Faladay was easy. Maybe too easy. Like Dahner, he relied too heavily on the human element. I am wondering if all the outlying generals are the same. Do they really believe that humans will be able to successfully defend them from the likes of me?
Marych falls just as easily. So does Merluch. I am truly disappointed. I was looking for a challenge from these legendary vampire generals.
I send the freed slaves north into the wastes and west to the missions. My mission has gone quicker than I expected. I only have one more to go before I take on Tobler. I hope Lysych isn’t as easy. I need a challenge.
As I draw near to the fortress, I hear war horns. Undergrounders! Dear Lord! What are they doing here?
I top the hill and am met by a general. “Halt, Young lady. Where do you think you’re going?”
“I am headed for that fortress.” I am adamant.
“And why, may I ask?” He is too demanding.
I throw down the bag with the five vampire swords. “This is why. I can end your battle quickly. I only want his head. And his sword.”
“You must be the one leaving the trail of piked heads and burned out fortresses.” He looks over at me and smiles. “Kalkolides will not be happy with the progress you’ve made. But I applaud you.”
“If you so wish, you can help me retake Topeka as well, General.” I look over at him. “Someone is going to have to rehabilitate the slaves we find. Oh. and a word of caution. Leave no familiar alive. You cannot rehabilitate them. They are in the thrall of the suck-heads. Most filter back to Kalkolides anyway.”
“Advice noted.” He tries to hide a smile. “And invitation accepted. May I ask your name?”
“Cris.” I turn back to the fighting. “But they know me as the Angel of Death.”
“Then I shall send orders for a brief cease fire so you can slip inside.” He is eager for this to be over.
“Just shift the fighting to elsewhere. Make them shift to a different side.” I look at him. “I will slip in where they are the weakest. And will go to the very heart of the problem.”
He smiles. “Done.” He calls an aid over and passes him the orders. I look over out of curiosity. Attack east wall. He turns back to me. “Skirt the complex south and breach their defense there. They should shift half their defense there. Good luck.”
I nod. I leave and go southward. I take to the shadows and skirt the fortress. I wait for the renewed attacks to begin. As I do, I find a neglected breach in the walls. I enter unseen.
I keep to the shadows. The bleeders are everywhere. All rushing to the same spot. The east wall. I enter the armory and slaughter hundreds of them. I pass into the garrison and massacre those still in there as well. I set the buildings on fire as I pass through them.
I enter the great hall. Lysych sits upon his throne. Closely guarded by more bleeders. I shake my head.
“Shouldn’t they be out there dying with the rest?” I challenge his decision.
He scowls. “Why? They were trained to be my personal guard. Not to fight lowborn terrorists such as the Underground.”
“So you would rather see them die at the hands of someone like me?” I smile grimly.
“Oh, they will not die, Angel. You shall. Get her!” he roars his command.
“As you wish.” I draw my swords.
The whole pack charges at once. I begin my Danse Macabre as they come within reach of my blades. He begins to laugh.
“Just like a whirling dervish!” He claps his hands. “Good show! I haven’t seen one of those in millennia!”
He stops laughing when he realizes his guards are all dead. I look at him. “Don’t expect any of your soldiers to come running. Those not fighting are already dead.”
“How dare you!” He has finally lost his cool. “You shall pay!”
I merely shake my head. I have heard braver souls utter those words. And they are now dead. He steps forward and brings his sword up. But it is already too late.
His head falls to the floor. Followed by his body. I stoop and pick his head up as well as his sword. As I leave, I see one of the wounded guards move.
“You will do nicely.” I pull him to his feet. I hand him the head. “Take this to Tobler.” He nods and runs. As fast as he can.
A great cheer erupts outside. The battle is over. I exit the great hall. Back out into the fresh air. We open the slave pens and free them all.
I look at the general. “Can you spare a small detachment to ensure they get to the missions?”
He looks back at me. “If it means them making it safely, yes.”
I smile. “Then please do so. Send them north then west. Perhaps they will find the rest that I sent on that route.”
He nods, then disappears. I grab a torch and toss it into the great hall. It ignites as if I had poured kerosene over the bodies.
We are nearing Topeka. Soon, we will confront Tobler. And his main army. But there is something strange about our trek. We have entered a city not on my map. The invisible city. Yet, these people seem friendly to us. But are they? Or is it a front? An illusion.
I am not so sure that they mean well. But I cannot prove otherwise. I only hope it isn’t a trap.
The general orders that his men keep moving. No stopping. Not here. There is no time.
Good. We won’t be tricked that way. He even refuses to accept food stuffs. Or clothes. I applaud him.
Dark days lay ahead. We will need every man we have. And then some. I only hope that we emerge with everybody from this. Only time will tell.