The Third Night

Luke was very glad Matthew  had walked with him all the way to castle doors. Though Matthew could be annoying, he did walk with an air of assurance that everything would turn out alright, something that Luke hoped would rub off on him. Luke did hope that everything would end well, but if he had to face whom he thought he would tonight, there was a chance that it wouldn’t end well.

“Well, congratulation, you are the first man to have come back for the third night, which means it will be all over soon,” announced Matthew.

“What will be all over soon?” asked Luke, starting to pale.

“The curse of Akebiall and your ordeal. Soon you will come out of those doors with the lovely Leyla and the crowds will cheer your triumphant return!”

“Yeah, your kind of triumphant return, besides, I think the crowds will boo seeing as how I destroyed one of their chief curse attractions,” grumbled Luke.

“Leyla, for one, would be glad, as would Peregrine and I, that this curse will be broken. If the townsfolk boo, it is because they do not understand the danger they were in or how great it was,” explained Matthew.

“Why don’t they know?” Luke inquired.

“Because they refuse to listen to any warnings since they are so worried about the tourists and the money coming in that they wouldn’t know it even if danger was staring them in the face,” Matthew stated.

Oh, great, so three people are rooting for me, hooray,” grumbled Luke.

“Make that four, Aliyah is rooting for you too,” stated Matthew.

Aliyah, who’s Aliyah?”

“Leyla’s grandmother.”

Luke blinked then his eyes grew wide. “She asked you to come!” he blurted.

Matthew laughed, “That she did, and yes, she also asked me to help Leyla’s one true love.” He winked at Luke, whose eyes only got bigger. “Alright, enough chit-chat, you’ve got a curse to break and a lady to wake, so get in there and remember what I said.” Luke nodded, and with a new hope, went through the doors of Akebiall to face the third and final challenge.

Luke wandered the halls, doing a quick go-through on the first floor before making his way to the second floor, all while looking for the stairway that would lead to the tower. He thought he found them as his second candle was about halfway when he heard a noise coming from the first floor. Thinking that it could be his adversary, Luke quickly uncovered the bundle Matthew gave him and, with the lantern in his left hand and the sword in his right, he advanced cautiously down the stairs. He quietly peeked around the staircase before venturing towards the sitting room. Another noise reached Luke’s ears, alerting him to a presence lurking in the dining room. Moonlight streamed into the room, falling upon a dark shape whose back was turned to Luke. Luke raised his lantern to try and get a better look when the figure turned and glared. Luke gaped at the image before hin, the skin was the color of salt, his brown hair looked like it was sculpted, and his eyes, those horrible-looking eyes, shot a bolt of terror into Luke’s chest. As the vampire crept closer, Luke found it harder to tear his eyes away from those white pupils and red irises stamped onto black eyeballs.

“Welcome to my castle, Akebiall, young fellow. I am its lord and master, Vergilius. You must be here to wake my youngest, Leyla. It is the only explanation since you apparently did not find my older two or their maid much to your liking,” the vampire said as he came within a few feet of Luke, his voice dripping with a poisonous honey.

Luke took a few steps back before retorting, “You are right, I did not find those three to my liking and, knowing how those three were, I think I shall like Leyla much better.”

“Well, thanks to you, she is now my only daughter, so you will have to go through me! Vergilius roared as he lunged for Luke. Luke smashed the lantern in the vampire’s face, causing the villain to scream in agony while Luke bolted out of the room. “Come back here, you coward!” Vergilius roared as Luke sprinted through the sitting room to the gameroom.

“Not in that room,” muttered Luke as he tore through the game room, the sword at the ready. Then, as he neared the ballroom, Luke shouted, “I wish for light in the whole castle!” Vergilius shrieked as light, for the first time in many years, blazed through the castle. Luke cheered as he burst into the ballroom, a cheer that quickly stopped when he saw his adversary in the light.

“Some things should be kept in the dark, boy,” sneered Vergilius as he charged with a cruel-looking blade that seemed to gleam red in the flickering candlelight. Metal clanged against metal as the blades met, again and again. Vergilius brought his blade down with such force that though Luke blocked it well, it sent him stumbling. Luke kept moving, trying to keep one step ahead and trying to stay alive. Luke decided to try a new tactic and attacked Vergilius with as much ferocity as could manage, but that only took more energy and put Vergilius on the defensive fro a little while.

“Impressive, most impressive, but you’ll have to do better than that!” growled Vergilius as he went back on the offensive, hammering his sword harder than ever. Luke tried a different tactic, dodge and parry. It worked better than being on the offensive, but he was running out of time, and fast. The candles flickered, casting an eerie light upon the swords, one gleaming red, the other blue, as the battle intensified. Luke began to despair of ever finding an opening in Vergilius’ attacks when something strange happened that surprised both men. Several candles came flying off the walls and struck Vergilius, stunning him. Though Luke was not being hit, he too was stunned for it seemed that an invisible hand was taking them off the walls and throwing them at Vergilius. Luke snapped out of his surprise when a candle soared over him, just barely missing him, and attacked Vergilius. Vergilius was able to hold off Luke until the candles attacked with more ferocity, giving Luke the chance to cut off Vergilius’ right hand, the red blade clanging on the floor. Luke quickly sliced through Vergilius’ other arm before embedding the sword through the vampire’s chest and into the wall.

“You coward, you cheater! You had help! This does not count! You will not wake her!” Vergilius howled.

“You are right, he did have help, but it does count and he will wake her . . . now,” Matthew stated impatiently upon entering.

“Thanks,” whispered Luke as he rushed past Matthew towards the stairs. Matthew nodded and winked before walking towards the vampire pinned to the wall.

“Well, this is the strangest wall ornament I’ve ever seen. Sorry to leave you hanging like this, but it’s for Luke’s and Leyla’s good,” remarked Matthew, a grin tugging at the corner of his mouth.

“Quit your yapping, genie, I will get this sword out, and I will kill them, and you will not stop me!” growled Vergilius, as he began moving his body to loosen the sword from the wall.

“Oh my my, how scary, I’m shaking in my boots. However, there is one thing you’re forgetting,” stated Matthew as he drew closer to the window.

“Oh really, and what’s that?” Vergilius glared at him. For several minutes there was quiet, two complete opposites staring at each other, trying to get the upper hand. The black and red eyes of the vampire began to falter under the steady gaze of the whites and blues of the genie. Matthew smiled before opening the curtains,

“It’s dawn,” came the genie’s cool response.

“No!” screamed Vergilius as the morning light came pouring in, shooting his body with rays of light. vergilius continued to scream until his body completely faded away into dust. Matthew bent over and blew on it, scattering the particles. He straightened up and glanced around.

“Oh, I guess I’d better clean up.” With a snap of his fingers, the room was back in order, minus the two swords that floated by Matthew’s side. one vanished into thin air while he took the other and presented it to the young man who came down the stairs holding hands with a lovely brunette.

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