❯ Castlevania: Heir of Darkness – In The Dark Castle ( Chapter 2 )
WARNINGS: Violence, Language, Mild Sexual Situations
CHAPTER TWO: IN THE DARK CASTLE
The Province of Walachia, Transylvania, Dracula�s Castle, Castle Wall
May 1856, 2:16 a.m.
�Looks like we won�t have to fight our way through here,� Reinhardt mused, eyeing the opened Gates as he, Henry, and Draco stepped off of the drawbridge into the Castle Wall of Castlevania.
�Good,� Draco replied curtly as he strode forward, passing the other two Hunters impatiently, entering the antechamber. He seemed not to notice the pile of yellowed bones resting beside an ornate torch bolted to the floor.
�Something�s not right�� Henry muttered warily. He didn�t trust the situation�or the newcomer for that matter.
The sudden screech of rusted metal was their only warning; Draco covered his pointed ears tightly with his gloved hands in agony at the deafening sound as both gates suddenly slammed closed, trapping him in the antechamber.
�This�is not funny,� Draco growled when Henry failed at muffling his laughter, audible even with the ringing in the Archer�s ears. �Get me out of here.�
�Why? We have no clue if you are who you claim to be. And for that matter, the last person that had your type of pallor and ears like that wanted to rip my throat out,� Reinhardt stated, crossing his arms over his chest, the leather armor creaking slightly from his movements.
�So you knew the Gates would close like this and trap me here while you make your ridiculous accusations?� Draco growled in annoyance, his long hands flexing under his black leather gloves as he pushed his cloak open.
�Not at all, but it certainly was convenient for that to happen.� Henry replied, his gloved hand hovering over the butt of his six-shooter. �Now answer the questions or I have a bit of fun seeing how you react to blessed bullets.�
Draco tensed, drawing an arrow from the quiver strapped to his back, lifting his bow and notching the arrow at inhuman speed. Henry was fast as well, yanking his six-shooter free from its holster and aiming it between the newcomer�s silvery eyes, the hammered pulled back. The tension in the air coiled around the three Hunters; it shattered when the yellowed pile of ones shifted suddenly, rising up. Decaying jaws opening, a miniature of the bone serpents the two Human born Hunters face years ago hissed.
This one, however, wasn�t stationary and it was fast, launching itself at Draco. The archer turned and his bow and drawn arrow clattered to the stone floor as he as forced to drop them, his gloved hands lashing out to grasp the creature�s neck bones to keep the creature from ripping his throat out. Sharp bones curled around his torso, constricting tightly; the bone sawed into the leather of his jacket and he found himself gasping for breath at the pressure on his ribcage.
�N-no�� Draco groaned in pain. He couldn�t die now � he had to stop Dracula!
Lifting its tail revealed a wicked looking barb, which the serpent drove into the archer�s back, shoulder level, piercing through the thick leather of his jacket. Blood sprayed as the barb was savagely yanked out. The sharp report of Henry�s six-shooter was deafening in the small antechamber, echoing loudly off the stone walls, floor and ceiling; the sharp barb on the tip of the bone serpent�s tail was blown off by the blessed bullet, causing the unholy creature to shriek in pain and outrage. It drew the splintered end across Draco�s back; the leather of his jacket tore and blood dripped to the stone floor.
Reinhardt darted into the right hand door with the battered moon emblem; it took only a second for his eyes to adjust to the dimmer light and he darted up the winding staircase, his eyes taking in the damage and changes to the tower. Unlike before, massive chunks of the winding staircase and central support tower were missing, looking as though a massive monster had been in its death throes.
His quick mind analyzed the differences in a split second and reacted accordingly, agilely bouncing over a missing portion of the staircase. Many of the guillotine traps had been destroyed and Reinhardt could smell faint traces of gun-powder lingering in the air. His armored boots pounded against the stone, the crumbling shards falling from the edges landing on the stone floor below.
Hurry. The urge echoed in the back of his mind. The tower was collapsing and Draco was fighting for his life. Was the pale archer their ally? Could he be like the legendary Alucard? Possible. The Hunter gritted his teeth, clutching at the hilt of his whip.
The report of Henry�s six-shooter announced the removal of the sharp tip of the creature�s �beak�. Screeching in pain, it tightened around Draco�s ribs; the sound of the archer�s ribs cracking seemed to echo in the antechamber.
�Guhhhh…� Draco groaned in pain, futilely trying to pry free from the painful grip the monster had on him.
Rusted metal screamed in protest once more and grated loudly against stone as the Gate separating Henry from the pale archer lifted slowly; the blond darted forward, rolling under the slowly opening Gate, reloading as he moved. Coming up on a knee, he raised the pistol as decaying fangs snapped forward, sinking into the padded leather covering Draco�s shoulder.
Henry fired his weapon, the gunshot echoing loudly as the back of the monster�s skull exploded. The bone-serpent�s body decayed rapidly, crumbling into pieces against the archer�s wounded body. Staggering, Draco fell to his knees, clutching the bite wound and breathing harshly. Cursing, the knight leaned over, pulling the archer up to his feet, allowing the smaller, wounded man to lean against him. A pained hiss reminded Henry of the pale-haired one�s injured ribs.
The stone beneath their feet shuddered and to their ears they could make out the rumbling of falling stone�and Reinhardt�s profanities, right before he landed hard in the hallway outside the antechamber.
�Sonova�� Reinhardt cursed, coughing and choking on the resulting dust from the collapsing stone.
Rising to his feet, the Vampire Killer hurried into the antechamber where he saw Draco saying on his feet as Henry held a blood soaked cloth in place on the pale archer�s shoulder; the black leather armor the archer wore was deeply gouged around his midsection.
�How bad?� The Vampire Killer asked of his sword-brother, idly brushing dirt and debris from his leather armor.
�I heard his ribs cracking before the Gate opened and it skewered him with its tail barb; looks like the leather of his armor was thick enough to protect his midsection,� the Knight rattled off; while not as skilled in the medicinal arts as Ada or Carrie, the blond had enough experience from battlefield wounds to know what he was talking about.
�I�ll be fine, just leave me alone,� the archer growled irritably before sniping, �I�m a possible vampire, remember?�
�So far you�ve not tried to rip our throats out, but for all we know, you�re a spy leading us into a trap�� Henry stated.
Reinhardt nodded in agreement of Henry�s logic. �So don�t be too offended if we decide to keep you around for a shield��
One of Draco�s pale brows twitched in barely repressed anger. �Just for that, I think I�ll leave your asses the first chance I get! I might not be fully Human, but that doesn�t mean I don�t have emotions and right now my sense of outrage and indignation urges me to kick your sorry asses all over this Castle!�
�You complain like a woman!� The red-haired Vampire Killer mocked the archer.
Henry rolled his eyes at the antics of his shield-brother. One of these days, that big mouth and hot temper of his would get him killed. He had a feeling that if it wasn�t for Draco�s wounded state and the knight�s own presence, the archer would be trying to kill the tanned Hunter. Suppressing a sigh, the blond eyed his shield-brother, taking in the man�s ruffled appearance and the additions of new bruises and cuts on his face.
�What was all that racket anyway?� Henry inquired lazily.
�Ehhh�ran into a few more of those, actually�� Reinhardt sighed, gesturing to the remains of the bone serpent. �Fire, ice, and electric types mostly��
Reinhardt sighed in relief, leaning against the wooden pillar supporting the switch controlling the Outer Gate. Henry could handle that bone-serpent with a single shot the Hunter knew. Pushing himself straight, he turned, surveying the tower room with a critical eye; the room looked to have housed some sort of nest in the corner and bore signs of damage like the tower below. The stone rumbled softly under his feet and he tensed at the sound of something scraping against the stone floor in the shadows of the room. A flicker of orange flame was his only warning; expertly Reinhardt tumbled out of the way of the incoming fireball.
Crouching, the Vampire Killer gripped the hilt of his whip; with a flick of his wrist, it unfurled from around his trim waist and cracked in the stagnant air of the tower room. Bone scoured against the stone floor as a bone-serpent slithering into view, its decaying bones seemingly reddish-tinged. The experienced Hunter felt the fine hairs on the nape of his neck rise and he immediately ducked to the side as an iceball impacted millimeters away from where he was. A quick glance behind him showed another of the bone-serpents, this one tinged a pale blue.
The sounds of bone against stone echoed several times in the tower room. There were more then fifteen of the creatures surrounding him.
�Well, that explains a lot�� the pale archer murmured, smirking.
�Like what?� Reinhardt asked crossly.
�Like why you look both frozen and charbroiled�and don�t even get me started on your hair�� Draco retorted snidely.
Reflexively the Belmont heir ran a gloved hand over his short red hair and yelped softly when he shocked himself. Draco�s derisive laughter caused the tanned man to snarl.
�I really hate you,� Reinhardt ground out, his eyebrow twitching and a vein noticeable on his temple.
�Just try not to kill each other while I go open the Inner Gate,� Henry chided the two, exasperation evident in his voice. Honestly, they were acting like children�
�Move swiftly,� grumbled his red-haired comrade as he glowered at the mysterious archer.
�Of course,� the blond Knight drawled as he departed the antechamber, heading for the other door.
Draco eyed the Inner Gate warily as the Knight left, certain he saw something moving in the darkness beyond it. Of course the fact he�d been so easily trapped by the gates gnawed on his subconscious mind. The pale archer turned to question Reinhardt, whom was staring out at the shadows of the still lowered draw bridge.
�It reeks of a trap,� Draco said softly; Reinhardt made a long, deep sound in his throat to indicate a wordless agreement to the partially human warrior�s statement.
�So you feel it too. It�s like this tower was primed and reset; the open gates but raised draw bridge suggest one of Dracula�s higher level minions lurking about or that someone � something � opens and closes the drawbridge and Gates at set intervals.�
��Then I hope that whatever assistance you have coming, hurries.�