Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Followed by a thud as she hits the ground.
Also followed by Levi slamming open the door
She sighs to herself and looks over to Levi as he stares at her curiously. Knife in hand. Ready to protect her at all costs.
"Another dream?" He asks once he sees no intruder.
She nods, standing up. "I wouldn't normally be this worked up about it… But Levi this is the fifth time I have woken up on this train with the exact same dream."
Levi closes the door to her room when he steps inside. "What was the dream?"
"We always find him. We sneak in, find the documents, and catch the train like we did a few hours ago…" She pauses, swallowing nervously. "But, something happens with the train. A huge storm came. Hail that size of rocks. Everything was getting ripped apart. The train got flown off the tracks and into the water, but the water was like some huge whirlpool and we were caught in it.. There were these creatures… And then I wake up."
Levi stays silent for a moment.
Then he speaks. "Come eat."
Together, Levi, Furlan, and Isabel sit in the dining room and eat.
"Never liked trains." Furlan says after Levi told him about the dream.
Levi drinks some water. "Remind me to just book Isabel and I a ticket then. Okay?"
Furlan laughs at this, shaking his head. "What did the creatures look like?"
"Extremely attractive humans."
"Hm." Furlan places a finger to his mouth. "Perhaps they could shapeshift."
She groans. "I really don't want to relive this right now."
Levi ignores that. "If they could shapeshift, what would they be?"
It's silent for quite some time as they all thought about it.
"They weren't like creatures we've seen before." Isabel says. Everything in her tone screamed to leave it be and so Furlan and Levi picked up on the cues and left it alone.
At least for now.
It happens gradually. At first, they were eating. Just chatting and listening to Isabel sing animatedly, annoying Furlan, but secretly pleasing him. Everything was normal. People gathered to eat. Some dance. But then the first thunder striked. Isabel jumped, dropping her fork.
The second time and the voices slowly get quieter and the chatter is cut in half.
Third time was always the charmer.
Levi almost smiled. He knew of course.
Everything always comes in threes.
The windows shattered and screams ran rampant as terror disguised itself into the form of hail. When a guy gets hit by a big piece, Levi was already up, grabbing Isabels arm and running down the hall with Furlan close behind.
The door is torn from the doorway, knocking Furlan into the wall and all the papers were thrown around, shooting out the window and being drowned in the rain.
Furlan gets up. A few cuts on his face.
"We need to get off the train!" Levi says as he opens the back entrance.
The storm got stronger and smacked it shut, this time something falling on it and barricading the door.
"No… Way.." Isabel stares wide eyed at the ceiling.
Levi follows her gaze and watches as the ceiling of the train began to crack. As if someone was prying it apart. Looking like giant scratch marks.
"My dream…" She whispers in fear.
The train tears and unravels itself apart. Many parts became unhinged from each other.
Something drags Isabel across the floor and she screams as the invisible force drags her straight out the window.
Levi is terrified. Furlan can't breathe. It's about ten seconds of silence before the wave comes, pushing the train off the tracks and into the water. He catches it. Briefly. Looked to see water, thunder, and hail. It looked as if someone had started the end of the world. Furlan had jumped out the window, the ocean catching him and swallowing him up in the whirlpool.
He can't shout. He can't yell. All he can think about is that one line from Isabels favorite childhood book before the waves suck him up.
Oh, please don't go-we'll eat you up-we love you so!
"Levi? Are you with me? Levi? " Her voice carved itself all around him, yet he could barely recall his vision as everything spun around him.
He mumbled something incoherent and she laughed with delight.
"Oh good! Good! You're still awake! Now, Levi, listen closely. You have approximately an hour until the next storm comes. You need to be on land by then-"
"Land?" He groans in pain. It dawns on him that he is floating on half a piece of wood, in the middle of the sea, talking to no one but a voice… All of which is coming from his head. He hoped he wasn't hallucinating. He sincerely hoped that whoever this voice was, she was here to help him survive and not guide him patiently towards his death.
"Yes, Levi. You're going to be okay. Once you get on dry land, you'll see a huge parade going on. You can't miss it. The only problem is you'll be around some who don't take too kindly to humans. There isn't a way to mask you. You'll probably smell way too good to them."
"You'll see a shop at the center called Hanjis Apothecary. Get to it and stay indoors. Understand?"
He hums in response.
He hears a sigh. "Are you sure he is listening?" A male voice spoke.
" Ab-so-luuuutely!" She dragged the word out. "Good luck, Levi."
"Yeah, good luck." The male said. Though his tone was anything but positive.
Levi lifts himself up to look at the sky. It wasn't dark just yet, but it was getting there. With a heavy grunt, he gets himself off the wood and begins to swim, gritting his teeth at the pain. Blood was washing off of him and he frowned. He had lost not just one of his friends, but all of them. All of them had disappeared. He hoped they were just missing, but he keeps replaying their screams of terror in his mind. Yet… He never saw them die. Not once. Just heard screams, then they were gone. Though, he knows it's foolish to think likewise.
It was storming heavily, hail coming down as if God himself were destroying Sodom and Gomorrah once again. The train was getting torn to pieces as if someone were physically ripping it apart. The wind sounded like a monster and next thing he knew the ocean tried to swallow them up and then he woke up to voices in his head. He thought he would have died. If anything he hoped would die. Rather choosing death than to be without his friends. He doesn't know how he made it this far. He was only human after all. And everyone knows that humans are not invincible. So how he was alive was the only question looping in his mind at the moment.
Now that's a story to tell one day , he thinks to himself.
It's nothing for a while, but then he hears it. Shouts and laughter. Balloons, fireworks, kids screaming.
The only problem is you'll be around some who don't take kindly to humans.
So if they themselves weren't human… What were they?
When he reaches the shore, he lays down in the sand, trying to breathe in a way that isn't painful and just lays there. He wants to sleep. Shower. Get this filth off of him, but he knows he can't. Truth be told, he's afraid of what he's about to be walking into. He sighs as he hears something off to the distance, snapping his head up.
It's a girl, playing a viola by a fire that she started. She looks at him, normal brown eyes, and then focuses back on her music. Levi doesn't like the feeling, so he gets up slowly so he won't get dizzy and starts to walk to where he hears the source of the parade. As if something tapped his shoulder, suddenly he felt like Lot's wife when she looked behind her. Hoping he won't turn into salt, he turns and sneaks a glance. The blood drained from his face. The girl had put her instrument down, eyes glowing yellow, and had a perfect smile plastered to her face that terrified Levi, because now he understands. He understands that whoever is helping him was trying to get him to understand that whatever beings inhabited this area, they were the predators and he in fact were their prey.
He doesn't bother running because he can't. Just continues on, speed-walking every now and then where he hears rustling. Levi knows that right now, he sticks out. So how in the world he was going to get to the apothecary without dying… He swallowed nervously and barged right in with the crowd. There was live music, food vendors, people drawing, dancing… If he didn't almost die hours ago, he would be in awe with how prestine everything looked. Some looked, some didn't. Some stood and watched him as Levi could feel their gaze burn into his skin, but that was all they did. Some ignored him and shot fireworks so high into the sky.
When he reaches the shop, he opens the door, signaling a bell, and a tall woman snaps her head up. Wild light brown eyes and shoulder length hair pulled into a messy bun.
She screams. "Levi!? You made it?"
He tilts his head. "You're… Hanji?"
She nods with excitement. "Shut the doors, please! We do not have time if you want to get out of this safely!"
While she talks, someone is… Sniffing him? And attending his wounds?
"Hey! Stop that!" Levi sends him a death glare that could raise the dead.
The man steps back, smiling sheepishly. "Apologies. You smell delightful." He shrugs, but continues to stitch him up. When the process is complete, the young man applies a soothing balm and steps away to admire his handy work.
"Pretty good if I have to say so myself." He murmurs in appreciation.
Hanji goes on and on about how she can't believe he is alive. Calling him a miracle. Levi just watches her.
"You mean to tell me that I'm trying to escape vampires and flee to safety... With another vampire?" Levi refused the urge to scratch his head in confusion.
"Right. It's going to be quite the night to get to Erwins mansion. But once you are there, you are safe. If there happen to be any misconceptions, any at all. Tell him Hanji sent you. Him and I are close friends. But, if trouble finds you, he will meet you where you are."
She gives him a tiny bag and a light green vial of liquid.
"Take this now. You'll feel better. It will give you plenty of energy that you need."
Levi stares at it for a moment before tossing his head back and taking it like a shot. It didn't have a taste and Levi was glad.
"Levi… One last thing. Would you like a crossbow or a knife?"
She had sent him into the woods. Of course the woods. Of course this Erwin man lived in the deepest darkest parts of the woods. He had checked the bag before he left. It contained a single note, a crystal skeleton key, a wooden stake, and another vial.
He felt like he was going on another mission. But this time without Furlan and Isabel and he did not like it. He hoped he wasn't just off doing some messenger run and then left for himself. He had already been left by himself once in his life… He refused to go through that again. But vampires?
Never in his life had he heard of such a thing. Blood sucking creatures who do nothing but kill and are from hell? Yeah. He's heard of those demons. But only in fairytales and stories parents told their children to make them go to sleep or stop misbehaving. He has seen creatures. Strange ones. But… He hasn't encountered blood sucking creatures that turn into hideous flying things and eat you. He knows creatures exist… But vampires were another story for him. Because if vampires exist… Just how many more unknown terrors exist? Whatever it is.. Now Levi has an itch to know.
Levi, unfortunately and fortunately, never had the opportunity to get scared for life hearing them, but… Compared to what he had gone through, he hoped at least just this time someone was here to tell him the story.
He walks for God knows how long and rests, sitting down and making a fire. He stares into it for a long time, drowning out the screams he hears of his friends until he hears nothing but the fire crackling.
It takes him a moment before he sees a man. Levi doesn't go to his weapons just yet.
"Don't mind me, I'm just passing through. Do you mind if I get warm?" His voice sounds hesitant, as if he's afraid Levi could possibly be one. Levi doesn't completely let his defense drop, but he nods.
The man plops next to him. "I take it you just passed that awful parade?"
Levi looks at him. "What makes you say awful?" He still has his hand on his knife on the ground, hidden carefully in the leaves.
He laughs to himself. "Because they're monsters. Do you have any idea what they're celebrating? It's a feast and guess who they sacrificed?"
Levi raises an eyebrow.
"My son and my daughter." He says bitterly.
Levi frowned, heart racing for a moment.
The man just continues. "Told me I should be honored that my kids were chosen for something as special as this. Yet, these are the same vampires who promised to keep me safe. Humans aren't supposed to be hunted in this area… Guess they got tired of their own rules and protection laws. Are you on the run too?"
Levi shrugs. "Something like that."
The man looks at him then. A strange look in his eye and Levi gripped the knife tighter.
"Want to hear a story?"
"There's this story that's been circulating around for ages. Apparently, it's how this whole war against humans started. There's a rare group of vampires. Their bloodline pure. No one turned them, they were born that way. One day, a man from the bloodline decides that humans aren't an enemy. He fell in love and wanted to marry a human woman. Everything was fine on the outside, but his family were completely against it. The family gave him one condition… He could marry her if he turned her. If not, the leaders would drain her blood and kill her. Her family were a trained group of hunters. When they heard of the threat the man's family gave to her, they didn't wait before they started setting villages on fire."
"Villages? Why didn't they wait before they attacked? They killed innocent people along with them." Levi realized how hurt he sounded. Wondering why he was interested in this story, yet… Touched by it.
The man smiles gently. "Some are all or nothing. Her family very much lived by that code. The leaders found her parents and ripped their hearts right out of their chests. Legend says they made her eat her own parents' heart. Not before they tortured her of course. The man… He was banished for killing his own. He staked his mother and father, the very leaders who killed his soon to be wife."
"Sounds like vampires need a reality check. If wolves can get a reality check on a full moon, so can they."
"Ahh." He draws out the word. "So you've seen werewolves."
Levi nods, knife temporarily forgotten about. "Yes. Of course. Became friends with one… Accidental though."
The man chuckles. "Please tell. Hope you weren't expecting me to just tell the stories."
Levi smiles. "I was on the way to get something with my friends. I was hired for the mission. We were to go into the cave, find some ancient book for an old sorceress and her alchemist boyfriend. He was convinced he could make this stone… I don't know what kind it was or what it was supposed to do and at that time I didn't care. So, we get there. I always like to do checks around an area first, so I do. Loaded with them crawling around. They looked different though. As if they were guarding something. That just spiked my curiosity by a hundred, so I go to where I felt they were protecting something. Chased us around for quite some time.
"There was this room. Inside the cave. Like one of those secret doors behind bookshelves room. We looked ourselves inside. There was a man in there. We thought he was human. He gave us all the information we needed to know. And when we opened the door, the wolves were gone. It dawned on me when we left that packs usually listen to a leader, right? An alpha.."
"I knew what he was after that and I waited for a few weeks before I went back to the cave. By myself this time. When I got there he was already outside of it. Waiting for me.."
The man was patient as he watched Levi remember the encounters.
"The mans name was Oluo… He taught me some things. About where they originated from. Even offered to turn me, which I declined. I'd rather stay human for now. Though, looking back, it definitely would have been helpful had I known I would be stuck here."
The man chuckled and looked at Levi for a moment.
"So… Those leaders.. They killed this woman." Levi winced. "All because they fell in love?"
The man stares into the fire. "Some don't believe they should mix. Vampires and humans."
Levi rolls his eyes to that. "Never know. A human might very well manage to charm the socks off of an centuries old vampire one day. Bound to happen again."
The man was amused. "You think so?"
Levi nods. "History repeats itself. It'll happen again."
The man looks at him, an unreadable expression before he laughs at that. "Yes. It certainly does. And you certainly managed to amuse a centuries old vampire.."
Levi freezes. "What?"
The man wouldn't stop laughing. "Interesting creature, I'd say. It's a shame I'd have to kill you. What did you think? About them killing my nonexistent children. Such pity. I Feel for them."
Levi shoots up, grabbing his knife.
The man doesn't get up. "Hey now. It's no match for you. Consider this a favor. I don't know how you ended up here and I did enjoy your company, shamelessly, but do understand." He licks his lips. "I am hungry and that's just my nature."
Levi doesn't have time to think before something is shoving him to the ground. When he looks up, he sees the girl he saw on the beach.
She hisses when Levi takes a knife and slices it across her cheek. Outraged, she shrieks, wings coming out of her back as she flies into the air.
"Let the hunt begin!" She screams in a high pitched voice.
The man stays at the fire and Levi grabs his things and takes off. He doesn't know how many are hunting him and he doesn't care to know.
"Yes!" He shouts.
"Stay calm. There's a cabin up ahead. Draw a line at the door with the liquid in the vial and stay indoors. It won't hold them for long, but it will buy you time. Go!"
Feeling a surge of adrenaline run through him, he runs faster than he was before. Leaves crunching beneath him. He reaches the cabin and quickly takes out the vial, spreading it like she said and goes inside, locking the door. He doesn't bother looking around, he goes straight for the weapons. He has his gun and stake ready. Killing never scared Levi. He knew how to do it and do it well. But this time… He knew what to do.
Something smacks the cabin doors and screams in a fit of rage. Multiple thuds and bangs outside until an old bookshelf falls over.
Levi opens the door and shoots the knife straight into it's heart.
"Levi!" Hanjis voice echoes again. "I said stay indoors!"
"Sorry, Hanji. But I'm not spending all night in this cabin. I'm making it to Erwins tonight . Whether I have to kill a bunch of your kind to get there."
He couldn't be certain, but he swore he heard Hanji laugh softly.
"Levi. Sweetheart. I'm human.. Just like you. Have at it."
"Then how are you talking to me?" Levi asked, furrowing his eyebrows in confusion.
Levi hears the smile in her voice. "Some humans are gifted. Just like you."
He repeatedly stabs the vampire until her body turns into an ashy grey. He wipes the blood off his knife.
"Tsk. Who's next?" Levi looks up to see at least eight of them closing in. He stands inside the cabin, watching them at the front door. The only thing protecting him from them.
Savagely, he cuts out the vampires heart and tosses it in the center for them to see.
"Consider it payback."
That was enough to send an uproar between them all. Angry shouts and hisses as they seemed to transform into something more horrendous.
For the first time, Levi did not feel afraid.
He got all except one. The young vampire continuously chased him on all fours like an animal. He had lost the knife and stake, the only weapon left was a gun. He slows down, runs up the tree before flipping and points the gun towards its face. Blowing half of its head off. It screams and falls when Levi shoots his heart next.
Bloody and angry, he walks up the hill until he sees the biggest mansion he has ever seen in his life. He drops the bag to the ground, takes the gun and with all his might, shoots it at the window.
"Erwin fucking Smith! Show your damn face you coward! Because I swear on your life, if I find out you could have helped and knew I was coming by your so called friend Hanji, I will fucking-"
He stops abruptly when the door opens, revealing an incredibly tall, very well built man with blonde hair, and gorgeous blue eyes. There was no mistaking it. Erwin had to be like that man at the fire was talking about. Vampires whose bloodlines were pure. He was stunning and Levi pointed the gun at him.
Erwins expression shifted to that of an amused man. "Levi. It's alright."
"Like hell, it isn't. Do you know how many vampires I just killed tonight? Eight. And I have no problem adding one more number to that list."
Erwin is silent as he steps closer, observing Levi. "You killed eight vampires?"
Levi narrows his eyes in confirmation.
"Without being trained?"
"Then I must say… I am impressed."
Levi raises an eyebrow.
"I didn't think someone with a body as lithe as yours, let alone a human man could-"
Levi shoots a bullet and Erwin catches it with ease.
"Forgive me, now is not the time to marvel at such a beauty. Please, come inside. I'll get you cleaned up."
"By your vampire staff?" Levi deadpanned. And wait.. Beauty? He thinks I'm the beautiful one?
Erwin was confused. "Yes.. Of course. Who else?"
As serious and tired and angry he was, this made him crack the weakest exhausted laugh.
Erwins mouth twitched and he extended a hand. Levi finds himself placing his hand in his.
"Oh." He whispers when Erwin gently squeezes his hand.
"This way. Stay with me. You're losing some blood." He leads him into the mansion.
"Wha-" He slurs, his vision starting to get blurry
"Hush now, Levi. It's alright. I have you."
"You don't." He whispers.
Erwins grip tightened. "Oh, but I do."
"If I don't want you to?" He asks softly as he feels himself losing his balance, his vision going away slowly as he sees a small child walk down the hall with them, holding a lantern and the gun Levi had. Another child carried the bag on her shoulder.
Erwin laughs and picks Levi up as Levi had lost his strength. "I assure you. You will. "