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Birth of the Undead – Adapting, Chapter 1

Written by kshoo :: [Saturday, 13 August 2022 05:34] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 14 August 2022 08:23]

The call came eventually three weeks after her little rendezvous with the Batman in his lair. She picked it up just as her mobile phone had rung for the fifth time that early evening.

“It’s been a while. Thought you’ve forgotten about me.” She put down the glass of wine on the side table.

“Not everyone can live like you do. Normal humans like still have to make a living. I do have a business to run, after all.” A chuckle came across the line. “Now that I have everything ready and in-place, how would you like to come down on a more regular basis?”

Vampirella frowned. “I don’t quite follow.”

“Given that I have agreed to help our little young woman to be 'bigger, better and stronger', somehow I would still prefer to have you around. If not anything else, at least you can also observe the journey that the brave young one is about to undertake.”

“As an insurance policy? That doesn’t sound like the Dark Knight I know. At least, not the one that goes out and does it all alone. You must already have all the contingencies in place, so I’m not sure if I will be of any use. Besides, what’s in it for me?”

“Well, you’ve always wanted to find out more about yourself. Perhaps this would be a good time to figure out more. It would also help for my guest to have you mentor her, train her to your normal habits, and help her through any many tough times as possible. In any case, I think you will also appreciate a little more exercise to keep you sharp.” Tha Bat doesn’t miss much, Vampirella mused. She is intrigued with regards to what else can Batman share that is above and beyond what the Kryptonians' super computer could produce.

Besides, it might even be fun.

“When do I turn up?”

Two days later, Kara Zor-El turned-up at Wayne Manor, again in her Linda Lee normal disguise, carrying a large duffel bag with whatever clothes that she had. All in accordance with Batman’s specific instructions.

As part of her cover, she had received an offer for paid part-time work with Wayne Industries in Gotham City. This she passed on to Mrs Tate, who had no problems allowing her to go given that 1) she IS an adult, or will be one soon and 2) Kara had mentioned that it might allow her to try and obtain a permanent position there in some capacity, which definitely helps on the money part. However, she still promised to come back in time so that she can see everyone off before the entire place shuts down permanently.

And so, that warm July Monday afternoon saw Linda Lee taking the intercity bus, changed metro lines twice, and then walking another two miles on foot plus at least another mile more seemingly from the Manor gates all the way up to the front door. “And I could have gotten here in 3 minutes flat out, instead of five freaking hours.” the young woman grumbled as she finally pressed the bell, peeved at the entire charade.

“Oh, it’s part of your training, don’t you worry.” Kara was surprised when Bruce himself opened the door for him, smiling smugly as he observed the seething young woman standing under the hot sun. He looked cool and casual in his shirt and slacks, though Kara know that shirt alone would cost Kara's entire wardrobe. “Besides, I think at least you now know how regular people go about town.”

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“You and I are not exactly regular people…” the girl grumbled when stepped through after Bruce “and don’t give me that 'regular people' lecture. You're not one who takes the public transport either. By the way, where’s Alfred?”

“Out. Replenishing supplies. He will be back soon.” Bruce led the way downwards to the cave, and when he looked back once he arrived he smiled again as Kara had doffed her outer clothes, and is now back wearing her two-piece costume. “Actually, you don’t have to change. What we’re going to do in a while doesn’t need you to be in Kryptonian garb.”

Kara merely pouted. Given the limited regular clothes she owned, she still preferrred her indestructible clothing anyway, and with enough tricks of her own, kept it shiny and pristine.

“So what’s the plan, O great master.” The Girl of Steel folded her arms under her two thrust-out globes. “Is there anything that I should start working on immediately?”

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“Anxious are we?” Bruce chuckled slightly. “Actually, I thought we should have a bit of dinner first before we proceed. However, since you asked, I’ll run through… Ah, there you are Alfred.” The impeccably dressed butler appeared at the hallway and descended the stairs with nary a speck of dust on his suit.

Approaching both of them, Alfred Pennyworth gave a slight nod and smile “Welcome to the Manor, Miss Kara. I am so sorry that I wasn’t available to personally meet you at the door earlier.” Turning to Bruce, he continued “I have secured all the necessary supplies Master Bruce, and Miss Kara’s bedroom is also ready.”

Bruce nodded and patted Alfred on his shoulder. “What would I do without you Alfred?” Of which the butler merely responded in a typical British way. “Plenty, I’m sure. Dinner will be served in half an hour. Will Miss Rosalyn be joining us as well?”

“No, she will come by later.” “Very good sir.” With that he took his leave, taking their guest’s bag with him as well.

“Who’s Miss Rosalyn?” Kara asked curiously, and she found it curious that Bruce merely chuckled as he answered. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

Motioning her to take a seat, Bruce went into his private lab, returning with a small rectangular box. Opening it, Kara felt the familiar tinge of weakness that came over her, for it revealed six empty syringes each with a green tip. Kryptonite-tipped. Each medium-sized vial was full, containing about 200ml of liquid each.

Before Kara could use her microscopic vision to look at the contents Bruce remarked “They are nanites. Programmed by me. First of its kind.”

“What does it do?”

“I’ve had it programmed to detect and counteract on your unique bio-cellular structure. It took me quite a while figure it out, with quite a bit of trial and error, until I finally figured how to have it latch and lock onto your cells. Basically, it works as an inhibitor to stop your cells from performing its unique work of acquiring, absorbing and storing solar energy for other uses other than the regular bodily functions. That way it will ensure that you will be fully depowered. Once it is introduced into your body, and if everything functions the way it does, it will allow your cells to become as per ordinary as regular humans, where exposure to the sun will merely give you a tan, and too much of it is inadvisable.”

And of course, the Kryptonite tip of the syringe will allow the necessary penetration to deposit these nanites directly into her bloodstream. Logical, and not a little scary.

“In case you are wondering, yes the entire process should be reversible. My tests covered those as well, and everything seems to work. The nanites are controlled and monitored by a computer in the lab, which will obtain and store data wirelessly on a regular basis so that we can all keep track how your cells are currently functioning through a private application which we can install of our phones. That will also allow us to monitor your body performance, and tweak your training as we go along. I have built in a killswitch which will deactivate and destroy the nanites immediately through either the app or the computer, though as a precaution if that fails I have also programmed another batch of nanites that has the sole purpose of killing those nanites as a backup. Even though the science and technology is sound, it is fresh from the oven, and hence does carry a certain amount of risk.”

“Backups of backups. You scare me sometimes, Batman.” Bruce smiled at that mention of his alter-ego. “I don’t even want to ask if you already have another batch which is designated to react and kill me.”

“Oh yes, definitely. There is a batch of nanite which DOESN’T have that killswitch. For my just in case scenario. Precautionary measures only, I assure you.” Left unsaid is that it would also work the same way on the Last Son of Krypton as well.

“Remind me not to cross you in any way.” Bruce let that comment slide and instead reminded her. “Are you really sure you want to do this? Again, everything that I mentioned is experimental and might not even work,  given your unique physiology.”

She sighed, closing her eyes for a quick five seconds before reopening them again. Looking directly into the Dark Knight's eyes, she replied “That’s why I’m here. I trust you.”

Batman looked hard at the Girl of Steel, before finally nodding. “Given the circumstances, it is much better forr you to stay at the Manor for the entire duration. This at least will give you a greater level of security and privacy, and if possible do stay close to me or my designated trainers unless told otherwise. And you are NOT to tell anyone else about your presence, not even your cousin. If anyone finds out that you are depowered, there’s no telling what your enemies would do to get to you.”

Kara bit her bottom lip. The prospect of losing her powers while on Earth is terrifying, even though based on past experience the effect had always been temporary. What Bruce is suggesting now however, going weeks or even months without her powers…  Placing her entire trust in the hands of a man who has a myriad of contingency plans to disable and even kill her at will… Her head was spinning with those thoughts.  Still, Bruce was, as far as she could figure out, her only possibility of becoming more powerful. To become better than she is now.

“I agree.” No going back now.

“Good. Let’s eat first.”

Dinner was a relatively simple affair of only two people, where the srumptious food was served in a ridiculously large dining room that could have sat Royalty and the entire entourage with room to spare. Kara and Bruce talked shop as they ate, though it seems the Batman hardly ate while Kara couldn’t have enough, wolfing down plate after plate of meat, carbs and vegetables to Alfred’s delight and the host’s chagrin. Even as her own blend of physiology and the need for a unique drink, her body is continuing to mature, and it demanded the necessary nutrition to continue to grow.

When it’s all done, Bruce led his guest downwards into the cave again though he took a different turn. A hundred yards later found them within a separate confined cavern that has been converted into a personal training area for the Dark Knight. With a ceiling height of about 20 feet and a ground area of around 50 by 50 ft, it consisted of a sparring area, with the threadmill and various weight machines located on one side. She also saw some large monster truck tires on the ground, and judging from the marks on the ground, it looks like Bruce had been dragging or pushing them all across the area. Expermentally picking it up, the entire 25inch tyre felt as light as a feather, though she had no doubt the entire weight would be much much more.

“Ready?” She looked back and saw her host dressed in his regular body armour, both hands holding onto the small box.

“Hang on, I thought you said no need to be in costume?”

“I meant you, not me. But given that we are both dressed, so just grab a seat.” Looking around, she just sat at one of the benches on the side. She was anticipating him administering the nanites when suddenly she saw the entire area bathed in an eerie red glow, instead of the regular flourescent lighting. Kara felt… a sort of heaviness permeating throughout her entire body immediately and realised what it was.

“What the… A red sun lamp? But…”

“I needed to be sure. I modified this place, together with the entire cavern and the manor’s lighting to have the ability to mimic the red sun’s radiation. Given that the green kryptonite tip will only allow the needle to pierce your skin, it still won’t guarantee that your superpowered physiology will not destroy the nanites like it does to all Earth viruses and bacterias.”

“Hence the red sun to weaken me. Soften me up. Expunging me of all my superabilities.” Kara shuddered as she realised this. Despite feeling her body powering down, it is a rather slow process and if she should wish to do so, she still has enough juice in her body to utilise her superspeed and get out of here pronto. Stop the entire process. And confirm to herself and to the Dark Knight that she doesn’t have the mental fortitude nor determination to see things through.

“I get it, Bru… Batman. Though I have to admit, it doesn’t look like this was done recently. You’ve prepared all these things for years, haven’t you?”

Batman smirked at that comment. “Given that no one can be sure that either Superman or yourself won’t be mind-controlled or become enemy of the world, better to be safe than sorry. I hope you don’t blame me for being paranoid.”

Smiling slightly even as she felt the energy gradually draining from her body, Kara replied. “So, what do I do now?”

“We wait. You might also realise that I have a monitor hooked up to all the tv shows across the globe, and also an extensive bookshelf on the far end. Make yourself comfortable.” As he strode towards the exit, she called out to him. “So how long do I have to wait?”

“Well… Maybe a couple of hours? I’ll check in on you after three hours then. If tired, just lay down on the makeshift bunk first, I’ll just wake you up later.” With that he left, and a door slid and closed behind him.

This time, Supergirl truly felt as if she were a prisoner of the Dark Knight, though a willing prisoner for that. It had been so long since Kara had landed on Earth and became empowered by the sun that she had all but forgotten the sensation of being 'normal'.  She felt weak, emaciated, powerless, and ultimately frightened for her well-being.  What if something went wrong?  What if this was some elaborate trap by Batman to eliminate a Kyrptonian and better control his world?  No – she couldn't think that way.  Bruce is The Batman, and if he wanted her dead, he would've done so a while ago; if anything else he would also have to answer to her cousin if anything went truly wrong.

A few more agonizing long moments passed as Kara's mind continued to flip all those thoughts over and over again but eventually she gave up the fruitless endeavour and turned her attention towards the tablet on the table. A push on the touchscreen, and a huge library of movies came about on the large LED screen on the wall. “Might as well just go with the flow and stay comfy” she thought, as she started browsing.

<3 hours later>

Batman didn’t even flinch nor turn around when he felt her presence behind him. “Right on time.”

“I do keep my promises.” Batman chuckled at that comment. “That you do.” Turning around, he looked at his guest, remarking “You’re casually dressed today.” Which brought a smile to the raven-haired beauty standing in front of him, in her usual red slingsuit bikini which was a joke of an official costume, paired with high-heeled black boots. “I like wearing my Vampiri costume when I work, thank you very much. Even though the red and blues do offer a little more 'colour' to my wardrobe and a fair bit more cover. Speaking of which…” she looked around seemingly looking for something.Or someone.

Cocking his head towards the entrance towards a separate cavern, the man with a Bat insignia on his chestplate replied “Still inside. Shall we?” As he started to move towards his personal training area, he suddenly felt Vampirella’s hand on his shoulder, gripping him with such strength that he stopped involuntarily in his tracks. Turning back in puzzlement he saw the vampire furrowing her brows, seemingly concerned.

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“Have you been watching her throughout?”

“Yes. She was right…” Pointing to one of the many screens on the cavern wall. But as he squinted slightly he couldn’t see Kara anymore on the wide-angle camera “… there.”

“I think you better stand behind me when you open the doorway. Just in case.” Without even waiting for Bruce’s reply she just strode in front of him, with purpose. Once she reached the door, she seemed to brace herself before nodding towards Bruce. He pressed the control panel on the side, the door slid aside with a gentle ‘Whoosh’, and they both waited for five seconds before walking in.

For a brief moment, it seemed that the room was empty as they stood in the center sparring area. Other than the entire place being bathed in artificial red-sun light, everything looked normal, though there seemed to be a constant… sound somewhere. As the Batman tried to walk towards the deeper end of the room, Vampirella stopped him short and instead moved a little towards her right so that she was standing directly in front of him again.

Before he could react, Supergirl suddenly dropped down from the ceiling onto the floor in a crouching pose, her eyes slightly glazed, her fangs fully extended and revealed, the entire face seemingly full of desire. Or hunger. Seeing the two people emerging within the area, she quickly leaped for Vampirella who is the closer of the two, who quickly caught hold of the blue-and-red clad young woman and threw her across the room. Despite the strength and speed of the scantily clad vampire, the girl of steel did a backflip in the air so that her legs landed against the wall on the opposite side, and with a powerful crouch and flexing of her calves, Kara pushed herself from the wall, propelling her entire body like a bullet aiming straight for them, both her arms outstretched in front of her with her mouth open.

Vampirella didn’t even think, she just reacted. The moment she saw Kara coming towards her, her supersenses kicked in automatically as her body reacted in superspeed. The entire world seemed to slow down dramatically, even the onrushing girl of steel looked to be floating slowly in the air when in actual fact she was coming at them much, much faster. Vampirella's own superbrain now calculating all the possibilities, she used a sliver of her speed and strength to gently push Batman towards the left sending him crashing onto the ground, before she herself slipped towards her right a second just before Kara’s arms reached her. Moving with such agility and speed that she was practically a blur, Vampirella then turned around and with both her arms managed to grab hold of Kara’s waist whilst still in the air. While she succeeded in holding on to the overshot young woman, she midjudged the force of Kara’s momentum, which succeeded in pulling Vampirella along its apogee and eventually both of them crashed unceremoniously into the cavern wall, cracks eminating all around and bringing down much dust from the cavern ceilings.

Before Kara could get up however, Vampirella quickly adjusted her position, and held the young woman in a chokehold from behind while trying to keep her on the ground, less the young woman tries to fly or leap away again. The Drakulon felt the Last Daughter of Krypton struggling like a banshee while mumbling incoherently, though the difference in strength now is too significant for Kara to be able to do anything other than thrash and flail her legs about in a vain attempt to get free. Vampirella for her part, too, sensed this gap, and ease back slightly, using just enough of her strength to just try and keep her still.

“Girl, stop struggling!”

“Hsgnhhsg… Hungry… so hungry…” Vampirella mind went silent for a brief moment, almost not noticing the Batman had reapproached them with another syringe in his hand. The artificial red-sun lighting seemed to have done its trick, as when the Batman tried to hold Kara’s arms he found her unable to resist his grip now, even though she seemed to be tensing her arms to try and free herself from the second attacker. With deftness, the Bat plunged the needle into the Girl of Steel’s neck, the latter’s eyes opened wide at the sudden prick on her body, before her body visibly relaxed as the contents were deposited. Bruce noticed the bright red gleam in her eyes started to dim and returned back to its beautiful blue glaze, though the fangs still remained visible, sticking out slightly from the edges from her mouth.

As calmness ensued, Kara just started gasping for breath, which led to Vampirella quickly releasing her hold, adjusted her position and slowly lowered Kara to lean against sitting against the slightly bumpy cavern wall.

“I… I’m…”

“Thirsty? Here, have a sip.” Batman passed a glass of water across, though Kara looked on fearfully before gently shaking her head.

“Maybe you need this.” Vampirella raised her right arm and moved it just in front of the Kara, who paused for only a second before succumbing to her urges, opening her mouth and clampling down over Vampirella’s wrist. Soon the sound of gentle suckling ensued, and silence hung over the trio in the cavern.

“So, I gathered this was something you expected?” Vampirella asked the Dark Knight, who was crouching impassively looking at the feeding. He replied impassively “I brought you in earlier for something else, but clearly I had underestimated her condition. I guess we’ll have to bring the…”

“Too late.” With a slight smile, she gestured towards the young girl who seemed to have thoroughly relaxed. “Did you include sedatives in that concoction of yours?”

“I don’t drug allies unwillingly.”

“Well, for what it’s worth…” Vampirella gently eased the Girl of Steel away from her wrist, then wiping a little of the blood from the corner from the girl’s mouth “… she fell asleep barely after taking more than a few small gulps. Is this how it’s supposed to work?”

“Must be the nanites working on her cells. Given that the red sun has drained out so much energy from her system, the final push must have caused her body to naturally become weak, and sleep happens to be a natural way for the body to try to recuperate and regenerate the necessary energy again for normal daily use.” Batman picked himself up as he spoke.

Both vampire and vigilante looked at each other before the host said “I guess we’ll just have to continue this later then.”

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The first thing Kara noticed was how bright it was. Groaning and flipping over on the large king-size bed to avoid having the bright rays shining directly into her eyes, it took at least another fifteen minutes later before something clicked in her mind, and she quickly sat up in bed. As she sat on the silky bedsheets, she can’t help but groan again and moved both her hands to rub both sides of her temple, feeling an unfamiliar feeling of throbbing pain all over her head.

That was when she realised that she’s in one of the twenty bedrooms within the Manor on the second floor, the size of which seems to be large enough to take in at least a couple more king-sized beds with room to spare. 

“How are you feeling?”

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Following the voice, Kara noticed a feminine figure sitting up from her position from her guest couch located towards the side of the room directly opposite the french windows. Vampirella put down her book towards a side table and looked at Kara with interest. True to habit, the vampire only had on a mauve-coloured long-sleeve top paired only with matching underwear. Just as skimpy and revealing as always. Despite not really trying, the black-haired woman looked every bit as gorgeous as a fitness model that belonged on runways, instead of sitting on a couch looking back at her.

Which reminded Kara suddenly to look down, and realised she is now dressed in her own pink pajama top with a pair of shorts.

“How did I… what hap…”

“You passed out. Since there’s nothing much we could do with you conked out, we decided to call it a night. I thought it’d be prudent for me to stay over to keep watch over you, just in case. The Bat didn’t mind. Again, how do you feel?”

Kara lifted both her arms raised them up. She looked at the rays that are currently shining through the window and enveloping her arms. Tossing aside the covers, she exposed her long legs to the rays as well. Other than the warmth, she felt… nothing. None of the initial “whoosh” or buzz that she associated with her Kryptonian cells absorbing, storing and using the yellow sun’s radiation.

She is now fully depowered. Normal. Mortal.

“I… I feel fine, I think.” Vampirella probed further. “Are you hungry? Thirsty?”

“Now that you mentioned it…”Kara arrested herself, her eyes opened wide at that last thought. Vampirella however just nodded. “I… did I… I mean, I…”

Before either of them spoke again, Bruce Wayne swept into the room, causing Kara to quickly grabbed the sheets to cover herself. “Rao! This is a girls’ room! Don’t you ever knock?”

“I heard voices while I was coming up. In case you’ve forgotten, this IS my house. Looks like I’m right on time though; And good morning to you too.” Bruce nodded towards Vampirella, who just gestured back nonchalantly. “I trust that both of you had a good night sleep? Oh don’t act like you’re naked because you’re not.”

“I could be, you know! Don’t just assume! How did you…” Bruce cut Kara off. “I showed Rosalyn where you room was, and she did all the hard-work of carrying you all the way up here. She even managed to dig out your pajamas in your duffel and got you changed. Don’t worry, I didn’t peek. You were so out of it that the moment your head hit the pillow we could actually hear you snoring.” Kara blushed beet red as Vampirella snickered at Bruce’s snide comment.

“In case you’re wondering, your costume’s in the wash. Once it’s dried out Alfred will have it back in your room. Now, shall we all have some breakfast first?”

For what it’s worth, breakfast was amazing. Having been so used to the simple meals that she had at the orphange, Kara was astounded with how large the spread was, despite only the three of them. Four, if she counted Alfred. Even though she finally saw Bruce going through his paces, seemingly packing in much-needed carbs, protein and everything to start the day, it was still too much for the number of people in the manor today. Vampirella seemed just contented to have a little bit of everything, though she still had another glass of wine to go with the course. It’s practically wasted on the vampire whose liquid diet trumphs everything else.

Kara had come down to breakfast dressed in a simple white t-shirt and leggings-style pants, though when she was putting them on, she had noticed something obvious to her body. With her cells currently being impeded from using the yellow sun’s radiation to the fullest, her current clothing had become somewhat loose, even though they still fit her generally. Her bust is now smaller and the effect of gravity made it droopy, each and every part of her body seemingly softer and less defined, definitely not the athletic, toned-look that she was used to seeing all these while in the mirror for the past two years. She could even feel the slight heaviness of her entire body, another sign of being ordinary. There are still some bruises on both her arms from where Vampi and Batman had grabbed hold of her yesterday, not to mention the soreness on her back and neck.

For some reason, she felt as if she were also slightly under the weather, her mind seemingly working slower; despite having slept soundly for more than ten hours she still felt tired. Her appetite had definitely reduced, and after cleaning a simple plate of pancakes with bread, coupled with some fruits and salad she was done. A far cry of what she normally eats.

“How do you feel now?” Kara practically rolled her eyes when Bruce asked that question. “For the last time, I feel FINE! Just that… I don’t feel all that hungry anymore, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Do you remember what happened yesterday?” Kara looked down on her plate, using her fork to play with one of the grapes remaining on it.

She did remember. And then some. She raised her head to look at Vampirella, speaking softly and with regret in her voice. “I don’t know why I did what I did. I started the evening quite alright when Bruce left me in the red-sun illuminated room. As the night went on however, I just felt… uneasy. For whatever reason, I felt more and more thirsty, hungrier; even though I had just had a huge meal not more than two hours before…”

“And then?” Bruce leaned forward, seemingly eager to find out more about it.

“And then… despite knowing that my powers are being depleted by the minute, I still heard voices talking outside. I could smell both of your scent, and more importantly, the blood that was flowing in your bodies even beyond the thick cavern walls… I don’t know why but I wanted to be prepared… Lie in wait, for both of you to come in. It’s as if my entire body was…”

“Acting more on instinct” Vampirella concluded for her, as she sipped her wine glass again, the contents now low. “To a certain extent, I’m glad I came earlier than expected, or else even our Bat would have found it difficult to contain you properly. You’re lucky I heard you moaning and mumbling outside those walls. Since we last spoke, I assume you haven’t had a drink, am I right?”

Kara nodded. “Yes, but I thought with your blood…”

“You thought nothing. I told you that you have to take your liquid diet seriously, similar to how water is to Terrans. You’ve disregarded my advice. Why?”

Bruce cut in at that moment. “She’s a young girl who had survived the decimation of her own planet, Rosalyn. She's not a well-trained warrior woman like you who will do what it takes to survive. Her first instinct is to protect, not attack.” Kara’s eyebrows rose, surprised that Bruce jumping into the frey for a change. “More importantly though, this proved one important point. The yellow-sun radiation is not only the catalyst for Kara’s powers due to her unique Kryptonian physiology, it is also acting as a key inhibitor that helps keep her new vampiric tendencies in check. This might be why Supergirl has never had an incident where she went out of control due to the vampiric instincts. Luckily we found out about this here in the relative safe space that is the Wayne Manor, else things might really get out of hand.” Kara shuddered slightly at Bruce’s remark. She has no doubt that things might be much worse if not for Vampirella at hand to help out.

“Does that mean that I am now a danger to everyone?” Kara asked wearily.

“Not really, at least not when you’re fully energised and fed. While you are depowered, it just means you need to feed much more regularly. Which is why” Vampirella cast a sideway glance at Bruce “he prepared a few things for you.”

“As long as you are staying in the Manor, as long as you’re working with us, rest assured that you will have all that you need to keep your entire body in tip-top condition. Don't worry.” Bruce tried to reassure Kara, though the former Girl of Steel doesn’t seem all that convinced.

“Well… OK, I guess. And Vampirella is here because… ?”

“I wanted to compare her current physiology and blood work with yours as well, hence her dropping-by last night. Plus I want her to coach you on everything Vampiri on top of everything that I planned.” Seeing Kara gape at that comment, Bruce continued “Given that you retain part of the vampiric powers from the amalgamation of her Vampiri DNA with yours, you need to figure out what is it that you can do, and couldn’t do. Given the circumstances, I figured she would be the best mentor for everything on her race.”

With that he stood up and motioned to Kara. “So let’s get started.”

“What the hell are these? I know my costume tends to be skimpy, but even these fabric are even less than what I am used to wearing.” Kara remarked unhappily as she tried out her third exercise outfit, looking at how little skin it covered as she modeled in front of a mirror. Alfred had laid out a number of different outfits of tops and bottoms for her in her room, and true to his word only Vampirella accompanied the depowered Kryptonian into the room as she changed. Both of the gasped at the variety of designs available – some were thicker and covered her until mid-ribs, others however resembled more of thongs, and the one that Kara is trying on right now is not so dissimilar to Vampirellas’ own sling-suit bikini barring the black colour.

A few of them even had her own House’s <S> insignia on them, expanding across the chest or directly on the bottom covering the crotch. “How and where the hell could Alfred have gotten these? It must have been Bruce’s grand idea to humiliate me this way. And how the heck does he even know my size?” Kara complained even as Vampi helped her to tie up the string of her top just behind her nec and back.

Grinning slightly, Vampirella remarked “He’s Batman, remember? You have to admit, since superheroes and villains became so visible, many entrepreneurs have been cashing in with the trends. I’ve even seen a few swimsuits sporting my Vampiri sign too especially the place that covers the crotch, so maybe we can consult with the Bat on how to get some royalty money from all these. You might even get enough pocket money to go shopping for better stuff everyday.” Her smile broadened when she saw Kara’s facial expression that the mention of money actually made the girl think it over. “Given that you are planning to do some serious workout, you need to be able to move easily and flexibly. It doesn’t hurt to look good doing that, you can send his heartbeat fluttering as revenge on a daily basis. Despite your reservations, you do look pretty good in these.” Even so, she observe Kara removing the latest and putting one of those that covered more skin instead, a yellow and light blue top paired with a simple black pair of shorts.

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“I look so small. Weak, even.” Kara pouted again, looking at the reflection from the mirror. “It’s like it’s designed to crush my body inwards.”

It was partially true. The latest workout clothes are all tight-fitting to be as thin as possible, designed to give the wearer as much mobility and flexibility as possible with the latest woven technology to help dissipate sweat and heat. Her bust and butt had seemingly shrunk further, whether it was due to her powers’ being depleted or due to the tight lycra clothing, she wasn’t sure. However, the current top does have an additional advantage of being designed with a push-up bra as well. She missed how all her previous Terran clothing had yielded easily to her own bodily curves, and Kara sighed as she realised she will need to put up with the entire situation for at least another few more weeks.

“You know, for a while I thought you guys have gone to a fashion show.” Kara bit back her own retort, realising appropriately that Bruce is steaming slightly for having to wait for them at the training area. This time Vampi came to the rescue. “It IS her first time trying on something like this, and if you know women, the more choices you give the more we want to try them out, So it’s your fault anyway. In any case, given all the workout clothings that you got for her, I’d say that you are very much looking forward to seeing her dressed in those anyway.”

Bruce merely grunted and walked towards a screen on the wall. Touching the capacitive screen he brought up an application, which seemed to show many statistics on screen. Kara realised quickly that they were HER own statistics; that the nanites must be somehow tracking and monitoring her body and sending back information to the tool.

“So, based on the initial reading compared to now, you seemed to have lost some weight. About ten kilos to be precise, which to be fair, is quite a bit. I’ve always thought that your weight is a little absurd given you always look model-perfect at your 5ft 8 inches height, and now that you’ve depowered…” he purposedly poked Kara on her hand, causing her to flinch slightly “… looks like you’ve also lost of your initial conditioning.”

“But… but that would mean I’m worse off than before I left Krypton? How can that be? I was fit!”

“Possible, considering that you haven’t really worked on something that taxed and built your muscles since you arrived here. Everything is super-light, even large asteroids or tanks, thanks to your sun-fueled powers. The less you use or really exercise them, the softer they become. So now we have to rebuild all that, and push your body to breakthrough and increase your baseline.”

 So they started on the program. Starting with weight lifts. Just as Kara got herself seated on the bench next to the weights, she saw Vampi making her way towards the exit. “Hey, I thought you are supposed to train me?” The vampire just smiled and made a gesture, before floating three inches off the ground and left the place. “Make sure you’re hydrated” was the last they heard her for the morning.

Casting a quick sideway glance before looking back at his ward, Bruce asked “Let us begin.”

Kara felt fatigue setting in as she worked to complete her set, working the bench press bar currently calibrated at 20 kg. As a beginner, Bruce had to show her how to do perform the various exercises, from the various body parts’ workout, squats, deadlifts and more. Even though it is only the first day, they seemed to have gone for broke, operating a full body work out.

Never had she felt this kind of exertion before. Exercise and sports yes, but not this kind of purposeful body-building. Not on Krypton, and definitely not on Earth; and she had done lots of lifts and pushes at the Fortress.

“Again.” Batman ordered, commanding that she repeat the sequence.

“A… again?” Kara exclaimed, panting already, sweating bullets.

“Again.” He was unwavering.

Kara lifted the weights once more, her arms, chest, in fact her entire upper body was now trembling and quivering. The struggle is real, as genuine as any other human being trying to hit their wall. Finally the bar reached the apex and the young woman looked ready to just rack the barbell up and move on.

He spoke again. “One more.”

“One… what? No, it’s too much for today.”

“One more.”

“Bruce.”

“It’s Batman. One. More.”

“I… I can’t.”

Bruce leaned closer to Kara, speaking softly. “Kara. Listen to me. This? This last one? This will be the first step you take to close the gap. Proof of that one big step towards your goal of becoming the strongest there is. This is the one thing is the difference that differentiates ME from the rest of those wannabes. This will make you become GREAT instead of merely good. Now, do it. Do it for yourself. One. More.”

Kara’s lips quivered, she looked as if she were about to cry. But she bit her lower lip and with seemingly renewed  vigour, gave it everything she had, as she pushed, HARD.

“Come on, Kara! I thought you were SUPER! Show me that you deserve to be call that name. ONE. MORE. PUSH!” That last encouragement did the trick, and with a loud cry Kara finally hoisted the weights up in the air. Bruce moved over to help her re-rack the barbells, and the young woman’s arms just collapsed onto her sides, drained with her exertions and all sweaty and panting all the way.

She just managed to adjust her position so that she was sitting a bit more comfortably before accepting the water bottle and guzzling down its contents quickly. When she handed the empty container back to Bruce she paused when her trainer passed her another one, this time the content is red.

“You heard Rosalyn. Bottoms up.” Kara looked at Bruce for a moment before finally accepting it, and started drinking the contents. Lots of emotions rolling with tears that had formed within her eyes. This time, she could feel her body literally becoming more alive as more and more of the red liquid flowed down her throat.

“Where did you get these?”

“I’ve always had some of my own blood stashed away, for emergencies. I can’t very well turn up at Gotham General whenever I get injured going up against Two-Face or the Joker, now can I? Vampi donated some and so did Alfred. The rest I secured through connections with the local bloodbank. All of which should be more than enough to last you for a few weeks.” Bruce had really thought of everything.

Kara found himself staring into Bruce’s face as he explained what he had done in confidence to keep her alive and sane. As she looked closer, those deep blue eyes of his, that chiseled jaw, and thick dark hair. Not to mention his better than average physique, the way his muscles bunched up as he moved and flexed, the way his casual shirt tightened across his chest as he stretched. The way he spoke with confidence and experience.  Kara felt herself… swooning.  She hadn’t felt this way about a man before. Oh yes, there’s Derek, Tyrell and all her peers. But a real MAN who can actually compare to her? After all, it was difficult for her to be impressed with someone like Bruce when he possessed an infinitesimal amount of strength compared to her.  Only a few men in the league could compare to her cousin, even though Bats is definitely close to the top. But after today… she was beginning to truly appreciate why so many of Earth’s women threw themselves at Bruce Wayne, and not just for his money. Not to mention the heroines and villainesses just swooned at the mere presence of the Dark Knight.

“Ok, rest time over. Now to work those shoulders, triceps and biceps of yours.” That broke Kara out of her reverie. She only groaned at the return of Bruce Wayne the trainer who gestured for her to start on her sets. Gritting her teeth, Kara could only oblige.

That night had been a relatively better experience for Kara. Lying alone now in a simple t-shirt and a matching long pajama pants on the large king-sized bed, she still felt the lingering effect of the entire’s day exertion. And this is just Day One.

As she looked at the ceiling, a copy of the latest National Geographic magazine towards one side as she wound down for the day, she does have to admit that one good thing that came from this now is that she had just been given a fantabulous massage by the one and only Bruce Wayne. An indulgement that he promised to her if she keeps on progressing.

“Trust me. Once you’ve tried mine, you’re never going to go for anyone else’s.” Whether or not that is true remains to be seen, but Kara agrees wholeheartedly that his work on her entire body from top to bottom, especially over her shoulders, arms and backs, were definitely a god-send after an entire day to endless reps and sets under his watchful eye. The entire session was simultaneously sensual, and powerful, making her gasp and moan alternating in feeling the pain and then slight pleasure as his hands moved over tender areas, and by the time he was done she was writhing slightly still from his exertions.

 The contrast so befitting Bruce the playboy and the vigilante, as well as herself.

She lifted her arms back into the air, wincing slightly with the soreness as she moved, looking at them she felt so… inadequate. Since she is now fully depowered, Kara is now feeling the actual strength and pressure exerted from one of the fittest Terran man among the heroes, and while it wasn’t unpleasant, it also reminded her again about how weak she was. 

Groaning despite herself, she realised that she is still a long way to go towards acheiving her goal. Bruce had actually promised, no GUARANTEED, that he is definitely going to up the ante to push her forward even more. All towards helping her goal of becoming stronger, or even be the strongest there is.

Kara could only wonder what kind pain she would need to endure to get there.

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Congratulations on the first anniversary of your novel serialization.
I look forward to and cheer for your novels in the future.
anaheim
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