Chapter 3 : Strange Aunts, Dead Uncles, Scary Hunters, Oh My!
They were in the house when there was a knock at the door. Daray went to answer it while everyone was in the living room. Zelda was talking about how she'd met Richard when they'd heard the knock.
Daray was only gone a few minutes when he yelled, "Mother!!"
Zelda sighed, "Yes, Daray?"
He ran in, "Aunt Averna is here!"
Zelda jumped to her feet, her face pale, "But I didn't tell her anything!"
Then a woman walked in. Drago tensed as the gorgeous woman walked in. He blushed, just like Joel could feel he was blushing too.
The woman was incredibly beautiful. She wore a tight red outfit with a side skirt like some kind of demon hunter on movies from when Joel was in the orphanage. She carried a skull covered staff and wore a skull barrette in her hair. Her matching red boots reached up to over her knees. She had dark skin and silver eyes that matched her long white hair.
She grinned an alluring grin, "Hello, little sister."
Zelda faked a smile for her sister, "Oh! Averna! What are you doing here?"
Averna laughed, "Darling, why else would I be here?" Her eyes, like those of a snake, landed on Joel, causing a shiver to run down his spine. She grinned, "I came to see my famous little nephew."
She walked over to Joel, "And what a handsome young man he is."
Joel spoke, "Uh, hi Aunt Averna."
She smiled an alluring smile at him, "Hello, Ximran."
She turned to Zelda with an annoyed look, "Why hadn't you called to tell me he'd come to see you?"
Zelda smiled innocently. Obviously that smile traveled in this family. She smiled at her sister, "I was going to today! I was going in order from youngest to oldest! He's seen Tia and Martin already!"
Averna smiled, "I see." She grinned, "Too bad Kass isn't around anymore." Zelda glared at her, which actually wiped Averna's smile clean off in surprise.
Joel was curious, "Who's Kass?"
Zelda looked sad as she started fiddling with her fingers, "Your uncle. The second child. He died a couple years ago. Very tragic."
Joel felt bad, "Oh. What was he?"
Averna sighed, "A vampire. Had four kids too. Was killed by a Slayer."
Joel was surprised, "A slayer?"
Drago spoke up, "Vampires are a Breeded, like Dragon-Breeds and Snake-Breeds. Vampires are like bats, minding their own business, and Dragon-Breeds are like dragons, which prefer solitude. Both are considered very dangerous because of the power they each contain, unlike Snake-Breeds who don't have any special powers, so some people believe they should be hunted and destroyed. More people just hunt us Dragon-Breeds because they can get a pretty penny for dragon parts. Vampires are only hunted because they're so powerful in darkness and very skilled in hunting, and that scares most poeple. The people who hunt them are Slayers."
Joel was horrified, "That's awful! How can people be so... so... despicable?!"
Averna grinned, "Dragon-Tongue. How gifted."
Zelda nodded with a proud smile, "Yes, he's certainly special."
Joel sighed and sat in an armchair. Zelda looked at him, "What's wrong, dear?"
Joel sighed, "Drago explained Slayers to me. One of those people killed my uncle, who was a father and brother? They're awful."
Zelda nodded, "Yes, its quite a shame."
Averna was about to speak, but then they all heard another voice, "Aunt Zelda, is my mother here?"
Zelda smiled, "Yes, she's right here. Come on in, Neco."
Then a boy, perhaps a year or two older than Joel, walked in. He had white hair and dark skin like his mother, but his eyes were soft and kind. He wore very nice clothes, just like Daray and Maxx. Joel hoped no one would expect him to dress that way. Obviously this was a very high class family.
He gave a bow, "Good afternoon, Aunt Zelda."
Zelda smiled, "Hello, Neco!" She motioned to Joel, "Neco, this is my son, Ximran. Ximran, this is your cousin, Neco. He's a couple years older then you and he's very talented. Maybe he could teach you a little more about magic while you're here!"
Neco smiled kindly, which was strange coming from the son of a woman so dangerous-looking, "That would be great. I'd love to teach Ximran a thing or two about magic. It'd be fun."
Joel smiled, "Yeah, maybe. Depends on how long I stay."
Averna turned to him, "You're leaving?"
Zelda nudged her, "Of course he is. He has his father and brother waiting for him. He's only really here to meet me and my family. If he feels comfortable, he's more than welcome to stay longer, but I'm not making him stay if he isn't."
Averna looked Zelda over, curious, but smiled, "I understand."
Neco walked over, "Its nice to meet you, Cousin Ximran."
Joel smiled, "Same to you, Neco. You can call me Joel though. Most of my friends and family do." Neco smiled. He seemed to like that Joel considered him family.
Drago watched, not at all trusting the people around him. He especially watched Averna. He felt something about her he didn't like. Something deadly.
Neco noticed Drago and looked amazed, "Wow, a real Dragon-Breed!" He walked over, though he was careful to give Drago his space. Drago had to admit, Neco was a smart kid. He knew better than to annoy a Dragon-Breed.
He smiled, "Greetings, Dragon-Breed."
Drago looked him over, "Hey."
Neco looked excited, "Dragon-Tongue, too. I've never heard it before. Its quite amazing."
Joel smiled; finally someone wasn't giving Drago a hard time, "His name is Drago and he's my friend. He came with me to give me a little company, since I didn't know anyone here and my brother didn't come."
Neco looked a little surprised, "How come your brother didn't join you? It would have been nice to meet him too."
Joel was really coming to like Neco, "He didn't feel up to it." Zelda seemed kinda glad that Joel didn't point out that she was too ashamed to invite Barber.
Averna sighed, "So, all he has to meet now is Devi, right?"
Zelda nodded, "Yes, I'll be taking him to see her soon. I'm sure he and Chaka will get along just wonderfully."
Neco sighed with a doubtful smile, "Oh, I'm sure they will, Aunt Zelda." He glanced at Joel, which clearly said "don't count on it". Joel decided to take his word for it.
Just what new family members were left to meet?
Joel stood with Drago outside the tall, iron-wrought fence around the depressing, dark property of his Aunt Devi. He could only imagine what kind of aunt he had living in that thick growth of weeping willows and tall grass. A stone path led straight to the tall, spooky house at the center of the property.
Joel and Dragon followed Zelda along the path. Drago shivered, "Geez, even I get shivers being in such a creepy place. Just what kind of aunt is this lady?"
Joel shrugged, "No clue, but mom said she is the fourth child."
Drago groaned, "What's the order again? I forget."
Joel thought about it, "Well, I'm pretty sure Aunt Averna is the eldest, then its Uncle Kass..."
Drago cut in, "The dead one."
Joel nodded, "Then mom, then Aunt Devi, Uncle Martin, and lastly Tia."
Drago counted on his fingers, "So their's six of them? And there are five on your dad's side, right?"
Joel nodded, "My dad first, then Uncle Donovan, Aunt Nyoka, Aunty Nisha, and then Uncle Zev."
Drago smirked, "You come from some pretty big families, Joel. Maybe you'll have a big family one day too."
Joel smiled at the thought, "Maybe. It would be pretty nice really. Kinda always thought of having a family one day. What about you?"
Drago shrugged, "I guess, but I'd have to have a wife that doesn't mind what kind of kids we get. Won't be making the same mistake my old man did."
Joel got curious, "What do you mean?"
Drago smirked and waved it off, "Nothing. Forget I said anything."
Before Joel could try to get him to talk, they reached the front door. Zelda used the large doorknocker. Joel started to wonder what his aunt was like. If she was anything like her sibs, the visit wasn't going to be too pleasant.
The door was opened by a girl about Joel's age with incredibly long violet hair is two ponytails with black ribbons. Her pale purple eyes were empty of feeling as she spoke with a bland voice to match, "Aunt Zelda."
Zelda smiled, "Hello, Chaka. Are your parents home?"
The girl, Chaka, nodded, "Yes. Please come in." She glanced at Drago, "Leave all slaves outside."
Drago looked furious, "Slave!? Who is she callin' slave!? What is it with your family, Joel?"
Joel sighed, "He's not a slave, he's my friend."
Chaka surprised them by laughing loudly. When she saw they weren't laughing, she look annoyed, "You're serious?" She sighed, "Pathetic." She turned and walked inside, "Come in. Keep your "friend" under control. I've heard their dragon parts can be sold for a lot."
Drago gulped, "Uh, maybe I'll just wait out here or something."
Joel sighed, "Come on, Drago. This is the last family we have to see. We make it through this, we can go home. I need you."
Drago groaned, "Fine. Only cause you make me sound important."
Joel smirked, "Well, you are the only reason I'm still doing this. I would have quit by now."
Drago walked in with Joel, though he immediately wished he didn't. Animals and their assorted body parts decorated the whole room. Including dragon parts. Drago's face went pale and he hid behind Joel like a scared child, "This is officially the most terrifying moment of my life." Joel was just as horrified.
Zelda didn't seem to notice as two people walked into the room with Chaka. One was a woman with long, light blue hair and piercing red eyes. The other was a man with short purple hair and clever purple eyes. They both had bright smiles, though the darkness behind them was clear to Joel.
The woman spoke, "Welcome, dear sister!" She hugged Zelda. Then she turned to Joel, "And you must be Ximran. How delightful! I'm your Aunt Devi!"
Joel cleared his throat, Drago still behind him, "Uh, hi."
Then she noticed Drago, "And what do we have here? A Dragon-Breed? How... interesting." The man had a sneaky grin. Drago stayed behind Joel.
Chaka spoke, "Apparently, he's the loser's friend. Pathetic, I know, but not everyone can be worth something in this world."
Devi spoke, "Now Chaka, behave. He's your cousin, so you need to be nice." Chaka rolled her eyes.
Joel spoke, "Uh, do you have a room that isn't, you know, covered in body parts? It's kinda really freaking me out."
Devi smiled, "Oh, I'm afraid not. My husband, Gellert, collects them. He does enjoy the hunt!" Drago looked ill, trying hard to not look at the dragon head mounted on the wall.
Joel sighed, "Then, maybe we could go outside on your porch? We feel really uncomfortable in here."
Drago scoffed weakly, "That's putting it mildly."
Devi noticed the secretive look Zelda gave her. She smiled at Joel, "But of course! We can enjoy some fresh air." She led the way outside.
Joel and Dragon sat on the porch swing, sighing with relief. Drago glanced at Joel, "I officially hate this family now."
Joel looked over his family and sighed, "Honestly? You and me both. My mom's family just gives me a bad feeling all around, aside from Maxx and Neco of course."
As Joel and Drago spoke, Zelda and Devi spoke quietly to each other. Devi grinned, "So? What's the plan?"
Zelda glanced at Joel, who hadn't noticed them, and smiled, "Same as always."
Devi looked at Drago, "What about the Dragon-Breed? He's not part of the plan."
Zelda's smile was cold, "Nothing I can't take care of. My little angels will be sure to take care of him."