As we finally reach the the top of the tallest tower, we find ourselves standing before a tall pair of doors, with a large face carved into them.
As we move to open the door, the face starts moving and speaks to us in a voice that sounds… well… stiff, creaky and wooden.
"Only ONE among you may pass."
I look the face in the wooden eyes.
“And I can probably guess who, right Woody?”
"The Fiendlord was very specific. Only the one known as Calvin Korkea may enter the study. The rest must stay here. Those are the rules."
“Weeeellllllll, you wanna know what I think?”
I raise my fist and prepare to strike.
“I think, fuck the rules!”
With one punch, the doors fly open.
Sonia turns to me, grinning.
“I’m never gonna get tired of seeing you do that, Mr. Korkea.”
“Please, call me Cal. Everyone does.”
Sonia’s been keeping Gizmo up to date on everything happening here in the castle, via an earpiece she’s wearing, which is why she hasn’t been contributing much to our conversations.
Plothole? What plothole?
We enter the study, and see someone who is apparently the Fiendlord himself, sitting at his desk. He seems to have been studying the stolen Sun Pearl when I punched the door open. Harley is sitting in a tall chair, an evidently half-drained fluffy in her hands.
The Fiendlord has the same general features as most vampires, but he’s got long light blue hair, and pointy ears. He’s clad in black robes. Harley is still wearing the black and red dress we gave her, but she’s traded the black shoes that came with it in for a pair of fuzzy black bunny slippers.
The bunnies have fangs.
Both of them look silently at us for a few seconds before the Fiendlord stands up and speaks to me in a deep, rich voice.
“I wasn’t expecting you this soon, Mr. Korkea. Or with so much company.”
I give him an audacious smirk.
“Well, what can I say? My trajectory is hard to predict. I’m just fulla surprises.”
“What happened to the rest of my children? Did you murder them too?”
“No, they ran off when Slayer here threatened to rape them. And how many people have you murdered, Ianos?”
The bastard just shrugs off my question.
“None, if we aren’t counting bloodbags, and bloodbags aren’t people. You’re only here so we have something to eat. You. Are. Our. Food.”
Alpha steps up, and the Fiendlord smiles at him.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to lecture me, tin man? You’re a born killer, same as me. You’ve killed plenty of bloodbags.”
“Yes. You’re right. I have done untold amounts of damage to this world. I have slain many innocents. And I deeply regret every single innocent living being who died at my hands. So I can’t allow any more of them to perish. And they are most certainly not your food.”
“Oh look at that, the tin man found a heart. Bravo.”
Alpha pops a stake out of his wrist.
“Damn right I did. How about I find your heart next, you overgrown leech?”
This actually gives the Fiendlord pause.
Henry and Carmilla turn to Harley, who has been watching this entire conversation in silence.
“Harley! Are you okay? Did he hurt you? Because if he did–”
Harley sneers at Henry.
“Don’t talk to me, you filthy bloodbag-hugger.”
Henry looks deeply hurt.
She sneers at him some more.
“But what? Did you think I cared about you? I never cared about you. I just knew you’d keep me safe, because you care. You just want everyone to like you so much that you’ll let anyone walk all over you. Ugh, my Lord was right, you’re practically a bloodbag!”
Carmilla looks equally hurt.
“But Cawmiwwa fowt dat Hawwey am a fwend.”
Then Harley sneers at her.
“Me? Be friends with a shitrat? They’re food too. We’ve only been feeding on your kind because nobody would stake us for feeding on ferals. Once my Lord is the Vampire King of the World, we won’t need you shitrats anymore. We’ll be able to drink as much human blood as we want. So the shitrats will be going. All of them.”
Harley gets back to finishing her fluffy, to make a point.
The Fiendlord chuckles, walking over to Harley and placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Oh, I’m so proud of you, my dear. See, Morris, that’s the difference between you, and our clan. You hate what you are. You’ve spent your entire unlife running from it. We, on the other hand, confronted it. We embraced it. We went for its fucking throat. You’re just a whiny little bloodbag with sharp teeth, and we are real fucking vampires.”
Henry and Carmilla glare at the Fiendlord.
“Who the fuck are you to decide what a real vampire is, you No True Scotsman fallacy committing fuckwad?”
“Hu went foweba sweepies an made yu da baws?”
The Fiendlord chuckles at Henry.
“The most powerful vampire in the world, that’s who I am.”
Sonia and Hunter step up. Sonia brandishes her chain whip.
“Yeah, so was Dracula, and my dad killed him on his own. So I think we can take you.”
“We can take yu apawt.”
The Fiendlord looks at Sonia.
“When I’m done with you and your shitrat, cunt, you two will be hunting bloodbags instead. Oh, and I’ll be turning your boyfriend, too.”
Glenn steps up, pointing Grandleon at the Fiendlord’s head.
“You’we not tuwning anyone ewse. I’ve waited a wong time fow this, Ianos.”
The Fiendlord starts laughing.
“Oh, look what the bat dragged in! You’re right, Fluffy-Head! I’ve been looking forward to tasting your blood. You’ll say hi to Cyrus for me after I kill you, won’t you? You aren’t even worth turning, and neither was he. Cyrus screamed real good before he died! You heard him, Fluffy-Head!”
As Glenn grits his teeth in anger, Victor and Rex step up.
The Fiendlord turns to them.
“Who let their fucking dogs into my study?”
Victor and Rex grit their teeth too, and Victor pulls out his gun and takes aim.
Reggae steps up and starts cursing the Fiendlord out in an incomprehensible Jamaican accent, standing up for his new friends.
The Fiendlord just stares at him with narrowed eyes.
“I can’t understand a damn word you’re saying, zombie, but I’m just going to assume that you’re saying oh great and powerful Fiendlord, please, oh please put me back in my grave!”
Reggae glares at the Fiendlord with all the undead fury he can muster.
“Eff yuh waan tuh tek ah swing at mi, den tek ah damn swing, yuh bumbaclot maskitta.”
The Fiendlord shakes his head.
“Nope, I still can’t understand you.”
Dave, Slayer and Robert step up.
“Ah, you three smell like demons. You boys from Down There, or did you just get some sip?”
Slayer grins up at him.
The Fiendlord peers at Slayer in confusion.
Slayer gives the Fiendlord his best leer and vigorously enfs the air, and the vampire actually takes a step back.
“You stay away from me, you degenerate.”
Prometheus steps up next.
“Such a nice glass house, why you gotta start throwing stones? You’re outnumbered and outgunned, Ianos. Undead or alive, you’re coming with us.”
“I think I’ll melt you and the other tin man down and make a statue of myself out of you two.”
“Yeah, that’ll totally happen.”
And finally, I step up.
“I know why you did all of this, Ianos.”
He turns to me.
“Oh? Then allow me to make my–”
“Shut the fuck up, I wasn’t done. I’ve already made my decision, and the answer is Hell the fuck no.”
He starts laughing again.
“The offer, my good man, was a formality! I’ve already decided that you’ll join us. You don’t have a say in this. You’re a bloodbag. Hold still and let me turn you, and then, maybe I’ll take your input into account.”
As he walks over to me, I whip out a cross and hold it up to ward him off.
He just grabs the cross out of my hands and flings it into a wastebasket next to the desk.
“That’s not going to work on me. Neither will those bullets Scar Boy here prepared. I predate Christianity.”
Everyone is shocked.
Victor rubs his chin.
“But vampires have only been around for about a thousand years. That’s impossible.”
The Fiendlord turns to Victor, grinning madly.
“Fool! I was drinking blood centuries before the first of our kind rose from his grave! Who do you think sired me? I am the last pure vampire left! The last vampire left who was sired by our kind’s creator! The last one left who knows how it all began!”
Then he turns back to me, trying to look me in the eyes, but I’m deliberately avoiding making eye contact with him. I know about that trick.
I stare at his nose.
“But how the fuck did you live long enough to even become a vampire, then?”
He laughs an insane laugh.
“Because I am so much more than just a vampire, Mr. Korkea. And even before I was a vampire, I was so much more than just a man. I possess a power that no other vampire has ever possessed. And I possessed that power long before the wizard who bestowed his name unto our glorious master race became the first of our kind. Before his grandfather was born.”
“And what power is that?”
He laughs even more insanely.
And then changes form.
We all step back out of sheer surprise.
The Fiendlord, now in demon form, looks around at us, an utterly delirious grin on his face.
"Why do you idiots THINK they call me the FIENDlord?"
We recover from the surprise quickly, and those of us who can wield silver do so.
The Fiendlord spreads his arms wide.
"You see? I’m a vampire, AND a wizard, AND A FUCKING HALF-DEMON!!! YOU MORONS NEVER STOOD A CHANCE!!!"