Chapter 11:

Chapter 11


Elizabeth and Sir Isaac walked through the streets of Dragula's Estate. As their shoes clacked against the pristine cobblestone, culture shock rattled their systems. Everything was so clean. Despite the atmosphere of gloom, death, and ruin surrounding them, the whole town felt clean and safe. There was no illness. There were no bodies lining the streets. Everyone walked and talked with cheer and delight. They expected this from the CAM, that they could live with. But this? The town built and designed for all sorts of undead, from vampires to zombies. This place was better off than central Ethros? Just how far from grace have they fallen? Just how disproportionately has despair consumed the kingdom? Elizabeth and Sir Isaac observed the people around them. They noted their homes, their actions, their lives. And soon it started to hit them. There really wasn't a single living person in the town. Everyone was undead, different varieties but still undead. Men and women, young and old. Every demographic, every type of person. That's how they can stay so happy! Death isn't a threat to them; it isn't the end. Death was just a new stage of life, and now that they've crossed it, they can truly live. Or so it seems. For while Sir Isaac envied the immortality of the citizens, Elizabeth could understand the existential sadness it brings. When everyone suffers together, it's like no one is suffering at all.

"Here we go, the shopping district." Sir Isaac said, snapping Elizabeth out of her trance. "And I'll bet that big castle in the distance is where we can get some answers." He pointed to a large, luxurious castle in the distance. It was the pinnacle of wealth and stature, a mansion for the truly elite. "Come on, let's stock up before we inevitably get into more trouble." Elizabeth nodded and the two browsed and perused the local shops. Unlike the CAM, the shops weren't housed in their own buildings. Instead, they were set up more like central Ethros, small stands open to all the public and natural elements. An assortment of laymen and exotic meats took up most of the shops, yet not a single herb in sight. Several stands offered inexpensive medical procedures. Much to Elizabeth's dismay, those procedures mainly included bloodletting and leeching. "See! I told you Dragula's Estate was the medical capital! And look at these prices! You know, it's been a while since my last bloodletting, I think I'm due for an appointment."

"Sir Isaac, no!"

"Relax, it won't take long. I just need to get the bad blood out."

"That is not a thing!" Elizabeth proceeded to grab Sir Isaac's arm and drag him away.

"Come on! What about a blood transfusion? I hear those are the future."

"Not until we do more testing!"

"What's there to test? You take out bad blood, you put in good blood."

"Again, that is not a thing. And there is so much more to it than that! If you're with me, then you are going to be using real and safe medical practices. Here!" Elizabeth stopped at a smaller stand, out of the way from the rest of the strip. Unlike the others, it wasn't swarmed with customers, and it was fully stocked and untouched.

"Hi! Welcome to my shop! My name's Lenore!" A small, vampire lady said. She smiled cutely. "Let me know if you need anything!"

"Top notch instruments, properly stored pharmaceuticals, saline solutions?! Look! She's even got eyeglasses!"

"Yup! Just trying to bring some modern medicine to our little town. It's a little tough since everyone seems to be stuck in the past, I'm sure you can imagine why."

"This is amazing!" Elizabeth cheered.

"You're really excited about this." Sir Isaac said.

"Of course I am! This is my passion, my livelihood! I'm gonna buy everything I can for us! That way we... can..." Elizabeth trailed off. Sir Isaac and Lenore looked at her confused. "Vera has all our money..."

"Oh. Right. I forgot about that." Elizabeth hung her head in shame, looking on the verge of tears.

"I apologize, Lenore. I won't be able to pay for anything. I'm sorry if I got your hopes up."

"Nonsense! Take whatever you need!" Elizabeth slowly perked back up.

"Wait, huh? Don't you need money?"

"Well yeah. But to be honest, I'm just happy to see someone else who shares the same passion as me. I'd be glad to lend my products to a fellow medical enthusiast!"

"Actually, I'm a doctor."

"Even more reason to let you have it! Better off with you than me!" Lenore packed up a small bag with a hefty sample of everything she had to offer. She lifted it above the counter and handed it to Elizabeth.

"That's so kind of you, thank you."

"It's nothing, really! Anything to help you stay one step ahead of all those healing spells and potions!" Lenore laughed. Elizabeth hesitated but eventually let out a giggle with her.

"Well, thank you again Lenore. I really appreciate it." She smiled a soft, warm smile. Elizabeth felt the happiest she'd ever felt in a long time.

"You know, there is something else we're trying to track down. If you could help us with that, I bet we could help you in return." Sir Isaac quickly added.

"Oh? What's that?"

"We need some sacred vampire blood for a special elixir we're working on. If you point us in the right direction, we could point some people your way with proper payment."

"Sacred vampire blood? The only place you can get that is at our Lord's castle. I can take you there and introduce you. But no payment is necessary, I just like helping people." Lenore smiled again before stepping out and around her shop. "Come on!" She waved her arm. "It's just up this road!" She then twirled around and started up the street, her black dress fluttering in the wind. Elizabeth began to follow her as Sir Isaac leaned over and whispered in her ear.

"You know, she's like a vampire version of you." He chuckled.