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-Guatemalan Railway-


Melchior screamed in agony, feeling his muscles contorting and his blood boil and vaporize; live was going away from that young man, who was never going to be the same again. His friends Ice Guardian and Elite Dragon could only hold him tight in their arms and hope for the best.

"Healing Koltso!" Kimi shouted, putting his hand in Melchior's forehead.

Ice flocks came out of Kimi's hand, ceasing Melchior's screams and putting him to rest. Some circular markings appeared in the Salvadorian's arms and chest. Then, Kimi looked at Anael.

"How does this technique work?" elite Dragon asked.

"Well, it is quite similar to your Quetzal Healing..." Kimi answered. "However, I have the ability to retard some bad effects over one's body or mind, such as poisoning, curses of any kind and transformations... Which is Melchior's case. Nevertheless, I think it won't have such effects over him, for I believe Camazotz is more powerful than anyone we face so far..."

"Indeed..." Elite Dragon agreed. "The problem is that he, the Bat-God, is Melchior's protector! Also, Ixtab said we cannot lose or destroy the Cards, which means..."

"...Melchior is hopeless." Concluded Ice Guardian. "He is a Vampire... And he is unleashing his true nature..."

"Do we tell the others?" Anael asked.

"Do we have a choice?" Kimi replied. "Soon or later, they'll know! Look, I think we have to tell them... After all, it is Melchior, our friend... Who's becoming..."

"A creature of the Night..." Anael completed, serious. "A child of Camazotz. Well, I think we should consider this carefully. Though we are familiar with the concept of Vampires, Melchior is different, for he is also a Magician. It may have some side effect on the whole vampire thing."

"What are you suggesting, Leader?" Kimi asked.

"I am suggesting we keep this a secret... For now. We need to observe Melchior and see if he'll become a Vampire as soon as he wakes up; I won't let the others without knowing - I'll insinuate stuff, just for them to be more cautious. The worst thing of Vampires are their mental powers and blood thirst, specially the last one. If Melchior is a Vampire, we'll have to find a way to control his vampirism, so that he won't drink other people's blood!"

"Agreed." Kimi said. "I think Sankari may hold some info regarding that; so... Will we keep it as a secret?"

"I think you won't be able to do that."

Both Elite Dragon and Ice Guardian looked up, seeing Electro Archer and DarkStalker, who were staring at them with a slightly angry countenance.

"What 'secret' are you talking about?" Kaiser asked Kimi; he then looked at Melchior and saw the markings in his skin. "what have you done to Melchior?!"

"This is the secret. " Elite Dragon replied, standing up. " Melchior is protected by Camazotz, the Bat God, lord of all Vampires."

"Wait, what?!" Asked Thalas. "Vampire? Melchior? That is an absurd!"

"Unfortunately, it isn't." Kimi replied. "These markings were created by me: it is the Healing Koltso, which basically retards any black magic; apparently, it is also able to retard Vampirism, but I am not sure for how long."

"I see..." Thalas said reflexive. "How are we going to deal with this? I mean, it is a vampire!"

"We are going to study him. " Anael said. "For this next days, we'll have to watch Melchior constantly; the worst possible thing is his blood thirst. We have to find a way to prevent it."

"How?" Kaiser asked. "We cannot barge into a hospital and demand blood! They won't give it to us. Also, I don't think I'll offer myself as a snack, and none of you will do so!"

"You are right..." Kimi commented. "I don't know if we have other options than... Letting the Vampire awake."

"Can't the Shaman think of something?!" Thalas asked. "Her powers are much bigger than merely card conjuring, I know it!"

"So do us." Anael replied. "The Heart knows it; however, she was so terrified with Camazotz's vision that she couldn't do a single thing!"

"Better leave things as they are now." Concluded Kimi. " As I was saying to Anael, I am going to do some research, and I encourage you to do the same. Again, we don't know how Vampirism will work on Melchior - we don't know if he'll become more aggressive, cautious, if he is going to become a sadistic monster or an evil mastermind. We are walking into a dark cave with no torches, so I beg you to be cautious, alright?"

They all nodded affirmatively; Anael then held Melchior in his arms and carried him away from the Camp. The four Knights heard bats from afar. Was Camazotz watching them?

***

Hours later...

"I am not feeling so well..." Babbled Melchior. "Is it me or the day seems brighter than usual?"

Melchior woke up at eight as if he hasn't slept at all; his skin was quite paler and his eyes had a grayish glow. His countenance was gloomy, completely different from his usual mischievous smile; it seemed as if he wasn't Melchior.

"Ah! My skin burns!" He mottled. "Can someone give me my hooded sweatshirt?"

"Here, take it." Thalas said, giving Melchior his turquoise sweatshirt.

Melchior wore it and used the hood to cover his head; when he got out of the house, he covered his eyes after screaming in pain. Kimi offered himself to help his friend, and the Salvadorian accepted. He seemed so gloomy and sad that it was like Melchior died and someone else took his body to use.

Mr. Zelaya was waiting for them near the bus they used to arrive in Xultún. He was placing the luggage inside it when the Knights arrived.

"Hello, Knights." He said. "Well, here is the plan: I'll take you to the city of Xultún just for you to know the place and buy something nice for your folks! Also..."

The Knights heard the sound of a staff hitting the grass ground. They looked to their left and saw Ixtab Blanca Zelaya coming towards them with a smile and a large leather bag with her.

"Sorry for the delay, Knights." She said. "I have a gift to all of you."

She put her hand inside it and gave the Knights handmaid wristbands, each one with unique features and patterns to each Knight.

"This is the way I've found to say 'see you soon'." She said with a smile. "I believe we'll meet again, and I hope my nephew helps you with that!"

Everyone started laughing happily, except Melchior, who was standing next to the bus with his head down. Mr. Zelaya stared at him with curiosity, but he didn't ask him any questions and assumed he was tired.

"Well, let's go." Said Mr. Zelaya. "If we go now, we can arrive in the city before lunch. We'll stay there for a couple of days and then we'll take the train to Guatemala City. Aunt..."

He came closer to his aunt and hugged her with love and affection. Then, the other Knights came and hugged her one of a time. She then saw Melchior standing near the bus awkwardly, and came near him.

"Melchior?" She called.

"Yes?" He hissed, looking at her with his grayish eyes, which frightened her.

"I am deeply sorry." She said with sadness. "I know this is my fault; I was trying to warn you and find a way to prevent it. However, when I was going back to the glade, I sensed your energy and realized you are... A true Vampire. There is nothing I can do... I am deeply sorry."

"It doesn't matter..." Melchior replied. "At least... You tried. I feel sorry for not being able to fight it. It hurts to become a Vampire... you have absolutely no idea..."

He hissed his last sentences and entered in the bus. The Shaman saw Melchior's hand - it seemed to get slightly burned thanks to the sunlight. The other Knights entered right afterwards. Mr. Zelaya took some more time, for he had things to say to his aunt.

"Please, take care of Melchior." She said. "He is the first of his kind I have known in my entire life..."

"I will, I promise." He replied. "From now on, we will pay close attention to him... I hope Camazotz doesn't appear again.."

"So do I..." She sighed. "I will ask for wisdom to Kukulkan... And for you, please travel safe."

He nodded affirmatively and entered on the bus. He commander the driver to move the bus, and so he did. He sat near Melchior, who closed the window using the thick curtains in front of it. The Salvadorian's head was completely covered by his hood, except his nose and lips, which could still be seen.

"Something happened to me, Zelaya." He hissed.

"What do you mean?" He asked rhetorically to Melchior.


"Something wicked, dear Zelaya..." Elemental Alchemist replied. "Something wicked..."

It was about eleven when they arrived in Xultún; the city was hosting a happy, cheerful fair, in which most of them wanted to participate, except Melchior. Kimi and Anael stayed with Mr. Zelaya in order to look after Elemental Alchemist, whose mood was completely different from the past few days.

"Born in January 22nd..." He whispered.

"What?" Anael asked.

"Died in December 1st..." Melchior whispered hissing.

"Quit the nonsense!" Censored Kimi. "You are not dead!"

"Are you sure?" He asked gloomy.

Kimi shut his mouth and looked to the ground. Melchior then looked at Anael with a strange red light in his eyes.

"Anael..." He said. "I am thirsty... Can you find me some blood?"

"Are you already..." Anael was about to ask something, when he heard a loud noise behind him.

Something weird was happening at the fair - something made the citizens run in all directions, screaming and twisting in the rhythm of a wicked song.

"Dios mio..." Anael whispered. "Melchior, we've got to..."
He looked at where Melchior and Zelaya once where, and they disappeared! Then, the noise stopped.

"An illusion!" Elite Dragon concluded. "Wait... where is Melchior and... Mr. Zelaya! GOD DAMN IT!"

Anael stood up and ran, trying to find Melchior. He snapped his fingers near his ear and conjured the Jade Communicator in order to call him. He typed Drive three once, twice and nothing. And, on the tenth attempt, he finally made it - and it was about four when he did it.

"Melchior, where the hell are you?!" Anael screamed.

"I am so sorry..." Elemental Alchemist answered. "I am so sorry..."

"Tell me where you are!" The Welsh Guatemalan asked impatient. "Tell me now!"

He tracked down the call, which led him to a dark, empty dead end. His heart began to beat faster and faster as he entered there. After two steps, he finally saw it.

"What in the world have you done?!"

Mr. Zelaya was laying on the ground with two round injuries in his neck. His body was pale, and Anael knew he wasn't breathing. Melchior was on his knees, looking at Anael with an intense reddish glow in his eyes, and there was blood in his lips and chin. Elite Dragon understood what had happened there.

"I am so sorry..." Melchior mourned. "I am deeply sorry... I...I... I couldn't avoid it! It was stronger than me! I am so sorry! Forgive me, Anael! Please, I beg you!"

"Oh God..." Whispered Anael. "You are a creature of the night indeed! Such monster!"

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