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Thread: Melty Blood Fanfic: "To Protect"

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    I happen to be an expert on this topic Pata Hikari's Avatar
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    Melty Blood Fanfic: "To Protect"

    To Protect

    By Pata Hikari

    Part One: The Oath

    To take the oath was to die.

    One may live well after they take the oath, but their fate is sealed once they take the oath.

    They will die an unnatural death.

    I knew this. We all did, it was no secret. But some things are greater then the life of one person.

    The Lord said that if a one can save even one soul from damnation, then they will be exalted.

    So it is worth it, to take the oath.

    "Do you, Riesbyfe Stridberg, lay down your life in the name of God. Swear to uphold His teachings, and defend His children from the devils that even now try and drag them down to Hell?"

    "I do."

    "Do you swear never to retreat as long as there are those who can be Saved?"

    "I do."

    "Do you swear absolute obedience to God?"

    "I do."

    The priest, an old and solemn man, looked down upon me with heavy eyes. "Do you swear to never taint your body and soul with unnatural forces?"

    "I do."

    I was not alone. Dozens of knights, soon to be my comrades, stood behind me. My mother and father stood by my side, tears of pride and sadness in their eyes. My older brother stood behind me, he himself having joined them three years ago.

    "Then I accept you as a Knight of the Assembly of the 8th Sacrament. May God be with you, Sister Stridberg."

    ----

    Two weeks passed as I continued my training.

    For us knights, the training never ends. We must always be ready, always be prepared. For the next day one could be sent off to some hellish place and fight against monsters barely comprehensible.

    The sword I used was a dull practice blade. My "opponent" was a animatronic dummy.

    "Sister Stridberg."

    "Hmm?" I paused in my training, it was one of the older knights. He was in his thirties, a rarity.

    "You're needed."

    "...I see." I kept my face serious. But inside I was giddy.

    I was needed, that could only mean one thing.

    I was to head to the field of battle.

    ----

    It was a simple mission.

    A small village in France had an issue. Namely, a foolish Magus had bit off more then he could chew. Calling upon demons. The entire town was now infested.

    Demons. Creatures which absorb and spread the fears and evils of humanity. Formed from an imaginary element, they are a dangerous heresy.

    Most of the time, a demon infestation if detected early enough, can be gotten rid of with a minimum of fuss and no casualties.

    All reports said this was the case. The Magus had made the request for extermination, and said the demons had only appeared about a week ago.

    It was far safer for him to ask the Church rather then deal with his Association. Magi are very paranoid about their secrecy, if word got out that he had done something to compromise it then he'd be in trouble.

    We went into the town, a small group. Me and two other more experienced knights. Leon Molyneux and Alice Robinson. It should have been a open and shut issue.

    How wrong we were.

    ----

    The town was peaceful and quiet. Leon was the only one among us who spoke French, so he was the one interacting with the people.

    We were all dressed in normal clothing, only coats concealed the Holy swords we carried.

    I fingered my sword through a hole in my left pocket. It was the first time I had held such a sacred artifact. It was not a great one. A simple blessing by some saints against malevolent spirits was its only gift, but still, compared to any other weapon I had held it was wondrous.

    It had been issued it to me for this mission. It was only when you got appointed to the really high ranking levels when you got your own weapon.

    "That's the house." Leon said, pointing to a small nondescript home at the end of the street. "That's where the Magus lived and the demon's are originating from."

    We marched towards the house. As we got closer to it, an unnatural feeling filled the air.

    "Definitely demons." Alice muttered, "They change reality to suit them."

    Suddenly, a voice rang out.

    An old man ran towards us, shouting in French.

    "...what's he saying Leon?"

    "...he's saying to stay away from that house."

    "..." For some reason, that sent chills down my spine.

    His tone of voice, his screaming warning. I reached for my sword, but I didn't draw it yet.

    We ignored the old man, and kept on moving.

    When more people showed up.

    More people.

    All shouting the same thing.

    "This isn't right." Alice whispered.

    "Is the entire village out here...?" I whispered, and began slowly drawing my sword. I wanted to feel its weight in my hand.

    "No! Don't-" Leon shouted at me.

    But it was too late, my sword left its scabbard.

    And the people screamed.

    A horrible inhuman scream, as they screamed, they melted.

    Blood and organs and skin and blended together, gathering into a thing. Vaguely human shaped, it roared with a thousand voices.

    "What in the name of..." I whispered, my mind was frozen.

    "Damn!" Leon drew out his sword, "The demon spread farther then we even thought!"

    Alice drew her sword, "Stridberg! Looks like your first mission's going to be a doozy."

    A wet growl escaped the demon, and it lurched at us.

    Its left arm smashed down at us, in an instant we reacted, jumping out of the way as it smashed the concrete.

    This is what our training was for.

    To fight these things which took the souls of men by force. Perverted them and turned them into inhuman creatures like them. To do so we trained the human body to the limit, aligning our circuits to the exact right positions, all to make the human body reach the highest level possible. Then we prayed.

    We prayed to God, praying so that He could give us the divine strength we need. The strength to take our strength from the "limit of human ability" to "superhuman."

    We rushed out, the three of us in perfect formation.

    "We need to weaken this thing, then I'll seal it!" Leon shouted.

    I drew back, clutching my sword in both hands, "In the name of God..." I whispered, "Die demon!" I screamed, rushing towards it. It reacted, sending out an extended arm of flesh and blood, trying to crush me.

    I didn't stop, I raised my sword, slashing through it. The demons flesh burned as I cut through it, slicing though the arm, I just kept on charging forward.

    Then the other arm jutted out, slamming me off to the side. "Urk!" My body pulled in on itself in pain. I slammed down onto the concrete, cracking it as I bounced.

    I lay there, unable to move, when I saw an extended limb of flesh flying towards me, sharpened to a point.

    So this is it. I thought, I tonight I die.

    A blur moved in front of me, and a hunk of meat fell to the ground from the demons limb.

    It was Leon.

    "Can't have your first mission end so badly, Stridberg." He said with confidence, "Now then, Hiiiiyyyaaaa!"

    Suddenly it was like there were a hundred swords slashing in front of him. Such was the speed at which he moved.

    The demons extended limbs all rushed towards him, but not one could penetrate the defense.

    ...what a fool I was. In my rush to fight, I had blindly charged at it, leaving me exposed to attack.

    He was doing the sensible thing, standing still, holding his defense, and keeping an eye out for any other attack.

    The only reason I'm alive is because he helped me.

    I slowly stood up, holding my sword in front of me.

    He was the one with the scriptures needed to seal this demon. So I needed to help him, hold it back and weaken it enough.

    I took a step forward, only to nearly collapse.

    My wound.

    It was too great.

    I could barely move.

    ...this is so stupid. I joined, and in my first battle I'm useless.

    Then I noticed it.

    The hunks of meat, bone and blood that Leon was slicing off.

    They didn't rot or lose their form once separated from the main body.

    ...in fact, they were beginning to... to...

    Surround him.

    I wanted to shout, to warn him.

    But it was too late. They extended out into a dozen points, piercing his body from every angle.

    "...!" Leon gagged, for a moment he was silent.

    ...then I realized it.

    He had died.

    Died. Because I was stupid and weak.

    The demon turned its full attention to Alice, who seemed to have realized the problem, and was individually sealing each piece she cut off, yet as she did it she was being driven back. Saying the prayer to seal the pieces took time, and the demon was taking advantage of that.

    It wasn't fair.

    In an instant Leon had died.

    ...I had never met him before the mission.

    We were only acquaintances. Yet he had put himself in danger, luring himself into a trap for me.

    This wasn't fair.

    God wouldn't accept me only to have me die without saving at least one person... it wasn't right.

    I can't die.

    I can't lose.


    My body straightened up.

    I wouldn't lose.

    I gripped my sword in both hands.

    This wasn't right.


    Lightning cackled around my blade.

    This thing does not belong in this world.


    The demon stopped attacking Alice, its attention turned back to me, who it had written off as prey to finish off at its pleasure.

    This demon dies now!

    "Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! !!" I screamed, cracks forming in the Holy sword I wielded. The pieces of demon that killed Leon disintegrated. I ran towards the demon. My mind was focused. There was nothing but me and my enemy. I jumped twenty feet into the air, diving down at the monster.

    It raised up all its limbs, every ounce of power put into holding me back.

    My sword slammed into it all.

    Light and energy crackled around the sword, forming a barrier that the demon could not penetrate. Gravity pressed me down, as the demon tried to hold me up. Yet its limbs were disintegrating at a rapid rate.

    "In the name of God, return to the darkness whence you came!" I screamed, and pushed down with every ounce of power.

    The demon split in two as I slashed through it.

    My blade shattered, an inhuman scream filled the air.

    And the demon exploded.

    ----

    ....

    I dreamed.

    For how long I dreamed, I do not know. I dreamed of many things.

    I slept for so long.

    For how long I slept, I do know.

    Because when I woke up, there was a nun standing next to me, taking my vitals.

    "Ah, you're awake Sister." She smiled kindly, "How are you?"

    "Ugggg..." My head hurt. "Where am I?"

    "The Vatican, Sister." She answered.

    I see.

    "Wait, what? How long was I out?"

    "Around ten days."

    ....

    That's insane.

    To be asleep for that long.

    "What... happened?"

    "You were brought in, unconscious. I don't know anything other then that." The nun then pulled out a cell phone.

    "...who're you calling?"

    "You're awake, a high ranking man asked me to inform him of this."

    "And this man was?"

    The nun frowned, her face clearly nervous. Her voice dropped down to a whisper.

    "Merem Solomon."

    ----

    I knew of that name.

    It was a whispered name, quietly passed along with rumors and secrets.

    A name associated with seven people.

    Seven people who used dark heresies to fight monsters. The most powerful assassins the Chuch has. Evil fighting evil.

    The Burial Agency.

    And of the seven, it is said that Merem Solomon is the worst of the lot. Rumor has it that he isn't even human, but a Dead Apostle.

    I watched the door.

    Every sense was hyperactive.

    I didn't know when he'd come in. All I knew is that whatever he wanted of me...

    The door opened, and a kid walked in.

    ...

    What was a kid doing here?

    I stared at him. "Hey, sick person here. Kid. Leave."

    The kid gave me a look.

    A hollow eyed look.

    "Um, excuse me. But I really don't want visitors right now-"

    "Your 'wants' aren't my concern Riesbyfe Stridberg." He said flatly.

    "...huh? Hey! Show some respect for your elders kid!"

    "Practice what you preach girl." He said, a smirk forming on his face.

    "..."

    Who was this kid?

    "You're probably wondering who I am right now." He bowed. "Merem Solomon, at your service."

    ----

    It was absurd.

    By all appearances he's a kid, maybe 14 years old.

    "So, tell me." I decided to ask. "You're Merem Solomon."

    "Yes." He smirked at me.

    "Is it true that you're a Dead Apostle?" I expected him to say no. The very idea is absurd. A vampire working for the Church, they who would destroy him.

    "Yup."

    "..." What? "That's absurd! We don't deal with vampires, and we definitely don't let them join us!"

    "Oh? The Church works with vampires all the time." He was grinning at me, insufferably. "The Church works with the True Ancestor whenever possible. And, as I have been Baptized, I, a vampire, am clearly allowed to join it."

    "Bu-but you corrupt innocent souls! Drag them into-"

    "No no, you've got it wrong." He poked me in the forehead, like a child. "I can, if I wanted to, consume the blood and lives of innocents and drag souls down to hell. But, you see, I don't." He pulled back, still smiling. "So you see, I'm harmless."

    This is insane.

    "What... what do you want." I demanded of him.

    "Oh? Done asking me questions and condemning me?" He was amused. Amused by me. "Well, I guess I can get to the point." He reached into a sack on his belt and pulled out...

    A bottle of wine.

    "Would you care for lunch?" He then pulled out two wrapped up sandwiches, and a pair of apples. "Can't talk on an empty stomach."

    I could feel my eye twitching.

    "Come on, eat up." He handed me the sandwich. "I assure you it's good."

    "..."

    ----

    And so we ate lunch. This is ridiculous.

    To this day I wonder whether he acts like he does because it's his real personality, or if he just likes irritating me.

    But I digress, we ate and drank, and he spoke of what he wanted.

    "I want to give you a promotion. You will, if you desire, become an Executor."

    I stared at him.

    "I take it you're surprised."

    "Of course I am! I just was sworn in two-"

    "Actually it's four weeks by this point." He said cheerfully,

    "-the point is, that I lack the experience and skill to even be considered being promoted to Executor!"

    "True." He nodded, "However, you have something that I feels qualifies you. A natural gift." He leaned in closer, "To put it simply. A demon that had absorbed an entire village should have killed all three of you. Not just one."

    "..."

    "Hearing about this caught my attention, so I decided to make this offer to you. You will be promoted to Executor, and become my assistant. You will help me, and I will help you realize whatever powers that are hidden in you."

    "And that's it?" I asked, "You don't want to shove me into your group?"

    "Oh no, the Burial Agency is full." Merem shook his head, "You'd just be called onto every mission I take." He took a sip of his wine, "Of course, as a member of the Burial Agency I fight some of the nastiest monsters out there." He laughed.

    "...and if I refuse?"

    "Then I'll leave now, we'll likely never see each other again. And you can continue living the life you've planned for yourself. Which is, likely, serving the Church for a few years until you finally get in over your head and die against some inhuman creature." He shrugged, "Don't get me wrong, you'll likely still one day get in over your head and die against some inhuman creature. It's just the nature of our job, but with me you'll last longer, and understand the gift you have better." Merem stood up, "Well, which is it?"

    "What you're asking me now?"

    "Well I've given you time to think." Merem was still grinning, "Is it a yes or no?"

    ...

    He's asking me this huge thing.

    ....can I really refuse? I myself don't know what came over me that night.

    As far as I can tell, it was a miracle.

    Yet if it really is something already inside me, I... I should develop it. He's offering to do so. Even if he's a heretical creature, he still is a fellow Servant of God.

    ....

    “Very well, Merem Solomon. I except.”

    “Excellent!” He laughed, “Therefore, with the power granted to me by His Holiness, The Pope, I hereby raise you to the rank of Church Executor. Executor Riesbyfe Stridberg, granted full freedom and rights to hunt the Heresies against God as you wish.” He reached inside his bag again, and tossed a piece of paper at me. “Call that number, tell him Merem asked to get you a proper sword. Do it soon, because we're leaving tomorrow.”

    “...that's it?”

    “Well, yeah. Technically there's this big ceremony. But it's not really needed.”

    Oh, yeah, I guess that makes sense... “Wait, leaving tomorrow?!”

    “Yeah I took on this mission after I received word you had woken up.”

    “You... you planned this.”

    “Lesson one, Assistant! Never do anything without a plan.”

    “I hate you.”

    ----

    My cell phone was, amazingly, still in one piece after the battle. I dialed the number.

    .....

    .....

    ......

    “Who the hell is it?” A man answered.

    “Hello?” I asked.

    “Oh damn it, how'd you get this number.”

    “Um, Meram said I need to get a proper sword.”

    “...”

    “Hello?”

    “Goddammit!” I had to pull my phone away from my ear, “That god damn vampire Son of a Bitch, he just had to tell you about me.”

    “Umm... who are you?” I asked, for some reason I was starting to feel frightened.

    “Alex Alexson.”

    “...”

    “Yeah my parents thought it was a hoot too. I'm the keeper of the Holy Artifacts. Every single one the Church owns I have cataloged. So anways, who are you.”

    “Um...” I wondered how to introduce myself. Usually one put their rank in with their introduction. Yet having gone from the lowest straight to the highest it felt somewhat wrong. Still, best to do so. “Executor Riesbyfe Stridberg.”

    “...Huh? Hmm where have I... wait. You're the one who broke one of my swords!” His voice shook my poor cell phone. “You're coming over right now, because I'm going to give you a piece of my mind!”

    ....this was not what I was expecting when I signed up for the Assembly. Not at all.

    -----

    I entered a dusty old building in a small corner of the city. Weapons, armor, scrolls, bottles, anything and everything I could think of was stacked on shelves. Each one had a tag tied to it with a number written down.

    “Hello?”

    “Ah, there you are.” He suddenly popped in front of me.

    He was an old man in the robes of a monk, a large silver crucifix hung from his neck, and he was completely bald, his gray eyes piercing me like a hawk. “You're Riesbyfe Stridberg, I assume?”

    “Y-yes.”

    “Ah, well, I guess we should properly introduce each other. I'm Friar Alex Alexson, Keeper of the Relics.” He grinned, “I have, in this building, three hundred and twenty three pieces of the Cross. The Ark of the Covenant, shards of the original tablets with the Ten Commandments, the real Shroud of Tourin, the staff of Moses and thirty three potential Holy Grails. And well, many many more things as you can see.” He sounded proud of this. “The stuff on the walls here is the stuff allowed to be checked out by you people.” He narrowed his eyes at me, “With the expectation that they will be taken care of.”

    “Hey, it's not my fault.”

    “Sure it is, if you had the kind of power that would shatter lesser artifacts like that you should have told me.”

    No sympathy for me at all.

    “But I didn't know I had the kind of power to do that.”

    “Now who's fault is that?”

    “Oh come on.” I sighed, “Well, I'm not here to be lectured by you.” He didn't say anything. “...” Oh boy. “Sooooo do you really have all that?”

    “Yup.” he nodded, “You don't have clearance to see them though.”

    “But I'm an Executor!”

    “Still don't have clearance.” He held up three fingers, “Only three people have clearance permanently. Myself, the Pope, and Merem. Everyone else has to get written temporary permission.” Well, I guess that makes sense. He cleared his throat, “So Merem wants you to have a proper sword.” His face split into a grin, “Guess I should take you to the good stuff.” He turned around with a twirl of his robe. “Follow me.”

    We came to a shelf, Friar Alex pulled aside the shelf, a number pad was behind it. He pressed a series of buttons, and the wall slid open.

    I stepped inside after him, and a bucket of water dumped on my head.

    “...”

    “Holy Water.” he didn't even try to hide his laughter.

    “Any more tricks I should be ready for?”

    “Maybe. Can't let you know, or else you could figure out how to circumvent them.”

    “Grand.”

    -----

    We walked down a winding staircase. Cameras and following us on every step. Half a dozen more traps sprung on me.

    “Thirty Three Holy Grails?” I asked as we walked down the steps.

    “Yeah, you'd be surprised just how many things are called the Holy Grail. The newest one I think is this thing in Japan a bunch of Magi kill each other over.”

    I rolled my eyes, “Magi don't make any sense at all.” Killing each other over a Holy artifact, that completely destroys the point of it.

    “Tell me about it.” He suddenly stopped walking, “Ah, we're here.” We reached a heavy stone door. Alex pulled out an old brass key and unlocked it.

    Inside was a room with comparatively less artifacts. They were all weapons. Swords, spears, shields and everything one could use for war.

    “There are objects here that can be classified as Noble Phantasms, weapons of legendary origin and power.” He said with joy. “Of course, there's no way I'm letting you take one of those. That sort of thing is only brought out if something drastic is happening.”

    “What would you consider drastic?”

    “The Legions of Hell laying siege upon the Holy See.” He answered seriously.

    “...yeah that's probably a good idea. So, what do you suggest?” I examined some of the swords lining the wall. I had always liked swords, they're the classic weapons of a knight.

    “Oh, asking for advice? Rarity, most Executors don't do that.”

    “Um, well, I just became one today. Merem promoted me on the spot.”

    “Oh...” Alex shrugged, “He does that sometimes. Arranges for these sorts of things. He's the reason I'm the caretaker here.”

    “I see.” I ran my finger across a sword, inscribed in the pedestal it stated that it had been used to fight off a mob going for St. Paul.

    “Hmm what about this sword?” He handed me a massive broadsword, a razor sharp edge and scriptures engraved into the hilt. “This sword was wielded by Hugues de Payens, founder of the Knights Templar. It's a fantastic weapon for a knight like yourself.”

    I picked it up, it was heavy, yet as I held it in both hands it felt comfortable, as if the sword was saying to me “Use me for a while, I'll help out.” ...”I like it” I finally said.

    “Good to hear, luckily this sword's made of tougher stuff then the old one you had. It'll survive anything you throw at it.”

    I nodded, “Thank you Friar. I'll return this once I return from the mission I'm going on with Merem.”

    A silence followed.

    “Wait, what!? You're actually going on a mission with that crazy vampire?” He looked worried for me all of a sudden.

    “Yes, he promoted me and designated me as his assistant.”

    “Hmmm I see I see.” He chuckled, “Kinda like what he did to me, I see.” He patted me on the back, “Good luck kid, you're going to need it. That old bastard's gunna throw everything he can at you.
    Last edited by Pata Hikari; March 23rd, 2011 at 11:59 AM.

  2. #2
    Former Fortissimo Fan TLer Kratosirving's Avatar
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    Oho, this looks like something new, at least to my knowledge. I like it.
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    I happen to be an expert on this topic Pata Hikari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kratosirving View Post
    Oho, this looks like something new, at least to my knowledge. I like it.
    Posted the first part ages ago. Now have more and will post later.

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    I happen to be an expert on this topic Pata Hikari's Avatar
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    Part Two: Blood and Sadness
    We were on an airplane towards the United States now.

    I examined the paperwork Merem had handed me.

    A small town in the northwestern part of the country, Green Woods, Washington, had a sudden case of mysterious disappearances. The pastor at the local Protestant Church, Nathan York, suspected that it wasn't a human causing the disappearances, so he called us.

    Relations between Catholics and Protestants are much better now then they were back when the split first occurred. However they lack the single united force that we have, so they often request our help when inhuman things show up. We, of course, are happy to help.

    And so me and Merem were flying a quarter around the world to the middle of nowhere.

    “Ever been to the U.S?” He asked me.

    “Sorry, no. Never left Europe before.” I answered, “You?”

    “A few times. Compared to the Old World there just isn't as much supernatural things going on.” He leaned back in his chair, “Or perhaps it's just that it's more wild and empty, so we have a harder time noticing them.”

    I didn't reply, I merely leaned back in my chair and looked out the window. The ground was a blur, Concord jets are really fast. My mind slowly drifted to sleep... I wouldn't likely be getting any when we began our work, so I made sure to get some now.

    -----

    Pastor York was a tall, lanky man. His nervous face was topped with a pair of glasses. He quickly accepted us into his home.

    “It started around six months ago. We began to find cats, birds, deer, all sorts of animals in the street, torn up.” He shuddered in remembrance, “Then... two months ago, people began disappearing. I can feel it... something inhuman is causing this.”

    Merem nodded, “Hmm... Well, we're going to investigate, Pastor, so don't worry.” He gave him a reassuring smile. He gave a slight bow, “Come, assistant.”

    -----

    “That's what we're searching on? A single man's hunch?” I asked in annoyance.

    “Of course. This mission isn't high priority, actually, since there's no concrete evidence.” Merem said in that damnable casual tone of his. “But, as Executors we can choose to take any mission we want. So I chose this one.”

    “...” I stared at this man. “Why did I accept your offer.”

    “Because to do otherwise would be to bury your Talents.” He answered cheerfully.

    I sighed, the town was completely quiet. Nobody was coming out, likely due to the fear over whatever was causing these disappearances.

    “Still, I can feel something. I think his hunch is right.” Merem looked around, “I don't know if you can feel it, but there's power in the air. Something is distorting the feelings in this place, filling it with the stench of fear and doubt.”

    I admit, I could not feel such a thing. “Are you sure?

    He sniffed the air, “Monsters can feel the presence of other monsters. So don't doubt me.”

    Right. Despite him working with us, despite moving about in the day, Merem is still a Dead Apostle. Something not human.

    ------

    The moon was nearly full. It filled the sky, shining its pale beautiful light down upon the small town.

    Only two people wandered the streets. Myself, and Merem.

    Who is this man? Why did a vampire desire to join us?

    I opened my mouth, and was about to ask him, when he spoke.

    “I hear something.” He suddenly said. “Follow me.” He began to run.

    “Wait!” I began to chase after him. Damn he's fast. I could barely keep up with him.

    He turned a corner, running into a small alley way.

    ...inside where three human figures.

    They were hunched over a corpse... it looked like a pig. They bit and tore at it, eating everything. Meat, flesh, bone, blood.

    As they ate, they made animalistic noises, growling and grunting as they consumed this animal.

    I couldn't help but stare at these... people.

    Three of them, two men and a woman. They finished consuming that pig... there was nothing left. They slowly stood up, before turning around to face us.

    Their naked bodies were haggard, hair sprouted from random places, their hands and feet were no longer exactly human. Long claws extended from both, all covered in blood. Fangs and teeth too big for their mouths stuck out. And their eyes... they weren't the eyes of a human.

    No, they were more like the eyes of a rabid dog.

    With a snarl they all howled, before running towards us both, moving faster then I could track.

    In an instant Merem reacted, pushing me away, and one of the things bit down on his arm where I had once been.

    “Guh!” He said, gritting his teeth in pain, “Very well...” The arm suddenly detached. “Attack, Lady.”

    His arm changed form, becoming the figure of a woman... made from swords? Her arms moved, slashing at the monsters, cutting their skin and causing them to jump away.

    The woman changed back into an arm, reattaching to him. “Riesbyfe! These are werewolves! Don't let them bite you!”

    With a howl, one of the werewolves leaped at me, his claws ready so slice.

    My body reacted before my mind, I drew my sword and slashed.

    The werewolf screeched in pain as I cut him, rolling off to the side, it began slowly circling us with his “pack.”

    Werewolves. The original “werewolf” so to speak is the first Dead Apostle Ancestor, Primate Murder. Breeding with normal wolves, the creatures born from the union are not even remotely natural. Monsters with a dual desire, the urge to kill humans... and also an urge to infect them. Somehow they inherited the vampiric ability to change humans into beings like them.

    These werewolves were mutated humans, obviously. Young ones. Mindless creatures that only ate and spread their sickness.

    The female one leapt at me, ready to bite my arm off. Once again my body reacted, swinging my sword to keep her away.

    “Riesbyfe. I'm going to hold them back.” Merem suddenly appeared in front of me, “When I do, I want you to bless your sword three times. Then... you can kill these creatures, they will revert to human.”

    “...very well.” I began to pray, setting the blessing upon my blade. A blessing to save three souls.

    All three jumped at Merem. He didn't move, he simply swung his arms, all three were knocked away the moment he attacked. He looked at them calmly as they began cautiously circling us. Wary of us now, we clearly were not easy prey.

    “It's ready!”

    “Good!” Merem dashed at them, “Let's go!” he ran straight towards them. For an instant, they hesitated.

    That was all he needed.

    With a slash of his arms, two werewolves suddenly lost a hand. They flew away, the pieces of meat falling a few feet away.

    “No way...” I whispered, before running at them.

    Merem spun around, slashing again. Arms fell off the werewolves this time.

    They were clearly outmatched.

    So I ran, and attacked the first one. Shoving the sword through his heart, I said the final prayer. Pulling out, I quickly moved to the next, I cut off her head. The last one I dodged his final attack before slicing him down from the shoulder to the hip.

    Time seemed to stop, as I realized what had just happened.

    “Hah... hah....”

    “Good job Riesbyfe.” Merem patted me on the back.

    I watched as the inhuman features faded from the corpses... before their bodies faded away, turning to ash, blowing away in the wind.

    ------

    I slept well that night. For a while.

    Then the dreams came.

    Dreams of death. I was surrounded by it, corpses everywhere. A bloody river flowed behind me.

    Crying, people were crying.

    Crying tears as they died.

    ------

    My eyes opened. “Ah-ha... ha...” My entire body was covered in sweat. “What... what was that?”

    “Ah, you're awake Reisbyfe?” Merem was suddenly standing over me.

    “Gaahhaha!” I got tangled up in my sheets as I tried to get away, this only resulted in my falling onto the floor.

    “Good morning” Merem was smiling, the bastard. “I'm guessing you had a nightmare.

    I untangled myself and stood up, “Yes.”

    “Would you like to talk about it?”

    “No.” I didn't feel like bearing my soul to a vampire right now.

    “Very well then.” He stood there calmly, “Get dressed. We need to find the source of the infestation.”

    ------

    The forests of Washington were thick and wild. Trees and moss grew everywhere.

    “Hmmm it will be difficult to find our werewolf here.” Merem said.

    Like vampires, werewolves can not come out in the sun. They can only come out at night, when the true ones awaken and the infected humans change into monsters.

    “Tonight is a full moon, so it would be best to be rid of it today.” Merem continued. I silently stared at him. There was little concern in his voice. To him, this simple task must almost be a vacation. The cooler strapped to his back showed all the evidence of that I needed. Upon my asking what was in it, he had answered. “Our lunch, Riesbyfe.”

    Just like that.

    So now we were searching through the dense forests for a werewolf den.

    Occasionally, Merem would stop and sniff the air. He would then turn and lead us down a different direction.

    The hours passed in this fashion. It was hard to avoid getting bored. Finally, when the noon sun was up in the sky, Merem spoke. “Lunch time.” We had reached a small clearing, a fallen tree would serve as our seat.

    He sat down, and I moved to sit next to him. He pulled the cooler from his back and opened it. From within he handed me a sandwhich and a can of Sprite. “Here you go.”

    “Thank you.” I closed my eyes and quickly said a pre-lunch prayer, when I opened them I saw what Merem had pulled out for his lunch. My eyes became fixed upon it.

    It was a plastic bag, filled with blood. The type used to store blood used for transfusions.... I stared at that bag, unable to pick up my meal..

    “Yes?” He looked at me, then laughed. “Remember? Vampire? I need blood to live.” He poked a hole in the bag, sticking a straw into it. He began drinking it like a fruit drink.

    “...Yeah, I guess I forgot. I guess this is acceptable.” I nodded. “If only other vampires did this, we wouldn't have to hunt them down.”

    “Zelretch does this too, as does Van-Fem.” He said, laughing. “The modern world is so convent. Before refrigeration and methods of blood transfusion was invented getting blood was much more of a pain when you're not a bloodthirsty, metaphorically speaking, psychopath.”

    “How... did you do it?” I found myself asking.

    “Well, I wasn't able to go outside nearly as much.” Merem laughed, “Once a month a group of preists would cut themselves and let a little bit of their blood drip into a goblet. I'd get to drink that. Nowadays I skim off the Red Cross.” He drained the bag of blood, returning it to his cooler.

    I began eating my sandwich. Staring at this young looking creature. What went on in his mind? I had always thought that Vampires were basically inhuman, amoral monsters. We would hunt them down because they had no control over themselves, and would hurt people just by existing. “You make every other Dead Apostle look bad.” I said. “After all, if they can't help but hurt humans to live, they are committing no sin. The same way a dangerous animal is,ultimately, innocent. Yet because you can avoid hurting humans and still exist as a Dead Apostle, it shows that they do indeed have a sin upon their heads.

    He laughed. “An interesting way of thinking about it. Of course, there is the fact that most Dead Apostles were nasty pieces of work before they became vampires.”

    I could understand that. So a new question came to me, “...what were you like before you became a vampire?”

    “Me?” He gave me this grin, “I was a god.”

    “....what.”

    He laughed again. “OK, not literally. But the people of my village worshiped me as one.”

    “OK...” I pushed my hand on his shoulder. “Merem Solomon, you have to explain this.”

    “You sure? It's a long, unpleasant story.” He asked me, and I nodded. “Well then.... I guess I should start from the beginning.”

    “I was born with a unique power. I can make things within my imagination real. If I wanted to, I could create a great tower, reaching up to the heavens, within this forest. All with a mere thought.” What an incredible... “I know you're thinking 'What an incredible power.' Right?” He laughed, “The look on your face says yes. Anyways. Yes, this power was indeed amazing and miraculous. It's easy to see why I would be worshiped as a god with such a power, no?” I nodded.

    “Well,” He leaned back, enjoying his audience of one. “As you may have guessed, God isn't one to hand out such awesome things without drawbacks. Moses got the power to save the Israelites from Pharaoh, and they all got lost for half a century. My drawback was more... direct. You see, my village didn't want to risk losing their god.” His smile faded. “So they cut off my arms and legs.”

    “What?! How... if they... if you...”

    “My father did it. He held me down while some of the other men cut them off.” And trace of smile was gone. “I was seven.”

    “Merem...”

    “Six years of being a stump. I had no freedom, I never left my room. I was fed, I was pampered. I was worshiped. And in return I would make them miracles.” He laughed, a different laugh then I had heard him say before. “Even now I can safely say those were the worst years of my life.”

    “How did you escape such a hell?”

    “A vampire helped me.” His smile returned. “Not just any vampire though. Brunestud , the Crimson Moon. I assume you've heard of him.” Of course I have! The Crimson Moon, the original True Ancestor. The first Vampire, and the source of all Dead Apostles. “He heard of my plight, and challenged the people of the village to a game.”

    “What... sort of game?”

    “They would use my miracles to conjure demons and terrible beasts. If they could defeat him by dawn, then he would serve and protect the village for century. If they failed... he would kill them all.” He shook his head.

    “That doesn't seem fair.”

    “Oh don't get me wrong. He only made the offer. If they had said no, he gave his word that he would leave them unharmed. Brunestud was many things, but he was not a liar. No. They agreed because they thought their god was unbeatable. Even though he was a scared crippled boy.” His smile became.... cruel. “The villagers were not very imaginative. A being like the Crimson Moon, even when he was playing around, needs something powerful to defeat. True to his word, he killed them all.”

    “That's... horrid.” I finally said.

    “Oh? Perhaps.” He shrugged, “Personally, I find it hard to find sympathy for them.” He turned away from me, looking into the forest. “The strain of calling forth such beings, however, was too much... I was going to die. Ironic, since Brunestud had done it all to save me from their abuse.” He sighed. “He didn't want too, but he had no choice. He turned me into a Dead Apostle to preserve my life.”

    “Tainting your soul to save your life.” I sighed, “Killing hundreds to save one. The Crimson Moon sounds like a strange creature.”

    “He didn't think the same as humans. Most humans would, if ultimately asked, sacrifice one to save many. He, on the other hand, saw the one as more valuable.” He shrugged.

    “What did you do after that?” I wondered...

    “Spent a couple decades wandering around. I pondered my life, the universe, why I was here. What God is, and even if there is one.” He stood up, “Things like that. I didn't need blood. I was still young and created by the original vampire. It was nearly a century before I needed to eat, and by then I had joined the Church.”

    “Why did you join us?” I asked

    “Honestly girl. Are you ever going to stop asking questions? I swear, once we get back to the Vatican you're telling me your life story. Just to be fair.” He said dramatically. “Well, as I said. Being worshiped as a god, I found myself thinking about them. I began collecting artifacts, religious ones. The Church just happens to have the biggest collection of them. It's a pretty sad attempt at finding meaning.” He started walking back into the forest., “I gather artifacts, fight for 'God', so that perhaps I can understand why my life is this. Maybe I can one day meet God. And learn about His plans, and what exactly He was thinking when he gave me this life.” He waved to me. “Come on Reisbyfe. It's been an hour. The hunt continues.”

    -------

    It was strange.

    We had stumbled upon what appeared to be several dens, yet they were all empty.

    “This is wrong.” Merem said, “They should be sleeping. Not only that.. but so many?”

    “I agree...” I examined one of the abandoned dens. “This is a new one, only a few weeks old.

    “There aren't very many werewolves left in the Old World. I would assume there are even fewer here... so why would there be six dens, all new, carved out in this forest?” Merem's eyes widened. “Oh dear God... I think I made a mistake.”

    “Merem...?”

    “Reisbyfe.” He looked up at the sky... the sun was setting. “We need to get back to town... now.” He began running, “They're in danger! This isn't some minor infestation. This... this is something big.”

    I followed him, we jumped through the trees, jumping on the trees. Even as the night sky emerged, we ran towards the town.

    It took over an hour, we had traveled far, it seems. We reached the main road, running along it to the town...

    And we stopped.

    “Damn it...” Merem whispered.

    We were too late.

    ------

    Blood.

    Blood was everywhere.

    The town was covered in it.

    Buildings shattered.

    Blood.

    So much blood.

    The streets, the ruins, the grass of the lawns the trees the bones the bodies.

    All covered in blood.

    “...no.” I whispered.

    How had this happened.

    We... we had...

    The full moon shone.

    And over a hundred howls filled the air.

    “...” Merem was calm, even as he looked up into the distance.

    The silhouette of hundreds of giant wolves marched towards us.

    These were not infected humans.

    These were true werewolves. Born this way.

    An entire pack of them.

    They marched at us.

    Covered in blood.

    They stopped, twenty meters away from us.

    Finally, one stepped foreword. This one was larger then the rest, obviously it was their leader. It spoke.

    “A human and something else. I would seem we missed some things in our hunt.”

    “I could say the same thing.” Merem answered calmly.

    “So you are indeed some of those hunters from that damnable Church then? Their hand reaches this country now?”

    “Religious tolerance is a big thing nowadays.” He whispered to me, “Get ready to fight for your life.”

    “No matter. I will kill you both.”

    “Oh? Is that all?” Merem shrugged, “Honestly, do you know who I am?”

    “Do you know who I am? Church-hunter? I have gathered every single one of my brothers and sisters on this continent together. We are uniting, we shall take this world back from you humans. This village is merely the start! We shall feed until we are full, and then we will kill! You can't hope to stop us!”


    “Yeah yeah. But it's obvious you don't know who I am.” His voice changed... became lower, more... monsterous. “I am Merem Solomon. The Crown. Number Twenty of the Dead Apostle Ancestors. I will kill and consume each and every one of you.”

    The beast began to laugh.

    “Kill us? Consume us? You are amusing, Dead Apostle. A strange one, allying with the Church. But no matter, I have never tasted your kind. I guess I shall see how a vampire tastes tonight. Kill them!”

    Three of the massive wolves ran past their leader. Blood and drool dripped from their fangs, all eager to crush us. They jumped into the air, diving down at Merem. He responded in kind, jumping up after them, his hands outstretched, sharp claws forming where fingers once were. With a simple motion, he cut each wolf into twelve pieces. The chunks of meat fell to the ground, blood splattering all over him.

    The way was cleared, and countless wolves rushed him, they charged at Merem, howling and screaming for his death.

    I could only watch as he cut through each one of them. Blood and guts and skin and bone scattered everywhere. There was no escape, the moment a living thing got near him, he died.

    Then... I began to hear laughter.

    “Hahahahahaahaha this is the might of all the werewolves on the Americas? How weak!” He was laughing, his eyes were red, his mouth filled with fangs.

    No longer was he merely killing them. With each cut, each motion he scooped flesh and blood, shoving it into his mouth. He laughed madly as bloodlust consumed him. He ran towards the now retreating pack, slicing through them.

    This wasn't a battle.

    It was a massacre.

    They could not stand a chance against him.

    If they got near him, they died. He cut through them... and as he did he ate them. Not a single was spared, each monster was killed by a stronger monster.

    It was then I realized that what they said about the Burial Agency was the absolute truth.

    Evil fighting evil.

    This was a man with an evil taint in his soul. Yet he still fought for what he felt was right, even as the madness consumed him.

    I gather artifacts, fight for 'God', so that perhaps I can understand why my life is this. Maybe I can one day meet God. And learn about Him.


    He laughed as he killed. He screamed as he ate.

    A vampire.

    So this is how he truly sates his bloodlust, not with donated human blood, but inhuman things.

    That's when I saw it, the leader.

    It was running. Not away from Merem. Not towards Merem.

    But towards me.

    I raised my sword in defense, a desperate, useless move.

    I could feel it.

    This creature was stronger then me. Yet I still raised my sword, even as its jaws closed around me, ready for death.

    ...it stopped.

    “Dead Apostle! Stop killing my brothers and sisters now!”


    ...and Merem froze. In the space of a second his rage and bloodlust faded.

    “...why?”

    “Because if you do not, I will kill this human. I saw it... I can smell it. You want to protect her, don't you?”


    “...”

    I stared at Merem, even as this deadly trap was around me, I stared at him.

    “If you swear on your God to leave now, I will let the human go.”


    “...”

    Merem was silent. Why was he silent? The answer should be simple. If I die, then there is no great loss. I am but a single person. But if Merem kills all these werewolves. Then countless people will be saved.

    So why didn't he give his answer.


    “I can smell your doubt. You want to save her, don't you, Dead Apostle?”

    No.

    He can't do such a foolish thing.

    He can't.

    I stared at the monster.

    This creature who lived only to kill humans.

    Something awoke in me.

    I was pissed off.

    What is he thinking?

    I clutched my sword in both hands. It began to glow a red hot. My body was burning, my mind was burning.

    Something awoke in me.

    This thing must die. For everyone’s sake. For my sake. For his sake.

    Die.

    “Hey, monster!” I shouted, “Don't I get a say in this?”

    “What? Don't you want to live, human?”


    “My life is secondary to my mission.”

    “Oh? So you do desire death?”

    “...I never said that.” Energy cackled around the sword, “My mission, you see.... is to kill you!”

    I brought down the sword.

    The air rippled, a sonic boom running out as I cut. I ran, I ran at the monster cutting through his jaw, his throat, his body, his tail. All if it. I cut through it.

    It exploded in a shower of gore.

    And I turned to face the remaining monsters.

    “You're all next!” I screamed, and jumped fifty feet into the air.

    I slashed my sword.

    Merem said I had a gift. A power.

    I now knew what my power was, what the gift God had given me was.

    The ground shook, earth being torn up as I slashed, the mere shockwave tearing up countless wolves.

    I landed, and ran.

    The werewolves tried to escape. But it didn't matter, they couldn't escape my power.

    Buildings scattered with each swing. Bodies and blood flew everywhere. I didn't need to touch them. I simply cut at the empty air.

    I screamed as I killed. I screamed and swung. I watched as more and more fell.

    Finally, I stopped.

    There was nobody left.

    “Riesbyfe?” I heard Merem ask me, and I turned to him.

    He was covered in blood, he looked at me, concern in his eyes.

    I pointed my sword at him.

    “Don't you, ever, ever think of giving up because my life is in danger, do you understand you vampiric bastard?”

    Then I collapsed, my newfound power had taken its toll on my body.

    I understood what my gift was now. It was as much a curse as a blessing.

    My gift... was the power to destroy.

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