoria.”

“I’m here.” She took his ivory hand.

“Forgive me,” he whispered before he let out a long, last breath.

Tristan and I exchanged glances. He put his hands to his sides hopelessly. “Vicky, he’s aura—I don’t feel it anymore.”

“No,” she shook her head, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Try and heal him, Tristan!”

“Vicky,” I held her trembling hand. “He’s gone.”

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