Ruby watched a tall man with dark hair and a black cape enter the room. The minute he stepped into the celebration, the drumming stopped and the vampires knelt and bowed their heads. This man—this creature—was obviously an important vampire. He had jewels around his neck and on his fingers.
“Who’s that?” Sammy whispered.
“He looks like the leader and I’m sure he’s dangerous.” Ruby had the feeling that something bad was going to happen and there was nothing she could do about it.
The leader sniffed the air like a bloodhound tracking a scent and then smiled. He looked at Ruby and pointed. “Bring her to me.”
Sammy grabbed Jacklyn and was ready to run, but before he did, he said, “I love you, Ruby.”
Ruby was about to say something back to him when the fight began. With the skill of a rusty warrior, she fought off the vampires, keeping them away from Sammy and the woman. The relic around her neck attached itself to her chest as if her heart was made of iron and the relic was a magnet.
Sammy put the garlic clove that was in his pocket, into the woman’s hand while he held the crucifix out like a shield. He was able to get a few good punches in before the vampires overpowered both him and Ruby.
Draven walked up and stood in front of Ruby. “Do you remember me now?”
Ruby thought, images rushed through her mind in a rush. She saw another era with knights in chain mail armor, castles with bright flags flapping over towers, and a prince dressed in purple velvet like the vampire before her. “You are Draven, prince of Lief, son of King . . .”
“Son of King Sinter,” Draven said. “Do you remember anything else?”
Ruby did not want to play this guessing game, yet part of her wanted clarification for the meaning of the thoughts in her mind. Was this what reincarnation was like? “We were soon to be married, but something happened.” She thought some more. “We fought together, as vampire slayers, until you fell victim,” she looked to the floor and then back to his empty eyes. “They changed you and then we became enemies.”
Draven moved closer to her. She felt coldness radiate from his body. He reached up and gently touched her cheek and then softly placed his icy lips against hers.
“Don’t touch her,” Sammy shouted, trying to break free from the hold the vampires had on him.
Ruby knew him and had loved him a long time ago in another life.
“Bring her to me,” the main vampire said, again. His voice boomed through the vaulted place of worship.
“She’s a fighter,” said one of the two vampires gripping her tightly as they brought her to the sanctuary.
They secured her wrists and ankles with leather straps to a wooden cross placed in front of the tabernacle. Then the main vampire, attractive and hideous all at the same time, approached her.
“It has been a long time, princess. I am Count Moldovan, commander of those who walk by night.” Then his high and mighty demeanor turned to that of a confident killer. “And I am here to end the bloodline of the royal vampire slayers of old.”
Ruby felt a power, an almost hypnotic force, move from his body to hers as she struggled to free herself. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but it’s crazy and you’re a demented bastard.”
“It is a celebration,” the count said, unruffled by Ruby’s attempt to counter his plans. “We are celebrating the capture of one of the last royal huntresses. I knew it would not be difficult to lure you here since we have your brother in our care.”
Ruby stopped struggling against the straps long enough to look to where the count was pointing. There, standing with his back against the wall, in a zombie-like state, was Alan. Next to him was Lord Victor, looking a little green around the gills. She had finally found her brother. “Alan, what happened to you?”
“He’s one of us, now,” the count said.
“You’re a monster,” Ruby said.
“I’ve been killing the slayers in your bloodline for centuries, but you keep popping back up like maggots infesting our kingdom,” the count said. “But now your kind is almost wiped out. Your daughter did not inherit the slayer gene, but your soon to be born granddaughter has it surging through her veins. It’s a weak strain, very diluted, but nonetheless it is still there. So I will give you a choice, princess. You can sacrifice yourself and save your granddaughter, or sacrifice your granddaughter and save yourself. Which shall it be?”
Ruby wanted to rip his eyes out and squash them under her foot like she did to the blood-filled tick only days earlier, but she could not break free from the restraints. Even the relic, while it did seem to deter the other vampires, did not seem to faze the count. She had only one choice, to sacrifice herself. “Don’t you dare touch my granddaughter, ever, or I’ll kill you. I swear, I’ll rip you to shreds.”
The count smiled, exposing sharp fangs. “I knew you would see it my way.”
Ruby looked at Sammy, still being held by zombies. No one had ever protected and cared for her as he did and would always do. “I love you, Sammy.”
“Don’t do it, Ruby. Don’t do it!” Sammy yelled as he struggled to break free.
The count ripped the relic from around her neck and threw it into a corner. Then he turned Ruby’s head to the side, exposing her soft skin and throbbing artery.
Draven and Gustave moved in to watch the transformation, like bloodthirsty dogs. Then she felt the sting of a thousand wasps in the side of her neck, and moments later the sedating anesthetic from the counts supernatural gland as it surged through her body like a narcotic being pushed through a vein. She was being prepared for the transformation.