The ship rocketed out into the powder blue sky, leaving the crumbling demonic Castle of Chaythe to it's demise. The strong hunter, Leila, watched with teary eyes as the ship made its ascension to the fabled City of the Night.
She walked back towards the courageous vampire hunter, D, wiping her tears and sniffling a little.
"So, how 'bout that ride?"
D slid back on the saddle to let her pull herself up. She would've fought him hand and foot if he would have allowed her to sit behind him. It was safer in front anyway.
As Leila settled in, D stretched his right arm around her, grabbing the crest of the saddle in from of him. Leila turned to look up at him. He lowered his head apologetically, still holding tight to the saddle. With his left hand he bunched the reins together in a tight knot and pulled hard, bringing the cyborg horse's head down and arching his neck.
"Now, let's not go fassss-"Leila muttered as the horse reared and took off , galloping down into the desert's harsh hot wind.
The afternoon wind burned at Leila's face. She put her head down and closed her eyes, thinking nothing of the half breed behind her. Her neck was covered. That's all she cared about.
D turned the horse toward the east and stopped abruptly.
"Why are we stopping?" Leila asked.
"I'm going to see John Elbourne. He has the money he offered me. I just wanted to know if you would be patient enough to wait while I gathered my reward."
"Sure, man. Where have I got to run off to? It's clear your horse doesnt like me. Cant run off with him." She shrugged smiling down at the horse. The horse snorted and pawed at the ground below him.
"Very well, " D whispered.
The two set off towards the east in search of the ruined church where he had first met John and Alan Elbourne.
John Elbourne and his son Alan stood in the doorway of the church watching as the two hunters walked cautiously toward them.
"I trust you finished the job, hunter?" John asked aloud.
D walked up to John sitting in his mechanical wheelchair and handed him a small gold ring from the hand of Charlotte.
Tears welled in Alan's eyes as the ring was passed to his father.
"Im sorry. She died before I could save her."
"She is at peace now. I'm sure, "John lowered his head and began to sob.
Leila looked sadly at Alan as he wiped his tears away.
"You!" John looked up at the Leila with a finger pointing, "What happened to the other hunters?"
"Well sir, they died while trying to rescue your daughter." Leila brushed her finger along the bridge of her nose.
"Im sorry to hear that. I can understand your loss."
Alan walked back into the shadow of the church and came back with black saddle bags. Two. Packed heavily.
"There is $10 million in each bag. You've earned this. Your service was greatly appreciated."
"Thank you, " D said holding the bags. He nodded and walked back to his horse.
As the Elbourne men left in a black carriage heading west, D loaded the bags on his horse's back behind the saddle and tied them tightly.
"$20 mil? Did I understand that correctly?" Leila asked watching D, "What are you gonna do with all that money?"
"Ask you to have the other half," D said with his eyes fixed on hers.
Leila's mouth dropped open. A smile crept along her face and she laughed, "I'd be stupid not to take it, huh?"
D's expression was of slight amusement and appreciation. He appreciated her company that afternoon in the rain and he appreciated her now, smiling at him.
"Okay, alright. Thank you, " she said and turned to mount the horse.
Several hours later, the two hunters reached the edge of a small town. Leila scanned the village for citizens. Only a few peaceful folks walked from one building to the next, quietly going about their business for the day.
"Looks like a pleasant little town," she said still watching the commoners, "I guess this is where I stop hunting and start my life."
She dismounted slipping five large wads of money into her jacket. She started to walk into town and stopped. She turned and smiled, "Thought I was just gonna walk away, huh?"
D sat in silence, the brim of his hat hiding his face from the sun.
"Thank you, D, was it?"
"This means a lot to me, " she said looking down for a second and the back up to meet his eyes. This time she could see his eyes and she walked back towards him. D dismounted from the other side and walked around the horse towards Leila. He stood towering over her, a black shadow but a beautiful shade.
She was still smiling.
"I would give you something to remember me by but I'm all out of souvenirs, " she said holding out her empty hands.
The corner of D's mouth twitched a little, almost a smile but not quite all there. Leila stepped up to him just a few inches from his chest. She reached up and kissed him half on the lips. A wet gentle kiss. He did not return the kiss but simply closed his eyes, savoring the touch.
He looked at her once more and she started to walk back not looking at him and saying, "Remember the flowers, D."
Leila walked towards the town greeting happy eager townsfolk as they approached her, welcoming her to their town.
Leila smiled at each one of them and turned around to look back at the hunter but he was already gone. A tear swelled in her eye but she pushed it back and began her life.