An enemy thought dead returns with more power than before, and the mysterious Vampire Hunter D may not even be able to defeat her again without help from those he would rather forget.
Summary: An enemy thought dead returns with more power than before, and the mysterious Vampire Hunter D may not even be able to defeat her again without help from those he would rather forget.
Disclaimer: Vampire Hunter D and all characters from the novel (Vampire Hunter D) and movie (Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust) belong to Hideyuki Kikuchi.
(Author's Note: I will admit to mixing canons here. References to the Lang family will coincide with the first Vampire Hunter D novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi. However, most other references will belong to the movie Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.)
Chapter One: Ransylva
Ransylva looked no different, but the atmosphere of the small Frontier town had changed immensely. With the vampire Mangus Lee gone and a new mayor looking out for the town, the people had easier lives. It was no likely that they would be anymore accepting of someone who fell under a vampire's fangs, but the threat of the Nobility had been destroyed a decade ago with Lee. As the situation stood, people were able to go about their lives without worrying about vampires.
Still, a kind of paranoia overtook the features of every man and woman over the age of twenty-five as a traveler led his horse through the town's streets. The man, for his air seemed too old for those youthful features he possessed, bore a kind of beauty that was clearly inhuman. His golden eyes, wide-brimmed hat, blue pendant, and long, wicked sword that seemed nearly as long as he was tall lingered in the memories of those old enough to recall his last visit. Anyone else with so unnatural a beauty would have been quickly run out of the town for fear of the dark blood coursing through his veins, but not a soul who saw him dared to even stare if he seemed aware of them, let alone tell him he was not welcome.
For his part, the man did nothing to draw more attention than his looks all ready afforded, nor did he try to shy away from any of the gazes hew was given. he continued on his way down the dusty street. With every step, the limp of his cyborg horse became more prominent, and the man's pave had to slow to match the stride of the animal. If the man grew impatient, it never showed. Finally, their destination was reached.
There was no legible sign in front of the old shack, but a pen beside it held two cyborg horses and four normal ones that seemed well past their prime. The man looked at the horses for a moment before leading his own into the shack. Inside, grooming another normal horse, a man of probably fifty years stood.
Age had set upon the man early, curving his back and graying his hair. His legs seemed weak beneath him, but his wrinkled hands did not falter even for a moment. His eyes were sharp, and they seemed to promise his mind was as well. He looked over at the youthful man and his limping horse.
"Trouble?" he asked, the first word spoken to the strange traveler since he had led the animal into town.
"The right front joint is either broken or not in correct alignment," the low, soft voice of the man replied. He led the horse a little further in, and the other abandoned his grooming to approach the steed. He knelt, feeling the joint in question carefully.
"I'd say it's completely broken," the man finally announced. "Quickest way to get it back to speed would be to replace the joint. That'd take an hour, maybe an hour and a half since I'm not as young as I used to be. Repairing the join would take at least three hours."
"How much?" the man asked.
"Six thousand," came the reply after a few moments of hesitation.
"Why so cheap?" There was almost a suspicious note to the question. Almost.
"I know you," the old man said with a sigh. "I'm probably the only one who'll own up to it, but I know you. You're that dhampir Vampire Hunter that helped Miss Lang and her brother. I know she didn't have anything to pay you with, so I figure I'll cover her debt. It isn't what you're owed, but business is slow 'round these parts, and I have to eat too."
"It's fine," was all the dhampir said in response.
"You go on now. I work in private. Come on back in two hours or so, and your horse'll be as good as new," the man said abruptly, waving the Vampire Hunter out of his shop and closing the door behind him.
The dhampir, though never before displaying too sentimental a personality, found himself, with the time he was required to kill, making his way towards the Lang farm. There was no yearning in him to see the fiery young woman who had offered herself to him more than once, nor was he delighted at the thought of seeing the little boy he'd charged with the care of his sister again. Really, the Vampire Hunter could not understand why he was taking himself to the farm, yet he walked the long road to the place anyway.
"Heh, you're finally going soft, I think. Getting all sentimental on me," a voice snickered. The source was unseen, but it seemed to come from near the dhampir's left hand. The Vampire Hunter ignored it.
When he reached the property line of the Lang farm, still marked by the rods that enabled the electric barrier, the dhampir found the dangerous fence to be turned off. He stepped onto the property and glanced towards the corral. It was completely empty. Once he got further in, about halfway between the house and the property line, something else caught his eye. A mound of dirt had been carefully sculpted with a crude, wooden cross erected on the far end.
"You lookin' for someone?"
The Vampire Hunter showed no surprise, though he had not heard the speaker approach. He looked behind him to find a young woman staring at him with her eyes open wide. Their pale blue color contrasted her tanned skin, and her sun-streaked blond hair was tied back.
"Whose grave is this?" he asked simply.
"Doris Lang's, sir. She died 'bout two years back," the girl replied. "You know her?"
"Don't say much, do you? You a friend of Miss Lang's?" In the moment the man did not reply and turned his eyes back to the grave, the girl decided that, to be here, he had to have been. "None of us really know what happened to her. Dan don't talk about it, or even her, much. All we know is that he came back through them woods," she motioned to the thin patch of wooded area in the direction of the ruins of Lee's castle, "all bloodied up and draggin' her body. Somethin' sure got hold of her."
The man was silent, and his face gave away no emotion, if he felt any, at hearing this news.
"Dan's followin' his old man's footsteps, he's becomin' a Werewolf Hunter, he is," the girl informed the stranger jovially. "Oh! I haven't even introduced myself! My name's Lucy Morris! I'm Dan's, well, I like this think I'm his fiancÃ©e. See, he hasn't proposed yet, but I've been helpin' him out since his sister died, so I think it's only natural!"
"I'm sure he will," the dhampir said when the girl paused. He had no idea what her chances actually were, but he said it all the same.
The girl giggled, ignoring the bland delivery of the words. "Would you like to come on inside? Dan ought to be home soon, and I'm sure he'd love to see an old friend of Doris's!"
Without waiting for a reply, the young woman picked up a bucket of milk she'd been carrying from the barn and headed for the house. The Vampire Hunter stared after her for a few moments before he decided it would, at least, waste time. Without a word, he followed her.
"You can go on in there," Lucy said cheerily as she motioned to a door once they were in the hallway, "and make yourself at home. Dan shouldn't be too long. I have to go and get started on fixin' somethin' to eat. Dan's hopeless at cooking!"
The dhampir showed himself into the room as the girl disappeared into the kitchen. It was a familiar room with a view facing the road to town. The weapons owned by Doris and Dan's father were still mounted on the wall, though one was missing, and Doris's whip was also mounted. Despite the years that had passed, this interior had not been altered in any major fashion.
"Lucy, you here?" a male voice called after the Vampire Hunter had sat, silent and still, for nearly twenty minutes. The golden eyes that had been resting opened at the voice in the hall.
"Dan!" Lucy said happily as she left the kitchen to meet the young man she liked to consider herself engaged to. "A friend of your sister's is here!"
"What! Who?" The voice was deeper than the dhampir remembered it.
"Er," Lucy hesitated for the first time, "I don't know. He didn't say."
Dan was silent for a moment before he tried again. "How did he know Doris?"
"What does he want?" A note of irritation was obvious, and Dan let out a groan when he wasn't answered. "You idiot!" he shouted, and Lucy made a sound as though struck, but the dhampir did not hear a blow land. "You let someone in here without knowing a name or purpose! And you were alone too! Thank God there's daylight out, or I'd have to worry about it being that Noble up by Lee's old castle! And you might have been killed! Or worse!"
"Dan, I--" Lucy's apology was cut short by Dan's entry into the room where the dhampir sat.
He had not often thought of Doris nor Dan Lang, but on the rare occasions where they would slip to mind, the man had always envisioned the eight-year-old boy. Standing before him was the young man that boy had grown up to be. Daniel Lang was tall, when not compared to the other man in the room, and broadly built. The frontier sun had backed the boy's skin golden, and both the farm equipment and his father's weapons has formed the callouses on his hands. Scars across his face and exposed arms told of battles hard fought or lost completely and of the lack of Noble blood in his veins to heal wounds before they could leave a scar. A fresh cut on his cheek and his easy way of carrying one of his father's weapons boasted of improving skill.
The youth's brown eyes went wide as he beheld the Vampire Hunter, and he muttered, almost in disbelief, "D?"