Gwendoloena sighed as Ian’s eyes fluttered shut again. “Poor lad. Never has this fainting couch lived up to its name so well.”
“Will he be alright?” asked Simone.
“Oh yes, that wound he inflicted on himself has healed up good as new.” Gwendoloena made a folding motion in the air and a light purple blanket appeared in her arms. As she bent slightly to place it over Ian, the vampire added, “It’s probably best he’s sleeping again, all that’s needed now is a little rest.”
“And you say he’s from another world?” Simone leaned in to peer closer. “I wonder if all the fellows back home are this handsome.”
“He appeared smitten with you as well, my dear.”
Simone’s smile widened with a blush. Both women turned around as the zombie hovering behind them cleared his throat once again.
“Eh, excuse me, Gwendoloena.” Seth sounded far less patient this time. “But now that Ian is obviously well, I really do need to discuss something with you.”
“Of course, Seth, so sorry to keep you waiting.” She nodded at him. “Go ahead.”
Seth looked uncomfortably around the room, which also included Albert, Deigen, V, and Nancy. “Em, pardon, your majesty, but I’d much rather speak in private.” He hobbled closer, whispering in her ear. “It’s a matter of great urgency that involves several lives and Sylvia.”
“Involves Sylvia?” The vampire spoke loud enough for anyone a mile away to hear her, causing Seth to stumble back. “Then we should certainly include her.” She turned to address the rest of the room. “Does anyone know the whereabouts of our young magician?”
“She’s in the library, I believe,” said Albert, making a slow revolve toward the doorway. “I’ll go fetch her.”
“No, no, Albert, wait!” Seth tried to chase after his fellow zombie who had already ambled out of the room. “I don’t want to see her!”
“Fool, yes we do, what are you doing?” grumbled Nancy with a swift elbow nudge. As the telltale sound of a rib giving way followed his nudge, the man gave a squeamish pout and tried to side step away.
Seth grabbed and pulled him back with his one arm. “Break one more thing on me and see if I don’t—”
“Gwendoloena, you wanted to see me?” called out Sylvia’s voice from the open doorway.
Seth grimaced, still trying to think a way around his dismal duty of having to murder the girl. But when he turned to look at his future victim, his jaw dropped so quickly that he wondered how the thing didn’t fall completely to the floor. “Sylvia, you’re a, you,” the zombie waved his arm in the air at her appearance, “you got rid of the pigtails! I like the hair down, it’s a much more mature look for you!”
Sylvia made a ‘ta-da’ motion and raised her brow at his seeming bewilderment over the least extreme change since they last saw each other. “Um, I’m also a vampire.”
“That too!” Seth let his arm fall to the side. “Yep, that too.” He whirled around to face the queen again. “Gwendoloena, I really must speak with you now. Alone.”
Gwendoloena gave him another nod. “Very well then, Seth. Follow me.” She walked over to a narrow doorway at the end of the room that appeared small and insignificant enough for nothing more than a broom closet to lie on the other side. Once open, however, it revealed a spiraling staircase leading down with lit sconces lining the walls. As Gwendoloena began descending the steps, she called out behind her, “And Simone may stay here but your other friend, the Keepers lackey, must accompany you.”
“Keepers? I keep telling you people, I don’t know who these Keepers are!” argued Nancy as he towed behind the queen and Seth. “Never met them, have no clue where they even—”
A sour face of disgust replaced the rest of his retort as Trevor walked in from the main doorway. For his part, Trevor simply looked more confused than usual.
“Wymer, is that you?” Trevor’s eyes lit up. “Are you joining us too?”
“Shut up you lousy traitor! No surprise to find someone like you here all cozy with the enemy!” The fat man made a menacing step toward him but then glanced back at everyone before giving Trevor another evil eye. “And I have no idea who you are anyway so why am I even talking to you!”
As the henchmen rushed down the staircase to continue following Seth and Gwendoloena, Deigen shook his head after him. “I thought that guy’s name was Nancy?”