Niiko was woken up by some noise coming from the corridor. She wiped her mouth as she climbed out of bed then yawned like a lion. When she opened the door she found one of the twins, Kuro, and Rami having a heated discussion.
‘What the hell is going on here? You woke me up.’ – She scratched her head sluggishly as she looked from one man to the other. Kuro stepped next to her and leaned to her ear then spoke softly.
‘He wanted to enter your room, mother.’ – His voice was so deep compared to his young looks it surprised Rami. The twins were tall, above 6 foot, while Niiko barely reached 5’4, so it looked a bit comical as Kuro leaned down to find Niiko’s ear with his lips. Rami watched them, but could not hear what the man was saying. His voice resonated, but he spoke so low no words could be understood.
‘I see. Where is Shiro?’ – Kuro rubbed his left ear as if reluctant to reply.
‘In the room.’ – He answer finally.
‘Sleeping?’ – Niiko looked up at him smiling. Kuro nodded, his eyes fixed on the ground.
‘That’s alright. I’m surprised you are up!’ – She patted the twin’s upper arm then turned her attention the blond man. – ‘What can I do for you, Rami?’
‘Niiko, I think Micha is in trouble. He sent a message, but Ariel refused to send him help saying we don’t have the numbers. He is stuck out in the Library quarters.’ – Niiko listened carefully. When Rami was done explaining she looked up at Kuro and nodded. The twin nodded back slightly and headed to his room.
‘Was that what you couldn’t tell back in the chamber?’ – The woman went back into her room, the blond man following her.
‘Yes, Ariel wouldn’t let us tell anyone about it. If we lose Micha, we lose…our core.’ – His voice was heavy and tired. It was obvious this secret meant a great burden for him.
‘What of the others?’ – Niiko grabbed a bag and started packing with her back facing the man. – ‘Only twelve of you were attending the council. Where are the rest?’
‘Lost.’ – He answered simply. – ‘Some assassinated, some…ran.’ – At the last word the woman turned around.
‘Ran?!’ – She snapped her piercing green eyes wide. – ‘What man runs away when his brethren are dying?!’ – She spit out with disgust. – ‘Who?’
‘Who, I asked.’ – Her voice was full of threat and disappointment.
‘Alaric, who also took Kaleb and Anton with him.’ – Niiko hissed, her fingers fiddling with a hairpin. As she was processing the information the two twins appeared at the door. Rami looked them up and down.
‘Who are they, by the way?’ – He pointed at the strangers with a half-smile.
‘My sons. Kuro and Shiro.’ – Niiko smiled at the direction of the twins with a proud expression. – ‘Found them in a small village outside of Osaka. Their blood mother, well, how should I put it, left them to die.’ – She frowned as if the words themselves were poison in her mouth. – ‘I took them in and how good I did. Now they are my ears and eyes.’ – The brothers said nothing, they just stared with an indifferent blank face.
‘They don’t talk much, do they?’ – Rami grinned holding out a hand to one of the twins. When the man did not return the favor Rami dropped his hand embarrassed.
‘They are introverts.’ – Niiko stepped between Kuro and Shiro swinging her bag on her shoulder. – ‘Let’s go find Micha.’
Her dark curly hair now dry bounced up and down with every step she took. Rami took a second as he walked behind her. She has grown. She was still small, almost tiny, but he knew well enough not to underestimate this small girl. She was older than him, yet looked younger. Dressed in all black, her figure showed perfectly. Thick thighs and hips which flowed into her curvy waist. Her shoulders broad, maybe a bit too broad if she tied her hair into a bun and let them show. Now, she had the curves which made her a woman, not the little girl whom she was when she left. Or, to put it more accurately, was made to leave.
When a vampire is turned, he or she is taught everything about the history of his kin. It is expected of every member of the clan to know not only how to survive, but how they have managed to survive so far. One significant factor that was emphasized was secrecy. However, some young vampires could not control their feelings. They fell in love and wished to stay with their chosen one forever. Hence, they shared their secret which not always proved to be a wise choice. Their loves gave them out and the family of the human girl or boy hunt the lover vampires down. Sometimes, though, the lovers asked to be turned so they could spend the rest of their lives with the one they love.
Vampires were not surprisingly attractive, but they had their ways and experience. After 200 years a vampire knew exactly what to say to seduce a human. Some enjoyed this kind of power too much and started creating a harem around them. The council did not approve this and demanded to stop these actions. The youngsters rebelled, they were not willing to give up their lives of pleasure and sin. As their protest not only did they continue the limitless seduction, but also, to further provoke the authority, they started organizing parties for humans who wished to be turned. Many young ladies and gentlemen, daughters and sons of high-ranked politicians attended these events. With these the myth of the vampires became a well-known fact and hiding was no longer an option. The vampire council eventually got fed up with the rebellion and came to a decision. Their plan was to raid one of these parties and make an example out of every single vampire who is present. And so they did, however, not everything went according to plan.
As the Force, that is how they call their ‘police’, began its attack, they realized the scheme was not worked out well enough. Too many humans got involved in the conflict and got injured during the raid. Every single vampire they found was dragged outside and was executed. However, a human man somehow escaped the grabbing hand of the Force and ran outside screaming for help, filling the air with a word. A word that meant the end of the peaceful life of both vampires and humans. A word that was more devastating than anything ever before. It was a Greek fire that destroyed everything that crossed its path. A fire that consumed all hope for everyone.
‘VAMPIRES! VAMPIRES!’ – The man ran shouting until an arrow put a hole into his body. The man looked down at his chest with confused eyes and slowly touched the head of the arrow that pierced through him then with a loud thud he fell. The Force set the building on fire, but eliminating the scene was not enough anymore. The neighborhood had been woken by the shouting and the townsfolk were already informing each other about the happenings. Vampires. They killed a human boy.
‘Show us the way, Rami’ – Niiko checked her daggers which she kept in their cases on her lower back. Her daggers were made of silver. These weapons have served her for hundreds of years. They were a present from a precious person. The woman took great care of them and their bright glittering was proof of it. Rami glanced at the daggers and gulped. He remembered how deadly a weapon can this pair of blade be.
‘Come this way. We shouldn’t approach on the main road. Humans are hiding everywhere.’ – He was looking around, scanning their environment as he led the small group into the shadows of an alley. Once they reached the safety of the buildings, the twins suddenly broke away from the group and with a quick move they jumped up from the ground and with the skill of a cat they climbed to the roof within a split second. Niiko watched them as she sped up and her walking turned into jogging first and then after a blink of any eye they were running. All the buildings and lights around them became blurry and melted into a big blot of color. Without a sound they reached the Library Quarters in about half an hour. At a tall red building which once was an Italian restaurant, but now its windows yawned empty and dark, Rami came to a halt panting heavily. Niiko stepped next to him breathing through her nose, not panting, but maybe she was taking a bit deeper breaths than usual. Rami was amazed by the stamina she had, but did not mention it. Niiko signaled with a soft whistle and the twins rejoined them jumping down from the roofs, arriving at each side of the woman.
‘Monsters, they are.’ – Rami gasped at the men towering over Niiko. – ‘Seriously, I mean, how do they do this?’ – He shook his head not really expecting an answer.
‘Once things cleared up and Micha is found, I might tell.’ Niiko gave a playful smirk to him then nodded towards the wide interception in front of them.
‘Now what? I’m sure they have the roads covered. How are we gonna get to…where exactly?’ – Niiko raised a brow as the new problem occurred to her. – ‘Do we even know where he is exactly?’ – She glanced at Rami.
‘Well…’ – The man tilted his head giving way to his uncertainty, - ‘Not…precisely. But I know the last of his target was a headquarter in the crystal building down the road.’ – He pointed to the right. – ‘If we proceed that way, we might find him.’
‘I highly doubt it.’ – Niiko shook her head as she glanced at the road from behind the corner. – ‘Maybe we shoul-’ – A bullet slamming into the wall just above her head made her duck back behind the wall.
‘Shit…shit shitshitshit. They found us.’ – Rami started panicking walking up and down in the alley nervously. Niiko looked at him with a cold expression, rolling her eyes.
‘Oh, please. Stop whining and think. How should we get through.’- She chewed on her lower lip.
‘Let’s run. We’re much faster, they won’t be able to catch us?’
’Nah, they’ll use the nets, I bet. We need a-’ – A sudden burst swallowed the second half of her sentence. A grenade went off just above their heads sending bricks and plaster on them. Shiro, who was standing closer to Niiko, hugged the woman to his chest protecting her while the others tried to jump away from the falling pieces. When the smoke cleared up Niiko grabbed Shiro’s arm.
‘We must move now!’ – She threw herself into the city lights and started running, pulling the white-hair twin with her. After a while she looked back to see if Rami and the other twin was following when she fell miserably.
‘Traps!’ – She yelled back to warn her companions as she tried to free her trapped ankle. Shiro jumped to her and tried to open the machine. The trap had its iron teeth buried deep in her right ankle. Their only chance was the pull them out from the flesh, otherwise the device would tear her leg off.
‘Come on, come on, hurry!’ – As they struggled, Rami and Kuro caught up with them.
‘What’s taking so long?’ – Rami yelped looking around expecting the attacking forces. He did not have to wait long. Humans started to pour onto the bright-lit street carrying their weapons: cross-bows, guns and even scythes. Kuro stepped in front of his twin and Niiko and readied his sword. Rami joined him, though he was not so sure he could actually do something that was worth trying. His hands shook as he held his gun in his hands.
‘Done!’ – Shiro’s voice was like a divine sign for Rami, soon as he heard the words he turned, pulled Niiko to her feet and with the help of Shiro they started dragging her along the street with Kuro shielding their backs.
‘How far is the crystal building?’ – Niiko hissed threw her teeth as she tried to run with her damaged ankle.
‘Uhm…About five minutes from here.’
‘What, five…ugh…’ – They managed to do a few more steps before the humans surrounded them. It did not matter where they turned, humans appeared from every building and every direction. The circle around them closed on them slowly.
‘Well…This looks bad.’ – Rami mumbled still holding Niiko around her waist.
‘Just don’t start panicking. It’s annoying.’ – Rami gave out what he intended to be a laugh, but turned out to be a scared puppy sound. Shiro let go of Niiko and joined his brother. He drew his sword as well and stood motionlessly, eyeing the enemy.
‘Well, well, well. What do we have here.’ – A voice came from somewhere the crowd. They did not see the speaker until the circle broke to give way to the man. A middle-aged human, in his late fifties appeared. His brown hair cut short, his shirt tight around his upper body showing off his well-built muscles. An ugly scar ran from the left corner of his mouth to his collar bone. The vampires said nothing just stood ready for action. Niiko pushed Rami away from her and pulled out her daggers and held them by her side. She walked closer to the man, limping slightly.
‘Hmm…It seems you got hurt.’ – Niiko hissed and the next moment she was at the man’s throat, pushing her shining silver blade against the man’s flash.
‘Say another word…and I cut you up like a pig.’ – She spoke low, gritting her teeth. The man focused on her lips.
‘What is that.’ – Niiko pushed the blade deeper into the flesh breaking the skin. A tiny river of blood flowed down to the man’s chest. – ‘Silver fangs?’ – The woman pulled her lips on her teeth narrowing her eyes slightly. – ‘Is that really the Queen we just caught.’ – The man’s voice became high with joy. – ‘You hear that, boys! We caught the que-’
‘Shut your mouth or-’
‘Or what? Or what? You gonna kill me? Look around you! We got you surrounded. It’s over, bitch!’ – The woman dropped her arm surprised, her eyes wondering down onto her shirt. Something hot sprayed on her face, the same thing that wetted her black top. She raised her gaze back at the human and just then did she notice that an arrow was sticking out from the man’s throat. She licked her upper lip, licking of the blood as she stepped backwards to Rami and the twins.
‘Who did that?’ – She mumbled so only her companions could hear her.
‘No idea.’ – Rami sang on a high-pitched tone. The human slowly fell to the ground. It took a minute for the circle of enemies to realize what just happened.
‘They killed Hammer! KILL THEM!’ – A shout coming from somewhere from the crowed. The four vampires readied themselves and their weapons. Kuro leaped forward first, swinging his sword so smoothly like quicksilver’s flow. With his first blow he cut a man’s chest open and with the zest he had from his first move he turned and beheaded another who made the mistake of stepping behind the twin.
‘We need to move! Shiro, cut a path for us!’ – The man nodded and faced the humans who were blocking the road towards the crystal building. Just like his brother, his movements were flawless and fast. Within seconds he managed to cut down four humans, but there was no end to them.
‘This is not good enough.’ – Niiko was thinking furiously, analyzing their possibilities. She glanced at Kuro, then Shiro and just when she was ready to throw herself at the enemy bullet sounds oppressed the shouting of men.
‘Get down!’ – Rami’s voice reached the other three and they ducked their heads quickly, not wanting a bullet in the head. The sound of the guns did not want to die out and the panic it created did not help the vampires’ case. Niiko tried to stay on her feet, but a big and heavy human fell on her pushing her aside. She hit the ground, hitting her mentum so hard she saw starts. She shook her head and when she looked to the side she saw…a head. With a scream she pushed herself away grabbing her dagger that she dropped as she fell. The head grinned and winked at her. Niiko tilted her head, blinking fast. She was sure she was just seeing things from the hit she just got.
‘Come on! Down here! Quick!’ – The realization came like a shower. Niiko crawled to the head and now she saw that there was indeed a body attached to the head. It was just that the body was underground in the sewer. She glanced up trying to find Rami and the twins.
‘Don’t worry about them! They’ll come too! Hurry!’ – When she reached the edge of the tunnel the man pulled her down.
‘Oh, god it stinks!’ – Niiko clasped her hand on her mouth and nose disgusted. The man who rescued her laughed as he placed the lid of the tunnel back into its place. They sound of the battle faded, but Niiko stood looking up with a worried expression.
‘Don’t worry about them. As I said, the others will get them. They won’t die.’ – The man stepped next to her. – ‘May I?’ – He wrapped his arm around the woman’s waist while he placed the woman’s arm around her neck. – ‘Let me help.’ – He smiled and when Niiko nodded and leaned on him they started their way deep into the tunnel.
‘Where are you taking me? Who are you anyways? Why did you help?’ – The man just chuckled.
‘So many questions. Don’t worry, my Queen, you will soon get all the answers.’ – And Niiko found out the man spoke the truth. Soon after turning a few times a faint light appeared at the end of the tunnel. When they stepped into the light they actually stepped through a door. When they were in, the man supporting Niiko closed the door behind them.
‘Follow me, my Queen.’
‘Stop calling me that. I’m no queen.’
‘You shall always be our Queen.’ – The man smiled at her as he supported her steps. Niiko soon realized that they arrived in a building. They went up a big and long staircase which did not help the woman’s ankle. However, once they reached the top, they only took one turning on the right and the mysterious man stopped.
‘Here we go!’ – He opened the door and stepped aside so Niiko could enter first. So she did. Inside, the first thing she noticed was a human tied to a chair bloody and scarred everywhere. The scene was clear. She interrupted a torture. A tall dark man stood in front of the half-dead human. The man turned slowly and faced the woman.
‘Niiko.’ – His voice was ice cold and deep. Niiko knew that voice very well. Her eyes widened then a laugh broke out from her. A relieved laugh.
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