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Part Seventeen: The Tower of Science

Authors Note: I warned you. I told you that the next few chapters would be rather boring. This part, I admit, is pretty bad. Nothing of merit truly happens. It's pretty much just a weary walkthrough of the level. Well, I tried my best to make it better, but....... Ah well. Some might take the time to read it, but I fear I could lose some readers (If I really have any) somewhere around here.....

Enjoy, if you can!


Carrie spun around, searching for him. There was nothing but darkness all around her. "Chanaur? Are you still there?"

No answer. He had just been about to tell her something, and then he was gone. Something wasn't right. What happened?

"Chanaur! Come on, this isn't funny!" Silence.

The darkness seemed to close in on her. The silence didn't help any. She felt as though she was in a void, lost and alone.....

She suddenly felt very afraid. She hadn't felt this way since Imbrium had died, when she had been afraid Chanaur had died as well......

Chanaur..... Where are you?

She looked around, and a deep forboding stole over her. The one place you didn't want to be alone in the dark was Castlevania.......

She raised her hand, fire appearing around it. Now she could see herself, but aside from that, the darkness remained. All around her was blackness.

Her forboding climbed into a gripping fear. The fire on her hand dissipated, and she stepped backward. Her eyes darted, as she tried to keep her pulse and breathing as quiet as possible. Every sound, every footfall, every beat of her heart echoed through the void.

She didn't know which was worse. The mind-numbing silence, or the incescent noise of her heart. But she couldn't very well stop her heart from beating......

Then their was a sound. A scraping foot step, and then silence. Then there was another, in the opposite direction. Then another.

Fueled by her fear, her magic lit the whole area in a blinding radiance. Still, there was nothing there but her. Then she heard a low growl to her left, then one to her right......

She turned around, panicking, and bolted for her life. Her heart beat seemed to beat louder and louder, while her footfalls stopped making sound altogether. She felt as though she was going nowhere, and those creatures were gaining on her....

Then all was clear. The world brightened, and she could see again. She barely stopped her panicked running before charging headlong over a cliff, into a pit.

The panic abated, but the fear remained. Her eyes darted around her new surroundings, taking stock of where she was. She looked up, and saw a piston descending swiftly onto her head. She threw herself backward, just before being mashed into the floor.

She was now sitting down, breathing heavily, blood roaring through her ears. She stayed down for a bit, and attempted to get a grip on herself. A mind game.... Nothing more than a scare tactic, trying to trick me into a premature death...... She laughed derisively. Had Chanaur been here, I wouldn't have panicked.....

"Chanaur....." She looked around. The piston hit the floor again, with a loud boom. It was attached to a machine in the middle of the tower, which resembled nothing more than a giant pillar. She looked to her left, and saw that immediate drop off she almost plunged over. To her right, she saw conveyor belts, carrying spiked boxes to some unkown destination. Every once in a while, she saw a flash of electricity.

"Chanaur, wherever you are......" She touched the braclet. "....I wish you were here....."

She stood up, and walked onto the conveyor belt. She kept her eyes open, in case anything else was to descend on top of her. She stepped around the strange spiked boxes, half tempted to break one open.

She struggled up the side of the machine, trying to negotiate the constant shifting of the conveyor belts. At one moment, it would be going one way, carrying her forward, then shift to going the other direction. She had recieved a nasty shock from one of the pylons that jutted out of the wall when her balance was lost.

By the time she finally made it to the top, she was tired.... So very tired..... She couldn't remember much of what had happened the day before, or how long she had gone without sleep......

She sighed, and sat down hard against the wall. She looked to the door just to her left, the roman numeral one etched into the metal. She didn't know what was beyond it, and, if given the choice, she would have kept it that way.

She rested her head wearily against the wall. The rythm of the machines all around her was almost musical. The rattling of the chains.... The thumping of the pistons..... The hissing of escaping steam.... The flare of electricity from the pylons......

She felt herself drifting off, lulled by this bizare 'music'...... She had almost fallen asleep, when a new noise joined the montage. It was a high pitched, whirring sound. A bright, thin red light shone in her eyes, and came to rest between them. She looked to the source of the strange ray, and saw a turret pointed straight at her.

She barely threw herself out of the way, yet again avoiding death by mere milliseconds. The metal bullets ricocheted off of the wall, and one grazed her shoulder. The laser sight began to search for her again, and she ducked inside the door.

Breathing heavily, clutching her shoulder, she looked around the small corridor she was now in. There were no turrets, no machines. Just a small set of stairs, leading to a door marked with the roman numeral two.

Carrie laid down on the floor, allowing herself to drift off again. She pulled the lead bullet from her shoulder, and flicked it away. Her blood pooled on the floor.

She looked back on the events of the past three days. It was amazing, but just four days ago...... Four bloody, nightmarish days ago, she had been sitting at home, waiting anxiously for her chance to dance....

Those four days seemed to blur together. Through the mist closing over her mind, she remembered things between her and Chanaur..... How they had changed so drastically...... They shared a dance...... He had saved her life so many times..... He had seen her naked three different times..... He had protected her, and was killed because of it..... He was brought back, and he said that he loved her...... She had discovered the truth about his lineage...... He had fed off of her.....

But now, he was gone. They had been separated yet again...... And fear consumed her. Her strength was ebbing, overcome by weariness. Normally, whenever she was afraid, she would go to Chanaur, and he would reasure her..... Though she hated to admit it, she wasn't as strong as she made out to be.......

The truth was, she needed Chanaur..... And when he had been broken, she had been so scared...... But she remained strong for him, and he came back from the brink......

He had helped her so much..... helped her through all of the toughest times of her life, and saved it several times..... But she was yet to truly repay him.

Someday, she would find out how to. She was endebted to him, even though he expected nothing in return.....

Her mind shut down, and her eyes closed. She just prayed that Chanaur was alright, wherever he was.....

Rosa stared out the window, up at the blood moon. The stars seemed so cold and aloof, distant and wonderful. The moon was the heart of the night sky, casting it's light over the world like life's blood through the body......

She sighed heavily, leaning her head on her hand, propped up by her elbow on the window sill. How she longed to return to the land of the living, and escape this horrid place, where her worst nightmares were reality....

She remembered what life was like before death. The happiness of love, the carefreeness she once felt.... Those very memories were all that kept her from throwing herself into the sunlight, and ending this acursed existance. That, and the hope that the old legends were true......

She hoped that Reinhardt wasn't just risking his life for nothing......

The moon still held her eyes, distracting her thoughts. The blood moon.... The first sign of the count's first attack on the nearby provinces...... She knew that in just a few hours, in the dead of the night, Wallachia would be under attack. But now that Raziel was there, things would go much smoother.....

Raziel reminded her of Reinhardt. She closed her eyes, so she could see his face again. She could almost feel is strong arms around her. Almost hear is voice in her ear, his breath in her hair.....

She relaxed, remembering that he still came after her, even after her warnings. He truly loved her, enough to risk his life time and time again......

Still, she regretted what Death had forced her to do..... She hated being controlled, being forced to hurt people against her will.....

And she hated whips. Her stepmother would always use them on her, whenever she misbehaved...... She had never told Reinhardt this, though he constantly asked about the scars that riddled her back. And she was certain he had made the connection, how she would cringe whenever he held that whip in her precence.

But, her stepmother was gone. Dead, after she had been taken. Her father had never known what she had done to his daughter.....

"Daddy......." She whispered out loud, to the cold night sky. "Don't worry about me. I'll be alright......"

She looked accross the cell, to the pallet in the corner. Chanaur lay there, unconcious. His head had been split open when she had tackled him upon entering the Art Tower. He had been out for a good two hours, and he hadn't so much as stirred.

Rosa kneeled beside him, touching his forehead, noticing his slight fever. Gently, she pushed the hair from his eyes. Once he woke up, she would speak with him, before the Count came to have his word with him. What he wanted with Chanaur, she didn't know.

But she couldn't help but think..... That she had seen him before..... Long before her death......

For some reason, Dracula always seemed interested in Carrie......

Rosa touched his cheek, debating whether to bring him back to conciousness or not. If he was forced awake, he would probably attack her. She stood up, going back to the window, to stare at the moon again. Her mind soon wandered off, lost in the vastness of the sky.

Chanaur stirred behind her, but remained unconcious. Soon now, he would be awake. And soon, he could use that dark book in his pack to free her.....

Carrie sat up, her arm numb. Her shoulder had stopped bleeding long ago, but it still stung. She shook her arm slightly, trying to get some feeling back in. Her head ached slightly, but she didn't know why.

She stretched, hearing several joints pop. She stood up, and a surge of diziness hit her, hard. She fell back down, her hand on her temple. If she wanted to go any farther, she had to eat something.

Opening the pack she had been using as a pillow, she searched for some food. Soon she found some dried salted beef, and some dried fruit. She always believed in traveling light, packing food that would give her energy, and not fill her up.

She munched restlessly on her repast, and took a swig of water from her hip flask. Before long, she was back on her feet, feeling somewhat better. Her head still hurt, however.....

She walked up the small flight of stairs, and stepped into the new room. The room had a high ceiling, and was almost no different from the corridor she just came from.

Except, of course, for the three large stasis tanks.

She stepped forward, wanting to get a closer look at the creatures. As she came up next to it, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a red point of light refract off of the glass of the tank. She ducked behind the stasis cell, and saw a turret that hadn't been there a second ago. Once it had swept the room, it went back into the floor, becoming indestinguishable from the rest of the floor.

She looked nervously around, wondering if there were any other autoguns set into the floor. The tiles all looked the same, and the only reason she knew that that turret was there, was because she had seen it.

Carrie stepped forward, and the turret rose from the floor. She threw the dragon axe at it, cleaving the cannon cleanly in half. Electricity flared, and it was gone.

Carrie retreived her axe, and disposed of two more floor guns. Then she turned to the stasis chambers.

The one to her immediate right held a creature that resembled a minotaur. However, upon closer inspection, she saw that it was a hybrid. It's lower half was a minotaurs, it's upper half that of a horned behemoth. The machinery that kept it alive consisted of a series of chords, and an oxegyn mask. A small screen at the base of the cell gave an account of the subjects status.

She looked closer, reading it carefully.

Werebeast/Minotaur hybrid
Cryogenic Stasis
Heartbeat: Elevated
Brainwaves: Minimal
Time to Awakening: 00:01:20

The timer was counting down. It would be awake in little more than a minute. One of the chords attached to it's arm disconnected, and a red liquid flowed out of it, mingling with the green fluid of the tank. Air bubbles escaped the oxygen mask, and the eyes twitched.

Another chord disconnected from the hybrid's body. Then another. As the last one came off, the hands flexed, the fingers coming together into a fist. The eyes finally opened, and the fist smashed through the glass.

The stasis fluid flowed to the floor, and flooded the room. Carrie was now ankle deep in the foul-smelling chemicals. The creature fell to the floor, onto it's hands and knees. A drain opened in the floor, and the liquid ran out.

The hybrid removed the oxygen mask, and took a shuddering breath of the air around it. It's breathing was erradic, it seemed weak. It stood, it's horns barely coming up short of the ceiling.

Now that it was out of it's stasis chamber, it seemed somewhat..... different. It was stretching, looking down at it's body. It stood about eighteen feet tall, it's body enormously muscular.

Carrie stepped back, not wanting to confront it, even in it's weakened state. She turned and ran for the next door, but found it shut tight. There was no keyhole.

She shuddered. It seemed she would have to fight her way out.

The hybrid saw her, and growled low in it's throat. It stepped shakily toward her, seeming to get stronger by the second. It's hooves carved into the metal floor, causing the entire room to shake.

Carrie readied her axe, not really knowing what to expect. Had this creature been bred for brute strength, or had it been given magical properties?

With a lunge, the hybrid slammed it's fist into the ground where Carrie had been a split second before. It was fast, and getting faster. She stepped back several more paces, waiting for it to pounce again. The floor was still wet with the liquid, and was slippery.....

It leapt at her, and Carrie ducked under it's fist, bringing the axe up in a vertical slash. She severed the right arm cleanly at the shoulder.

The creature didn't even stagger, or cry out in pain. It merely righted itself, and came at her once more. It seemed that pain had been removed from it's central nervous system, along with anything unnecessary. This was a killing machine, nothing more. The read out had said that it's brainwaves were minimal......

If given the chance to live, this creature would probably be loosed on the provinces near the Castle......

Seemingly oblivious to it's missing appendage, the hybrid lowered it's head, and charged forward. Strafing the attack, Carrie cut it's head from it's body. The Creature continued to move, as it's blood covered the floor. After about thirty seconds of unhindered attacks, the hybrid began to slow. Shortly after, it fell to the floor, and was at last still.

The carcass remained on the floor, instead of dissapearing like all the other defeated enemies. Carrie waited for it to regenerate, expecting it to be like the garden gaurdians. But it just lay there.....

She checked the other two tanks. Neither was supposed to awaken for several days from now. They were both the same as the one she had just disposed of, but bigger.

Touching the electronic screen of the second stasis chamber, she sent some of her own electricity into it. The machine short-circuited, and the life support apparatus was disabled. She did the same to the third cell, and then left the room. Whatever they were planning for those creatures, was no more. They had been irradicated.

Before she left this tower, she would have to destroy the others. Assuredly, there were more than just these three subjects. She had to find the control room, and shut them down.....

She passed through another corridor, disabling three more turrets. Door number four now stood before her, wich she opened.

Through it, was a room that was dark, and seemed to consist of nothing more than a catwalk spanning from one end to the other. She wasn't sure how far it was to the bottom, but was sure she didn't want to find out. Thinking it nothing more than another corridor, she started to cross the high walkway.

No sooner had she set foot upon it, then a number of bullets zipped right past her face. She stepped back hurriedly, and the room was suddenly lit by several very bright lights. An alarm wailed, and several turrets became active.

Now she had to cross the catwalk, while dodging the turret's shots to the best of her ability. At first she considered just crawling on her belly accross, but then she saw the autoguns that were amed at diagonal angles. No spot was truly safe. She would have to find a series of blind spots in the defensive matrix.......

......Or just make some of her own.

Taking careful aim, she began to use her magic to take out one turret after another. There were too many to destroy without exhausting herself. So she shot down the ones that were the most likely to hit their target.

Soon, she had eliminated enough to make it accross with little resistance. The incessent noise of the alarm finally dissolved the last nerve she had left, and she destroyed it.

The remainder of the turrets powered down. Had she followed her first instinct and destroyed the thing that was breaking her concentration, she would have spared herself a lot of trouble and energy.

Feeling like an idiot, she walked accross to the other side, and opened door number five. Through it was a forked corridor. To her left was a short flight of stairs that went to the door marked six. The path heading to her right ended a door marked with the roman numeral seven. Below that, was the words Control Room.

Obviously, it was locked, so she didn't even try it. She headed for the other door, hoping to find a key.

When she opened the door, her heart stopped. "You've got to be kidding....." She said out loud.

The walls and floors of this room were electrified. One false move, and she would be fried. Several floating platforms bridged the gap to the other side of the room. About fifty feet away, hanging on the other wall, was a large key, in a small spot light.

The worst part about this room, however, was the large number of photon cannons that hanged from the ceiling, suspended by machines that vanished into the darkness.

She carefully jumped from one to another, before one of the cannons finally reacted. The turret followed her for a bit, before a slight shockwave emanted from the muzzle. Then their was a loud thwoom sound, and a large ball of energy came speeding toward her.

She dodged the photon, which scorched the hair on her arm as it barely missed her. Already, it was charging up again. Another thwoom announced that more than one had been activated.

Carrie picked her way from one platform to another, ducking and dodging the shots when necessary. Soon she was out of their range, and standing on the platform that had the key on it. She didn't quite trust the spotlight, however.

She stepped closer, still unsure. She leapt into it, grabbed the key, and cast the Egress spell Chanaur had taught her for just such an occasion.

Carrie now stood just in front of the door she first came through. Seconds after she had stepped into the light, the platform had fallen away. She would have been electrocuted, if the fall hadn't killed her first.

Whatever was in the control room, was obviously not to be interfered with.

She walked out of the room, as a photon cannon took aim at her again. As she started down the stairs, the door behind her exploded. She threw herself to the ground as the massive bullet surged just over her head, and crashed into the wall opposite her.

Her breathing was heavy. She stood up, and sprinted down the stairs, and threw open the door. The sooner she got out of here, the better.

The door clanked shut behind her, and refused to open. There was no going back now.

After several more turns through the twisted corridor, she saw a sign that said No Entry. Ignoring the sign, she turned the final corner.

The control room consisted of a central reactor, and a walkway circling it. The reactor was floating in the middle of a giant hole, and cradled a large crystal, much like the one back in the Castle Center. Pillars lined it's outside, weaving a shield around the crystal. Turrets were mounted on the pillars as well.

The crystal waas obviously the source of power for the entire tower. It had to be destroyed.

As she stepped closer, another alarm went off, from inside the reactor. The turrets came to life, and all trained on her. She found a number of consoles set into the wall. If she could shut off the defenses.....

Carrie systematically destroyed all of the turrets that she was in range of, and moved to the first console. After a brief search, she found the way to shut down the turrets. It seemed that every console controled two of the autoguns. There were seven other control panels, and if she could set them to overload.....

She'd destroy the defenses, the power source, and possibly herself. What she needed to do was to cause a flux in the power grid, from the inside, before the shields were disabled.

Chanaur could have figured this damned thing out in no time......

She knew that all she had to do was reverse the power back into the crystal. That would destroy the reactor, taking out the core, without causing too much damage to everything else. The question was, how? Besides, I don't think the one who designed this thing would put a button on it that would destroy it......

"Damned contraption!!" Carrie shouted, punching the screen. It promptly shut off, the hum of machinery dying in that area. Two of the turrets fell into the pit. The crystal began to glow, as less power was being derived from it.

Smiling, she moved to the next screen. She disabled it, and the giant gem turned red.

Soon all of the consoles were broken, but one. After this, the power source would be destroyed. Any plans would be squelched.....

Carrie watched as the crystal shattered. Shortly after, the shields powered down, and the control room was strangely silent......

"Well......" She said out loud, smiling. "That was fun."

She felt much better, being able to take out her aggravation on something. Plus, watching things blow up wasn't too bad either.

Not bothering to sit down and rest, she went straight for the door with the roman numeral eight on it. She opened it, and a cold wind blasted her in the face. She closed it, and blinked rapidly. She brushed snow off of her shoulder. "What was that?"

She opened the door, and the icy wind hit her again. She stepped through the door, and closed it. Almost immediately, the gale ceased.

Very confused, she walked forward. All was darkness again, so she guessed that she had gotten past the Tower of Science. What should have been next was the Tower of......

"Sorcery....." Carrie whispered, as light returned to the world. She was standing on a river of ice, that flowed deep into the darkness. There were no walls in this tower....... Just ice.

She followed the trail, hugging her robes to her. It was cold.... So very cold......

There was no wind, but snow was gently falling. She find it strangely relaxing here. She could sense the magic, almost strong enough to be considered an entity.....

Suddenly, she felt as though she was being watched. Someone is here...... I can feel it.....

Ignoring it, Carrie continued. It was probably just Actrise, trying to make her feel nervous......

She wished Chanaur were here......

Carrie still felt alone....... Lost, and afraid, without him...... Someone to.......

Something...... She yawned. Isn't right.......

Her mind was being clouded...... Someone was putting her to sleep.....

Carrie fell to her knees, succumbing to the weariness....... The cold air caught in her lungs, turning them to ice...... The world blurred, and became gray.....

Then, just as she fell to her face, she saw a light..... A jewel.....

A sapphire.......

End Part Seventeen.

Part Eighteen

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