Once Upon a Time – Chap. 37.1


The library door creaked out a tired yawn as V cracked it open to peer inside. Stationed at the room’s lone table in nearly the exact spot he expected to find her sat Sylvia, nose buried so deep in a book it seemed doubtful she’d even noticed his arrival.

You’ve been spending a great deal of time in here,” he called out from the doorway. “I take it you must admire the queen’s reading selection quite a bit.”

Hello, Vandalarius, how are you?” Sylvia spoke without so much as turning her head, giving the impression she’d just read a line in her book out loud.

Using my first name in its entirety now, are we?” He smiled while walking in and seating himself across from her. “You’re the last person I would expect to do so. If memory stands correctly, my single letter nickname derived from you favoring fewer syllables when we first met.”

I was a foolish girl back then.”

Yes,” he gave a mocking nod, “back then. In the ancient days of almost a week ago.”

Sylvia shrugged, keeping her eyes planted on the pages below. “Seems longer. Everything is so much clearer than it was when I stepped foot in that tavern or even when I first came here.”

Obviously you’ve become a great sage by spending time with all these dusty books.”

That and,” Sylvia shrugged again while turning the page, “I used to just be a regular human who knew nothing about the world.”

V rose a brow. “Which was an even shorter time ago. I wasn’t aware becoming a vampire included sudden enlightenment. It appears I missed out on that particular gift.”

She finally lifted her eyes to him. “That’s because you, Deigen, and all the others in this stupid castle are too busy keeping house and running the queen’s errands to make use of your power.”


Sylvia rolled her eyes. “What?”

His name,” V leaned toward her, “ is Deigenhardus. If you’re going to make fun of everyone here for being powerful maids and messengers, the least you can do is use his full name as well.” He reclined back in his seat. “And what power are we so foolishly wasting in your opinion?”

You’re vampires.” Sylvia thumped a fist down on the table. “You’re immortal, you’re supernaturally strong and fast!”

V cocked his head to the side. “It seems you perceive us as more special than we really are. Our immortality can easily end with a sword to the head. Yes, I can toss someone like Trevor in the air for all the good that does anyone but I’d lose a race against him to the dinner table.”

You’re still better equipped to take on danger than most people,” argued Sylvia. “Why do we have so many stables of animals here when there’s plenty of thugs lurking the streets?”

Are you proposing every vampire here become a fanged defender of justice and attack nearby criminals?” V chuckled at the notion, shaking his head. “A noble cause, yes, but it becomes tricky business when one assumes the role of self appointed law enforcement. One day you’d be chomping on some thief robbing a candy store and the next day it would be the unfortunate person who cut you off in line at the theater concession stand.”

“Fine, whatever.” Sylvia went back to reading her book. “But besides all that nonsense, you can’t say you’re not feared by every living thing. This little kingdom of yours could rule over everyone in a day if you wanted to.”

Perhaps. If we wanted to,” agreed V with a single nod. “But do you see how quickly even you just took us from being protectors of the peace to totalitarian overlords? Not to mention only one village nearby remains standing now because of a particular group who does want to rule over everyone. And, remember, the reason vampires are feared throughout the land has its origin in folktales.”

Sylvia turned another page and snorted. “In folktales, eh?” She hoisted her book around so that it faced him. “Is that so?”


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