249 Let me see you
"There hasn't been a case like mine so I don't know how much time I might have. Excuse me," she went to pick up the towel that was placed on top of the chair. Wiping the blood that she had coughed, she came back to the window, "You should go back Gregory."
But her brother who was young shook his head unhappily, "We might have not known and been together for a long time but you are my only sister and family. Though mother and father you and I are connected by blood, Sister Vivian and I won't allow this sickness to let you suffer."
Vivian turned back to look at the door which she felt had been tried to be opened from the outside, "You don't understand, I am dying," her words held pain in them as she voiced them out to him clearly, "The corruption of the heart...it is going to turn me into something I am not. I am going to be a threat to everyone around me."
"That doesn't mean we are sure about it."
"That has been the fate for all the vampires who had corrupted their hearts. Don't worry about me," she assured him even though she knew there was a lot to be worried. Especially with the way, her heart was hurting her, she flinched.
"Sister Vivian, if you say your time is less, shouldn't you be out and on your way to meet the Duke? What are you doing here then?" The question hit her hard, she wanted to go but how could she in the condition she was in? "Is he on his way?"
She nodded her head, "Lord Nicholas and Leo are on their way to Valeria," hope started to rise at the thought that she would be able to see Leo sooner. If she could travel half the distance it would save them time. But how? As if something was flashing in her mind, she said to her younger brother, "Can you get a hold of a carriage?"
"Consider it done. What about the guards?"
"I will handle them. I will see you in less than fifteen minutes," she informed him and Gregory dropped down from the window to get a carriage. The boy couldn't afford one, but he could steal one easily.
Vivian closed the curtains of the room to hear the ghoul garble, "I need to go meet Leo, Everst," she said hoping it would understand her words, "I would need you to go visit them again but before that, we need to do something about the guards who are outside. Even the housekeeper," she hadn't finished speaking but the ghoul had already started to head towards the door, "Wait!" she whispered to it.
The sounds of twigs breaking coming from it turning its neck to look at her, "Please don't kill them. They just need to turn unconscious," the ghoul garbled again before heading out and in less than one minute she heard the thud sounds. The ghoul opened the door for her to step outside. Grabbing the coat, she wore it along with her boots.
Vivian saw the two guardsmen lying on the floor and not from where she stepped away from them she saw the housekeeper lying on the floor of the kitchen.
"I will see you later, Everest. Thank you," she bowed her head and ran out of the house.
Covering her face, she stepped out and started to head down the road when she caught sight of Gregory riding a carriage, "Hurry!" her hands fumbled over the handle of the carriage and she stepped inside.
Vivian knew that Lord Alexander had meant nothing ill towards her and for what she did right now, he would be furious. More than furious as letting out a pureblooded vampire whose heart was in the process of getting completely corrupted, there were risks of her attacking people which she hoped she wouldn't. She stared at her reflection on the little oval window where she saw the color of her one eye which hadn't gone back to normal nor did the skin around that eye.
The ride wasn't a pleasant one and every now and then, her vision started drifting more into the darkness than it being in the light. After a good continuous nine hours of journey, Vivian knocked on the window for her brother to stop and he pulled the reins of the horses, making them halt at the side of the road.
Gregory jumped down from his seat and opened the door to see his sister breathing heavily, "Sister Vivian.." his words drifted as she started to move away from the carriage.
"I need some air," her voice was faint which worried the boy. She continued to walk inside the forest that was covered in snow.
Her head began to spin. Vivian wasn't sure if it was because of the corruption causing it or if it was the journey where they hadn't taken a stop since they had left the town. Her feet unstable as it shivered in the cold weather, she placed one step after another until she was far away from the carriage. They had traveled far away from the town, therefore, she doubted there would be anyone who would come to catch them. But her condition wasn't a simple one therefore taking a break in between wasn't feasible.
Suddenly, her knees gave out and she fell on the snow ground floor of the forest.
"Sister Vivian!" Gregory came running to where she was.
Vivian's forehead touched the surface of the snow, the coldness not able to divert her mind from the crucifying pain that her body writhed in pain. Tears formed at the corner of her eyes as it turned unbearable. She could feel something changing within her, the air getting thicker and heavy as if the air was disappearing around her.
The more she tried to gasp for air the harder it got.
Before Gregory could come close to her, she growled loudly for him to retreat his hand back that he was going to place on her back.
"Stay away from me!" her voice sounded slightly difficult which worried him, "Take the carriage with you. Lead Leo and the others here," but Gregory wasn't willing to leave her here stranded in the forest. He noticed the little shivers of tremors that shook her body due to the cold. Though for a vampire it shouldn't have been that bad, she was shivering as much as a human would.
"I can't leave you here. If you ride with me, it will be faster an-" a loud growl echoed throughout the forest that came from Vivian.
She heaved for breath, her head slowly turning to look at him when his eyes widened at the sight of two completely black eyes looking at him, "Don't you understand, Gregory," her eyebrows furrowed, the skin that was smooth looking dry, her lips had lost the pink color which once had, "My heart is corrupting faster than I thought. I cannot go with you anymore."
"...." the boy had fallen short of words. He didn't know what to do.
"Go to Leo and direct him here. Now!" she said, her fangs coming out as she growled the last word.
"But Sister Vivian we can make sure nothing happens. We are very close to meeting them," and just as he went to help her stand, the heart which had been corrupted took hold of the boy and threw him across the forest for him to hit his back to a tree and fall down.
The core of her heart had already begun losing its essence, the darkness was starting to envelop it around and clouding her mind where she watched the boy who laid on the forest ground groan in pain. Her vision clouded black, her mind leaving out the reason and sense where she walked to where the boy tried to get up.
"Sister Vi-" Vivian caught hold of the boy's neck with one hand of her hands. Though she was shorter in stature compared to him, her strength had doubled with the corruption of her heart. When her hands squeezed his neck, her clouded eyes and mind came to herself. She suddenly let go of his neck, taking her hand to hold it back with the other terrified.
Vivian didn't understand how at one point she had been on the ground and now she was here standing in front of her brother Gregory. The boy coughed holding his neck. She took a couple of steps back.
She had tried to kill him...and as the thought sunk into her mind, she felt herself shudder over the thought. She had not meant to harm him but her corrupted heart was poisoning her quickly. It brought back memories of the time she had killed the switcher in the council. Blood on her hands which she still couldn't forget.
"Please leave before I do something regretful which I don't mean to," Vivian sounded broken, her voice filled with sadness as she walked away from him and further into the forest.
The boy stood, tears thick in his voice as he said, "I will come soon with the Duke. Please be careful."
Reluctantly he moved before starting to walk back to the carriage. Vivian heard the carriage leave, her steps moving forward aimlessly into the heart of the forest. The already cold wind which moved from the far end of the forest picked up more cold from the ground to pass and spread through the entire forest. Her eyes that once held full of light and brightness in them as she spoke were now dull and black in color. Her fangs were out and so were her nails that had elongated as another sign of her heart being corrupted.
From the corner of her eyes, she found the ghoul who had decided to appear in front of her.
"Everest, how much longer until I see Leo?" her heart yearned for him and this time when her chest tightened and tears came to wet her eyes, it wasn't because of the pain that was caused by the corruption, "How did I think life would be but not once did I think this would happen to me. I didn't get to say and kiss him enough when he left for Bonelake. Sometimes your heart craves for more even when you are offered everything. It is only later you come to realize, that even a little amount of words, touch and presence are enough to get you through life and it would be more than what you would have ever needed," yet that was enough. No matter how many times she would kiss him and be kissed, the touch would not be enough to mold into one's soul.
The ghoul didn't respond but stayed quiet or the oncoming blizzard which had silenced its voice.
Her vision again started to come in and out, this time more than before. She understood that there wasn't much time but she wished she could see him for this one last time. When she tried to remember her past, she could hardly try to pick any which she had failed to notice earlier.
It seemed that with the progress of her heart being corrupted, her memories were disappearing one by one. Soon she would not be able to remember anything and her heart would completely cloud in the darkness where no light could be reached. Where she would no longer be herself and would have turned to the person whom her people killed.
Her heart murmured, her lips moving on its own when she tried to recollect the scene between her and Leo before he departed to Bonelake.
"Wait for me, Bambi," he had told her
And her response had been, "Come back soon to me."
When the Blizzard reduced, she heard the ghoul say something to her. Turning her head to her right, she saw it give her a parchment which didn't have a ribbon and it looked rather crumpled in appearance.
She took it from the ghoul and went to read before as it was the time of evening and she wouldn't be able to read because of the lack of light and also unsure how long she would be able to see.
Unfolding it she went to read,
I am sorry for leaving you there and I shouldn't have left you alone. The regret is killing me and I hope you fight it until I come to get you. Don't leave before I have the chance to even see and meet you. I will try to be there as soon as I can. Wherever you are, I shall follow you. Even in the depth and pits of darkness. I love you more than anything my heart has loved.
Tears fell down on the parchment ink which started to spread the letters that were written in. She wiped her eyes and nose, her eyes starting to cloud again as more tears came to spill on her cheeks. Going to the closest tree, she rested her back on it. The ghoul continued to look at her in silence.
She missed him and no matter how things had turned out to be, nor was she to be blamed nor was he. Who knew this was going to happen? The vampire doctor had clearly told them that it would take time for the transition to complete and it was only one of the side effects of her turning back but who knew...that internally she was corrupting.
One thing that scared Vivian was letting Leo see her in a place where she didn't belong. Her body was giving away and she knew it.
When his mother had died, he was the one to end her life by his own hands. Though he hadn't shown emotions that night, she knew how much it hurt him. Taking away the life of the one whom you cared and loved, the pain would have been too much to carry on oneself. He had killed his mother before anyone else would have done it. Done it in a way which would have looked inhuman and brutal.
Vivian loved him too much to let him do it to her. By now it was obvious and clear to her that she would be corrupted until she reached the path of insanity which wasn't too far off. Tired she had fallen asleep for a few minutes before the cold woke her up again. The ghoul had brought some blood along when she had fallen asleep and she didn't question where and how it had acquired. Her mind was too exhausted to ask any more questions or talk.
As her lips touched the vessel that contained blood, what she consumed came back spurting out of her mouth as she coughed up the blood on the white ground turning it red.
At first, her thought was that it was the sudden cough but when she brought the remaining amount of blood that was still in the vessel to her lips she coughed it back.
"I don't think the blood is working," she said to the ghoul which sat crouched down looking at her, "Will you miss me, Everest, when I am gone?" she asked the dark creature which knew nothing but pain. It understood this emotion well as it was born from it.
The ghoul didn't speak to her but continued to stare at her.
Her hand let go of the vessel on the ground and she leaned her head back. Every few minutes she coughed the blood from her own body, her vision was dimming and her thoughts going disarray where she couldn't think straight. Therefore she had chosen to sit down and wait for Leo to come. She tried her best to keep herself awake but the body had failed her and no antidote could help her recover.
Minutes felt like hours and she looked up at the sky, the snowflakes falling from the sky. Every time she saw the snow fell, it reminded her of the time when Leo had taken her to the snow mansion. Just the two of them, enjoying each other's company.
"AHHH!" her voice echoed painfully throughout the forest as she felt her heart being pulled and her vision going black. This time it didn't return and she could feel her canines grow larger and longer. She realized it was time. When her eyes caught the little light, she searched for the ghoul who had gone around to come back upon her scream.
She stood up clutching her heart.
Vivian stared at the ghoul, her head lifted up to see it as the ghoul stood tall and dark in front of her, "I need you to do me a favour, Everest. I need you to kill me," the ghoul garbled noisily as if refusing her request, "Please," she pleaded in a whisper, "You are the only one who can do it," the ghoul was an expert in killing and she felt it was the right decision before she would go on a hunting spree. She didn't want to burden Leo with the responsibility of killing her or seeing her killed in front of his eyes. It would kill him and she knew it.
"If you don't do this, I might regret even after the time of my death passes by. I don't think I can hold my urge to kill anymore. Do it for me, Mr Everest. I won't ask for anything more. Please," she said a tear slipping down from the corner of her eyes, "I cannot bear it any longer. It is driving me insane," she felt the ghoul raise its hand up to wipe the tear that had fallen on her cheek.
This time when the ghoul spoke, its voice sounded quiet and low. Unhappy with her decision but it didn't appear to refuse what she asked from it. Pulling away it's hand first, it went to place it on her beating heart. She didn't close her eyes and instead continued to stare at the ghoul when it dipped its boney hand into her chest and she felt the unbearable pain course through her.
Unlike with the other victims, the ghoul didn't wait or elongate the pain it usually inflicted before killing them. In a snap of a second, the girl's eyes went vacant and hollow. Her body falling slack where the ghoul swiftly held her with one of its arms.
By the time Leonard and Lord Nicholas arrived along with Gregory, more than four hours had passed with the ghoul holding the young girl in its arms.
None of them could believe, especially Leo who hadn't uttered a word. He took Vivian from the ghoul to his arms. Holding her carefully to see her as if she were sleeping. The ghoul had closed the girl's eyes a few minutes before they had arrived. Neither did Nicholas say anything nor did Gregory who was finding it hard that his sister whom he had only reunited now laid dead in the Duke's arms. But the harder fact was that there was a creature who he didn't know of carrying his sister.
Leo lowered himself and Vivian, without letting her go. There were tons of emotions that passed through him which had turned him numb. The woman he had treasured since they were children had died. And though Leo hadn't been corrupted, the sight of his beloved wife dead triggered the corruption. Nicholas had taken the ghoul away from them to speak and when they returned back
"What happened here?"
"Her condition got worse, Leo. She asked the ghoul to kill her," Nicholas didn't go too close but he could see the pale features of Vivian. The colour on her skin had evaporated.
Leo ran his hand over her face, his touch gentle on her skin just like it always had been. Moving the blonde strands away from her face, he rubbed his finger over her cheek, "I told you to wait for me. Why?" he pulled Vivian to hug her, his heartbreaking and cracking at the sight of how he found her.
He had hurried once Nicholas had received her letter to give it to him.
'Leo, my heart is corrupting. Quickly and I am scared. I don't know what to do. Lord Alexander said my body is trying to complete the corruption until it isn't done it won't stop. If we are unable to meet, please remember that I love you. I have loved you with the whole of my heart just for you. I hope we can meet soon. Love, your Bambi'
"I am so sorry for not coming sooner," he whispered into her hair not letting her go. Tears pooled in his eyes and the thought of her not here anymore was enough for the tears to fall down. Guilt beginning to form for not being there next to her when she needed him the most. For the first time, he cried in front of someone apart from Vivian.
An hour passed and Nicholas who had his arms folded and crossed against his chest saw the couple on the ground. One alive while the other was dead. It was a sad sight. Who knew that things would turn disastrously? No one had predicted or foreseen it and even if they did, it would have been Vivian to know. But she would have never considered for her heart to start corrupting, it hadn't before so no one could have guessed it.
Time passed by and the snow only continued to fall one after another from the sky. Nicholas took note of his ghoul who had stood behind the tree keeping a distance, looking at the dead girl. They couldn't stay here long and would have to make a move. It was then he found Leo who spoke something very quietly to the ghoul.
The lord walked over to them to hear Leo say, "...do it."
"Leo..." Nicholas murmured his name knowing exactly what Leo was planning. He had been around him for a long time to understand the younger man.
"Do you know, Nick. Some of us search that one person our entire life. Most of us don't find, some of us don't value and the little number of us find that one person," Leo looked down at Vivian in his arms, "To live, breath and die. To share every waking hour with that person. We shared a soul bond, we cannot reverse it. In a week or two, I will die. Why wait in despair?" bending down he placed Vivian carefully on the ground making sure it didn't hurt her body.
Lord Nicholas understood what he meant but there were rare cases where men and women with soulbond coped but right in front of him now. He knew it was a case there was no chance of recovery or hope.
"I will miss you both," stated Nicholas, his voice even and calm but the usual smile that was always on his face had disappeared. He didn't go to persuade Leo knowing that he had already made up his mind.
"I will too and I am sure she will too," replied Leonard to have Nicholas step forward and hug him. Stepping back Nicholas said,
"I raised you well. Is there anything you wish for?"
Leo thought for a second and then said, "Yes, bury us in the same coffin," Nicholas didn't like hearing it nonetheless he agreed.
He gave Leonard a smile, "Consider it to be done," he gave his word to see Leonard murmur thanks before turning towards his ghoul.
"I am ready," he said to the ghoul who raised its hand on cue, readying itself as it moved its hand to his chest and he closed his eyes...
It rained continuously and Vivian ran in the rain, her feet that were covered in boots stepping on the water that had accumulated. Stopping in front of the tower bell, her eyes searched for something or rather someone before her shoulders slouched in disappointment. Going to sit on the bench which was attached to the wall, she let her legs rest there for a while as the rain continued to pour down.
Closing her eyes, she consumed the sound of rain and the silence that it brought along with it. Suddenly the water droplets stopped falling on her as if the rain had stopped. Opening her eyes, she saw a pair of shoes which were covered in dirt at the top of it. Following the shoe up to see who it was she saw it was Leonard who held an umbrella with him.
"You are here," said Vivian looking at Leonard...