Luna De Luke pushed her brown bangs out of her green eyes. She needed her eyes. She looked around the forest surrounding her. Where were Demetria, Scarlet, and Nightshade? She'd been waiting on them for a long, boring hour. She thought about going home, but changed her mind. They'd be here soon, she knew it.
A rustle in a bush caught her attention. A girl in a tight-fitting brown jacket and dark green cargo pants stepped out.
"Demetria?" Luna asked. "Is that you?"
"Of course it's me." the blonde-haired girl called back.
"Where are the others?" Luna inquired. If anyone knew it was Demetria. She was a knight. A guard.
"Princess Nightshade was called to a meeting. Something about a security breach, but I wasn't told anything else."
"What about Scarlet?" Demetria shook her head.
"I don't know. I looked for her, but I couldn't find her." Demetria answered worriedly. Just then, an exhausted-looking Scarlet jogged over to them.
"Sorry I'm late. I was… doing something for Lady Morgana." she said. Luna knew Scarlet was a spy for the queen and could not talk about was she did, so did not question her further. '
Unbeknownst to the people of Transylvania, the royal family was vampires. As were the Royal Guard, which consisted of the knights and spies. The servants in the castle were vampires too. Luna was one of them.
Orphans like Luna usually ended up either on the streets or as servants to some aristocrat. The royal family took in Luna, who was, at the time, ten. She lived with them for five years.
"Do you know what's going on in the conference room; the security breach?" Demetria asked Scarlet, hoping for some Intel.
"No, but Nightshade wouldn't hide the information from us."
Scarlet looked up to the moon, her crimson hair shining in the light it gave off.
"C'mon you two," she urged. "I'm starving."
To keep their existence unknown, vampires hunted four per night. Each one fed once a month. They weren't allowed to hunt on humans, only animals.
Luna respected this. It wasn't like they did it to torture the less fortunate, like her. They did it to keep their existence a secret. The royal family hunted about as much as the people did. As far as Luna knew. But Luna did hate that Nightshade had the same day as her. It made her feel as if the royals didn't trust her.
Once they were done hunting, Nightshade showed up.
"Finally," rejoiced Demetria. It was torturing Luna not to know what was going on, but it seemed to her that Demetria and Scarlet, two of the queen's most trusted soldiers, were truly devastated to have been excluded from the discussion. Luna, a servant, was used to it. They were not.
"Can you tell us what's going on?' wondered Scarlet. Nightshade nodded.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" screeched Demetria. Nightshade shushed her.
"You guys know how the death rates the past month have increased, right?" The three other girls nodded eagerly.
"Well… the increased amount of unexplained deaths combined with the marks on the corpses suggests someone has been drinking humans."
Luna, along with Demetria and Scarlet gasped.
"My mother, Father, and the royal advisors want the guard to use their free time to find the culprit."
"Wait, if the guard is out looking for this vampiric killer, then Luna might be hunting alone. " Demetria said. Luna looked at Nightshade hopefully.
"But you'll still be here, right Nightshade?"
"Maybe. Maybe not. It depends." The princess admitted. Her black eyes looked down upon the younger girl with sadness. It was no secret Nightshade hated when a crisis happened. "A Frenchman came to visit us not that long ago with reports of yellow fever in the colonies."
"I thought they were declared an independent country." Scarlet muttered. Nightshade rolled her eyes.
"In any case," she continued. "Our existence is not only being threatened, but so the myths about coffins and sunlight and garlic we'd made up to protect ourselves. Once the mortals realize what's happening, it could be the vampire hunts all over again. This yellow fever rumor in the states is not helping."
"What about hunting?" I doubt I'll be allowed to do that alone." Luna pointed out.
Nightshade shrugged. "That is not my problem. That is yours." Luna did not comment on the selfishness of what Nightshade had just said. Nightshade tended to be that way under stress.
Nightshade turned away. Luna knew when the princess did this, she usually felt guilty about something. She had grown to recognize those signs.
"I am terribly sorry, Luna. Forgive me. You and the other servants will not starve. I am sure my parents are not that cruel. And if I am wrong, and they are, hopefully you'll hold out long enough that I can make sure you get food. If I do leave to America, I'll only be gone for a few months at the most." She, trailed by Demetria and Scarlet, left the forest. Luna sighed.
Scarr, another servant, had overheard the king in the conference room with his wife and daughter. They had been reading a letter sent to them by a Philadelphian man.
All other cities in the country had closed their gates to them, because of the fever, and the city was desperate for help. Nightshade and Morgana planned on going to help them.
A month went by. A week prior, Nightshade and her mother headed off to America. Lord Castellan, Nightshade's father, was a cruel man, contrary to Nightshade's belief. On her scheduled hunting day, Luna went hungry.
At the end of month two, Luna could not stand the hunger anymore. She grabbed a cloak Nightshade had given her and snuck out of the castle.
Walking through the empty street on the way to the forest, Luna heard a vaguely familiar scream
She raced to the sound quickly. When she reached the scene, she was horrified. Vampires were not allowed to drink humans. Why was this one sucking one dry without a care?
Luna knocked the vampire of the human. The two vampires rolled around for a bit on the ground until Luna emerged the one in control. Now sitting on top of the other girl, Luna could see her face clearly.
"Charlotte?"She said, surprised. She couldn't believe what she saw. It was another servant from the castle. "Why."
"That queen and her evil husband. That's why. They are trying to make us weak, feeding us once a month, and when they did, only animals." Charlotte explained.
"That was for the protection of our secrecy." hissed Luna.
Once she had taken care of Charlotte, Luna turned toward the other girl. The human. Miraculously, she was still alive.
When she saw the person coming towards her, the human girl shrieked, "Don't hurt me. Don't hurt me," Luna knelt at her side, and discovered the most horrifying thing. The fatally injured girl was her sister.
Minerva, Luna's sister, was two years her senior, and when their parents died, became a maid. The two had never seen each other again.
"Minerva, it's me. Luna." She said, grateful to the vampire's reduced aging. She should be fifteen, but looked only a tad bit older than when Minerva had last seen her.
"No way." Minerva answered.
"Yes, look." Persisted Luna as she pushed down her hood on her cloak. Minerva gasped.
"Luna? You haven't aged a bit."
Luna looked at her sister's wounds. She didn't only have a loss of blood, but several injuries that indicated a struggle. It didn't surprise Luna. Minerva had always been a fighter. Luna stayed next to her, keeping her company as she died.
The next day, when the king gave her the ban news, she pretended to be surprised. Also, that day, Nightshade came back. Luna, who hadn't hunted the night before like she'd meant to, stared hatefully at the girl. She looked well-fed.
When Nightshade discovered this, she took her hunting almost immediately. While hunting, Luna told Nightshade what happened with Charlotte. The young princess grew so hot with anger, Luna thought she'd blow.
Nightshade turned to Luna.
"Luna, your bravery your respect for justice, it's what my mother looks for in the guard. Which is why I declare thee Knight and Guard of Transylvania."