“I’m sorry, am I interrupting something?” Raven asked.

“Good evening, my daughter,” Valentina said. “You are just in time.”

Raven could hear the hint of relief in her mother’s voice. “Hello, mother. I don’t believe I’ve met your friend.”

“She is hardly that, Ravenel,” Valentina said. “This is Countess Elizabeth Bathory.”

Raven pursed her lips and looked the vampire up and down. “Doesn’t look like that blood bath is working out for you. Maybe you should try a little more wood fiber?”

“Ravenel,” Bathory said with a nod. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you and your blood, I look forward to adding it to my tub.”
Raven spun the shotgun in her hand and shot a vampire that had been trying to sneak up on her. The twelve-gauge blast caught him in the face and he exploded, covering those nearby in ash.

“That was rude of me,” she said. “I wasn’t listening but I thought you said you were sorry for being a bitch and would now surrender to my mother.”

Bathory snarled, showing fang. “Disarm her and bring her to me!”

Her guards pushed through the crowd, weapons at the ready. They were too close to innocents for Raven to risk the shotgun, even if she didn’t really care if members of the court got shot, mother would get sarcastic. Raven threw the useless weapon at the face of the nearest vampire thug and drew her Automag. The pistol spat flame and silver-jacketed death that dusted three of the thugs in the blink of an eye. As their ashes rained down around her she ran towards the remaining vampires. They raised their Mp5 submachine guns and fired, but Raven was no longer there. She dropped beneath their line of fire and slid on the polished marble, squeezing her pistol’s trigger as she moved. Three more of the vampires collapsed and Raven rose to her feet beside her mother, the Automag leveled at Bathory’s head, who had her sword placed against Valentina’s throat.

“Drop the sword,” Raven said.

“You dare defy me? I am Elizabeth Bathory, Countess of the Seven Hells—”

“You’re a psycho with a butter knife to my mother’s throat,” Raven interrupted. “Put it down or your maiden will be taking you out of here with a shop-vac.”


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