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The hidden figure wafted the unnatural darkness upwards with her hands and it formed into the shape of a trident, revealing her to indeed be Johann’s daughter Christine. She bit into her wrist; a small amount of blood floated upwards to the trident forming four small red dots in it; this was the mark of the Stygian Brotherhood. The warehouse was small and appeared largely empty, it only had two floors. The second floor was a pretty small platform that could be reached by rusty stairs to Christine’s right. There was a large window level with the platform that was uncovered; a few lights could be seen through but there was not enough light for anyone outside to see into the warehouse not at the distance it would require. Above the window was three long thing windows that could be opened; the middle one of which was indeed open. The second floor and the sides of the warehouse were obscured in the same unnatural darkness that had covered Christine.
“Christine sweetie I’m sorry about what I did. I know now I shouldn’t have done it but she’s dead and has been for a long time, its time to let it go.”
“Oh, daddy it’s time you met the extended family.”
The darkness at the sides elevated into the air like rising smoke; all circulating to the second floor which became even more concealed; blocking out the window from view. There were six cloaked figures, three standing each side of the warehouse wearing plague doctor masks; half of the masks are white, and the other half are black.”
“The Asclepian Vipers live. Your mortal bloodline may be dead, but your Cerement is alive and well. How does that feel?”
“But you are not the Asclepian Vipers, anymore are you? You are just a Cell, pawns for the Stygian Brotherhood to do away with targets.”
“The Brotherhood does not mind what we do as long as we do not betray them. You must be confusing us for Draco Invictus. You were a German peasant and now you stand here head of the British operations of a multinational company. When are you going to stop pretending?”
“By that logic you are still a little girl and we both know that you are not.”
“But I am a little girl daddy. A little girl who’s going to tear your face off and feed it to my pet, but we have talked too much; it’s time to finish this.”
The white masked persons charged towards Johann and Deborah pulling out machetes while those in black masks simply held out their hands and rats formed to attack the pair.
The first of the white masks charged straight for Johann and he slammed the machete back into the attacker’s stomach causing them to collapse over onto the floor bleeding out. The second went for Deborah, unsure what to do she grabbed the machete and simply pulled it from their hands but was hesitant on what to follow this up with, having never tried to kill someone before. Johann turned swiftly towards her.
“Turn it around and kill them! They’d do the same to…”
Johann was interrupted by the machete of the final white masked person slitting right through the centre of his chest.
“Now that’s just rude.”
He clutches the blade in both hands and slams it backwards hitting the unsuspecting attacker in the face, startling them. Turning quickly Johann catches the machete before it falls to the ground and cuts the assailant down. The aggressor on Deborah tried to snatch their weapon back only for her to turn it around and stab them through the chest.
Just as the last bodies fell to the ground the duo found themselves being surrounded by the swarm of rats.
“Johann, how do we deal with vampiric plague rats?”
“With elegance, grace and a pinch of smugness.”
“I’m being serious.”
“You are a vampire now. You are strong, you are hardy. All you have to do is dig into yourself. On the count of three we punch into the ground.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
She breaths in heavily. “Ok.”
“One… two… threeee.”
They both slam their fists into the ground creating a small shockwave that causes the rats to explode into puddles of blood.
“Enough games! Kill them my Vipers!” Barks Christine.
“You don’t want to do that do you Vipers? Come on you know that it would be too dangerous to do so. You’ve seen us kill your rats and your Nectaries. Who knows what else we could do?”
The three remaining masked figures whisper between themselves and they turn into ravens themselves and flee out the open window at the top of the warehouse.
“No, you cowards! Get back here!” Christine hissed angrily at them as they flew away.
“They were weak minded fools, but Marionetta won’t work on me.” Christine growled turning back to Johann.
“This needs to end now Christine!” Johann insisted.
“But Johann did you forget what I said about mother?”
“Look just tell me what this is all about and we can all go home.”
“Oh daddy, you want to play happy families? That’s what this woman is for. She is meant to be new mummy!”
“Wait what?” Deborah inquired confused.
“She’s clearly delusional.” Answered Johann.
“Well then all those people you could have Passaged why me?”
“Not the time or the place.”
“Tell me Johann I need to know.”
“I don’t know. I just had a good feeling about you.”
“And what feeling was that?”
“I saw your potential and I see it more and more.”
“Potential for what?”
“Enough!” Scowled Christine.
Christine folds up her hands and the unnatural darkness from the second floor is absorbed into the trident revealing another figure. It was the naked body of Agatha, Johann’s dead wife, only various parts of her body had been replaced. Her eyes were milky and showing no semblance of life; lacking both an iris and a pupil though there were various highly visible veins. Her jaw and teeth were taken from a wolf, her legs were from a crane, her arms had been replaced by the legs of a tiger and her chest was taken from a monkey. She was on all fours making growled breathing sounds.
“Johann that’s Agatha! But what has she done to her?” Related Deborah shocked.
“Belluine, she’s made her into a Belluine. Like how I made Cerberus only she used Agatha as a base. It’s not that uncommon in the Stygian Brotherhood to use humans like that but I never thought Christine would do such a thing with the body of her own mother.” Responded Johann with a small amount of terror in his voice.
“But aren’t you happy to see mommy?” Asked Christine with a small giggle.
“Not like this. Christine please you have to stop this; this has gone too far.” He begged.
“You took her out of this world, its only fair she gives you the same treatment.”
“Christine it’s not your mother, your mother is dead.”
“Oh mummy, attack!”
The creature jumped down from the second floor destroying the safety barrier and landing effortlessly before Johann and Deborah, growling loudly like a hellhound let off its leash. Christine quickly made her way up the stairs to the second-floor platform in order to watch the fight that was to take place. The human-ish Belluine bit into Johann’s arm like a rabid dog and he grabbed the top of its head and twisted it hard to the side snapping its neck. The creature collapsed to the floor, it’s very small semblance of life gone. It was dead but then it always was, far more so than a vampire could be said to be. A single blood tear ran down his face as he looks at what had become of the mortal remains of his wife.
“No! She was meant to destroy you! I will do it myself! I will pave the streets with your blood!” Yelled Christine in a fit of rage.
In her anger she fell from the platform, hurtling towards the floor. Johann picked up a machete and held it up in just the right position, spearing her on it as she landed.
“Impaled huh? The Dragon would be proud of you after all.” She chuckled and coughed spluttering blood.
“Come on you are stronger than this. All you have to do is stop, I’m giving you one last chance and I will make it right I promise.”
“You already did daddy. Its nearly sunrise, its been so long. Would you…?”
He nodded and carefully removed the blade from her before lifting her up into his arms. He carried her up the stairs and laid her gently on the ground. Deborah simply followed slowly after unable to find any words to say.
The dawn broke, a stream of light shinning through onto the trio like a saving grace. Johann kneeled in front of his daughter and Deborah watched from a larger distance, standing next to the top of the staircase. Christine managed to move her upper body enough to look at the sun and she seemed to smile before laying back down. Her mouth fell open and she breathed out though it was not breath that exited her mouth but her Swarm, which dispersed a few meters above her body. The life the Swarm gave her was gone and her soul glided from her body though the later was invisible to both onlookers. A few minutes passed before either of them spoke again, they both came to stand next to each other looking at the rising sun.
“Part of me thought I’d never feel the sunlight again.” Deborah sighed closing her eyes.
“I don’t feel it, not anymore.”
“Well at least it’s all over.” Reassured Deborah opening her eyes looking over at him.
“This is just one Cell of the Cell Nation. Cell Nation is just one Estate of the Stygian Brotherhood and the Brotherhood is just one of the Commonwealths. Its never over, not until Quietus.”
“So, what now?”
“We continue on, its all we can do.”
It’s the end but the end is only the beginning; Johann and Deborah will return.