Chapter 2: Dangerous Stranger

I didn’t know if I was knocked out for days, weeks, months, or even years. There was no telling if I hadn’t opened my eyes. When I came to my senses, my vision was still blurry. I realized I was knocked out facedown. However, I was able to make out Creep’s form fighting the French monk, while Bacan was fighting another one. My face twitched and I shook my head in the hope that my sight would become clearer.

I pushed myself up when I felt there was someone else beside me. Even though with my current situation, my survival instincts told me to be on my guard. I pushed the man as forcefully as I could, as much as my vampire strength could allow. However, he was tough. He looked as though he only slid a few feet away on the rooftop floor. Now, I seemed to be out of the stupor I was in a little while ago.

“Who are you?” I couldn’t even sniff his scent. I just noticed. Bacan smelled like pine trees; Ornace smelled like freshly baked bread; and Creep… well, right now, he smelled like a goat. That was his original scent when he is in his real form.

But this guy, who was clad in tight black jeans and fitted un-tucked white T-shirt with a pair of boots, was odorless? Was something wrong with my brain or my nose? A side effect after losing my consciousness perhaps?

I stared at the man who had wavy shoulder-length fiery hair. He had slightly deep set eyes, which I couldn’t figure out the color at the moment as they were merely slits. And he had high-bridged nose, high cheek bones, slightly squared jaw, divided chin, and red lips. His well-built body looked yummy. A word I rarely use, by the way.

I’d never seen such an attractive man in my entire life and undead years combined. My throat suddenly went dry and I seemed to feel my heart started to beat again. That was quite ironic because my heart was long unbeating for centuries! This was just an illusion! Right.

I saw him smile. At least I thought he did. His even white teeth seemed to gleam under the moonlight. Well, I didn’t notice it was a moonlit night until now. It was glowing in the skies, illuminating us, aside from the city lights. Or perhaps, I didn’t notice the moon because I was busy with all the chasing going on a while ago. And why did I take notice of the moon at the moment? I always considered that it is a romantic moment to see the moon since I was “younger.” It should be wrong to feel this way while I am facing this stranger. This beautiful stranger… and at a busy time like this to boot.

“Let’s say I’m your knight in shining armor at the moment.” He snorted after he said it in a quite baritone voice. “Without an armor, though.

I swallowed. My fists were balled tighter on my sides. My instincts told me that he was a dangerous stranger. But, God! He got his own accent that was sexy in my ears. And I couldn’t quite pinpoint where he was from at all.

“I don’t trust you,” I told him with an even tone.

He shrugged carelessly. Then, he turned at the foursome that was still busy fighting with each other. Was he ignoring my presence just now? My beautiful brows were knitted together as I looked in the same direction he was looking. Then, I stole another glance at him. He appeared to subtly sniff the air. And he turned to me quickly.

“I think we must get away now. Company is coming,” and he howled loudly.

Damn it! He is a werewolf? How hadn’t I seen or even realized it right away? The one that was fighting with Bacan turned in our direction and I called Creep telepathically. I told him that we have to leave as soon as possible.

“Why?” he asked as he easily avoided Ornace’s fire. He slightly faced me, with his natural stance that was bent over. His head was in between his hind legs.

“More are coming. This goddamn werewolf just told me!” I answered him. And I felt myself snatched by such strong arms. I could hear Creep’s disgusted swearing. I caught a glance of him sweeping Ornace with his tail who barely avoided the tip. His fire quickly licked the wound in his thigh, but Creep already transformed into a black eagle and was out of the monk’s reach.

Meanwhile, the stranger effortlessly jumped off the five-story building with me in his steely, muscled arms. Oh, how fascinating to watch his nice biceps! Oops, not time to get distracted by this pair of muscled arms.

I noticed that the one who was fighting with Bacan followed us after giving Bacan some kind of a smoke screen or something as a momentary distraction. I couldn’t analyze what that was but we were already running for our lives.

“I don’t know why I’m doing this but I’m taking you with us.” I heard the delectable stranger talk to me. I could feel and hear the strong beating of his heart now. What I wanted to do right now wasn’t to have a feast on him but to rain kisses on his neck and his entire body.

Wait, what? Insert screeching sound to that as I halted the thought. What was I even thinking? This is preposterous!

I decided that he wasn’t any ordinary werewolf, though. If he were, I could’ve sniffed his scent even a mile away like I was able to smell his comrade so strongly. It was quite disgusting, really! That one smelled like a dog that never had a bath for centuries!

“They’re after us, Haunter.” I heard the other stranger’s deep voice behind us murmur.

Alright, that dog-like person just talked.

I didn’t notice that I was holding tightly the neck of the man named Haunter. The rush of wind against his red hair made him practically look like a renegade on the run. But I didn’t want to think that he was carrying a damsel in distress at the moment. It was against my reputation and the way I viewed myself. I am a self-able and independent woman all these centuries. And I am a warrior myself known as Saber to all my kind in the Dark World. And what happened tonight was an embarrassment to myself. No, embarrassment was a light word. I was mortified!

“Don’t worry, Vesh. Our people are going to meet them and keep them entertained for a little while.” I caught the grin pasted on Haunter’s handsome face when I looked up at him under my eyelashes.

“Right. You howled so loud like never before.” The other guy seemed to jest and chuckled.

Haunter didn’t make a comment on that. The other guy fell into silence as we continued to lose our enemies. Or was it just my enemies? Then I looked up to see where Creep was. Good that he was still catching up with us.

“Perhaps you want to snatch me away from this werewolf,” I suggested to him.

“Nah! I think he’d better carry you. I’m quite tired after that seemingly never-ending combat with that ex-monk,” he answered lazily. I thought I could see eyes rolling there.

I snorted and Haunter glanced down at me.

“Are you enjoying the ride, vamp?” he asked almost sarcastically.

“I can manage to run by myself if you put me down, wolf!” I countered with a hiss.

Without a moment’s hesitation, he more likely threw me on the ground where I managed to land on my feet nice and sure, with grace of course. He chuckled at that.

“I see that you’re back to your normal self unlike back there on the rooftop. You looked like you needed at least a year of bed rest then.

I threw him my sharp dagger look because I believed it was an insult. But he just laughed. Then, we turned into a corner, in a small alley to the left. We tried to avoid curious humans as much as possible.

“Fuck! I have to give your kind credit, vamp. They’re already here.” I heard Haunter say before I could even feel the galvanizing effect whenever my kind was nearby. Then, he slowed down and kicked right in the vampire’s chest who met him from up the air, jumping down.

I saw Vesh slide down the asphalt as he avoided another vampire’s kick, while I ducked as I felt a high roundhouse kick was coming from behind me. I gave my attacker a back kick at the same time. He was thrown up against a concrete wall. Hard. It destroyed that part. He crawled up so fast though that I jumped so high just to give him another kick. I then used my ring to slice his throat. He made a gurgling sound as thick dark blood oozed from the wound and he turned into silvery ashes. Another one was about to assault me from behind, but I was faster and more agile than he was. I easily executed him with a single slice in the throat using my ring.

After a moment, I caught sight of Haunter using his bare hands to tear his enemy’s head and body apart. It was literally bloody. Savage. Brutal. I must admit that he was indeed a very strong opponent. Not only that but he was also agile even with the bulk of his muscled body. I couldn’t help but admire the wolf. It was insane if I’d think better of it. Why would I admire a wolf? I must be insane!

I looked away and caught sight of Creep going down from up the air to help us through his real form, cutting off his attackers as well by his tail. It seemed that he already got the hang of using it for his advantage. Our advantage, that is.

I stood there watching Haunter tear another enemy apart by his bare hands. Again. The head and body were separated and turned into a heap of ashes. He turned to face me and stepped closer. His face looked grim. It seemed that my eyes were always drawn to him, I realized belatedly.

“Who are they and why do they want to kill you?” he demanded angrily.

I glanced at Vesh who stood by a few paces behind him, watching our backs. And before I could speak, Creep came between us in the form of Dena. It was like her in person, the way I saw her tonight.

Haunter was taken aback for a moment. He looked at Creep’s new image and ignored him even though Dena’s form was caressing his shoulders and chest, moving around him like a seductress.

I smirked at that. “That’s my maker… and she wants to kill me because I separated from her. That is if you really want to know.” I summed up for him.

“Of course I want to know! You didn’t even notice that you fought on Vesh’s rooftop? Vesh’s place is now in danger because your kind happened to be at one of our hiding places!

I snorted. “It’s in the middle of New York City! It can’t be a hiding place for you!

“When I say it’s one of our hiding places, it’s a goddamn hiding place! You hear?” he pressed, still angry.

“Oh, well. So be it. I don’t want to stretch this nonsense argument with you. So, we’re going to go our separate ways now. Thanks for tonight but no thanks!” I shrugged and walked away as I signaled Creep to follow me.

“You ungrateful vamp! That’s why I hate your kind! But remember that you owe me tonight!” he yelled at my back.


Creep and I boarded a moving train, entering by the back quietly. We had no idea where it was headed to. I didn’t care. I was tired to even think about it at the moment. Just the thought of tonight’s happening depressed me. But I had to go on—even if I am all alone now. All I need is Creep at the moment and am glad of his company.

We found an empty seat, away from many people. Creep, in his usual black cat form, settled in my lap and I tried to close my eyes. It wasn’t because I was sleepy. Vampires seldom sleep anyway.

“You were strange tonight.” Creep opened up the subject.

“What do you mean strange?” I asked with one eyebrow raised. My voice was low, with uninterested tone laced in it.

“Back there, with that wolf,” he clarified.

I snorted a little. “I was just perhaps pissed because I couldn’t sniff his scent and I didn’t even recognize firsthand that he is a wolf!

“Is that it? So, what will you do if you see him again?

I looked out the window. I could sense my kind out there. I could barely hear one that was slurping, feeding from his prey, and the other one was luring his own human food. I suddenly felt hungry as well. Perhaps it was because of all the action that was behind me now.

“We’re going out of New York City! It’s unlikely that we’re going to meet again. It’s now impossible, Creep,” I reasoned to him.

“Don’t you find him attractive? I just happen to know your type of man, don’t deny it.” He was teasing me.

I smirked and acted pissed. “What do you know about my type? I’m hungry. I should feed.

He let the subject drop and moved away from me. He jumped onto the seat across mine and settled there. I stood up and glanced around me. I saw this Asian-looking teenager who was alone. She was dark haired like me, slim, and wore funky clothes. Her bag was carelessly placed beside her while she read a sexy magazine.

I moved toward her. No one paid any attention to me and everyone appeared to be asleep. I looked her up and down. She smelled fresh and sweet. With that, I meant her blood.

“What are you lookin’ at, freak?” She seemed pissed as I disturbed her moment.

I sat down next to her and stared at her dark mono-lid eyes, hypnotizing her. “I just want to have a taste of you. But don’t worry. It won’t kill you.

I grabbed her wrist and drank from her. I never tasted such delicious blood before as hers. I drank my fill until Creep reminded me to stop. I groaned softly and licked the wound of the teenager to heal the broken skin. Only a couple of tiny bruises were left on her wrist. The only telltale sign that she was bitten.

“What did you do to me?” she asked when I stood up.

“Thank you for the… uh, delicious refreshment,” I said and left her.

She scratched her wrist and looked in my direction but didn’t say another word. I sat down again across Creep.

“You should be more careful next time,” he advised.

“I know that, Creep.” I rolled my beautiful eyes.

“You know that it’s the Dark Empress’ goal to coexist with humans in harmony, without them knowing that we truly exist.” He went on, lecturing me.

“I know that, Creep,” I said again nonchalantly and looked out of the window. My hand was under my chin as I rested my elbow on the armrest.

The train stopped and went from state to state. That was when I realized it was a cross-country train we boarded. In the end, we got off in Sacramento, California, around noon. Unlike everyone’s belief, vampires were able to walk under the sun like any normal people. But we are more sensitive due to our enhanced five senses.

I sensed the teenager I was feeding on followed us all this while, but I chose to ignore her.

Suddenly, I felt the air galvanize. It was so strong that I opted on following it by instinct. We ended up in the ladies room. Meanwhile, Creep just waited outside the door, keeping watch.

“You’ve arrived to your destination. Welcome to Sacramento, Saber!” She had a Russian accent, wavy blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, and looked like a teenager. Her skin was flawless and soft-looking. If people looked at her, they would think she was like a delicate little flower.

“How do you know my name?” I felt my skin tingle. More and more of our kind came closer to this place like it was a magnet. I subtly sniffed the air. There were a lot of scents out there—coffee, mint, spice, sandalwood, rubber, and many more others.

“News travels faster than the train, Saber.

My eyes quickly roved around the well-maintained ladies room as she spoke. The walls were white and the tiled floor was beige. There was no one in there except for the two of us; the four cubicles were empty. The place smelled disgusting—a combination of women’s unwashed vaginas, piss, shit, chemicals for cleaning the toilet, and air freshener.

“Oh, by the way, let me introduce myself. I’m Andrea.” She extended a hand but I simply ignored it.

“Andrea.” It was like I savored her name on my tongue. “I know you by reputation. You are known as the Poison of All Russia.” I raised an eyebrow in her direction, to confirm it.

Andrea was known to be a seductress of Russian’s high-ranking officials during the two world wars. But her action was more like a game to her than to help the enemies of Russia. It wasn’t altogether that she wanted Russia to go down. But she just wanted to test her prowess as a seductress especially during those times.

She laughed. It was kind of bells ringing in my ears. She was pure woman indeed!

“It’s kind of a very flattering title, isn’t it?” She gave me a sweet smile.

“Why did you summon me, Andrea?” I asked instead. I didn’t have time to have a chit-chat with her.

“Oh, I know you have already separated from old Dena. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. The big news!

I snorted. I doubted it. Surely Dena didn’t tell anyone on sight that I separated from her. It was one thing she won’t try to admit to anyone because I was considered one of her best assets. It isn’t like I’m bragging about it, but it is one of the reasons why other clans wouldn’t try or dare cross my maker because of me, aside from her having the powerful connections. I was kind of diplomatic—the so-called weakness on my part as they considered it. But I tried my best to keep peace between my kind and the others if and when I could help it.

“If you want to confirm it, then, yes. I did separate from her a few nights ago. But it doesn’t mean that I’m looking for a clan where I can have my ass protected, Andrea. I’m better off alone, you see?

She laughed again. “Oh, that’s a pity. I was going to ask if you could pledge to my clan.

In an instant, I was right in front of her with my vampire speed. “I don’t want to pledge to anyone right now! If I do, there’s only one person I’d do that to, Andrea.” I told her face to face, only a few inches away from hers. Her rose flower scent assaulted my nose.

“And who could that be, Mighty Saber?” she whispered.

I backed off, shaking my head. “You don’t need to know.” I turned my back to her and stopped midway. “And if you don’t mind, tell your bodyguards that I’d appreciate it very much if I don’t need to flex my muscles right now in the midst of all the people in this station,” I calmly suggested as I pushed open the door.

Andrea laughed. I saw her wave her hand and the vampires went in their different directions. I looked at Creep who turned himself into a dirty white dog, sitting on his hunches on the floor. He looked at me, too, with his tongue sticking out.

“If you don’t want to pledge to us, Saber, then I will pledge to you.” I heard Andrea whisper in the air.

I didn’t react to it. I just kept on walking and Creep followed my steps. It was an unofficial pledge she made. It was known to be acknowledged, and it was kind of important when a fellow vampire was in peril or something. However, to officially pledge to a fellow vampire meant to have a blood contract and all that fussy ceremony so that it would be known and respected by all others in the Dark World.

“What was that all about?” Creep asked me curiously in my head.

“Well, she already knows that I’ve separated from Dena and she wants me to pledge to her clan, which I didn’t and wouldn’t do, ever… I think. She is a conniving woman.

Creep chuckled. “You’re acting like a freelance now? Everyone might want your service now that you’re out of Dena’s hair. Well, not to mention that everyone might want your head off from your shoulder if you don’t pledge to their clan. You can’t be all alone like a lone wolf. You know that well enough, Saber. And if you don’t have allies, you’re going to die like you’re supposed to centuries ago.

I chuckled. “That’s not going to happen if you’re with me, Creep,” I countered confidently.

“Touchy!” he said sarcastically. “But you know what? That kid is really persistent. Been following us since we got off the train,” he commented and paused to look behind us.

“Then walk faster,” I urged him.

We turned into an alley without people. I tried to keep myself at low profile as much as possible, especially now. I was a bit bothered even though I didn’t want to admit it. If Andrea knew that I already separated from Dena, then the others must have known it by now as well. And though I just confirmed the news to Andrea, I had the feeling that she won’t spread it all over the place. Also, about her pledge, I tried not to think about it too much. Perhaps, it was just a trap or something. I should not trust anyone.

Even though vampires tend to mean what they say and bound by it for some reason, we were once humans too after all. We could take back what we said if we have to, whenever we want to. Pledge be damned! It is good in the beginning. There is really nothing that lasts forever.

The person following us was still persistent. We turned into another alley. Then, I suddenly stopped. I caught the Asian kid by the collar and pushed her against the wall. She was the one I was feeding on while we were on board the train, I realized.

“Why are you following us?” I demanded and looked at her eyes deeply.

It was just reasonable that I’d ask her why she is doing it. After all, it wasn’t safe for me and Creep anywhere we go.

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