Warning: Castlevania season IV spoilers
"That's a good horse."
Such a good boi.
I don't know about you, but I wanted to see another scene of Alucard & the 'bloody' horse banter. Added a dash of Greta.
“No.” Alucard raised a finger in warning as he approached with the saddle.
The horse was heedless, shifting back and forth in the improvised open stable and swishing his tail.
“Now, I know we’re not the best of friends, but you can’t wander about without proper gear,” Alucard muttered as Piper the horse finally stood still.
The dhampir sighed, looking at the sun’s flare in the sky to keep track of time before proceeding to adjust the saddle in the right position. “A little longer, beastling, and you’ll be properly tacked up. Besides, you won’t see me again for some time, how’s that for a thought?”
Piper snorted and lowered his head, ears slightly turned back, and stomped the beaten dust once with his hoof.
Alucard smiled. He went around the animal and ran a hand through Piper’s rich, dark mane. “I knew you’d enjoy the prospect.” He looked ahead, where Greta was still caught in a debate with the lead builders and masons regarding the number of houses needed to be raised. She would have to ride out to the nearest town and replenish the building supplies they lacked here.
Piper nickered and turned his head. Alucard started at the insistence of a prying, hairy nose and the huff of warm air on his cheek. “Enough of that now,” he whispered as Piper nuzzled his face. “Stop it you—!” He was grinning. “And anyway, what would you have me say to her?” Alucard asked with a wry smile before stepping aside and placing a finger to his chin. “My lady,” he echoed absently, “I want you to know, I value your presence…” he shook his head. “No, too silly, and I have an inkling she wouldn’t appreciate that.” He placed his hands on his hips and thought for a moment, then turned to the horse, who watched him with an impish light in its intelligent eyes.
“How about… ‘Greta of Danesti, I know you need no protection as such for the journey at hand, but I would humbly request’… No.” He groaned, nearing Piper and slowly pulling the girth tight, then buckling it. “Maybe this… ‘Greta, we haven’t discussed this openly but I want you to know how much you mean—”
Piper whinnied suddenly, breaking his flow of thought. Alucard frowned as he slid the stirrups down on the straps. “All right, not the best choice of words I admit, no need to be nasty about it, thank you very much.”
“About what?” came a voice from behind him.
Stunned for a breath, Alucard turned to face the dark-haired woman. “I…”
Greta had a smirk on her face, one Alucard thought suited her rather well. “Am I interrupting something important?”
“Hilarious,” he deadpanned.
“You and Piper here seem to be getting along well lately.” The woman neared the makeshift open stable.
“Don’t be deceived,” Alucard murmured, and Greta’s shoulders shook in laughter as he calmly turned his head, and with a defeated air retrieved a golden strand that Piper had begun to chew on.
“He does usually have excellent advice,” the woman grinned, running a hand along Piper’s powerful neck. She then looked at Alucard. “I’ve left word. Everyone has their tasks assigned until I return, there should be no major headaches for you on that front.”
Alucard nodded. “I also have Sypha, remember? She loves resolving conflict, you see, nearly as much as Belmont loves moaning about it.”
He did not expect the warmth of her palm, or the way it felt against his chest.
“I’ll return before you know it,” Greta said, changing the topic. Her eyes were on her hand as her fingers dug into his shirt.
“Greta…” Alucard opened his mouth to speak, but a finger on his lips rendered him silent. The scent of her blood was like strong mulled wine in the dead of winter - sweet and fragrant; overwhelming. He swallowed.
“I know.” Her gold-flecked eyes were riveted on him. “We’ll speak. I promise." Without warning, her grin turned fiendish. “If you won’t make a run for it by then.”
Alucard looked away briefly, then back at her. All mirth or teasing were gone from his demeanor. “I’ll be here,” he said.
They stared at each other until Piper whinnied again, snapping them out of their odd haze. Someone called Greta’s name, and she made to go.
His hand fastened on her wrist. “Be careful,” Alucard urged.
Greta raised her chin. Her face gained the same expression from the first night they met. He’d never forget it. Alucard released her.
“Always,” she said, then jerked her chin towards Piper. “I’ll return for him soon.” With this understanding and one last look at Alucard, the woman turned and walked away.
He watched her go, following how the sun’s rays swayed off her shining hair. Her scent lingered in the air.
There was impatient stomping again, and Alucard grunted as Piper nudged him between the shoulder blades.
He slowly faced the animal. “Oh get off your high hors—” he stopped, shaking his head at himself, completely aware of the ridiculous nature of this more or less one-sided conversation. “I’d like to see you do better.”
Piper bobbed his head once and swished his long tail, which may have been the equivalent of an eye-roll.
Alucard scoffed as he retrieved the bridle from its place. “A bit less of your shit, please.”