Desmond tapped his foot against the ground in irritation, glaring at Jack. "We were supposed to leave for Scotland today, Jack. Do you really think that you can talk Bane into accompanying us?"

"I'm positive. This is it, Desmond. This is our last stand. Bane won't want to sit this out."

Desmond sighed, putting his hands up in defeat. "Fine. Hopefully this turns out to be fruitful. Having Bane on our side would be a giant coup."

"All right," Jack said with a nod. "I'll leave for his place at once."

"Wait," Alundra said, running up to Jack. "I'm coming too."

Jack glanced at Alundra with an unreadable expression on his face. "Yeah, come along."

Jack and Alundra took off afterward, leaving Desmond behind. Luxeria appeared out of thin air after they left, scowling at Desmond.

"They fucked, didn't they?"

Desmond nodded in response. "We really didn't need this before our final battle."

"Whatever," Luxeria groaned, leaning against a wall. "This is what you wanted. Jack definitely is no longer on the path of ending up like Edmund."

Desmond shook his head grimly. "He's on a worse path. All of us in this covenant share a bond, but it's not that kind of bond. Love can be the ultimate weakness on the battlefield. I think we both saw that with Vaunt and Tsuba."

Luxeria closed her eyes, letting out a very soft sigh. "You don't think we share that kind of bond, Desmond?"

"Luxeria," Desmond mumbled, glancing away from the female vampire. "I thought we both agreed that relationship didn't work out."

Luxeria turned her back to Desmond, beginning to walk away. "And? Do you really think that means I still don't love you? I figured you felt the same."

Luxeria said nothing more, vanishing after she finished speaking.

Desmond lowered his head as he began to dig his fingernails into his skin. "Of course I still feel the same, you fool."

xxxxxx

Bane narrowed his eyes, looking between Alundra and Jack. "You really think the council is going to agree to this?"

"They have to," Jack responded. "You know that Bartholomew is done playing around. He's beginning to make his move, whatever that move is. The council is going to be forced to respond."

Bane ran a hand through his hair, thinking about the situation. "Fine. I'll come with you guys, but if the council says no then I'm out."

"Fair enough," Jack replied.

"I guess we should leave now," Alundra interjected, shifting her eyes around. "Desmond was pissed we came here to begin with. He wanted to leave for Scotland today."

"That Desmond was always a pain in the ass," Bane groaned.

"Yeah, let's go," Jack said.

"Wait," Bane commanded. His dull eyes had suddenly perked up. "You two…get the fuck out of here. Now!"

"What's wrong?" Alundra asked in confusion.

"Six hunters are approaching this place fast. And two of them are Raymond and Sosuke."

"What are you saying then?!" Jack yelled toward Bane. "We can't leave you here to deal with all that."

"Are you stupid? You and Aundra would only get in my way. Get back to Desmond. I'll handle this."

"I don't understand," Jack screamed, tears beginning to form in his eyes. "You're basically asking us to abandon you to your death. You know full well that not even you can take on six hunters at once!"

Bane chuckled, flicking Jack's forehead. "I thought you respected my strength? Don't worry about it, Jack. I've lived a pointlessly long life. You two right now…you're going to help usher in a new age. An age where us vampire don't have to live in fear of The Holy Order. I'll gladly risk my life to assure that future."

Jack, with tears now pouring from his eyes, gave one final look toward Bane before grabbing Alundra and taking off.

Bane shook his head, walking toward the front door of his house. He was really a stupid fool. Why was he doing this? Maybe he just wanted to hurry up and die to meet the former lover of his life, Rena, already.

The vampire walked out of the door, scoping out the area. There was nobody visible, but Bane knew that they were around here somewhere. Bane's eyes widened as he quickly jumped into the air. A rocket exploded against the ground where he had been standing previously, as the blast sent him flying a bit. Bane landed on the ground, staring at the two people now in front of him.

One was Raymond and the other was a man of Japanese descent. This was Sosuke Uzundo. Sosuke had short black hair and beady, black eyes. He wore a white karate uniform with a red bandana around his forehead.

"It's been quite a while since our last meeting, Bane Gecko," Raymond said.

"It has been, Raymond. I distinctly remember breaking three of your bones on that occasion. Do you plan on going back with even more broken this time?"

"You're sure cocky considering the hopeless situation you're in," Sosuke said gruffly. "You realized how many of us there were from the get-go. Correct? That's why you sent Alundra Blazer and Jack Klavier to flee."

Bane glared darkly at Sosuke. "Leave them be. You'll have your hands full with me."

"Don't worry," Raymond assured Bane. "We aren't bothering to pursue them. They'll be dead soon enough. We came here tonight for one reason. We need to kill the biggest possible wildcard. You, Bane Gecko, are an element that we can't allow to live. Bartholomew views you as more dangerous than the council itself."

"Nice to know he thinks so highly of me," Bane said sarcastically, continuing to glance around the area. "Where are the other four? Three of them seem to be relatively weak, but one has an aura that makes me see nothing but potential. Do you have a top ten with you?"

"No, no," Raymond answered with a laugh. "We only brought lower ranked hunters with us. You can come out Terrell, Roger, Paul and Joyce."

Four additional people appeared in front of Bane instantly. One, the 28th ranked hunter Terrell Miller, was a tall, buff dark-skinned man with a shaved head. One, the 26th ranked hunter Roger Wagner, was a medium-sized man with green eyes and short black hair. He looked to be in his mid thirties and had a worldly appearance. One, the 22nd ranked hunter Paul Harper, was a built man with a crew cut. He gave off a cocky vibe. Finally, the 30th ranked hunter Joyce Patricia, looked like a blonde bombshell. She had medium-length blonde hair and baby blue eyes. She wore a long blue dress that went well past her knees and had a pink headband on.

Bane ignored three of them, focusing all his attention on Joyce. "What rank is the woman?"

"I'm Joyce Patricia, the 30th ranked hunter," Joyce answered in a soft, silky voice. "It's nice to meet you, Bane Gecko. I'm honored to face off against such an infamous opponent."

Bane was taken aback by her ranking. She was the one who had potential through the roof. This girl, Joyce, had the potential to become even stronger than Raymond.

"You seem confused," Sosuke remarked. "Joyce is far stronger than her ranking would suggest. She's considered to be the next Belle."

"No," Bane murmured. "She has potential that far outstrips anything Belle Trufant could ever achieve. Bartholomew truly found a monster in this one."

"You speak of me so highly," Joyce commented, licking her lips. "Could it be that the great Bane Gecko is, perhaps, scared of me?"

"No," Bane answered succinctly. "I'm just realizing that I need to get rid of the fodder now."

Bane vanished from sight, reappearing behind Roger. Roger turned his head around in shock, blood beginning to fall from a gigantic hole in his chest. The hunters' heart was in Bane's hands. Bane glanced toward Terrell, proceeding to crush the heart mercilessly.

Terrell growled, materializing an assortment of soccer balls on the ground. The 28th ranked hunter ran toward the soccer balls, kicking them all at Bane in succession. Bane stood still, letting all the balls hit him. The balls all exploded and sent dust flying through the area. Terrell grinned before quickly replacing that grin with a look of shock.

Bane was completely unharmed.

"Terrell Miller. You live up to your moniker of being the "killer athlete." Unfortunately, that ability is in the hands of someone as weak as you. Being able to materialize any sports equipment you want, and being able to make it deadly, really is a great ability."

Terrell snarled as a football appeared in his hands. Bane didn't give him the chance to throw it, breaking the arm holding the football with ease. Terrell screamed out as Bane tossed him to the ground. Bane lifted his foot up and then slammed it down on Terrell's throat.

The hunter died instantly.

Bane, with his foot still on Terrell's crushed throat, shifted his eyes toward Paul. "You're next."

Sosuke cocked his head, frowning slightly. "Should we intervene, Raymond?"

Raymond shook his head in response. "No. Let's see if Paul can harm him at all. If he dies then we'll intervene to protect Joyce."

Paul grinned oddly, as a chest plate materialized over his chest. "I won't be as easy to take out as those two, Bane."

Bane took his foot off Terrell and shot a disgusted look toward Paul. "That's really all you have to say after watching me brutally murder two of your companions?"

"They knew what they were getting into," Paul answered. "We're all here because we hate vampires. And I know that I'll gladly die to try to bring you down with me!"

"Such stupidity," Bane said with a tint of melancholy in his voice. "I'd truly love to know the brainwashing that goes on in The Holy Order."

"It's not stupidity," Paul roared, as an enormous laser shot out from the middle of his chest.

Bane's eyes went wide, the laser piercing him straight through the chest. The vampire didn't fall down, nor did he show any sign of actual pain. He just looked at Paul with a dejected expression.

"Did you expect that to hurt me?" Bane asked blandly.

"Wh-what?!" Paul stammered, shocked at Bane being completely unharmed by the attack.

"Let me show you a real weapon," Bane said before materializing a black sword in his hands. "You hunters aren't the only ones who can materialize weapons. We found a way to take advantage of such tools too. It is quite annoying to actually do, though."

"You have a sword, so what?" Paul asked as sweat slid down his forehead.

"A sword?" Bane repeated condescendingly. "Let me show you what this sword can do."

Bane swung his sword at the air, black flames shooting out. The flames traveled faster than Paul's eyes could even follow. They cut through his body like a knife, literally incinerating the portion of his body that they traveled through. Paul fell to the ground - having been cut in half by the flames.

The vampire didn't even stall for a second before he was in Joyce's face. Bane swung his sword, Joyce skillfully evading the attack. The black flames caught onto Joyce's dress, starting to burn the garment away. Joyce quickly cut the burning portion off before ducking a kick from Bane's foot.

Bane was about to continue his attack but stopped as Raymond and Sosuke appeared in front of Joyce.

"Her potential is limitless. It's not surprising that you two would only bother to protect her and not the rest."

"She's too valuable an asset to lose," Raymond admitted. "You saw that with your own eyes. There are not many people, vampire or hunter, that could dodge two attacks from you."

Bane nodded his head, looking directly into Joyce's eyes. "I wasn't going easy with those attacks. I really did try to kill her, and believe me I expected to kill her. She's stronger than most of your top ten. Why is she ranked so low?"

"It's so she could fly under the radar," Sosuke grunted. "The less vampires like you know about her, the better."

"Makes sense," Bane agreed. "So, you two are going to stand against me now? Not particularly fair."

"Don't be so coy," Raymond admonished the vampire. "You're stronger than us. All three of us know that. Our only chance is to come at you together."

Bane chuckled, tilting his head to the side. "I've grown weaker. Conflict and war no longer interests me. There's nothing more boring than fighting. It's partly why I'm making this stupid last stand against you two. I want to help end this pointless war between us vampire and The Holy Order."

"The war won't end until one of our sides is completely destroyed," Raymond stated. "Lord Bartholomew won't quit until he's breathed his final breath."

"Then we'll just have to kill him and all of you won't we?" Bane asked with a lopsided grin. "I don't care how many of you have to die. I just want peace to finally come to this fucking planet."

"Your wife. Her name was Rena, wasn't it? She died 300 years prior in a battle against the former leader of my clan. That's what Lord Bartholomew told me."

Bane stared at Raymond serenely. At least he seemed serene on the surface. However, a trained killer could spot the fury pouring out of Bane's body. The killing intent was unmistakable.

"Don't mention her name. I don't want her name to ever be uttered by a piece of shit like you."

"Hit a nerve did I? You should be glad, Bane. You'll be able to join Rena in the afterlife soon enough…assuming you disgusting creatures even go to the afterlife."

Bane threw his sword to the ground before charging at Raymond with absolutely unreal speed. The elite hunter quickly materialized his guns, shooting a barrage of bullets at Bane. The bullets hit Bane one after the other, but none of them so much as stalled the vampire. Instead the bullets simply traveled through his body and exited without Bane seemingly noticing at all.

Bane's fist impacted with Raymond's face, causing the hunter to fly backward like a torpedo. Raymond bounced across the ground like a ragdoll, only stopping when he collided with a house that got destroyed from the impact. Raymond lay on the ground motionless as pieces of the destroyed house rested on top of him.

xxxxxx

Sosuke was utterly speechless. All he could do was stare at Bane in horror. Yes, horror. He couldn't deny it. Fear was all he felt when he looked at the vampire. Bane Gecko was a living, breathing monster.

"How? How?! You got shot over fifty times in those couple seconds! I don't understand how you're even still breathing, let alone moving without any hindrances. The bullets did hit you…the numerous holes in your body can attest to that."

"Bullets," Bane muttered, glaring at Sosuke. "What are bullets to a monster? I'm the living embodiment of death. Everyone around me dies eventually; even Rena couldn't stand up to this one truth. And that's without me trying to kill them. Now imagine what happens when I turn that curse into anger toward an opponent? Petty human creations like bullets can't stop an avatar of death."

Sosuke backed up in fear, tripping over a pile of rocks and crumbling to the ground. Bane towered over the hunter, peering down at him with eyes full of tranquil anger.

"Pathetic. An elite hunter reduced to a groveling mess because he's finally seen the power of someone truly cursed with the skill of might? What a joke. You'll be dying soon, but take solace in the fact you didn't have to wield this heavy a burden. It's weighed me down too much over this long life."

Bane lifted his foot up before suddenly jerking his head toward the sky. Raymond, bleeding profusely, was above the vampire with a rocket launcher in his hands. Raymond fired out three rockets in quick succession, watching as they all hit Bane head-on. Sosuke tried to scurry away, but failed and was carried away by the explosion.

Raymond landed on the ground, gasping for air. He looked toward the sight of the explosion, praying that Bane was dead.

He didn't get his wish.

Bane still stood. Blood covered his face and his clothes were tattered. Parts of his body were burned from the explosion. But Bane Gecko still stood.

"What-what are you?" Raymond asked, not able to comprehend how Bane was still alive. "I've never heard of a vampire able to stand up to so much!"

"What am I?" Bane mused, slowly walking toward Raymond. Raymond materialized a machine gun, shooting bullets continuously at Bane in a panic. Bane was completely unfazed, continuing to slowly approach the hunter. "What am I? Is that what you really want to know?"

Raymond growled in anger, trying to figure out how to beat Bane. The vampire was finally in front of Raymond - just in time for the hunter to swing a silver bat right into Bane's head. Bane didn't even flinch, even as he was bludgeoned by one of the main weaknesses of a vampire, and looked into Raymond's frightened eyes.

"What am I? I'm a fool who should have died long ago."