I couldn't believe how tired I was when my alarm went off. Slowly my eyes opened and I looked across my pillow to the clock. It was beeping at me steadily, demanding that I wake to get ready for my eight o'clock class. I felt completely drained of life and when I sat up, the world spun lightly.
As I moved to the bathroom, I stumbled once but caught myself on the sink. My breakfast was pulled out of the cabinets and after swallowing the handful of pills, I took out the syringe and prepped it before poking my arm and injecting the liquid. The feeling was almost immediate and I felt better just knowing that I would have the effects in a little bit.
I looked into the mirror above my sink and blinked at the mark on my neck before smiling fondly at it. Reaching up, I touched the bruised area and felt the tenderness of it. I knew Fate wouldn't be her when I woke up, and it didn't bother me too much. She had Erio to think of, after all.
Moving back to my bedroom, I dressed for the day sluggishly and grabbed my backpack to sling over my shoulder. On my way out of my house, I checked to make sure Caro was sleeping in the spare room and that she would have some breakfast, cursing at Fate once more when I realized my place was completely stocked with food again. I took a bagel from downstairs and ate it as I walked down the street.
Almost an hour later I fell down into my seat and sighed out. "I'm too tired for this..." I spoke my thoughts aloud as a backpack fell down next to me and an energetic girl jumped into the seat next to me. Blue hair fluttered around her face and she grinned at me. "Morning, Subaru." I greeted her lightly.
"Yo, 'morning." She smiled. "Ready for the exam? Last day of classes!"
"Yes," I rubbed my eyes. "I had lots of time to study in the hospital."
Subaru leaned over and looked at my neck. "Your master have a drink last night?"
"Mas...oh!" I waved it off. "Don't worry, I'm okay." Even though I said that, I knew that my body was still struggling to recover from the amount of blood I lost. A normal person would have recovered by now, but me...
I couldn't help but wonder about Subaru. She was like me: someone caught up in the whole vampire thing. She obviously knew a lot about it and didn't seem as hush-hush as I thought she would be. "Ne, Subaru?" She grinned at me. "How long have you and Teana-san been...um..."
"Since as long as I can remember." Subaru answered without hesitating. "Originally I was kind of like an orphan. My mother died before I even knew her, and my father is rich but didn't want anything to do with me so he sent me off to a boarding school. From there I was chosen by the paladins to help out Teana."
"Wait," I shook my head. "I still don't get this whole vampire-paladin thing?"
"Oh, well," Subaru motioned with her hands while she talked. "Paladins normally hunt vampires, but recently they have been experimenting. Teana was turned while her mother was pregnant and trained to fight against other vampires. She was given synthetic blood to make her survive but once she drank from a vampire, she couldn't go back. From then on, I was placed under her care."
"So you were just randomly chosen?"
"More or less. Nobody would miss me if I just suddenly vanished, you know?" She didn't really seem to mind the words she was speaking. "So, anyway, Teana just drank from me but eventually she started looking out for me as well. Later we became a couple and now she is more like my lover than anything else."
I blushed darkly hearing it. Just as Fate was bound to me, it seemed like these two girls also formed a type of bond. I wanted to ask more but our professor chose that moment to enter our classroom. We had exams today and that needed to come first. "Can we meet later?" I whispered to her, getting a happy nod.
When Subaru and I met once more it was at the end of our school day. She waved her hand over her head when she was within shouting distance. I waved back, a little embarrassed by her loud shouting paired with it, and began talking once she was close enough. "How was your day?"
"Boring, but not bad. I think I did well on the exams." She fanned out her shirt lightly. "Let's get someplace cool."
"Want to come to my bakery? I'll treat you to some nice food."
"That'd be excellent!" She laughed and I smiled at her. This girl was really perky and fun to be around. I can't believe that I sat next to her in one of my classes all semester and never even became friends other than being desk buddies. "Hey, would you happen to know of any nice apartments or anything?"
I blinked at the question. "There is a complex across from my bakery, why?"
"Teana and I kind of moved out of our old place."
"Well it was burnt down."
I paused my walking. "Seriously? What happened?"
Subaru laughed nervously. "Um, well, some people came to kill Teana and well... Teana got a little upset."
"So they burned the building down!?"
"Well...Teana sort of...lost it when one of them hit me."
I caught the hint. "Teana blew everything up?"
"Oh yeah." Subaru stopped walking and her laugh halted as well. In front of us stood two men wearing light clothing with golden crosses on their sleeves and around their neck. "Well, they just don't give up do they?"
I took a step back and brought a hand to my chest. "Those guys again..."
Subaru reached into her backpack and pulled out a black glove. She slid it over her hand as the two people started moving forward to us. "Don't worry," Subaru spoke casually to me. "They will cover the tracks of their attack, and I'll protect you." Reaching into her pocket, she took a small glass vial filled with black liquid. "Let's get this over with." The vial was slid into a slot into her glove and I noticed that a cover slid over it. "Load cartridge!"
Even though I had seen it before, Subaru's power still surprised me. Her glove, I had seen, had a direct IV going to her veins on her wrist. Teana's blood was injected into it, giving Subaru's right hand temporary power for a limit of five minutes. Me on the other hand...
I jumped to the side of one of the men and saw Subaru grab his arm, bending it behind his back and slapping the shoulder blade to make it pop out of socket. I heard a yelp and before I could even react, the fight had moved into an alleyway, away from the main street.
I walked backwards away from the three people, watching with wide eyes as Subaru continued her assault. She grabbed the other man, holstered him into the air, and slammed him down on the ground so hard I could swear it made hair-line cracks in the ground.
The first man apparently fixed his shoulder and made a dive at me, shoving my body against the wall. He moved his other hand and pulled a silver dagger from his cloak. My hands reacted on their own, twisting the ring on my finger and holding it to his face. A bright flash of multicolored lights burst forth, along with a weird sound.
The man dropped to the ground and started to shake, saliva dripping from his convulsing mouth. I swallowed thickly and looked back over at Subaru, who was doubled over. She was uppercutted swiftly and I gasped when a bit of blood fell from her cheek. "Subaru!"
"Che," the girl wiped her mouth and spat. Flexing her right hand, she moved forward again and grabbed the person, throwing them over her shoulder and into a garbage can upside down. "Nanoha, let's move before more come!"
"R-right!" I chased after the girl quickly, rounding a corner and running back onto the main street. "Fate-chan should be at my bakery!"
Subaru looked back over her shoulder. "I don't think we'll make it that far."
I groaned. "So much for taking the bus..."
"We'll have to get somewhere more populated." The blue haired girl looked at a slot in her glove. "I have about a minute left." I stumbled over myself and coughed, helped by Subaru so I wouldn't fall down. "You okay?"
I spat out a mix of saliva and blood, shaking my head. "I'm... I'm going to faint." The running had taken its toll on my weak body and I could feel my heart pounding in my ears.
"Nanoha!" Subaru caught me as I collapsed and I looked up at her face as the world started to go black. The last thing I made out was something large hitting her over the head and her eyes rolling up before she collapsed on me.
I awoke with a start when I felt cold water being doused on my head. Despite the water pooling around my face I couldn't quite seem to find the energy to lift my cheek off of the floor. My eyes saw nothing but a clean white floor spanning in front of me leading to the feet of what seemed to be someone wearing crystalline armor that held a pinkish-red tint to it.
"Get up." A female voice demanded of me. When I didn't do as requested I cried out as her foot connected with my side to flip me onto my back. The attack probably wouldn't have hurt many people too badly but I felt the spot stinging and tears came to my eyes from the pain. My body was too weak as it was, and right now I desperately needed my medicine.
"I don't think she is able to." An almost metallic voice stated simply.
"Shut up." The first voice demanded and I felt my hair being grabbed. After a twist I was holstered up and throw against a wall back first. I cried out again and leaned forward, weakly coughing blood while trying to breathe.
"She is hurt, she needs medical attention." The second female voice spoke again and I tried to weakly look up to see who the nicer person was. The only other person in the room was a girl wearing a quite revealing set of armor. Light red crystal covered her joints and a white material covered the rest of herself in a short miniskirt and open jacket. Her breasts were supported by a matching blue bra and what seemed to be panty sides were lining her hips.
"I said shut up, you worthless piece of scrap. Just because you can think doesn't mean you can tell me what to do." The woman spoke to the other that I couldn't see and I tried my best to look at her so I wouldn't get hit again. "Stop crying, dammit." She reared back to strike me but stopped before her open palm made contact. "Damn it, if you stop my motions one more time I'll destroy your mainframe and format you!" The hand moved again and I got a lighter slap than I had anticipated.
"Where... Am I?" My throat stung and my lungs were stinging along with most of my body.
"That doesn't matter. I want to know what your girlfriend's weakness is, and you're going to tell me."
I tried to rack my brain with something to say but instead I found myself grabbed and lifted up in the air, back pressing against the wall and hand around my neck. "I.. can't breathe..." I gasped out desperately for air and then saw a face in front of mine. Dark green eyes were staring at me, piercing into me so hard I could actually feel my body shiver from it. The hand let me go and I landed on my feet before collapsing yet again.
"Che, this girl is pathetic!"
"She must have something wrong with her body. I suggest leaving her alone or no information will be obtained."
I groaned and hugged myself, shaking as the female knelt down in front of me. Against my will I opened my eyes again to look at her and felt tears running down my cheeks. I wanted to say something but I was so scared my mouth wouldn't open. She, on the other hand, smirked at me and spoke smoothly. "Unfortunately for you, I don't like listening to my partner." She stood up fully and flexed her hand. "Strike Flame."
"Back talk me again and I swear to the gods that I'll destroy you! Now, Strike Flame!"
I hugged myself tighter and chocked on my tears as I saw a long line of red energy come from the girl's hand. "I'm sorry," the other voice told me softly.
When I awoke again I felt the pain come back to me all at once. My body ached with every heartbeat and I knew that if my body could support itself I would be throwing up right now. Unfortunately all I could do was lay on the ground where I was and pray to pass out again. When I realized that I wouldn't be able to go under again, I opened my eyes weakly. There was blood on the floor, staining the clean white surface. My vision was flashing red and loud sounds were all around me.
Slowly, I closed my eyes again and took a deep breath. I don't know how long I layed on the floor but when my body was gently lifted to be cradled I suddenly felt a surge of energy come into me from the nice feeling. I could swear I heard my name being called and I opened my eyes to see the hazy face of Subaru above me.
"Oh thank god," she gasped out in worry. "I was scared they killed you."
"Subaru..." I winced at the feeling of my voice moving through my throat and had to cough. "What's...going on?"
"Shh, don't talk. Fate-san sent me to get you." She lifted me up to carry and my head fell to the side. The sight before me made my world stop for several seconds. A body, the female from before, was dead... torn apart... My body lurched and I almost fell from the arms holding me as I threw up, both from the sight and the movement happening. I closed my eyes but the vision was still there... blood everywhere... ripped apart...
"Nanoha! Are you okay!?"
I panted, gasping for air as saliva dripped from my lips, leaning strands behind them. It was then that I noticed that the flashing red wasn't from my eyes but from an alarm light running above the room. Another loud noise came and I recognized it as an explosion this time. "What...?"
"Let's go. I have to get you out of here. Can you stand?"
I was so confused. "N-no..."
"Dammit..." Subaru lifted me again and I looked involuntarily at the mess on the wall and floor, catching sight of a small red orb that was laying not far from it. The words 'I'm sorry' were repeating on it over and over, forming one word at a time in a scrolling sequence.
Just because you can think doesn't mean you can tell me what to do.
"Subaru..." She looked at me and I weakly pointed at the gem. "Get that... Please..."
"Okay," Subaru carried me to the gem and grabbed it, handing the sphere over to me. "Now rest, we're getting out of here."
"Okay..." I clutched the orb in my palm and felt a voice enter my head.
Why did you save me?
I swallowed thickly, closing my eyes tight.
I felt my body turn sharply and heard the distant sounds of explosions and screams. Opening my eyes briefly, I saw smears of red on the wall along with a slash that seemed to have melted its way through.
I don't understand. I hurt you.
The voice wouldn't go away, the soft echoing through my mind lingering with unspoken sounds that I somehow understood. "Who...?"
Don't speak, I can hear you
I reclosed my eyes, breath catching as a surge of pain ran through my body.
You are dying.
'I know,' The thought went through my mind easier than I thought it would. I knew my body better than any doctor. I knew I had a trace of hemophilia. I knew what it meant when my vision swam. I knew what would happen to my lungs if I didn't use my inhaler...
Let me help you.
A large jolt separated Subaru from me and I felt myself fall to the floor with a soft thud.
Please. You saved me even after I hurt you.
The voice was becoming more clear, the slightly robotic female tone becoming more apparent.
Please trust me... Become my master.
Before I could reply to the voice speaking to me I cried as my hair was grabbed and pulled upwards. The pain was almost too much to bear and I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks. My whole body was sore but still seared with sharp pains from both the inside and out. At that moment, I questioned why I had even kept trying to live through the agony.
The doctors were right after all... I wouldn't live to make it past this year....
"When you're dead," Whoever was holding me up was speaking now. "The Vampire will be too distracted to fight back."
'Fate!' I slowly reached up and weakly put my hands on the person's wrist. 'I don't want her to die! Please, help me!'
I felt it immediately. The orb in my hand seemed to almost melt into me, a warm sensation running over my skin, flowing to my shoulder and spreading out over my entire body.
Executing command: RAISE: Holy Energy Amplifying Raydric Technology.
My joints screamed in pain as I was dropped down onto the ground again. Every part of my body that could bend seared as if I had just burned them all at once. Just as soon as the pain came, however, it left.
Executing Command: God's Armor, barrier jacket
I felt the cool air of the room embrace my suddenly naked body before a new material came over me. I felt the weird fabric almost seem to crawl over my skin before it stopped after reaching the top of my head. My eyes opened in shock, looking down at my body in awe. Each hand was now covered in a black glove that showed my fingers. Each knuckle held a pink-ish red tinted crystal covering it, embedded in my skin as if it were a part of me all my life. Moving down my arms, I saw a pure white material flow over my arms. The fabric formed a jacket around my upper body, going down just to where my breast line was before cutting off to fully reveal my torso all the way around. A blue bikini style top held my breasts firm and covered them properly. Lower, I saw the thong style straps of my panties tailing my hips before being covered by a white miniskirt accented by blue triangles at the bottom moving upwards for design. My legs held stockings now before entering into a weird type of combat boot that also somehow resembled normal sneakers, as they didn't go much higher than my ankles.
Execute command: Load cartridge.... Master?
"Ca-Cartridge?" I asked in shock, looking from my body to the man in front of me and back again. The shock of whatever just happened was starting to fade away and the pain was starting to grip me once again.
Blood given by your master. A vial.
The man in front of me seemed to have recovered from his surprise and was now glaring at me, saying something about somebody failing in their job. Ignoring this, I reached into my shoe and was relieved to find Fate's vial still there after... after whatever transformation just happened with my cloths. "This?"
Yes, load please.
I felt something on my left wrist move and I pulled back the jacket there to see that the glove extended down past my wrist. A small slot was open, but was too small to fit the vial into. "It- it won't fit!" I looked up in fear as the man started walking to me once again.
Pour it into the area!
I quickly did as I was asked, getting the black blood to fill the chamber and close just before my neck was grabbed and I was hoisted up once again. My feet were dangling above the ground and my hands were desperately trying to pry the strong thick fingers off my neck.
I felt the hand tighten and I chocked on my own saliva.
Several pricks came along my body and I felt the familiar sting of something entering my bloodstream.
My hand moved on its own, gripping the man's wrist and squeezing it. Several cracks sounded and I was dropped, landing easily on my feet. My hand continued to tighten, now bringing the large man to his knees as he screamed. My other hand moved as well, reaching forward and grabbing his shirt before hoisting him into the air like a doll, holding him far above my head so his feet didn't touch the ground anymore.
"Leave us alone." The robotic voice was speaking aloud now and my weight shifted, throwing the man literally through the wall next to me. When the dust settled, I looked in shock at what I had just done, without even telling my body to. "Are you ready, my master?"
I looked over at Subaru and ran to her, lifting the unconscious girl up to cradle into my arms. She felt light as a feather, and it was then that I noticed it...
I had never felt more alive than I do right now.
We need to get both of you out of here.
"But Fate-chan!" I skidded to a halt when the hallway I was running down split into two different directions.
Go left. I can hear your thoughts.
I nodded and turned to run that direction, still amazed at how easy it seemed to be. I can't even recall the last time I jogged longer than a few minutes, let alone run full speed without pain in my chest. Now... Now I felt as if I was walking on air, as if there was nothing to stop me from going as far or as fast as I desired...
My body reacted on it's on, ducking down and sliding along the floor as some type of bat was swung from around a corner. As I skidded to a halt, I sat Subaru down and looked up with wide eyes at the three people standing before me. Each wore the white clothing with golden crosses, and all were holding some type of weapon.
Paladins. Let me fight, Master.
I didn't know what to do, let alone stop it from happening. I felt the tug at my body and went with it, easily darting forward and dodging all three attacks without even trying to. My hand reached out and grabbed one man's shirt, ripping it hard and slinging him off his feet into another. Both men flew into the wall and fell to the floor with a small crash. My body then bent backwards as a staff of some type was swung at me. I watched the weapon go above my head almost in slow motion as my hands touched the floor. My feet kicked up and I nailed the man right under the chin as I did a perfect back handspring.
'What is happening!?' I asked silently, shocked once more as the man fell. He was out cold, and I didn't even feel like I used enough force to swat a fly with my shoe.
I can control your body, Master. We are together as one in this form.
I swallowed, but nodded anyway. Even if I wanted to ask more questions, I had to get my friend to safety as well as find Fate-chan. 'Tell me, how can I help Fate-chan!?'
By being safe. Proceed forward ten yards and turn right.
I didn't question the pendant anymore and picked up Subaru once more. I began running once again and came to a sturdy looking door with an ID scanner next to it. Before I could suggest that we find a card my body moved again, twirling around and lashing out a foot that snapped the door off the lock and bent it at an odd angle. Daylight greeted me as well as a short girl in tattered clothing.
The girl was quickly recognized as Hayate and I looked at her in shock for a few moments before speaking. "Are-are you okay? Did they get you too?"
Hayate looked down at her mostly shredded clothing and then to her fingernails, which were shrinking down from long curved points. "I'm fine, they didn't have any silver." I was going to ask what that had to do with anything but she turned and started to run. "Come on, we'll meet Fate at her apartment!"
I ran after the girl, trying hard to just keep moving forward before I broke down into tears at the confusion running through me. As I ran by the fallen people outside of the building we were in, I couldn't help but notice claw marks and cracked concrete below me.
... It was almost as if some type of beast had attacked them.