They loosed him, but they did not let down their guard. Besides that, Blade saw the posturing of Moon Knight, and he knew that, at this state of the moon, Moon Knight could easily subdue him, so fighting made no sense at that point. "Blade," said Jean-Claude, "There is a whole world of vampires that both you and the hunters know nothing about, or have blended into the world of the undead that you have fought for so long that you could not recognize it for what it was."
"What are you talking about," said Blade, not sure if this was some kind of double talk.
"There is a difference between the undead you have hunted, and the true vampire," said Jean-Claude, "What you have fought is called hominid nocturnes in the terms of paranormal science. However, these here, with exceptions, what you see here is called /homo sapiens nocturni/-the wise man of the night. What you fight, sadly, were some sad mistakes of the latter from many centuries ago. Indeed, we can turn someone, but for us, it is agreat effort, for our need for blood is nowhere near what the undead seek. However, because of what it created, and because of what they created when they turned someone, such an act was at one time forbidden amongst our kind. It can happen now because of the kids, because the blood that you received tonight is blood that can reverse the undead state, but make that vampire of the stock of the wise man of the night. The only reason we would do that is that the human has proven himself worthy, and fully knows the consequences of his choice. Normally, this is because a human has fallen in love with one of us true pure bloods, and does not want to be separated from him or her."
"True pure bloods?" asked Blade, "How's that different from the ones that call themselves pure bloods in the households?"
Elda, who had been watching through her bats and had now arrived, chimed in and said, "They were born what they are, but they are still undead. They are not 'pure' like they would like to think. We, on the other hand, are /not/undead. We are warm blooded, but we have certain needs beyond the normal human. We need about a pint of blood a night and we do not kill upon whom we feed. In fact, because of our nature, we only seek to feed blood from people who have a certain emotional state or disposition beyond what is normal. When we feed, we first erase their memories of the event, and we also siphon off that feeling or disposition for about a month. In a sense, we do them afavor. We don't rip out the throats of those upon whom we feed as do the undead. Their fangs are shorter than ours when they feed. All we need to do is make the holes, and that's that."
"This is why we have not been able to detect them," said Crystal, "Since they erase the memories of their prey, and because they conceal themselves...ourselves...we had no idea that they existed."
Shin then said, "Marc explained it all on the way here. We have been foolish, and too many hunters may have killed innocent people in their pursuit to get rid of the undead."
Blade began to hang his head. Although his instincts wanted him to resist, he could find not strength to do so. The vision he had had was reverberating in his brain, and the way he was being treated was far different from what he had thought was going to face him made him want to believe what he heard. Jean-Claude then said, "The four kids here are the future of the vampire, and maybe of the world. They were prophesied to come...well, at least one of them was. The others came as an outgrowth of that prophecy, but they are an integral part of the whole thing. I have a dream that was apparently meant to happen, and somehow, the good Lord saw fit for me to be born to be the protective arm of that Dream. Tell you what: I'll get you another trench coat,(it's not leather, but I'm sure it will do,) and I'll change up, and why don't you come with me tonight. I'm in the mood to bust a few punks. I'll share my story with you while out there."
Moon Knight said, "That sounds like fun. Mind if I tag along?"
"Be my guest," said Jean-Claude.
While this was going on, there was some scheming being done by Charlotte and Draco. They were both frustrated as all their attempts to either gain access to the apparent household headquarters of this "Clan" or to destroy them outright had failed. Each one wanted to put incompetence on the other, but they knew that such things were foolish to accuse. Draco then said, "I wish there was some way to lure the tiger out of the cave, so to speak."
Charlotte cocked her head for a moment, and then smiled, saying, "Perhaps there is."
Draco smiled himself, knowing that, whatever it was she had in mind, it would be both devilish and genius at the same time. He said, "What do you have in mind?"
"We know where they are at, right?" she asked.
"Of course-where are you going with this?"
She said in her quite matter-of-fact way, as dainty as any proper girl out of aJane Austin novel, "We wait for one of their workers to come out, step a ways from the building, and then kidnap her. We make a simple threat and offer, and lure them into the net."
"How easy do you really think that's going to be?" asked Draco, his voice filled with doubt.
"All we have to do is wait for this person to walk away from the building about one block, and then strike," she answered, "We wait for her to be missed, and then send the message. If they value each other like it seems, then they will kill themselves trying to rescue this person. Odd, though, that they would put that much value on each other."
"They seem to think they can live in this society as some kind of contributing member, and with humans no less."
"They have no vision," she snapped and scoffed, "They are as foolish as house Lichen! That reminds me: have they made any attempts to contact them?"
"Not that we know of."
"This is something we need to watch. If they manage to hook up, they may be able to tell this Clan everything about our rivalries, and then turn that against us. This has to be stopped."
"Anyone know how Blade has played into this?"
"Unknown: as far as anyone has found, he has just as much hatred for them as for us. He just wishes all vampires to be destroyed."
"What surprises me is how we, all these centuries, have missed this household. I mean, how is it that a house of supposed pure bloods went unnoticed all this time?"
"That is another mystery, but if we do what you have planned, we may be able to hammer an answer out of whomever we snatch."
"Just don't kill the product. It does us no good if our bait is dead."
At that, a secretary came in saying, "Madame, I have your request."
"Where is it?" she asked.
At that, she brought in a little girl that could not have been more than four years old. Her hair was a mess, and she was wearing a tattered pink dress, and she was dirty. "This poor thing was wandering the streets lost," said the secretary, "Apparently; she's an orphan who has been wandering the streets for a little while now."
Charlotte smiled and looked that the scared little girl. She got onto her knees and smiled her childlike smile before the child, saying, "You poor, poor thing! Are you hungry?"
The little girl pumped her head up and down, still nervous. Charlotte smiled and stroked her face as she swept some hair clear, saying, "Don't worry, honey. You can come to my apartment and I can get you some food, and give you a good bath, and then make sure you have nothing to worry about ever again."
Charlotte knew that, if her energy was restored, her blood would be better. She also wanted a bath for the child, because she liked her meals sanitary. She looked at the secretary and said, "Make sure all her needs are met, and ready her for my arrival."
The secretary nodded and said, "Don't worry; I'll have her ready. She likes games, and I am sure the one you have planned will be perfect."
As the girl was led out, Charlotte's smile turned devilish, saying, "She's not as fresh as I want, but this will be fun tonight."
On a rooftop in Crown Heights sat three oddly clad individuals, but none of them people with whom someone in their right mind would never want to tangle. Blade looked Jean-Claude over once or twice, and to him, this seemed to be acompletely different person. It was almost a Jekyll and Hyde kind of transformation. He was also curious about the scarf, and he asked him about it. Jean-Claude then said in the demeanor he normally took in this state of mind, "I can't take chances on people recognizing me. You only go after the undead, but I go after any troublemakers. I'm a teacher, and I am supposed to be some kind of 'pillar of the community,' so I think you can understand. Ican't take a chance."
Moon Knight seemed to understand and said, "Well, that makes sense to me, considering my state."
There was more silence, and then Blade said, "What are we looking for?"
"There have been suspicions that two notable gangs were getting ready for aturf war here," answered Jean-Claude, "Both gangs come from Brooklyn, and both have always known that this area is supposed to be off limits to things like this."
Moon Knight piped up and said, "I know this area well. There is a large Jewish population here of all stripes, especially the Hassidic sect. Their police precincts normally can handle this, but they don't usually have trouble. The gangs normally stay out of this area because of how good those police are, but a few try from time to time. Many wealthy merchants live here, and they provide opportunities. Yet, they are not equipped to handle an all-out turf war."
"I think that that is part of the reason for the fight," added Jean-Claude,"They both believe that this area should be their turf, and both seek to extort from these people. That's not about to happen if I have my way about it!"
"Man, how did you manage not to become bitter?" asked Blade.
"I think it's the difference between how you and I came about," answered Jean-Claude,"You were supposed to be a normal kid, and you had this happen to you. No one asks for an attack like what happened to your mother, much less while one is pregnant. I, on the other hand, was planned from the start. My parents wanted me born."
"Are you saying that one of your parents is a vampire?" asked Blade, "Are you saying that one of them wanted to be around a vampire?"
"My mother was pretty and intelligent," said Jean-Claude, "How could any man-human, vampire, undead, or otherwise-not want to have her to wife?"
"Wait, are you saying they were married?" stated Blade in amazement.
"Absolutely," responded Jean-Claude, as if unions like this were commonplace,"Because of that, I was in a stable home, or as stable as they could provide."
"I was about to say that you must have had some issues," added Moon Knight.
"Indeed we did," confirmed Jean-Claude, "The humans knew nothing about what my mother was, but the council sure did. At first, they were leery of this, but dad proved himself trustworthy about the existence of vampires, so they let it go. If he could behave, then all was well. That did not mean that they did not watch him like a hawk. Even then, 'incidents' happened from time to time. However, one thing they knew was what could become of such a union. Remember, the stock of vampires I come from are all living, and not the undead mistakes that, unfortunately, our sect is responsible for making, (though it is one mistake that I am happy to say is not one with which we have to live, now that we know about it.) They can have offspring, but it creates dhampir, and sterile ones at that. Because they were sterile, the councils worldwide figured that we were not meant to be. Worse, dhampir were used by the gypsies to hunt vampire, undead, and so forth, and so such were feared. They would try to kill one if they found one. Besides, such in public places could expose the whole world of the vampire, and so they were hated. That's why some renegades took it upon themselves to try to kill me, my mother, my father, and my grandfather. I was the only one that got away. If it weren't for the aid and care of seven vampires that lived out in the New Hampshire woods, who trained me to be like what I am, this conversation would never have taken place."
"But you have kids," stated Moon Knight, "What happened there?"
"That was because of Karin," said Jean-Claude, who then reiterated Karin's story, and his involvement with that. Jean-Claude then said, "I am grateful to God that I now have what I have, and that the Dream advances."
"You really believe that these two worlds can come together," asked Blade in amazement.
"Sir, I am a spiritual man," said Jean-Claude, "I believe this was meant to be. I honestly know that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, empowers me to do what I do. I do not do what I do for greed, power, prestige, but to protect, to serve others, to see justice done, and to protect the innocent against the kind of things that I faced."
"So, you never had a problem with what you were," stated Blade interrogatively.
"Sir, I was always taught to love what I was, because I had every right to be here," responded Jean-Claude, "My parents always told me that God had a plan for me, and I do believe I am following that plan. I have no reason to hate myself or what I am. I only wish you had never been made to feel ashamed of what you are. I love life."
Moon Knight then said, "Wow, I never thought I'd see the yin to your yang, Blade; or is that yang to yin? Anyway, you two are so alike, and yet so different."
Blade just looked at Moon Knight and said, "You make it sound like you are trying to marry us or something, like we complete each other or something like that."
Jean-Claude looked at him and joked, "Why, what do you have against me, darling?"
He fluttered his eyelashes, and Blade looked disgusted, the sight of which threw the other two into stitches. "Okay, we may have a lot in common," said Jean-Claude, "But that doesn't mean that we're going to be taking long, hot showers either!"
"God forbid!" laughed Jean-Claude.
After they had calmed down, Jean-Claude began to explain the world into which Blade had now entered, and began to explain to him after that about feeding. Blade was all against it, but Jean-Claude explained the difference, and also explained that the serum he used would only go so far. Blade was not sure of it, but he now had to take Jean-Claude's word for it, because this was his world, not Blade's. Jean-Claude then went on to explain about blood preferences, and how to erase a mind after feeding, as well as all the new abilities that Blade now possessed. That caught Blade's interest more than anything else, and he listened intently. He was getting an education, until they all heard the approach of fast moving cars. They dropped the conversation and got ready. However, another drama was about to play out, and it was not one any of them would have expected, much les wanted.
Fumio was now about 45 years old, but despite her age, she could still turn heads. However, as of recent times, she was starting to look her age, and feeling a bit depressed. She had been swept into this odd world out of the blue, and she was not sure what to make of it anymore. In other words, though she was just as welcome as other humans in that world, she still felt like the proverbial square peg trying to fit into the round hole. Her son and Karin were now married, and though she had a beautiful granddaughter that she adored, the changes in her as time passed were beginning to show through, and she felt like she was becoming more and more distant. In addition to that, Kenta, after becoming his wife's own g'hul, had become quite different himself, and some kind of fighter as well. Karin had also changed, from the timid airhead but charming girl to the intelligent chef and secret undead hunter. Because of the nature of things, she had become more and more detached from the events, and she was really beginning to feel like she did not belong. She knew one surefire way to change all that, but she really had not wanted that. She was very content to live out her days and move on, doing what she could to leave her family a better world and life than what she had faced. That had been increased as of those days, and she wondered if those days were going to come sooner than imagined. That night, despite all the dangers that lurked about, she decided to take a walk.
She went through the restaurant and passed by Karin as she sat a table going over the books and also helping Kannon out with some homework. However, as she passed, Karin became very aroused to the point where she froze. She looked up and saw Fumio's aura. It glowed white hot with unhappiness, and if she had not promised Kenta that she would never feed on his mother, she might have led her away and taken care of business right then. However, the fact that there was that much unhappiness coming from her snapped Karin into sensibility, and she realized that Fumio was having some major problems. Kenta came up to see how things were going, and stroked his daughter's head as he said, "What's up?"
Karin said, "I think your mother is depressed."
As Fumio left out, Kenta asked, "What makes you say that?"
"Baby, her aura was so bright I had all I could do to keep my promise to you,"Karin answered with all seriousness.
"Considering, I could make an exception to this, and then we can talk to her,"said Kenta, "That would remove the cloud of depression to where she could better cope with things, and to make it easier to speak of things."
"Are you sure?" said Karin with great concern, "Maybe we should bring her back and just try to talk to her?"
"No," said Kenta, "Let her walk for a while. Let her sort out her thoughts first, and maybe she can be more able to talk then. You doing your thing would be the last resort."
Fumio headed across the street, but she was not unseen. The two Samoan servants that worked for Charlotte were only half a block away waiting for one of the humans to come out of the tower. They figured that that one would be more likely to be manageable, rather than capture one that looked like one of their fighters. Seeing Fumio caught their attention, because she looked like the perfect target. They followed at a distance and waited for her to enter the park, and to go to a spot where nabbing her would not be seen. They went for about twelve minutes before they had their chance, and used their supernatural speed to both come up to her, and then to place a cloth laden with ether on it. All Fumio realized was that someone had moved on her quickly, and that was the last thing she could recall before losing consciousness. They quickly bundled her up, got her to the waiting limo, and then headed back to Amayah headquarters.
When she came to, she was in Marcus Draco's plush office, with Draco wearing anice Armani suit, and a girl that looked like a brown-haired version of Anjou when she was only 12. She stood by Draco's desk smiling with a pretty grin, and without the slightest hint of malice to it. Draco then said, "Hello, Miss Fumio Usui: we are so glad you could be here."
Despite how kind they were being, Fumio was terrified and fought against her bonds, but to no avail. Charlotte then said in a friendly and hospitable manner, "Please don't fight, Miss Usui, we mean you no harm. In fact, we are going to do what we can to aid you in being better than you have ever been."
Fumio had no idea what that meant, or before what she was seated. "Let me go, please!" she pleaded, "You don't know what kind of trouble you are going to face if you don't."
"Really?" said Marcus, "And what kind of trouble is that?"
Fumio then froze, suddenly wondering if she had said too much. She then said,"Please, don't hurt me!"
"Come now, Marcus," said Charlotte, a bit annoyed, "If there is anything she knows, she will tell us in time. In truth, once things are done, she will tell us all we need to know. Don't scare the poor woman."
She then turned her attention back to Fumio and said, "Please forgive the Neanderthal. He only knows how to be a brute."
She then walked up and stroked some hair away from Fumio's face slowly and with the kind of care that a mother would give to her daughter. This made Fumio tremble, and Charlotte grinned again, saying, "Oh, please don't be scared, Fumio, because you are about to be extended a privilege that many mortals try hard to earn, but is a privilege of which many of them were not worthy, and of which they would never be worthy. By the time it's all done, you will understand, and embrace it!"
The last part of the statement Charlotte said with slightly widened eyes and flair to her nostrils. Now Fumio went as white as a sheet and wide-eyed herself, having a feeling of what stood before her, where she was, and what they intended. She then said, "No! Please, don't do that to me! I don't want to be that! I just want to live out my days!"
Charlotte then got a look on her face as if she was having an epiphany, and said, "You mean, you would never want a chance to live forever? Why not, dear Fumio? There is a greater world out there beyond what you could conceive, and we want to help you to enjoy that. Trust me, you will see differently shortly."
As she finished that statement, in came a man that looked like a doctor with asyringe that looked like it held about eight ounces of blood and a 12-gauge needle. Charlotte then said, "That contains my blood. You have the rare privilege of being turned with the blood of a pure blood. You will be more powerful and better off than the riff-raff that works for us. Just hold still and it will be in your system quickly."
Fumio was now frantic, fighting her bonds as hard as she could, but it was afutile gesture to try at all. Fumio begged and screamed for them not to do this, but Charlottes goons came up, with one holding her head steady, and another holding her around the waist. Fumio was bawling by the time the doctor approached, but just let out a soft squeal as the needle was injected directly into her jugular vein. Fumio could feel it start to course through her veins, and after the pulled out the needle, her heart began to race. It did not hurt, but it was uncomfortable as her body was reacting to the injection. It knew something was in the system that did not belong there, and began to do what it could to reject it, but the body was in confusion as to how, especially since it felt overwhelmed by how fast it was all coming on. Charlotte looked at her and said, "It's okay to fight it-it's natural. You'll be fine."
Fumio then lost consciousness, and Charlotte then said, "Unfortunately, for this to take effect fully, you are going to have to die as well."
With that, the one that had been holding her head turned it completely around, and then set it straight so it would heal right when the change took place. Once that was done, Charlotte then said, "Put a brace on her neck and lock her in a nice room. However, let her stay there for a couple of days so the Thirst can overrun her. She will lead us right to our targets. Ah, this is sweet irony. We can defeat them and then keep one of them as a token of our victory. They will regret the day they ever tried to usurp us."
As Fumio was being taken out, Charlotte looked out the window as the city rolled by, and she thought, "Oh, New York-my kine-you belong to us. Now, day walkers: come to us and try to stop us. You will kill yourselves to stop us. There is no way you sub-creatures could ever hold a candle to us!"