Chapter 16: What Becomes of the Dark?

Notes: This one was a doozy to write and edit! I’m really trying to barrel through this last insane week at work so Part II will have to come later this week…also I have a CW for the whole blog but heads up, this chapter does get pretty violent.

Oh yeah, and there is a tiny (so small) easter egg if you click the link in Vlad’s part of the story and skip to page 3.

It is not widely known that the requisition forms for the summoning of Bonehilda’s husband are actually non-existent. He just shows up whenever he wants…which is pretty rude if you think about it. – The Book of the Dead, Revised Edition


Alice swallowed. This was fine, right? This wasn’t her first rodeo. She knew at least…er…two other vampires. And besides, Ben just got finished telling her all the multitude of ways she could kill one without even really trying.

Ben cleared his throat. “Yes, well, this feels like a good time to remind you that even though you have the powers of the God of Death, your body is still very much mortal. Best to proceed with a modicum of caution…Alice? Are you listening? This is pertinent information…”

Alice didn’t answer. She was too busy trying to slow the panicked beating of her heart at Ben’s “timely update.”

“Well, I’ll just let you handle things. Good talk!”

At some point, when they made it out of this situation alive…if they made it out of this situation alive, she would have words with Ben about timing and pertinent information. 

Alice tried for conversational but her voice came out tense. “So there are a lot of vampires in San Myshuno?”

The woman raised an eyebrow and gave her a cruel smile.

Correction: Scary vampires. There were a lot of scary vampires in San Myshuno. 

With a finely manicured hand, the vampire gestured around the room. Her accent was slow and smooth, dripping with honey. “Oh indeed. Vampires are everywhere my dear. We are legion.”

Alice gave her a weak smile but a dark look passed over the vampire’s face as she continued. “And we creatures of the night are quite territorial. A queen does not like interlopers tromping through her lands without an announcement.”

“Queen?” Alice squeaked out. 

She didn’t understand vampire politics at all. In fact, before now, she didn’t even know there was such a thing as vampire politics. Her father would be beside himself at her idiotic mistake. She could hear his voice now, chastising her for assuming that every culture was just like hers.

Mouth dry, she dropped into what she hoped was a curtsy. “Oh! Uh sorry your…” she groped around for the right word. “Majesty? We…uh…I wasn’t quite myself the other day when I was making arrangements but I can see now that I…uh…made a mistake and I’ll just be going.”

Alice wrapped up her rambling apology with a desperate, cheerful wave as she stepped back towards the door.  

“What are you doing?” Ben cried. “That’s the most expensive stove on the market! And I should know, I used that flat talking screen in your pocket to check!”

Had Ben lost his shit?

“What am I doing?” Alice hissed between gritted teeth, “I’m getting the fuck out of here. Post-haste!”


“Did you forget what you just said to me?”

“No. I said proceed with a modicum of caution. As in, ‘move forward, but with a little caution.’ Not run at the first sign of trouble!”

Now Ben was passive-aggressively defining words at her? 

Alice continued backing away as they argued. “Run? Stay? Fight? Make up your mind! You can’t see the vampire lady licking her lips and preparing to eat us? And not in a good way!”

Alice paused, remembering that Contessa was still in the room and that no one could see Ben except for her. Was looking insane a good defense against vampires? 

“No offense, umm…”

“Contessa,” Ben supplied

“Contessa,” Alice finished.

The vampire—Contessa fluttered a hand across her chest and looked amused. “Of course, my dear. None taken. In fact, why don’t you stay awhile?”

Alice blinked and then yelped when the vampire dissipated and reappeared behind her. 

Contessa’s voice took on a sharp, dangerous tone. “I was just hoping that we might get to know each other a little better.”

  • Dolly Llama
    Dec 16, 2019

    AAAAAAAH THIS WAS THE BEST ONE SO FAR. There’s so much to comment on. Caught “And not in a good way!” Caught the Easter egg. Didn’t catch that there were 4 pages to that story; gleefully going to read them now. Love that Alice’s only defense against the supernatural is customer-service mask. Love the pacing.

    §20 on Contessa asking Alice to take out the silver-haired monarchical competition, and a further §20 on him arriving slightly too late.

    • feroshgirl
      Dec 16, 2019

      Thank you! It was a bear to write. Also, fight scenes are hard, as is pacing. I feel like i’m starting to get it right but I always worry that my chapters are too long. I am constantly having the “kill your darlings” conversation with myself lol.

      Hmmm…only twenty? Well, I can guarantee you’ll make *some of that money.

      • Dolly Llama
        Dec 17, 2019

        Hm, so I didn’t break even? Hmm.

  • lonecat82
    May 2, 2020

    I was on the edge of my seat. The pacing was perfect, IMO.

    • feroshgirl
      May 3, 2020

      I always think pacing is the hardest part of writing! Is it too much info? Is there enough tension? I’m glad it worked!

  • theplumbob
    Jul 7, 2020

    Woah, that was intense! Dark Vlad sure looks menacing! But he’s too late.

  • Yimiki
    Feb 2, 2021

    Whoa! I was on the edge of my seat for almost the whole chapter! Then Contessa mentioned the baking show and my brain went “Eh?” aaaaand then I remembered the Owl of Undoing and I was right back on the edge again. Very tense and well-written chapter!

    • feroshgirl
      Feb 5, 2021

      Squee! Thank you. I definitely needed to read that comment today!

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    Sep 4, 2022

    Contessa is an interesting character, and it appears she’s more powerful than Vlad and William (maybe not powerful in the sense of strength, that’s yet to be determined, but intelligent, which can be more powerful depending on one’s opponent). She at least knew what was lurking beneath Alice’s exterior.

    When Vlad scanned for his next victim, and William had to go still, oh my god that was skin-crawly. Vlad is terrifying in this form. Kinda sexy too, in a kill-first-ask-questions-later kinda way.

    • feroshgirl
      Sep 4, 2022

      Sexy and terrifying. My favorite combo! Yes, I love Contessa too. Intelligence is a true superpower, especially in this universe of long lived creatures playing centuries long games of politics. I mean, it’s just another reminder that Vlad can’t possibly be so feared because he is a strong vampire. There’s got to be something else…

      • Ninja Pink Sex
        Sep 4, 2022

        It makes sense. Brawn and strength of armies is necessary, but so is intelligence and strategizing.

  • sirianasims
    Oct 1, 2022

    Poor Vlad. Having a conscience AND a crush at the same time sucks 😂

    “Go on,” Vlad said, his voice dropping to an almost seductive octave. “Take a stand.”

    [We are sorry to interrupt this comment due to the comment writer being temporarily overwhelmed by Vlad transforming. We wish you a pleasant day.]

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