At the far end of the garden stood an empty fountain that was backed with tall trees. A group of vampires surrounded the fountain and in the center was the Lamia Queen, flanked by the Courtesan.
"Disgusting humans," cackled the Courtesan as the Lamia Queen took a few steps forward.
"What do you want? What is this?" demanded Ulla.
"A takeover," responded The Lamia Queen with a smile. "Too long has vampire-kind lived in fear! Too long have we crawled under the ground while the humans mocked us! Mocked our blood and spirit!"
"Blood and spirit!" shouted the vampires in unison.
"I have sympathy. But biting people, turning them," began Mara firmly, "that's a line I can't let you cross."
"I don't plan to cross the line! I will obliterate it!" the Lamia Queen cackled madly as the Courtesan clapped softly. "I will turn an army of vampires that will take this world by force!"
"We won't let that happen. This ends tonight!" roared Ulla as she took a step forward.
"Oh, now. Don't be hasty." the Lamia Queen grinned. "I wouldn't want you to do something you'll regret."
"Let your hostages go, then we can talk." Ulla asserted firmly.
"Yeah!" added Alicia. "Those people didn't consent to be grabbed by you!"
"But, they're better now! Soon they'll be vampire-kind! Soon they know the taste of blood! The feeling of the spirit!" the Lamia Queen cheered. "Soon, they'll march on every city and turn anyone who stands before me. They'll obey me. You will all obey me!"
"This isn't a negotiation," replied Ulla. "Feel free to brag, but I'm taking you down."
"Really, now?" The Lamia Queen smirked as she turned and walked back to the fountain.
"You've had your chance. I'm not letting you torment innocent people."
"What are you going to do? Fight me?" The Lamia Queen giggled as the Courtesan let out a haughty laugh.
"Yes," Ulla stated plainly as she stepped forward.
"Oh, no!" The Lamia Queen remarked, dramatically feigning worry. "Before you need to fight me, you need to fight your friend!" With that, she clapped her hands. Suddenly, a caped figure emerged from behind the fountain.
Mara, Ulla, and Alicia all recognized her instantly. It was Sharon. She was still in her Mesmera costume, but it was covered in blood. A long red cape had been stapled to it and two white fangs glistened in her mouth.
"Mesmera?" Ulla gasped in horror as Sharon stood in front of the Lamia Queen.
"She tasted my blood. She felt my spirit. She belongs to me now. Isn't that right?"
"Yes, my Queen." droned Mesmera in monotone.
"No," whimpered Mara.
"Your choice is simple. Submit your necks to me, or defeat her."
"I will never submit to you, or your little costume party!" shouted Ulla.
"Really? You call me the monster, and yet you're more than willing to kill her just to spite me? Humans. Disgusting."
Ulla pressed down on her system and extended her hand. Metal clunked as her sword formed in her hand. She twirled it and extended her arm outward. "I made Mesmera a promise. I promised that I would protect her dignity. Being your puppet is infringing upon that."
"She is better. She is a vampire now," contested the Queen.
"She wouldn't want to hurt people. She's better than that. I know she would understand." asserted Ulla as she looked towards Mara and Alicia. "You two. You don't have to watch this."
"No," Mara agreed. "You're right. This isn't her."
The Lamia Queen leaned back with a smirk, observing the scene before her. "You had your chance. Thirteen. Kill."
"Yes, my Queen!" shouted Mesmera as she charged forward. Ulla also ran forward, grabbing Mesmera and throwing her to the ground. She twisted her sword and raised it but Mesmera quickly rolled out of the way and jumped to her feet, quickly using her elbows to strike at the side of Ulla's helmet.
As some of the vampires moved, Mara whispered to Alicia. "Move to the sides, if they mob her, go in."
"Right," said Alicia with a nod as she watched the fight. Ulla's wide sword swings were dodged easily by Mesmera who kept retaliating by grabbing onto Ulla and striking at her helmet and chest, almost like she was trying to knock the helmet off.
Alicia couldn't believe this was happening, but at the same time, she understood Ulla's desire. Her Mom would not want to be part of a vampire army.
Mesmera climbed onto Ulla's shoulders and started to elbow her helmet more, the metallic clanging echoing around the garden, but it didn't phase Ulla at all. She reached up and grabbed Mesmera, throwing her forward and into the soft mud.
"I'm sorry. I love you," muttered Ulla as she moved forward and started to raise her sword. However, as she got close, Sharon scrambled back up off the floor and grabbed two of Ulla's fingers and started to gently rotate them.
Ulla stumbled as her legs buckled and her one arm went limp, sending her sword crashing to the ground. "Ulla!" shouted Mara. But her call was unheeded as Mesmera continued to rotate the fingers as Ulla continued to sway.
As Ulla rocked from foot to foot, Mesmera twisted and rammed her shoulder into Ulla's chest without letting go of her fingers. Ulla crumpled to the floor as Mesmera climbed on top of Ulla and started to claw at the downed girl. After several heavy blows, Ulla's suit vanished, revealing Ulla lay on her back, her eyes rolled up into her head. Mesmera rolled off of Ulla and rose to her feet, her eyes blank and her face devoid of emotion.
She lifted her foot and aimed at Ulla's unmoving head. "Mesmera! No!" screamed Mara, but she couldn't move quickly enough. Mesmera slammed her foot down onto Ulla's head as Ulla let out a groan.
"It is done." said Mesmera. The Lamia Queen cackled as the Courtesan laughed and clapped.
"Return to me," smirked the Lamia Queen as she looked at Mara and Alicia. "Choose your fate. Come and submit to me, or end up like her."
"You'll pay for this," growled Mara. "I will make you pay."
"I would like to see you try," cackled the Lamia Queen as she waved to the others and started to walk out through the trees. "You have until dawn."
"Try and fight," smirked the Courtesan. "I want to see you fall." She turned, following her queen through the trees.
Mara and Alicia ran up to Ulla's body. "Ulla! Ulla!" Mara shouted as she got down next to Ulla. But as she got close, Ulla started to softly laugh.
"It's okay," comforted Mara. "We've got you, I'll fix you up."
"Hey," whispered Ulla as she reached up and pulled Mara's helmet closer to her head.
"Don't move. Don't expend energy, I'll get you fixed up," she added as she opened a medical kit on her suit, but Ulla kept giggling. She grabbed at Mara's helmet and Alicia's head and pulled them both in, her giggling turning into panting.
"Sweetie, please," said Mara gently. "Don't move, I need to check you over."
"She's lying," whispered Ulla. "She's lying and she's fantastic," she continued as a tear ran down her cheek and a smile formed upon her face.
"She's what?" gasped Alicia.
"She's lying. She's brilliant," continued Ulla gently as she pulled the two girls closer again. Mara came more easily, realizing that Ulla wasn't resisting treatment but trying to whisper.