'The Covens Underneath'

By Majah

Disclaimer:

I don't own CCS, but I do own the story in this fic and things that are non-CCS related. All the name of places, historical events and other things mentioned, which you don't seem to know IRL, are products of my imagination. Any similarities with the actual thing are purely coincidental.

Author's Note:

To be honest, I enjoy writing this story than writing "inc" although this story's ending is still unknown; I love being thrown in a world quite different from ours. So I hope all of you will also enjoy reading this as much as I love writing it.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!



From Previous Chapter:

The man was Fujitaka.

Yamazaki's mouth dropped open. He wasn't expecting for the leader to be actually be there. Most of the time, only high-ranked teachers were present in a prep-up session before battle. Even more was that he could have heard what Syaoran was shouting earlier at his son.

Li's going to be in much deeper shit than he already is, he thought.

But still, the man's face remained calm and continued smiling. Well, he doesn't look angry...so I guess that's a good thing? But if everything's alright with him, then how come he hadn't let go of Li yet? Yamazaki grew worried again as he looked from Touya to Syaoran and to Fujitaka.

The leader of the coven must have noticed the confusion in his eyes. He raised one finger to his lips as if telling him to be quiet. From afar, it was evident that his mouth was moving, but Yamazaki couldn't hear what he was saying, but instead Touya's mouth started to move.

"Sorry to have kept you waiting, Syaoran-kun. Perhaps now, we could proceed according to plan," Touya said.

"Huh?" Syaoran blinked. What's going on? What is this guy saying? And did he just call me 'Syaoran-kun'?

"And I apologize, also...if I have to use your friend." Touya continued to say, "Shall we begin?"

And with that a magic circle started forming around where Yamazaki stood.


---: ACT ONE :---

"THE BEGINNING OF AN END"

: Chapter Four :

"Doggy"



"So this is the new student," a stern-looking woman, who seemed to be around her mid-forties, gazed at Sakura with scrutinizing eyes. It was evident that she does not approve of what the girl was wearing.

"Yes, Eliza. She is the one under the scholarship program," Sarabusa nodded.

The sun had almost set by the time Sakura and Sarabusa arrived at Tetsuroh Day School. She saw students on their way home as she stepped out of the carriage. She figured that classes might have been over. Sakura was relieved upon seeing this. To be honest, she was not comfortable to enter the school's grounds with only barn clothes on her scrawny body. She could imagine the 'well-off' students looking down at her. She was glad that she was able to savor the beauty of the whole estate without subjecting herself to stares and disgusted looks, which she was always been receiving from high-classed families. Tetsuroh Day School was one of the most exclusive schools on the continent. As to why they were accepting girls like her was very rare; might it be a program of the Ministry of Education or not.

Unfortunately for her, she wasn't entirely freed from the so-called 'stares'. As it turned out, the whole registrar's office was still in full bloom. The faculty and admin staffs of the school were still there and were quite busy. At first, Sakura was surprised to see them even after office hours, but she paid no heed to her inner inquiries since she had other things to attend to. Most of the people she passed by gave her a disgusted look.

And now…in front of an Eliza Kurosawa, Sakura fidgeted her hands behind her back with her eyes darted on her dirty barn boots.

"I see," the other said, nonchalantly.

The ticking of an antique clock behind her curvaceous desk filled Sakura's ears as if it was a loud toll from a bell while she waited for the woman to read through the documents that Sarabusa gave her.

"Looks like I don't have any choice," Eliza Kurosawa finally remarked. "This is something beyond the head of the registrar's department can alter." Her tone made it clear to Sakura that she would have declined the poor girl's admittance to the school if not for the official order from the Ministry of Education.

Sarabusa laughed heartily. The fat plump man's joyous mood seemed to have lingered longer. "Eliza, you've been the head of this department for agesnow. I don't see any harm in letting one student you don't approve get through."

Sakura squinted on the words 'don't approve'. Both people didn't seem to care on whether or not she could hear what they were saying no manner how harsh it could sound to her.

Ah well it is to be expected, Sakura told herself. These are elitist people, after all. I am nothing but a mere orphan. They didn't even bother offering her a seat. She had been standing there for quite some time now while the two people talked regarding her admittance.

"You don't have to keep reminding me, Sarabusa," the woman said with much irritation in her voice, yet she remained composed on her seat. Sakura thought the woman would look a perfect subject in a creepy oil painting with the strict attitude complimented by her brown hair securely tied in a bun and round glasses dangling dangerously on the tip of her pointed nose.

Once again, Sarabusa chuckled. "Just sign the admittance. Miss Sakura here needed to check-in to the girl's dormitory before night falls."

"Miss-?" the older woman raised a brow, pertaining to the man's use of the salutation to Sakura.

Sarabusa looked like he had just blurted out something he shouldn't have. "I mean…," he cleared his throat. "…Why not? She is, after all, going to be a student of Tetsuroh Day School. She should be addressed like how we call other students," he pointed out.

But, the stern woman didn't look convinced.

"Just give her your usual briefing, Eliza." This time the plump man spoke in same level of authority like how Sakura had first met him. His chuckles died down while he looked intently at the other.

The woman slightly flinched and gazed down at the documents as if there was something in Sarabusa's glare that stung her. Nevertheless, her expression remained the same; cold and disgusted.

"Very well, then. Like what I said earlier…I don't have any choice," she started to say. "Stand straight, girl. I shall give you my briefing," she commanded.

"Ha-Hai," Sakura immediately stood straight and swallowed hard as she met the woman's piercing eyes.

Seeing this, the head of the registrar's office clasped her hands firmly in front of her. "I'm going to introduce myself properly," she started speaking in a lecture-like voice. "I am Eliza Kurosawa…the head Registrar of Tetsuroh Day School. And as long as you are here, you shall address me as Fräulein Eliza."

Sakura nodded weakly. The salutation, 'Fraulein' was something associated to accomplished well-prim women of society. But to call someone directly with such salutation was considered to be a privilege given to middle-class and high-class people. An orphan like her should have only been allowed to call her 'Kurosawa-sama'.

Even so, the woman continued, "And as long as you are a student of this educational institution, you are expected to act accordingly for you are carrying not only your name but this school's name as well which is the most exclusive school in this region."

Then, she stood up and walked around Sakura. "You are to wear proper uniform and observe the rules and regulations especially the ones that pertain to our caste."

Sarabusa, upon the mention of the word 'caste', suddenly cleared his throat. Fraulein Eliza shot him a glance but eventually continued, "I am aware that you neither belong to the high-class nor middle-class…but for the purpose of your scholarship in Tetsuroh Day School, you will be regarded as someone from the middle-class, hence, the appropriate standards of the caste shall apply to you.

'Caste' was the word which pertained to their social status; something that had been in Mercallis' history and culture since the beginning of time.

"I'm sure you have knowledge of our curfew?" the stern woman asked.

Once again, Sakura nodded, "Eleven o'clock…Hayo-sama told me earlier."

"Good," the woman said, conservatively. "It is never to be broken. It is for your own safety. Night time in Tetsuroh can be very dangerous."

Sarabusa's round head could only nod in agreement.

Sakura would want to ask about that. Sarabusa mentioned something about a curse on the city wherein weird things originate. She did tell him that she was too old for this kind of stories, but the man had insisted for it to be real and if she knew what was good for her, she should obey. And now…with Fraulein Eliza's warning…she couldn't help but to think if the 'curse' was truly real. Even so, she decided to keep her mouth shout since the woman's cold eyes had been piercing right through her.

"Moving on...," Fraulein Eliza paced once more. "You are to report in school promptly at seven in the morning. Lunches are served from twelve noon to one. Classes end at three in the afternoon. Since you are a freshman, your classes for this year are composed of Literature, History, Mathematics, Proper Posture and Discipline. You are free to take up any kind of extra-curricular activity during homeroom which your adviser shall orient you tomorrow."

She bent down to Sakura's level. Her pointed nose almost touched the girl's as she spoke, "This first year is very important because it is during this time that you will explore for yourself which particular endeavor you might want to pursue after graduation."

Upon hearing this, Sakura couldn't help to be excited. Her emerald eyes lit up. "I want to help in the orphanage!" She said with much gusto that slightly made the older woman step back; startled. Sakura realized what her brisk statement had done. She immediately bowed multiple times, "I'm sorry…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to speak up like that." For a moment, she got scared that she had done something disrespectful to a woman with a title of 'Fraulein'.

The woman adjusted her spectacles and looked at Sarabusa who merely shrugged.

"Yes…that would be appropriate, wouldn't it?" Fraulein Eliza remarked.

Sakura blinked at the other's calmness. Nevertheless, she was grateful and bowed her head once more. "Hai," she said, weakly.

"If you want to help in that orphanage of yours, then I suggest you do well on your first year so you can take up management or financial classes next year or whatever other jobs you can do inside an orphanage."

Again, Sakura bowed her head. "Hai," she would make Mistress Sai proud.

"Furthermore," Fraulein Eliza waved her hand. "Your schedule and school map will be given to you along with your uniforms after you fill up these forms." She reached on her table and pulled out a couple of papers from the stack and gave it to Sakura.

The emerald-eyed girl skimmed it.

"It's nothing that complicated," the woman said. "Just some personal information for our records."

Sakura nodded meekly. Her eyes flickered from the 'first name' box to the 'last name' part. She was an orphan. She doesn't exactly have a surname. Next, would be the part where she had to list down her father and mother's name and their occupation. Once again, Sakura felt a tinged of pain inside her chest. She knew who her mother was, unfortunately, no one knew about her father.

Looks like it won't take long for me to fill up these forms, she thought to herself.

"Good…now, I believe…Sarabusa that's about it. The rest she will need to find out for herself when she goes to class tomorrow morning."

Sarabusa stood up. "Yes, I believe so. Thank you, Eliza." He smiled at the older woman but he only received a snobby glare from her.

"Just make sure that she behaves properly," she said.

"That wouldn't be my job. It will be the job of her adviser. I'm just a messenger," he replied.

"Whatever," The woman retorted and assumed her seat behind her desk.

Sarabusa turned to Sakura, "Shall we go outside where you can seat somewhere and answer those?"

The girl looked up from the papers she held, "Hai. Thank you very much."

And with that, Sarabusa opened the door for her and motioned for her to step out. Sakura obediently complied. She was more than grateful to get out of the strict woman's eyesight.

As soon as Sakura was out of earshot, Sarabusa glanced back at Fraulein Eliza. "You should get used to her being here, you know."

"This is a big campus. I pray that I do not meet her in any manner," the woman answered. "All she needs to do is to study then be gone."

Sarabusa chuckled. His large belly shook as he did so. "Of course. What else do you expect her to do?" He bid farewell to the woman and closed the door behind him.

Once outside, he looked at the emerald-eyed girl who was sitting on the far end, scribbling answers to the forms' questions. "Yes, Fujitaka-sama…," he started to murmur. "…what else do you expect this girl to do?"


"Wha---what's going on!" Yamazaki exclaimed. It was apparent that panic was starting to well-up inside him.

"YAMAZAKI!" Syaoran shouted despite being held back by an invisible hand against the gym's wall.

A magic circle glowed on the floor beneath Yamazaki's feet. The markings were unreadable for it seemed to be etched in an unknown language that the student failed to decipher. He felt the hairs at the back of his neck rose up as something electrically ran inside his body. It was as if something reached out in him and took something from his soul. It was cold and chilly which made him numb and paralyzed. He dropped down on his knees while he tried to cope and to somehow remain focused on his surroundings.

Syaoran's face was filled with horror as he watched his friend slumped down on the floor.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" he desperately cried out to his so-called educator. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO YAMAZAKI!"

Syaoran expected Touya's mouth to twitch in a provocative manner, like what he seemed to be getting from him all this time since he entered Tetsuroh Day School, but the man's expression remained calm and peaceful. Syaoran tried studying his attacker and soon enough, even with such restrains pinning him, he finally realized that Touya's eyes seemed spaced out and lightly shadowed.

A sign of mind control? the chestnut-haired teen deducted. But…, he started roaming his eyes around the dark gym. He was having some difficulty using his vampire eyes since he was being held with such intense force.

Damn it! I can't see! Who is controlling this bastard! he desperately thought to himself.

"Again, my apologies, Syaoran-kun…but I need to do this to see if there is any hope for you to gain a partner without devouring him," Touya spoke once again.

Syaoran-kun? He kept calling me 'Syaoran-kun'. He started to rake his brain. Who do I know often calls me by that name?

The amber-eyed teen started enumerating person after person. As far as he was concerned, only family members called him that except for his mother and the elders who called him by his true birthright vampire name. Even his closest friends called him 'Li'. The teachers called him 'Mr. Li' or 'Li-san'. So who?

The only ones left were those people of higher stature since they would only be the ones comfortable enough to call an heir to the Li bloodline informally. The existing caste of their world only permits such people to do so.

So the one who had been controlling his sensei was someone of higher stature? Come to think of it, Touya Daidouji wasn't exactly the easiest man to control. He was a powerful vampire.

But before Syaoran could proceed on his little fast-paced elimination procedure, a shrill echoed throughout the gymnasium, which caught his attention.

It was Yamazaki…in very much deep pain.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

His friend was now literally curled up on the glowing floor with his arms wrapped around his torso.

"YAMAZAKI!"

By this time, the small circumference around Yamazaki had been emitting streaks after streaks of thunder-like bars. Every now and then, one of these bars passed through the other teen's body and each time it did so, Yamazaki would screech in pain.

"NO!" Syaoran shouted in desperation. "STOP! WHOEVER YOU ARE…STOP IT RIGHT NOW! Are you a spy from the other covens? I don't know how you succeeded in controlling Touya-sensei's mind but you won't get away with this! The other professors will come!"

The man gave a light laugh, "Ah, so you've finally realized that I am not your professor. Impressive. And to think that it would be difficult to detect mind control in that current state of yours." He was obviously referring to Syaoran being suspended high against the gym's wall. "Unfortunately, you are wrong. I am not a spy. A spy wouldn't try helping an enemy. I am someone from this country's coven."

"An ally wouldn't try hurting us!" the teen countered. His neck had started to feel numb from the invisible hand that held it hard.

"But didn't I save you from Touya's wrath a while ago? You might be gone by now if I didn't interrupt. Both of you got quite a temper."

In the backdrop, another cry escaped from Yamazaki.

"Come to think of it…Touya is an ally, yet he seemed to have resulted to aggression towards you. My list of examples can go on…especially on how you…yourself…killed fellow students of this coven."

Syaoran became silent. The demeanor of the man before him made the part 'killed fellow students' sounded more criminally horrible more than how his sensei referred to it earlier.

"It's not like…," Syaoran started to say. "…I intentionally wanted to kill them. I'm not even aware that I am already doing such an act. Heck, I would even protect them with my life if I could."

"Do you really want to protect?" the other asked.

"Yes," Syaoran's answer almost came out as a whisper.

"Then, prove it."

"Huh?" his amber eyes became puzzled for a moment.

"Prove that you can really protect someone. Why don't you try saving your friend now?" And with that, the light that surrounded Yamazaki grew larger than before. This time the thunder-like bars which passed inside his friend's body became more frequent than before.

Syaoran gasped as he saw his friend curl up in graver pain.

"DAMN YOU! STOP IT!" he exclaimed on top of his lungs.

"Make me," Touya smiled, calmly.

Syaoran gritted his teeth and tried pulling the invisible hand away from his neck. But the other man was fast and immediately sent another forceful wave that made Syaoran slam back unto the wall; adding a deeper crater than the one formed earlier. Chips of cement fell down on the floor below as Syaoran was pushed forcibly.

"Let's add some more, shall we?" And with that, Touya's finger's twitched which caused sharp gusts of wind to fly towards Syaoran. Tiny blades seemed to form underneath its blows which sank into Syaoran's skin.

"Agh!" the chestnut-haired student exclaimed as blood from his cuts splattered against the wall.

"Are you really going to just hang there and do nothing for your friend?" As soon as the other man said this, another yelp came from Yamazaki. It was obvious that the teen was in greater pain.

Syaoran couldn't do anything. His mind was in turmoil as to why this man was doing this to them. Not only did he felt weak morally but his body was starting to give in. Even for a vampire, he could be considered as heavily injured. Vampires have enormous healing abilities but it differed for each family. The Li clan has quite a good healing capability but for some reason he wasn't healing right now.

Again, Syaoran begun to doubt the person before him. It could only mean one thing. Whoever was controlling his sensei's mind was someone old to know such a technique of inflicting wounds that cannot be healed normally.

I'm in a tight spot. Syaoran thought to himself. He once again glanced at Yamazaki's direction. What will I do? I can't move. My whole body is aching. I can't even help myself. Just then, his vision started to flutter. Shit! I'm seeing doubles now. I can't hold on much longer. He knew that if this continues, he would surely lose consciousness.

"L—Li…," Yamazaki said, weakly. "It's okay…don't worry…I'll be fine. I'm sure someone will eventually come to help us."

"No one's going to come," Touya's voice thundered around the whole gym. "I made sure of that."

"Curse…you." Syaoran gritted his teeth which only resulted for him to get another feisty blow from his assaulter.

"Giving me verbal curses won't do any harm, Syaoran-kun," His assaulter said. "True curses or chant will…perhaps. But then again, you are not exactly the best encanter. Maybe you should try fighting me as a beastshifter," he added a taunting face to his words.

This time Syaoran no longer has the capability to answer. He knew that once he opened his mouth, he would only vomit some blood. The cuts the man inflicted on him had somehow dug their way deeper inside his skin. He became aware that some had probably reached his organs.

What kind of sorcery is this? Wounds that can eat the flesh?

The man might be right, though. He could probably fight as a beast. His power as a beastshifter never failed in demolishing an enemy. Then again…

Yamazaki is here…he would get entangled…I might even kill him after I'm done with our assailant. Syaoran closed his eyes. Argh! How can I only think of Yamazaki! He opened his amber orbs and glanced at the man who had him pinned. The assailant is using Touya-sensei's body. If I transform now, I would surely go straight to him and I'll end up tearing Touya-sensei's guts out.

The situation was bad. No matter how he hated Touya, he was still his professor and a prominent member of their vampire coven.

Damn it! Syaoran squeezed his eyes shut.

"What's this?" the man spoke. "No reply from you? Perhaps I should be more forceful."

He raised another hand and pointed it towards Yamazaki.

Syaoran gasped. No…no don't…please don't…. he wanted to say but couldn't

"Alari…shirani…," the man started to chant.

NO! Syaoran screamed inside. He didn't know what those words meant but he was sure that it was of ancient tongue. It has same diction as what his mother used to speak to his grandfather when he was still alive. He was too young to learn the language but one thing he recalled was his mother telling him that speaking the language casually was a symbol of a family belonging to a prominent bloodline, but once these words were used in battle, it could be very devastating.

"…ludalan…akshazaran…," the other continued to say.

Syaoran's heart thumped faster, but it wasn't entirely because of hatred towards their assailant. Oh no…I'm getting excited. This can't be good. He felt his psyche dividing inside.

Syaoran as himself tried to avoid battles as much as he could. He doesn't like the thought of harming others.

But…

"…kurosan…midawe…"

…something inside him loved the fights; loved the challenges…loved the bloodshed…loved the power. All this time, he had been trying to contain it. His mind told him that it was not the right thing to do. Friends could die, families could get hurt.

And now…in this life threatening situation…that part of him was starting to resurface. The fact that their attacker was using an ancient chant didn't help at all on his attempt to restrain his inner self.

I'm going to transform against my will if this keeps up.

"…Lumina Gaton!"

The man finally finished his chant and in the snap of a finger, Syaoran saw Yamazaki's body hammered towards the hard concrete floor causing his friend to spat some blood.

"YAMAZAKI!" Syaoran finally exclaimed making his self cough some of his own blood. This time, his friend didn't reply. He only stared back at Syaoran with blank eyes.

No… Syaoran felt tears stinging inside his eyes. He was really getting torn. His heart was aching for Yamazaki but his instincts were getting delighted.

I hate myself…, his mind pondered over and over again. I hate myself…REALLY HATE MYSELF!

Chaos swam inside his head. Syaoran thought he was about to go crazy when…

It's alright…,someone said.

The chestnut-haired teen opened his eyes. What?

It's alright…, the voice repeated.

It was a male's voice. It sounded young and familiar but he couldn't remember where he had heard it before.

Who are you? Syaoran asked with his mind.

But he never received an answer to his question, instead it replied something else.

You and your friend are being tested. He means no real harm.

What?

Trust me.

But, I don't even know who you are!

The strength of the new incantation will depend on your bond with your friend. If it works then it can lighten the load on your shoulders.

I don't understand you!

Just transform. It would be alright.

Who are you!

There was silence.

Who are you…damn it!

Syaoran didn't get any more response.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! he exclaimed to himself in desperation.


Fujitaka had kept himself hidden all this time. Although Yamazaki had seen him before he had taken over his own son's mind, the teen never said a word. How could he when he was all sprawled down on the floor? As much as he doesn't like to harm the young ones, the new incantation he had formulated would only work with a strong emotion the Li boy has towards the other. It had been difficult for the lad with all these past experiences of death and retaliation towards his own classmates. He feared that the boy might have lost his social capabilities. Li Syaoran might belong to a prominent family but his fate as the notorious beastshifter had resulted for him to be a feared outcast. Only few true friends had remained at his side.

Friendship was something that could be considered as a root of strong emotions; the very thing needed for the incantation. That's why he had to find someone close to the boy. As much as he wouldn't want to bring more pain for the Li heir, but his rare ability as a very powerful beastshifter was the coven's last remaining option to recover what had been taken from them by the other vampire coven.

This was the darkest hours for them. They had been losing territory against the south coven of Mercallis headed by Clow Reed. Fujitaka had disapproved many times on how the fellow elder vampire trained the young ones of his own coven. Still, the fact remained that Reed had produced many tough and cold-blooded student representatives which had fought with no strings attached against Tetsuroh's young fighters.

The vampire world, unknown to the humans, had been flourishing all these decades underneath the peaceful façade created before them. Even time itself was extended for the benefit of their species. The curfew existed for the purpose of keeping humans out of the street when their true world surfaces after the clock tower hits midnight. Tournaments were held every now and then to determine the extent of territory one coven could have. Their supply of humans depended on these territories.

And lately, the coven of Tetsuroh had been losing immensely against Reed's insensate representatives who wouldn't stop until one died or became mortally wounded. Vampires don't get ill or die with stabs and assaults, but with incantations and proper entwining of spiritual power, those plain attacks can bring an end to a vampire's life.

Unfortunately, all of Clow Reed's representatives were very well-versed with these techniques, starting with Hiiragizawa, Clow Reed's son whose power seemed to grow every year. There was an age limit on who could fight for their coven. Sadly, his own son had already graduated many many years ago. But sometimes he wondered. Could Touya stand up against Hiiragizawa if both of them belonged in the same generation? Another one of his children, his daughter Tomoyo, didn't. Although, she was already out of danger, he couldn't get rid of the memory of the last battle she had with the south coven's blue-haired encanter. It was a miracle that somehow Tomoyo could still go on with daily life.

Fujitaka sighed. If only the Tsukishiro family's beastshifter, Yukito, didn't become fatally wounded, he would have been the one fighting for the group match together with another senior encanter to recover what was taken from them. Unfortunately, he was still unconscious up to that very moment; confined in the school's hospital wing.

His eyes were full of pity as he watched two good students of his school burdened with painful responsibilities in such short notice. He knew that Li Syaoran wouldn't transform to his beast self given the damage he knew he would cause to others. So, he opted using Yamazaki to bring the boy to his crossroads. Hurting Yamazaki Takashi would release enormous emotions from the amber-eyed boy. And this very emotion would gauge the bond the two friends truly had.

The Li boy could not control himself as a beast. He does not even have any memory of what he does in that form. It was a shame for such power not to be harnessed, but everyone tried…even him…Fujitaka…the leader of Tetsuroh, the North coven of Mercallis. It was no surprise. Not one person born in the Li Clan with this kind power ever did able to control it. Syaoran wouldn't be of any different.

Given this kind of history, he opted using something else. If they could not harness the great Li's beastshifter power, why not walk around it? Syaoran's main problem was that after he killed the enemy, he always went after his partner. Syaoran in his beast form already killed three fellow students in the past. So what Fujitaka was thinking right now was not to meddle anymore with the Li clan's unknown heritage but instead give protection to whoever ended up as the boy's partner in battle. After consulting with his mother's side of the family; the Kinomoto side; Fujitaka was able to formulate an incantation of ancient nature…a spell which would encapsulate the other boy with a protection from Syaoran's beast form's claws. With this, Yamazaki will be untouchable, but one thing was needed…a strong bond in order for the shield to form.

Fujitaka looked at Yamazaki who had remained motionless since his last attack using his son's body. The initial words of the spell had already been casted hence the streaks of luminous bars passed through the boy.

"Now if only Syaoran-kun would transform," Fujitaka murmured to himself. Normally, it would be protocol for him to inform the students first about his plan, but things might be awkward for the two and the bond might become unreal, hence; it would only place Yamazaki in greater danger than he already was.

Then again, he was also placing his own son in danger. Fujitaka glanced at Touya standing within Syaoran's range. He opted to use his own son and kept everyone else out in this little experiment. Aside from the fact that Syaoran openly hated his son which could intensify the crossroad he made for him, it would be easier to teleport Touya out if things would get pretty ugly, since his blood relationships with him strengthened his ties with the young man. In this world of incantations, spells and power, blood ties were very important. Any other person would take twice as long to teleport. Beast Syaoran moved very fast. Fujitaka, even though he was considered as the most powerful vampire in Tetsuroh's coven, wouldn't be fast enough to rescue any other being.

Again, Fujitaka sighed. He eyed the injured teen on the wall. Syaoran was breathing hard and his neck dangled against the invisible hand which held him high. His arms went limp and he could only see the top of boy's chestnut head from where he hid himself. He admired how the young Li had held on despite the blows he received.

"He might be going limp but he is still conscious," Fujitaka said to himself. "You would have had all the potential of being a very distinguished vampire when you grow up. Even someone that can belong to the Council."

He was about to give up as it was obvious that the boy doesn't want to risk transforming, when something caught the corner of his eye. He twisted his head towards the little door near the fire escape ladder. Someone stood at the small corner.

No one is supposed to be here. Fujitaka used his vampire eyes to cut through the darkness. The stranger seemed to have realized that he had noticed his presence. The stranger eased himself deeper into the curb of the corner. He successfully hid his face but Fujitaka could see his arms and legs.

A student? he deduced.

His eyes told him the stranger wore maroon pants, white long-sleeved shirt and vest; the school's uniform for males. He frowned. Who is this student? And was that a wave of mind communication I felt just now?

Fujitaka glanced back at the dangling boy against the wall.

Was he…talking to Syaoran-kun?

Fujitaka was about to conjure a spell to keep the unknown student where he was when a surge of enormous aura erupted at the far end of the gym.

It was Syaoran.

"He finally decided to transform?" Fujitaka blinked.

The aura which surrounded the chestnut-haired boy made the invisible hand, which held it, disappear. And without something barring him high, he dropped hard and flat on the ground which created a puff of smoke from the pieces of chipped off cement below.

Fujitaka glanced back at the student he caught standing near the fire exit, but the unknown teen was no longer there. He set his lips in a grim line. Whoever it was, he needed to find out later cause now…

He focused his attention below.

"Let's see if all of this will work, Syaoran-kun," Fujitaka said, then he closed his eyes. "Cause if not…"

--- an image of an old jade-green scarf flashed inside his mind. ---

"…I immensely hope that I wouldn't result on going to such extents."


Yamazaki couldn't feel his body. It was as if he was frozen inside. He laid motionless yet his eyes were fixed on his friend. He couldn't speak but his mind was still alert.

Li…

He saw his friend crashed hard on the concrete floor. Please hold on…I know there must be a reason for all of this.

But despite what he kept saying inside, Yamazaki couldn't help but to feel worried for the other teen. Even from where he was, he could tell that Syaoran was very much wounded. Blood were all over the walls and now on the ground from where his friend dropped.

He couldn't move his head so he wasn't able to glance back at where their coven's leader stood.

Fujitaka-sama…why are you doing this?

He repeated what he had been asking since he found out that the elder had taken over his own son's mind.

But before another set of questions flew inside Yamazaki's head, a wave of distinctly cold air blew around the gym. The narrow-eyed teen watched as Syaoran started to change.

He's…he's… Yamazaki looked in horror. He's transforming!

Indeed, even though his chestnut-haired friend fell face-flat on the ground, the release of bone-chilling aura was an indication that Syaoran was conjuring his body to change.

No matter how many times Yamazaki assured his friend earlier that it was alright for him to go to battle with him, he couldn't escape the fact that deep inside, he feared Syaoran's beastshifter side. Although, he kept telling his self that everything would be alright since he was a friend after all, but the moment of actually being in the same area as the out-of-control beast started to fill his awareness and to be frank, he was starting to get scared.

"Arrrrrrrgh…graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Syaoran's shrill echoed throughout the spacious gym as he fingers dug through the floor. His back arched, his fangs clenched as it grew longer and his hard breathing huffed cold air from his nostrils, which despite the dark surroundings, illuminated together with the bluish light that glowed from within his body.

No sooner than later, Yamazaki saw his friend went from a two-legged being into a four-legged creature. The change started from the skin on the tip of his hands and feet up to the center of his torso. The transformation of pale white skin to black shiny fur was brisk and smooth like a carpet of tall grasses blown from one side to another by the wind on the meadows.

Syaoran was about five feet and nine inches tall. His beast-form was of the same size, only it stood in all-fours. But even so, Yamazaki knew that his friend's transformation was not yet over.

Once again, a sound interrupted the silent gym, but this time it wasn't a shriek or moan of pain. Instead, it was a howl; a long sturdy howl that vibrated against the gym's closed windows and doors. Syaoran, who was now a black dog, started to grow bigger. Yamazaki could not help but to be awed on how the skinny dog managed to double its size and thickened its fur in a matter of seconds. Until finally, the change was over and the gym became still and quiet.

Yamazaki felt the weight which held him to the ground lifted from his back. Slowly, he was able to feel his body once again. He blinked his eye and twitched his fingers.

I can move. He realized and tried to pull himself together. He shook his head as he tried to focus on the surroundings. The internal wounds from the blows he received earlier still stung but nevertheless he managed to ease his body into sitting position.

Focus, Yamazaki. It's not over yet. You're still in quite a dilemma, he reminded himself and glanced back at where the black dog stood.

A few feet away, he saw Syaoran's beast form snarl towards their professor. Its cold sapphire eyes glistened in the dark as it glared hungrily towards the man.

"Oh, this is bad," Yamazaki murmured.

Not a second sooner, the huge dog lurched towards the other man.

"No! Touya-sensei! I mean…Fujitaka-sama…argh! Whoever! Watch out!" the teen exclaimed.

But beast Syaoran landed on an empty floor. It seemed Touya was enveloped with another magic circle which made him disappear from where he stood.

"Teleportation?" the narrow-eyed student blinked. He gave out a sigh of relief. Their professor would have been ripped to shreds if he just stood there doing nothing.

Doing nothing…

Confusion filled Yamazaki's eyes. Why didn't Touya-sensei bulge? Or rather…why didn't Fujitaka-sama made him fight back? Isn't he the feisty one earlier?

Unfortunately, the teen was cut off on his questions by a menacing growl.

Yamazaki snapped back to reality when he remembered that he was still sitting ducks for the black beast.

"Uh-oh…," he whispered as the sapphire-eyed dog turned its attention towards him. "Gah!" he gasped as it paced friskily towards his direction.

"DON'T MOVE, TAKASHI-KUN! STAY WHERE YOU ARE!" a commanding voice boomed in the air.

"Fujitaka-sama!" Yamazaki saw their coven's leader grasping the railings on the second floor.

"JUST STAY WITHIN THAT CIRCLE!"

As soon as he said so, Yamazaki saw the beast sprung on his feet with exposed claws. But he obliged Fujitaka's instructions and didn't move an inch. He closed his eyes as he waited for the impact.

A loud bang made him opened his view again.

"This can't be…," he said wide-eyed.

The luminous bars which had been dancing to and fro him suddenly formed a sturdy structure around the magic circle as soon as the black beast became close. It hit the circular structure which caused the dog to get repelled back.

"Wha---?" The teen was gaping in shock.

"It's a shield," someone said.

Yamazaki looked up and saw Fujitaka beside him inside the circle as well. The elder seemed to have transported himself while beast Syaoran was hurled back.

"A shield? But…but…if this is a shield then how come you were able to penetrate it now?" the student asked in puzzlement.

"Well…it is not an ordinary shield," Fujitaka answered. "It only works against Syaoran-kun."

"WAI?"

"This is a special incantation which was said to be of ancient origin," the elder one started to explain. Not far, the huge dog positioned itself for another attack. "I'm going to be honest with you. Even for someone like me, this is the first time that it was ever used. Although historians had jotted down some rare cases that there are those who successfully summoned such a thing, but they had already passed away due to very old age." He smiled down at Yamazaki calmly; completely oblivious that the beast was now clawing its way on the so-called shield.

Yamazaki's mouth was still open as he stared face to face against the growling dog. He saw its sharp teeth and huge fangs as it bit the capsule-like shield, only to be stung in every attempt.

The teen glanced up at the man beside him with questioning eyes.

"Syaoran-kun's current demeanor is full of angst, hatred and aggression. This shield was formed using the opposite of those characteristics; his original vampire trait," Fujitaka continued to explain; completely undistracted of the entire racket the black dog was making by pouncing at the circular structure.

"Original vampire traits?"

"This might be a little difficult to understand. Perhaps I could explain more in detail later. But for now all I can say to you, Takashi-kun…is that in a nutshell…the incantation would have failed if Syaoran-kun did not value you as a friend," the elder smiled. "I am so glad that his beast side didn't take that much of his total psyche."

But Yamazaki just looked at him with the same confused eyes. Fujitaka chuckled.

"Like I said…it may be hard to understand. I promise to be more elaborate later but for now…" He reached down and pulled Yamazaki up to stand with him, "You should start healing first."

The teen was amazed on how a mere touch from the coven's leader suddenly made the bruises from his internal wounds go away. He started feeling much better. Even the trail of dried blood on the side of his mouth disappeared.

"And don't worry about Touya. I've teleported him somewhere safe," he said as if reading Yamazaki's thoughts. "Well then…" Fujitaka focused his attention back to the beast who kept trying to penetrate the shield but to no avail. "…what shall we do with you?"

He only received a nasty snarl from the beast. But the elder only laughed.

"Err…Fujitaka-sama?" Yamazaki started to say. "I know that you must be happy about this shield of yours actually working…but ah…can you hear what I am hearing?" he asked.

"Hmm?" Fujitaka absent-mindedly tilted his head.

Sure enough he heard laughter from outside the gym. A group of students seemed to be walking nearby.

"Wouldn't Li be of any threat to them?" the concerned teen inquired.

"The gym was enveloped with an enchantment to keep things inside from getting out," Fujitaka answered thoughtfully. "It was the same spell Yelan-san…Syaoran-kun's mother…used to keep his beast form at bay."

"I hope it is not the same enchantment Yelan-okasama used when Li was twelve years old. Because as far as I am concerned, he might have gotten much stronger than before," Yamazaki pointed out.

The elder was silent for a moment.

"Fujitaka-sama?"

"Actually…it is the very same one. Haha…," Fujitaka exclaimed with a casual laugh.

"WAAAI! FUJITAKA-SAMA!"

"I didn't think of that," the elder scratched his head. "It only shows that I am getting old and tend to forget some things. Has it been that long since Yelan-san used this enchantment?"

"Fujitaka-sama, Li is already seventeen years old!"

"Well…if you've been in this world for decades…this little age gaps tend to feel like just yesterday," the other replied in his defense.

"Oh no! Then that means…," Yamazaki shot a glance towards the spot of the shield where the dog kept attacking, but no beast Syaoran met his eyes.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Fujitaka-sama! He's…he's…," the teen's face was stricken in horror as he saw the black dog banging its head against the gym's closed door. It was obvious that it was trying to get out and probably devour the students that were passing by outside.

"Relax," the coven's leader remarked with a calm voice. "Even if he gets out, the human students had already gone home. The passersby are probably fellow vampires. The campus is a vast space. They can still run in different places using their abilities."

"But Li is fast! He will be able to catch up with them!"

"And I will be able to catch up with him by that time as well and teleport him somewhere else," Fujitaka said cheerfully.

Yamazaki's mouth dropped open. "I can't believe Fujitaka-sama's being calm and happy about this."

But, he only got another smile from the elder.

A loud crash echoed throughout the gym. It was followed by a sudden gush of light from the setting sun.

"Oh boy…looks like I have to follow him," Fujitaka said. "Just remember not to step out of that circle. He might come back."

And with that, the elder disappeared in a gust of a wind; leaving Yamazaki with mixed feelings on things to happen next.


"Greetings, Saki-san. I haven't seen you in quite a while," Sarabusa's booming voice filled the mahogany counter.

"Hayo-san!" the woman who looked like in her mid-twenties greeted with enthusiasm. "You should have informed me that you are coming in Tetsuroh. I would have arranged a small gathering."

The light outside was almost gone by the time Sakura and Sarabusa reached the girl's dormitory. Crickets started chirping outside and the campus lampposts lit up the pavements. The dormitory itself stood at the west part of the whole school area. Sakura was surprised on how far they had to walk to get there. If she had to measure the length it was like strolling from Saradik village up to the mountain. That was how big Tetsuroh Day School's campus was.

"No need to do that. I'm not going to stay for that long anyway," Sarabusa replied.

"So what brings you to my dormitory?" Red-haired Saki asked.

"This…brought me to your dormitory," And with that, Sarabusa stepped on his side to reveal a fidgeting Sakura.

"Oh," the woman replied with one brow shot up.

The blunt 'Oh' told Sakura that the woman named Saki, like Fraulein Eliza, do not approve of her.

"Hello," the emerald-eyed girl greeted meekly.

The red-haired woman didn't return Sakura's greetings. Instead, she darted her attention back to Sarabusa.

"Is this some kind of a joke, Hayo-sama?" she propped her hand on top of the counter lazily.

"Unfortunately…it is not," Sarabusa replied politely. "This girl is the one under the program. She had been granted free education here in Tetsuroh Day School."

"I am aware of the program. I wasn't expecting for it to be commenced immediately nor did I expect someone this ragged-looking," she narrowed her eyes and studied Sakura. "I don't recall seeing her picture amongst the candidates."

"There had been some 'changes' and Miss Sakura has to replace the last candidate and what luck that her name was the one drawn out," the plump man explained.

"Miss…Sakura?" Again, just like Fraulein Eliza, Saki reacted at Sarabusa's use of the salutation towards her.

"Yes…Miss Sakura," Sarabusa said firmly and gave the young woman a 'don't argue with me' glare. But unlike Fraulein Eliza, Saki seemed to just wave the look.

"Fine…fine…if that's what your program wants it to be," She said airily.

"Saki-san," Sarabusa remarked gently. "…just please, do try not to discriminate…that much."

"Yeah. Yeah. I heard you," she stood straight and more proper behind the counter. "So where are the papers? I need to process them to get 'Miss Sakura' here settled in for the next four years."

Sarabusa rolled his eyes. It was obvious that the woman was not taking the salutation seriously, but at least she agreed on calling the orphan with it. Nakoto Saki could be very stubborn. Then again, her personality might have been the best to handle teens with raging hormones, hence; her duties to the girl's dorm.

"Here you go," Sarabusa gave her the documents, and then faced Sakura. "I shall be leaving you here now. Just remember to follow the rules and be a good student. You have your map and schedule…and remember not to be late on your first class tomorrow." He waved a finger in front of Sakura's face.

"Hai," Sakura nodded.

"Well then…I shall take my leave," Sarabusa said as placed his hat on his round head. "Saki-san, you take care of the rest."

"Yeah…yeah…what else can I do."

Again, Sarabusa gave her a 'look', which she just shrugged off. "Just go you fat old man and let me do my work."

And with that Sarabusa turned on his heels and stepped out of the dormitory's main entrance…but not without reaching out and patting Sakura's head with a final 'Good luck' word.

Sakura watched as Sarabusa's back disappeared from the door. Somehow, she felt a sense of attachment to the man. They might have gotten a rough start but still, amongst the disgusted stares she received upon her arrival in the campus, he was the only one kind enough to acknowledge her as student of equal rights. How his demeanor changed was something that Sakura couldn't quite pinpoint. All she knew that it became different during their ride towards the city.

"Ahem…," Saki cleared her throat.

Sakura realized that the woman was talking to her. She gasped. "I'm sorry…I'm sorry. I wasn't paying any attention," she bowed hastily.

"I can see that," the red-haired replied in annoyance.

"I'm sorry…I'm sorry," the luggage she held in her hands rocked back and forth as she continued bowing in apology.

"Ugh…just get over it," she flipped her shoulder-length hair and stepped out of the counter.

"OVER IT! OVER IT!"

Sakura jumped back; startled at the sudden voice that spoke out of nowhere. It looked like she wasn't the only one, though. Even Saki clasped the edge of the counter in surprised.

"Gra…GRANDPA!" the red-haired woman exclaimed. "Don't do that! You scared me to death!"

Sakura looked at the newcomer. 'Grandpa' was indeed a grandpa. He was an old man…a very old man sitting on a wheelchair. She estimated his age to be around ninety or even older that he could be considered as completely bald if not for the occasional strands of pure white hair that stuck out on the side of his head. He wasn't thin but he wasn't fat either. One could say that he might have been well-built during his younger years with those lobes of skin hanging not so saggy below his arms. Same observation could be deduced with his distinct chin and nose. Freckles covered most of his pale white skin together with wrinkles, and bones that could be traced from within. He wore striped pajamas and puffy-looking slippers.

But what seemed to mesmerize Sakura about this old man was the color of his eyes.

They were light turquoise and she felt as if she was getting hypnotized with its warmth and calmness. Even so, her little admiration for his eyes ended when Saki stepped between them with hands on her hips.

"You should be resting by now!" she scolded the old man.

"RESTIN' BY NOW! RESTIN' BY NOW!" the old man repeated like a parrot.

"GRANDPA!" the woman exclaimed.

"GRAN-PA! GRAN-PA!"

"DARN IT! You're irritating me!"

"IRRITATIN' ME! IRRITATIN' ME!'

"Argh!" The red-haired woman threw her arms on the air, and then she turned back towards Sakura. "He's senile. He just repeats the last words we say," she said in a calmer tone.

"Hoe," was the only thing Sakura could say.

Saki reached out for Sakura's hand and dragged her with her towards the stairs. "Let's go before we get more entangled with that crazy old man!"

At the background, Sakura could hear 'grandpa' holler, "CRA-ZY OL' MAN! CRA-ZY OL' MAN!" as they walked up the stairs.

"A-no…," the auburn-haired girl started to say. "Is it alright to leave your grandfather like that near the entrance? He might catch a cold or something. Night air is starting to blow from the outside."

"He is NOT my grandfather," Saki snapped.

"Hoe? But you called him 'grandpa'," Sakura pointed out.

"Everyone calls him that," the woman replied with irritation in her voice.

"?" Question marks were almost visible around the orphan's face.

Saki rolled her eyes. "Look here, missy...as far as I am concerned that old man came with this dormitory when it was handed down to me by the government. The conditions were I get to keep this estate as long as I provide shelter and proper care for that old man. That's about the connection I have with him, okay? No one even knew what his real name was for crying out loud. So everyone just opted calling him 'grandpa'."

"Hoe…I wonder if he has any family," Sakura said in a sad tone.

"Now, why would you even care?" the red-haired remarked snottily.

Then, she stopped walking. "Ah…we're here." She fished out a steel key holder and picked one from the bunch. She inserted it to the keyhole and Sakura heard the door got unlocked.

"This is going to be your room for the next four years," the woman said.

Sakura peered inside the room. It was small yet bigger than the crowded attic she had slept on back in the orphanage. The wall has a plain color of white and a small chandelier hang on the center of the room. The room has one window with the same mahogany Victorian-styled design as the counter at the entrance of the dorm. It was matched by a sturdy closet of same material and a small soft-looking bed and table with cushioned chair rested in the corner.

"Hoe!" Sakura exclaimed in delight.

"This room ain't that good, you know." Saki rolled her eyes.

"But this is the first time I get to sleep in a well-furnished room."

"I realize that." The same disgusted look crept back to the woman's face, but Sakura was too psyched on her new quarters to notice it.

The emerald-eyed girl stepped inside the room, placed her small luggage on the wooden floor, twirled and flopped down on top of the bed. "This is so great!"

"Yeah…yeah…whatever. Well listen here, I need to give you my briefing," Saki said.

"Briefing?" Sakura sat up straight. "You also give briefings?"

"No actually I'm just about to recite a little poem here," the woman said sarcastically. "Of course I also give briefings! For your information, I am also one the authorities in this campus and as long as you study here, you are also complied to follow my rules. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?"

"Hai!"

She narrowed her eyes before speaking again. "Now, let me see…for your briefing…" She cleared her throat. "You room is currently situated on the fifth floor of the dormitory. The bathroom is down the hall, the mess hall is on the first floor at the opposite site of the entrance where you came in earlier. The recreation area is also in the first floor beside the mess hall. I suggest you take a look around after you unpack."

Sakura nodded.

"The city's curfew is at eleven o'clock but this dorm has its own curfew."

"Own curfew?"

"Eight o'clock."

"Wai! Why so early?"

"Because you are all kids and I want all of you in by that time!" the red-haired woman exclaimed. "The campus is big and it is easy to get lost during the night. If this is a facility situated outside the school grounds, it would have been alright to wander around later than that time since the streets are all lit up and guards do their patrol. But inside this campus…" She shook her head. "…not all corners have light…nor staffs that roam around, so you better be in around eight in the evening."

Sakura's lips were set on a grim line. The city of Tetsuroh has lots of rules. It would be difficult for her to adjust since she was the number one rule breaker in Saradik. But if she wanted to make a good impression and not let Mistress Sai down…

I have to obey, she sadly said to herself.

"And," Saki continued. "I would like to remind you that this is an all-girls dormitory. Strictly no boys allowed inside. Especially BOYFRIENDS."

"Hoe!" Sakura blinked. "I don't have any. I think that is one rule I won't be breaking." She laughed at the thought.

"Yeah well…"Saki eyed the girl in front of her. She imagined her wearing the school's daily uniform. She wasn't that ugly. In fact, if properly dressed, the girl has a potential with those innocent emerald eyes. "You might end up having one…in the future."

"Haha…that's silly!" Sakura kept laughing.

"Whatever," The woman said. "I'm leaving. That's all I have to tell you." She closed the door behind her and left Sakura in the room, briskly and uncaring.

Finally alone, Sakura squealed.

The bed was so soft and her uniform looked nice which she had dropped unconsciously on top of a chair when she came in. The sheets smelled clean and new that Sakura buried her face on the mattress.

Then again…Tetsuroh got so many rules…and people looking down at me. Sakura thought. Even so, I will try my best to fit in.

"Remember Sakura, you are here to study so you can help in the orphanage," she told herself with great determination. "You shall not let Mistress Sai down. This is the opportunity of the lifetime!"

She was still engulfed in her small prep-up session when a knock on her room's door interrupted her thoughts.

"Wai? Who can that be? Did Saki-nesan forget to tell me something?" she wondered.

Another knock became evident.

"Coming…" Sakura stood and opened the door. She was expecting the red-haired woman but what met her startled her the most.

"Gra…Grandpa?" The girl blinked down at the old man on the wheelchair.

Surely enough, the same old man he met downstairs was looking at her intensely with his liquid-looking turquoise eyes. His face was serious and his lips curved into a mysterious smile which exposed perfectly white teeth.

A complete set of white teeth.

Sakura was surprised. How could a very old man have such genuine-looking complete set of teeth?

"Someone you know is outside," he spoke straight and clear in a modulated tone.

"Hoe?" Sakura felt goose bumps ran down her spine.

"Someone you haven't seen for quite some time now," his turquoise eyes glinted.

"Someone … I haven't seen for some time?" Sakura asked in a voice which almost came out in a whisper.

"Yes," the old man replied.

"W—who?" she inquired.

Just then, a long eerie howl sliced through the air. It took Sakura's attention for a brief moment as she turned her head towards the window.

That howl…where have I heard that before? she asked herself.

She glanced back at the old man outside her door but he was no longer there.

"Grandpa?" Sakura blinked and propped her head outside the hallway. She looked left and right but the old man was no where insight. "Huh? Where did he go?"

"Grandpa!" she hollered once more but there was no reply. She seemed to be the only one on that floor.

Still…what did he just say?

Another solid howl rang inside Sakura's ears which brought her back on the matter at hand.

"That…howl…where have I…?" The emerald-eyed girl walked towards her window and opened it. The chilly night sky beckoned her since the sun already bid farewell a few minutes ago.

Another long hypnotizing howl disturbed the silence outside. For some reason, she felt her heart thump faster.

Sakura squinted and followed the sound. Finally, she saw the source. There stood majestically on the roof of another building not far from the dormitory, was a huge black beast arching its head up high towards the oblivion of the night. It has a silky mane and long furry tail. The tiles of the roof turned into ice under its paws. Puffs of chilly-looking breath escaped its nostrils every now and then.

Then, it hit her as she finally remembered.

"Doggy…" Sakura whispered; wide-eyed.

As if on cue, the black dog turned its head towards her direction. Once again, she found herself staring at cold shimmering sapphire eyes.

The clear sky above was no more as clouds started to take over. No sooner than later, the stars disappeared and the air became chillier than ever. One by one, flakes fell from the sky.

It started to snow.

-

-

-


(Up NEXT Chapter Five: "The Scarf")


Author's Note:

I'm finally back in writing this story. I've spent so much time writing the other fic. Lolz gomen...gomen.

Once again, thank you everyone! 58 reviews in such an early stage. I'm truly happy.

(is easy to be contented) There are no direct questions…mostly story-based that I'm sure all of you will eventually find out. I've created thread in GaiaOnline for this fic. The link can be found in my profile. I heard that fanfiction dot net no longer allows answering reviewer's questions. So, I guess I will put my answers there.

BUT, I would appreciate it if you guys will place your reviews here. Coz I rather have them here.

Sorry about the 'booths' thing and the change of tenses of some parts. I reread the chapter and tried correcting them. I started writing stories without even paying attention to the tenses…then someone pointed this out to me so I changed it. The transition was apparent if you've read "Inc." since the very first time I've posted it. But I am happy to say that if not for these suggestions before, I wouldn't be able to write like this.

So kudos to all of you!

R & R onegai shimasu!

(Yet another fic debuted just recently. Kindly check my profile if you want to read my new story. D I'm debating on whether that new story fits fictionpress as an original story instead, but it seemed that reviews are rare over there. Hohummm.)