Deigen followed his fellow vampire’s example and plopped Bastiick onto the seat they’d shared. He leaned as well as he could against the side of the ship, scanning the room. “Sylvia, what happened to the children?”
“Children?” echoed Uncle Albert, looking around. “What children?”
Sylvia stepped up closer. “Serena and the other Keeper took them when they ran out.”
“What happened to the sea monster?” whined Seth, pointing at the now calm waters of the indoor pool.
Uncle Albert flung his arms up. “What sea monster?”
“It dashed back under the water as soon as it saw the ship blast in here.” Sylvia raised a brow at the pool. “For as big as that thing was, it didn’t actually turn out to be that scary.”
“Oh, that’s Hoover,” said Trevor, nodding his head and speaking as though the man-eating beast were an adorable Beagle puppy. “He frightens so easily when he hears loud noises.”
“Trevor,” Uncle Albert turned to him, “where would Serena and her companion have gone?”
Trevor gave a blank stare. “Eh, I don’t know.”
“What are the Keepers plans for the villagers they’ve been taking and where are they being held?” asked Deigen.
This time Trevor added a shrug to the blank stare.
“Thank you, Trevor, you’re turning out to be remarkably helpful.” Uncle Albert buried his head into both hands. “Remind me why I didn’t eat you again?”
“Because you have appetite suppressants,” snapped Sylvia. “You shouldn’t be eating anyone!”
Uncle Albert let the hands fall down, showing a face that had gone from frustration to indignation. “Sylvia, let’s not even address the fact that the two people I ate-”
“Three,” said Sylvia, stamping her foot, “you ate your apprentice too!”
“That the three people I ate broke into my home with intention to steal from and kill me,” Uncle Albert pointed to himself. “Me, your darling uncle.”
Trevor made a face. “You asked me if I was interested in becoming your apprentice but you failed to mention what happened to the former one.”
“Are you planning on trying to break into my home and rob me?” Uncle Albert turned to him. “Again?”
“Good.” Uncle Albert gave a single nod of agreement. “No worries then.”
Trevor scrunched up further in his seat. “I think I’d like to respectively decline that offer of employment now if you don’t mind.”
“Fine, fine.” Uncle Albert flung a dismissive hand up and looked back at Sylvia. “Anyhow, come along dear, we need to focus on getting you away from here while all is calm.”
“Getting away from here?” Sylvia stared at him in disbelief. “Uncle Albert, I haven’t found mother or anyone yet. And they have to be here somewhere, we just have to look for them. We can’t just up and leave!”
“Sylvia, whether they’re here or not, we will find them, I promise, but now is not the time. We need more information, more preparation, and-” Uncle Albert glanced cautiously about the room’s guards scattered on the floor, “-it is quite unsafe for you to remain where you are.”
Sylvia followed his gaze and snorted. “You’re worried I might get attacked by a mob of sleeping guards?”
“Actually-” Deigen aimed his sword at the largest pile of them, “-if they all really did get smashed into by a flying metal boat that had just been electrified, I doubt they’re simply sleeping.”
“Ah.” Seth looked about the room, nodding. “Which means there’s going to soon be a small, hungry mob of my brethren stumbling about.” He directed his attention to the ship and the utter lack of seating space now available. “Albert, this means I’m walking doesn’t it?”
“Yes, Seth, yes it does.” Uncle Albert whirled back as a croaky groan from a guard near the back wall announced the first signs of a newborn zombie coming to life. “And do be quick about it.”
“I’m not leaving, Uncle Albert!” shouted Sylvia. “Not until I find mother, not until we find the children again, and not until-”
“So where will I look for you guys?” asked Seth, half jumping and half falling out of the ship.
“We should go to the queen,” said V. “She’s familiar with the Keepers’ sort of magic.”
“Your queen?” asked Uncle Albert. “In the Kingdom of Fools?” He shrugged. “Guess it’s as good a place as any. Seth, we’ll fly through that swamp area we passed by first. If you don’t catch up with us there, just keep walking toward the little vampire village or whatever it is.”
“It’s a city.” V had the correcting tone of a disgruntled librarian dealing with noisy children. “And far more civilized than any other you’ll likely find in these parts.” [Author’s note: it feels like this particular description has been used for V before but I couldn’t find the occurrence while skimming through. Needless to say he is an easily disgruntled vampire. He needs chocolate and a hug.]
“Is anyone listening to me?” Sylvia screeched at them. “I said I’m not going anywhere! If you cowards want to leave so you can plan a safe way to rescue everyone later, go ahead! I can handle knucklehead guards, I can handle sea monsters, and I can handle zombies!” She cupped a hand over her mouth as the last yell seemed to wake up the entire back half of the room.