A/N: Thanks for the continued feedback through both the PM's and the Reviews. If you have any suggestions, I am willing to read through them and consider it.
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.
P.S.S.: In this chapter, Tsukune spars with Issa. Be honest and give your feedback on the duel.
P.S.S.S.: I received an interesting PM earlier. [Spoiler] Should Kahlua return for this story? I wrote her off as dead, but I have to agree with the guy I was PMing with. Her fate is kind of ambiguous at the least, especially when she was being carried at the end of the manga. If I include her, she's not going to have super heavy "screen time" but I would be willing to input her. Please tell me what you suggest.
P.S.S.S.S.: Thanks for the title suggestions. Also, this chapter is going to be the slightest bit short. This narrative was on an unintentional hiatus and I'm basically re-acclimating to this story, so forgive me if characters seem somewhat...off, this chapter.
Conflict + a Vampire
Issa and Tsukune sized each other up from where they stood. While keeping wary of Issa's position, he focused the vampire energy in his blood. Moka's father seemed to be doing something similar, albeit a different stance. His arm was outstretched, palm open, while his other hand was balled into a fist, close to his chest. Tsukune swallowed, adrenaline speeding up his heartbeat, the seconds seemingly taking too long as they waited to see who would make the first move.
Issa remained passive, not having made an aggressive motion. Tsukune breathed in then out.
He lunged forward.
Tsukune always favored a straightforward fighting style, learning a hybrid form of Karate and Tae Kwon Do from Moka. He chambered his lead arm, his extensive training allowing him to dash forward and close the gap. Issa didn't immediately react, but nonetheless, the elder vampire's left palm collided with the side of Tsukune's fist, redirecting it's momentum towards open air.
It was Issa's turn to counterattack.
Forcing his right hand forward, palm open, Issa pushed forward with the same shoulder. Tsukune braced for impact with a well timed cross-arm block.
There was a resounding KRAK.
Tsukune was undamaged but the force of the palm-strike had all the power of a speeding truck. Tsukune's form was vaulted horizontally through the air by several meters, narrowly missing the water fountain that was forgotten after the start of the duel.
That was the only word which Tsukune could find fitting for what just transpired.
The duel hadn't gone unnoticed. The five spectators inside the mansion had migrated to the nearby window that allowed them to watch the conflict.
"What does he think he's doing?" Moka groaned, eyeing the two combatants. Tsukune was already laid out on the ground, although he didn't look too hurt, albeit a bit shaken up.
"Shouldn't we be helping him?"
Akua glanced at the girl who spouted the question, the blue haired succubus, before giving an assuring smileand a shrug.
"Eh, he'll be fine. Father's not trying to kill him...I think."
"You don't sound certain at all," Mizore cosigned, the snow woman having not taken her eyes off of Tsukune. Akua laughed the accusation off nervously, making her seem even more suspicious. The young man in question had regained his bearings at this point, and the two men were slowly circling each other again.
Akua, who was at one end of the window hummed in thought to Mizore's observation.
"Well, as you all know, Issa is an Assassin. If he was really trying, Tsukune would at least be injured or something by now, right?"
"Wait a minute!" Kurumu blurted. Her expression intensified as the fight outside continued. "What if Moka's father is testing him? Don't tell me he already approves of Tsukune marrying her!?"
Moka directed an exasperated look at her logic. "I don't think it's like that," she replied, seemingly avoiding eye contact with the succubus.
"It better not," the eldest Shuzen daughter cut in quickly. "He's okay, but I don't think you're ready for marriage."
Moka's glare could only be translated as "Shut up." Instead of backing down, however, Akua only sighed melodramatically.
"Don't tell me your blushing means you're actually giving it thought?"
Moka turned her head imperiously and back towards the two men outside. "Of course not," she answered rather convincingly, but belatedly. Akua narrowed her eyes, but let the subject drop.
"Looks like they're not fighting anymore," Kurumu observed, pulling everyone's attention back to the yard outside.
Tsukune avoided another strike by the Shuzen patriarch who was still riding his momentum. Using it to his advantage, Tsukune threw his own punch, landing his first hit.
Unfortunately, his wrist was grabbed before his fist could connect and he was thrown bodily towards the wall of the mansion. Tsukune picked himself up again, stretching the kinks in his muscles from all the collisions with the ground. How was Issa doing that? Aono hadn't landed one punch and it amazed him that the older man was overpowering him without even trying.
He still had more to learn he guessed.
Tsukune blinked in confusion upon seeing Issa picking up his longcoat and folding it over his arm.
"We're...finished?" Tsukune asked, slowly dropping his arms to his sides. Issa looked at Tsukune as if just noticing him.
"Ah, yes. I've gotten a feel of where your skill is."
Issa smiled lopsidedly. On his face though, it came off as somewhat creepy, especially coupled with his next words. "For now."
Although the statement didn't sound like anything but harmless, Tsukune felt as though an intense pressure threatened to overcome him. His heart almost felt like it was going to drop against his will for no reason at all.
It's easy to forget how powerful Moka's father is.
"Be careful how you socialize with your friends," Issa suddenly advised. "I'm sort of a polygamist myself, so..."
Wait, what? Tsukune raised an eyebrow at Issa's sudden non-sequitur. What could he have possibly been trying to mean exactly, by saying that?
Once Tsukune and Issa entered the mansion, they made small talk until the girls arrived from the upper floors where they witnessed their "spar" moments earlier.
"It's about time I've told you why I'd wanted to "clear things up" with Tsukune," the Shuzen head began, mainly looking at his middle and eldest daughter.
"I told you it was a 'rite of passage'," Kurumu whispered harshly to Moka, who began to blush furiously.
"I've been assigned to protect Tsukune."
"What?" Moka and Kurumu sounded simultaneously. Akua tilted her head questioningly from her seat on the couch. "Why is that, father?"
"Fairy Tale hasn't made any obvious movements yet. But they will, eventually. I've been hired to protect him, more or less."
Moka shifted in her seat uncomfortably, her face still slightly flushed. "What does that have to do with you beating him up," she blurted angrily before covering her mouth instinctively.
"Come now, sis, does Tsukune look even remotely as injured as you suggest?"
Moka refused to answer Akua's question, but her cheeks seemed to redden even more in embarrassment.
"Until Fairy Tale's situation can be clearly resolved, I'll be your new mentor," Issa continued, smiling at Tsukune, who suddenly grew nervous.
Issa's smile didn't waver as he nodded slightly. "I'll be sure to reform you, inside and out."
The rest of the individuals present suddenly felt a malicious pressure in the room's atmosphere.
A/N: So, Issa will be Tsukune's new mentor. Hm.
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