Chapter 15: Hotel C... of Death... or Whatever...
Their eyes met across the crowded room. The palace was laced with gold and crystal chandeliers casting lights and shadows which furiously tried to out-dance the wealthy citizens swaying and spinning among each other on the dance floor to sound waves coming from the laser orchestra. It all faded from thought as the pirate admiral locked his gaze onto the lavishly-dressed vampire with long-black hair and piercing blue eyes. In sync, they advanced towards each other, bound by a sense of purpose--a sense of destiny. Admiral Nelson grasped the hilt of his sword beneath his cape, his knuckles turning to a frosty white. The vampire couldn’t have possibly figured it out so soon, but here he was, clearly recognizing his foe despite the elaborate pirate disguise. The vampire’s teeth bared slightly in a surprisingly warm smile. The two were only a lunge and a slice away from each other now as Captain Morgan lagged behind in absolute lost confusion.
“Hello, people I don’t know!” The vampire exclaimed in a surprisingly genuine-sounding sarcastic greeting. “I am...” He paused and zoned out, obviously trying to remember his alias. “...the honorable Lord Von Hawthorneberry, the host of this elegant party and the proud owner of... um.... Hawthorneberry’s Launder and Brothel, where you can get dirty...” His soft smile broke out into a shiny grin. “...while your clothes get clean!” He embraced the two pirates with a drunken tenderness and a delighted giggle, his breath reeking of alcohol.
“You’re my new bestest friends! Of like... ever!” He suddenly stepped back. “Dudes, how would... how... much... how much... would you give me to punch that leuinetet... lutenutin...” He hesitated like he was trying to swallow an oversized mouthful of mershed perterders. “luientenietinet... that police guy! In his... in his face! Punch him in his face?”
“I don’t think he knows who I am. We’re sticking to the plan,” Nelson whispered to the captain, moving his hand away from his sword.
“Obviously! That’s not even h--wait, I thought I convinced you not to do that stupid plan! Playing with your food, remember?” She whispered harshly, nearly reaching an angry, rasping shriek.
“As much as I value your opinion, be quiet.” He turned away from the seething bloodthirsty maiden of the seas and faced his oblivious nemesis. “In exchange, I will let you dare me to do something crazy!”
“Word! Hold my... whatever this is.” Hawthorneberry made a feeble attempt to hand off his glass goblet before dropping it on the floor, smashing it to pieces.
The vampire shed his coat on the floor and it pooled in a green pile of silk with gold and silver linings. He rolled up his sleeves and strutted over to the policeman. This was no ordinary policeman. This certain policeman was nearly seven feet tall. By nearly seven feet tall, I mean OVER NINE FEET TALL. His arms were tree trunks of blood and steel and there was no discernible transition between his head and his body due to the unhealthy (or extremely healthy?) concentration of muscles. It was a damn miracle that anyone was able to make clothes for this behemoth. He was politely conversing with some elderly ladies of royal bloodlines when the vampire approached him from behind, his footsteps hidden by the pounding bass of the music.
Lord Von Hawthorneberry pulled a butler aside and whispered some secret command. The butler disappeared and returned shortly, carrying a small step-stool. The vampire angrily threw his hands up and mouthed, “are you serious, bro?” before shooing the butler away. The vampire pulled another butler aside and gave him an order which (judging by the horrified look on the man’s face) was probably horrible and twisted. The first butler returned with a slightly more-adequate stool and smiled nervously. The vampire nodded to the first with a disapproving eye roll and then gave a neutral nod to the second. As the first set the stool down right behind the giant policeman, the second drew a hidden dagger and quickly dispatched the first, dragging him into a closet which seemed to not have been there just a moment before.
“Excuse me, Ociffer?” The vampire slurred, stepping up onto the stool, nearly losing his balance, and then getting confused as to why.
“Yes, my lord?” The officer turned around, smiling like it was his absolute honor to be addressed by such a nobleman.
“Ha! Hehe.” The vampire giggled and socked the officer squarely in the jaw, bringing him to his hands and knees. “Eat it, nerd!”
Fearing further wrath from the mighty Lord of Brothels and Launders, the giant scrambled off across the floor, sobbing uncontrollably. Letting out an excited cackle, the vampire spun around on the stool and slipped off. His body made a solid impact with the floor, producing a sickening crack. Not a single soul noticed; the revelers continued to dance as their host remained still at their feet.
“What? No! How? What? Why? HOW?” The admiral stared at the lifeless lord on the floor of the palace.
“Why are you so mad?” The captain cocked her head in curiosity.
“He’s here? What? Where?”
“Yes! He’s here! He just died! Oh my god, keep up!”
“Wait, you haven’t figured it out?”
“What do you mean?” He turned to Captain Morgan.
“WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” The vampire sprung to his feet, blood running down his face.
“Oh! You’re right for once! He was faking it!” The admiral sighed in relief.
“Nope. I give up!” Ryssa shook her head in disbelief.
The vampire lord pointed his white, bony finger at the admiral.
“I dare you...”
His eyes widened with the overwhelming joy of possibilities.
“...to make out with the receptionist at the Hotel C... of Death... or whatever...”
“Uh... alright?” Nelson agreed tentatively, despite Morgan’s protest.
“First we drink!” The lord snatched a pair of bottles from a passing waiter.
“GET IT OUT OF MY ARM!”
“I CAN’T IT’S STILL ALIVE!”
“KILL IT ALREADY!”
“OWW! IT BIT ME!”
“HURRY UP! I CAN’T FEEL MY NOSE!”
“THAT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE DRUNK!”
Ryssa wandered through the empty streets aimlessly. She never thought being a third wheel could be so depressing, but the two main wheels had completely vanished and forgotten about their other wheel.
“Where’s my boot?”
“I gave it to your horse to eat as a snack!”
“I don’t have a horse!”
“WHO’S HOUSE ARE WE IN RIGHT NOW?”
“I DON’T KNOW!”
“Guys, where are you?” Ryssa wondered aloud, sinking to the cobblestone and scanning her surroundings with quick, worried glances. “Where am I?” The pitch-black silence of night was shattered when she heard a howl and a banshee scream followed by a human scream, at least three turtle doves and maybe even a man-eating pileated woodpecker.
“WHO’S HOUSE DID WE JUST BURN DOWN?”
“I STILL DON’T KNOW!”
“A pretty little lady all alone on a dark night. I think we got lucky, boys.” The man in the black trench coat circled around behind Ryssa, drawing a small dagger.
“Please, I’m not in the mood for this.”
“We don’t care,” sneered one of the man’s goons.
“Huh.” Ryssa shot a murderous glare at the goon as she rose to her feet.
“Bro, I’ve never told anyone this, but woodpeckers scare me. I’m so thankful for you. You were able to trade those prostitutes to that giant bird as ransom for our lives; I never would have even thought of that.”
“They wouldn’t stop making dove noises. I was getting annoyed, so I just did what I thought was just and fair.”
“Seriously though, who’s house was that?”
“Probably no one important, but that’s not relevant right now. Let’s focus! This time, let’s summon a koala or a panda... something cute and cuddly?”
“Well, I love him, but I don’t think he understands! I’m really worried that the path he’s taking is only going to lead to more pain and destruction.” Ryssa quietly whispered her deepest secrets to her new friend.
“What if he finds another girl while he’s out drinking tonight? It would break my heart! I’ve never been in love before! This hurts so much...”
“Right? He’s so dark and mysterious; it drives me crazy!”
“...and his eyes, and his hair, and his sexy muscles... I can fight these feelings!”
“You’re such a great listener. I’m glad you’re my friend.”
“... ... ... ...Meow?” The cute black cat with adorable white paws gently licked her hand.
“Awwwwww, I love you too!”
“NO! NO, NO, NO, AND NO! I’M A STRAY BLACK CAT! I HAVEN’T EATEN IN THREE DAYS! I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID DRAGON BOYFRIEND OR YOUR STUPID CRUSH ON HIM! I JUST WANT FOOD, OKAY?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to--”
“HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT KOALAS EAT PEOPLE?”
“LET’S SUMMON A PANDA QUICK! LET THEM FIGHT!”
“COME BACK! I LOVE YOU, KITTY!”
The two survivors of chaotic night terrors sat side-by-side on some random London clock tower no one has ever heard of. What a big night it had been. Now, as the sun peeked over the horizon and through the morning clouds, the two strangers realized that they were no longer strangers. They were now something more sacred than families, religious ties, and cultural divides. They were bros. Their fancy clothes were shredded, torched, and soaked with blood barely beginning to dry. They sipped on hot herbal tea in a weak attempt to dull and remedy the hangovers waiting to strike at the first moment of weakness.
“Which ship is yours?” Von Hawthorneberry asked, looking out over the bay.
“The metal one with all the lasers,” replied Nelson, lighting a cigar.
“There’s at least ten of them and they’re all fighting.”
“Oh sh--” The lit cigar fell from the admiral’s mouth and spiraled down to the stone streets below. “Dammit!”
“We need to get down there!”
John the Fisherman hovered above the target ship and surveyed the miniature battlefield. His men were definitely not as well trained as the admiral’s, but he had the advantage in numbers. The entire top side of the ship was littered with bodies on both sides, fighting for life and watching life drain from severed limbs and other open wounds. He cut the power to his booster pack and landed on the main deck of the Lazy Orca in front of Captain Morgan. She drew her sword and activated the laser edge. John stepped back and flexed his muscles. Morgan shook her head mockingly and spun her sword to a reversed grip for added speed and mobility.
“Heathen woman, do you know why they call me the ‘Fisherman?’” He grinned psychotically.
“You catch fish?”
“Clever girl! That is most certainly an influential factor. However, it is mostly due to this bitchin’ LASER FISHING ROD!” He drew a fishing pole with neon-red line and a giant laser hook at the end.
“I WANT THAT!”
“--and I shall give it to you in the name of the pope!”
“Ha. Haha. Sorry.” She shook her head, grinning. “We killed the pope already!”
“Yet he has returned for vengeance! Part-machine, part-clergyman!”
“Indeed, he is the Holy Father. What is your point and where’s your admiral? I want to strike him with down my rad new weapon!”
“He’s probably passed out somewhere in the city.”
“Then I shall settle for you as practice! Prepare to die by my hand!” He flicked the release on his rod.
“Bring it, Dick!”
“My name is John!” He wound up and started spinning the line.
“You aren’t fun at all!”
“That is not what most maidens say to me after fornication!”
He whipped it past Ryssa, missing horribly. It made contact with the rails behind her, creating a blast, a flash of sparks, and arcing lasers across a tight radius.
“Your hand isn’t a maiden!” Ryssa dashed forward, trying to get a slice in before he could recover and deliver another blow.
“How dare you insult me so?” He clicked the release again, recoiling the wire and retrieving the hook.
“Eat this!” She ducked to avoid the trajectory and slid across the deck, aiming her swing at his knees. He reacted instantly, leaping over the captain’s passing blade with plenty of room to spare.