Three Marlenas: Chapter Eighteen Of “Bounty Hunter”

As war rages in the streets of Topeka, I move forward with purpose. Any who get in my way die. I am headed for what had been the headquarters of the Overland Petroleum Industries. It was from here that the vampires began their systematic takeover. It is from here that Tobler masterminds every raid and takeover now. I smile sadly as I think how little the original owners really knew of their supposed allies. I wonder what happened to them.

Did Kalkolides and Tobler freeze their assets? What a play on words. Same with liquidation of investments. Sad. The human owners could have had much more. But they trusted the devil.

Or maybe they thought they could cheat the devil. But the vampires were never the kind of beings that you could ever cheat. Not even the “join ’em then beat ’em” ideal could ever work. Once joined with them, you are their slave. Nothing more.

the Alliance makes its way from street to street. And from building to building. I hear vampires cries as they die. And the cries of the bleeders. But none of it makes me pause.

“Where do you think you are going?” I turn to see a woman–no, a vampire–approaching. “You cannot go behind this point. No one is allowed to see the general without express orders.”

I turn and face her. My swords drawn. “Draw and fight. Or move.”

She draws. “You will pay for your insolence. You do not know who you are messing with.”

“What are you going to do? Fight? Or bore me to death?”

She screams in anger. “No one talks to Marlena Von Arkus like That!”

I look at her. “And that means what to me?”

She lunges at me. Definitely not a warrior. If she was, she wouldn’t be bringing fists to a knife fight. I easily knock the sword out of her hand. From there, she tries to overpower me physically. I swing. Her head goes flying. Her body falls.

I do not bother looking for her head. I continue toward my destination. I cut my way through masses of bleeders. Their pitiful armor protects nothing.

I make a good distance before the second female vampire tries to block my way. “No one is allowed here! Who do you think you are breaking the general’s orders?”

I smile. “I do not take orders from your general.”

“Everyone takes orders from the general! Even his enemies!” She rushes me, drawing her sword. “I will teach you to heed and obey!”

I block her first attack. Our blades lock. Our eyes lock. I smile.

“And exactly who are you?” I half whisper my question.

“I am Marlena Valeria Romanof. Daughter of the great Romanof!” She puffs up proudly.

“You’ll die just like your human counterparts. You know this, don’t you?” I am still smiling.

We break and she staggers back. She makes a mistake and I take her head as well. I do not bother picking it up. Rather, I continue on. I finally arrive at the OPI building. I shatter the doors.

Hordes of bleeders pour from every main floor door. And even from the elevator. I cut through them as if they weren’t even there. I head for the stairs.

I battle my way up the stairwell. Screams precede me as wounded bleeders fall from lofty heights. Followed by thuds as they hit bottom. Or whang as their heads hit the metal railing on the way down. Either way, they are dead when they hit bottom.

At the penthouse level, I am met by a third vampire woman. “Let me guess. Marlena.”

“Si.” She is a silent one. She merely draws her sword and circles. This one knows how to duel. Marlena De Leonne. I have heard rumors of her.

She brings it. I go on the defense. I smile, also. She is good.

“The other two weren’t so hot.” I am trying to goad her.

“They were pampered royalty.” Her thick Spanish accent is intoxicating. “I am the daughter of a conquistador.”

“Murderers in their own right.” I am still trying to raise her ire.

“They were great men. All savage devils had to be destroyed. Do not defame my father and his legions.” She is indignant.

“Right. And being a vampire makes you more righteous.” I glare at her. “So self-righteous. Full of yourself. Your father came over here to find gold. To make Spain rich. A matter of national greed.”

“But he found much more. He found the fountain of youth.” She is still stubbornly trying to ignore the truth of what her father really was.

“Oh, yes. He traded being one type of monster for being another.” I push harder.

It works. she finally loses control to her rage. I remain cool. She is now blundering through our battle.

I silently mourn her. Such a beautiful woman. But an ugly, misguided heart. Darkened by millennia of wrong views and ignorant beliefs. On all levels.

She also loses her head. Literally. I kick her body through the stairwell door. I hear it hit every step to the first landing.

I head on down the hall toward the penthouse door. I try the telepathic thing again. this time, I focus on the door and try to see if it also includes telekinesis. I want to open that door.

The door doesn’t just open. It explodes in a massive shower of splinters. I hear screams of agony. Must have been someone in front of it.

“Interesting.” A husky German accent comes to my ears. “Never saw that happen before. Must be a Chosen with untrained powers coming.” An evil laugh follows.

“I am no Chosen.” I stop short. “I am the Angel of Death.”

“Yes, yes.” He steps into the doorway. He is a massive wall of vampire. He must have spent millennia on those massive muscles. “I am Tobler. I was when Attila ruled the eastern lands. I was his second in command. My name has long been forgotten, but my might has not.”

What a windbag. I am already dying from boredom. “Are you done, barbarian?” I smile.

A roar escapes his lips. I must have hit a nerve with the barbarian comment. He launches himself at me. I launch myself into the air. I flip over his head and slash criss-cross with my swords from behind. I hear him gurgle. Then there are a couple of thumps.

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