Somersaulting into the fray, I joined Charlemagne in the attack, doing my best to strike out at our target while avoiding his retaliation...and all while giving Charlemagne enough room to do his own thing as well without cutting a few slices out of me as well. Where were these imaginary daggers coming from. He just kept using his extra to create them, one after another...and they seemed to be in an unlimited supply! Every time he managed to stab the Hunter with one, he simply created another. As long as they were connected to his hands, they were just as real, just as sharp, and just as lethal, as any other. But even so, this Hunter was taking us both on with a style and finesse that rivaled anything that I have ever been witness to before tonight. Katrina definitely sent an efficient killer to get the job done right. That's for sure.
The battle escalated when I got involved, and the Hunter began to slash violently at Charlemagne, almost faster than he could block. I charged forward to tackle him to the ground, but he switched to his liquid form...causing me to 'splash' right through him as if he wasn't ever there. I fell forward hard on my hands and knees, coughing and sputtering from the soaking wet dowsing that I had just experienced. And now the Hunter was able to phase in and out before Charlemagne's daggers could even make contact. Splashes of liquid flew all over the room and the floor as he switched from one form to another, the droplets quickly racing back to become a part of him again once he was detached from them. He was only solid for the few seconds that he needed to deliver a harsh blow to one of us, but I think I was beginning to figure him out.
When he became liquid, he would drop his weapon...
He couldn't hold it when he was in the form. Good to know.
Instead of Charlemagne and I both attacking him in unison from the same side, I managed to roll behind our enemy and draw my scribe to strike at his backside in a series of quick moving circular motions. Using my wrist to swing the blade in a deadly 'figure eight' pattern as fast as my arms would allow. Naturally a trained Hunter would be aware of my attack behind his back, even if he wasn't looking at me at the time...but I was counting on that.
His body phased into liquid form, causing my scribe to go right through him...but it was moving so swiftly that he had to remain in liquid form to avoid taking any further damage! And that caused his shiv to drop down to the floor. The moment Charlemagne saw this, he was quick to step forward and kick it across the room where he wouldn't be able to regain a hold of it again. I saw Charlemagne spin around and allow one of his razor sharp daggers slice right through the Hunter's throat as he phased JUST in time from getting bled for all he was worth!
Attempting to change things up a little bit, the Hunter cartwheeled to the side and tried to get some distance between us and himself, but we were right back on him in an instant. It's not like either one of us had pre-planned any of this, but as fighters, we seemed to be right in step with one another, regardless. When Charlemagne struck low, I went high. When I struck low, Charlemagne went high. We delivered so many strikes at once that the Hunter could hardly keep himself solid long enough to get in a brief hit or two before having to phase out again. I noticed that he was moving closer and closer to his weapon, so I kept slashing at his arms and shoulders to keep him liquid so that he wouldn't be able to grab it again. And when he solidified himself to regain his footing, I hooked my foot around his ankle and pulled him down to one knee. Charlemagne flipped over him and created two more daggers to plunge into either side of his neck. Unfortunately, he was able to avoid it by phasing back out again.
This time, he was like a puddle, rapidly sliding across the floor in a slithering zig zag motion that he didn't expect us to be able to follow. But he was WRONG! We both rolled forward, stabbing our blades down on the floor again and again as he tried to escape. He wasn't taking any damage...but as long as he stayed in his liquid form, neither were we.
That's when the Hunter tried to gain some leverage upon us by going after Jericho, who was still pressing his back up against the wall in the corner of the room. Looking a little scared at everything that was going on, I tried to get him to come to me, but he was too frozen in place to move. "Jericho! You can do it! Jump!" I shouted.
"CONCENTRATE, dammitt!!!" Charlemagne grumbled, only focused on the mission at hand, even if it meant sacrificing the boy to get it done. "I need you right now, Vicke!"
To hell with him! I have more heart than that! "Come to me, Jericho! I will catch you! You have my word!"
"VICKE!!!" Charlemagne was so full of fury, but I wasn't about to leave one of my students out there to get slaughtered as though they were collateral damage in a conflict that had absolutely nothing to do with them!
I made sure to make direct eye contact with Jericho, and even though he had tears of terror in his eyes as the liquid pool raced towards him, he put his trust in me...and he took two long steps forward before leaping over the menacing liquid and landed in my arms, wrapping his legs tightly around my waist as he hugged me close and I breathed a sigh of relief while he sobbed gently on my shoulder.
"I've got you, kiddo. Don't worry. I've got you." I whispered.
The Hunter resumed his natural form and began going hand-to-hand with Charlemagne again. A fierce trade of blows that let me know that I was going to have to engage again myself. I put Jericho down, even though he clung to me for dear life, and I sent him out of the room before jumping back into battle!
Charlemagne was doing all that he could to disable the Hunter, or at least slow him down...but nothing was working. He spun around to cut him but it did no good. The Hunter became solid to deliver a few brutal kicks of his own, but I flipped in just as Charlemagne was getting knocked on his back. My scribe swung and stabbed and slashed at him from every angle, and I hit nothing but air! He was SO goddamn FAST! I took a few shots to the face, and a spin kick to the chest that sent me reeling backwards against the wall. But Charlemagne was quick to jump in and continue right where I left off. He was able to truly able to take the son of a bitch down a few pegs while I tried to catch my breath and regain some of my energy.
This Hunter's extra was extremely tough to fight against, but Charlemagne seemed to be doing a good job of predicting when he was going to be solid and when he was going to be liquid. Providing him a few opportunities for a couple of deceptively deadly moves of his own! It wasn't easy though. I was trying to watch and calculate what the Hunter was doing, switching between blocking, dodging, and phasing into his liquid form. When he was solid, he was trying to really hurt Charlemagne and deliver the kind of blows that would take him down in an instant, but he was too fast to allow that to happen. And yet, Charlemagne would grab a hold of the Hunter's wrist and swiftly spin into him...pulling his arm up to break if over his shoulder. But when he did that, he'd get nothing but...water. And then the fight would continue.
Come on, Mason. Get back in the game! I think I know a way to get him to stay solid for long enough for Charlemagne to take him down! It's just a matter of confusing him to the point where he doesn't know which form is which!
My chest still hurting from the kick to the ribs, I forced myself back up to my feet...and I lunged forward to help Charlemagne put an end to all of this.
I didn't know the Hunter's extra could be so specific. When I tried to cut his legs...just his legs became liquid, and not the rest of him. So his fist was still solid enough to backhand me across the face. And as I went rolling backward, his upper half became liquid in mid spin as he roundhoused Charlemagne to the ground. Still...we didn't give up. We both went back and forth with him as quickly as we possibly could. And as the Hunter began to lose track of what he was doing, I think Charlemagne caught on to what I was trying to do, and was quick to join me in the effort. High, low, left, right...the Hunter did all he could, but there was no way that he was going to be able to take us both on at once. Not now that we knew his weakness. Any part of him that was liquid, I swung at to keep it that way. And any part that he made solid to fight back or protect himself, even for a second, Charlemagne created another sharp dagger to cut and stab him with. We had a plan now, and it was too much for him to handle.
Eventually, even his extra began to tire itself out, and the moment that his whole body became solid again, I sliced him right up the middle with my scribe while looking him directly in the eye...and a second later, I notice the full length of a shiv come bursting out of his chest from behind...right through his heart...a lethal blow. And as he slowly fell to his knees...Charlemagne's bloodstained face came into view, with crimson eyes and a loathsome sense of satisfaction from killing his opponent with one final strike.
I looked at the blood spatters on his cheeks and forehead...and then looked down at the unconscious vampire laying at my feet....as well as the severely wounded human attackers that were sent out here as well tonight...and all I saw was chaos. A complete decimation of lives that should have been guided to something better than this.
And I was a part of it. Me. It made me want to just close my eyes and deny the shame of it all.
Hurting people is not what I do. I'm a teacher. Not some sort of bloodthirsty bully.
I did what I could to get my adrenaline levels back down to normal, hopefully assisting me in returning to my common sense in light of all that had happened here tonight. I feel as though I have just been thrust into a situation that I wasn't ready for. And I would regret it, if it wasn't for the need to protect that which was most precious at the moment.
"Where is Shiloh? Is he alright?" I asked, and Charlemagne gave me the most disgusted look that he could possibly manage after such a tussle.
"Are you fucking KIDDING me right now???" He growled.
"Kidding you? Wasn't protecting him the whole point of you darkening our doorstep?" I growled back at him.
"It was until you decided to let your fucking slut-inspired emotions get in the way!"
"What the hell are you talking about...???"
"The BOY!!!" He shouted! "We're fighting a fully trained Hunter, sent directly from the Elders themselves...and you want to stop to save some halflife kid that you've got a boner for right in the middle of it?"
"Jericho is a STUDENT of mine!"
"I'll just BET he is, you pedo piece of shit!" Charlemagne said, now marching forward to get in my face. "Are we going to have a problem here, you and me? Your job is to protect the TARGET, Vicke! ONE target! Other vampire lives be damned! I'm not opening up a fucking orphanage here! I'm trying to get this boy to safety! Not give you more opportunities to snuggle up with whatever kid you happen to have a hard on for!"
"You disgusting son of a bitch!" I shouted! "What makes you think that I'm going to sacrifice the lives of every boy and girl at this monastery for your heartless methods of solving a problem without thinking? That's not what we do here!"
"SPARE ME THE BULLSHIT!!!" He screamed. "You pull anything like that again, and I'm taking the kid and going solo. You hear me?"
"I never asked you to bring him here in the first place!" We were both getting extremely heated, and it was getting hard for either one of us to know what we were going to say next.
"Maybe I shouldn't have!" Charlemagne said. "You're just as much of a danger to that young boy as anybody else out there. Why the FUCK should I trust you to be a decent person on the inside when you're so obviously fucked up?"
I tried to swallow my rage, and aggressively stared at him, eye to eye, asking, "Is Shiloh safe?"
"Shiloh's safety is MY fucking business! NOT yours!" He yelled at me, but I didn't flinch.
"I've almost had enough of your attacks, Charlemagne! You're already boring the fuck out of me with your closed minded trash of a brainwashed opinion of who I am!"
"I know EXACTLY who you are, Vicke! Preying and fantasizing about little boys? I'm sure this little assignment is a dream come true for you, isn't it? Sired by a halflife yourself? What was it like, cupcake? Huh?" He asked as we got even closer to one another, the tension and hostility rising to levels that was getting ready to explode at any moment. "Did you enjoy it? Hearing the high pitched moans of a teen boy too young to know what he was doing when you raped him over and over again? Does that make you feel like a big man? Does it?"
I said, "No more than I would assume you enjoyed penetrating and murdering your own kind at the end of one of your daggers, Charlemagne. Killing your own kind for money?" His face tensed up, and I was prepared to fight if I had to. It was people like him that took my sire from me! The hypocrisy was almost enough to make me SICK! "You look at my attraction and cringe and cry foul...but I doubt you'll EVER experience a moment of true love. You're too busy harboring the hate you have within you and trying to tear everybody else down so you won't be in the abyss alone! THAT'S why you fucking HATE yourself! THAT'S why you complain! But I know who I am. And it was my sire that taught me to never apologize for it. This is YOUR fucking problem! Not mine!"
"Fucking pedophile!" He shouted.
"Vampire SELLOUT assassin!!!" I shouted back.
"CAREFUL!!!" Charlemagne warned, and both of his hands thrust downward to create two new daggers, ready for combat, his eyes glowing even more red than before as his anger increased.
"Is this what we're doing now?" I said, my eyes adopting a deeper shade of crimson all their own. "Do it! Come on! Let's fucking DO IT!!!"
"STOP!!!" Came the voice of Mage McClaren as he entered the room and saw Charlemagne and I at each other's throats. We were seriously ready to murder one another over this, and for once...I don't think I would have had any regrets whatsoever. I'm so damn SICK of being 'over-judged' by something that doesn't even really affect anybody other than me. Why am I a rapist? Why am I a pervert? Why can't I just appreciate beauty without some lonely, insecure, son of a bitch coming along to complain and take up some kind of pointless crusade to shame me out of one of the few things that brings me joy in this life of eternal darkness. FUCK HIM!!!
Say it to my face! And let's see who walks away clean from the conflict.
Charlemagne turned towards the Mage and said, "I think you should request another teacher to help us out with decoding this message so that I can contact Hamish and get the boy on a bus to a safe haven somewhere South of the border. This isn't working out."
Mage McClaren told him, "There is no one else. Mason Vicke is the most proficient scholar when it comes to vampire mythology and the subtle meanings and nuance of verzpetillio. There is no one else that even comes close."
"He's been compromised! He's too busy having wet dreams about the boy to fully understand what's at stake here." He said.
I retorted with, "I believe that I was here, fighting to protect Shiloh, before you were even aware that we had an intruder. Am I wrong?"
"You're starting to get on my last fucking nerve, sugar stick...!"
"Then BRING it! I don't know what you're waiting for, asshole!"
"Please! The both of you...stop this!" McClaren said, stepping between us. "Listen, we need to come up with an alternate plan of action here. It's obvious that the Elders know that the boy is here already, and when they don't come back in to report...Elder Masato is going to contact Mistress Katrina and send out a team of killers that is even more deadly than this one was. We NEED to get him out of harm's way until we can figure out what's going on here."
"I'm not working with a murderer." I said stubbornly.
"And I'm not working with a pervert." Charlemagne added.
The Mage sighed, and he stepped aside to show us the entirety of the room around us. "Fifteen men. And a vampire Hunter that could have easily infiltrated any safehouse in the city, and slaughtered a vast majority of vampires in the process. All lying here...unconscious on the floor. Bleeding and broken. How many of us in darkness could have pulled off such an incredible feat? Only you two...working together...could have protected the boy tonight. Otherwise...all would have been lost." Charlemagne and I only glanced at one another, before turning our backs and folding our arms in some sort of display of rejection for the idea entire. "If Shiloh is carrying any important information in that brain of his, and I'm assuming from this well organized attack tonight that he is...I'm going to need both of you to get past your differences and work together to figure out what it is. Please...don't let your petty arguments prevent you from seeing the bigger picture. We all want to do good things, right?" Neither one of us answered him, or even looked in his direction. "RIGHT???"
I wasn't ready to let my guard down just yet. Charlemagne wasn't either. But if I had to be honest...we did do a number on that well trained Hunter once we were in sync with one another. Not that I ever plan to admit it to THAT asshole!
At that moment, Shiloh peeked around the corner of the door frame, and the moment that he saw it was safe...he rushed in with watery eyes and a few sniffles. Charlemagne expected the boy to come to him first...but, instead, Shiloh ran right past him and hurried over to hug me around the waist. His arms held me so tight, his eyes closed as he tried his best to keep from crying, his body still trembling with fear. I almost felt ashamed from allowing him to hold me this way...especially with Charlemagne giving me another look of utter hatred, simply because of my need to comfort the boy and his choice to allow me to be the one to do it. But I didn't let go. I let him cry. I let him sniffle. I let him shake quietly in my arms. And Charlemagne's hard shell of an exterior will just have to deal with it for now.
However...one thing that I did notice was Jericho also standing in the doorway. Seeing me hold Shiloh in a tender embrace. And to say that he looked happy about that...
...Would be a lie.
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