The Persecution: Part Two
Blast that Salvatore Malice! Doesn't he know not to stick his nose into places where it doesn't belong?
Villia huffed as she left the table and made her way to the dance floor, carefully walking as to not tread on her skirts. She needed to clear her head and find some way to get back into the mood of the party. Villia had to be cheery, her face had to have a smile and her charming personality shine through or else she wouldn't get any meals tonight. The pickings were slim, there weren't as many mortals as usual at this gala and the ones that were here knew of the vampires and their tricks. People weren't fooled as easily in this day and age, they were smart and tougher. All of the men she had talked to tonight turned her down with excuses. They had plans, they were spoken for... but she knew the truth. Each conversation started well until they caught sight of her fangs when she smiled, then the tide would turn. Villia sighed, it used to be so easy, she used to have more meals than were good for her, but not anymore. All of her regulars have pulled away, and she was lucky if she got a good meal once a month. The only things keeping her from resorting to blood substitutes were parties like these. But even then... even Hayden has been setting out fake food for the past few months.
Blood substitutes. Villia wrinkled her nose at the thought of living off the special berries and mushrooms that some vampires chose to consume rather than true blood. It was a big business in Neovia, as many vampires that lived in the city chose to try and put their "barbaric" ways behind them. It was also easier than hunting, all you had to do was buy some and keep it in your cabinet to have whenever you wanted. It was simple, and it was safe and "moral". Villia could see their side of the story, but she could never live off the stuff. It never satisfied her, and she only felt healthy and strong when she had real meals. Because of the hard times, fewer and fewer vampires were living by tradition, but that was their choice. Villia lived by her own choices.
Villia turned and smiled as the green Blumaroo strode toward her. His suit was crisp and his hair perfectly in place, but she could see the circles under his eyes and the way his clothes were a bit too large. She could see he was struggling.
"Tiberius, it's a pleasure to see you. Are you enjoying the party?"
"Of course! Hayden's parties are always a great time. Not to mention the great food." He laughed nervously, revealing his yellowing fangs.
Villia toyed with her gold bracelet. "Are you doing alright, Tib? Eating well?"
Tiberius shrugged and put his hands in his pockets. "You know how it is. I've given up on hunting, but the blood tea I've been getting isn't enough. It just isn't the same."
"You shouldn't give up, Tib. I'm sure you'll find a meal soon enough."
"I hope so, I'm not sure how much longer I can go like this."
"You just have stay strong, Tib."
Tiberius sighed. "You say it like its so easy."
"It is easy, I can give you some tips."
"Easy for you, maybe. All you have to do is bat your eyelashes and people pretty much throw themselves at you feet. I'm not like you, Villia." His eyes hardened and his mouth twisted into a snarl. Villia frowned.
"I didn't mean to offend you, Tib. I just want what's best for you. But alright, if you don't want my help I don't have to give it to you. Good luck Tiberius, stay safe."
With that, she turned on her heel and headed back toward the crowd of people dancing on the polished dance floor. A charming waltz had just started to play, and pairs of Neopets stepped and swayed in the rhythm. Villia sat down and smiled. She loved waltzes.
The next morning's sun shone as brightly as a lamp with a new light bulb, and it hurt Villia's eyes terribly. She may be adapted enough to go out in the sunlight without getting immediate sunburn, but the light wasn't any easier on her eyes. She opened up her parasol and breathed a sigh of relief once the shade fell over her. Now she could continue her walk.
It was indeed a lovely day, the sky was unusually clear the Haunted Woods and Weewoos chirped as they flew through the air, delivering this Friday's Neovian Gazette. Villia whistled and a small blue Weewoo fluttered over and dropped a rolled up Gazette neatly into Villia's outstretched hand.
"Thank you." She smiled as she tossed the petpet a crust of bread and a neopoint. Tucking the paper inside her purse, Villia made her way down the street. She had some appointments with friends today; shopping, lunch, afternoon tea, a fitting for a new dress. Her schedule was tight, and she had to get started early.
As she walked, she took careful note of all of the people reading the Gazette. Not that many people read the Gazette; it was usually only news, poorly written stories, and boring articles. Everyone who wanted something interesting to read turned to the Neopian Times. That was where all of the good stories were.
Villia pondered this as she walked, noticing more and more people with their noses in the paper. As she was about to open her own paper and see what was so interesting, someone roughly bumped into her as he walked by, causing Villia to stumble and drop her paper. As she picked up the paper and brushed herself off, she turned around angrily.
The man turned and glared at her, a look of pure disgust in his yellow Kougra eyes. "Shut your mouth, vampire. You're lucky I don't run you out of town for getting in my way."
Villia unfolded her paper as he walked off, looking him over and wondering if she had ever met before.
I wonder what got under his collar?
She shrugged and sat on a bench, nodding hello to the young couple occupying the other side of the bench. She brushed off the encounter with the Kougra as a result of the early morning. People weren't always on their best behavior this early in the morning.
"Did you read the article on the front page?"
"Yeah, can you believe it?"
"I can't. Imagine, we've been living with those creatures in our town all these years without even knowing the truth."
Villia wasn't one for eavesdropping, but with the couple so close she couldn't help it. The girl twisted a strand of hair around her finger as she talked, her eyes sparkling with interest.
"Do you think it's all true?"
Her partner nodded, his hat slipping over his eyes as he did. "I sure do. Why would they publish it if it wasn't?"
The ignorance of some people. Villia rolled her eyes as she flipped her paper to the front page to see what this article was all about. It had to be what everyone was talking about, and if it got so many Neovians excited, it had to be interesting. Though, as Villia read the headline of the article, interesting was not the first word that came to mind.
ARE WE LIVING IN A FANTASY?
This is the Haunted Woods, something we must accept is that we are surrounded by monsters. They live beyond the edges of town, beyond the bright lights that protect us. We teach our children not to explore the woods and never to go there alone, but what we should really be teaching them is how to protect themselves on their own streets. Monsters are living among us; they're our neighbors, our friends, and our coworkers. You're probably wondering who these people are. Criminals? Spies? No, they're something completely different.
You might not think they're dangerous, but they are. The tricks us, fool us, make us believe we're safe around them, but they have other plans. They want to take Neovia for themselves, they want nothing more than eat as much as they can and control our lives as if we were marionette puppets. You know this if you have ever attended any of their parties, the way they talk to us! They don't see us as equals, they only see us as prey! Our entire town is like a free for all buffet to them, yet we let them live among us! How foolish are we, living in a fantasy that we can allow monsters to live among us and not be afraid of them.
I once had a friend that-
Shreds of paper littered the ground as Villia tore the paper up, angrily ripping the words apart as if they had bit her. The young couple looked at her fearfully as she stormed off, cursing under her breath at the fool who had written that fake article. It wasn't true, none of it was true! How in Neopia did it even get published? She knew the chief editor of the paper; he was a vampire that Villia had been friends with for many years. He would never have let that article get through, never.
On any other day, Villia would have stomped down to Verne's house to question him calmly but sternly about this article, but she was already fifteen minutes late meeting up with her friend. The heels of her shoes clicked and clacked on the cobblestone street as she continued her commute, ignoring the questioning looks and glares from the Neopets on the street. She tried to calm herself, to keep her image up, but her anger was too great. This was unacceptable, and you could bet your tail that Villia was going to find out who wrote that article, and make that sorry Neopet pay.
To be continued...