Part Twenty One: The Tower of Ruins

Chanaur looked back upon the grand hall. He had shaken the feeling of sickness from his heart, though his mind would not forget. Staring down from his vantage point, he saw the gaping hole that he had made out of the second locked door. The swinging chandeliers cast their wavering candlelight accross the hall, giving the shadows of the various sculptures a life-like apperance.

The shadows..... Damn the Shadows. Damn the Darkness. Damn Death.....

Before turning his back on the Art Tower, Chanaur reached into the chest pocket of his red cloak. Retrieving the crystal shard, he threw it into the center of the tower. He closed his eyes, and waited for it to make the seventy foot drop to the floor. Finally, he heard it; the clink of the jewel hitting the ground.

Still feeling somewhat sick, he hurried down the dark corridor. With that haunting suspicion that Carrie was in danger lingering, he felt he had to move quickly.

Now he was beginning to understand what Alucard had always told him: The affliction of the nosferatu works one way: Control it, or it will control you. Chanaur's cynicism pertaining to the fact that his father, a true vampire, would speak these words, had long since blocked their meaning from his mind. But now that the hunger had taken full control over him, he had been humbled.

Soft torch light was seen off in the distance. The corridor he was in was being steadily lit, the smell of burial spices intensifying as the light enveloped him.

Chanaur now stood before an arched doorway, staring at the engravings on the door. Each one a picture, each one a show of mortals suffering. One showed a man dying, devoured by a harpy. Another was a funeral, a woman weeping beside the grave. Another......

He carefully opened the door, and stepped in, the smell of decay hitting him as a blow to the head. This was a tower of burial. The Tower of Ruins.

Raziel had spoken of this place. It was a labyrinth of dead-ends, pitfalls, and open graves that yielded undead warriors. Nothing more than a giant tomb. Suddenly reminded of the Catacombs, Chanaur remembered the snake-women. He also remembered how the hunger had taken him then as well.....

He realized he needed to get out of this place before he went mad. He had already taken a few steps down that unstable road, and he realized it wasn't a short trip.

Besides, he needed to get through, so he could find Carrie.....

Carrie. The only thought that could truly make him feel even a bit beter. For a minute he forgot the sight of the vampire's bodies..... The smell of their blood..... The sound of their screams.....

And he saw Carrie. Her smiling face, her lovely eyes..... He heard her soft voice..... Felt her gentle touch......

At the end of this tower, he would find Carrie. He would find her, and tell her the truth.

Truth..... He sighed, and smiled. What a wonderful word.....

Fueled by a new type of resolve, Chanaur moved on, the smell of Death no longer reaching his nostrils.

He finally looked around him, seeing a staircase leading to another engraved door. Behind this door was a square room. On the opposite end was a door flanked by two statues of robed women. In very middle of the room was a stone plaque, a red jewel catching his eye.

Intrigued, Chanaur moved toward the plaque. It would seem to be a map of the tower, the red jewel representing what room he was in. In the bottom-right corner of the plaque was a compass rose, but instead of letters there were tiny jewels. Black represented West, red the North, yellow the East, and green the South.

Looking above each door, he saw the corresponding jewels. Turning back to the map, he saw that the path was pretty straightforward, but required the removal of certain obstacles. Truth be told, he could just walk right through this tower without touching a switch.

According to the relief, he was to travel west one room, and then travel north to the end. Simple enough, he believed. He would be through to Carrie soon.

He began his chosen route. The doors inside these chambers were normal wooden ones which did not lock. Chanaur stepped through the first squeaking door, and stepped into the room.

Devoid of statues, this room contained nothing more than four doors. Turning to the north jewel, he steppped through to the next.

If this is all that's in this tower.... Chanaur stepped into the middle of the room. No sooner had his foot settled on the stone than the very floor fell away. He fell for a short distance, and then landed on an inclined floor, and slid to another hole. He struck the wall, and then fell into darkness.

The darkness ended abrubtly, as did his fall. His body crumpled into the sodden floor of a room smelling very strongly of spice.

Forcing himself to his knees, he muttered to himself, "This would be the pitfalls that Raziel spoke of......" He sat down, and tried to reset his broken leg. "At least there are no open graves."

No sooner had he spoken these words then a number of zombies came out of the ground and seized him by the arms and legs. Their sunken, sightless eyes stared at him hungrily. Their cold, lifeless hands tore at his flesh.

Wresting his broken leg from the freezing grasp of the undead, Chanaur drew his sword and morphed it into a mace. He freed himself, and destroyed the offenders in the process. He healed his leg and rose to his feet just before a number of undead warriors erupted from the ground.

The skeletons and zombies were covered in old, rusted armor that rattled with every move they made. They were armed with all kinds of weapons, and they seemed to be from several different ages and empires. All of them seemed reminiscent of the bodies he had seen in the catacombs....

The reanimated corpses moved swiftly, as if they were still whole, and alive. Already, they had closed around him, and Chanaur stood, outnumbered and cornered. He readied his sword, and waited for the first to attack.

An arrow grazed his neck, and hit a corpse accross from him. The missile jutted from it's forehead, but it neither moved nor seemed to provoke any reaction from it. As if that were the signal, the first circle crashed in on him.

Chanaur swung around to meet the first warrior. Once the his sword made contact with it, the body crumbled to dust. While there was no chance to triumph with steel, he could still win by means of magic.

He raised his hand, and fire erupted from his palm. The undead raised their shields, the flames splashing off and hitting the other ranks. The fire spread swiftly, but with only dust as a fuel, it died just as quickly.

The ranks closed again, though they were significantly lessened. He leapt into the fray, changing his weapon to a dual-edged spear. One after the next, the warriors dissintigrated to dust, slashed apart by the expert manuevers of Chanaur's spear.

Using their numbers against them, Chanaur cut a path through the batallions. Their attacks that were aimed for him missed, and connected with their fellows on the other side.

When he emurged from the other side of the sea of undead, he saw another door. He sprinted for that for all he was worth. An arrow sank into the back of his left calf, his right shoulder, and inches from his spine.

Chanaur fell to the ground again, desperately trying to get back to his feet. Any second now he would be set upon by the undead.....

Before they could make it to him, another few arrows flew toward him. Of the seven that were coming, only two hit, but the areas they hit were his eyes.

Thankfully, the undead's bodies were no longer what they used to be, so they had not been able to apply enough force to the bowstring. Had he been shot by a living man, the arrows would have reached his brain, ending his life. But, all the same, he was still blinded. The sounds of rattling metal filled the air, and Chanaur prepared for the worst......

....But then he recalled what he had used against the Garden Keeper.....

Though Chanaur wasn't certain of where the curtain had fallen, he was sure by the continued sounds of movement that he had failed to close all of the warriors in the shield. A number of blades pinned him to the ground by his hips and shoulders. Admitting defeat, he lay still, and awaited for the final blow to descend.

But instead the sounds of the four last remaining warriors backing off filled his ears. He was unable to see for the arrows in his eyes, and couldn't move for the pain. Just when he was certain that Death had come to claim him, he heard a soft voice from just before him.

"So, we meet again, Chanaur...."

The voice was femenine, yet he couldn't place it. For one fleeting moment, he thought that it might be Carrie.....

"Hold still. This will hurt a bit...."

The blades that pinned him to the ground were removed, and the barbs in his eyes as well. Mustering the very last of his strength, Chanaur healed himself as much as he could.

He could see again, and the first sight he saw was Jara's worried face before his....

....It was also the last sight he saw before the red haze closed over his mind, obliterating conciousness.


The archers had their arrows nocked, their bowstrings drawn.


Their aim trained on the abomination's eyes, following them as they came.


The rain of arrows met the charge of the monsters. Half of them stumbled, blinded, and tore the shafts from their eyes. They continued running, guided by the bellows and roars of their fellows.

"Well, so much for that idea." Raziel muttered scronfully.

"Orders, sir!" Came the cry from Odila, who had readied her sword already.

"We wait. Archers! Their throats! Aim for their throats!!"

The archers didn't need to be told twice. Arrows were jutting out from the beast's necks, jugular veins cleaved in half. Their roars of pain become no more than angry gurgles. But still they continued to come, barely faltering in their strides.

Now Raziel began to worry. Blinded, and losing breath and blood swiftly, the abominations still advanced. They were not far from the village now, and the archers began to lose their nerve. Even after Raziel's calls, only a few continued to fire.

Finally, they were too close for comfort. Raziel released the Man-Beast's power and leapt onto the cyclops' head, the single eye no longer burning, the fire gone. With a few deft swipes, he had severed the spinal chord, and eventually the head. With one last thunderous step, the cyclops fell to the ground, and lay still.

Raziel called out to the others to sever the spinal chords by any means possible. He didn't bother to watch; he had his hands full enough without watching the other villagers. He said a brief prayer for them, and then the Pazuzu was upon him.

Circling around the creature, Raziel leapt for it's side. The creature merely reached out a clawed hand and shoved him aside. It would seem that the archers had missed their mark for this one.

Raziel flipped back to his feet, and resumed his assault, coming from behind. He leapt upon it's neck, and began to dig through it's flesh. De ja vu gripped his mind, as he finally found the spinal column, and severed it. The monster's back arched, and it fell to it's face, dead and convulsing.

Still with that nagging feeling of rememberance, Raziel began to eliminate the creatures one by one. Before long the villagers had the situation under control, and he could finally deal with the gash in his side.

Though he couldn't be sure, he guessed it must have been from the blade on the Pazuzu's elbow. Not deep enough to cause any real problems, Raziel allowed the man-wolf power to ebb away, and he sat down.

A mighty hiss told him that he wasn't about to rest any time soon.

A reptilian humanoid loomed over him, above fifteen feet tall. The yellow, slitted eyes stared balefully down at him, the forked tongue flicking between the scaled lips. The ridge down it's back started as a crest at the back of it's horned head, and ended as spikes on it's heavy tail. A pair of large wings sprouted from it's shoulders. Raziel was face to face with a giant draconian, without his magic.

Normally, draconians were only as tall as their human counterparts, but this one had apparently been altered for size. As if it's claws and tail weren't enough, it wore a huge scimatar at it's belt.

Raziel, feeling weak as a newborn pup, rose unsteadily to his feet. He couldn't hope to transform, and didn't even think about trying to send any energy bolts. The draconian's scales would be impervious to arrows, so this was pretty much a lost battle. The best he could do is attempt to evade until help arived.....

Or he died.......

At this thought, Raziel stood defiantly before the monster, weaponless. I'm coming, Lacuna.

Accepting his challenge, the draconian stomped forward, tail lashing at the air.

Arresting the thought of Lacuna, Raziel used it as a well of energy. Though the well was deep, there was little energy left in him to fill it. But, he did remember the old tales of the gap in a draconians scales.......

It was a gamble, but what did he have to lose?

Soon the gap between the werewolf and the reptillian was closed, and Raziel leapt for the creatures head. Narrowly avoiding the slashing claws, and the snapping jaws, he opened the eyes, blinding the monster. As the head and neck flailed wildly, Raziel climbed down it's back, searching for that gap......

.......and found it. Lifting the sheet of scales that connected the shoulders with the rest of the back, Raziel reached for the heart of the beast. Finding it, he slashed it, acidic blood burning through his hand.

The draconian reached back for it's killer, and a steel-plated hand closed over the frail body of the human transformed. The hand tightened in it's death throes, and Raziel's body was crushed like a sheet of paper in the hand of a frustrated student. The body fell forward, landing on it's face, and crumbled to dust. The threat against Wallachia had been averted, and only at the cost of a few lives......

Raziel rolled over so he could look at the sky. Thankfully, his body had numbed, so he couldn't feel the bones he saw punching through his skin.....

Everything was going dark, and then he saw Lacuna's face before him. Her etheral form smiled at him, and said, "Not yet, hon...... You still have a wedding to attend....." She kissed him, and his body was whole again.

He reached out for her, but his hand passed through her. Her eyes saddened a little. "Shortly, my love..... Soon you will pass, and at last be home...."

Lacuna's body faded away into darkness, as Raziel sat up, marveling that he was alive. Ada and the others stood feet from him, some marvelling that he had healed so suddenly. It would seem that Lacuna had been invisible to the others.....

Ada came forward, and whispered in his ear. "What was that? How are you alive?"

Raziel smiled, as one smiles after they awake from a long sleep and see a loved one before them. "I had a little help, Ada......" He turned his gaze back to the sky. "A little help from an angel...."

Chanaur regained consciousness. He didn't open his eyes, for fear that he would be set upon by the undead legions. Why they hadn't killed him yet was a mystery. They had him pinned to floor, after all....

.....If he was pinned to the floor by blades through his joints, why couldn't he feel anything?

He opened his eyes, and saw Jara sitting quite a ways away. She was asleep, it seemed, for she had her head buried in her arms, her arms on her knees. Silently, Chanaur stood, and then he heard her sob, her body shaking.

"Oh, what does it matter if I find him, or not?" She whispered to herself. "I'll never be able to be with him again.... He may as well be dead....." She lifted her head, and saw Chanaur standing just over her. She lowered her eyes again, and muttered, "How long have you been standing there?"

Chanaur knelt beside her. "Not too long." He put a hand on her shoulder. "You were talking about someone you were looking for, and saying that your search was pointless. Who is he? I might know him."

Jara sighed. "His name is Darnell." She looked up at him hopefully. "Do you know him?"

Chanaur thought for a moment. I do remember a person by that name, but where do I remember it from.....? He turned back to her, and smiled. "I do know the name. If I'm not mistaken, we met a while back, and I found he had the same affliction I did. Why are you looking for him?"

Jara looked down. "I wish to find him, and tell him that it's not his fault. You see, he was the one who turned me....."

Chanaur squeezed her shoulder. "Well well, it seems he was more than half vampire, if he turned you. How did this happen?" Chanaur sat down, removed his hand, and looked into her eyes.

She calmed herself a bit. "I had been stargazing, laying in a field, and he came and found me. I welcomed his company. We got to talking, and I found that he and I had a lot in common. When it was time to say good night, I kissed him......" Jara sighed heavily, and her shoulders sagged. "Everything seemed fine, but then the kisses on my neck turned into a bite. Before I died, I saw his face, begging my forgiveness......" She swallowed, her voice straining. "That...... That is why I need to find him..... To make amends for this situation....."

Chanaur shook his head. "Jara, I assure you that if he truly feels remorse for what he did, he'll come looking for you....."

"But....." Jara began, but then she bit her lip. She was about to mention the use of the Necronomicon, but then she halted herself. She refused to do that to him until after they had escaped the castle. She knew that he was trying to use that magic to cure his own affliction; he didn't need to do it for someone else......

"Yes?" Chanaur leaned forward, the look in her eyes concerning him. "Jara, what's wrong?"

Jara sighed. "Nothing." She stood, wiping the tears from her eyes. "It's nothing important....."

Chanaur placed both hands on her shoulders. "No. If it's something to cry over, than it must be important. What is it? I might be able to help."

That's exactly what I'm afraid of. I don't want to ask you, because that wouldn't be fair to you..... "Well, it's just the thought that I'll be free....." She lowered her gaze. "But he won't be. And there's nothing he or I can do about it."

Chanaur nodded his head, and looked to the ground.. "Don't worry about it." He looked back into her eyes and tried at a smile. "We'll just cross that bridge when we come to it."

Jara nodded slightly, and then finished standing. Jara smiled with tears still on her face. She embraced him, and muttered into his shoulder. "Why is it I finally find some nice guys, but they're already taken....." But then her head snapped up, her eyes wild. "Reinhardt! He's still back fighting death!"

Chanaur patted her shoulder, and pushed her away gently. "Just wait a moment. I'll see if he's alright." Chanaur turned away from her, and sat back on his heels, then moved into a kneeling position. He put his hands on his knees, and closed his eyes.

Jara stood still. She didn't want to break his concentration.

Chanaur gave a gasp, and snapped out of his trance. He breathed hard for a moment, and then he got shakily to his feet. "Death is dead. Reinhardt is fine."

Jara came over to him. "Then what's wrong?"

Chanaur took a deep breath, and swallowed hard. "There is no trace of Rosa, but her blood lingers atop the Northern Tower. She's dead."

Jara lowered her gaze. "Then Reinhardt must be on his way to the Count..... He'll be-"

"No." Chanaur closed his eyes slightly. "No. Reinhardt sleeps. He's waiting for us...... But he does know......"

Jara put a hand on her shoulder. "And Carrie....?"

Chanaur took another deep breath, still trying to regain his composure. "She's on the Western Tower. Her blood surrounds her, and her life force is leaving her. I need to find her, and fast." Chanaur started moving for the door.

Jara kept his shoulder. "You're going the wrong way. Calm yourself. I can show you the way through this tower."

Chanaur sighed. "I'd greatly appreciate that, Jara. Any help would be greatly appreciated....."

Jara took him by the hand, and started leading him. "Anything for a friend. Now, what you want to do, is go back along this passage. There will be another switch half-way. Step on it, and the gates will be lifted. From there, you will enter the center of the tower, wich is rapidly falling apart. However, a person of your magical propensity can go directly from start to finish." Jara opened the door, and pointed down the hallway. "Then you will reach the room of the stars, where you must solve the riddle to reach the top. Once there, you will find the room of clocks, where you'll find Carrie."

Chanaur committed this to memory, and bid her farewell. He turned and started to run, but Jara caught his arm. She wrapped her arms around him, and kissed him on the cheek. "Keep your composure, or you will die. This tower is treacherous. I also suggest you stick to the walls to avoid pitfalls."

He thanked her again, and returned her embrace. "I can't thank you enough, Jara. I wish you the best of luck with Darnell....."

Jara turned him loose, and playfully shoved him in the opposite direction. "Stop being polite, and go get her! You said yourself she's dying, and you still have to tell her that you love her!"

Chanaur smiled. "Alright, Jara. I'll see you on the other side of the walls, after this whole thing is over....." And then he turned, and started running.

Once he had rounded the corner, Jara heaved a great sigh. "I hope he does find Carrie, and I hope he finds her soon." She turned and headed back into the trap cellar. "Until then, I'll remain here, waiting."

But for what? The only thing I can hope for is that they accomplish their mission, and I can finally go back to my old life......

But why would I want to go back to that old life? Living day in and day out without anyone but myself? All alone in the world.....

She smiled. Darnell will be there. One way or another, we will be together. Even if I have to become a permanent vampire......

Whith trepidition, Chanaur stepped onto the switch that Jara had told him of. He heard the dull sound of stone moving, and then he continued on, his pace hurried. Carrie was dying, and he needed to reach her before she died....

The sound of stone scraping against stone stopped with a loud thump. The gate before him opened, and he stepped onto the platform that would carry him back to the main level.

He emurged into a brightly lit room. He recognized the colored jewels in the cardinal directions. He was back in the tower, and he needed to watch out for the pitfalls....

He now stuck dutifully toward the walls, no matter what the floor looked like. While some were cracked more than others, he didn't trust anything in this tower. Eventually, he came to another staircase like he had climbed in the beginning of the tower. He saw that there was a grate of wood with the relief of an eye, raised out of his path. These were the gates; it proved he was on the right track.

Through the door, he saw another plaque with a map engraved on it. Again, he saw that the path directly north would lead him to the end. The cardinal jewels were the same, so all he had to do was follow the red gems.....

Through the first door, Chanaur stepped boldly onto the floor. If there were any more pitfalls, he'd be ready for them. He needed to get to Carrie.....

However, the floor didn't collapse, but rushed up to meet him. A large, metal spike shot up from the floor, and barely missed him. Moving quickley out of the way that would have impaled him neatly up the middle, he nimbly made his way to the exit. As soon as he made it accross the traps, they all stopped.

Now even more aware of the hazards of this tower, Chanaur decided to take care, and stay close to the walls. It was better if he found Carrie whilst he was alive, than to meet her in spirit.

Chanaur finally made it to the crumbling tower center. Loose stones fell all around him, thundering far below. There was very little light; the floor was indescernable from the darkness, as well as the wall. Looking just above him, he saw the exit. He began to climb the wall, striking his hands into the stone.

He was then in the 'room of stars', as Jara had termed it. He was in a circular room, with a pit just before him. Along the walls were engravings of runes, along with their names. Runes of the Zodiac, runes of the constellations......

Thankfully, Chanaur knew the runes like the back of his hand. The puzzle of this room probably wouldn't be a problem at all.

He looked into the center of the pit, and saw two pillars. One had the rune for Libra on it, and the other showed Capricorn. Chanaur decided to look at the other murals on the walls. Maybe there was a hint among them......

Going along the wall was a narrow walkway, leading around the room. Chanaur began to walk around the room, studying the murals.

The first to the left stated: Six constellations twinkling in the sky, show the correct path in a clockwise direction. Chanaur looked to the next one along the way, and saw that it was another riddle, and one he decided wasn't necessary to read. Therefore, he turned around and started going about the room, studying the runes.

Having circumnavigated the room, Chanaur found that the order was Capricorn, Aeries, Taurus, Gemini, Leo, and then Sagitarius. He moved to the first pair of columns, and jumped to the Capricorn engraved pillar.

After a little while, the area filled with the sound of rumbling. Half tempted to jump back to the safety of the walkway, he watched a third pillar come up from out of the pit. No sooner had his feet left the Capricorn column, then it and the Libra fell from sight into the pit. He looked forward, and saw two more, Scorpio and Aeries.

From Aeries, he had a choice between Taurus and Pisces. From Taurus, he chose Gemini over Aquarius. From Gemini, Leo and Cancer. From Leo, Sagitarius and Virgo.

Once he was atop the Sagitarius pillar, a final column emurged from the darkness, and he was at last able to reach the top of the tower. He stood on the final column, engraved with the crest of a shield, and it began to rise, raising him through a whole in the cieling. Now he was faced with a door. Everything else was darkness.....

Without hesitation, he opened the door and walked through. He could sense Carrie's presence, and she was close...... So very close.....

Abruptly everything was illuminated again, and a thundering crash announced the dropping of an iron door behind him. He was in the room of clocks.

But.... if this was the room of clocks, why was it so silent?

Chanaur continued down the corridor, and still the incessant noiselessness continued. He saw the walls of clocks, and none of them were working. Not cog clicked, not a hand moved, not a pendulum swayed. The keeper of time, Thanatos, was killed by Reinhardt.

Either that was the reason, or something was horribly wrong.

Chanaur moved to the middle of the room. Carrie was so close that he could smell her blood. But in which direction was she....?

The rush of feathered wings just behind him anounced that he wasn't alone. Chanaur didn't turn to face the disturbance, but he knew it must be death. Death cannot be killed; that was his area of expertise, after all. However, it didn't smell of death..... The smell was half-pleasant, so it couldn't be a harpy.....

Chanaur kneeled, and continued to feign obliviousness. He searched for Carrie, and watched the creature behind him. A gryphon.....

And then he found her. She was on the east tower, just to his right.

The gryphon soared just over him, claws raking the air. The eagle's talons grazed his shoulder, and the lions legs came down on his back. The claws dug into his flesh, and then the gryphon landed about half-way accross the room. She wheeled about, and stared balefully at him. It was a black gryphon, shining ebony feathers gleaming in the candlight. The lion portion was a dark, smoky gray, the tufted tail swishing slowly.

Chanaur decided that he had no time to trifle with another battle. And aside from that, he had no intention of killing such a beautiful creature......

However, the gryphon had other ideas. It leapt into the air, unfurling it's magnificent wings. She flew softly into the wall, and shoved off toward him, claws outstretched. Chanaur dodged to the right, but she caught the air with her wings, and swerved to meet him in midair.

Talons dug into his shoulders, lifting him off the ground. The cieling was suddenly below him, and then he felt a pair of powerful legs slam him into it. She let go, and let him fall ten feet to the floor.

Chanaur now had the idea of annhiliting this creature, once and for all. He stood to the best of his ability, and drew his sword. He couldn't hope to kill it by those means, however, so he changed it to a halberd. Accepting the challenge, she dove for him once more.

He waited until the gryphon was just before him, and then he teleported just behind her, and brought the halberd down upon her neck. The beheaded creature fell to the floor, and after a short period, was still.

And then she was gone; and Chanaur was alone.

Chanaur struggled to his feet, and asessed his injuries. He couldn't feel his left arm, and he wasn't sure if he was breathing anymore. His body was numb, which menat that he probably had a concussion or worse. He saw that his right leg was twisted about forty-five degrees inward, so he reset his femur with a loud crunch.

But his injuries weren't important. Carrie still needed him.

He turned around, and limped toward the lift leading toward the west tower. Carrie was so close, he could smell her blood..... Could almost taste it, even though he couldn't be sure if it was her blood or his.

The elevator began to move, and soon he felt wind on his skin, and biting at his exposed nerves. Through the red haze of blood in his eyes, he saw a figure clad in torn blue robes. Chanaur began to stumble toward her..... He was just three steps away....... Two steps....

Then he fell forward, his mind losing conciousness. He reached out his hand, and touched hers.....

Was this the end? Was he to die, when he only just got to her? Was he really going to lose his life when he had come so close, and yet so far away, and doom her in the process?

No, Dracula would save him, as usual.....

But then he remembered his vow back in the Art Tower....

His hand closed over hers, and then everything went black......

End Part Twenty One.

Chapter Twenty-Two