The building, which was known amongst the members as Clan Tower, was well designed for use by vampires. In addition to the wards, and the design of the windows, below street level sat more layers put there for Clan purposes. The first layer down had a war room with maps of the city, the world, and a 3D mock-up of the city. Below that sat the armory, below that sat the dojo, the next layer was an auxiliary throne room for the royalty should they need to go into hiding. The last layer was a detention center used for prisoners-vampire or human-and to interrogate them for information should they find themselves in another war. It was in this layer that the Devil Sisters took Crystal. They let her sit there, and kept her out until sunset the next day. By the time she woke up, she found herself lying on a cot, but she had certain things that obviously not be used on prisoners normally. When she awoke, she found the cot quite comfortable, with comfortable sheets and a comforter on her, and even anightgown. Her clothes were sitting neatly folded on a chair for her, and her boots were set at the base of the chair. Standing there when she awoke were the Devil sisters and Tony the armorer. He was examining the machine pistol, and he said, "Now, whoever devised this is a freakin' genius! Not only does it go full auto, but it is designed to hit with greater impact. I have got to meet the guy who made this!"
He then started to go and said to her, "You'll get this back cleaned and well lubed. It'll be just like brand new!"
She was now already across the floor to the bars wanting to stop him, but she could not. She then began to test the bars, and despite the enhanced strength, they would not budge. In fact, it did not even seem like there was a door there. She kept rattling, but she heard a voice out of the darkness say, "Try all you like, but you're not getting out!"
She started peering with her enhanced sight, and she saw two warm bodies heading toward her. Out stepped Chiyuki and Ai, and Chiyuki then said, "From what Chief Makka told me, you're not getting out. Those bars are a steel, titanium, and tungsten alloy. The bars go up 45 feet into the framework, and 45 feet below the floor and the concrete. Even if you could bust up the concrete, those bars are staying put. The door slides up and down, but has the same dimensions as the other bars in this state. This was designed to hold someone like Chief Makka, so you have no chance of getting out."
Ai, however, was a bit more cordial, and she said, "That's one of my nightgowns, by the way. I was happy to see you were my size! Oh, don't worry, there were no men around. I hope you slept well!"
Crystal was confused, and now she REALLY wanted out of there. She fought again, and Chiyuki just said, "Struggle all you want: you're not getting out."
Chiyuki then said, "There is no need to wear yourself out, but when you get tired, and you're ready to listen, we can talk."
Crystal pulled pushed, and even hit the bars a few times. It was like trying to move the Great Wall of China. Soon, she flopped down to the floor, completely spent. By this point, Karin came in with a pint of blood, and she said, "So, how is she?"
"No matter what we do, she won't listen to reason," said Ai, "I didn't think Iwas that stubborn when I was undead."
"But we weren't undead like that," reminded Chiyuki, "But I think she's going to like what we do have in mind."
"It's some of my blood when I was the fount," said Karin, and she brought the pint to her, saying, "It's all set for you-drink up!"
Crystal just stared at it, and then Karin said, "Oh don't worry-it's at 98.6 degrees."
"It's not that," Crystal finally said, "I have overcome the thirst, and I don't drink that."
The three there looked at each other, and Chiyuki said, "That's ridiculous, because I know for a fact you need far more than that pint. Other undead would have jumped at it. How do you survive?"
"That's a trade secret," she said, now spinning around and sat against the bars. However, that's when Chiyuki signaled Ai, and she slipped up and restrained her. Crystal fought, but Ai was too strong for her. Chiyuki prepared the needle for her arm as Karin held the pint above head level and said to Crystal, "Please, don't fear, because you are about to be set free."
Crystal now shook like a leaf, but she then felt the needle go in and the blood begin to course through her veins. As this happened, she began to slip out of consciousness. As she did, Karin came up to her ear and said, "When you awaken, you will be able to see a whole new world."
In her mind, she felt like she was floating in an ethereal plane, but she also felt like she was getting warmer and warmer everyplace that the blood flowed through her. She began to feel parts of her body become slightly painful, but then normal as her organs were coming back to life. Her lungs started to function as she began to feel and hear a heartbeat. Another thing she found interesting was the fact that some of the images of the life of Marcus Van Scivyern were now melting away. She could not understand that, but they were going away, and though she was unaware of this, it would be the last time she would ever see those images again. Finally, this condition made her feel more in a state of bliss than from the start. Suddenly, she saw the faces of four youths. She did not know that it was the images of the royalty, but they all smiled at her, and the one that looked like Sophia said, "Hello Crystal-I am so glad you now can live a whole new life!"
In her vision, she was walking over to them, and she knelt down before Sophia and said, "You are such a beautiful child! Why do you talk to me? Don't you know I am a monster?"
Kannon giggled and said, "You're not one anymore!"
"What?" asked Crystal, "I don't understand?"
Mickey then said, "All the things that you did under that monster that turned you, all the mistakes you made; all of that is gone. You have a clean slate now. You have a new start!"
"How can that be?" she said, "I killed innocent people. I caused the death of my uncle, and I killed my own mother trying to save her in a very foolish way!"
"Are you so sure?" asked Sheila, "Why don't you talk to them."
The kids faded, and morphed into her uncle, mother, and even her brother that had been killed by Cathong when he was a spy for Blade when he first fought that household. What she did not know was that a bit of the spirit of Sophia Pistis was causing her to see these things, and helping her come to peace with things. "Mother!" she exclaimed as she embraced her, and her mother said,"Crystal, it's alright!"
"But mother, I...I..." yet her mother cut her off, and she said, "Darling, please-I know you only wanted to keep me from dying, but you were young in your old form, and did not know what you were doing. Honey, if it were reversed, Iwould have given my own life to see you go on. Please, stop kicking yourself."
Her uncle now piped up and said, "Hey, I know now why you had to conceal things. I know you had no choice in your turning, but I am so glad to see you now. You have a new chance, and you can go on doing the good things that you have done with Blade."
She was in tears now. However, her brother came up and said, "Hey, you did so much better than I did, and you helped bring down that jerk that did me. Believe us when we say that you now have a chance to put an end to the madness and bring us peace. Stay brave honey, and listen to what they tell you."
All of it began to fade, and she found herself returning to the land of the living.
Her eyes fluttered open, and she was back on the cot again, and the three women were on the other side of the bars, and she only could assume that, when she was out, they entered and laid her back down. Karin was all aglow, and asked,"How do you feel?"
"I'm sweating," said Crystal, quite surprised.
"That will come under control in time," said Chiyuki, "You're body is getting used to functioning again."
"What do you mean by that?" she said, confused. Ai then had everyone be real quiet, and she said, "Listen closely."
She then could hear her own heart beating fiercely. Crystal then asked excitedly, "Am...Am I alive again? Am I back to normal?"
"Not exactly," said Karin, "You're not back to being a human, but you are now apure blood-not what those undead imposters who run the households are, but atrue pure blood. Feel your teeth with your tongue."
Crystal did so, and she noticed that she now had prominent fangs. They were as long as they would be as if she were about to feed. She said, "What happened to me?"
Karin then spent some time explaining the whole situation and she said, "One day, you won't have to hide. It's a real thing and we have a chance to put an end to some bad stuff. First, though, we have to put an end to some things that should never have been."
Crystal took a second, looked at her closely, and said, "It was you that night that we took down house Cathong."
Karin smiled again, and she said, "We were so happy when we found out that you were looking to stop what we were, and we did all we could to help you."
"So, you are now saying that the Thirst does not control me anymore, and that Ionly need a pint a day?" asked Crystal.
"Nor will you vamp anyone out like you once feared," responded Chiyuki, "To do that now, you would nearly have to drain them, and then they would still have to drink your blood. It is not an easy thing for us, and even then, since there is no more Fount of Psyche, but now just 99 pints of that blood left, anyone that we turn will get that blood, or whoever we feel could use it. Yet, once it is gone, then there is no more turning, lest what came about and what we hunt rises up again."
Ai went over to a panel and pressed a button as some of the bars lowered, and she said, "I don't think we need those anymore. Go ahead and change if you want."
Crystal felt the brief instinct to run, but then she realized that it would now be foolish to do so, because they are not evil, and she could not try to kill them now. The more she experienced the change, the happier she became. After she had changed, this was when Jean-Claude came in. "So, how is our guest?" he asked.
She looked at his form, but if it was who she suspected, he looked so different dressed in the polo shirt with a logo for one of the local high schools in the city, the sweats, and high top sneakers. "You're that day walker!" she said,"You clobbered Lars."
"In the flesh," he then responded.
"It's like Jekyll and Hyde with you!" Crystal exclaimed in surprise.
"That's just how I roll," he said, "Oh, and you can call me dhamphir if you want-that's okay; that's what I am."
"So, your mother was bitten?" Crystal then inquired.
"No, mom was a vampire, and dad was human," said Jean-Claude, "In your state, you can breed now with ease as opposed to what the undead have to do to create what they call a pure blood."
Crystal then though a moment, and then she asked him, "So, what happens to me now?"
"I was kind of hoping you could help me win over Blade," he said, "We have apint of that stuff we gave you for him, and that will make him like me in the sense that he will no longer have what you call the Thirst, though he will still have to feed once a month. He'll become a touch more sensitive to sunlight, and he'll have to wear sunglasses."
"He does that all the time anyway," said Crystal with a bit of a laugh.
"However, because of his natural pigmentation, he would probably not have to use sunscreen on exposed flesh like I do," confided Jean-Claude, "However, he will be more of what he is, and better."
"Leave that to me," said Crystal, "Because I think I can bring him around."
"Then let's go upstairs so you can meet everyone else," said Jean-Claude,"We'll stop by the arms room and get your piece on the way up."
"You trust me with that?" she asked.
"You couldn't kill me with that if you wanted to!" he answered in return as they made their way up.
Blade came out of his meditation, and he was at a loss for what to do. Crystal had been taken, and there was no way of knowing if she was alive. He also wondered if it mattered. He did care for her, but she also knew the risks for being around him. Shin, however, was all about getting her back. "Do you have any idea who took her?" he asked.
"What does that matter now?" said Blade, "There's no telling if they let her live."
"Funny thing is, I don't think they would do that."
"What do you mean?"
"I watched the fight through your specs, and I tell you, they don't seem to have a love for what you fight. Plus, I am still trying to figure out how that leech got up with having about eight silver rounds dropped into him."
"Kinda trying to figure out that one myself."
"Well, they have been begging you to speak with them for some time now."
"I've been keeping my ear to the ground over what happened last night, and the story goes that three hunters busted into a club owned by a familiar that used it for a feeding trough, hoping that he could get turned himself if he did it enough."
"Scum deserves death."
"I hear tell he got it."
"Was it them?"
"Actually, they cut off his arm, told him to say that there was another day walker on their case, they tailed him, and tore up a safe house."
Blade now stared at him, and said, "Another day walker-well, that could happen, but how good is he?"
Shin just said frankly, "I think that was the day walker that bailed you out not too long ago."
Blade now looked hard at him. "I am confused: he works with vampires, but, from what I can gather, they've been helping us to destroy the houses."
"That seems to be it."
"But how can we assume their goals don't have an ulterior motive? I mean, they could just see what we do as a means to an end, and then, once it's done, they come for us. They already got Victor Sinclair."
"Now that's a name I haven't heard for ages, especially after what happened four years ago in Paris."
"What are you talking about?"
Shin then brought up articles about that event, about the fight in Paris, and the vicious car chase, and how some major terrorist unit had been destroyed, and its leader executed. Shin then said, "However, the hunters knew the leader, and as it turns out, what they squashed was the Inquisition."
"I ain't got no love for them either. They would have tried to kill me just as quick. They actually did us a favor. They were an out of control group of hunters that didn't know which end was up."
"Well, there seemed to be more helping them: something a bit supernatural."
"I've been in contact with Dr. Marc Spector, and from what he knows, there is asociety of mages that have bases in Japan and in the U.S., working for Uncle Sam, and they aided them in this thing."
Blade was now keenly interested, and he then asked him how much more information he had on the matter. Shin then said, "There's not much more I can gather unless I want to hack into the government computers, and that would risk /our/exposure. However, I can make a call or two and see where it leads. Give me alittle time. What are you going to do?"
"I think it's time to pay a not so nice visit to the restaurant," said Blade all businesslike, "I want information, and they are going to give it, even if Ihave to ash all of them!"
With that, he suited up and went out.
As this was occurring, Charlotte was gathering a bunch of undead, about 30 of them, had them dress like one of the local gangs, and said, "Your instructions are clear: bust into the restaurant, kill whoever resists, force them to let you upstairs, and find out any information that you can. If you find either Blade or this mysterious new Daywalker, they both get your top priority. They don't see another day!"
With that, they left with small arms and AK-47s loaded with garlic rounds, which burned and stung more than silver.
By this point, it was 10 PM, and there were a handful of patrons that had come into the place, and they were shocked to see a rather well built African-American that did not look like he was there to dine, and he said to them in there, "If you don't want to get hurt, clear out!"
They all screamed and yelled as they began to run out. However, Yuriya was indignant, and she said, "How dare you come in here and make those demands!"
However, this was not unseen, as Anjou's bats spotted it, and immediately reported it to her and to Jean-Claude. They were already on their way out when Karin came to the front all indignant. "What in the name of common sense are you thinking, you big lug!" she shouted.
"SHUT UP!" snapped Blade, and swiftly he was over to Yuriya and he grabbed her shirt roughly as he pulled her into his face, saying, "Where's Crystal?"
He would not get that answer, as a right cross came across his jaw, followed by a boot to the gut that sent him into the wall. At that, Blade had to admit that that /hurt/! When he gained his faculties, He saw Jean-Claude's massive form standing in front of his wife, and he was not happy! He was just in his casual clothes, but by the look on his face, he was in full hunting mode, and he had everything he could do to keep from vamping out. "THAT'S MY WIFE!" he thundered, PUT YOUR HANDS ON HER AGAIN, AND I PUT YOUR HEAD IN YOUR HANDS!"
"Kiss off!" said Blade, as he pulled his sword, and he was looking to try to finish off the juggernaut when he was thrust back again, this time by an unseen force. When he looked up, Anjou was now standing beside Jean-Claude, and she also did not look in a good mood. He went for his sword again, but this time Jean-Claude kicked it away, and stood before it. Blade then pulled out one of his silver stakes and tried to use his speed to impale his assailant, but Jean-Claude was up to the task as he blocked the blow and got inside him. However, before he could give him a short arm clothesline, Blade locked that arm and swept out Jean-Claude's support leg. The two went down with Blade on top, but Jean-Claude got his other arm underneath him and threw him off. They both gained their feet, but Blade was one step faster and jabbed the stake into Jean-Claude's thigh. Yuriya screamed as Jean-Claude cried in pain. Yet, instead of turning to ash, like he expected, Jean-Claude just pulled out the stake and threw it down as the wound quickly closed. Blade did not take time to ask questions as he slid by and snatched up his sword and began to swing it at Jean-Claude's neck. Yet, that was intercepted by Karin's own Toledo Salamanca and accompanied with swift side kick. Now Blade was fighting Karin. Karin was proving to be a match for Blade just as much as Jean-Claude, who took that moment to fetch someone that might talk some sense into Blade.
In the meantime, Blade was surprised at the resistance he was receiving. He was surprised that there was no more resistance, and he was also surprised that he was having this much trouble. However, when it even seemed like he was getting the upper hand, he was both tackled and disarmed by Elda, who was all vamped out, complete with extended fangs, extended nails, and pink glowing eyes. She screamed, "YOU LEAVE MY GRANDDAUGHTER ALONE!"
"Granddaughter?" he said, and then receiving a painful face rake from Elda for his hesitance. He threw her off, but she merely landed on all fours, ready to pounce. He was healing himself, prepared for another attack, trying to wrap his mind around the concept of these people talking like they were all family and of the same blood. Before they could engage again, however, Blade heard,"Blade, knock it off! I'm right here!"
They both looked over to see Crystal standing there. She was a touch more pale than she had been, and her ears were now a touch more pointed than before. What was more; she had a body temperature above room level! "Blade, if you just calm down, I can explain," said Crystal.
Blade stood up straight, and he started to approach Crystal when there was the sound of squealing tires and automatic gunfire. The windows in front shattered as everyone hit the deck. Crystal, Jean-Claude, Karin, and Blade all took about two or three rounds as they heard the cars stop and car doors opening and closing. The rounds burned as they dissolved, and the smell of garlic was causing them to scream in pain, but not to kill them. As the 30 approached, however, they saw a sight that horrified them. Everyone in the front was now staring at them, all vamped out, and now they were on the move!