Another perfect knockout. Damn, he’s good. I didn’t even get a chance to execute the combo I’ve always used on Preston.
I keep mashing the directional buttons and moves that Preston taught me for this fighting game, but Kumar, as he calls himself, deflects all of my combos with ease. I’ve never seen anyone play better than Preston, and as I watch my main Count Mephistopheles get defeated, the muscular vampire hunter Red Crossfire does his victory pose.
Kumar raises a fist and shouts to celebrate his win. I really need to sharpen my skills in Midnight Stalkers 2. Then I’ll finally be able to beat Preston at this game.
“That was a good game, Mr. Vampire.” Kumar comments and shakes his right wrist.
“You beat me in every round. That’s some skill you’ve got there.” I praise his prowess in fighting games.
Kumar chuckles but I can sense a bit of unease in his tone. Is he nervous?
“I-it’s no big deal. There are more skilled players online and I just learn from their moves.” Kumar scratches the back of his head in modesty.
“Well, no need to be modest! If you drop by again, you could probably challenge this ghost I work with.” I suggest to Kumar, thinking he might want to challenge Preston to a match.
“It’s alright, Mr. Vampire.”
“Please, call me Tony.”
“Oh, all right then, uh, Tony.” Kumar seems hesitant to say my name.
But then I remember what he came here for; his ghoul companion!
“I think your friend should be done with his business in the toilet by now.”
He seems hesitant to comment on that. Is he hiding something?
“Maybe we should go check on him.” I get up from the couch.
“NO! Er, I mean, you see, my friend takes his time whenever he uses the toilet. It might be bad for his bowels if he forces it out.” Kumar attempts to dissuade me from going downstairs. “Perhaps we should do something else to pass the time until he’s finished.”
Then I remembered something that the Doc told me.
Remember, Antonio. An infernal ghoul’s organs are some of the worst things that you might have to dissect. That’s what creates that repulsive scent that they have. It’s also what keeps them in the toilet for a long time. So when a ghoul has to use the toilet, you might expect them to stay there for at least an hour. Otherwise, they’re probably just using the toilet to munch on some severed fingers they’ve bitten off local gangsters or hobos.
After giving the Doc’s words some thought, I nod and follow what I remembered.
“All right. I think we can give him some more time.” I look at the piano that the Doc uses to practice his compositions. The last time he used that was when he was writing songs for an opera he had in mind. The Newcrest Review rejected it twice, but I think it was good. (Even though it had a few racist stereotypes about Windenburgers.) Maybe I should just show off what the Doc taught me.
“Would you care to watch me play something on the piano? There’s this one piece composed by Dr. de Guzman that I’d love to share. We’ve been trying to promote his works, you see.”
“Oh, yes! That would be delightful, Mr. Vampire– I mean, Tony. Take all the time you need.” Kumar encourages me and sits on a nearby chair.
I crack my knuckles and open the piano cover to start playing the Doc’s main piece. Now what was it called again?
Ah, yes. It had the title, “Don’t Distract Me, Darling.”
While Kumar has that bespectacled vampire distracted, Larry kidnaps the child for me. And then I wait for Larry and Kumar to exit the building and we go back to the hideout.
That was the plan, at least. I got impatient, so I snuck in through another part of the hideout by turning into mist, just to see if Archon de Guzman is really gone. I find myself in the inner sanctum with his coffin and the paintings he collects, but he’s not inside. Maybe he really did go on vacation, like what his minions said.
But that’s just another elaborate lie.
You see, Archon de Guzman has a reputation in the Association for being a liar. He often claims to be doing one thing but is actually doing something else. The last few times he told us he was on vacation, he was actually waging a guerrilla war on werewolves or off to steal a rare painting from an Archon who won’t sell it to him.
Heck, I think I’ve seen one of those paintings in Leclerc’s mansion before. That Dr. de Guzman is one sneaky bastard!
Even for a low-ranking Archon like him, he does what you might expect from a higher-ranking vampire: he hosts drinking parties, collects rare art, and has sophisticated hobbies, like an appreciation for opera.
That actually makes him an old fart in theory, but I couldn’t really call him that since he was turned at a young age. Hence, he has quite the physique and a face that can swoon a thousand high school girls. Why, if I could get to know him more, he could actually become my next–
Now what did Larry do? I’ve linked my mind with Kumar and Larry telepathically at the hideout to make sure that everything goes according to plan, and it seems like we’ve now hit a snag.
Larry, what’s wrong? What happened? I communicate with him.
SLIP ON MAT, MOMMY. KID TOO FAST AND SMALL.
I could hear Larry’s voice from upstairs since he doesn’t know how to use telepathy to communicate quietly. So the kid’s a little troublemaker. Huh.
Maybe I should give Larry a hand so that we could go home and lock the kid up, and then I could bring out that foot spa I ordered from an online sale. These heels are killing me.
You just wait right there, Larry.
“Haha, you slipped!” I laugh at the big man. “Playing tag is fun!”
“No play tag! Mommy said come with me!” he shouts at me and tries to catch me with his big arms that look like elephant legs.
“You look like a big elephant!” I shout as the big man charges.
I move to the side to avoid getting tagged by him and trip him to watch him fall to the floor. No way you’re going to tag me if you’re that slow.
“OW OW OW OW OW!” the big man shouts as he hurts his knee.
“Haha, you can’t tag me! I’m the best at playing tag!” I brag, but the big man gets up.
The big man shouts as if he was like one of those monsters on superhero shows. I flinch, thinking he was going to eat me, but then he falls on his knees and cries like a big baby.
Maybe he’s just a kid in a big man’s body.
“Hey, are you okay?” I ask. Maybe I went a little too far.
“LARRY HAVE BOOBOO! WANT MOMMY-HEE-HEEEEE!” the big man sobs as he looks at his knee.
Before I could even take a look at his knee, I hear a woman’s voice that comes out of nowhere.
“Mommy’s here! Mommy’s here, Larry!”
I see black smoke on top of Preston’s cot until a lady appears on it. Is this the big man’s Mommy?
“M-Mommy!” the big man sniffs and wipes his face.
“Who are you, lady?” I raise an eyebrow. “My Uncle Tony said that strangers aren’t supposed to be here.”
“Dearie, I’m a friend of your father.” the lady introduces herself.
“You know Don Antares? He’s my dad!” I say with pride.
“Oh, so you’re not the child of Dr. de Guzman? And Don Antares’ child, huh? Hmmm.”
“My name’s Miggy. And I have no idea who you are. Oh, and this big guy has a booboo. Are you his mommy?”
“MOMMY!” the big man shouts. “LARRY HAVE BOOBOO! WANT A KISS TO MAKE IT GO AWAY!”
The lady blows a kiss at the big man and he stops crying. But now he starts shaking and mumbling to himself. It looks like he’s scared of her now. Is this magic?
“Hey, what did you do to him?” I get a strong feeling that this lady is dangerous. That’s what my instinct tells me at least.
“Never mind him, child of Don Antares.” the lady looks at me with her cold adult eyes. “You’re coming with me.”
I look at the big man named Larry still cowering in fear. Is this something that adult vampires do?
“He calls you Mommy but you do this to him?” I glare at the lady. “What kind of mother are you?”
“I just needed him to settle down. Whatever works, you know? Now, come along quietly before you force me to use my powers.”
“I don’t want to! I don’t know who you are, and I like playing with Preston, Uncle Tony, and Park. I’m not going anywhere!”
“Well, I tried. You leave me no choice then, kiddo.” the lady raises a finger as I watch out for what she’s about to do.
A voice tells me and I can’t move my body anymore. What did she do?
“Hey, what’s going on? I can’t move!” I still manage to talk.
Now I can’t talk at all even if I try to shout. It’s as if my lips were sealed with glue! The lady stands up from Preston’s cot to approach me.
“I originally came here thinking that I could kidnap Dr. de Guzman’s son, but it looks like I got the offspring of Don Antares instead! Which means you’re more valuable than I thought!”
What’s that supposed to mean? What is she going to do to me?
“Don’t worry, Miggy. I’m going to be your mommy from now on. And I’ll mold you into the perfect gentleman vampire for House Malefica.”
And with a snap of her finger, the big man stops cowering in fear to carry me.