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A Hellsing / The Shadow crossover story
by Elsa Bibat

Disclaimer: Hellsing was created by Hirano Kouta, and is copyrighted by Gonzo/Pioneer LDC. The Shadow was created by Walter Gibson; its characters are copyrighted by Conde Nast Publications. Doc Savage was created by Lester Dent (a.k.a Kenneth Robeson), Conde Nast Publications, and Bantam Books.

Chapter 7: History

Then they went down.

To Ceres, one of the more irritating properties of the Helsing mansion was the fact that some of its rooms and passages were, for lack of a better word, invisible to her sight. She could have sworn that the corridor that led to this spiral staircase did not exist. She had passed the spot where Walter had led her so many times during her stay that she was quite sure that it was a blank wall. This had also happened several times during her stay when she occasionally stumbled into corridors that led to nowhere and brick-walled rooms that were suddenly serviceable rooms only when she was in the company of either Walter or Integra. Her discomfiture must have showed since Walter favored her with a light smile.

"The occult defenses of the mansion are much more formidable than the physical, Mistress Victoria. Though they are far more subtle than we sometimes wish."

Ever since the Tower incident, Walter had taken to calling her 'Mistress' in the same way he used 'Master' with Alucard. It was a strange, but welcome, reminder of how much she had changed since she first arrived here.

"You mean that this is all… magic?"

Walter's lips quirked into an odd wiry smile.

"You can call it so. Though the Helsing mansion itself was constructed in the age of Mad King George, the foundations on which it was built on were created much earlier. This used to be a castle during the reign of Elizabeth I. As a matter of fact, the Hellsing organization used to have several castles under its supervision during her reign."

"You mean the Night Guard, right?"

A silent nod answered her as they continued their walk down,

The two of them were going down because she had given in to her curiosity and asked Walter about what Alucard had mentioned earlier to her about the Hellsing organization's history.

Walter had only blinked and then nodded and asked her to follow him. That's why they were here right now, walking down a very long set of stairs.

"Uh… Walter, aren't we a lot deeper than the basement by now?"

Walter chuckled and favored the young vampire with an indulgent smile.

"We are going to one of the two most important places in Hellsing history, mistress. Also, like the Ritual Vault, the Library can be used against the House of Helsing as easily for it. The Library is… protected by the subtle nuances of its magical defenses and the veins of silver ore and silvered mortar that surround it. And for that to work, the Helsing family used the Night Guard's deeper structures. Very deep. This stair is the only way in or out and if you were not a Knight of Hellsing, mistress, you would be a pile of ash from the enspelled bricks that you have been stepping on."

Ceres blinked and she looked down at the dark stone at her feet. For that matter, she had been feeling as if a flowing river was running by her feet. She stamped her foot on the paving, lightly so as not to break it, and felt the rock, seemingly, push back.

"Odd thing, that."

"Shall we continue, mistress?

"Um… yes."

They walked down for another five minutes, a length of time that was quite noticeable on the large candle Walter was holding in one hand. Ceres just arched her eyebrow as the wax drippings suddenly disappearing before they even hit the floor. Useful, that.

They finally came to the bottom of the stairs and she saw the door. It was an ugly thing of silvered metal with rather sharp protrusions that she suspected weren't there for decorative purposes. Three demonically beautiful faces peered from the door's upper frame like arrogant guardians. Grooves in mysterious swirling patterns were set into the door's face. Ceres followed them with her eyes. They reminded her of something Celtic; why that would be she couldn’t put a finger on. She noted that the patterns each led to a particular face.

"The Three," Walter answered her unvoiced question. "Urthr, Verthrandi and Skald. The First of your kind, mistress."

"Hmm? Aren't they from Norse Mythology?"

"Yes. It has been wondered whether they stole the names or they truly are the Norns of legend. They did weave a large part of human history." Walter smiled sardonically as he lit two candles set on the right and left of the door with his own.

"Er… could you explain that?"

"Since the beginning of recorded history, vampires have influenced events that would bend their human herd to their wills. An empire here, a kingdom there. Princes and emperors dancing to their puppet strings. That was until a thousand years ago, of course."

Ceres just sighed at the cryptic comment.

"Walter, one of these days you, me, Integra and Alucard are going to have a long talk on saying cryptic remarks that tease me about my lack of learning. You could at least give me some light reading on this sort of thing before dropping all of it on me at once."

Walter just chuckled then blew his candle out. He took off one of his gloves and drew his hand across a sharp spike that was set in the middle of the door. The blood from his wound inexplicably defied gravity and did not drop to the floor. It remained on the spike's tip for a few moments and slowly moved down the spike of its own accord, disappearing into the door via the hole that the spike was set on, until the metal appendage shone silver once again.

"Your turn, mistress."

Recovering from her surprise, Ceres gave the old butler a sidelong look and just shook her head in surrender. She copied Walter's act, feeling the swift burning the silver gave her eat into her palm. That was going to leave a mark.

Her blood followed Walter's down the sliver spike, though it bubbled and frothed as it made its descent. When it disappeared, the