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The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Five)
I stared. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. Well, I kind of suspected that the vampire was actually Greg because of all the clues, but it was still hard for me to believe. But was even more hard to believe was what he came to say.
What did he mean when he said that our parents had been taken?
"You're sure about that?" asked Delilah.
Greg nodded, his face remaining a stony expression.
"No, this can't be happening," April said, shaking her head in denial. "This can't be happening."
My mind went blank. I just couldn't process what Greg had just said. It was just a huge shock that I couldn't believe it.
"Oh, but it is."
April and I looked around, startled. Glowing green mist suddenly rose up from between the floor boards, spiraling up towards the ceiling. After swirling around like a tornado for a couple of seconds, the green mist exploded and disappeared. Standing at the center of the scorched circle that the mist had left behind was -
"Mrs. Pembrooke?" I cried out in surprise.
What was the principal doing here? I wondered. Wait. Could she be a monster too?
"No, Mr. Lin, I am not a monster," she said, as if she could read my mind. "And I can't read minds either. It's just that if you've been around for as long as I have, things start to get predictable."
"Never mind that!" April shouted. "What about our parents? Were they really taken?"
"I'm afraid so," said said Mrs. Pembrooke. "Despite efforts on my part, not even my sorcery was enough to stop them from doing evil on school grounds. There are not a lot of beings out there these days who could match my magic power, especially a group of vampires who couldn't even break a child's summoning spell. One of them called upon the power of the Eripmav."
Sorcery? Magic power? Summoning spell?
"Argh! I can't take it anymore!" I shouted. All of these feelings that I didn't have time to deal with and just bottled up since those creeps showed up in front of Terry's van just came bursting out of me. "Just what in the world is going on here? Someone explain to me, please!"
I threw my hands up, fingers balled into a fist, and brought it down on a spoon just lying on a small plate atop the glistening counter. The spoon flew up and then dropped to the floor with a clatter.
My outburst attracted stares from everyone. For a moment, we all just stood where we were, making no sounds. And then . . .
"Where to begin?" said Mrs. Pembrooke. "First off, we should probably sit down."
"I'll make us some tea," Greg volunteered. He went behind the counter, shrugging off his cape, and went to work.
While he was brewing tea, Mrs. Pembrooke went on to explain.
Apparently, yes, monsters are real, and magic too. Both have been around for as long as humans have. A long, long, long time ago, humans and monsters used to live together out in the open, but then there was a huge war between them that was devastating. To make sure the damage didn't become permanent on the world, a group of the most powerful magicians of both sides came together and came to the agreement that monsters and humans had to be separated. They used their powers and split the world into two worlds, one where the humans live, and one where the monsters live. The split wasn't perfect, however, so the two worlds stayed connected. Now and then, monsters and humans have ended up slipping into either world, and it was up to either side's higher-ups to make sure that the balance between the two worlds remained intact by dealing with any trouble-making monsters, or humans.
"I am one such person whose duty is to maintain the balance between the realm of monsters and the realm of humans," said Mrs. Pembrooke. "It was something I inherited from my grandfather, and a duty that I take seriously. Although, it seems as though I'm in danger of failing my duty. It is never a simple thing with the Eripmav involved. Anyway . . ."
Of course, not all humans and monsters were bad, or hate the other side for that matter. Some humans and monsters even got together and married. And there were plenty of monsters living peacefully in the human world now, albeit keeping their origins a secret, so half-monsters weren't all that uncommon.
"I'm one such monster," said Greg. "Mom's a vampire, but Terry's one-hundred percent human. Though Terry has no idea that monsters are real. Or that I'm one."
"Hey, I've been meaning to ask, but what is the Eripmav?" April said. "You've been mentioning him for a while, like he's some seriously powerful villain."
The monsters and Mrs. Pembrooke exchanged knowing glances.
"The Eripmav is a kind of vampire, right?" I cut in. "Since the creeps who attacked us were vampires, and you kept talking about the Eripmav, I'm guessing they're one and the same."
"You're half-right," said Delilah. "The Eripmav are a kind of vampire. But they also aren't."
"Huh?" I went, obviously confused.
"Seriously," Greg grumbled as he checked his watch over a steaming pot of tea. "We're doing cryptic riddles?"
"Pff!" went Delilah. "You're just jealous because I did the cryptic thing before you did. I know you think that being all cryptic like makes you look like some super cool wise dude."
"Ahem!" Mrs. Pembrooke coughed. "Is now really the time for jokes?"
"Right, sorry," said Delilah, looking down in guilt. Even adults couldn't stand up to the woman's stern teacher's gaze. "Anyway, we were talking about the Eripmav. Well, to start off, the Eripmav is an ancient being, one of the oldest living vampires."
As Delilah spoke, Simon pulled out a polished crystal ball. He waved his hand over it, muttering something beneath his breath, and the ball lit up, projecting an image above, like a giant hologram. A huge shadow with glowing red eyes was displayed, swirling around. To me, it almost felt like it was looking right at us, like it knows that we were talking about it. That, I guessed, was supposed to be the Eripmav.
"The Eripmav's the one who was the cause of all the myths and legends that everyone knows about vampires today. You know, like about how they are blood-drinking creatures who turn others into vampires, or vampire slaves to do their bidding. The Eripmav is actually like that. And the ones who are turned by the Eripmav are like that too."
"So vampires can actually live for hundreds and hundreds of years?" April said. Her eyes kept flicking from Delilah to the hologram, and then back to Delilah.
"No," Greg cut in. "Vampires live just as long as humans do. The only reason the Eripmav, the original Eripmav, is still around even though thousands of years have passed is because he takes possession of his victims. As long as there are those turned by his power around, he'll be around. Anyone turned by his power, no matter how far down the generations, will be connected to him. You can think of the Eripmav as a kind of Internet, and the vampires under his control are the computers. Except in their case, the Internet is calling all the shots. At least, that's what Mom told me."
As he spoke, the hologram from the crystal ball changed, where the shadow flew over normal people dressed like they were from Ancient Greece. When the shadow had passed, the people were transformed. They had blue skin like Greg had, with pointed ears, eyes that glowed red, and fangs. And then they flew over other normal people, and those people changed as well. After a time skip, there were vampires marching on as the shadow from the beginning floated over them, tendrils connecting it to each and every one of those beneath it.
"Your mother is pretty accurate in the description," said Mrs. Pembrooke.
"Thanks to the Eripmav, people think vampires are all psychos who like to bite people and drink blood," Greg continued with bitter in his voice. "That couldn't be further from the truth. Actually, most vampires think that drinking blood is wrong on so, so many levels. And vampires in general especially hate those kinds of vampires to the point of refusing to call them fellow vampires. That's why we call them the Eripmav, backwards for vampires."
"Why?" asked April. "Is it because of the bad rep they got vampires?"
"There's that," said Greg. "But it's more to do with how they force others to join them against their will, warping their victims' minds to their way of thinking, so that those victims become Eripmav to the core, too."
Greg's eyes glowed dangerously, and his fangs were bared as he grimaced with such distaste. As far as I could tell, his animosity was at its peak.
"Vampires, true vampires, are often seen as carefree, lazy, and flippant creatures," Delilah explained. "They normally just do whatever they want, go wherever they want, even if it causes others trouble. But really, they're people who take serious pride in freedom. What the Eripmav has done in turning their victims into their followers goes against everything the vampires believed in. And the Eripmav, themselves are pretty much slaves to the original, ancient spirit who started it all, since he's the one who's been turning them into like him, blood-drinking monsters with severe garlic and silver allergies, that he could possess at will."
And my mom and new step-dad were in the hands of those monsters, I thought as I looked up to the hologram. It could be my imagination, but it looked like some of the vampires beneath the shadow had really pained expressions on their faces. And that was the last thing I saw before the hologram closed in on itself and the crystal ball went dead, leaving only dread in me as I wondered what such evil vampires had in store for my parents.
"Now that that's out of the way, there's something more we need to discuss," said Mrs. Pembrooke. "Particularly, what we must do from now on."
Mrs. Pembrooke went on to explain that she cooked up a cover story for us, getting the police to go along with the story that me and April had been doing some volunteer work for her when the kidnapping happened. She also told them that she had us stay inside the whole time to make sure we were safe when she realized that there was trouble outside. After explaining that, she took April with her and left. April still had her mom, so she was going home, with some magical spells cast in order to protect her, of course. As for me and Greg, since both our parents had been taken, Delilah said that we could stay here with her and Simon at the shop.
I didn't really say anything to that. There weren't really any other options for me, anyway. Both my parents were taken, and the thought of going back to that house with just a quiet step-brother who was also a vampire wasn't all that appealing to me.
Before opening the door, Mrs. Pembrooke stopped to face me and tell me one final thing.
"Don't worry," she said. "I swear on my honor as this town's guardian that I will return your parents to you safely."
She opened the door, but instead of a street full of monsters and fairy tale creatures, there was the inside of an office. April and Mrs. Pembrooke stepped in, and the door closed behind them.
Simon showed me to my room while Delilah shut herself in her office. I didn't know where Greg went, only knowing that he was probably playing video games wherever he was. The guest room was a bit bigger than my room back home. There was a bed, a desk, and a wardrobe, kind of like what you'd find at an inn room in some fantasy video game. I was a little surprised to see my luggage sitting beside the bed, but not that surprised. Either Simon, Delilah, or even Mrs. Pembrooke must have used some kind of magic spell to bring it here.
"It's not much, but I hope you make yourself at home," said Simon. "See you."
Taking in my new surroundings, I couldn't help but sigh. It was only just one night before that I was trying to get used my new bedroom. Now I had to adjust to another new one.
Well, there was nothing else I could do. I was just one powerless teen. All I could do then was go to sleep and hope for the best.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Four)
Jay and April find themselves face to face with a werewolf.
- The Dandy Monsters: NIght of the Eripmav (Chapter Six)
And another new life starts for Jay.