When Amber woke up, she heard lots of shouting, lots of screams and lots of clattering of tools. She was lying on a hard bed, her head resting on a flat pillow. She could recognize some voices but failed to recognize others. Stirring out of the darkness that she was trapped in, Amber began to open her heavy eyelids and recognized the ceiling of her room in Magia Town. She sat up slowly, letting the blanket fall down her body, raising an eyebrow as she saw that her body was bound with fresh bandages. She looked over to Saphira’s bed and saw Saphira lying in her bed, some tell-tale bandages around her leg poking out from underneath the thin blankets that the medical centre could offer. She shakily swung her legs over the bed and stood up, hearing the voices more clearly now.
‘Damon, get your psycho mother back in her bed!’ Amber recognized Madison’s voice shout from outside her room ‘Not only is she driving me crazy, she’s distracting my patients, the male ones in particular!’
‘Who are you calling psycho, you clumsy nurse!’ Xeann’s voice shouted underneath Madison’s voice ‘You’re short on manpower and I know a thing or two in taking care of injured patients!’
‘Mum, just get back to your bed, you’re still recovering,’ Damon’s tired voice filtered out underneath the two arguing women. Amber stumbled over to the door, feeling drained and weak, but more awake than when she had been before. She opened the door tiredly, still hearing the argument.
‘At least get your mother a shirt to wear!’ Madison shrieked as she stormed past the young teenager with a bowl of medicine, or it looked like some form of medicine anyway.
‘Mum, please stop exposing so much skin!’ Damon shouted exasperatedly ‘And put on some shoes, you could step on some silver or something dangerous to you! Come on, put on a shirt like Madison suggested, you’re attracting too much attention to yourself!’
‘I don’t have any clothes to put on!’ Xeann shouted as she appeared on one side of the corridor in just her bra and leather trousers ‘Do you think I had time to pack up some spare clothes back at home when I was going after Vienna?!’
‘Mum, it’s making me feel really uncomfortable seeing my friends seeing you dressed like this!’ Damon followed her as she made her way down the corridor ‘Come on, Mum, please? You don’t realise how embarrassing you are right now…’
‘Lighten up, Damon!’ Xeann snapped ‘There’s not much to…’ Her eyes widened when she saw Amber and quickly walked over to grab her by the left shoulder, bending down to be at eye level. ‘How are you feeling, Amber?’ she asked. Amber grimaced and turned away.
‘Not so good,’ she muttered.
‘OK, off to bed,’ Xeann said as she picked up Amber and tucked her back into her bed ‘You took quite the fall and shock last week, it would be better if you didn’t strain yourself and relax as much as possible.’ Amber groaned in protest and sat up, grabbing Xeann by her hair.
‘I saw her,’ she rasped as Xeann leaned over her ‘I saw and spoke to her.’
‘Ssh, take it easy…’ Xeann hushed her soothingly and lay her back down ‘It’s alright, Amber. Everything’s alright. Just forget about the Queen for now and focus on recovering.’
‘The Queen,’ Amber gripped her hair tighter ‘Xeann, she’s pregnant.’
‘What?!’ Xeann exclaimed loudly with wide eyes, waking up Saphira ‘What do you mean she’s pregnant?!’ Saphira growled and sat up then softened her gaze when she saw Amber awake.
‘What’s going on?’ she asked warily.
‘The Queen was pregnant when I saw her in the tower,’ Amber rasped with wide eyes ‘She’s only sixteen too. Sixteen years of age, no more, no less. She’s as old as she looks.’
‘Now, calm down, Amber,’ Xeann hushed, trying to take her hair out of Amber’s grip ‘You said it yourself, no sorceress can handle such dark magic when they’re a mere adolescent.’
‘But that’s the thing, she didn’t create the Nightmare Blanket!’ Amber cried out ‘She has demons helping her! They created it, they’re the reason why everyone’s suffering! She is only a figurehead of sorts, the demons are the real problem.’
‘Woah wait, slow down for a moment, Amber,’ Saphira said calmly, hissing in pain when she accidentally twisted her injured leg ‘The Queen is not the person that we should be targeting?’
‘Are you telling me that the Nightmare Blanket above us is riddled with demonic power?!’ Xeann shouted with wide eyes. Amber nodded and Xeann turned to stare at the sky outside. ‘This is more serious than I thought,’ she whispered, her face looking more pale than usual ‘If my children are being tormented by demons then I will not stand for it!’ She tried to stand up but yelped as Amber pulled her down, still gripping her hair. Amber stared at her eyes.
‘She’s met my father and tried to recruit him,’ she whispered with teary eyes ‘We have to chase after her, she must know what happened to him after he left.’
‘Chase after them?’ Xeann frowned ‘What do you mean?’
‘They collapsed the tower so they could escape,’ Amber whispered ‘The Queen said that they were going to move to the Southern Tower.’ Xeann managed to pull her hair out of Amber’s grip and stood up.
‘I’ll see if I can find anything south of here if she went in that direction,’ she said and walked out ‘You two stay here and recover from your injuries.’
‘Wait just a minute!’ Saphira sat up then whined when she brushed her leg.
‘Hm?’ Xeann paused as Saphira looked at her with a glare.
‘You will come back, right?’ she said with narrowed eyes. Xeann raised an eyebrow.
‘Why do you want to know?’ she asked.
‘Because you’ll find Cody if you can reach the Queen,’ Saphira leaned on her arm and elbow ‘You better come back when you find her so we can sort things out with Her Majesty together.’ Xeann smirked and leaned down.
‘I’ll come back in about two weeks if I can leave right now,’ she said ‘Or if you want, I could stay here to make sure you lot get better properly and leave the investigating until later.’ Saphira glowered at her patronizing tone.
‘You are not welcome here,’ she snarled. Xeann yelped as she was suddenly thrown out of the room, the door slamming shut. Xeann growled, rubbing her behind as she got up.
‘The little bitch, she could have at least asked,’ she grumbled before heading upstairs to her room. She stormed into the dull room, grabbing her tattered cloak to clothe herself a little bit. Vienna moaned from her bed and opened her eyes.
‘Ugh, Nan,’ she mumbled blearily as Xeann began attaching her utility belt to her trousers ‘You couldn’t have at least packed one set of fresh clothes?’ Xeann raised an eyebrow and pulled on her leather gloves.
‘I thought I’d catch up to you quickly,’ she said before standing in front of a shattered mirror and hesitating when she remembered that she didn’t have a reflection ‘I must stop doing that.’
‘You’re a natural born vampire, why are you checking yourself in the mirror if you’ve grown up knowing that you don’t have a reflection?’ Vienna raised an unimpressed eyebrow.
‘You check your reflection,’ Xeann pouted towards her granddaughter.
‘I’m half vampire, I have something of a reflection in the mirror to check my appearance,’ Vienna snarled. Xeann sighed and shrugged while combing her tangled hair carefully with her fingers.
‘I stayed over one of my human friend’s house for a week and she kept on lecturing me to check my reflection,’ she explained and pulled a face then pulled her hood up ‘Now, I should be back within two weeks…’
‘Where are you going?’ Vienna narrowed her eyes warily, wincing when she accidentally brushed her damaged torso against the mattress ‘You’re not going to go off on some dangerous expedition without me, are you?’
‘The Queen’s fled south apparently,’ Xeann said as she marched over to the door ‘I’m going to follow her and see if two demons will be any more difficult than one…’
‘Demons?!’ Vienna yelped and let out a frightened whine. Xeann smiled warmly.
‘Aw, you don’t want your dear grandmother to get hurt by two mean demons,’ she cooed and advanced to ruffle Vienna’s hair ‘It’s alright, I’ve faced a demon before, I should be fine with two, my dear granddaughter.’
‘You’re not welcome here!’ Vienna shouted to avoid getting her hair ruffled. Xeann yelped as she was thrown out of the room by an invisible force and the door slammed in her face.
‘I know she’s my granddaughter but she’s still a bitch,’ the annoyed vampire groaned as she got up ‘Twice in a day, this might look bad for me.’ She paused suddenly then glared at the door. ‘It’s my room too!’ she shouted before storming off in a huff. She hesitated when she passed Sheela and Sarah’s room then quickly poked her head in. ‘How are you two holding up?’
‘I’m OK!’ Xeann winced when Sarah abruptly sat up and fell out of her bed. ‘I’m still OK!’ Sheela sighed exasperatedly and leaned down to help her back onto her bed.
‘How about you, Xeann?’ Sheela asked Xeann as Sarah winced in pain when she accidentally brushed over a healing wound. Xeann grimaced.
‘I got thrown out of two rooms by the werewolves,’ she said ‘Listen, I’m going to be gone for about two weeks.’
‘Why?’ Sarah asked tilting her head to the side questioningly.
‘The Queen is still out there and I’m going to track her down,’ Xeann answered ‘If I do not come back, Sheela, I want you to take charge of the group.’
‘What if the Queen’s forces attack Magia Town?’ Sheela asked as she walked up to Xeann. Xeann stared into her sky blue eyes and sighed.
‘I want you to take the others back across the mountain,’ she explained calmly ‘Stay in Vigour Village until you’re sure things have calmed down or until I reach you.’
‘In which direction are you going?’
‘Amber thinks that the Queen has evacuated south with her followers so I’m going to go in that direction.’ Sheela’s eyes widened.
‘That would be dangerous,’ she whispered ‘Even for a vampire, a weakened vampire like yourself…’
‘I am still full of life, youth and strength, young lady,’ Xeann retorted sharply and flicked Sheela’s nose irritably ‘And I know that the further south I go, the harsher the conditions will be. I’m used to the cold, what can a little bit of snow do to me?’
‘It will be hail the size of light bulbs, not a little bit of snow,’ Sheela retorted and leaned on the door frame. Xeann smirked.
‘I’ll survive,’ she said and placed a hand on one of her blades thoughtfully, running her thumb over the handle ‘Light bulbs you say? Sounds like fun.’ Sheela smiled and yawned tiredly.
‘Ugh, you won’t believe how many times I had to wake up because of Sarah,’ she groaned and held her hand against her forehead. Xeann laughed softly.
‘Well, I need to get a move on,’ she said and began walking down the corridor.
‘Oh, wait!’ Xeann turned as Sheela retreated into her room and came out with her bodice and corset. ‘We managed to find them amongst the remains of the tower,’ she said and Xeann marched over to her to take them. Xeann immediately began snapping the corset onto her torso then pulling her bodice over it, pulling the cords sharply and sighing blissfully when the material hugged her breasts into her body.
‘Still keeps me comfortable,’ she smiled softly and her eyes sparkled when Sheela held up her high heel boots. Sheela smiled.
‘I took the liberty to clean them up as much as I could,’ she said as she placed them down and Xeann jumped into them immediately. With a satisfied sigh, she walked around in them keenly, flicking one up to examine the heel of it.
‘Hm, not in perfect condition because of those beautiful Titanoboas,’ she sighed in dismay and placed her foot down ‘But they’ll do. I couldn’t imagine what travelling would be like without them.’
‘A lot easier, considering the world as we know it now,’ Sheela muttered to herself as Xeann turned round full towards her and smiled widely. With a toothy grin, Xeann embraced Sheela tightly to show her gratitude.
‘Thank you, Sheela, I’ll leave everything up to you now,’ she thanked and kissed Sheela’s forehead, winked then marched off downstairs, her heels clicking loudly in the failing building ‘I’ll see you in two weeks!’ Sheela smiled softly and waved her goodbye.
‘Come back safely,’ she murmured as she heard Xeann go out of the medical centre and the door falling off its hinges again.