Silver Cross and Draculea:Volume03 Chapter2
Chapter 2 - Touko-san
A super high decibel shriek resounded through the living room as Rushella clutched and wrapped herself around Hisui's arm tightly.
"Ouch, could you stop that!? You're using brute force all over... Especially on spinach night. If you twist my arm off, how are you going to compensate me!?"
Rushella tearfully protested as she pointed to the television in the living room.
Although the scene had already changed, an instant earlier, the screen was showing a woman dressed in white, climbing out of a television. The penetrating sight and closeup of the bloodshot eye filled the entire screen.
"What on earth was that!?"
"Uh... Isn't that Sadako-san? By the way, if you're scared then don't rent it!"
I can't stand this. Hisui shook his head as looked at the rental DVD box.
On the way home after he picked her up, Rushella became fascinated by a new horror film's poster, so they made a trip to a DVD rental shop in the neighborhood.
Rushella was quite interested in going to a place like that for the first time. Using his own membership card, Hisui rented several DVDs she had picked.
After dinner and a bath, she was dressed as usual in Hisui's uniform shirt. Rushella declared that she wanted to watch a DVD, and so they watched one... This was the result.
"What is with that woman... Whether her eye or her movements, none of them are normal!"
"Uh, that's only natural... Because she's a ghost, you see? By the way, how could a vampire be afraid of horror movies? In addition, I only rented this because you picked it."
"B-But... I never expected something like that to pop out... Oh no, what should I do... I also watched the 'cursed videotape'...... Will be cursed!? Will I also be cursed!? One week from now, will that woman also come knocking on our door!?"
"...As if she's going to come. Even if she did, you can handle it. Yeah, just suck her blood. Drain her dry for sure. Maybe she might even become your servant... But then again, I have no wish to see the birth of vampire Sadako."
"As if I'd bite her!! By the way, how could you be so calm and composed!!?"
Rushella leaned against Hisui and buried her face in his chest to escape her fear.
Her behavior seemed a bit... Or rather, quite adorable. However, Hisui mustered his iron will and turned his head away from her.
"Because I've watched it many times already... Recently, there are a lot of moe-fied versions even."
"Even so......! Seriously, humans are capable of creating such horrifying things......"
"Praise in this area is rather strange. Anyway, I'm going to bed."
Hisui gently pushed aside Rushella's supple body and made his way towards the staircase.
"W-Wait up! Where are you going!?"
"Like I said, I'm going to bed. Ever since the daytime, my body has had this unpleasant feeling and incessant chills. But I don't have a fever, and in fact, my body temperature is lower than usual... What's going on?"
Hisui puzzled over his inexplicable condition as he walked up the stairs.
Rushella remained clinging tightly to his arm.
"D-Don't be in such a hurry, okay? It'd be nice for a boy and a girl to chat all night long once in a while❤"
"...Are you trying to reenact a touching reunion of old friends in foreign lands? Although I'm not against friendship between genders, I still can't accept girls as close friends or beyond."
"As if anyone is your friend here! I am the master and you are the servant! Know your proper place!!"
"...Then there's no need to chat all night long. Goodnight~"
Shaking Rushella's arms off him, Hisui returned to his own bedroom.
After repositioning his pillow, he spread out his blanket and got into his steel-frame bed.
Then he laid himself down and switched off the light.
"...By the way, why are you here?"
Hisui grumbled at Rushella.
Because the girl was lying right beside him.
She had burrowed beneath the blanket and was lying face to face with Hisui who was on his side in a fetal position.
"Hmm, after some thought, I realized I was going to suck your blood tomorrow morning anyway."
"Could you stop that!? Stop talking about it as if it were predestined already, okay!? Do you really want me to start Sunday morning all covered in blood!?"
"You're being noisy, so shut up. Since I have to drink your blood anyway, isn't it better to just occupy this spot directly!? Saves me the effort of coming over, killing two birds with one stone!"
Rushella clenched her fist excitedly as if she had suddenly thought of a great idea.
Yeah, it does save a lot of effort.
But there's nothing good about that.
"Say, Rushella-san...... What you said is not wrong...... But you realize... You're going to sleep with me?"
She finally realized only after Hisui's reminder.
Her face gradually turned red. Then with her long and beautiful leg, she kicked Hisui directly off the bed.
"Y-Y-Y-Y-You lowly bastard, how dare you share a bed with me...... Know your proper place!!"
"You're the one who entered my bed, okay......!!"
Having landed head first on the floor, Hisui angrily glared at Rushella.
But he had zero hope of victory.
Furthermore, it was currently night time.
After calmly assessing the battle situation, Hisui decided on a tactical retreat and left the room.
"Hey, hold it right there, where are you going!?"
"Going anywhere is my freedom, right? I'm not picky about where I sleep. I'm fine with spending a night on the living room sofa."
"W-W-Wait up, don't be in such a hurry!! Sharing a bed is no good... But umm, I can take the bed while you sleep on the floor!"
"As if anyone wants to sleep on the floor! Go ahead if you want to sleep in this bed. But then again, that bed there... Faces the television."
Only after Hisui pointed with his index finger did Rushella discover the television's existence.
This personal, mini LCD television was positioned at just the right height and distance to be viewed comfortably from the bed.
Obviously, there was nothing on the screen right now, but back in the movie, the television would turn on suddenly all by itself, and from the screen came...
"S-Shut up! Move this thing away from me! Why is it in the room!?"
"Hey, I haven't even questioned your being in the room. Oh well, if that thing really crawls out from the television, do your best to handle it. Don't worry, you can win!"
Hisui cheered enthusiastically for her and prepared to leave the room. But Rushella jumped from the bed and grabbed him.
Then hugging Hisui from behind, she immobilized him.
"What the heck are you doing...? Hurry and let me sleep, okay?"
"Not allowed. As long as a single sliver of crimson light remains in my eyes, I shall never let you have your way!"
"What is this? What the heck do you actually want me to do?"
"Oooh... Umm... Ah yes, we still haven't finished watching all the Dee-Wee-Dee's we rented! Come and watch! Let's try a change of flavor. Come watch, come watch!!"
"The rental period is a week, there's plenty of time left... Or maybe you can watch it alone......"
"What does it matter!? Hurry and accompany me!!"
...In the end, she dragged Hisui to the living room and forced him to watch movies with her.
After they placed another DVD into the player, the screen began to play.
At the end—the living room reverberated with a scream again.
Rushella wrapped herself tightly around Hisui, causing him to sigh deeply.
"B-Because...... What on earth was that thing? The horrifying woman, all covered in blood, appearing in the big scary house, and then there was even that pale little child, what are they!?"
"Uh...... Isn't that Kayako-san and Toshio-kun? Say, isn't this another horror film!? Didn't you want a change of flavor? Why did you switch to something even more scary!?"
"B-Because I never expected it to be the same genre......"
"...Come on, you should have looked at the packaging beforehand at least."
"On further thought, isn't that house quite similar to this one... Could there be ghosts here as well!? Does this home have those things too!?"
"Don't say something so rude. Even if my home counts as a western house, it's completely different in style. And it has a vampire instead of ghosts. Or rather, it has you in it. I really cannot keep you company any further. My head feels really heavy, and I'm getting crazy chills too......"
Hisui took out the DVD from the player and returned it to its box.
Shutting off the television, he thought he could finally head off to bed, only to hear Rushella scream again.
"...What is it this time?"
"I-In the television! There was a figure in the television just now!!"
With a skeptical expression, Hisui turned to look at the switched-off television.
The television gave off a tiny spark for an instant, as if someone had switched it on.
But nothing showed on the screen and it went dark as it was supposed to.
"Is it broken...? This television shouldn't be that much of an antique."
Confirming again, Hisui stared at the television for a long time but there were no changes.
Although the reflection was not as clear as a mirror, Hisui could see his own face on the screen.
"There really was something! A silhouette of a long-haired girl!!"
"Say, did you watch too many movies?"
Rushella approached the screen as well to examine closely.
Just as in legends, vampires did not have reflections in mirrors. There was no sign of Rushella on the screen.
Water, windows, walls—no reflective surface was capable of producing an image of a vampire.
"If anything, I find your lack of a reflection on this surface even more scary. There's no figure here, right?"
"There really was one just now......"
Rushella pouted, displeased.
Just as Hisui shrugged skeptically, the floorboards creaked.
Creak, creak... They clearly heard sounds of someone walking across the floor.
"W-What is this noise!? Could there be... Someone here!?"
"How could there be anyone? After all, the house is quite old... Probably something's too old and need repairs."
Rushella asked half-believingly. A great noise suddenly came from the kitchen.
"Probably some plates fell on the floor. Isn't it all because you're making a loud commotion here? Judging from the noise, nothing probably broke. I'll go check it out."
"W-Wait up. Don't leave me!"
Rushella hugged Hisui tightly, pressing him down on the sofa.
Then in order to seal all avenues of escape, she secured his hands firmly behind his back, immobilizing Hisui's body.
"What the heck are you doing? It hurts a lot, I can't move......"
"I have a bad feeling...... Something in this house, there must be something!"
"...Are you a paranormal expert from some sort of occult show? It's just a noise and some plates falling, right? If watching horror movies causes supernatural events, then wouldn't all of Japan be in a total mess?"
"It is completely unrelated. I am simply saying I sensed something bad. I-In any case... Don't even think of leaving me alone tonight......"
Saying that, Rushella curled up and pressed herself even tighter against Hisui.
It looked like she really sensed a presence that Hisui could not feel. But undeniably, it was partially influenced by the movies.
"...I thought you forbade sharing the same bed?"
"I-I can grant special privileges too! So long as you don't get any strange ideas. Just stay there obediently and don't move!"
"What the heck. You're treating me as a body pillow now!?"
Unfortunately, vampires were exceptionally strong at night. Hisui could not escape even if he wanted to.
Just as Hisui pondered on how to handle being pressed beneath her weight... He spontaneously heard steady breathing noises.
Looking down, he found the vampire using his chest as her pillow, having drifted peacefully off to the land of dreams.
Her powerful grip restraining him had probably relaxed, so breaking free should be rather easy... But Hisui abandoned the notion.
Were he to accidentally wake her up, he would be bringing doom upon himself... More importantly, her sleeping face was far too charming.
There was no longer any trace of her noisy fussing and arrogance. Embracing Hisui, the girl was breathing peacefully.
She seemed to be finding this body pillow very comfortable, for her face was filled with delight and reassurance.
"......This is totally cheating."
Hisui protested lightly. Then he dutifully acted the part of his master's body pillow.
Several hours later—
Or rather, when morning came.
Hisui felt a sharp pain on his neck as usual, causing him to jump up.
Or rather, before he could actually get up, a supple body weighed him down.
With the fear from last night having disappeared from her heart, Rushella's face was radiant as she bit his neck, sucking his blood away.
"Damn it, is this how you repay me for letting you rest against me!? My head hurts enough already...!"
"What does it matter anyway!? By the way, drinking blood as soon as I open my eyes in the morning turns out to be really great. How about we sleep together from now on!?"
"Uh, that, let's not...... Hey, hurry up and stop it! Don't drink anymore!!"
"(You're being noisy, so shut up!)"
Hence, Rushella continued to enjoy her blood drinking time.
With the sharp pain on his neck as his daily alarm clock, thus Kujou Hisui's Sunday began.
"...And so, the ghost farce persists to this week?"
"...Yeah. The symptoms aren't really visible during the daytime, but all hell breaks loose at night."
After school on Monday, Hisui was killing time in the "club classroom" again.
Mei was sitting by his side, listening to him recount Rushella's ghost farce that started with the horror movies.
"A vampire being scared of horror movies and fearful of ghosts, come on...... Are you really a 'True Ancestor'?"
"Shut up, it's completely the fault of the humans who make these things! It's even more terrifying than real ghosts and supernatural creatures! And those 'nukular weapon' they talk about on television, why do humans create these terrifying things that could destroy themselves!?"
Occupying Hisui's other side, Rushella cried out angrily.
Eruru and Kirika had not arrived yet so the trio were the only ones in the room.
"I'd never expect you to bring up such a serious topic. I guess I count as a product of humans' endless desire, so I'm not really in a position to comment. But what's up with ghosts?"
"It's not a farce, okay? It really exists! Just look at Hisui's appearance and you'll see!"
Rushella pointed at Hisui.
Indeed, he currently did look a little off.
With dark circles under his eyes, his face was also quite haggard.
"You do look a bit ill... Did you catch a cold or get heat stroke?"
"No, I don't have either... No fever, but just feeling chills. No appetite but I don't feel nauseous either... In any case, I just feel lethargic and cold."
"Isn't this simply because you sucked his blood? You must have accidentally drained too much, causing him anemia, it must be that, right?"
Mei asked in accusatory tones.
She already disapproved of Rushella. Seeing her beloved's health threatened, she put on a very strict expression.
"...I haven't drank since Sunday morning. And it was the usual amount... Besides, if the reason lies in blood loss, this condition would have happened before, right?"
"...Yeah. I also don't think it's Rushella's fault. But I don't think it's related to ghosts either."
"Like I said, there really is one! When the class rep looked at Hisui, didn't she go pale in the face and started praying with her cross!? It made me so uncomfortable!!"
"Then why don't you simply perform last rites to help the ghost pass on? Or better yet, let's just drive a wooden stake into that damn enormous bosom of yours?"
"You're being noisy, shut up! You count as a supernatural creature, right? Don't tell me you feel nothing at all!?"
"Sigh, haven't we gone over this already? If anything, I'm closer to the scientific side... Supernatural senses or whatever, totally zero. 'A woman's intuition' is hard enough to come by already, I'm not going to be greedy for some so-called sixth sense."
"...So foolish of me, to think I'd place my hopes in you."
"What? Oh, however... I probably do feel something. Hey, Hi-kun, let me have a good look at your face."
"Don't go giving him a surprise kiss, okay?"
"...Of course not. Hurry and let me have a look at your face from the side."
Baffled, Hisui turned his head to show Mei his profile.
Mei leaned over and Hisui did not take precautions. After all, with his profile towards her, even if she kissed... It would simply be a kiss on the cheek.
Then Mei came even closer.
Her breath against his ear felt rather ticklish.
And... It really was way too close.
By the time Hisui realized something was off, it was too late.
A sweet, wet sensation unexpectedly attacked his earlobe.
Before he could resist, Mei's lips, teeth and tongue had already captured Hisui firmly.
It felt like only an instant—that seemed to persist for several minutes.
As soon as Mei's moistness left Hisui's earlobe, he collapsed silently.
"W-What's with you, Hisui?"
Rushella hastily rushed over.
With Hisui's head in the way just now, she did not see what Mei was doing.
But Hisui's dazed expression alerted her to the truth.
"My earlobe was being sucked...... Then bitten as well...... Also licked..."
"Pull yourself together! What kind of delusional nonsense are you talking about!?"
"I was being teased, toyed with, made wet, then a tongue was inserted there... And..."
"Hurry up and pull yourself together! Stay rational!"
"Don't look at me... Don't look at my filthy self......"
Hisui whispered softly.
Despite his words, his face displayed a hint of delight.
"No one will marry me anymore... My ear, it's reached adulthood... Climbed all the way to the fifth level......"
Hisui muttered nonstop, then fell over on the spot.
A face full of bliss.
"Bitch, what on earth did you do to him!? And he was already so weak to begin with...!!"
"Oh dear, I pitied him for always being a certain someone's drink and chewtoy, so I bit him lightly and gently. Now you see the power of the 'Sweet Bite of Seduction' performed by combining the perfect lovedoll with Sudou Mei-sama's forty eight functions of pleasure? My tongue is even more nimble than the comedian Okada's, you know?"
Rushella could not find any words to retort, especially after seeing Hisui still lost in ecstasy.
He was clearly enjoying it more than having his blood sucked by a vampire.
"If you can't accept this then how about you try biting Hi-kun's earlobe? If you don't even know how to bite lightly, then you're worse than cats and dogs, right!?"
Taunted by Mei, Rushella approached Hisui's ear.
His dripping wet ear was still red when Rushella's crimson lips made contact.
Then with a flash, pristine white fangs appeared.
Steeling her determination, Rushella opened her mouth.
Holding his ear, Hisui jumped straight up.
"What are you doing so suddenly!? Mercilessly biting me in a sensitive spot... I've never had ear piercings before and here you go making a hole in my ear directly!"
"I'm so glad... You're back to your senses, right!?"
"What kind of shock therapy is this!? It's like having one's ear picked and then suddenly splashed with cold water on the face. Totally kills the aftertaste. How terrible can you get!?"
"Arara, was my sweet bite really that pleasurable?"
Mei licked her lips seductively, causing Hisui to shyly scratch his head.
"Why are you making such a shameless expression!? As my servant, show some dignity!!"
Saying that, Rushella prepared to unleash her fists.
As the daily beating performance was just about to begin, the classroom's door opened.
Eruru and Kirika entered.
Seeing the state of the classroom, they both frowned. Eruru was the first to voice her disapproval.
"You people are so noisy. Another argument huh... What is this!?"
"We could hear your voices from the corridor. Don't forget this is an unofficial club, can't you pay more attention...!?"
As soon as they stepped into the classroom, Eruru and Kirika instantly looked nervous.
Then Eruru took out her favorite sacred gun "Argentum" while Kirika brought out a potion bottle with a skull sign from her breast pocket.
"Hey... What are you two doing so suddenly!?"
"Why are Eru-chan and Senpai filled with murderous intent!?"
"What are you two intending to do!?"
Ignoring their doubts, the two girls remained armed.
Eruru and Kirika cautiously approached Hisui's group then pointed their weapons as they spoke.
"Haven't any of you noticed...?"
Eruru asked with her gun barrel directed at Hisui.
Her eyes were not joking.
The way she looked, she really would pull the trigger if necessary.
"Hey, calm down... This is a school, don't do anything crazy!"
Hisui raised his arms to surrender, indicating he had neither weapons nor hostility, but Eruru did not lower her guard.
"...Looks like you people really can't see it. Kariya-san, may I handle this?"
Kirika sighed and stepped forward.
Still holding the gun, Eruru nodded. Her eyes were still locked on Hisui.
"Senpai, why is your expression so scary......"
"It's okay, just wait and stay still."
Kirika took out another bottle and splashed its liquid contents on Hisui, Rushella and Mei's heads.
The transparent liquid turned into mist, spreading into the surroundings, causing their vision to blur.
"You witch, what was that for!?"
Kirika ignored Rushella's protest and began to softly chant some sort of language with a mysterious expression.
Hisui and Rushella could tell that the sentences were composed of Latin and Old English, but the meaning and grammar were completely lost on them.
It was likely a language unique to witches, directed towards otherworldly existences—in other words, a so-called "incantation."
Catalysts, incantations, combined with Kirika's magical powers, it formed a simple "ritual."
Although the act was quick and concise, it produced a pronounced effect on the surroundings.
"Why do I feel a bit cold...?"
Apart from Hisui who had been feeling cold for the past few days, even Mei was hugging herself and shivering.
It felt like a sudden drop in temperature—so sudden that even the air next to their skin felt slightly warm.
"Senpai, what on earth did you do to us......"
—Can you hear me......?
" " "......!?" " "
Hisui, Rushella and Mei looked at each other with surprise.
A girl was whispering softly in their ears.
But the voice did not come from anyone present.
"Someone is... here?"
Hisui voiced the question the trio held as he surveyed the surroundings.
Naturally, there was no one else around.
Only Eruru and Kirika standing on the side mysteriously.
The pair sighed and pointed at Hisui's chest.
"You still haven't noticed?"
?—The trio all turned their gaze at Hisui's chest.
And were shocked.
Because there was another head growing out of his chest.
Striking, long, black hair with the bangs cut uniformly. The hair dangling in front blocked her gaze, shrouding her expression—but this was a girl's head, with extremely pale complexion.
Her skin—really was too white.
It gave a sense of transparency, actually this was not a metaphor—Because she really was half-transparent.
One could see the floorboards through her. The outline of her face also quivered unsteadily.
The head smiled at the trio whose faces had turned pale.
"Finally, you can see me."
" " "Yaaaaaah—!!" " "
The trio screamed loudly all at once, falling from their chairs.
Instead of getting up, they backed off while remaining sitting on the ground.
The head also fell out naturally from Hisui's chest.
Or rather than fall, it passed through.
Passing through Hisui, she remained curled up in the same spot in contrast to Hisui who was retreating as quickly as he could.
"W-What is that thing!?"
Rushella hugged Hisui's arm as she pointed to the object.
Because Hisui had backed off, the full appearance was now visible.
Rather than just a single head... It was clearly a girl's body.
A slender body dressed in a sailor style school uniform that was slightly out of fashion. It looked so intangible because it really was half transparent... Her outline blended with the surrounding environment.
"...Could that really be?"
Hisui asked with a stiff expression and Eruru nodded.
"Indeed, this is what is known as a ghost."
Hisui exclaimed reflexively, his face all pale. Only then did he notice the girl's movements.
She was coming towards him... Crawling on all fours.
Step by step...... Reaching out with her slender arms, she approached.
"H-Hey Sudou, hurry up and think of something!"
"U-Umm, I am on the side of science, I can't do anything about something immune to physical attacks... You hurry and think of something!"
"I-I'm no good against this sort of thing either! I don't even know if the magic eyes work or not...!!"
The two supernatural entities were completely useless.
As they pushed responsibility onto each other, the girl had already crawled to Hisui's feet as he sat collapsed on the floor.
"H-Hey wait... Don't get worked up, don't bring your curse over here!"
Instead of answering, the girl slowly pressed her face near.
The trio remained rooted to the spot.
As the girl approached, her face gradually entered their view clearly.
Beneath those bangs, the face—
Hisui was surprised. Rushella and Mei also looked at each other.
He cautiously approached the girl's face, inhaled—and sighed:
Instantly, the vampire and the artificial human's iron fists pummeled him from left and right in a pincer attack.
"Ouch, what are you two doing!?"
"Shut up, to think you'd lust after a ghost!?"
"That's right, leaving me alone, running off to shack up with a ghost huh!?"
"I'm just expressing my sincere impression! And in actual fact, it is much better than you two deadly hazards!!"
"What did you say!? I simply suck a bit of blood and order you around arbitrarily!!"
"All I want is to have a baby to build a happy family, that's all!!"
"Isn't that enough? You girls are already way worse than typical family violence!!"
The trio instantly began a war of words.
Seeing them about to start a protracted engagement, the girl raised her hand weakly.
"Excuse me...... Are you all ready to listen to me?"
" " "Ah——!?" " "
Glaring at the interloper, the trio's eyes looked like that of gangsters or ruffians.
The girl shrank back in fright.
Even though she was clearly a ghost.
Fiddling with her fingers, unsure of what to do, she cast a pleading look for help towards the duo behind her.
Eruru and Kirika nodded with an expression of deep understanding. Then Eruru was the first to take action.
"Can you control yourselves? Her situation must be quite difficult."
" " "Ah——!?" " "
Without saying another word, Eruru stuffed the barrel of the sacred gun "Argentum" into Hisui's mouth.
"Very well. So, Miss Ghost...... Would you like to start?"
Despite Eruru's assistance, the girl seemed shocked instead.
—Several minutes later, the girl was standing before the blackboard like a transfer student in front of Hisui and the group, her head bowed down lightly.
"Umm... Let's start with a greeting, nice to meet you all for the first time, my name is Fuwa Touko. Uh, my hobby is reading back when I was alive, skills... I guess it'd be literary activities. Recently... I mean after I died...... I've taken an interest in observing humans... Or rather, I can't do anything apart from that... Skills... Hmm... Does causing supernatural phenomenon count? Well, because I can't touch objects directly, I have to move them with my thoughts..."
"Let me interrupt here, why is this self-introduction so dark!? Ah, come to think of it... You possessed me earlier!?"
"Hmm, I didn't plan on possessing you, I just followed you, right? I called you many times but you didn't seem to hear. Then I tried to make you notice, so I made noises and moved objects in your surroundings......"
"So it really was your doing......! Trying to scare us... But why couldn't we see you until now?"
Rushella began to ponder.
Kirika sighed and explained for her.
"The ability to see ghosts and sense their existence totally varies from person to person. Even people who are described as having strong spiritual senses do not necessarily detect all kinds of souls. This is related to a complicated interplay of wavelength, compatibility and time spent together, hence one cannot assert the same for all cases. Having undergone a certain type of training, Kariya-san and I can see ghosts with a bit of concentration. The way I see it, the fact that you fail to see ghosts despite being a vampire is quite surprising, yes?"
"...So annoying, shut up. I simply failed to see with my eyes, that's all! But I sensed it from the start! And now it's because of your spell that I can see it?"
"Yes. For an analogy, it's like I adjusted the antenna to receive electromagnetic waves? Like a bike without training wheels, once you start seeing her, this Touko-san here will not disappear from your sight anymore. By the way... Why did you choose to possess Kujou-kun?"
Touko herself did not know the answer to this basic question.
"You ask why? ...But actually he's the one who approached me... And he even came to my side."
"...Could you be referring to...... That coffin?"
"Wait a minute, what coffin is this?"
Rushella interrogated Hisui in surprise.
"You mean on Saturday? The vampire coffin dredged up from the sea?"
Mei carelessly disclosed a secret.
"Ah, it's the one that greatly resembles Draculea-san's coffin. So what happened afterwards?"
Kirika inquired Eruru out of sheer curiosity.
"...What is this about? Great, you're hiding something from me again!?"
Rushella grabbed Hisui and questioned.
"This... Uh, that..."
Hisui looked towards Eruru for help but she did not even glance at him, typing away on her notebook computer, declaring indifferently:
"I reminded you earlier to explain things beforehand. You brought this on yourself."
"...Since she said so already, then give me a proper explanation, okay...?"
After listening to Hisui's explanation, Rushella looked at Touko again.
"...Then this means you were residing in the coffin all this time?"
She asked the ghost. Also, Hisui's fate of being beaten up after the inquisition needed no mentioning.
"Yes... I've always been... Together with the coffin. Although I can't recall the memories during the time at the bottom of the sea... But I feel...... Like I've always been together with it."
Touko searched her memories as she murmured.
Like her semi-transparent body, her tone of voice was quite vague and intangible.
"...Then you left the coffin and followed Hi-kun. Isn't this the case of... Going to a paranormal site, and getting possessed by a spirit...... So-called compatible wavelengths?"
Mei commented casually.
Touko nodded and recalled her first encounter with Hisui—although Hisui was completely unaware at the time.
"I feel like... That must be the case. I saw him approach the coffin and felt that he might possibly discover me. But he ended up not noticing..."
Touko looked wistfully at Hisui.
Although it was an adorably shy look, her gaze was a bit penetrating.
After all, she was capable of causing paranormal phenomenon, which could very well be a cursed power.
"...So, could you stop staring at me? I feel like, umm, it's a bit scary... In fact, I've been feeling quite unwell, getting chills all over......"
"The key is willpower and getting used to it. It'll get better with time. If she was malevolent, you could be possessed, cursed and killed in a worst case scenario."
"...Senpai, that doesn't count as comforting. Uh, so, Touko-san?"
"Calling me Touko is fine......"
"Umm, Touko-san...... Why were you together with the coffin? That is undoubtedly a vampire's coffin. But you... Resided in it. Why is that? Also, what did you want to tell me?"
Touko did not answer.
Even though she had possessed Hisui for this purpose, she still did not answer.
The ghost lightly lifted the hair on her right side and pushed it behind her ear.
Then leaning over, she displayed her neck to everyone.
Hisui could not help but stand up. The others stared with their eyes wide.
On her semi-transparent, intangible neck—there was a wound.
Pierced by two holes.
Clearly it was a bite mark.
Proof of a vampire's "kiss."
The ugly wound caused Hisui to narrow his eyes and ask softly.
"You... Were bitten by?"
"This is probably... My cause of death. I was bitten by a vampire and died. It must be the coffin's owner, furthermore... He still exists in this world."
"In other words, he has not been destroyed huh......"
"I don't know......"
"He was in the coffin back then. Supposed to be... Locked inside. He could not have escaped from the ocean. However, by the time I regained consciousness, the coffin was empty, just as you all saw with your own eyes."
"...Indeed. So what you wanted to tell me... was this matter? You want me to exterminate the vampire who bit you, to avenge you?"
"I already... Don't care anymore. After all, I'm already dead."
"I do hate that vampire very much, but revenge would be meaningless. On the other hand, if he is left alone, there will be more victims. So please, stop him......!"
Her voice was filled with sorrow.
Having lost her body, the girl was unable to cause vibrations in the air. Instead, her voice entered the listener's mind directly.
Even having lost her life, in order to prevent new tragedies from happening, she slumbered at the bottom of the sea together with the coffin.
Then what should the living do within their capability?
Hisui spoke and ended the heavy silence.
"Why... choose me? Perhaps if the wavelengths are incompatible, you can't communicate these words, but aren't those people around the coffin from the Supernatural Investigations Section a better choice? Given enough time, people should begin to notice you. Like Kariya here right now."
"Perhaps... You are right. Those people around the coffin, I could sense they are experts from their aura. However, as soon as I saw you... I felt it."
"I would be fine following this person... That's the kind of feeling I got."
"...I'm sorry but that doesn't make me happy at all. By 'following this person,' you actually mean possessing me, right?"
"Don't look at me like that..."
Touko blushed and turned her gaze away.
Seeing her act like that, the girl faction began to cast gazes of derision at Hisui.
"You playboy! Womanizing everywhere, you're planning to cast me aside again!?"
"If you're going to shack up with a ghost, then having a baby with an artificial human is not a problem, right?"
"Going after anything and anyone, driven by your lustful hunger, this is surely a sore sight. What are you planning to do with someone dead?"
"...I didn't know Kujou-kun was this kind of person......"
Despite being separate factions normally, the four girls acted with surprising unity during times like these.
Hisui already had no chance of winning against any single one of them, let alone all four united.
"No no, this is very strange, okay!? I'm the victim here! I was the one being possessed!"
"You don't... want me?"
Touko fiddled with her fingers as she looked up at Hisui.
She really was adorable.
"Ah, I think with your bangs covering your face, you really capture the Sadako feel! Isn't begging the beginning signs of an evil spirit!?"
"I originally wondered if you would discover me earlier if I used spiritual powers to insert myself into a movie. But you only have DVDs in your home so I couldn't do anything about that. When I was alive, there were only VHS tapes, I don't understand these DVD things."
"Say, please don't make cursed DVDs appear for real in this world. Otherwise we'd need to have an exorcism. By the way... Is this fine for you? There's a vampire here, a kin of the one who killed you..."
"But this boy here is my servant, you know?"
Rushella pointed proudly at Hisui.
Despite Hisui's displeasure, he knew his objections would be met with retribution ten fold, so he gave up.
Furthermore, the current issue needed to be discussed clearly first.
The girl was killed by a vampire and still searching for that vampire after her death. How would she view other vampires and their servants?
"Oh right... I was quite surprised to begin with, for I never expected the person I possessed to have a vampire in his house."
"Excuse me, could you please stop using the term 'possessed'? It sounds really scary."
"But then... It doesn't matter. The person I possessed is a vampire's servant. That's all."
"Say, could you please stop that? Can you stop talking like this is some kind of pure story of love!? If anything, it's more like a stalker?"
"Also... Despite having his blood sucked over a long period, he shows no signs of turning into a vampire at all. Unlike me, he doesn't have a wound on his neck. During the period of possession, I seemed to have heard a term called 'constitution'......"
"Now you're using the term 'period of possession' directly. Oh well, that is the type of constitution I have. And Rushella... How should I put it? She's a bit different from the vampire you encountered, she doesn't go attacking people randomly."
"...Seems like it. Different from the vampire I am searching for. So... If you can assist me, I would be really grateful. Please help me!"
Hearing the girl's pleas again, Eruru spoke up solemnly while she continued to face the computer screen.
"Fuwa Touko... I have found this name in the school's register ten years ago. Gone missing as a first year student—in light of the incident back then with many girls gone missing, people suspected a criminal was responsible, and the police mobilized a lot of manpower... But to no avail."
"I remember this uniform she is wearing. There are records in the student council office and it looks just like our school's old uniform. Although you were younger than me back then, I think I should call you Senpai now."
Kirika murmured with a complicated expression.
"I have also seen your name before, Senpai. On the back page of that little booklet earlier. The Occult Research Club's booklet—your name was written on the back page."
Hisui and Rushella turned to look at each with surprise.
The unofficial hobby group that once existed in this school—the Occult Research Club.
Back then, the students in the hobby group were fascinated with the study of "witches." Getting caught up in it, Hisui almost died and Rushella suffered much.
After the incident came to a close, there were still many unsolved mysteries regarding the Occult Research Club.
The people involved were no longer at the school, while the lowest ranked member—Hisui's homeroom teacher—did not understand the details of the situation back then.
"Touko-san... Were you really a member of the Occult Research Club?"
"—Yes. Back then, we... Must have gone too far. In the beginning, we were just playing with little spells and fortune telling because it was fun. But then... It became serious after that. There was a child who understood these things very well back then. If only it had stayed that way."
Touko lowered her gaze with a lonely feeling.
The remnants of her youth were, at the same time, tragic memories.
"Before we knew it, we had lost all sense of fear. Forgotten the nature of non-human beings. We did not fear the supernatural. Which was why when he showed up, we approached him unwarily. Then... I became like this."
Touko laughed and pointed at her semi-transparent body.
Naturally, no one else could laugh.
"You really should laugh here... I feel worse if you guys make that kind of face."
"...N-No, I can't laugh. Alone at the bottom of the ocean... Ten years gone by in a flash? And still trying hard for the sake of others? How could I possibly laugh at someone like that?"
Hearing Hisui's serious words, Touko remained smiling.
Everyone present knew that her current smile did not come from the heart.
"Hmm, it seems like the story is pretty much done, so let me, the club president, make a decision."
Rushella crossed her arms and stepped forward magnificently.
Touko seemed to react to her use of the term 'club president.'
"Club president... Eh, everyone is gathered here for club activities? Are you actually making an occult research club as well? I think it's better if you give up... I don't want to see others ending up like me."
"No! This club is for searching for my memories and raising my quality of life. We are called the 'Supernatural Investigations Club'!"
"Anyway, you'd better reconsider the club's name first."
Ignoring Hisui's snide comment, Rushella stared at the horrible wound on Touko's neck.
"What a messy wound. One could tell from its shape how lowly that guy was. Treating prey carefully, to politely add to my race or to bestow eternal slumber of peace—that is the proper etiquette of my race. This guy not only gave up after drinking halfway but even went as far to leave such an ugly wound after death. What a complete disgrace! As a 'True Ancestor,' I must restore the honor of my race!"
"...You mean you're willing to help me?"
"Indeed! For the most part, it'll be Hisui and those other insignificant club members who'll be working their hardest for your sake!"
" " " "You're participating as well!" " " "
Ignoring the retorts of the entire club, Rushella extended her hand towards Touko.
"Humans apparently do this often."
"...That's right. Well then, thank you everyone."
Touko smiled lightly and reached out... But could not grasp Rushella's hand.
Because she passed right through.
Amidst the awkward atmosphere, only Rushella remained smiling cluelessly.
"Leave everything to me! I will surely help you catch that vampire!"
Translator's Notes and References
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