Disclaimer: Tanz der Vampire and its characters belong to Roman Polanski, Jim Steinman and Michael Kunze.
One of the things I love about vampires is their ability to transform into a bat, yet I have the feeling it is quite under-looked by most modern vampires medias. I don't think it has ever been established whether or not vampires could transform into bats in the Tanz universe. However, I wanted to explore this idea into the Tanz universe, mostly since it's canon Professor Abronsius is quite the bat enthusiast. I was also inspired by zeichenwut's lovely fanarts of the Tanz characters as bats (You can find her Tanz art on her tumblr, the URL is the same as her username!), you could say she's partly responsive of my new linking to bat and – most of all – Krolock as a bat!
In this story, you'll find reference to the novel Dracula as well as The Fearless Vampire Killers movie!
Please, bear in mind I am no bat specialist, unlike Abronsius. I mostly used Wikipedia for any bat reference you'll find in this story.
This story was beta-readed by Sweety_Mutant, Jadeite1988 and penhales, whom I can never thanks enough for their great help, their patience and their advices.
"Professor! Professor!" Alfred called out into the darkness, but he was answered only by the echo of his own voice.
The wind blew, harsh and cold. Alfred shivered, and adjusted his scarf around his neck.
When Professor Abronsius announced he would be taking a research trip to Transylvania, he had originally planned to travel during spring or summer, as winters in Eastern Europe were known to be colder and harsher than in Prussia. His plans, however, were delayed due to his many projects and when he finally found some time was at the beginning of winter, and he categorically refused to wait any longer.
Alfred, however, regretted the trip very much in this instant, and he wished they'd waited until spring. Never before had he felt such bitter cold! It seemed like the cold crawled under his skin, despite his warm clothes and his winter coat. Around him, there was snow everywhere, dark trees powdered with it, and the moonlight created a cool sparkle where it shone over the ice.
Teeth chattering, he called out again, "Professor!"
His voice didn't ring as strongly as before. Anxiety was eating him. Where was his mentor now? Alfred had been walking for quite some time before realising Abronsius wasn't beside him anymore, and Alfred had been searching for him since then.
Alfred sighed. Surely, the Professor found something of his interest and stopped to have a better look, without telling him. It was a common habit of his: he was easily distracted and even in the vast halls of the university's library, Alfred had to look out for him. Why on Earth did he think following Abronsius to a foreign land would be a good idea? Getting lost in a library was one thing and getting lost in a foreign land in the dead of winter was another thing. Abronsius wasn't so young anymore, and he was very likely to freeze to death if Alfred didn't find him soon!
"He, ho, he! Professor!" Alfred tried again.
At last, Abronsius's voice answered him! Alfred could hear his familiar voice calling back, echoing somewhere nearby:
"I'm here, my boy! Come quickly!"
Alfred felt as if someone had lifted a weight off his heart. Sighing with relief, he quickly rejoined his mentor.
Professor Abronsius was crouching on the ground and looking at something intently. Turning to Alfred, he gestured to him to come closer: "Come here, my boy, and look what we have here!"
Alfred peeked over the old man's shoulder. He was holding a bat in his gloved hands. The poor thing wasn't moving.
"Is it..." Alfred began to ask. He didn't dare say "dead".
Abronsius shook his head. "No. At least, I don't believe so. It is hard to find a pulse for an animal of this size. But I believe the poor creature is merely unconscious." Abronsius replied, adjusting his glasses on his nose matter-of-factly.
"I can't see for sure in this darkness but judging by its height, I would say this bat could be a Rhinilophus ferrumequinum, a greater horseshoe bat, one of the largest bats in Europe!"
"How strange to find one in this weather." Alfred remarked. "Aren't bats supposed to hibernate throughout winter?"
"They do, indeed! However, it's very possible our this one came from afar and was ensnared by a tree during the snow storm. As its wing is damaged, I would say the wind disturbed its flight path before it made contact." Abronsius said, gesturing at the left wing.
Alfred nodded. It was a plausible idea. He knew some species of bats could migrate hundreds of kilometres, searching hibernation dens before winter. The bat could have flown from afar to seek a place of safety and rest, but was caught in the violent, bitter wind.
"What are we going to do, Professor?" Alfred asked.
"I believe… yes, we will take the poor thing with us. We can't let such a magnificent specimen die in the cold!" As he spoke, Abronsius removed his scarf and covered the wounded animal.
Alfred agreed on that, though mostly out of interest to disrupt their search for vampires than any scientific interest he could have in bats. In his opinion, taking care of the bat sounded better than chasing after vampires!
The two academics eventually found a village after venturing further into the woods, as well as an inn. It was owned by an elderly couple, and they were only too happy to see customers as the rooms usually remained quite empty during the winter season.
The Professor paid for a whole week in a large, single room. It wasn't fancy, but it had all of the basic necessities: two beds, a desk with two chairs, a fireplace and an adjacent bathroom.
Once they were settled in the warm room, Alfred could feel his cheeks and fingers prickling as warmth was penetrating the skin. Alfred took out their belongings, preparing the room for their prolonged stay. Meanwhile, the Professor placed the bat on the desk to examine it more closely.
Alfred glanced down at the creature that lay vulnerable in front of them. Now that they were inside a lit room, he could tell it looked like a strange looking rat, with long, broad ears, the body was lean yet strong, with short midnight black fur with streaks of grey. Its wings were thin and leathery, spreading apart like that of a bird. It had a deeply grooved lower lip, a flat, leaf-shaped nose and long fingers on each wing.
Many would have called it impressive or perhaps creepy, maybe even scary. Alfred found it strangely adorable.
He didn't have much time to dwell on the bat though, as the Professor gestured at him:
"Alfred my boy, go and fetch my bag for me! There is all the equipment I will need to take care of our little friend here!"
"What are we going to do while the bat is recovering, sir?" Alfred asked as he passed Abronsius the bag.
"We will rest here for a while; and I will take the opportunity to study this creature while it is recovering. Once it is well, we will set it free! We can continue our quest later…the storm outside is quite harsh. I doubt we will find our vampires wandering in the snow!"
Alfred hid a small smile of relief at that as he agreed.
It looked like they were not going to find any vampires soon, after all.
Professor Abronsius spent a full hour gently cleaning the bat and mending its wound. Its left forearm was broken, so the Professor carefully put the bones together and setting the wing in its natural position against the animal's body, he steadied it with some tape.
Alfred watched the whole process in silence, finding himself fascinated. While Abronsius was without doubt a brilliant man, Alfred didn't know until then that his mentor was also knowledgeable in medicine; though he supposed, as a bat specialist and soon to be vampire hunter, he had to know how to mend a wound on humans as well as on animals.
Alfred went upstairs to bring a bowl of water, as well as cut vegetables for the bat. By the time he came back to their room, the creature had fully woken from its slumber, and was very disoriented.
The bat was screeching at Abronsius as he tried to pick it up. It tried to fly, and winced as it became aware of the state of its left wing. It crawled haltingly and pathetically across the desk, away from the Professor and screamed menacingly again when he tried to pick it up.
"Calm down, little one!" the older man huffed in frustration, stretching out a hand. "You have nothing to fear, I won't hurt you." He slowly approached the animal and, when it had calmed down, he captured it in one quick motion.
The bat hissed at him, as Abronsius was inspecting the state of its wing after its attempt to fly.
"Be careful, Professor. You may get hurt!" Alfred cried.
Abronsius snorted, "Hurt? Pah! I'm a bat specialist my boy, I know how to handle ba – aah!"
The bat's needle-like fangs had found Abronsius's fingers and bit him hard. It startled the Professor, but he kept his hold on the raging animal.
"Oh, it bit me! Quite a fierce little critter, aren't we?" Abronsius chuckled.
The bat screamed at him, showing off its sharp teeth. Its eyes seemed to glow angrily at Abronsius.
"Are you alright, Professor?" Alfred asked in concern.
"Yes, yes, I will be! It is only a small bite, and it certainly hurts much less than the idiocy and the criticism of my colleagues in Königsberg."
As Alfred assisted with antiseptic and bandages, he gazed down at the bat. It was still in Abronsius's hand, and, for a moment, looked suspiciously smug for a mere bat. However, as Alfred blinked, it looked as normal as before. Perhaps it had been a trick of the light, but the boy could have sworn the creature had smirked as if it were proud of itself.
Sicking out its tongue, it licked the blood off his mouth. Alfred and Abronsius exchanged a glance.
"I suppose it is not an herbivore." Alfred commented.
By the end of the first day, Alfred had brought up an iron bird-cage he found in the inn's cellar. It was large enough to fit a house cat, so Alfred hoped it would be large enough for their bat. The only problem was, the bat wasn't too keen on getting inside. Somehow, it had managed to make its ways up to a wood beam supporting the roof, and Alfred and Abronsius spent most of their evening trying to get it back down.
Abronsius took a chair and, asking Alfred to hold it steady, he stood on top of it and stretched his arms, waving them in the air as he tried to catch the bat but it was too far up. Even as he added a couple of books under his feet, it wasn't enough for the Professor to reach the bat.
"Come down, now! Come on!" He huffed, waving his arms wildly and he almost fell down from his chair in the process.
"Be careful Professor!" Alfred cried as he tightened his hold on the chair.
"I'm fine my boy! I'm fine! No need to panic, I know what I'm doing!" Abronsius assured him, but even then he was close to losing his balance as he made another move to grab the cunning animal.
The bat stared at them from the wooden beam. It seemed the little critter was mocking them!
Eventually, Alfred got on the chair and Abronsius climbed on his shoulders. They had been close to falling down a few more times, but at least they had finally caught the bat. The creature wasn't happy about it.
As a result, more bandages had been used that evening.
Something like a routine formed over the next few days and nights. As the bat was nocturnal, they mostly worked in the evening until late in the night and, as a result, slept until late during the day.
Alfred didn't mind much. He was familiar with long nights: as a student, it wasn't unusual for him to stay up all night to prepare for exams or finish his work. Even as a child, he used to read into the early hours of the morning, much to his late parents's dismay.
After they took their turns washing up and having their breakfast, Professor Abronsius usually spent some time studying the books he had brought with him and making annotations about the things they had already seen, as well as the development of their search for vampires. Meanwhile, Alfred prepared the equipment they'd need later in the evening and once he was done with that task, he sat to write down the advancement of their journey. Sometimes, he read aloud to Abronsius who listened, and sometimes added an observation. The old man enjoyed debating and Alfred was always happy to review his deductions or provide some comments on his own, in the hopes of improvement even though it could be quite hard to keep up with his mentor and follow his disorganized thoughts, not to mention Abronsius' lack of patience with Alfred's questions.
Their mission to find vampires had been put on hold for the time being, not that Alfred complained. While he was curious about these legendary creatures – that had been why he's agreed to follow Abronsius in the first place – he wasn't too keen on meeting them yet. He supposed he needen't worry about it for now as his mentor's focus was entirely on the bat they had rescued. Every evening, he checked on the little one's wound and, once he was sure it was healing nicely, he proceeded to study it, for he had never seen such an unique creature before! He made very detailed sketches of the bat from different angles and recorded any new observations.
The bat was still wary of them but it was smart enough to stay calm when Abronsius tended to its wing, and Alfred was careful not to touch it unless it was necessary. However, it still tried to bite the Professor whenever he attempted to pet it or prod it for observational purposes.
Alfred could hear the Professor whispering to himself over his notes one evening:
"Curious… Truly curious..."
"What is it, Professor?" Alfred inquired.
"Our little friend here is quite the mystery." Abronsius replied. "Come and have a look, my boy."
Alfred hesitantly joined the Professor.
"In your own observations, what is the species you believe this bat to be?"
Alfred's eyes glanced down the bat tucked inside its cage. The bat's black eyes stared back at him.
"Well… judging by its size, I would say it could be a greater horseshoe bat..." Alfred began to say.
"The shape and colour is more that of a common bent-wing bat."
"Yes, it resembles a Minipterus schreibersii. But, if you look closer, it also shares similarities with the Myotis capaccinii, the long-fingered bat, like the large feet, long fingers and more prominent nostrils. And if you look here..." From the tip of his pen, Abronsius revealed the bat's unusually long, sharp teeth, but only for a moment before the animal threatened to snap at it.
"So, what do you think my boy?"
"They're exceptionally long, like the teeth of a… vampire bat." Alfred observed.
Vampire bats were native to the Americas, most commonly found in Central and South America. A different continent entirely, or so Alfred recalled. One didn't become the assistant of Professor Abronsius without learning to be knowledgeable on bats in the process.
It was strange to imagine a vampire bat could be found in Transylvania, both due to the climate's lack of warmth and to the distance the bat would have to have travelled to arrive so far North. Had their specimen found transport and food on a boat? Had it been caught for some spoiled child's exotic pet before escaping? It hadn't had a particularly adverse response to Transylvania's winter, as one might expect.
"Professor, do you think it is even possible that this could be a vampire bat?" Alfred asked, not quite certain.
"I don't think so, it doesn't quite look like one. It also has more teeth than the common vampire bat."
"What kind of bat is it then?"
"I can't say for sure. It doesn't look like any kind of bat I have seen before."
The creature was indeed a mystery. One Professor Abronsius was intend on solving.
It had been a long, quiet day in the inn and Alfred spent the most of it working with Abronsius. First, they planned the continuation of their journey, once the bat would be healthy enough to be set free, then Alfred noted down his mentor's latest observations on the creature.
The Professor wasn't any closer to discovering which species the bat belonged to, as it seemed to share some features with a few different ones. It either had to be hybrid or a completely new species. In any case, Abronsius was very enthusiastic.
"A new species, my boy!" He sang, thrilled by the idea. "Can you believe I could have just discovered a new species? My colleagues at the university will get green with jealousy when they hear about it!"
Later, in the evening, Alfred found himself blessedly alone in the room he shared with Abronsius. The Professor had retired to the bathroom for a hot bath, and when Professor Abronsius took his bath, he was likely to stay inside the bathroom for hours as he often did, sinking in the tub while reading a book until the water was cold and his skin was like a dry prune.
Alfred busied himself by tidying the room, then by checking the bat's wound. Sitting on the desk's chair, he was careful with his gestures, so he wouldn't accidentally hurt the bat any further or get hurt himself. To his relief, the bat neither screamed or thrashed, merely watched as he changed its bandage.
"Things can get very boring here, don't you think?" Alfred whispered. He wasn't quite sure to whom he was addressing his question, his own self, or the bat. "The same routine, day after day."
He glanced down, his eyes meeting the bat's. While it was generally large, it looked gaunt as if it had been days since it had last enjoyed a proper meal. Thing was, it refused any kind of food they might have tried to feed it, whether it be meat, cheese, vegetables or bread. It refused even the sweetness of a dried apple slice that the inkeeper's wife had offered them for it. To say the least, its refusal of food was worrying, as it needed to feed to heal properly. Abronsius had at first tried to force some food into its throat. The bat refused to cooperate, fighting back with surprising strength for a creature so small. As a result, they only ended up making a lot of mess and earning a scolding from the innkeeper's wife.
Maybe it was sad? Alfred wondered. While humans were known to suffer depression, it hadn't been established yet whether animals could be depressed as well. It must be quite stressful for a wild animal living in large dark spaces like caves or mines or hollow trees to be suddenly restricted to a small cage.
"I know it must feel uncomfortable," Alfred said, "but don't worry. You won't stay inside this cage forever. It's only for a short time, while your wing is healing."
The bat stared at him, with bright, intelligent eyes; and Alfred would have sworn it could understand him.
Why not, Alfred thought. After all, animals could prove to be as smart as humans and stranger things had happened within the body of science before.
He looked at the animal in front of him, and offered a friendly smile. Bats suffered from a bad reputation. People saw them as disgusting creatures out of horror books, their only purpose being that of spreading diseases like rabies and making nests into people's hair. They were also associated with witches and, above all, vampires, an idea that Professor Abronsius found utterly ridiculous.
"Bats are noble and intelligent creatures!" he often said. "They're in no way related to those undead fiends!"
Perhaps years of tutelage under Professor Abronsius, first as a student and then as his assistant, influenced Alfred, as he didn't find bats to be so scary or horrible. In his opinion, bats were smart and useful creatures, with oddly cute features halfway between a mouse and a cat with sharp-shaped wings.
"You must be bored." Alfred remarked. "Staying inside this cage, with nothing to do, except for sleeping. Sometimes I feel bored too, and I am not even locked inside a cage..."
He looked around the room, almost absent-minded, and his eyes fell upon his travelling bag. His eyes gleamed as an idea struck him.
"I think I may have something to retrieve us from this boredom!"
Getting up from his seat, he went to search through his belonging. Days before leaving Königsberg with Professor Abronsius, he had packed a few books from his modest collection. While he would have liked to bring them all, he knew books could be heavy and that he could only bring the strict necessities, so he chose a scientific essay he favoured during his studies, as well as sir Arthur Conan Doyle's latest publication.
"I bought this one right before our travel, I haven't had the chance to read it yet." Alfred said, picking up his copy of The Hound of the Baskerville.
Taking a seat at the desk, he opened his book, cleared his voice and began to read:
"Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he stayed up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before…"
As he immersed himself inside the story, Alfred felt himself relax. He may have looked like an idiot, reading out loud for a bat but he found he didn't really mind. He was used to read out loud to Abronsius, and he missed reading for his own pleasure. Beside, the bat was a quiet and enjoyable company, and it was unlikely to correct his pronunciation or to make comments like Abronsius always did. As strange as it sounded, he was pretty sure the bat was listening, and with keen interest too!
Or maybe my mind is just playing tricks on me, Alfred mused before letting out a smile. God, he really acted like an idiot!
Still he continued reading, until Professor Abronsius stepped outside the bathroom, and scolded him for slacking.
As he prepared for bed, later that night, he realised they had already been in Transylvania for a fortnight.
It was a wonder it took that long for him to have his nightly dreams plagued by a vampire.
Alfred found himself in the woods of Transylvania, and it was snowing. The wind blew, piling up snow in drifts, and it was blinding the night with ice-white dust. Above him, there was a starry night with a bright full moon that made the snow sparkle like diamonds.
There was nothing but silence, and the snow gently falling down his face. Alfred wasn't cold, though. The snowflakes were soft against his cheeks, and he stretched an arm, watching as they fell on his hand.
Alfred smiled. The enchanting landscape reminded him of the winters in Charles Dickens's books, and the Christmases from when he was still a child. He closed his eyes and tilted his head toward the sky, enjoying the peace of the moment.
Then, he heard a voice, soft as silk, calling for him.
Alfred opened his eyes and tensed, looking around to find nothing but the dark silhouettes of trees emerging from the darkness. He began to wonder if it might have been a trick of his mind when he heard the voice again:
"Who… who are you?" Alfred asked.
He heard the sound of wings echoing over the forest – was it a bat? An owl? He wasn't sure. He took a few steps, then stopped again, cautiously peering into the darkness. He sensed someone watching him.
"Alfred..." the voice called him again, sounding farther away. "Come to me, Alfred..."
Curiosity getting the better of him, Alfred followed after the voice, advancing effortlessly on the snow, he seemed like he was floating.
He walked until the voice became clearer. "Closer, closer..."
It was a voice so smooth and rich, like Alfred had never heard before. He felt pulled toward it.
"I'm here, Alfred..." the voice spoke again.
Alfred stopped short when he saw it. A big, dark shape, moving so quietly, much like a ghost, before he stopped to face Alfred.
The dark shape was that of a man, but he looked like no man he had ever seen before. He looked like an ethereal being, much like the ones Alfred once read about in a folklore book. Darkness curled upon and around him and his eyes, which were so vividly blue, gleamed in the ghastly paleness of his face.
Alfred instinctively knew this man wasn't part of the human world. His shape was that of a human, yet the way he moved and the way he looked made him think this man was nothing but a supernatural being.
Alfred didn't shy away from him, his feet wouldn't move. When the being beckoned him closer, his feet moved of their own accord, pulling him forward, into the man's arms, as if he was in a trance.
A cold hand cupped his cheek and, despite himself, Alfred leaned into the touch. Then, he felt his head being pushed to the side and the man's mouth descended on his neck. Panic rose within him and he tried to wriggle away, but the man only tightened his grip on him.
"Shhh" The voice was murmuring inside his head.
Alfred felt lips on his throat, then teeth sinking into his flesh and a mouth drawing blood until his vision blurred. He could see no more of the stars above him, only the darkness as he went limp in the arms that were holding him.
The drinking stopped, and a tongue was softly licking the spot where his blood had flowed, like a gentle caress. It was oddly soothing, and Alfred felt himself relaxing.
Carefully, the man lowered him on the snow.
"Alfred..." the man whispered, once again.
Then, he knew no more as everything dissolved into nothingness.
Alfred woke up with a start. His body was shaking and his heart was beating wildly against his chest. Sitting up, he looked around him and he slowly relaxed when he recognised the room he was in. Next to him, Professor Abronsius was sleeping soundly, unaware of his assistant's current troubling state.
He'd had a nightmare, but he couldn't tell what it was about. Everything was so hazy in his head. The more he tried to remember, the more his head was hurting him. He could only recall a snow covered landscape and a dark, tall shape, nothing more. Had it been… a vampire? Had his fears finally taken the better of him, making a vampire plague his dreams?
Alfred laid back down on his bed, pulling the cover around him, as if it was a protection shield against his nightmares. He closed his eyes, and tried to think of something else. Abronsius's snores relaxed him. It meant he wasn't alone in this dark room.
As he felt his heart gradually slowing down, he turned onto his side and took a deep breath. It had only been a nightmare, he reasoned, and dawn wasn't here yet, so he might as well try to get back to sleep!
Alfred slept badly for the remainder of the night.
The following morning, he was shaken awake by Professor Abronsius.
"Come on, my boy! Up, up! The bathroom is available!"
Alfred groaned, feeling terrible and rolled out of bed, rising up in a slow, difficult rhythm. He felt weak and tired, no doubts it was caused by the terrible, agitated night he had. He wished for nothing more than to get back to sleep, but he knew he couldn't.
He walked with slow, measured steps toward the bathroom, and the action of it made him momentarily dizzy. He splashed his face with cold water, hoping it would be enough to wake him up. The water on his skin felt good, however he still felt lethargic and heavy. Maybe eating a breakfast would help…
He splashed his face once again then he glanced at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. He was startled to see how pale and nauseated he looked. As he examined himself in the mirror, he noticed something strange. There on his neck were two small puncture wounds. The wounds were closed, and felt a little tender when he carefully brushed his fingers against it.
Alfred frowned in confusion. He had been cleaning the Professor's tools yesterday. Some of them were sharp but he had been very careful not to hurt himself and, if he had, he would have certainly felt it. Not to mention, puncture wounds occurred frequently on the hands and feet, certainly not on the neck!
Unless it's the mark of a vampire's bite, whispered a voice inside his mind, and Alfred felt dread coming through him like waves.
Could it be a vampire's bite? It would explain his weakened state. Paleness and dizziness were common consequences of blood loss. If a vampire drank from him last night… But, there weren't any vampires in the inn! He and Abronsius were alone in their room, and surely they would have noticed if a vampire had been there and had fed from him last night! Unless…
Images of the nightmare flashed through Alfred's mind. There had been some dark figure. Could it have been a vampire? But… it had only been a dream! How could a vampire have fed from him in a dream?
Professor Abronsius had a theory about vampires being able to get into others' heads, and perhaps even able to manipulate their minds. Alfred shuddered upon thinking of this possibility.
He had to talk about this to Abronsius. Hopefully, the old man would be able to help him on this strange matter and provide some logical explanation.
He found him downstairs, reading. He was so absorbed in his book that he didn't notice Alfred entering the room and walking up to him.
"Professor?" Alfred tentatively asked, as though afraid Abronsius might lash out at him for disturbing him.
"Quiet, my boy!" Abronsius scolded. "Can't you see I am busy?"
"But Professor – " Alfred tried to say.
"This is impor – "
"Alfred, I need to finish my work on this! Now, go to our room and take care of the bat! I'll join you later."
Alfred gave up. He wouldn't be able to talk with his Professor for now, not when he was so absorbed by his book. While Abronsius wasn't a heartless man, Alfred knew that once he had his mind of something, the world around him ceased to exist.
Holding back a sigh of disappointment, Alfred poured himself a cup of coffee, hoping it will be able to make him feel better, and headed towards the stairs.
"Oh, and Alfred?" Abronsius called after him.
"Yes?" Alfred asked, hope in his chest.
"Take some of the vitamins pills I have in my bag. You look awful, my boy."
Alfred had a small smile at that. So, his professor had noticed, even if he didn't comment on it until now.
Coming into their room, he went through the Professor's bag until he found the box of vitamins. His mouth was dry, so he took a glass of water to swallow them.
As he drank, his eyes fell on the cage in which the bat was sleeping upside down. Alfred always found this sleeping position strange, but also kind of amusing. Watching the animal more closely, he noticed it looked better than the other day. It looked more full, as if it had a proper meal. It was most strange since Professor Abronsius always left a bowl full with food in its cage, and the bat always left it untouched.
Alfred frowned as a sinister thought came into his mind. On their first night in the inn, the bat had licked Abronsius's blood after biting his hand. Could it be that… it fed from him, last night? It was unusual, but not uncommon. Vampire bats mostly fed on the blood of birds and mammals such as horses and cattle, but they could feed on humans should they find nothing else.
However, Alfred wasn't sure the bat was a vampire bat. Professor Abronsius never confirmed it or refuted this theory, as the bat's species remained a mystery. Beside, the bat was safely locked inside the cage. It couldn't have come out to bite him. There was still the possibility that they didn't lock the cage properly the last time they checked on the creature, so perhaps the bat was responsible for the wounds on his neck?
No, Alfred thought, the idea was ridiculous. Beside, the bowl was on the desk and it was empty. Maybe the creature had finally fed and Abronsius had removed the bowl from the cage, to fill it out again later? Moreover, the wound on his neck was too large to have been inflicted by something as small as a bat.
Alfred was lost in his thoughts. What had happened exactly last night?
A part of him was scared of the answer.
Days later, the bat was showing signs of healing. It was quicker and livelier than during the first nights, and its black fur was brighter. While Alfred and Abronsius never saw it eating, the food they left was gone the morning after, so they supposed it was eating during the night, as the bat looked healthier and gained some weight.
Abronsius helped it to practice with its wings some nights. The wound on its left wing was mostly healed, so the bat was able to fly, albeit clumsily.
"It is only a matter of time before the bat will be healed enough to fly on its own!" Abronsius told Alfred. "I would say in two or three days, the bat will be ready to be released!"
Alfred too was getting better. He was in a much better spirit after a few good meals and some rest. His nights were more peaceful too, and his nightmare was nothing but a sinister memory.
Now that the bat was getting better, they were slowly getting back on their original aim. One night, Professor Abronsius retrieved his articles and documents on Nosferatus from his bag.
Alfred could hear him muttering to himself as he was reading an article near the fireplace. "Pah! The nerve of this man! Incredible!"
"What's the matter, Professor?" He asked.
"Here, read this." Abronsius replied, handing the article to Alfred.
Alfred took it, and began to read out loud: "According to my studies, vampires cast no reflected image. Thus, for example, one cannot see them, nor can they see themselves, in a mirror and only a mirror. Nor in any other object serving the same purpose...like water, windowpanes, etcetera."
Alfred looked up at the Professor. The older man was fuming.
"It sounds like the theory you once presented in Königsberg!" Alfred observed.
"It's because it's my theory! This Alibori fellow stole it from me! He probably did it during this Congress last year in Budapest, when I presented my latest theories!" Abronsius cried angrily.
Abronsius was gesturing madly, and the bat was looking at him with an odd expression. It seemed displeased. Alfred thought it was better to change the subject. When Abronsius got angry or exasperated with something, there was no stopping him some days.
"Professor, how can it be possible vampires cast no reflected image? It doesn't make sense."
"Neither does living centuries by just feeding on blood and getting weakened by the sun, but I will have the answers to those questions. You can trust me on that, my boy! As soon as we find a vampire in the area, we will conduct our studies!"
Saying this, he absently put a hand on the top of the cage. The bat hissed, its eyes gleaming dangerously.
Later this morning, Alfred and Abronsius were taking their breakfast downstairs, along with the other customers. For most of their stay in the inn, they had been busy with the bat and working mostly at night, they missed breakfasts and then they usually ate their dinners in their room. It was the first time that they were actually eating downstairs with everyone else and the other villagers were watching them with curiosity, from the corner of their eyes.
While Alfred was enjoying his own breakfast, Abronsius was inspecting the room with sharp, clever glances. At one point, he gestured at him and when he lifted his eyes he soon noticed what his Professor discovered. At every corner of the room, there were crucifixes and garlands of garlic.
He shared a glance with Abronsius. Could it mean…?
Abronsius nodded, guessing Alfred's silent question.
"Innkeeper, Sir!" He called.
"What can I do for you, my good men?" The innkeeper asked, coming to them. "Should I bring you more milk?"
"I was wondering if there was a castle in the neighbourhood?"
The innkeeper and his wife looked at each other in a frightened sort of way as the room suddenly became quiet. The villagers stopped talking and glanced at Alfred and Abronsius, then the innkeeper.
Alfred and Abronsius shared a glance, sensing there was something strange going on.
"Why do you want to know that, Sir?" The innkeeper asked carefully.
"My assistant and I were travelling in the hopes to find a castle. Perhaps there is one inhabited by a Count or another nobleman somewhere nearby."
"We know nothing of it." The innkeeper replied.
"If there's truly nothing, then why is there garlic and crucifixes everywhere?" Abronsius asked.
"It is to keep at bay bad spirits, Sir." The innkeeper's woman said, making the sign of a cross.
"Really? And which kind of bad spirits would those be?"
"Please Sir, ask us no more." The innkeeper's wife pleaded with a high-pitched voice.
The Professor's moustache twisted, betraying his annoyance. He huffed.
The other customers, having listened to the whole conversation, were talking amongst themselves. Alfred was sure they were gossiping about them, for every now and then they were throwing them a pitiful or a wary glance. Alfred couldn't quite catch what they were saying, for they were using some regional dialect Alfred never heard before.
Professor Abronsius gestured at him and lowered his head, prompting Alfred to do the same. Alfred complied.
"I have the feeling they're hiding something important from us, my boy!"
"I have noticed it too."
"I am convinced this has something to do with what we are looking for!"
"You mean vamp – " Alfred began to say.
"Shhh, my boy!" Abronsius shushed him. "They might hear us! Heaven knows how they would react! I think it would be better to be subtler. I will stay here and observe them. Then I will talk to them."
"Do you need my help with this?"
"Hmm. No, it is better for me to do it alone. I would rather you went upstairs and kept an eye on the bat."
"If you say so." Alfred replied, not quite sure what to feel about it.
Just as Alfred was about to go upstairs, the innkeeper's wife came to him and said in a very hysterical whisper: "Must you go? Oh! Young man, must you truly go? It would be safer for you to return home!"
She was in such an excited state she had troubles speaking what little German she knew, and mixed it with Romanian.
"We can't go home yet, Ma'am." Alfred protested. "The Professor and I are on an important mission."
"Oh, please! I beg you Sir, do not continue your travel. It is not safe here! Don't you know where you are going?"
She was in such evident distress that Alfred tried to comfort her, but without effect.
"Why shouldn't we continue? Is there something dangerous the Professor and I should be warned about?"
Alfred hoped for an answer, maybe a confirmation to his and Abronsius's suspicions. However, the woman shook her head, unwilling – or perhaps too afraid – to answer.
"Ah Sir, please do not ask me!" She crossed herself again.
"The Professor and I still need to go." Alfred said. "Professor Abronsius won't let anything interfere with our journey."
The woman took a deep breath, then took her crucifix from her neck and gave it to Alfred. He was unsure whether to take it or not but the woman just forced it into his hand.
"Please, young man. If you need to go, please take it with you."
"I will." Alfred promised at last, unable to refuse her when she meant so well, and was in such a state of mind.
The woman bowed her head, then quietly left. Alfred watched her go and put the crucifix inside his pocket.
He felt strangely, and a little frightened too. Could it be possible they were nearer to their goals than he thought? It would certainly explain the villagers's fear, and the abundance of garlic and crucifixes… It could also explain his puncture wounds, he realised with dread.
Could it mean that a vampire had indeed been there that night where he had a nightmare, and was sick the day after? In that case: where was this vampire now, and could he come back?
He tried not to think too much about what had happened or he might end up over-thinking and Alfred didn't want that. Rarely something good came out of that and, besides, he couldn't let his inner torments affect the task Professor Abronsius had given him: keeping an eye on the bat. While it was healing, it was still quite fragile, and someone needed to watch over it.
As he entered the room, his eyes fell on the bat resting inside its cage and his lips turned into a small smile.
"Hello, little fellow. Should we continue to read The Hound of the Baskerville?"
The bat chirped. Alfred was charmed by its response to him, and took it as a positive answer.
Maybe a bit of reading would be just what I need, Alfred thought as he picked up his copy. He sat on his bed, book in his lap, and began to read, seeking the safe haven of a fictional world.
In the next hour, his reading took him from Baker Street to the wilderness of Scotland, and Doctor Watson's observations regarding the strange affair of the Baskerville family.
"… The fresh beauty of the following morning did something to efface from our minds the grim and grey impression which had been left upon both of us by our first experience of Baskerville Hall."
Alfred paused, and lifted his eyes from the book to look at the bat. Its small, calm eyes had a relaxing effect on him, and Alfred chuckled at how strange the whole situation had to look!
"If people at the university could see me! Stuck inside an inn somewhere in Transylvania, reading out loud to a bat, with The Nut. It's the name they gave Professor Abronsius… it's still nicer than some other names they gave him."
People at the university had thought Abronsius foolish, though Alfred could understand the Professor was seen as "odd", he preferred to think of him as unique.
A strange expression came over the bat's features and Alfred thought he could see amusement there. He smiled, it was not the first time he had the impression the bat could understand him. It seemed like the Professor had found quite the clever specimen!
"They would say I became as foolish as the Professor." Alfred quietly added, almost to himself. "Well, they always thought I was a little odd… Small, quiet Alfred, not good at socialising, with his nose always stuck in a book, probably living in the university's library."
He sighed, suddenly feeling the weight of solitude upon his shoulders. "You must feel alone too." he softly said to the bat. "Solitude does feel heavy sometimes, doesn't it?"
The bat titled its head and quietly fixed its stare on Alfred without blinking. Despite himself, Alfred shivered under the intensity of those small, clever black eyes. It felt as it the bat could stare right through him.
The spell was brutally broken when Professor Abronsius stormed inside the room. It has been such an abrupt entrance that the bat let out a startled screech.
"Stubborn fools, all of them!" He cursed.
"What's going on, Professor?" Alfred asked, jumping up from his bed and putting his book away.
"Pah! Those stubborn villagers simply refuse to tell me anything! It only increases my suspicions that something is going on in this area! Why would those villagers act this way, if there was not something unnatural going on?"
"Does that mean there's a vampire nearby?" Alfred nervously asked.
"I would bet a Nobel Prize on it, and this is precisely why the villagers are scared and secretive! But, I shall uncover the truth or my name isn't Friedrich Aloisius Abronsius!"
"What are we going to do, then?"
"As soon as the bat is healthy enough to fly, we will release it and continue our journey. I heard there was another inn nearby, held by a Jewish family. Maybe they'll tell us more."
He walked around the room, making nervous gestures before he stopped to face his assistant:
"Alfred my boy, give me my notebook! I will continue to plan our travel!"
As Alfred rose to his feet to bring the required object, he caught sight of the bat. It had been staying still since Abronsius entered the room, and it was watching the old man with sharp eyes that were gleaming with something Alfred couldn't recognize.
He wondered what it was seeing in Abronsius.
"So, you are leaving us?" The innkeeper asked as Alfred and Abronsius were eating supper.
"Indeed, my good man." Abronsius replied. "We are to leave tomorrow morning."
The other customers stopped talking to look at them, some of them in a pitiful way, others just crossed themselves. The innkeeper and his wife shared a glance. It seemed as if they could communicate with their eyes. Alfred nervously wondered what they had told each other.
"Have you thought of what I told you, the other day?" He asked.
The Professor huffed. "Yes I have, and my answer stays the same: I cannot go back home until my mission here is complete!"
"I would advice you again to give up." The innkeeper insisted. "In this country, things are more dangerous than they seem."
"I shall be the judge of that!" Abronsius shortly replied.
"Don't you want to tell us what's so dangerous out there?" Alfred tentatively asked.
The innkeeper shook his head. "I can't tell you. It is a bad omen to speak of it!"
"Pah! There is no such thing as bad omens or curses!" Abronsius argued. "What matters is science, and I am doing this study in the name of it!"
The innkeeper's face looked doubtful, yet he said nothing, only poured coffee in a cup to give it to another customer.
The minutes during which Alfred and Abronsius ate their supper passed with a fearful slowness on Alfred's part. He had a horrible sinking feeling in his heart as he started to feel some apprehension for what would soon come, when the Professor and he would leave tomorrow. If there was indeed a vampire in the area… perhaps the same one who attacked him in his sleep…
Alfred observed Abronsius's expression. He seemed calm as he enjoyed his dinner, obviously not sharing Alfred's fear and apprehension. Alfred thought about sharing his fear with him, before deciding against it. The Professor would scoff and say he acted childishly, and that a true scientist was calm and composed. Not to mention that the puncture wounds on his neck weren't as visible as before, he doubted Abronsius would see anything, if Alfred were to show him his neck as proof something was lurking around.
Eventually, Abronsius pushed his plate away. "I am going to pay this gentleman for our stay." He told Alfred. "In the meanwhile, you can build up the fireplace in our room. I will join you shortly."
Alfred agreed as he stood up. It was better than staying in the sitting room, with the villagers staring at them and whispering to themselves, like Alfred and Abronsius were on their death-bed.
He slowly made his way toward the stairs, trying to ignore the weight of the villagers's eyes on him.
Outside of the room's door, he paused.
"Come on, Alfred." He said softly to himself. "There's no point on dwelling on this now. You'll end up having nightmares. Besides, you have things to take care of."
Letting out a sigh, he turned the handle, stepped inside the room – and froze.
Before him stood a tall, thin man, dressed in black with a long cloak. He was facing away from the door but, as it opened, he turned around and his eyes met Alfred's.
Alfred could feel the hairs rising up on the back of his neck, and his heart seemed to stand still.
The man was imposing, and the way he carried himself was both threatening and sophisticated. His pale, gaunt face contrasted with the long, black hair falling on his shoulders. He was dressed finer than anyone Alfred saw in his life, with rich, elegant clothing. His eyes were piercing – so piercing – they seemed to stare right into Alfred's soul and he realised he had already seen those eyes before.
The gleam of danger and hunger in the man's eyes made him look like a supernatural creature, which he most likely was. And so Alfred guessed the man's true nature, before he noticed the fangs and the clawed hands. Nosferatu. Vampire. The living dead. What he and Abronsius had been looking for.
Alfred's breath caught in his throat, then, as though he would suffocate merely from the shock of seeing him. He made a quick gesture to turn away, hoping to leave the room and scream for his mentor when a clawed hand quickly reached for him and covered his mouth, while another grabbed his shoulders, pulling him back until he collided with the vampire's chest.
"Silence! I do not wish to hurt you, but if you make a sound, I will be forced to take drastic measures." The vampire spoke in a sort of keen, cutting whisper that seemed to shake the bones in Alfred's body.
Alfred was too scared and bewildered to do or say anything. His heart was beating so fast in his chest he thought it would burst out. What would happen to him now?
The vampire spoke again. "Now, do you promise me you won't scream or run if I release you?"
Alfred nodded, for he could do nothing more, except to hope he wouldn't get hurt if he obeyed him. Then, the vampire slowly removed his hand from Alfred's mouth, and released his hold on him.
Alfred turned to face him.
"Who – who are you?" He asked, more bravely than he felt. "What are you doing here?"
"I am Count von Krolock, the master of this land." The vampire introduced himself. His voice was deep and carried a Romanian accent. "And you are Alfred." It wasn't a question, merely a statement.
"How do you know?" Alfred asked, puzzled.
Krolock smirked, revealing sharp teeth.
"I have always been here. I have been in yours and your professor's care."
"What do you mea – " A sudden realisation came to Alfred's mind, and he glanced just beyond Krolock's frame to search for the bat, which was no longer present in its cage. "You… you were the bat?!" He cried out.
Krolock smirked again. "Indeed, I was. I was returning from a hunt when I had the misfortune to be caught by the wind and hit by a tree. The next thing I knew, I had a broken wing and was taken care of by you and your Professor. Imagine my surprise when I found out my take-carers were two amateur vampire hunters."
Alfred's eyes widened in horror, as fear and apprehension went through him. He could feel the sweat drenching his skin and the thumping of his heart against his chest. Oh, why did he put the crucifix the innkeeper's wife gave him inside his bag, instead of putting it around his neck?
"What are you… what are you going to do to us?" He asked, trying to sound calm. He didn't dare asking if the vampire was going to kill them.
"It would be a poor reward for my take-carers if I were to dispose of them." Krolock quietly answered. "I may be the monster you and your Professor are looking for but it would be quite discourteous of me to kill the ones who had saved me and nursed me back to health."
Alfred hesitantly looked up at him. A part of him wanted to hope, as a gesture of gratitude, the vampire wouldn't hurt them, yet he wasn't sure if he could trust his word on this.
"Do you truly mean this?" He asked, attempting not to reveal his secret hope.
"Of course!" The Count softly replied, raising his hand in a calm, appeasing gesture. "I am a man of my word. However…"
Alfred gulped, preparing himself for the worse.
"I would advise you to be… careful with your chosen studies, both for you and the Professor. Studying this subject can prove to be dangerous… If you are not careful, you and your Professor might end up becoming the very thing you are studying."
"It won't happen! It cannot happen!" Alfred cried out, despite himself.
Krolock smirked, sharp and feral. "Can't it? You'll find, young Alfred, that life in this land can be full of surprises. After all, of all the people in Transylvania I could have found myself estranged with, during my recovering, was with you two."
Alfred wouldn't call it a surprise, rather a misfortune. If Professor Abronsius knew the bat he took in and was fascinated with was the very thing he wanted to study and eradicate…
Krolock added, with a teasing tone. "I will miss those nights on which you would read to me. I will be left wondering how the case of The Hound of the Baskerville will be solved."
Alfred almost made a strangling noise at that, astonished by the strange conversation he was having with this Count. Krolock chuckled upon seeing his reaction, a strange and warm sound to Alfred's ears.
The Count slightly made a move to the side, as if he meant to grow closer to the window, then he stopped, turning his face to look at Alfred.
"Before I depart, there is something I need to do." He said, looking attentively at Alfred as he spoke.
"… What would it be?" Alfred warily asked.
"Flying in this weather will prove to be quite tiresome. Some of your blood would help giving me the much needed strength."
"What?!" Alfred cried out in a panicking tone.
"Do not worry, I will not kill you. A few sips of blood will be sufficient." Krolock said calmly, as if he wasn't talking about biting Alfred's neck and drinking his blood.
"But I – I don't want to be bitten!" Alfred weakly protested.
"I am afraid you have no choice in the matter, Alfred. If you stay calm, it won't hurt as much." Krolock said with a quiet voice. "You may as well get used to it; it is not the first time your veins have appeased my thirst, neither it will be the last time." He added with a dangerous smile.
Alfred was bewildered, stunned by those mysterious words: It is not the first time your veins have appeased my thirst… Then, he remembered that time, days ago, when he was sick and weak and saw the two puncture wounds on his neck.
"So it was you..." Alfred whispered in horror.
"Indeed." Krolock softly replied. "I was hungry, have been for nights… and you were there. A charming, healthy young man. Why shouldn't I have indulged myself?" He said, and his smile was quite wolfish.
"You were the man from my nightmare!" Alfred realised.
"Yes, I was. My nature allows me to control dreams according to my will. Creating a dream for you and controlling it was a way for me to drink from you without harming you… extensively and have you dismiss it as nothing more but a nightmare."
So, Professor Abronsius was unto something when he said vampires may be able to get into other's heads, Alfred thought grimly.
"Can you read my mind too?" Alfred tentatively asked, his curiosity taking the better of him.
"I could." Krolock answered. "But I hardly need too, you're very much like an open book Alfred." He added, raising an eyebrow at Alfred who blushed in return, ashamed to realise how easy it was to read him.
"Shall we, then?" Krolock asked.
Alfred flashed him a wary look and took a few steps back, only for the Count to slowly walk up toward him like a wild animal. His back hit the wall, and he felt very much trapped when Krolock's tall figure stopped before him.
"Don't! Don't do this" Alfred whispered, fear taking the better of him.
Krolock watched him, not unkindly. "It will only hurt for a moment." He said, his voice low. "I won't kill you, that I can promise."
Alfred felt the faint brush of Krolock's skin and clothing against his as the vampire's hand undid his red bowtie, then the first buttons of his shirt, his long nails tickling at Alfred's throat, to reveal more skin.
Then, a hand was slowly encircling the back of his neck. Krolock's other hand brushed against Alfred's face, moving some locks of hair. Alfred opened his eyes, surprised by the gentle gesture.
The Count von Krolock was looking at him in a way that might be appraising.
Alfred didn't have the time to dwell on this, as Krolock lowered his head and placed his lips upon Alfred's throat, seemingly like a dreadful kiss. Alfred startled when he felt a sudden pain in his neck as fangs pierced his skin. His instincts were urging him to push the vampire away, to make the pain stop, but the Count was holding him tightly. He could only hope it would be over soon.
The Count was slowly drinking, taking small drops of blood and Alfred felt less pain, and fell halfway into a swoon as the world became hazy around him. His feet and knees gave away and he would have fell if Krolock wasn't securely holding him.
Alfred didn't know how much time had passed before Krolock took his lips from his throat. When he finally did, he looked up at the Count and could see blood dripping from the vampire's mouth, and shivered as he realised it was his blood.
Then, Krolock pulled him from his near faint, back up onto his feet and, brushing his fingers through the brown locks that fell over his face, he looked into his eyes.
"You could be free," He softly said, almost a whisper. "You could be triumphant, and never be alone again, if only you would surrender."
"Surrender… to what?" Alfred numbly asked.
"To your inner desires, your deepest wish."
"What do you mean?"
"You wish to end the solitude that weighs on you." Krolock replied. "You wish to be more than you are, to be free, without anyone to judge you. All of this, I can give it to you Alfred, if you would put your trust in me."
Alfred watched him without saying a word, astonished. It seemed like the Count knew and understood him more than he would care to admit. It was almost surreal, the way Krolock seemed to figure him out so easily, as if the vampire could see through him. How promising his words sounded… and how foolish revealing his insecurities to a bat now seemed…
"How can I trust you?" For all Alfred knew, the Count could merely be trying to trick or corrupt him.
"You can, Alfred. If only you would let go of your fears and your doubts."
"I – " Alfred began to say, uncertain of what he could possibly answer to this.
Alfred would never know what he would have answered, as the door behind them was suddenly opened to reveal Professor Abronsius.
"Alfred my boy, there is something we must do – AAH! VAMPIRE!" He cried out.
Without uttering a word, the Count von Krolock promptly grabbed Alfred and threw him on the bed, then faced Abronsius who was brandishing his umbrella, as if it were a sword. Krolock hissed at him, and in this moment he sounded very much like the bat he had been for the past nights.
"You villain! You lanky fiend! What did you do to my assistant, you undead menace?"
"Enough with you, you fool!" Krolock said with a booming voice.
He harshly pulled the umbrella out of Abrosius's hand and tossed it away. Then, he pushed Abronsius away in a swift, violent movement, sending him smashing into a wall.
Alfred ran toward his Professor to help him to get on his feet. Meanwhile, the Count von Krolock walked toward the opened window and turning back into his bat form, he took off in a storm of wings, its big form fluttering away into the starry sky.
"Ah! He escaped, the fiend!" Abronsius cursed, running toward the window.
Alfred joined him, and watched as the bat flew away until it couldn't be seen anymore. Alfred shivered, and it wasn't just from the cold.
"Professor!" Alfred cried out. "The vampire! He said he's the Count von Krolock! He was the bat!"
Professor Abronsius turned to face him, looking quite displeased. "That's what I have been fearing. To think the bat we took care of was a vampire! Such fools we have been! Look what he did to you!" He said, while examining the bloody wound on Alfred's neck. "He arranged you quite badly, didn't he, Alfred?"
His fingers brushed against the fresh wounds, and Alfred stiffened. "Hmm… We shall have to clean that, then a blood-transfusion and you will be as good as new!"
Abronsius walked away, searching his bag for the necessary tools.
"Don't worry, my boy! We will find this vampire and prevent him from harming anyone else! This is not the last time this Count will hear from us!"
It was precisely what Alfred feared…
When the Count von Krolock entered the great hall of his Castle, he was greeted by his son, Herbert. It didn't surprise him. Herbert must have felt him approaching the castle. It was one of the benefits that came from the bond between a Sire and his fledgling.
"Vati, where have you been?" The younger vampire anxiously asked. "You have been absent for nights! I thought something bad had happened to you!"
Krolock smiled softly at his son's concern. "As you can see, Herbert, I am fine. There is no need to worry anymore." He took his cloak off. "Flying was quite tiring, I will rest by the fireplace. Can you tell Koukol to prepare two rooms? We might expect to receive guests very soon."
Herbert frowned, watching his father quizzically, as he always did when Krolock acted in an enigmatic way, which happened quite often, more than Herbert would have liked.
"Vater, what happened exactly when you were away?" He asked.
"If you are willing to join me by the fireplace, I will tell you everything you need to know." Krolock said in that soft tone of his, one that would sound innocent if Herbert didn't know him so well. There was a glint in his eye that matched the small twist to his mouth.
"I hold you to that!" The Viscount said, as he was leaving to find their servant.
Krolock watched him go, but this thoughts were elsewhere.
It would only be a matter of time until the senile old fool and his assistant would find his castle, and Krolock would be there to welcome them.
He smirked. He quite looked forward the next nights.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to let me know what you think of it, a comment is always appreciated ;)
Friedrich Aloisius isn't Abronsius's canon name, since his first name has never been established. It's the name the lovely Fiona (rumpelstiltskinned on tumblr) gave Abronsius and she kindly allowed me to "borrow" it. She has also been a great help to find insults Abronsius could throw Krolock!
And, of course, the inn in the story wasn't Chagal's inn. As busy Alfred was with the bat, I think he would have still noticed Sarah ;)
I am unsure yet if I will give this story a sequel in the future. Maybe one day I will get enough ideas to give "Die Fledermaus" a sequel. We'll see!