Red Viper: Chapter 5

I stared at him in disbelief. “Work with you…? Are you crazy? Me, work with a vampire who hunts exactly the people who I work for?” I growled. The vampire looked sullen at my lack of positive response. I struggled in his arms to no avail. For gods’ snakes, I just wanted to get away! Never had I been in a situation like this before, not even as a slave, where I was unable to run.

“I could help you weed out the evil vampires, and you could help me destroy the hunters who ruin innocent lives,” he proposed, looking deeply into my eyes.

“Forget it,” I said flatly. “Kill me now, or next time we cross paths I will slaughter you!” I spat. Yes, I was angry. How could I let myself be tricked so easily? And of course he could take me up on my suggestion, though obviously I hoped he didn’t.

Goliath seemed disappointed. “Well. I won’t kill you now, but I’m not giving up. I initially was sent to kill you, but that plan was vanquished weeks ago. I’ll simply find you again when you least expect it. You’ll come around, Sam,” he chuckled. Figures, I knew there was more to the story than just blatant curiosity! But like that, he was gone. 

I was laying flat on my back, utterly confused as to what just went down. Well, I knew one thing, It was time to tweak my methods. I needed to get to the association pronto! After wrapping my dark scarf around my neck to hide my wound, I was off at a brisk pace.

It took me all but ten minutes to find the base. I sneaked into the back-entrance and entered the lobby. Ignoring several withering glances that were shot in my direction, I headed to the weapon room.  A ‘guard’ stood there and stared me down.

 Robert Smoke. He was one of the bigwigs here, and took his position seriously. I knew how greedy he really was, though, and had little trust for him or those who worked with him. To most, he looked intimidating with his slicked-back shaggy snow-white hair, cold blue eyes, a muscular form, and sharp jawline. He had several golden-ringed eyebrow piercings and some chained necklaces of the same material, one of which had a spider on it. Not only that, but upon the ivory flesh of his arm was the tattoo of a knife piercing a bat.

“Red Viper. What are you doing here? You never use weapons,” he growled. I shrugged, my eyes dark. Luckily I had covered the bite marks on my neck on the way here.

“I figured it was time for a small change. I need a simple weapon that melds with my methods, not a stake nor a gun, but something different,” I hissed. Robert stared at me, and after a moment’s hesitation, he grabbed the handle and let me through.

Several weapon racks lined the wall, from swords to bows. I examined them thoroughly but couldn’t find any that suited me, until a flash of silver caught my eye. I grabbed what seemed like five blades with straps attaching them together. With a gasp I realized that it was a hand weapon: claws meant for easy melee combat. I slipped the glove-like weapon on my right hand. It fit easily, and looked like a biker glove with five long blades jutting out of the knuckles. I knew it was perfect, and gave the guard a genuine smile. He returned it with a frown of disgust.

“Your teeth are like theirs, all of them sharp as a snake’s. Fitting, I suppose. But unnerving,” he observed. I just chuckled and exited. No one stopped me or tried to say hello. I was the outcast of the outcasts, and not even my own kind accepted me. Which was perfectly fine.

Something did indeed catch my attention. The worried whispers of my ‘fellow’ hunters caught my ears. “They’re growing in number…they say the war will come sooner than we think… If they take over, there will be no hope…”

Well. That was news to me; I had no idea that there was a war brewing. I knew exactly who they were. And I knew now exactly what I had to do. I needed to find out what the vampires were planning and put a stop to it in any way I could. I know how futile it would be if I went alone, but I had no choice. No one trusted me, and the feeling was mutual.

I returned home and slipped inside, glancing around for any signs of my family. Giving a sigh of relief, I began walking to my bed, when a light clicked on. Cringing, I turned to see both Boomey and Copper staring me down. “OK OK, I know, I disobeyed you, but I found out something tonight that I need to stop!” I tried. Leaving Goliath out of the conversation was probably the best idea.

Boomey stared at me with pure anger. The snake was wrapped around my neck in a flash. No, not constricting. He’d never do that, but his eyes were mere inches from mine. “Sambuca. Why…on…earth….” he began. I gulped, because oh crap, he was angry. “I can’t even find words to tell you how worried we were. There’s something coming, Sambuca, and I NEED you to listen. Copper and I don’t want to lose you!” he hissed into my mind.

I winced as I saw a realization dawn on him. He opened his mouth and clamped down onto my scarf, ripping it off. From there, both he and Copper stared at my bite mark in pure silence. I felt Copper slither over and spy the small bandage on my hand. Like Boomey, she lunged forward and ripped it off. Now both were staring at me. “I…can explain…I got rid of the attacker and got a new weapon, don’t worry,” I tried.

Copper was in my face and hissing like she was insane. “You got BITTEN?! We told you to stay here, and you got bitten for the first time in a decade. That’s it. You can no longer leave this hut until we deem that it is safe,” she hissed.

I gasped angrily. No, hunting was my duty. I needed to fulfill that task! “But they are planning something!” I yelled out. “I need to stop it, I can’t let others fall to the same fate as I! I’m not some dumb child anymore!”

Boomey’s glare softened. “Sam… I know you’re a strong woman. You don’t see how much we care, little Sam,” he hissed softly. I gently took him off of my neck and pulled both snakes in for a hug.

“I know I need to be more careful. Let me go out this once, tomorrow night. I won’t ask again. Just grant me this, and I will stay and obey for however long you want me to,” came my sigh.

After a long pause, both snakes gave a hesitant nod. One night couldn’t kill me, right? No, but it sure could change my life.

***

And so, I was out as soon as the sun began to set. I wandered through the forest, my eyes flashing darkly. My hand-weapon was equipped, and I had refreshed my poisons in prep for tonight. I would track down a leech and get information from him or her.

From experience, I knew that many hung out in alleyways. But those were the out-of-society vampires, ones that were mongrels that fed off of whoever they saw. No, this time I was going for the extremely dangerous royals, the very vampires that haunted me today. I hadn’t revealed nearly any of my past to anyone, yet.

Anyway. It was time to track one down. I’d always known where to locate a royal, but cornering them would be another thing. They were often surrounded by guards that wouldn’t hesitate to slaughter me. I’d need to catch one alone.

And I knew just where to  do that. One of the princesses resided here in the city. She appeared innocent, like a blooming flower that couldn’t do anyone any harm. But I knew the truth. The other hunters explained that she secretly ran an underground slave trade. Most vampires only did so in their filthy kingdoms, but she was bold living in the human city and had to keep things quiet.

Sure enough, as I walked down the street a mansion came into view. I sighted the dark spires rising up from the roof and knew already it was a vampire’s residence. By the gods, it seemed like they always loved to be creepy and old fashioned. Sure, I hated vampires, but maybe they’d be accepted by the public if they were a little less, I don’t know, aggressive or evil. And, you know, if they weren’t so adamant on hiding from humans in general for whatever reason.

The house was a blood red with a completely black roof. Dark roses decorated the sides; it was the princess’s mark. She was basically a rose that looked and smelled sweet, but had thorns of all sorts.  “So freakin old fashioned,” I muttered, rolling my eyes. What was this obsession with the old ways? They had been the ones in power in the medieval ages, yes, but would never again become so again if they refused to  adapt to the real world. So I thought.

Now, I know, I sounded odd, being a vampire hunter and talking about their acceptance and all. But I’d honestly accept a truce if both sides agreed to peace. Goliath had offered me one, yes, but that one I couldn’t take. I truly feared him, because no one ever before had been immune to my venom. That was my own flaw and fear that I didn’t feel like working on just yet.

Approaching the mansion, I gave a pause. The feeling of being watched was frightening, but I dismissed it and moved on. Yeah, sometimes I really needed to trust my instincts more. I darted to the window and peered in, seeing nothing of interest except darkness. Well, I’d have to go inside if I wanted to accomplish anything.

I lock-picked the window easily and entered the room, careful not to make any noise. The snake venom neutralized my scent from most vampires, again so I thought, anyway.

I wandered through the house until a light caught my eyes. Sighting what appeared to be a dining room, I stuck to the shadows and peeked in. What I saw almost made my heart stop. 

Several vampires sat around the table with the rose princess at the head. I narrowed my eyes. Each was very important. But one vampire in particular caught my eye. It was no other than Goliath, wearing his fancy suit and tophat. His long dark black hair hid part of one of his eyes, which glowed a deep red at the moment.

I held my breath, feeling a little light headed. Ever since he vanished, I couldn’t forget his words. I’ll simply find you again when you least expect it. They echoed in my head over and over. Wait, why did I care? I should feel no fear. Fear was a weakness. Fear was my flaw. I couldn’t get rid of it, much as I tried. But by the gods, I wanted to. Refocusing, I listened in on their conversation.

“So…You failed to destroy the Viper, Goliath. I’m disappointed,” the princess frowned, staring the vampire assassin down. Goliath flashed a fully-fanged smile and shrugged.

“I’ve never failed before, dear. What makes you think I’ve given up?” he chuckled smoothly. I had to control my heart-rate with extreme focus. Unlike many humans, I could slow it to almost null, which, in this situation, was nearly impossible.

The princess scoffed. “Whatever. Get it done before she attempts to stop our plans. Many hunters have tried and failed. Her immunity to our venom makes her a threat to everyone,” she growled. “Luckily she hasn’t allied with those other vermin yet.”

I saw Goliath’s eyes flash for half a second. He frowned, seeming bothered by her words. The vampire said nothing, just looked down at his untouched steak. “I’ll take care of it,” he muttered in a cold voice.

The Princess ignored his hesitation and continued. “Now. I want you all to prepare for the assault on the base tomorrow. From there we’ll take over the city. Then, the world. All kingdoms are striking at once. The human armies will not see any of it coming, and have no proper means to stop us,” she chuckled coldly. My eyes widened. Did…did they know where the hunter base was?! And what was that about taking out human armies?

Alright, I had to stop this mess somehow. The first thing I needed to do was get out of here and warn the hunters. I crouched and quietly walked forward toward the way I came. Come on…come on. The window was in my sight. I quickened my pace, almost making it, until–

I held in a scream as I felt a strong hand wrap around my chest to restrain me. A soft chuckle sounded in my ear, making my blood freeze. “Now now. Where do you think you’re going, darling?” Goliath’s smooth voice chimed in my ear.

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