“What, what’s going on.”
The Emperor said as he stood up with a little help from his wife and son. The Emperor’s son had come to see him per his request one last time. In his final few moments The Emperor hoped to impart some last words of advice to his son, but unfortunately their planned final moment together had been interrupted by the palace guard.
“Its Lee Sian Ye your majesty. He’s escaped. He is threatening the town folk unless you show yourself.” The leader of the palace guards, named Hu Chan said. Hu Chan had known the Emperor for years. In fact he had been a friend of both Ye and the Emperor. However even he could see that the Emperor’s days were numbered. Though Chan would never say it, he hoped more than anything that the Empress would just let her husband sacrifice himself and finally end this conflict.
“Take me to him now.” The Emperor said in a faint, breathless tone.
“No you can’t sacrifice yourself.” The Emperors son pleaded. The Emperor’s son was no older than six. He couldn’t possibly take in the threat of Lee Sian Ye to the people, or the greater evil that was growing inside his own father.
“You don’t understand son. One day you will learn that you have to make sacrifices for the kingdom.”
“You’re a dying man why does that monster not let you die in peace.” The Empress said.
“I told you. It’s growing within me. I need to see him. He might be the only one who can” The Emperor suddenly clutched his sides in pain.
He screamed, so loudly that it echoed throughout the entire palace. His flesh turned completely white, his eyes started to go red and his teeth began to enlarge. Hu Chan even pulled out his sword instinctively at the sight of the Emperor. “It’s too late” The Emperor said. “My love you must.” The Emperor collapsed before he could finish. His wife tried to rouse him, but it was no use. He was gone.
The Emperors son broke down in tears.
“I’m sorry we tried, we really did.” The Empress said as she cradled her distraught child. The guards meanwhile breathed a sigh of relief. Now there would be no more threats to the kingdom. They had all said goodbye to the Emperor long ago.
The Guards took the Emperors body away, whilst Hu Chan comforted the boy. “He was a great man.” He said. “We will always remember the good he has done for this kingdom above all else.”
The Wizard had choked Kirsteen into unconsciousness, whilst Lindsey crawled along the floor. She could feel herself fading, and was so weak, but Lindsey didn’t give up and literally spat back at the Wizard when he got near.
“I’m impressed.” The Wizard said. “If only you had used that determination for good.” He continued as he used his magics to press harder on Lindsey’s throat.
Fortunately however all Lindsey had been aiming for was to distract the Wizard long enough for the Professor to get the drop on him. With one punch, the Professor sent the Wizard flying through a nearby house.
“Sorry” The Professor said as he helped Lindsey up. “He caught me by surprise”.
Lindsey ran to Kirsteen and tried to rouse her, whilst the Professor held off the Wizard. The Wizard hurled magical blasts at the Professor who managed to evade them, but wasn’t able to get close enough to overpower the Wizard.
The Professor’s magic was undoubtedly more sophisticated, but he didn’t have time to chant his spells in the middle of the fight.
“You know, we could always just sit down and talk this over.” The Professor said somewhat jokingly.
“I know your kind, bloodsucker. I know why you and those traitors fight to protect the Emperor.”
“I don’t even know who the Emperor is.”
“Why would a Vampire want to protect him?” The Professor thought to himself.
“Suddenly one of the guards came running into the square.
“Please, please stop your fighting. The Emperor is dead. We did not want to have to announce it like this, but he passed away just a few moments ago. There is nothing for you here.” The guard said with regret to Lee Sein, the Wizard.
Sein sank to his knees at the news, much to everyone there’s surprise. “I may already be too late. When did he die? What did you do with his body?”
“Why do you care?”
“You fool none of you realise. He has been infected with the curse of the Jiang Shi.”
The guard had no idea what he was talking about nor did any of the villagers, but Professor Fang knew that name only too well as did Lindsey.
“I’m sorry we couldn’t find a way to save you.” Hu Chan said as he laid The Emperor’s body down on the altar.
There had always been the worry that the Wizards were right and that they would have to put the Emperor down, but now those worries it seems had been squashed.
“The Hissians were filthy cowards. Using black magic against him because they were afraid of a fair fight.” One of the guards said.
“Despite their dirty tricks, they still lost. Their kingdom lies in ruins, whilst ours has never been stronger.” Chan replied. “We have to make sure his suffering wasn’t for nothing. We have to.” As Chan spoke, the Emperor suddenly rose to his feet. His face now completely white, and his eyes bright red.
The guards all stood there in shock. Was it a miracle or a curse? The Emperor looked at his guards, his friends, for a few seconds, almost like a confused animal. Hu Chan and indeed none of the other guards saw anything of the Emperor in his face.
Hu Chan slowly pulled his sword out, as did the other guards as they backed away from the Emperor.
The Emperor’s confused, lost expression quickly turned to one of anger, and malice the likes of which they had never seen before. Even when facing his enemies the Emperor had never shown such sheer unforgiving rage. The Emperor jumped off of the altar towards one of the guards. He easily overpowered the guard, and sunk his teeth into his neck. The others tried to pull their Vampiric former Emperor off of their comrade, but the monsters strength was far too great.
Within a few minutes the Vampire had drained its former servant dry. The Emperor then, with a lightening speed rammed its claws into the chests of two more guards who it then lifted above its head before throwing them halfway across the room, whilst still holding their hearts.
Hu Chan and the other single remaining guard held their swords out to the Vampire. They couldn’t believe it. Even with the various Wizards warnings, none of them had believed that a man of the Emperor’s strength could be turned into a monster like this. There truly was nothing left of the man they had all looked up to in the Demons face. It had all been replaced by a savage, unnatural bloodlust.
The Vampire moved towards the two surviving guards. The way it walked was so peculiar. It hopped on both feet, with its arms outstretched. It looked almost comical in a way.
The two guards both rammed their swords into their former Emperor, but the blades broke as soon as they touched the Vampires flesh. The Emperor roared like an animal and sunk its claws into Chan’s back as he and the other guard attempted to flee.
The other guard delivered an air kick to the Emperor’s head, but he only nudged the beast back slightly. Chan managed to pulled free from the Demon’s iron grip meanwhile, but in doing so his flesh was torn off. He lost so much blood that he momentarily fainted.
The other guard still tried to help Chan, but the Vampire slashed him across the face with it’s claws, tearing out one of his eyes!
The guard stumbled backwards in pain and lifted out his dagger in a futile effort to fend off his former emperor. He slashed it in the Vampires face, but blade broke just like his sword, and the Vampire then simply grabbed the guards arm and sunk its fangs into his wrist.
The guard tried to pull free, but the Vampire bit harder and harder until it bit his hand clean off.
The guard collapsed to the floor, barely conscious. He made a last ditch effort to crawl to safety, but the Emperor jumped on top of him and started to rip strips of skin off of his back. It then dug one of its talons into his eye socket, whilst snapping his other arm with its inhuman strength, before sinking its fangs into his neck and ending his misery.
Chan was awoken by his fellow guards screams. Dizzy and weak from the blood loss. Chan saw it was already too late for his friend and tried to slip out of the room quietly while the Vampire was feeding. Just as Chan had almost reached the door, the Emperor however hopped towards him at a tremendous speed and grabbed Chan, throwing him all the way across the room to the altar.
The Vampire then jumped over 20 feet to Chan, who in turn jumped back over the altar and lifted it off the ground to try and fight the Vampire off. The Emperor however simply smacked the altar away. Chan then grabbed a shield from a statue behind the altar and tried to use it as a weapon. He managed to get a few hits on the Vampire, but it the monster soon pulled the shield from him and snapped it in half.
In desperation Chan took the statue itself and smashed it over the Vampires head knocking him to the ground, but the Vampire instantly jumped up again. Knowing he’d never make it to the door, Chan jumped out of the nearest window. He fell two floors outside into the lake beside the castle, where he swam blindly in sheer terror to escape the Emperor. He wasn’t even sure if the Demon was following him anymore. Chan’s terror of the beast was so great that he thought nothing of fleeing from the Demon despite his vow to protect the Emperor’s family above all else. He wasn’t used to feeling vulnerable. Even when facing multiple enemies at once, he always knew there was a chance he could overcome them. With the Vampire Emperor however as far as he was concerned, no one could stand against such a monster.
“I hate to say it, but the Wizard’s right.” Professor Fang said.
“Even though he tried to choke both of us.” Kirsteen said, still gasping for air.
“Well obviously not at that, but if the Emperor is infected we have to get to him. The Jiang Shi are among the strongest, most vicious and dangerous breed of Vampire. Just one of them loose in this kingdom could bring it down. I’m just surprised that no one else here knows what a Jiang Shi is?” The Professor continued.
“We know nothing of these beasts you speak of?” The Guard said?
“The Jiang Shi are the apex Demons on the mainland of China. They’ve destroyed countless towns, villages, communities, they’ve even brought down some of the mightiest kingdoms. Yet for some reason this tiny little kingdom seems to have escaped their reach? None of you apart from the Wizard even know what a Jiang Shi is.” The Professor said to the scared villagers who had gathered round.
“This place was once dominated by those inhuman monsters” Lee said.
“What do you mean” the guard, who genuinely had never even heard the name Jiang Shi before asked.
“This place was once a haven for Jiang Shi, Demons and other horrors, but this is irrelevant. We have to stop that bloodsucker now, at any cost.” He said as he hurled the guard’s sword into the air.
“Look” Lindsey said firmly. “We’ve both encountered the Jiang Shi before. We’ve seen them take down entire civilisations, even worlds in the far future. We can help you, but only if you do things our way.
“Your way? You’re monsters.” Lee said.
“Yet who is it here that has just tried to murder innocent people. ” Lindsey fired back which actually made the Wizard stop for a moment and begin to realise how far his fear of the Jiang Shi had driven him.
“It can’t be”. The Empress said as she held her son back.
“Father, father.” The boy shouted in glee. “He’s come back to us.
“No son” The Empress said. “He hasn’t.”
The Emperor stood in the door way to their room. Though he was concealed in the shadows, The Empress could see it wasn’t the man she loved.
“They were right, they were right.” She said to herself with regret as her husband emerged from the shadows to confront his former loved ones.
To Be Continued