Professor Fang: The Hopping Dead: Part 8: The Emperor’s New Clothes

(Sorry about the delay. Christmas has been quite hectic this year. This story is still not quite finished yet, but it will be by next week. At the very least the final two parts are longer.)

The Jiang Shi circled Lindsey. She held up her single half bag of sticky rice against the monsters to try and ward them off, but it wasn’t working this time. These Vampires were bolder, and much more bloodthirsty and feral than before.

As all seemed lost for Lindsey, a small group of villagers emerged from behind the flaming wreckage of several houses, carrying torches and large blocks of burning wood.

The villagers started to fight with the Vampires. They had an advantage at first, more because they surprised the Demons than anything else and were able to knock some of the Vampires off their feet.

It didn’t take long for the Demons to overpower the villagers however. One of the villagers was impaled with his own flaming piece of wood, whilst another was jumped by several of the bloodsuckers who tore her to pieces.

Lindsey tried to help in the fight, but the one of the Vampires quickly tossed her aside with one bat of its hand.

As the Vampire prepared to pin her to the ground, Lindsey grabbed a flaming piece of wood that one of the other villagers had dropped and smacked the Vampire right in the face, sending it crashing to the ground.

Lindsey then placed the flaming wood around a Jiang Shi’s neck from behind. Catching it by surprise, she was able to pull the undead monster away from a villager that it was about to attack, before hurling the Vampire over her shoulder into three more bloodsuckers behind.

“We have to get out of here now.” Lindsey said to the 7 or so remaining villagers.

“Where too? They tore down our last shelter. Those monsters strength is limitless.”

“Where were you hiding?”

“In the temple. We thought its holy power would protect us but.”

“Sometimes it can, but with these things, well lets just say its more mundane.” Lindsey said as she clutched her sticky rice. “Anyway it doesn’t matter, we need to get back to the temple”

“Its doors were ripped open.”

“This will hold them back.” Lindsey said as she held up the little sticky rice she had left.

The villagers felt they could trust Lindsey simply from the fact that the Vampires wanted her dead too. Besides they didn’t have any other options.

The temple was just around the corner. It was a small, modest building. Religion had more or less deteoriated in this kingdom, though there were still some who worshipped the symbol of Buddha, without much knowledge of his teachings. The buildings stood more as significant cultural symbols of the knigdoms great past. Generally speaking magic and spiritualism were seen as a thing of the past.

The two front doors to the Temple had been ripped off completely, whilst a Jiang Shi stood near the door, drinking the blood from the corpse of an unfortunate young woman who had foolishly tried to defend the temple.

The villagers ran past the Vampire into the Temple, though several of the Vampires noticed them, Lindsey was able to block the entrance with the remainder of her sticky rice.

Just as before the Vampires hopped backwards in fear hissing at the entrance. Unfortunately however several more Vampires were soon attracted by the commotion and dozens more of the bloodsuckers gathered around the Temple.

Lindsey searched around the small temple for any exit. All she found was the entrance to a small crypt that led to a dead end.

Lindsey checked the back windows, but unfortunately they were surrounded by streets filled with dozens more Jiang Shi. If they tried to run that way then its possible one of the crowd of 8 would make it,. Maybe.

“We’ll just have to hope the Professor and Kirsteen find us, and soon.” Lindsey said as she stepped down from the window. Meanwhile the horde of bloodsuckers at the front of the Temple continued to grow larger and larger.

On the other side of the village, the Emperor had dragged Lee back to his castle, where this nightmare had all begun. A few Vampires along the way tried to attack the Wizard, but the Emperor would always send them scurrying back with a quick snarl.

Back at the castle, the Emperor woke Lee by slashing him across the face. The Wizard was shocked to see that the Emperor had bothered to take him here. Why didn’t this animal just kill him?

Could it be that there was something left of his old friend there after all.

Lee approached the Emperor very slowly. In truth there wasn’t anything left of the Emperor. There was nothing but a few scant memories of the man, whose body the Demon had taken over. In time they would all fade completely, but for now the Vampire was confused by the emotions he felt just when looking at the Wizard.

The Demon felt the Emperors genuine hatred for the Wizard for his betrayal. Whilst the Emperor had understood Lee’s attempts on his life, to stop the curse from spreading, he still nevertheless hated his former friend for the threats he had made against his people and family.

The Vampire knew it wanted to prolong the Wizards torture for much longer than any of its other victims, it just wasn’t sure why.

The Emperor struck Lee, knocking him out cold. It then started to slash him on the ground several times over before ramming one of its talons through Lees eye. Despite his magic being low, Lee was able to conjur up a puny blast that sent the Emperor a few feet across the room.

Lee stumbled through the main hall, tripping over the mangled bodies of those still fortunate enough not to be turned by the Jiang Shi.

The Emperor however quickly hopped in front of the terrified Wizard. The look of hatred on this seemingly mindless animals face was unmistakable to Lee. For a second it almost was like looking at the Emperor again.

Lee tried to speak with the monster. Since the memories of the man it had taken over were influencing it, Lee felt that perhaps he could jog the memories of the Emperor’s conscience.

“Please Emperor, if there is any part of you still in there, listen to me. The kingdom you gave your life for is in ruins. You’re wife and your son are still out there.”

The Vampire however simply grabbed Lee by the throat and started to choke him in its fury. Lee could feel himself blacking out when the Emperor dropped him to the floor. After a few seconds the Vampire started to attack the Wizard again. It wanted him to experience everything it had in mind for the traitor.

Back at the Temple, the Vampires started to hurl rocks at the windows, breaking several of them. One of the villagers, a young man was hit on the head and killed instantly, but before Lindsey or anyone else could even tend to his body, one of the Vampires started to hurl pieces of burning rubble from the buildings at the Temple.

The furniture quickly caught fire, and though Lindsey and the others tried to put it out with the curtians, the fire spread quickly, overwhelming the room with flames and smoke. They had no choice but to run outside before the exit was completely cut off.

Outside the Vampires were quick to surround Lindsey and the fleeing time travellers, but Lindsey fought back using one of the flaming curtains which she wrapped around two of the Vampires. She then grabbed several bits of burning rubble the Vampires had been throwing at the house and hurled them back at the Jiang Shi, holding the Demons back for a few seconds until the villagers were able to escape.

Two of the Vampires however quickly hopped through the small fire Lindsey had created and grabbed her by either arm

The two monsters pulled so hard, Lindsey thought she was going to be ripped in half. Fortunately just as one of the Vampires was about to sink its fangs into her arm, it was suddenly thrown across the room by an invisible force. The same force then quickly struck the other Vampire down before hurling several large bits of flaming wood at the Vampires behind.

Lindsey didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t like leaving this invisible force, whatever it was alone with those bloodsuckers, but she had to make sure the villagers hadn’t run into trouble.

Up ahead however Lindsey saw 5 Vampires standing there with pieces of yellow paper on their foreheads. From behind them emerged the Professor, Kirsteen and the Empress. The villagers had similarly been stopped in their tracks by this strange sight too. Lindsey couldn’t help but smile in relief.

“What took you so long.”

“Sorry this place is crawling with Vampires you know. I assumed you could handle it.” The Professor replied.

“Yes I could, burning buildings, hordes of super Vampires, and all I had was a bag of rice. It was no problem.”

The Professor’s five Vampires quickly jumped the other Jiang Shi. They dispatched all of the wild Vampires relatively quickly. The wild Vampires were much less organised than the Professor’s and they were distracted by the same invisible force. (In reality Asika.)

The Professor’s Vampires killed the other members of their kind by literally tearing their heads off.

Kirsteen had to look away from the bloody spectacle. She didn’t look on the Jiang Shi as humans at all, but unlike the Professor or even Lindsey who could still crack jokes in the middle of all this bloodshed, Kirsteen was still very new to the gruesome reality of dealing with creatures like the Jiang Shi.

As she looked round at the Professor and Lindsey she could see that even they were wincing as the last of the wild Jiang Shi, a young woman was pinned to the ground by two larger Vampires, with a third proceeding to slash at her neck until she was decapitated.

“Horrible, horrible, but it has to be done.” The Professor said as clutched either side of his cloak.

“Come Lindsey.” He continued. “We need to find the Emperor now.”

“I saw him”. One of the villagers protested.

“Just a few moments earlier, he was heading that way. He was carrying the Wizard with him.”

“That’s the way to the castle.” The Empress said.

“It must be the last of the Emperor’s old memories influencing the beast. My guess is he’ll have something really nasty in mind for Lee. We have to act fast.”

“Its all my fault.” Linsey said with regret.

“I couldn’t save him.”

“You might still be able too, but we have to hurry now.”

“What about the rest of the village.”

“I have more Vampires scattered about. They’ll keep the villagers you rescued safe and destroy any Jiang Shi.” The Emperor gave a loud call, which caused 7 more Jiang Shi to emerge around the villagers that had escaped with Lindsey.” “Protect these people at all costs.” The Professor commanded. “The rest of you, come with me. The Emperor is the leader of the pack. We’ll need all the help we can get. Jiang Shi’s, Empress’ and Ghosts to get him under our control.”

“Ghosts? Oh of course how silly of me. I should have realised that’s what the force was. Thank you wherever you are.”

“Her name is Asika. She’s protected by my magics, though sadly we can’t see her either. I promise Asika, we’ll help you after this.”

“I doubt you will.” She said. The ghost had no faith in the old man, as she still couldn’t comprehend what was happening to her, but at the very least she knew that the Jiang Shi were the bigger danger.

The 7 remaining Jiang Shi gathered around the villagers whilst still making their way through the village for more survivors.

More villagers had survived than Lindsey had initially believed. Several peasants had thrown themselves on the ground and pretended to be among the dead to escape the Vampires. This tactic did manage to dupe some of the bloodsuckers simply because the Vampires were so ravenous they went after anything that moved. Some of the Vampires however could still smell the living among the dead as one unfortunate man who had been forced to lie beside his dead wife discovered, when several Jiang Shi jumped him, and tore him apart like Sharks in a feeding frenzy.

Others meanwhile hid in small alleys, or in the crypts beneath temples and a very few even stayed in their burning buildings, thinking it was better to fight the fire than the Vampires. Even then however many of the Vampires simply walked through the fire and tore the terrified villagers apart.

The Professor’s Vampires meanwhile tended to focus more on battling members of their own kind sadly, than in helping the villagers. Even under the command of the Professor’s powerful magics the Vampires natural instincts for violence overrode everything else.

The Professor’s Vampires would tend to swarm one of the wild Jiang Shi and quickly tear it apart. However the wild Vampires soon caught on to their tactics and they all began to attack the Professor’s Vampires at once. Two of the Professor’s Vampires were ripped apart, whilst the paper was torn off of the head of another, freeing him and causing him to turn on one of the villagers next to him instantly.

Fortunately many of the villagers both within the circle of the Jiang Shi and in hiding tried to join in the fight. They had no idea why some of the Vampires were turning on each other, but some fool hardy villagers hoped that they could take advantage of the situation. All they accomplished however was in distracting the wild Jiang Shi long enough to gain the upper hand. Soon both the villagers and the enchanted Vampires were fighting together.

The Emperor had beaten Lee unconscious 5 or so times. The more beatings he took however, the quicker it took Lee to faint. The Emperor screamed in frustration at Lee constantly interrupting his fun and dug his claws deep into the Wizard’s guts. Lee started to choke on his own blood as the Vampire slowly lifted him in the air.

Lee looked down at the snarling, blood stained face of the Demon that had possessed his friend.

“I’m sorry”. Lee said whilst spitting up his own blood.

“I should have tried to help” The Wizard passed out before he could finish.

“Put him down” the Empress screamed. She was the first to enter the palace, with the Professor just coming in after.

She still hoped in vain that some vague memories of their time together might influence the Jiang Shi, but it was obvious that the monster wasn’t moved at all. In fact it threw Lee across the room and charged at the Empress with a renewed fury.

The Vampire couldn’t understand any positive memories such as love or compassion. Any lingering memories of such feelings would just make the monster feel sick, which was why the first thing Jiang Shi did was often kill their hosts loved ones.

The Professor however sent three Vampires to attack the Emperor. They managed to hold him down for a few seconds before the Emperor tossed all three across to the other sides of the room.

The Professor quickly grabbed swords from the bodies of the guards on the floor and enchanted them, before handing the weapons over to Lindsey, Kirsteen and the Empress.

These weapons could harm the Emperor, but not destroy him. His stength had grown since he last met the Professor thanks to the blood he had drank. The Professors two remaining Jiang Shi tried to hold the Emperor in place, but again they were easily overpowered. Lindsey, The Professor, Kirsteen and the Empress all tried to slash at the Vampire but he was too fast for them.

In the confusion Kirsteen almost slashed Lindsey across the face!

“Not me you idiot.” Lindsey said in a rare moment of anger, though it was really more because of the Emperor than anything else.

“Sorry, you know maybe it turns out I’m not cut out for this life after all.” Kirsteen said sarcastically.

Asika tried to intervene, but the Emperor without even looking hit her in the face, knocking the Ghost out for a few seconds.

The Empress not being able to take seeing her husband in this state for much longer hurled herself at the Vampire bearing her husband’s face, with her sword still in her hand. She tried to ram her sword into her husband’s spine from behind, but the former Emperor sunk his fangs straight into her throat before she could act.

The Empress tried to pull away, but her Vampiric husband just it deeper and deeper. Seizing his chance, the Professor rammed his sword straight into the Emperor’s eye. The Vampire jumped back in pain, taking the sword with him, which he quickly ripped out of his face.

The Emperor then squeezed the blade of the sword in his hand, despite the fact that it burnt him, until the sword snapped into fragments.

Two of the Professor’s Jiang Shi then tried to grab the Emperor from either side, but the Professor simply stuck his hand through one of the lesser Jiang Shi’s chest, whilst ripping the arm off of the other, which he then used to beat both of them!

3 more Jiang Shi however grabbed the Emperor from all sides and tried to hold him down whilst the Professor quickly jumped on the Emperor with one of the final pieces of yellow paper. The Emperor however struggled and struggled and sensing the magics in the paper, quickly jumped free and over twenty feet into the balcony above.

“He can sense what we want to do to him. Fascinating. I always underestimate just how crafty these brutes can be.” The Professor said

Kirsteen meanwhile had tended to the Empress, whilst Lindsey tended to Lee who was barely breathing.

“He’s not going to last much longer. We need to get him back to the ship.”

“We couldn’t possibly make it through that war zone. Not until we get the leader.”

“He won’t last that long I’m telling you we need the magics in the ship.”

Just then Lee suddenly awoke, groaning in pain.

“Its okay I have you” Lindsey said gently.

Lee however instead tried to chant something. He could barely speak from the pain and the blood in his throat, but after a few failed attempts he was able to get the enchantment out. It was a minor healing spell that closed over some of his most severe wounds.

The most advanced healing magics required incredible power that Lee even on his best day didn’t have access too. He would never be able to regrow his eye or a missing limb with magics, but effectively plastering a wound with magic was simple enough.

Lee sat up, trying as best as he could not to let the pain consume him.

“I’m sorry.” He said to the Empress who he could see had been bit.

“It is my fault.” Lee said, whilst still spitting out among the last of his teeth.

“If I had tried to reason with you, tried to appeal.”

“No.” The Empress said. “Its my fault. All of it. I can’t believe I let my husband become that thing. I won’t make the same mistake again. Professor, I know you’ll have to kill me after that thing bit me. I won’t fight you.”

“Its true, I’m afraid there is nothing I can do. I could take you to the most advanced civilisation in the universe and they still wouldn’t be able to undo the curse of Vampirism. Still we need you for now.”

“This isn’t the first time I’ve been bit”. She said as she showed them her previous bite wound.

“If I’ve been bitten more than once, what does that mean?”

“It means you have less time before you turn. Still as you are alive you should have maybe a few days.”

“A few more days with my son? Well that is something to fight for at least.” The Empress said as she tried to haul herself up.

Lee tried to stand too, but he was far too weak. He tried more healing spells on himself, and though he was eventually able to stand by himself, it was obvious that his power was almost at an end.

“I’m fine” he said. “Well I’m not but I have to do my bit.”

“Don’t expect us to waste time trying to protect you.” The Professor said callously. “I can’t stop you from trying to help but you better not get in the way.”

Just then one of the Professor’s Vampires was thrown from the balcony. Its face had been smashed to an absolute pulp, whilst large chunks of flesh had been torn out of its chest and stomach.

The enchantment had been torn off of its head, but it was clearly no threat to anything now. Lindsey put the beast out of its misery by taking the monsters head off with her sword.

“Our Vampires won’t last much longer.” The Professor said. “We have to move now while we have the advantage. Asika, I don’t know if you can hear me, or if you’re still here, but please just let me know.”

The Vampire received no response.

In truth Asika was too scared to even move. She had been badly hurt by the Emperor’s strike. The sudden reality of the situation had begun to creep in that it wasn’t just her life, but her soul that was in danger.

The Professor’s two Vampires had managed to tackle the Emperor down a small corridor, but the greater Jiang Shi soon fought back by smashing one of the lesser Vampires through a wall, whilst digging his talons into the neck of the other bloodsucker.

The Professor, Lindsey, the Empress, and Kirsteen all jumped the Emperor whilst he was distracted. The Professor tried to place one of the last pieces of enchanted paper on the Emperor’s face in the struggle, but the Vampire bit into his hand. Lindsey jabbed her finger into the Vampire’s eye socket causing the monster to spin round 360 degrees, sending all of its enemies flying.

The Emperor then hopped towards Lindsey in fury, snarling and biting, but Lindsey stabbed her enchanted sword straight into the Vampires chest. Sparks started to fly from its chest and the Vampire grabbed Lindsey by the neck, but she pushed the sword in deeper. It was a testament to the Vampires vastly superior strength that he could endure this pain, but it eventually became too much for him and the Emperor was hurled backwards. Whilst he was on the floor, Kirsteen who the Vampire had not taken notice off quickly grabbed the yellow enchantment that the Professor had dropped and placed it on the Emperor’s forehead before he could react, stopping the bloodsucker in its tracks.

“You did it, you did” The Professor said. “Now we might just have a chance.”

To Be Continued

 

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