Annie was sitting by the big window, when Hilda returned to the room, gazing at the garden.
“So…I…uh…saw what happened…” Hilda begun, “between…uh…you and the master.”
“Master?!” Annie looked at her, shocked.
“Uh, yeah…My Master…The Prince…”
“H-He’s the Prince?!”
“Look…I know you’re a smart girl…I know that you know that he’s a Vampire…”
“And yeah…I’m a Vampire too…” Hilda showed her fangs, “…but, before you think of anything else…here me first…we’re not the kind of vampires who suck blood, I mean yeah we suck blood but, not oh human, of animals. We won’t touch you. A-And the reason the prince was acting like that is because he hasn’t got his meal for almost two weeks now. Ever since he begun going to the village…eyeing someone.” The woman mumbled the last sentence quietly, as if not wanting to tell her, but Annie heard. “And your presence greatly affects him. I hope you believe my blabbering even though I’m literally a stranger, a sucker, to you. I hope you can trust me.”
Annie just looked at Hilda weirdly, she hasn’t met anyone who can talk so much in a short period, well she’s a vampire, and it’s her first time to meet a vampire.
“I trust you, Hilda…” smiled Annie, “If you were lying then I should ne dead by now…or as pale as an anemic.” she laughed heartily but, stopped when Hilda just gave a look and didn’t even smile, “…right. Not funny…”
“I’m not really sure why but, even though I’m not really fond of Vampires, and that, the only emotion I should feel in my situation right now is fear…I know that you’re not bad at all, or your prince…” said Annie, then chuckled, “I’m not making sense…I’m weird, huh?!”
“No…you’re not.” Hilda shook her head, “I think our prince is lucky.”
“I AM lucky.” Countered Annie, “Your prince could’ve really wanted to suck my blood but…well…” she blushed, remembering it.
“Yeah I’m sure…” Hilda snickered meaningfully.
Annie doesn’t know why but, right after meeting the prince, she felt so at home in the castle; it’s as if, after a long time, she finally found the place her soul longed. Suddenly, she felt so weird. The longer she spend her time in the castle, the more she forget that she should feel fear with the vampires’ presence, and the fact that the vampires are associated, maybe, with the talking wolf she met earlier.
“Um, Ms. Hilda…” the human started after a few moments of silence.
“Please, just call me Hilda.”
“Uh…Hilda…” the vampire smiled, “…um...why’s the garden so…dark…sad…” the human girl was looking at the garden again, feeling that there’s really something wrong with it. Annie felt that, the garden – as they call it – was not supposed to be in that situation.
The woman just smiled at her and said, “Believe me, it was worse, worse until a week ago.”
“What do you mean?!” asked Annie curiously.
“Believe it or not…that garden is alive. And it grows according to the mood of this castle’s master. I never even imagined that the time when I’ll see it livelier again will come.”
Annie frowned. The garden is so far from alive, as far as she’s concern.
“Then, I hope someday I’ll see it truly alive.” Annie smiled, looking at the garden with full of hope.
“I know that day is near…” answered Hilda, smiling at her genuinely. It’s near for the reason of it is here.
Through Hilda, Annie knew more about the prince. The second prince of the Royal Vampire Family, Ken. Because of Ken’s belief that vampires should not suck human blood, he was exiled from their clan three hundred years ago. And ever since the exile, the prince seemed to have lost all his emotions.
Together with Hilda, the prince is living in the castle with Bruno. The three of them are all exiles, and by following and living in the castle with the prince, she and Bruno don’t suck human blood as well.
“The sun is already rising…you should get back to the village now.” said Hilda, unenthusiastically.
“Look. Returning to the village doesn’t mean anything…” said Hilda, “you can always return here, okay?!” Hilda looked so hopeful, like she’s even begging for the human girl to return.
“I understand.” She smiled, “I’ll remember that.”
Right after the sun rose, Annie Hashu is already outside of the castle. At the steps of it waited several wolves, her heart skip a beat but, she recovered her shock eventually. Her instincts said that she’s safe with them as she is in the castle.
She stepped back in shock as the wolves bowed before her.
“I apologize for surprising you the night before, Miss.” said the biggest wolf, “I am Igor, the alpha of the pack that resides in the castle garden.”
“I-It’s uh…o-okay…aha…ahahaha…” answered Annie stiffly.
“My pack will be of your service from now on, Miss…”
“Let us led you to the village now.”
As Annie passed the archway that morning, she felt she had become a new person.
The first person she saw is Danny, running to her crying.
“Annie…Annie! I though something bad happened to you. Are you okay?! You’re not hurt, are you?! Nothing’s lost?! You’re not bitten, right?!”
“I-I’m okay, Danny.” smiled Annie as she hug her brother, relieved written all-over her face.
“I can never forgive myself, if something really did happen to you. And I won’t tell anything stupid like I said yesterday. I wasn’t really serious, sis. I didn’t go to the garden at all! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“I know Danny. They told me they looked for you in the garden, only to find out that you’re actually outside of it.”
“They?!” Danny managed to ask before Mike broke his hug for his sister with his own. Danny frowned at the teenager. He’s beginning to hate this buffalo.
“I’m glad to see you too, Mike.”
“Are you okay?! You’re not hurt?! You know, that’s the most reckless thing I’ve ever seen.” scolded Mike.
“I know. I’m sorry…”
Annie spent the day telling the village folks, who were surprisingly got really attached to her after two weeks, what happened to her – well, at least half of it.
According to her, as she was looking for Danny, she slipped on some tree root and lost consciousness. By the time she woke up, the sun was already up. She wanted to still look for him but, the forbidding aura of the garden sent her back. She’s really glad though that she did, for Danny was just in the village after all.
The villagers believed Annie’s story, completely. Mike had his doubts but let it pass, as long as Annie is safe back in the village he’s at ease; Danny though, after knowing his sister all his life, thought that it’s the lamest excuse he ever heard from her mouth. And he’ll get it.
Knowing that she’ll tell her the whole truth eventually, he just waited until she did…
“They’re real, Danny! They’re real!’ exclaimed Annie to her brother, when the village folks had left them.
“Who are?!” Danny answered boredly, he had waited whole day.
“Vampires…Blood suckers…Man of the night…”
“Of course they’re real. I watch a vampire movie every single day!” answered the boy sarcastically. Maybe his sister hit her head hard and lost some screws in her head.
“Fine! Then tell me what really happened.” Danny demanded, “You can’t fool me with that lame story. I knew better.”
And with that, Annie told everything…and surprisingly, even though Danny is a hardcore vampire fan since, forever. Somewhat, she had a hard time convincing him that vampires and talking wolves are real. Still, what kind of big sister is she if she can’t convince her brother to believe her words?!
Few days later, Annie is getting ready to return to the castle.
“What are those bottles for, sis?!” asked Danny, “And where are you going?!”
“They’re tokens on my gratitude.”
“You’re going back...” the little brother stated the obvious, “…in there.” he pointed at the direction of the castle.
“I’ll return as soon as I can, Danny.”
“Yeah…” he answered, looking at her doubting the fact.
“I promise. And I’ll be fine, don’t worry.”
“I’m not sure, sis…What ever you say you felt. The bottom line is they’re blood suckers.” he frowned.
“You know Danny, sometimes I think you suit being an elder brother…” Annie patted his head, and took her basket.
Igor’s pack accompanied Annie to the castle; there she was greeted by Hilda and Bruno. Hilda is as hyped as ever; she found Bruno quite nice, although she had a feeling that he has a serious personality.
Of the six bottles she had, she gave the four to Hilda and Bruno, saying that it’s her thanks for taking care of her while she was in 5the castle. Hilda led her to ken’s room before going to her own, and drink her bottles empty.
Annie jumped in surprise as soon as the door of the prince’s room went open, right before she was able to knock; inside the room, the prince was sitting on a coach, eyes closed and looked very relaxed.
Annie swallowed a lump in her throat as she slowly walked in; while doing so, she saw a very classy coffin, she sighed in frustration. What did she expect?! A bed?!
She was only able to take a few steps when a hand suddenly appeared and took the bottles in her basket. Annie realized that it was Ken’s, and he’s right behind her.
“That was fast…” Annie thought as she glanced at the coach he was sitting at earlier, almost four meters from where she stood.
“What are these?!”
“T-That…” she was startled, “I…uh…collected blood from the villagers…”
Ken opened the bottle and drunk.
“I…It’s a token for letting me stay the other night…”
“This is not enough.”
“I have a hunting schedule tomorrow night. I could use some company.”
“I-I’m sorry?!” said a confused Annie. What the hell is he talking about?!
“You should return now, your brother will be worried.” Annie raised a brow, “I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
Annie was really shock, and swore that she saw this supposed emotionless vampire prince, grin in amusement as he took another sip from the bottle.