Nikolas had been watching Ambrogio stare into the nothingness for five minutes.
If he was going to escape the beast, he needed to figure a way out, and the lengthening phase outs allowed small windows of time to determine his situation.
After two minutes of phasing out, he considered ripping off a leg of the chair and staking it in the heart.
That was always the heroic thing to do.
The reality was not as appealing.
Beast, monster, master evil doer against humanity, it did not matter because being in the presence of evil is not the same as shoving a stake through it.
Nikolas had sometimes wondered why people line up in front of firing squads without resistance, without attempting to run away. He had an inkling now, he was simply hoping he wouldn’t need to save himself. He was hoping there would be a last-minute change of mind. Or that the situation was just so unreal, so out of the realms of his experience, that his brain did not register it properly.
Maybe, if the vampire was an ugly, violent creature attacking him, he would stake it. But this man, telling his story, asking for help? Somehow, he was not someone who needed a stake shoved into his chest.
He would bide his time.
When he had decided to take no lethal action, he looked for doors, windows, air vents, anything that he could exit the room through. He only saw the single door.
It wasn’t even far away.
Again, he stayed where he was.
The risk of moving and bringing Ambrogio back to the present seemed too high. If he had ten minutes he would run. But when the time is unknown, with a creature that had stupendous speed, intellect and cunny, if he ran, he needed to ensure he escaped permanently the first time.
Since his body was hurting, with a dizzy head, and bruised limbs, he was not confident of an escape.
Regardless of that, he also felt he could assist Ambrogio to end his existence.
He desired his end.
Maybe he could help the creature find his salvation rather than kill it or run from it.
He noticed Ambrogio had mentally returned. The vampire said “The door is not locked. I will not hunt you down. I will not kill or feed off you”
Nikolas asked, “Are you saying I am free to go?”
“If that is your desire. But I am offering you a chance to end not just my existence, but that of all Vampires. Are you sure you want to walk away from such an opportunity?”
“How can I help end all vampires?”
Ambrogio answered “All vampires are linked together through my deal with Hades. This means that should I return to Hades empty handed, all vampires will become instantly enslaved in Tartarus and removed from the Earth. If I return with the bow, the deal is fulfilled, and the souls are given back to the vampires, removing them all from the Earth. Either way, all vampires cease existing. The collateral is released, so to speak.”
Nikolas was dumbfounded.
His mind was attempting to understand what was happening. The vampire who created a multitude of monsters not only wanted to end his existence, to remove himself from this Earth, he also wanted his legacy to end with him.
And he wanted the help of a random priest.
Something was not making sense.
Ambrogio simply watched Nikolas for a few moments then continued to share his story.
“I wept that night because I had failed to gain the attention of Artemis. Forty-five nights to impress Artemis with my skill, even with the aid of the magical bow, had failed. I wept, and I had no intention of returning to the cavern before daylight. I was going to wait for Selene and hope she appeared before the sun for an embrace before I died from the sunlight.”
Ambrogio walked to the door as he spoke, then opened it.
“As I wept, a hand pressed on my shoulder, a soft voice said to me “Stand Ambrogio, I have noticed you after all”. I turned around to see Artemis. It is strange how, over time, the manner of her looks changed to fit the times. Let me assure you, she was an impressive being. Strong, powerful, athletic in every sense of the word. She knew she was capable, and when you look upon her, only a fool would disagree”
He stood by the open door. Extended his hand out to let Nikolas know he could exit.
“If you want to leave, Nikolas, you can. But if you stay, I will need your assistance until my end. It will not be easy. But before we begin, you need to know this story, so you know what needs to be done, and why.”
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