Chapter LXXVIII: Checkmate
Prince LaCroix, my faithful benefactor, stood with his shoulders slumped, his face defeated. I walked towards him, the anger rising. For the death of my sire. For the death of Grout. The framing on Nines. Each and every act of treachery, of deceit, of manipulation could be laid at this bastard's door. He began to speak, his tone one of righteous self-pity.
'Unfortunately for you, I have the key, you pompous jackass.'
LaCroix laughed then, maniacally, madly. His face became a caricature, no longer subtle, but the expressions too extreme, too powerful.
LaCroix brought his will to bear on me, the ability of all Ventrue to dominate their prey, to force them to follow any order, no matter how terrible or debasing. His face became commanding, his presence growing immeasurably, his figure becoming terrifying.
And it had all the effect of a drop of water in a volcano.
I smiled dangerously.
'Come get it pretty boy.'
LaCroix gasped, startled. His brow knit, his concentration increasing.
'You are just a weak, last generation vampire! You are nothing before me! NOTHING!'
I stood impassively.
'Sit down, LaCroix.'
Viper-like, so fast that LaCroix barely had time to blink, I grabbed the ankh-shaped knife from the table.
I slashed the knife hard against the pathetic creature's throat, opening the jugular. Blood flowed out in a flood, LaCroix giving a hoarse croak, a hand pressed to the bloody wound.
A thrust to the stomach, intended to cause as much pain as possible. The knife twisted, the intestines ruptured. LaCroix screamed, air forced out of his longs from the strength of the blow.
And the final blow to the back, between the shoulder blades. The Prince fell to his knees, the blood pouring from his various wounds. His skin began to grow paler as his lifeblood poured from his body, his face becoming drawn and sallow.
'Oh, but it had ended here, LaCroix. The Kuei Jin are gone, and now, so are you. It's over.'
I dropped the key. It was over. I turned, leaving the room, closing the door behind me.
LaCroix dragged himself to the key, gasping and groaning with every inch. His eyes alight with greed, with hunger.
'You idiot!', LaCroix screamed after me as I left. 'You had it in your hands, the power was yours. L.A. was yours, and you let it all slip away!'
'That is why you will never be a true leader! Why I will always be a true leader, will always be victorious over the likes of you!'
LaCroix looked to the Sarcophagus, took the key in one hand, and dragged himself to kneel in front of it. With his remaining strength, he pulled himself up, supporting himself over the sarcophagus lid.
'Now who are you, my sacrifice? An elder...or maybe one of the antediluvians themselves...only one way to find out.'
LaCroix opened the lid, and looked inside, eyes burning brightly.
'No. No! Nooo!'
The Prince laughed. A high-pitched whistling laugh. The laugh of the defeated, the laugh of the damned.
I looked up as I left the ground floor lobby, exiting the LaCroix tower. Looked at the explosion, the ashes falling around me. Smirked slightly. Pulled up my jacket collar, and walked into the cold night air. Finally, it was finished.
'Now ain't that a beautiful sight.'
'Hey, Messerach, I'm talking to you buddy.'
'Meh, you don't really talk much, do you. Hehehehehehe.'
'You know, it all panned out exactly the way you said it would.'
'Every last goddamned detail.'
The taxi-driver spoke ominously, his body bathed in a dark energy, black whisps emerging from his skin, beams of black and purple light extruding from his figure, his very presence.
'Remember. Wherever we go, it is the blood of Caine which makes our fate.'
And that's it everybody. Thanks for being a great audience, it's been one hell of a ride!