(TW: mentions of blood and violence)
The full moon was at its peak illuminating the mansion with its glow. It may have seemed like a beautiful night, but in reality, it was one filled with dread for two people in particular.
Isabel backed up to the railing as Edric took a few steps closer. She tried to swallow down her fear, but she couldn't help the shakiness in her voice when she asked, "W...Where's Peter?"
"Your partner? He's alive. I can take you to him, let the two of you say your goodbyes." Edric replied with a grin as he adjusted one of his silk gloves.
The last part made Isabel's blood run cold, but she didn't ask any questions; if she tried she would be giving the man the satisfaction of seeing her terror.
She took a step towards Edric and reached up for the knife disguised as a hairpin in her bun, but once she felt the metal of the blade in her grasp, Isabel's head gave out a throb of pain.
She gasped in shock and pain and stumbled back to the railing as her vision began to spin and blur.
"Feeling ill, my dear? I'm afraid I might have had something on my lips when we kissed." Edric casually stated, as he drew closer and placed his pointer finger underneath Isable's chin.
"Poison," she cursed herself through gritted teeth. She was a fool for falling for this man's charm, and not listening to her own partner.
The vampire gingerly turned Isabel's head to face him and caressed her jawline with his thumb. The "loving" gesture disgusted Isabel but her head was too scattered to do anything.
"I think you should get some sleep m'lady," Edric uttered coldly in the young woman's ear.
As if on cue, Isabel's vision slowly faded from blur to black and she collapsed to the marble-stone floor.
When he came too, Peter immediately noted the sharp pain in his neck and head.
His eyes fluttered open and he groaned as he straightened out his neck. "Ouch," he muttered.
For a second, Peter was confused and his memories were fuzzy, but when they came back to him, the young man was alert but found himself restrained to a wooden chair, his hands tied behind him.
"What the heck?" Peter said as he pulled at his restraints, but his attempts to free himself were in vain.
His green eyes darted around the room; Peter appeared to be in the wine cellar that was lit with dim candles. Before he could take in any more detail, however, a hand smacked the back of his head rather harshly making his already throbbing head ache even more.
"Well," a male voice that Peter didn't recognize made itself known, and the source grabbed Peter by his hair and yanked his head back to where he was facing the ceiling. “If it isn’t one of the members of Vampire Hunters’ Guild.”
The source of voice came into view in the form of a pale-skinned man with thick, black hair and hazel eyes that were filled with murderous intent. His white fangs were barred and dripping saliva, making Peter try to pull away repulsed.
“And one of their best too. Lucky, lucky night.” the vampire hissed.
“If you’re going to put me out of my misery, do it. Your breath stinks.” Peter spat back, refusing to show fear.
The vampire let go of him but not before roughly shoving his head forward to where his chin reached his chest, making Peter grunt in pain.
“Oh, if I could I would definitely snap your neck seeing how you killed my family two years ago.”
Peter had to search his memory for what his captor was talking about and eventually remembered the nest of vampires that he and three other hunters were sent after. “When you feed off townspeople it tends to draw attention. Maybe lay low next time.” he sneered.
The vampire was about to slap him, but another voice spoke up, “Hey, there will be time to make him suffer later.” All eyes turned to the cellar door and saw Edric carrying Isabel’s limp figure bridal style. The sight of his unconscious partner made Peter’s heart skip a beat.
Edric gently set Isabel in a wooden chair across from Peter, and after tying her hands behind her, he kneeled in front of her and caressed her jawline again.
“W…what did you do to her?” Peter questioned, not being able to keep his fear down anymore.
Edric stood up but continued to gaze down at Isabel. “A little bit of sleeping poison. Nothing harmful, lad. She should wake up soon.”
Peter watched as Edric finally took his seabreeze eyes off Isabel, and waltzed to a nearby desk that was covered with blades of different kinds. “What are you planning to do with us? Kill us?”
Edric let out a chuckle as he picked up and examined one of the sharper knives. “No, no, no….well, yes. But only you; you’re pretty friend, though,” he paused and gestured to Isabel with a creepy smile, “I’ll turn and have her as my mate.”
Peter was horrified at the thought of a creep like Edric turning Isabel into a vampire, and he knew that once you’re turned the vampire can manipulate your memories however they want. He had lost several close friends that way in the line of duty.
“Oh, do we have to kill him?” a high-pitched, feminine voice behind Peter asked. The vampire hunter flinched when he felt a hand place itself on his shoulder. A skinny, blonde-haired, pale-skinned, brown-eyed girl came into Peter’s line of sight and cheerily smiled which showed off her pearly white fangs.
“He’s so cute, and I’ve never had a mate,” she said, brushing Peter’s face with her fingertips, which he jerked from as soon as contact was made.
“We’ve talked about this, Clara. The vampire hunter must die.” Edric dismissed the female vampire. “Taking out their best will certainly be a blow, and there will be no arguing.”
Clara’s face fell, and she shuffled back to where she was standing behind Peter.
It was then that Isabel began to stir, and she immediately became alert when her eyes fluttered open and landed on Peter. “What the?!” she exclaimed.
“There she is,” Edric announced; he strolled over to her, and placed his hand underneath his chin. “Get enough sleep, Princess?”
Isabel jerked her head away and spat back, “I am not your princess, you monster.”
“You will be soon,” Edric responded with a soft chuckle.
Another male vampire, dressed in butler attire, came down the cellar stairs, and said through exasperated breaths, “Sir, it’s time for your midnight speech.”
Edric nodded, and adjusted his suit, “This shouldn’t take long. So sit tight, darling. This will be over before the sun rises. Felix, come with me. Clara stay here.” he addressed the vampire that had spoken to Peter first.
Felix nodded and he and the butler followed their master out of the wine cellar, leaving his two prisoners and Clara.
Isabel turned her tired eyes to her partner, and mouthed, “I’m sorry.”
Peter replied by mouthing, “It’s okay,” and after a moment's pause, he added, “I have a plan.”
Awkwardly turning his head as far around as he could, the vampire hunter said, “It’s Clara, right?”
The vampire seemed to brighten up at the thought of being talked to, though it was her prisoner. “Wow, she must really be desperate.” Peter thought to himself.
“Yes, that’s me!” she exclaimed, making her way in front of Peter.
The hunter subtly nodded to his partner, who figured out what he was planning and used her seemingly inhuman flexibility to maneuver her bound hands upwards to grab her hair-pin-disguised knife.
Meanwhile, to keep Clara distracted Peter kept complimenting her hair, her eyes, and her dress, and every time a compliment was given, he could see the chocolate-brown eyes dart down towards his lips.
“You know,” Clara butted in, leaning a little too close. “I could turn you and we could run away together.”
Peter saw his chance and with all the actor’s charm he could muster, he whispered, “I would definitely be up for that, sweetheart,” Clara smiled and was about to plant her lips on Peter’s when he added, “There’s one problem, though.”
“What would that be, cutie?”
Peter’s charming facade fell and was replaced with a dark, serious expression. “I’ve never been into fangs.” he coldly, uttered. He immediately followed the comment by headbutting the female vampire in the nose.
Clara yelped and stumbled back before Isabel plunged her knife into her spine, making the female vampire sharply gasp and tensely straighten up.
“Sorry, but my partner isn’t up for grabs,” Isabel muttered in the dying vampire’s ear, whose body was now filled with vampire-deadly toxins laced within the blade.
Isabel tore the blood-covered knife out and watched Clara collapse to the cobblestone floor dead. Without wasting another moment, she then went to Peter and cut his restraints.
After he was free, Isabel commented, “That was some acting skills you had going on there, Monsieur. I was blushing a little bit.”
“Thank you, though I loathed every moment of that. Now, let’s go; we still have the master of the house to kill,” he responded.
Applause roared as Mr. Edric Bowett closed the two ballroom doors behind him. “Thank goodness that’s over,” he sighed, adjusting his gloves.
Felix, who acted as a bodyguard, followed as his master made his way back to the cellar. “Let’s hope Clara didn’t turn the lad while we were gone.”
Edric scoffed, “She may be dumb and desperate, but she’s loyal. She would not disobey a direct order.”
“You’re half right on that.”
Edric halted; that was not Felix’s voice that had spoken. He turned around and was greeted with the sight of his right-hand man with a knife stabbing through him from the back.
Felix’s eyes went lifeless, and when the knife was pulled out he fell to the floor, and Isabel and Peter took his place on where he stood.
Unfazed by the murder of his bodyguard, Edric sighed, “Tsk, tsk, tsk. He shall be missed.”
Peter and Isabel stepped forward, the former narrowing his eyes and the latter twirling her knife around her fingertips with precision.
“Shame, you would have made a suitable mate, Isabel,” Edric stated. Before the partners could make another move, the vampire was suddenly in front of them-having used his inhuman speed that came with being an alpha vampire-and he grabbed Isabel by the throat before planting a kick to Peter’s gut, sending him spiraling across the hall.
As Isabel gasped for air, she tried to stab her captor but he caught her by the wrist with his free hand and removed it from her grasp.
Examining, the blood-covered blade, Edric said, “Considering the amount of blood on this knife, I conclude you also killed Clara, but that’s not too much of a surprise. She has always been dumb as a rock.”
The master of the house proceeded to toss Isabel like a rag-doll to where Peter was trying to sit up.
As the two recovered, the knife stabbed the floorboard in front of them. “I’m a respectful gentleman,” Edric said, “Besides, this is the most excitement I’ve had at a party like this. None of my victims fought like this, it’s absolutely delicious.”
Isabel and Peter exchanged glances but got up not giving the vampire the satisfaction of seeing them cower.
From where the three stood in the hall, the ballroom’s music could be heard, and Peter and Isabel lunged at Edric just as the music reached its crescendo.
For what seemed like forever, the vampire hunters faced off with their powerful enemy, but whenever they got close to landing a punch, kick, or stab, Edric would either swiftly dodge, or push them away as they weighed nothing to him.
After one particular rough strike, Peter was sent crashing into the nearby wooden table, causing it to break into pieces. After groaning, and trying to get his senses back, the young man saw that Edric had the knife once again in his grasp, and was cornering Isabel up against the wall.
Frantically, Peter looked around and caught sight of a decorative sword above him. He tore it off the hooks, risked a second to check the blade’s sharpness, and then-while Edric was distracted- he dived toward him swinging the sword.
The sword cut through Edric’s neck, effectively slicing off his head. The body dropped with a thud and pooled blood onto the fancy carpet.
“Hah,” Peter groggily laughed; he dropped the sword and began to sway. “Have fun burning in the blazes.” He then toppled over, overcome by exhaustion, and would have hit the ground hard if Isabel didn’t catch him despite her own growing fatigue.
“We need to go,” Isabel pointed out, looking around to make sure no one had witnessed what appeared to be the murder of a nobleman. “We can have the others come and clean this up.”
“G…good idea, and seeing how we came close to death, I think I should tell you I love you.” Peter casually admitted.
Isabel raised an eyebrow but smiled; it may have been the exhaustion speaking, but she could tell it was his genuine feelings. “When we return home, we need to talk about our complicated relationship.”
The two dragged themselves outside and hired a carriage to take them back to the rendezvous spot for vampire hunters.
In a few hours, the full moon would be replaced with the sun, ending what is still known to this day as the “Blood Moon Waltz.”