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Tears and Blood - Prologue Part 2One Month Later: On a sunny afternoon, a horse-drawn carriage was riding along a road in the Romanian countryside. Its passengers included a Romanian couple and a skinny Japanese business man in his thirties with dark hair and wearing glasses. “Hi,” the Japanese man politely greeted the couple. “I am Yuuto Sabanto. I’m a real estate agent from Japan.” “Welcome,” the Romanian woman welcomed the foreigner. “What brings you to our country?” “Well, I’m meeting with a client to discuss purchasing real estate in my country,” Sabanto explained. However, his conversation was cut off by a sudden bump in the road that shook the carriage. “Oh driver, could you slow down a bit?” “No!” the Romanian man disagreed. He had a deadly serious expression on his face. “The sun is setting. We must get to the village before nightfall.” The carriage eventually arrived in a little town. The townsfolk greeted the passengers as they disembarked. The coachman started handing luggage to the passengers. However, when he tried handing Sabanto his luggage, he refused to take it. “Oh no, please don’t take my luggage down,” the Japanese real estate agent politely said. “I’m not staying. I have to meeting someone at Borgo Pass tonight.” The coachman didn’t like the sound of that and tried to disagree in his native language. A portly mustached barkeeper noticed this and asked the driver what was the matter in their native language. Once the driver was done explaining, the barkeeper walked over to the Japanese man. “No, please put that back,” Sabanto said. “Excuse me, sir,” the barkeeper said. “Is there a problem?” “Well you see,” Sabanto explained. “I have to be at Borgo Pass tonight.” “What for?” the barkeeper curiously asked. “Another carriage will be arriving to take me to a very important client?” “Who?” The barkeeper’s curiosity was turning into nervousness. “An aristocrat named Prince Vlad, he owns a castle in the mountains. I’m here to do business with him.” The barkeeper turned to his wife, who was standing outside at the entrance of the bar. Both had looks of absolute fear plastered over their faces. The wife made hand motion in the sign of the cross. “The castle in the Carpathian Mountains?” the barkeeper nervously asked. “That’s right,” Sabanto obliviously confirmed. “No, no! You mustn’t go there!” the barkeeper pleaded. “The creatures living in that castle are not human beings.” “What are talking about?” Sabanto asked confused. “A terrible and nearly forgotten evil returned just a month ago,” the barkeeper explained. “It made its home in that godforsaken castle in the mountains. The man you seek is not who you think he is. He is a creature of the night that can take the forms of a wolf and a bat. He leaves his coffin at night, and feeds on the blood of the living!” “But that’s just superstition,” the Japanese business man said disbelieving. “Please sir,” the barkeeper pleaded once again. “Stay indoors where it is safe.” “But you don’t understand, I have to go. He is expecting me.” Realizing there was no way to convince the poor man to stay, the barkeeper’s wife walked up to him and handed him a necklace with a cross on it. “If you must go, then for your mother’s sake please take this,” she said sorrowfully. “It will protect you.” Reluctantly, Sabanto accepted the gift believing it would help ease their concerns. “I appreciate your concern, but don’t worry. It’s only a business trip, I’ll be fine,” he unsuccessfully reassured them. “Sayonara,” he big them farewell as he climbed back into the carriage. As they watched the carriage drive away, the people all looked as if they were attending a funeral. They had just met this poor foreign visitor and now knew they would never see him again. Some were saying prayers for him. One was an old gypsy woman with a cloudy right eye. “Oh merciful God,” she chanted. “May you have mercy on his soul.” Later after sunset, the carriage was parked at the crossroads of Borgo Pass. While waiting for the other carriage to arrive, Sabanto was browsing on his mobile phone while the driver was anxiously sitting in his seat trying to keep it together. Eventually, a mysterious black carriage pulled by two black horses with glowing red eyes rode up to the road and stopped at the crossroads next to the other carriage. The driver was a tall pale man wearing black robes, black gloves, and a black coachman hat. The man’s face looked unnatural, like that of a recently deceased corpse and dark eyes. The sight of this man made the driver feel more unnerved than before. Sabanto disembarked, grabbed his luggage, and approached the new carriage. “Is this the carriage scheduled to take me to meet Prince Vlad?” he asked the driver. The coachman said nothing and just stared at the Japanese man with a creepy ominous look on his face. Eventually, he nodded his head in confirmation and took the man’s luggage. Then he motioned him to the door of the carriage which suddenly opened by itself much to the surprise of Sabanto and the other driver, who made a cross sign motion with his hand and immediately drove off. The Japanese businessman entered the carriage and the door closed behind him. Once he was seated, the carriage began riding down the dark rode. As they made their journey, Sabanto began to hear some ominous howls and looked out his window to see several shadowy four-legged creatures like big canines with glowing red eyes watching and following the carriage as it drove by. A brief flash of moonlight let him see that they were wolves. But there something off about these animals, the look in their eyes didn’t seem natural. Eventually, the wolves stopped following the carriage as it came closer and closer to a castle sitting at the edge of a cliff in the distance. The castle looked huge with multiple towers of many different sizes. The carriage drove through the open gates and into the courtyard. Once they were through, the gates closed behind them. Once it stopped, Sabanto disembarked and found himself standing in front of the castle entrance. Two huge towering doors stood before him. He walked up and was about to knock, but before he could even touch one of the doors, they opened. There was no one on the other side, no sign of anyone who could have opened the doors. Cautiously, Sabanto walked inside. He was beginning to suspect that perhaps there may be some justification to the villagers’ paranoia. The interior of the castle looked grim and foreboding. The only sources of light in the room were from candles sitting on furniture, hanging on the walls, and from the ceiling. Cobwebs were seen in multiple parts of the room. Suddenly, he saw a light coming down a dark stairway toward him. As it got closer, he saw that it was a candlestick held in the left hand of a deathly-looking old man. The man was tall and wore long black robes with a big collar. The robes were decorated with red patterns in the shape of dragons, gems, and golden jewelry. He had long white hair and a mustache, his skin was wrinkly and almost as white as his hair, his ears were pointed, his hands were wrinkly with hair growing on the backs and his fingernails were long pointy. A few rings were worn on each hand. His eyes were red and had an unnatural and inhuman look to them. Seeing those eyes staring at him sent a shiver down Sabanto’s spine as the ominous-looking man drew closer. “I am…” the man introduced himself in a noble-sounding and commanding Romanian accent. “Vlad.” “Nice to meet you, prince,” Sabanto replied politely. “I’m Yuuto Sabanto, the real estate agent from Japan you sent for.” “I bid you welcome to my home,” Vlad welcomed him. “May you leave behind some of the happiness you bring with you. Klove.” Sabanto turned to see the coachman who brought him standing in the doorway. He was not wearing his hat and showed his bald hairless pale head and face in greater detail. The man stood emotionless and awaiting instructions. “Take Mr. Sabanto’s things up to his room,” Vlad commanded. “Yes master,” Klove replied giving a bow and leaving to fetch Sabanto’s luggage from the carriage. “Come, you must be hungry,” the prince said to his guest. “I’ve had dinner prepared for you.” “Thank you, sir,” Sabanto replied and began following his creepy host. The prince led his guest to a dimly lit dining room where lots of Romanian dishes were sitting on golden platters on one end of a long dining table. Vlad sat at the end while Sabanto sat to his left. “Excuse me if I don’t eat with you,” the old prince said. “I have already dined.” He watched as Sabanto put a few pieces of food on his plate and try them. “It’s all really good,” the real estate agent complimented. “Glad you like. I look forward to trying some of the ‘sustenance’ of your country,” Vlad said. “Well sir, you’re in for a treat,” Sabanto replied. “Ow!” While cutting some food, he accidentally his finger. Blood was seen dripping from the wound. Unbeknownst to Sabanto, Vlad’s eyes started glowing bright red when he saw the blood. He opened his mouth slightly revealing two fangs. The prince got up from his seat and started walking toward his guest with his hand stretched out. The look in his eyes was like that of a hungry animal ready to pounce on its unsuspecting prey. But before he could do anything, he noticed the cross from the barkeeper’s wife hanging around the real estate agent’s neck. The prince averted his eyes from the holy object. “It’s alright,” Sabanto assured. “Just a little scratch.” The prince turned back to his guest. The vicious glow in his eyes was gone and he seemed to have regained his senses. “Are you a religious man, Mr. Sabanto?” “Not really. Are you?” “God, Satan,” Vlad replied with contempt in his tone. “They’re both the same, petty, manipulative, and using others as pawns in a twisted game against one another.” There was a long and creepily awkward silence before the prince changed the subject. “May I offer you some Transylvanian wine?” “Sure,” his guest replied. The prince fetched a bottle and poured some into Sabanto’s glass. “It’s good,” the Japanese agent complimented. “Won’t you have some?” “I never drink… wine,” Vlad declined. Later that night, Vlad showed Sabanto to his bedroom. He saw that his servant, Klove, had brought the luggage just as instructed. “I will meet with you again tomorrow evening,” the prince said. “Until then make yourself at home.” “Why evening?” Sabanto asked. “I am very… busy during the daytime,” the prince suspiciously replied. Suddenly, the sound of wolves howling was heard outside the window. Sabanto looked creeped out by the noise while Vlad seemed to enjoy it. “Listen,” the prince said passionately. “The children of the night. What music they make. Good night, Mr. Sabanto.” “Good night, Prince Vlad.” The old prince left the room and the door mysteriously closed by itself behind him leaving his disturbed guest to try and get as much of a good night sleep as he could. Tomorrow evening, Sabanto was sitting in his room on his bed browsing on his phone. It was difficult due to the lack of signal, but he managed to access a few things on his phone. “Is that one of those mobile phones I’ve heard so much about?” Prince Vlad asked suddenly appearing in the room giving the real estate agent a startle. “Yes, it is,” Sabanto confirmed. “Is there a problem?” “Not at all,” the prince assured. “I’ve been out of touch with the technology of the current era and would like to learn more about these devices humans use nowadays. I’m planning on purchasing one of those devices myself and must know how it works.” “Well,” Sabanto held up his phone so his host could have a better view of the screen. “This can act as more than just a phone you can take with you anywhere. For instance, it can be a camera too.” He stood up and aimed his phone at the old prince. “Smile,” he said taking a picture. “Alright, let’s see…” He looked in his photo gallery, but then a look of confusion and disappointment formed on his face. “That’s strange. I could’ve sworn you were in this scene.” The picture he had taken was of the wall behind the prince, but the prince wasn’t appearing at all in the photo. “Nevermind that, please continue,” Vlad urged. “Alright, you can also access the internet and the web,” Sabanto continued. “That’s where people nowadays go to find information for almost everything. Before you came in, I was checking out recently posted magazine articles,” the real estate agent explained holding up his phone and showing a slideshow of Japanese magazine covers. He swiped his finger across the screen every few seconds to show his host the many pictures he could view. “Wait! Go back,” Vlad suddenly ordered. Something among the slideshow caught his eye. Sabanto swiped back once. “More.” He swiped back again. “Stop.” He stopped at a magazine cover featuring a young woman, approximately 16, with brown hair and green eyes. “This one was published three days ago,” Sabanto said. “May I?” Vlad reached over and grabbed the phone. Sabanto released his phone and allowed his host to hold it. The prince held the phone in front of his face and stared obsessively at the picture. “Her name is Miki Makimura,” the real estate agent told him. “She’s high school student working part-time as a model and is the star of Kamigaku High’s track and field team.” He noticed the prince was still staring at the picture. “I know, she’s pretty cute isn’t she?” “Beautiful!” Vlad responded in a disturbing tone. He gently ran his fingernails across the screen with a lustful and passionate look in his eyes. Then he snapped out of it and handed the phone back to his guest. “Athletes, Mr. Sabanto,” he said in his normal tone. “I’ve heard of them. The exercises they perform is said to get the blood pumping through their bodies. Blood, Mr. Sabanto, is life.” There was a long silence between the two men for a moment. Sabanto stared at Vlad with a creeped out expression. “Come,” the prince broke the silence. “We have business to discuss.” The two men sat in chairs in front of a big fireplace in a dimly lit room. Sabanto placed papers and a pen on a coffee table standing between them. “Sign here and here,” he instructed his client pointing to a couple areas on the papers. The prince did exactly as instructed. “Congratulations. You are now the owner of these estates. May I ask, why are you purchasing five estates in this region of Japan and in such isolated areas?” “I have friends that I am inviting to travel with me to your country and most of them like their privacy,” Vlad replied. “Which reminds me, I’ll need you to teach the language of your country while you’re here. If I’m going to stay there, I’ll need to know how to speak fluently with people.” “Understood. Is that an ancestor?” Sabanto asked looking up at a big painting hanging over the fireplace. The painting depicted a man with long black hair and a mustache dressed in shining armor wearing a red cape and wielding a sword. “I can see the resemblance.” “He was a member of the Order of the Dragon,” Vlad replied staring up at the painting with a look of nostalgia. “An ancient society long disbanded. However, a new order may rise one day.” After their business was taken care of, the prince led his guest back to his room. “I will be busy for a couple hours,” Vlad informed. “I would advise that you don’t go venturing around the castle by yourself. There are dark secrets lurking in these walls that some are never meant to find out.” “I understand,” Sabanto replied. Sometime had passed and Sabanto sat in his room browsing on his phone. He had removed his business coat and the crucifix to get comfortable. Eventually, he started losing the connection and walked over to the window to try and get a better one. However, he saw something outside that demanded his attention more and filled him with fright. He spotted what looked like his host crawling along one of the castle walls like a lizard. He had seen many strange things during his trip that he did his best to put up with, but this was too much. Not bothering to grab his luggage or put on a coat, Sabanto ran out of his room and down the hall making his way to the entrance of the castle. But when he finally reached the doors, he found them to be locked tight. Desperate and completely forgetting about his host’s warning, the Japanese real estate agent began searching the castle for another way out. The scared foreigner eventually found himself in a room with four stone coffins. Three smaller ones lined up side-by-side on one side of the room and one bigger one was located on the other side. Curiously, he walked over to examine the three smaller coffins, none of them had names carved on them. Then he walked over to the bigger one and saw a name carved in big clear letters, DRACULA. Suddenly, he heard a noise from the shadows, it sounded like a woman giggling. “Who’s there?” the nervous man called to the voice. No one answered. “Show yourself!” He only heard the giggling again. Sabanto ran out of the room and into the hall. He heard the giggling coming from a nearby door. He opened it and saw that it was some kind of dimly lit study room. There was a desk sitting in the middle of the room with two chairs in front of it. Bookshelves filled with books stood on all sides of the room. There was so little light that the corners of the room where completely covered in shadows. Sabanto cautiously walked into the center of the room. Then he heard the giggling again, only this time it sounded like more than one woman. “Is anybody there?” the nervous real estate agent asked. Slowly, three figures started emerging from the shadowy corners of the room. After taking a few steps into the light, they revealed themselves to be three gorgeous, exotic, scantily dressed young women. Each one had different colored hair and wore a different colored dress with gold jewelry that revealed their shoulders, cleavage, midriff and legs. One wore a white dress and had nicely combed blonde hair, another wore a pink dress and had curly brunette hair, and the other wore a black dress and had long naturally hanging black hair. The Japanese man found himself backed into one of the two chairs sitting the middle of the room as he was surrounded by the three women. The women slowly drew closer and closer to him with lustful and hungry eyes. “Who are you? What do you want?” Sabanto nervously asked as the women were now standing right in front of him inches away. The three women said nothing, they just made lustful moans and giggling sounds as they invaded his personal space. They started rubbing their hands up and down his body, along his arms and legs. One undid the buttons on his shirt and started rubbing his bare chest. The other two were brushing his hair and suggestively licking his cheeks. The foreign visitor wanted to resist this show of debauchery, but for some reason he found himself powerless to stop them. Eventually, his vision started getting fuzzy as he found himself slowly losing consciousness. Soon, he could see the faces of all three women staring at him hungrily. “You can go first,” the brunette said to the blonde. “Should I?” the blonde asked. “I insist,” the black haired one insisted. “Very well,” the blonde said as her face drew closer to Sabanto’s. The business man thought he saw two little fangs as she opened her mouth. Then she started moving toward his neck with those bared fangs. But before he could feel the sting of those fangs pierce his neck, a loud noise like the sound of a door being flung open was heard followed by an angry male voice yelling something in Romanian. Everyone turned to see Prince Vlad standing in the doorway pointing toward them. His eyes were glowing bright red with rage. The mysterious trio of women immediately backed away from the drowsy real estate agent and huddled fearfully in a corner as the elderly prince drew closer. “How dare you touch him!” Vlad furiously scolded the women. “This man belongs to me!” “Must they always belong to you?” the black haired woman whimpered. The prince approached the women and his rage seemed to die down. “I need him for now,” he explained in a calmer and gentler tone. “He has a purpose to serve for the coming war. And with his help, we will get a new addition to our family.” Hearing this made the women giggle with excitement as they began fawning over the prince like obedient dogs fawning over their master. “But are we to have nothing tonight?” the brunette woman asked pleadingly. The prince smiled and reached into his robes. He pulled out a bag that seemed to move as if there was something alive inside it. He handed the bag to the women who gathered around it excitedly. The three women squealed with delight when they opened it. The sound of a baby crying was heard amongst the squealing. Sabanto, who had been watching the entire thing despite his fuzzy vision and fading consciousness, was sickened and horrified by what he had just witnessed. Vlad turned his attention from the women to his anxious guest. He approached him and knelt down until his face was inches from Sabanto’s. The Japanese man found himself staring into the eyes of his host unable to look away. The prince swung his robes around so that they covered their faces in darkness. Sabanto felt as if he were in a dark place and the only thing he could see was the prince’s face with that devilish grin revealing two sharp fangs just like the women and those glowing sinister red eyes that seemed to stare right into his very soul....
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