Scarlet’s POV 1/3
Scarlet glared at her pool of blood as the partially frozen couch dropped through it, carrying the three frozen women and two dead teens. She sucked on her lower lip for a moment. “They made me kill teenagers.”
Fiona kept silent, but Scarlet could sense she was worried about her and was frustrated with herself. How can this be normal for us? I hate that my blood killed them, but I can also disconnect from it. I know it’s wrong … I killed two teens. I let down my guard. I hate feeling this way … I hate being a vampire more than killing them … hate Scarlet. Disgusting…
Silence stretched for several seconds before she growled her frustration, “I hate this!” I want to make them pay, but with Fiona how she is…
Taking a deep breath, Scarlet sighed. “But, we should probably go back.”
“You’re still addled…”
Fiona shook her head. “I don’t want to be the reason they get away!”
“Hmm,” Scarlet looked down as her blood returned to her.
“You sure? What if…”
“Yes!” Fiona huffed. “I may be addled, and who knows, maybe it’s because of that that I’m saying this … but there are people that need help.” She muttered, her frustration increasing as she glared at the floor.
Scarlet examined her with a troubled expression. She’s really angry about something … she wants to continue no matter what. I don’t want them to get away either… “Alright. I’m trusting you to have my back!”
Fiona nodded, face filled with determination.
She looked through the walls at the neighboring hotel’s back pool; she glared at the small group gathered there, scene tinted red. They were partying, laughing, without a care as children hostages passively stood around them. I can’t protect the kids, but I know Fiona can. I just have to put my faith in her; I know she really wants to help these kids, she’s so sincere … I just hope this addled state ends soon so I can meet the real Fiona.
Shadows enveloped them on desire, and they appeared on the large concrete patio, Fiona quickly separating as the shadows left. Scarlet took a deep breath as she sensed the emotions around her.
Everyone was enjoying themselves, except Terrell and his sons. The black-skinned man making a cocktail at the portable bar seemed calm, but gave her a callous impression; he wasn’t afraid of death, it even felt like he welcomed it. The elf-girl seemed to instantly tense and grow more cautious as they appeared.
She did a quick sweep of their opponents. The Cat Beastkin and Elf were fit. The Elf’s muscles tightened as they appeared, gray irises locking on them. Sharp eyes; she instantly caught the shift in shadows. I have to assume all of these people are ability users.
Relica definitely drew her attention; her Vampiric instincts told her that she was the strongest out of everyone present, but the man next to her also caught her interest. His body seemed solid on the outside; however, internally, he was liquid, not a single drop of blood. What kind of creature is he? Could he be a Mythickin?
The final thing that caught her notice were several deformed creatures huddled against the railing in the back right corner of the patio. They had grayish-brown leather-like skin and were hunched over, long, boney, jagged spikes lining their spines. Their legs were bowed like an animal and had bones protruding at their joints, feet cleft hooves. Three bony fingers split their hands with the middle finger extending further than the others. Their lopsided head was bald and marked with bulging blue veins, and their small red eyes were housed in hollowed sockets.
Their noses and jaws looked torn off, and jagged indented teeth were visible further in the cavity that shifted back and forth. Bulging arms, back, and leg muscles flexed with power, but their core seemed malnourished, showing ribs.
Scarlet’s vision instantly penetrated the skin, examining the muscles, veins, and organs. They have really condensed muscles … they’re strong. Skin seems different than any other creature I’ve seen too, but they do use blood. Large hearts … it must work hard.
She caught one of Relica’s hidden shadows shifting between the bar, Terrell, and the creatures. Only one shadow in the area. I can’t see the other one nearby; no sneak attacks then?
Completing her glance, Scarlet eyed Relica as she rose from her chair, groaning as she stretched. She was at least five-foot-eight, hazel-eyed, and her emotions sparked with anticipation.
She held moderate curves that were shown off by her black one-shoulder top bikini and matching boyshort bottoms. Her body structure didn’t seem that different from a normal human. She was a bit more resilient, but not even in the same realm as the man that went to face Rachel.
Pressing her tongue against her left fang for a moment, Scarlet’s red-tinted vision darted between the kids. “Relica, are you planning to make these kids hurt themselves if we move against you?”
Relica hummed thoughtfully as most of the gang stiffened, just noticing them. “Perhaps,” she ran a hand through her long black hair, pulling her bangs back. “That sounds boring though, and I have questions.”
She sensed the Beastkin straightening to her left, rising to her feet; her blood was itching to strike out, but she held her emotions in check. The cat-girl’s tone held curiosity. “Relica, is this that Vampire and Fairy you mentioned?”
“Yes, Briana,” Relica placed a hand against her left hip, right hand gripping a young boy’s shoulder. C’mon Fiona … crap, her emotions are panicked again. I guess I should buy her time to calm down.
Terrell took a deep breath, glaring at them; his fear spiked at the sight of her. “When did they get here?”
“They came out of the shadows,” the elf hummed with interest. “Kind of like Relica.”
Scarlet’s frown deepened as the liquid man sitting next to Relica lifted his eyebrows. “Well, what do you think, Relica? Think a Legendkin can stand against a Mythickin? Marcus was saying they can damage his shield.”
“Isn’t that why Conner went ahead?” Relica giggled. “He’s so impatient, but I admit, I’m curious. Can I take on a mythical Vampire?” She pursed her lips to the side in question.
Scarlet’s eyes narrowed. “You’re a Legendkin?” Legend, not Myth … I didn’t expect this. Fiona’s still panicking, but she’s starting to calm down a bit. C’mon…
“That sounds made-up,” Fiona huffed. “Release the hostages and those … Scarlet, what are those again?” Why are you asking me? Wait … is she trying to buy time? Is she waiting for me to strike first?
Relica chuckled. “My, my, Scarlet was it? Your little Fairy friend seems to be quite jittery, and no more preposterous than a Mythickin, no?”
Scarlet took a long, soft breath before releasing it. I need to act before they get organized…
“What are you waiting for—Relica?” Terrell fidgeted in his chair with his two sons, fear palpable to Scarlet, but the other members seemed to have faith in their abilities and each other. The elf rose to stand next to the cat-girl, stretching against the rail guard.
“Oh, patience, Terrell, good things come with time…”
Shadows swallowed Scarlet as she teleported behind Relica. Her blood shot out from her arms and shoulders, penetrating Scarlet’s skin to pierce Relica’s body; however, as her blood left, Relica’s body seemed to shift from solid to shadow, causing her to gasp. She played me! She sensed Relica appear five feet behind her; exactly where her shadow had been.
The dark umbra that replaced Relica twisted its clawed hand to slash her. Scarlet’s blood reacted instantly, turning from sharp spikes to malleable liquid; it exploded from her body in a wave. Surrounding the shade, her blood enveloped the darkness, crushing and shredding it inside the red cocoon before protectively encircling her body.
Lips pursed, Scarlet shifted her jaw to grind her left fang against her lower canine. As much as I hate it, at least my blood knows what to do. She looked down at the motionless boy next to her. And the boy’s safe … so, she can trade places with her shadows.
Fiona’s emotions reflected her tone. “Woah, Scarlet, what did she do?”
Scarlet breathed softly, turning as Relica clicked her tongue with amusement, accepting a cocktail from the man behind the bar.
“Oh, how cheeky,” she purred with delight. “So, assassin-like, to move through shadow.” Why is this only beginning to make me irritated? Their attitude? I’m not scared…
The liquid-man was lying next to her, completely calm as he studied her. Scarlet glared at Relica, attacking the man; a crystallized spear entering his head and spiking throughout his body, but she felt his soft innards slide past her blood. They’re making light of me … no, calm down.
The man’s entire body liquified, including his clothes as she caught his smile from the corner of her vision. Her skin prickled with annoyance as their emotions continued to tickle her mind; the liquid snaked across the ground, solidifying next to the elf and cat-girl, chuckling with mirth.
“You know, that blood actually hurts a lot,” he hummed, still smiling. “It struck my head and split, striking all over the place. If I didn’t have such high defensive abilities and regeneration that would have easily killed me.”
So, he’s some kind of slime or water elemental? Why am I suddenly so annoyed? Maybe it’s because they’re the first people to not take me seriously?
Fiona’s emotions suddenly altered dramatically. It was as if a light broke through, and her frustration, confusion, panic, and doubt turned to smoke; clarity took its place. She’s no longer addled … finally, we can really attack.
She could sense Fiona’s worry, but her confidence was building; she took another glance around the area, searching for Relica’s second shadow. She quickly found it further up the beach with a Hispanic woman and turtle-like man. They were preparing a long yellow and black speed boat. I just need to buy her a little more time.
“You just swapped places with your shadow, but you only have one more, and it’s across the beach to our left, three-hundred meters away. That won’t work twice, and I see your other men preparing a boat further up north…”
Daran cleared his throat, cutting her off. “You don’t care what happens to the kids?”
Scarlet suppressed a smile as Relica sighed, setting her glass down. “Daran, we don’t need to ruin the fun. The only threat is the Vampire; the Fairy has frozen several times already. We have everything under control.”
She licked her lips seductively as she turned back to Scarlet; a deep desire for something prodding Scarlet’s psyche. “My dear young Vampire, I have something to propose. Tell me something about yourself that I don’t know, and I’ll tell you what type of Legendkin I am—I am dying to tell you, but let’s make this fun.”
They are really starting to piss me off … it’s turning out in our favor though. C’mon, hurry up, Fiona! A pulse ran down her fangs, causing her to slide her tongue over them as they ached to sink into Relica’s neck. “You’re very chatty; you wouldn’t happen to be some legendary poet?”
Terrell growled lowly, annoyance almost surpassing his fear. Yes, I’d be pissed too if I knew someone dangerous was before me and the people protecting me were idiots.
The elf giggled. “Relica, a poet?”
“No,” Relica said with a curious grin. “That was a decent first guess; I mean, they’ve been seeing all these people that seem brainwashed—were you perhaps thinking about the Pied Piper of Hamelin?”
Scarlet didn’t answer, drawing out the silence.
Relica giggled, but a crack of indignation bled through her emotions. “No, I am not a Pied Piper; you haven’t seen an instrument, have you?”
The man behind the bar began making another cocktail as if not interested in the conversation, but Scarlet’s instincts told her he wasn’t a threat.
“But come now,” Relica mused. “I could be a poet, Hanna. Don’t be penurious.” Her tone, emotions, posture, everything is pissing me off….
Scarlet took a deep breath and let it out slowly, tone reflecting her desire. “I’ll tell you that I love to draw; I could take up painting though, your blood might look magical.”
“Oh, an artist,” Relica pursed her lips, studying Scarlet closely. “I wouldn’t have guessed; you put off that psychopathic vibe that makes me tingle with excitement! It’s only fair, you answered my question, though I wanted something more related to your abilities. I take my legends from Medea; so, you could call me a Witch, Enchantress, Sorceress, or Demigod. Any would suffice.”
Her smile was charming, but Scarlet could sense the superiority she felt. She thinks she’s so much better than everyone else … better than me. Why is that so annoying though? Scarlet chuckled humorlessly, unable to restrain herself and enjoying Relica’s fading smile. If she met Scarlet, she’d feel like an insect!
The man hummed. “I think she’s making fun of you.”
“Is that right?” Relica asked with an irritated frown. “I’ve been nothing but courteous, have I not?”
Oh, your emotions give you away. Scarlet’s tone was ice. “I’m a Mythickin Vespertine Reaper, the host for Scarlet, The Reaper of Blood, a true god. How does a Demigod compare to the host of an actual deity?”
Every gangster’s brow furrowed at her answer, emotions reflecting their confusion, and Fiona was preparing to attack. Finally! You’ll run, won’t you, Relica! I’ll be right on your neck.
Color exploded around the area as Fiona activated her magic and Scarlet launched forward, watching everyone slow; she wasn’t nearly as fast as Rachel, but she far surpassed human reaction time. However, Relica proved to be no normal human.
The concrete fractured in several places as dirt exploded from below, wrapping around the kids. Relica’s vision never left her, but her emotions were clear, shock. You didn’t think Fiona could even remotely contribute, did you?
Scarlet’s blood shot toward Relica, spikes forming, but before they struck, she managed to grab the little girl beside Terrell. An infuriating grin lit her face as her shock passed, and both her and the girl seemed to convert into shadow, her umbra creature taking their place. What’s she planning? She left Terrell completely…
A massive ice lance shot past her. Marcus’ shield formed, but was instantly penetrated by the shard, biting into Terrell’s shoulder, severing his arm; the ice broke one of the rails behind him as it continued forward, leaving a trail of red liquid. Dang it, Fiona took his arm clean off! She can totally handle this.
Her blood surrounded the Umbra in a cocoon, not giving it a chance to retreat, she crushed it. Turning her vision to the north, she found Relica several meters away from the boat and teleported.
She appeared behind the woman, blood spiking, but was instantly immobilized as a magical circle burst into light around her. Relica giggled as she danced away, dagger appearing in her hand as she dragged the little girl with her. What is this? How do I get out?
The dagger in Relica’s hand was thin, edged with a neon purple light that faded down to the ornately designed hilt. She drew back her arm, preparing to throw it.
The space around Scarlet seemed to slow as her body tingled and the sleepy voice of The Reaper of Blood echoed in her mind, bubbling up from below the imaginative ocean she’d buried her in. Foolish … pathetic immobilizing magic… The knowledge struck her like a blow. Reaper’s Scythe can rend magic.
Calling upon the weapon, the shadowy shape of a large scythe appeared by her hand; the black form passed through the magical circle, breaking it. She took hold of the scythe as shadows frothed off its semi-solid form, and flipped it around her hands and body with instinctual precision, deflecting the knife.
Relica’s eyes grew wider with excitement. “Marvelous!” She licked her lips nervously, but her emotions pulsed with gleeful anticipation.
Scarlet gripped the scythe tightly, holding the long, curved blade toward Relica as her blood circled her body protectively. Where did this come from … The Reaper’s Choice in the Reaper Tree? How many Trees do I have … two, Scarlet’s Tree, and the Reaper Tree. Scarlet has her own tree? Is that the vampire side?
“Darling, that looks absolutely wicked!” Relica cooed as she stared at the scythe. “It must stand eight feet tall, and if I’m not mistaken, it shortened its bottom shaft when needed and moves around your blood. Oh, I love the barbed end, it looks menacing!”
Relica flipped her hair back, neon-purple dagger forming from shadows in her hand. “I could feel it sever my magic as well. Most impressive! Can it only sever magically crafted physical constructs though? Oh, I wonder about you!”
Scarlet’s vision slid up her weapon for a moment, watching the shadows float like mist off its solid black body. The thin, curved blade was at least four feet long, and the butt of the shaft held a large barbed end that thinned out into a sharp point. She knew it had weight to it, but at the same time, it felt effortless to hold and impossibly balanced. I know how to use this … like I’ve trained with it all my life. Why … maxed Scythe Proficiency?
Her attention was diverted as Daran, Terrell, Marcus, and the man behind the bar appeared beside the large yellow and black speed boat. Both the turtle-man and Hispanic woman jumped, pulling their attention away from Relica and her fight.
Terrell screamed curses, clutching at his bloodied stump; the man next to him reached out with a glowing hand and pressed it against his bleeding shoulder socket. With her Vampiric vision, she could see the skin rapidly grow around the fissure, veins closing off, and a portion of his blood replaced. A healer?
Marcus shouted a curse, “Dad?”
“What happened?” The turtle-man asked, clearly concerned.
“Start the boat!” Daran shouted.
The woman and turtle-man quickly jumped into action, but Scarlet’s attention returned to Relica. She sensed her throw the dagger again; tilting her scythe, she easily deflecting it.
“Eyes on me,” Relica grinned. She’s right, I first need to take care of her. Terrell and his goons will be cake as soon as I handle her.
She readied her scythe but paused as Relica clicked her tongue. “We don’t need to rush things. Hmm, is a Vespertine Reaper a kind of Vampire?” Shifting her hips to the left, Relica twisted her hair with an innocent smile. “No answer, huh … I may have set up a rather devious trap; so, be careful.” What’s she talking about? What trap? That immobilizing magic before?
Scarlet couldn’t see anything odd around her, so she looked through Relica to the patio where she’d left Fiona. Fiona seemed to be having a little trouble, but she was keeping the kids safe. Her vision moved to the front of the building; Rachel seemed to be in a rough state, but it looked like she’d somehow cut the man she was facing in half. Maria was further west, getting out of a van with kids in it; her body seemed strained, but she was managing.
Red halo irises returning to Relica, Scarlet huffed. “What trap? Oh, and by the way, your friend that went to attack Rachel, he’s dead.”
Relica’s cheer turned to shock as she put a hand to her lips, dagger appearing from shadow. “Oh—is that right? I’m a little stunned to hear that—huh; Conner’s dead…” She pursed her lips, studying Scarlet. “That changes things a little.” Wait, is she going to run?
She was about to dash forward as Relica’s cheery smile returned, dagger moving to the little girl’s neck. “Ah, let’s not get hasty. One nick is all it takes.”
Frustration ate at her again. Why am I holding back? I hate her, I should just accept the kid’s death! What, how can I think that? Although, I’m only showing her that hostages work … one life to end someone that could continue to kill hundreds.
A hum resonated in Relica’s throat as her tongue played with her lips. “Are you perhaps thinking one hostage for dozens of lives saved?”
What … there’s no way she can read my mind.
“Oh, darling, I don’t need to read your mind. I can see glimpses of the potential future; a little perk of my Legend. Let me dash that hope of yours, I have mind controlled children, men, and women, that have returned to the Military’s Forward Base.”
“What? You’re lying!” Scarlet’s jaw tightened as she glared at the woman in front of her.
“Mh, a liar, I am not.” Relica shook her head, smile still cheerful and innocent. “I can sense those murderous vibes so clearly, but are you willing to take the chance of hundreds turning into mindless killing machines? Another Seattle incident that, oh, I don’t know, could be linked to a Vampire’s poor image?”
She pointed her dagger up at the girl’s neck. “I’m sure you’ve seen some of my handiwork; that was only practice.” Why can’t I think of a way to kill her? I’m a Vampire; I’m supposed to be the hunter!
“Scarlet, I have a proposition, though.”
“Huh? A proposition?”
“Indeed,” Relica pulled the knife away, rotating her wrist. “I don’t care about Terrell any longer; I’m much more interested in you.”
Relica’s sudden burning desires shook Scarlet’s nerves; her creep meter skyrocketed at Relica’s tone and chills run up her spine at her emotional spike. “What game are you playing at?” Scarlet’s fingers twitched. “Because, umm—yeah, I don’t swing that way, and the psychopathic murderer type, is umm … yeah…”
Relica giggled. “Oh, no, come now. I’m not interested in your body; I much prefer the muscle types that I can manipulate like clockwork, and have a,” she licked her lips seductively, “large endowment … stamina, mmh. Banner, now that was interesting.”
She seemed to mentally lose track for a moment before shaking her head. “No, silly girl, not your body, per se; what I’m interested in is your abilities. Vespertine Reaper you, what makes you powerful, unique … this system.”
Okay, she’s a lot more creepy than I thought … I’m more creeped out than angry now … she really has a gift to manipulate emotion. Skin crawling, Scarlet shifted her scythe. “I don’t get it. Weren’t you all buddy-buddy with Terrell? You don’t care about him now?”
“Well,” Relica pursed her lips as she looked at the retreating boat speeding off in the distance as a Coast Guard ship moved to give chase. “I used the opportunity Terrell gave me, but I’m not exactly friends with anyone.
“The moment I turned into a Legendkin, that first spell, it really changed me. Opened my mind, you could say. Ah,” she grinned at her mischievously. “Don’t think you can catch me off-guard either. That shadow teleport to scythe swing won’t work and will only get this little miss killed.”
Scarlet shot a frustrated breath through her lips. “What’s your deal? You’re not in it for Terrell or what he can offer?”
“I was most definitely in it for what he could offer. Will you listen patiently?”
She was silent for a moment as she thought, growing more irritated as she connected the trap Relica had set.
I can’t feel any alternative motive from her … she might have mind controlled people in wait all over the city. If they attacked people and it got out there was a Vampire in Miami, which it will … I’d definitely take the blame… Left fang grinding against her bottom canine, Scarlet growled. “You didn’t set all this up for me … did you?”
“That doesn’t seem likely, does it? However, it works out perfectly, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I can’t promise anything,” Scarlet sighed, flipping the scythe butt to the ground. “To be honest, you really creep me out.”
“Well, that’s a bit rude but understandable.” She giggled. Scarlet stiffened as Relica’s hazel eyes began to glow purple.
“No need to fret; I’m just doing a quick scan of the field. Ah, my little darlings are nearly here …your Fairy friend really caught me off guard. I can’t believe I didn’t see that coming; she’s quite the fireball … and your little rabbit friend seems to hold quite the power. Mythickin don’t disappoint.”
She clicked her tongue a few times before her vision returned to normal. “Yes, I’m growing fond of you Mythickin! Now, why don’t we begin? To answer your previous question, yes, I’ve known Terrell for some time. I’ve worked as a contractor since the age of fourteen; they teach you young in the Middle East. My parents were captured by a branch terrorist group, and I did what I had to to survive.
“When I turned nineteen, I was selected to bomb a political figure that was here in Miami, but I had other plans. My leash was finally coming free, and that’s when I met Terrell. I was free and found love everywhere. I went through several heartbreaks, it’s so hard to find faithful men.”
She giggled. “Of course, I have pretty high standards. If they aren’t with me, then they don’t deserve to live, simple, really. When this whole thing started, The Oscillation, my mind cleared. I needed a place to experiment, to push this power I had awakened, to understand it, and that’s why I need you.”
Scarlet’s tongue played with her right fang as she listened. “Okay, sad sob story with some twisted angles; you should have made a TV drama, I’d probably watch it. Real-life though … you’re a pretty sick lady.”
“You’re hilarious,” Relica’s emotional high didn’t falter. “I’ve explored a few different areas of my abilities. Murder seems to grant quite a bit of points that can be used, but naturally there’s a curve, and the abilities can be a little complex, but I’ve discovered quite useful information.
“There are Trees that I assume lead to different types of skills and abilities; for me, there are the Hecate, Helios, Circe, and Medea base Trees. Each has its own weaknesses and strengths that add an interesting cocktail to the mix. Circe’s tree is quite fascinating with several tantalizing branches that I’ve discovered so far; one being Mental Charms.”
Humming, Scarlet looked left as the Coast Guard ships were beginning to sink. She’s fixated on abilities then; she’s looking for insights on it. Does she want to find out more about my skills? That seems dangerous for her … helping me discover something new.
“What about you, Scarlet?” Her halo-irises returned to Relica as she continued. “What types of Trees do you have? Question it, and The System will give you a response. It can be fickle with its information, but you just need to find the right question and dive into it.”
Her fingers tightened on her scythe. I do have questions about my abilities. For one… She glanced at the weapon in her left hand. I’ve never used a scythe before, so why do I have max Scythe Proficiency … Scarlet’s Blessing. Her face twisted with disgust. Of course, it would be Scarlet’s doing!
Relica’s anticipation spiked at her expression. “What? What did you discover?”
Scarlet took a deep breath as her glare slid to the woman in front of her. She loves this change while I hate it. If she had Scarlet in her head, she’d hate it too. So, what is your blessing Scarlet? I guess that’s the wrong question. What is Scarlet’s Blessing?
She puffed out a humorless chuckle, making Relica’s features break like a kid awaiting presents on Christmas day. Scarlet’s Blessing … you blessed me with maxed proficiency in every skill I obtain … there’s proficiency levels that become unlocked as I continue leveling up a skill. Leveling proficiency takes a long time, but every time I unlock a new proficiency grade, it will be instantly maxed because of you … at least you gave me something besides terror.
“Come now!” Relica motioned with her dagger. “Don’t keep me waiting.”
Scarlet’s hand slid up the shaft of her scythe, feeling the silky smooth texture that had unparalleled grip when desired. I don’t think I want to play her game. I’m giving her power by letting her dangle threats over my head. She’s scheming something. Her darlings are almost here … is she waiting for those monsters? Dang it, she’s so manipulative! Well, she’ll eventually use those mind controlled people anyways, so I might as well do what I can.
She responded to Relica’s demand by releasing her Fear Aura, licking her fangs as they pulsed with anticipation. “I’m a Vampire, not a trained puppy, and I’m done being threatened. You want to kill humans, then do it.” She flipped her scythe around her body, before vanishing in shadows. Game on, Legend!