Birth of the Undead – Adapting, Chapter 4
Written by kshoo :: [Saturday, 01 October 2022 08:09] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 01 October 2022 09:56]
“I think he can’t help but just be downright mean. Either that, or he just regards me as a lab rat.”
The comments came out unbiddingly from Kara’s own mouth as she leaned her hands on the railing of open area of the 35th floor of Prince Tower that overlooks the cityscape of Gotham City.
When Kara came down for breakfast slightly later than usual she was surprised to find Vampirella waiting for her instead. Apparently Bruce is away to do a few business deals, and had gotten Vampirella to play champerone again. Hence Vampirella took both of them on another shopping spree (more for Vampi rather than Kara) by taking his Ferrari F50 downtown. While Vampi had strongly touted her wonderful driving skills, within five minutes of sitting in the front passenger seat Kara had almost immediately felt carsick as the more matured woman wove-in and out of traffic without a care of anything else.
Perhaps that’s due to the fact she’s being driven by one who seems to live forever. That they made it to their destination without a scratch on that prized Ferrari was a sort of minor miracle.
They found themselves at Ted’s for high-tea, the best in Gotham, what with its wonderful interpretation of the British’ concept of tea and cakes in a more modern setting. Located on the 35th floor of Prince Tower, it also offers its patrons an exceptional view out into the city. The reservation list was at least six months long, though when the Wayne family name is brought up and with a flash of his credit card, a table with a view was quickly made available despite this essentially being a walk-in.
Vampirella laughed slightly at that. “Don’t read too much into it. I think he’s just jealous. Remember that there are not many men who compares to him and even fewer who go AGAINST the man. Let alone women. Hence a sort of superiority complex that is ingrained in him. Can’t handle a little bit of difference when something doesn’t go in line with his plans. On the other hand, I heard you were hurt.” Kara winced slightly at Vampirella’s comment. “Though from whichever angle that I’m observing, you don’t seem to be.” She made a point of looking up and down, though whether she used her x-ray vision Kara had no idea.
“I tore my arm muscles and it hurt like hell yesterday, but I think it’s fine now.” She unconsciously flexed and rotated her arms and shoulders, and while there is still some soreness, she could go back and hit the sets if she wanted to. The way her smallish bulges are now stretching and bunching all about her torso, making her long sleeve blouse tighten considerably with her casual flexes was not lost on Vampirella as well, who looked on with mild interest. Fast progress indeed.
Not to mention how all those bulges seemed to disappear underneath Kara’s soft, tanned skin whenever she relaxed. Just like Vampirella’s currently. Kryptonian physiology is indeed incredible.
“He did say that my recovery is astounding and that instead of a week's rest and healing I should be ready to go in 24 hours. Though I couldn’t really decide if he was glad, upset, indifferent or anything else.”
“So that’s good. Right? Though somehow it doesn’t seem that way…”
Kara just frowned and turned to look out towards the city for a while. “I can tell that he wanted to work me harder, let me understand what it’s like to really struggle to get what I want. To make me feel, you know..”
“Human?” Vampirella finished that for her. Somehow that word seemed to click for both of them, for despite both of their outward appearances, their abilities far beyond mere mortals was proof enough that they are both different very different from all other living beings on Earth. At least for one of them currently.
“I don’t get it. I mean, I’m not without empathy. I’m not a dumb blonde. I see and hear things. I don’t just go prancing around and be a ‘goddess’. It’s not what I am, and it’s definitely not something I want to be.”
Vampirella took a sip of tea and she observed the young woman. “Then why do you want to become stronger then?”
“Why do you want to become stronger? You already have unimaginable powers and abilities beyond your wildest dream, on Earth.”
“I want to become better. Stronger. Not just for me, but for everyone here on Earth. You said it yourself, about the impending challenges. No matter how powerful I am, there will be those who are even more so. People like Mandi. Lex even. And who knows how many more? I can’t help protect people here if I stayed as I am.”
“Technically Earth is not your responsibility alone, though that is quite an altruistic thinking on your part. I think that’s what scares him. He’s just a normal human being even at the peak of his abilities. Yes with all his tools and gadgets, and the way he trains his body and mind practically puts him at the pinnacle of the pyramid. Still, he is but a Terran nonetheless, without any of the special abilities like you and I have. I think he is just being paranoid, worried if things were to turn out differently that he initially thought. But you are right of course. If Lex has indeed become as powerful as he envisioned himself to be, it might not be long before he sets he sights on new goals.”
“But Bruce is…” Kara looked about, a little conscious about saying it outloud. “… well, you know, the best in what he does. He always thinks three steps ahead of everyone. I’m sure he already has something in mind to minimise any threat anyone poses.”
“Even so, there is only so much he can do, and even with allies it still requires much from him. Takes years to build trust. I think that’s what he’s struggling with.”
Kara cast a sideway glance at Vampi. “Well, I don’t expect him to warm up to me soon, but I would expect that he gives me a chance.”
“He does. Why else would he even agree to spend time to do this with you? Behind big blue’s back even. I think he’s still trying to figure out what makes you… well, tick.” Vampirella snorted a little at that final pun, though upon hearing that Kara just placed her head on her head and groaned. “Sometimes I just wish that he could see the good side of others too, for a change.”
“It takes time. Not easy to change one’s habit at one go. You know that. Speaking of which, Rita mentioned that you received a parting gift from Agatha Wilson before you returned from Australia?”
Kara looked up at the mention of that familiar name.”You know Rita?”
Vampi nodded. “We have a… history, together. Stories for another day. What did you get?”
Kara shuffled her feet slightly as she seemed to pause for thought, a small sign of her nervousness that she had never been able to grow-up on. “A comb.” That it brought a frown on Vampi’s face instead of laughter was the last thing that Kara expected. “You look puzzled. Were you expecting something different?”
“That’s… interesting. Did she say what it’s for?”
“Well, based on the note that she wrote, Agatha said that she was just passing along a gift that came from the Witches. Someone in Scotland? Or was it England? It’s supposed to be enchanted by her. Or them.”
“Well, witches are not restricted to the female species. Anyway, what did it say? The note I mean.”
“That it is a ‘small gift for one with a big heart, allowing you to enjoy pleasant solitudes in relative peacefulness whenever you so desire.’ It also mentioned that if there’s an opportunity the lady would also like to meet me, and to introduce another ‘who also exhibits tenacity and determination in doing the right things for all.’
“Maybe you should give it a try, to use the comb” The look that Kara gave her was of horror. “Well, unlike you, I’m a little wary of things that are enchanted. Magic doesn’t really mix well with, you know, people like me.” That brought a chuckle to Vampirella.
“Well, aren’t you at least young and curious enough to make some mistakes in your supposedly sad, simple life? Who knows which dashes of colour might come into your life’s tapestry.”
“… I’ll think about it. Maybe in a controlled environment. Who’s Agatha anyway?”
“One daemon with clairvoyant powers. She runs a successful business of her own down under. Haven’t met her personally but knew of her by reputation.” Vampirella noted Kara’s hesitation. “What is it?”
“Well, I was meaning to ask you about something else. Remember the last time that we checked me out? Well, I have also been having a few…dreams? Nightmares?” Kara hesitated before continuing. “Not that it was very scary, it felt more like watching a movie or a tv show. There were a few nights where I could see you fighting with demons and what not. Definitely not normal humans. I think there was one where it was with that Mandi Olson. Raven-haired down to the shoulder, extremely tall and buff with, well superpowers, fighting in a well-lit cavern?” Vampirella nodded.
“However, I can’t really see her face though, but from her physique she looked HUGE. Heavyweight Body-builder huge. And I could almost feel the punishment that you went through during that time. I didn’t know of anyone, let alone any women who could be THAT large.”
“You’re one to say. Thanks to you I have these, remember?” A casual flex brought out the best of Krypton on Vampi’s left hand, it was just as well that Vampi had gone for a sleeveless top today. Another reminder to Kara about what she can accomplish should she really reach her goal.
“And then there’s one more…of a man in a brown jacket dying in your arms. I could literally feel your anguish, your sadness in that one.”
Vampirella stared at her cup for a while, seemingly wrestling inwardly before she looked up again. “His name is…was…Van Helsing. My one and only partner on Earth. Remember I mentioned about my bloodrage? He gave his life for me so that I can regain control of myself, and avoid unnecessary spilt blood otherwise…” Vampirella looked away with that mention of the particular memory. “I thought that as time passed my regret and sadness of what transpired might gradually fade away, though you can probably guess that it is not the case.”
“Was that recent?”
“No. Probably around the time of the cold war but before its peak.” She looked away at the landscape for another long while as Kara debated if she made the right choice to ask. “He was a vampire hunter, at least he hunts those that fall out of line. Supposedly a family tradition for ages. A normal Terran human doing an almost impossible job, going vampires who are out of control. Needless to say my skills are better than his, though he has an uncanny sense to following trouble wherever they may be. I was truly happy, you know, when I was with him. Sadly one of the last jobs was actually a trap laid for me, and they had detained me long enough to make me thirsty that my bloodrage came to the fore. Van Helsing recognised the threat, and he…” she paused, unable to continue as old memories were stirred again.
It took a while before she continued. “It was around that time that I met the Clairemonts, another vampire family whose heritage can be traced back centuries, and also found out more about the creatures’ Council. I made an acquantaince with their matriach Ysebeau de Claremont when I helped her deal with a private affair of hers in South America, but make no mistake that our reputations preceeded ourselves. We were wary of each other but in time we grew to trust each other. Given that they and I have a common goal of continuing to stay under the radar with minimal fuss, they suggested that I become their ‘Adjudicator’ on vampiric matters.”
“Meaning… you are their judge? Of what?”
“Jury too. If necessary, their executioner as well. They like keep things in-house, rather than airing their dirty laundry for all to see. All hush-hush and under the radar. Many would also like to keep their bloodlines… pure, at least for those who continue to cling onto that notion.”
Kara was a little pensive with that. “So… what does that mean for me?”
“Well, it is partially down to me that has resulted in what happened to you. I have given you my word, and you will also have me fronting and backing you on circumstances creature-related. Not all subscribes to the same outdated view as a pure bloodline anyway. You might remember that not that long ago the same thinking is so pervasive among humans as well. Things change, and from what I know, many have come to realise that they have to adapt with the changes as well, less changes are forced on them too.”
Kara just shook her head, not really understanding much. Vampirella just smiled at that. “Given that you too are in the midst of discovering yourself, there is another who is currently causing quite a stir among the creatures and the Council in Europe. Matthew Claremont’s fiancee, from what I hear, is quite a handful, and I think you and her might actually become good friends despite the slight age gap.”
Crossing her legs, the vampire leaned back against her seat and remarked. “Well, at least we know that you do have the ability of picking up on memories. Those that have strong emotions attached to them at least, so that is definitely something that you would savour. Who knows, maybe it will come in handy one day.”
Kara was making her way towards the metro station when she felt a weird uneasiness. The sun was starting the set, and despite Vampirella being more than willing to drive her back, that initial turn in that Ferrari was such that the blonde young woman just couldn’t wait to take a bit of me time instead. She did take note of the notoriety of the city, and hence she hadn’t really dallied long anywhere and just made straight for the closest station six blocks away.
Not far, though not very near either. For whatever reason the poshest area of the city doesn’t seem to be close to any of their metros, seemingly that if one with the means to shop or work in the area would not be relying on mass public transportation.
As she walked amidst the throngs of people she had a weird sense of being watched. Quickening her pace slightly she just about saw the well-lit neon sign of the metro station when she bumped into (or was SHE bumped into?) by someone coming from the opposite direction. Slightly bewildered and looking around, she didn’t realised that she was being edged towards the side of the main street and before she knew it a hand clasped over her mouth before she could scream and dragged her quickly into one of the side street.
Kara was no ordinary person however, and she had seen enough of this from the other side of the fence to know that screaming won’t help her case at the moment. She bided her time to evaluate her situation instead. The person pulled her in far enough from the main street, and immediately threw her against one of the building’s walls in the alley before flashing his knife.
“Hand it over.” Kara almost laughed at that thought, thought she acted that part of a scared young woman. Other than a few dollars that she had tucked in her front pocket she was practically as casual as can be. Everything else has gone home together with Vampi in that red Ferrari. Moving slowly she reached into that pocket and produced two twenty-dollar bills, and then followed by some simple playacting…
“Please… I, I need to take the train home…” she put on her best puppy eyes and tried to extract a little symphathy, trying to get enough to just get away with minimum fuss.
“Shut UP! Where is the rest?”
“The rest? No, No… that’s all I have.” The knife came closer, and she flinched slightly at the touch of the blade on her right cheek. However that also meant that her mugger has come very close to her that she could retaliate, and that she did as she straight away kneed him in the groin with her left knee. The would-be assailant crumpled onto the ground in extreme pain as Kara smiled.
However before Kara could get away, a sing-song voice seemed to come from within the alleyway. “There there, that’s no way to treat a lady. Especially one that is as special as her.” A willowy thin man appeared, seemingly amused by the entire scene. The only that was made weirder was that he was wearing a top hat and off-coloured suit, as if he were going to a fancy-dress party. Locking eyes with Kara from not a few feet away, he continued with a tone that was as soothing at the gentle breeze’s caress and yet causing warning bells to go off in her head. “After all, my tea party is about to start very soon, and given that it is getting late, Gotham can be a dangerous place for a young lady like you to be wandering about alone. WouIdn’t you prefer to join me instead? Someplace nice, with good food and drinks that seems to go on…” Despite the polite invitation, the tone and intent was obvious that rejection wasn’t really an option.
Both of them stared at each other for a short while before Kara replied curtly “Not interested.”
The man was taken aback slightly before recomposing himself. Undaunted, he continued in that disgusting honey-like smile back on. “Oh, my wounded heart. We’ve barely gotten acquainted with each other and yet you’ve already tried to break my heart! Come now, dear. Surely spending the evening with me, the Mad Hatter, is much better than him…” the man motioned to the would-be assailant on the ground before motioning to another two behind him “… or them. Company is all I asked, for I do not intend to keep the other lovely guests waiting.”
“Still not interested. Why don’t you go and find your Alice somewhere else?” Kara had noticed that they are slowly closing the gap and she too attempted to back away before she realised she had been cut off, as the previous assailant had recovered sufficiently now to stand menacingly behind her. As if on cue, the three goons of the man in the top hat seemed to be in “Do Re Mi” fashion in terms of increases in height. The one behind her is the one about her height; the other two stood approached from the front.
Before she could even figure out an alternative, the talles of the thre “Mi” stepped up and attempted to grab her body. As the man caught her right hand, Kara reacted by kneeing her assailant again. The man was caught unaware though with his shorter stature against Kara meant that it didn’t really hit home though he was sent backward slightly.
The man from behind “Re” moved up and tried to grab Kara from her back, though as he tried to lock his arms under her chest Kara just use the back of her head to crash backwards into his nose. Both of them cried out in pain with that hit, and Kara herself saw stars for a bit when she heard the dreaded voice of the man in the top hat again. “Shit… have to remember I’m not invulnerable now…”
“Ooh… you’re fiesty. All the more reason to you at the session. Come on boys, all together now. And try not to damage the goods too much shall we…” All three “Do Re Mi” started to gang-up on her, and despite her improved strength and stamina they were for naught when going up against three men. While she managed to block a few initial hits, even managing to throw a few against any of them who came closer, eventually they were for naught as the blows really started raining down.
From the back and front, on the torso and a few kicks on the thighs, even a slap on the cheek even. it was quite a punishment on a helpless young woman. Very soon Kara found herself on the dirty ground, trying to make herself as small as possible protecting her head as they took turns going after her. After almost fifteen of punishment they backed off suddenly, leaving her panting on the ground. She winced as “Re” and “Mi” manhandled her by grabbing both her arms and forcing her back up on her feet. She could feel the blood trickling down her lips towards her chin, and the aches and sores are all over her torso.
“My my. I was hoping you would give up by now. To be frank, rarely had someone been able to resist my hypnosis. I must congratulate you for succeeding.” The man in the top hat came and lifted her face by her chin, and observed her more closely. “Tsk tsk. Such a pretty face, though a bit bruised and battered. But i’m not really that picky today, and hence you’re lucky…”
“I think you’re lucky that I haven’t even started, Jervis. I think it’s time you and you posse leave before I change my mind.” The deeper feminine voice carried across the evening air seemingly bringing everyone to a standstill. That was followed by the slow, steady clacking of heels on the pavement of this particular summer evening, and soon the buxom feminine form of Vampirella came into view, in all her three-quarter-naked glory in her usual red slingsuit and boots. The swishing of the cape made for quite a dramatic entrance.
Jervis didn’t even flinch, instead he turned around and took a bow, his eyes never left the new person appearing. “Oh ho! Looks like my reputation precedes me. A most interesting development. And why would you say that I’m lucky, Ms…”
“Some call me the Adjudicator, others regard me as a Death Dealer. You however… I guess you can be my meal for the day then.” That the words were so left field that all four men started laughing at Vampirella, while Do and Mi still kept Kara relatively restrained.
“Oh? What makes you think that we would be your… meal willingly? You and what army then?”
Vampirella smiled, and then just crossed her arms under her prodigous breasts before nodding towards his direction. “Me and Her would be more than enough for all of you to handle.”
Just as the villain took the bait and started turning around to look, Jervais Tetch felt a gust of wind blew by suddenly, but when he finally set eyes on his posse at the back, his eyes opened wide in horror as all three lackeys are now holding onto their necks, all of them gurgling trying to breathe while attempting in vain to stem the gush of blood flowing from their slit throats. Quickly turning around, he saw his would-be assailant still standing in her position, with her arms folded under her chest. The sound of bodies falling onto the hard ground confirmation of her deed.
It had been mere child’s play for Vampirella to move at superspeed and going past him quickly. A quick slash of her sharp fingernails across the three men’s throats and that’s the end of the game.
Shame on all the spilt blood though.
The raven-haired Drakulon took a few steps forward until she was practically inches from his face. “Now do you believe me Mad Hatter? Or you still need more proof?” Vampirella made it a point to reveal her fangs from her mouth, and Jervais felt a chill up his spine and he felt a slight trickle of blood flowing down his left cheek. He quickly reached into his pocket and produced a pistol but before he could pull the trigger, his blood turned cold when he heard the higher-toned voice of the young blonde woman standing behind him.
“As my friend here said, she’s not the only one who’s a threat to you. You just made a big mistake.” With that, Kara moved her right hand’s fingers along the length of the man’s throat, and then moved her mouth gingerly over his neck, her tongue touched and licked over that sweet spot that is the jugular.
Before she bit down the Mad Hatter’s eyes had rolled-up and he fainted straight away.
Vampirella laughed at the inability of this so-called villain when she realised that Kara’s stance was slightly odd. As the blonde looked up at her she moved her left hand away from her torso, revealing the hilt of a knife. Without uttering another word, Kara too fell to the ground.
Alarmed, Vampirella moved quickly to cushion her ward’s fall and checked her out. Worry turned to curiousity, and while Kara looked weaker she didn’t look all that bad, Vampi instead reached over and pulled out the knife in one swoop, causing Kara to moan loudly, before her eyes closed.
Without further ado, Vampirella swept Kara up and jumped upwards into the night sky.
Rubbing her tousled blonde hair, Kara Zor El opened one eye, and realised that she was back at… not, it’s not Wayne Manor. Despite the tall windows and the expansive rooms, the current one is very different from the one that she slept in for the past few weeks. The sheets and curtains are more frilly, the colours are all pastel coloured. All signs pointed to a more feminine touch.
With the curtains having been drawn back, she could see the dark sky outside which she regarded to still be early morning. Vampirella who was sitting on the settee beside the tall windows had pushed the book that she was reading aside, observing Kara as the young woman attempted to sit up, wincing slightly at the soreness of her torso.
Waiting until she was more comfortable, Vampirella remarked “You know, you should have a little more confidence in yourself.”
“In what? In getting stabbed?” Vampirella moved across and jabbed her finger lightly at the wound, drawing a sharp hiss from Kara. “Oww! What was that all about?”
“Why don’t you take a look?” Curious, Kara pulled the white-T that she had on currently to reveal her toned abs. The stab wound had seemingly faded, and all there is now is a short red-welt, indicating the location of the knife’s entrance.
“Well, now we know you still have healing ability. Or regeneration, or any fancy word that you call it.” Kara moved her left hand over her body, feeling the slight bump of that welt. “But… But I thought I’m depowered.”
“True, but this also proves that your body’s DNA have incorporated the Vampiri’s power of rapid healing. As long as it’s not pure silver, you can be hurt, but if you don’t have any of those objects still stuck in your body anywhere it will heal. The time taken will be even shorter if you partake blood to replenish the ones you’ve lost.”
“Did I… did I…”
“Well, I was HOPING that you would do it on that Mad Hatter, but I guess you were merely reacting on instinct back then, given that the knife had already gone in when the guy flailed around after I slit his throat. As far as I could tell you didn’t even penetrate his skin, let alone drink from him. But I should have checked further on you first before re-confronting him…”
“Well…” again moving her hands over the former wound, Kara responded with a smile “No harm no foul, right? At least now I know I can recover from cuts and wounds. What about bullets?”
“Same. You’ll feel the pain of penetration alright, but as your body heals it will automatically push them out. Neat feature of our Drakulon genetics. In addition, I believe you should also be immune to human toxins, drugs and alcohol and the like. Just like me anyway.”
Grinning slightly as the entire scene replayed in her mind, Kara quipped. “You know, for all the bravado those people puts up, once they see or feel something uncomfortable their entire mind and body just shuts down. I used to do that my projecting or showcasing my powers in a way, like ‘Don’t fuck with me’ before I did anything. Sounds like I could also use my fangs as a show should anyone attempt to cross me.”
“Maybe. Then again, you need a bit more practice. Talk to the mistress here, though I must admit I was really looking forward to a drink.” Vampirella pointed to herself, getting a laugh out of Kara, who then winced slightly again.
“Well, you know what, maybe you can make it up to me then.”
“Oh? What do you have in mind?” Vampirella raised an eyebrow.
“My blouse is thoroughly trashed. No amount of bicarbonate soda is going to work on getting the blood off, and I really don’t need Alfred to go through heaven and hell to get it cleaned. That’s $300 dollars down the drain literally.”
“So we just go for another turn around Gotham. Or Metropolis, New York, or Paris if you feel like it.” At the mention of more shopping on Bruce’s dime and Vampi becomes like a giddy schoolgirl.
“Then there’s the other thing.”
“Can you and Bruce teach me how to fight?”