Warning: Last chapter to Arc 4, and twice my usual size 🙂
Vampires. Think they live in another world.
This particular vampire couldn’t be bothered to warn me he’d be showing up on my doorstep.
With his oversized butcher knife too.
At least his timing isn’t too bad. Nikolas is at school and Nikita is at work. I don’t want to have to start explaining who this is.
Or why he’s allowed to have a sword.
“Kevil, Velor and Assaria are dead. Why do you still carry that weapon? People are going to react if they see you walking around the streets with that. They’re going to consider it supernatural activity.”
I’m tired of these anti-supernaturals. Blowing up a school? Whoever is behind that is absurdly dumb and forced me to put up warning wards around Nikolas’ school.
“Didn’t James advise you to wear colored contacts too? It’s not common knowledge, but I’m sure the people who deal the hardest damage know about your white-eyed importance.” I asked when he didn’t say anything.
“You have a weird way of greeting guests.” He finally stated. “As for the contacts, they hurt my eyes.”
“And the sword?”
“I’m out here searching for Assaria, because you told your father you had a feeling.” Kevil stated. “And I’m hitting a lot of dead ends.”
“See? It wasn’t a real feeling. I don’t know why James sent you searching. She’s dead. We saw it ourselves.” I said with a sigh, the doubt still nipping at my insides. I just can’t seem to accept that the world is finally safe from that woman.
“But I’ve had a few leads.”
My breath stopped on its own. “What kind of leads?”
“They’ve led me here to Ridgevalley. The name Assaria isn’t unheard of in the darker parts of this town. It’s often heard along with The Dragons.” Kevil said, his eyes intent on getting me to believe.
“You’re going on a name?” It’s not enough. Assaria is…she likes to flaunt her power. She wouldn’t have stayed quiet so long. She would’ve come for us one way or another. And either way she’s dead. How could she be alive?
“I agree. A simple name isn’t enough to go on. That’s why I’m here. Can you cast a location spell for her?” Kevil asked.
“I did that the day right after, and I saw her in a morgue. She’s dead Kevil.” I insisted.
“Then it won’t hurt to try.”
I couldn’t argue with that. “Okay.”
I cast the spell, and Kevil and I waited as the blurry image inside the crystal began to sharpen.
It was dark. Very dark.
I forced the spell to zoom out.
“A mausoleum…” I voiced aloud. “See? Dead.”
“She was buried in a crypt?” Kevil asked, and I sighed.
“Kevil she’s dead. There’s no way she can be alive. My feeling was just the leftover of a nightmare. She’s gone.” I affirmed again.
He decided not to reply, staring at Nato, who was watching the snowflakes fall.
“Any news on James and Gretel?” Kevil finally asked and I nodded.
“It’s going well from the sound of it. Well, they lost the mailman. That was… really unfortunate. But James thinks she might be ready soon to help out a bit in his little basement café.”
“Surrounded by all those supernaturals? That’s a lot more tempting than the mailman. I’m the only one she can’t affect. I should’ve stayed.”
“But you didn’t.” I stated matter of factly. A moment later, Kevil spun around, apparently deciding he’d done everything he’d come to do. “Wait.” I called out, and he stopped long enough for me to go retrieve something from our bathroom, casting a quick spell on it as I walked back. “Here. Your colored eye contacts.”
“I told you-”
“I had a feeling you were lying.” I said. He was probably just not enthusiastic at the idea of having to go buy contacts. “These are my daughter’s, but I’ve magically modified them. A common brown color should do the trick. They should be comfy too.”
Kevil reluctantly took them and gave me a final nod before heading out my door, right into the cold beginning of winter.
You can’t help but be a little jealous of a vampire’s resistance to cold.
I’ve come to despise Nikolas’ face.
His sister is doing fine from what I hear, I don’t see why he has to keep torturing me like this.
“Whatever it is the answer’s no. I’m done with you thinking you can step all over me when you feel like it.”
“Well if you won’t cooperate…” He said with a tone I really don’t like.
“Again with your blackmail? Don’t you have any standards?”
“That’s ironic coming from you. You and your gang spend your time harassing girls and vandalizing public buildings.” He said with a harsh mocking tone.
Sometimes when he spouts things like this it’s hard to really come to the conclusion that Nikolas is oblivious to his surroundings. There are things he notices.
Then again, though we’ve never been caught, it’s common knowledge that we tend to…remodel.
I’m not any more inclined to listen to his threat though. So I turn around, hoping if I ignore him he’ll just go away. I know better though.
It doesn’t take very long before I hear another set of footsteps falling in synch with mine.
“Don’t follow me.” I snap without looking back. “Venkat’s still itching to teach you a lesson.” I just might be tempted to let Venkat get another suspension for this.
Oh my god this guy is unbelievable. He just won’t quit will he?
“I need you to teleport me somewhere.” He states, one hand on his hip, and his face now a lot more serious.
I try not to rudely laugh at him. “No.”
His serious façade fades.
“Why not? It’ll be cool and in my basement. I have a monster and a jellybean tree.” He spouts out like that’s supposed to be an intriguing offer.
“You’re fucking insane.” I say, really annoyed that we’re still in this mode. We’re lucky no one’s around. Nikolas’ power might let him completely separate himself from his body, but I’m still stuck dragging mine along in this state and anything I say here is heard over there. So for others, I’m suddenly speaking to thin air.
I swipe at the Niko in front of me and I’m not surprised when my hand just phases right through his body. He seems disappointed with my answer, but entirely unphased that I just swiped my arm through his corporeal body in a poor attempt to shove him away.
Once again, without any warning, he switches modes. “You don’t believe me?”
“You really think I’m the type to not believe in supernatural stuff? Niko, I’m the type who doesn’t want to get involved with that shit.” Doesn’t he follow the news? It’s wild out there.
He really couldn’t care less that I don’t want to draw attention to myself could he?
“But the monster’s some kind of mix between a cow and a plant, and the jellybean bush grew from the treasure I found at summer camp. Doesn’t that sound the least bit interesting? Exciting even? You can’t actually make me believe you’re not at the very least curious?” Of course I’m a little curious. But just a little.
I glance around for eavesdroppers again. “Why do you even need me to teleport you there?”
“My dad magically sealed the basement.”
Wow. My mouth hangs slightly open at how this guy really doesn’t seem to get it. Magically sealed basements are usually sealed for good reasons… “I really don’t want to get involved.” I say, with the meaning now doubled.
“What do you want in exchange?” Nikolas asks with a childish determination.
I heave a sigh and just wave him off. “Goodbye.”
Tak tak tak pause tak tak tak pause
I went from one side of the small bathroom to the other, scrunching up my nose each time I stopped pacing.
Venkat groaned in his corner.
“I hate these tile walls. The paint won’t stick well.” He said, looking at his art before smudging it.
I kept pacing.
Maelig sat on the bathroom sink reading some book about politics while his headphones blurted out a remix version of ‘Let it go’. We’ve learned to stop asking about his choice in music.
Apart from my pacing, Venkat’s odd complaints, and the sound of Maelig chomping on little carrots hidden in his lap, the bathroom was only filled with Maelig’s playlist of remixes.
Maelig must’ve grown tired of my pacing. “What’s on your mind?” He asked.
“Fucking Niko.” I mumbled.
“What did that bellyflap do now? I’ll beat him up.” Venkat exclaimed sending some paint onto the urinals.
“Won’t leave me the fuck alone. Trying to rope me in on some stupid project of his.” I grumbled, pacing back the other way again. It’s not like I want to help…
“I thought he hated your guts after what happened to his sister.” Maelig said, lowering his book.
“Yeah, but I’m useful to him now.” Oh Zac has teleporting powers! Let’s make use of them! Just because you have something doesn’t mean you need to use it.
I wonder how my friends would react if they knew I could teleport…probably not any better.
“Just give me five seconds with this kid.” Venkat stated as Maelig brought his book back up to eye level.
“That’s not going to help things. Believe me.” I sighed. And then something in our conversation struck me. “But…he did basically say he was willing to do anything.” I could make use of this.
“Make him butt flash a teacher.” Venkat snickered.
“Hmmm,” What could I make Niko do that could possibly be advantageous for me? What did I even want?
Well only one thing right now
The locker decides to make a sound as I lean against it. Salandra shakes her head.
“You’ll get a cramp if you lean like that everywhere.” She says, locking her locker.
“You like Niko right?” I rhetorically ask, not wanting to beat around the bush. “Go out on a date with me.”
“How attractive.” She snorts.
“If I get Niko to take you out on a date, will you go out with me? That way you can compare and see how better I am.” I say with a toothy smirk.
“No.” No hesitation. A clean and dry response. But that’s always her first reaction to anything I say.
“Oh come on…it’s not like he’d really listen to me right? You can only gain from this.” I pushed.
She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. She closed it. She couldn’t argue that last fact.
I took a step into her bubble.
“Just say yes.” I added in a lower voice. I swear she stood still for a solid second before pushing me away.
“Fine!” She exclaimed, and the grin on my face grew wider.
“It’ll be worth a date if you can manage something like that.” She laughed in my direction one last time before heading for class.
God why can’t we just go out already?
“Nikolas.” I call out as the thorn in my side and his buddy start to head home.
Nikolas looks back at me and seems to realize my intentions, because he shoes his friend away. “I’ll tell you later.”
“Ok.” I say as I try not to slip on the iced over steps.
“Ok, ok?” Nikolas asks, the hope clear in his voice.
“Yes, but I have a condition.”
“I’ll need a favor.” I say.
He casts me a suspicious glance. “Now I need specifics.” Oh he thinks he can make demands now? He’s asking me to go out of my comfort zone for his benefit-
“Nothing too dramatic.” I reply. “I’ll just need you to…take someone out at some point.”
“Take them out to dinner and a movie or whatever.” I say, leading Niko and I out of view, and deeper into the patches of snow. “They need it. They never go out with….friends.” If I start making it sound like a date he’ll back out for sure.
“That’s not important right now, but when I ask for this favor you need to fill in.” I said, trying to put weight behind my words. He better be the type to keep his word.
I can’t seem to shake off his suspicions.
“Look. Worst thing you’ll need to do is pay for the event. I’m not asking for anything else other than just making sure they get out and breathe town air.” I clarified. And it’s completely true. I wouldn’t want him to go on an actual date with her. If he treats her like a friend, she might be that much closer to be done with his rejection.
“Sounds fishy.” He stated.
“I thought you wanted me to teleport you somewhere? Niko, I’m really liking laying low and not getting mobbed and having my school blown up because I have unnatural powers. Don’t give me the time to change my mind.” I snapped.
“Right. Okay, it’s a deal.” Finally!
I twitched when he switched to his astral mode. Apart from making me look like a crazy person, it also gives my mind an unpleasant fuzzy feeling.
“Cool let’s go.” Nikolas said, apparently wanting to do this now.
“Your basement? Right…small problem. I can only teleport to places I’ve been before.” I said, suddenly remembering this minor detail about my power.
“That would’ve been nice to know earlier…but hey! I’ve been to my basement. And I can do this kind of astral teleporting… I astraled home when I was in summer camp. Maybe we can like merge our powers or something?” Nikolas spouted out.
“Like have me do the teleporting and you deciding where we go? I guess it could be worth a try. There’s a split second between when I teleport and when I decide where to go.” It’s usually the only time I see this mode. For a split second, while I visualize where I’m going to teleport.
“And you can teleport more than yourself right?” Nikolas asked. Oh. I haven’t actually tried to teleporting anyone other than myself.
“My clothes always seem fine when I do.” I said with a shrug. We were underprepared for this, but Nikolas seemed really intent on this and the idea of getting it done with was appealing.
“Okay let’s do this before we both chicken out.” Nikolas said.
With a short intake of breath I grabbed a hold of his shoulder. “We’ll try this: when I say go, just really intensely visualize your basement and I’ll just think where Niko wants to go or something similar, okay?”
He nodded and I said go.
The ride over was weird. I felt my body get pulled along for the ride if that makes any sense. It was a little nauseating and the world must’ve done a spin or three, but it eventually settled down and my feet weren’t deep in snow anymore.
“AW YES!” I exclaimed as I recognized my basement. I slapped my hand over my mouth. Dad shouldn’t be home yet, but you can never be too careful. I know, I know, I should’ve continued to be a good boy and let the adults investigate this place…but I wasn’t done with it. Plus I needed to check on my jellybean tree after all.
“Interesting….basement.” Zac said, casting a look around. And then he saw you know what.
“Holy shit!” Zac exclaimed, jumping a step back. It just kept snoring. “I see what you mean by monster.” He said as his breathing came back.
I smirked. It was getting amusing to see people have the same reaction I did. It was an ugly thing.
“Don’t worry it’s sleeping and nothing can wake it up.” I said, but Zac kept it in his line of sight.
“Why did you need to come down here for?” Zac asked as he turned on a nearby light. “Is that a gun?”
“For this.” I said leaning down to my treasure bush’s level. It was so much better up close in the real world. It looked so lush and green, and had clumps of brightly colored jellybeans hanging off it. Wonderful! I planted one jellybean and got hundreds more!
Hmmm what do I do with them now though?
“Oh right your jellybean tree.” Zac said, crouching as well. I knew he was curious. He plucked one.
“So are these real edible candy jellybeans?”
“No I don’t think so. I read these ones actually have healing properties. Depending on what color they are, or if you smell or eat them, they’ll have different effects.” I said. Bah he can keep it.
He split the jellybean in two and sniffed it. “Smells candy-like…are you sure this isn’t candy?”
“Pretty sure…” I plucked one too, cracking it open and sniffed it. I snorted the air out of my nose. “Ugh rotten eggs.”
Zac grabbed another one and did the same after discarding the old jellybean in the pot. “Smells like hay and horse dung.”
“Pink smells like pineapple.”
“Black smells like…” Zac split it open and this harsh smell suddenly invaded my nose. It was intense and it made my head spin like I’d just chugged 18 cups of coffee. My eyes were wide open and so were Zac’s. “Holy geesus are you sure this isn’t some kind of drug?”
Heart beating way too quickly in my chest and pounding in my ears, it took a few moments to notice something had changed in the room. There was less noise.
There was no snoring.
I looked up, my heart beating from fear now.
The monster had moved. It had straightened itself up, its leaves flapping slowly as its head tilted to the right with a loud sniff.
It suddenly spun around with so much force we heard its vine straining.
Its mouth drew wide open, revealing a set of crooked teeth, and bathed the area with its foul breath.
I tried to surge forwards and grab Zac to help him, but I wasn’t quick enough.
The monster’s mouth closed in on the back of Zac’s jacket and firmly brought him in the air, shaking him like a rag doll.
It was horrible to watch.
My eyes snapped to the dagger and the gun sitting innocently on the table. Would that even hurt it?
Before I could make the decision, Zac slipped out of his jacket and landed with a harsh thud, as the monster’s head swung back from the sudden lack of weight, the jacket still in between its teeth.
And then another idea struck me.
Zac scrambled to his feet as I rushed to his side. He grabbed onto my arm, his face red. “Let’s get out of here now!” He said, already reaching for the door. Which anyway was still sealed by dad’s magic. We could teleport but-
“No, let’s teleport it.” I said, standing my ground.
“What?” Zac stared at me like I was out of my mind. The monster shook the jacket out of its mouth.
“Just teleport only it out Zac! I’ll take care of where!” I said, grabbing his hand mostly so he couldn’t flee without me. “We can’t leave it here.”
“You’re fucking INSANE!” He shouted at me as the monster let out a shiver inducing growl. He tugged at his hand, but I held it firmly as the monster reared its head up, its mouth wide open, giving us a beautiful view of its throat.
“Time’s up!” I announced as that toothy jaw came crashing down towards us.
Don’t fail me now Zac.
No one’s POV
“Oh I am pissed. Oh I am very pissed.”
“We can ignore what I just said about my lead on the kidnappings. That’s cool.”
“Who do these people think they are?? Blowing up a school!? I’m going to find them and strangle them myself.”
“Please. Grace us with your plan of action.”
“Assaria is right. Waving our fists at thin air won’t do anything.”
“What is it?”
“I found him.”
End of Arc 4 Volume 1