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Fang Vice Addiction: Pureblood Edition

Chapter Two: Enter the Demon Dayz

By Traingham


Standing within the encroaching shadow that Evangeline McDowell's body cast with the moonlight, a ego felt that the castle was her extension with the qualities her presence evoked–cold, mysterious, and coursing with a latent power telling of an age long past. Beholding her now in her coat of dark armor and cloak was like meeting a dangerous stranger for the first time. In spite of the only obvious difference being that she had assumed an older form, she somehow bore no resemblance to the dark wizard that resided in the solitary cottage, in the woods of Mahora Campus–the wicked little girl that took to bullying him every chance she could get in order to vent her frustrations of being forced to endure the curse his father placed upon her. She was so far removed from that now that all Negi could see was an imposing knight standing at the center of a stretching audience chamber, and that made her so much more frightening as all sense of familiarity he had with her was now robbed from him. It also made him that much more conscious of the fact that he somehow wasn't in Mahora any more, and that information in itself was unsettling.

"Where are we, and why did you bring me here?" Negi asked of her to stall for time, one hand slowly reaching back to grip the shaft of his staff. The floor of the room itself was flat with the only shift in elevation being the raised platform that the throne sat upon, but in order to get up there he needed to use the curving stairs, and that would leave him open to an attack if Evangeline was feeling particularly aggressive–not to mention that getting the higher ground wouldn't mean squat against projectile spells. The door to the keep was heavy getting inside, so making a break for it outside if the chamber felt too small to maneuver around in the coming next few minutes would require greater force than his arms could afford if he didn't want to risk getting struck in the back, which meant he would have to blast his way out with a powerful wind spell or bait Evangeline into opening the door for him. That would leave him to maneuver with the outdoor stairway, which was itself hazardous due to the icicles jutting up from the steps at odd and unforgiving angles. One wrong step, or slip up and that would surely spell the end of him. "How did you get us off the campus?"

This looks like a set up for a duel, but why would she want that now? There's no way I can win against her–not if she goes all out, and in a room this confined? Every mistake I make will be costly, and long incantations will work against me unless she's feeling merciful enough to wait. Negi bit his lips, eyes narrowed with frustration at how limited he was all by himself. It was times like now that he understood how important a partner was in tight situations like the one he was caught in now. If Asuna or Setsuna had been here to accompany him...

"No...I can't sell myself short like this." His voice was sotto in his attempt to bolster his own nerve. "I can make this work. I'll hold spells in reserve and buy myself my own time to use them."

Evangeline clicked her tongue with a tilt of her head, looking quite bored when she did. "Are you done stalling for time, boy? I'm sure that was long enough for you to work out a suitable scheme in your head." Scraping her right foot back, she faced him with her body poised at a forty-five degrees angle. She bent at the knees slightly, arching her back with both arms held bent at waist level in preparation to make her first move. "I'm done waiting!" And she kicked forward, shooting across the carpet toward Negi with her cloak billowing in the wind at such a speed that residual mirages of her every movement were left trailing behind in her wake, scarring the world with her presence.

Evangeline's gauntlets gleamed in the moonlight as her fist came flying for his face. "Hyah!" He moved aside with his upper body to dodge it, knowing for sure that she could have smashed his face in if she truly wanted to, but she was holding back. The following flurry of carefully calculated punches and jabs, all pulled just enough to simulate a real sense of combat without going beyond his ability to dodge, proved that. He could dance with her this way, bending himself aside and away, stepping and jumping back to keep clear, but every punch was a tick of the invisible clock. His body was holding up for now, but only at Evangeline's discretion.

"Think of me as a friend and it will be your undoing, boy!" Evangeline scolded him, her patience wearing thin as he had yet to retaliate in kind. Her torrent of punches slowly advanced into an onslaught to match her steadily building displeasure, and as a result Negi's ability to dance with her began to decline in kind.

"Wait!" Negi threw his head back to avoid an uppercut–braced a forearm against a side kick that made him question how many more he could take before her legs would rip right through him like tissue paper. He knew that she was a world renown wizard, but he had not expected her to possess such knowledge in hand to hand combat as well. Her movements weren't similar to Ku-Fei in any way, but this was surely an advanced form of martial arts that she was employing against him. Everything strung together perfectly, like a passionately composed percussion section to a violent war march. "You invited me here to fight you?! Why?!"

"Figure it out!"

Evangeline thrust a heavy hand at Negi's face as she would a spear, sharp fingertips grazing his cheek just by enough to leave a thin cut before he could fully lean his upper body away from the blow in time to keep his head. He owed the last second dodge to his reflexes alone, and when his brain finally caught up with the natural instincts of his body Evangeline was already upon him once again, hips twisting in mid hair to split his skull open with an overhead kick that cut such a fluid arc with her long legs that he almost caught himself mesmerized by her graceful form. He jumped back a step, leaning away as he did to allow her foot to crash into the floor, cracking the stone inward beneath the force of the impact, but Evangeline's footwork was far quicker to reach him than his reflexes could ever take him away, and with a swift roundhouse delivered to his midsection to follow up her thwarted kick Negi was sent flying backwards with his legs and arms limply dangling ahead of him, smashing into the floor hard with a rebound and landing a fair distance away like a crumpled can. A direct hit from a cannonball would have been gentler by comparison, a small voice in his head had the gall to inform him as he struggled to reorient himself.

It took little over a while before there was any decisive movement from the boy–"Gwuh!"–and when he did move the subsequent eruption of liquid fire in his side made him regret doing so. It was painful for him to even breathe, and yet, in his bout of insanity, he felt compelled to continue drawing oxygen into his bruised lungs.

"Stand up, kid." Evangeline called to him from the other side of the audience chamber, making a slow, deliberate approach like a reaper. "Before I arrived to your rescue in Kyoto I hear you held your ground well against that 'Fate' fellow, if even for a short period. Show me that resolve now, and I will take you as my disciple."

"Ughn!" Negi rolled onto his stomach and pressed his palms against the floor to push himself up into a hunched posture. His chest burned like an open sore when he did and his head felt like it had been struck from the side with an iron nail, but he took up on one knee anyway. "Set." He held out both arms at his sides and fifteen orbs crackling with ferocious barbs of electricity materialized around him in an arc formation, almost resembling the thunder god Raijin with the drums at his back.

"A delayed spell, eh?" The lovely vampire said with a smirk. "Lovely! For a moment I thought I had already lost you back there." With a wave of a hand he sent the barrage shooting in her direction. She took off toward him, covering ground like a rushing jaguar with her gleaming mane of hair flowing as majestically behind her as her cape. She weaved between every lightning arrow that streaked to meet its mark in her chest, conjuring a murky flow of magic into her right hand as she danced past them, and when she cleared through and had an open shot–

"Iaculatio Fulgoris!" Perhaps it was due to how unsuspecting the immediate switch in gears were. One moment the boy looked like he was struggling to stand and then the next moment he was crying out at her like a famed warrior of the Greek legions, summoning a spear of lightning to his hand in a radiant explosion of light and hurling it at her–Evangeline couldn't be sure why her reflexes failed her at that exact moment. All she knew was that it exhilarated her, and when the spear smashed into her chest and she was sent flying back to the other end of the room, crashing through the keep doors, Negi felt relief in his soul. His body, however, was not so appreciative of the insane maneuver and wasn't keeping quiet about it.

"Guh!" He pressed a hand to his right side, feeling very much like he was about to vomit up his guts on the floor. It scared him. That kick Evangeline got him with was deliberate, but he couldn't figure for the life of him why. What were her intentions? If all she truly wanted was a display of his strength then why go so far? He was no good to her crippled, especially not as a disciple.

The moonlight pouring into the keep had become blotted out as a thick flock of bats came surging through every available entrance, and Negi regretted not spending the short time of her absence preparing another delayed incantation. A figure gradually materialized from the dense flock a short distance away from him, appearing featureless at first like the silhouette of a woman, though eventually when all of the bats cleared away it took the full form of Evangeline, unscathed despite taking the full brunt of his attack. Not that he expected it to be very effective, but at the very least, seeing a left over scorch mark on her chest plate would have been a little satisfying for his ego.

"Yes, that's what I wanted to see!" Evangeline told him approvingly, smiling to him like a pleased mentor. "I hope you don't take that broken rib too personally, kid. It was the only way to keep you from holding back your killing intent, and you didn't disappoint! I felt true grit in that last attack." For a moment she appeared wistful. "Hell, for a moment I had begun to reminisce about better days."

Thinking of father, are you? That she would be thinking of his old man now, of all times when it was him nearly retching his guts on the floor left him with a sour feeling. Being in so much pain made it difficult to keep his emotions in check, and the older woman's giggle confirmed exactly that.

Evangeline's grin tinged his feelings with pettiness. "Jealous?" For the moment she was back to teasing him again, though this time there was a hint of girlish charm that was normally lacking:

Negi shook his head, turning his face away from her so that his personal feelings weren't completely bare for her eyes to see. "Of what?" He denied in a strained voice, still pressing his hand to his ribs. There was a certain temptation to press down on the spot so that the resulting pain would remind him of his situation.

The vampire clicked her tongue, let down by his halfhearted reaction. "Oh, that's alright." She bit into her wrist and tore her mouth away leaving herself with a nasty, bleeding wound that spilled messily along her arm, dripping off her elbow and onto the floor. "Very soon you'll be closer to my heart than your father ever was." She let out a soft cackle that chilled him to the bone. "In a manner of speaking."

Negi looked on with a mixture of horror and fascination as she approached him, holding out her wounded arm to him. "Why did you–" The question died quickly in his throat when he felt the first drop of surprisingly hot blood splatter over his forehead. It didn't all register for him quite quickly– in fact, for a moment all he could do was stare up at her face dumbfounded while she held her bloody arm over his head in a red baptism. It wasn't until he unconsciously licked at the blood once it trickled over his lips that he was jerked back to full awareness of the situation, managing a labored, "What are you...?" If he could scramble back he would, but his injuries did not quite agree with his reflexes. He fell onto his back, kicking once from the pain that immediately shot up his side.

"Carrying out the ritual to welcome you into my clan." Evangeline answered him without hesitation. "I'm going to claim you before I lose that chance to someone else." She pulled back her arm when she felt that he was sufficiently covered in her blood. Taking a step back from him, she swiped at the floor with her bloody arm, leaving a thick line of splattered blood between them that seemed inconsequential at first until she held her hand out over it.

The blood came alive under her will and trailed across the floor around Negi to form a rough circle. The circle then began to emit a red glow that bathed the young magister in a red light; the blood he was covered in resonated and produced a similar glow, and without warning he was hoisted upright into the air as though an invisible noose had been strung around his neck, jerking his head upward and pulling him up off of his feet–not unlike a fish dangling from a hook. The blood on his skin absorbed into his pores and occult markings took shape all around his face,chest, back, arms and legs like an elaborate body tattoo, burning with such intense light that it permeated through his clothes.

"What do you mean 'claim me'?" Negi wanted to cry out, but all that left his lips was a faint voice and he could feel himself becoming more lightheaded by the second. The pain in his went completely numb, replaced by a soothing warmth that spread throughout every nerve in his body. "What is happening to me?"

"I'm an opportunist, is what I mean, boy." Evangeline's voice replied, slowly making its way around to his back. He felt her arms drape around his shoulders from behind, and her lips brush his ear. "And I've been eagerly looking forward to this very moment for a very long time, Springfield." A hot breath rushed over the hairs of his neck, and somehow he understood that this bite was going to be different from the one she gave him on the bridge a while back.

Her fangs punctured the skin of his neck and everything was quickly overtaken by darkness.

[F] {V} [A]

Negi stretched out his arms and legs in bed with a drawn out yawn, blinking away the weight of a good nights slumber from his eyes. He stared at the ceiling blankly for a spell, hands and legs sprawled over the mattress lazily, and in time the absent look on his face became a pensive one. It was strange; he remembered heading out for Evangeline's cottage the night before after dining with Lingshen in her kiosk, but there was no accompanying memory of how the meeting with the diminutive vampire turned out, or when he returned home to turn in for the evening.

"Hmm." Negi propped himself up on his elbows and looked to the bunk that Asuna and Konoka shared. Both beds were vacant and neatly made, but for whatever reason the shades in the room were drawn over the windows. "Hmm?" And if his memory hadn't failed him completely, yesterday was a Thursday, which would reasonably lead to the assumption that today was Friday. It would then stand to reason that today was a school day and the reason both of his roommates weren't in bed was because they headed out to their classes for the day, but that would be weird because...

"Wait..." A horrible realization struck him and he scrambled to an upright sitting position. "What time is it?!" He whipped his head, eyes darting to the digital clock sitting on the desk of his loft–it read 9:22 exactly. Oh dear. "What am I still doing in bed?!" He kicked his feet off the side of his mattress and, without thinking twice about it, placed a hand on the rail and swung himself over a seven foot drop from his loft, landing with the sort of ease only a feline could accomplish without resulting leg or ankle injuries. He glanced over his shoulder up at the loft rail before looking to his feet...and shrugged. With more pressing matters weighing his clouded mind, a little thing like that acrobatic feat was nothing short of trivial.

Deciding to forgo a shower to save time, the young magister rushed to the shared closet and sifted through his collection of suits to pull one out for the day. Normally he would have gone with one of his green suits or any other light color, but for whatever reason his eyes found that today, the lone black suit he habitually pushed to the very end of the row where it was least likely to be chosen, was far more agreeable. Picking out one of the lesser wrinkled dress shirts left to be worn for the week, he suited up in a hurry, slipped on his dress shoes and grabbed his suitcase to rush out the door. He couldn't be sure whether it was the adrenaline pumping in his blood from fear of disappointing Takamichi or the good night's rest he had, but his legs carried him across the hall with the dexterity of a world class track star. It felt good, really good, and when he pushed through the double doors at the end of the hall to exit the building and the incandescence of the sun greeted him like an overly familiar friend–

"Oh god!" Negi slapped a hand over his eyes and collapsed upon the stair steps as though he had been struck in the face by an arrow from an archer of the heavens. "Ahhhhhhhahahahargh." He groaned in a comically pathetic little voice, kicking his legs against the concrete like a dying spider. "Why does it hurt so much?" It was like the sun itself had come down to personally grace him in all of its indescribably, white hot and incandescent glory and all it wanted to do was fill his insides with its light through his eyeballs whether he was willing to accept it or not. He had almost reached the point of passing out on the pathway before a timely shadow fell over him to protect him from the sun as if heeding his unspoken cry for a savior.

"Now, if this isn't an unusual sight? Did we have a rough night, sensei?" A familiar voice spoke to him from up above, and he opened his eyes to squint at his new best friend. There Mana Tatsumiya was, crouching over him with the sun bouncing off her raven hair from behind like a halo in those oil paintings that he'd seen in those bulky renaissance art books that Anya favored so much. The rays gave her hair a luster that complimented her exotic features in the most wonderful way, more so because her piercing eyes were hidden behind an expensive looking pair of shades, which made her good looks easier to appreciate without losing his nerve. It occurred to Negi very faintly that he had just thought of his student as 'attractive'. "Here." She offered out a hand to him. "I'll help you up."

"Would you happen to have an extra pair of those?" He inquired before he held his hand out for her to grasp. He held his other hand as a makeshift visor over his eyes to prevent the sunlight from flooring him again, reaching deep within himself to pull out just enough stubborn will power to keep a respectable standing posture that didn't involve any form of cowering. "I feel like a bat out here."

Mana appeared to think it over before removing her own shades and handing it over to him. "You can borrow mine."

"Thanks!" He received them gratefully, too desperate to get something over his eyes to even feign any protest at being handed what might have been the only pair on her person. When the world was comfortably dim he heaved out a relaxed sigh. "That's so much better." And then he blinked, because Mana's presence here was clearly in violation of something else. "Tatsumiya-san, why aren't you in class already?"

"Oh, now you care." The shrine maiden snarked in a low voice, though for some reason Negi heard it as crystal clear as if she had whispered the words into his ear. Scratching the inside of his ear with a pinky, he was too caught off guard to comment on it aloud. "I came in late last night, so I might've overslept." Which was kind of an understatement with the given time, but Negi was in no position to lecture her since he was in the same boat.

"What kept you up so late?" He asked innocently, not intending to come off as nosy. "Are you usually so busy after school hours?"

Mana's smirk slipped past his notice, one that made the intense stare in her eyes seem predatory for a fleeting moment. "Are you taking an interest in my personal life, sensei, or is this just a show of courtesy for one of your students?" She could have been teasing him, but her tone and expression made it rather difficult for Negi tell whether or not that was her intention.

"Frankly, I don't know very much about you, Tatsumiya-san." He answered her honestly. "And you don't really make any attempts to participate in class discussions so I can't get a sense of how you carry yourself when you interact with others on a day to day basis. All I do know from seeing you and Setsuna work together is that you take...assignments on your own time." The way he paused before finishing his last sentence made it clear that he was curious about the nature of those particular jobs. Mana's chuckle indicated that she figured as much.

"Oh." Mana's expression was hard for the diminutive teacher to place–it made him wonder if he was being taken seriously. "I'm not entirely sure whether I want you to know yet, sensei. Don't take it personally." She placed a hand on his back to urge him forward into walking with her. "But grow some more and maybe I'll be more willing to open up about it."

Negi's expression after hearing her reply resembled that of a child that just realized what his sibling's part time job really entailed. "Mana...do I need to hurt someone?" And for the first time ever he was able to see his student let out a genuine laugh.

"Honestly speaking, I wouldn't mind seeing you try. To see an encore performance of what you managed in Kyoto wouldn't be so bad."

"Kyoto..." Considering the entire fiasco that took lace there a personal defeat, Negi could not hear that word and think of anything else. "You were there?"

"That's right," The caramel skinned beauty began as if just then remembering the circumstances of the entire operation, "You'd fallen unconscious by the time I met up with your team. I was busy taking down those summoned demons prior to that." She held a hand to him before he could express his gratitude. "I'm not the person to be placing your gratitude in. Thank the person that paid me more money than my other prospective employer."

Negi did not like the subtle implications of that statement. "What?" It definitely painted the girl in a light his innocence refused to accept.

Mana's response to his fazed reaction was to wink. "Let that sink in for a moment."

Negi stared back at her, unblinking for the longest time and when he did make to reply, "That was an interesting way to turn down a thank you."

Mana cocked a hip to the side and crossed her arms. "You're doing this on purpose."

"You know," And the tone Negi chose to employ when he spoke this time complimented his dark suit and shades too well, "I think you have your reasons for saying what you just did a moment ago, and I want to believe that you said it in my best interests."

Mana pressed her lips together and offered him a slight nod. "Believe what you want."

"So, in response, I'd like to say thank you."

"...What?"

"And if you should ever need help, my services are free of charge."

"Sensei..."

"Because I value your friendship." Negi smiled.

Mana frowned, disappointed by the road the conversation had taken. "And my shades."

"Especially your shades."


To Be Continued...