Silver Cross and Draculea:Volume02 Chapter2
Chapter 2 - Witch's Recipe
"Too slow! What on earth were you doing!?"
...Even though he expected this, as soon as Hisui stepped into his home, he was faced with Rushella's lecturing.
Standing at the entrance with her arms crossed, she resembled a stern door god. No answer, no entry -- this was the kind of aura exuded by Rushella.
"Hmm... Just something minor to do."
"Why didn't you chase after me!? Goodness knows how many times I halted or looked back, but I couldn't even catch a glimpse of your shadow!"
"...What. Aren't you the one who ran away? And you end up wanting me to chase after you?"
Hisui's question made Rushella's face turn scarlet.
"S-Shut up, you are obliged to stay by my side at all times! This is obvious!!"
Hisui muttered as he took off his shoes and entered the house.
Putting down his bag, he was planning to return to his room directly when Rushella grabbed him by the wrist.
"What happened to your wrist?"
Hisui's right wrist was wrapped in black medical bandages. It would be troublesome if others saw the scratch from the black cat, so he bought them along the way home to cover things up.
He originally intended to use a more fashionable sports-use wrist guard, but the wound was too long to be covered by ordinary wrist guards.
Rushella discovered it as a result.
"Just a minor sprain, nothing much."
"On your body... There's the smell of blood."
Rushella asked solemnly.
Hisui knew very well he could not hide things of this nature from her.
Regarding any issue related to blood, vampires were experts after all.
"A human killed a kitten, so I gave it some last rites in a human manner."
"What is that!? I forbid you to hide anything from me!"
"I'm not hiding anything. This is definitely not human blood, you should be able to tell, right?"
"...Indeed. But there's also the smell of your blood."
"Just a minor scratch when I sprained my right arm. Nothing much."
The dead cat and the magic circle, as well as that instant of revival and the cursed incantation -- simply explaining everything would be troublesome enough. Informing Rushella would be equivalent to bidding farewell to peace and quiet. In the worst case, she might even drag him back to school.
"...Well whatever. I have something else to ask you."
"You also have a woman's smell on you... Different from that fake... It's that woman named Eruru."
Rushella drew her face near Hisui's chest, looked up into his eyes and questioned.
"...What is with your special sense of smell? I'm quite familiar with vampires thanks to circumstances beyond my control, but this is the first time I'm hearing about this kind of ability?"
"I know what I know. So you were with that woman?"
It was not like he had done anything improper.
Besides, he had no obligation to report to this arrogant vampire everyone he had been with.
Nevertheless, for some unknown reason -- Hisui could not bring himself to gaze directly into her crimson eyes that were focused on him.
"Last time, the two of you also went to the hospital together, right!?"
"Only for a simple check up. On the other hand, since you're the one sucking my blood every day, couldn't you show a little more concern for my health instead?"
"What's so good about that kind of woman? So short and diminutive, almost like a little child!"
"...Ever since I met you and Sudou, I've come to realize that a woman's figure only occupies an extremely minor fraction of their charm."
Hisui exclaimed with heartfelt feeling.
This was his personal experience.
"What do you mean by that!? You think I wouldn't realize that woman's true identity!?"
Eruru's true nature -- a half-vampire, was something Hisui had not told Rushella yet.
There was no obligation to reveal it. That counts as one of the reasons. But more importantly, Eruru hated her origins so much, it was not proper to casually disclose her secret.
According to Eruru, the only ones aware of this fact were the top echelons of the Supernatural Investigations Section. Apparently, even Mei was not privy to the fact. However, it was possible that her sharp instincts may have already picked up on it.
As for Rushella... She sounded like she already knew.
Vampires were born with fiery eyes and golden pupils which allowed them to discern humans from nonhuman existences. She must have felt something towards Eruru who inherited half of her blood from the same race.
"If that Sudou woman is called a fake, then this woman should be called..."
"Don't say it. I forbid it. If you say it out, I will hate you for it."
Hisui simply stated indifferently in his characteristic tone.
But the relentless will inherent in his words caused Rushella to stop talking.
She knew that Hisui was one who becomes almost like a different person in critical situations, and should not be underestimated.
"Hmph, there is no issue of liking or hating in our relationship in the first place! Between a master and a servant, those kinds of feelings are unnecessary!"
"Ah, is that so? Well, I guess it's true that there's no lack of servants who dislike their masters."
"...I'm hungry. Prepare dinner."
Hisui did not disobey the displeased Rushella and immediately headed to the kitchen.
With virtually no conversation on the dinner table, Hisui did the dishes afterwards while Rushella went to take a bath.
Rushella liked to enjoy her baths nice and slow. While waiting for her to finish, Hisui went out to retrieve the hung laundry that had dried, and began to iron them out.
Halfway through his chores, Hisui undid his bandages to examine the cat scratch.
What was originally a shallow cut was now a subtle pink line. However, due to his pale complexion it was rather conspicuous.
Normally, this level of injury should disappear after a while, but for Hisui, this was already quite an unusual situation.
This sort of minor wound should have healed immediately.
It was Hisui's constitution.
Even cursed kisses that should not disappear until the vampire is destroyed, Hisui's body could heal them instantly. But for some unknown reason, the wound before him was healing rather slowly.
"...Was I really cursed?"
Staring upwards, Hisui sighed, slightly unsettled, and continued ironing.
Holding up an outspread shirt he finished ironing, he nodded with satisfaction. At this moment, someone snatched the shirt away from beside him.
"Yes, well done!"
There was no need to turn to look. Judging from the voice and the sense of heat, he knew it was Rushella.
For her, the shirts Hisui wore beneath his school jacket were her everyday home attire. As soon as he finished ironing, it would be snatched from his hands every time like this.
"Say, why do you have to wear my shirt every time!? At least pick something old with washed out colors, okay!? Why do you have to keep snatching the ones I just ironed!?"
"Ironed clothes feel comfortable! To wear something creased, how unbecoming that would be!?"
"Why do you have to be stubborn in such an area!?"
Hisui turned to her and instantly realized his mistake.
Because Rushella happened to be adjusting her indoor casual wear.
In other words, up until this point, she had been clad in nothing but a bath towel.
Then casting that towel aside, she was in the wonderful moment of getting dressed.
Her voluptuous breasts and the secret region below her narrow waist were bursting out of her yet to be buttoned shirt.
"Looking is forbidden -- !!"
Unreasonable punches pelted Hisui's face like rain, beating him into the ground.
"What are you doing!? It's your own fault, suddenly changing on the spot!"
Hisui raised his objections. He originally intended to stand up and uphold justice -- but could not get up.
Rushella held him to the floor and drew her face near.
Her humongous bosom, squeezed out of shape against Hisui's chest, seemed to be desperately calling for attention to its size and suppleness. Combined with the soapy fragrance of a beauty fresh out of the bath, as well as the scent emanating from her moist hair, Hisui's thoughts were sent into complete disarray.
"Why are you lying on top of me?"
Pushing away Rushella's glamorous body was not particularly difficult.
Even though he was sure to suffer a full-powered counterattack from the vampire after sunset, but apart from that... For some reason he did not understand, Hisui could not resist.
"...If I move my body away, you're going to stare nonstop. You think I wouldn't notice you gazing at me coming out of the bath?"
"You've been wearing nothing but a towel out of the bath, and as for clothes all you have is my shirt draped on you. I'm worried you might catch a cold, that's all. You should hurry up and thank me for my care and concern, even vaster than the ocean."
"Who knows if it's true or not?"
Rushella avoided Hisui's gaze but pressed her body even tighter.
In order to prevent Hisui from escaping, she entangled her lithe and beautiful legs around Hisui's legs.
"Umm...... Isn't it about time to release me?"
"The club... You can't save it?"
Faced with Rushella's sudden pleading demeanor, Hisui was taken aback for an instant.
Rushella turned her head sideways as she lay on Hisui's chest, avoiding his gaze.
Pouting, she continued.
"Just as that arrogant woman said, all sorts of things needed to be done properly... If we do all of that, then the club can continue?"
"Why couldn't she turn a blind eye and overlook our case? I hate that woman."
Mumbling repeatedly to herself, Rushella began to trace circles on Hisui's chest with her finger.
Anxiety can be felt from the motions of her fingertips, as her nail lightly scratched him from time to time.
"Why are you so obsessed? Do you want to find out your past that much? I will surely help you, you know? Even though there is strength in numbers, but Sudou has her own affairs, and Kariya... Has to prioritize matters of the Supernatural Investigations Section. Based on the truth of your past... She could end up as your enemy."
Rushella probably understood deep in her heart.
Eruru had tried to kill her at one point. Even though cleared of suspicions for now, as soon as Rushella sucks the blood of a human apart from Hisui, that core member of the Supernatural Investigations Section would surely aim that gun chambered with silver bullets at her without hesitation.
Looking into Rushella's past was ultimately just a part of her investigation -- only for the purpose of establishing a proper policy towards the threat of the 'True Ancestor'-class vampire, Rushella Dahm Draculea.
"...I don't really care about that. Yes, I do want to retrieve my memories but being impatient won't help. Besides, I never wanted to rely on those people in the first place."
"Then why do you want a club?"
"I haven't decided yet... But I want to do it."
Rushella fell silent.
Then she buried her face in Hisui's chest.
"Excuse me... Rushella-san?"
"People who join clubs... All look very happy."
"...? Of course, people join clubs because of their interest. Even though sports clubs' practice schedules could be quite harsh... However... that still counted as satisfaction amidst hardship?"
"In other words... They are engaging in 'youth,' right?"
The term uttered by Rushella made Hisui's eyes stare wide in surprise. That term was clearly the furthest thing one would associate with vampires.
"What is with that look, you object!?"
"No no no... I just never expected you to say something like that so openly. What happened, were you influenced by school dramas on television?"
"You're annoying, shut up! I didn't say anything wrong! For people of your age, 'youth' is indispensable!!"
"Yeah, well, so to speak..."
Based on the dictionary definition, it was basically correct. As for whether it applied in actual fact, that was open to question.
"What does it matter anyway... Even someone like me, umm... Would like to enjoy this whatever 'youth' with relish!"
"Say, I'm not even sure how old you are now? No matter how you look, it would not be surprising if you turned out to be over a century old. For you, youth probably flew away like a bird a long time ago, never to return......"
Hisui was trying to show off some poetic imagery, but he discovered Rushella glaring at him as soon as he finished.
"Ah... By the way, you still haven't... experienced youth, right?"
More accurately, she did not have memories of experiencing youth.
Perhaps she was indeed a century old, or even more ancient than that.
For Rushella who had no memories, the present was everything she had.
What she possessed, was the month long period she experienced after encountering Hisui, as well as the mental age which matched her teenage appearance.
Because of that, seeing others in her age group enthusiastically participating in club activities affected her especially.
That past she had once savored -- as if trying to retrieve lost memories, she desired to create her own memories of youth.
Hisui basically understood her intentions, and began scratching his head impatiently.
"Fine fine, I got it. I will try my best, okay?"
"Really!? Yes, how obedient!"
Rushella's eyes instantly glistened with delight.
While she was still in a good mood, Hisui decided to bring up the question he had harbored ever since he entered this position... Or rather, ever since he started living together with her.
"What is it?"
"Up to now, I haven't asked you this question. Actually I don't think it's currently very possible either, but......"
"What on earth are you trying to say!? If you have a question, be out with it, stop stuttering!"
"...Have you been wearing underwear properly?"
Rushella's expression froze.
Hisui tried his best to avoid looking in her face as he recalled everything that had happened so far.
Since the shirts she wore as indoor casual wear were white, it was naturally quite easy to see through them.
Nevertheless, no matter how hard he stared, he could never catch a glimpse of that elusive yet mesmerizing fabric.
The only images reflected into his eyes were the voluptuous curves of her glamorous body.
From the day he started living with her, Hisui had been consumed with doubt in his heart, could it be possible...
More importantly, when she put on the shirt just now, she had exited the bath clad in nothing but a towel.
Based on common sense... Whether on top or below, she should be wearing nothing.
"...Why are you not refuting me? Could you actually be..."
"S-Shut up, what does it matter! Aren't you half naked too after you take a bath? Besides, you can't see anything while I'm wearing a shirt...... Fine, it's all your fault for looking at me that way, you are in the wrong!!"
Rushella argued with her face all red.
Finding her reaction to be exactly as expected, Hisui rolled his eyes and looked up at the ceiling.
"Say, I've heard that women usually don't wear a bra to sleep, so that's no big deal to me... As long as you wear it when you're at school or going out."
Rushella shuddered after hearing his words and stiffly turned her face to avoid Hisui's gaze.
"Come on... it can't be!?"
Without answering, she simply counted on her fingers and then looked towards Hisui once more.
"What do you mean, it's okay!! It happened...? How many times!? How many times did you go to school without wearing underwear!?"
"Let bygones be bygones......"
Uncharacteristically, Rushella did not retort loudly but instead, she stared ahead silently.
"......I'm trying to assist you in school life, but this is one area I can't help out... Please, you have to pay attention yourself."
"So annoying, shut up!!"
Rushella screamed and raised her fist above her head and sat up from Hisui's body, about to beat him up as usual.
But this act became the start of tragedy.
For Hisui, that is.
Rushella's shirt -- was still unbuttoned.
If she had maintained the previous posture where she was tightly pressed against him, it was still possible to conceal the vital areas.
But now... It was just a shirt draped over her shoulders.
Rushella's voluptuous bosom was unsealed before Hisui's eyes, jumping out in full view.
Droplets of bathwater left on her body, flowed across her pristine white skin, streaming along the flower buds of her breasts, descended upon Hisui's forehead.
"I-Insolent knave -- !!"
Rushella pounded mercilessly with both fists.
Patches of red began to blossom across Hisui's face.
"W-Wait a minute...... Put on your clothes first! Button it up! They're shaking... While you're beating on me, they're shaking nonstop!!"
"So annoying, shut up! Looking is forbidden--!!"
"I'm talking about your......!!"
As the sounds of Hisui's screams and moans echoed across the living room, Rushella ignored his protests.
After that, needless to say, she drank her fill of Hisui's blood to rehydrate herself after a bath.
"......Based on the above, my life is currently in peril, can't you think of a way to help?"
With a mournful expression, Hisui was pleading with Kirika as she happened to be watering the flowerbeds. He truly looked pitiful.
"What are you talking about suddenly? Did something happen?"
Early in the morning, Hisui had gone to visit Kirika. Fatigue and weariness written all over his face, his androgynous visage was also covered with wounds from the beating.
Rushella was really angry yesterday, plus the fact that night was prime for vampire activity, his calamity lasted for quite a while.
Thanks to Hisui's superhuman recovery, most of the internal bleeding healed quickly, but the pain from the bruises still lingered in his body, unable to dissipate.
If he had to let his blood be sucked in the morning in accordance with his everyday mission, it would definitely be too much to bear. Hence, Hisui got up before Rushella woke up -- leaving breakfast and a note behind, he left the house alone.
"Senpai sure comes early. Is the entire student council like this?"
"Of course not, just me, that is all. Even if the others arrive early, it would be due to club activities, probably. Coming to school early because of morning practice, they treat the student council office as their storage area, and disappear... Basically like that?"
Kirika continued to water the flowerbeds without pause as she spoke.
Finishing one patch, she moved onto the next. Whenever she found clear signs of weeds, she also pulled them out seriously.
Although Hisui did not know much about gardening, he could tell from the actions of this vice president that she was not only knowledgeable about plants, she also loved them very much. Unconcerned that her pale white hands were soiled with dirt, Kirika performed gardening work with complete dedication.
"Could it be that, watering all the flowerbeds in school... Is done by Senpai alone?"
"Yes. It is a good thing for the school to have flowers growing all over the place, but the janitors are too busy. Since there is no extra budget to hire more personnel, taking care of the plants has been assigned to the student council."
"...Well, why is it only Senpai alone? Won't it be quite tiring?"
"Because no one else wants to do it."
Kirika exclaimed sulkily as she continued to immerse herself in work.
Watching her like this, Hisui recalled the rumor his neighbor in class, Sera Reina, had told him.
Uno Kirika, who acted even more proper than the proper president -- was being ostracized by the other student council members. They were on quite poor relations.
While Kirika immersed herself in the student council's work with great fervor, the rest of the council members simply fulfilled their duties with minimum effort, resulting in a massive festering conflict.
"It must be tough for you."
"This is all of my own choosing. Besides, I only reached this position through everyone's votes, right? If I really did not want to do it, I would have quit from the start. Besides--"
"...None of your business."
Although Kirika coldly refused to answer, Hisui could guess roughly what her unvoiced reason was.
This was also a rumor he heard from Reina.
This responsible and talented girl who strictly adhered to school rules and discipline -- she acted this way for a very simple reason.
Because she loved the school.
Hence she performed the student council's duties more seriously than anyone.
But consequently, she was a formidable foe.
"...So? Do you have any other business?"
"Haha, well... About the club, can you show a little leniency......"
"Rather than talking to me, you should find a teacher instead? After all, a club adviser is essential."
"What kind of club are you running anyway?"
"......The Occult Research Club, I guess?"
This was the result after a night's worth of agonizing contemplation.
After all, given this group of nonhumans, they basically belonged to the occult.
Vampire, artificial human and half-vampire, plus himself with the unusual constitution which prevented him from turning into a vampire.
"What on earth? Do you really think the school will approve of something so unscientific?"
He was just chatting casually, but ended up with a flat rejection. Still, he had expected this result.
"Ah... But I think one existed before. Just an unofficial hobby group."
Hisui's eyes flashed as he was struck with sudden inspiration.
Yesterday he had heard from Eruru about roaming supernatural creatures, and had witnessed the curse ritual.
It was a bit of a stretch, but he felt like there was some sort of connection between them.
"However, I don't really know about the details. Urban legends... Or should I say, more like strange rumors in school. Probably counts as one of our schools Seven Wonders. Solving the mystery of the 'Witch,' the Occult Research Club... Something like that maybe?"
Hearing her repeat the term, Hisui unwittingly moved closer to Kirika.
Instantly, their faces almost touching, they could feel each other's breath.
Then an expression of fear flashed momentarily across Kirika's face as she swiftly pushed Hisui away.
"...Don't come close so suddenly!"
Seeing her frightened, Hisui silently stepped back. The upperclassman who usually seemed so powerful and intimidating to others, was currently speaking with such docility... So uncharacteristically girlish.
At this time, another rumor he heard from Reina surfaced in his memory.
She hated boys very much, especially weak ones.
"That Occult Research Club... Is just a rumor after all. A rumor dating to before the school was rebuilt."
"You didn't know? Our high school, just before I enrolled, had just undergone large scale remodeling and reconstruction. As a result, the current layout of the buildings is very different from before. Thanks to that, what Seven Wonders, what Occult Research Club, these kinds of inane rumors have basically all been wiped out."
"I see... So that's why I never heard of them."
"If you are interested, try asking your homeroom teacher Horie-sensei? She is probably the most senior person in this community."
It looked like the child-faced diminutive homeroom teacher had a little-known side to her.
"Anything more you have to say? I still have further tasks to busy myself with. I would like to finish watering before the morning assembly."
Saying that, Kirika busied herself with the weeding.
Then Hisui joined in.
"...What are you doing? Please do not get so close to me so casually, okay?"
"I'll help you. This will dirty your hands? Look, it's dirty already."
"You haven't finished watering, right? Why don't you do the other places first?"
Without waiting for Kirika to respond, Hisui knelt down and got to work.
"Even if you do this... Do not be deluded into thinking of currying my favor, okay? There is nothing more to discuss regarding your club."
"I never expected that from the start."
Hisui replied unfazed, focusing on the task at hand.
Kirika stared at him for a while, then pointed to the bandages on his wrist and asked:
"...What happened to you there?"
"A minor injury, nothing much."
"...Beware of infection. You have to wash your hands properly all the time."
"You really sound like a school nurse."
Hisui smiled as he spoke. Hearing that, Kirika blushed.
Just as Hisui was planning to continue working, he heard disastrous footsteps.
"I finally found you! How dare you escape your morning duties, running off to leave me alone!!"
Turning around, he found Rushella holding a parasol, standing behind him.
Rushing over in a huff, she grabbed Hisui from behind, lifting him by his underarms.
"Yesterday you left me, and again today, why!?"
"It's a long story..."
"So annoying, shut up!"
Rushella ignored Hisui's efforts to explain and directly drew her lips towards his neck.
His morning duties... In other words, blood sucking time, was taking place at school.
"Hey, hold it, consider the situation first!"
Naturally, Rushella could not be stopped, hence her bright red lips pressed upon Hisui's neck.
Then she bared her fangs and prepared to bite. Hisui frantically screamed.
"I said stop!! Senpai is watching!!"
"Mmmm... What are you looking at!?"
"The villain is slinging accusations first!?"
Hisui guiltily looked towards Kirika... As expected, she was gazing at him with derision.
"Morning duties eh? So you do this every single day?"
"Yes! Even though this guy always screams and yells, resisting in the beginning, he always yields obediently in the end!"
"Stop using such an easily misunderstood description... In the end, you always hold me down by force, right!?"
"In that case, why don't you lock the door? In fact, you're looking forward to my arrival, right!?"
"Because if I lock the door, it's the door that will meet a sad fate... There's no escape."
Hisui grumbled in a voice too soft for Rushella to hear, then he looked at Kirika again with trepidation.
The distaste on her face needed no explanation, and her gaze was like she was looking at something dirty.
"...You two are truly infatuated with each other. So, in wanting to create a club, are you saying you want to do this kind of thing in school as well?"
"Yes, that is correct, I always feel the urge to suck from time to time. With the club classroom, I won't need to be concerned with so many things..."
Rushella's statement was revealing her secret identity.
Hisui frantically covered her mouth with his hands, but Kirika had already stopped looking in their direction.
"I am sorry, you entitled to neither budget nor classroom. If you want to make out, please do it outside the school."
Then she left without looking back.
Hisui sighed as he scratched his head.
"You really... Came and killed all hope. Looks like the matter is sealed... I feel like even if we applied it will be rejected directly."
"I'm saying, this is all your fault... Hey, why are you starting to suck! Hey, it hurts, stop it......!!"
Hisui's screams reverberated until finally, Rushella having had her fill, threw him to the ground.
Unable to move at first, he had to wait a while before returning to the classroom, pressing a hand against his neck. Little did he know, there was a figure watching his every move from the shadows.
"Okay~ students, everyone please pay attention. Try not to get hurt while you're working~"
Homeroom teacher Horie Jyuri was directing the students to work with her leisurely cute voice.
Hisui's class had home economics during periods three and four and they were having a cooking practical.
Jyuri herself was a world history teacher. If one were to ask why she was standing at the lectern, bandanna around her head, dressed in an apron, it was because the home economics teacher had suddenly fallen ill and was home in bed.
In the fully equipped home economics classroom, the students formed themselves into groups of four or five, working on the assigned cooking tasks.
Even though it was considered class time, it always felt as if there was plenty of opportunity for slacking off.
Whenever they had this lesson, the students happily chatted away as they worked on their cooking.
Hisui's class was naturally no exception. However, since the fruits of their labors today will serve as their lunch, everyone was putting in a bit more serious effort in the cooking.
...All except one.
"Yes, everyone is showing enthusiasm, very good!"
"...Hey you, hurry over and help!"
Hearing Rushella standing on the side, sternly acting as a commanding officer, Mei could not help but retort at her.
Knowing that such words were futile, Hisui simply focused on peeling the potatoes without saying a word. The representative of the class' collective conscience, class rep Sera Reina was at a loss what to do, her gaze moving back and forth between the two, very much in a quandary.
"Besides, you're not even in our group, okay!? The groups are mixed in gender and based on student numbers. Why are you even here!?"
"Someone happily agreed to switch with me. Is there any problem?"
"Yes, clearly you used your 'mystic eyes,' right?"
Hisui looked over at a boy whose eyes were still glazed over.
That student was originally in the same group as Hisui but ended up getting caught by Rushella and then swapped to another group directly.
"Seriously, is this okay, letting her do as she pleases?"
Mei moved close to Hisui and spoke soft enough to be unheard by others.
"...Of course not, but letting that girl go with other groups would be even more terrifying. Since Kariya is not in our group, if a situation arises, only you and I can help defuse it. Don't let the class rep find out, I'm relying on you."
"No problem. In that case, this is our shared task, eh?"
"Somehow it feels like I fell into some sort of trap. Oh well whatever. Could you help me cut the vegetables?"
Hisui finished peeling and the two entered the vegetable cutting stage.
To Hisui who took charge of the kitchen at home, this kind of work was simply a piece of cake. And from the way Mei handled the kitchen knife to slice the vegetables, she was clearly skilled as well.
"Eh... How unexpected."
"Oh my, who do you think I am? As the latest model of artificial human and blowup doll, in order to satisfy male desires, whether secret formulae for awakening your lower half or the naked apron, all are standard issue equipment."
"Uh sorry, I sincerely hope those functions of yours remain sealed forever."
"Hey you two over there, sticking together is forbidden. No idle talk, get to work!"
Rushella squeezed her way in between them.
"Hey, watch it... I'm holding a knife here......"
Even though Hisui was forewarned, he still reacted a moment too slow.
Pushed by Rushella, his index finger was cut by the kitchen knife.
"Are you okay, Hi-kun? Hey, you there, pay attention to the situation!"
Reprimanded by Mei, Rushella retreated with an apologetic expression.
"Kujou-kun, are you fine? Should I go tell the teacher and get a band-aid for you?"
Class rep Reina who was in the middle of preparing the stewing pot, hurried over, greatly worried.
Though Hisui's finger was cut, given his constitution, it was no big deal.
"Ah... It's really okay. In a while, it'll automatically..."
Before he could finish, Hisui felt his fingertip enveloped by moist, soft lips.
As beads of blood escaped his finger, Rushella slowly sucked them into her mouth. While she supported his wrist with her slender hands, it was not even a light bite but gentle sucking.
Don't suck blood in this kind of place -- was what he wanted to say, but in the end, he let her suck away freely.
Rushella did not embed her fangs as usual, but simply caressed his finger gently with her lips and the inside of her mouth.
Extending her tongue to seek out his wound, she caressed with great lightness of touch.
Then she drew the blood out -- or rather, she was sucking blood at this time only for soothing the pain of the wound.
Even though given Hisui's constitution, this sort of wound would start healing immediately.
As for the pain during the instant of injury and before recovery, he was no different from an ordinary person.
Rushella was sucking away minute amounts of pain and blood between the tip of her tongue and lips.
As if mesmerized by the faint crimson glow from her eyes, everyone in the surroundings stood motionless.
Enshrouded by the quiet atmosphere, only the sound of tongues and lips, licking Hisui's finger with tender affection resounded within the room.
Very soon, the brief but precious tryst came to an end. With a gentle lick, Rushella took her lips away from Hisui's finger.
The wound having vanished, Rushella supplemented with a light kiss on the newly baptized finger.
"It's fine now. I have helped you stop the bleeding. You should feel honored. Also, you're not allowed to bleed recklessly. Your entire body's blood, every single drop belongs to me!"
Clearly it was all Rushella's fault, but somehow he ended up thanking her, and with his heart racing too.
But in the next instant, he recovered his senses and frantically surveyed the surroundings... The rest of the class turned away in embarrassment one after another.
A few boys were for some reason bent over forwards.
And girls were hiding their blushing cheeks.
Even Eruru... was no exception.
Mei also displayed a face of lament.
"......What a move. Looks like she beats me slightly in tongue skills."
She even murmured that.
And then, Reina, the one who represented the class' collective conscience -- murmured unintelligibly, her face blushing intensely.
"T-That...... It's that thing, right? That... Overseas, very common right, this kind of thing?"
Hisui was suddenly reminded, in a flash of inspiration, he had introduced Rushella as his distant relative who had returned from overseas.
"That was, simply, wound treatment... That's right. This kind of thing, very common...... Everyone."
Though he knew in his heart this was surely uncommon.
Hisui could only nod and agree.
"Oh, you people know how to do this too? I do it every morning with this guy, so other people have this kind of habit too?"
The atmosphere in the classroom instantly froze.
Especially Reina who entered a rigid mode, her thoughts completely halted.
"Always behaving obediently after sucking, but he's always struggling before the deed. Honestly, it troubles me greatly. Do you guys have any good solutions?"
"W-Who knows......? I haven't, umm, completely this kind of thing..."
Reina shifted her gaze away from Rushella's innocently pure eyes and ran over to boil the water, adding in the soup base, the vegetables and the sausage.
Today's theme was thick soup -- long stewing times was a major characteristic.
"What, you don't know? But whenever the teacher asks you a question in class, you always answer fluently. Don't be stingy, hurry and tell me."
"What's the matter, are you shy?"
Reina was carefully pouring in the soda water when Rushella went over to hassle her.
Seeing her pitiful pleading gaze, the rest of the students silently stared daggers into Hisui.
"...What a disaster."
Mei rested a hand on Hisui's shoulder as he hung in head, losing all strength.
It felt like he had lost something precious on this day.
Luckily the finished soup turned out quite nicely, so there was fortune amidst misfortune.
"Wow, well done! This is quite delicious."
"Hurry and thank the class rep who was in charge of the stewing. Definitely this is wonderful. I really want to find out the detailed recipe."
Hearing Hisui's praise, Reina modestly waved her hands.
"It's nothing special really. I simply added a bit of seasoning to the ready-made soup base sold at the market. It's because the vegetables and the meat were sliced well, right?"
As Reina conversed, she diligently handed everyone a paper cup and poured water from a kettle.
Students were allowed to bring their own drinks but the school had also prepared hot water and kettles beforehand.
"Ah, but really this is great. Did you add some secret seasoning recipe?"
Reina was just about to answer when the sound of a dish crashing to the ground was heard.
Rushella's dish had fallen. The soup was already finished and luckily the dish did not break, so the floor did not require cleaning.
"No... Thing much. Just my hand slipped."
Rushella patted her face, drank some water and picked up the dish to put back on the table.
Then... She stood up unsteadily.
"I'm full. Already, it's lunch break eh... I need to get a bit, of air......"
Staggering, Rushella left the home economics classroom as she finished speaking.
Hisui and Mei exchanged glances and nodded.
Something was not right.
"I'm sorry, the dishes and the clean up... Can I leave it to you?"
"No problem. But I'm expecting a reward afterwards."
Saying that, Hisui finished the remainder of the thick soup in two mouthfuls and drank the water in his paper cup.
"I've finished. Class rep, we'll talk about the recipe next time."
"Yes, very well......"
Ignoring the hesitating class rep, Hisui hurried out of the classroom to look for Rushella.
It did not take much running along the corridor to find her.
Not far from the home economics classroom, Rushella was just up ahead.
She was leaning against the corridor wall, panting heavily.
"Hey, what is happening!?"
"Hisui, is that you......"
Rushella spoke his name weakly then collapsed in Hisui's chest.
She did not respond. Her pale white skin was drenched with sweat, Rushella had completely lost consciousness.
Hisui looked back to find Eruru. She probably noticed Rushella's unusual signs and followed.
"She fainted... Not moving at all. What on earth is happening......? Will she wake up if I feed her my blood......?"
"Even though blood is the ultimate medicine and nourishment for vampires, save it as the final resort. Let us take her to the infirmary to sleep on a bed first. As for the reason... Saying lack of sleep and anemia should be fine."
With Eruru's assistance, Hisui carried Rushella to the infirmary, thereby taking care of the first challenge.
"...Do vampires get sick?"
"Who knows... If even you don't know, neither would I."
Coldly urged by Eruru, Hisui left the infirmary.
It was a strange sort of feeling.
Hazy consciousness. The body was also not listening to orders.
It felt as if the entire body was tied up with chains, but at the same time it felt different from that sacred chain of silver she had experienced before.
Rather than tying up the body externally, the chain felt like it was produced from within.
Using human terms -- this probably felt like an illness like the flu.
But it was completely pointless to consider such a possibility, it was naturally impossible.
Though vampires could get hurt, the concept of disease did not exist for them.
If one really had to force a comparison, only the desire for fresh blood barely counted.
Even though it was a phenomenon resembling instinct, it was not unreasonable to view it as a disease. And if blood was not sucked, the body's sense of fatigue would increase.
Nevertheless, she had already fed her fill this morning. At midday it was a minor amount, but that counted as a second time.
In terms of volume it should be sufficient, but her body felt powerless.
What on earth -- what was going on?
As questions swirled in her mind, a sweet fragrance could be smelled at this time.
It was a bewitching aroma which was so strong it gave headaches.
"What is happening...?"
As if guided by the scent, Rushella sat up on the bed.
She first surveyed her surroundings and found herself in an unfamiliar room.
The room's furnishings were white and clean, with many cabinets filled with medicine. There were curtains separating the beds -- even though she had never been here before, this should be the 'infirmary,' right?
Searching her memories, the last image she had was being held in Hisui's arms.
He was probably nearby -- Rushella looked to the right of the bed with that faint hope.
Entering her view was only the white curtain which marked the boundaries between beds.
Through the curtain, a person's silhouette could be seen.
At the same time, that aroma wafted over. It resembled the burning of incense. Purple smoke could be vaguely seen floating towards here from outside the curtain.
"Who are you......?"
"Lowly vampire, you are not worthy of knowing my name."
The voice sounded like an old woman's and a young girl's at the same time. Through the curtain, the other person's appearance could not be discerned, not even her figure or the contours of her face.
"How dare you speak to me in such a manner. Hurry and show yourself!"
Rushella roared and reached out to pull the curtain. But even though her words were intimidating, her movements were slow. The aroma was disrupting her thoughts.
Pulling the curtain aside -- there was no one there.
Only an old-fashioned candle holder with a burning purple candle, its flame flickering gently.
Rushella murmured softly and noticed someone behind her at the same time.
Turning around, she found that "person" standing in the corner of the room.
Based on appearance she should be female, but Rushella could not be completely certain. This was due to her confused thoughts, plus the fact that the person's entire body was clad in a quaint red robe, only exposing the face which was turned towards Rushella. Her head was also covered by a hood that not only obscured her gaze but made her expression impossible to read.
"...Your attire is really quaint. During the times when we vampires dominated the world, there were many fellows who looked like you, displaying wondrous magic. It is recorded in my memory."
"Correct... I am a reviver of lost arts. However, there is no need for your race to revive. Why have you returned? Why... are you in this school?"
"Who knows? I'd like to ask too, who on earth am I?"
"Let's not joke around......"
She extended a hand out from her robe, as white as snow. Even though her age could not be determined from her voice, that skin clearly belonged to a woman in the prime of youth.
She manifested a black sphere the size of a marble in her hand and shot it at Rushella.
Instinctively, she realized danger. Rushella slid her hand into the inside of her skirt. When wearing her uniform, that was where she kept her favorite short sword.
Before the sphere arrived, she threw the sword to intercept it.
The instant the blade struck the sphere, tiny sparks scattered as purple flames appeared out of space.
The purple flames were not large and quickly vanished in the air. But accompanying the rise in fragrance was a numbing of Rushella's five senses.
"This aroma... Like just now... But stronger... Who on earth are you?"
"For now, just call me -- Witch. Your race is not the only one that lives in modern society."
"I see... A remnant of ancient spellcasters? But why are you treating me as an enemy?"
"It is you who has intruded into my territory. Scram and go back to where you came from. Otherwise -- I shall execute you right here."
Leaving these words behind, the "Witch" twirled her long robe and jumped out the window.
Rushella wanted to chase after, but her sluggish body could not keep up with her will.
The increasingly intense aroma in the room made her eyelids feel heavier and heavier.
Gritting her teeth, Rushella could do nothing as her consciousness sank into darkness.
"......So, the biology room seems to be missing a specimen. I heard it was a precious item sent as a gift from a former teacher. If anyone finds it, please hand it over to a teacher~ What does it look like? ...Seems to be similar to this, kept in a jar, submerged in formaldehyde. The shape looks kind of like ginseng? Everyone please help look for it."
The home economics lesson ended, it was currently a classroom meeting. Jyuri's child-like voice, most unfitting for a teacher's, resounded within the classroom.
Perhaps because no one was interested in the subject, none of the students paid serious attention.
Normally the lessons almost never took place in the "biology room." That place was basically equivalent to a storeroom. Very likely, under the student council, or rather, Kirika's investigation, that room was going to disappear.
"Then the meeting will conclude here~"
With her cute voice, Jyuri declared the conclusion of today's classes. The students began to leave the classroom successively, heading home from school or hurrying to their clubs. On the other hand, Mei and Eruru remained behind in the classroom.
"...So why did Rushella feel unwell, Eruru-chan?"
"...I am not sure. Also, Sudou-san, could you stop calling me 'Eruru-chan' please? I am in the same grade as you!"
Eruru spoke as she pushed her glasses, while Mei protested stubbornly.
"What does it matter? Don't get me involved into the stratified social class distinctions of the police. By the way, where's Hi-kun?"
"He went over to Rushella. She is a vampire after all, so I do not believe it is anything serious... Why is he so concerned?"
During lessons in the afternoon, Eruru had been thinking about this matter.
If she was simply feeling unwell there was no cause for concern, but for a vampire the chance of this was essentially close to zero.
In other words, she must have eaten something that caused a vampire's body to show abnormal symptoms.
"Before the symptoms appeared, what did she eat... First there was Kujou-san's blood, this should be safe. Considerate of Rushella's blood sucking, he even avoids eating garlic all the time, right?"
"That's right. That guy seems to have engraved his servant identity into his bones. Then it must be the thick soup? But I found it quite tasty, no problem there."
"That is the only thing left to consider. But we brought the ingredients ourselves and the soup base was bought at the market. The seasonings might vary between people but that should not be an issue. Naturally, garlic or the like was not added, right?"
"Of course not. Hi-kun was very attentive, besides, the girl herself would surely have noticed. At such close range, even Eruru-chan's sense of smell can understand, right?"
"...Indeed. Looks like the reason of her feeling unwell surely must lie within that home economics classroom. But what on earth caused her to......"
Eruru began to ponder in earnest as Mei watched her with a meaningful expression.
"...What is it?"
"Nothing much. I'm just surprised you would ponder so seriously about vampires, your greatest hate. If it was a while back, Eruru-chan would surely have said, vampires should die on their own for all I care... Am I right? You've been influenced by Hi-kun?"
"S-Stop making fun of me! It is not what you think, not at all......"
Eruru murmured softly and avoided her gaze as Mei continued to stare at her with amusement.
"I-I am simply worrying about the issue itself!"
"The issue itself?"
"...Humans were fine but only the vampire showed symptoms. If this was deliberate, then that someone must possess specialized knowledge and skills for targeting supernatural creatures."
"If that person only aimed to destroy a supernatural creature, there is not too much cause for concern. However, this power... is very dangerous, extremely dangerous......"
Seeing Eruru fall silent, Mei also got serious. Switching to a solemn expression, she offered encouragement as an external collaborator of the Supernatural Investigations Section.
"I will assist you, but just not for free."
"No specific clues have been found yet. In any case, we should also go over to Kujou-san. I am also a bit concerned about her condition."
Eruru got up from her seat. At the same time, a strange visitor arrived in the classroom.
Making cute meowing sounds, a black kitten had slipped into the room.
"Oh my, what a cute kitten. Did you get lost?"
Mei reached out to the black kitten as if trying to lead it out of the room.
As she approached the black cat before them.
Eruru was only watching casually to begin with, but recalling yesterday's scene, she immediately called out sharply to stop Mei.
"Stop... Get away from it!"
As Mei turned her head in surprise, the black cat appeared next to her face.
It had instantly jumped onto her shoulder.
From its movements it seemed completely weightless. Mei and Eruru were taken aback for a moment.
However, the cat's voice clearly reached their ears.
"You two... are also the vampire's companions?"
The two girls looked at each other in shock.
Unmistakably, a human voice was coming from the cat's mouth.
It resembled an elderly woman's and a young girl's, completely indiscernible. The only certain fact was it being female.
"If you are the vampire's companions -- make haste and begone. Or else..."
Eruru slowly approached to restrain the cat. In the worst case, she would not shy from using the bullets of her beloved sacred gun, "Argentum." This was a weapon chambered with bullets of silver, though specialized for vampires, it was still similarly effective against other supernatural creatures.
The cat jeered.
Clearly a cat's body, but the face resembled a human's. It carried what felt like a human's expression.
Facing that smug look, even Eruru and Mei felt a shred of terror despite their unyielding fortitude.
In the next instant, the cat jumped down from Mei's shoulder and spat out something towards the ground. Then it left the classroom with quick and fleeting footsteps.
"What was that... just now?"
"It spoke, right...? What could it be, a cat demon? Or a cat spirit!?"
"No, probably just an ordinary cat. The only thing special about it is that it is a 'familiar.' Or call it a messenger."
"What... Eh, is that ventriloquism!? Coordinating with the cat's movements, someone else is speaking nearby!? Or someone is performing a magic trick?"
"There is definitely a trick and a punchline, but it is definitely no magic performance."
Eruru fished out a handkerchief and picked up what the cat spat out.
It was an ancient piece of parchment.
Spreading out the parchment which had been folded repeatedly, it revealed the same magic circle she had witnessed with Hisui yesterday, only smaller in size.
From the faint stench, Eruru quickly understood it was made from blood.
There was also a faint aroma of Silver Vine as well as various herbs.
"This is... the punchline? What, making it seem like magic. And using a black cat as a familiar, it's basically like..."
"'Witch'... You are correct."
Eruru's uttering of the word sent a chill down Mei's spine.
"We should hurry and converge with Kujou-san. Investigations must begin as soon as possible."
The two hurried out of the classroom and raced towards the infirmary.
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