Under the Velvet Moon

I let out a few labored breaths while running through the forest, desperate trying to move, the arrow buried deep in my thigh, causing a sharp, stinging pain every time I put my weight down on it, but I had to continue. Keep going, or I was for sure, going to die.  I was going to be killed mercilessly just because my family didn’t reject monsters violently.

“There is no escape heretic! You shall be strung up as an example to all those who think peace with the heathens is possible!”  The boisterous voice made my blood run cold. He was close, really close. Shit! Feeling a slight tug in my gut, I started to run faster, letting my instincts guide me through the woods, desperately I hoped that I could escape.  The whooping of a few men told me otherwise.

In my haste to get away, I wasn’t paying much attention to the forest floor, so I guess it should have been no surprise when my foot got caught on a root and I fell to the ground, a harsh snap ringing out when I landed, pain like a red hot iron shooting through my whole leg. I had to bite my tongue harshly to resist my urge to scream out in pain.

Slowly, I climbed up to my feet and took a step forward, nearly slipping and falling again right there. My ankle was broken for sure, but…I couldn’t stop, I wasn’t going to run away for three days just to die like this!

Working through the pain, I started moving, one step at a time, my teeth constantly digging into my tongue to stop the screams of pain, and soon the coppery taste of my own blood filled my mouth.  The full moon shining above thankfully casting enough light through the trees that I could find my way, too bad that meant the same thing for my pursuers. 

“Ah, there you are! Thought you could get away from us, eh?” Suddenly, I felt an impact on my back, followed by an intense, piercing pain erupting from my back, knocking me down. Hot blood starting to drip down my spine. 

Turning back, I saw the hunters approaching. Armed with their crossbows, two men were coming on horseback. Scrambling around, I tried to reach for some rocks to throw at them, but they shot a bolt right through my hand, piercing it straight through, pinning my hand to the forest floor, crimson blood leaking from that as well. 

“Look at him! This is the only result of conferring with monsters! Pain, death, and misery!” The man let out a taunting laugh with his companion, the hanging back, letting out loud, booming barks constantly. The hunt leader leaping down from his horse and slowly drawing his blade from its sheath.

“This, young man, is all your own doing. Know that I only act in the stead of the Chief God, who would have you struck down himself if I was not here.” 

“Screw…You!” I managed to cough out through the blood that was filling my mouth now. Gathering it in my cheeks with some saliva, waiting for the man to draw in close, I spat it out at him. Hitting the man right in the eye, causing him to recoil in shock for a moment.

“You…Bastards razed my village to the ground for nothing! We welcomed you with open arms, and you burned us to the ground!!” I looked back at the man with nothing but contempt and hatred. Though, looking up at him and towards the moon, I could swear I saw it turning a light pink as the man approached. 

“Now that isn’t quite right, is it? Your village was harboring several monsters, and all fought for them against us. That, my boy, is a crime that earned you a death sentence!” The knight then raised his blade, my vision starting to blur as I watched it. My death would be approaching soon.

“Then, what kind of punishment would you give for trespassing?” All attention was drawn to the new voice, and I saw a slender, pale woman with silver hair and crimson red eyes staring down at us from one of the horses, her hand around the throat of one of the knight’s subordinates, slowly lifting the man’s chin.

“Trespassing? Woman, this wood belongs to no man! The only things that live out here are the ghastly monsters we encounter on the way.”  The silver-haired beauty let out an audible hiss before she opened her mouth, revealing two sharp fangs before the girl tore her way into her hostage’s throat. I watched as the man started to convulse in his seat.  Waves of fear shooting through me, a Vampire?  Everything in my body tensed, telling me to run and escape from the predator before me, but the broken ankle and bolt sticking through my hand weren’t allowing that.

The vampire soon withdrew her fangs from the man’s throat, leaving him a convulsing, shaking mess as she tossed him off to the side, spitting out his blood onto the ground. When she was done, “Bitter.” She then wiped the excess crimson fluid from her lips and flicked her wrist, splashing it onto the forest floor. Turning her crimson eyed attention to us as she hopped off the horse. “As for you, I am the owner of this land. One of those “ghastly” monsters you were talking about, what are you going to do about it?”

“A beast has offered her life! This is a grand day, boy! You stay there as I show you the power of the Chief God!” Was this guy insane? Did he not just see this woman kill his companion in cold blood like that? So quickly as well! My eyes widened in horror as I watched him charge in at the woman. 

Whoever this girl was, she seemed to be bored at most, though when her eyes met my own, it looked like her thin lips ever so slightly curled, the blurriness in my vision-obscuring which direction. Whichever way, it solidified into a frown as the knight let out a screaming battle cry charging her.  Everything got blurrier by the moment as I lost more blood.

The woman’s hand moved in a flash of white as the knight took a swing at her, impacting his windpipe and blowing him back into a tree, the proud warrior now stuck making pathetic, gasping noises as he struggled to breathe. It was then that I felt a cold gaze fall upon me, her crimson eyes seeming to glow in the moonlight while they met mine.

“Tell me, are you afraid?” She spoke softly as she approached, the quiet sounds of the forest being dampened by my mind starting to slip. I could barely register the slight sway in her hips while the vampire got closer. It seemed like I was going from one death to another now. “I wouldn’t blame you if you were.  Another trespasser, you deserve a punishment like the others.” 

Sitting down next to my head and slowly starting to remove the arrows on my body, ripping them out in one go, causing more blood than ever to flow from the wounds. I cried out in pain with each removal, no sense in hiding it as I had no one to hide from now.  With each scream, the woman seemed to tense a bit. Probably annoyed my pathetic screeching.

“If…You’re going to kill me. Please just…Just make it painless!”  The corners of my vision were really darkening now, and it was a struggle to stay conscious, even while I felt the blood drain from my body and onto the forest floor.  I felt a shock as suddenly, I felt a warm finger pressing into one of my wounds before it pulled away with a soft hum resonating from the vampire a second later.

“Poor thing, you have no idea what’s going on, do you?” After those words, the last thing I could remember was the feeling of someone gently lifting my head and sharp pain in my neck before the darkness overtook my mind.

—–

I next opened my eyes in a soft bed, with soft sunlight filtering through a nearby window. I blinked once or twice, trying to process what was going on. First off, I was alive. That was good. Second, my body was not in horrible pain. Both of these revelations were surprising, considering I passed out at the mercy of that Vampire woman.  Sitting up in the bed, I felt it sink beneath my weight and putting my hand down, it was easily the softest mattress I had ever been on!

“Ok, new mystery. Where am I?” Looking around, the sparse decoration of a single rug and wardrobe stood out against the gray stone floors. At least there was plenty of sun filtering in from the window, as I turned my head to get a better look outside of it. A nightstand caught my eye, on top of it was a plate with a large steak along with a heaping of…Probably mashed potatoes along with a fork and knife. 

To eat the mysterious plate of food or ignore it…My stomach’s violent grumbling answered that question real quick, and I grabbed the plate up, cutting through the tough browned meat. Whoever made this apparently liked their meats well done, really well done. Thankfully the mashed potatoes covered up the taste of burnt meat pretty well.

I slowly ate the food, taking my time to fully assess my situation. Someone had saved me from that situation, and now I was in a stone room sleeping on the best bed I’ve ever felt with steak and potatoes greeting me for breakfast. This…Was odd. 

“Where am I even?” Finally, finishing up the meal, I placed the dished back on the nightstand and stood up, shivering as the cold stone met my feet. I could deal with it, though, and walked to the window, flexing my ankle as I did so. It was supposed to be broken, I got no pain from moving it or putting weight on it though. If anything, it felt…Stronger than before. Looking outside the window, my eyes widened from how high up I was.  The courtyard must have been a hundred feet below! Maybe even more. 

Looking to the sky, I noted the sun setting again. How long had I been knocked out for? A day at least, probably more considering I had managed to heal from those wounds in my sleep. Welp, it was time to explore the place, hopefully, find someone to thank for saving my life.

Exiting the room, I found myself traversing long hallways. The sounds of my feet padding against the stone echoing off the granite walls, walking through the corridors as the sunlight became dimmer and dimmer. I felt out of place, like there was something wrong with me being here on my own.  The sunset outside causing shadows to lengthen, creeping forward to leave the area cloaked in twilight.

 There were suits of pristine armor on the walls, sparking in the low light like they had just been polished and above one of them, on the wall was a large banister. It depicted a knight and their three companions, a man who looked to be from the east and a proud demon, a male one fighting some sort of giant monstrous being.

Male monsters?  How old was this castle? It had to be older than the current demon age, right? I looked around at the place in awe…Where was I? Why hadn’t I seen anyone else in the castle? The sound of heels clicking against stone from behind me caused my head to turn to see the vampire from before.  Her cold eyes gleamed in the castle’s darkness, her lips formed into a thin line, and I was frozen on the spot. 

“So, you’re finally awake.” She walked towards me, slowly sauntering down the corridor. Exuding an aura of dark confidence, I felt my body tense up again while the girl approached. “I was wondering how long you were going to stay in my bed. Did you enjoy the meal?” I opened my mouth to question her but found my throat too dry to speak. She let out an amused hum at the image.

“I know I’m strikingly beautiful, but you should really close your mouth. I would hate for you to choke on a fly after surviving all of that.” While she spoke, those pearly white fangs of hers seemed to gleam in the moonlight, and a whole host of realizations came to me at once. 

“I-it was a little well done for me…Cooked too long.” Better to answer and not possibly piss the vampire off by not answering.  I was in her home, I was alive somehow, she had me fed.  She gave me some medical attention but even now, she gave off a cool aura of indifference while she got within arms reach of me g.  Stopping her stride, the woman closed her eyes while taking in a deep inhale.

“Why am I alive?” The vampire quirked an eye open and slowly released her breath.

“Whatever do you mean, boy? You were brought here to rest and be fed after your tumble last night. That’s why you’re before me now.” 

“No, not that.”  I closed my eyes to take a calming breath before opening them again and staring right into my…Host’s eyes. “When you…When you found me, I was about to be killed by the Order, and you proceeded to…Take care of them as punishment for trespassing on your land. So why am I not-?”

“Dead? A husk of skin drained of its blood? My, I thought humans were supposed to be clever ones. I didn’t kill that man and put his companion in a coma because they trespassed.” She rolled her eyes while stepping even closer into my space. “They were going to kill an innocent human and being weak as you are, humans like yourself need to be defended in such a circumstance.”  She then pivoted around me, placing her hands on my shoulders. “Lord knows you aren’t capable of it yourselves.

“W-well, thank you! How can I…How can I repay you for saving my life and um…Forgiving the trespassing?”  The girl leaned in, her hands starting to wrap around my chest.

“Oh no, you aren’t forgiven yet, and as for repaying me… You can provide me a good meal, and that will be enough.” The woman then suddenly brought her fangs into my neck, and I felt a blast of euphoria go through my body before she started to suck on the wound. Taking deep, slow gulps.

With each suckle, I felt my body tense and release, throbbing as pleasure flooded through my body. Shaking and pressing itself back into her I felt all my muscles flex and relax over and over, little moans escaping my mouth. 

Every second she spent drinking from my body seemed to last for minutes before suddenly the girl removed her fangs from my neck, licking the wound closed and releasing me. Letting my limp body collapse to the ground as her tongue slowly traced her tongue along those lips of hers and she started to walk away.

“There we go…Now you are free to leave, however, the room that you stayed in. It shall be open if you wish to stay, boy, though keep in mind I will expect compensation for staying under my roof…If you are to feed every day, so will I.”  My hand went to my neck, expecting to feel a wound, but… Nothing except for two small bumps. 

“W-whats your name?” I crawled to my knees,  looking out the window and thinking on her offer. I had nowhere to go. If the Order knew I was somehow alive, they would probably try to kill me. The last remnant of a friendly village…Antithetical to their propaganda.

:Oh? Why do you want to know?”  Her voice was like soft silk to my ears, my hand still softly rubbing at my neck’s bumps. The sound of her heels hitting the stone getting more distant by the moment. 

“Because if I’m gonna be staying here for a long time…I would prefer to know who I’m staying with, mine’s Ebon.” The vampire stopped moving away. I could only hope she was fine with the request.

“Reasonable enough, you may call me Mistress Machia. I expect you to be in my room at sunset every day for feeding, for the rest of the time, you are free to explore the castle as you so wish.”  With that, the girl continued to walk away. Leaving me alone once more to contemplate how the hell I had gotten here.

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