"Cereza wait." Bridget called out.
"Life's all 'bout give an' take. You want sumthin', ya gotta give ta' attain'it."
Cereza whipped around to face her sister, her cheeks puffed, and nostrils flared. "The bond between a vampyre and her imprint is sacred. I could never submit him to..."
Roxas cut her off. "You're being overly dramatic. I promise to take good care of him."
"I don't need your help that bad!" Cereza shouted.
"Actually, ya do." Bridget cut in. "Look Girlie, if ya want the crown ya have ta' grease a few palms. It's a small price ta' pay considerin' the huge backin' Roxas has ta' offer ya."
"I have the third seat ready for trade. All I want is the boy's blood in return. I well get him back to you. No worse from wear." Roxas added her eyes focused on only one objective, turning Austin into her guinea pig.
"Hear 'dat? You become a stronger contenda' for da throne, and you'll getcha man back in no time, safe and sound." Cereza mauled it over for a moment. "Don't know watcha plans are dat requires da' crown but dis is just one steppin' stone towards it. Plus, what do you think will happen to him if Roxas here exposes you and him out of spite?"
"Quit a.s.sa.s.sinating my character." Roxas responded in monotone.
Cereza relented. "Fine. But I won't bring him here, if anyone was to smell him here..."
"Then we have a deal right Roxas?" Bridget cut her off. Roxas nodded once. "Then we set off after this family reunion. Everyone agree?"
Cereza sighed. "Yeah that's fine with me."
"What do you get out of this Bridget?" Roxas stood firmly in front of her older sister.
"Now now, you let big sis worry bout dat. "
"Suspicious. But I'll relent as long as I get what I want in the end." Roxas returned to her experiment. "Let yourselves out.
"Now dat we practically have Roxas on our side, we need ta decide our next conquest." Bridget threw an arm around Cereza's shoulder pulling her along the halls.
"I wonder who the best target would be?" Cereza's eyes questioned whether her sister knew what she was doing.
Bridget's own eyes sharpened, and a smile grew across her face. "How bout V?"
Cereza looked forward and to another of her sisters, Vita. She walked with an elegance that drowned the air. Her long scarlet hair hung in a single braid down her back looking as silky as the dark dress hugging her from shoulder to ankle.
Cereza bowed. "Lord sister."
Vita nodded in response, then bowed to Bridget who was the eldest among the three. "Lord sister. "
Bridget waved her off. "You're just the lil sis I was hopin' ta run into."
Vita smiled gently. "Pardon my tongue lord sister..." she went flat. "... but that doesn't sound appealing coming from you."
"So cold." Bridget laughed it off. "Listen, I have an interestin' proposition for ya dear sister."
"Out with it I'm pretty busy running back and forth for the adults."
"Long an' short of it eh? Lil Cereza here wants ta be queen, what do ya think of it?"
"I think she has a better chance becoming human than becoming queen. She'd have to get literally everyone to back her and will her their seats just to be able to compete with Morinth, who definitely wants it. Not to mention there's Alteria who has the Queen's favor."
Bridget broke into her signature smirk. "Not everyone, juss a few key playas."
"And now I know why I got that sinking feeling."
"Lord sister." Cereza's flat tone s.n.a.t.c.hed her sister's attention. The resolve in her eyes resonated with both Vita and Bridget.
Vita sighed. "Getting my seat isn't going to be easy. In fact, I'll try my best to break you. But if you manage I could be persuaded to stand in your corner.
"What task needs be done Lord sister?"
"Follow me Cereza."
The colosseum. A Roman arena for the gladiator blood sport, a place where Cereza now finds herself dead smack in the middle of, or rather a miniature version.
Up from above stood Vita and Bridget as well as a few of what she a.s.sumed was Vita's high society friends.
"Welcome Cereza. My beautiful half-sister. On behalf of myself I thank you in advance for providing such splendid entertain on this day."
Bridget whispers into Vita's ear. "And I was said to be da eccentric one."
Vita grimaced but continued. "I'll Start by explaining the rules to you. Three rounds, three of my greatest champions. You must best them all."
"Best them? You mean for me to fight then?" Cereza couldn't believe the turn of events.
"Enter the first champion!"
With Vita's booming voice the gate of the colosseum opens and in steps what could only be described as a giant among giants.
The gate slammed close with a roar which was like a signal to the undead brute who rushed towards Cereza with an incredible speed intent on ramming her with his spiked shoulder pad.
It took every ounce of Cereza's will to roll clear with enough acceleration to avoid being torn apart like a train going through a semi.
Vita applauded Cereza while speaking directly to Bridget. "Impressive not many can match Sotark's speed. He is among my fastest familiars."
"Don't go underestimatin' our sis, you've no idea of da new potential she possesses."
Vita faced Bridget. "You've got some sort of interesting ace up your sleeve, don't you?"
Bridget shrugged playing coy. "Who knows? I ain't even sure myself "
Cereza clasped her hands together then slowly opened producing a miniature supernova within them.
"Oh wow, that's a lot of power for a fledgling." Vita's eyes widen.
"Told ya didn't I? Let em have it Cereza!"
Cereza closed the distance in a flash and using the power of a dying sun, deliver a blow so devastating she herself was blown away as a result.
The dust settled. Cereza managed to one shot the t.i.tan who now lay motionless and without a torso
"Was that really Cereza?" Bridget's raised an eyebrow.
"That's an incredible display of raw power. It would take a dozen imprints to reach this level. Its still well below my current levels but I couldn't compare when I was that age."
"Interestin' ain't it? I'm curious as to where she peaks out. Say, ya wouldn't have anythin' more challengin' would ya?"
Vita flipped her hair. And summoned 2 of her champions. "How about a handicap?"
Cereza dropped to her knees. She put too much into that last attack and would be impossible to use it again with what little blood she had left in the tank.
The two familiars stalked towards her as she weighed her options. They both could pa.s.s as human but Cereza knew not to underestimate them. With no other choice she took a page out of Schera's playbook and conjured a silver short sword and shield and rose to her feet.
" Oh? Interesting she plans of fighting them in close quarters combat, their specialty. Not sure if she has guts or just plain naivety." Vita mused.
"Either way, she knows how to put on a show." Bridget responded in a pleased smile.
They came at her in an organized front. The best she could manage was block with her shield and quickly turn to her blind spot and deflect another attack. They pressed her hard. She couldn't win at this rate.
She wasn't going to win this. The fact that here body was cement. It was completely unresponsive. She was nearly empty inside thanks to her reckless use of magick.
They lunged ready to eliminate. Cereza shut her eyes and dropped to her knees, awaiting her fate. But nothing.
She slowly opened her eyes to see Bridget holding both by the face. She smirked.
"Jeez lil sis you should learn to pace yaself better or you might actually die.
Bridget crushed them both into dust in the palm of her hands. Before the dust settled Vita was already in their place.
"You just cost yourself the deal Bridget. "
"So it seems." Bridget smirked. "Oh well. It's no biggie we still have otha fish."
Vita stood in front of Bridget cutting her off. "I'm still interested in our rematch."
Bridget couldn't help but laugh. "Dat again?" Bridget walks around her.
"I will repay you for the humiliation I suffered. Now fight me."
Bridget's gaze suddenly went dark and scary. "You do know death princess isn't just a t.i.tle. What will you do if you're killed? Is that really a risk you're willing to pay for pride, little sister?"
Vita swallowed her nervousness. "I'm much stronger than when we were fledglings... I have ten times your imprints. I WON'T LOSE!!"
Bridget broke into laughter once again. "Dat may be so lil sis, but you're still 'bout a hunnid years too soon to be challengin' me. Not with ALL those puny imprints ya have."
Vita gritted her teeth. "You will not ignore me!" Vita summoned a swarm or arcane runes that encircled Bridget before slowly compressing her.
with a wave of a single hand, Bridget shattered her prison into pieces and was right in Vita's face too quickly for her to respond. Vita fell back on her a.s.s while Bridget smirked. "Scared lil' sis'?"
Vita hesitated. "Nnno..."
"At any rate ya won. Wear dat victory proudly." Bridget turned and collected Cereza in her arms.
"Wwwhere are you going?"
"As you can see our dearest sister is in danger of dying. She must be treated." With that Bridget made he/r exit. "Please tell the Adults we won't be available for the duration of the gathering we have pressing matters."
Austin splashed cold water on his face and gazed into his reflection in the mirror. The events of yesterday's battle played in fast forward within his mind. He had no idea of the depths of the consequences that would come with it only what was hinted at by Eleanor and Schera's demeanor.
He returned to the main clubroom where the two vixens sat in silence. He coughed to break up the tension.
"So how long are we allowed to skip cla.s.s?"
"Cla.s.s is the least of our worries." Eleanor spoke but continued to survey the land through the window and checking the masking wards over the building Schera made. "By now my mother has gotten involved and she isn't going to roll over and just let you get away."
"You were already special with having imprinted twice. Now with a third, it's safe to say you're not a fluke." Schera concluded.
"We should just stay here, continue to reinforce our barriers, and settle in for the long run." Eleanor finally broke away from the window and looked Austin in the eyes.
The door of the entire building creaked open and silence overtook the room once more. Eleanor instinctively positioned herself in front of Austin while Schera branded her lance and tiptoed to the room door. She peeked her head around the doorway and out towards the front of the building.
"You sure this is the right place?"
"As far as I can tell. Dis place is a dump so can't really say."
Schera leaned closer. Something felt familiar. She turned to Eleanor only to see she was being held up by her throat by her own shadow. She turned back to the doorway and was pushed all the way to the far end of the room.
"Hey hold on. I think dats lil Schera." The voice came from the figure behind the being that had tossed Schera through the air.
Schera eyes adjusted from having the wind knocked from her. An image of Bridget came into focus. "Lady...Bridget?"
"Ah. So, we're in da right place. Good." Bridget scanned the room and found Austin trying to free Eleanor from her shadow. "Roxas you can let her go now."
The shadow strangling Eleanor phased back into the floor.
"Schera, what's going on here. What's wit' da rather strong wardin'?" Bridget asked setting Cereza on the floor."
"It is a long story." Schera looked to Cereza who was in Roxas' arm.
"Oh, she fine, she just needs a little pick me up." She nodded in Austin's direction.
"You know about him?"
"I know enough but I'm sure you are willin' ta fill me in on what I don't know. Let me get comfy dis bound to be a good one."