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Author Topic: [COMPLETED] Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 0 (170806)  (Read 16452 times)

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 6 (170521)
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2017, 09:39:04 PM »
Chapter 7

Mako was packing in her room, when she heard a knock at the door. She saw Nana standing there, and noticed one of her fingers was bleeding. Her eyes widened seeing the bloody finger, making her worry.

“What happened?!” she asked, walking up to Nana.
 
“Mako…”

“Your finger…” Mako lifted her hand, looking to see two puncture wounds on her finger. “Did someone bite you?”

“I did it.”

“What?!”

“I did it to help Manatsu.”

“Manatsu?” Mako furrowed her brows. “What’s wrong with her?”

She tried to leave, but Nana stopped her, looking at her with serious eyes.

“Kiss…”

“Eh?!”

“Kiss me…” Nana suddenly said, holding the girl. “Mako…”

“S-stop!” Mako pushed the girl away, running out of her room. As she left in shock, Nana gave a sad frown, looking at her finger.

“I’ll need to find a bandage…”

------------------------

“Is everyone packed up?” Natsuki asked as everyone gathered outside the entrance of the old school building. Everyone had backpacks filled with their personal belongings, as well as food supply and medicine.

Nana looked up at the building, a solemn glow in her eyes.

“I’m going to miss this place…”
 
Tomu seemed to notice her behavior, nudging Yuka.

“Hey, what is she doing..?”

Yuka saw the girl and tilted her head. “I dunno.”

“Do you think she has some history with this place? I mean, I did hear it used to be a school until…”

“Until what?”

“Apparently there was a revolt. Sort of a mini-war between the vampires and the hunters. From what I heard, the lives of the students who went here were also taken, and ever since, the two sides were at odds.”

“So that’s what happened…”

“It’s strange, though.”

Yuka raised a brow. “How so?”

“Well--”

“Alright, let’s go,” Natsuki announced as she saw the sun set over the horizon. “We start moving now, the hunters won’t be able to catch up to us.”

“Hai~”

As they continued walking, Tomu whispered to Yuka, “My grandfather told me vampires tried to make peace with the humans, but during that revolt, some vampires went crazy.”

“Eh?”

“It was all out of nowhere. They started killing the students and drinking their blood, even some of the hunters were caught off guard.”

“That’s scary…” Yuka shuddered. “What made them act like that?”

“I have no clue. Whenever I ask him, he just mumbles something about the moon.”

“The moon?”

“Yeah… It makes no sense.”

Yuka furrowed her brows, looking up at the sky.

“The moon, huh…”

------------------------
 
“We’ll stake out here,” Takayanagi said as she and the hunters set up a space where they could look out for any vampires. “We’ll take turns patrolling around this area. I’ll take the first shift, then Iwata, then Takahashi, Sasaki, and then Oshima.”

“Eh? Why am I last?” Ryoka asked.

“Because you’ll probably fall asleep anyways,” Juri said, making Yukari chuckle.
 
Takayanagi started her watch, meanwhile, the girls were setting up their sleeping bags and watched the girl at her post.

She saw the girl throw out some sunflower seeds, feeding a bird in front of her.

“Say, Takayanagi-san?” Ryoka then spoke up.

“Yes?”
 
“I was wondering, for how long were you a hunter?”

“How long have you been a trainee?”

“Um… half a year, I think?”

The woman chuckled. “Much longer than that.”

“Hee~ that’s amazing.”

“How long, exactly?” Juri asked.
 
“A few years.”
 
“Ooh, you’ve been at this for a while, huh?”

“That’s right. I know my way around this forest. I’ve slayed countless beasts that dwelled in the darkness.”

“Beasts?! You mean the vampires, or…?”

“You know of the other monsters, right? The fallen beings who lurk in the darkness…”
 
“Fallen beings?”
 
It was then that they heard a rustling noise in the distance. As the hunters reached for their guns, setting their guard up, while Akane just stared out as if looking for the source of the noise.
 
After the rustling stopped, the woman stood up.
 
“I’ll go look for it.”
 
“Be careful,” Yukari said as she walked off.
 
“She’s a hunter, Yukarun, and way more experienced than us,” Juri said. “And moreover, she’s a Magnolia alumni. She knows what she’s doing.”
 
“Yeah… guess I’m just worried.”
 
“And that’s why you’re such a nice person.”
 
------------------------
 
“Yoooosh~ Time to set up camp!” Marika cheered as she and Madoka laid their things down.
 
The two began setting up their tents and unpacking the other camping supplies. Madoka turned her lantern on, lighting up the area as it was starting to get dark.
 
“Mou, why’d we have to wait until now to get started?”
 
“We had to sneak out once after school was over! It couldn’t be helped!”
 
“Still…”
 
Once tents were up, Marika started to gather wood to start a fire. Madoka gathered leaves and tidling to help, pulling out a box of matches and sparking a flame.
 
Meanwhile, Marika was noisily humming as she rustled through the bushes, trying to find some twigs and sticks of wood for their fire. As she gathered them up, her humming died down as she noticed a figure in the distance.
 
“What is that?” she blinked, looking at the shadowy figure. “Someone else out camping?”
 
The figure then turned, and Marika could clearly see a red eye glaring at her.
 
“Oooooh crap crap crap crap crap…” she hissed in a whisper as she ran back to where Madoka was. She cried out, “MADOKAAAAAAAA!!!”
 
“Ehh?!” Madoka jumped up, almost dropping the lit match. She quickly put it out and looked at her panicked friend. “What’s wrong?”
 
“E-e-eye! R-red! V-v-vampire! I, I, I, I think it saw me!”
 
“A vampire?!”
 
Marika’s head nodded furiously.
 
“No way…”
 
“W-what do we do?! What if it comes for me?!”
 
They then heard rustling as something came toward them. Marika shuddered in fear and clung to Madoka as they saw the person’s figure draw closer to them.
 
“Madoka~” Marika whimpered as the older girl held onto her.

She then saw one of the sticks and broke it in half, giving it a pointed end. She gripped the wooden stick and was about to stab the figure, only for the person to dodge swiftly, revealing themselves.
 
“Woah! It’s okay, it’s okay!” the person said, raising their hands in the air. “I’m unarmed.”

Marika let out a sigh as Madoka dropped the stake.
 
“Mou, Marika, it was just a regular girl!”
 
“But th-their eye was red! I swear it was!”
 
“Marika,” Madoka glared at her, making the girl pout.
 
“Sorry…”
 
“What are you two cute girls doing out here so late? Don’t you know it’s dangerous?”
 
“Well, yeah. But, this one,” Madoka placed a hand on Marika’s shoulder, “Really wanted to go camping.”
 
“Guilty as charged.”

“Oh. Well, you two might wanna be more careful. There’s lots of things that go bump in the night.”

“Don’t worry. We know.”
 
The girl smirked before waving goodbye and heading back the way she came.

“See? Nothing to worry about.”

Marika raised a brow. “I dunno… I know what I saw.”

“Maybe it was just your mind playing tricks on you.”
 
“I hope so…”

Madoka then picked up the sticks again, throwing them in with the pile of tiddling before starting another match.
 
“Come on. Fire’s not gonna start itself.”

“I’ll get the marshmallows!”

Madoka just chuckled as her friend rushed to get snacks while she started the fire.

------------------------------

To Be Continued

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 7 (170607)
« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2017, 10:45:33 PM »
Chapter 8

The group of vampires walked through the dark forest, Natsuki leading the way as she used an old compass and map to the old school building. The others lagged behind as sore leg muscles and hunger started to catch up to them.
 
Mako turned her head back to see Nana staring up at the night sky. She couldn’t forget about the girl asking to kiss her, but that proved difficult.
 
“Why did she ask me that so suddenly..?”
 
“Natsuki~ I’m getting tired…” Yuka whined.
 
“Oh, alright. Let’s rest a bit,” Natsuki turned around, then her eyebrows furrowed. “Wait.. where’s Natsumi?”

As the girls saw she was missing, they groaned in frustration.
 
“You gotta be kidding…”

“Somebody go find her,” Natsuki said.
 
Nao offered, immediately going off to find the girl as the others rested. Mako looked over at Manatsu, who was resting by herself while rubbing her temple.

“Manatsu-chan, you alright?”
 
“Yeah.. just a little headache.”
 
Nana looked down, eyeing Manatsu worriedly. Natsuki also noticed her behavior and approached her.
 
“You still feeling sick?”

“A little…”
 
She felt her forehead. “No fever… yet.”
 
“Eh? Manatsu-chan’s getting sick?” Yuka asked.
 
“Seems like it. She wasn’t all that well yesterday.” Tomu looked around the environment. “I think there’s some herbs out here we can use to make medicine.”

“I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think this is just any common cold…”

“Then, what?”

“Keira…” Akari voiced out, making everyone look at her as she had been silent. “This is exactly what happened to Keira…”
 
Everyone grew quiet, remembering the girl mentioned. Just like them, Keira was a young vampire going through her Cocoon period. However, she suddenly fell ill and died, much to their dismay.
 
Akari especially was heartbroken by the event, unable to speak or interact with the others for months after the ordeal. She couldn’t handle the unexpected loss of her friend. And it was hard for her to even mention her name… until just now, it seems.

“Why Manatsu? Why Keira?” Akari muttered, holding her arms.

“Hold on. We don’t know that it’s the same as…” Mako started, but stopped when she saw Akari’s troubled expression. She spoke again, this time more reassuringly, “I’m sure Manatsu will get better.”

“You just rest. Maybe the hunters won’t find us if we just calm down and stay hidden.”
 
“Then Nao better hurry and find Natsumi.”

-------------------------

Natsumi had wandered off again, distracted by the stars shining in the sky.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star~ How I wonder what you are~” she sang with a giggle now and then, her feet leading her aimlessly through the woods.

However, she blinked and soon realized that her friends were nowhere to be found.

“Are? Are? Where’d everyone go?”
 
She looked around, confused and slightly dazed, as she couldn’t recall how she ended up on her own.
 
“Natsuki-san~? Mako-chan~? Where are you~?” she called out.
 
As she searched for them, she then started to smell smoke. She followed the scent and started to see a fire in the distance.
 
She walked closer and saw someone warming up by the fire. She blinked, tilting her head.

“Who is that? She’s familiar…”

“Madoka, let’s make s’mores!” Another girl said as they approached Madoka, who smiled upon her arrival.

“Madoka…” Natsumi repeated, getting closer.

Madoka’s ear twitched as she heard the rustling. They looked up, Marika immediately jumping behind Madoka’s back. When Natsumi approached them, the two stared at her silently for a minute.

“Uh… who are you?”

“Madoka,” Natsumi spoke again, staring at Madoka.

“Eh? Someone you know?” Marika asked.

Madoka knew exactly who it was. It was the girl who wandered into the school without permission and found her in the music room. The spacey, airheaded girl named Natsumi.
 
“Why are you here?”

Natsumi gave an ignorant smile. “Madoka… it’s been a while.”

Madoka stood up, “I said, what are you doing out here? Don’t you know it’s dangerous?”

“Yeah.”

“Then why?!”

“Me and my friends need a new home.”

“Eh?”

“Do you, like, LIVE in these woods?!” Marika asked, receiving a slap on the head from the other girl. “Ow! Hey, Madoka, what was that for?”
 
“Stop asking irrelevant questions.”
 
“Why are you here, then?” Natsumi then asked.

“We’re camping. That’s all.”
 
“Camp-ing?” Natsumi tilted her head.

“Want a s’more?” Marika offered, receiving another glare from Madoka. However, Natsumi took the treat, staring at it. Marika said, “It’s good! Taste it!”

Natsumi bit into the snack and her eyes lit up.

“It’s yummy..!”

Eating the sticky marshmallow and gooey chocolate, her lips became dirtied with the sweet delicacy. The sight made Madoka chuckle, seeing her eat like a little kid.

Marika handed her a napkin, to which Natsumi accepted.
 
“Natsumi!” A voice then called out.

The three saw Nao as she approached Natsumi, out of breath.

“There you are! Mou, why did you wander off like that?!”
 
“Sorry…” Natsumi apologized.
 
She then looked at Madoka and Marika, who were eating together happily. Looking back at Natsumi, she started to gain a worried expression.
 
“Natsumi,” she whispered so that they couldn’t hear her, “Why are you with a couple of humans?”
 
“Humans?”

Nao mentally facepalmed. “Yes.”

“They’re nice. They gave me sweets,” Natsumi just smiled ignorantly. Then, she pointed at Madoka and said, “And she plays pretty music.”
 
“Don’t you realise that these humans can ruin our plans?”
 
She just tilted her head, “They don’t look like hunters, though.”

“Hey, you want a s’more, too?” Marika asked, offering a treat to Nao.

“U-Uh, no thanks,” Nao said, trying to be polite as she declined. She took Natsumi’s wrist, “Natsumi, we need to go.”

As she was being pulled away, she waved goodbye to Madoka.

“Bye bye~”

Madoka waved goodbye back as the girl disappeared into darkness.

“We’ve come across some weird people out here, huh?” Marika asked.

“Yeah… weird.”
 
--------------------
 
Nao and Natsumi finally made it back to the others back at the resting spot. Everyone felt relieved as they saw Natsumi back safe and sound.

“Natsumi, don’t run off like that.”

“You need to be more aware of your surroundings.”

“Right.. Sorry…” Natsumi apologized.

Mako then smelled something from Natsumi. A familiar, sweet scent.

“Chocolate..?”

“Eh?”

“I smell chocolate. Did you eat chocolate, Natsumi?”

“I ate s’mores.”

Akari raised a brow, “A what?”

“Eh?! You don’t know what that is?!” Yuka asked.

“No?”

“It’s an awesome snack! It’s marshmallows and chocolate, sandwiched between two graham crackers. It’s crunchy and gooey all at the same time!”

“Graham crackers?”

“They’re cookies. They’re really sweet and they get crumbly easily.”

“Humans have strange taste,” Natsuki commented.

“Anyway, they’re really yummy!”

“Wait, but that means…” Tomu then realized, “You were near humans?!”

“They were nice though!” Natsumi retaliated.
 
“What if they were hunters? They would’ve killed you if they found out you were a vampire!”

“They didn’t.”

“Natsumi, this forest is filled with dangers,” Natsuki said calmly. “If something happened to you…”
 
“What did they look like?” Nana asked curiously. “What were they wearing?”

“Huh? Why are you asking that..?”

“Ah~ they were wearing white jackets! Their school uniforms!”

“Eh? Students?”

“Yeah!”

“Maybe they were on a camping trip…”

Natsuki cleared her throat.

“There could be more humans out here; we never know. We need to be extremely careful. And, more importantly, if anyone sees or hears one of the Fallen beings, run. Don’t try to fight it.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

---------------------------

Akane returned to the camp quarters where she saw Karen on look out.

“Takayanagi-san…” she stood up, bowing to the girl. “Welcome back.”

“Everything secure here?”

“Yup. No sign of the vampires.”

“Good,” Akane laid down on the ground, looking up at the sky from behind the trees. “It’s a clear sky tonight.”
 
Karen didn’t look up. She was too focused on her job as being on look out.
 
“Say, why did you decide to become a hunter, Karen?”

“Huh? Why do you ask?”

“You don’t like being asked?”

“It’s not that…” Karen fell silent, letting out a sigh. “My best friend.. was taken by vampires.”

Akane could hear a glint of sadness beyond the evident anger in her voice. She looked and saw Karen’s eyes were hidden behind her bangs, but she sensed that she was fighting tears.

“I swore I’d kill them and take her back… But, if she’s lost her humanity and become just like them…”

“You don’t want to kill her, do you?”

Karen glared out into the darkness, touching the gun at her side.

“No, but… If I must.”

“That’s bold.”

“I’m a hunter. That’s how things must be.”

Akane smirked. “Really?”

“There’s no other way I know as a hunter. If she’s… If Yuka is a vampire, she’s not my friend anymore. She’s my enemy.”

“Does it have to be that way?”

“What other way is there?”

“You continue to be friends.”

“Haa?” Karen looked down at her, confused.

“Maybe, if you didn’t kill her, if you stayed friends with her, it could start a change in the world.”

“But, she wouldn’t be human--!”

“So?” Akane suddenly glared at her, making her tense. “Just because you two are of different races, doesn’t mean there should be any grudges between you.”

“Takayanagi-san… are you..?”

“Enough,” she said, closing her eyes. “I want to rest. Don’t bother me.”

“Y-yes, ma’am…”

---------------------

Manatsu let out a small cough as Tomu prepared some herbal medicine for her. She felt her forehead a moment.

“She’s warm… Looks like the fever from before is coming back.”

As she was doing that, Mako was sitting by herself, snacking on some chocolate she had packed or the trip. She glanced over at Nana, who was silent for most of the trip. She walked over to her.

“You hungry?” she asked.

“No.”

“You sure? It’s been awhile since you’ve eaten.”

“I’ll be fine.”

Mako sat beside her, still eating the chocolate. She then saw a bandage wrapped around her finger.

“Isn’t your finger healing up?”

“That’s…”

Mako gently took her hand, unwrapping the bandage. The bite wound was still fresh and not completely healed.

“Strange… It should’ve healed by now.”

“Blood…”

“Huh?”

“I need blood… to heal.”

“Blood? Human blood?”

Nana shook her head, her hand grabbing Mako’s wrist. Mako pulled away, but was then forced down as Nana pushed her to the ground.

“N-Nana..?”

“Mako… say it’s okay for me to drink your blood.”

“What? B-but, it’s forbidden..!”

“Just let me… Tell me to bite you. Say that I can have your blood.”

“Why?”

“Mako-chan? Nana?” Natsuki called out to them.

While Nana was distracted, Mako broke away from the older vampire, standing up and running to her sister.

“Natsuki!”

“What’s the matter?”

“Natsuki, something’s wrong. Nana’s saying strange things..!”

“What are you talking about?”

“Nana… Nana wants to--”

Mako suddenly felt a sharp pain at her neck. She grew tense as she felt a pair of fangs buried into her neck, and her body became paralyzed.

Natsuki screamed, alerting the others. Nana broke away as her lips were blood red, small droplets of the younger vampire’s blood dripping from her mouth and coating her fangs.

“Mako-chan!” Nao ran to her side, shaking Mako. “Can you hear me?!”

Mako looked at her. “Nao…”

Then, she suddenly winced, screaming a bit.

“Ow! That hurt!” she said angrily, turning around. “Nana, why did you bite me?!”

“Mako-chan..?” Akari and everyone else’s eyes widened.

“What?”

“Your Initiative… You still have it?” Natsuki asked. “Nana just bit you, but you still have free will?”

Mako furrowed her brows. Indeed, it was strange. She still had all her emotions and memories in tact, and she was fully aware of what’s going on around her.

“Do you.. Feel any different?”

“Like, you want to follow Nana’s orders?”

“No. If anything, I’m mad,” she said while holding her neck, trying to stop the bleeding. She turned to Nana again. “Nana, don’t do that. It really hurt. I didn’t even give you permission.”

“Permission?” Nao raised a brow.

“Right! She was asking permission to drink my blood!”

“What..?”

“I’m sorry…” Nana spoke, hanging her head low.

She suddenly knelt on one knee, bowing to Mako. She and the others stood shocked at the sight.

“W-what are you doing? Stand up.”

Nana immediately did as she said, standing up.

“Wait… is it possible that..?” Natsuki then got an idea. “Mako-chan, tell her to do something else.”

“Eh? Um… Nana, spin three times?”

Nana didn’t hesitate and spun around, three times exact.

“No way…”

“N-Nana, shake?” Mako held out her hand. Nana took it obediently.

“Oi, is she a dog?!”

“Erm… Nana, what does this mean? Why are you obeying me?”

“Because, my Initiative belongs to you.”

Mako’s eyes widened. She wanted to believe it was a lie, but Nana’s straight, sincere eyes, told her that it was true.

“I have… Nana’s Initiative?”


To Be Continued

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 8 (170610)
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2017, 02:26:44 PM »
Chapter 9

“Your Initiative..?” Mako asked. “But, that’s impossible.”

“Yeah! You were born over one thousand years apart! How could you two have possibly met?!”

“It was one thousand years ago. When I swore my life to stay by your side.”

“What does that even mean? I don’t understand!” Mako pulled her hand away. “I’ve never met you before now!”

“We have.”

“What..?”

“We have met before. You just don’t remember.”

“Mou, this doesn’t make sense!” Mako shouted frustrated, storming off.

“Wait! Mako-chan!” Natsuki called out to her, but the girl disappeared into the fog that started to cloud the night of the forest.

“Oh crap… Oh crap!” Yuka suddenly shouted. “We need to go after her!”

“But, Yuka, it’s dangerous out there!”

“EXACTLY! Mako could get killed!”

Everyone was silent, not knowing what to do. Yuka looked at Nana, who was giving her a serious gaze. Even though she had blood on her mouth, she was able to read the vampire’s feelings in her eyes.

“You’ll come with me, right?”

“Of course.”

“Anyone else?” Yuka asked, but no one answered. The girl let out an angry growl, “Fine! Stay here if you’re that scared, then, dammit!”

“Yuka..!”

“Nana, let’s go!”

The two vampires ran off. Natsuki wanted to go after them, but stopped herself as there were more pressing matters at hand.
 
“Natsuki-san… will they be okay?” Nao asked.

“...I don’t know.”

-----------------------

Nana and Yuka ran through the fog, calling out their friend’s name in an attempt to find her. The two had no luck finding her, and soon, Yuka found that she had gotten them lost.

“Argh, now what do we do? How’re we gonna find our way back?!”

Nana held her shoulder, placing a finger at her lips as a sign to be quiet.

“Huh..?”

“Be quiet. Something’s here,” Nana said in a whisper.

As Yuka’s voice died down, she began to hear a low grumble. A beast’s growl. Her body froze as she felt her heart race in fear. Nana remained calm, her expression stoic.
 
The two then saw a pair of red, beastly eyes staring at them. The growl started to grow as the predator approached the two. Yuka felt her legs trembling as she and the other vampire girl slowly started to back away.

“W-w-we have to run…” she hissed, too scared to even speak.

Just then, there was a loud snap as someone stepped on a wooden twig. The two looked down, seeing the broken stick at the bottom of Nana’s foot.

The beast suddenly charged forward. Yuka screamed as it was about to attack.

BANG!

Then, there was a loud gunshot. Yuka and Nana fell to the ground as they saw someone dash forward, holding a gun. They shot the beast again, hitting at the center of its head. Slowly, the black beast collapsed, dead on the ground.

The person blew the barrel of the gun, strapping it onto their waist before turning to look at the two.

“Are you alright?”

“Y-yes…” Yuka responded while Nana nodded silently.

The woman smiled and helped the two back on their feet.

“What are you two doing out here?”

“W-we’re looking for our friend. She ran off and now, we’re lost.”

“You need some help?”

“Eh?! No, no, you don’t have to--”

“We’d appreciate it,” Nana said kindly, making the younger girl’s eyes widen.

“Alright. Let’s start then,” she said as she started walking.

“W-wait!” Yuka stopped her. “What’s your name?”

“Rena.”

-----------------------

Madoka and Marika were sleeping, but their slumber was interrupted when they heard a scratching noise.

“M-Madoka-chan, what’s that noise?”

“Probably just an animal.”

Marika tried to go back to sleep, telling herself it was just an animal. However, it was then that she heard what sounded like a roar in the distance.

“W-what was that?!”

Madoka groaned, trying to sleep, “Like I said, it’s just an animal. Like a bear or something.”

“That didn’t SOUND like a bear!”

“Marika, just be quiet.”
 
Marika frowned, shivering in her sleeping bag as she looked around nervously. Staring at the wall of the tent, she could see the shadow of whatever was outside slowly walk past the tent.

The shadow looked so unnatural. So monstrous. Marika held in a scream as she watched the shadow disappear, hearing the rustling footsteps fade away.

“That’s it!” she finally said, bolting up from her bed. “This was a bad choice! I give up!”
 
“Eh?” Madoka turned her head, seeing the girl stuff her backpack.

“Come on, Madoka, you were right! We’re getting out of here!”

“What?!”

“Hurry up and pack your things,” she said, throwing the girl’s bag to her.

Madoka let out a loud sigh. “This girl is hopeless…”

Nonetheless, she soon packed up her things and took down the tent. Marika started looking around, leaving Madoka confused.

“What’s wrong?”

“Um… I don’t know where to go.”

“Eh?! Are you saying we’re lost?!” Madoka grabbed the girl’s shoulders.

“I-I…”

“Hold on,” Madoka pulled out her phone, trying to search for a signal.

As she was doing so, Marika noticed a path she didn’t see before. She raised a brow before walking towards it. She saw a straight path that seemed to lead somewhere, but she didn’t know where.

“Hey, Madoka-chan?”

“Not now, Marika!”

Marika just pouted before looking back at the path.

“Might as well try…” she thought as she started walking.

She didn’t recognize the path at all, but she felt like she was getting closer to something.

She started to see something in the distance. She started running closer, seeing what looked like a clock tower.

“Is that the school?!” She ran faster, bolting out of the forest before stopping to see the building in front of her.

An old clock tower. Vines covering the walls of the building.

“This isn’t Magnolia Academy…” she realized. “This is… this is..!”

But then, she blinked.

“What school is this?”

The entire school building looked like it had been standing there for ages, untouched and untended by anyone. It was an abandoned ruin of the past.

“I gotta tell Madoka-chan about this..!” she said, turning around, but was surprised to see the path she had came from had disappeared. “Huh? Huh?! Where’d it go?!”

She got out her phone and tried to call her, but that failed. It was like she was in an area cut off from the rest of the world.

“No way… What am I supposed to do?”

She turned back to the entrance of the building, seeing a sign covered by vines. A sign which told the name of the school.

“Tsubaki High School…?”


To Be Continued

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 9 (170617)
« Reply #43 on: June 20, 2017, 10:13:38 PM »
Chapter 10

With no other options and clearly lost, Marika decided to tour the old school building. Stepping through the entrance gate, she saw how truly old and in ruins the building was. Nearly all the glass windows were broken, stains visible on what she could assume used to be pure white walls.

Thorny rose vines grew everywhere, as if Mother Nature was reclaiming the entire building for herself. It was like a haunted house no one would dare go near. But oddly enough, something drew her to it.

“This is crazy…” she whispered as she took pictures of the area with her phone.

She stepped through the door, entering the lobby. She could imagine students walking to class and commuting with one another. She could almost hear the chatter of the noisy hallways.

“It’s odd… I’ve never been here, and yet…”

“Who’s there?!”

Marika jumped, falling back as she saw a figure walking down the hall towards her.

“I-I-I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to trespass! I just got lost and, and..!” she soon stopped as she recognized the face. “Wait… you’re that girl from before.”

“Ah. Nice to see you again.”

Feeling a bit relieved, she stood back up.

“What are you doing here?”

“This is kind of my home.”

“Home?”

“Yup. I’ve got nowhere else to go. So, I live here.”

“Ehh, that’s crazy.”

“And what about you? Weren’t you and your friend camping?”

“Well, we decided to leave, but… I got separated from her and now I can’t contact her.”

“Hmm… would you like me to help?” the mystery girl offered.

“Eh?!”

“I have a friend who’s out on a job. But I have a way of contacting her. Maybe she can find your friend.”

“Uwaa~ thank you!!!” Marika hugged the girl tightly.

“So tell me, cutie, what’s your name?”

“C-cutie?” Marika’s heart skipped a beat. “T-Tani Marika. And what about you?”

“Mm…” the girl pondered a bit before saying, “Just call me ‘J’.”

-----------------------

Mako held her neck, looking at her fingers to check for blood.

“It healed…” she said, sighing.

After storming off, she had quickly gotten lost, so she decided to stay in one place and wait for the others to find her.

She hugged her knees, thinking about Nana. She tried to comprehend what she had meant, but the more she thought about it, the more confused and frustrated she became.

“We’ve met before.. What? That can’t be… I.. we.. no..!”

“...Mako…”

Her ear twitched. She thought she heard Nana’s voice calling to her.

“Mako..!”

“Nana?” She stood up, looking around. She couldn’t see through the thick fog, but she felt like the girl’s presence was there.

She then saw a path in front of her and thought she could see Nana’s figure.

“Mako… come here.”

Suddenly, Mako fell into a trance. Her arms limply fell to her side as she started walking toward the unknown path.

Meanwhile…

The hunter girls were on lookout, when they heard what sounded like a howl rising in the air.

“What was that?”

Takayanagi opened one eye, looking at the young hunters.

“Was that a wolf?”

“Maybe.”

“Eh? Do you think it could come this way?!”

“It won’t, Ryoka.”

As they were talking, static starting going off on Takayanagi’s communicator. She pulled it out, adjusting it before talking.

“Rena, is that you?”

“Incorrect~”

Her eyes widened a bit, “Oh, Jurina..! What’s going on?”

“I got a cute girl here with me.”
 
“Uh-huh…?”

“And she’s lost out here. So I was wondering if you could help get her back to her friend.”

“I’m on a stake out right now, with some juniors. I can’t leave,” she said firmly.

“Ehh~ please, Churi?”

“Why is she even there with you, anyways? Isn’t the barrier…?”

“Hm? Oh, that. That’s right. Her name is Marika. I think she’s one of them.”

“Eh..?!”

“Huh? One of who?” Another voice spoke.

“Oh, nothing! It’s something on our end,” the girl Jurina quickly said before whispering back to her. “Churi… what about the girls you’re here with? Do you think they could be ones, as well?”

“I… hadn’t thought about that,” she looked over to the young hunters. “But, I think it’s possible.”

“Then bring them here. And if you can, like I said, bring Marika-chan’s friend.”

“Oh, alright. But tell Rena about this, too.”

“Of course! Who do you think I am?”

Takayanagi chuckled. “Right. We’ll see you there.”

After hanging up the call, she slowly got up, looking at the girls.

“Alright, listen up,” she announced. “Something’s come up. We’re gonna be moving location, so no time for dilly-dally. Come with me.”

“Eh? Changing location?!”

“Where, exactly?”

“Nowhere special… Just an old, abandoned school building.”

-----------------------

“Mako?! Where are you?!” Yuka called out as she and Nana were looking for their friend, accompanied by Rena. She groaned as she felt her stomach growl. “Ugh… hungry.”

“You two need a break?” the hunter girl asked them.

“W-we’re fine! Really…”

“Yuka, there’s no need to push yourself,” Nana said before looking back at Rena. “I just ate, but Yuka needs some food.”

Rena nodded before pulling out something from her bag. It was a small burlap sack with what looked like red berries. She poured out some into Yuka’s palm before eating some for herself.

“Thanks!” Yuka said before eating one of the berries. The sweet juice seemed to explode in her mouth, even for its size. “Yum! It’s super sweet!”

“That’s good,” Rena said with a smile. “Let’s keep going.”

“Un!”

Yuka snacked on the berries as they walked, squealing in glee from the sweet flavor. Nana looked at her, analyzing her reactions and eying the red fruit. She noticed her staring and glanced at her.

“Want one?” she offered.

“Ah.. s-sure,” she took one, placing it in her mouth and chewing a bit.

“It’s good, isn’t it?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Right~?” Yuka giggled as she ate more, not noticing Nana’s expression as she realized the taste.

“These are… Blood berries?”

She looked over at Yuka, who seemed blissfully unaware of the blood-like taste the fruit had. To her, it was just like eating any other berry. Then, she looked at Rena, who had given her the berries to begin with.

“Why would she have a stash of those? She’s a hunter. So that means, she’s human… right?”

------------------------

Manatsu was growing weaker, and everyone became tense as Mako, Nana, and Yuka haven’t returned. Natsuki started to fear the worst had happened to the three of them.
 
“This is bad… If they don’t come back…”

“Should we go find them?” Natsumi asked. “Maybe they’re playing hide-and-seek…”

“Natsumi.. You have a point,” Akari admitted. “If they’re out there, we need to go find them. Before anything else can.”

“But, if something has found them, if we go out and try to find them… we could get caught too,” Nao said. “Whatever’s out there--”

“We have to face it.”

Natsuki’s words made the girl go silent. She could see in her eyes she was serious.

“Yuka was right… Nana, too. We can’t run away for much longer. We have to fight back.”

“But with the problems we’re facing here, are we really going to risk being killed? Manatsu-chan is still sick and...”

“I-it’s..fine…” Manatsu weakly said with another cough. “Nao-chan… it’s fine… everyone.. needs to hurry.. To get to safety… to find Mako and the others…”

“But if we leave you here, you’ll..!” Nao spoke, tears forming in her eyes.

“I’ll… b-be okay… We were… always together.. So I know… we’ll still be together.. after all this…”

“Manatsu-chan…” Natsuki knelt down to her side.

“Y-you guys... go… Go to that place…” Those last words came out as a whisper. Manatsu’s eyes slowly closed, and she stopped moving.

“M-Manatsu…? Manatsu..?!” Nao shook her, but she didn’t respond. “No… Manatsu, you can’t die! Not like this! Not yet!”

“Nao-chan…”

Nao hugged Natsuki, crying into her chest. Akari and Natsumi were silent while Tomu placed a blanket over Manatsu.

“Rest in peace,” she whispered.

After breaking the hug, Nao stood back up, wiping away her tears. Without saying anything else, the girls just took their things, placing some wild flowers around Manatsu, and left.

-----------------------

Mako kept walking forward, her eyes empty. She swayed a bit as an unknown force led her somewhere. She didn’t know where she was going, but whatever came over her, she let it lead her.

“Mako…”

She suddenly blinked, snapping out of her trance. She found herself at the entrance of a rose garden.

“Eh..? When did I..? Where is this?”

She walked through the arch, seeing roses wrapped around and blooming around her. The entire garden was overtaken by the thorny rose vines, as if creating a defense around the garden flowers.

As she walked, she then noticed something strange about the flowers. Along with the roses, she saw red fruit that looked like apples growing on the vines.

“Since when did roses bear fruit?” she asked as she got closer.

She picked off one of the fruits, holding it in her hand. The fragrance of the roses dizzied her thoughts, licking her lips. She could feel her fangs growing sharper.

Giving into her hunger, she bit into the fruit, tasting it.

“Blood..?” She munched the fruit, red juice from it on her lips. “It tastes… like blood.”

Mako!


Mako suddenly felt a surge of pain in her head. She dropped the fruit, holding her head and falling to her knees. Taking in sharp breaths, she closed her eyes tight.

“Mako… don’t you remember me?”

“I don’t..! I don’t know..!”

“We’ve met before. You just don’t remember. It was so long ago…”

“Ngh… I don’t understand.. How can that be?”

“You were once human.”

“..!” Mako suddenly had a vision of her and Nana in another life. She suddenly had trouble breathing.

“That night… under the blood red moon…”

She suddenly looked up, seeing a hallucination of herself.

You were killed.

“Th-that can’t be…”

“It’s true!” her hallucination said. “You died. 1000 years ago.”

“1000… no way..!” Mako shook her head. “Is that… possible?”

“Why do you think Nana acts the way she does around you? You and her were friends! How do you think she feels that you forgot about her?!”

“I-I…!”

“You have to remember!” the voice suddenly changed. She looked and saw the illusion was now Nana. “Please, Mako… I miss you.”

“Nana…”

“Go back to that time, Mako. Let your mind go back.”

“Go..back…” Mako felt her mind drift off again. She collapsed to the ground, unconscious.
 
….
 
“Mako-chan. Nee, wake up!”

Mako groaned as she woke up, squinting as she saw the sun in her eyes.

“Wait… sun?!” She screamed and covered her eyes, jumping up. She shut her eyes tight as she was afraid of the sun burning her skin. However, she didn’t feel a burning at all. “Huh? It doesn’t hurt?”

“Mako-chan, what are you panicking about?”

She looked over to see her sister, Natsuki, wearing an unfamiliar uniform.

“Nee-chan..? Why are you wearing that?” she asked, looking around. “Where are we..?”

“Eh? Are you in a daze or something?” Natsuki asked her sister. “We’re in school.”

“Huh? School?”


To Be Continued

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 10 (170620)
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2017, 11:02:41 PM »
Chapter 11

Jurina was taking a walk around the hall, Marika following her as she didn’t have anything else to do. However, she looked out and saw something out in the garden.

“J-san!” she screamed, clinging to the girl. “I think there’s someone collapsed outside!”

“Let me go check it out,” Jurina said as she ran down the hall to the staircase.

Marika stared outside at the collapsed figure. She saw Jurina run out towards the girl and shook her, trying to wake her up.

After a while, Marika saw her pick the girl up and carry her inside. She soon heard the girl walk back up and returned with the unconscious girl cradled in her arms.

“Who is she?”

“I don’t know… But she’s not waking up. I’m taking her somewhere to rest.”

“Okay…”

-----------------------

“School…?”

“Mako-chan, are you alright?” Natsuki asked.

“Um… yes. I just, erm, I need a minute.” Mako got up and walked away.

Unfamiliar with her surroundings, seeing she was in a school she had never seen before, she stood under a shady tree, trying to collect her thoughts.

“What happened to me..? My memory’s all fuzzy…”

It was then that she felt something hit her head. She yelled out in pain, looking down to see a shoe. When she looked up, she saw Yuka taking a nap, her foot dangling from the branch she was sitting on.

“Hey, Yuka!” she called out, making the girl jolt from her sleep and fall to the ground.

“Ow! My butt!”

“Serves you right,” Mako pouted. “What were you doing up there?”

“What do you mean? Just napping in my usual nap spot, of course,” Yuka said as she dusted off her skirt.

“‘Usual’?”

“Hm?”

“...Ah, nevermind.”

The short girl just raised a brow before shrugging.

“Come on, let’s go back inside.”

“Eh? Where?”

“What do you mean? Free period’s almost over. It’s almost time for our last class.”

“Class?!”

---------------------------

“MAKOOOOO!!!” Yuka called into the inside of a cave, her voice echoing off the stone walls. “ARE YOU IN THEEERE?!”

“I don’t think she is,” Rena said, shining a flashlight into the cave. “It’s pitch black… We should go. We don’t know who or what could be living here.”

“She’s right, Yuka. Let’s go,” Nana insisted.

“Oh, alright. Besides, you have a point. I wouldn’t wanna wake up a werewolf and get eaten.”

They walked away from the cave, continuing on, until Yuka’s nose twitched.

“Hm? What’s that smell?” she asked, soon coughing and holding her nose. “It stinks!”

Rena and Nana also gagged, covering their noses as the smell got stronger.

“Th-this putrid odor… It’s ichor!”

“What-chor?”

“Ichor! Demon blood!”

They could then see a black mist that looked like smoke rising in the air. A clear sign that the demon was close, probably dead.

However, the closer they got, they could hear a low growling. It sounded like a hungry wolf.

“W-what is that..?” Yuka pointed out a shadow of what looked like a large wolf. However, Rena’s eyes widened as she soon realized what it was.

“Girls, we need to run!”

Once she said that, the wolf let out a roaring howl and started to charge towards them. The three started running, Rena loading her gun and shooting it towards the oncoming wolf.

“What is going on with this wolf?!” Yuka screamed, seeing blood dripping down from the wolf’s fangs.

Rena shot the bullet and it hit the center of the beast’s head. It collapsed to the ground, the awful smell of demon blood surrounding it. Rena could see wounds around the wolf, and its blood was black instead of red.

“I knew it…”

“Rena-san, what happened to this wolf?” Nana asked.

“It’s been corrupted.”

“Corrupted?”

“When an animal consumes demon blood… this is what happens to them. They become a Fallen being.”

“So.. this wolf drank demon blood and became like this?” Yuka asked, seeing Rena and Nana both give sympathetic looks.

“The poor thing… It never meant to go through such a sufferable fate.”

“At least now, it won’t be in pain any longer.”

They slowly walked off, Yuka still shook by the sight. They remained silent as they continued walking, but Rena stopped as she could hear voices approaching them.

“Shouldn’t we go looking for them?”

“We’ll go after them once we reach the school building.”

“Are you sure? What if a hunter finds them? Or something worse…”

Yuka’s eyes widened. “Wait… That’s Natsuki and the others!”

Yuka and Nana saw the group approaching, immediately running to them.

“Natsuki-nee-san!”

“Guys!”

“Yuka?! Nana!” The two immediately hugged everyone, the rest of the group surprised to see them.

“Oh my God, I’m so happy we found you all~” Yuka cried.

“What happened to you two?!”

“WealmostgotkilledbythishugewolfbutthenthisgirlcameandshotitandthenwealmostgotattackedbyANOTHERwolfand--” Yuka spoke in a panic, her voice slurring a bit with her crying.

“Woah, woah, slow down!” Tomu said, wiping her tears away. “Were you able to find Mako?”

Yuka shook her head. “No… But we made a new friend.”

She pointed over to Rena, who was leaning against a tree. She waved her hand, everyone acknowledging her presence.

“Well, I guess we’ll just have to search for her ourselves.”

“You all are going somewhere, right?” Rena then voiced. “I’ll go find her. You all should get where you need to be.”

“Th-thank you!”

“Just find us at the old school building, it’ll be that way,” Yuka pointed out. Natsuki and the others grew worried, but Nana mouthed that everything would be okay.

“School building?”

“Yes.”

“That doesn’t seem right…” Rena said, confused. “I actually know a shortcut that could get you there faster.”

“Really?!” Nao’s eyes widened.

“Where?”

“Just take the west path,” Rena pointed out, “and look for the path that’s lined with round white stones and rose petals. If you start to see the clock tower up ahead, you’re going the right way.”

“Thanks, Rena-san!”

“Good luck, girls,” Rena said as she walked away, disappearing into the night.

“That girl seems…”

“Super nice, right?!”

“Well, didn’t you find it a little strange? How would she know a shortcut to the former school building for Magnolia?”

“More importantly, did Magnolia have a clock tower..?” Natsumi murmured.

“That’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Yuka, Nana, are you sure we can trust that girl?” Natsuki asked. “She could be leading us to the hunters’ base?”

“She killed a demonic WOLF to save our lives! I think we can trust her!”

Natsuki looked at Nana, who gave a silent, serious nod. The girl just sighed.

“Alright. Let’s go then.”

-----------------------

“Takayanagi-san, is this really the right way?”

“Can’t we take a break? My legs are tired~”

Akane just looked around, examining the path. “Where is it..?”

“Hey, don’t tell me we’re lost?”

“No, we’re not. You just never know when the path is going to appear.”

“What does that mean~?”

They then saw a figure running their way. Karen tensed up, putting a hand near her gun. However, once the person came up to them, the girls let out sighs of relief.

“Ah, what? It’s just a girl…”

“Who are you people?” the girl asked.

“We’re hunters. And what about you?”

“My name’s Madoka. I’m a student at Magnolia Academy… I’m looking for my friend.”

“A Magnolia student, eh?” Akane smirked.

“Takayanagi-san, we don’t have time for this,” Karen said. “Let’s just--”

“Takayanagi-san?!” Madoka’s eyes widened. “Takayanagi Akane-san?!”

“Oh, so you’ve heard of me.”

“You’re an amazing demon hunter! Of course I know you!”

“Well, Madoka-chan, if you’re a Magnolia student, you must want to be a hunter yourself. Although…” Akane stared at her intently, “you don’t look like the type who’d be a hunter.”

“Eh?”

“You seem much more like the musician type. Do you play piano?”

“Erm, yes. But how did you know..?”

“Takayanagi-san!” Karen shook her shoulder, “Over there! It looks like a shortcut!”

They saw a pathway that seemed to lead somewhere. Everyone looked down the path, wondering where it could lead.

“Should we go?”

“I don’t know… It could lead to anywhere.”

“I’m going! I have to find Marika!” Madoka said, beginning to walk down the path.

“Takayanagi-san, what do you think we should do?” Yukari asked.

The woman just looked on, silently. Then, she took a step forward and started walking down the path.

“Eh..?” Ryoka looked at everyone. “Well… I guess we have no choice.”

Karen nodded, leading the rest of the group. “Let’s go.”

---------------------------

“Mako! Hey, Mako, are you listening?!” Akari waved her hand in front of the girl’s face. Mako just sat, trying to wrap her head around what was going on.

“S-sorry… What were we talking about?”

“Mou, what’s wrong with you today?” Nao asked worriedly. “You’ve been spaced out all afternoon.”

“I’m sorry…”

Tomu patted the girl’s head, “Don’t be so down about it.”

“Just tell us if something is going on.”

“I just feel like… I’ve been dreaming this whole time.”

“Dreaming?”

“It’s like I’m always stuck in a dream… I just wish I could wake up. None of this feels real.”

Everyone just looked on in worry and confusion. Natsuki approached her sister, tapping her shoulder to get her attention.

“Mako-chan, you’re not getting sick, are you?”

“I’m fine, Natsuki… Really.”

Natsuki frowned as her little sister stood up, leaving the classroom. As she walked out, she saw someone standing at the window and looking outside. She started to walk past them, until…

“Mako?”

Mako suddenly froze in her spot, her eyes widening.

“Was that… Nana?”

She turned around, seeing her eat an apple. She glanced over at Mako, and waved to her with a smile. Mako wasn’t sure what to do, biting her lip a bit. Nana swallowed the apple, raising a brow.

“Are you okay?” she asked. Mako nodded, still tense.

“We’ve met before… you just don’t remember.”

“Nana… is this a dream? A memory?” she muttered. “What is going on?”

Nana just tilted her head, “What do you mean?”

Mako shook her head, “N-no. Nevermind…”

The girl then handed her another apple to eat. Mako stared at it for a minute, remembering the fruit that she had eaten in…

“The garden… that school..!” She gripped onto the red fruit, gulping. “This school… my memory… If this is the key to my past…”

“Mako?” Nana held her cheek, making her look up.

And gently… she kissed her.


To Be Continued

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 11 (170708)
« Reply #45 on: July 26, 2017, 08:05:43 PM »
Since it's technically Rena's b-day over in Japan, this one will be special. ;)

Happy birthday, Rena! :D

Chapter 12

“Nana!” Mako called out as she regained consciousness. She looked around, beads of sweat running down her forehead.

“Hey, are you alright?” a voice asked.

She looked up and saw a young girl with short black hair. She handed her a can of tomato juice, Mako just accepting while still a bit dazed.

“Do you know where you are right now?” Jurina asked. The vampire just shook her head in response. “Do you know how you got here?”

Mako didn’t respond. She just drank her tomato juice as Jurina continued on.

“This place is protected by a special barrier… It only lets you in if you have the right to be here. So why do you think it let you come here?”

“...Maybe.. to find out the truth about my past?”

“Is that so?”

“I’ve been dreaming… and it feels like part of my memory is missing. I think I’m here to try and recover it.”

“I hope you find it,” the girl said with what seemed like a knowing smile. Mako looked at her confused, but she just gave a wink and left the room.

“Ah…” Jurina gasped as she looked out the window, seeing the old, tattered main entrance gates. A twinkle in her eyes, she smiled, “Looks like they’ll all be here soon.”

--------------------------

“I see it! The clock tower!” Akari pointed out as she spotted the aforementioned clock tower in the distance.

“We’re close! Let’s go!” Yuka sprinted ahead, anticipating to see what was on the other end.

“Hey, Yuka!” Tomu ran after her, and everyone else followed sport.

Once they finally reached the end of the path, they saw it. An old school building covered in overgrown vines and other plant life.

“Uwaa… this is the old school building for Magnolia?”

“No, it doesn’t look like Magnolia,” Natsuki said. “Maybe Rena was wrong.”

“Speaking of, how did she even know of this building when it’s so deep in the woods?”

“It does sound suspicious…”

“Hey, I told you, Rena-san can be trusted!” Yuka insisted. “She saved our lives, right, Nana?!”

She turned to look at her, only to find that she was crying while staring at the school building. She looked over at them, unaware of the tears she was shedding.

“Oi, Nana, what happened?! You’re crying!”

“Eh..?” Nana touched her cheek, seeing her tears. “Why..? Why does this place make me cry?”

“Hey… should we go in?” Nao asked. Everyone looked around, not knowing what to do. “I mean, who knows… Mako might be here.”

Nana’s eyes widened. She looked to Natsuki, giving her a serious expression.

“We… can check.”

They walked through the entrance gates and soon entered the school building. Everyone looked around, making sure that no one else was present.

“I’m hoooome~” Natsumi suddenly called out.

“Oi!” Akari hissed, “What do you think you’re doing?!”

Natsumi just tilted her head, causing the girl to groan.

“Nevermind.”

“Let’s split up,” Natsuki then said. “Everyone go in twos. Yuka and Nana, Akari and Natsumi. Nao, you come with me. Tomu, think you can handle things alone?”

“Who do you think I am?” Tomu spoke in a cool tone, a snicker or two escaping Akari and Natsumi.

“Alright, we’ll re-group here. If anyone finds Mako, just come back here. Wait for us to return so we can leave as a group.”

“Eh? We’re not staying here?!”

“This isn’t the place we were looking for. Of course not.”

“But Natsuki-san… what if this is?” Nao asked.

“Huh?”

“Even if it isn’t our destination… what if this place has something more to us? Something like…”

“Hello?” A voice then called out. Everyone grew tense as they heard footsteps approach. “Is someone here?”

“Move out,” Natsuki whispered as everyone dashed away, disappearing without a sound.

Marika appeared from the shadows, looking around confused.

“Huh..? Weird. No one’s here.”

----------------------

Rena’s POV

“Yes. I pointed them in the right direction. They should be on their way as we speak… Yes. It’s almost time. I’ve already got preparations ready. Keep them busy until the time comes… You’re welcome. I’ll see you then.”

Destiny is inescapable. I learned that when I was very young. I was running from destiny without even realizing it. When I learned the truth of who I was, what my destiny was, I didn’t want to run away anymore.

The day everything changed… My 22nd birthday.

Flashback, 4 years ago…

*BANG!*

“Excellent marksmanship, Matsui!”

“Thank you, sir!” I bowed to the chief, strapping my gun to my waist.

“We’ve got an assignment for you, as well,” he then said. “There’s been recent vampire activity in former Tokyo. I’m sending you and a special agent over to investigate. Her name is Takayanagi Akane; she’s a Magnolia alumni like yourself. I expect both of you will get the job done.”

“Yes, sir,” I saluted the man and walked out.

I had been working as a hunter since I was 17, just after graduating from Magnolia. I was raised in an environment where everyone around me opposed vampires. I was taught to kill first, and ask questions later.

It was a brutal, harsh environment. I lived in a time where little hope was present, fighting in a war that had no end in sight.

That’s why… even now, I fight for that small hope.

“Matsui Rena-chan, it’s nice to meet you,” the woman wearing an eyepatch smirked at me. “I’m Akane.”

“Please take care of me today, Akane-san,” I bowed to her respectfully.

“Here’s our target for the night,” she showed me a picture of the vampire. She was wearing a blue mask with a rose on it. “She goes by J. She’s committed acts of theft, as well as breaking and entering, and assault on humans.”

“She’s dangerous?”

“So it would seem…” she said, then pulled out a tracking device. “She’s currently heading towards the fallen Tokyo Tower.”

“Eh? What could she be going there for?”

“Beats me. That’s why we’re here.”

The two of us started walking toward the fallen tower, splitting up in order to search for the vampire. I kept one hand close to my gun, prepared to raise it at any moment.

I could then hear someone singing as I walked toward the stairway. I slowly climbed up, hearing the song more clearly as I advanced. The song seemed familiar to me, like a forgotten melody that once played on the radio.

I finally reached the top and saw a girl sitting at the edge of what was once the peak of Tokyo Tower. Her voice was drawing me to her.

“Huh…?” She suddenly stopped, raising her hand to touch her face, “Why am I crying..?”

Suddenly breaking from my trance, I pulled out my gun, pointing it at her.

“Put your hands up, vampire!” I yelled out. The girl looked back at me for a short moment before turning her head back. It was enough that I saw she didn’t have her mask on.

She quickly put it on and faced me again.

“Don’t try anything… I won’t hesitate to shoot you!”

“I mean no harm, hunter,” she said, raising her hands.

“Then tell me why you’re here.”

“This is just a place where I come to clear my head…”

“Even so, you have still committed crimes! I’ve been ordered to kill you for act of thievery, and assault and battery!”

The vampire gave me a confused expression.

“Thievery, I understand, but assault and battery..? I never did that,” she spoke in a sing-song tone. “I always ask permission before eating or entering someone’s home! That’s just manners~”

“Shut up!” I shot a bullet, but she quickly dodged.

“My my… seems like you could learn a thing or two about that.”

I ran towards her, trying to shoot her. She was so light on her feet, always dodging my attacks. But she never fought back. She didn’t try to land a punch or bite me.

“I don’t want to fight!”

“Too bad!” I yelled as I ran toward her. However, she dodged and suddenly grabbed my arm, pulling me back.

“Look out!”

“Uwa!” I looked down and saw I was close to falling off the rubble.

“If you fell and died like that…”

I raised my gun at her, pointing at her head.

“Don’t act like you care for me! You’re a vampire! A bloodsucking demon!”

“Is that what they’ve told you?” she gave me a piercing glare. “Why are humans always so quick to accuse us? I told you before, I always ask permission before I enter someone’s home or drink their blood. It’s the polite thing to do after all.”

“That’s--”

“Not breaking the law. If they said no or told me to stop, I would stop.”

“Even so..! Even so, you..!”

She grabbed my hand before I could shoot her, pulling me close. Her eyes locked on mine.

“Freeze,” she whispered. I saw a light blue glow emit from her hand, surrounding me.

I tried to move, but found my body was frozen against my own will. I couldn’t speak as the vampire circled me.

“Impressive, isn’t it? I learned magic from my two caretakers. They were warlocks.”

Caretakers…?

“They were human, not vampires… But they didn’t care about what I was. They took care of me and raised me when I was left all alone. They told me my family was killed by hunters. All I have of my real parents are faded, flickering memories.”

Her family was killed… Why does that matter? Why is she even telling me this?

“I came to this place because I can allow my mind to drift off in the desolate silence of the fallen capital. I was hoping my memories would reveal the truth to me. My long forgotten family… Or memories of a past life.”

Past life..?! That’s crazy..! Reincarnation… couldn’t possibly..!

I then felt her cold hand touch my face, stroking my hair.

“Strangely…” she whispered, “tonight, I felt like I had come here by some unknown force. Even though I’m always in this abandoned city. Do you feel the same?”

I suddenly felt my throat become unlodged, allowing my voice to escape.

“What… do you mean?” I hissed.

“We’re all here, in one place. Under the same full moon. You, me, and that woman.”

“Akane-san..?”

“She has a powerful aura to her. Have you not noticed it? After all…”

She suddenly faced me with dark eyes, raising her hands to grip my wrists tightly.

You’re just like me, a vampire.

“..!” Feeling my body unfreeze, I tried to charge at her, screaming in anger. “Lies! Liar!!! I’m a HUMAN! I’M NOT A VAMPIRE!!!”

“I can smell it. Your blood… it’s the same scent as mine. The scent of the vampire,” she insisted.

“NO!!! I’m nothing like you!”

“Those human hunters brainwashed you,” she said lowly, her eyes still locked on my own even as I struggled. “You may have the mindset of a human, but deep down, you still have the body and blood of one of us.”

“SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!!” I pushed her away, seeing that she was near the edge. My blood boiled as I cocked my gun.

I’m human… Human… Vampires are…!

“MONSTER!!! DIE!!!”

BANG!

She dodged the bullet… but slipped and fell backwards off of the tower rubble. She hit the ground, facing the sky. Seeing that she wasn’t moving, I carefully climbed down and walked towards her.

She was definitely alive, still breathing. But she wasn’t moving at all. Her wide eyes stared blankly at the sky, unblinking with a red glow present…

Red… the color of blood… like a vibrant flame…

“Ugh…” I rubbed my temple. Why was I becoming fixated on the color of her eyes?

Recomposing myself, I pointed my gun at her and prepared to shoot, killing her once and for all.

“I finally remember…” she whispered, still in a trance. “There was one more person… who was captured by the hunters.”

“What..?”

“My… sister? ..Yes. Yes, she’s my sister..!”

What’s going on? Her memories are… she’s recalling her own memories?

“That night… there was a blood red moon… The hunters came and tore my sister away from us..! She was screaming my name..!”

“Jurina!”

“Ngh..!” I suddenly held my head, dropping my gun.

“The humans took my sister… and my parents hid me in the darkness of the forest…”

“Don’t worry, Jurina. Rena will find you again. I’m sure she will.”

“Rena…!” Tears well in her eyes as she screamed, “Rena! RENA!!!”

She yelled my name countless times to the sky. Her screaming was only making my headache grow.

N-no..! It can’t be true..!

“Rena! My sister’s name is.. Rena!!!”

I suddenly looked up. In my eyes, I could see the full moon over us…

A blood red moon…

Red… crimson red… like blood… the thread that ties us together…

“Jurina! I’ll come back for you! I swear!”

Jurina…

“These drugs will act as antibodies and cut off the vampiric energy in her blood. It will be like she was a human from the start.”

“And her memories?”

“Don’t worry. Once we’re done with her, all those pesky memories from her past will be gone.”

My blood… my memories… all tampered with..?

“Your name is Matsui Rena. You are a hunter sworn to kill all vampires.”

I’m a hunter..! I am..!

“Look, Rena, your baby sister.”

“You must be proud to be a big sister now.”

Big… sister…


“AAAAAAAAAAAHH!!!”

….Suddenly, I blacked out.

Third Person POV

“I knew it,” Akane smiled, seeing the two girls collapsed. Tears were stained on their cheeks and their hands were tightly held together. “I finally found you both.”

End of Flashback

Rena’s POV

That’s when I learned the truth. I was a vampire, and Jurina was my little sister. We were torn apart by vampire hunters and they took away my memories to have me fight against my own kind. That’s when all three of us decided…

This war needs to end.


To Be Continued

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 12 (170726)
« Reply #46 on: July 30, 2017, 12:48:56 AM »
Chapter 13

“This way,” Akane commanded as she lead the group of hunters.

They stepped out and faced the old school building. All of them stared confused at the sight.

“What is this?” Madoka asked.

“An abandoned school building?”

“Looks like it…”

Karen looked around, heading towards the entrance gates. She noticed footprints made in the long, overgrown grass.

“Someone was here… Several people before us.”

“Eh? Seriously?!”

“Yes… and it’s possible they could still be here.”

“You mean… vampires could be living here?!”

Akane nodded, confirming their suspicions.

“It’s completely plausible they’re hiding out here.”

Karen gritted her teeth, continuing to enter the gates.

“H-hey, wait up!” Ryoka and the others followed suit, Akane just looking on at them. “Karen!”

“If vampires are here, I’m gonna blow their brains out!”

“Karen!” Yukari grabbed the girl, but she broke away from her.

“Why don’t any of you understand?! They’re monsters! They’re entire kind should be eradicated!”

“But what about Yuka?!” Juri asked.

“Yuka is--!”

“Our friend! YOUR friend! Are you really willing to kill her?!”

“I’m..!”

“Your anger is going to consume you,” Akane said. “I suggest you not keep that heart of yours closed off.”

“Huh?” Karen looked at the woman confused.

“You girls go in and investigate. Madoka-chan, too. I’ll stay outside.”

“Y-yes, ma’am!” Juri, Ryoka, and Yukari head inside. Karen stormed off angrily. Madoka just looked at Akane suspiciously before going with them.

“Just a little longer…” Akane whispered, staring up at the sky.

------------------------------

“Mako..! Mako..?!”

Mako’s ear twitched as she heard someone call her name.

“Is that… Yuka?”

She walked out and saw Yuka and Nana walking around the halls.

“Yuka! Nana!”

“Mako!” Nana ran to her, hugging her tightly. Mako’s arms instinctively hugged her back. She herself was surprised at her own movements.

“We’re glad you’re okay!” Yuka said as Nana broke the hug.

“Are you okay? Did anything happen to you while you were here?”

“No. But, there is someone else here besides us.”

“We know,” Nana said seriously. “Everyone else’s already split up looking for you.”

“Let’s go back down to the lobby. We’ll wait for them there.”

“Okay…”

However, as they were heading down the stairs, Nana suddenly stood frozen, a terrified expression on her face. She pulled the two back, hiding behind the staircase.

“What’s wrong?” Mako asked in a whisper.

“I smell… humans.”

“Hunters?!” Yuka’s eyes widened.

“Oh no… How did they find us already?!”

“I don’t know!”

“We can’t go down to the lobby… They’ll see us for sure.” Nana looked tense.

Mako wanted to comfort her in some way, so she placed her hand on her shoulder. She looked at her with surprise, but slowly calmed down.

“M-Mako…”

“Nana, Mako, what should we do?” Yuka asked.

“I think we should find the others. The hunters will most likely search the area looking for us, so we should find everyone and warn them.”

“You’re right.”

Meanwhile…

Tomu was looking around, walking through the empty halls, when she saw someone outside the school building. It looked like she was holding a red gem.

“Hm? What’s going on out there?” she pondered, opening up the window. “Hey! Whatcha doing?!”

The woman looked up at Tomu, and she was surprised at what she saw.

“That person has… one red eye?!”

“You!” She then called out. “What’s your name?!”

“Uh… Muto Tomu! Why are you--?!” Before Tomu could finish, the woman suddenly disappeared, only to reappear right in front of the window. “Eh?! How are you doing that?! Are you floating? Levitation?!”

“Flight is quite a special power for vampires. However, nowadays, there aren’t many who can do that easily. Not unless they tap into those ancient genes within them.”

“Huh? What are you talking abo…” Again, Tomu lost her voice.

The woman had held out a red gem in front of her, the glow mesmerizing her.

“Pretty…” she whispered in a trance-like state.

“This is a blood ruby. Centuries ago, humans found they could use these rare gems to control vampires. However, now, vampires have also learned new ways to control its power and not fall for its influence.”

“Why are.. you telling me.. all this..?”

“Tell me, who else is here with you?”

“M-my… my friends…”

“And they’re all vampires like you, correct?”

“Yes ma’am…”

“Then, I’d like you to assist me with something. Gather your friends to the roof of this building before midnight. Do you understand?”

“Yes… to the roof before midnight… I understand…” Tomu repeated sleepily.

The woman smiled, “Good.”

The next second, she disappeared from her sight. Tomu blinked, suddenly waking from her trance.

“Huh..?” She looked around, confused. “What was I… doing just now?”

“Gather your friends to the roof of this building before midnight.”

“The roof… I gotta find the others.”

Tomu sharply turned around, running down the hall to find her friends.

-------------------------

Akari and Natsumi were walking together, the spacey girl humming a song to herself. Akari held the girl’s hand, keeping her from wandering off.

“Natsumi, what exactly are you humming?”

“Hum… a familiar song… I don’t remember name.”

She kept humming, then the two heard footsteps coming towards them. They stopped as a shadow appeared from down the hall.

“W-who’s there?” Akari called out.

She saw a young girl standing there, confused. Natsumi’s eyes widened.

“Madoka!” She waved happily at her. “Madoka, hi! Madoka!”

“You again?!” Madoka’s eyes widened.

“Natsumi, who is this girl?”

“It’s Madoka! Madoka!” Natsumi broke away from her friend, running toward the girl.

“Hey!”

“Madoka, hisashiburi!”

“What are you doing here?!” Madoka asked the girl.

“Hm? This is… my new home!”

“Home?”

“Yeah! Mine and everyone’s! Mako-chan, Natsuki-san, Nao-chan, Yu--mm! Hm?”

“Okay, that’s enough out of you,” Akari covered the girl’s mouth, silencing her. “Please, don’t pay attention to her. She can be a bit spacey.”

“I’ve noticed.”

“More importantly, why are you here?”

“I’m looking for my friend.”

“Ah! So are we!” Natsumi said, Akari shushing her again. “Hey, Madoka, why don’t you help--mm!”

“Natsumi, listen!” Akari spoke firmly. “We can take care of this ourselves. Right?”

“But this is Madoka’s home, too.”

Madoka raised a brow. “What?”

“This is EVERYONE’s home! Madoka, welcome home!” Natsumi hugged the girl tightly.

“Hey, let go!”

“Madoka~” Natsumi whined as the girl broke from her.

“This isn’t my home! This is an abandoned school building!”

“But we all used to meet here and have fun together, right?”

“Eh..?” Akari looked at Natsumi. “What are you talking about? This place… it’s been abandoned for hundreds of years.”

“Yeah! One, two, three hundred! Five hundred, ten hundred! One thousand years ago, too, this was our home!”

“One… thousand?”

“I’m hoooome!!!” Natsumi shouted louder in a happy tone.

“Hey, quiet!” Akari tried to silence her, but it was no use. Natsumi shouted again, her voice echoing.

“I’M HOOOOOOME!!!”

“Hoooome!”

“Hooome….”

Meanwhile…


Karen’s ear twitched. She sharply turned around, a fire burning in her eyes.

“I knew it. Vampires.”

She then heard footsteps approaching her. She readied her gun, pointing it out.

“Come out, vampire!” she yelled. “I’ll kill you! Turn you into dust!”

The ones hiding were Natsuki and Nao, both of them tensing up as they saw Karen. They looked at each other worried, unsure of what to do.

“Stop being cowards! Come out!”

“Fine! Stay here if you’re that scared!”

Natsuki gripped her fists.

“We can’t… run away anymore!” She stepped out into the hallway, standing behind Karen. “Oi, hunter!”

Karen turned around, her eyes wide as she stared at the vampire.

“Looking for me?”

Karen tried to shoot her, but Natsuki dodged. The hunter kept trying to shoot her, but Natsuki wasn’t giving up. She never allowed herself to fight back, but she didn’t let her guard down and kept dodging the bullets.

“Quit dodging! You’re making yourself look even more cowardly!”

“I can’t allow myself to be killed,” Natsuki argued. “I have friends… and a little sister to protect!”

Karen then shot another bullet, which ended up hitting Natsuki’s hand. She screamed out in pain as her hand bled.

“Natsuki-san!” Nao ran out to the older vampire’s side.

“N-Nao… run! Find the others! And find Mako!”

“But--”

“I’ll be fine! Just hurry, please!” Another bullet was shot, grazing Nao’s hair, the loud noise causing her to scream. “Go!”

“Okay!” Nao quickly ran from the scene, dodging Karen’s bullets.

“Please..! No..! Mako!!!”

As she was running, she suddenly ran into Tomu, both of them falling to the ground.

“Ow! Hey, what happened?!” Tomu groaned as she sat up. “Nao, where did you come from?”

“I… eh?” Nao looked up at where they were. “Where is this?”

“The second floor.”

“Second floor?! How fast was I running..?” Nao pondered in confusion.

“More importantly, Nao, you and the others have to go to the roof!”

“Eh? The roof?”

“Yes. We need everyone on the roof before midnight!”

“Why..?” Nao asked, then she remembered, “No! Natsuki-san! One of the hunters found her, and she’s hurt!”

“No way!”

“I’ll try to find Mako and the others! Go help Natsuki-san!”

“O-okay!”

-------------------------

Juri, Ryoka, and Yukari re-grouped in an abandoned auditorium in the building.

“This is crazy… How big is this place?” Ryoka said, out of breath.

“And now Karen’s not answering her walkee…” Yukari spoke, worried. “Should we go find her?”

“No way! What if a vampire shows up and attacks us?!”

“We’d have to fight it… right?”

Ryoka turned her head around, seeing a pair of red eyes staring at her.

“Uh… guys?”

She pointed up and the three saw a girl hanging upside-down on the stage lights like a bat. They screamed as the figure flipped down, landing on her feet on the stage.

“Why hello, cuties,” the girl smirked.

The hunters drew their guns, pointing them at her.

“Hey, hey, what’s with the hostility?” the vampire asked. “I don’t mean any harm.”

“Y-you’re not going to… drink all of our blood, are you?”

“No, of course not. I’ve turned over a new leaf,” she jumped down from the stage, facing the trio. “You girls can trust me.”

“Y-you’re a vampire..! Why should we--?”

“She’s right,” another voice rose. “You girls can trust her. Same goes for me.”

A girl in black leather and long hair walked towards them. The vampire smiled, running toward the girl.

“Rena-chan!” She pecked a kiss on her cheek, clinging to her arm. “Where were you? I missed you!”

“Mou, Jurina, you know I had important business to do. And what about you?”

“I was just about to.”

“Hey… are you two..?” Juri started to ask, but was interrupted when Jurina rose her hand, a purple energy being emitted from it.

“Sleep.”

Speaking those words, the purple light surrounded the three hunters. Their eyes slowly closed, each of them collapsing and falling into a deep sleep.

“Churi is making the preparations. I’ll get these girls to the roof.”

“I’ll leave it to you,” Jurina smiled as Rena kissed her head.

She then rose her hands again, this time, a green aura surrounding them.

“Teleport.”

The four disappeared, leaving Rena alone.

“Let’s hope this works…”


To Be Continued

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Chapter 13 (170729)
« Reply #47 on: August 02, 2017, 10:51:43 PM »
Final chapter

“Yuka, Nana!” Nao’s voice called out, “There you are!”

“Nao!”

Nao hugged Mako tightly. “Thank goodness you’re okay…”

“Where are the others? Where’s Natsuki-nee-san?”

“One of the hunters found Natsuki-san! She’s fighting her right now, but she’s hurt! Tomu’s gone to help her, but.. I’m worried!”

“I knew it… Hunters.”

“What should we do?!”

“Tomu said we needed to go to the roof… but I feel like Natsuki-san is in danger.”

“Don’t worry! Natsuki-san will be fine!” Yuka insisted. “Let’s go find everyone else. We’ll get them to safety on the roof and then look for Natsuki-san and Tomu!”

“Alright! Let’s hurry!”

----------------------

“J-san~? Where are you~?” Marika called out, “Anyone~?”

On the other side of the hallway, Madoka could hear her friend’s voice.

“Marika?” She then called out, “Marika! I’m here!”

“Madoka-chan?!”

Marika ran down the hall, seeing her friend. They dashed down to meet each other in the middle.

“I’m so happy I found you!” Marika cried as she hugged her friend’s waist.

“Jeez, you wanna break my back?!”

“Ah… sorry.”

“Hello~” Natsumi waved at her, making Marika confused.

“Hey, you’re that girl from before…”

“Natsumi, let’s go. The others are probably waiting for us,” Akari whispered, but the other girl just ignored.

“Marika…” Natsumi repeated. “You remember me?”

“Uh, yeah? Kinda, anyways.”

“Weeeeeeell,” Akari then grabbed Natsumi’s wrist, dragging her. “This was FUN, but we gotta go!”

As she turned around, she yelped as she came face to face with someone. However, she and Natsumi recognized the person.

“Rena-san?”

“Yo.”

“Yo!”

“What are you doing here?!”

“I’m actually here for you girls. I forgot to mention something.”

“Eh?”

“There’s a rare phenomena that occurs every four years that’s been rumored to happen tonight. If you go to the roof, you should see it right at the stroke of midnight.”

“Eh..?”

Rena smiled and waved goodbye to the girls as she walked down the hall.

“Hey, hey, Akari, let’s go see it! I wanna see it!”

“What?!”

“Let’s go! Let’s go to the roof and see it,” Natsumi spoke like an excited child. She tugged Akari’s arm, eventually beginning to drag the girl towards the staircase.

“Oh, alright! Just stop tugging!”

Madoka and Marika watched them in confusion, not sure of what to do.

“Should we… leave?”

“I-I guess. We can just go home… once we find our way out.”

“How will we do that?”

Marika pondered for a bit.

“Ah! I’ll know! We’ll go find J-san! Maybe she can help us!” Marika grabbed her friend’s hand, pulling her down the hall. “Let’s go!”

“Hold on! Who’s J-san?!”

--------------------------

Natsuki was desperately trying to outrun the hunter, her hand still bleeding. The bullets flew past her as she ran up the stairs, trying to find everyone.

“Nana?! Mako?! Where is everyone..?”

“Natsuki-san!”

She then saw an approaching figure coming her way, it was Tomu.

“Tomu!”

“Natsuki-san… your hand!” Tomu’s eyes widened as she saw the older vampire’s bloody hand. “Did the hunter do this?!”

“Tomu, we have to run!” Natsuki urged as the hunter was drawing closer to them.

“Find one of your friends?!” Karen called out.

“Go!” Natsuki and Tomu dashed off, Karen following close behind them with a tight grip on her gun.

“Just follow them… and I’ll find them all.”

Meanwhile…

Nao was searching for Mako and the others, when she happened upon the school’s music room. The room was covered in dust, and overgrown vines were seeping through the windows, threatening to get inside.

Nao saw a grand piano in the center of the room, standing in the open as if waiting to be played. Nao brushed the tips of her fingers on the dusty keys before playing a chord.

A loud, clear note was played…

“It still works…”

“Can you play piano?” a voice then rose, making her turn around.

She saw a young girl with short hair staring at her with a catlike grin.

“Um… a little. I’m more of a sax player.”

“Ah, that’s right…” Jurina muttered as she looked around. “Let’s see… Saxophone… Ah, here it is!”

The girl handed her a black case, opening it up to reveal a silver alto saxophone. It looked polished, untouched. It was beautiful in Nao’s eyes.

“Go on. Play it.”

Nao took it in her hands and pressed a note as she blew into the saxophone.

The melody played through the brass instrument was clear and deep. The sound captivated her, moved her as she formed and sculpted each note.

Jurina looked on, smiling as she silently admired the music being played.

“I knew it.”

When Nao finished, she looked up at Jurina, her eyebrows furrowing when she saw her smile.

“Do I… know you?”

Jurina tilted her head. “I was hoping you’d remember… But it was a long time ago, so you probably don’t recognize me.”

“Should I recognize you..? Do you know who I am..?”

“Hmm… you could say that, but this is actually the first time I’m meeting you.”

“Eh? So how--” Jurina then touched Nao’s forehead. The girl suddenly collapsed, asleep with the saxophone still cradled in her arms.

Jurina caught her as she fell, still smiling softly.

“How should I say it? ‘It’s nice to meet you’ or ‘it’s been a while’?” she mumbled as she walked out of the classroom. “It’s been awhile… I guess.”

“This way,” Jurina then heard footsteps coming her way. “I think I heard someone!”

She turned her head slightly and saw Yuka run out into the hallway, along with Nana and Mako.

“Oi! What are you doing with Nao?!”

Jurina just smirked and teleported out of the hallway, disappearing.

“Hey!” Yuka tried to catch her, but it was too late. “Who was that?!”

“Another vampire?”

“They had Nao…”

“Crap! What is going on with this place?!”

“Mako!” Mako then heard her sister’s voice calling to her. She saw a wounded Natsuki and Tomu run towards them, letting out tears of relief.

“Nee-chan!” She hugged her sister tightly, clinging to her jacket.

“Tomu!” Yuka hugged Tomu, crying as well.

“Oi, what’s wrong? Were you scared?”

“Because… Because someone just..!”

“Eh?”

“Mou, I don’t understand anything anymore! I just wanna go home!”

“But, Yuka--”

“Aha!” Karen pointed both her guns at the group of vampires. “I’ve got you all…”

“Crap, a hunter!”

“What do we--”

Nana pushed through the others, stepping out in front of the hunter.

“Leave my friends alone!” she shouted, holding her arms out.

“You’re a brave one… But that makes you an easy target.”

“Nana, you don’t have to--”

“No, I must.”

“But…”

“I swore… I swore to always be by Mako’s side!” Nana exclaimed. “To protect her, to never leave her alone!”

“What?” Mako’s eyebrows furrowed.

“I don’t care if she doesn’t remember our past together! I’ll still be her best friend!”

“Cut the crap!” Karen yelled, angrily charging at Nana.

“Nana, look out!”

The short girl dodged her attack and kicked her, blowing her back into the wall.

“Ow..! Y-you’re..strong… But I’ll still..!”

Nana screamed and tried to punch Karen, the hunter dodging. A tent was left in the wall from the impact of her blow. Nana tried again and again, the hunter moving swiftly.

“You hurt my friends..!”

“Yeah, you think you’re all so innocent?!” Karen grabbed her wrists. “You took away my best friend and turned her into one of you!”

“Karen….” Yuka’s eyes widened.

“Yuka… I’m sorry. I was weak before. But now..!” Karen pushed Nana away. “I’ll kill these monsters! I’ll kill them for turning you into a vampire!”

“Wait!”

“And then… and then….” Karen suddenly fell silent, looking up at her friend. “Then… I…”

“Are you really going to kill me, Karen?”

“I…”

While she was distracted, Nana grabbed her and pinned her to the ground, punching her in the face.

“Natsuki-nee-san is my family! Mako-chan is my best friend! If you threaten to hurt my friends, my family!”

“Argh!” Karen kneed Nana in the gut and freed herself. “Shut up shut up! I’ve had enough out of you!”

She cocked her gun, ready to shoot Nana. However, right as she shot the bullet, a green energy surrounded her and Nana disappeared.

“What the..?” Karen’s eyes widened. “Where did she--?!”

The same energy then surrounded her and she also vanished.

“Eh..? What happened to them?!”

“Guys..?!” Yuka looked at her hand, seeing the green energy appear around her and Tomu.

After they disappeared, Natsuki and Mako were left alone, the green aura now started to surround their feet.

“Nee-chan..!” They hug each other as a bright flash surrounded them.

They found themselves on the roof, everyone else present, looking around in confusion.

“Natsuki-san! Mako-chan!” Akari and Natsumi ran to the rest of the group.

“Yahoo~”

“Guys, what the HECK is going on?!”

“No clue. We saw Rena-san earlier and she told us about something that was supposed to happen tonight…”

“Wait, you saw Rena-san?!”

“Yeah?”

“And how did you guys appear here like magic?” Natsumi asked.

“We’re not sure…”

“More importantly, where’s Nao?”

“Ah! She’s sleeping over there!” the spacey girl pointed out, all of them seeing Nao collapsed with the saxophone still in her arms.

“Nao!” They all ran to her, Tomu leaning down and shaking the girl. “Hey, wake up! Nao!”

Nao groaned as she slowly got up, holding her head.

“What happened..?”

“Hey, where the hell are my guns?!” Karen then yelled angrily. The group of vampires saw her frantically checking her body. “My daggers! All of my weapons! Where did they go?!”

“The hunter…”

“Karen!” The other three hunter girls joined her as all of them looked in confusion.

“The vampires?!”

“Why are they up here?!”

“Well… I actually don’t remember how we got up here…”

“Those are the hunters?”

“They look like high school students.”

“Hope you guys can forgive me~” A new voice rose as Jurina appeared. “I had to confiscate all the weapons.”

“You..!”

“Hey, you’re a vampire, too, right?! How did you bring us all up here?!”

“With my magic, of course,” she spoke with a playful wink. “Now then, two left. Come on~”

She snapped her fingers and two more girls appeared, looking around confused.

“Hey, hey, Madoka-chan! How did we get up here?!” Marika asked, shaking her friend.

“Ah! It’s Madoka! Madoka~” Natsumi waved.

“Phew, now we’re all here. I was starting to tire out from using my magic to teleport you all up here,” the vampire sighed, floating in the air above the group of girls.

“Sh-she’s levitating!”

Jurina then cleared her throat.

“Now then, since we’re all here, it’s time to commence the class reunion of the 48th 2nd-year Class-A of Tsubaki Academy!”

As she was applauding, everyone else just stared, confused by her words.

“48th class..?”

“2nd-year Class A?”

“Of Tsubaki Academy?”

“That’s right! Exactly 600 years ago today was when we all last saw each other!”

“What?! 600 years ago?!” Ryoka’s eyes widened.

“600 years… But, if I recall right,” Juri then pondered, “Wasn’t that when..?”

“The revolt…” Tomu gasped.

“600 years ago, on this day,” Jurina continued, “A blood red moon turned the sky crimson. And suddenly, all the vampires went crazy and started killing any human they saw. This school in particular was a tragic site, as it saw the deaths of both students and vampires.”

“It was specifically from this sudden vampire revolt that the hunters and vampires have been at war for years,” Yukari said.

“And now, the blood red moon shall shine again in the sky!”

“Wait a second!” Karen interrupted. “What’s going to happen then?! Why did you bring us all here for?!”

“That’s right!” Yuka agreed. “Are we all gonna go crazy when we see that red moon in the sky?!”

“No, no! I wouldn’t bring you all here for that purpose.”

“Then what?!”

“To end this war.”

“Huh?”

The full moon shone down on everyone, beginning to reach its peak. Jurina smirked.

“It’s almost time.”

“No way… I won’t stand for it!” Karen ran towards the vampires, grabbing Mako by her neck and pushing her towards the edge of the school building.

“Mako!”

Nana quickly ran towards Karen, ripping her away from Mako and hugging her.

Mako stumbled as the girl hugged her tightly, regaining her balance.

“Nana…!”

“I’m not losing you again…”

Mako hugged her back, burying her face into her shoulder.

Karen growled, screaming angrily before pushing them both, causing them to fall off the edge.

“NO!!!” Natsuki screamed as they both fell. She ran to catch them, but when she looked down, she was confused to see they had both disappeared. “Wha..? Where did…?”

“That was close,” another voice rose.

Natsuki and Karen saw Rena holding both Mako and Nana, fainted in her arms while holding each other.

“You… saved them..!” Tears welled in Natsuki’s eyes as she fell to her knees. “Oh thank God..!”

“Rena-san, how did you..?”

“Looks like our work here is almost finished,” Akane spoke as she appeared before the group.

“Akane-san?”

Karen and the hunters then saw… Without her eyepatch on, they saw her other eye. And how it glowed red like a vampire’s.

“You’re a… vampire?”

“Actually, I’m a Dhampir,” the woman confessed. “But close enough.”

“Churi, it’s time!” Jurina announced as the full moon reached its peak. “The ruby!”

“Okay!”

Akane held out the blood ruby to the sky, reflecting the light of the moon.

“All of you, don’t look away,” Rena advised as Jurina raised her hands. A red energy surrounded her.

“Tempore implicata, memoriam suscitant, praeterita redire, lux in posterum (time, unravel; memories, awaken; return to the past; light the future).”

She shot her energy into the ruby, which beamed into the sky and turned the moon blood red.

“Luna nova!”

The red light filled the sky like flames, the sight spreading across all of Japan. Everyone stared in awe at the scarlet light of the moon. Mesmerizing them all… and allowing memories from long in the past to resurface.

Memories of more peaceful times before the war had started. Before the sky first turned blood red. Before it rained blood…

“AAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!” Yuka screamed, holding her head. Her mind and everyone else’s overflowed with memories of a distant past.

A past where they were all together… in this very place.

“Argh… what are these.. Visions?” Karen groaned, tears falling from her eyes. “I… I remember… this place..!”

Natsuki’s eyes widened. “I remember, too… I used to go to this school..!”

Nao looked down at the saxophone she was holding, clutching onto it.

“The brass music club…”

Tomu looked over at Yuka, who was still crying in pain. She had a vision of the girl as part of the track and field team, and how she fell one day and hurt her leg.

“Tomu… it hurts..!”

She knelt down and hugged Yuka, surprising the girl.

“Tomu..?”

“600 years ago, you were a loud idiot… Even now, you’re a loud idiot..!” she chuckled, tears streaming down her face. “I missed you, you chibi.”

“Hey, I’m not a chibi!” Yuka retorted, sniffling a bit. But she smiled and hugged her back, nonetheless.

“Madokaaaa…” Marika cried loudly. “Why can’t I stop crying..?!”

“Mou, so noisy…” Madoka spoke, tears also falling down her eyes. She then looked up and saw Natsumi standing in front of her. “Natsumi-chan..?”

“Madoka-chan… hisashiburi.”

The girl just chuckled, standing up and hugging her.

“Madoka-chan, you remember me?”

“Of course I do, baka…”

“Good. You’re all starting to remember your past lives, right?” Akane asked.

“Akane-san… no… Akane-senpai!” Ryoka exclaimed. “That’s right! You were our senpai, right?”

“That’s right, girls.”

“Senpai..!” Juri stood up slowly. “You planned all of this out, didn’t you? All three of you planned this from the beginning.”

“Yup. All of Japan should be experiencing the same things that you are. They’ll remember how the past was, before this chaotic war. There may be some confusion, they might be disoriented at first. But these memories are the key to a new future.”

“A new future?”

“Hope,” Jurina spoke. “To reconcile with one another.”

“And, to hopefully come to a better understanding,” Rena continued. “And coexist.”

“A new society, where humans and vampires can live together peacefully.”

“Is that… possible?” Karen asked.

“Do you believe it is?”

Rena then heard the two start to stir in her arms, slowly laying them down.

“Looks like they’re waking up.”

Mako was the first to open her eyes. She saw Nana and memories of the past flickered in her mind like an old film.

“Nana…!”

Nana opened her eyes, staring into Mako’s. She smiled widely, raising her hand to touch her face.

“I found you,” she whispered before kissing her lips shortly.

“Nana!” Mako hugged her tightly, crying. “I’m sorry..! I’m sorry I forgot you!”

“It’s okay! I forgive you!”

As the two embraced, crying, Karen stared at them. She saw the vampires with new eyes, with new memories.

She also looked over to Yuka and Tomu, walking over to them.

“Yuka…” her voice came out shaky. “I-I… I’m so sorry..!”

She cried as she fell to her knees, lowering her head. Yuka crawled towards her, holding her shoulders.

“I don’t want to kill you..!” Karen cried. “I never wanted to kill you! I wanted to save you! But I was afraid! I.. I..!”

Yuka just hugged her, stroking her head as she cried.

“It’s okay…”

“I’m not strong at all,” the hunter whispered in between sobs. “All I’ve been was angry… and afraid…”

“It’s okay, Karen… It’s over. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

Karen broke the hug, wiping away her tears.

“We’ll get through this, together.”

“Welp, looks like we’re done here,” Jurina said, stretching her arms. “Rena-chan, Churi, let’s go.”

“Eh? Where are you going?” Nao asked as the three started to leave.

“Places to go, things to do.”

“You girls wanna come?” Rena offered. “We’re the start of a new generation, after all.”

“But, what about our homes?” Marika asked. “We all have families of our own, so…”

“Not you girls. You’re still students,” Akane said.

“We mean, you,” Jurina pointed at the group of vampires. “You girls need a new home, right? With us, you’ll always be home.”

“Home…”

“I… I want to come, too!” Karen exclaimed. “This time, instead of killing vampires, I want to try and understand them better.”

“Then, I wanna go, too!” Ryoka said.

“Hey, are you serious?!”

“I want to walk with Karen. We’re friends, after all.”

“Madoka-chan, Marika-chan, when you graduate, we’ll come for you. Sound like a deal?” Jurina asked.

“I-if that’s alright.”

“Well, shall we get going?” Jurina raised one finger in the air. “Open.”

A forcefield that was invisible to the girls opened up, allowing them all to leave the area. Jurina closed it back up, so the Fallen couldn’t enter.

“Goodbye, our precious place of memories,” Jurina spoke. She then walked up to Rena, taking hold of her hand. “Where shall we head first? New Tokyo?”

“I’d say that’s our best bet.”

As they were walking, Nana saw a folded piece of paper fall out of Jurina’s pocket. She picked it up, unfolding it to see a photo of her, Rena, and Akane together.

Mako looked over her shoulder at the photo. “When was that taken..?”

Nana turned it over and looked at the date, also seeing three names written on it.

“Tsubaki Academy, 48th class, 3rd year Class C, 03/10/1612”
“Yagami Kureha”
“Akazaki Shizuku”
“Hanazono Yuri”


Akane swiped the photo back, placing one finger against her lips before slipping it back into Jurina’s pocket.

“That was… their past lives?” Mako whispered to Nana.

“Perhaps…”

“Ahh, my head hurts after all that’s happened today,” she groaned, laying her head on Nana’s shoulder. “I can’t wait to just relax and take a nap after this.”

“Hehe, that’d be nice.”

“Hey, slowpokes, hurry up!” Yuka called out.

“Coming!”

The girls walked off into the night, the full moon watching over them with a crimson light…


The End

Offline Ruka Kikuchi

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  • Long live Twin Towers! Long live WMatsui!
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Re: Fruits of a Rose - Final Chapter (170802)
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2017, 04:44:22 PM »
Well, even though the story's finished, I still really wanted to do a backstory for how the three met. So consider this special chapter a continuation of Rena's flashback in Chapter 12.

~~~

Chapter 0

That night when Rena and Jurina were reunited, Akane watched over the whole thing. Using the blood ruby, she was able to use its powers to reawaken Jurina and Rena’s suppressed memories.

After their screams went silent, she jumped down and walked to where they both laid unconscious. She smirked seeing them holding hands, tears stained on their cheeks.

“I knew it. I finally found you both.”

She picked them both up, carrying them away from the area.

As she carried them, Jurina’s mind was sent back all the way to her infant years. Clear visions of the day she was born played through her mind.

Mother… Father… Rena… my sister…

She could hear herself crying as the hunters suddenly ambushed them. She saw her father staked by hunters and her sister dragged away.

“Jurina! I’ll come back for you! I swear!”

While still injured, her mother carried her out deep into the forest to hide her from the hunters. She covered her baby in a scarlet velvet blanket.

“Don’t worry, Jurina. Rena will find you again. I’m sure she will.”

Baby Jurina cried and cried for hours, alone and scared in the darkness of the forest…

“Hey, do you hear something?”

“What?”

Two figures in black robes walked to the bush where baby Jurina was. A young woman with boyish hair pushed away the leaves and found the baby vampire crying.

“Aww~ look, it’s a baby! Oh, come ‘ere, come ‘ere,” the girl picked up the baby, cradling it, “Sh sh sh, don’t cry, poor little thing~ What are you doing out here all alone?”

Jurina looked at her with wide eyes, her red irises making her vampire nature apparent to the other woman who had long hair.

“Sae, that’s a vampire!”

“Eh?! Really?”

“No doubt about it. Those eyes…”

Chomp!

Sae then yelped as the baby bit her finger, her sharp fangs sinking into her skin.

“Ow, ow, ow! Sayaka, it’s biting me!”

“Shh, you’re gonna scare it!” Sayaka hissed as the baby started crying again due to Sae’s sudden screams. “See what you did?”

“I can’t help it! It hurt,” the boyish girl whined as she sucked her finger.

Sayaka took the baby from her, gently rocking it in her arms.

“There, there. It’s okay,” she whispered, smiling kindly at the baby. Jurina immediately calmed down in Sayaka’s arms, looking up at her. Her tiny hands reached up to the woman.

“Hehe, I think it likes you.”

“Where do you think it’s parents are?”

“I don’t know. Maybe they were killed by hunters. Or worse…”

“There isn’t a note or anything stuck to it,” Sayaka spoke, examining the baby. As she was, the blanket wrapped around her fell off. “Uwa!”

“Well, now we can definitely say it’s a girl,” Sae said.

The baby, not caring it was naked, just looked at the two as they talked.

“Should we keep her?” Sae then asked.

“Huh?!”

“I mean, her parents aren’t here and she’s all alone. Someone needs to take care of her!”

“Sae, do you have any living idea how to take care of a vampire baby?”

The girl just remained silent, looking back at baby Jurina.

Then she asked, “Do you?”

“Uh…. well, no.”

“Come on~ Why can’t we, though? It’ll be like she’s OUR baby!”

“‘O-our’..?!” Sayaka blushed a bit.

“Un! Sayaka be the Mama and I’ll be the Papa!”

‘We’re both girls, why are you the Papa?”

“Do you wanna be the Papa?”

“....”

“That’s what I thought. Come to Papa, baby~” Sae then took the baby, lifting her up in the air. She then looked down at the blanket, seeing a necklace had also falling off. “Ooh~ looks like you had some pretty jewelry, too.”

“Sae, that necklace..!” Sayaka pointed out a name engraved onto the jewelry.

“Jurina”

“Jurina-chan, huh?”

“Jurina-chan~” Sae cooed. “You’re such a cute baby~”

Chomp!

“OOOW!!! Sayaka, Jurina’s biting again!”

“Sae, stop yelling!”

Then, Jurina just started crying again…

-------------------------

The warlocks eventually took the baby to their house, going through their roster of books of what to feed a vampire infant. All the while, Jurina’s loud cries filled the house as the baby sat on their couch.

“Ah! Look here, Sayaka! It says that vampire babies can consume blood berries in order to control their thirst at a premature age!”

“And it says milk is okay. Maybe we can mix the two together?”

“I’ll go out and look for some blood berries. Try to calm her down while I’m gone.” Sae pecked her cheek quickly before dashing out the door.

Sayaka walked over to the crying baby, pondering what to do.

“Maybe I should entertain her…” she muttered, getting down on one knee. “Hey, Jurina-chan, look, look.”

She created a small flame in her hands, the vampire baby ceasing her crying to stare at it in awe. Sayaka morphed the flame into a person and made it dance like a ballerina.

Jurina giggled watching it, wanting to reach out and touch it.

“Ah, no, no,” Sayaka quickly said, closing up her hands to extinguish the flame. “You can’t touch fire, Jurina-chan. You’ll get burnt.”

Jurina’s eyes started tearing up, opening up Sayaka’s hands to see the flame disappeared.

“Ahhh, don’t cry! Look, look,” Sayaka lit the flame again, this time two in both hands to make two people dancing together. Jurina laughed and clapped her hands. “She’s one smart baby…”

A few minutes of entertaining little Jurina and Sae came back with some blood berries. She quickly mashed them up and mixed them in with the warm milk Sayaka prepared.

“Blood berry milk, huh?”

“I wonder if they could mass produce and sell these around the world?”

“Sae, there aren’t many vampire babies in the world.”

“Still.”

The two then walked over to Jurina, Sae leaning down to feed her the bottle. The little baby gulped up every drop of the berry-milk mix hungrily. After finishing the bottle, the two looked at each other.

“We need to burp her next, right?”

After asking that, Jurina let out a little burp, causing the two to chuckle. The baby then yawned loudly, her expression becoming a sleepy one.

“Looks like she’s ready for a nap.”

“Alright, let’s get ready for nappy~” Sae spoke as she gently laid her down on the couch and blanketed her with the cloth they found her in. “Good night, Jurina-chan.”

Chomp!

“Gyaah! Why~?” Sae winced as Jurina nibbled her again before falling fast asleep. She looked at her girlfriend worriedly. “Hey, Sayaka, if Jurina-chan keeps biting me, at this rate, I’ll turn into a vampire.”

“Don’t be silly. Besides, vampire babies don’t have the venom in their fangs yet to turn humans into vampires.”

“You sure?”

“I read about it. Once their adult fangs grow in, then they’ll be able to. You’ll be fine.”

“Haa, that’s a relief…” she sighed out, both of them looking at the sleeping baby.

“Still, taking care of a baby is rough.”

“More importantly…” Sae then wondered, “How come she never bites you?”

“I guess she likes the taste of your blood.”

“Hey!”

“I’m just kidding,” Sayaka smirked.

After some silence, they looked to the baby again.

“I just thought of this… But what if her family’s still alive? Won’t they be devastated when they find out someone took their baby?”

Sae grew pale. “Do you think they’ll come and kill us?”

“No… But then again, there must be a reason why they left their child out in the woods.”

“Maybe it really was too late for them… Maybe they hoped someone would come and keep her safe.”

“I guess that means,” Sayaka then spoke seriously, Sae glancing over at her.

A smile curved the boyish girl’s lips. “That means?”

“We’ll… have to be her new parents.”

Sae squealed a bit, her cheeks turning pink.

“Me and Sayaka, parents… iyaa~ what a thought!”

Flick!

“Ow.”

“Don’t get carried away.”

“Hehehe, sorry~”

So from that day, the two made it their duty to raise baby Jurina as their own child. It was a struggle, of course. But overtime, it became easier as they found new tricks to caring for the infant vampire.

Aside from a varied diet and the occasional nipping of Sae’s fingers, Jurina was practically the same as a human baby.

Before the two warlocks knew it, Jurina had taken her first steps, said her first words, and maturing more into a full-grown child. By the time she was 3, she was speaking full sentences and running around with boundless energy.

Age 5

“Sae Mama~ catch me!”

“Hey, slow down! Jurina-chan!”

Jurina laughed wildly until she came face-to-face with Sayaka. She looked at her with a glare and smirked.

“Aren’t you supposed to be taking a bath?”

“S-Sayaka Mama..!”

“Come ‘ere, you!”

Jurina screamed and giggled as Sayaka picked her up off the ground. The two finally managed to get their wild child in the bathtub, but of course, there was a lot of splashing and bubbly messes afterwards.

Age 7

“Wow! Look, Sae Mama! The blood berry tree we planted is growing!” Jurina’s eyes sparkled as she saw the little tree growing, sprouts of leaves visible.

“Just think, soon it’ll be THIS big!” Sae motioned with her hands.

“THIS BIG!!!” Jurina mimicked, falling back onto the grass while laughing.

“Sae, Jurina-chan, lunch is ready~” Sayaka called out.

“Lunch! Yay!”

“Race ya!” Jurina dashed off, Sae following behind. “Hamburg steak!”

“Oi, wait up!”

Age 9

“Jurina-chan, time for bed,” Sayaka called out to the vampire.

“Pick me up, Sayaka Mama.”

“Ehh~? You’re getting too big for me to carry.”

“Please~” Jurina gave her the puppy eyes she was weak to. She knew, whether it was her or Sae, Sayaka couldn’t resist puppy eyes.

“Ahh, alright.” She picked the vampire up, carrying her to her bedroom and tucking her in. Jurina kissed her cheek, smiling.

“Love you, Mama.”

“Love you too…”

After Sayaka left the room, she was approached by Sae.

“Do I get a good night kiss, too?” she asked, puckering her lips. But she saw Sayaka frown. “What’s the matter?”

“...We have to tell her eventually.”

“Eh?”

“That we aren’t her real Mamas… That her real family is...”

“W-we can wait till she’s older,” Sae stuttered, forcing a smile. “I mean, she’s still nine. We can wait… We’ll tell her when she’s 10!”

“Sae,” the older warlock look at her girlfriend. “We can’t wait forever…”

“Sayaka… even if she’s not our daughter, she’s still our child. We raised her and took care of her all these years. It’s going to break her heart if she finds out her real parents are…”

“She has to know eventually.”

Age 10

“Sae Mama, Sayaka Mama, look! The blood berry tree grew its first berries!”

“That’s great!” Sae called out, her and Sayaka watching the girl pick off the fresh berries. Sae glanced over to her girlfriend, “H-hey, Sayaka--”

“We have to tell her…”

“I know,” she whispered. “But… can we wait--”

“Sae, we can’t wait any longer. Jurina-chan!” Sayaka stood up, walking over to her.

“W-wait!”

“What’s wrong, Mama?” Jurina looked up innocently.

“Jurina-chan… I.. I need to tell you something, it’s difficult to confess.”

“S-Sayaka, not yet! We can wait!”

“What? What is it?”

“I… me and Sae…” Sayaka looked down, gripping her fists. “We’re not… your real parents.”

A breeze gently blew in the silence… Sayaka couldn’t face the child.

“...I know that already!”

“Eh?!” The two looked up, surprised.

“You and Sae Mama don’t have fangs like me! You’re not vampires!”

“You… really are a smart child!” Sae rushed to hug her tightly. “Hey, you still love Mama, right? Even if I’m not your real Mama?”

“Of course! Mama is still Mama!”

“Ahh~ thank goodness. I guess you were right. Sorry, Saya--” Both were surprised to see Sayaka in tears. “Sayaka?!”

“Mama?! What’s wrong?!”

Sayaka just bawled, hugging Jurina.

“I love you so much! I love my adopted vampire daughter!”

“Hahaha, I love you, too, Mama!”

“Kiss attack on Sayaka Mama!” Sae then said, both she and her daughter tackling Sayaka and showering her in kisses.

Age 12

“Happy birthday~ Jurina-chan~”

Jurina blew the candles out on the cake, the two applauding.

“Already, you’re 12 years old, it’s amazing!”

“I feel like just yesterday, you were this tiny.”

“And here is your birthday present,” Sayaka handed the girl a book. “This magic encyclopedia can tell you everything about the world.”

“Everything?!”

“Yup. History of the world, science and magic, it’s practically an entire 6 years of school in one book!”

Jurina sat silently, looking at the book. Sayaka and Sae started to worry she wouldn’t like it.

“I wanna go to school!” the vampire then said.

“What?!”

“I want to go to the school Mamas went to! To learn magic!”

“Magic school, huh…” Sae placed her hand on her cheek. “What do you think, Sayaka? Think our little girl is ready for school?”

“If she believes she is. If she does hold potential to use magic, I’d love to see what she chooses to do with it.”

“YAY!!!” Jurina hugged Sayaka tightly. “Thank you, Mama!”

Sae then looked outside.

“Hey… I think it’s a full moon out tonight.”

“A full moon?!” Jurina excitedly ran out the door. “Full moon, full moon!”

Sae was about to go out, when Sayaka stopped her.

“Wait… something’s wrong. The moon is…”

Sae looked closer at it, and she saw it. The moon was blood red in the sky.

They then heard Jurina scream. They ran out after her, finding her collapsed outside just feet away from their house.

“Jurina-chan!” Sayaka knelt down, turning her over. Jurina was crying like crazy and mumbling incoherent things while passed out.

“Jurina-chan, wake up!”

“Jurina-chan!”

In Jurina’s blurry vision, she could see her two Mamas crying as they tried to wake her up. Overhead, she could see the blood moon…

The same red moon that shone over her head the night that she was born.

“Mother…?”

-----------------------

Jurina stirred awake, finding herself somewhere unfamiliar. After the dizziness in her mind calmed down, she sat up and looked around.

She was in someone’s apartment building, lying on the couch. She groaned and rubbed her temple, looking around the living room. Not too far from where she was, she saw a bird perched on a lamp, watching her.

“You awake?” Akane asked as she walked in, petting the bird with a smile.

“Y-yeah… w-who are you?”

“Name’s Akane. You can call me Churi, if you want.”

“You’re… a hunter? But you’re a Dhampir. Why would you side with the humans?”

“I have reasons. Those of which I fully wish to explain to you and your sister.”

“My sister?” Jurina furrowed her brows, until she suddenly remembered what happened. The memories from her past resurfacing, she held her head. “Rena..!”

“She’s still sleeping… I think all her memories returning at once was quite difficult for her. She was crying your name and saying ‘I’m sorry’ multiple times.”

“Rena… I have to see her..!”

“I’d give her a minute,” Akane said, holding her shoulder. “Like I said, I need to explain myself.”

“Very well…”

Jurina sat down as Akane went to her fridge and pulled out two chilled bottles of berry tea. She handed her one bottle to drink, she herself opening the other bottle.

“Do you remember seeing the red moon during your fight with Rena?”

“Y-yes…” she said, shuddering a bit.

“And how did you feel when you looked at it?”

“I felt… scared. And lonely. I was remembering memories I had suppressed, because they were painful… I made myself forget…”

“That’s the power of the Blood Moon. It draws out the memories locked away deep within you. Feelings, too. Desire, lust, rage, despair. It can drive a person, or vampire, mad.”

Jurina’s eyes widened. “It can affect humans?”

“Not as strongly as it does vampires. To them, it feels more like a subconscious influence. But to anyone with vampire blood, it’s a force that can override our minds if we let it.”

“I… remember, when I was younger. I was exposed to its light, and my caretakers…”

“Caretakers?”

“Two warlocks. They said I was in a blood rage… They had to use their powers to calm me down. But.. I also lost part of my memory. I forgot about my previous family, even though my recollection of them was already scarce.”

“It’s good they were able to calm you down. If not controlled and contained, the power of the Blood Moon can drive anyone insane.”

“Then… how did you..? With me and Rena…”

“I used a Blood Ruby to control the exposure of light upon you two. And it was also able to keep your minds stable… Well, for the most part.”

Jurina gripped her fists.

“She was crying tears of blood. It was awful…” Akane frowned. “She must’ve been forced to suppress her vampire DNA for years.”

“...Let me see her.”

Without saying a word, Akane stood up, guiding the vampire to the bedroom where her sister was sleeping. For the first time in 16 years, she was seeing her older sister. She was the same; same long, ebony hair. Same snow white skin. But now, she was an adult. And she was…

“Beautiful…”

Jurina slowly walked to the side of her bed, kneeling down as she admired her sister’s beauty. She held her cheek, her thumb feeling the dampness from where her tears previously were.

“My sister… she’s so beautiful.”

Unable to control herself, she leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on Rena’s lips.

She then heard a small hum as Rena stirred awake, her eyes fluttering open. She stared at her in a daze, slowly realizing who she was as her memories returned to her.

“Jurina..?” she touched her cheek lightly, her eyes widening. The image of Jurina as a newborn baby mirrored over Jurina’s new teenage face. She wrapped her arms around her neck, crying. “Jurina!”

Jurina hugged back, Rena sobbing on her shoulder. She comforted her sister, rubbing her back.

“I’m so sorry! I missed you so much! My baby sister!”

“Mou, I’m not a baby anymore…” she smiled, breaking the hug. “It’s okay, Rena. It’s not your fault.”

“I can’t believe it’s really you… How long has it been?”

“About 16 years. You missed a lot.”

“Don’t remind me!” Rena punched the younger girl’s chest, the latter wincing.

“Ow!”

“If you two don’t mind,” Akane interrupted their brief reunion, smiling at Rena.

“Akane-san…?”

“You remember everything now, right, Rena?”

“Yes… But how did you--?”

“I looked through a portion of your memories while you slept. Sorry I haven’t told you, but I’m half-vampire.”

“Wh-what?! Ngh...” Rena winced a bit as she slowly laid back down on the bed.

“Try not to push yourself. You might wanna sit down, too, Jurina,” she continued. “I need to continue my reasoning for all this.”

“You mean… you planned this? Our meeting, the Blood Moon? All of it was...”

“From the very beginning, a plot for the three of us to reunite.” The woman then pulled out a photo folded up in one of her drawers. “Take a look.”

She unfolded it and showed the two of them, both staring in shock.

It was… them! All three of them, in a different place and time, who knows where and how long ago.

“Yagami Kureha, Akazaki Shizuku, Hanazono Yuri. Those were our past lives almost 600 years ago.”

“600 years…”

“We were classmates? What school is that?”

“It’s not just any school. Look at the insignia on our uniforms.”

They both soon recognized it. The crescent moon circling a pink camellia…

“Tsubaki,” they both said.

“Almost 600 years ago, much like tonight, a blood red moon caused the vampires housed in former Tokyo to go insane. Tsubaki Academy was no exception.”

“I heard about that school. It was shut down because…”

“Because it was the site of an entire massacre of the student body.”

“That sparked the war that proceeds to this day,” Akane folded up the photo again, placing it in her pocket.

“How do you know all of this?”

“My memories awakened at a young age. I liked to believe it was my destiny given to me. And now, it is all three of our destinies.”

“Destiny?”

“To stop this ongoing war between vampires and humans, and restore peace.”

“No way… that’s impossible!” Rena denied. “Humans and vampires, coexisting..? As we are now?”

“If we remain as we are now, both of our kinds will go extinct! It will be a new Dark Age…”

Jurina gulped, Rena still sitting uneasy.

“Vampires have changed in the last hundred years. Humans have also advanced technology. We are capable of incredible, destructive things… but we can also use what power we have to make it better.”

“There’s no such thing as utopia,” Rena whispered. “That’s what was repeatedly drilled into my brain… But I want to believe there’s another way.”

“Me too. After all, I can’t lose my big sister again…”

“But what do you suggest we do?”

“We find them. The remnants of Tsubaki. No matter human or vampire, if they are reincarnates of the former Tsubaki Academy 48th class from that night.”

“The Blood Moon… could restore their memory?!”

“They could remember who they once were.”

Jurina stood up, “Why stop just there?!”

“Eh?”

“My caretakers were warlocks. I’ve studied and mastered powerful spells. With the Blood Ruby to enhance it, we could cast a memory spell over all of Japan!”

“Jurina, are you crazy?!” Rena’s eyes widened.

Akane just smirked.

“Feisty.”

“Rena… I’ve read and memorized countless years on the history of vampires. But people only know a small fraction of the story. If they were made to remember everything…”

“They’d all go insane! All those years of war and blood… it could cause society to collapse!”

“Or, they could start anew! A new society, a new world! For vampires and humans to coexist, a…”

“Utopia.”

“What do you two say?” Akane held out her hand, offering the others to join in.

Jurina joined her hand in, smiling at Akane. She looked back at her older sister, who was still hesitant.

“This plan is crazy… you’re both crazy,” she whispered, her head lowered.

“I’m your sister.”

“And I’m your superior.”

“It’s crazy. It’s crazy, but…” Rena gripped her fists. However, she eventually stood up, staggering a bit. She held to Jurina for support, and joined her hand in.

“Good. We’re all in,” Akane smiled. “No turning back now.”

~~~

And that was how it all began. I hope you guys enjoyed it! :D

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