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I turned to Victor, tears falling down my face. When he noticed, the harsh look in his eyes receded for just a bit.

“I… I thought you were dead.” I said, feeling completely exhausted. 

Victor gave me a sympathetic smile, “You should know by now that I’d never leave you like that. I simply found the situation was not in my favor. I hid as your shadow and bid my time, knowing that she would leave her sanctum of power, eventually.”

Lilith let out a hiss, “Well, you think you’ve won? That wasn’t even a hundredth of my power. I will burn you both to ash for tricking me so. My hospitality has ended.”

Lilith quirked a finger, and the two stone gargoyle’s to either side of the staircase suddenly began moving. They creaked and groaned, then started to plow forward. In two steps, they moved to a rapid bound. Victor didn’t even flinch, waving his hand in their direction. The statues exploded before reaching him, an invisible barrier causing the dust to fly to either side of us.

Lilith took a step back, a look of concern on her face for a moment. Then she turned to me, a fireball erupted from her hand and arched directly at me. I barely had time to scream as Victor put his hand out to his side as if he was going to catch it. He then closed his hand, causing the flame to snuff out.

“You dare threaten my friend!” Victor’s face snarled in rage, “I am done playing your foolish games. It is time for you to see the true power of a vampire!”

The sky darkened, and I glanced up. It was as if all of the light in the sky had been snuffed out at once. The moon glowed a blood red color, and the blackness above seemed to writher as if there was something moving across the sky. It took me a moment to realize what it was. They were bats, millions and millions of bats stretched out across the sky.

Claude stepped back, “Mistress, be careful. His power level is over nine thousand!”

“Nine thousand? What does that even mean?” Mistress snapped back.

Whatever Claude answered was lost as the wind picked up. It seemed to batter against my eardrums like a typhoon. The darkness from the buildings behind seemed to stretch, the tendrils of shadow pulling off the ground and reaching. They passed me, seeming to avoid my body as they wrapped and stretched up the staircase.

The two boys in front looked at each other before charging forward. The first boy touched the shadows. They seemed to grab him, and he screamed as he fell to the ground. They surged forward and completely overwhelmed him. The second boy stopped and turned to run back to the mistress. Bats from the sky above rained down. Within three steps they covered him. He screamed as they picked him up into the air. He continues to ascend until the scream was cut short.

“What… what the hell are you?” Lilith shrieked.

“Oh… you haven’t heard?” a voice rose out from the blackness, “I’m a real god-damned vampire.”

The shadows continued to reach forward. Lilith took another step back and fell to the ground. A look of terror was on her face. The force of the gale had dropped me to my knees, a gray fog surrounding me. It was becoming more difficult to see what was going on.

“Ryan, defend me!”

Ryan rushed forward without hesitation. Although his body reacted without question, I could see the distress in his eyes. He didn’t have a choice. The tendril struck like a snake, binding Ryan’s arms and pulling him up in the air. The tendrils of shadow began pulling at his arms and legs. Ryan struggled but was helpless to the shadows. He was about to be torn apart.

I took in a deep breath, the cold wind burning my lungs, and screamed, “Victor!”

The sound cut through the darkness like a knife. The moon turned back into a light blue color. The stars returned and the bats dissipated like smoke as the shadows receded away from Lilith. Ryan was put down, still in one piece. As the shadows pulled back, the other two boys were revealed as all. They lay in fetal positions, pressed against each other shaking.

The shadows wrapped around Victor, once again cloaking him in darkness. The shadows seemed to gradually fade until Victor wore his typical pop star clothing, a black button up shirt and black pants with just a little too much sparkle and glitter. He turned to me, an ashamed look on his face.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go so far. I hope I didn’t scare you.”

I stood up, my legs still shaking a bit, and then I ran to him and gave him a hug, “You idiot, I’m not afraid of you. I was afraid you were dead. I’m so happy right now I could kiss you.”

“Well, don’t hold yourself back, my dear.”

I smiled, pulling regretfully away from him, “Don’t scare me like that again. Okay?”

“I would have thought I’d scared you away for good. Sometimes, I forget how incredible you really are.” He returned a gentle smile, then snapped his fingers, pointing towards the door to the cathedral, “And where do you think you’re going?”

We turned to the door, and it looked like Lilith was trying to sneak back away while we weren’t looking. Claude had already run through the door, and she looked like she was dragging Ryan with her. She froze as Victor’s words cut into her.

“What are you going to do with me?” she asked after a second.

Victor put on a vicious smile, “I don’t plan to do anything.”

Lilith’s eyes looked shocked, but also hopeful.

“It would be too easy and unfulfilling. You deserve so much worse.” Victor chuckled as Lilith’s smile slipped, “You made a proposition for a game. I happen to like the terms of that.”

Lilith gave a suspicious glare, “What do you mean?”

“Well, you said it. If Ryan receives a kiss his master switch is reset. Let’s say we give you a five minute head start and two hours. Whomever is Ryan’s master when the clock strikes midnight, remains his master.”

“Why does it matter? You could just destroy me and take Ryan whenever you felt like it.”

“Oh?” Victor laughed, “Well, no worries then. It won’t be me hunting you down.”

“What is this now?” I frowned as Victor looked at me.

Lilith’s eyebrows rose, “Really? Her?”

“I believe in her. You don’t even have a chance.”

Lilith’s head fell back and she let out a cackling laugh. The boys with her, still a bit shaken from earlier, proceeded to force themselves to laugh with her. Then, she put up a hand, and they stopped on her cue. 

Lilith put on an evil grin, “Very well. So, it shall be. I’ll be returning to my sanctum of power then. it’s been partially dismantled from the move, but I’m more than powerful enough to deal with… some human.”

Her words seemed to hold a hint of disdain as she looked me up and down. It caused a bit of anger to swell inside me. I suddenly felt like this was a good decision. I really wanted to defeat her. After everything she had done, Victor was giving me a chance to finally get some revenge on her. I didn’t know if I should be thankful or angry. 

“And I’ll just keep your magic for the time being, even the playing field a bit.” Victor responded casually. “I’m sure you keep a bit in your sanctum, so you have no reason to complain.” 

Lilith face went feral and she snarled, “Fine! However, she’ll never even make it that far. She won’t be able to get through my boys. So, you’re wasting your time.”

“You only have five minutes, you better get moving.”

Lilith let out a growl, and then spun around. She began to pull Ryan aggressively, dragging him back into the doors. He left with her, but as he went, his eyes shot me a worried and hesitant look. It told me that he wanted to stay with me, but he couldn’t. Even so, his steps were reluctant until she bellowed out an order for him to keep up. The doors shut behind her, leaving Victor and I standing in the street alone.

Realization of what I was supposed to do came plummeting back. I let me anger get me this far, but now all I felt was fear again. 

I turned back to Victor with panic in my eyes, “What did you just do? I can’t get to her. That place is a fortress and she has no shortage of guards.”

Victor leaned forward, giving me a kiss on the forehead, “I believe you can do this. Within you, Jane, is strength and willpower unlike any other. I trust you with Ryan’s fate. You’re the only one who can free him from his prison.”

“Is that because you don’t want to tongue kiss the robot?” I responded wryly. 

Victor winced. “Well technically, but I don’t recall any mention of using tongue.”

“Details. It’s still like what, twenty to one? Those aren’t good odds.”

“You’ll be fine. I’ve sent you some help while I was hiding as a shadow. Get going. Save your maid in distress. I believe in you.”

I stared at the door to the cathedral and then back at Victor. He gave me an encouraging smile. I supposed I had to do this. Not twenty minutes ago I was planning on doing this alone. Nothing had changed. I needed to save Ryan, except now I had Lilith on the run.

I gave Victor a thumbs up, tightened my shoes, and forged ahead. I was only two steps into the cathedral when three boys popped up. It was the creepy triplets from before. The door shut behind me, sealing me off from Victor. I guess I was on my own now. I had to take on a harem of boys all by myself. Bring it. 

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