Lindsey stood her ground against the five Vampires who surrounded her. She had a few bags of sticky rice, but she didn’t want to waste them all on herself. Still without any other options, Lindsey held one of the bags up to the Vampires who recoiled purely on instinct. When she tried to push past the Jiang Shi however, the bloodsuckers didn’t back down. The Vampires could sense Lindsey’s fear at the same time.
Lee and the Professor intervened, jumping from out of the window Lee had inadvertently thrown the Vampire and Lindsey through. The Wizard blasted the Vampire that emerged behind Lindsey at full force, sending it flying. Unfortunately however this just roused the other four Vampires circling her, who tried to grab the time traveler. With no other choice Lindsey threw her bag of rice into one of the Vampires faces. The beast was flung several feet through the air, with its face catching fire in the process. The rest of the Vampires then scattered and Lindsey and Lee used the opportunity to flee into the streets.
The Professor meanwhile jumped back up through the window he had come down from.
“Lindsey and Lee can take care of themselves, come on we need to get back to the ship.” The Professor said to Kirsteen. Together along with the Empress and her child, The Professor and Kirsteen fled the house as more Jiang Shi began to close in on it.
Lindsey and Lee meanwhile ran down the streets, with Lee blasting any Jiang Shi that came near them. The streets were littered with corpses, and many of the buildings now lay in ruins. It must have been ten minutes or so before Lindsey and Lee came across anyone living, a small boy and his mother, who were cowering in a nearby alley.
“Don’t worry” Lindsey said gently to the scared villagers. “We’re here to help.”
“You can’t help. No one can.” The mother said hysterically as she clutched her boy.
Hordes of Jiang Shi began to circle Lindsey and Lee from both sides. The Wizard tried to knock the Vampires back with his magic, but there were too many of them, and those he did knock down just jumped back up. Worse still the Wizard’s magics had attracted dozens more Jiang Shi from across the village.
With no other choice, Lee and Lindsey headed down the alley the mother and child were hiding in. Lindsey made sure the mother and child followed, though she didn’t have too. As soon as the Vampires headed in their direction, the mother and son were off.
At the other end of the alley however were several more Vampires, completely cutting them off at both sides.
With no choice Lindsey used more of her sticky rice to create two lines around herself and the others, blocking the Vampires off at either end. The Vampires started to hop back a bit, though not to the end of the alley.
Lindsey turned to Lee. “You need to get us out of here.”
“There’s too many of them for me to blast.”
“You need to try and levitate us out of here.” Lindsey said.
“I can’t lift three people that high. I’m a novice, I only learned magics recently. I’m not even sure if I can lift one that high, the strain would be so great.”
“You have to try. Lift the mother and her son out first.”
“I can’t leave you.”
“I’ll be safe as long as you hurry. They can’t cross the rice remember. Please just go.”
With no time to waste, Lee tried to lift the mother and her boy with his magics. It took him a few minutes of struggling before they were able to slowly hover up to the top of a small house.
The Vampires meanwhile were getting more frantic. Hissing, snarling and clawing impotently at the air. A few more minutes passed before one of the Vampires tore pieces of the earth up in front of it and threw it over the rice. The Vampire at the other end soon followed suit.
“Damn. I forgot how crafty you little bloodrats can be.” Lindsey said. Like many species of animals, the Jiang Shi, whilst driven by their instincts could still master some tools and even tricks if need be.
Lindsey held up her last bag of sticky rice to the Vampires. She really didn’t want to have to waste it, but it soon became apparent that the monsters were not backing down as they hopped slowly towards her, hissing.
Suddenly as the monsters almost closed in on her, Lindsey felt herself being carried up carefully and slowly.
“Not to sound ungrateful Lee, but can you hurry up.” Lindsey said whilst joking to try and hide her fear.
One of the Vampires jumped out and grabbed Lindsey by the foot, forcing her to use some of her sticky rice on the beast. The fire from the Vampires face created by the rice, burned Lindsey quite badly, and her screams startled Lee to the point where he nearly dropped her into the horde below..
Still Lee managed to place Lindsey safely on the roof alongside the mother and son. He was clearly exhausted, but he had managed it.
“Thank you Lee..”
“Don’t mention it, but just don’t ask me to do it again.”
“We only have one half bag of rice left I’m afraid. We’ll need to rely on your magics to do a lot of the heavy lifting.”
Lindsey looked out at the village ahead. So many of the houses had been torn into and there were bodies, and pieces of bodies all over the streets. At the center of the village was a large burning building, but outside it were several fleeing villagers old and young. They were seemingly the only people left in the village. The villagers were being pursued by several Jiang Shi’s all of whom were ablaze, but weren’t fazed at all.
“We have to get there now.” Lindsey said.
“I need a few more minutes.” Lee said exhausted.
“They don’t have another few minutes. We need to go there now.” Lindsey said in desperation.
The Professor, The Empress, her son, and Kirsteen had managed to make their way across the village thanks to the Professors Vampire constitution. The Professor had managed to jump his way across each building using his Vampire strength, whilst carrying Kirsteen, and the Empress (who as always held onto her son) in one hand each.
When he finally reached the square however the Professor could see it was filled with Jiang Shi, guarding a pile of bodies. There was no way he could make it past them, even through jumping without being seen.
The Professor rattled his brains for a few moments before it hit him. The Jiang Shi were completely immune to fire, even magical flames, but the corpses they were guarding were not. The Professor ripped off a small piece of wood from the ruins of a nearby house and asked Kirsteen for her lighter.
Using all of his strength the Professor threw the flaming torch at the pile of corpses from over fifty feet away. It landed right at the top of the pile and caused its clothes to ignite which soon spread, drawing the attention of the Jiang Shi. As the Vampires desperately tried to put the flames out, the Professor and his friends made their escape to the front gates.
In the woods outside the Professor could see several more Jiang Shi emerging from between the trees.
“They’re waiting for us.” The Professor said.
“They can probably sense the magic from the teleporter.”
The Professor however soon saw that the Vampires were distracted by something else. A young woman running through the woods.
“We have to help her.” The Professor said.
“Who?” Kirsteen asked?
“The young woman being chased by those monsters.”
“There’s no one there, we need to move before the Vampires.” Kirsteen said.
The Professor didn’t listen however and jumped after the young woman.
“Don’t worry, I’m here to help. I have a vessel where you’ll be safe.” The Professor said.
“I don’t know what’s happening to me. Those things they’ve, they’ve turned me into.”
As the Professor reached out to grab her, his hand suddenly went straight through the young woman’s arm.
“Of course you’re a ghost.” The Professor said.
“You’re a.” The Professor stopped as he saw the Jiang Shi get closer.
“I’m afraid I don’t have the time to explain it to you. You deserve to be told properly. Those things, they can still hurt you, even in your current form. Worse, apart from me, they’re the only ones who can see you.”
“I don’t understand, please help me.”
The Professor however simply performed a quick spell that would temporarily make the ghost invisible. Ghosts could normally only be seen through the use of magic, (though Vampires and Demons could see them without magic.) The Professor’s spell however could reverse the effect for a short while.
“I can’t see you right now, but neither can they. I’ll come back for you I promise, but you have to run.” The Professor said before running back to Kirsteen and the Empress.
“Who were you talking too?” Kirsteen asked, worried that the Professor had started to lose his mind.
“It was a ghost of a young woman the Jiang Shi had killed. Poor girl. She has no idea what’s happened to her. This is what happens when you just cower in the dark and pretend the monsters aren’t there.” The Professor said to the Empress as they all ran to the teleporter. (With the Empress and even Kirsteen following the Professor’s lead.)
“These magics your ancestors thought would protect your kingdom have done the reverse. It’s left them vulnerable to these creatures and even to themselves. That poor girl will no doubt think she’s a monster when I tell her what she actually is.”
“We had peace for hundreds of years here until those cowardly Hissian’s destroyed our defenses.” The Empress said back proudly.
“Those magics made you weak. I know that might sound hypocritical coming from me, but you should never use magic to seal yourself in a bubble to the point where you can’t survive without it.”
They reached the teleportation area, with the Vampires emerging from the trees all around them. As the Professor prepared to teleport them to safety however, one of the Vampires jumped from the top of the tree and landed on top of the Professor.
Pinning him to the ground the Empress was the first to try and pull the Vampire off, handing her son to Kirsteen in the process. The Vampire however turned to the Empress when she got too close and grabbed her in its talons. The Professor seized his chance and tripped the monster up. He then grabbed it by the arm, and before the beast could even react he hurled it over his shoulder into three more Jiang Shi hopping towards them. The Professor then teleported himself and all 3 of his companions back to the safety of his time vessel.
“Those bloodsuckers will be waiting for us down there, but don’t worry, we’ll be ready for them.” The Professor said confidently as he headed down a nearby corridor.
“There’s dozens, maybe hundreds of those things in the village.” Kirsteen asked as the Vampire entered what looked like a laboratory, filled with odd bits and pieces.
“Yes but fortunately I’ve had centuries to amass all of the most effective magics against the Jiang Shi. I’ve been fighting them since before I was a time traveler, since before I was a Vampire. I remember I even used to keep one as a pet for a while, that was a mistake.”
“A pet? You’re not serious.”
“Yes I am. It was actually quite common in certain parts of China. We used them as guard dogs to hunt other supernatural creatures. This little beauty here.” The Professor said as he held up a small sheet of yellow paper with some Chinese writing on it.
“Will stop a Jiang Shi in its tracks if you put it on its forehead. It won’t kill it, just stop it, after which with some magics you can bend it to your will. The only problem with our Jiang Shi was after a few years under the spell it became, domesticated shall we say. When I tried to put him up against a wild Jiang Shi, well she ripped him to bits. It’s funny how so many of us mourned him after. In hindsight we should have just put him to rest right away.”
The Empress had almost drifted off during the Professor’s trip down memory lane, whilst Kirsteen interrupted him.
“So you’re saying we can take over some of the Jiang Shi and force them to fight one another?” Kirsteen asked.
“Well yes, but not just any Jiang Shi. The alpha of the pack. He’s the strongest.”
“You mean my husband” The Empress said.
“Yes I’m sorry but.”
“Don’t be. Like you said Professor. These things need to be put to rest.”
“Well lets get things ready shall we. The magics in this ship where affected a while back, but we should have enough to make a couple more of these. Kirsteen I’m going to need your help.”
“What do I know about magics?”
“You can still help me, I’ll guide you through it. If you want to be part of the team.”
“I don’t but lets just get on with it.”
The Empress meanwhile was busy hugging her son, but not merely to comfort him. When the Empress tried to pull the Vampire off of the Professor it had managed to bite her. It was only a graze, but for all she knew that was enough. She was terrified to tell the Professor in case he would dispose of her, but she didn’t want to make the same mistakes as before.
“No” she thought to herself. “As long as I am myself I have to do all I can to help my people. To help my boy.”
To Be Continued