Chapter 8

Chapter 8

He swoops down again. This time from behind. I slide to the left and snatch at his cape with my free hand slamming him down to the ground. I’ll never understand why vampires still wear capes. Been out of style for centuries and guarantees I’ll kick your ass. I slam my foot on the cape to prevent escape and lift my foot to slam a boot to his face. He takes the moment the moment to sweep the leg. Leaving me on my ass.

He flies back into the darkness and prepares his next attack to be launched. I don’t move from my standing guard. Arms up, ready to punch or stab with whichever arm he comes closest too. I hear him swoop down behind me. I spin around ready to launch an elbow directly into his skull. He diverts his attack at the last moment and flees back to the shadows.

That’s the thing about the Primeval breed of vampire. They haven’t gotten their hands dirty in a long time. They know they can’t go toe to toe with today’s hunters. They usually send out thralls to do the dirty work. I’m thinking this guy doesn’t have thralls. If he did they’d be attacking me.

Another swooping attack. I don’t aim at the cape this time, I stab him right in the shoulder and watch him crash and burn. I follow as his momentum rolls him across the floor. I finally get a good look at him. Primeval for sure, broach, tuxedo, bad hairdo and all. I grab my knife from his shoulder and go in for the kill.

He splits blood in my face. It doesn’t hurt but it blurs my vision for a moment as I wipe my eyes. When I open them, he’s freed himself from his cape and punches me in the chest. The punch sends me flying backwards. I’m glad I wear the vest beneath my robes. If I didn’t that would have caved my chest for sure. He doesn’t capitalize, instead he flees back into the shoulder.

My ears slowly start to ring out. That’s when my theory is confirmed. He’s one of the Primeval vamps with the ability to control minds. That’s how he was controlling the Strigoi earlier. Another one of the few magic abilities I gained. The passive ones are the ones I can do, in this case, preventing mind control. Not really magic, more like a practical way to combat magic. Still he won’t get me. The ringing continues to get louder. Coupled with the darkness of the room, and the blood in my eyes he’s really taking me off my game here.

One of my fears is realized, he did have thralls. I realize it as a punch lands on the back of my head. I turn to retaliate and see the woman I freed first. He’s using the people he had here as thralls. That’s how they were staying alive, it wasn’t some magic shots. Thralls lifeforce is tied to that of the vampire they are in service of until that vampire dies or they’re set free. It can be a great way to fight off aging if you’re working for a benevolent vampire. That’s not the case for most, but I guess they don’t lose years of their lives either. Thralls hit harder than regular humans but nothing crazy. I just need to be careful not to overdo it and kill them.

I land a punch on the woman only for her to return a kick to my chest. Nothing to stagger me. Before I can retaliate I swing an elbow around to hit the man approaching from behind me. He falls but she lands another strike before I can get my guard up. I finally get the chance to focus on her. A quick combination topples her but another dives at my ankle knocking me to a single knee. Several begin landing punches. I sweep the leg and watch them tumble.

One jumps my leg and remains standing. We throw a few jabs back and forth before I land a body blow and watch him fall over. I saved all these people just moments ago and now they’re trying to put me down for the count. Somewhere in all this chaos there’s a vampire waiting to strike. I spot him from the corner of my eye. He isn’t hiding anymore, he’s cocky. He’ll get his in just a moment.

Eight, I’ve taken out eight. Time to get serious, at this rate they’ll outnumber and over power me. The next one that rushes in gets a kick directly to the skull. He’ll have to live with a concussion. An arm flip to the next directly into his buddy behind him. One approaches from the back and I launch an elbow to his rib cage.

Slowly I’m making my way over to the vampire. He doesn’t look panicked, but he should be. Standing there licking his fangs as if he’s ready for a meal. Slowly the thralls start to slow down and I’m making ground. He launches another mental attack, throwing me off balance. I had been dealing with it before but this was enough to bring me to my knees.

The thralls quickly pile on and grab me. I can’t overpower so many of them at once. I’m powerless as they drag me over to him. I expect some long-winded monologue like the movies. I’ve been on a lot of mission but this is the first time I’ve had to go toe to toe with the circus master. Instead his cold fingers stroke my face before he palms my chin standing me up as if he’s trying to remember my face.

“I shall remember you, as you were a worthy advisory. Not many would last as long as you did, but in the end they all fall,” there’s the monologue. An arrogant fake French accent. I can’t take this.

I return his favor from earlier and spit into his face and smile licking my own teeth this time. If he’s going to kill me, I’m going to earn it. He doesn’t take kindly to me returning his disrespect. He quickly begins landing punches across my body as I remain defenseless. Vest or not, I felt a few ribs crack. Maybe the old guy can still go if he wants to. The strikes stop when he grabs me by the throat.

Vampires are strong, and it doesn’t take long for me to start struggling to breathe. He’s saying something but I’m fading in and out. I can’t understand what he’s saying but I see his mouth moving. I reach for one of my guns, hopefully I can just shoot him and be done with it. I grab my gun and he tights his grip. I feel it drop from hand, past my feet and to the ground as I hang in the air. One last chance. I feel around my belt or try to, looking for a grenade.

I find one and pull the pin and wait. It takes a few seconds but slowly it begins to glow. A sunlight grenade. All the power of the sun packed into a grenade. Super expensive and hard to find and alchemist to make it, but worth it. The eremites always suggest having a spell to save your ass, but my magic ability starts and stops with passive enhancement magic. This is my ace in the hole. I begin to black out as the room turns white from the grenade.

I’m brought back from the brinks as I feel my body flop to the ground and everyone in the room screams out. I put my sunglasses on to protect my eyes. The screams let me know the grenade works. As everything burns and I struggle to stay awake something Mother Dalia told me once comes to mind; I chuckle to myself. It’s better to light a candle than curse in the darkness. She used to tell me that all the time. This probably isn’t what she meant. It hurts to laugh.


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