Finally, I got to this - Chapter Three. The last chapter was twelve pages (I'm so proud of myself!!!), and it was definitely emotionally draining to write. I probably made a lot of mistakes along the way, and it probably got skewed from what I had originally intended for it to become. Nevertheless, I am very proud of myself.

Now, if only I could get you guys to review... I need to know what you think of it, and if I should rewrite it again. Or if the story itself is too unoriginal to be published, period. I need opinions - without them, I won't be able to continue the story. Should Nicholas be less of a heartless bastard? Should there be less swearing?

AHHHHHH! I'm driving myself batty, so why don't I just shut up? I love you guys - without you, I wouldn't be able to write at all.

Ja ne -


Chapter Three:

The Truth – in All of Its Horror


"I didn't know that this was the case until I got a good look at you," I murmured softly, trying not to provoke her any further than I already had. "There were marks on her body that gave evidence to the fact, but I couldn't understand why they would eliminate a woman who had nothing to do with them."

"So, why did they?" She smirked at me.

"Because of you. Although you didn't understand it at the time – and perhaps still can't comprehend it – the differentiations in your nature had become rather… apparent." I shook my head. "This is only conjecture, but my guess is that you got into more fights around the time that you started going into puberty, and you won against people much larger and stronger-looking than you."

"What does that have to do with anything?" she asked calmly, although I could tell that she was resisting the urge to rip out my throat. "I had anger issues. So?"

"Those fights weren't caused by anger issues, Alexis." I started to chuckle now. Was she really so stupid that she couldn't see it? It seemed obvious to me. "You have a fierce aura about you that isn't human. The instincts that are biologically hardwired into you started to surface around the age of ten, am I correct?"

I saw a flicker of recognition in her face. "What are you saying?"

"Didn't you notice the fact that you saw things most other human beings didn't see? The fact that your body – your bone structure, I'm willing to wager – is slightly different from that of other human beings? The fact that your eyes have taken on a reptilian quality to them?"

"It didn't affect me in an overly abundant way," she replied, taking a sip from her cappuccino. "And from what I can hear, it doesn't affect me now. Are you going to continue to say such insensitive things? Because I don't have to sit here and listen to this."

"Is it insensitive to inform you of the truth? Would you prefer to be lied to?" I retorted. I didn't expect her to be so resistant to this. Why couldn't I make her bend to my will? "You wanted the truth, and I gave it to you."

"You gave me an insane story that no one in their right mind would believe!" she snapped. Her hair fell into her face, as though she were trying to hide the tears in her large, peridot-green eyes.

I felt a pang inside of me at the grief that showed through her eyes, finally realizing the full extent of what I was doing. I tried to tell myself that she would die if I didn't intervene, which was true. However, would it be better to tear her away from everything that she knew, even if it was to save her? All that I could think was that I was only saving her in order to use her, in order to destroy everything she knew.

And then I realized why I was there to begin with, what it was that had brought me to Chicago. I couldn't leave any more than I could abandon those reasons, any more than I could forsake my own cursed name. The ghosts of my past were the only things keeping me alive; as much as I wished myself rid of them, I knew better than to think that I could erase the past.

So I would continue. I would tear at her until she broke, until she had no choice but to believe me, even if it meant living with the guilt for the rest of my life. Even if it meant that I couldn't look her in the eye.

"What would you believe?" I snapped, trying to force myself to be angry at her. "Would you believe that stupid lie they've told the public? If you do, you're even more of an idiot than I thought you were."

"I don't believe that any more than I believe your stories. However, I do demand to know the truth." She leaned in closer, brushing a strand of curly, chestnut-brown hair away from her eyes. "Let's assume that everything you've told me was true. What do Manticores have to do with my mother? What does all of that, assuming that it's true, have to do with me?"

I laughed. "Everything. What do you think your differentiations mean?"

I could tell by the confusion on her face that she hadn't drawn any conclusions on that fact. Some would want it that way, but it only made my job more difficult. She wasn't stupid; on the contrary, she had done very, very well to reach the conclusions that she had with what little information she could obtain. It wasn't going to be easy to convince her of what I had to say.

"My theory is that she investigated those abnormalities and came up with the correct conclusion." I furrowed my eyebrows in frustration. "I don't know what her source was, which is frustrating, to say the least, but there was something - someone - that tipped her off, and possibly pointed her in the right direction. She must have found something, because otherwise you would have died in her place."

"I would have died?" She was becoming even more confused.

"She found what she was looking for, Alexis - your origins. You're probably half-human, but that's about it, and it probably isn't a very normal strain of human blood to begin with. You're at least half-Manticore."


I tried to respond, but it was as though all the air had been knocked out of my body by his words. Half-Manticore? What was he talking about? What did he mean by that?

My hands shook. I could tell he believed every word that he was saying, but it wasn't possible that it was the actual truth. There wasn't any possibility that he could be right. It would have been more feasible to believe he was crazy.

"So it comes to this," I murmured, trying to keep the hesitation out of my voice. "I'm sorry, but there's no possibility that you could be right. Both of my parents were human at the time of my conception."

"It's possible that they're not your parents, Alexis," he retorted, brushing his shaggy, honey-toned hair out of his face. "As a matter of fact, judging by the expression on your face, it's probable."

"You came here to tell me this?" Like he had any right! I didn't know what it was that he wanted, but I was growing closer to leaving, if only because I couldn't stand to listen to the insane prattling of someone who possibly escaped from a mental ward.

"I came here to warn you." He held my wrist in his hand. "Haven't you considered what would happen if I was right?"

"It doesn't need consideration. The fact of the matter is that you have the wrong person."

He only shook his head in reply. "Believe that if you want, Alexis, but if I'm right – which I know I am – then it isn't only your life that's in danger. Your existence alone was enough to cause your mother's death. Imagine what would happen if you suddenly started to hunger for human flesh."

"Last I checked, I don't have cannibalistic tendencies. This is madness, you know," I replied, seething. "It's very rude of you to even suggest such a thing."

"How is it rude when I'm trying to help you?" he asked.

"It's rude of you to assume that I'm the reason why my mother died!" I replied. I picked up my purse and rose from the cramped booth. "I have no reason to stay here, and my father's going to get worried."

"Fine, then – leave. You'll find out that what I said was true," he said with a chuckle. "I'll give you my cell phone number. Call it when you get into trouble."

I wanted to refuse it, but I was glad he was going to let me leave without trying to convince me of something else. I gave him my cell phone, sure that if he tried to steal it, I could start screaming. "Thanks. I'll be sure to call you... if it's necessary."

"It will be," he replied. "Just remember that when something happens, the blood that will be spilled won't stain my hands. If anyone important to you dies along the way, you have no one to blame but yourself."

I wanted to say, "You don't even know me," but the words wouldn't leave the prison that had become my mind. I could only stare into his eyes and try to keep what little bit of dignity he hadn't crushed.

He looked at me with those piercing, golden-brown eyes for what seemed like an eternity, then turned on his heels and walked away. I stared at his back until he was out of my sight, unable to turn away from his retreating figure. Unable to even breathe.

I wasn't particularly fond of that feeling.

(Diary of Nicholas Mitchell)

The days went by slowly for me. I don't know how long it was until she finally started to change, and I can't exactly say that I was glad for it. Too much was changing, and it was changing too quickly to be safe enough to be comfortable with.

They were already starting to look for her.

I would have waited to tell her, but I didn't have much time to waste on this; if I had known how difficult it would be to win her trust, I would have expedited the situation when I had the chance. She was different - too different for even my widely-wrought calculations to compensate for. Her powers had developed beyond what I believed was even possible for something that was half-human, and that in itself could mean the end for her.

She really was feral – more so than I had dared to anticipate. It didn't seem as though she were trying to suppress herself, and that was growing to be more of a nuisance by the day. I couldn't force her hand in this, whether by using my hypnosis or her mother as the pawn; she was embracing her abilities instead of rejecting them. There was nothing that could convince her of the truth but herself - her urges, her desires, her actions.

And when she finally did, there was going to be hell to pay. She wouldn't believe me until another person's blood was spilled, and I had no choice but to appease her, no matter how much I wanted to prevent it.

Every day after she went home, I would follow her and watch her from the cover of the oak tree outside her apartment building. She would have been infuriated, but I didn't care. Protection was a necessity, and because of that, privacy became a luxury.

Alexis didn't know how vulnerable she was, and if I told her, she wouldn't have believed me.

I was on her side to a large degree, but there were many more of my kind – well-trained mercenaries – who were after her blood because of the fact that she was a halfling child. I knew I would lose a fight against them if it came down to it.

As long as I confused her aura, it wouldn't, but the time was steadily approaching when her aura would be discernible from mine, even from a distance. It was growing stronger, less human, than I originally believed it would.

The time for backtracking had long passed. I knew that I only had two choices: either leave Chicago with that infuriating girl - and leave sooner than expected - or not leave the city at all. And if I were truly being honest with myself, I would have said that the second choice was becoming more tempting by the day. After all, what did I have to live for? What few people I had in this world were dead, and no amount of revenge could change that simple, irrevocable fact.. Was it really kinder to keep the girl – I had to remind myself to call her Alexis – alive? She knew nothing of revenge. She was innocent in every way that could be imagined, while I had lost my innocence the day I lost my family to someone I trusted.

I could have walked away, but I didn't want to. I was bound to that city, and to her, through a promise I made to a man whose face I couldn't even remember.

Such promises are easily broken if pride doesn't get in the way, but it always does. Pride had destroyed what little decorum I had regained after that horrible incident, and it was about to sacrifice an innocent girl before she even got a chance to live.

But I didn't care. Despite knowing that, I didn't care, and maybe that was my deepest sin.

Chapter Three is FINISHED! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! *coughcough* Sorry about that - I got too into Nicholas's character. :) Hope you liked it!

Love you all!