“This is your doing.” Lee said bitterly to the Empress.
“All of the sacrifices we made to protect this kingdom, and you’ve condemned it because you weren’t prepared to make a sacrifice of your own.”
“There’s no point in that now.” The Professor snapped. “We need to work together.”
“There is nothing that can be done.” The Empress said as she clutched her boy. “Those monsters tore through our personal guard in less than an hour. The villagers don’t stand a chance.”
“Your guards tried to use brute force. A simple tactic, which can sometimes be effective, but not in this case I’m afraid..” The Professor said proudly and somewhat smugly, which greatly annoyed Kirsteen, though Lindsey was used to it at this stage.
“Magic is the only thing that can stop these monsters and fortunately we have plenty of enchantments and spells back on my ship. The problem is getting there.”
“What are you talking about?” Lee asked impatiently?
“I have a craft, it operates by magic. I won’t bother to explain how it works to you as you wouldn’t understand, but up there we have all the magics we’ll need to take care of these monsters. Unfortunately there’s just one spot we can teleport back up to the ship from and it’s past the village.”
“I can’t take my son through those monsters.” The Empress said.
“If you don’t help us you’ll both die.” Lindsey interrupted. “Where will you go? No one else in this kingdom will know the magics to stop them, and they can’t fight the Jiang Shi any other way.”
Their conversation was soon interrupted by several of the Jiang Shi who had followed the Professor, Lindsey, Kirsteen, Lee, the Empress and her son from the castle. The bloodsuckers hopped furiously towards their prey, snarling, roaring and baring their blood stained fangs.
“Well that settles it then.” The Professor said as they all ran towards the village as fast as they could.
The village however had been almost completely overrun. The Vampires just as in the palace tried to recruit as many as they possibly could.
The last of the Emperor’s guards who had stayed behind to protect the village had given up trying to fight the Vampires, and ran just as helplessly through alongside a small group of civillians.
Some of the villagers had tried to shelter themselves in their houses, whilst a very few even trying to fight back. It ultimately made no difference however what the villagers did. The Vampires would still tear them apart no matter what.
One tiny group of civilians and one of the guards had managed to make it to the very end of the village, just behind the square at the village’s gates.
The Jiang Shi had gathered all the bodies of the people they wanted to turn into Vampires in the square and were guarding them.
“There’s no way out. Those monsters have cut us off at both sides.” One of the villagers, a young man named Hin said.
“We have to stay here until.” Another one of the villagers, a women named Asika said only to be interrupted by Hin.
“Until what? No one is coming to save us, no one can.” He screamed.”
“Keep quiet you idiot, those things will hear us.”
“He’s right” The former guard who had been bitten on the arm after a struggle with one of the Vampires said in a loud, but faint voice.
“The only way out of the village is by the square. I’ll have to distract them.”
“They’ll tear you to pieces.” Asika said.
“I won’t last anyway. I’m bleeding to death. It was my job to protect the Emperor, the village. I don’t want to live knowing that I failed.”
Asika didn’t bother to try and talk him out of it any longer. She like the rest of the village knew the guards devotion to their cause was so great that death would be preferable to failure.
The guard ran into the Vampires. He tried to make one last futile strike at the Demons, by trying to tackle one of them, but the Jiang Shi soon dogpiled on the broken man and started to tear him apart. The rest of the villagers tried to run past the Hopping Demons whilst they were distracted, but unfortunately three of the corpses gathered at the center of the square soon rose. One of them instantly pulled one of the fleeing villagers into the mass of bodies where it tore his throat out.
The rest of the Vampires soon turned their attention to the fleeing villagers. Even in death the guard had sadly failed his duty. The Jiang Shi caught up to all of the fleeing villagers in a matter of minutes, save for Asika, but just as she as reached the gates, she found to her horror that its doors were locked from the outside. The two guards had not only deserted their post, but had sealed it shut to keep the Vampires in!
Asika pounded on the doors and screamed for help, but it was no use. There was no one around and one of the bloodsuckers was closing in on her (the rest were too busy feasting on the other villagers.)
Asika didn’t try and run past it however. It was much too fast for her anyway. She had just one chance. She would have to trick the monster into using its strength to tear the doors down.
The blood sucker reached its arms out to try and slash Asika across the face, but she managed to narrowly dodge its attack. The monster tore a hole in the door, but it was not near the lock. The beast tried to slash her again, but this time Asika was not so fortunate and the monster clawed her across the stomach. Asika collapsed to the floor in pain, but when the monster reached out for her a third time, Asika grabbed both of its hands and thrust her foot into its chest, pulling it forward over her into the two doors which the monster crashed through. Asika then ran through the broken doors, past the Vampire and into the woods outside. The bloodsucker however instantly jumped up and hopped after her at a lightening speed. Asika knew it wouldn’t be long before the Vampire caught up with her and in desperation tried to crawl up a nearby tree to safety, or even just to hide. The Vampire however started to crawl up after her with its long claws. Once she had reached the top, Asika tried to kick the Vampire in the face. It did nothing at first, but when the Vampire tried to reach out and grab her foot, Asika was able to land a good kick in its chest, which caused the monster, now only holding on with one hand, to go tumbling back, taking the piece of tree it was holding onto with it.
The Vampire hit the ground head first, but it instantly jumped up again and started to slice at the tree with its claws. Asika tried to jump to the tree next to her, but she merely fell through the branches. Worse the tree she had jumped from soon collapsed thanks to the Vampires actions, into the tree she had tried to flee to, causing them both to fall.
Asika was caught between the two tree logs, which broke both of her legs. She still tried to crawl free as the Vampire hopped slowly towards her. The Demon seemed to be prolonging her torment for as long as it could. It simply stood over Asika for a few seconds, staring at her. Though the Jiang Shi were for the most part animals, they were still able to derive a certain twisted pleasure in their victims suffering. Like all children of Khastran, his evil ran through their veins. Asika however didn’t give in and show fear. To the end she still tried attack the Vampire throwing anything she could find on the forest floor in a series of futile attacks on the Demon. Eventually the beast put her out of her misery and sunk its long yellow fangs into Asika’s throat, draining her dry in a less than a minute.
Unfortunately however it was not over yet for the poor woman. As soon her life faded, Asika found herself standing right beside the bloodsucker in the woods. At first she tried to flee, only to see that the corpse it was feeding on the floor was her.
Asika had become a ghost, more importantly the first ghost to exist within her kingdom for centuries. The same magics which prevented any supernatural creatures from entering the kingdom also ensured that no spirits existed either.
Asika didn’t even know what a Ghost was. She tried to rationalise it that she must have escaped the Demon and it was creating a duplicate of her. When her corpse rose as one of the monsters, Asika almost couldn’t look at it. Asika tried to grab the Demon that bore her face, but to her horror, Asika’s hands passed right through the Vampire. The Demon meanwhile slashed Asika, but rather than bleed, a bright white energy started to flow from the shallow claw marks across her stomach. The other Vampire that had chased and seemingly killed her, started to chase her through the woods along with the Demon baring her face. As she tried to climb up another tree however, Asika suddenly noticed that her hands went through the tree again.
With the Vampires about to advance on her, Asika with no choice ran through the tree on the other side and deep into the woods.
The Professor, Lindsey, Kirsteen, Lee, The Empress and her son had managed to escape the Jiang Shi in the woods thanks to Lee’s magic. He had managed to conjur up a small blast which knocked the Jiang Shi off of their feet, for just a few moments that allowed the Professor and the others to get a head start on the Demons. Once they reached the village, they took shelter in a small house on the Professor’s urging, keeping out of sight of the Jiang Shi who were too preoccupied with the fleeing villagers.
The Empress’ son had remained completely quiet since they left the castle. His mother had carried him the entire way, holding him so tight he could barely breathe. The boy barely even acknowledged his mother however. Whenever she tried to tell him it would be okay, he’d simply respond with a blank stare.
“Why are we stopping here?” Kirsteen asked whilst the Professor rummaged through the living room of the small house.
“I thought you said we needed to get back to the ship.”
“We do Kirsteen, but its going to be rather difficult don’t you think? We need a weapon. Ah found it!” The Professor said excitedly.
“Sticky rice.” The Professor said as he held up a few small bags.
“Sticky rice? You’re seriously not going to tell me.”
“Yes I am. It’s not so ridiculous is it? Some Vampires can be repelled by garlic, or putting two sticks together.”
“Rice though?” Kirsteen said
“Demons are repelled by natural elements Kirsteen, though not all Demon or Vampire breeds are repelled by the same natural elements. Some Vampires are vulnerable to wood, others to silver, others to the light of day, and in this case sticky rice, among other things.”
The Vampires who had followed the time travelers from the Castle soon arrived, hissing and roaring. The Professor placed a small line of rice in front of the door, causing the Vampires to instantly hop backwards.
Kirsteen started to laugh.
“Sorry” she said to the others. “It’s just such a relief to see them backing down for once.”
“They can’t cross a line of sticky rice, but we obviously can’t stay here.” The Professor said.
“We’ll get more work done if we split up. Lee and Lindsey, you need to try and get as many of the villagers as you can to somewhere safe.” He continued whilst handing Lindsey the remaining bags of rice. “Remember only use this rice to create a barrier around the villagers once you get them to safety. Kirsteen and I will make our way back to the ship.”
“We will?” Kirsteen said somewhat nervously.
“Would you rather stay here? Besides you keep saying you want to be a more proactive part of the missions”
“No I said I want you to take me home and stop dragging me to places with Demons, Aliens, Zombies, Vampires and god knows what else!”
“I’m pretty sure you said you realised that there are some terrible things in the universe, that need to be fought and that you wanted to do your part in the good fight? No? Well you should have said that, but still we don’t have time to talk it over.”
“Okay fine but if I come back as a Vampire please make sure you chop my head off.”
“You don’t even have to ask”. The Professor responded.
“No wait, please”. The Empress interrupted.
“Please take my son with you.”
“Empress I don’t think.” The Professor tried to say, only for the Empress to cut him off again.
“You said your, whatever it was would be the safest place. Please take him there. He certainly can’t stay here. I want to help, and I can’t do that if he’s here.”
The Professor realised she was right and picked up the boy.
“I promise.” He said. “Those monsters won’t harm him.”
Again the boy did not react.
Suddenly there was a crashing sound coming from upstairs.
Lindsey, the Professor, Kirsteen, and Lee went upstairs. The Empress meanwhile stayed behind with her son.
Up stairs there was just one room, with 3 beds. The bottom section of the house was nothing but the living room.
It was very dark, but they could see that the window was broken. As Lindsey got near it to have a better look, she was suddenly jumped by a Jiang Shi that emerged from the darkness. The Professor and Kirsteen tried to pull the Jiang Shi off of Lindsey, but the Vampire backhanded them across the room. Lee fired his magics at the beast, and whilst they did send it flying out of the window, the monster still held onto Lindsey in its vice like claws.
Outside Lindsey found herself surrounded by four more Jiang Shi who closed in on the time traveler.
To Be Continued