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CHAPTER TWO

ー ⊰ ✟ ⊱ ー

THE BARD'S TALE

Nosferatu chapter 2 N.A.E: Welcome

| Elvin |

Elvin flew out of the tavern's wide-open door, grasping his beloved lute against his chest. His pecan-brown hair was scattered with pieces of rotten tomato and peanut shells, and as the crowd inside hollered in revolt, he pouted sadly.

"You don't know a good story when you hear it!" he yelled, shaking his fist.

"Get lost!" the doorman shouted, pulling the door shut.

Alone on the street, Elvin scowled sullenly. He had so many other things he could say, but what was the point of wasting his breath? No one wanted to hear his stories; nobody wanted to hear the truth about the vampires they shared Dor-Sanguis with. He was the only one that could tell that story...but he'd not give another second to the hapless drunks inside that establishment.

As he ruffled his hair with his hand and shook the food from it, he turned around and walked down the cold, lantern-lit cobblestone street. He pulled his feather-tipped hat from his inside pocket, and once he put it on, he glanced up at the star-filled sky. He admired the array of beautiful colours spread throughout it as a result of the six brightly glowing moons. The mixture of purple, red, blue, and gold shined like sunlight through a stained-glass window, and if there was anything Elvin found beautiful in this world of darkness and misery, it was that. 

He looked up and down the road, but there wasn't a single person in sight. The quietness sent a shiver down his spine, and he didn't know where he was going. He thought he'd be in the tavern much longer than he was, and for all he knew, it could be hours before it was time to meet Alucard.

A small school of shimmering, silver fish swam around the lantern he was approaching. What were they doing out now? Skyfish didn't descend past the clouds unless it was raining. Was it going to rain soon? That was the last thing he needed. His hat wouldn't keep his head dry and he'd surely catch a cold.

He started thinking about the tavern again, and it made a sour scowl warp his face. "I'm better than all the other bards," he told himself as he turned left at the crossroad. "All they sing about is nonsense about some ugly lady and her stupid man friend. No one wants to hear about that. Stupid love stories. Stupid bard. Stupid tavern. They should be pining after my stories!" He looked back over his shoulder as the wind raced past him, almost swiping the hat from his head. "I'm talented," he muttered, pouting.

His words hadn't gone unheard. He sharply turned his head to stare ahead as a low growl ruptured the night's ominous quiet. The bard frowned and gripped his lute tightly, watching a pair of dim yellow eyes shimmer in the dark alley across the road. He tensed up and dropped his instrument as he screamed in horror, but before Elvin could flee, a blurred beast burst out of the shadows and crashed into him, pinning him against the wall. The bard let out a hysterical screech, and the wolfish monster snarled ferociously in his face.

Elvin whimpered and cried as he tried to escape the monster's grip. He knew he couldn't do anything, though. What was a measly little human going to do against a werewolf?

Suddenly, the sound of slicing metal silenced the beast. Blood exploded from the wolf's neck, spraying all over Elvin's revolted face, and as the creature's head slid off its body, Elvin squirmed around in revolt.

The beast hit the ground, and as a river of red oozed down the street, the bard frantically dragged his hands over his face, trying to wipe the blood away. But then, he gritted his teeth in anger; he turned his head sharply and set his eyes on his saviour. "You always do this to me!" he exclaimed, stumbling back as he glared at the ice-pale man who stood with the dead beast at his feet and a bloody rapier in his right hand. While Elvin stood a mere five-foot-five, this man towered above six feet tall.

Alucard took his hellish eyes off the beast and glared over at Elvin. The light of the lanterns shone oddly on his red-as-blood hair, which fell to his jaw in length, tied loosely behind his head—much like Elvin's. A small, gold-looped earring shimmered in his right, sharply pointed ear, and an irritated look clung to his pale face. He flicked his sword, banishing the beast's blood from its blade before sheathing it at his side.

Elvin shuddered in fear, wrapping his arms around himself. "What the heck was it doing here?!"

"Your guess is as good as mine," Alucard grumbled. His accent was thick, and he spoke much faster than anyone else Elvin knew. Alucard didn't hail from the same land as him, but he had been around him so long that he understood every word.

"W-what if there's more?!" he shrieked, looking up and down the road.

"There are no more."

Elvin trusted him. He let his arms hang at his sides, stared down at the headless beast for a moment...and then gulped, looking over at Alucard. "R-right...okay, well...thank you, I guess."

"What are you doing out here? I told you to stay in the tavern."

He scoffed and muttered, "They kicked me out, that's what."

Alucard smirked amusedly.

The bard huffed in frustration. "You hate my stories, too, don't you? You should thank me, you know. I go out of my way to try and tell people your real story. The people here aren't so open to this whole 'become allies with the humans' thing you got going on with the city."

"And do they listen?" Alucard asked, stepping away from the headless wolf.

He pouted stubbornly. "No."

"Then, I suggest you find a new hobby," he said, glancing down at Elvin's shattered lute.

Only just coming to notice his precious instrument had suffered in its fall, Elvin screeched hysterically and dropped to his knees beside it. "Why must I suffer so greatly this horrific night?!"

"You grieve for your lute, yet it doesn't matter that you almost became something's food?"

Elvin looked up at him. "I almost become something's food every night, Vuuren," he said with a scowl.

"That isn't my fault. You were the one that chose to follow me around," he mumbled, shrugging as he watched the bard climb to his feet.

Wiping his trousers, Elvin sighed. "How else am I supposed to write a story?" he asked, walking beside Alucard as he led the way up the street, leaving the dead wolf on the roadside. Elvin glanced back at it and frowned. "And you're gonna leave that there? In the forest, sure, but here in the middle of the road?"

"My people will come and get rid of it," he said dismissively. "No one is going to listen when you try to tell the better side of a story that has forever been told as a tale of horror and murder," he continued. "The people in this town can hate my plan all they want—it is happening, whether they like it or not. As for your story, if it means so much to you, have you not thought about making it about someone else?"

"Well, you convinced the city to live with vampires, so I'm sure this place will come around eventually. And why would I want to write about anyone else? You're the greatest man I've come to meet! Where else in this boring world do you think I could find someone like Alucard, the son of a Numen; Vuuren, The Vampire Lord of the night, Vlad, the first monster to walk the land in the body of a man!" he sang. "There's no one else out there I could ever possibly want to write about."

Alucard rolled his eyes in response. "That's not what I meant; my name has been spoken ill of for too many centuries. Write about me, but give me a new name."

Elvin pointed at him as his eyes filled with astonishment. "You're right! No one would be none the wiser. But what to call you...A...something," he said, tapping his chin. "I'll think of the greatest name! I would call you Alucard—"

Alucard scowled in hostility.

"But...you don't let anyone call you that. It's either 'Vuuren' or 'my lord'."

Sighing, Alucard shook his head. "Just...leave the backstory out, huh?"

"Why? Your past is what got you to where you are now; how could I take that out?"

"Because it doesn't need to be known," he snarled.

The bard hung his head in shame. "Yeah, you're right." Then, he glanced back over his shoulder at the headless wolf. With his fear returning, he looked up at Alucard. "What do you think that wolf was doing here? They've not been brave enough to come out of the forests in weeks."

"I don't know. I will find out, though. The last thing I need right now is for them to become a pain in my ass again."

Elvin nodded. "Yeah. Maybe Tobias can help." He looked up at him, waiting for him to respond, but when he didn't, the bard swiftly changed the subject. "Did you get your things done for tonight? The things you refuse to tell me about."

"Da."

That meant yes. "So...will you tell me about them now?"

He didn't reply.

"Tell me...please?" he pleaded.

"No."

Elvin frowned irritably. "You never tell me anything."

Alucard looked over at him and sighed. "I killed a werewolf Alpha for someone, and then Damien summoned me to meet him."

"Oh, Damien, huh?" he asked with a look of angst smothering his once eager face. Even the slightest mention of that man discomforted him. "What did you have to do? Meet someone again? Even more werewolf stuff? Or...Diabolus?"

"The first one," the vampire said, glaring ahead as they followed a dirt path out of the town and towards a small forest.

The bard eyed him sceptically. "Did you...have a date, Vuuren?"

"What?" he snapped, looking over at him. "I don't care what it was."

A nervous laugh broke free of Elvin's sigh. "Yeah, true. Well, whatever it was—probably not a date...I want all the details when we get back home. I feel like this might be one for my manuscript."

"If you are failing as a bard, what makes you think someone is going to want to publish your manuscript?" the vampire questioned.

Elvin shrugged. "I'll make it one day; I gotta find the right angle, you know? And now, with your suggestion of a new name, I might be on my way."

"Right," Alucard mumbled, glaring ahead again. "Well, good luck with that."

"Aww, Vuuren." Elvin smiled, looking over at him. "You're so supportive."

"Am I?" he grumbled, stepping aside before Elvin could place his hand on his shoulder.

Elvin frowned in discontent, but then bounced up and down. "Oh, oh, can I write down that little rescue back there? I bet you were chasing that wolf for miles, weren't you? If it weren't for me being there at that exact time, you would have never caught up with it, would you?"

Alucard glanced over at him. "That is not what happened at all."

"Yeah, but...you told me to switch things up; people don't wanna hear about a scary vampire killing things and saving people, they wanna hear about a mere bard saving a vampire!"

"Do they?" he asked doubtfully.

As they came out of the other side of the forest and onto a white sand beach, Elvin nodded confidently...but then saddened. "You're always so mean to me, you know," he said with a frown. "Sometimes, I feel like you don't believe in me. I so happen to think this idea would make a great story."

"You think everything makes a great story."

"Well, it does—if you tell it right."

The vampire rolled his eyes. "Wait here for me."

"Come on, man, you're making me wait on a beach? What if more werewolves come? Or pirates? I could be mugged!"

Alucard looked him up and down. "You wouldn't exactly make a gratifying snack for a wolf, nor do you possess much at all for a pirate to steal."

"Wow. Crude as ever—please, can't I come?" he pleaded, holding his hands together. "I'll keep my mouth shut; I'll stand in a little corner and observe. You won't even know I'm there."

"No," he refused again.

Elvin crossed his arms and pouted stubbornly. "Fine, but if I get eaten, it's on you."

"A lot of things are on me these days," he grumbled. "Sit over there," he instructed, nodding over at a single tree. "I won't be long, I just have to talk to them this time."

Sighing, Elvin dragged himself over to the tree, slumped down and crossed his arms.

Alucard then set his eyes on the open sea ahead. In the distance, a ship was barely visible on the horizon—that was where he needed to go next. Without much falter, he disappeared into vermillion smoke and sped across the water, leaving Elvin on the beach.


⤝❖⤞


| Alucard |

Alucard reached the ship. He landed on the deck with a thump and waited impatiently as a tall, sleek man dressed in a black long coat stepped out from the cabin beneath the quarterdeck. Attila, one of Alucard's subordinates.

"Long night?" Attila called, his face as vacant as Alucard's.

"When is it ever not?" Alucard replied, glaring into the man's crimson eyes, much of his face hidden beneath his coat's hood.

He smirked. "What's the news?"

"I will be working with a demon," he mumbled irritably, taking his eyes off the man to glare out at the ocean. Just thinking about Zalith aggravated him. "I am moving vampires from another world—Eltaria. They will be staying here in Dor-Sanguis," he explained, slowly setting his eyes back on the man. "There won't be enough space here soon enough, so we need to hurry up and re-establish the empire I had before I disappeared back then. The Nosferatu needs to resurface"

The man nodded. "Don't worry, I've got the king eating out of my hands."

"Make him beg," Alucard mumbled. "He will not be our friend; he will work for me, not with me."

"Of course," the man said, bowing apologetically.

"I suspect the wolves are up to something, too. I just found one hunting the bard in Wrodiff. I will be heading to my castle tonight to tell my vampires to be cautious, so you should do the same."

A look of concern sat upon Attila's face. "You are concerned greatly. Do you suspect another war?"

"I really hope it doesn't come to that. I will get to the bottom of it."

Attila then smirked. "Does it make you miss the simpler times, Alucard?"

He looked over at him and frowned.

"This treaty you have worked so hard for—you wouldn't have had to if our kind decided to stay hidden from the world."

Alucard sighed. "There are some that might agree, but I do not. I believe it is better for the world to know about us and learn to live with us—less superstition and mysterious deaths that way, no?"

Attila laughed quietly and nodded. "Of course."

"Go," he then said. "I will see you in less than a month, no?"

"I'll see you then."

Nosferatu chapter 2 N.A.E: Text
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