Sustenance Part ~Ch 17~
A single tear began to trickle down your cheek. You didn't know why you were sad, but after hearing everything that Vladimir had just explained to you, you felt a deep sadness emerge from your heart.
Your soul mate lowered his head in guilt. "I'm sorry, _________," he murmured. "I was selfish. I…I didn't think it would become like this."
"That man…" you whispered. "That man in the dungeon said I knew Eliza and that she was my friend. But why can't I remember her? Vlad, what happened to me?"
Vladimir could only look away. You could tell he was definitely hesitant about explaining everything in detail.
"__________ just forget about it," he finally said. "It's nothing you need to worry about. You've got me, after all."
You shook your head. "There's more to it than you're saying. I know that." You cupped your hands around Vladimir's face. "Vlad, why is it so important that you can't tell me what happened to me?"
"Because…" your soul mate sighed. "I'm afraid I'll lose you. __________, I've been looking for you for a long time, and knowing that just because a little mistake cost me my entire existence makes it not worth it all to me."
"I thought you loved me, Vlad."
Vladimir gave you a soft peck on your cheek. "I do, ___________," he murmured, "but that's why I've made these decisions."
It was useless trying to persuade Vladimir to change his ways, you decided. While he may have loved you, he also kept you happy mainly to the best of his interests. He could be insensitive like that.
"Vladimir, I need to know something right here, and right now," you said.
Your vampire blinked. "What is it, _________?" he asked.
"Do you really love me?" you asked looking him straight into his ruby red eyes.
"Of course I do," Vladimir answered right away.
You shook your head. "Not like that. I meant do you love me as a person—not as your soul mate, not as an everlasting source of blood—I mean do you love me."
Vladimir hesitated. Now that you clarified your question, he wasn't so sure he could answer it to the best of his abilities. "Before I knew you as a person, I've only been looking because I knew you were the one I wanted to be with, _________," he said. "It's hard to describe how I felt when I first saw you, but at the time, I was convinced that I really did love you as a person. Regardless of all of those times you treated me before you became like this, I always thought there was something special about you. If you don't believe me, you can even ask Arthur and Lukas."
"I don't want to hear it from Artie or Lukas," you said. "I want to hear it from you."
"I've told you how I felt about you, _________," Vladimir could only say.
You sighed. After thinking a few things through, you decided to act on a decision right there and then.
"Vlad…" you began. "I want you to take me back to Gilbert. I want to ask him about some more things. I don't care that he's part of GERUN. I'm convinced he knows something about my past…and what happened to this person called Eliza."
The vampire hesitated. "Are you sure, __________? You can very well be happy without ever knowing what happened or what lies out there."
You gave Vladimir a sad smile silencing him. "I'm sorry, Vlad, but I want to know the truth." You looked outside of the window. The moon was high in the sky. The night was still young. "If you really care about me, then you would do what I ask, wouldn't you?"
Vladimir grinned. You could visibly see his fangs that had sucked your blood on many occasions now.
"Don't think that just because I love you that you could manipulate me into following your will, ___________," he said and gave you a kiss. "We made a pact, after all."
You frowned as your soul mate wrapped you in his arms and headed back towards the castle. What did Vladimir mean when he said you had a pact with him?
When the two of you reached the dungeon, Arthur and Lukas were nowhere to be seen.
"Out hunting, I assume," Vladimir merely commented as he finished scouting the area for his friends.
Once you were sure the coast was clear, you went over to the cell that Gilbert was contained in and tapped on the bars.
"Gilbert…" you whispered afraid that a louder voice would have startled him. "Gilbert, wake up. It's me, __________."
The albino informant didn't stir. You spoke a little louder.
At this point, you felt a whoosh of cold air fly right next to you. The next thing you knew, Vladimir came out of nowhere and gave the bars a hard, quick kick.
Immediately after Vladimir had kicked the bars, Gilbert sat straight up and looked around. His heart must've been pounding in his chest.
"What the—" Then he saw you two. "___________? What the hell are you doing here?"
"I've come to get you out, Gilbert," you told him. "I want you to bring me back to GERUN."
Vladimir winced. You hadn't told him that part of your plan. Gilbert also looked suspicious.
"And what makes you think I can trust you?" he asked. "The last thing I remember, your little vampire friend nearly tore me to pieces."
"That's in the past, Gilbert," you said in as serious of a voice you could muster. "Vlad told me about what happened to Eliza—" You saw Gilbert's face fall. "—and I want to make things right. I know I can't fix everything that I must have done, but I want to do as much as I can to set things back to the way they were."
Gilbert crossed his arms. "So you know this guy probably hexed you, right?"
You narrowed your eyes and looked back at your soul mate. "It makes sense," you admitted.
After what Gilbert had told you before, the pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together. Now that you thought about it, it only made sense that Vladimir could have done something to you in the past. Whoever this Gilbert person and "Eliza" from your scrapped memories really were, they had been people from the life you had lived before becoming an immortal being.
"So you think it's okay to trust this guy?" Gilbert asked. "Are you sure you really knew what he was like in the past?"
From behind you Vladimir uttered a low growl. While you had thought that you loved your soul mate all of this time, new questions began to arise about whether or not you had always harbored feelings for the vampire before getting your memories wiped. In fact, what reason would Vladimir have had to hex you in the first place? Still, without Vladimir, you, as well as Gilbert, knew you were helpless. There was no way you could get all the way back to GERUN unscathed without the help of an otherworldly demon. The world had become too dangerous out there.
"Even though I don't really know who Vlad is anymore, I still trust him," you said looking back at your soul mate. "And I highly suggest you put your trust in him, too."
Gilbert spat. "Yeah? And what if he turns around and sucks me dry?"
Vladimir chuckled. "You think your blood is worth more over ___________'s? I'd never try your blood out, human."
"Leech," Gilbert hissed.
"Morsel," Vladimir threw back.
"Stop it! Both of you!" you snapped. "Vlad, we are going to get Gilbert out of here whether your friends like it or not. I need to know the truth."
"Fine, fine," your soul mate groaned and opened up the cage without even bothering to use the door. With his inhumane strength, all he had to do was pry apart the bars wide enough for Gilbert to slip through.
"I'm not going to thank you yet," Gilbert said glaring at the vampire with his own unusually red eyes. "At least, not until I know we're back in GERUN."
You swallowed. "When we get to your friends at GERUN, what's to say that we'll be safe?"
Gilbert took a moment to stretch after being stuck in the cramped cell before answering your question.
"I can guarantee anything, ___________," he admitted. "Ever since you were branded as a vampire accomplice, GERUN's been out for your neck. I can't even guarantee that with my awesome persuasion skills that you and your blood-sucking friend will come out of this unharmed."
"__________, are you still sure you want to do this?" Vladimir asked you with a hint if reluctance in his voice. "There's nothing left for us if we return to the humans—even you, yourself, aren't fully human anymore."
"I'm aware of that, Vlad," you said with a sad smile. "But I feel that if I don't find out about what happened sooner or later, it will be too late. By then, the struggle between Artie's and Lukas' army and the humans will be too out of control."
Gilbert rolled his eyes. "I don't know," he piped in. "The world's pretty close to going to shit at the moment."
"__________, once you find the truth, what then?" Vladimir then asked. "Do you think it will make the world any better than it is? Are you hoping to change something?"
You sighed and hopelessly shook your head. "I don't know, Vlad," you admitted. "I really don't know. But right now, I feel lost. Something tells me that if you just returned my memories right here and right now, I'd regret it. I can feel that, but also, I'm afraid that I would stop caring for you.
"Even if my feelings right now are part of the hex, I don't want to let go of what I've been feeling all of this time. Up until now, they've always felt real, and they still do. I hope you can understand that, Vlad."
Your soul mate bowed his head in guilt. "I'm sorry for putting you through all of this, ____________..."
"Save it for when I find out what really happened, Vlad," you said at patted the small hat on his head. "For now, we've got to get to GERUN."
Vladimir wrinkled his nose at Gilbert. "He smells of beer and some foul meat entrails. If we want to get there faster, I'd have to carry him, too. I don't want to."
"Fuck you," Gilbert sneered.
You rolled your eyes exasperatedly. "Vlad, just hang on for a little while. The sooner this is over, the more time we'll get to be together later—hopefully."
"If you say so, ___________..." Vladimir grumbled. He did not look happy to even be thinking about carrying a human along side you, let alone an elite member of GERUN. Nevertheless, he swallowed what nasty words he might have had for the albino and picked him up with both arms, instructing you to say on his back.
"Why the hell am I the one who's being carried like a baby?" Gilbert asked displeased with having to be in the front.
"So I can keep an eye on you," Vladimir growled. "It's also so your nasty stench doesn't trail behind so easily for my friends to find you, and believe me: you don't want them to find you outside of your cell."
As you secured your arms around Vladimir's back, you heard Gilbert mumble some incoherent words before Vladimir took off in the direction you had once kept well clear of. When you looked behind you, you saw Arthur's castle grow smaller and smaller as the distance between you increased. There wasn't the worry of being unable to see even with your ordinary eyes. The moon was still high in the sky, and the night was still young.