❯ Castlevania: Heir of Darkness – Into the Villa ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
CHAPTER SUMMARY: United at last, Cornell and his apprentices must find that trusting the mysterious Draco might become necessary as they venture deeper into the Dark Castle�
WARNINGS: Violence, Language, Mild Sexual Situations
EDITED: 03.13.2009

The Province of Walachia, Transylvania, Dracula�s Castle, Castle Wall
May 1856, 2:16 a.m.

The gloomy light of the rainy forest was suddenly lit up as two melon sized globes of compressed lightning streaked through the air, shrinking marginally as the contained power smashed through multiple undead foes; seconds after the last skeleton was destroyed the lightning balls dissipated into nothingness. The wet breeze caused her calf length robe�s hem to flutter slightly as the young sorceress strode forward regally, her companion scenting the air and studying the rain-soaked soil before them.

�They definitely killed something big � good thing you�ve packed all those healing potions, they might need it. That second scent I told you about before I most certainly with them,� Cornell reported as he stood from where he had crouched to study a particularly interesting piece of debris from their comrade�s previous battle.

�Then we must quicken our pace,� Carrie murmured.

With a soft grunt of agreement, the silvery-haired man moved forward, the young woman moving behind him swiftly. After a few moments of their fast-paced travel, the heavy fog of the unnatural forest shifted, allowing them to see the remains of what their brethren had defeated�and the still lowered drawbridge and opened Gate. Wary of a possible ambush or trap, the duo darted forward; they were only a third of the way down the length of the drawbridge when the ancient wood beneath their boots shuddered and groaned.

Running full tilt, Carrie let loose several curses that Reinhardt had unknowingly taught her; her big oaf of a �brother� was the sort to hide his pain until he thought he was alone before venting his frustrations. Cornell snarled savagely as the drawbridge jerked hard enough for them both to stumble and fall flat on their posteriors. With a scream and a curse coming from the respective parties, both were sent sliding down the worn, ancient planks of the drawbridge into the darkness of the still open gate leading into the Castle Wall�

The groan of ancient, decaying wood mingled with the shriek of rusted metal chains as the drawbridge shuddered and lifted suddenly.

�Two incoming!� Draco snapped suddenly, bringing up his bow and reaching for an arrow, his pale face tight in pain.

A familiar female scream reached Reinhardt�s ears. �No, wait!�

The Vampire Killer moved to halt the archer�s impending attack as the drawbridge slammed closed and a pair of darkly garbed figures rolled hard and fast into the Killer and Archer, sending all four rolling in a tangle of limbs. They halted by slamming into the rusted metal of the still closed Inner Gate. Reinhardt groaned in pain, his legs aching and the back of his skull pounding; his eyes opened into narrow slits to find himself in an awkward position � a bead of sweat appeared on the back of his head as he found himself face down in Draco�s lap.

How did he know it was Draco? The belt buckle, an ornate D with a dragon motif, was a dead giveaway. Pressure on his back told him he was near on the bottom of the living dogpile on the wounded archer; it felt as though his adopted sister Carrie was on his legs and his foster father Cornell was square on his back.

�OFF. NOW!� The irate Draco snarled, pain audible in his terse order.

Reinhardt felt the weight of his foster father shifting on his back and heard the familiar grumbling of his sister as she removed herself from his legs. When the weight was gone, he pushed himself up and scrambled off the irritable archer. Rising carefully to his feet, Draco eyed the newcomers warily.

�What the hell happened to you?� The tall, silver-haired man with feral features asked of the pair he and the female with blue hair had knocked over.

Draco studied the pair warily; the male was tall and had a lean, athletic build showing speed and agility along with sheer strength, much like Reinhardt while the female was around the average height for a woman, making her petite in the crowd of taller male Hunters; in fact, she was a half a head shorter then Draco. Both wore dark clothing to blend in with the terrain, but at the collar of the dark hooded robe the female wore was a hint of white lace from the blouse she wore underneath; their boots were sturdy and showed that they had traveled swiftly over a long distance from the mud splattered over the leather and at the hem of her robe and the bottoms of his durable pants.

�A new pest,� Reinhardt was explaining to the pair as the archer studied them, �miniatures of the bone serpents from the tower��

�And just who are you people?� Draco demanded crossly with a hand on the sword sheathed on his back beside the quiver of arrows, his ribs aching along with the new bumps and bruises he�d just acquired in the tumble.

�We could ask the same of you,� the blue-haired female retorted, her maroon eyes narrowed as she examined the archer before her; he was just over average height for a man, his garb black trimmed in red with long platinum-blond hair, his skin of an unnatural pallor, silvery-eyes and pointed ears � non-human, definitely non-human.

Biting back the urge to curse, the pale-haired archer straightened his back and squared his shoulders despite the pain it caused him. �I am Draco � like you, I am here to destroy Dracula.�

�Really? Why would one who smells so much like a vampire seek to kill the Vampire Lord?� the feral-looking man asked, arching a silver brow.

�Why would a werewolf, whose kind are nothing more then the Vampire Lord�s servants?� the archer shot back defiantly.

�Touché,� murmured the silver-haired man. �My name among humans is Cornell; the young Lady is Carrie Fernandez.�

�Where is Henry anyway?� Carrie asked of Reinhardt.

�Running around getting into trouble, where else?� Reinhardt retorted.

Running around getting into trouble indeed…

Henry could feel the sweat plastering his undershirt to his skin; his shield-brother hadn�t been joking about the miniature bone serpents � they were quite dangerous in packs. At least he hadn�t encountered any of the electrical variety; he liked his hair as it was and didn�t want a matching look to Reinhardt�s own.

Looking around warily, he approached the switch controlling the Inner Gate; once it was raised, he�d rejoin the others and then they would charge into the Villa�

He hadn�t been there in years, not since he rescued those kidnapped children. Still, even with the time that had passed, the blond knight was nervous to approach the Castlevania twisted version of his childhood home. Was the monster that had once been the gardener and his stone pets still lumbering around in the garden maze?

Shaking away his doubts and nervousness, Henry reached out and gripped the handle of the switch and yanked it upward. Seconds later he heard the now familiar screeching of rusted metal and stone as the Inner Gate lifted�

Draco tensed, biting on the inside of his cheek to hide a cringe at the pain caused as the sound of the rusted metal grating against stone assaulted his ears; standing so close to the opening Gate, the noise was nearly deafening to the half-breed�s sensitive ears. �Wonderful, a worsening headache to accompany all my other aches�� the archer thought sourly, rubbing his ringing ears.

The former werewolf was grimacing as well; Cornell�s ears had not lost their super-human sensitivity after he had lost his ability to transform into a werewolf. Shaking his head, the silver-haired man managed to clear away the resulting ringing that had occurred in the after effects of raising the Inner Gate leading into the Castle�s Villa. If memory served, and the structure remained relatively unchanged, there was the entryway to the Villa Henry�s family had lived in waiting beyond the inky darkness�

Cornell�s head snapped to the side, his sensitive hearing detecting the return of his first apprentice. The tall blond knight strode back into the antechamber, dusting off his black leather armor. There were new scrapes and bruises visible on what little of his tanned skin showed, but he was walking fine. Pleased with his prognosis, Cornell looked at the newcomer of their group, noticing that the archer�s attention seemed to be riveted to what lay beyond the gateway the blond knight had opened.

Curious, the lanky silver-haired man turned, peering through the inky night and dimly lit torches to see nothing. As he was about to look away, however, he caught sight of what had captured the archer�s attention � faintly glowing in the dim light was a pair of crimson eyes that vanished. Cornell bit back a curse, recalling what was probably in store for them; this time though, they were in a group and hopefully wouldn�t be too badly out numbered.

�You saw it as well,� the long-haired archer murmured.

�Yes. If I recall correctly, we have a few hellhounds and a Cerberus waiting for us,� Cornell agreed, flexing his hands.

A few. Draco snarled loudly in a combination of pain and irritation; obviously the former werewolf had a talent for the understatement.

The moment they had exited the Castle Wall, the Gate had slammed closed, cutting off any possible avenue of escape. Carrie�s hands lifted, twin globes of energy forming against her palms in preparation. She didn�t have to wait long, hurling the first globe at the hellhound that leapt from the bushes lining the walled walkway leading to the Villa.

As the second and third hellhounds came into view from the niches to the right and left of the gate leading into the Villa proper, Reinhardt and Henry unleashed their respective weapons. The silver-haired former werewolf reached for the pair of long daggers sheathed at his belt as Draco lifted his bow, an arrow notched.

As the archer unleashed the blessed arrow, Cornell darted forward as the fourth hellhound cleared the closed Villa gates. With a graceless thud, the unholy creature slammed into the ground with the shaft of the dispatched arrow protruding from its massive shoulder. With a fearsome snarling, the hellhound struggled to its feet; in a blur of movement the silver-haired man had decapitated the creature.

There was no time to rest yet; Cornell was already advancing on the fifth hellhound�no, from the trio of heads it possessed as it came fully into view properly identified it as a Cerberus; the larger demonic canine growled low in it�s throats at the former werewolf and the head on it�s right yelped with a blessed arrow was suddenly embedded in it�s left eyesocket.

The air crackled with mystical energy as the first Hellhound�s corpse hit the damp ground, its heads and most of its shoulder incinerated. Her robe�s skirt billowing about her legs, Carrie formed another pair of orbs, throwing one at the hindquarters of the Cerberus. As the demon began to turn to snarl at her, the second orb slammed into the side of its left head. Its massive mouth opened, a red glow visible; the magic-user lunged to the side as the center head unleashed its hellfire attack.

Her robe was singed and reflexively she rolled across the damp grass, smothering any remaining live embers. Rolling into a deep crouch, she brought her hands together, swiftly forming a larger, more powerful orb. The demon�s shift in attention cost it dearly as Cornell threw one of his long, blessed daggers. It embedded deep into the throat of the center head, Gunfire echoed loudly as Henry darted towards the staggering Cerberus, the blessed bullets impacting in its massive shoulders and chest.

Blessed arrows and bullets hailed the demon sporadically, lessening to allow Cornell, Carrie, and Reinhardt � whom had joined in with an ambush on its unattended side � a chance to cripple and herd the three-headed demon back to the niche on the right side of the Villa�s gate while the long ranged fighters reloaded their respective weapons.

With an unearthly howl, the demonic canine collapsed; the trio of male Hunters � Cornell, Henry and Reinhardt � leapt at the downed creature with their blades drawn. The archer remained poised by the vigilante Carrie as each of the three took a head of the defeated Cerberus. As the defeated demon�s corpse collapsed, Draco scanned the area warily with an arrow notched and drawstring taunt. With an elegant flick of her wrists, the bluenette magic-user dispersed the pair of mystical orbs she had summoned.

�Do you see anything?� Carrie asked the long-haired archer.

�Nothing yet,� he murmured, releasing the tension in the drawstring slowly before returning the arrow to the quiver strapped to his back.

�Sun�s rising soon,� Henry stated as the trio rejoined them. �If the Villa�s not changed too much this time around, we should be able to rest and tend our wounds in the Master suite.�

�Will you be hampered by the Daylight?� the Vampire Killer asked Draco while coiling his whip with a practiced, almost subconscious ease.

�No � I do not have that weakness � my human blood grants me immunity to damage from the sun�s light.�

�Thought so � the legendary Alucard was said to be a Daywalker�� Reinhardt murmured, following as Cornell took point.

The blond knight and Vampire Killer flanked Carrie reflexively, while Draco followed along to cover the rear, feeling once more out of place with the well trained unit before him, his silvery eyes leaving their backs to scan the walkway wall as they approached the Villa�s courtyard…

Castlevania: Heir of Darkness – In The Dark Castle
Castlevania: Heir of Darkness – The Haunted Villa