Chapter 17

"Alexander!"

Alexander's eyes opened wide in shock. "What is it?!" Yelling could be heard from the floors below... Gunshots echoed low in the distance.

"We have to leave now!" Ditron punched some keys on Alexander's computer, the screen filled with all sorts of windows and files overriding the computer's hardrive.

They headed down the long corridor beyond Alexander's chamber and reached the staircase, keeping their backs close to the wall. A voice crackled in Ditron's earpiece and he nodded.

"Alexander, one of our best teams on-sight are on the floor below. They will escort you to the safe house."

"And you?" Alexander looked at Ditron with a serious face.

Ditron smiled. "I'm the decoy."

The team appeared, its leading operator outstretching his arm, "This way."

A few feet away a keypad appeared in the wall which one of the team members punched in some keys and a door silently slid open in the wall revealing a corridor straight down.

"Go now, Alexander." Ditron urged.

Alexander looked at him a moment then turned to follow the team, "...I can't stop you from doing what you think you should..." With that Alexander looked down the long, dark corridor that dropped straight down and stepped into darkness.

Ditron nodded to the other team members, "I can handle this, you go."

The team nodded. The yelling and gunshots were getting closer. One by one the team disappeared into the dark, the hidden door silently closed once more and looked as though it wasn't even there.

"Alexander!" A female voice hollered.

Ditron smiled, "You're too late, Caterina." He chuckled, drawing his pistols.

Caterina rounded the stairs and saw Ditron. "You..." With a hiss she leapt over the flight of stairs that separated them. Ditron fired a couple of rounds, Caterina dodged. She leapt and caught Ditron's arm with her ice cold hands, Ditron delivered a swift uppercut and contacted her jaw sending her head back with a snap. Ditron jumped back and fired a few more rounds, grazing Caterina's arm leaving burnt holes in her clothes.

Anger surged through her, "This was new...! You're going to pay for it!"

Flitting the distance between them she leapt, bringing her right foot into a roundhouse kick to his face. Ditron flew to the floor. Trying to get up, he saw her shadow approach, rolling over in time as her foot came crashing into the floor boards. She turned to Ditron, crossing her arms. Two small objects were thrust from his hands, glinting as they sliced through the air towards her. With a lash she deflected one with her whip and caught the other with a loud crack.

Caterina laughed wildly, "I am still too fast for you... Brother, darling..."

Ditron narrowed his eyes, his chest beginning to burn.

"Does it hurt...?" She teased.

A low, trembling sound escaped his lips.

She narrowed her eyes in annoyance, bringing her arm back to snap her whip and was pulled forward instead, crashing to the floor. There was a loud crunch as his boot came down on her hand grinding it into the ground. A piercing cry filled the air.

Breathless she produced a small knife from her shirt sleeve. With what little strength she had she brought the knife down into Ditron's foot. He retracted his foot, screeching in pain.

Breathing haggardly with his fangs bared he withdrew another dagger attached to a chain. He advanced towards her, whipping the dagger this way and that, flitting faster than she had seen him ever do before.

Caterina's heartbeat raced. She tried to keep Ditron in her range of sight, but he was moving slightly faster than her eyes could adjust.

The chains seemed to be coming from every direction... She couldn't pin-point where he was...

"Who's too fast for whom?" A low whisper caressed her ear.

She gasped, he has somehow found his way behind her! The other end of the chain lay in his hand and with a small tug, the chains ceased moving and drew taught in the air surrounding her. With another pull on the chains they closed in on her, quickly seizing her in an iron grip.

"You-you bastard!" She screamed. He tugged on the chains once more. Another scream tore from Caterina's lips.

"I won't forgive you..." He spat at her; a searing pain rippled through his chest.

Amusement filled her voice. "I never sought forgiveness... You deserved it..." The last she said in disgust, her voice growing weaker by the second.

His chest ached as if it was caving in on itself. "I can and will kill you right now, right where you stand." He growled into her ears.

Caterina smiled. "You would have done so already."

"Lady Caterina!" A group of vampires were running their way.

"One step and I will rip her body to shreds...!"

They halted immediately in shock.

"My Lady!" A man with silver hair shouted as he stepped fourth. She let out a pained scream as the chains dug deeper into her skin tightening around her body. With a gasp the man retreated a step or two. "Let her go!" The man shouted.

Ditron laughed maniacally. "Come, take her from me. We'll make this a game... Shall we?"

The man became more serious. "No."

Ignoring his reply Ditron continued, smiling, "If you can take her from me I will let you all live... But if you cannot safely retrieve her... You all die. Is that a gamble you are willing to risk?"

The group of vampires stood there silently calculating the percentage of defeat and victory.

Her painful shouts echoing through the halls.

"No!" The silver-haired man tried to rush to her aid but was held back by two others. "He will kill her!" One of them hissed to him. "But there's no other way!" Another declared. "Can we overtake him?" One asked in panic. "We can!" Another one shouted.

"Tick-tock." Ditron called out as he tugged on the chains once again.

Another scream.

A ripple of panic coursed through the vampires, then a female stepped forward, "Yes, we will pllay your game."

A tremor wavered within Ditron and rippled out in the form of laughter beginning in the deep parts of his chest, bellowing out an insatiable sound of cruelty . The energy in the air become electrified, changing the molecular structure of the atmosphere surrounding them creating a dark aura emanating from within Ditron, extending and reaching out with like the tendrils of flames, ready to burn you at any moment. His fangs extended, his senses alert... His eyes glossing over to white.

"Let the games begin."

The darkness engulfed them as their bodies dropped through the vertical corridor nicely concealed within the estate's walls. Alexander landed on his feet with ease, following his escorts through a complex maze of underground tunnels. Explosions rattled overhead shaking the foundation of the vast estate they were traveling under, sending small tremors through the walls surronding them.

"Sir, we must hurry!" One of the escorts shouted. Alexander quickened his pace as he ran in the middle of seven or so people. Shouting and gunfire could be heard up ahead in one the tunnels.

Crackling from their earpieces... "Tunnel... Has been... -ushed..." Gunfire. Yelling. "-Unnel B... Ambushed! -peat!" Another gunshot. Silence.

"Stop." The leading officer signaled. The excorts nodded to each other and took formation.

"Jamie." He signaled again.

One of the escorts, Jamie, slowly stepped fourth then flitted and disappeared. The rest of the team waited... Sweat forming on Alexander's brow as he concentrated on the escort's presence, listening to the sounds around them...

The escort flitted back, reappearing in front of them. "All clear."

"Proceed." He signaled once more.

They slowly made their way through the tunnels, senses alert, every vampire utilizing all their abilities to escort Alexander safely away from this area.

About a quarter mile from the exit a couple of steel balls were thrown at their feet, they exploded, emitting a booming sound that rattled their senses paired with a bright flash of light. Disorientated, Alexander opened his eyes to find that he was seeing double, he could hardly stand and was beginning to topple over. He could dimly hear the sounds of a raging battle feild far off into the distance... Gunshots in rapid fire. The slashing of claws on flesh and the distinct sound of bones being crushed. One of the escorts raised him up, bracing Alexander against the wall. A thick fog permeated the air low on the ground, it rose and rose and filled their lungs. The escort that was holding Alexander doubled over coughing up a dark liquid. Alexander semi-blindly struggled to get up, his peripherals catching the sight of a dozen or so vampires with masks and goggles.

"Protect Alexander!" One of the escorts shouted.

A human wall of escorts formed around Alexander, some bloody and bruised, some whose limbs were completely useless. Alexander's eyes focused as he saw a mass of bodies splayed on the ground around them. The bodies belonged to that of his enemies and his allies. Another wall formed a few yards away form Alexander, an outer wall made of highly skilled and unharmed special ops.

The person at the center of the vampires pointed at Alexander. "Retrieve the traitor."

One masked vampire slowly walked towards Alexander, skillfully swinging a sword this way and that, humming a playful tune. The other flitted around behind him using one of his hands to hold back Alexander's arms, the other hand gripped Alexander's hair and yanked his head back, exposing his bare neck to the cold steel of the blade.

Alexander stared painfully at the group of vampires who had come to take his life.