Vlad stormed into the mansion, a man on a mission. It was silent through the house and he wondered for a moment where his compatriots were. He sent out his senses to search the house and found only one other person in residence. As the signature wasn’t familiar to him, he knew that it belonged to Danika…the person he wanted to see the most.
He took to the stairs, traversing the steps as if he were simply walking up a hill. It didn’t take him long to discover which room Emilia had designated for Danika’s use, he could smell her scent all over the door handle. He could have easily just barged into the room as it was his home he’d given her sanctuary in, but he was first and foremost a gentleman. He knocked twice.
“Who is it?” he could hear the woman ask.
“It is Vlad. May I come in?” There was silence on the other side of the door before the latch clicked. He pushed the door open and stepped into the room. Danika was laying upon the bed, reading a magazine, but she sat up when he stepped into view.
“Good evening, sir.” she nodded. He closed the door slowly behind him, the creak it emitted sounding ominous before turning to face her.
“Oh come now, Danika.” he chuckled, darkly. If Emilia had been present, she would have known that his chuckles never meant anything good. “You’ve been a guest in my home for nearly a week. Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities?”
“…” he arched an eyebrow.
“…Vlad.” she mumbled but he easily heard it and clapped his hands in delight.
“Wonderful. How are you settling in, by the way? Is the room to your liking?”
Danika looked around her surroundings.
“A bit…bright…for my taste but it’s growing on me. Thank you for its use.”
“And are you getting enough to eat?”
“Yes. Your manservant checks on me often.”
“Ah…Robert is very loyal to me. Much like my Generals, he has been with me for quite some time.” He moved deeper into the room, walking around with a casual air. But only anyone close to him would notice that his casuality was a disguise. He was here for answers to his questions and he would get them.
He turned to lean against the low bureau, striking a pose that made many a woman swoon; ankles and arms crossed, proudly displaying his masculine form and pouring on the sex appeal. Though Danika was a ruthless creature, she was also a woman and was similarly affected by his presence. He could smell the freshly drunk blood rushing through her veins as she caught his dark scent and her eyes flared with lust.
Perfect! he smirked to himself.
“So…tell me…how exactly did you end up locked in the basement. I really didn’t believe that story you gave me, to be honest.”
“Oh…well…I was being punished.” she admitted. The expression on his face indicated she should continue. “My former sire…caught me when I was eavesdropping on something important. I was supposed to be his most trusted…yet he didn’t trust anyone beyond himself and his dark daughter. The bastard.” she snarled. “He’s the one who locked me up to feed on rats and bugs.”
As she was speaking, Vlad was moving toward her until he sat beside her on the bed. She nearly jumped out of her skin when he ran his fingers along her arm. She gulped frantically when he leaned in to sniff at her neck.
“What was your sire being all secretive about?” he whispered, his voice hypnotizing. He trailed his lips along her cheek and her breathing became ragged. “You can tell me. He can’t hurt you here.”
“I-I-I…” she stammered, her eyes falling closed in the wake of his seduction of her senses.
“Danika. Tell me, pet. You can tell me anything.” His voice had gone deeper and darker and his eyes changed to the red of his vampire. His fangs elongated, scraping across the skin of her neck and shoulder. A small amount of blood welled up and he brushed his tongue across it, tasting her and pulling her further into his web of deceit.
“It was the location…of the final resting place…of the Elders.” she moaned.
“For what purpose?” he hissed, licking along her jawline.
“Mmm…uh…to drink…the blood of an Elder…would grant its user the…mmm…power…to…walk in both…day and night…” she whispered.
That caught his attention and quick as a snake, his fangs were in her neck. She cried out at the shock of it and succumbed to his advances. Through her blood, he gained her memories of the event…
Danika moved about the house in search of Vincent, wondering why he was hiding himself from her. Hadn’t she given her all to him? Why did he choose to be with his “daughter” and not her? It was disturbing. She heard voices coming from the den and turned in that direction. The door was slightly open and she could see the firelight casting shadows along the wall. She heard him speaking and was about to enter the room when another voice made her pause. He was with HER again.
“Are you sure of this, Father? If you were found out…” Bridgette murmured.
“Do not worry, my Treasure. No one shall find out. After all, it would not do to share such power with those more inferior to you and I.” Vincent chuckled. Danika glared at the wood of the door.
“Where is this place again?”
“A tomb in Egypt. This map…” there was the rustle of paper or parchment, Danika couldn’t tell which. “…is said to lead straight to it without tripping any traps that may be there.” There was a thunk of something heavy being closed. “There…safe and sound.”
“We have company, Father.” she hissed. The door was thrown open and Vincent loomed over her, anger etched in every line in his face.
“Bitch.” he hissed, grabbing her around the throat. She was thrown against the wall where she fell into unconsciousness…
When she next awoke, she was locked in a dark basement and after trying the door and discovering it was thick steel and locked from the outside, she yelled in frustrated anger. “VICTOR!” she roared…
Vlad pulled away from Danika with a final pull of her blood. He sat back with a grin, thinking over all that he had learned. He stared down at her corpse, watching as it slowly disintegrated away to dust.
“Hmm…I wonder where this safe place of Victor’s is.” he murmured to himself. He turned and strode from the room, making a mental note to have the room cleaned. He had work to do.
The soft light of Shane’s desk was cast just slightly out of the office door, as he was working very late at night on some cases that he had been neglecting. Finding the solitude of his den being breached by the ever increasing number of vampires that were living or not, under his roof he found himself going back to his old office just for some peace of mind. Shane had gone through something of a transformation, from the ruthless man he was to one that was more…domesticated. He did much of it out of love for Carmen and yet in a sense he felt he had lost a bit of himself. Much of the anger he held was for someone that was no longer in their lives. Vincent. And of course who could forget Isabella. Shane had not broached the subject of his relationship with Isabella to Carmen, as he felt that it was bad manners to speak of old flames – and no one was older than Isabella. The damage she inflicted on his past life, his family to this day still haunted him, and yet he tried to go beyond that. He had Carmen, his brother and his sired ones. He had a coven, though it was more one that belonged to Carmen as she was the true and rightful Queen.
Across from his desk sat the chess set. The same one he used to sit at for hours, plotting the demise of those around him He even had Carmen on the board as his future Queen. But now that he looked at the board and all its pieces were back in the starting places, he realized something. There was still two Queens. One of black, one of White. Two Kings….but with Vincent gone there should be only one King. At least…that is what he thought. The image from the news station of the coffin like box on the platform with the word “Tepes” made his skin crawl. He kept trying to dismiss it, but something niggled the back of his mind. Like a creeping death approaching from unseen shadows. Taking a sip of his scotch, he looked back at his papers, and then the computer beeped shrilly. Shane tapped a few keys and then an image appeared on skype.
“Sir…you’re not going to believe this.”
It was Nelson, Shane’s own private investigator whom he hired to get the low down on suspects and people on trial. He was standing near his car at Vincent’s Estate. Shane’s brow knitted as he set down his scotch.
“A little late at night to be playing Nancy Drew, Nelson. What are you doing at Vincent’s manor?” His voice dropping a tone as he waited to hear what the detective had to say.
“Remember that ballroom, the one with the wall that had that painting untouched.”
“Yes of course, what about it?”
“We took the painting down, Sir….and uncovered a safe.”
This definitely piqued Shane’s attention. ~A safe?~ He thought.
“Untouched, Sir. Not damaged in any ways. I have organized an old buddy of mine to crack it open, I figured you might want to come down and see it yourself.”
“Damn right I do. I’ll be there in forty five minutes.”
“Yes Sir.” The screen went back to the skype symbol as Shane logged out and then shut down his computer. So, that son of a bitch was hiding something after all. The painting. Of course. Keeping whatever it was safe right behind his throne, that had long since been burnt to ash. Shane got up from his desk and reached for his coat, which he slipped on and did up the buttons. He hadn’t been telling his beautiful wife about his investigations for fear it would simply stir up another hornet’s nest not long after the coven trashed the house. It was not like he was being secretive, but more like the old Shane was back to his old tricks.
~An hour later~
Pulling up in the driveway of the ruined manor, Nelson was waiting just outside the derelict entrance with a smaller built man in a long over coat and boots. He wore a woolen cap and carried what looked to be like an old medical bag from the forties. He was about 70 years old and his face was scarred from years in many institutions. The night air had a slight nip to it, and the safe cracker mumbled about wanting to get this done, so he could go home to the Missus and his fire place. Nelson was trying to settle him, but then straightened as Shane approached.
“Sir, this is Benny Todds, he is one of the best crackers in the business. Done some fantastic robberies in his time.” If that was supposed to add weight to his abilities, it simply amused Shane. He cracked a half smile and then gestured for the door. “Let’s just get this safe opened, and we can all go home.” Nelson nodded, and the trio went inside, where Nelson had set up flood lights in the damaged former ballroom. As Benny walked in he was shocked by the scale of the damage. “Must have been some party.” Shane, who walked with his gloved hands behind his simply said. “Oh you have no idea.”
The painting had been taken down and set to the side, which left the safe now exposed. Benny rubbed his chin before setting down his bag. “They don’t make beauties like this anymore.” Clearly the safe was of a ripe age, and would be difficult to crack. Shane glanced at his watch, as Benny set to get his tools of trade out of his bag. Huffing, he leaned against the safe, and tapped it with his knuckles. This made Shane glance at Nelson who simply shrugged. The old man must know what he was doing. Least that is what they both hoped. Chuckling, the old safe cracker started to sing a song, as he worked. He was enjoying this too much. The safe was of a make he had only ever heard about, and this was the first time he had the chance to break into one. He viewed it as a challenge, more than anything. Benny took out a stethoscope and placed it around his neck, before placing the ear plugs in his ear, and then resting the pad to the safe door, as he started to turn the knob. Again chuckling more, he then reached into his bag and took out a small drill.
“This one is going to run into overtime.”
Shane didn’t feel like being caught out before sunrise and hoped the man could be a bit more diligent.
“You can open it before sunrise?”
“Oh, I think I can.”
Shane rolled his eyes, then took out a handkerchief and patted his brow. Oddly, the waiting was making him perspire.
Benny started to drill a small hole into the safe door, which took some effort. He grunted as the metal shards flew out from the point of the drill’s impact zone – a nice sized hole forming. Taking out the drill he set that aside, and then placed in the hole a special wire tubing, that was connected to a tiny monitor. It was a camera, that allowed the safe cracker to see inside the workings of the locking mechanism. This safe was made well before the age of modern technology, so to have something invade its inner workings would make it easier for the safe cracker.
Now with the camera in place, he went back to listening as he turned the nozzle, and sure enough the clicks engaged with the locks inside. One by one, each was falling into place as the safe cracker hummed to himself. It took another thirty minutes, till there was that sudden shunting sound as the last pin fell into place.
Benny pulled back his camera equipment, as well as the stethoscope and then turned the handle. The door…came open.
He stood back and started to pack away his things, while Shane was given the rights to be the first to look inside the safe. At first, there were boxes of jewels, necklaces, bonds and piles of money. But buried beneath it all, was something totally unexpected.
Shane pulled out a rolled parchment scroll that had Egyptian lettering and symbols on it, along with a box made from stained wood with blood colored symbols. The safe cracker held his hand out to the Private investigator for payment, which Nelson obliged, giving him a wad of about $5000 dollars. Benny was chuff to see that kind of money and pocketed it into his coat. He tipped his hat to Shane and the Detective, before ambling back out to his beaten up old car, no doubt pleased to have gotten the safe open, and now able to go home to his wife and enjoy a nice cup of tea – and plan a vacation.
Nelson looked at the find, and then wondered why there would be Egyptian artifacts in a Vampire’s manor.
“Well, that’s some pretty odd treasure if I do say so myself.”
“Pity I don’t read Egyptian hieroglyphics.” Shane said with a frown. Whatever it was, he had just uncovered yet another mystery…and one he planned to find out more about.