end of sanctuary @aquila
you see yourself as they see you

The water is always coldest in the morning. Before Alucard fills his two buckets with it, he dips a couple fingertips into the running stream, creating a slight shock that helps keep him alert. At the moment, the castle is empty and for good reason. Sypha is in the Belmont Hold; she always seemed more at home down there. The last time Alucard saw Trevor, he was following her outside and presumably down to the archives as well. Still inseparable, those two. Meanwhile he’s here in the woods, away from castles and manors and underground chambers that have held on for generations. This place keeps him both sheltered and vulnerable.

This is a menial task, one of many that fill the days. Yet like all the others, it slipped Alucard’s mind until it reared its head and practically dragged him out of bed. It wasn’t always this way; not so long ago, the task of completing daily chores went differently. Collecting water, gathering ingredients for future meals, he treated them all as though they were part of a religion, a cycle that never stopped turning. Alucard’s mind once thanked him for it. Small distractions were blessings in the guise of simple tasks to keep himself afloat.

Alucard has tried to uphold this new religion. Though his attempts may not be so obvious to others. Occasionally, he’ll see the Belmont tower in the corner of his eye, no longer the crumbling pile of stones stacked atop of each other it used to be. He’ll feel the urge to pick up where he left off with its reconstruction. His palms are getting a bit soft, maybe it’s time to give them a few blisters and splinters again.

Then there’s the one constant thing keeping Alucard from dusting off his tools, the immediate feeling that bars him from other forms of distraction: guilt. The same way he still “lives” within the castle despite its torment, he needs the reminders of what happened and everything he did. Distraction leads to remorse, then comes self-punishment, and finally discipline. This is Alucard’s new cycle, routine, and religion.

This recent excursion may seem like a step forward, but he’s certain it will be followed by many, many steps back.

He doesn’t return with any sense of urgency once the buckets are full. Instead, something in the water catches Alucard’s attention: a grey stone with a near perfect egg shape. He reaches down and pulls it out, wiping the mud and sand off its rough surface.

“Papa, it’s just a dirty old rock. What’s so special about it?”

“Watch closely, my little bat…” Using a single claw shaper than any hunter’s blade, the vampire cuts a perfect line along the stone. It cracks open, revealing colours that only exist in the younger vampire’s imagination. His gasps of wonder bring a smile to his father’s face.

“Do you know what we call a natural phenomenon like this one, little bat?”

“Hm. A geode,” Alucard mumbles to himself. Rocks that look unappealing on the outside but once they’ve been smashed open, they transform into treasure chests of jewels and crystals. He remembers now; Dracula used to bring him to the rivers and mountains surrounding the castle so that he could show his son the smallest of nature’s gifts. Without much deeper thought, Alucard drops the geode into his pocket before picking up the two heavy buckets. Sypha might enjoy such a trinket; perhaps it will bring her some much needed distraction. A paltry way of apologizing for the day before.

Alucard prepares for the trek back to the castle, but not before getting a good look over his shoulder, then again once he’s started walking.


Trevor stares into the fountain, watching as momentary gusts of wind move dead leaves amongst twigs, animal droppings, and other debris littering the cracked stone. Otherwise empty and dried up just like the rest of what used to be the Belmont courtyard. Funny, it’s always the smaller, frivolous things about a broken home that are left to the very end when more important things demand attention and repair. That’s what Alucard did and only now does Trevor truly see the extent of his efforts not just to the Hold but the entire manor itself. Give it a few more weeks of hard honest labour and the building could almost be liveable again.

Why? It’s a question he’s been asking himself since their less than joyous reunion. Trevor remembers what Alucard said on their first night down in the Hold, hearing every word while he himself fawned over a piece of metal and chain. He must have though the Belmont couldn’t hear. “Museum”, “dedicated”, and “extermination” coupled with other unsavoury terms as the dhampir looked over a casket of fanged skulls—one of which was smaller than the others. Much smaller.

Then why do so much for a family that hunted his kind for generations? Like so much else concerning Alucard, the answer may always elude Trevor. Yet the only reaction stronger than his confusion is his own form of guilt. Trevor would say there hasn’t come a chance to show his full appreciation for Alucard’s work, but it’s just another lie and excuse.

Why? It’s a question he’s been asking himself since their less than joyous reunion. Trevor remembers what Alucard said on their first night down in the Hold, hearing every word while he himself fawned over a piece of metal and chain. He must have though the Belmont couldn’t hear. “Museum”, “dedicated”, and “extermination” coupled with other unsavoury terms as the dhampir looked over a casket of fanged skulls—one of which was smaller than the others. Much smaller.

Then why do so much for a family that hunted his kind for generations? Like so much else concerning Alucard, the answer may always elude Trevor. Yet the only reaction stronger than his confusion is his own form of guilt. Trevor would say there hasn’t come a chance to show his full appreciation for Alucard’s work, but it’s just another lie and excuse.

He’s tired. Tired of staking his life on the constant movement from one road to the next, tired of putting walls between himself and others when there shouldn’t be any. During that brief, shallow time when he and Sypha settled down, Trevor felt a subtle sense of peace which had been lost to him for years—it scared him. But now that the manor is no longer a forgotten ruin, Trevor looks upon the structure not with sadness or pain, but hope. Life could return to its many rooms and corridors.

If only Alucard hadn’t halted his reconstruction progress. Still, the manor sits there waiting for the necessary work to be picked up again. He could talk to Alucard, offer a helping hand, rough up his palms a little. It doesn’t have to be a one-man endeavour.

Trevor forgoes the thought before it has an opportunity to solidify itself. All of it might be fruitless; there’s no point in having such a conversation if it only ends with more arguing, more yelling, and more of them storming off in opposite directions. More of yesterday’s events.

His flimsy attention span refocuses at the sound of Sypha calling out his name. He turns around and is greeted with an unsteady pile of books where her face should be. “Bit of light reading, eh?”

Sypha peeks out from behind the stack. “If you had come down with me, I wouldn’t be lugging all of these back up,” she says with a strained grunt.

“What’s the urgency?”

“I wanted you to see these.” She places the books down by their feet and begins handing them one by one into Trevor’s hands. He takes them, barely getting anything more than a few seconds to read their titles. What he manages to see doesn’t cultivate much optimism. Dreamology could be indicative of persistent nightmares while Thought Manipulation Through Magic fills him with a creeping sense of dread. Those are only two amongst a dozen more.

“… What?” She asks, stopping once she notices Trevor’s usual silent cynicism. He holds up Cognitive Astral Projection.

“Don’t tell me you’re planning on making me your actual braindead manservant.”

She snatches the book away. “This is serious!”

“Hm. These say otherwise. Or are you getting bored of skewering beasties with ice pikes before scorching their arses off and want to try something a bit more subtle?”

“Just listen to me.” Sypha takes a breath to settle herself. “Remember what you said about not understanding what goes on inside Alucard’s head?”

“Vaguely.” But Trevor does remember, clearer than his most sober thoughts. And he already realizes Sypha’s plan before she can spell it out for him. His eyes turn dire while the palms of his hands suddenly feel cold. “Sypha…”

“No, listen. I have looked through all of these and look there are spells one can cast to, to, to project yourself into another’s mind.” She speaks faster than her thoughts. Trevor can’t even get his own opinion out while she excitedly stammers on.

“Sypha.”

“A-and it happens when both participants are asleep, you see, which means we can access Alucard’s mind through his dreams while we are both conscious yet also unconscious at the same time—”

“Sypha!”

“What?” She exclaims. “This is our chance to help him. If he cannot tell us outright then we have to see for ourselves. Otherwise we’ll never truly understand what happened. He can heal and we can finally move on from this.”

“Maybe. Or maybe something goes wrong and none of us ever wakes up again. Maybe we end up putting another crack in that brain of his whether we meant to or not. Maybe we break him completely.”

“Nothing will go wrong as long as we follow the directions.”

“Have you ever cast a spell like this before?”

“No, but the very scholars who wrote these books were once beginners starting out for the first time in their lives.”

“Yes, and then they practiced and studied for decades before sitting down to write the entire fucking codex on mind manipulation.” While Trevor waves one of the books in her face, Sypha matches the rising volume in his voice.

“You are just afraid.”

“Aren’t you?”

“Of course I am! But you can’t abandon him like this just because you don’t want to attempt the only option we have. Do not go back to the man you once were, Trevor.”

Teeth grind together, hard enough to crack and shatter. He stares Sypha down with fury in his eyes; not for her, never for her, only for what she said. “I don’t want to do this because I am so fucking sick of magic. Sick of enchantments, incantations, and all that other occult bullshit. All it ever does is hurt others and make the world darker than it already is.”

Sypha holds her ground, expression placid and immoveable. “Is that what you think of my magic?”

Trevor opens his mouth when she’s too far away to hear or acknowledge.


When Alucard returns to the castle, he’s faced with a choice: slink back into bed and wallow in a false sense of security or take a bath before Sypha starts confusing him for Trevor. The first sounds more tempting but he’s been mobile all morning, it would be a shame to erase that progress. He could have an alright day. There haven’t been any great or even good days, only the alright ones. The slow and dull kind, which Alucard takes happily. Anything would be better than yesterday.

With no windows to the outside world, the castle’s main powder room is darker than the others. It’s only source of light comes from sweet smelling candles scattered throughout, kept firmly in their places by years of hardened wax like pearl-coloured tears. The walls are dyed in that same sort of red that reminds Alucard of red wine or freshly spilled blood. Drenched in soft candlelight, the room is more a boudoir than a bathhouse (in some parts of the world there’s little difference between the two).

He turns a few heavy knobs at the head of the large brass tub and once the pipes clear their throats, buried deep behind walls and underneath the floorboards, clear steaming water begins to spurt out. Alucard checks the temperature; it burns to the touch which he prefers. He removes his boots yet hesitates with the rest. A single passing glance at himself in the ornate vanity mirror, one glimpse at all the pieces of bare skin despite being fully clothed, and his reluctance seems rational. Even alone, he doesn’t want to see the rest of him.

 

When Alucard returns to the castle, he’s faced with a choice: slink back into bed and wallow in a false sense of security or take a bath before Sypha starts confusing him for Trevor. The first sounds more tempting but he’s been mobile all morning, it would be a shame to erase that progress. He could have an alright day. There haven’t been any great or even good days, only the alright ones. The slow and dull kind, which Alucard takes happily. Anything would be better than yesterday.

With no windows to the outside world, the castle’s main powder room is darker than the others. It’s only source of light comes from sweet smelling candles scattered throughout, kept firmly in their places by years of hardened wax like pearl-coloured tears. The walls are dyed in that same sort of red that reminds Alucard of red wine or freshly spilled blood. Drenched in soft candlelight, the room is more a boudoir than a bathhouse (in some parts of the world there’s little difference between the two).

He turns a few heavy knobs at the head of the large brass tub and once the pipes clear their throats, buried deep behind walls and underneath the floorboards, clear steaming water begins to spurt out. Alucard checks the temperature; it burns to the touch which he prefers. He removes his boots yet hesitates with the rest. A single passing glance at himself in the ornate vanity mirror, one glimpse at all the pieces of bare skin despite being fully clothed, and his reluctance seems rational. Even alone, he doesn’t want to see the rest of him.

Alucard sits before the vanity, listening while the tub fills itself to the brim. His eyes glaze over each cosmetic alongside his geode. He settles on a small bottle of herbal oil made from lavender and lemon balm leaves which he gently applies to his wrists. Smells divine, hurts like absolute hell. Liquid seeps into the raw, tender skin and he lets out a hiss. The necessary pain subsides; Alucard’s breaths turn deep and slow. He hates looking up into the mirror only to be faced with his overly familiar weary eyes surrounded by dark circles. It’s unavoidable.

Something on the table begins to shake. For a moment, Alucard thinks it’s because of his own trembling hand gripping the mahogany wood until he notices the river stone. It moves from side to side, teetering then tottering, like a child’s spinning top about to fall. He stares not in fear but with caution as the stone cracks, louder than anything that size should sound. An egg ready to hatch.

Alucard expects to be greeted by a newborn chick when the rock turned egg finally cracks right open. What clumsily rolls out instead is still trapped within its embryonic sack, not strong enough to break through. He assists by making a tear with his nail as a viscous substance pours out along with its inhabitant. There’s hair, two arms, two legs, and a pair of wings weighed down by the fluid. Unsure and a little nervous, he helps clean whatever just emerged, allowing its delicate, transparent wings to fully unfold.

The creature stumbles like a freshly birthed calf getting used to its own legs before using Alucard’s fingers for support. At last, he sees the long caramel hair that envelopes its entire body, not much larger than his outstretched hand. He sees the pointed ears and the earthy green tinge that covers the very ends of each limb.

Despite what humans of sound mind and reasonable logic may proclaim, vampires and night creatures exist in this world. They may very well rule it. Why shouldn’t the smaller, daintier beings of fantasy exist as well?

It’s a surprising development, but Dracula’s castle will continue to play homestead to all things strange and odd. This fairy may just be oddly wonderful. 


Trevor’s body has always despised him for many reasons, rebelling against itself. He can’t remember what he looked like without his battle scars (if there was ever a time when he didn’t have them), some bones have been broken then rearranged so often they float around amongst muscle and blood utterly ruined. He once considered keeping a log of every time he stumbled into a back alley to cleanse his battered insides through vomiting. One column labeled “drinking”, the other “fighting”. Some nights would require both to be marked up.

Those are understandable reasons. Trevor never thought reading would elicit the same visceral reactions. His head pounds away, the backs of his eyes sting like mad, and there’s an unseen weight pressing down on his chest. It’s been hours since he made Dracula’s disarrayed library his own, surrounding himself with books and half opened scrolls like some hermit monk or scholar holed up in his study. There must be a curse on this room; whoever enters to read its contents and is not the castle’s lord or of undead blood shall be stricken down with nausea, tiredness, and frustration.

Trevor ignores how his mind pulses and aches with every written word. Sypha’s talk of dreams and mind spells is the cause of all this. He’s managed to retain a fair amount of knowledge, though whether or not any of it will be helpful he cannot say for certain. There’s one story concerning an unnamed alchemist of the 10th century who performed dream spells on himself; perhaps he still had some higher morals to not use other bodies for his tests. With these incantations, his mind created absolute paradises where he would live for decades while only a few hours passed in the realm of reality.

 


 

Trevor’s body has always despised him for many reasons, rebelling against itself. He can’t remember what he looked like without his battle scars (if there was ever a time when he didn’t have them), some bones have been broken then rearranged so often they float around amongst muscle and blood utterly ruined. He once considered keeping a log of every time he stumbled into a back alley to cleanse his battered insides through vomiting. One column labeled “drinking”, the other “fighting”. Some nights would require both to be marked up.

Those are understandable reasons. Trevor never thought reading would elicit the same visceral reactions. His head pounds away, the backs of his eyes sting like mad, and there’s an unseen weight pressing down on his chest. It’s been hours since he made Dracula’s disarrayed library his own, surrounding himself with books and half opened scrolls like some hermit monk or scholar holed up in his study. There must be a curse on this room; whoever enters to read its contents and is not the castle’s lord or of undead blood shall be stricken down with nausea, tiredness, and frustration.

Trevor ignores how his mind pulses and aches with every written word. Sypha’s talk of dreams and mind spells is the cause of all this. He’s managed to retain a fair amount of knowledge, though whether or not any of it will be helpful he cannot say for certain. There’s one story concerning an unnamed alchemist of the 10th century who performed dream spells on himself; perhaps he still had some higher morals to not use other bodies for his tests. With these incantations, his mind created absolute paradises where he would live for decades while only a few hours passed in the realm of reality.

The effects on his physical body were apparent; the first time he cast the spell, he aged thirty years in the span of five hours. During his second sleep, he died in the dream world a peaceful old man with no regrets or unfinished business. When whatever colleagues he had left found him, he was a half-rotting corpse in his bed.

Accounts like these—factual or ghost stories—don’t encourage much optimism. Which is why Trevor keeps reading, keeps searching in case it’s not enough. His nose buried so deeply in knowledge previously unknown to him, he doesn’t notice that Sypha has found him. Not until she lays a hand on his shoulder, startling them both. Trevor drops his most recent find while she lets out an exclaimed gasp and holds her chest.

“Christ…” He says breathlessly.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to sneak up like that. This is the very last place I expected to find you.”

“I’m full of surprises.” As Trevor gathers up his resources, Sypha observes their contents; the very same she herself had been researching all morning long. Dream lore and mental magic, everything he denounced not too long ago.

Trevor makes a note of her silence. “I looked through that first book you gave me. Started thinking… which is never a good sign with me, and wanted to do some reading myself.”

Full of surprises, indeed. “Trevor, I’m shocked.”

“Hope it’s the pleasant sort. But you should know that I did all of this for you… and for him. Mostly for you.”

Sypha is used to Trevor’s deflections. She thought by now he would readily accept his growing ability to care deeply for others when his outward appearance suggests otherwise. There is always much to rebuild. “These are his books… does that not disturb you?”

“Hm, not really.” Sypha almost chides his nonchalant response, thinking back to how violently he reacted to the prospect of Alucard being his father before their silly duel was put to rest. “Dracula may have been a monster but he was a genius. There’s not much difference between what’s down there and what’s up there. Suppose one has to know their enemy.”

Genius. Trevor Belmont of the House of Belmont is either mad or drunk. Sypha assumes that if his family were alive, he would have been flogged for speaking their own form of blasphemy. The same might have happened anyway had they known about his partnership with the son of their centuries old adversary.

“So… you’ve thought about it?”

Trevor takes a breath, eyes downcast. “You wanted me to read, so I did. To be honest, a lot of this is just fear mongering, which is why I kept at it. There are things worth learning and knowing about. I’m not exactly jumping with enthusiasm over your proposal, but you could say I’m more open to it than I was. We just need to find the right spell.”

“I think I have. It was in one of the books from your family’s library.”

“What do we do?”

“There are a lot of steps involved, but the most important element is that we all have to be asleep. In order for our collective consciousness to enter another’s mind, that person has to be in an even deeper sleep. All but dead to the world.”

Trevor suddenly turns grim and angry. “I’m not fucking drugging Alucard.”

Sypha reacts in an offended manner. “Of course we won’t! Why on earth would you ever assume that?!”

“Sorry… some of the things I read about this didn’t give me the best mindset. Does it involve any savoury acts like blood sacrifices or ritualistic masochism?”

“No, nothing like that. We just need to prick our temples hard enough to draw blood and burn something that belongs to each of us.”

“What’s the purpose of the fire?”

“As long as the items keep burning, we remain inside the dream world. When it runs out, that’s when we wake up.”

“And the blood?”

“Supposedly to help open up our minds. The chapter explains everything in detail. But we need Alucard’s consent first.”

Trevor bites at his thumbnail, something he hasn’t done since the age of thirteen. “It won’t be easy convincing him.”

“If we fail, we fail. It’s his choice.” Though there’s a part of Sypha, deeper and more persistent than she’s willing to admit, that wants their plan to succeed. Not for her sake and not for her ego.

“Right. Let’s go find him.”

They stand up to leave but only walk so far down the corridor before they turn around a corner and nearly crash into Alucard.

“Fuck’s sake, enough with all the sneaking around.” Trevor grumbles once his heartbeat settles.

“I heard voices coming from the library and wondered if it was you two.”

“Course it was us, who else could it have b—” He squints, peering closer at Alucard. “Is something on your shoulder?” It could be an effect of reading too much, but Trevor knows he hasn’t gone insane—yet. He sees the wings, the miniscule head and the even smaller face staring back at him with suspicion.

“Oh, this. Well, I… I found her in the river and—”

“She’s precious!” Sypha interrupts, bending down to get a clearer look at Alucard’s new companion the same way a child looks in fascination at a brand new doll. “I know about these creatures… she’s a pixie, correct?”

Trevor and Sypha hear a series of quick jingles and chirps but Alucard hears something entirely different. “She prefers to be called a fairy.”

“You can understand that thing?”

More jingles, more chirps followed by a distinct growl from the fairy. “She also doesn’t like being called a thing by giant hairy oafs who smell terrible.”

Trevor would almost feel insulted if he wasn’t already accustomed to far harsher and disgusting terms throughout his adult life. So Alucard’s new friend doesn’t like him. Fine, he never liked fairies to begin with. Too many bedtime stories warning him about those who steal babies and gather in hordes to eat the flesh clean off a human’s body.

“Sypha and I need to discuss something with you.”

Alucard’s muscles seize up; he feels the fairy grow more restless, impatient with these two strangers barging into her life and what they might do to her keeper. He calms her with a light pat on her head. Don’t let what happened the day before happen again. Listen to them. Hear what they have to say then react.

“Go on.”

Trevor glances at Sypha and lets her speak for both of them. “We were thinking about what you said the other day, and you’re right. We can’t fix you. It was ignorant of us to believe we could especially after being gone for so long. But we still want to help in whatever ways possible. Talking about it causes you too much pain, we understand that. So maybe if you showed us…”

She pauses, examining Alucard’s demeanour. Still face and even stiller breath. Sypha carries on with extreme care. “We read about a type of magic that focuses on dreams and projecting oneself into another’s mind. If you would allow us, Trevor and I could relive your memories and feel whatever it is you’re feeling through dreaming.”

“What she’s trying to say is—FUCK!” Trevor lets loose an entire chorus of expletives as the fairy swarms about trying to lay another bite somewhere she can reach. In between her efforts, she moves to Sypha and pulls her hair, chirping frantically. They flail their arms, ducking and avoiding the little menace as best they can while Alucard looks on. He doesn’t take any pleasure in watching this chaos, yet is in no rush to stop it. Eventually, the fairy tires of her own antics and hides behind his neck, hissing in their direction.

“If it does that again, I’m pickling it inside a jar full of ale.” Trevor threatens, wiping away the small amount of blood drawn from her many bites.

“How much did you read about dream magic?”

Sypha smooths out her curls and straightens her robe. “A lot. We found books from both the Belmont library and your father’s.”

They have failed, but Sypha was truthful. It is his choice.


Night arrives quicker at Dracula’s castle. It rushes across the sky and fills each hallway with rushed excitement. The earlier conversation feels like nothing more than a hazy memory, one that warns him of bad tidings whenever it rears itself, now pushed back in favour of things Alucard wants to think about willingly. He sits on his bed holding a white and gold porcelain while the fairy balances herself on his thighs waiting patiently. He had to do a bit of searching in order to find the illusive box. There was an image tucked away in his distant memories; something his mother always carried with her during the later hours of the day. He thought it was only his mind conjuring up a false recollection but he found it by chance.

Dracula was an inventor as much as he was a conqueror, a recluse, and a legend to keep hell-fearing mortals in their place. Yet in the eyes of a child and mother, his grander discoveries paled in comparison to his smaller, more intimate ones. They appreciated and gazed in wonder at the various devices that kept the castle alive like a ticking clock tower but individual items like a music box carry far more heart than gears or electric lights. With a few turns of a small winding key on the side, a soft metallic melody begins to play. The fairy’s ears perk up as do her wings, twitching rhythmically as she stares in elation.

“You enjoy music, don’t you?” He chuckles. She has another surprise in store for Alucard when her mouth opens, and lyrics tumble out in perfect tune with the music box. Her high-pitched voice sounds sweeter than honey in the sunlight, but Alucard is most endeared by her skills as a little musician. Less than a minute of listening to a song she’s never heard, and already the words come more naturally to her than to a seasoned court bard.

It’s not what they were expecting, far from his first reaction to their outstretched hands offering support and help (or rather forcing). Though it does not surprise them. I will consider it, I will think about it, all of it means the same outcome. A gentle, polite method of saying no without pushing someone away.

They have failed, but Sypha was truthful. It is his choice.

 


 

Night arrives quicker at Dracula’s castle. It rushes across the sky and fills each hallway with rushed excitement. The earlier conversation feels like nothing more than a hazy memory, one that warns him of bad tidings whenever it rears itself, now pushed back in favour of things Alucard wants to think about willingly. He sits on his bed holding a white and gold porcelain while the fairy balances herself on his thighs waiting patiently. He had to do a bit of searching in order to find the illusive box. There was an image tucked away in his distant memories; something his mother always carried with her during the later hours of the day. He thought it was only his mind conjuring up a false recollection but he found it by chance.

Dracula was an inventor as much as he was a conqueror, a recluse, and a legend to keep hell-fearing mortals in their place. Yet in the eyes of a child and mother, his grander discoveries paled in comparison to his smaller, more intimate ones. They appreciated and gazed in wonder at the various devices that kept the castle alive like a ticking clock tower but individual items like a music box carry far more heart than gears or electric lights. With a few turns of a small winding key on the side, a soft metallic melody begins to play. The fairy’s ears perk up as do her wings, twitching rhythmically as she stares in elation.

“You enjoy music, don’t you?” He chuckles. She has another surprise in store for Alucard when her mouth opens, and lyrics tumble out in perfect tune with the music box. Her high-pitched voice sounds sweeter than honey in the sunlight, but Alucard is most endeared by her skills as a little musician. Less than a minute of listening to a song she’s never heard, and already the words come more naturally to her than to a seasoned court bard.

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