“Miss Stafford,” Count Straud said when he arrived for her training a few nights later.
“Hello Vladislaus,” Elizabeth greeted her benefactor and mentor warmly. She briefly considered air kissing both of his cheeks but decided against the action. She didn’t think they were quite that friendly yet.
“Caleb informed me of your escapade here in Forgotten Hollow three nights ago.” his deep voice was menacing. “I thought I made it abundantly clear when you were under my roof that first week that Forgotten Hollow’s humans were strictly forbidden.”
“Oh, yeah, that.” Elizabeth had the grace to look apologetic.
“Yes. That. I will not abide any humans being fed upon in this neighborhood. There is far too great a risk of exposure to our community.”
“What about if they agr…”
“None!” the elder vampire did not raise his voice. He did not have to. The command was strict and not to be disobeyed again.
“But Vladislaus, what if the human agrees and I feed behind closed doors and no one sees me?” Elizabeth continued.
Vladislaus sighed deeply. “You are not going to except None as my final word are you?”
Elizabeth smiled and her eyes glinted mischievously, “I am merely making sure I completely understand the directive and if there are any loop-holes to exploit.”
“Very well Miss Stafford. If the human comes to you and informs you they know of our existence and agrees, with absolutely no coercion from you, to be fed upon. Then, and only then, behind closed doors with curtains drawn will I relax my directive.”
Elizabeth smiled gleefully.
“Stop smiling.” Vladislaus said dryly.
The smile was instantly gone from Elizabeth’s face. Vladislaus nodded and continued.
“You understand that means no mind control, no mesmerizing and absolutely no glamour tricks.”
“I understand completely. Thank you Vladislaus.” She wasn’t sure how she would get someone to agree without using her breath and beauty. What Vladislaus called her ‘glamour tricks‘ but she knew she could start on the next step of her plan and had the Count’s blessing.
“You’re welcome. However, I still want you drinking the plasma packs I sent over. They are helpful in times of famine and you’ll do yourself well to become accustomed to them.”
Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “I will do as you request.”
“Very well. Let us begin your training. This, is mesmerize. You’ve seen this many times now. I expect you to try this out when you are not in Forgotten Hollow.” He raised an eyebrow meaningfully.
Elizabeth nodded and felt herself drawn in and enveloped by Vladislaus’ deep and commanding tone, she knew it was his Vampire power as well as the combination of his own ‘glamour tricks‘ working on her and her ability to resist. These were all little techniques she was learning and beginning to understand.
“Excellent work tonight.” Vladislaus said when they had completed the lessons he wanted her to practice.
“Can we attempt to spar?” Elizabeth asked cautiously. She wasn’t sure how this request would be perceived.
“Sparring? With you?” Vladislaus looked thoughtful as he held a finger to his lips then clicked his tongue. “I think not.”
“Yes, just to learn the idea behind how to fight as a Vampire. I can only learn so much from the tomes.”
“Well, hmmm you are right about that,” he said thoughtfully. “It does require practical application. You are absolutely no match for me at this time, but yes, we can begin the basics.” he transformed into his dark form and Elizabeth was taken aback by how ancient her mentor really was. Power simply rolled off of him in waves.
“Now, come toward me. No! Do not walk, use your Vampire power to fly at me with everything you have!” the Count commanded.
Elizabeth felt her feet leave the earth as she gathered her power around her and rushed toward Vladislaus.
He hesitated just a moment before baring his fangs and flying up to meet her in battle.
She truly was no match for him. His years of practice, his level of power and all the experience he had made him an undefeatable opponent. She knelt before him as she would have in Gabriel’s coven. Her breathing was ragged but she was exhilarated from the attempt.
“None of that Miss Stafford. You are my progeny. You are of my lineage. You are the one I want to teach these things to so you can grow and expand our line.” Vladislaus offered his hand.
“Thank you Vladislaus for the lesson. I will strive to improve though I doubt I’ll ever surpass you.”
Vladislaus gently placed a hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder. “All in good time Miss Stafford. I’ll take my leave. Caleb will return for training in two nights time.” Vladislaus chuckled. “Practice the powers I shared with you tonight until then. Spar with him at the end of your training with him, see how you fair.”
“I will, and thank you for the lesson tonight.” Elizabeth leaned in and placed a soft kiss on each of Vladislaus’ cheeks.
He put a hand to his cheek and smiled. “Be well Miss Stafford.” He dissolved into bat form and flew toward Straud Manor.
“Still not going to call me Liz?” she called out as he flew away.
|BtB: 04 -Within the Rules|