• Chapter 7
    A daring rescue and another vampire!?

    “Mr. Rain how do you plan to get Clara back?” Maria asked as her and Rain made their way down the empty city streets. “I’m not sure yet.” He replied “But I’m sure I’ll think of something.” They continued to walk until they found themselves standing in front of the oversized church again. “What are we doing back here?” Maria asked a bit concerned. Rain looked around making sure no one was watching “Stay here.” He told Maria “I’ll only be a minuet.” And with that he was gone. Maria stood there confused why had Rain wanted to come back here? Was there something here that could help Clara? While Maria sat puzzling over why they had returned to the church, Rain was busy slipping into an opened window.

    He silently slid through the window and darted toward a dark corner nearby, Rain pressed his body against the wall as a guard marched by. “They must have beefed up security here because of me.” Rain thought to himself “This is going to be a bit of a problem.” He waited until the guard was out of sight and slunk down the hall. As he made is way quietly down the hall he pulled the hood up on his black cloak, better to hide his face if these people saw him back here he was sure they’d kill him on spot. Rain made his way to a stair case. As he scanned the area to make sure there were no guards, he made a mental note the stairs meant he was in the upper part of the church, where he needed to be was down in the chambers. This meant he still had quite a ways to go, and god knows how many guards he’d have to sneak by. Rain was down the stairs now but he stopped in his tracks seeing that a guard from the north tower was heading his way. He made a split second decision and made a mad dash for a suite of armor on the opposite side of the room, he slid behind it just as the guard entered the room.

    The guard stopped for a moment and looked around seemly hearing Rain’s movements, Rains heart pounded out of his chest he wasn’t looking forward to getting caught again and placed in that prison cell. But then the guard nonchalantly moved on and continued his rounds, Rain breathed a sigh of relief he was sure he was going to get caught; Rain slid out from behind the suite of armor and quickly made his was down the hall from which the guard had come. He continued to scan the hallway keeping any eye out for guards, before long he found himself standing at the top of another stair case, but this time he was more carful moving slowly so he wouldn’t be caught off guard again. Surprisingly there was nobody at the bottom of the stairs so Rain took the opportunity and looked around a bit. Perhaps maybe he could find a hidden passage way the lead down to the chambers.

    But no such luck, looked like Rain was taking the long way. He made his way down another hall; he felt this hall was different. It was much longer than the others; he continued to walk until he came to a large wooden door. This was strange why was there a huge wooden here? This seemed like something that would have been on the ground floor going to the catacombs beneath the church. He searched the door for any kind of sign that would tell him where the door led. Rain came across an old wooden plaque that was nailed in the wall next to the door at eye height. “Second story chamber passage” The plaque read. Rain smiled this was exactly what he was looking for this passage would take him down to the underground chambers of the church. Rain slid open the door as quietly as possible and slipped in side.

    The passage way was dark and damp; Rain didn’t mind it too much he was used to this sort of thing after being in that jail cell overnight. Bits and pieces of the passage were lit with dim torches which flickered with Rains movement and made eerie shadows on the walls. Rain could tell he was headed underground as the temperature dropped and the path before him became ever damper, to where puddles had formed along the walls. Then finally at the end of the path Rain came to a door, it was old and in the beginning stages of rot. This told Rain that it had been sometime since anyone had come through this door and that he was defiantly alone, He jerked the door open as it hinges had become rusted and walked inside. Under the light of a dimly lit candle he could make out the many shelves of scrolls, each one detailing history on some part of the city of Trinity.

    “So the old man was right.” Rain thought to himself “Under the church lies the documents of everything in the city.” He remembered Luper’s story of about how he had been caught trying to steal documents pertaining to the trade routes in and out of the city. Maybe it was a good thing that Rain decided to talk to the crazy old man with whom he shared a jail cell with, how else would he have known about this place. Rain shuffled diligently threw the many scrolls trying to make sure they were put back in the exact place they were found trying to leave little trace of his existence in the chamber. He then came across one with a red handle and pulled it out, Rain blew the dust off it and brought it to a nearby table. He neatly unrolled the scroll and spread it the length of the table. It was a map of the city! Rain ran his finger over the map jotting down landmarks in his mind; by doing this he could tell the map was current.

    He then nodded in appeasement and carefully rolled the scroll back up and stuck it under his arm, he went back and continued shuffling threw the other scrolls and found one with a plain wooden handle and pulled it out placing it under his arm. “I have what I need.” He said “Now to get out of here.” Rain made his way back up the damp dimly lit corridor, when he got to the large wooden door he carefully slid it open of course before stepping out he cracked the door and peered through. As Rain peered through the cracked door his body stiffened just feet away from him were two guards, He looked around franticly as he tried to figure out how exactly he would get by. Then Rain got an idea, not one he particularly liked because it involved him using his black magic and he never really like resorting to magic for help.

    Rain stood close to the door as he began to recite an incantation, the red pentagram appeared under his feet just like when he had fought off the roughs in the church tower. “Magic black as night, though only used by demons, manipulate the shadows in to the beast of blood to frighten one’s enemies into submission.” Rain chanted; as he said these words a dark mass slowly creped across the wall from the crack in the door, as the mass moved it slowly took the form of a bat like creature. Both guards turned around slowly as they thought they heard the growling of a monster, only to find themselves face to face with a large black bat like creature with large eyes. The creature let out an ear piercing howl and both guards dropped their weapons and ran for cover crying out like school children as the dove for chairs and desks to hide under.

    At this point Rain made a break for it as his shadow creation started to dissipate, it was too risky now to return the way he came. Rain chanted another incantation as he ran down the long hallway “Here, then gone like the mist.” He chanted disappearing into a black cloud of mist. Outside Maria sat and watched a butter fly as it fluttered from flower to flower in front of her “Wonder what’s taking Mr. Rain so long, he’s been gone for a half an hour.” Maria thought to herself “ I hope he’s ok.” Her thoughts were interrupted as a black cloud of mist slowly formed in front of her. Maria let out a squeal and fell back on her rear, “It’s just me.” She heard a familiar voice say. As soon as the black mist had come it was gone and standing in its place was Rain. “You scared me Mr. Rain!” Maria exclaimed as she jumped to her feet “I thought you were a rough coming to eat me!” she added. Rain let out a slight chuckle “I’m sorry.” He said “It wasn’t my intention to scare you.” He took Maria by the hand and led her off; “let’s find some where to stay for the night.” Rain said to Maria “I need some time to think up a plan to get Clara back, I have something that will be of much help.” He added holding up the scroll with the red handle. The sun was just setting behind the tall beige buildings giving them a pinkish glow, Rain and Maria had found a place to stay in a small inn near the middle of the city. From the window Maria could just make out the steeples of the church. Maria then turned her gaze back to the room its self and looked around, the room was small and had only one bed, a table, a small chair, a fire place and a tiny desk in the back of the room.

    It reminded her of the little inn she had stayed at with Rain when Clara had first joined them; Maria then looked to Rain who sat at the tiny wooden desk at the back of the room pouring over the map he had found down in the chambers. “Have you come up with a plan yet?” Maria asked. Rain sat back and looked over his shoulder at the bored little girl “Almost.” He replied. Maria got up off the windowsill and walked over to Rain and peered over his shoulder at the map. She watched his finger glide over the paper as he mapped out the streets and allies in a certain part of the city. Maria took a closer look at the map and above where rain had been gliding his finger mapping the streets, the words “Judicial district “were written over a small cluster of poorly drawn buildings. Could this be where Clara was?

    She continued to watch Rain read the map and watched as the light of a nearby candle danced across his face illuminating all the small details like the structure of his cheek bones. Maria noticed Rains face was very thin and he looked as though he hadn’t eaten in a while; come to think of it she had never really seen Rain eat since they met. “Would you like me to run to the market to get some food?” she asked him “You really should eat.” Rain shook his head “I’m fine.” He said looking down at the little girl and smiling, though he could tell she was concerned for him. “But you should go and get something for yourself.” He told Maria handing her some money. She sighed and reluctantly took the money from Rain, she had really wanted him to eat and build up his strength before going and rescuing Clara.

    “Be careful out there.” Rain said watching Maria head to the door. She turned and smiled to Rain “Don’t worry I will!” she said opening the door and stepping out. As Rain sat and continued to pour over the map after Maria had left, he could feel his eyelids getting heavy. It was a strange feeling as he had never actually felt tired before and before long his head was down on the desk and Rain was sound asleep. Suddenly Rain woke with a start, but when he woke up he was no longer in the little room at the inn. He looked around and found himself in a familiar place; the room was large with vaulted ceilings and a four post bed with a canopy. Where he had a woken was a large wooden oak desk that was painted white, the walls were decorated in expensive looking hard ware such as golden candle holders and red colored silk sheets with a strange emblem embroidered on them. Just then he felt a hand on his shoulder and heard the voice of a woman say “You shouldn’t fall asleep at your desk like that, it’s bad for your back.” That’s when Rain remembered the place in which he had a woken. He was in his old room at the palace before the rebellion and before the kingdom collapsed. The woman was his former lover Aria and she was smiling at him softly as he turned around to face her. Was this all a dream? Rain reached for’ Aria’s out stretched hand as she was helping him stand. But before he could say anything to the brunette blue eyed girl standing in front of him, there was a knock at his bedroom door.

    Rain’s eyes went wide “They know.” He breathed grabbing Aria by the hand and leading her to an opened window “You must go.” He told her “If you stay here they’ll kill you.” He helped her down the balcony and watched as she ran toward a small area of trees, Aria then turned back to Rain “I love you.” She says before turning and disappearing in to the trees. Just then there was a flash of lightning and a deafening clap of thunder and Rain woke with a jump, this time he was back in the inn and behind him Maria had just shut the door after returning with a bag of groceries. “Are you ok Mr. Rain?” She asked approaching him “You look paler than normal.” Rain turned to face Maria “I’m fine.” He replied “I just dozed off was all.” Maria looked up at Rain with concern; she could see how tired he was and how hard he had been working to devise a plan to save Clara.

    “Let’s rest for the night.” She said tugging on one of Rains sleeves. Rain looked away and sighed “You can get some rest.” He said “You need it more than I do.” He told the little girl. Maria sighed and walked over to the bag of groceries that she had brought back she reached inside and pulled out an apple and sat down on the bed taking a bite out of it. “Mr. Rain?” she asked as she took a bite of her apple “What do Vampires eat?” Rain stayed silent for a moment and then after a few moments spoke up “Blood.” He said turning to face her “We live on the blood of humans and sometimes animals.” He told her. Oddly enough Maria didn’t seem at all fazed by what Rain had told her, she stood up and walked over to the bag and pulled out a package with a few pieces of raw meat in it. “I bet you haven’t fed in a while.” She said opening the package.

    She then handed it to Rain and smiled “Here” she said “I know it’s not quite your taste since it’s not completely fresh but I hope this will make you feel better.” Rain took the package from Maria and looked at her smiling softly “You didn’t have too.” He said pulling the pink fleshy globs from their plastic and Styrofoam casing. He then placed his teeth on the most succulent part of the meat chunk and bit down lightly starting a mixed flow of meat juices and blood. Maria sat down in front of him with her apple and took a bite as she watched him eat. “He really was starving; I wonder why he hadn’t said anything to us.” She thought to herself “Maybe did he think we’d be afraid if he said anything?” Sometime had passed and by now Rain had sucked every last one of the little pinkish blobs of raw meat dry of any juices or blood.

    He placed the empty packaging on the desk next to him and turned back to the map, he looked it over one last time before rolling the map back up and placing it aside. He looked over his shoulder at Maria as he picked up the other scroll he had stolen from the church chambers, the scroll with the brown wooden handle. Rain saw that Maria had fallen asleep and turned back to his scroll he felt relieved that he wouldn’t have to explain this other scroll to her. Rain opened the scroll very carefully and placed it on the desk, on the scroll was a list of names and written across the top were the words “Refugees In/Out”. “These people must be the Refugees that fled here to Trinity during the rebellion.” Rain thought to himself as he sifted through the many names on the list. Then finally toward the bottom of the scroll he found a familiar name Aria Solstice. His eyes went wide “She was here.” He breathed silently as to not wake Maria. But he had also learned from the scroll that she had left Trinity just two years after the rebellion, she had been headed to a city fifty miles north of the city of Trinity called Bedlingdum.

    As Rain rolled the scroll back up he could hear birds chirping outside the windows, the sun would be up soon. Now was the perfect time to put his plan for saving Clara into action, while he still had the cover of darkness to protect him from prying eyes. Rain pulled his hood up on his cloak and gently lifted Maria from her bed; they wouldn’t be returning here once Clara was saved. He left the Inn and made his way quietly down the dark street; early morning fog had settled in and made for even better cover. It wasn’t long until Rain found himself standing in the middle of the judicial district. This was the part of the city where officials lived like Judges, police chiefs, and other’s that worked for the law. Rain made his way down a dark alleyway between two buildings; he slipped in and out of the shadows as he took his planned path. If Rain had made the right calculations he should at some point end up in the judges back yard and he was right after cutting through a few alleyways and courtyards Rain found himself standing in the back yard of what he believed was where the judge that had taken Clara as a captive to free him.

    Rain was looking up at a balcony, it was small and had two large windows that opened to a bedroom or so it seemed. Meanwhile inside Clara was sitting in an empty room by herself, she sat on the end of a medium sized bed with white sheets and a canopy. She hadn’t been able to sleep and couldn’t stop thinking about Rain; she had been wondering what happen to him after the trial. “I wonder if Rain will come for me.” She thought to herself. Outside Rain had placed a groggy Maria under a nearby tree so she could continue to sleep while he went after Clara, after placing Maria down he returned to the balcony and scanned around to make sure no one was watching. With very little effort he leaped from the ground and landed in a crouching position on the balcony railing, he stepped down making no sound and pressed his hand against the large window. “Locked” He hissed softly to himself he was annoyed knowing he would have to use black magic to unlock it.

    He ran his finger down the crack between the two oversized windows and chanted something, with that there was a clicking noise and the Window opened slightly. Inside Clara heard the clicking of the lock and sat up in bed her heart racing as she watched the window slowly open. Rain stepped in and looked over to her and smiled he was grateful to see that she was in one piece. Clara let out a squeak of joy as she got up and ran over to Rain hugging him around the neck “I knew you’d come.” She whispered her voice cracking a bit. “Stay quite.” He said in a low tone walking over to one of the tall dressers on the far side of the room. Rain opened the drawer on the bottom and reached in pulling out Clara’s tube top, short shorts, gloves, and cross bow. “Get dressed.” He said tossing her clothes at her and slinging her crossbow over his shoulder. Clara went bright red remembering that she was standing there in a frilly white night gown, she caught her clothes dropping her shorts and ran to the four post bed jumped on it and closed the canopy then preceded to get changed.

    Five minutes later she jumped off the bed and ran up to Rain “O.k. let’s go before the judge wakes up!” she exclaimed in a whisper. “You know.” Clara said as her and Rain made their way to the open window “That judge was a pervert.” She said “He told me as soon as I was old enough he’d marry me.” She added shuttering. “It’s no wonder I wanted to kill him when he smiled at you the way he did back at the court house.” Rain said half smiling “I would have too.” Just as they got to the balcony there was a click sound and a stream of light flooded under the bedroom door. “Oh no.” Clara breathed “He’s heard us!” Rain grabbed Clara around the waist and threw himself off the balcony landing in some bushes below. They jumped from the bushes and ran over to Maria as fast as they could; she was still asleep as Rain gently picked her up again. Rain slung Clara on to his back “Hold on tight.” He said jumping into a nearby tree.

    Before long they were jetting down an empty path, things were passing Clara so fast that everything looked like grayish green blobs. The sky a head of them was turning a pale blue color as the sun was slowly beginning to rise, “I’m sure those peace core idiots will be on us soon.” Rain said as he dashed down the empty path cradling Maria in one arm and using the other to keep Clara on his back. Before long they had made their way back on the city streets, Rain stopped for a moment to get his bearings and in doing so gave Clara sometime to look around. Now Clara realized that the grayish green blobs that had been whipping past them as they ran were trees, they over hung a dirt path which had led them to the main road. “How was it that Rain knew of the dirt path?” she wondered looking down at Rain as she clung to his back “It’s like he memorized an entire map of the city short cuts in all.”

    Suddenly Rain was off again down the main road still running at amazing speed, the buildings that whizzed past them looked like sand colored smudges in the dim grayish light of early morning. Clara recognized the main road only when they had passed the oversized church, she knew now that Rain was headed for the city gates he must have planned to leave the city once she was safely back with him. Just as they were approaching the gates Clara noticed something “Rain they’re closing the gates!” she exclaimed pointing a head. “They intend to trap us here.” She added “What do we do?” Rain looked around weighing his options before he replied to Clara “We’ve only got one option.” He said still running at full speed toward the closing gates which took three men on each gate to close. “Oh yeah what’s that?” Clara said starting to panic. “We jump it!” Rain exclaimed “Hold on tight!” Clara’s eyes went wide “WHAT!” she yelled wrapping herself tightly around Rain’s neck and waist. Just then two large bat wings suddenly appeared protruding from Rain’s back catching the wind as he ran. “Wings?” Clara questioned her sanity as she looked down at black bat wings flapping powerfully next to her. “Let’s see how you Idiots like this!” Rain called out launching himself into the air mere feet from the gate “We’re flying!” Clara cried out in both fear and excitement.

    “Rain you did it!” Clara cried out hugging him tightly as they soared higher into the now orangey red-ish sky. But Clara’s excitement would be short live as a bullet nearly grazed her head “Whoa!” she cried out “They’ve opened fire on us!” Rain weaved from side to side trying to dodge the incoming bullets. “Keep your head down!” he told Clara weaving sharply to dodge a barrage of bullets. Clara lay flat on Rain’s back watching as bullets grazed by them missing by mere inches. Just then Clara saw a large caliber bullet heading straight at Rain’s side and before she had a chance to warn him it hit and it hit hard. Rain let out a blood curdling scream and they began to plummet toward the ground “Rain!” Clara cried “ Raaaaaiinnnn!” there was a loud cracking sound as Rain crash landed into a cluster of trees , at the last second Rain grabbed Clara off his back turned over in midair and held both her and Maria close to his chest breaking their fall as they fell through the trees and hit the ground.

    For a while all was silent and dark, all three of them Maria, Clara, and Rain lay motionlessly on the cold hard ground. “Am I dead?” Clara thought as she lay unmoving “No I can’t be, let me try moving my hand.” She thought to herself. Clara’s hand twitched “Ok I’m not dead.” She continued to think “But is Rain?” She slowly attempted to move her body and slowly sat up, she felt as though she had been hit by one of those steam powered cars like the one she rode in to the inn after Rain was arrested. Head pounding she turned herself over on her stomach and pushed herself up on her knees, she felt something soft beneath her and looked down to find herself kneeling on Rain’s chest. “Rain!” she exclaimed placing a hand on his face. “Rain please get up! Are you Ok?” she begged. She then turned to find Maria lying right beside Rain. “Maria!” she crawled over and sat her up gently “Please be ok” she pleaded “Please get up.”

    Maria stirred and opened her eyes “Clara?” she asked looking up at her “Thank god you’re alright.” Clara breathed. “Where is Mr. Rain?” she asked groggily peering over Clara’s shoulder. “He’s hurt bad.” Clara told her “Really bad.” Maria’s eyes went wide as she pushed herself away from Clara “What are we gonna do?” Maria said looking over at Rains lifeless body. “I’m not sure.” Clara said crawling over to Rain “But we have to stop his bleeding.” She added. Maria crawled over to Rain and knelt down next to him “We don’t have any bandages.” She said looking worriedly at Clara, Clara looked around for anything they could use but there was nothing until she caught site of the white dress the Maria was wearing. “Your dress!” Clara said quickly “Pull off some fabric from your dress we can use that.” She told Maria who then quickly ripped a piece of fabric from the very bottom of her dress. She handed it to Clara who slowly lifted Rains black shirt he had been wearing under his cloak; she gently wrapped the piece of fabric around Rain’s middle and bound it tightly. “I hope this will hold.” Clara said gently pulling Rain’s shirt back down. “What are we gonna do now?” Maria asked sitting down next to Clara and pulling her knees to her chin. “We can’t go back to the city for help; they’ll kill Rain for sure.” She added.

    Clara looked around helplessly “I’m not sure.” She said looking up at the trees “I’m really not sure.” Clara then leaned down to Rain and placed her head on his chest “Thank you Rain.” She whispered “Once again you’ve saved mine and Maria’s lives; I doubt there is anything I can do to repay this debt.” She whispered. As she lay there with her head on his chest she could hear him breathing, at least with this she knew he was still alive but for how long? Some time had passed from what Clara could tell from the suns position it had been quite a few hours, both girls did their best to keep Rain shaded from the sun as it began to poke though gaps in the trees.

    Clara and Maria lay listening to the sound of the wind as it rustled the trees around them, every so often checking up on Rain. “I want to find help for him.” Clara thought looking Rain over “But I have no idea where we are and the only place I know nearby is the city of trinity, and we can’t go back there.” Clara felt more helpless then she ever had in her whole life, she was watching someone she cared about die right in front of her and Maria, she couldn’t help but think what would happen to Maria if Rain were to die. All seemed hopeless, that is until Clara and Maria both heard what they believed was something climbing through the trees.

    “Who’s there!?” Clara shouted out in to the trees reaching for her cross bow, there was nothing but silence at first until Maria let out a tiny scream and grabbed on to Clara’s arm pointing where Rain lay. Someone was stooped over him, looking him over. They wore a dark colored cloak and from the body shape Clara and Maria could both tell it was female. “What do you want with him?” Clara asked sternly. “I can help.” The woman in the cloak said looking down at Rain, it was strange as when the woman spoke she kept her voice at a whisper as if afraid some might over hear her. “Are you sure?” Clara questioned the strange woman. Just then there was a sound somewhere far out in the distance, it sounded like voices yelling between each other with a few dog barks thrown in.

    The woman’s head snapped up and she turned toward the noise for a moment, and then turned back to Clara and Maria “We must go.” She whispered harshly “They’re looking for you.” At first Clara was confused, but then it hit her. The people firing the shots as they left the city were coming to finish Rain off. The woman scurried over to Rain and lifted him underneath his arms and began to drag him off “Follow me.” She said her voice slightly rising from its usual whisper. The girls followed after her reluctantly, Clara clutching her cross bow incase she’d have to fend off this strange person. The woman in the cloak led the girls down a narrow wooded path, “Don’t worry.” The woman assured them “Those peace core morons won’t find you here.” At the end of the path stood and old rickety house, the paint was pealing of the door and sides of the old house and just above the half broken front door there was a small broken window. “This used to be a travel lodge before the city sprang up here.” The woman told the girls as she fought with the old battered door which swung from one hinge.
    “They won’t think to look here.”
    Clara and Maria followed her as she hulled Rain inside, Clara noticed the woman struggling with the door and grabbed it so it wouldn’t swing shut on her as she battled to drag Rain’s lifeless body in the house. As they walked in Maria and Clara took in the site of the inside of the battered old house, inside wasn’t much better than the outside there were all kinds of things thrown about the floor; trash, books, papers, old clothes, and there wasn’t much left of the carpet either. “Sorry.” The woman apologized as she laid Rain down in a makeshift bed made out of an old mattress and some sheets. “It isn’t much to look at but at least it’s safe here.” She added looking back at the girls. “Oh no it’s fine.” Clara said with a smile “I’m just glad you helped us.”

    The woman waved Clara off “I couldn’t just leave a fellow vampire to die by the hands of those peace core fools.” She replied “It was the least I could do.” Both Clara and Maria went wide eyed “You’re a vampire?” they both said in unison. The woman let out a chuckle “Yeah and?” she said sarcastically “Is that a bad thing?” she added. “Oh no not at all!” Clara quickly said “It’s just every vampire I’ve ever met except for Rain always wanted to eat us.” Clara explained. The woman stood up “It’s because they’re roughs.” The woman said curtly “Real vampires would never kill a human unless it’s justified.” She added “It’s against the code.”

    “What’s the code?” Maria asked the woman “I didn’t know vampires followed a code.” The woman sighed as she reached up and pulled down her hood revealing long blonde hair and blue eyes, her face was thin and her skin pale much like Rains by all standards she was a remarkable looking woman. “The code was a set of rules placed down by the kings of eight many years ago.” She told Maria. “Those who are still loyal to the old Kingdome still live by these rules and by the looks of it your friend here must live by those same rules.” She added motioning toward Rain. “Wait the kings of eight?” Clara questioned “The old Kingdome? But wouldn’t that make you over a thousand years old?” she asked.

    “Yes in fact it would.” The woman answered taking off her cloak and draping it over Rain “I would assume your friend here is in the same age range as me as well.” She added. Clara looked down at Rain “You think he’s really that old?” she asked “Do you think he remembers anything from back then?” The woman too then cast her eyes down to Rain “I’m sure he does.” She said solemnly as if she could feel a sadness that Clara could not. The woman sat down on the floor next to the make shift bed, she cleared away some of the trash so the girls could sit with her she patted the floor beckoning them to sit. Clara was the first to sit next to her followed by Maria who sat next to Clara, “So what’s your name?” Clara asked the woman “And why are you living in such a rundown place?” The woman ran a hand through her long blond hair and a thin smile ran across her lips “The name’s Simon vanguard.” She said “ And I hunt problem roughs, and it really isn’t a line of business that would make you a good amount of money, but at least it puts bread on the table even if I have to live in a shattered old house like this one.” She replied.

    “So what about you two?” Simon asked the girls, “What brought you here all the way to the city of trinity?” Clara sighed and reached into her shoulder bag she had been wearing and produced the old worn book she had found hidden behind a loose brick in the church tower. “I came here looking for this.” She said holding up the book “As for Rain I’m not really sure what brought him here.” Clara added motioning toward Rains lifeless body. “I see.” Simon said as she turned her gaze to Maria “And what about you small fry? What brings you here?” Maria looked up at Simon and wrinkled her nose “My names Maria not small fry.” She protested “and I’m only here because of Rain.” She said.

    “Take it easy kid I was just fooling around.” Simon laughed. She then turned to Clara “and so kid what’s your name?” she asked her. “Clara and just so you know I’m not a kid, I’m one year older then the legal drinking limit.” She replied a little offended. “Geez can’t either of you two take a joke; anyways it’s nice to meet both of you.” Simon said with a slight chuckle. Simon then stood up and walked over to the other side of the room dodging piles of trash as she did so, she grabbed a few glass cups from a rickety table that was nearby and turned to the girls “Well what’s mine is yours, you can stay as long as you like.” She said with a warm smile. Now that Simon was standing up Clara noticed what she had been wearing under her cloak, a tight fitting black t-shirt, skin tight brown pants with a black belt and on each of her sides she carried a holster each with a sliver 35. Caliber pistol in it.

    “She must really take her job seriously.” Clara thought to herself as she stared at the guns hanging from Simons hips. A few minutes later Simon came back from somewhere farther back in the house with three cups of water “ I don’t have any fancy drinks to offer you, so I guess water is the next best thing right?” she said jokingly and handing both Clara and Maria cups. “Thanks.” Both girls said taking the cups. Simon looked Clara over “So I’m guessing by the cross bow you’re a vampire hunter too?” Simon asked. “Yeah “Clara replied taking a sip of water “It was my dad’s cross bow, he entrusted it to me before he and my mother disappeared.” She told Simon. “Really?” Simon said sounding a little interested “What clan do you hail from? If you don’t mind me asking.” Simon questioned.
    “The cross blades.” Clara answered placing her cup down. “Very interesting.” Simon said putting a hand to her chin “I worked alongside the cross blades for a while many years ago.” She said staring off into space “Those were better days by far.” This made Clara perk up “You worked alongside my clan?” she asked amazed. “Sure did.” Simon replied “They were nice people, before I left to go out on my own they had been working alongside another clan from the north known as the sliver blades to catch a seriously strong rough.” She added. Clara looked up still amazed “The Silver blades were the clan that Maria’s late parents hailed from.” Clara said her eyes wide. “What happened to them?” Simon asked. Maria spoke up “They died in a fire when I was only three, Mr. Rain saved me.” She told Simon. “I see I’m sorry.” She apologized.

    “It’s fine.” Maria said with a smile “Rain treats me pretty good.” Simon smiled down at Maria and placed a hand on her head “Well I’m glad then.” She said. For a while the girls sat and spoke, until Simon finally stood up and stretched. “It’s about time we took a look at your friend’s wounds.” She said lifting her arms over her head with her palms facing outward. “I guess” Clara said uneasily she really didn’t want to see how bad Rain’s wound was nor did she want to hear what Simon might say. “What if Rain doesn’t make it?” Clara thought to herself “What if he dies? What will happen to Maria?” as her brain filled with these thoughts she hadn’t noticed that Simon had already made her way to Rain and was sitting beside him. “Hey kid.” Simon said in a soft tone “You ok?” she asked looking at Clara who had seemly froze in a half sitting half kneeling position.

    Clara shook her head to try and drive the thoughts away “Who me?” she said “I’m fine.” She lied trying to hide the fact that she was worried about Rain. Clara stood up and made her way opposite of Simon and sat across from her so that there were sitting face to face kneeling over Rain. Simon then reached down and gently lifted Rains black blood soaked shirt, “Did you put this makeshift bandage on him?” Simon asked slowly peeling off the white piece of cloth the girls had used to try and patch Rain’s injury. “Yeah we did.” Clara replied looking down at Rain still trying to hide the worry that was now visible in her eyes. “Anything to stop the bleeding.” Clara added. “Not bad.” Simon said removing the last of the make shift bandage “Smart thinking on your part.”

    “Thanks” Clara said as she watched the last of the bandage come loose. Finally now able to see Rains injury Simon could see just how bad it really was. “That must have been one mighty big bullet.” She said looking the wound over “It’s lodged it’s self in there pretty good.” She added. “Will Rain be ok?” Clara asked watching Simon. “It might be in his best interest to dislodge it.” Simon replied “He’ll have a better chance of recovering then.” Clara nodded “Ok” she said in a low tone as if she thought she would disturb Rain. “But how do we get it out?” Clara asked. Simon looked up at her with her pale blue eyes “I’ve got just the thing, I’ll be right back.” She said quickly getting up and disappearing in to the back of the house again. Clara could hear the sound of junk being tossed around; Simon was obviously looking for something back there but what? “What is she doing?” Maria asked also listening to the sound of trash being tossed around. “She said she had just the thing to get the bullet out of Rains side.” Clara answered her. “It must be buried under all the junk she has in here.” Just then the sound of moving trash stopped and was replaced by the sound of food steps as Simon made her back to where Rain lay, she was reduced to a shuffle as she made her way back to Clara holding a medium sized medical kit “ I always try and keep one of these handy.” She said now dropping the heavy kit down on the floor next to Rain “With the line of work I do I never know when I’m going to need It.” she added opening the medical kit. Clara look on in awe at the size of the medical kit, it wasn’t like the little ones she had grown accustom to seeing while working at her grandfather’s Inn. To her it seemed like it had everything a person would need to treat every kind of injury possible.

    Simon dug around in it for a few minutes then produced a roll of ace bandages, some cotton to put under the bandages to absorb any blood, a needle, a spool of very thin thread, and a scalpel which actually had not come with the kit but that Simon had bought separately just for this very kind of situation. “Clara I’m going to need you to hold down his arms.” She said her tone now serious. Clara looked up and nodded positioning herself so that now she was sitting behind Rains head; she leaned over him lacing her fingers around his arms and pressing down with all her weight. Simon then turned to Maria “You should probably go wait outside, I’m not sure you should see this.” She said calmly. Maria stood up and nodded “You’re probably right.” She said a little reluctantly and headed for the door “I’ll stay on the front step is that ok?” Maria asked. “That’s fine.” Simon replied with a warm smile. “and don’t worry Rain will be fine.” She assured Maria. With that Maria felt a little bit better and went outside.

    As soon as Simon knew Maria was out of the room she picked up the scalpel and looked to Clara “You ready?” she asked. “Yes.” Clara replied quickly. Simon bent down and began to cut into Rains wound, she didn’t know how far she’d have to go before finding the bullet she just knew by looking at the wound that the bullet had not exited. Clara looked down at Rains faces trying not to watch Simon, it made her feel queasy knowing what was happening. She could feel Rains arms tensing up under her fingers, could he feel what was happening? “I’m sorry.” She whispered “But we have to get that thing out if you’re going live, be strong ok?” she said “It will be over soon I promise.”

    “Ok now comes the difficult part.” Simon said finally sitting back up after some time “ I can see the bullet now, but I’m going to have to reach in with my fingers and try to dislodge it that way.” She told Clara “Hold him down as best you can.” She added. Simon reached in to the wound with her index finger and her thumb “I can feel it.” she mumbled under her breath “Now if I can only get it in the right position…” Rain let out a groan as Simon tried to position the little piece of rounded metal. “Rain hang in there.” Clara said softly “Just a little longer I promise.” Just then Simon shifted a little “Got it!” she said and pulled it out as quickly as possible. Rain screamed in pain as Simon pulled the bullet from his side, “It’s out! It’s out!” Clara shouted over Rains screams and taking his head in her arms.
    “It’s ok.” She whispered to Rain “It’s out it’s over.” She gently stroked the side of his head now having let go of Rain. Simon finished up cleaning and stitching up the wound, she wrapped the cotton and ace bandage around Rains torso. “There” she sighed “That should do it.” Simon got up and went to the door to let Maria know she could come back in. Maria came back in and sat next to Rain who seemed to have fallen asleep after his ordeal. “He’s gonna be ok now right?” she asked looking between Simon and Clara. “Yes.” Simon answered “he should recover nicely.” Simon bent down and picked up the bullet that had once been lodge in Rain’s side and looked at it intensely “I know I’ve seen this type of bullet before.” She thought to herself “She removed a rubber glove from one hand, rubber gloves she had been wearing when she had been pulling the bullet out of Rain; “Ouch!” there was a sizzling sound and Simon had dropped the little piece of metal on to the floor.

    Clara looked up in alarm “are you ok?” she asked watching Simon closely. “I’m fine.” Simon answered shaking her hand like someone would have done after banging it on something. “What happened?” Maria asked concerned. “That bullet” Simon began “It’s a holy bullet.” Maria tilted her head to the side “ A holy bullet?” she questioned. “Yes” Simon replied “It’s a bullet soaked in holy water, they are one of the most efficient way of killing problem vampire.” She told Maria “That’s why Rain was hurt as badly as he was had that been a regular bullet he would have recovered by now.” She added looking down at her hand which now had a small red patch in the middle of it. “Man, the city of trinity means business with those bullets.” Simon thought to herself.