WARNING: Some portions of the following work of fiction contain explicit sex.
If you are under 18 (or whatever age is appropriate for your location), HIT
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don't offend yourself by reading further.
The full disclaimer for this work of Vampire Hunter D fanfiction is
at the beginning of Chapter 1.
Author: Charlotte MacFarlane
Feedback: Please, yes, lots.
Forward to others: would be flattered if you did.
Always and Forever
Chapter 6 Cheating
"Oh boy, what a mess," Panthro commented, at first look at Nightmare.
"Can you fix him?" asked Kale.
"Well," the panther bent to look closer only to have Nightmare try to bite him.
"Nightmare, stop that! Stand down," the cyborg turned its head away, and Panthro went to work.
"Well. I'll need to replace the entire leg assembly. From the shoulder to the hoof."
"Oh it shouldn't take long, once I have the specs worked out. I can repair the wires and tubing with no problem, but the support for the leg is badly corroded. If it hadn't been broken in the attack, he'd have broken it later anyway. Come on, I'll see if I can rig up something in the work shop to support him." Kale led the limping horse to Panthro's favorite place and watched as the man threaded chains around the horse's body. "Ready?"
"Hang on," 'I hope this works,' she thought turning the horse to look at her. "Nightmare, stand down for repairs." Within seconds, Kale heard the turning off or slowing down inside his body. "I guess he would listen to me for that."
Panthro pulled on the chains, and lifted the horse off its feet about 6 inches. "There, he wont have to worry about moving, if I need him to move, I'll just wheel him out of the way. Look if Nightmare is like this, I'd like to take a look at your other horse. He may be in the same condition, or approaching the same predicament."
"Ok, Max," The silver horse walked over and inspected first the apparatus that Nightmare was hanging in. "Max, he's ok. Now stand down, Panthro wants to take a look at your legs." She opened the maintenance panel on the side of his leg, and Panthro began examining inside.
"Hum, hum," he shook his head. "The same thing, and there's some evidence of metal fatigue in some parts. The metal is starting to split. I wouldn't suggest you ride him anywhere right now."
"How long to fix them?"
"Like I said, not long, I'll get started right away."
"One thing. If Cheetara needs you, you go. I won't let her think, even for a second, that you are trying to bail on her and the baby, or that you think your work is more important than she is."
"Oh she knows I'm there for her,"
"I don't care, what she knows. I care about what she perceives. I've seen too many fathers, leaving the mothers of their children before they were born, because they don't want to take the responsibility of being a father. I hate it when it happens, and if she thinks I'm trying to take you away and burry you in work, so help me, I'll drag you back to her kicking and screaming if I have to and hogtie you to the bed. You understand?"
Panthro's smile had faded; he never thought that such a tiny person could have such passion over someone else's life to come. She was serious. "Crystal," he said.
"Good. Now, how do we get to this castle?"
"Castle Plundar? Why in blazes would you want to go there?"
"Apparently, that's where this D person was taken," said Tygra, returning with Lion-o. "Kale wont rest till she gets him out."
"I'll go with you."
"No Panthro, same reasons as before," Kale stated flatly, "and I was hoping you could fix Nightmare while we're gone."
"Ok, I know better than to argue with you. Something tells me, you usually get your way."
"Kale and I will go," said Tygra, "Lion-o, sorry, but that's the way it has to be."
"We'll come the moment you need us," Lion-o announced firmly, staring down the northland girl.
"Hopefully we'll be in and out, before there's much trouble," Kale said, pulling out her map, and laying it on the worktable. She moved some things aside, but found a small leather pouch with a cork stopper on it. "What's this?"
"I'd been looking for that," said Panthro, "It's a leather water skin that Willa's people gave each of us when we first arrived. I thought I'd lost that."
"Mind if I borrow it?"
"Not at all, I'll put some water in it."
"No need." She tucked the pouch under her belt and turned her attention to the map. How many people are in the castle itself?"
"That depends," returned Lion-o, "There are dozens of Mutants, like the one's you helped fight off the day you met Tygra. Then there were reports form some of Willa's scouts that there were a few new people there, but then nothing."
"One Vampire, and one Werewolf. The others are dead." For some reason they didn't want to know how they died. Tygra told her the origin of the Mutants and why they wouldn't leave the Thundarians alone. Then he explained the easier rout to take, and what they would expect on the way. Then he explained about the castle's defenses, and the distance between the trees and the castle walls. "I need one more favor before we go."
Kale reached inside one of Max's storage areas, and pulled out some raw chunks of silver. 'My last of my reserves.' She thought. "I need you to melt this down, and dip these three arrows into it. Cover them evenly and try not to have any small burs of metal sticking out."
"It's the only way to kill the wolf."
"Kill it?" gasped Lion-o, "Now wait a minute..."
"It isn't open to discussion. This is what I do, it is why I am here, this is what I was hired for. Tygra understands." Tygra nodded. "Don't worry. The other's won't die, I'll just wound them in their pride." Kale then pulled out a few other things that she thought she may need, and what may come in handy, and put them in a bag that she slung over her shoulder and tucked under her cloak.
All three men cringed, remembering the night that she'd tried to escape, as badly wounded as she was.
Tygra crouched in the trees, and waited. Kale had gone back into the trees, saying she needed a moment to herself. "Couldn't you have done that before we left," he said jokingly. Kale only glared at him, then left. It was getting harder and harder to get a smile out of her lately. But at least she wasn't trying to flatten him. Finally she returned, and knelt down next to Tygra.
"Any sign of humans?" she asked. Tygra shook his head.
"No, but there's a new mutant that I've never seen before, over there."
Kale nearly fell off her feet. The wolf, in wolf form, on a half moon night. "Impossible!" she wanted to scream.
"The wolf cycle in the werewolves is triggered by the phases of the moon. This is impossible. Only when the moon is full will a werewolf take wolf form."
"I sense Vultureman's hand in this."
"Vultureman, he's the mutant's chemist and weapons developer. If the moon triggers a hormonal or bio chemical change in the werewolf, then he'd be able to track it down and make a potion for him to drink to turn him any time. I'd bet my whiskers that's what's happened here."
"Lets get inside and find D. If the werewolf is still here in wolf form, then the vampire is still alive."
"This way." The two crawled through the brush along the tree line, staying quiet as the guards passed them, and worked their way around to the back of the castle. "There, that partially repaired hole leads to the council chambers on the bottom level. We can sneak in here, and get to the dungeons, just off the main entrance at the front."
"Lets do it."
"Wait!" The tiger pulled the girl down as a few of the guards passed their position. Then, when they were far enough away, they ran across the dirt and the tiny footbridge across the moat, put there for the guards, and squeezed through the hole in the wall, and hid in corners as they made their way towards the dungon area.
The castle was dark, and it reeked of moss, and mildew. The floors were covered in a thin layer of dirt. Kale realized why. To track people or to get an early warning of an intruder if none of their sensors were tripped. She lowered her cloak so that he back of it dragged on the floor, wiping out their tracks as they went. "What is that smell?" asked Tygra.
"No, not that," he kept sniffing the air, "it's coming from you,"
"Oh, I tripped on a dead animal outside," 'dead animal yes, tripped yes, on the animal, no. But you don't need to know that.'
"Let me out!" called a young woman's voice.
"You hear that?"
"Sure did. Came from over here" The two followed the girl's voice to a line of cells down a hall.
"So help me, if I get my hands on you, I'll....Tygra!"
"Maida! What happened?!"
"I was caught by some hairy thing returning to my village. They just stuck me in here."
"The Wolow children, did they get home alright?" asked Kale, examining the lock, and using one of the small arrows to try and open it.
"Yes. They're fine. There were two others of my sisters, but I haven't heard their voices and a few days."
"Maida, let me see your neck."
"Nothing," she said turning her head to show her. "After they dumped me in here, there hasn't been any other encounters, other than Slithe. Of all the mutants, Slithe was the only one to bring food to me. If you want to call what he brought food."
"What did he look like?"
"Strange, he didn't seem to be the mean tyrant that we've battled before, he seemed, almost docile."
"Mind warped," said Kale prying the arrow around inside the lock. "The vampire has warped his thinking, made him his slave. Only way he can, since he's not from earth." The lock gave way, and Maida rushed out and looked into the cells of her fellow tribeswomen. Kale followed. One cell was covered in blood, and what was left of the girl lay across the floor. The three turned away, Maida wiping tears from her eyes. The other cell also contained a dead girl, only she had been drained of her blood by the vampire.
"You will stop these things wont you?" Maida asked.
"Get out now Maida. Hide in the trees and wait for us. I may need your help with D if he's wounded."
"I think he is," Maida offered. "That hairy thing and the pale man had been gloating about his weakened state every time they pass by here. He's in what they call, The Pit."
"I've seen them go down that hall, many times, and I've seen them come back as well. Maybe that's where you'll find D."
"Thanks Maida, now get going." Tygra quickly told her about the hole in the rear of the castle, and about the guards that patrol in pairs there. Then Maida nodded, and headed on her way. Tygra and Kale, ran quietly down the hall, not sure what they would find.
They looked into cells, to find nothing, hid from guards, and continued on. Finally the last door, Kale found D's long sword just leaning against the wall. She looked in the cell and saw him. "Oh god," she whispered. Tygra was also at a loss for words, peering over her shoulder.
D was held almost up side down above a pit by a number of chains, his hands were severed, and the wounds showed evidence of repeated trauma. Small metal bars were driven in, with hooks and other things used to hold open the wounds. "We've got to get him down!" Kale practically screamed.
"Kale, look at him," Tygra urged softly. "He's gone, come on. Lets get out of here."
Kale didn't take her eyes off D. He was so still. His skin almost ghost white. "D," she whispered, tears streaming from her eyes. Then the unthinkable happened. He moved. Not much, but he moved. "D!" Together the two pried to lock off the door, and rushed inside. Tygra, while searching for the keys to the shackles around D, found a table in one of the adjoining chambers. On it was a silver tray with two severed hands. He found a cloth in the corner and covered them. "We've got to get him down!" Kale shouted.
"I've got the keys!" Together they pushed a set of planks across the pit then as Kale got D to concentrate on her, Tygra began unlocking the chains.
He removed the last of the chains holding the hunter, above the pit, and helped Kale to get him to the safety of the ground away from the gaping hole. "Careful!" she said, holding D up as he stumbled over the plank to safety. "Don't let him near you."
"Why?" asked Tygra, as they eased the hunter to the floor.
"Trust me, you don't want to find out." She held D in her arms, his ear to her chest. "D, come on, don't give up. Please."
"I'll see if I can find some bandages."
"Find his hands!"
"His hands! Find them! NOW!!"
"I don't know what you expect me to do..."
She turned back to D, pushing his hair back from his face. "Hang on D," she pulled the small leather water skin out of her belt, and pulled off the cork. "Here. I brought this," carefully she put the opening between his teeth, and squeezed the pouch. At the taste of the animal blood in his mouth, D latched onto the pouch and quickly drained it. A moment later, he released it and pulled his pain-racked body from her embrace. "Easy D, please."
"Get away!" he growled harshly, as he used his teeth to pull out the bars and hooks. "It's...not...safe!"
"Get a grip on yourself D. I know what I'm doing." When he was threw, she set him back against the wall and covered him with his cloak, left in a pile on the floor.
Suddenly he lunged forward, pinning her to the floor. His eyes shone brightly, brighter than she'd ever seen. His fangs lengthened, and he dove for her neck, like a hungry wolf.
"Get off of her!!" shouted Tygra, and pulled him from her, a fraction of a breath before his fangs pierced her skin. "You've got a lot of nerve!" said the tiger, as D's long auburn hair hid his vampiric features. "She's here to save you, and you try that? What kind of man are you?!"
"Enough Tygra," hissed Kale as she poured some surgical cleaner over the ends of D's arms. D cringed at the sting, but remained as still as possible for her.
"I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous!" he said, as she took a bloody wrapped bundle from his hands. "You can't expect me to reattach his hands do you? It's too late for that!"
"D has healing abilities like I've never seen before," she said, carefully cleaning the wounds of the severed hands. "If you can't watch this, then at least watch the door! There's no telling when that wolf will come back."
"If he can heal like that, then lets get him out of here. We can do this back at Cat's Lair!"
"No!" howled D, as Kale matched up his right hand to his right arm and it healed into place. "I'm not leaving! Not until Tagrez is dead!"
"D, hold on there's something in your left hand," said Kale, as she tried to pry the fingers open. "I want to make sure it isn't a wound."
"NO!!" he snatched his hand from her before she could accomplish her task. "Its something I need," he said, hiding the hand as it healed back onto his arm. "To kill Tagrez."
"No need," his fingers wouldn't move. 'Don't be dead.' He thought. 'I'm dieing, I need your help!' "Where's my sword?"
"I've got it. No! I left it in the hall."
"It's alright," hushed Tygra, "I'll get it."
"Kale, I'm...sorry," D collapsed onto the floor, the small amount of blood insufficient to sustain him.
"D, don't you dare!! You pulled me through on more than one occasion, not to mention most recently." She pulled him over onto her lap, holding his hands in hers. "Come on D! Please! I won't live without you! I swear D, if you die I..." she didn't finish her thought. She kissed him, hoping that his Vampire side would strike out and take her blood. She'd gladly drain an ocean of it, if it would save him.
"Kale! Watch out!!" Suddenly Tygra was thrown against the wall next to her. He fell to the floor with a sickening thud. He struggled for a moment to rise, but collapsed. She looked up to see the wolf's yellow eyes staring back at her.
It sniffed slightly, and caught her scent. "You?" it rumbled. "I detected your scent at the death sights of my brothers, and our mate!"
"Guess I need a stronger deodorant," she said, and rolled away from the wolf's attack.
"I shall enjoy watching you die!" The wolf snapped. She snapped her crossbow into form and pulled two arrows from her belt. "I haven't feasted on a hunter in more than a year."
She silently moved two steps to her right, the wolf not budging. "You're practically blind!" she said, the wolf's ears twitched to the sound of her voice, and it turned to face her new position.
"A lifetime of taking silver related wounds doesn't go without its drawbacks. But I can see just fine to kill you!" Again the beast lunged for her. She sidestepped and drove one of her arrows into its neck.
It howled at the pain and flailed wildly, trying to pull the poisoned spear from its neck. In her efforts to avoid the wolf, she tripped on D's discarded chains, striking her head on the corner of the plank, which fell into the pit from the force.
Dazed she tried to clear her vision and fire off the other arrow. Suddenly a great weight pushed her down into the dirt. The wolf had pinned her at last. It's breath was rancid, 'worse than morning breath,' she thought.
"No," the wolf gurgled, its blood staining her face and breast. "You will know me before you meet your Dhampire in hell!!!"
The wolf howled, but not in triumph. In pain. Something was hurting it. It could feel tiny teeth in its back and a powerful, painful pressure of its blood pouring..., no..., being pulled, out through the wound. It was then it realized, it wasn't just its blood, but everything. Kidneys, liver, intestine, all its inner organs were being consumed. Frantically it tried to run, but its body would no longer listen to the commands its brain was sending.
Kale watched from beneath the horrid beast, as its face became hollow, and its eyes turned inward from the world. She screamed, afraid she'd be next. Strong hands grabbed her shoulders and pulled her free of the fading husk. "Kale! Its' me, Tygra!" she tried to push away from him. "No Kale!! Don't look! Turn away!" Tygra put his body between her and the death behind them. The howls of the wolf slowly died, like the gurgling of water down a drain. There was a light thud on the floor, as the bones and what was left of the skin and fur were released from the attacker. D then collapsed once more to the floor.
"Its over Kale," said Tygra, letting her go.
"I'm alright," said the Dhampire, closing his left hand tight to hide the sym from her, hoping she didn't see it in the first place.
"Thanks, D. I honestly thought I'd buy it just then."
"Never, my Kale," he said, wiping the beasts blood from her face. "Never when I'm around."
"Very touching," said Tygra, handing D his sword. "I'm not sure what you are, but you've got to be better than that thing," he gestured to the pile of fur and bones, "if Kale is willing to risk her life for you. Now lets get out of here."
"I know, I know, not till Tagrez is dead. Don't you Northlanders think of anything other than killing?"
"Tygra," Kale began, helping D with his shirt and cloak, the whip marks on his chest and back quickly disappearing, healing from the energy from the wolf he'd taken to save her. "If we left, with the vampire still alive, then you can kiss all your earth friend good bye. Because he'll kill, or destroy, everyone. That's what a vampire does. The only reason you and a few of the other races would survive, is because you're not native to this planet. We kill to save lives. That's the difference between us and them."
"Not native?" asked D, looking the tiger man up and down. "I see."
"Don't sweat it D. Come on. Lets find the Vampire and get out of here."
"Not you Kale. You're leaving, Now!" He quickly kissed her before she could protest, applying pressure to a specific bundle of nerves at the back of her neck. She struggled for only a moment, but then fell lax in his arms. He kissed her brow and breathed deep her scent. 'I may never see you again.' He turned to Tygra, who quickly lifted her into his arms. "Get her out," he said flatly. "She's not to be here when this is over."
"You're thinking he'll kill you," said Tygra, clutching the unconscious Kale closer.
"He may be the one to succeed in doing just that. If that happens, she's to be far from here." He kissed Kale one last time and left, dawning his hat as he passed through the dungeon doors.
"But she won't love me," he said quietly, as he looked down at the girl in his arms. How he wished she would love him. "No time for that now. Lets get going."