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Chapter 17: Vampiric Training

The vast ice coliseum echoed with the sound of ragged breaths and the crunch of footsteps on frost. In the center stood an imposing figure – Verona, her crimson dress a stark contrast to the pale landscape. Beside her, a boy, Nevaeh, his beauty as breathtaking as the glacial surroundings.

"Time to begin your physical training," Verona announced, her voice laced with a steely resolve. "But first, a refresher on your vampiric abilities. You possess compulsion, a power to bend others to your will. You can regenerate from wounds at an accelerated rate, your senses are far keener than any than any other specie, and your speed and strength are amplified beyond your previous human limitations. Also blood manipulation though that you'll have access to it after seven star. Any questions?"

Nevaeh, his gaze unwavering, met her stare. "No questions, ma'am," he replied, his voice echoing in the cavernous hall.

Verona smirked, a cruel twist of her lips. "Good. Regeneration is the ability to repair damaged tissue, restore lost limbs, even replenish stamina and magical energy. Now, start running around the coliseum perimeter. Don't stop."

Nevaeh nodded curtly and took off at a steady pace, his form blurring as he circled the arena.

Suddenly, a shard of ice materialized in Verona's hand, launched with pinpoint accuracy. It slammed into Nevaeh's knee, drawing a sharp cry of pain. He stumbled, collapsing onto the ice floor.

"Get up," Verona commanded, her voice devoid of sympathy. "Remove the spike and continue running. "You have enhanced regeneration, Nevaeh. Among the different species your regeneration potential is ranked highest. Yuo need to train it to the max, the more you use it the faster it'll be. So you only need to get used to pain. We'll train you to endure it, accelerate your healing, and build your stamina all at once. A rather ingenious training method, wouldn't you agree?"

Her words dripped with a sadistic glee, a chilling undercurrent of narcissism. Nevaeh, gritting his teeth, yanked the shard from his leg. A fresh wave of pain washed over him, but he steeled himself, his determination hardening like the ice beneath his feet.

He pushed himself to his feet, a wobbly gait transforming into a determined jog. Where running became impossible, he walked. Where walking faltered, he crawled. Never stopping, always moving forward.

The pristine ice floor slowly turned crimson, a canvas painted with puddles of his blood. Yet, with each agonizing puncture, the wounds seemed to mend faster. Verona, who was quietly observing her son, upped the tempo. The ice spikes came faster, thicker, inflicting a more of pain.

Then it happened,something shifted within Nevaeh. The overwhelming agony that had brought him to tears moments ago began to dull. A manic glint replaced the fear in his eyes, a twisted smile tugging at the corners of his lips. The pain, once his enemy, became a perverse teacher, pushing him beyond his perceived limits.

Verona watched, a hint of twisted satisfaction flickering in her crimson eyes. She had wanted to molded him not just in strength, but in spirit. This boy, once innocent, was being madw into something far dangerous – a creature of unwavering will and a thirst for power that mirrored her own.

But could he withstand the training plan she had forged? A cruel smile played on her lips. The real training was just beginning.

Verona flicked her wrist, and shimmering frost crawled up Nevaeh's arms and legs, solidifying into intricate ice bracelets. They were heavy, incredibly so, their deceptively delicate appearance mocked him as they sent him sprawling onto the icy floor.

"Up," Verona commanded, her voice devoid of warmth. "Those are mere trinkets. Now, this," she said with a cruel twist of her lips, "will be your true test."

A crimson tide rose from the blood pooled on the arena floor, coalescing into a terrifying form – a hulking red panther, its eyes burning with an unholy light. It let out a guttural snarl, the sound echoing through the coliseum, and lunged at Nevaeh.

Panic surged through him, but instinct took over. He dodged the panther's initial swipe, the ice spikes snapping at him like a relentless swarm of icy bees. The bracelets weighed him down, hindering his agility, but the ever-present pain was a constant reminder – move or be torn apart.

And torn apart he was. The panther, a whirlwind of claws and teeth, ripped into him, scattering blood across the ice. Even as his vision blurred at because of the immense pain, Nevaeh watched with his severed the horror as his limbs lay severed, a gruesome sight. But the pain, though agonizing, was fleeting.

Then again his miraculous regeneration started now slower because of the great damage, warmth spread through the mangled remains. New flesh knit itself together, severed nerves reconnected, and his limbs rematerialized from the spilled blood. Still the ice spikes continued their relentless assault, a constant reminder of his ordeal.

He understood now. This wasn't just about physical training; it was about conditioning his mind. Verona wanted him to endure the pain, to accept it as a mere inconvenience, a stepping stone on his path to power.

With a ragged breath, Nevaeh pushed himself off the ice. The panther circled him, a predator toying with its prey. There was no rest, no reprieve. He was being played with in Verona's twisted game, his only escape to keep moving, to keep enduring.

He ran, the ice bracelets a constant drag, the panther a relentless pursuer. Verona's words echoed in his head – his regeneration fueled his stamina, so he should push himself to the limit, sustained only by occasional breaks to drink from his mother's blood.

One question gnawed at him. He'd asked Verona if they were vulnerable to the sun, a question born of a deep-seated fear of being turned to ash. Her response – a chilling chuckle and a cryptic, "For Clan Nox, the night protects us" – offered little comfort.

"How could the night protect them during the day? It didn't make sense!" Thought the boy in confusion. But Verona refused to elaborate, leaving Nevaeh to stew in his confusion.

This was his life now – endless torment, a twisted dance between pain and regeneration. It was training he needed to endure, no, forced to endure Verona's cruel whims. He wasn't just being trained; he was being broken, reforged into a weapon.

Run, endure, regenerate. The mantra echoed in his mind as he barely dodged another claw ripping his arm but he kept moving.

A cruel smile played on Verona's lips. This wasn't just training; it was a test of will. And Nevaeh, despite the horrific torment, was proving himself to be a worthy heir.

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