Chapter 17:

Bitter Reunion

Adventures of Zeleon

The Stained Forest is a place that no one dares trespass, despite how easy it is to wander into without proper knowledge or direction. Why you may ask? It's on the Northeastern border of the Vampire territory. It earned its name from the blood spilled by many beings who boldly cross this border. The main village in the Southwestern direction is more of a welcome area than this kill zone. Charlotte takes no chances or risks, this is a blindside of their land, thus all who traverse it are considered opposition. It was even agreed upon in the treaty, with the only exceptions being deliveries being dropped to the Vampires or the Dragons hunting large creatures.

On this particular day, there's a trespasser. But one who knows of the immunity they have. Their weapon is still drawn just in case. The only one unafraid to make this trek is Courtney Huntington of course. But even she is cautious. It's late dusk with the sun giving way to two of Zeleon's three moons, creating a haunting feeling to the area, similar to a graveyard.

Courtney quietly traverses with her special halberd in hand, a weapon that stands taller than her, lined in red color matching the highlights of red in her otherwise usual purple fit she wears. Despite her caution, she moved in a purposeful direction towards the inclining land.

Another half hour passed as she reached her destination, a small tree covered mesa that overlooked the forest. As she moved towards the edge, the trees cleared out slowly until they were completely gone, giving a breathtaking view of the setting sun and rising moons side by side as night fell. However, the sight was ignored, instead her eyes were focused on the woman who stared into her eyes.

"Hello daughter."

The self proclaimed mother to Courtney, Charlotte Winterborne. They hadn't spoken in over 25 years, a short time in the grand scheme of a vampire's life. However, for the two original vampires of the world, this was life changing with how deep their connection was.


The words spoken made Courtney more nervous than she was going in. Charlotte noticed this and approached her, nearly touching her to calm her down, but Courtney stepped back immediately.

"Hmm? You're shaking and you refuse to let me touch you as I used to do? As I recall you used to squeeze me so tight whenever you felt insecure, unsure, or had a night terror."

"You're the reason I'm shaking. I remember what you've done to deserters in the past. You killed them if they chose to not be part of your collective. I wouldn't have come here if Leon didn't say something to me...but he did and here I am….so what am I doing here Charlotte?"

Charlotte's expression changed. Her eyes almost had a glint of light, with a gentle smile for the daughter she was separated from. But it seems this reunion is quickly going in a different direction than she'd hoped.

"You think I would kill you like those other pathetic rogues?! Courtney, I would've handled you many years ago already. I know you have control, I know your moral compass. You wouldn't harm a person who didn't deserve it. I pose no threat to you. I wanted to talk to you and bring you back to us, you've been fondly missed. Leon...smelling your scent on him brought on an enormous need to see you again. That's all, you may lay down your weapon."

Courtney just realized that she still had her weapon in hand, with the magic that vampires carry, she made it disappear into a plane where she could grab it out of again. Her silver saucers refocused on Charlotte.

"I don't want to come back. I've heard of your plans Charlotte and I was hoping that I could somehow talk you out of them. The treaty is planned to be redone again soon, Serena is making waves to ensure this. Why do you want to pull this kind of power play?"

Charlotte's left eye twitched. "She..what?! I just have to explain my reasoning. I can't believe everything I'm hearing…."

"Wolves are a wannabe dominant species whose power is completely based on our moons, without them they're weak. They're our natural enemy. Meanwhile humans….they are pathetic blood bags. Some are redeemable and I plan to spare them like Hanyu and Serena, as well as some of the smaller villages that have shown us hospitality. But the others, they don't deserve to be more than a life source."

Her words were so calm it set off an alarm within Courtney's mind. "She really doesn't care, she wants me to come back to the group again...that's it…"

"So that's it then? I can't change your mind. You're that hellbent on being the judge, jury and executioner? What about the Komodrons and the Dragons? Do their opinions on this also not matter to you whatsoever?"

"I don't have an issue with either one of them. I'm sure if we didn't step on their toes they would largely ignore what we're doing. Both of them have their reservations on Humans anyways, and neither really care about the Wolves. We three could live in perfect harmony."

The frustration within Courtney built more hearing the selfish words leave Charlotte's lips. So much so, that all the nerves she came with exited her body. Her eyes actually turned black as her fangs released themselves fully.

Charlotte took a step back as she was caught off guard, believing this conversation might actually turn into a fight.

"What is wrong with you?! Do you understand what you're saying?! These are living, breathing beings that you're dismissing because YOU believe they should be gone. Leon is changing the narrative of what a human can be right now training with the Komodrons! The Dragons are about the balance in the world, and currently there has been no shift in it! YOU believe this, so don't speak for them. Speak for yourself!"


"Is it so wrong to put a stop to beings who constantly betray our trust? Is it wrong to kill off a disease that turns others to fleabags?"

"Stop putting us on a pedestal! Open your eyes and realize that we are cursed! Being a vampire is a curse! We aren't made by nature, we were made by cursed magic!"

The two growled at each other as the heated conversation had them in each other's faces. Charlotte's eyes turned black as she fanged out as well. In a moment faster than a heartbeat, both their weapons clashed into each other as they were drawn.

"Damn it Charlotte, why? Why do you have to be so narrow sighted now? I just want peace, you should too. We've come so far from being mindless killers and yet….you continue to paint your future as a portrait instead of a landscape."

"You brat. You drew your weapon at me?! And for what?! Humans and Wolves mean nothing, we're the species that needs to rule Zeleon, we're the force needed to balance everything!"

A brief moment of silence fell between them as neither let up, a breeze came through blowing their hair and Charlotte's clothing about. Courtney eventually jumped back about five feet away, still holding her weapon out.

"Humans aren't all bad. Wolves are simply territorial and shunned by us and the Humans that they used to be. I've been Serena's big sister for 27 years, I bet you didn't know that. Leon is an enigma in the best way, in spite of you calling him prey. I know you, and you likely felt no different than me."

"Hmm? Am I supposed to be surprised by that? Knowing how you both grew probably felt sympathetic. With Leon however, he's proven nothing. My eye is on him, and I do hope he succeeds. But, until he does he's just an Earth human. I hope you're not being influenced by him after...what, two months? That is, unless you plan to turn him for yourself? If you are, no matter the outcome you'd have outdone any expectations I've had for you."

Charlotte's words were snide, they cut into Courtney like daggers as she seemed she was trying to hold back a livid state. But, she held her cool composure with her response.

"I'd never turn Leon. Ever. He has a life on Earth with his best friend and his mother; he wants to keep his limited lifespan. I respect that completely, even if his life is in danger."

Charlotte cut her off.

"Those last words you spoke. I'll hold you to them. If Leon, a sixteen year old, in over his head with the boldness that comes in youth, was bleeding out in front of you, you couldn't turn him? How cruel, eternal life isn't all bad. You treat our species like it's such a hell. You can't get sick, you can't die, hunger doesn't come every few hours, you become strong. I see no drawbacks."

"You're insane, you're actually insane. Leon would hate me if I did that without his say. Besides, how would his mother feel knowing her son is a monster?"

"Hah! A monster?! If she called him that she didn't really love him now did she? But I could show him what I've shown you, a place of stability, care, and companionship. Because we, as vampires, are more open to who others are, compared to our prey."

Her fanged grin showed as she licked her lips at the thought of feeding. Courtney simply stood firm at her display. The two who've been together for five centuries sit at a stalemate in their conversation. Neither willing to give up the ideals that they wholeheartedly believe in.

"I really wish you could see what I see Charlotte. You did at one time, but your vision is too narrow sighted now. I did what you wanted, and for that I can't feel down on myself. I can only hope that we can find a common ground before this gets more out of hand. I don't hate you, even in spite of how we met. I just….really, really, want you to find the caring and understanding person that you are inside."

Charlotte flared up at her calmness.

"I'm disappointed in how you've rejected the vampire that you are, that I know you are! Why choose humanity? Why choose a perfect stranger over your own Mother?! What is Leon to you Courtney?! I want to know!"

Courtney settled down even more, her eyes returning to normal as she let her weapon disappear once again.

"You want to know? Well…you can't. I don't even know yet. But the confidence and trust he has in me is something I can't betray. I'm his only friend here, and the last decade I've allowed myself to run solo. I'm tired of hiding, of worrying, of everything. We are friends. This I know for certain. Do I know the future? Of course not. But I want to help him, for his growth and Serena's vision. If that vision comes to fruition, you and I will stand as each other's opposition."

Courtney began to head down the mesa, as Charlotte stood there almost dumbfounded. Her self proclaimed daughter just showed no willingness to return with the current state she's in. A rarity for the Vampire Queen, to feel so defeated, with such a void left in her heart.

" willing to speak to me again."

Her voice lacked it's usual sharpness and tact, it's power, it's weight. It was like the last bit of strength in glass before it shatters under pressure. She fell to her knees with her behemoth sized scythe falling beside her.

"Why? You'll just repeat this act to try to get what you want again."

Courtney didn't even turn around to speak. Her words felt like venom in Charlotte's veins, a relationship of five centuries was just severed for good, over the differing ideals that put a massive canyon between them.