Arc 2: Chapter 13: Sacrifice Of The Church

“Justice. Revenge. Cleansing. Just how many labels have been given to the act of killing the ‘evil’?

Yet, they are all nothing but lies they tell themselves to make them feel better about their nihilistic desire to kill those they don’t like.

And who are ‘they’?

They are me.

They are you.

They are all around you.

And they are watching you.

At every turn you make, they follow you. At every decision you make, they laugh at you.

They are rearing their fangs and are ready to bite; waiting for you to give them that one chance they need to bite off the humanity in you.

So, my children, would you give them that chance?”

The priest standing at the top of a chapel asks those 80 people sitting in front of him, hearing his words. As he does so, they reply in a big, loud and united shout, “NO!”

Hearing how in-tune their voices are, one may think they are all trained to answer the priest’s questions together. Yet, that is not the case. They just happen to be habituated to this routine.

Priest: “Good, my children! I’m proud to think of you all as my pupil, the pupil that I raised to become honest and diligent working members of society.”

The priest who says so is a 50-year-old man with fine physique and rather retro-style features. He looks like a priest from 20th century dramas rather than a real one from the present time.

Priest: “Yet, my children. I’m appalled to say that your good faith is not shared by all. Your diligence and honesty is lost on many in this world.”

He closes his eyes to show how dismayed he is, not letting those in front of him know that he is concentrating and trying to read the aura around the church to see if there are any hostile people nearby.

Having checked and found out that there is no immediate danger, he opens his eyes and continues the speech.

Priest: “One of those hedonists who don’t share your qualities now actively seeks to kill me.”

His listeners, shocked and angered by that, continue to listen to his words.

Priest: “My children, I do not fear death. I would rather welcome it. Having lived for so long, I hold no attachments to life anymore. But, my children, but …”

He deliberately trails off to make sure all of them are listening, and then continues,

Priest:  “I fear this hedonistic man might not listen to reason and hurt all of you as well. I would be a failure if I let something like that happen.”

He says.

And soon, voices starts coming from the listeners, “We will stop him.” “We won’t let him get any of us.” “We will show that guy-” and so on.

Priest: “Calm yourselves, my children, calm yourselves.”

Hearing the priest say so in a mellow tone, the listeners quiet down.

Priest: “I’m afraid that the devil has bestowed upon this man considerable strength. Even with your faith, you might not be able to defeat him. Believe me, my children, I deeply wish that this was not the case, but he has already killed two like me.”

Two Hellfires like him, he means to say, though the listeners would interpret it as ‘two priests like me’, which works fine for him as he continues,

Priest: “And that brings me to the reason I called you all here tonight. In order to repel him, in order to free this poor, lost soul from the devil’s grasps, you would all need to perform a certain ritual.”

He steps down from the chapel and casually walks over to the middle of the front of the two rows of benches his listeners are sitting on.

Priest: “Only one thing can stop that hedonist, and that thing is a weapon of god sent to this church a little while ago. However, the weapon is weak. It needs your help to regain its strength.”

“What do we have to do?” “We will do anything.” –and so are the yells from the listeners, which are silenced by the priest putting up a hand to stop them.

Priest: “In order for the weapon to regain its strength, you will all need to let the weapon drink some blood from you.”

The voices die down completely as he says that.

Priest: “My children, in order to defeat this demon coming to kill me and all of you as well, would you be willing to give a little blood to the weapon of God?”

No immediate responses. The priest makes a dismayed expression to that and says,

Priest: “If the weapon doesn’t drink blood from all of you, it would remain weak and unable to repel that demon. If that were to be the case, then I would advise you all to run away.”

Let the weapon of God drink a little blood from you or run with your tail between your legs from the approaching ‘demon’. Those are the two choices the priest presents his listeners, his followers, with.

He knows well-enough that not everyone would be willing to let the ‘weapon of God’ drink blood from them. But, as long as the majority is ready for it, those who are not ready for it will be forced into it. That would happen because the priest already mentioned that the weapon needs to drink blood from ALL of them.

And just as he had thought it would go, one man raises his hand and tells that he is ready to let the weapon drink his blood. That causes another to bring out his courage and do the same. Then another follows, and then one more and so follows the majority into the decision of letting the weapon drink blood from them.

Priest: “I see. Splendid, my children, splendid. Just as I’d expect of you all.”

He turns back and says as he starts walking,

Priest: “I would go and tell the weapon that you are ready. Remember that ALL of you need to let it drink blood from you, or it won’t be able to repel the one coming to kill us all.”

With that, he has ensured that no one would be able to run away from the group. And so, the 80 believers in the church would allow themselves to be vampire food.

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“What do you want from me?”

The human-like figure kept captive by iron chains asks the man who enters the small room he has been kept in.

Priest: “Right now, you wouldn’t be able to fulfill my wishes. So, there’s no point in telling you what I want from you.”

In the basement of the church, the sight any real priest would call unholy remains. It’s the sight of a half-naked vampire held captive by chains of iron and the man dressed as a priest looking on him condescendingly.

Vampire: “Who are you?”

Priest: “Ha! You don’t know who I am? How pathetic!?”

The priest scoffs at the vampire and leans against the wall as he answers his question,

Priest: “I’m Halogen Dietrich, one of the 10 Hellfires in Vermillion. Well, to be fair, it’s one of the 8 Hellfires now. Two of us are already dead.”

With a calm and smiling expression as if he’s telling a joke, Halogen Dietrich continues,

Halogen: “In order to make sure I don’t have the same fate as those two did, I need to take out the guy who’s going around killing Hellfires.”

He chuckles.

Halogen: “Oh well, I guess I ended up telling you after all – the reason why I need you.”

Vampire: “Tsk! You want me take out that guy for you, the one who’s going around killing Hellfires?”

Halogen: “Exactly.”

The vampire twitches his eyebrows and spits on the ground.

Vampire: “In this state, I can barely kill a fly. If you want me to kill someone, make me stronger and release these chains.”

Halogen smirks.

Halogen: “If I do that now, you will try to kill me first and then try to get out of here.”

Of course the vampire never expected a simple coercion like that to work but he wanted to try it once anyway.

Halogen: “However, you are right about not being able to do anything in this state. So, I have an idea that would work out for both of us.”

Vampire: “…”

Even though he is filled with doubts as to everything the priest says, he can’t help but want to get out of that place and vanquish his hunger. So, if there’s a way to make that happen, he would gladly listen to what it is.

Halogen: “Well, seems like someone just got interested!”

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Abgere: “What the-”

The pervasive stench of death makes him feel nauseated as soon as it enters his nostrils. Abgere clicks his tongue and tightens his fist, as he knows it is coming from the church he is headed towards – the place where his next target hides.

Abgere: “What’s going on in that church!?”

Whatever it is, he knows it is nothing good.

But, he also knows that he is no savior, he is only a destroyer. His purpose is not to save those who are in the church. His purpose is to kill the person they need to be saved from. If that saves them, so be it. If he ends up being late and that doesn’t save them, so be it as well.

He can’t let something like this get in the way of his life’s purpose.

Abgere: “But still, I have to wonder just what the hell is that asshole doing in the church? What is causing this stench of death?”

While keeping that question in the back of his mind, Abgere goes to the back of the church, which happened to be a free space filled up with garbage. In that pile of garbage however, is a ladder he once threw with the excuse of it being broken and useless. Obviously, when he had done that, he didn’t have the devil mask on and was dressed casually, blending in the crowd like the rest of Halogen’s believers.

But now, time for all of that was over. What he has to now is to bring up that ladder, which he does, and climb up the church to land on the ledge of a window at the first floor of the church. As soon as he keeps his foot on the ledge, he grabs the railings attached to the window and prepares himself to break through the window … or not.

What would be the point of coming through the back if he’s going to break through the window and turn it into an entrance anyone inside could notice because of the noise and flashiness.

He came through this route because he wanted to be stealthy, and he would continue with that approach.

Carefully and soundlessly, he touches his hands through the window, making sure there is nothing like a bomb on it. After making sure there isn’t,

Abgere: “To think I’m checking for a bomb on a church window! Hah! I might be getting a bit paranoid to be honest. Still, better safe than sorry!”

Murmuring to himself, he brings out a screwdriver and inserts it horizontally into the little gap that can be opened up between the window and the wall. He leaves the screwdriver there, the first one at least, as he takes out another and sticks it the same away, only a little lower.

And repeating those steps for many a times, he finally makes it so that the window has disjointed a little from the wall on all sides. After that, comes the crowbar, a very thin crowbar. He inserts it through the little gap he had created and pushes it sideways, slowly and steadily, causing the gap to start adjusting to the widened shape instead of trying to get filled.

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After having opened up the windows and entering the church, Abgere finds nothing of note right away.

The stench from earlier seems to have gotten worse, but nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

The church is empty, at least from what he can see. Since he is seeing the view from the first floor to the ground floor, he might miss something.

Keeping that in mind, he starts descending the stairs carefully and silently, while keeping the crowbar with him in case of any emergency.

But it turns out all of his stealth was not necessary as there really isn’t anyone on the ground floor, even in the places he couldn’t see before.

But then, where is the stench of death coming from? The answer is an opened door to the basement of the church.

Abgere: “What’s going on down there?”

He murmurs under his breath and, first of all, carefully analyzes the entrance.

The reason for all this caution and stealth is that even though he researched Halogen Dietrich as much as he could, he couldn’t go any further than what a normal person could find out about him.

The secrets of this man were as well kept as they could possibly be.

Now, left in this scenario and with a lack of information no less, Abgere has no choice but to descend the stairs as cautiously as he could. And that’s what he does … or at least tries to do. Unfortunately for him, the wooden stairs creak as soon as he gets his foot off from them.

Abgere: “Shit!”

There’s no way he can turn back now. Even if that’s the safest choice, it just goes against the very purpose of coming here.

After all, Abgere knows well-enough that if he tries to run away and come back more prepared, Halogen would be more prepared than he ever could be. A man who can keep his secrets so well protected won’t let a chance like that slip by.

And so, Abgere can’t give him that chance. He has to finish the job now. He has to kill Halogen Dietrich today.

So, as swiftly as he can, he moves down the stairs. That is not to say that he doesn’t keep the possibility of no one hearing the creak in my mind, and so he doesn’t make much noise.

Now, on the basement floor, he can clearly see a trail of blood.

Actually, ‘clearly’ might not be the right word as he can barely see anything. The said trail of blood only happens to be visible because it starts at his feet.

Abgere: “I do have something for this occasion.”

He murmurs and takes out a pair of night-vision goggles. As soon as he puts them on from under his devil mask, he is able to see much better. He sees the trail of blood leading to a room to the right while a room to the left also exists. These are the only two paths he can take and since he doesn’t know what awaits at either junction, he decides to follow the trail and take the path to the right.

Abgere: “I hope I am not wrong about this.”

Even though his conscience screams at him about the possibility of this being a trap, taking the side the blood trail doesn’t lead to is still the worse choice because at least when following the trail, he can make decisions based on where the trail is leading.

If he goes onto a path where there is no piece of evidence or clue to follow on, he’ll be much more nervous than he is now.

Abgere: “All that aside, this is pretty creepy.”

Basement of a church that, so far, seems to be isolated and following a blood trail in the dark in an unknown area – the combination definitely is pretty creepy.

Abgere: “Hah!”

He takes a deep breath to calm himself and focus on what he is doing, which is, following the blood trail.

But, following this trail, a shiver runs down his spine. A feeling of someone standing right behind him comes and-

Abgere: “Oh no!”

As soon as he turns back, those two words escape his lips right before a cry in agony caused by sharp nails entering his abdomen and spilling his guts all over the place. The atrocity that caused this is a vampire, covered in blood, and as strong as it can possibly be.

Abgere tries to get away but that only results in the vampire pulling his nails back from his abdomen and kicking him hard enough to throw him at the wall.

As his back gets bashed on the wall and blood keeps coming out of his wound at the abdomen, he tries to take a breath to stabilize himself. And just as he does that, his eyes fall on what is at his right – a room filled with a pile of dead bodies, all having some organs missing.

And then he realizes that the stench of death he had felt before was actually the stench of this vampire’s leftovers.

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