Yuka had never thought much of fortunetellers, never put much on their so-called "advice." She remembered her mother telling her once that she had gone to one when she was a teenager and had been informed that she would have two children. Here Yuka was, though, years later, and an only child. No, she didn't think too highly of fortunetellers and whatever they claimed they could "divine" for her.
Her curiosity had been touched several times though, when she had heard that her friends were going to ask about their love lives from a local fortuneteller who went by "Dark Lady." She seemed quite popular and when her friends had returned they were all starry eyed and happy. The only thing that had turned her off was the fact that they had said that the place where this woman was located had quite the eerie atmosphere.
Yuka wasn't superstitious, oh no, far from that, but just the thought of going there after her friend's descriptions made her shiver. One of her friends had even dared to tell her that she thought she had seen an enormous horned white snake watching her with glittering red eyes from the corner of the room. That was impossible though! Improbable! Snakes didn't have horns.
Still her curiosity had always been intense, and once sparked she soon found herself traveling to the place. She slipped out at night, for fear that someone she knew would see her. What would she do if she, Yuka, the rude loud-mouthed girl from Class B-4 do if she were caught going to a fortuneteller to ask about her love life like all her gushy-hearted friends?
Not that there was much to ask about. Despite his shortcomings, she knew she loved her boyfriend Renkotsu and wasn't really that interested in what the fortuneteller had to say about their relationship. She really was just interested in the process and in seeing first hand the things that her friends had told her about. Maybe, if she was lucky, she'd see that white snake Ayumi had been going on about. . .
The black limousine was parked underneath a streetlight, the only one on the entire street in fact. Foul water dripped from fungus-filled drains and roofs overhead, making the place smell as bad as it looked. This was a signal that the "Dark Lady" was in.
Getting closer, Yuka spied a set of concrete steps leading down to a dark room, the doorway of which was draped with those strange beads that all those American hippie's seemed to be into. The scene painted on these was of a Yin Yang, though the white had nearly faded, leaving the black to merge with the room inside in a strange fashion.
Yuka shivered involuntarily. There was no going back though. What was she going to do, admit she was a coward and go back home all scared? No way! If her silly friends could do it while holding each others hands in fear, she could do it all by herself.
Taking a deep breath, she willed herself to stay calm and keep her focus as she descended into the dark room. It was silly of her to be so freaked out over a little place like this, it was ridiculous.
As she descended, she thought she saw the wan lamplight catch a glint of a pair of pale yellow eyes. They sparkled, empty and sinister against the dark before they blinked once before disappearing. A flash of silver-white scales was briefly seen as the yellow eyes disappeared into the darkness.
Yuka caught her breath as her eyes met the cold yellow ones; a chill passed over her, as if they had frozen her in place. She kept moving though, and was quite relieved when they turned away, though she was now worried about if she would step on the owner of the scaly hide and yellow eyes. The sound of something large sliding across the ground was heard, the hiss of it's breathing echoed in the hallway.
She stopped at the bottom of the stone steps, peering into the open doorway cautiously. She searched for the snake she was sure she had just seen, but caught no more glimpses of it. It apparently had disappeared into some other part of the room, not even the sounds of it's passing could be heard anymore.
It was eerily calm and still, Yuka could hear her heart thumping in her ears. Steeling her resolve, she stood straight, pushing her fears away as she walked into the dimly lit room. Yuka wrinkled her nose as a strange perfume wafted up around her upon entering. It smelled horrible, much too sweet. Or was it bitter? Yuka couldn't tell, she simply knew it was disgustingly pungent.
There was a small square hole in the wall where it would seem that the fortunetellers collected their fees. It was covered mostly with a dark purple cloth made of velvet with faded stars and crescent moons printed on it.
Dark green eyes stared out at her from inside the box when she got close enough, with almost a knowing look in them. Yuka hoped the person inside wasn't about to inform her that "she had been expected." She wasn't about to stay if that kind of crap was going to be spewed at her from the get-go.
"Welcome." Thankfully, that appeared all the person intended to say so far. Yuka could tell from her voice that the owner was a woman, and young at that. She wasn't going to be some withered half-blind hag then that was good. Her eyes dipped in what Yuka thought to be a mockingly respectable bow.
Then they disappeared and Yuka was startled when a silver-haired woman stepped out of the darkness next to her, looking peeved. She gave Yuka a small smirk though, before taking the yen that Yuka had brought out of her school-uniforms pocket in preparation.
Yuka's first instinct was to retaliate against the snatching of the money from the silver-haired fortuneteller, but she stopped short when she realized that that would be stupid. The woman was only collecting her payment, though it was a rather rude and sudden gesture.
"You're the fortuneteller?" Yuka asked, her voice steady. That little flash of attitude had steeled her and she found herself able to keep her eyes staring straight into the woman's strange green eyes.
"I am," she replied flatly before turning and starting to walk away down a hall covered by the same dark purple velvet cloth. "Follow me."
Yuka followed after her, staring in near-shock as the white snake from before slithered swiftly by and entwined itself around the woman in long black robes. Even more surprising was the fact that the woman did not even trip or seem to notice as the snake wrapped around her leg and climbed her body until it hugged her waist and it's great horned head leaned over her shoulder and rubbed against her cheek.
Yuka heard the hiss as the snake's tongue flicked out and it turned its head and captured her with a single pale yellow eye before turning back away again. The woman raised her arm, her black sleeve falling back as she did so, and she stroked the snake's head. She rubbed her hand under its chin in almost an affectionate manner before stopping at a door and turning toward Yuka.
The snake's head hovered over the woman's up-raised palm; she watched Yuka indifferently.
"Are you going in or not?" She asked testily when Yuka just stood there.
Yuka scowled at her; she had already decided that she didn't like the woman, but the beginnings of disgust began to creep into her gut as she heard the comment.
She marched in though, acting as if it didn't bother her that much at all and took a seat at the rounded table with a milky-looking crystal ball sitting on top. Yuka looked it over carefully; it looked like one of those ones that you could just flip a switch and it would start changing colors.
Immediately her suspicions were aroused. She started to wonder if the great horns on the top of the pale snake were fake as well.
The woman sat down, her serpent strangely absent from her shoulder. Yuka wondered when it had slithered off again and how it could move so fast and so silently with it's great bulk. She knew something of snakes, enough to know that they were quite sneaky, but she knew that nothing could go so silently as that. She had hardly made a noise and still she had not heard it go. . .Maybe she was losing her mind.
The silver-haired woman leveled Yuka with her piercing, distaste-filled green eyes and a small sneer seemed to be tugging at the corners of her mouth. "Well, what is it you would like to know?" She asked.
Yuka blanched, she hadn't thought this far. She had thought that the woman would simply read her palm or do her cards or something. Now she was faced with the problem of figuring out what she wanted to know from the woman.
"Well, uh, I really hadn't thought of that," she confessed; though her tone was not apologetic. She was determined not to let this woman get to her, but despite that she found the woman's gaze and strange smiles unnerving. What did she know that she seemed to think was so amusing?
She presented a deck of regular playing cards from some pocket in her robes and raised an eyebrow in question. "Cards, perhaps?" She asked, though was a hint of something Yuka did not like in her tone.
Yuka was puzzled by the playing cards, she had thought that tarot cards were used for this sort of thing, but whatever.
As the woman instructed, Yuka watched as she shuffled and then drew two of the cards. A queen, and a three of hearts.
The schoolgirls eyebrows shot up as the woman whispered some strange incantation over the cards and she would have sworn she saw the flash of the snake's cold eyes in the back corner of the room as his mistress chanted.
The next card came up – a Jack. Before it was drawn, Yuka was asked to choose red or black. The presence of the dark color made Yuka immediately choose Red. The card was black when drawn though, and there was some look in the silver-haired woman's eyes as she saw it.
After a moment, she turned gravely to Yuka and she felt her heart pound. What was this serious look for now?
"The man you love is secretly true to someone else who is very close to you," she said mysteriously as she looked at the three cards on the table. "My advice is that you leave this place, never come back and forget you ever saw my face."
Her voice was almost a whisper-thin hiss. The room seemed to darken as she spoke, there was a brief silence that was cut through by a mild wind that chilled Yuka as it breathed down her neck. The woman's green eyes sparkled, her crystal ball shimmered and there was a hiss and the sound of scuffling as the snake darted forward at a pace too rapid for a creature of it's great bulk.
The suddenness of these acts caused Yuka to forget herself and terror quickly entered. She nodded gravely to the fortuneteller before getting to her feet and walking quickly out of the place.
As she left and headed back for the streets for her home at a run, she looked back over her shoulder and spied a single name printed in silver letters by the door that she had missed before. They read simply 'Tsubaki.'
Yuka ran back to her room, frightened now not by the woman's words, but by the strange occurrence that had happened in the room. The horned snake's eyes were burned into her memory, appearing every time she closed her eyes and tried to fall asleep under the covers in her bed.
She couldn't get the smell of the place out of her nostrils either. Yuka stopped at that thought. Where had she smelled that strange perfume before? Yes, it had been in her room, hadn't it? But that had to be a coincidence. . .
The fortuneteller Tsubaki's strange riddle echoed in her mind and she suddenly put two-and-two together. But it couldn't be, why would he – Renkotsu – do such a thing? She felt bitter tears sting her eyes as she grit her teeth.
Getting up, her limbs shook as she went to her parents' room. They would be sound asleep and wouldn't hear her enter. Besides, she was curious about what else the fortuneteller had to say. . .
Yuka sneaked back, and this time did not hesitate upon entering the dark fortuneteller's house. She walked across the carpet, heading down the hallway and passing the tollbooth as she went. She listened intently for any sign of the snake or his mistress about. She would hate to be caught with her weapon cocked and ready.
She was sure that she was simply overreacting though. She had never listened to such silly things before, and who was to say that this one wasn't just batty? The woman had a horned snake, lived in a pitch-black house and dyed her hair silver for crying out loud! And besides, there were no such things as snakes with horns anyway. . .
Yuka felt the last shred of hope flee from her as she heard a familiar male voice. The back room where she had been with the fortuneteller now had a rather bright light on. Tsubaki's cold laughter rang out down the hallway, mingling with the strong male's as they spoke openly together of a trick they had just played.
The bitter tears stung her eyes again as Yuka peered in at them. How dare they? How dare that bastard be so cruel to her! Did the whole world think they could take advantage of her like this? She stepped into the open doorway, pointing her gun at the two together in the room.
Tsubaki looked at her with cold surprise; her snake was coiled in the corner still. Renkotsu looked quite shocked, his mouth was open as he struggled for something to say as Yuka pointed the gun right at him.
She was biting her bottom lip to keep it from trembling, but that didn't stop the flow of tears that ran unhindered down her flushed cheeks.
"Yuka, what are you doing?"
This one is for Skittlez-chan, whom I owe another TsubakiRenkotsuoneshot to that shall hopefully be released next week. Thanks hun!
This story is obviously based off of the song 'Dark Lady' as sung by Cher. Good song, I recommend it. thumbs up
Thanks for reading this far, minna-san. I hope it wasn't too confusing or sped-up at the end. worry worry I'm sorry, I'm such a perfectionist. Hehe.