Minami woke up with a bad headache. She blinked and stared at the ceiling, sighing as she thought she was right about everything being a bad dream…
Until she realized she was not in her room… or on her bed. She tried to sit up, but the pain in her head overwhelmed her, making her lay back down on the bed.
“Minami,” she looked over and saw her ghost friend hovered over her. “Thank goodness you’re finally awake.”
“Acchan..? What happened?”
“You fainted back at the flower shop. You were about to…”
“About to wha-?” Minami suddenly stopped talking when she remembered what had happened. Her eyes widened. “I nearly… killed someone..! Oh God, oh dear God..!”
Minami held her head and started crying again. Atsuko hugged her friend.
“I can’t believe this…”
“Minami… that girl, I think…” Atsuko broke the hug and looked at her friend’s teary eyes. “Yuko was the one who killed me.”
“E-Eh..? What do you mean?”
“That night, when I was killed years ago… I think it was Yuko who did it.”
“No… that’s..! I..!”
“Minami… I’m sorry, this is all my fault.”
“Atsuko… It was never your fault…”
“But.. because I died.. and now because I took you to that place where my killer was…!”
“No, Atsuko,” Minami tried to hold her friend’s hand, but it slipped through. “Ah… oh, r-right…”
Atsuko held both of Minami’s hands.
“You really don’t blame me for any of this?”
“No, of course not. I could never blame you.”
Just then, there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” Minami said.
The person who came in wasn’t Haruna, but a girl she had never seen before. A girl with short brown hair tied in a ponytail.
“Hey! You’re finally up,” the girl smiled. Somehow, it reminded Minami of a Gachapin. “That’s great.”
“I-I… Who are you?”
“The name’s Minami. Minegishi Minami. Just call me Miichan to avoid confusion. Right, Acchan?”
“Eh?!” Minami’s face changed to a shocked expression.
Atsuko chuckled. “Yup. Calling you both ‘Minami’ would be confusing.”
“Wait! You can see her?!”
“Miichan has psychic powers and is able to see spirits,” Atsuko explained.
“Seriously!” Miichan grinned as she sat on the bedside. “So, what do you think? Pretty comfy bed, huh? Haruna wanted you to be well rested.”
“The woman who saved us,” Atsuko said.
“Acchan, how do you know all this?”
“They explained everything to me while you were asleep.”
“Minami, er.. Takahashi Minami. How bout calling you Takamina?”
“Takamina… you were probably wondering just what exactly happened to you back at the shop. You don’t remember it clearly, do you?”
Takamina shook her head.
“She told me that your angel powers were activated. You finally awoken.”
“Takamina… you’re a nephilim.”
“A nephilim. A half human, half angel. You’re one of only a very few in this area. Haruna is also a nephilim, so she was very happy she found you.”
“So I’m… not human?” Takamina gripped the blankets covering her.
“Please, don’t be upset. There’s a reason Haruna brought you here actually. She asked me to tell you.”
“What is that?”
“We want you to join Bloody Rose.”
“That’s what this place is. We’re Hunters. We fight demons and other supernatural beings who go rogue and disrupt peace between the human world and supernatural world.”
“And.. you want me to become a Hunter? Why?”
“Haruna saw you fight off Yuko. She said you were very strong. With some practice, you’ll be able to fully develop your powers.”
“Minami,” Atsuko held her friend’s shoulder. “This is a really big decision. But I’m always gonna be with you, no matter what choice you make.”
“Miichan~” A voice called out as three girls opened up the door. “There you are!”
One of the girls, her hair tied up in pigtails, hugged Miichan’s neck. “Tag! You’re it!”
“Mou~ I told you girls to wait on me.”
“Is that the new girl?”
“We don’t know if she’s going to join yet. Now, you girls get back with the others.”
“We’ll be waiting for you!” The girls waved goodbye and exited the room.
“Who were they?”
“Trainee Hunters. I’m their counselor. Their names were Mako-chan, Miki-chan, and Nana-chan. They may seem like little kids, but their really nice and also really strong. They’ve gotten a lot better at training since they first started.”
“Mou, you sound like a mom, Miichan,” Acchan chuckled.
“Anyways, Takamina, you should probably go and talk to the others. Get to know everyone so it’ll be easier to make a decision.”
“Well, if you say so…” Takamina slowly sat up.
“Can you walk? You may still be tired from your recent awakening.”
“I think…” Takamina slowly placed her feet on the ground. She wobbled a bit and staggered, placing her hand on the wall.
She slowly started walking again and felt feeling come back in her legs. Miichan helped her walk as they left the room and made their way down the hall.
“How long exactly am I going to be like this?”
“Only for a while. You let out a lot of your power at once during your awakening. When Haruna first awakened, it took her about an hour to get herself readjusted.”
“And just how strong is she?”
“Well, I can tell you one thing, she may be strong, but you.. you seem special.”
“Haruna said she saw this marking on your back when you awoken. She said it was a symbol of royal blood or something.”
“Yup. Let’s see…” Miichan pulled the back of Takamina’s collar. “Mm-hm… yup. I’ve not seen that symbol before.”
“What is it? What does it look like?” Takamina asked, as she could not see the symbol.
“It looks like a crown, sort of.. with angel wings.”
“So you’re like a princess, huh?” Acchan said. “How cute.”
“Ah, there’s Yukirin!” Miichan then said, taking notice of two people who were sitting out in the hallway. One of them was reading a book while the other laid asleep on her lap.
The girl looked up from her book and stared at Minami. Her cold, black orbs sent chills down her back. However, she did look very beautiful despite the cold eyes.
“Yo, Yukirin,” Miichan said casually, unfazed by the cold stare. “This is Takamina.”
The girl called Yukirin just bowed her head silently.
“And the girl sleeping on her lap is Mayuyu~”
Takamina wanted to get a better look at her face, but then she saw Yuki was staring at her and backed away a bit.“She’s so scary!”
“Takamina, don’t worry. Yukirin’s not as scary as you think,” Miichan said, as if she read her mind. “She’s just protective of Mayuyu.”
“..erm…” Mayuyu stirred in her sleep, turning her head as her eyes fluttered open. “Mamarin, I sense a spirit…”
Takamina blushed. Mayuyu looked very cute, almost like a porcelain doll.
“Oh, you must be sensing Acchan,” Miichan said. “Don’t worry, though. She’s a good spirit.”
“They can see her, too?”
“No, but they feel her. They’re Fae.”
“Y’know, like fairies, elves, unicorns; all those supernatural beings under the ‘Mystic’ category. They’re both elves.”
Mayuyu rubbed her eyes as she got up sleepily. “Morning… Miichan, is that the new recruit?”
“She’s still deciding.”
“Um, Mayuyu, right? Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, too.” Mayuyu smiled, then turned back to Yukirin. “Mamarin, I’m hungry. I want something sweet.”
Yuki then smiled. It was a sweet motherly smile that contrasted with her dark, piercing gaze. But, even now, her gaze towards Mayuyu looked warm.
“OK. Let’s go.”
The two walked off, Mayuyu still clinging to Yukirin’s arm.
Takamina then remembered something she heard Mayuyu say.
“Is Yukirin, Mayuyu’s mother?”
“Ummm…. No, but Yukirin does act like a motherly figure. Besides, Mayu is a Light elf and Yuki is a Dark elf.”
“W-What’s the difference?”
“Light magic and Dark magic. Also, Yuki’s clan was very against their Dark Fae interacting with the Light side. So Yuki rebelled.”
“Mm-hm. Also, you may not want to get on Yuki’s bad side. When she gets mad, she becomes Black, and you DON’T wanna see Black.”
Takamina just nodded.
The two continued walking until they came up to a door. Miichan knocked on it, and when it opened, a girl covered in black soot and oil appeared.
“Sasshi, what the heck?! Did you take a bath in engine oil?!”
“No! I was working on the engine on the van. There was just a… little leak.”
“Ugh, fine. It blew up in my face. But I ordered a new one.”
“You hetare, you’re such a good mechanic, but still, something has to blow up in your face once a day?!”
“D-don’t call me hetare!”
Miichan sighed. “Takamina, this is Sasshi. She’s a mechanic here.”
“Nice to meet cha,” Sasshi held her hand out. Even though it was dirty, Takamina politely shook it.
“She’s really good with the mechanics and weapons here.”
“If you need anything, ask me,” Sasshi saluted.
Sasshi then bowed and closed the door, returning to her work.
“Why did you have to call her a hetare?” Acchan asked.
“Because… she’s a bit clutzy at times… and also a bit of a scaredy cat.”
“Well, that’s kinda mean. You could be nicer to her,” Atsuko said.
“Well, I will, if she decides to stand up for herself.” Miichan sighed out. “Now, let’s go.”
The three kept going and made it to a new room at the end of the hall. It was a training room, where they saw some of the younger trainee Hunters, like the ones she met earlier, practicing in combat or weapon usage.
“Looks like Haruna’s still at the shooting range,” Miichan said.
“What’s she doing in there?”
“Probably just working on her accuracy. She’s really good with a gun.”
“Should we go find her?”
“Alright, but I suggest you don’t break her concentration.”
“You just go down the hallway to the right. Once you hear the gunshots, you’re there.”
Takamina and Atsuko started walking down the hall the way Miichan told them. They started hearing gunshots, which made the two cover their ears as it got louder.
When they got into the room, they saw Haruna with headphones on her head as she was shooting at the target. Every bullet hit the bullseye perfectly.
The two of them kept silent as they saw Haruna’s sharpshooter accuracy.
“That’s amazing,” Acchan said.
After Haruna had stopped and removed her headphones, she looked up and saw Takamina. Facial expression unchanged, she walked towards the short girl.
“So… have you decided yet?”
“Well.. I’m still not too sure…”
“Please, you could be a very useful ally to us,” Haruna said. “There’s a power deep inside you that’s been slumbering since you were a baby. Now you can use that power to shine a light to dispel the darkness.”
“There is so much evil in this world. One that is continuously growing every single day and you can stop it. We need powerful nephilim like me and you to stop this growing force.”
“I really have the power to do that?”
“Yes, and with the other hunters here, we can eradicate it easier.”
“Minami,” Acchan spoke. “This sounds like some really big destiny stuff… Maybe.. this is what you were meant to do.”
“What do you say?” Haruna said again. “Will you fight with us?”
Minami thought on the matter long and hard. With this decision, she could either leave her normal life and step into a whole new world, risking everything…
“Maybe this is what you were meant to do.”
Acchan’s words were stuck in the back of her mind. That was when she knew her answer…
“Okay… I’ll do it! I’ll become a Hunter!”
“That’s what I wanted to hear, Minami,” Acchan said, whilst tapping her partner’s shoulder.
“Yosh! Then, we’ll get started with your training. Here,” Haruna handed Takamina the gun she previously used.
She saw a rose symbol engraved on the side, which looked identical to the emblem on Haruna’s jacket.
“This rose symbol…”
“It’s the mark of the Bloody Rose.”
“So, am I gonna get a cool uniform like that?” Takamina’s eyes sparkled.
“Yup!” Haruna smiled.
“Haha, hey, remember, this is serious work. We don’t just wear cool clothes, we fight demons.”
“Oh, right!” Takamina then straightened up, clearing her throat. “So, what’s my first order of business?”
“Training.” Haruna then pointed at the target. “Shoot that.”
Haruna then handed Takamina the headphones to place over her ears. Once she did, she aimed at the target.
She took a deep breath before concentrating on the target. And…*BANG*
“Wow!” Haruna said, pointing at the target. “You were really close!”
“Yeah! Just a little more, and it would’ve hit the bullseye!”
“Get your muscles ready now,” Haruna patted her arm. “Next up, battle training.”