Silver Cross and Draculea:Volume05 Chapter6
Chapter 6 - Blood's Truth
"This is a safe place, right?"
Seeing her environment, Rushella laughed in self-mockery.
Indeed, it was safe, very safe.
This kind of place, not even sunlight could enter. It was also protected heavily by alloyed armor.
Alarms will be triggered in the event of an invasion. The security guards were also experienced experts in dealing with the supernatural. Naturally, that included vampires.
Indeed, this was underground of the MPD at Kasumigaseki--The Supernatural Investigations Section headquarters.
Futhermore, Rushella was currently at the deepest part of the headquarters, the prison where Fergus used to be incarcerated.
Although she was not handcuffed and she had come here voluntarily, it still felt no different from being an inmate.
"Don't complain. Your coffin has been transported here from that church so get some proper rest."
Standing behind her, Rangetsu said reluctantly.
Last night, she had gone to pick up Rushella.
In any case, Rushella was first brought to the relevant part of the MPD to undergo questioning like "have you drunk human blood during the time you were missing" as a matter of formality.
Then under Rangetsu's supervision, she was treated to a meal and a bath--At least she was treated with courtesy.
In the end, after all sorts of procedures and the underground facility was prepared properly, the day had gone by and it was daytime during the following day.
"This place is so dark, there's no concept of time. What time is it now?"
"What are you complaining about dark as a vampire? Okay, just keep still and don't make a fuss. If you don't behave, you'll have to stay here forever, you know?"
"Hmph, this place has been broken into before, is it really safe? I can see repairs in process all over the place."
"Now that is a hard one to refute... However, this is at least the safest place in Japan. Just stay here obediently, for Kujou-kun's sake as well."
"We can still provide blood. Tell us immediately if you feel thirsty."
Saying that, Rangetsu left. Rushella did not respond to this final word of advice.
Naturally, she could not forget the taste of blood.
Hisui's sweet, very sweet blood.
With just one sip, whether the dryness in her throat or the thirst in her heart, everything was satisfied.
However, she had refused resolutely.
With a grim face, Rushella was crouching in a corner of the square cell.
There was no lighting in the room. Total darkness.
A human would surely be plunged into fear of the dark and try desperately to escape. But Rushella felt calm instead.
No, the place where her heart felt truly calm and at ease was the home where she had lived together with Hisui.
However, that place was no longer her home.
It was not where she belonged to in the first place, just temporary shelter.
Perhaps... Staying here would be more comfortable.
Wiping the tears from the corner of her eye, Rushella looked around the room.
This place had no view and was undecorated.
Even in the darkness, Rushella's vision functioned as normal. Her eyes soon captured the entire room's environment--Then she was shocked.
"...Who is it!?"
Someone was here.
Opposite her gaze, in the other corner, someone was sitting in a chair.
"A shared room? Why wasn't I told about it?"
The other party did not answer.
The sound of a match being struck. A moment later, faint light appeared.
An old-fashioned candlestick was placed at the person's foot. The candlelight illuminated the entire room.
It was apparently a scented candle, filling the room with a sweet fragrance of imaginative fantasy.
Rushella was rendered speechless.
How could she possibly come here?
Rushella could not believe her own eyes--Miraluka was sitting right before her.
But it was reality.
Miraluka was sitting elegantly with legs crossed, having changed out of her inverness dress, leaning back on the chair in leisure.
"How are you here!?"
"I was here from the start."
She replied nonchalantly.
Rushella was rooted to the spot in shock while Miraluka talked nonstop.
"I guess that you might be brought here to be isolated. Running away from my grasp is impossible, but to achieve a certain measure of defense, this place is the best choice. Hence, after that brief fight, I came here first to wait for you."
Clearly it was not as simple as her coming here first.
This woman was fundamentally different from the vampires or other supernatural entities Rushella had faced off against in the past.
"This police security of the Supernatural Investigations Section is really full of holes... I can't believe they let you invade this place."
"You're blaming the wrong people if you blame them. Although they are currently shorthanded, invisibility is the expertise of vampires, let alone a True Ancestor like me. Infiltrating this place is no difficult task if I'm serious. By the way, one of the True Ancestors was even more talented at invisibility than me, but she's no longer around."
Sadness filled Miraluka's eyes when she brought up her peer's death.
But Rushella could not empathize.
She could only respond with genuine feelings.
"You came to kill me...?"
"Half correct, half wrong. I am not interested in your life or death, but it's just incidental to what will happen."
"Incomprehensible... If you find me an eyesore, say it clearly! Because... I find you very much of an eyesore too."
"Hmph, is that so?"
Miraluka nodded with deep feeling.
Seeing her so arrogant, Rushella could not help but spit out all the thoughts she had kept hidden in her heart.
"It's you every time...! When I'm together with Hisui, you always appear! If only you didn't exist... If only you didn't exist...!!"
"If I didn't exist, then Hisui would not have lived to this day."
Miraluka answered indifferently. Rushella could not talk back.
Victory was decided from the start.
Denying her meant denying Hisui.
"A young little life that almost died from inane reasons. I used to believe, for a very long time, that humans were foolish creatures. Taking in a human on a whim to raise, I never knew it would be so interesting. I now understand a little how my perished peers felt."
"You said it was on a whim...? Hisui, he... has always felt... towards you...!"
Rushella clenched her fists and glared viciously at Miraluka.
A million thoughts converged, forming invisible pressure imposed upon Miraluka.
The negative emotions in the underground prison finally turned into killing intent, coalescing in Rushella's hands.
Holding her usual dagger in a reverse grip, she closed in on the enemy.
"Is that so...? He loved me, I see."
"In that case, my return was worth it. Now there is meaning for me to kill you."
"What are you talking about!?"
Rushella had already rushed up to her but Miraluka remained unfazed. Instead, she pointed at the door.
"Would you like a change of location? This place really kills the mood."
"You mean changing to a location more suitable to killing me?"
"That I won't deny. But I could at least offer you a gift to take with you to hell, how's that? About your origins."
"...!? You know about it?"
"Merely indirect hearsay, but I have investigated your identity. Follow me if you wish to know."
Miraluka walked out the door.
After some hesitation, Rushella followed.
Even though this was path to hell, her intense desire to figure out her past still prevailed over all else.
This time, the prison break was calm and elegant, unlike the two previous incidents with severe casualties.
Zero casualties, no loss or damage.
The number of people who discovered the escapees were also zero.
Minutes later, when the setting sun's lingering glow was dyeing the sky, the two vampires arrived at the ground's surface in each other's company.
"Kujou-kun... Did something happen today?"
After school, Hisui was packing his things when his neighbor, Reina, asked with worry..
After all, Hisui only came to school in the afternoon, so it was natural for her to worry.
No, even if that was not the case, she would still worry for Hisui.
Ever since Rushella left, that was how she had been acting.
"I didn't feel well earlier and visited the hospital. The doctor said I'm just tired so there's nothing major."
This did not count as a lie.
He had gone to the hospital and there was nothing unusual with his health.
"Really...? I'm glad to hear that."
"Oh right, I forgot to tell you. Rushella came back."
Reina instantly smiled radiantly.
Hisui also found her smile contagious.
"Should we celebrate? After all, it's almost Christmas!"
Only after saying that word did Hisui realize how incompatible it was with vampires. He could not help but smile wryly.
In terms of average Japanese people's faith, there should not be any detrimental effect on Rushella. But considering Reina's family situation, she might even invite them to attend mass at a church.
Spending Christmas at a church was probably hell for a vampire... No, calling it heaven might be more apt?
"It's okay, you don't have to. If we organize some kind of event, she might regret coming back."
"Okay, I guess you have a point... Christmas should be spent with family after all. Are you going to spend it with that lady who visited last time?"
These words caused Hisui's chest to tighten.
Indeed, he had spent Christmas every year with her in the past.
Hisui already knew a long time ago that Santa Claus did not exist, but there was Miraluka.
Every year, he would receive a present, eat turkey and cake.
A Christmas spent with a vampire--This kind of exotic event had stopped since last year.
The winter of his third year in middle school, he had spent a lonely Christmas, a silent night without Miraluka.
So, what about this year?
"Who are you going to spend Christmas with?"
Reina asked again without any ill intent.
I'm fine with spending it alone if there's no one--Perhaps Hisui could say that.
But he evaded the question and chose escapism.
Reina wanted to say more but Hisui left her behind and got out of the classroom.
Mei watched him leave.
Then as though thinking of something, she walked over to Eruru who was packing her schoolbag.
"Umm... Could you stay a while? I'm guessing Senpai has things to ask you."
"Got it. Then the usual place...? Never mind, how about the student council office?"
"No problem. Let's go."
It was currently dusk.
The red evening glow covered the entire sky. Shortly after, it was going to be devoured by the dark canopy of night.
Who knew how much time had passed. Miraluka and Rushella had arrived at the park near Hisui's house.
There were few pedestrians here. Plus the thick foliage blocked the street lights, this place was particularly dark even in the daytime, let alone night.
"I used to take Hisui here often. There are no kids in the area and other parks are packed with people, so I could only bring him here. What a shame that we couldn't experience what people call family outings."
"Hmph, showing off much? Let me tell you, I have memories too, right here in this park! After all, over there is the place Hisui and I met!"
Rushella puffed out her chest proudly and pointed at the alley where she had met Hisui for the first time.
Indeed, that night, she had encountered Hisui here--then sucked his blood.
Everything started here.
"Oh my, how unfortunate for that brat."
Hisui would probably agree if he heard that.
Miraluka walked over to the pavilion in the center of the park. Rushella followed with a scowl.
The two of them sat down on the wooden bench and looked at each other.
Miraluka took out two wine glasses and placed them on a small table. She had picked them up from home on the way. Then she took out a bottle of vintage fine wine and poured into the glasses.
"I don't drink."
"I didn't poison it. Poisoning would be meaningless for both of us. Don't you like this color and fragrance? We cannot resist. This is a taste shared by all vampires."
"...Hisui will get mad. He said that minors cannot drink this. He is clearly a minor himself."
"Oh really? By the way, in my collection is a bottle of wine whose vintage is the year Hisui was born. Do you know where it went?"
She did not admit she was the one who broke it.
This incident still pained Rushella in her heart.
She really hated this woman.
"Okay... About me, if you know something then answer me quickly! I don't have the mood to drink and chat with you!"
Rushella asked fiercely while Miraluka picked up a glass of wine elegantly.
Savoring the fragrant and complicated wine, she looked at Rushella.
"There are a total of twelve True Ancestors and you are not one of them."
"So what? Then who am I!?"
"Twelve women... Some of them have barely spoken to me while others have never liked me. But we would all gather once a year to meet up. A kind of year end report, I suppose. Drinking red wine, eating bread, chatting casually. It was very lively."
"A 'reunion' for True Ancestors huh? That's so human of you and them. When did you gather every year?"
Miraluka answered with full seriousness but Rushella could not help but suspect her of joking.
This was absolutely absolutely absolutely impossible.
"Are you really a vampire!?"
"What's wrong with celebrating his birthday? Everything of ours started with him, from the very day when we embraced his remains and drank his blood."
Rushella hid her laughter after hearing that. She gradually understood that what was up next was related to her true identity.
"We would gather every year, but starting at some point, someone became absent. Although those of us attending did not decrease every year, it was at least decreasing every century. Some were destroyed by humans, other sought destruction on their own, others had accidents. By the time we were down to half, someone spoke up. She said that things would be bad at this rate and vampires will go extinct one day, so something must be done."
"Why did they think that? As long as we want, we can create servants easily..."
"When a True Ancestor perishes, so does all her servants."
"Then have offspring and descendants..."
"A vampire's reproductive ability is much lower than a human's. Even with an immortal body, one cannot bear too many children in the end. And among them are some who are like me, childless our entire lives with no intention of procreating. Then what? To sustain the prosperity of the race, ultimately, the base number of True Ancestors needs to be expanded."
"Expanded...!? Is that possible?
Rushella smacked the table and stood up.
As planned by that Fergus, as long as the direct bloodline of a True Ancestor was maintained, the existence of pureblooded vampires infinitely close to True Ancestors could be maintained.
But how could a True Ancestor herself be recreated?
Staring into the wine in her glass, Miraluka continued nonstop. Recalling back then, this was the liquid that man had called "my blood."
"The blood of God that we drank no longer exists. According to legend, there are a few holy relics that were stained with that blood, but the veracity is difficult to determine for all of them. Even if they were real, freshness has been lost. So another method must be found in search of substitutes."
This word made Rushella go pale.
She could already guess.
But she dared not speak out.
"Indeed. The closest substitute to God... That is rather taboo to say. Rather, the substitute with the most concentrated curse in the blood, punished by God, namely, the blood of the True Ancestors."
"Giving a vampire's blood to another vampire has no effect. But giving it to a human is different. Whether ingested orally or injected directly into a blood vessel, it always result in irregular vampirization, giving birth to a vicious monster. The same goes for a True Ancestor's blood, of course. However, there were exceptions among them."
Rushella's face turned more and more pale.
Don't say anymore.
A voice was screaming that in her mind.
"I don't know the precise details either. They asked me, so I provided my blood but I was not interested in how it was going to be used. Neither did I know who it was used on. However, at the very least, you were born. I have heard of rare cases of success. Fakes who had drunk the blood of True Ancestors. Former humans. During childhood or puberty, perhaps even in the womb--A certain True Ancestor conferred her blood to you. This resulted in turning you into a vampire infinitely close to a True Ancestor. If you're asking what is your identity, you are one of our subspecies, what one might call a Pseudo True Ancestor, perhaps?"
"Pseudo True Ancestor..."
Rushella understood this term.
In other words, a so-called imposter.
An artificial creation created by the True Ancestors' need.
She was a fake existence from the start.
Rushella slid down from the bench and fell on the ground.
Shaken regarding her own origin, she was unable to support her body.
"Who... am I...?"
Looking at Miraluka, she searched for answers.
But Miraluka did not care about her at all, all she saw was wine.
"How would I know? Perhaps an ordinary character you could find anywhere, but I suspect you have undergone modification. You have no memories probably because you never experienced life in human society to begin with. Just find a suitable garden, implant a bit of basic knowledge, then you were born. Since you woke up as though you had hibernated, your actual age is probably similar to your appearance. But your heart is like a newborn baby's, a pure and untainted True Ancestor. The reason you love Hisui is merely an imprinting process similar to a hatchling's. That being said, his special constitution, allowing you to drink from him as you wish in a semi-perpetual manner, is probably one of the reasons."
Rushella remained collapsed, sitting on the ground.
Everything was futile.
The past she hoped to find did not exist in the first palce.
She regretted searching for her roots.
Her only measure of identity--a True Ancestor vampire--also collapsed totally.
"They placed you in a coffin after birth, preserved appropriately then kept securely in different locations--That's all I heard. I never expected to find one of them sleeping in my surroundings."
"Why put me on that kind of mountain...? The True Ancestors created me then abandoned me...?"
"You'll have to ask the True Ancestor who created you. That said, she no longer exists. She created you and others just in case, but she perished first. On the other hand, someone like me who cared nothing for the proliferation of the race ended up surviving. What a twist of fate."
Miraluka downed her glass of wine, stood up and walked over to Rushella.
Supporting herself with her arms, Rushella kept backing away.
"...I understand about me now. But why do you have to kill me... Is it just because the sight of me offends you...? In your eyes, I am an imposter, so you cannot bear the sight...!?"
"No, I feel grateful to you instead. Your existence is truly excellent insurance."
The sun was about to set.
The crimson gaze pierced Rushella.
Normally speaking, the mystic eyes had no effect on vampires themselves.
But the light from Miraluka's eyes was immeasurably commanding. Rushella could not help but sprawl on the ground.
"What is your goal...!?"
Miraluka smiled mercilessly and pointed at the left of Rushella's chest.
That was where she had targeted yesterday.
This was her ultimate goal all along.
"I want your heart."
"Is there anything you've figured out? Not just Hi-kun, even Eruru-chan is making such a solemn look?"
The group was gathered around the long table in the student council office. Mei was the first to speak.
Right now, the only people present were her and Eruru, as well as Kirika who had provided the student council office.
The president and the other student council members were not around, making this the perfect spot for a confidential conversation.
"Kujou-san had a thorough checkup this morning."
"Oh my, you two have progressed to that point already? Should I cook red beans and rice to celebrate?"
Kirika scolded Mei for her messing around and urged Eruru to continue with her gaze.
"The object of the tests was about Kujou-san's constitution."
"Oh you've checked it before, right? But nothing came out in the end, didn't it?"
"Indeed. No particular conclusion was reached this time either. However, more time was spent on the physiological analysis, hence some of that Miraluka vampire's intent could be deduced as a result."
"What's going on? Why does she want to kill Rushella?"
Eruru did not answer Kirika. Instead, she asked her and Mei another question.
"Let me ask you two. How would you destroy a vampire?"
Why ask this now? Mei and Kirika exchanged glances in puzzlement.
"Hmm, expose them to sunlight... Stake them through the heart?"
"Decapitation then crush the head... Although it's so bloody that I don't really want to actually do it."
Eruru nodded quietly, seemingly satisfied with these cliched answers.
"Correct indeed. Conversely, attacks to the head and heart will cause fatal injuries to vampires. These locations cannot regenerate."
"I know that kind of stuff but what does it have to do with the current incident?"
"Are you implying that Miraluka is actually a fake... The real one is already dead?"
Eruru shook her head and refuted Kirika's question.
"No, she is most likely the real one, which is why Kujou-san feels so troubled. Just as he told us, Miraluka possesses the greatest powers of regeneration among all vampires. Surviving on willpower alone was most likely true. But she is currently very weak. She has no more time."
"Incomplete regeneration? I don't think I saw her in pain or discomfort?"
Mei tried hard to recall what had happened but could not identify anything unusual.
Since she had lost that badly in a contest of strength, she ought to conclude that Miraluka was very strong, not weak.
"She is flawed but not in pain. That is why our attacks failed. I found it strange at the time and Kujou-san probably noticed it. He probably did not tell us because he refused to admit it. This time, the wool was pulled over his eyes as well."
"What do you mean? She looks very normal in appearance, right? What is she lacking?"
Seeing Kirika baffled, Eruru pointed at the left of her own chest.
"She is lacking a heart."
" "HUH!?" "
Mei and Kirika were stunned speechless while Eruru continued:
"Yesterday, my silver bullet shot through her heart. The bullet definitely pierced the chest. Supposing the bullet was blocked by a rib, or stayed in the heart, she should have suffered severe injury, but she still managed to live. But the bullet definitely pierced her body with the same effect as a wooden stake piercing the heart, yet she did not perish. Why?"
How would one know?
Mei and Kirika could only shake their heads with pale faces.
"The answer is simple. She has no heart to begin with. Since it is not there, it cannot be destroyed. Hence the bullet shot through easily because there was no obstacle, because there was no heart there at all."
"Umm... Hold on, hold on right there, how does she live without a heart!?"
"Was her heart damaged and did not regenerate for some reason!? But if that's the case, she should be destroyed, right?"
Neither of them could accept it. Eruru indifferently explained the results of Hisui's tests.
"Her heart still exists. Even right now, it is currently beating. However, it is outside her body."
Mei and Kirika looked at each other.
Judging from the earlier conversation, the answer was right in front of them.
"Could it be... her heart..."
"Inside Kujou-kun's body..."
"Indeed. Her heart has been transplanted into Kujou-san. Kujou-san suffered a heavy injury overseas with severe damage to his heart. There was no other way to save him. The operation was probably performed without even using anesthetics but at the time, Kujou-san was in no condition to care what exactly she was doing to him. However, he seems to remember hazily. The scar left on his chest, the special constitution rendering vampirization ineffective, as well as his memories of her performing chest compressions desperately. Judging from the surgical scars and the ECG, he definitely went through an operation. Unlike dhampirs like me, he is a human with vampire powers residing in his body."
This explanation brought upon a long silence.
Miraluka barely managed to survive with her heart beating outside her body.
This miraculous sustenance of life was only made possible by an immortal vampire.
However, this could not possibly be sustained indefinitely.
"Right now, her body is an empty shell without a core. Precisely because she is a True Ancestor, she is barely hanging on to life. Even with her heart outside her body, as long as the heart remains fine, she remains immortal--That is precisely a vampire."
"How long can she last like this?"
Mei asked seriously.
Whether or not her heart was inside her body, it was fine as long as she lived.
At least Hisui would be satisfied.
But if her resurrection was only temporary, if she was no longer eternal... She must definitely be planning something as a result.
"Since her heart is absent from her body, she might perish any time. At least, she is currently so weak that she cannot even heal the injury from blocking a bullet with her hand. She probably cannot last much longer. The reason she gathered huge quantities of blood was most likely to find a solution. But she discovered that it was futile whether she sought quality or quantity. Hence, she now regards Rushella as her last resort for salvation."
"Using her... as a backup heart?"
Her original heart was sustaining Hisui's life and could not be taken out, of course.
Hence, she could only search for a substitute.
Using a vampire's regenerative abilities, transplanting another person's organs or limbs were not a problem at all.
"Indeed. But this is a heart after all, so it cannot be replaced so easily. A human heart is definitely not going to work while ordinary vampires will not necessarily satisfy her. Hence, she chose the heart closest to her own, one closest to a True Ancestor's heart. The answer is... Rushella."
After a moment's silence, Mei said:
"Will this... succeed? It's a heart after all? If taking it out and installing it would work, she wouldn't have to go through so much trouble."
Kirika also agreed. This action could lead to futility.
"Even if the transplant succeeds, there is no guarantee how long she will live. Then wouldn't Rushella-san have died for nothing? If her heart is taken out of her body, Rushella-san would surely perish instantly."
"Indeed, perhaps you two are right. Miraluka surviving is a miracle. Kujou-san sustaining the heart is also a miracle. The two of them meeting again is yet another miracle. However, she is still gambling everything on this. Most likely, she must have tried all sorts of solutions after returning but none worked. Still, she clings to life, refusing to give up."
"It must be for Hi-kun."
"Women are the weaker sex, yet they are powerful as mothers... No, rather, it is a woman's dedication."
The girls smiled wryly.
We really can't win against her--Their smiles carried such a realization.
The True Ancestor who had chosen destruction for the sake of a boy. Now, she was seeking life for the same boy.
The trio fell silent. Eruru looked at her cellphone.
A text from Rangetsu.
"She says Rushella-san has gone missing. Presumably, she would not leave on her own... Miraluka probably visited."
"Oh my, what a pain! Vampires really can't give us a break!"
"No helping it... She is doing it for Kujou-kun after all."
Mei and Kirika stood up and left the student council office.
Eruru was about to follow them when they asked her at the same time.
"You're not going to tell Hi-kun?"
"Keeping him out... Isn't that not good?"
Eruru was struggling internally too.
Not wanting to get him involved, these was Eruru's benevolent intent--As long as the few of them could handle this matter, it would be for the best.
However, Eruru chose something else.
"Please go ahead first, you two. Oogami-san already memorized her smell so it should be easy to track her. You two meet up with Oogami-san first."
"Okay, I'm leaving Hi-kun to you❤"
"We will be waiting for you."
Eruru saw them off then ran through the corridor to that empty classroom.
"Hisui-kun, you look like it's the end of the world."
Hisui was sprawled over a desk. Touko was hovering leisurely by his side.
She was actually quite annoying but today, Hisui found her presence calming.
Seeing things getting complicated, perhaps she was the only one who could remain uninvolved.
"Touko-san, you're in such good spirits even though you're dead."
After saying that, he realized he was being way too sarcastic.
But Touko did not mind. Raising her arms, she curled her forearms and made an energetic pose.
"Yes❤ You've gotta enjoy life to the max!"
"Well, your life has already ended, Touko-san..."
"Of course not. Earth-bound spirits still need love!"
"You'd better pray for love in your next life. By the way, don't you want to move on to the afterlife?"
"Feelings are very important for things like that. When the time comes, I might disappear without even the chance to finish saying 'I am so happy...'"
Touko laughed sadly.
On further thought, Hisui realized her presence was the weakest. After all, the vast majority of people could not sense her existence.
By the time people were able to see her, they were perhaps already dead.
"...Touko-san, what about your family? Whether or not you want to move on, since you never got the chance to say goodbye to them, how about find them... and meet them or something?"
"Hmm, my family situation wasn't too good. I think they've moved away already so I don't have to visit on purpose. Getting too attached to things from my life won't help. I have to live by looking to the future!"
"Yeah, well, you're already dead..."
It was no joking matter for a dead person to be advising a living person on how to live.
"By the way... What's troubling you, Hisui-kun? Is it that pretty lady?"
"Yeah, pretty much. She's currently alive probably because of me. It feels like she crawled out of the grave because she was too worried about me. Clearly it's something to be happy about but I can't feel happy, so lame of me. I don't wish for her to be better off dead, but..."
--Could he stand aside and ignore Rushella's death?
Indeed, he had been asking himself.
He ought to talk to her and ask if there existed some other solution.
However, Miraluka must have thought over this type of question already.
Before revealing herself, she must have tried many solutions.
However, finding nothing, her limit was approaching.
"Actually, don't make things out to be too complicated, okay?"
Touko the optimist spoke while going in a circle in the air.
Seeing her so optimistic, Hisui could not help but retort harshly.
"What do you mean? I'm facing a war between the mother-in-law and the bride. How do you expect me to get out of this kind of hopeless situation?"
"Hmm, choosing between the two of them, who is the most important, but do you really need to agonize over this kind of thing?"
Touko was still drifting back and forth on the side.
Looking detached from the mundane world, she was simply speaking as an observer and elder.
"Because you're all alive. Unlike me, you're all living. Important people, important things, these will all increase as time goes by. If you have to rank everything and pick out what's the most important, doesn't that mean giving up on so many things?"
"Isn't it better to live life more greedily, embracing everyone in your bosom?"
Touko smiled tenderly.
Hisui could not help but smile too.
Oh I see now.
Actually, he already knew a long time ago.
"Elders are different after all."
"Despite how I look, I am like an older sister! Do you know why I am so great?"
"Now I know. But don't move on until I leave this school, okay?"
"Yes, I will stay here for ten more years!"
That's way too long--Hisui could not help but remark in his heart.
Then he left the empty classroom and ended up running into Eruru in the hallway.
"Rushella-san has gone missing. She is most likely with your foster mother. Are you coming?"
"Perhaps one of them might end up dead. Rather, I might be firing my gun."
"No problem. I will try my best to stop them."
"What a fool. Why don't you stop interfering in conflicts between vampires?"
"Don't say that. If you get into a fight with someone, I will try to stop it too."
Eruru went silent.
Gazing at Hisui, her expression was inscrutable.
"...What? Shouldn't we hurry?"
Hence, Eruru finally resolved herself to speak.
"I have something I wanted to say to you. Starting a long time ago, I have wanted to tell you this."
Taking a deep breath, she stared into Hisui's eyes and said, one word at a time:
"I ABSOLUTELY HATE YOU!!"
Hisui was baffled.
He completely failed to understand.
"Uh, I never got the feeling you liked me... But I never expected to hear something so harsh from you directly."
"I have always wanted to tell you those words."
"Hmm, fine, can't be helped... On the other hand, I like you quite a lot."
Instantly, Eruru's entire face went bright red.
Hisui did not notice and continued.
"You're a person with a heart, you helped me so much... Anyway, thank you."
"So... Let's continue to get along."
As soon as he said that, Hisui felt himself getting kicked in the shin. That force felt like it was enough to break a wooden bat.
"Ouch, what the heck!?"
"Shut up, that is what I hate about you! How can you be considerate for others all the time, how can you be so handsome and gallant, how can you be born with such smarts, everything about you pisses me off!"
"Y-You don't have to go so far..."
Rejected by her totally, Hisui could not help feeling a little sad.
Seeing Hisui make that kind of face, Eruru seemed to get angry. As for why she was angry, Hisui totally could not understand.
"In any case, keep yourself the same, the way I hate you! Don't carelessly change yourself, that will be even more annoying! So... So.. Stay the same as always!"
"...Hmm, okay... I will."
Hisui answered and got kicked again.
Just as he was about to protest, Eruru grabbed his hand.
"I know! Sigh, what pissed you off so much..."
While running through the corridor, Hisui muttered in puzzlement.
Behind them, Touko was happily watching them leave.
Rushella covered her left breast.
Indeed, that was where Miraluka aimed last time.
"Are you saying you want to destroy me completely because I am in your way..!?"
"If I wanted to destroy you, I would have done it a long time ago. I simply want your heart, that is all."
"I am asking you your goal...!"
"Have you heard of heart transplants? Because... I don't have one..."
Miraluka took off her inverness dress then unclasped a strap to reveal her left breast.
On the white and pale breast, surpassing Rushella's in volume, a clear bullet hole was visible.
It was an empty hole left on the chest after being pierced by a bullet.
"Who knows when this wound will heal up. But rather, whether I can survive until the day it heals is also unknown. Right now, I don't even have half the power from my prime."
"Why...? Unlike me, you are a real True Ancestor, right!?"
"Indeed, precisely because of that, I managed to survive, barely. But I already gave my heart to Hisui. I lived because my heart is still beating, but this is the limit. Like a wound clock that will stop turning eventually. So... I can only get a new replacement, a substitute infinitely close to me. Even if the result is a gamble... I can only take the gamble."
Rushella finally understood Miraluka's intent.
She wanted her body, her heart.
This body, created as a True Ancestor's backup, was now carrying out its duty, how ironic.
"You chose death once... to save Hisui. Now, you have returned for Hisui and you will live on for him. Is that what's going on?"
"...Living on is precisely my lot in life as a vampire. I will do so even at the cost of destroying you."
"Is that so...? Very well, take it. I don't care."
Like Miraluka, Rushella exposed her left breast.
After sunset, the evening wind blew across her white chest.
"May I? I am rather special, while you will immediately perish once your heart is gouged out?"
"Sure. This is the only thing I can do... for that guy."
Miraluka's face went dark.
Her beautiful face had been as serene as a lake until now. Faint signs of laughter were surfacing.
But she still stepped forward.
Reaching out, her right hand turned into a killing weapon.
Rushella closed her eyes tightly in resignation, puffing out her chest, offering everything.
At the last moment, footsteps were heard from behind.
Miraluka looked back. The arrivals were related to Hisui.
They were Mei, Kirika and Rangetsu.
"Trying to stop me?"
The trio nodded at the same time.
"Why? She is the rival of you three. And it's a conflict between vampires. Why interfere?"
"To earn affection points!"
Mei replied instantly.
"That's right, if anything happened to this child, if we watched without doing anything, he will surely hate us. I don't want that."
Kirika smiled sadly.
"Also, if you were to succeed... I will be excluded by them even more. I don't have much presence already."
Rangetsu declared with an elder's dignity.
Everyone was in agreement.
"When did he learn to capture women's hearts so well? I don't know if I should be happy or sad about that."
Miraluka sighed in exasperation and smiled.
At this time, new intruders arrived, deepening Miraluka's smile.
Hisui and Eruru arrived one after another.
Hisui was carrying the sacred cross sword from home, the Tzara Blade.
On the sword's blade, gemstones were giving off crimson light dyeing the surroundings red.
"You brought the talisman I left you? What are you intending? To destroy me with it?"
"Fighting using your constitution? Your body carries the potential for a human to oppose vampires. If humans could stand on equal ground with vampires, then there will no longer be conflict between them. Perhaps coexistence could be actualized. Are you thinking of using this power to fight me?"
Then what are you going to do?"
Hisui pointed the Tzara Blade at himself.
"This heart, I'm returning it to you."
Closing his eyes, Hisui pierced his own chest with the blade.
Blood splashed everywhere.
Kirika screamed while Mei and Rangetsu were stunned.
Eruru had apparently predicted this scene. Turning her face away, she endured the smell of blood, desperately trying to maintain her sanity.
"What are you doing...!?"
Miraluka finally showed surprise on her face.
She had not given Hisui this sword for this kind of task.
"Are you trying to waste everything I've done!?"
"...You're the one who's wasting everything. I don't want to lose you again. Neither do I want to lose Rushella!"
Hisui pressed against his left chest that was bleeding like a spring.
The bleeding was making his originally pale skin even more pallid. The crest of thorns appeared on his neck.
But this transformation was just a necessary result. It was not his goal.
"This was originally yours... I'm returning it to you now. This is enough. Don't do anything to Rushella."
"What about me? Aren't there artificial hearts? There are many solutions so I'll live, somehow... Otherwise, use your vampire powers to make me hibernate or seal me away, whatever you want. I'll wait for you, whether it takes a decade or a century, to make me live on. So stop, it's already enough..."
Hisui desperately used the sacred cross sword to support his collapsing body.
Rushella ran over to hug him.
"Hang in there, don't die!!"
"Don't write me off as dead so easily. You said it before, right...? So don't die either. Also, you too."
The last three words were directed at Miraluka.
He was not mature enough to send everyone he cherished to a perfect ending.
He was not cool enough to abandon everything for one cherished person.
So he had no choice.
And Miraluka--She smiled, smiling faintly with a satisfaction.
"Looks like you don't need me anymore. This time will be true farewell."
Everyone present tensed up.
Rather than destroying her, they only wanted to protect him.
The girls were trying to save Hisui's life.
And Hisui, to avoid losing her again...
But time was merciless.
The outline of Miraluka's face was collapsing bit by bit.
Starting from the edges, her body was gradually turning into ash.
Hisui ran over.
He wanted to hug Miraluka, but the collapsing limbs were scattered in the wind, leaving only her torso in his arms.
"Why... Why!? Why do this...!? Hey, hurry and drink blood, as much as you need, drink my blood! If you die a second time, I absolutely won't forgive you!"
"I am already dead to begin with. Also, I don't need your blood. Who do you take me for?"
"No time for jokes... Hey!"
"Your blood... Save it for her."
Miraluka's eyes met with Hisui's gaze.
Staying where she was, the last True Ancestor smiled tenderly.
Like a mother handing over her son, like sister handing over her younger brother, like a woman handing over her lover...
She said to Rushella:
"Continue to drink Hisui's blood. The true value of Anti-Drac mode is in his blood--The weakening of a vampire. His blood tastes excellent and is addictive. Then the vampire becomes progressively weak. One day, you will become completely human."
Rushella wanted to step foward but she halted.
This final instant, this farewell moment, should be left for those two alone.
"Hey, hold on, I still haven't--"
Before he could say anything.
Thank you, goodbye, I love you.
None of this could be said to her.
Still the same, nothing changed.
He could only watch helplessly, exactly the same as that day in the past.
Hence, he could only kiss the air. It was the only thing he could do.
Only the mark of her lips remained in the present world, not disappearing for a very long time.
But while their lips separated, the beauty in his arms had already vanished.
The exquisite remains of ash retained the smiling face of Miraluka's final moments, finally scattering in the night, disappearing into the wind.
Hisui embraced the ashes tightly in his arms, sobbing uncontrollably.
Ever since Miraluka died, this was his first time crying.
His cries echoed between heaven and earth, persisting for a long time.
Staying by Hisui's side, Rushella accompanied him. Even when the others had left, she still remained. Forever and ever...
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