A/N:Thanks for the suggestions I've received in my Inbox. If you guys still have more, I'd be happy to read them. Throw them in your reviews if you can. Forgive me if their's a lot of spelling errors this chapter. I honestly felt too lazy to check this time.
P.S.: Please continue to review and give your feedback, Flames are welcome, as long as you explain the reason for the flame so I can improve my story. Thanks. I also might revise this chapter in regards to Akua and Moka's conversation. Only a thought right now, though.
P.S.S.: In this chapter, Tsukune meets Daddy Shuzen. I know I took forever with this chapter, honestly, I was scared to upload it.
P.S.S.S.: I apologize in advance. I find Akua's personality a little challenging to write. Please bear with me.
P.S.S.S.S.: I lied again. No fight this chapter. I didn't want to rush into it. Next chapter will most definitely have a fight in it. I understand that since this is Rosario + Vampire and all, there's gotta be a fight eventually. Please bear with me, I will definitely add it next chapter.
Courtship + a Vampire
"So what brings...all of you...here to this humble abode," Akua yawned upon sitting down on a recliner in the ridiculously large commons room. Her seat was parallel to the front door, but was almost centered in the room, next to the larger sofa. The Sofa was perpendicular to the recliner, while the sofa itself faced a wall upon which a flat screen TV nearly as big as a theater screen rested. Tsukune wasn't expecting to see a TV of all things. He figured the Shuzen family, or any monster family in general, to be a lot more "old-fashioned". But then again, if they had a mansion of this size, why was a TV so farfetched? But where did they get their channels?
"Ahem," Akua cleared her throat, wrenching Tsukune out of his thoughts.
"I'm sorry," Tsukune laughed, taking a seat at the sofa after seeing everyone else was already seated. Moka, Kokoa, Mizore, and Kurumu were seated on the sofa. "It's just this living room is bigger than my house!"
"Glad you like it," Akua replied, rather boredly. She had one leg crossed over the other and was dressed in her usual Chinese cheongsam and knee high combat boots. Her arms rested behind her head as she moved her foot about idly.
"One of Mikogami's requests was for me to meet the Shuzen head," Tsukune began after noticing Akua's expectant expression. "I'm still unsure why it's me that needs to explain to him you know, that," he continued, leaning forward as he spoke.
"You do know where Father is, right?" Moka added, raising a brow at her older sister.
"Aiya~. Impatient, aren't you?"
Moka crossed her arms, hoping that she was getting the point across that she was quickly losing patience.
"I'm glad you haven't changed at all," Akua appraised, then shifted position so that her elbow was on the armrest and her head rested on her hand. "Anyway..." she started deliberately, smiling at Moka's increasingly impatient expression. "He should be back home in a few hours."
Tsukune ran calculations in his head and came to the conclusion that it'd probably be dark out by the time they were finished here and at the mall. It might not even be open by then. Tsukune looked at Moka to see her reaction to the eldest vampire's observation. She seemed to get the same idea that he had.
"I guess we'll have to save the trip to the mall for tomorrow," Moka told him apologetically. Tsukune shrugged, not bothered too much by the idea. Their date was set for tomorrow anyway. No harm done.
"Ah, it's nothing. We could probably still go out to eat or something," Tsukune suggested.
"Tsukune, you better take me somewhere just as nice during my date. I'm right here, you know," Kurumu spoke up with her arms crossed. Mizore, who was seated at the end of the Sofa simply nodded, saying "What she said." The male Shinso could even see Akua discreetly glaring at him for some unknown reason.
"Kokoa, you wouldn't mind showing the girls around the house, would you?" Akua requested. Kokoa knew a dismissal when she saw one, but chose not to call Akua out on it. There wasn't much she could contribute to the current conversation anyway.
"Fine," she grumbled, jumping off of the sofa. Both Mizore and Kurumu looked uncertainly at Tsukue, who nodded at them assuredly. He'd be fine.
"It might have something to do with their father," he suggested. Maybe Akua needed less of an audience for the ensuing conversation.
"Don't take too long," she requested, following after Kokoa, with Mizore lagging behind. Once they disappeared into the halls of the mansion, Akua spoke up.
"So, what's it like?"
Tsukune and Moka regarded her questioningly.
"What's what like?" She sighed.
"You know, having Shinso blood and all? It must be thrilling to have all that power," Akua lamented, closing her eyes momentarily.
"It's...ok," Moka hesitated before answering. "It's not that special."
"You're just saying that. But anyway, how's school been for you two?" Akua smiled, changing the subject almost instantly. Moka watched her warily before answering. "I don't know. It's my first time having been in school for at least a week straight without, you know," she let the sentence hang, the other two already knowing what she meant.
"It's been decent enough. Mikogami wants me to be headmaster of the school," Tsukune added.
"Hm. Maybe I should enroll. It's been awfully boring here," Akua suggested, stretching her arms.
Moka didn't respond. She didn't yet have an opinion on the idea. But as long as she wasn't trying to be around her all the time, which would most likely be the case...
"Why would you want to go to school all of a sudden?" Moka asked, raising an eyebrow.
"It's not like I have anything better to do?" Akua shrugged. "Father is barely around as it is. Would you really be okay with me wasting away in the mansion all by my lonesome? I've missed you so much, sister. You don't send me any letters at all."
Moka actually looked a bit guilty. Tsukune coughed, muttering a "Told ya so." He received a elbow to his side in response.
"Tch. It's not like I care," the younger sister declared, trying to save face. "Do what you want."
"C'mon, let me go to school with you. I swear, I won't bother you," she begged, moving from the recliner to sit next to Moka's other side. "Too much," she amended, grabbing hold of both of Moka's hands.
"Alright, alright, fine. Was there something important you wanted to talk about?" Moka relented with a sigh. Akua must have sent the rest of the girls off for a reason.
"Just wanted to know if Tsukune knew what he was getting into, trying to talk to Father," she answered, releasing her hold on Moka's hands and looking at the boy in question for his reaction. Tsukune nodded.
"Yes. I might not understand everything right now, but the late Headmaster has never given me bad advice. I think it wouldn't be wise to not follow his instructions," Tsukune admitted.
"Hmm," Akua hummed. Truthfully, Akua wasn't really too concerned with Tsukune's upcoming meeting. Tsukune was already plenty tough, having Shinso Vampire blood in his veins and having been trained to use it. Issa Shuzen could still possibly defeat Tsukune in a fight, but in terms of raw power, it wasn't unrealistic to say that Tsukune's already surpassed him. It's not like Issa was coming all this way to simply fight him, though.
"You should be fine, then. Father isn't unreasonable," she stated, leaning her arm on the back of the couch, which Moka was trying to ignore, seeing as how Akua's arm was right behind her. Tsukune smiled in appreciation at another Shuzen family member giving positive feedback about Issa's personality.
"Tsukune, you don't mind if I speak to Moka alone for a second, do you?" She asked Tsukune.
"No problem. I'll be looking for everyone else if anyone needs me," he said, walking towards the hall he'd seen the other girls walk towards.
"What now, Akua?"
Suddenly, Moka was pulled into another hug, this one nearly crushing her arms. Moka struggled to pull her off of her before Akua finally relented.
"Akua, will you stop doing that?" she complained, trying to discreetly nurse her arm.
"I've just missed you so much! You seriously never write me! I've been wondering all this time what you've been doing," she whined, almost on the verge of tears, but offset by her nostalgic smile.
"You know I love you," Akua said, suddenly serious. "But what are the snow girl and the succubus doing here? How come they get to hang around you all the time?" Akua curled her lip in a frown of annoyance, watching Moka expectantly.
"Why didn't you tell them that?" the younger vampire dismissed, once again crossing her arms. Akua rested her head on Moka's shoulder with an affectionate sigh.
"You wouldn't appreciate that so much," she said knowingly.
Moka resisted exhaling in annoyance. Akua's over affection directed at her was always a bit annoying and unnerving.
"We should go shopping or something. Just the two of us," the elder sister suggested, shrugging her shoulders from her current position.
"What would be the point. I've seen you with that same getup all the time," Moka half-joked, hoping to indirectly discourage the notion.
"Haha," Akua deadpanned, finally rising from the couch. "But I'm serious. You're always around Tsukune. I'm a bit jealous," she replied truthfully. She looked away and frowned, before looking back at Moka. "I'm definitely enrolling. So be prepared to see me a lot more, okay?"
"This place is huge! You could fit a family of five hundred in here comfortably," Kurumu observed, casually taking note of possibly the hundredth bedroom door she'd passed.
"How big is the Shuzen family?" Mizore asked, idly observing her surroundings as she followed Kurumu and Kokoa.
"It's not that big. Almost all of these are guestrooms. Many of them double as meeting rooms of some sort. I haven't even been in most of them. Me and my sisters' rooms aren't even on this floor."
"My mom would love to live in a place like this," Kurumu stated matter of factly, running her palm past some of the doors and examining the texture of the wood. She'd seen the inside of some of the rooms, but they all pretty much looked the same.
"I'd probably develop agoraphobia living here," the snow girl whispered.
"Are you kidding me. Wouldn't a stalker woman like you love to spy on Tsukune from a million different angles?"
Mizore shook her head at Kurumu's ignorance. "You're stereotyping stalkers. Not all of us like to spy in big places. I just like to be semi-hidden."
Kokoa rolled her eyes at their antics. "A~nyway," she interrupted, before Mizore went into unnecessary detail about her stalking habits. "The both of you haven't seen the gym. It's probably the most...and only interesting room in this place. That, and the kitchen," she explained.
"Lead the way!" Kurumu said, interested. Training would be a lot more fun with one of those, she decided. Without Touhou Fuhai or Mikogami, she and Mizore had no convenient pocket dimension to practice techniques together.
"I think you'll like it," the orange haired vampire decided as they all continued to walk.
"I thought this place was huge before..." Tsukune mumbled in awe. He'd taken no more than thirty steps before he was walking down a hallway he was pretty sure he traveled before. There was a door every two steps down the hall, and a staircase almost around every corner. Since all the doors looked identical, it was difficult to tell which way was the correct path to take in order to find the girls. He had already passed an intersection, thinking it was safer to keep going a straight path. Unfortunately he was no longer on the first floor, having climbed a flight of stairs on a whim.
"Maybe that wasn't such a good idea," he grumbled under his breath, gazing at the identical doors on either side of the hall. He was about to give up and try to backtrack downstairs when he heard a distinctive shout from one of the doors.
It was one of the non-descript doors to his right. Shrugging, he strode toward it, turning the doorknob.
"Woah," Tsukune sounded, impressed.
Upon opening the door, it led way into a room larger than he expected. There were martial art training posts lining the far wall across from him, training dummies lining the wall to his right, and a large obstacle course that reminded him of military camp brochures that was in the center of the room. The leftmost wall had two bathrooms and a water fountain in between either door.
Tsukune whistled as he stepped in. Calling this room a gym would be an understatement. Looking around the room, he tried to pinpoint where he heard Kurumu's shout. From within the obstacle course, he could see all three of the girls disappearing and vanishing between columns within the obstacle course. The columns seem to make up the majority of the course, made of some type of stone which twisted and formed in various ways like a natural landscape. Periodically, he could see Ice spikes flying out of the course and seeing Mizore and Kurumu working in unison for an attack of some sort. He'd only seen the two working together to perform a technique perhaps once or twice before. It was interesting to see it in practice. Mizore was carried up by Kurumu, who was spiraling in the air while the snow girl launched ice spikes. Kokoa sat on the sidelines, though she must have been involved at some point, as she was using a towel to wipe her face.
"You have an interesting set of friends," a voice said, coming from next to him. Tsukune turned to his left and jumped back slightly, although he recovered quickly enough.
"You're..." Tsukune began. The individual he was facing wore a modest long coat that concealed whatever he might have been wearing underneath. He had hair that about reached the base of his neck and a petit goatee. Tsukune observed that he didn't look a day older than the vision he'd seen of him in the Rosario.
"Mr. Shuzen, it's an honor to meet you," Tsukune said respectfully, bowing slightly at the waist. The Shuzen head simply nodded in acknowledgement, accompanied by a grunt.
"No need for formalities. We can properly speak in the commons room," he replied with a slight smile, before turning his attention back to the obstacle course. The three girls seemed to have noticed the presence of the Shuzen head around the same time Tsukune did and made their way towards the door that the two men were standing near.
Well, two of them were. Kokoa was running full speed and might well have bowled her father over if he wasn't prepared.
"Daddy!" she shouted, reaching him with a leaping hug. Issa patted her head, a muted smile on his face.
"Have you been looking after Moka?" he asked fondly after Kokoa released him from her embrace.
"Very good," he nodded once, before turning determinedly towards the door. "The four of you, please follow me."
As Issa led them out of the room and back into the hallway, he began to speak.
"I can see clearly that you possess amazing strength," he said, glancing at Tsukune before looking forward again. "All of you have considerable power. And you have grown much, Kokoa."
All four of them beamed at the praise. Mizore and Kurumu shared a knowing glance. They could definitely protect Tsukune if such a comment was coming from Moka's father of all people.
"Dad, I'm curious though. Where were you all this time?"
Issa breathed deeply, knowing his daughters would want to know eventually. "It's...complicated. I will tell you once we meet up with your sisters." The Shuzen head didn't elaborate and Kokoa didn't push the point any further.
The rest of the walk was silent until they reached their destination. Moka and Akua were still conversing when the five entered. Upon noticing him, they both stood up out of habit.
The three looked at each other for an indeterminate amount of time, before Issa sat down on an unoccupied chair. He had either elbow resting on his knees while his chin rested on his hands. Relunctantly, everyone sat down on the sofa, facing Issa. The Shuzen head, however, seemed to not be looking at any of them, but staring past them. He seemed to be waiting for someone else to speak.
"Where were you all this time?"
Moka was the one to speak up. She wasn't looking at anyone, rather, staring hard at the floor. Issa did not respond, but regarded his middle daughter patiently.
"Where were you when we fought Alucard?" She asked, now looking at her father. "Kalhua's dead."
"I'm aware," Issa replied after a pause. "Her death was my fault. I have no excuse for that," he continued, sparing a glance at Kokoa.
"Why do you say that?" Moka asked quietly, not understanding her father's meaning. Mizore nudged Kurumu's arm, gesturing her head toward the door.
"We'll be outside," Kurumu told Moka, leaving the couch with Mizore. Tsukune was about to join the two, catching onto the idea of Kurumu sensing that the ensuing conversation was private.
"Hold," Issa said. The three teens stopped moving, turning to face him.
"You all were affected by this...situation also. No need to dismiss yourselves."
The three academy students looked at each other before retaking their seats.
Issa closed his eyes and exhaled calmly before reopening them. Tsukune had the impression that even through Issa's calm demeanor, something was weighing heavily on his mind.
"I've left you to your own devices at the time that I did, because Akasha asked me to."
"I don't understand," Moka admitted, struggling to keep her voice from cracking. Akua embraced her, squeezing her shoulder to comfort her.
"It's my fault," Kokoa spoke up. "Kahlua told me, before she died, that Mom hoped my birth would bring her and you back together," she explained, looking at her father.
Issa leaned back in his chair, looking at the ceiling.
"That was out of your control," he retorted. "The fact of the matter is, I did not handle my relationships wisely. We can talk about this more, in private. Moka."
Moka looked up to look her father in the eye questioningly.
"By me not being anywhere near you or your sisters, it increased the probability that you would stay hidden from both Gyokuro and the organization she worked with," he explained. "As for not being there, I was simply too far away. There was no way for me to come to your aid."
Moka remained silent after this, looking at the floor with a hand on her forehead.
"What do you plan to do from here on out?" Issa asked bluntly, regarding his eldest daughter with a critical eye. She did not look fazed in the slightest, looking away in thought.
"Well, I'm done being an assassin. I just want to spend more time with my dearest sisters," she answered with a shrug. Issa simply nodded, contemplating. Finally he stood from his seat, clasping his hands behind his back.
"Moka, If you hate me right now, that is fine. I won't disappear any more and if you ever need to talk..." The man left the suggestion open for his daughter's own interpretation and he gazed at everyone else before it lingered momentarily on the male Shinso.
"Tsukune Aono, please follow me outside."
Tsukune was rather surprised he knew his name, but consented and followed Issa out the front door.
The two of them were in the main courtyard, and Issa had his back towards Tsukune, facing the water fountain. After the exchange inside, he wasn't sure what the head of the Shuzen family wanted to speak with him about. Issa turned around completely to face him and did the last thing thing Tsukune was expecting him to do.
He bowed slightly at the waist towards Tsukune.
"You have my gratitude for taking care of my daughter," Issa explained. Tsukune hesitated only momentarily out of surprise before bowing himself.
"I should be thanking you. It is an honor to know her."
Both men straightened their posture simultaneously and Issa smiled softly. While it was painful for him to know that Kahlua had passed, he was also pleased to know that both Kokoa and Akua seemed to have changed for the better. Kokoa, he could tell, was already past whatever mental blocks she placed on her own strength. And Akua...
"You have been a positive influence for both Moka and Akua, I can tell."
"What do you mean, sir?" Tsukune was a little surprised by Issa Shuzen's attitude thus far. He did seem to be a very reasonable individual.
"Akua loves her sisters, but in general she was a cold individual. She never would have just decided to quit being an assassin. Besides Moka, she has something else to separate her from that lifestyle," he answered.
More cryptic statements, Tsukune thought. He'd get it sooner or later, he decided.
"Which one are you most interested in?" the older man suddenly asked.
"Is it Moka? Kokoa? Or perhaps Akua? Or one of those two young ladies you have with you?"
"I'd have to say, Moka," Tsukune answered almost immediately.
"Why?" Issa inquired.
"I...love all of them as friends, but, I feel like I have a special connection with Moka. She was the first friend I ever made," Tsukune explained. He paused before continuing. "With your permission, I'd really like to pursue a relationship with her."
To Tsukune's surprise, Issa laughed. It wasn't a boisterous laugh however, but a low volume, amused chuckle.
"Hm. After being out of her life for so long, that's not my decision to make," he said calmly. He idly examined the water fountain again before reestablishing eye contact.
"However, I'd like to gauge how powerful you really are."
"You mean...like a sparring match?"
Issa nodded in confirmation. "It's clear that you are in a higher league than me. I'd like to see it for myself."
Tsukune shook his head in agreement. This was the first time he could really fight an opponent besides Moka without having to fight for his life. This time, he agreed without hesitation, entering a fighting stance. Issa removed his longcoat, revealing his European influenced Gambeson jacket underneath, and dropping it on the fountain ledge and entering a combat stance of his own.
"Now show me your Shinso power," Issa demanded.
A/N: Tell me what you thought of this chapter. As you could probably tell, I took some creative liberties as to what the hell is in Issa Shuzen's fortre-I mean castle. Please be frank and tell me how you think I did with the characters' personalities. Honestly, I'm not sure if I did Akua's personality justice. However, I felt that she may have mellowed out, just a wee bit, after the Fairy Tale fiasco. I'm definitely going to have her appear a lot more often since she's enrolling into the school and all.
I feel that Kurumu and Mizore were a little (very) neglected toward the end of the chapter. I still have much to do to improve my writing. Please forgive me for my lack of writing skill.
I'm not experienced at writing emotional pieces, so please give some honest feedback on that as well.
P.S.: I'm basing Issa's personality off of the information I could glean off of the manga and the wiki. I'm not really basing it off of his anime counterpart, if at all. The manga version, in my opinion is a lot less wordy than his anime counterpart, but still retains a commanding presence.
Up Next: [Don't know the title yet (Suggest one please)] + a Vampire