Chapter 19: String

It somehow made me fight with all my might when the mistress of the toy kept throwing it at me to kill me, plus more vampires came to help her do the work. I acknowledged and admired her strength, agility, and mastery. But then I managed to eliminate the annoying vampires until it was only the two of us left standing.

She stopped striking me with her weapon. She stood staring at me with a suppressed snicker. It was like she was playing with me.

“I haven’t met someone who can dodge my attacks so gracefully and with agility,” she complimented me.

It made me blow my face. She knew how to taunt me, surprisingly. She must have known that I barely kept up with the vampires swarming at the same time. I shook the sword in my hand. The blood droplets fell to the messy floor, which was mainly filled with blood and ashes. I almost slipped when I stepped on the blood. My other foot scattered the ashes to cover it, so my boots could get a grip and I could balance myself well.

“You sure are very talented,” I commended her sarcastically. The rest of the blood I shook from the blade splashed on the nearby wall. Her eyes momentarily shifted in that direction, before she looked at me again with that same snicker.

Her thin lips pouted. “You should know by now that your sword cannot cut this string ever,” she prompted while playfully throwing it downward and grabbing it back again. Her eyes never left my face.

I noticed that the blades would automatically hide before they would hit her hand. When she’d let it go again, the blades would come out. That was quite amazing and wicked. I wondered who made that toy as a weapon for her. It was brilliant! Really.

She snappily grabbed the toy with her hand to face me fully. “I will stop trying to kill you if you can convince me that you’re going to leave the Dark Empress’ side and come with me,” she proposed with a serious face now.

My mouth parted in momentary surprise. I smiled at first then I laughed. “Is this what it’s all about, user? Trying to convince me to change sides?” I raised an eyebrow, looking at her. I slowly shook my head. “But heck. Don’t worry. You’re not going to be the first one who’s going to be disappointed by my answer.” I gave her a mocking grin that made her face look like she just ate something sour.

“So I take it as a ‘no’,” she concluded after a few moments and blinked.

I snorted. “It’s been a ‘no’ since the very beginning, user. Haven’t you got the memo?” I raised an eyebrow. I shook the sword again, balancing it in one hand and gripping it good.

Instead of an answer, she threw the sharp yoyo, aiming at my face. But I was getting the hang of her attacks. There was no pattern but I could now tell. I could easily dodge her weapon to my amazement but to her disappointment. She did it again but still in vain.

I attempted to cut the string of the yoyo again but it was formidable like steel that no sharp object could even scratch it. Meanwhile, that galvanizing reaction I sensed was fading by the minute. I wondered where Sansone has gone. Perhaps he was confident that this user could take me down. So far, she was a very zealous opponent. I could not even get close to her. All I did until this time was dodge her attacks. Kind of infuriating really.

Haunter suddenly landed in the middle of our battleground. He was half-changed into a wolf. His nails were long and sharp; his face was distorted like an angry wolf; and he was angry all right. He turned his face toward the user as his hand signaled me to get out of the room. I was going to debate him but thought better of it. Perhaps he could handle this user better than I could. I believed in his powers and strength anyway. Besides, he was an alpha, and no one could beat him easily, even the most powerful vampire if it would come to that. I had no doubts about it or even second thoughts.

I saluted the user and I saw her angry face. It was priceless. She was about to come after me when I leaped out of the window, but Haunter blocked her way. I looked up and waved the sword around when I felt a hostile vampire behind me, scaling the wall. He turned into ashes in a split second when his head fell off to the ground.

My eyes were met by Vesh when I gracefully landed on solid earth. One knee was bent and one hand touched the ground. I nodded at him. After a few moments, Haunter leaped down from the balcony, now in his normal human self. I snorted at him.

“That was quite fast, wolf,” I told him.

He sniggered. “What took you so long in defeating her? You were thinking of keeping her alive?

I shook my head. “That damn string was really getting my way,” I reasoned.

He raised his eyebrows. “What string?

I got confused. “Her yoyo string. What else?

“It was nothing. My teeth took care of it like a thread.” Then he signaled to his wolves to move out. He walked behind them, and I had to keep up with a surprised look.

“What? Seriously! This sword couldn’t even do its job no matter how I tried!” I exclaimed, showing him the sword that I placed in the scabbard while I talked.

“Well, let me tell you in summary what I did. I cut it and I grabbed a hold of her shoulders and so now she’s dead.” He smiled and winked at me.

My jaw just dropped. “Just like that?

He nodded and shrugged carelessly. What was with his teeth? Were they sharper than the sword that Akantha had been using for a long time? I could see that the sword was flawless. Really, I couldn’t find fault out of it. Well then, Haunter didn’t disappoint me. His powers were indeed great as he has already displayed to me a number of times. He was very strong as an alpha should be. And I believed that he was even more invincible together with his pack. It was just proven tonight.

“But this is quite unnerving and boring at the same time. They just come and attack, whereas that cowardly elder is just gone afterward,” I mumbled angrily.

“So, you prefer to just face him head on and that’s it,” he concluded and stopped walking to look at my scowling face.

I also stopped walking while I couldn’t see any sign of his pack anymore but only Vesh who would usually stay by Haunter’s side.

“Well, if that’s that, then I don’t need to think or guess when they will come back when we don’t expect it. Besides, it would be much more peaceful the sooner they meet their demise, don’t you agree?

He pinched my nose with a laugh. “You’re just a simple-minded vamp, do you know that?

I shrugged and beamed at him.

“It’s a battle strategy—what they’re doing, that is. So, you shouldn’t be disappointed with their hit-and-run-like battle with us. It’s going to be long, continuous, and tiresome at some point. But you chose this path. You shouldn’t be complaining. Besides, having unexpected enemies along our way makes our life spiced up. I like that,” he added.

I couldn’t stop smiling at him. I knew that he was trying to pacify me and was assuring me that he would always be there by my side whatsoever happens. I stepped closer to him and embraced him. I took a long sniff but I couldn’t smell his odorless body aside from the soap that he used a little while ago and a bit of sweat, which was quite seductive for my senses.

I smiled and felt very content. His arms also came around me. I loved this moment with him.

Vesh cleared his throat this. “Aren’t we going to follow Creep and the others?

We broke from our embrace and turned to him. I leered at the second-in-command of my boyfriend, while Haunter growled. Vesh just scratched his head with an apologetic cute smile and walked ahead of us.

We ended up hailing a cab a few moments later. Creep already reported to me telepathically where they were hiding, saying they were safe for now at least. He also narrated that Orfeo checked up on them and was already informed about our predicament a short while ago. It seemed that the elder was vexed. Nonetheless, Creep already took care of it, so that the elder won’t do anything he’d regret later on.

Ji-Yun met me with a tight hug when we arrived at the motel room they were in. She obviously was very relieved to see me and the others alive and well.

“Saber, I was so worried!” she fretted and sniffled.

I smiled at her and messed her hair, which she tried to put in the right place. “That’s very unfaithful of you. I can hold on my own, you know. Besides, Haunter and Vesh with the pack were there to protect me. In fact…” I told her about the Barbie-looking user.

She was looking scornful one moment then she was looking at Haunter with worshipful eyes afterward. I could not help but be proud of my wolf boyfriend. The wolf threw his muscled arm on my shoulders with a smile at the teenage girl.

“You can always count on me. I’ll always be there for Saber,” he promised to her.

She nodded smilingly. “I know. And I’ll take you up on that. Always and forever. Okay?

She was quite demanding, which was another side of her that I discovered. But she was a sweet kid even though she might be rebellious most of the time.

My eyes automatically shifted to Zurko who was scowling. I raised an eyebrow at him with a silent question but he just turned his back and went to the other side of the room with his fellow users.

I thanked Creep for everything tonight—for keeping everyone safe. He just smiled and turned into his latest human form. A dark-haired young man. He settled on a long black sofa next to Crina.

The users, on the other hand, decided to catch some sleep before making some plans in the morning. It was only a few hours from now. I insisted that I would watch them while they rest. After all, I could barely sleep since these things happened to me. Everyone agreed at last, even Haunter. I checked everyone after an hour later.

I smiled to myself. I never knew that I could have more company in my journey besides Creep. And I never knew that everything would come to this. However, I didn’t have some regrets for following and staying beside the Dark Empress, although it meant crossing Dena. I believed that no one could do a job better than the current Dark Empress. Her ways were right according to my morale and perception, as well as for mankind that was very important in this entirety.

Humans must be saved from all this Dark World beings that may harm them in a global scale and to avoid chaos in the entire world. The humans and all of us in the world that were kept hidden all this time must live together harmoniously, even though it didn’t mean that the people must know of our existence. Besides, to know nothing about us was also good for them, as the saying goes “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.

I shook my head. I sat down in the single-seater sofa and closed my eyes while I rested my head on its back. Tonight, I realized that I’d been wishing all this time that I could sleep despite of all this. How I wished I could rest my mind even for a short while, especially with all these things happening lately. But it was depressing enough that I couldn’t as my mind was still in a riot. I just couldn’t stop thinking until everything was in their right places. Hopefully, soon.

I sighed. I thought all about what to do, so I could protect the Dark Empress and the Dark World from being exposed to the outside world. But then, I couldn’t think of anything, which was another thing that was depressing for me.

I bit my lips inwardly, thinking hard. My eyes opened widely when I suddenly felt that formidable galvanizing effect in the air. However, it wasn’t Sansone, Orfeo, Natassa, or the Dark Empress. I’d never felt that kind of galvanization level before. Who could it be this time?

I sat stiffly, trying to feel more and being alert. There were others. In fact, many others as well that went along with it. I swallowed hard. I didn’t move but my mind was already calling out Creep. He instantly got up from where he was, turning into his real form. It made Haunter wake up and get up in a split second. So did Vesh and Crina.

“Get up!” Haunter commanded, and the users automatically got up from the bed with Ji-Yun who also woke up because of the wolf’s low but urgent voice.

Vesh howled to alert the pack that was just nearby before the door, walls, and ceiling were crashing down on us. Enemy vampires and users came storming in, almost surprising us in the process. However, we were already prepared… Well, just prepared, that is. The pack, which was led by someone in the pack howled back in response. It sounded distant but clear enough.

My eyes scanned the room while I parried a vampire’s assault. Ji-Yun took out the sword that I gave her and started waving it around. At first glance, she used it awkwardly but no one took it lightly. I wondered until I caught a glimpse of Zurko who was just nearby, shooting using either his bloody gun or bloody bow and arrow. It was the first time I saw that latter weapon of his. It wasn’t original but surprisingly effective. In fairness, it was impressive.

I ducked when an oncoming high kick was about to land somewhere in my face. I used my palm heel to counterattack the enemy, and he crashed against the undamaged wall, which was damaged when he landed there. Naturally.

I quickly scoured the room. Everyone was busy fighting. I couldn’t find the source of that powerful energy I felt a short while ago. It was gone. I wondered who it was. I kicked another vampire here and there, slashed throats here and there, turning them into ashes. The annoying number seemed to not decrease, and the users had a one-on-one battle now, which left Ji-Yun unprotected.

Sephora faced a guitar string user, who looked like a young funky girl with white spiky short hair, petite, and pale. Ataru faced a teenage boy who used a chain, while Zurko fought with a black teenage girl that used ice. It seemed that the odds were on our users. Their enemies were quite talented and very good fighters, too. And to add in my surprise, Medjays and ninjas came to attack when finally the number of vampires decreased. It seemed that they were the last wave sent to finish us.

I had my back flat against Ji-Yun’s. That way, I could protect her better. I watched Creep make an astounding performance. He whirled, and in a few moments later, every vampire was extinguished like insignificant smoke that vanished into thin air. Meaning, he was already pissed off rather than getting back his energy.

The wolves arrived as well in the middle of the battle and took care of the Medjays and ninjas. I had time to take Ji-Yun to a safe area. I looked at the battleground before us. I dodged when Zurko’s opponent’s sharp ice flew toward me. It landed on the damaged bloody wall. I shook my head with a mocking grin. The user did aim at me. I caught sight of Zurko’s blood being rendered useless at this time as it was frozen. Everytime he drew more of his blood, it was frozen before it was even launched for an attack. I could see that the blood user was getting frustrated by the look of his twitched face.

“He’s so useless!” Ji-Yun exclaimed and ran toward Zurko’s direction before I could even stop her.

“Ji-Yun!” But she didn’t even look back. I decided to let her go. By this, she would learn how to fight for herself. It was good training for her even though it was very dangerous. Yes, I shouldn’t get into her own battle. She decided to help Zurko, and that was good. She had to be confident when it comes to fighting as we had a lot to deal with tonight and in the future. That was for sure.

Zurko pushed Ji-Yun away to save her from a sword ice, which she cut with the sword she was gripping tightly. I almost clapped my hands for their teamwork. But my smile faded when a couple of Medjays and ninjas stood before me. Well, it was time to work on my own, too. They decided to include me again in the fight. It was getting irksome, though.

I did oblige them. I was fighting all four of them at the same time, ducking now and then, dodging now and then, attacking now and then, and killing them one by one. Creep, on the other hand, assisted Crina on her own fight in his human form.

Haunter and Vesh fought some very strong opponents on their own, so did the other wolves. It was quite a chaos and everything was a mess. The motel room was not the only space where the battle took place. It scoped the entire building. People were already disturbed and screaming or running away, trying to save themselves. I was sure that if no elder was going to step in, it would be big news and a big mystery why a motel got ran down like this.

I was going to aid Ataru when he finally stole the chain from his opponent’s hands, and he delivered the deathly blow if the latter didn’t catch that card. He looked at me, fazed and confused. But I didn’t have time to explain it to him. Instead, I held the chain user by the neck and slammed him against the wall.

“Who sent you?” I demanded angrily, fangs bared.

His dark eyes reflected fear. His body shook while I held him by the neck. He shook his head as he couldn’t speak. I loosened my hold around his neck.

“Speak or I’ll break your neck,” I threatened him.

“I-it’s…” Before he could speak more, a spear ice sped our way. I barely dodged it. And it grazed the chain user’s face.

When I looked behind, Ji-Yun cut the ice user’s hand. Nice work. I smirked but it faded when I felt the guitar string wrapped tightly around my right forearm. My hold on the chain user’s neck slackened, and I faced the guitar string user.

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