I’m so happy! Today I got the final art of the manga pages I ordered, and they look AMAZING. These two go through quite a bit together, that’s for damn sure. This is a pivotal moment in my book. First let me show you the characters: the art piece above is done by Harcloniter, who did a wonderful job as usual depicting these two characters. Smoke is indeed taller than her, of course, but that’s not seen in the separate pictures here.
I just had to get some manga done, and boy did it come out wonderfully. I’m pleased to share these pages, along with the book scene behind it. Now, I did have to cut some content to have it fit in the pages, so the story isn’t EXACT. But that’s ok! It works rather perfectly. Without further ado, I give you the manga pages for Chapter 28 of Red Viper and the Vampire War!
These pages are done by the lovely Sasmi! Below the pages is the scene in the book that they are depicting 🙂
“After about an hour of walking, it was pitch black outside. The city loomed ahead, a shadow against the pale moonlight. There was no light, none at all, aside from the moon. The vampires who controlled it had no need for such dazzling electricity. My feet met the pavement as I slowly walked the city, feeling eyes on me but seeing no one. I felt a whoosh behind me and whirled to see… no one yet still.
I let out a sigh, baring my teeth. “Come on out. I know you’re there,” I whispered. Suddenly, my hands were being held behind my back, and all’s I could see were tons of red eyes staring me down. I was surrounded faster than I had thought possible. My heart nearly stopped when I saw Smoke approach, his snow white hair slicked back as usual. I had surprised him, it seemed, by coming here. He was glancing around warily, as if expecting the rest of my pack to surround us. When nothing else happened, he leaned into my face.
“Hello there, Darcia. Come to provide us with a snack?” he whispered, his fangs gleaming as he spoke. That got a laugh out of the surrounding vampires, but a scowl from me. I shook my head slowly, choosing my words carefully.
“No, Smoke. I have come because of a broken deal. Ash did not give us what we promised, and I am sure he won’t give you what you want as well. I came to warn you,” I coughed. Robert Smoke only burst out in laughter at that. His finger drew across my cheek, and it took my everything to not bite it off.
“Oh really? You care that much that you’d come warn me of my demise? How touching,” he mused, giving a low chuckle. His eyes narrowed. “But I am not stupid, Darcia. I know your hatred for me, and I know you don’t give a damn whether or not Ash betrays me. So, why are you really here, other than to die to my fangs?” he asked in a low voice.
I gritted my teeth, squirming to no avail. The vampire that had my arms behind my back had a firm grip. “I came for the betterment of my pack, Smoke. I know you’re not stupid enough to betray allies like Ash does. I know what you really want, and it is pointless to fight if our wants do not conflict. If our wants intertwine, my pack wants territory and peace. You want the throne. Working together… we can make that happen,”I said in a very serious voice.
I could see Smoke pause and think for a moment. His red eyes flashed as he looked back at my face. “It’s true I want more than just this city. But I also want more than this throne, Darcia. I want power, undying loyalty, and…blood. Not just any blood. Dragon’s blood gives magic properties, it grants the drinker with power. Just look at how dangerous Ash is,” he chuckled. I tensed, knowing exactly what he was getting at. If I promised him Sambuca’s blood, Goliath would be in an uproar. But, well, I could make a false promise like the rest. Time to weave my lies.
“You want the half-dragon? Ash has her now, as I am sure you are aware. We have no need of her. You can dine on her as long as you want as long as you grant my pack peace. You will need to lie to Goliath, who we tricked to work with us as well. He thinks you only want the throne, and he is willing to give it to you so long as he gets Sambuca. Of course, you can take her from him once you are king,” I tried. Smoke shook his head, smiling.
Smoke then frowned at the mention of Goliath, but he waved it off. “Your pack will be free. I know you shifters have undying loyalty to one another, enough to betray another ally. Pity, really, it leads to your individual downfall. Yes–the ones you care about will be free. But you… I want you as my enforcer. You must sell your soul to me, Darcia. Why? Because I can sense your power. Not only does it flow through your blood, but you’re a true leader. I cannot have another leader that could possibly have a chance to oppose me,” he muttered. “Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for your pack?”
I was. I knew what he was getting at, too. The blood bond. New vampires were either born or made. To make one, there needed to be a blood exchange. The blood bond was the same concept but to a lesser degree. If he took some of my blood, and I took some of his, but not enough to turn, we would be bonded. No shifter had ever survived turning into a vampire anyway. He would know where I was at all times, thereby being able to find me anywhere. Vampire venom would decrease in toxicity for me, in turn my anger would also empower him. How badly did I want him as an ally?
If I did this, it would mean freeing the humans, my pack, and Sambuca despite my lies. Ash would lose a good amount of his army if I gained Smoke. So, I gave a slow nod, a tear trickling down my cheek. It had to be done, it was the only way we could move forward. If we had control of the city and the forest, Ash would be at a huge disadvantage. Smoke gave a wide smile, his fangs flashing.
“Perfect. Hold still then, Darcia. This will only hurt a lot,” he laughed. I tensed, feeling fangs sink into my neck. My blood flowed into his mouth, and I could feel the paralyzing venom lock my muscles. I began to shake, it was as if my skin was on fire and all of my bones were breaking. I made no sound though, and soon enough he was done. Smoke wiped his mouth of my blood, and used a nail to cut into his palm. He held it out, and after wincing, I drank the spilling blood, just enough to create the bond.
Once done, Smoke gave a satisfied smile. “Perfect. Now run along to your friends, Darcia. I will be seeing you soon,” he chuckled. As fast as he an his cronies appeared, they were gone. I put a hand on my still-bleeding neck and started back, my eyes cast solemnly to the ground.”–Darcia Deville
Pretty neat, huh? Yes, I’m a big jerk when it comes to cliffhangers in book 1. If you are extremely curious as to how their relationship blossoms, you’ll have to see it really come along in book 2. Damn though is Robert Smoke an asshole, especially halfway through book 1. But hey, some antiheroes start off as villains, do they not?