Chapter 15. The Duel

Act II Finale

A chilling laugh echoed across the cold, dark grounds.

Count Straud was already waiting outside, preparing for the duel that would determine Zell’s fate.

If Zell lost, he’d have to move back in with his abusive master. If you ask me, that would effectively make him the Count’s prisoner.

Zell ran out before I could stop him,

-and even though I didn’t see the duel, I heard it.

First, a whoooosh, and the crackling of dark energy,

-then, about a minute of yelling and scuffling,

-a gasp of someone choking,

-the thud of a body hitting the ground,

-and lastly, a slow, drawling laugh.

When I got outside, Zell lay crumpled on the ground, and I helped him up.

“I couldn’t do it, Benji,” he whispered to me, wincing, eyes downcast. “Of course I lost. I don’t know what I was thinking… it’s all over for me… for us…”

“Hold on, Zell,” I told him. “This isn’t over.”

And I whirled around to face the Count, anger churning inside me like magma.

“Count Straud,” I snarled. “You disgusting tyrant! Zell has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be with you, so let him go!”

“On the contrary, Mr. Kim,” the Count jeered at me. “The vampiric code states that-“

But before he could tell me about their dumb vampiric code, I jumped him.

Attacking a Grand Master Vampire is the stupidest thing I had ever done. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking. Actually, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thinking at all.

But, by some miracle, I caught him so off guard, I gave him a decent thrashing.

“-oh my god, Benji!” Zell was cheering.

I was grinning. And as the Count groaned in pain, Zell suddenly strode across the porch-

-and grabbed me.

“C’mon, Benji. Let’s blow this popsicle stand,” he said.

And the Count was so shocked, he didn’t even try to stop us.


A/N: If you noticed Zell’s odd outfit during his duel, yes, his clothes did glitch into a horrific mess. So why did I keep these screenshots? It’s because this story is 90% game-driven, meaning whenever unexpected things happen, I let them happen! This includes failures, awkward social interactions, and the occasional bug. Or maybe the Count just trounced Zell so hard that he knocked his fashion sense right outta him ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Zell was exuberant the whole way home and couldn’t stop rambling about how I’d defeated one of the most powerful vampires ever in combat. (Honestly, though… I think it was luck.)

“Benji, we have to go out and celebrate this!”

“-right now? It’s like 2 in the morning-“

“-yes, right now, c’mon, I’m taking you to late-night karaoke-“

And, well, you know how I feel whenever Zell asks me to go out.

Nawa Tay Zonday?”

“Yes,” I said. “Absolutely.”

Zell wouldn’t stop looking at me during the whole song.

And, honestly?

I didn’t mind.

We couldn’t stop grinning, even once we left the karaoke bar.

“Benji,” started Zell.

Something dark flashed in the corner of my eye.

“Benji,” he continued. “I think I’m in l-“

“-he’s here.” I gasped, interrupting Zell. Someone had materialized in thin air behind him.

“Who, the Count? Stop joking around, Benji, you know he doesn’t leave his house-“

“No, Zell, it’s him.” My heart started beating in fear. “And he has left his house, that one time-” The Count had left his house exactly once, and it was to jealously murder Zell’s ex-boyfriend.

The moment Zell realized I wasn’t joking, his face dropped. He had only one thing left to say.


8 thoughts on “Chapter 15. The Duel

  1. Whew! The game cut them a break! Just as well, too, because for whatever gosh-given reason, two screenshots in, my brain was like, “femboy contest.”

    And the sad thing is, I think Vlad has a shot at winning that, too.

    Woodworking, 1; grandmaster vampire, also 1. Of course, the weirdest, creepiest move isn’t the bloodsucking or the killing, but the stalking and manipulating from an abuser who’s lost control.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually did not notice at all that Zell was wearing a different outfit during the duel until I saw your note. That’s how absorbed I was in the story at that point. Did not notice a whole random wardrobe change on the main character right smack in front of me. 😆

    I absolutely love that Count-Duel-‘Em-and-Rule-‘Em is actually terrible in a fist punching brawl. Go Benji!

    And then, just when we think they’re safe… Aaaaaa!

    You do a fantastic job of creating tension and suspense.

    Liked by 1 person

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