“Listen closely now, my dear one.”
Weiss slid closer to her mother and cuddled up against her side, gazing up at her with her blue eyes sparkling with curiosity. “Nearly eighty years ago, when the Kingdoms were just a wee village, an old mage’s workshop exploded when an untested vial of potion tilted over and combined with another. It was carried through the wind and when it came in contact with human skin, it could slowly start to change them.
“Their skin grew pale, they grew fangs, and began to develop a thirst for human blood. These creatures were named ‘Vampires’. They cannot be killed. . . We believed that we would be safe if we locked them all away, but as it turns out, the curse can be transferred.”
“They drain the human blood and since their last thought was of the Vampire, the human is turned into one and there’s no known cure or reversal for it. So, the village was closed off and the walls were built to protect us. As long as they stand, no Vampire will ever set foot within the kingdoms.
“Just a few years ago, we learned that there are people with a special power able to vanquish these demons. They are called ‘Silver Eyed Warriors’, but they are so rare to come across that sometimes they’re believed to only be a myth.”
Weiss’ brows furrowed, “A myth?” She asked out loud, “That would mean they’re not real?”
The woman smiled, “They are, your grandfather found a little girl just outside the kingdom with silver eyes, she’ll be trained to become your protector. Every Princess needs a guardian, don’t they?”
Weiss immediately flew off the bed, her eyes burning with defiance and bravery when she looked at her mother. “I don’t need to be protected!” She exclaimed, grabbed the fire iron from the fireplace, “I don’t have to kill the Vampires, I’ll make sure they fear me, and they’ll never even consider coming near humanity again!”
She wasn’t afraid, she could do this! She didn’t need a magical silver-eyed warrior to protect her, she was fully capable of fending for herself! How could they even consider-
“So I take it you don’t want to meet a new friend?”
Willow and Weiss looked to the doorway to see a tall, muscular man with a bearded face and white hair. He smiled warmly at them, “Well then,” he waved his hand dismissively and turned away, “I’ll assign her to be your brother’s guardian.”
A friend ?
“No, wait!” Weiss called after her grandfather, rushing out the door behind him. “Grandpa! I want to meet her! I’ll be nice! I promise!” She pleaded, coming to stop in front of him.
Nicholas grinned at the little girl and stepped aside, “Alright then,” he said softly as a small child with black and red hair stepped into view. Silver eyes met with a pair of light, icy blue. “Weiss, meet your new protector. . . Ruby.”
[Ten years later]
Nearly ten years had passed since Ruby was assigned to be the young Princess’ new protector, Weiss’ twenty-first birthday was in the next few weeks and Ruby had already turned nineteen. At first, Weiss was originally betrothed to the Prince of Argus, but despite the two of them desperately trying to hide it, practically the entire Kingdom was aware of the Princess’ relationship with her guard.
Quite a few people didn’t approve as Ruby was not from a royal bloodline and tried to separate the two indirectly, but they were quickly silenced. Nobody dared to disobey the royals after that as they were reminded of how the last betrothal nearly destroyed Atlas.
The Kingdom had survived off of betrothals for several years, watching actual love blossom within the Kingdom was a rare occurrence.
The secret of their relationship was revealed just last year, and ever since they’d hardly been able to find alone time, which made sense, they weren’t children anymore and had actual responsibilities.
When asked about marriage, Weiss just brushed the thought of it off and insisted that she would marry when she was ready. Ruby, on the other hand, seemed to be showing a genuine interest for it. Perhaps after their test today, she would propose to the future ruler.
“Are you excited?”
Today was Weiss’ first day allowed outside the walls of the Kingdom without an entire fleet of guards and her family. It was a test to see just how far she would go to protect her Kingdom.
She’d been trained to fight and temporarily disable Vampires since she was young, and she couldn’t wait to show off what she’d learned.
It was thrilling to say the least, and knowing she’d be running with Ruby made it all the more exciting. Ruby was coming with her for extra protection, just in case Weiss was left defenseless in the presence of a powerful Vampire.
“Of course I’m excited.”
Weiss lifted her head to look at herself in the mirror, a small smile coming to her lips when she noticed Ruby approaching her from behind. “Are you ready?” She asked, cocking a brow playfully at her girlfriend, who stuck out her tongue in response. “I don’t want you freezing up in front of an actual Vampire, my dear.”
“Oh you underestimate me,” Ruby purred as she wrapped her arms around the Princess’ shoulders, “look at these eyes! All I have to do is think about protecting you, and then boom! Bye-bye Vampire.”
“Well then,” the white-haired Princess grinned as she ducked out of Ruby’s arms, giggling when the Silver-Eyed Warrior whined at the loss of contact, “let’s not dawdle. We’re wasting moonlight!”
Ruby smiled at her girlfriend’s enthusiasm, “You know, it’d be a wonderful night for a date if you weren’t taking your test today.” She said as she came to Weiss’ side, obediently following her out of the room. “After we kill the Vampire, I’m definitely kissing you under the moonlight.” She stated confidently, grinning when Weiss glanced at her.
“Is that reward? Aw, I expected more than that.” She smirked suggestively. “Ah,” Weiss shrugged nonchalantly, “perhaps I’ll consider it.”
“Mean.” Ruby stuck her tongue out again, “I’ll get my kiss.”
Where was she? She’d lost her. She’d saw a bright flash of white, turned around and the Princess was gone. They’d only been in the Vampire territory for thirty minutes before finding the creature they’d been sent to kill. They were fast and they could never land a hit on them, and they were always too far away for Ruby to be able to burn them with her eyes.
“Weiss, where are you?!”
Ruby had to find her. . . She couldn’t lose her, if anything happened to Weiss, she’d never forgive herself. Weiss’ family would never forgive her, it was her job as her guardian to protect her. What kind of guard was she to have lost a white haired Princess in the middle of the night?!
“Weiss!” She called again, dread tearing at her heart as endless possibilities ran through her mind. What if she’d been turned? What if Weiss was hurt somewhere Ruby couldn’t reach her? What if she’d been kidnapped? “Weiss, please answer me!”
‘Please. . .’
“I’m afraid you won’t find her.” A dark, cocky voice said from behind her. Ruby turned around to see a tall, muscular man with black hair glaring down at her, fangs bared and the edges of his brown eyes tinted with red. “Don’t worry, child,” he sneered, “your death will be ssslow and painlesss.”
The reaper carefully reached for the emergency weapon behind her back as the man approached, glancing around for any sign of Weiss as her breathing became labored. She could feel her mindstate start to spiral.
Had she failed her? Was she really gone? Images of her girlfriend’s lifeless body flashed through her mind and Ruby began to zone out, trying to jerk herself back into reality and defend herself if need be.
No! This was the Vampire’s power, he was trying to disorient her with negative thoughts, she couldn’t let him succeed. Ruby had to find and protect Weiss, she had a job to do.
“What did you do to her?!” She roared at the man, who was now standing in front of her with a calm expression. Yet another graphic image flashed through her mind and she gripped her weapon behind her back, tears coming to her eyes as she fought not to breakdown. “Tell me where she is.” She demanded, raising the curve of the blade to the Vampire’s throat.
She wouldn’t let them win.
“You’ll ssseee.” The Vampire hissed, gently nudging the blade aside. “Just ssstay calm, it’ll all be over sssoon.”
Images flowed through her brain as though she were reliving a memory, she could feel tears and electricity stinging at the corners of her eyes.
Bloodied. . .
No, they were trying to fool her.
Battered. . .
The images looked so real, how did she not know that they were just showing her something from their memory?
Lifeless. . .
But that would mean Weiss was. . . Dead. They’d killed her.
Rage overtook the redhead and she reeled her weapon back, quickly readjusting her grip on it and swinging it as an attempt to slice the Vampire. The man just took a calm step back, narrowly and swiftly avoiding the attack. “You bastard!” Ruby shouted as he threw his head back with maniacal laughter.
“I’ll kill you!” Before she could strike again, she felt something sharp bite into her neck from behind and she felt her blood drain and her body fall numb.
‘No. . .’
She could smell everything. . . The pounding blood of the nearby animals, the rich scent of a freshly wounded deer trudging through the area, she could even smell the distinct scent of human blood from far away.
Ruby’s heart hurt. It’d been two weeks since she was turned, and she was now growing her fangs. She hadn’t seen Weiss since that night, but she was reassured that she was alive when she caught a whiff of her scent from the Kingdom in the distance. She’d gotten away. . . She was safe.
No thanks to Ruby. . .
Every day since then, she heard her girlfriend enter the forest and call for her, her voice breaking with desperation each time she came back. Ruby couldn’t let her know that she was around, she couldn’t let her know what had happened to her.
If she hadn’t succumbed to the Vampire’s tricks, she could’ve protected her. She’d been warned about it; they used thoughts of your loved ones to beat you down and took you by surprise when you were blinded by rage and grief.
She’d been fooled. . .
The pang of hunger churned inside of Ruby, but she removed to move from her spot in the cave. Whenever she went out at night to find food, she couldn’t force herself to harm the animal. Her stomach was shouting at her, pleading her to satisfy the pain tearing away at her insides.
Her fangs hurt and throbbed, begging to sink into soft skin and drain the blood from the nearest creature, no matter what it was. She couldn’t do that, and the question constantly ringing her head was ‘can Vampires starve?’
Ruby lifted her head at the sound of Weiss’ voice ringing through the forest again, sounding like she was close to her. The young Vampire didn’t move, simply staring outside the entrance of her cave as tears stung at her eyes. ‘I’m here.’ She thought, stifling a heartbroken whine. ‘I’m alright. I still love you, but please go home, don’t come back.’
“Ruby, please,” she heard Weiss whisper as though she was right next to her, “why won’t you come home?”
She stayed silent, burying her head back into her arms again and heaving choked sobs. Gods, she wanted to leave. . . She wanted Weiss back in her arms again, to tell her just how much she loved her, but she couldn’t.
Ruby could smell her blood flowing through her, she was afraid that if Weiss got too close, she would lose control. She didn’t want to hurt her.
“Found you.” She lifted her head to see Weiss approaching her and panic shot through Ruby like an arrow to the heart. Every bone in her body screamed at her to bolt forward, to sink her fangs into the Princess’ neck and drain her of her blood.
Her body trembled, her heart pounding in her chest and her fangs aching with need. “S-stay back!” She shouted, scrambling to the darkest corner of the cave, “Go home! Don’t come back! Stay away from me!” Weiss paused in front of her and Ruby shrunk down, her heart twisting inside of her.
“Why?” Weiss asked darkly, “You have avoided me for two weeks, you haven’t come home and everybody thinks you’ve been turned or that you’ve been killed.” She knelt down in front of Ruby, overwhelming the Vampire’s senses with the smell of fresh, untouched blood. “I deserve an explanation.”
“Please. . .” Ruby whispered, gritting her teeth and bowing her head. “I don’t want to hurt you. . .”
A gentle finger tapped the under part of her chin and slowly rose her head so that their eyes could meet. Concern, affection, and worry filled Weiss’ eyes, causing yet another imaginal arrow to strike Ruby in the chest. “Why would you hurt me?”
Reluctantly, Ruby opened her mouth to reveal her growing fangs. Surprise and hurt flashed across Weiss’ face, but soon contorted into one of understanding and realization. “I see,” Weiss whispered, grazing a soft finger over the pearly white fang, “that’s why you haven’t come home. You can’t.”
Pushing down her urges, Ruby released a quiet sob and pressed her head against her girlfriend’s shoulder. She could feel, hear, and smell her blood, but she fought it back. She wasn’t going to harm her, she would never hurt Weiss if she had control over herself. “I don’t want to hurt anybody. . .”
Weiss placed her hands on Ruby’s back lovingly, tilting her head to rest it against the unfortunate girl. “Your gums are nearly sheet white, Ruby. You need to eat something.”
“I can’t!” Ruby cried, balling her fists and violently swallowing the sudden urge to bite the older girl. “I can’t. . . I don’t want to kill anybody! I can’t even kill an animal! What if it becomes so strong that I hurt you ?”
Nobody understood, nobody ever would! Ruby wasn’t a murderer, she couldn’t just out there and mercilessly kill an animal just to survive as something she never wanted to be.
“You won’t, because I love you.” Weiss whispered affectionately.
Ruby reeled back, hurt in her eyes and her body quivering. “How could you love me?! Look at me! I’m a Vampire! Vampires are blood-thirsty murderers ! You said it yourself-”
She was cut off by Weiss leaning forward and silencing her with a soft, but passionate kiss to her lips. Weiss pulled away, “I love you , Ruby. Vampire or not, and the fact you’re restraining yourself so much just to prevent yourself from hurting anybody tells me that you’re not a blood-thirsty murderer, and you never will be.”
Ruby released a pitiful whimper, “But I can’t-”
“I’ll help you.”
Ruby shook her head, “N-no. I didn’t protect you! You could’ve gotten hurt! I was foolish and got turned! I don’t deserve help!”
Weiss gave her a small smile, “You did protect me. . . Your eyes, they glowed and suddenly the Vampires were nothing but ash, I could get home safely.” Her smile fell, “The thing is, when they glowed, you disappeared. . .” She stood to her feet. “Stay here, I’ll find you something.”
“That means you would have to kill. . .”
Weiss paused at the entrance of the cave, “I know,” she said softly, “but let me take care of you for once. I’ll be back as quick as I can.”