His Past (Part III)
T/B: French Vocabulary at the very end of the chapter
“Whatever do you mean?” asked Mr. Courbet when he heard Lucius’ question. “I thought the whole family had perished during the first French Revolution.”
“That’s what I thought too!” said Lucius. “When I found Elise after she fell during the hike, I caught the scent of Draven Archambeau being emitted from her body. He must’ve found Elise before I did and was trying to savour her blood!”
“Yes,” said Mr. Courbet. “I remember that young man. That gentleman was very determined to surpass you when given the chance, was he not?”
“That, and…” replied Lucius. “Genevieve…”
Lucius was at the Châteux de Versailles practicing for a fencing duel. He had been challenged by Draven Archambeau, again. In what it seemed to be by pure luck, Lucius had constantly beaten him in that sport. Lucius had also lost count of the number of times he had duelled against Draven.
He was already well aware that if he refused any duel, his honour would be questioned. They would probably paint him as a coward who was scared of losing his life or ruining his family name.
“Remember mon fils,” said Mr. Courbet as he helped Lucius fix his shirt. “Stay focus like you have always done. Whether you win or lose does not matter to me. I have invited the younger Mademoiselle Renouard to watch your duel. Perhaps her presence would give you motivation.”
Lucius’ heart pounded as he heard his father mention Genevieve. She was the reason Draven had challenged him. It had been four years since Lucius first met her. Within that time period, he had charmed his way into the hearts of Genevieve’s parents who permitted him to court their daughter in hopes that they would eventually marry.
“Je ne laisserai pas Draven avoir Genevieve…” Lucius quietly whispered to himself.
Since Genevieve permitted him to take her blood, he had vowed to protect her in return. Over time, he began to see her more than just a blood bank and his feelings towards Genevieve had grown stronger. As much as he wanted to be with her forever, he knew that a vampire like himself, and a human like his lover could never be together. He could, however, turn her into one of his kind, but that would be selfish. What if she did not wish to receive the gift of immortality?
“Devine qui?” came a familiar, playful voice as a pair of gloved hands covered his eyes.
Lucius impulsively grabbed the hands that shielded his vision. Turning around, he sighed in relief that it was only Genevieve.
“Comment pourrais-je ne pas reconnaître la voix de mon ange?” chuckled Lucius as he took Genevieve’s hand and placed a small kiss on it. “I do not tire from the sound of your voice every time we meet.”
“Monsieur Jean-Pierre invited me to watch your duel,” said Genevieve. “I pray for your victory against Monsieur Archambeau.”
“Je vais…” he replied quietly.
He gritted his teeth upon remembering a certain incident when Genevieve got tangled with Draven. During a New Year’s celebration, they attended a masquerade ball hosted by the King Louie XVI. It was when Genevieve first met Draven.
Draven had dared to impersonate as him by wearing the exact same outfit and mask to deceive Genevieve in order to have a taste of her blood. He whisked her out of the ballroom during the change of partners. However, Lucius was able to find Genevieve using his vampire ability.
He clearly recalled how he managed to locate his lover with Draven in the gazebo overlooking the Versailles Gardens. It was not a pleasant sight to see Draven laying a finger on Genevieve. It fuelled his anger as he rushed up to the pair and roughly separated them, seconds before Draven could pierce his fangs into Genevieve’s neck.
“I will definitely make it clear to Draven that Genevieve is mien,” he whispered to himself.
It was not too long until a servant boy showed up to inform Lucius to follow him to the ballroom. Draven was already there, practicing his moves and strikes with his sabre. As soon as he saw Lucius, he approached him with intimidating smirk. From the corner of their eyes, they eyed Genevieve who was seated next to Mr. Courbet among the spectators.
“I pray that Mademoiselle Renouard’s loveliness will be a distraction for you,” Draven whispered into Lucius’ ears.
“Likewise,” Lucius hissed back. “Her presence will give me the strength to defeat you. Elle est à moi!”
They then turned their backs on each other to head to their starting positions. Lucius felt his heart racing, as this was the first time he felt threatened to be in a situation where he would lose something precious to him. He could not let Genevieve fall into Draven’s arms.
“En garde!” shouted the referee, “Prêtes?”
Lucius and Draven saluted one another with their sabres. When the referee shouted ‘Allez!’, Draven lunged at him. He swiftly blocked all of Draven’s attacks. When he saw an opening, Lucius attacked back using the parry-riposte tactic which allowed the tip of his sabre to touch the side of Draven’s head.
“Bravo Lucius!” exclaimed Genevieve as she clapped her gloved hands along with several of the other spectators.
“One point to Monsieur Lucius!” announced the referee as the two vampires assumed their starting positions.
Lucius knew that it was only the start of the duel. Having duelled against Draven for who knows how many times already, he was well aware that his rival was not going to go easy on him later.
“En garde!” the referee shouted again, “Prêtes? Allez!”
This time, Lucius lunged forward and Draven leapt back. He used the riposte method to strike Lucius on the side of his upper arm, earning himself a point.
“One point to Monsieur Draven!” called out the referee.
They were even now. It was at this point where Lucius knew that the match was going to become intense. The duel continued, each side taking turns in scoring a point. In order to win, either side had to score a total of fifteen points. Similar to the start of the duel, both men were now tied with fourteen points on both sides.
“En garde!” the referee shouted, “Prêtes? Allez!”
Both vampires did not hold back for the final round. With all the lunges and parries, the final round felt a lot longer than their previous rounds. Aside from the scraping of the metals against each other’s sabres, Lucius could vaguely hear some of the spectators cheering for him, and others cheering for Draven.
Their sabres collided into each other and Lucius used the disengage method to move the tip of his blade under Draven’s. This was a trick his father had taught him during his trainings. It was a disguise attack to fool his opponent. Lucius moved to the left and saw Draven naturally preparing to defend his left. This was his chance! Lucius swiftly shifted his position to the right and touched the side of Draven’s upper torso with his sabre.
“Le gagnant est Monsieur Lucius!” shouted the referee.
The spectators cheering for Lucius applauded when they heard this. Genevieve rushed up to him, throwing her arms around his neck while Mr. Courbet watched on with a smile.
“C’était incroyable!” said Genevieve as she squeezed him. “La déesse de la victoire was shining upon you today!”
“Non non, mon chéri,” replied Lucius as he returned his lover’s embrace. “It is you who gave me the courage to win this duel.”
From the corner of his eyes, he could see Draven seething at him in utter defeat. He could tell by Draven’s expression that this was not going to be the last time he would challenge him to a duel. Hopefully not too soon. To get his mind off the duel, Lucius invited Genevieve to have a stroll in the Versailles Garden.
“The sunset is very beautiful,” sighed Genevieve as she and Lucius strolled through the garden towards the fountains. “Especially when it is being reflected in the water.”
“C’est vrai,” said Lucius as he held Genevieve’s parasol above her head. “But it is not as beautiful as you.”
Genevieve flushed when she heard this. She had not changed since he had first met her. No matter how many times he whispered sweet compliments into her ear, she would always get embarrassed. That was what Lucius liked about her.
“Mon chéri,” he then spoke. “You should be careful when you blush around men, including myself.”
“Why?” asked Genevieve out of curiosity.
“I have been courting you for four years,” said Lucius. “However, there are many persistent men who are imbeciles. The ones who believe that when a young woman is blushing, she is giving them her consent.”
“What do you mean?” questioned Genevieve.
“I mean this…” said Lucius.
Before Genevieve even had time to react, Lucius dropped her parasol as he slipped his right arm around her waist and placed his left hand again the right side of her cheek. He pressed his lips against Genevieve’s, gradually deepening the kiss. A while later, he pulled away and chuckled when he saw her blushing hard.
“This is what I mean,” he told her. “Mais le faire une seule fois ne suffit pas.”
Lucius leaned in again and planted another kiss on Genevieve’s lips. Little did he knew what fate would befall upon them with the recent revolt against the monarch and the aristocracy…
“I think Draven is behind the recent killings,” Lucius told his father. “When we first arrived at Whitby, there was not a vampire in sight until now.”
“It is too early to jump to conclusions,” sighed Mr. Courbet. “It may not be Draven who is responsible for the murders, but someone who is making it look as though the victims were killed by a vampire.”
“Then they would’ve found the murder weapon by now!” shouted Lucius, “It HAS to be Draven! I know it!”
“That is enough for now,” said Mr. Courbet as he stood up from the sofa. “I believe it is time for dinner. Let us go to the dining hall before our meal gets cold.”
Lucius followed after his father as they made their way to the dining hall. It definitely was Draven. He thought to himself. And he’s very likely to be after Elise.
“I won’t make the same mistake as last time,” he whispered to himself. “I’m going to protect Elise!”
Châteux de Versailles - Palace of Versailles
Mon fils - My son
Mademoiselle - Miss
Je ne laisserai pas Draven avoir Genevieve - I won’t let Draven have Genevieve
Devine qui? - Guess who?
Comment pourrais-je ne pas reconnaître la voix de mon ange? - How could I not recognise my angel’s voice?
Monsieur - Mr.
Je vais - I will
Mien - Mine
Elle est à moi! - She is mine!
En garde - On guard
Prêtes? - Ready?
Allez! - Go!
Le gagnant est Monsieur Lucius - The winner is Lucius (I excluded the Mr. in order to differentiate father and son)
C’était incroyable! - It was amazing!
La déesse de la victoire - The Goddess of Victory
Non non, mon chéri - No no, my dear
C’est vrai - That is true
Mais le faire une seule fois ne suffit pas - But doing it just once is not enough