- Present Moment -

Victoria's POV

I looked at myself in the mirror in silence and watched as a trail of blood ran down the side of my already blood covered face. The first part of the ceremony was fulfilled – which was to bathe in the blood of 10 powerful human fighters.

My eyes darted to the image of Xavier's sword on my left leg that, after being so caught up in Sheila's safety and now reentering the world of the Vampire Council, had almost been forgotten.

During these fleeting and scarce moments of calmness and sanity, I could not help but think how everything landed in the way it is right now.

I stepped into the shower to drench blood away from my body and looked at my trembling hands. In just another hour, I would be stepping back into a hole I once used to fill.

My eyes still fixated on the image of Xavier's beautiful sword, I drew a deep breath. I could remember the night he caught me feeding on a human after the Dra'agrokh War and the first question that rolled out from his tongue was "Why can't I seem to kill you?"

- A year after the Dra'agrokh War –

Victoria stared at Xavier like a deer caught in a spotlight. Vampires were the most vulnerable – caught up in euphoria and a blurred state of mind – when they feed, which was why they did it in secrecy.

She had been feeding in the deepest part of the dense forest with heavy mist and chilling air. She had not fed in two days and was starving, unaware of her surroundings. It was only after she drained the human dry to his bones that she realized the air was too still and the cicadas were nowhere to be heard. She heard the crackling sound of dry leaves and whipped her head around frantically. Did a human saw her? If that was the case, then it'd be simple enough to be disposed of. But if it was a Hunter, what was he or she doing lurking around, not attacking at all when they should've?

"Why can't I seem to kill you?" a voice emitted from the back and made her skin prickled. She knew that voice and had not heard it since the Dra'agrokh War.

She slowly turned around and found the tip of a sword touching the middle between her eyes. "What are you saying, Xavier?" she asked as calm as she could.

He let his sword drop and stared into her eyes, looking lost and dumbfounded. "I saw you feeding, so sensually and detached from this world. I could have so easily sliced your head off nice and clean, but I can't." he whispered. "Why?"

She silently stared into his eyes, and every nerve in her body went off in an alarming state. Confused was a word that could barely even describe the mess her mind was in now. But then again, she thought, why do I know where this was going?

Xavier took in a deep breath and turned his eyes upwards at briefly stared at the stars in the dark sky, revealing his hot pulsing veins on his neck.

Victoria licked her fangs, suddenly feeling a pang of lust and hunger. Her trail of thoughts was broken away when Xavier pulled his eyes back on her, his brows furrowed together, as if in deep contemplation.

"Walk with me," he said and held out his hand.

"What are you doing?" Victoria asked, on full alert again. Why is this Hunter extending out his hand to me? Walk with him?

"Just… God damn it, walk with me." He grabbed her by the wrist and began dragging her. He began mumbling incoherently under his breath, his warm breath coming out in wisps of smoke from the cold air.

"Hey... hey… HEY!" Victoria screamed at the top of her lungs and roughly pulled her wrist from his grasp. "What the fuck is wrong with you!"

Xavier stabbed his hand through his hair and just stared at her silence again. She could see just slightest movement of his lips and was about to make out what he said when he stuffed a cigarette in between his lips.

He took in a deep breath and exhaled. "Honestly, Victoria, I was about to ask you the question. What's wrong with me?"

Exasperated, Victoria sliced half of the cigarette with her claws. "Devil's sake, you're insane!" She turned her back to him and began walking away. "If you aren't going to tell me what the hell is going on, and have no intention of killing me, then I'm leaving. Lilith is probably looking for me by now."

"I can't stop thinking about you."

A crack of dry leaves, then, utter silence.

"Ever since our battle in Dra'agrokh, I can't stop thinking about you."

So very slowly, Victoria turned to look at him with her wide eyes and her red luscious ruby lips parted in astonishment.

"Is it infatuation? Is it lust? Is it love?" he gently questioned.

"You can't just fall in love like that!" Victoria screamed. She did not even understand why her pitch rose a notch high with every word that came out in rambles. "I'm a vampire! And I almost killed you!"

"Tell me you've never thought about me. Look into my eyes and swear upon your Devil God that nothing clicked that very day." Xavier was a foot away from her; not touching her, but his deep penetrating gaze enraptured her and invisibly chained her.

Victoria opened her mouth, even moved her mouth, but nothing came out. It was true that she thought of him. It did not help either that vampires have a strong sense of carnal lust and she would always imagine what it would be like to have his rippling muscular body above hers, hot and sweaty as he entered her…

"I…" she began and stared back into his eyes. "That isn't the point! The point is I am going to kill you some day!"

Victoria took a step away.

"What makes you think you'll definitely kill me?" Xavier took a step forward.

"Because I am a vampire and you are a Hunter! You are a threat to my race!" Another step back.

"I couldn't give two shits about that now." Two steps forward.

"I -" Victoria's back hit the wall and Xavier's face now was only an inch away from her face.

"Be it carnal lust, infatuation or whatever it is I'm feeling about you," he gingerly pulled her long black hair away from her neck. "I just know I can't get you out of my mind." He rasped.

A chill went down Victoria's spine and she held her breath. She could feel his warm breath against the sensitive part of her neck. This can't be good… she thought as she tried mentally reaccessing the situation.

"Devil's sake…" she whispered and her breaths became laden. She could feel his wet tongue painfully slow licking at her throat.

"So is this how a vampire feels before sinking their fangs into soft warm flesh?" he asked and looked up at her slyly from the corners of his eyes.

".." Xavier's tongue slowly lapped to the vulnerable area behind her ears. Hot, soft and slick tongue against smooth cold white flesh.

She let out a moaned and instantly, one of his hands shot out and grabbed a fistful of her dark locks of hair. He jerked her head to one side, exposing the vulnerable side even more. His other hand went to the small of her back and pulled her body tight against his. His large hands spread wide across her waist.

In hungry lustful motions, Xavier dragged his lips to Victoria's and devoured her. Victoria found her own body reacting to his and everything turned into a frenzy.

Wanting and needing more of each other, lips were nibbled and tongues were lapping at each other, fighting for dominance. Victoria's mind went blank as she grazed Xavier's lips and tasted the trickle of his blood.

She fell into an oblivion of ecstasy.

It was thick, sweet and yet, bitter from the few puffs of cigarettes that he took earlier on. Xavier was almost losing himself as well while Victoria melted and molded into his arms, going frantic over his blood.

A sound of a crow screeching into the air cut across the dead silence and their heavy breaths, groans and sighs.

Pulled back to reality, Victoria opened her eyes and shoved Xavier away with all her might. Caught off-guard, Xavier was sent hurtling back and slammed against an opposite tree. "We… can't do this, Xavier."

Dizzy, Xavier tried standing up. "There will be a way."

"All this lust… what good does lust do? What good does infatuations do?"

"It's more than that!" Xavier shouted angrily and stomped towards her again.

"How can it be more than that! You will always be a Hunter and I a vampire! And let us not even go to… to love!"

Xavier wrapped his calloused hands around hers. "I never said it was love. But I know there is something between us. We've just got to find out what is it."

"Impossible. Entirely impossible," she murmured.

Xavier sighed and let go of her hands, stepping away. "I'll look for you again. For now, we'll part."

Another screeching cry from a crow.

And Xavier disappeared, enveloped into the darkness.

Victoria was left standing there, catching her breath. A sudden premonition dawned on her but she pushed it aside. She could not tell anyone about this, but she can handle it.

"Yeah… Yeah, I can." She whispered to herself and disappeared into the darkness as well.

Present Moment

Gage's POV

The Hall of the Masked Elders was dimly lit in red candles instead of white. Tension was clearly present in the hall as all of us sat rigidly in our incredibly uncomfortable ceremonial attires.

The anxious silence was broken by a knock on the door and before I could give permission to enter, the dimly lit room was sliced by light.

"Hellooooooo people!" Victoria's voice rang while walking, almost floatingly, into the room in her black gown adorned with rubies. Her long lustrous black hair was wavy and tiny amber beads decorated it. Her eyes held their usual unsettling sparkle and her lips, as luscious as ever.

She could not have looked more beautiful in her life and right then, I felt like taking her into my arms and ravish her.

However I knew none of the Elders shared the same sentiments as I do.

"Welcome, Victoria Kandrac."

"Oh hi Gage!" She waved at me, standing in the middle of our circle.

I could see Lilith pinching the bridge of her nose, taking in a deep breath.

"This will be your final ceremony and commencement in becoming the official Captain of the Red Division," I said.

"Yeah. I know. Been here, done that. I know the drill so you can skip all the formal chit chat," she waved her hands in the air nonchalantly.

I cast a glance at Lilith and she was not at all surprised at Victoria's actions. It was so typical and predictable of her. So unwilling to conform.

"Well then, my fellow Vampire Elders please rise." I raised my hands in accordance. Turning to Lilith, I gave her a knowing look. "Master Lilith, you may proceed with the ceremony."

"Wait… wait!" Victoria suddenly screamed and held out a finger. "I already told you my condition – no weird markings on my face. I already have one hideous one of my leg." She lifted her skirt to reveal Xavier's mark on her. "Either you accept my terms or I'm walking out. Swear to the Devil!"

"Victoria! An official ceremony is an official ceremony! You dare question our procedures?" Lilith walked down from her high chair in anger.

"Lilith!" I shouted, my thundering voice stopping her in her tracks. "We have discussed this in the last meeting and we have all agreed that so long as she manages to achieve the plans and goals you set for her, matters such as this should be left aside."

Lilith whipped a glare at me, before giving an even more sinister glare to Victoria. Reeling back her emotions, she said, "Very well, as you wish, my Lord."

"Well then!" Victoria clapped her hands and tapped her feet in impatience. "I really don't want to waste my own time – or yours – so can we get down to it fast?"

Lilith grinded her teeth and held her hands up into the air.

"Est va laviah,

In'grah to beshck

The Holy Sword of Blood,

Descend upon me!"

Wasps of red smoke swirled itself around Lilith, moving upwards, higher and higher into the air. The candle flames were blown out, plunging the room further into darkness and the only source of light was the tiny sparks of fire spitting out from where the red smoke gather in the air.

Gradually, the sparks died down and in the air floated a magnificent coal black sword with blood oozing from a thin line in the core of the sword. The sword then suddenly fell into Lilith's open hands and the fire of the candles magically appeared again.

Dust settled and Lilith stared at the sword. It brought back memories long ago how she once slayed the previous Master to inherit this sword through my help. But now was not the time to be reminiscing of the past.

Holding onto the hilt, blood covered her hands. In barely audible footsteps, she walked to Victoria.

"Kneel," she commanded.

Victoria did as she was told.

Taking that as my cue, I descended by high throne and took the sword from Lilith's hands. After Lilith stepped away, I stared at Victoria in silent.

There was no turning back now. I was about to appoint Victoria to be the Captain of the Red Division. Whether she would us this new gain title to turn against us or not, I do not know.

"By the power vested in me as the Lord of the Masked Elders, I, Gage Sinclair declare you, Victoria Kandrac," I laid the sword on her head, then her shoulders, and watch as the blood from the sword cover the top of her head and disappear almost instantaneously. "With the enchantment of Est va laviah – Holy Sword of Blood – to be the appointed Captain of the Red Division."

"May the Lord of Darkness forever protect you," said the Masked Elders in unison.

"Est va laviah

Hes'grah to beshck

The Holy Sword of Blood,

Ascend to your home."

The sword felt warm in my hands as it simmered and turned back into the red smoke. It slithered back to Lilith who welcomed it with open arms once more and it seeped back into her.

"Rise, my vampire!" I shouted and held my hand out for Victoria. "My brothers and sisters of the Masked Elders, may I introduce you to Victoria Kandrac – the new captain of the Red Division." I held her hands high in mine.

"It will be a pleasure working with all of you once more." Victoria grinned, flashing her fangs. "Especially you, my Lady Lilith…"

AN: Sorry for such a crazy impossibly slow update. But now the story is finally picking up again. If you have been continuously reading this story despite my irresponsibility, THANK YOU SO MUCH! If you are a new reader, Welcome and I hope you enjoyed this chapter!

PS: Constructive reviews are always welcome :D but I repeat: CONSTRUCTIVE