Silver Cross and Draculea:Volume05 Chapter1
Chapter 1 - Crimson Return
"Sorry, I apologize to you for getting carried away..."
Hisui was kneeling formally in seiza on the cold floor.
Not only was his face beaten and bruised... But his entire body was stripped naked apart from a pair of shorts.
He was supposed to be used to getting tormented by girls, but this time was really quite a predicament.
On the other hand, the culprit who had used brute force was lying on the sofa, gracefully savoring the barley tea that Hisui had brewed.
"Seriously, have you forgotten how you ought to be speaking towards me? With such a weak body still, I can't believe what gave you the courage to go against me."
She sighed and exclaimed in a tone of disbelief then ignored Hisui and turned back to watching the drama rerun on television.
Operating the remote control with experienced ease, she really acted as casually as though she was in her own home.
Hisui silently endured this series of undeserved treatment while pondering the situation.
Trying to act cool in a rare moment and even making a cool ultimatum... He ended up defeated in an instant.
First a finger flick to his head made him dizzy, then a punch to the gut and a kick arrived without him being able to put up any resistance. Finally, he was stripped of his clothing.
This level of treatment was totally on a different dimension.
Nevertheless, this was precisely the kind of daily life he used to share with Miraluka.
That's right... Hisui recalled it.
She was more seductive than Mei, more merciless than Eruru, more intelligent and sharp than Kirika, more elusive than Touko, more agile and faster than Rangetsu.
Furthermore, she was even more tyrannical and unreasonable than Rushella.
This was precisely the kind of woman he used to live with.
"...I just want to ask, where the heck did you come from? I know I can't beat you and it's also clear that you have vampire-level abilities."
In any case, using force was hopeless. Hisui asked with a strained face.
Eyes glued to the television, the woman replied nonchalantly.
"I am Miraluka. You can't even recognize the one who raised you? What an ingrate."
"Like I said! That woman died already! Stop bringing that up again and again, it's very hurtful..."
Recalling Miraluka's last moments, Hisui felt as though knives were stabbing into his heart.
The scene from that day was the only thing that he could not numb himself against, let alone forget.
"Vampires may have eternal life and youth indeed, but they are not indestructible. That's what she taught me. Although True Ancestors have especially powerful vitality, they also possess all the weaknesses of common vampires precisely because they are the progenitors of vampires. In particular, they fear sunlight and crosses. This is an unshakable rule that no True Ancestor can escape. Back then, Miraluka's light-blocking agent passed its time limit. And there was no time to reapply it. Because she was occupied with performing chest compressions on me."
"That's why she was under direct sunlight and went beyond her limit. Her body turned into ash and scattered away. In such conditions, how could she possibly die and resurrect?"
It was a memory that Hisui had no wish of recalling.
Yet recalling it precisely now, all he could feel was endless despair in his heart.
Under those conditions, a vampire could not possibly survive.
"Hmm... Well, it's not illogical for you to think this way."
"What do you mean, for me to think this way? That's the reality that I saw with my own eyes. What now, are you saying you have reasons that can convince me otherwise?"
Hearing his challenging tone of voice, the woman turned her gaze away from the television finally.
"It's a long story."
"Hurry and tell me. I will listen to all of it patiently."
"In actual fact, I lived. Done."
Summarizing in mere seconds, she turned back to the television again.
"...Hey, that's too brief! I knew it, you're just toying with me...!?"
Hisui stood up, clenching his weak and powerless fist, howling.
Then an ice-cold voice instantly smacked him.
"Who permitted you to stand up...? Looks like you need to be re-educated anew...?"
Hisui reflexively straightened his back and sat back down in formal seiza posture.
His body moved on its own.
Instead of a vampire's mystic eyes, this was rooted in a command that applied to all humans.
A son's inability to oppose the mother.
This command was apparently etched in their genes, rendering Hisui's own will powerless, causing his body to react first autonomously.
Hisui understood vaguely.
That Miraluka, her beauty was something that no magic, no matter how high level, could recreate.
It was said that numerous artists had begged her to serve as their model, but this sublime and unattainable beauty meant that she was a woman who ruined the careers of many artists.
They all ended up breaking their paintbrushes or self-mutilating with their chisels.
Miraluka had apparently bragged about this once when she was drunk. To be honest, it didn't sound like lying at all.
But in that case, then this woman, who looked identical to Miraluka--
"...Would you kindly explain more concretely, Onee-sama?"
Hisui compromised and spoke with a stiff face and cautious tones.
In any case, acting more humble was the only way to make progress right now.
"Looks like you finally remembered how you're supposed to speak. Hurry up and put your clothes on. How much longer are you going to force me to look upon that skinny and weak body of yours?"
"You're the one who stripped me first, okay..."
"What did you say?"
Hisui turned to the side and put on his clothes. Then sitting on a cushion by the low table, he rested his chin against his hands, intending to listen to a story.
The speaker finally switched off the television and turned towards him.
"So... What on earth happened?"
"Because I am a True Ancestor."
"No, I know that already..."
"Those known as True Ancestors each possess unique powers. Do you still remember?"
Ever since early childhood, Hisui had learned a lot of knowledge about vampires through various tidbits from chats and conversations.
Although legends about vampires varied greatly, they all had the common feature of turning into vampires the people whom they sucked blood from, or using the mystic eyes. Vampires also had various individual powers unique to them.
For example, turning their body into mist, sharing certain senses with animals like bats, making their tangible body vanish and all sorts of transformations--These abilities were not shared by all vampires.
These special abilities were only passed down from parents to children and from masters to servants.
In other words, the presence of such powers depended on the progenitor of their vampire bloodline--The True Ancestor.
"These kinds of powers are on a fundamentally different level for True Ancestors when compared to descendants or servants. But even True Ancestors cannot possess every special power. And each bloodline can only have one ability... Isn't that right?"
Hisui recalled this theoretical knowledge that was totally useless in ordinary day-to-day life.
Although he did not learn it deliberately, this knowledge was already stuck in his mind from regular immersion and contact.
"Precisely. In actual fact, I definitely cannot turn into mist, nor undergo transformations. In that case, let me ask you, what is my special power?"
"How would I know? I've never heard you mention it despite how long we've lived together."
"Indeed, after all, in the past, I didn't know either."
"I didn't know until that particular instant. That particular instant when destruction was imminent."
Hisui was dumbfounded.
The instant Miraluka was referring to was surely the time when her body collapsed and turned into ash and dust.
How had she escaped that unavoidable fate of destruction?
"Then what's your special ability...?"
"Expressed in words, it's simple. Ultimate regeneration."
"All vampires have regeneration, right!? Even for True Ancestors, they just have higher level compared to other vampires. But even so, it can't possibly overcome weaknesses... It can't overcome sunlight, right?"
"Indeed. Incinerated by sunlight, even I will be destroyed but I can last a lot longer than those small fries. And it was precisely this resilient body that saved me."
"My body really did collapse and scatter in the wind, but back then, inside my body... the part that could be considered the core was not completely incinerated by sunlight. Oh well, even so, it was just a brief duration. But precisely during that brief fraction of a second, I obtained fresh blood."
This simple word was extremely convincing for Hisui.
To vampires, blood was the source of power.
Even when burnt by sunlight, on the verge of destruction, as long as blood was obtained, resurrection was definitely possible.
"But... your body was almost turned to ash completely and scattered in the wind, right? How did you obtain blood? Did the wind bring you blood?"
"You're half right. It was my loyal servants who brought me blood."
"Birds and insects... Countless beings flying in the sky. They brought me blood. It's a shame that bats are not active during the daytime and did not participate."
She spoke in amusement.
This queen, capable of turning all creation into her servants, her eyes flashed with a crimson glow.
"Mystic eyes...? No, you couldn't have used them under those conditions... Did you tame the creatures beforehand...?"
"It would have been a good idea to prepare them in advance as a precaution against emergencies. In fact, many vampires do use bats as familiars. But I'm a little different from them. I mentioned it just now, this is my power. When on the verge of death, almost losing my sense of self, all existence in the immediate surroundings will automatically turn into my servants to bring me fresh blood. This is a power that's completely useless except when on the verge of death, yet a power existing only to sustain eternal life."
Hisui finally figured it out.
This was not impossible nonsense.
Loyal servants played an important role in the immortality of vampires. Preparing means to replenish fresh blood were necessary for them.
However, life was unpredictable.
The woman right here possessed precisely the ultimate power to maintain eternal life and youth, the power to survive even this type of unpredicatable and abnormal situation.
But it was not omnipotent.
Just as she said, if the messengers bringing blood had been an instant later, she would surely have turned into dust, vanishing into the atmosphere.
Although the word "miracle" felt very wrong to associate with vampires whose lives were cursed, there was no better word to describe what had happened on that day.
"...What you say makes sense. But... why didn't you return immediately?"
Hisui asked unhappily.
Without noticing, his tone of voice sounded like a whining child asking to be spoiled.
"I couldn't help it. After all, my body was already battered and broken. With great difficulty, I finally regenerated my head and torso, but was lying pitifully sprawled on the ground, only able to crawl like a worm. Finally, I managed to crawl to a safe place shaded from sunlight but couldn't move anymore after that. Then I had the animals in the area bring me fresh blood. Luckily, rivers of blood were plentiful in a warzone, but the quality was terrible. The time needed to recover my entire body took an appallingly long time. Were I not a True Ancestor, it would very likely take as much as a hundred years. After I regained free mobility, full recovery took further time. Added to the fact that the two countries were cut off at the time, returning to Japan really took monumental effort. Having lived over two thousand years, I've truly never suffered this much."
She sighed like a human.
Her beautiful face also seemed to darken, clouded by those experiences.
Despite being a True Ancestor, having been burnt to near death by sunlight, a full recovery would have required substantial time and energy accordingly.
"In addition, the regeneration process was really quite a pitiful ordeal. I consider myself someone who has experienced trials and tribulations, but those days were truly unthinkable. Most contemptible of all, vultures even pecked away at me, treating me like a corpse. I never expected something like that would happen to me one day."
"Stop making me lose my appetite right before dinner! Keep those details to yourself!"
"You're the one who asked me. Surviving in that harsh environment and restoring myself anew required suffering pain and spending time accordingly."
Miraluka refuted him nonchalantly. Hisui had no choice but to change his direction of questioning.
"Then... What about recently? Since you survived and came back to town, why didn't you come over to me directly? But... Umm... From the way things looked, the class rep's doppelganger was your doing, right? And when the sports festival ended and you came to find me, couldn't you have explained everything to me directly... then come home together...?"
Although the question was rhetorical, Hisui's tone of voice was weak and did not intend to reprimand.
After all, he had almost no doubts about the woman before his eyes now.
"That time earlier, I simply wanted to see you, that's all. Although I could move about, due to the sunlight's scorching, my skin was heavily scarred and damaged, an embarrassment to show others. That was also why I was wearing clothing that covered my skin completely. I didn't want to see me in that state. However, I am now as you see here."
Showing off, she released the shoulder strap of her camisole to reveal skin as smooth as polished ivory.
"...I don't care about that kind of thing, okay? Besides, it was my fault as well."
"Don't forget that I am a woman, you know? Please do consider my feelings a bit."
She smiled seductively at him.
Even if her body were covered with wounds, surely just by using that beautiful face of hers, she could definitely establish herself in some position of value.
"...What about the class rep? Don't tell me you did it to kill time or else I'm gonna puncture you with the Tzara Blade, okay?"
"Just try if you can."
Seeing Miraluka's haughty manner, Hisui realized he had misspoken.
Yes, definitely no chance of winning.
"...Speaking of which, this is something I wanted to ask you. Back then, although I returned to Japan, I still hadn't decided whether to meet you or not."
"You're already sixteen years old. It's not like you can't live on your own. Besides, I've left you plenty of money. In that case... Not seeing you again would have been fine. I was already destroyed... That would count as a decisive farewell already."
Hisui had felt this vaguely.
In a few more years, he was going to overtake Miraluka's outward appearance in age.
He will grow old gradually while Miraluka remained eternally youthful and beautiful.
This would cause surrounding people to grow suspicious for sure.
Even if they hid from others and stayed indoors, for vampires, there were upper limits to how long they could live in one place.
Even without the sudden goodbye last time, one day, the two of them must part ways eventually.
"...However, in the end I was still worried. Whether you've returned safely to this country, whether you've entered high school... I wanted to know. Then going out of my way to visit you from afar... What the heck? Shacking up with a vampire, getting an artificial human stuck to you, getting beaten up by a dhampir, getting involved with a witch-like girl, finally even a werewolf around you. While I was gone, what on earth have you been doing?"
"...Yeah, what on earth is going on here?"
Having someone pointing it out suddenly, Hisui himself was utterly baffled too.
Although there was a vampire living in this home from a long time ago, hence resulting in his rich knowledge, Hisui almost never had actual contact with supernatural entities.
However, ever since going to high school, his experience suddenly jumped dramatically, far surpassing the level back when he was living with Miraluka.
"And I can't believe you're even getting your blood sucked by a vampire. I know your constitution best. That type of constitution has its limits. Or perhaps... That's your fetish?"
"Of course not!"
Hearing that kind of embarrassing question, Hisui felt that he must deny firmly.
"...Then I decided to protect you secretly and observe the situation first and ended up picking up that strange drug."
"That's the drug for causing doppelgangers earlier, right? You used it on the class rep, right? Why..."
"I wanted to use it on you from the start."
Ignoring the shocked Hisui, Miraluka continued indifferently.
"However... Using a drug I picked up on you directly didn't seem totally appropriate. So I tested it out on a child who happened to pass by."
"You really are bored out of your mind! Come on, could you stop acting so unrestrained, okay...?"
"If any problem arose, I would have handled it immediately myself. Do you really believe that I'm unable to take care of a mere doppelganger?"
"Is that the issue here!?"
"That is the issue. And that girl is always making eyes at you. Also, she is the most normal among all the girls surrounding you. Hence, I was a little curious regarding what her hidden side was like. Although I could use the mystic eyes to interrogate her, but in order to find out her true feelings, it is still best to draw out and separate the hidden component in her heart."
"Gimme a break..."
Hisui scratched his head and recalled the past of this unruly family.
Indeed... That's the kind of person she was to begin with.
Not treating humans as mere food, she was the type of vampire that inspired respect.
Nevertheless, there was a fundamenal difference about her.
A kind of attitude that placed herself superior to humans... Refusing to be compared to them at all.
Ultimately, she and humans were different organisms, wholly incompatible. She neither took the position of overt hostility nor did she have any intention to be friends with humans. Non-aggression, non-involvement, refraining from relationships as much as possible. But when necessary, whether as adversaries or in using them, she had no scruples at all.
This gap arose from a different value system and being different species.
Hisui had almost forgotten.
Living together with Rushella had caused him to almost forget that this was a vampire's true nature.
"Then why did you want to use that kind of drug on me? When clearly you had no idea what kind of doppelganger will be born?"
"I only wanted to know whether your constitution was working normally or not. It would have been fine once I confirmed that your constitution remained even after the doppelganger was born. But constitutions with spiritual powers are apparently inconvenient to test. I never expected that your constitution would be taken by the clone. Looks like there is room for improvement."
Miraluka shook her head in a slightly solemn manner.
Her frowning face looked like that of a mother worried about her child. She was the type of mother who would never spoil their children with excessive love nor allow their children to be in danger, the kind of mother that existed in every common family.
"Don't go turning others into experiments so recklessly! Thanks to you, I almost stopped being human...!"
"That's not my fault, but that of the imposter, isn't it? Speaking of which, without me, you would have stopped being human long ago."
"Uh, well, umm..."
Of course, Hisui had never won an argument against her.
"Although the process was a little convoluted, in the end, you recovered and the imposter has apparently left, and I have finally recovered my state. I only returned because you can't be left alone in this home. Any problems with that?"
"Tons of problems! There's so many things wrong that I don't even know where to start!"
"Then don't say anything. Besides, what right do you have to question me in this or that?"
Miraluka lay down on the sofa and retorted conceitedly.
Although she was not lifting her head high or puffing her chest out in a haughty manner, those crimson eyes were the type that belonged to supreme rulers who looked down on the foolish commoners below.
And the way those eyes looked, she was undoubtedly the family that Hisui had been living all his life together with back in the past.
"By the way, now that I'm finally home, what's with your attitude?"
"This is 90% your fault, okay? Given how we parted ways, how do you expect me to believe you?"
"True... After all, I was reborn from almost turning into dust and ash completely. To be honest, whether I am the same me from the past, whether this is my true self, I would have a tough time answering these questions. Oh Hisui, am I truly fake or authentic?"
"How would I know? Don't ask me to confirm!"
"How should I put this? It feels like those sci-fi novels that humans write where humans are transferred using matter teleportation devices, completely dissociating the body into particles then reconstructing anew. Is the teleported person the same person as before? Although it's the same body, doesn't that count as dying once? The ego residing in the body, is there any continuity with the previous ego? Or perhaps I'm simply a replica that has inherited my memories!?"
"Stop making things so complicated! Don't throw this kind of problem with no answer to a high schooler like me!"
Hearing this highly philosophical topic, Hisui retorted in full strength.
Normally acting like a vaunted queen, Miraluka would also bring up this type of annoying topic on occasion.
After all, having lived for so long, she could easily put on profound airs simply with a bit of acting.
"You told me before, right... That a vampire's destruction means "nothingnesss", without anything left behind. Since your consciousness remained, well... Then it must be your real self. And since there's no dying in the first place, resurrection is out of the question... overcoming huge difficulties, you managed to survive."
Hisui's words were meant to convince himself and comfort Miraluka.
However, he still had not accepted things in his heart and there were many things he still wanted to say.
But the person before his eyes served as evidence for everything.
That's right, she can't possibly be dead.
An immortal True Ancestor... Dying for someone so small and insignificant as him, absolutely impossible.
Hence, Hisui chose to believe.
He was willing to believe.
"Looks like you've reached a conclusion. But Hisui, haven't you forgotten something important?"
Miraluka stared at him silently, causing Hisui to avert his gaze involuntarily.
But her crimson eyes cannot be deceived.
Hence, Hisui gave up resisting and looked at her once more.
Gazing at her face of flawless perfection, with a bit of sulking emotions, with a bit of a tired expression, with a bit of joy on his face... A matter-of-fact greeting escaped his lips.
Miraluka had been waiting a long time for this and she smiled seductively.
Today, Seidou High was having open house where parents were invited to tour and observe classes.
Facing the blackboard, the students seemed more serious than usual.
The homeroom teacher feigned composure while writing on the blackboard, stroke by stroke.
The parents sitting at the back of the classroom could be said to be the real guests of today.
As "legal guardians", the visitors were not limited to mothers.
Fathers from single-parent families, older brothers or sisters or even grandparents visiting.
That said, in Hisui's class, all the observers were female. Judging from their face and appearance, there was probably no question that they were all moms.
With one exception.
She was sitting in the center of the seating area, arms crossed, listening to the lesson seriously.
Even without applying make up, her natural beauty was not something that any mother could match up to.
Yet today, she had specially dolled herself up, even putting on a formal dress.
Her face was already the youngest among the parents, yet she still put make up meticulously and definitely overdressed a bit.
Apparently, she had some awareness of her outstanding beauty and was wearing sunglasses to cover up as a result. But honestly, that was kind of meaningless.
The boys were clearly unable to to ignore her. Even the girls kept glancing at the back from time to time, resulting in less of a learning atmosphere in the classroom than usual.
Sitting in the last row, Hisui finally reached the limits of his tolerance and turned to the woman behind him.
"...Why the heck are you here?"
Class had barely started a few minutes and Hisui was already haggard. However, Miraluka haughtily puffed her chest, emphasizing that massive bosom, and answered:
"I have arrived."
"No one asked you to!!"
Hisui's scream reverberated in the classroom. Then lowering his volume, he asked Miraluka quietly.
"Why did you come!?"
"The open house notice was on the table. Isn't that something you should show your parent?"
"...I should've thrown it away."
"What's the matter? I didn't get to attend the entrance ceremony, so I have to show up for open house at least."
"Not needed... I already said back when middle school started, you don't need to come to these kinds of events!"
"What, I remember in the first of middle school when I visited. Those male friends of yours said something like 'if I had a mom like that, it'd definitely be okay! By the way, is that your mom!? Are you sure she's not your sister!?' Did that cause you mental trauma?"
Miraluka cocked her head while digging up Hisui's dark memories.
Hisui's face went so red that it was trembling.
"I've heard that boys in puberty would always start recognizing family as members of the opposite sex. Does that refer to this? So I see it's my fault for being beautiful."
Miraluka shook her head pretentiously.
Had any other person said this, they would be undoubtedly a narcissist, but for her it was indisputable truth and difficult to refute.
A neighboring parent could not bear to watch Hisui pitifully unable to retort and interrupted:
"Excuse me... My, you sure look young. May I ask... you are Kujou-kun's...?"
That parent was unsure how to address her. Miraluka smiled cordially and took off her sunglasses.
"I am his mother."
"N-N-N-N-N-No, that's totally not true!!"
Hisui denied loudly and firmly.
Without a doubt, she played the role of the mother but it would be troubling to continue the subject.
"Hold on, Hisui, isn't a stepmother backstory acceptable?"
"Well... Hmm, I guess..."
"Eh, Kujou-kun, your parents have already passed away...?"
Hisui's neighbor, Reina, asked with worry.
This put Hisui in a dilemma.
Parents and classmates were all staring at Miraluka, trying to determine their relationship.
Miraluka openly accepted their stares and smiled seductively.
"I am his wife❤"
"OF COURSE NOT!!"
Hisui denied strongly.
Crap crap crap crap crap, super crap.
This kind of family was hopeless.
"Don't make shocking statements like that! Besides, I'm only sixteen! I can't marry yet!"
"...Then how about the fiancee or lover angle?"
"Could you find a different angle!? Also, I'm serious, could you go home!?"
"She's really an interesting person... I'm guessing that she's your relative, just like Draculea-san?"
Reina calmly observed the reactions of the surrounding people and offered her help.
Seeing her worried look, Hisui decided to run with her misconception.
"Yeah... Like that girl, because of living overseas, she's not very knowledgeable about common sense in Japan... Right?"
Hisui hastily motioned with his eyes, asking Miraluka to play along.
With an unaccepting look, Miraluka finally turned her face to the side and anwered:
"...I'm his older sister."
"Yeah... Well, let's leave it at that."
Her third answer finally turned out to be the most normal and relatively correct.
The classroom's abnormal atmosphere was finally dispelled. Homeroom teacher Horie Jyuri clapped her hands lightly to get everyone to pay attention.
"Okay, everyone please focus on the lesson. I know that you're all nervous because the moms are visiting but that's exactly why you need to pay attention to the lesson as usual. I also understand that Kujou-kun is very close with his pretty sister, but please turn your head this way."
Treated and reminded as though he was an elementary schooler, Hisui had no choice but to leave Miraluka, return to his seat and face the blackboard.
"Yes, the teacher is very right. I can understand that you're nervous because I'm here, but you have to overcome yourself and try your best!"
"...Could you just leave already?"
Ignoring Hisui's pleading, Miraluka continued to stay and refused to leave.
When Jyuri asked questions to the class, she even pointed playfully at Hisui, saying "He wants to answer." Hisui ended up giving the wrong answer but she snickered in mockery.
Hence, throughout the lesson, Hisui felt like he was sitting on needles where every second was like eternity.
When the class finally ended, his suffering still continued.
Because it was open house for the first-year parents today, after school club activities were suspended. In theory, students were all supposed to go home after lessons were over. However, a certain club yet to be authorized by the school, not even eligible to be a hobby group, was under no such restrictions.
After school, Hisui went to the same old place--the empty classroom.
But unlike usual when he would sit about lazily, he was kneeling formally on the floor in seiza posture.
Standing before him were Mei and Eruru, arms crossed, staring down at him.
Catching Hisui after school just as he intended to go home immediately, they dragged him here.
"...What exactly is going on here, Hi-kun? I can't believe you're exchanging flirtatious looks with a female other than me. Who on earth is that woman!?"
"I could not care less about who you exchange flirtatious looks with, but why did she come here? And observing classes as your legal guardian, is she treating me as air?"
While reprimanding Hisui, the two girls' attitudes were completely different, like ice and fire.
Kirika and Touko, who had not seen Miraluka in school directly, observed from behind the two girls worriedly.
"Uh, umm, well... I understand how you feel, apart from what Sudou said about flirtatious looks. Anyway, can I sit down? Lately I've been getting treated this way a lot, so my mental trauma hasn't healed yet..."
"Hi-kun... Do you understand your position?"
"Do you have the kind of constitution where you have no idea how you should speak without a point-blank gun in your face?"
Mei was grabbing Hisui with a smile while Eruru expressionlessly pointed Argentum's muzzle towards him.
Turning pale in the face, Hisui nodded hastily and gave a rough explanation of Miraluka's return.
Throughout his explanation, Mei showed an unhappy face while Eruru pondered expressionlessly. Kirika and Touko exchanged glances.
After he was done, Hisui looked apprehensively at the girls but they remained silent.
"Umm, do you have any questions?"
"...Hi-kun, you believe her just because that woman said so?"
Mei was the first to speak, hesitantly.
This was probably the foremost question in everyone's mind. Naturally, Hisui expected it too.
"Well, of course I didn't believe her immediately. Although her appearance is perfect on the surface, I was originally thinking that she might slip up if we live together for a while. However..."
"She is without a doubt... that woman. The real thing. I've asked her many things from the past, including stuff that only the two of us would know... She answered everything correctly. And after living with her for a few days, I already understand. She is her. Even if it was someone disguised... It's a disguise that I can't tell apart from the real thing."
Hisui shook his head lightly and sighed.
Seeing his calm and determined expression, Mei did not pursue the matter any further.
"--Vampires possess resilient life force. And the life force of True Ancestors far surpass the realm of our understanding. To go even further, if that vampire named Miraluka is speaking the truth, then her regenerative power is most likely the highest among all vampires... Resurrection is not entirely impossible."
Eruru added to supplement what Hisui said.
Mei and Kirika's faces seemed to carry some lingering doubt but Eruru ignored them and continued.
"Your relationship with that vampire is none of my business. I can even say that I could not care less whether she is fake or real. Although I have objections to the series of commotions earlier where she had played a secret hand in causing... Proving her guilt is no easy task. Also, the higher-ups dare not make a move against a True Ancestor recklessly."
"Reckless action would probably end up being worse off. Well, if it does turn into an all-out war against humans, she'll still lose. But before that happens, losses will be hard to estimate. According to Miraluka, she has made an under-the-table agreement with a certain bigshot regarding non-interference and non-aggression..."
"I care not, either way. The only matter that concerns me right now is Rushella-san's whereabouts."
Hearing that, Hisui's face went grave.
Considerate of his feelings, Mei and the others did not interrupt.
"The appearance of the vampire Miraluka was accompanied by Rushella's disappearance. You cannot possibly think that there is no link between the two, do you?"
However, Eruru's lips were merciless.
Regarding the question that everyone wished to know, she went straight for Hisui's heart and pursued to the very bottom.
"I've asked her but she said she doesn't know Rushella and has never met before."
"You think we will believe her just like that?"
"...I don't think she's lying. And there's no need to lie. She's not the type that deceives or looks for excuses... Especially towards me. There's no need to exert that kind of effort for humans since she's a vampire after all."
Hisui said gravely.
Like Eruru, it wasn't like he hadn't been thinking about the problem of Rushella.
Back when Miraluka just returned, he had already asked.
However, he did not obtain a satisfactory answer.
"Even if she is not lying, I do not think that she will reveal the truth so easily. You heard her on that day. She called Rushella an imposter. What does this word mean? That is not the way one True Ancestor addresses another, right?"
Eruru asked pointed questions one after another.
Miraluka had acutely questioned Rushella's origin that even Rushella had no idea.
"If Rushella really were a True Ancestor, then she should have met your foster mother a number of times, right? Disregarding Rushella who had lost her memories, your parent should have recognized her."
Eruru pressed the issue, allowing no silence.
Hisui shifted his gaze away and answered dejectedly.
"...I asked this too. I asked a question about the True Ancestors, a question that I had no interest in finding out all along until now."
"How interesting. Pray tell me."
Eruru sounded very polite but her attitude was actually almost like issuing a command.
Hisui sighed lightly and detailed what Miraluka had told him about the truth of True Ancestors.
"True Ancestors... numbered twelve in total. In other words, the lineages of vampires can be divided into twelve main branches. However, my parent had neither blood kin nor servants. As for the other eleven lineages, they have lost much influence and their True Ancestors are apparently all destroyed."
"...From the way it looks, it would be a contradiction if Rushella-san really were a True Ancestor. Clearly apart from your foster mother, all the other True Ancestors are gone."
"So from her standpoint, Rushella became an 'imposter.' Miraluka also said that although she didn't personally witness the demise of the other True Ancesotrs, she was acquainted with all eleven of them. Rushella is not among them. Miraluka also feels that Rushella has no blood relation with the other eleven because there's no resemblance at all."
"In that case, who on earth exactly was Rushella-san?"
Eruru used past tense.
This was only natural.
Because Rushella was no longer here.
Eruru's deliberate choice of words made Hisui feel annoyed. He could not help but respond violently.
"Who the fuck knows. An insignificant vampire who deceived a True Ancestor... There, happy now?"
"I believe that you should be the one who knows her best, right? Was she that kind of vampire?"
Eruru's every word was rocking Hisui's heart.
Hisui remained silent. The others had no idea what to say.
Just as the heavy silence occupied the classroom, the door was suddenly pulled open.
"What, so you turn out to be in this kind of place. Took me so long to find you."
Miraluka had arrived.
Apparently, the parent teacher conferences had ended by this time.
"What a meaningful time I had. If possible, I'd like to try joining that parent teacher association."
"Stop fucking around, can you please stop fucking around!?"
"What are you worrying about? Relax, all I need to do is stare at them and everyone does everything I say."
"Yeah, you clearly used the mystic eyes again, didn't you? You obviously used the mystic eyes!?"
Hisui could not resist his retorting habit.
But Miraluka pretended not to hear and swept her gaze across everyone in the classroom.
"Looks like the werewolf is absent but there's an extra ghost this time. How much of a monster bait is my little one here?"
"Oh hello there, I'm Fuwa Touko."
Usually floating around in a carefree manner, Touko stood still for once and greeted.
Miraluka's commanding presence compelled her to do so involuntarily.
Nevertheless--The other three girls stared at her with complicated expressions.
Confronted with hostility and suspicions, Miraluka remained unfazed, smiling and turning towards the girls.
"May I conclude... that you girls are Hisui's friends? Thank you for taking care of him on a daily basis."
Despite her polite choice of words, her tone was still haughty as ever.
After all, she had already fought with everyone here except for Touko, even if only just a brief skirmish.
Hence, Eruru was the first to act.
Stepping forward as though to protect Hisui, she faced off against Miraluka.
"I have several things to ask you. I would greatly appreciate it if you could come with me."
"What if I say no?"
Eruru answered by placing her finger on Argentum's trigger.
She was determined to shoot if necessary, a conflict was about to erupt any moment--But just before she fired a bullet, Miraluka closed in.
Then with both hands pulling on Eruru's face, she stared at her.
"W-What are you doing!?"
The unexpected move greatly surprised Eruru.
But Miraluka ignored her and continued to examine Eruru's appearance.
Finally, she nodded as though understanding something.
"You must be John's daughter, aren't you!?"
Eruru was petrified. Argentum fell to the ground.
Seeing Eruru's unusual reaction, Hisui and the rest found it quite unbelievable. But Miraluka did not care.
"I knew it... I see now. Even that guy became a father. I only knew he was a lecher but never expected him to bear a child with a human."
"S-Shut up! That kind of man, that kind of man is no father of mine...!"
"What are you talking about? Your eyes are identical to his. If you really didn't resemble him, how would I have recognized it?"
"R-Rubbish...! I have no father...!!"
"Don't say something so heart-breaking. Although your father's lower body is a little unrestrained, he's quite an honest man in other regards. Surely your father must have doted on you lovingly."
Miraluka smiled and picked up Eruru, easily lifting her by her underarms.
Then like playing with a child, she tossed Eruru into the air and caught her.
"S-Stop this now. Put me down now!"
"Don't act so distant. Your father and I could be considered old friends. He used to be infatuated with me at one point too."
"What an utterly terrible relationship that cannot be more terrible..."
Noticing Eruru's feelings, Hisui shook his head in sorrow.
It looked like he was not the only victim who suffered at Miraluka's hands.
"I found him too annoying, so I gave him a sound pummeling and left. To think he survived, how resilient of him. I almost want to revise my opinion of him."
"Like I said, I do not know that kind of man! Put me down now...!!"
"Don't act so distant. Come on, you're my old friend's child after all. Oh right, here's some change for you, or would candy be more suited to your liking?"
Miraluka finally put down Eruru, stroking her head while asking.
This was completely like the way one would treat an acquaintance's child.
Face gone all red, Eruru ran over to a corner in the classroom and crouched down on the floor.
"Hey Hi-kun... What's going on?"
"Eh, I'm not too sure either... But it looks like the father was the vampire parent. And their father-daughter relationship is terrible it seems. I never expected her secret to get exposed in this kind of situation..."
Hisui shrugged and explained with sympathy.
Eruru's identity as a dhampir was something she was the most unwilling to touch upon.
And right now, even Kirika and Touko found out.
"I've always felt that there was something special about Kariya-san, but never expected her to be a dhampir..."
"Dhampirs are the hybrid offspring of vampires and humans, right? I get it now..."
Kirika and Touko were conversing quietly.
Hisui sighed and walked over to explain things to the two of them.
Siding with Eruru whose mind was one-shotted, Mei charged at Miraluka.
"Hey hey, why the heck did you expose her mental trauma?"
"What mental trauma? It's just the truth. Trying to escape from one's roots will only bring suffering. I'm sure you ought to understand that, Frankenstein's creature?"
Identity exposed, Mei frowned with displeasure.
Although this was already an open secret, she was of course displeased when the fact was pointed out to her face.
"So what? Let me clarify first, I can be considered human already, you know? It's already decided that I will definitely have babies with Hi-kun in the future❤"
"Sorry, I refuse."
A firm line must be drawn at this point. Hisui retorted calmly.
Of course, Mei ignored him and continued:
"Also, stop trying to suddenly act like a good mother when you've clearly ignored Hi-kun and neglected him for so long, okay? Hi-kun, you already have me, so it's totally fine to let go of your mother complex, right?"
Mei puffed out her chest and emphasized as though showing off.
However, Miraluka remained unshaken, puffing out her chest and holding her head high arrogantly, causing her massive bosom to wobble.
Hisui sorrowfully announced the result of the contest.
Although Mei's breasts were quite substantial, but they were only in the range of "giant" and had not reached "exploding" yet.
"...What, Hi-kun, anything goes as long as it's big enough, so you only care about size!?"
"Hey, weren't you the one who picked this fight...?"
"It can't be helped. Men are ultimately drawn to here. Back when I first adopted Hisui, he couldn't sleep unless he buried his face here."
Miraluka reminisced with deep feeling, exposing the past that Hisui was mortified to bring up.
Like Eruru earlier, this time it was Hisui's turn to be petrified.
Mei and the other girls' gazes stung painfully.
"While he was sleeping, if I put a finger into his mouth, he would even suck. Then I tried moving a breast over to him from my open neckline..."
"Stop it, don't say anymore--!!"
Hisui yelled loudly to overwhelm the remainder of Miraluka's story. That was so close... But no, it was too late already. Mei was glaring at him in resentment while Kirika and Touko were whispering to each other.
"Ultimately, Kujou-kun is unable to escape a mother's curse..."
"No helping it, Kirika-chan. Men are all matriphiliacs. But once they get used to breasts of that level, they can't turn back anymore. Mei-chan and Kirika-chan still have a shred of hope, but I guess I'm already out of the running, right?"
"No actually, shape is also very important... I've been doing these massages lately..."
"Eh, really? You're also picking your bras very selectively, right?"
"Well, a little..."
Despite the intimate girl talk going on behind him, Hisui was already utterly depressed and exhausted.
But Mei was still high in battle spirit and wanted to counterattack.
"It's nothing more than slightly larger breasts. Could you not get too full of yourself!?"
"I didn't do anything, you know?"
"Shut up!! Now is the time for an open battle for the throne of Hi-kun's legal wife, fair and square!!"
Miraluka readily accepted the challenge.
She looked even a little interested.
"Then... What is the contest?"
"Isn't it obvious? A lady's sport, arm wrestling!"
"How is that ladylike at all!? And it's totally catering to your own strengths!!"
Ignoring Hisui's snide remarks, Mei moved a desk and placed it in front of Miraluka. Putting her elbow on its surface, she got into a ready position.
"Okay... Bring it on!"
"I don't really mind, but are you serious? The sun has already set."
Just as Miraluka pointed out, it was already sundown.
The biological activity of vampires was beginning to liven up. Night belonged to her.
"Don't look down on others... Other areas aside, I won't lose in a pure contest of strength!!"
"I see now, then let's start. Hisui, you be the judge."
Forced to be the prize and the judge without his consent, Hisui retorted unhappily.
But he also understood that resistance was futile, so he walked over to between the two of them whose hands were already firmly clasped together, then announced the beginning of the match.
Mei concentrated her entire body's power into her right arm and went all out in violent offensive at the start.
This vigor was no longer merely for pressing the back of the opponent's hand onto the desk but almost like wanting to break it--Nevertheless, Mei's arm moved in the opposite direction as though resisting her own will.
Instantly, the world was turned upside down.
The back of Mei's right hand struck the desk all at once, then broke the desk into two!
The violent impact caused Mei's body to fall on the floor, falling over tragically.
Probably due to bumping her head, Mei looked a little dizzy. Miraluka looked down at her as though looking at dirt.
"What a weak arm. You're lucky it didn't snap. Your ancestor was a lot stronger. Even at night, I couldn't match him in strength."
Miraluka's eyes shone with the light of reminiscence.
Speaking of Mei's ancestor, possessing monstrous strength exceeding that of vampires, there was only one candidate.
The original version of Frankenstein's creature.
"You knew him!?"
"A very long time ago, I met him once when he traveled to the north pole. Although he was very bothered by his looks, the way I see it, he was quite a good man. After all, the inside is what matters for humans. Pity that his descendants are all obsessed with decorating appearances but are only empty shells."
Miraluka looked at Mei with pity.
Mei gnashed her teeth and took out her cellphone, calling someone.
"Hey, Doc!? It's me. I want to replace my upper arm with the power-type version, right now! What, you can't? Stop making excuses and get on with it!"
"What are you doing... What the heck's with your body structure?"
"Forget that loser. It's time to go home, Hisui. I'm hungry too."
Miraluka took Hisui's hand, intending to leave.
At this moment, she met eyes with Kirika.
Seeing Kirika look like she wanted to say something, Miraluka smiled lightly.
"How is Welfica?"
"You remember Grandma...?"
Kirka knew that this True Ancestor here had interacted with her grandmother in the past.
It was truly quite surprising for a long-lived vampire to remember a measly human.
"Of course I do. You look just like her when she was young. I knew it, not sucking her blood was the right decision."
"Otherwise, she wouldn't have been able to meet you. Oh why can humans find happiness in such short time?"
Leaving these words behind, Miraluka led Hisui out of the classroom.
Although Hisui resisted, given the overwhelming difference in strength, he was finally dragged away.
Still in the classroom, Kirika looked around her and found Eruru standing up finally, about to open up her laptop.
"Kariya-san, are you okay...?"
"...I am fine. But please do not bring up the issue of my father."
"That woman... How on earth can she be restrained?"
Holding her arm, Mei walked over to Kirika and the rest. Although she had fortunately avoided fracture or dislocation, her joints were still aching like hell.
"To be honest, a frontal battle is impossible to defeat her, so let us rule that option out. Whether or not she is a fake, her power is definitely True Ancestor-class."
"You believe what Hi-kun said, Eruru-chan?"
"Since we have no idea what the real vampire named Miraluka looked like, then naturally there is no way to distinguish. Since Kujou-kun failed to find any flaws, then there is no point in trying to discern if she is fake or not. Also--"
"Even if she is fake, perhaps it matters not to Kujou-san already."
With some regret, Mei quitely looked up at the ceiling.
When together with Miraluka, Hisui seemed just as happy as with Rushella--or perhaps, even more.
"Then what are you doing opening your computer?"
"Work. I originally wanted to ask Kujou-san's opinion, but his current opinion is probably biased to some extent. It would be more appropriate for us to discuss without him."
Eruru showed the screen to Mei and the others.
On it was a police report.
"What's this? Document forgery...? Blood center... Illegal...?"
Kirika was perplexed by what she read. The same went for Mei and Touko.
"According to various blood centers, a large volume of blood has been shipped out for unidentified uses recently. Whether for surgical operations or research, the volumes are too great. Although there are currently no incidents that are obviously linked, I have decided on my own for the Supernatural Investigations Section to take charge of this case."
"What's going on...? Someone selling blood? This seems to be illegal in Japan, right?"
Just as Mei pointed out, in Japan where a blood donation system was in place, extracting blood from human bodies for transactions was clearly prohibited.
However, the current situation was that the blood gathered from donors were disappearing for unknown reasons, which was different in nature from selling blood.
"What you mean is... Someone is trading blood on the black market?"
Kirika speculated, still puzzled.
Her idea seemed to hit the mark. Eruru nodded slightly.
"Half right. But it cannot be called the black market. More of a gray transaction... In the blood logistics of this country, there exists an irregular but acquiesced channels of distribution that is operated on a profit basis."
"What... It sounds so scary."
Despite being a ghost, Touko was so scared that she was shivering. If Hisui were present, insensitive as he was to maidenly hearts, he would surely make a snide remark, inviting public anger.
"What distribution channels are you talking about? It's not the one used by surgery or research, right?"
Hearing Mei's question, Eruru looked a bit reluctant to speak, frowning as she answered.
"...For vampire use."
Mei went ah and understood, covering her mouth and nodding.
After all, one of the users was right here, so it was unavoidably embarrassing.
"...Do not worry, it is the truth after all. For vampires and dhampirs, blood is essential. To obtain it via peaceful means, the only way is to extract it secretly from the transfusion blood supply. Mine is provided by the Supernatural Investigations Section but strictly speaking, this is against regulations and does not count as legitimate use. After all, the point of blood donations is not to provide food for vampires or dhampirs."
Eruru spoke in self-mockery.
As a member of the police in charge of upholding law and order, yet forced to sustain life through illegal means, it was truly ironic.
"Then that means other vampires are obtaining blood from this channel...?"
"Very likely so. Inside the country, there are many vampires that the Supernatural Investigations Section has yet to identify and keep tabs on. Supposing they live peacefully, then there must exist some sort of stable supply channels. Kujou-san's foster mother probably should have her own methods of obtaining blood, different from the Supernatural Investigation Section's. And recently the volume of blood used in unidentified purposes is too great, hence the problem became prominent."
"I understand what you mean, but it's not like we are able to solve this problem, right? Isn't this the police's job? Or is there some other reason?"
Kirika's question made a lot of sense.
Assuming it was unrelated to the school, she had no obligation to help out.
"The missing blood all vanished in Seidou City before their trails were lost. In other words, all the blood has been transported here."
" " "......!" " "
Mei, Kirika and Touko exchanged glances.
Eruru continued to bring out the core matter gravely.
"After the blood vanished, Kujou-san's foster mother immediately returned. Are these two events truly coincidental?"
Eruru's sharp gaze sought the trio's opinion.
They did not speak.
None of them were able to answer.
"Actually, it is not some kind of serious crime. Vampires wanting blood is perfectly natural--There are some who hold this view but I cannot accept things as they stand. Also, there is one more matter that is worrying."
Touko asked adorably but the next words spoken caused her expression to freeze.
"Rushella has already gone missing for over a month. Judging from her blood intake frequency and personality, she should be reaching her limit soon."
Limit. Everyone present knew what this word meant.
It was the desire for blood, an impulse that no vampire could escape.
Once the impulse expanded beyond what self-control could suppress, vampires turned into beasts.
"But she's not retarded, right? She'll find some kind of way to get blood... Right?"
Mei asked the others, seeking agreement, but the response was not optimistic.
Actually, she already knew the answer.
In the end, was Rushella going to suck the blood of someone apart from Hisui?
"Using the mystic eyes to control someone then suck their blood, or using the mystic eyes on medical personnel to steal blood packs--There are many ways and surely she would know of them. However, being so stubborn in her preferences, whether these methods can satisfy her is another matter. If she endures stubbornly, then the worst result might happen.
Everyone remained silent.
Every one of them worried for the safety of the missing Rushella.
At the same time, there was fear and unease in their hearts.
Since losing Hisui, this stable blood provider, how was she going to obtain fresh blood?
If she obtained blood and even killed people, or joined her kind in their underhanded ways--What should be done?
These unmentionable questions crossed everyone's mind but Eruru was the only one bold enough to speak them.
"Fortunately, no corpses with teeth marks on their necks have been discovered currently, nor vampire servants. However... Everyone should prepare ourselves. Of course, if the worst situation comes up, the Supernatural Investigations Section and I will handle it instead of letting you face a difficult choice."
Eruru closed the laptop and stood up.
"...Since Rushella is not here, it is time for me to leave the school. I shall be off now."
Eruru placed her computer into her bag and left the classroom.
Seeing her leave without looking back, the remaining trio shrugged helplessly.
"Eh... So what she means is if that vampire goes on rampage, she'll handle it without troubling us?"
"Still the same as always, despite clearly being a younger year, she keeps trying to shoulder everything herself..."
"That's so true, things should be left to a senior in life like me."
" "Forget about it if it's Touko-san." "
Touko yelled angrily. Unwilling to treat her seriously, Mei and Kirika went home on their separate ways.
After all, staying in this empty classroom was uncomfortable.
The absence of the club president weighed heavily on each club member's heart.
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