(Chapter III The Gates of Crystal Hare)

          "Halt! Or be put to death!" said a voice bellowing from the four horsemen that stood atop the grassy foothill overlooking the entrance to the town. Each stood tall and proud in their saddles with the black long veils of their masks waving in the wind.. The dome of Crystal Hare glistened as the sun made it's way down the other side of the city to it's misty bed beneath the stars and darkening night.
          D dismounted and walked out in front of his cyborg steed. He stared deeply into the soft blue eyes that peered out from beneath the first guardian's black steel mask. He could see the outlines of their blue eyes illuminated by their deep courageous spirits within. The first guardian smiled.
          "D," he whispered.
          The vampire hunter lifted his eye and returned a grey spark to the guardian's smile.
          "What brings you here, hunter?" said the first guardian.
          "I need the help of the hunters in Crystal Hare," D said as he turned back to the horse to mount, "This girl is Leisha. She needs protection from the last living vampire of the Coven of Chorpus. Can you guide us to the dome?"
          The first guardian shrugged, "Sure, why not?"
          The guardian pulled his horse around and signaled to the others. The other Black Guardians spread out in a large circle around the first guardian and D. The small caravan of horses walked down the path leading to the wonderously massive dome that encased the famous city of hunters.
          The crystal glass dome gleamed high and bright in the afterglow of the setting sun. The dome panned fifty stories high and five miles wide. Inside the thick glass, stood the buildings and houses of the great hunters of Crystal Hare.
          Before the dome was created to house the most precious of humanity from the last vampires on Earth, Crystal Hare was a small beaming town of merchants and traders from all over the world. When vampires started to retreat to the prosperous city, plans of a quadruple paned glass dome was under way. The mayor of the city, Sir Robyn Lush-being a half vampire half human breed himself-ordered the construction of the dome and the plans for ventilation. While the tiresome mother Earth grew weary with storms of choas and destruction, the small town flourished in a climate controlled ecosystem.
          "And now, " muttered Sir Robyn Lush, "the town has become the wealthiest and most thriving city in this hemisphere. More skillful hunters here than one could imagine.....I am thankful to be the mayor here. Happy to know everyone respects me and trusts me for what I am."
          D nodded and turned towards the large window in the mayor's office in the tallest building over looking the town. The town was small and unchanged, only with the exception of the constant small population growing a little at a time every year.
          "One of these days we may have to expand the dome", chuckled the mayor, "what a feat that would be."
          "How many vampire hunters are there in this town?" D asked while he glanced around at the people outside in the streets.
          "Only 15, D," said the mayor with a tired and sad cringe in his voice. "There are so many other demon hunters. No one skilled enough to take on a vampire. It's sad at times. The youngest and most skilled vampire hunter is 23. You may want to take him and another skilled veteran hunter with you."
          "Perhaps," D whispered as he turned back towards the mayor.
          "Leisha will be safe at the church. The priest and the nuns will see to that. I will let no harm come to her. You have my word, D." Robyn looked down at the cross in his hands. "I would do anything to help out a brother such as you."
          "I know," D said and with that he left the mayor's office.

          Leisha stood outside beside the tall black cyborg horse, petting the softness of his nose and stroking his hair. D closed the black glass door of the mayor's building and walked towards Leisha. The parasite itched quietly at the site of the young woman.
          "So we made it. Sorry, I ever doubted you. Now all we have to do is kill that bastard of a vampire and make sure the peace of the world is restored once again. Sheesh. What a life you lead, D. Taking yet another job without being compensated, money wise, from yet another young beautiful girl. You really have a weakness for damsels in distress, dont you?"
          "Quiet," D whispered to himself as he approached Leisha. She turned to look at him. Her smile lit up her face and warmed a deep space in D's heart. The innocence spread across her face like glittering water calmly trickling across rocks in a river bed. The urge to hug her and whisper to her that everything would be okay ripped through his body like a tornado stripping the beauty of a peaceful countryside.
          D walked slowly up to Leisha keeping his eyes fixed on hers and ignored the urge to look at the golden blonde curls swirling around her neck. D lifted his right hand to her face, sliding his pale hand down to cup her chin. Such innocence. Such disturbing beauty. I won't let you down, Leila. This child is too precious.
          Leisha smiled and took his hand in her two small hands. She kissed his pale cold hand and held it close to her chest. She trusted him. No matter what, she believed in him.

Temple of Holiness, south Crystal Hare

          Leisha gazed in awe at the monstrous statues of angels covering the arch way to the ancient gigantic dome of the church. Before her were two hundred or more pews made of dark mahogany wood. The altar shimmered in gold and behind it, a display of the last day the holy spirt thrived in human form. The white marble angels at each side of the altar held massive silver swords. Swords sharp enough and strong enough to slice the universe in half.
          "My child," the small middle aged smiling priest said coming up slowly behind her, "Feel free to explore the rest of God's house. You are free to roam wherever you please on these premises. God protects you."
          "Thank you, father," Leisha said throwing her eyes back towards the angels.
          The small grey headed priest walked back towards D and nodded.
          "You will succeed, hunter," said the priest, "I am sure of that."
          "She is in great danger even here under your protection," D informed turning his head towards the priest. "This vampire is slowly taking control of her mind. Ignore whatever she attempts negatively. Be firm but be kind. I'll do what I can in the meantime to break off the telepathic bond between her and the vampire."
          "As you wish, hunter," said the priest bowing and exiting the room.
          D walked up to Leisha. She turned with tears glimmering in her eyes and hugged the hunter tightly. She buried her head in his chest and breathed deeply before lifting her head. Instantly, her blue eyes met his. A single silver tear fell down her cheek as he caressed her hair.
          The bond between them was stronger now. No word could describe the despair D felt when he looked into her eyes. Despair wrapped warmly in a blood red ribbon of sadness with mists of hope floating all around.
          "I can feel his grasp growing stronger all the time," she whispered, wiping the tear from her chin, "He is coming for me, isnt he? But you will stop him, won't you?"
          D returned her gaze and whispered, "I will not falter."

(Part II of the Gates of Crystal Hare)

          It is known to all who live under the soft blue sky covering the mother Earth that when night falls, the beautiful world of the day becomes the treacherous battleground of the nocturnal creatures of the night. The king of all nocturnal demons, the vampire, rules only in darkness and above all others. Since the discovery of the first noble vampire, these rulers of the night have become the aristocrat, the nobleman, the king's advocates. What king are they talking about? Well, Dracula of course. Truly the most noble hero vampire ancestor to ever roam the darkside of the planet.
          Many aristocratic vampire families lived under the honorable code of the vampire king. They were the rulers of small villages, owners of massive country sides, mayors of cities, protectors of mortal humans...children of the night. Most families, that is. Other families strove to be the most villianous. They worked hard against the noble words of the great vampire king himself. They killed and tortured every human who trod they're way. Among these horrible families, was the great family of the Eastern seaboard, the Coven of Chorpus.

          The only remaining member of the torturous Chorpus family hovered in the dark security of the Shadowed Forest. He breathed deeply and moaned from the pain of the burning scars across his forehead and nose. His black short hair smoked and writhed. The sun was too much for him. Even a brief interlude with the sun caused his heart to skip four beats at a time. He's come too close to death but it is worth it. He must avenge his family's death.
          "You're a smart hunter, D. Make me chase you and the wretched wench into this forest. Trap me here, will you? The night is close at hand. A crystal dome cannot keep me from my quest."

          In the large conference hall in the mayor's building, four men argued over the plans of killing the vampire. The brave vampire hunter, D, stood quietly in the corner as Robyn stood up over the large round wood table where the two other vampire hunters sat.
          "There's no other way, "Robyn spoke quietly with his head down, "We must burn the forest down. In a circle. Trap the vampire."
          The two human vampire hunters looked at each other in mocked surprise. The younger one, Jeremy Rhine, was ready for anything. He had killed more than twenty vampires in his time of only twenty three years and would kill more if needed. The veteran hunter, Holton Faust, was ready to retire at any minute but to sit next to the most famous vampire hunter in the world was an honor. D knew Holton would fight to the death.
          "Sir," said Jeremy reclining in his seat and brushing his dusty blonde hair from his forehead, "Just the three of us? The Shadowed Forest is over 300 acres. There's too much to burn down in one day. How can we keep the vampire there long enough to burn the entire forest?"
          Robyn shook his head. Defeat was a word he knew nothing of. He never had to fight in his life but would do anything it would take to destroy this threat.
          "We'll burn half of it," D said. His voice had surprised the other men. He hadnt spoken a word all night since he left Leisha. The whole time he had remained there with his head down, hat covering his eyes.
          "Half of it?" asked Robyn raising a jet black eyebrow.
          "Yeeesss!" bellowed Holton. He stood up and gasped as he walked around the other men. He ran back and forth between D and Robyn apparently trying to put his part of the plan into words.
          "Yeah, we'll burn half of it. Leave a small portion of fifty acres or so. Just enough room to fight with this vampire. With the three of us, he'll be defeated in no time."
          "What about the spirits in the forest, Mr Faust?" said Jeremy with a cynical twist in his voice.
          "The spirits wont be a threat to any of you if you are near me," D said quietly as he lifted his head to see their reactions.
          "There's our plan, gentlemen, " beamed Robyn, "Prepare the flare guns and torch rifles. We have a forest to burn down."

          The beautiful deep color of purple darkness covered the small portion of land just south of the town. The moon glistened on the outside of the dome erupting into a beautiful glowing hue of pearl frost. Leisha sat in a chair on the balcony just outside her room from the church. The night sounds filled her ears and the cool breeze created by the dome's internal ventilation swept by her cheek and through her soft blonde hair.
          Behind her, vampire hunter D watched.
          His grey eyes were fixed on her blonde hair swaying in the breeze. Her small frame was dwarfed by the size of the chair. She propped her elbow up on the arm of the chair and rested her head. Her neck was still hidden by a wisp of hair. Thankfully, D thought.
          D had taken off his hat and sword. He left them laying on his armored cape atop the dresser in Leisha's room. His soft dark auburn hair swirled in ringlets down his black leather armor clothing. His blue pendant sparkled in the moonlight.
          D closed his eyes and approached her slowly.
          Leisha heard the sound of his boot across the cement floor of the balcony and turned around fast with a surprise to him also. She smiled and jumped up to hug him. She stood in her chair so she could reach his neck and hug him tightly. D slowly wrapped his arms around her, holding her and savoring her innocent essence. She pulled away slowly to look into his eyes but his head was down and his eyes were closed.
          "Why do you not look into my eyes when I am this close to you?" she said with a whimper.
          D sighed deeply. "I am afraid of what I may desire when I look into your eyes."
          Leisha shook her head slowly, still holding him. She reached up with her right hand to touch his face. His skin was warm and soft but pale. She rubbed her thumb across his cheekbone and then back down to the corner of his lips. He lifted his head but his eyes were still closed. He swallowed quietly but she could see the movement in his neck.
          "You are an admirably beautiful creature, D, " Leisha said marvelled by touching his face.
          D slowly opened his eyes revealing in the moonlight the soft blue-grey color around a small black pupil. He stared into her face noting every thing about it's structure. Her delicate blue eyes, the long black lashes that created a soft shadow over her iris. Her blonde hair that reached a little past her chest. He could make out small tangled braids in the midst of her golden curls. Her soft pink lips were the most enticing. Soft and wet. Delicate and oh, so innocent.
          He looked deep into her eyes. He knew she wanted him to kiss her. To hold her tight to his powerful chest and nuzzle her neck. She wanted this from him. The urge was strong but D proved to be strongest.
          "I cant." It was a whisper but more of a gasp like being choked and suddenly being set free, only quieter and more intimate. D dropped his head but he still held her tight in his arms.
          "Why not?" Leisha whimpered trying to coax a reasonable answer from him.
          "You dont know what you ask of me," he said trying to escape the look from her eyes by turning his eyes to the landscape behind her but she wouldnt let go.
          "I only ask you to touch me," she said as she leaned closer in. D felt himself growing closer to her. He could feel her heart beating hard and fast against his chest. He was leaning in to kiss her for the first time. This kiss would not be one sided. He wanted to kiss her as much as she wanted it. He needed it. A whisper of hope. A glimmer of something pure to illuminate his dark tortured soul.
          One more centimeter would close the gap between their lips. D closed his eyes.
          A scream from outside the dome shattered the silence throughout the town. The sound drowned the desire D was feeling and woke him up to the reality that lingered outside the dome's gate.
          "He's here and he's early!" D growled. He pulled Leisha back into her room and strapped his armored cape back on to his shoulders. He reached for his sword and put on his hat. Before he walked out the door, he stopped and turned to look into her eyes once more.
          Leisha smiled and waved as the brave hunter ran down the corridor of the church and out of her sight. She relaxed and slumped back into her bed. Thoughts of the hunter swam through her mind. She was toying with the idea of being more involved with him. They are only thoughts.
          As she closed her eyes and surrendered to sleep, a coldness swept through her body. No windows were open but she could feel a cold touch rubbing her numb from head to toe. She could hear the vampire's whispers even so far and so deep.
          Eyes of darkness rest upon you, sweet girl. You may be sweet and innocent to your hunter friend but you will die like the murderer you are. He may be strong and brave but he is only a half breed. What power does he have against a pure breed such as I?

Chapter 4
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