“DAMN THAT CARMILLA!!!” Erich roared furiously, pounding on the steering wheel three times, causing the horn to sound loudly and obnoxiously, shocking the the other people on the road. Jessica looked over at him. She had never seen him so angry…
In fact, She could probably have counted on one hand the number of times she had seen him angry in the first place. He was always supremely calm and composed, and deven when he was angry, he rarely let it show, or perhaps he was always just used to waiting until he was alone to let his emotions out. Erich growled furiously.
“That bitch is going to destroy all of humanity, and not only does she not bat an eyelash, she seems to enjoy the prospect of wiping out the human race! She is not thinking of the big picture. Having her revenge now will inevitably result in catastrophe later!!” Erich snapped.
He was so angry that he was barely paying attention to the road, and moments later, they were pulled over by a police officer. Erich growled furiously. Jessica could see where this was going.
“Erich… Please… Please!” She pleaded. “Calm down and switch places with me! I can handle this.”
“Erich took a few deep breaths that he knew he did not need, and switched seats with Jessica.
“Hello, officer. What seems to be the problem?”
“You were swervin’ pretty bad, lass… Couldn’t you tell?”
“Oh… Jeez…” Jessica said, putting a hand on her head, and shaking it.
“I tell you… I haven’t been able to sleep for over a week. Work has got me running around like crazy, and now we’re relocating, and I almost fell asleep at the wheel. My fiancée woke me up.”
“And why would you drive a car if you were so tired, lass?”
“I’m so sorry. I thought I could stay awake. I’ll switch places with him.”
“Okay… I won’t ticket you today, but get some help for your insomnia, lass…” The officer said, going back to his car. He watched as Erich got into the driver’s seat again, and drove off.
“Are you feeling better, now, Erich?” Jessica asked.
Erich sighed and nodded.
“I am feeling a little bit better. But I need to get to London and get a meal and some sleep.” Erich said wearily, pressing on the pedal and speeding up.
He knew that it was probably ill advised to speed when he was in such a bad mood. But he couldn’t bring himself to care. So he hurried down the highway, and in less than an hour and a half, they were in London.
Erich navigated the streets down to the East End of London, where Alois had said he lived. He wrinkled his nose at some of the odious smells of greasy fish and chips and the sound of crude accents and even cruder language. Erich had always been fond of English accents, but Cockney accents didn’t figure into that. He cringed every time he heard a Cockney speak.
He wasn’t sure if it was the obvious lack of culture in their speech, or the strange twang that their voice had. But something made Erich hate that accent. Regardless, though, he finally pulled into a shadowy alley, and jumped out of the car, feeling extremely lightheaded, as he was running extremely low on Blood.
Saki was probably doing better, but Erich knew that if he didn’t get blood soon, he may not be able to wake that night. It took a nominal amount of Blood to awaken at night, and thus, even if a Vampire used none of its powers, and only expended Blood to wake at night, they would still have to feed occasionally.
As the group got out of the cars, stretched momentarily, and walked toward the door, Alois came out, and two cats ran outside, meowing as they did.
“I didn’t know you liked cats, Alois…” Lillian said cheerfully.
“Yes. I am fond of cats. I have never liked dogs, but cats agree with me for some reason. Those two are named Schrodinger and Cheshire.
"I have one other inside. Cheshire is the gray one. Schrodinger is the Calico. I was fortunate enough to get a male Calico. I don’t breed cats. So I had them neutered and spayed respectively.”
“What is the one inside named?”
“The one inside is a female white one inside named Venus. We named her that because she has the most entrancing eyes.”
“Well… It’s lovely speaking on the precipice like this, but Big Brother needs something to drink and somewhere to sleep.”
“Oh! Of course… How foolish of me, that is. Come on in, everyone. Bring in what you can. I have friends who can bring in the rest of the stuff…” Alois said, calling out his ‘friends’ whose names were Joker, Penguin, and Scarecrow. As they came out, Erich saw why they were called that. They truly looked like the characters they imitated.
“Are they… really friends of yours, or just servants made to dress up?” Lillian asked.
“They’re neither, in fact. They’re actually androids. I have others inside. Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Two Face. They have different talents.
"Joker and Penguin are strong; Harley Quinn has fast processing and can compute almost anything, etc… I just made them for fun year when I had nothing better to do. Now, they mostly serve as manual labor and sidekicks. Guys… Go get the stuff out of the truck… And be careful with it. Do not drop ANY of it. It has fragile cargo. One of them must be carrying a person if I am not mistaken?”
“How did you know!?” Lillian asked, shocked.
“The dyke isn’t among you. She must be taped up in a box. Elain must’ve made the boxes into Tesseracts like in Doctor Who… By the way… Lillian, would you consider going on a date with me?”
“I will go on a date with you to thank you for taking us in. But I’ve told you that I only have feelings for Big Brother…”
“I can respect that. You don’t need to pay me back or anything. Come on in. JOKER! Be careful with that piano! It’s a grand piano that costs over a thousand Euros!”
“It would be over 25,000 Euros, now. It’s an old piano, and is in almost perfect condition. It’s been in the Zann family since Erich Zann Sr. played it. He was better at stringed instruments, but he was a true prodigy in music in general.
"He played: piano, organ, violin, viola, cello, viol de gamba, double bass, mandolin, he sang, played lute. Erich Zann Sr. was known for being a man of many talents. But that’s beside the point.”
“Yes, Master Zann…” Joker said, going into the back while Penguin stayed in the front, and carried the piano out with relative ease, and waited at the door. Elain sighed. There wasn’t much she could do. She would need to make the door wider. She knew one spell, but to keep it going for any amount of time, she had to be within five feet of the door, and it took a fair deal of energy.
“Elain will help. She is not physically strong. However, she can make the door wider.”
Alois smiled politely, but shook his head.
“Don’t bother, Elain… There’s no need to wear yourself out. Just take it into the garage, guys.” He said cheerfully. The two nodded and carried it through the garage door, where it fit with ease.
Erich sighed with malcontent. He needed blood, and if he didn’t get some soon, he would likely attack someone. Suddenly, as if mocking Erich, Lillian tripped, and skinned her knee, causing it to bleed.
Erich’s eyes turned bright red, and he stared longingly at Lillian’s bare and bloody knee. He wanted to drink her blood. Drink until there was no more of that sweet, sweet nectar of life in her… No! He couldn’t think that way.
“Er… ERICH!!!” Jessica shouted, punching Erich in the head. In his daze, he didn’t even notice her until she hit him with all her strength. He was sure he heard his skull crack as well. She was unbelievably strong.
“What is wrong with you!? Are you really that desperate for blood that you would attack your own cousin!?”
“My apologies, Miss Arinson. I did indeed lose myself for a moment. I merely need to get some sleep.”
“No! Not yet. You need to drink some blood first. If you promise not to try to kill me, you can drink from me.” Jessica said suspiciously.
“One wrong move, though, and I’ll behead you faster than you can say ‘Vitae’!” She snapped, removing her stray hair from her neck and moving her ponytail, leaving her neck free for him to drink from.
“No! Don’t! You know you can drink from me, Big Brother!”
“Stay away, Lillian…” Erich said. “I refuse to drink from you.”
“First, you are small. Second, you are my family, and third, I love you too much to risk killing you.” Erich said. Lillian gasped at this. It was the first time he had come right out and said that he loved her. It had always been implicit in their relationship for many reasons. She was, in fact, one of the very few members of his family that he had not at least once said that he openly detested.
He let her live with him. He had taken care of her while she was crippled for all those years, despite any inconvenience it may have caused him. It was true that he was something of a shut in, but needing to care for her made it even harder for him to go very far from home. Sometimes, she doubted if he really did love her, and if maybe he only continued caring for her because it had become habit.
“What is wrong? Did I say something to hurt you, Lillian?” Erich asked. Lillian was crying openly now, but she wiped the tears away and shook her head.
“I-it’s just… Y-you’ve never actually said that you loved me before, s-so… I was never sure…”
“I have not?” Erich asked, scratching his head. He was in her company almost constantly for over twenty years. It seemed hard to believe that he had not said that he loved her even once. But, it was possible. He didn’t remember every conversation he had ever had with her. He sighed, and let go of Jessica’s shoulder, walking over to Lillian.
“Lillian… Why would you ever doubt that I loved you? Have I ever given any indication that I did not love you?” Erich asked. Lillian shook her head.
“N-no… But… Y-you never said you did, s-so… I never was sure…”
“Well… Now you know. But I cannot drink from you. I would not take that risk for any reason. I did it once against my better judgment, and I regret doing it. Go inside and get some rest. I will be in momentarily.” Erich said gently, standing and walking back over to Jessica, and feeling for the vein on her neck, and bit into her.
Her blood was as sharp as her blade, and burned the inside of his mouth like extra spicy salsa. It felt like tiny razors were going down his throat. It was an interesting taste. Not what he would usually want, but not the worst he had ever had.
He could taste her soul in the blood as well, and she had a good heart. Although she seemed to have something against Vampires, she was a good person. Besides, nobody was perfect. After a minute or so, he pulled away, and wiped spit on the wound to seal it, though he knew it would heal on its own.
Erich sighed in relief. He did feel much better, and Lillian noticed that he was getting some of his color back in his face. Lillian sighed. She couldn’t tell him, but she enjoyed the feeling of Erich drinking from her; not just the ecstatic sensation that overcame her, body and soul, but also the intimacy and closeness that she felt with him when he did.
She was sure that he would be disgusted if she told him all that, though, so she kept her mouth shut as Erich walked into the house after his coffin, and went down to the basement to go to sleep. He needed a long rest very badly.
He had not only sustained a fair amount of sunlight damage, even if he wouldn’t show it, he also expended a great deal of energy in that fight, since he had to concentrate on fighting the Infected and keeping himself from burning at once. It was quite a task.
It was a few hours before all of the boxes were in the house, and Elain could look around enough to satisfy her. She noticed that not only was it bigger than it looked, it was another instance of a tesseract. She wondered who in Alois’s family was able to perform magic of such transcendent power that he could transform the inside of an entire house into a tesseract.
“Hey, Elain… It’s my father that made the house like this. He didn’t use magic. One of his psychic powers is Spatial Manipulation. It’s not half so amazing as it sounds. He usually uses it to close distances between himself and opponents. But in this case, he made the inside of the house a huge space. We’ve practically got a mansion, haven’t we?”
“Elain would think that visitors become extraordinarily suspicious if they walk into a small, run down brick building only to find that it is not only not run down and shabby, but it is a huge and well furnished mansion. Elain sees many potential dangers in this.” Elain said in her ice cold and matter-of-fact tone of voice.
“Well… You’d think so, sweetie…”
“Do not call Elain ‘sweetie’.” Elain snapped, sounding angry for once, even as she said it in her monotone.
“Apologies. You’d think that people’d get suspicious, but you’d be amazed at how much people are willing and able to overlook just because they don’t believe it to be possible.
"Tesseracts break the fundamental laws of physics, and so, people, who comprehend the laws of physics, even if they cannot state them adequately, often refuse to let their minds believe what they cannot explain. Those who do become suspicious have their memories erased and their arses thrown out of the house. Get it?”
“Besides, we don’t get much company… People in this neighborhood are suspicious of us anyways. None of them want to believe that a rich family like us would wanna live in the slums of London for any reason.”
“Elain sees. The lower class’s feelings of inadequacy manifests as resentment and hostility toward the upper class. Elain supposes that makes sense.”
“I dunno about all that. I suppose that would be the logical extreme, but the people here distrust us, even if they don’t openly hate us.”
“Elain comprehends. You are saying that it is human nature to fear and distrust that which they do not comprehend. The most prevalent example of human intolerance of that which they do not understand took place in the Inquisition and the Crusades. Thousands upon thousands were killed ostensibly for God, but in reality it was because the Catholic Church did not wish anyone to stand against them.”
“You’re a pretty smart gal, aren’t you?” Alois asked cheerfully.”
“Elain’s intelligence is largely due to having near unlimited time to study. Elain has no friends, and does not go outside to play.
"She stays in her room, typically, and practices various forms of meditation and yoga, and practices musical instruments, languages, singing, and other academic endeavors. She does not find having friends desirable.” Elain said coldly, though Alois detected a hint of loneliness in her voice.
“If I asked you to be my friend, would you accept, even if only to spare my feelings?”
“Elain would wonder if you had taken leave of your senses. Elain would not reject your offer of friendship.
"However, Elain does not understand the fundamental concept of ‘friendship’. She could offer a definition of the term, but does not comprehend the emotions and sensations that are supposed to be involved in such a relationship.”
“Wow… You’re a pretty chilly girl.” Alois said with a nervous laugh, adjusting his glasses with one finger, and laughing even as he backed away slightly.
“Elain has been described as cold. However, it is inherent in her curse, and so, there is nothing she can do about it.” Elain said, again sounding profoundly lonely and isolated.
“May I ask why you speak in the third person?” Alois asked, paying attention as the robots walked around the house, and ripped open the package that was rattling and bouncing around, and Abigail stood up inside the box as though it was perfectly normal, and walked out.
“Now… Pardon me while I find proper repose in the basement with Erich and Saki-chan.” Abigail said, feeling somewhat battered from her rough and tumble trip in the back of a moving van, being thrown around the back of a truck.
“Sorry, Abby. Erich has asked me to instruct you that you are to sleep apart from them. He didn’t leave the reason for this desire, but he seemed pretty adamant. I’ll take you to a separate basement. It has no connection to the basement Erich and Saki are in, but still connects to the rest of the house, and is furnished appropriately for guests…
"Though… The last time we had anyone stay there was when we had a small family reunion just of our most direct relatives… The robots should’ve kept it inhabitable, though. If not, come back up, and I’ll give you another room.”
“Um, thanks… I guess. You’ll have to show me where it is.” Abigail said, seething internally, feeling that Erich was doing this purposely to anger her. She was wrong. What he wanted was to protect Saki, and moreover, protect Abigail, as he did not want to have to destroy her. First of all, she was very useful, and in fact, he considered her his good friend.
He was saddened by the fact that she had been so corrupted by her transformation into a Vampire. However, he couldn’t abide it, even if he did care about her. He had warned her that there were consequences to being a Vampire. He admitted fully that he did not know nearly everything about existence as a Vampire.
Perhaps one day, he would seek out Stella and ask her to instruct him in being a Vampire. He had gotten the basics from the 700 page book, the Encyclopaedia Vampirica. However, as he had found out just recently, there were many more much subtler details about existence as a Vampire that were required to survive, such as keeping your Thirst in check, and feeding on a regular and controlled basis.
In addition, a Vampire always had to know how their personality had been enhanced so that they could control whatever it was that was slightly stronger in their minds.
“Have a good sleep, Abby… I wish you pleasant dreams… Oh, do Vampires even have dreams?”
“Yes. We do. However, you would not want to know what mine are about.”
“I disagree. I’m always fascinated by what people’s dreams are about. They are said to be windows to the soul.” Alois said cheerfully. Abigail smiled pleasantly, and laughed.
“Lately, I’ve been having dreams about ravaging Saki-chan’s sweet, innocent body up and down, and drinking her blood.” Abigail said with a humored laugh, seeing the shocked look on Alois’s face. Alois had certainly had his fair share of women in his life, but he never considered ‘ravaging their bodies up and down’.
“I see. That dream speaks volumes about you… No, no. Don’t say anymore just now. You look exhausted, and should get some sleep for now. If you feel the need to justify yourself, you can certainly do it on another occasion.” Alois said, turning and walking out of the room, climbing the stairs and shutting the door behind him.
“Now, where were we, Elain?” Alois asked politely.
“You had just asked Elain why she spoke in the third person. Elain was about to tell you that she speaks in the third person because she is only Elain and nobody but Elain.” Elain said flatly, repeating the mysterious answer she gave to everyone who asked.
She had even given the same answer to her parents, and excused moments when she spoke in the first person as slips of the tongue, as most of her other personalities spoke in the first person. There was one that referred to herself as ‘we’.
Elain was not particularly fond of that personality. It came out only rarely, though again, Elain didn’t know the stimulus that caused the personality to rise to the surface. Elain looked outside. The sky was becoming dark, despite being midday.
“Oh! I forgot to tell you… There’s total solar eclipse today.” Alois said cheerfully, running outside and jumping onto the fire escape and climbing up to the roof. Elain followed him, and used telepathy to contact Erich, Saki, and Abigail, who all came running up, and climbed the fire escape as well, along with all the others. Alois handed out heavy duty sunglasses, and the group put them on, looking up at the sun, finding with relief that it was not burning their eyes like it should.
Slowly, the moon slid across the sun, and the world became darker and darker. It had been over 150 years since Erich had seen a total solar eclipse. For Saki, who had only seen one once, this was truly an exciting event, and even if she could feel her skin sizzling in the direct sun, she was glad that she could be here to see it.
She reached out and took Erich’s hand, holding it fast. She thought this was kind of a romantic event, though she wasn’t sure why. Erich smiled at her, breaking his usually stoic façade. After about ten minutes, the moon fully covered the sun, and Erich took in a sharp gasp.
It was amazing. Even though Erich had seen and learned the strangest of things in his time on Earth, including things that he didn’t necessarily need to know, especially concerning Lovecraftian horror, much of which was based on real demons.
For example, Cthulhu was an extraordinarily powerful demon, and known to be one of the most powerful, having survived ten universes… Or at least, that was what Cthulhu told anyone who asked. It may have been far older. How many Big Bangs and Big Crunches had Cthulhu seen?
How many Universes had Cthulhu watched come and go, waiting out his time in his dream city in R’lyeh? Did Dread Cthulhu appreciate the beauty of a simple sunrise? The majesty of an eclipse? The wonder of a supernova? Maybe all of these things were just old news to it.
After five or so minutes, the moon began to retreat from its place in front of the Sun, and the sky began to brighten once more. Erich groaned as his skin began to burn in earnest, and he ran to the fire escape along with Saki and Doctor Anderson, and made their way back into the house, and back to their coffins where they could rest once more, and wait for night to come.
As soon as night came, the three Vampires came out of the basement, and went out to hunt. It was certainly vital, at least on that night to hunt and get sustenance, especially since they had used much of their Blood in their battle against the Infected.
Erich sighed. How long was this war going to last? He needed to get information from Alois about the movements of the Zann Family, and especially about the attacks that took place on facilities all over the world while Erich and his group attacked the facility in Osaka.
“There is going to be a knock on your door, Alois, in… Now…” Elain said, and suddenly, Alois jumped as the knock came. Alois laughed nervously.
“Don’t think I’ll ever get used to that, Sis…”
“Do not call Elain ‘Sis’. She is not your sister. You should get the door. Elain thinks that it is an important call.”
Alois sighed, and looked up at the clock. It was only 1800h, but it felt kind of late, and Alois was tired. However, he went to the door, and opened it. As soon as he pulled the door back, though, he gasped at the breathtakingly beautiful young woman standing in the doorway with who could only have been her family standing behind her.
The girl had the most amazing sleek and shiny silver hair, and teal eyes. Her skin was purest alabaster. She stood about 162 cm, but was slender and streamlined, and had an almost animalistic appeal about her. Her hair went all the way down to her knees, and was kept back in a long ponytail.
Alois could easily tell that the people behind her were her family, as the girl was the spitting image of the woman in the background, though, granted, the woman looked a few years older maybe, like she could be the girl’s older sister. She wasn't nearly so thin, having a bloated stomach from late term pregnancy.
What Alois didn’t understand was why such an elegantly beautiful girl had such a trashy looking man standing next to her with his hand around her waist, smirking as though he had gotten a great catch. The man was about 190 cm tall, and looked like he hadn’t eaten properly in weeks. His arms were long compared to the rest of his body, and his hair was scruffy along with the liberal stubble on his face.
“Um… Elain? I think you mistook a princess and her kidnapper for guests…”
“Elain made no mistake. They are guests, most assuredly.”
The older girl came up to the door and shoved the boy aside, looking as though she would like nothing better than to beat him within an inch of his life.
“Hello, young man… I suppose you wouldn’t actually be so young, would you, though? Would Gareth be here? We were told that we could find him here. I do apologize if we surprised you.”
“No, not at all, sweetheart. Come on in… You’re so beautiful… What are you? 21? 22?” Alois asked, pouring on the charm and using his best British to try to impress this lovely young woman.”
“Oh, my… You flatter me, young man. I’m actually… Wait… A lady must never reveal her age.”
In fact, she was 138. She was older than Gareth by 11 years, though that wasn’t such a great amount of time for Werewolves. The man her parents arranged for her to marry was almost forty years older than she was.
“No, Gareth is my husband. My name is Maylene Rotschreck. This is my eldest daughter, Minerva. She’s fifteen. My younger son is in the background. He’s only two, and is getting tired from walking all this way. Might we trouble you for a bit of your time?”
“Of course. Come on in… You want to speak to Gareth, right?”
“That would be wonderful, as long as he isn’t too busy… I know he’s in the middle of something, but as you can see, I’m going to give birth within a week or two, and it will be to twins.”
“I did notice. I’ll be right back. Feel free to put your feet up, Mrs. Rotschreck. Don’t worry about shoes, though you may certainly remove them if you’re more comfortable with that.”
With that, Alois disappeared into the house, and soon, they no longer heard his footfalls, and this led Maylene to worry that Alois had left the house.
“There is not a need to worry, Mrs. Rotschreck. This house is a Tesseract.”
“No shit!!” Minerva suddenly spoke up. She had a voice as beautiful as her face. It was melodious, and even made Elain do a doubletake.
“You mean this house is like The Doctor’s Police Box? That is so awesome!!”
“May Elain inquire as to who ‘The Doctor’ is? If you are referring to Doctor Anderson, she has no such box, though Elain supposes the irony is not lost on her that she was just today shipped in such a box.”
“Why would you put her in a box to ship her? Isn’t that kind of illegal?”
“Well… Elain says ‘shipped’. However, she was merely put into a moving van and driven to our current location. It is a long story that starts with the fact that Doctor Anderson is a Vampire.”
“No way! You have Vampires in this house!? That’s so freaking cool!” Minerva said excitedly, totally nerding out at the moment. At this, the boy began snickering.
“Girl, I know yer kinda superstitious and gullible, but d’ya really believe that there are Vampires in the house and that we’re in a Tesseract? C’mon… You’re in Mensa… Not the Dimwits of Canada Club…” He said. It was at this comment that Gareth walked into the room and froze upon seeing the man here.
For a moment, Gareth and the man merely stared at each other, the man smirking, and moving his hand down from Minerva’s waist to her hip. This action seemed to please Maylene even less than it did Gareth.
“No shit! Your father is the gym teacher?!”
“I was under the impression that you knew that, Michael. Our last name is the same, after all…” Minerva said in a supremely calm tone. “Hey, Daddy… How’s it going? You ready to stop playing superhero and come back home to make sure Mommy doesn’t lose it from all the extra work?
"Mommy may be pretty amazing, but she can’t be everywhere at once, and taking care of a toddler and two infants’ll be tough work even for the toughest of souls.” Minerva said, sounding very mature for her young age. Michael seemed only to scoff at this. He said nothing though, keeping his no doubt very offensive opinions to himself.
“Gareth, dear… May I speak to you in a different room? You don’t mind, do you, Minerva? Mommy needs to catch up with her husband.” Minerva nodded her assent and watched as the two adults walked out. It was at this point that Lillian walked in, and she looked around, seeing the thuglike man on the couch next to the flooringly gorgeous figure that Minerva struck.
“Oh my God! Y-you must be Minerva!” Lillian said, running over to the couch, and shoving Michael aside using her telekinesis subtly so that he would just think that she was very strong. After all, he looked like he would bruise in a stiff wind.
“Um… Yes. I am Minerva… But how did you know? I don’t think I’ve ever met you…”
“Oh! I’m so sorry… I’ve totally forgotten my manners…” Lillian said politely standing and curtsying in an old fashioned show of courtesy.
“My name is Lillian Katherine Artemis…”
“Vesperina…” Minervva breathed, staring now at Lillian. Hearing that Lillian was that person, Minerva blushed slightly, amazed that she was sitting next to someone so famous.
“Um… Who the hell is…”
“Hey, Michael! If you can’t keep up with our conversation, best to stay out and not look like a complete lackwit…”
“N-no… It’s alright… Mr. Bates… I guess Miss Rotschreck remembers me from when I was famous for classical music…”
“You mean like Def Lepard, and AC/DC? You don’t look that old, sweetie…”
“First off, don’t call me ‘sweetie’. You’re not my friend, and I pray that you never will be…” Lillian said in disgust. At this, Minerva snickered, causing Michael to fix her with a glare. “Second of all… How stupid can you be?
"What you’re referring to is Classic Rock. This is classical music, like Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart. How did you ever end up with a complete dummkopf like this guy?” Lillian asked, looking at Michael derisively.
“Oh, he’s not as bad as you might think. He actually can be pretty sweet, sometimes. But how on earth would someone like you know me?” Minerva asked in disbelief.
“Oh… Your father told me all about you. He said you were beautiful, but I never knew you were so stunning…”
“Yeah… She’s pretty hot, isn’t she?” Michael asked with an arrogant smirk. Lillian turned around, stood up and kicked Michael in the face.
“If you have nothing intelligent to add, just keep your mouth shut! She’s beautiful… Not ‘hot’. She’s a woman, not a thermometer. Seriously, Minerva, I met him three minutes ago, and I’m already disgusted by him.”
“Gareth… I know you’re busy. I understand that you owe Mr. Zann a great debt, but you can’t ignore your family!”
“I’m sorry, Maylene… How long has she been dating that piece of trash? He’s two years older than her, and not even half as intelligent! I know his…”
“I don’t know why… But maybe you could talk to her about it. She respects you.”
“Are you kidding? If she does respect me, she’s terribly misguided…”
“I disagree. A girl should respect her father, especially one as good and strong as you. Talk to her. I don’t want to think about what might happen if she doesn’t stop dating him…” Maylene said, burying her face in her hands, shuddering at what could happen.
“I’ve got a better idea… Maybe I’ll have a little chat with him… I’m sure that if we talk, man to man, we could work out an agreement… Hehehe…” Gareth said with an icy cold smirk at the end.
“No… You can’t get rid of this by intimidation… I agree that you could easily frighten this boy away. You know how to induce the fear of God in a man.
"But that will only make her more adamant on seeing him, or a boy that’s even worse. She’s doing this to get your attention, sweetie… You can’t deal with this by scaring the boy away. There will always be a new boy to take his place, especially for a young lady as beautiful as Minerva.”
“Yeah, but how did you know what I looked like?”
“Oh… Your father told me about your silver hair. He really loves you, you know… He said you were the most beautiful girl in the world…”
“D-Daddy said that about me? No… You’re lying…” Minerva said suspiciously.
“Why would I lie? I have nothing to gain by misleading you. Oh! Big Brother, Saki-chan, Doctor Anderson… Welcome home…”
“Wait! No. Way. Saki Yoshino? Kyoko Matsuhita? Asami Yamabushi?” Minerva asked, barely able to believe that she was meeting so many celebrities in one night.
“Um… Yes… Those are some of my pennames…” Saki said, rubbing the back of her head in embarrassment. “But please, just call me Saki. It’s what all my friends call me. Speaking of, may I ask your name so that I can properly count you among them?” She asked politely.
“R-right! My name is Minerva Rotschreck… I’m…”
“Oh… You’re Mr. Rotschreck’s daughter. He told us you were beautiful, but I had no idea that you were so striking.”
“Th-thank you… And you must be Erich Zann III?” Minerva asked.
“Yes. It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Rotschreck. May I ask who the appalling reprobate sitting next to you is?”
“Oh… Th-this is my boyfriend… Michael Bates.”
“Um…” Michael whispered to Minerva. “What does ‘reprobate’ mean?”
Erich heard him perfectly and sighed. He truly was exactly the kind of person he appeared to be. Minerva merely smiled sympathetically, though and leaned over.
“He called you an inexcusable degenerate. Given the way you behaved toward a distinguished woman like Miss Vesperina, and the way you are ogling Yoshino-sensei right now, I would have to agree…”
“Wha? He called me what now? Hey, old geezer! You wanna say that again?”
“Why should I bother when it is perfectly clear that you heard me the first time?” Erich asked, annoyed by this man’s obvious lack of respect for anyone even remotely resembling authority, and his disrespectful attitude toward Saki and Lillian.
Erich, too could see where Michael was looking, and he was about ready to gouge Michael’s eyes out so the degenerate couldn’t continue to poison Saki with his disturbing gaze.
“Hey, old man! I think you need to ap… “
“Michael! Please… Just let it go… You don’t want to get into a fight with him.” Minerva said, more for his safety than for Erich’s.
Michael yanked his hand out of Minerva’s grip, though, and just as Gareth and Maylene walked back into the sitting room, they saw Michael lunge at Erich with the intention of punching him, and Erich smoothly twirl around Michael’s punch, kick him to the knee, and dislocating his shoulder, holding his arm fast behind his back, twisting it occasionally to cause extra pain.
“Now. You will sit down, and cause no further disturbances… Am I correct in believing that?” Erich asked. Now terrified, Michael nodded weakly, and fell to the ground. Abigail sighed and walked over to Michael, and told him to bite down on a rag that she handed him from her pocket. It was meant to be given to people who needed limbs reset.
“Now… When I count to three, I plan to reset your shoulder. It will hurt. Try not to scream…” Abigail said, not wanting her headache to get worse.
“You’re pretty hot, Doc…”
“Three…” Abigail said after hearing this comment and quickly jerking Michael’s arm, resetting it perfectly, although she certainly could have done it with less pain involved.
“Oh, get up, take an Aspirin, and stop being a baby. Erich has suffered worse than that in his life.” Abigail said, showing absolutely no sympathy for the man. This seemed to be a source of amusement for everyone in the room, even Erich and Saki, who laughed as well.
“Minerva? Might I speak to you in the other room? I know you’re tired. I’ll let you get to bed soon. But I do need to have a little talk with you…” Gareth said. Minerva sighed, not looking at Gareth, but following him into a far room where nobody could hear them.
Gareth pulled a chair for Minerva, and then pushed her in, then sat down himself. The look she saw in his eyes was different than any look she had ever seen in him before. He was certainly being more polite than she had ever seen him be before. Gareth then looked across the table, staying quiet for a minute, trying to collect himself.
“Minerva, you know I love you, right?” Gareth said. This really wasn’t his style. Even after a hundred years, he still wasn’t very good at expressing his emotions. Maylene and his new family had helped him come out of his shell, but he still had trouble on occasion.
“I guess so…” Minerva said quietly, unconvinced. He was always so rough and taciturn that she had trouble telling if he really cared about any of them. He certainly seemed to love Maylene, but he rarely, if ever openly stated that he loved any of them.
“You’ve only ever said it once or twice that I can remember. If this is a conversation about me respecting you as my father, I already do respect your authority, so you needn’t worry about that…” Minerva said, not looking Gareth in the eyes. She didn’t want to have to see the look on his face in case she was wrong about what he wanted.
“This isn’t about respect. Look at me… No… Look at me.” Gareth said, stressing the statement. Minerva hesitantly looked up at Gareth, surprised to see a look of concern in his eyes.
“Now, I don’t know why you decided to start dating Bates. He’s one of the worst students and one of the worst people I’ve ever met.
"He drinks and smokes on school grounds. He’s been suspended more times than you can count, and has been expelled from his fair share of schools. I have no idea how he’s avoided expulsion from your school… But, Minerva…
"He’s three years your senior… Aren’t you a little bit young to be dating a senior in high school? I get that you’re mature for your age, and know more than most of the teachers combined, but really… You could do much better than Bates…”
“Oh, I know.” Minerva said confidently, surprising Gareth as she pushed up her wire rimmed glasses and smiled that radiant smile that seemed to light up any room she was in.
“If I tell you… D-do you promise not to be angry?” Minerva asked, looking uncommonly vulnerable in that moment.
“Of course I won’t be angry. What is it?”
“Well… There’s this boy that I like. He’s in Mensa with me. I’ve seen him at a few of the meetings. I’m pretty sure he likes me. I catch him looking at me occasionally…”
Gareth privately thought that it was likely that the entire room would look up and go silent the minute she walked through the door. She had a sort of magnetism about her that drew the world’s attention. He was sure that she could lead the entire nation of Canada into an unrivaled era of prosperity if she had the chance.
“I don’t doubt it. The poor guy probably can’t take his eyes off you, sw… Minerva…” Gareth caught himself about to call her sweetie. He would have been disgusted at how sentimental he was being. But this was his daughter. He would do anything for her. Climb any cliff, kill anyone who put her danger.
“So why don’t you just ask this Mensa boy out? He’d probably be a better influence on you.”
“B-because I’m nervous. What if he doesn’t actually like me? What if he already has a girlfriend?”
“I still don’t see the purpose of Bates.”
“Oh… I brought him to a Mensa meeting once and asked him to wait for me so that he could be seen with me by this boy…”
“And what is this boy’s name?”
“So, you started dating Bates so that you could make Allen jealous… Not exactly honorable… But not the worst thing you could do, I guess. So, why don’t you break up with Bates, and try to hook up with Mr. Lee on the up and up? I would hate to think that your reputation was being tarnished by a man as terrible as Bates.” Gareth said with a mild laugh. Minerva sighed and nodded.
“Yeah… Besides… I hate the way he’s always touching me… Well, thanks, Daddy. Good luck with… Whatever it is you’re doing…”
“I’ll be glad to fill you in on all of it after it’s over. I’m sure it’ll make a pretty fascinating story.”
“Well… I’d better get back out to the sitting room, before Michael finds another reason to attack one of your friends and get himself injured…”
“GAHHH!! YOU FUCKING BITCH!!!” Came a scream from the sitting room. Minerva sighed and shook her head.
“Too late. Well, I’ll be going, anyhow. Thanks, Daddy…” Minerva said, kissing Gareth on the cheek.