Chapter 5:

Soft Hearted Monsters

Adventures of Zeleon

Leon hesitated as Courtney fully vamped out before him. Beads of sweat visibly dripped from his head as he was nervous, something a human never did to him anymore.

However, he steeled himself and made the first move, making a fast step towards her as he pointed the curved blade into her side. Her vampiric speed showed itself to be overwhelming, she'd grabbed his right wrist taking the blade away, quickly pulling his arm behind him and pinned him to the wall.

"Hmm? Is that all you had? I'd hoped a potential Guardian would have more fight!"

Courtney pushed him into the wall more with a sly smile, seemingly enjoying what she was doing to Leon.

He let out a growl of frustration as he tried to catch her in the jaw with his left elbow, whilst stomping on her right foot with his own.

She almost casually moved her head avoiding his elbow by a few inches; her foot took the stomp without issue, though the small moment of distraction allowed Leon to slip out of her grasp.

"Well, while you certainly don't match me it didn't stop you, did it? All in spite of your fear. I admire that."

"So? Are you gonna kill me or just mess with me more for your own pleasure?"

Courtney shook her head, casually tossing the curved knife back to Leon.

"If I wanted to kill you, I would've let the dragon do that for me. I wanted to test how you'd react to sudden danger, something unknown, something you might fear. You fear no man, but your hesitancy when you learned I was a vampire provided an opportunity. You did well, despite knowing you were outmatched, you gave it a try against all odds."

Leon's look of disdain couldn't have been more obvious, his eyes would have burned a hole through her if it were possible. "I appreciate your compliment, but don't scare the hell out of me like that...again."

His tone was stern enough to make him sound incredibly angry.

"No promises~!"

Her sing-songy voice made Leon's eyebrow twitch with frustration as remaining sweat still rolled off his head.

Leon sheathed the knife at his hip and gently wiped his brow of sweat, and with a soft sigh sat back down on the ground, looking up at the ceiling as his mind churned.

"What defines a monster to you?"

"Why do you ask such a thing?"

Courtney looked at Leon with a bit of concern, and sat with him so she'd be at eye level as they spoke.

"I ask, because back home I'm known as a loose cannon. I've put people in the hospital, after they provoked me so much, or started a fight that I'd seriously hurt them. Your black eyes made me recall someone saying my pupils completely covered the color around my eyes. As if I was a monster."

Courtney smiled while listening to Leon, and she gently gripped his shoulder, causing him to shiver as his tolerance for touch was low.

"You're not a monster. A monster doesn't recollect actions and whether or not they were just. A monster trounces through doing whatever they want, whenever they want, no matter who they hurt along the way. Amongst a lot of circles, you probably are a monster for fighting, being apprehensive and just where you came from. Others can never define you until you let them, remember that."

She got up to her feet and gripped one of Leon's hands, pulling him up to his feet as well as she looked him in the eyes. "Come on. We better get back to the capital before night falls too deeply."

Leon nodded as he let Courtney lead the way as the torches were nearly out making the cave room narrowly pitch black. Her grip on his hand stayed tight, leading him through so she wouldn't lose him by accident.

"She's squeezing my hand so tight it feels like it could break! I get it, it would suck to get seperated but...ugh. So much has happened in 24 hours, I even spilled feelings out to a vampire I just met; this situation has pushed it all to the surface."

Courtney let go of his hand as they were back at the entrance. She pushed the boulder she used to block it with ease. As the pair stepped outside, Leon looked at the sky as it was blanketed with stars, and multiple moons. "Wow…"

He said audibly as he was struck with awe with how beautiful it looked. Courtney smiled at his reaction like he'd never seen the sky before. Each star twinkled brightly, unimpeded from view, almost making the darkness of night disappear.

"Breathtaking isn't it? Just how small we all are in the grand scheme of the universe.'ve probably never seen a star covered sky with your planet the way it is. But, come on, we need to get moving."

The pair pushed forward in silence through the canyon out into the rocky desert landscape. The terrain was the same all around, though a treeline was way into the distance. "That pitfall spit me out that far from the capital? I need to make note of where it is so no one else falls down there."

Courtney broke the silence, looking into Leon's eyes as she did, her silver orbs sparkled in the moon's light. Leon caught the glimpse ever so slightly and looked down almost immediately as it rattled him.

"Are you afraid of me?"

"Huh?? Why do you ask that?"

"I ask because well, humans fear what they don't understand, especially an Earth human who only knows of such a being as myth or fairy tale."

"When you first told me there was definitely a shock factor, and naturally I hadn't known what your intentions were. Hell, you could've been baiting me for all I knew, that's the only reason why I got defensive."

He took a deep breath, looking her in the eyes to let her know he was serious.

"I'm not afraid of you. What you are doesn't matter to me in the least, the who of you will always sway my judgement. I've met plenty of humans who are pieces of shit; but I'll as always give someone a chance until they prove me otherwise. You being a vampire doesn't matter to me, you being a halfway decent being is what matters."

Courtney was taken aback by his words. He sounded resolute, speaking without hesitation. "You're a special kind...Leon Atkins, most humans would try to stake me or something."

She hesitated with her words, which was unlike her usual self. Leon struck a chord within her, which only made her interest in him increase. " did he get to me like that! An Earth human who's treated as a monster...maybe that's why. I wonder...will the Zelonian humans give him the same hostility?"

"A monster understands another monster. That's all it is, Courtney."

Her thoughts stopped racing as he spoke. She took a deep breath and blew in his face. Her breath was like ice, it cut through his bones giving him a serious chill that made his body shake a little.

"Th-that's realllly cold….why'd you do that?"

"For sheer reaction, cause I can, a lot of reasons I don't need to disclose. What I can say is, my eye is on you to see just how far you can go."

The pair made it to the treeline, as Leon took another step, Courtney stayed behind him with a gentle smile.

"This is where we must part unfortunately. I can't head to the human capital unless I'm on 'official business' quote unquote. But from here it's a straight shot. Just don't get bit by anything, and well, we'll meet again very soon."

"Take care then Courtney. Thank you for everything."

Leon smiled as he walked away into the forest, going straight forward through the layers of brush and bushes on the canopy under the nicely lit night sky. As Courtney said, the massive exterior wall appeared before his eyes as he ran towards it and let out a massive sigh of relief as he ran around to the gate.

The shift guard looked down and saw Leon as the one who matched the description of a person to look out for, and let him in. As Leon entered through the gates, he heard a carriage already on it's way, knowing it was either Serena or Katrina. He braced himself not knowing if he was going to hear a calm, precise, stern talking to. Or if he was going to get a fiery earful.

The carriage stopped, and the door opened up revealing Katrina inside, though her demeanor isn't what he'd imagined. "Get in.."

She spoke weakly and Leon hesitantly got in the carriage and sat next to her. As the carriage began to move the bumps in the road could be felt on the way as the hooves of the horses clopping and the carriage rattling drowned out other noises around them.

"Tell me Leon, what makes it okay to go off and explore a virtual unknown that could kill you?"

"I just wanted to see what it's like…"

"I don't care Leon! You could've gone missing for years, not knowing if you're alive or dead. What would your mother think if you just took off out of nowhere?! If you wanted to look….you should've asked…."

Katrina cut him off abruptly, becoming more visibly upset than before. Leon was in shock because her reaction was completely unexpected, for someone who belittled him when they first met, she was deeply concerned for his well being.

The carriage brought them through the gates to the Shoud Castle, where a quiet Leon and Katrina got out and headed in. They walked up to the living quarters together without a sound, just the echoes of their footsteps headed upstairs.

"Just because I don't like the fact that you're an Earth human and that I don't like your attitude, doesn't mean I want to see you dead. I just don't want you as our Guardian."

"That's unfortunate, cause I've made up my mind to be the Guardian. Though, I apologize for making you fear the worst. I'm dense in the way of doing things for myself, I hate asking for help and being a nuisance to people."

"You're a nuisance regardless if you ask or not. Ask for help at some point in your life, you pathetic moron!"

The pair made it to the third floor without an audible sound between them. As Leon was going to enter his room, Katrina broke the silence.

"You have food in there, freshly made once your return was found out. I bet you haven't even eaten at all today have you? Anyways rest up, your training likely starts tomorrow."

Katrina left Leon after she was done speaking, leaving him to head into his room and eat up a full course meal like a ravenous animal, without leaving a speck of food behind. After a nice long shower he got fresh clothes on and grabbed his recorder and began speaking.

"Audio log number two, I went exploring like I wanted to, but it didn't end up in a way I'd hoped for. A sinkhole disaster spit me out into a dragon's den, and said dragon chased me down after her little one hatched. A lucky chance encounter with a vampire named Courtney saved me from an ill fate however, which brought interesting results, but ultimately I think I can trust her for the time being. When I got back, the biggest surprise of all came to me, in the form of Katrina actually giving a damn about my life, though in retrospect she just didn't want my death on her mind. This has been Leon Atkins, over and out."

Shortly after Leon put the recorder in a drawer, he quickly crashed out to sleep after an insanely long day.