Chapter 9 : I'm a Monster

I didn't even remember biting into her neck. All I could feel was the blood seeping into my mouth, flowing down my throat, in such large amounts that I couldn't help but release a moan in response. It tasted so good, so sweet, so…pure. I licked what was escaping my lips off her neck before returning to my bite mark, sucking more and more out of her. I wasn't even thinking at this point about anything except the red liquid now entering my system, reviving my aura with energy that Ishizu had stolen from me.

I moaned once more when I felt the blood begin to stop and sucked for more, almost like a child wanting more from its mother's bosom. No, this wasn't enough. I wanted more… I needed more… Eventually it stopped altogether, and no matter how hard I sucked at her neck, nothing came out. I merely stood there, my fangs lodged into her neck, enjoying the aftertaste of her blood, the liquid that kept her alive, and the liquid that was now returning life to me.

When I finally pulled my fangs out of her neck, I released my grip on her and watched as her limp body fell to the ground. My eyes widened in shock as my mind returned to me, and I leaned down and gently picked her up only to immediately drop her and lean against the opposite wall. It was a dark alley, and she had been a lone stranger, asking me if I wanted to get a drink with her. I didn't understand why she had trusted a stranger to go get a drink with, and I had taken advantage of her, a foolish human, leading her down this dark, deserted alleyway in downtown Domino City.

And now she was dead. I had drained her fucking dry with my desire for her blood… I don't remember the last time I drained a body. It was probably when I first became a vampire and didn't know how to control my lust for the sustenance that I craved constantly, but my aura had been so shattered that I lost all train of thought and killed her.

Killing a hunter was never a problem for me, but killing an innocent was another story entirely. Guilt slowly crept into my system as I stared at her now lifeless body. She was just a young girl, looking about 20 or so. She had so much life to go through yet, so many dreams to realize…and I had just ended it.

But I couldn't deny the fact that I had wanted more out of her. Even though she lied there, dead as a rock, I almost wanted to curse her body for not containing more. The energy her blood contained now entered my own system, making me feel better than I had when I woke up this morning. It made me feel like my old self, before Ishizu began visiting me. It felt just as good as the night I had killed that hunter and drained him of energy. The bullet wounds may have hurt a bit, but after awhile I felt more powerful than God. It was that energy that now sent tingles up my spine, making me moan and lick the remaining blood off my lips.

What was I going to do with this body now, though? Letting out a sigh, I leaned forward and went to pick her up when a sudden shot rang through the air. Blinking in absolute shock, I noticed a bullet wound in my hand and quickly looked in the direction from which the bullet had traveled. "I have read about how a vampire loses sense of everything when he finds prey," a mocking, deep, accented voice started, and I listened as his footsteps came closer. The only light in the alleyway was directly above the dead girl and myself, but that generally didn't matter. Still, my top priority was the girl, and I watched the blood on my hand slowly fell onto her pink shirt. "They lose track of time, auras, even themselves… And now I see that everything about that is true. You didn't even sense me coming to find you, did you?"

"Who are you?" I questioned, letting my hand heal itself as I stood my full height and slowly turning my head towards him.

"Oh, but Mr. Kaiba, you should recognize me, shouldn't you?" he asked, walking into the light. I growled as realization dawned on me who this man was.

"Shimoba Jin," I hissed out, glaring menacingly at him. "Head killer for your disgusting organization and trained vampire hunter."

"I'm glad to see you haven't forgotten about me," he replied, bowing as though the two were in a ballroom setting or business meeting rather than a deserted, dark alleyway. "It's been so long since we last encountered one another, as I'm afraid I've been busy dealing with other pressing matters outside of this city, but alas I have come back to follow you as I did all those years ago."

"Don't act as though we've been friends all these years," I replied coldly. "I have never forgiven you for the trouble you've caused me."

Shimoba Jin was next to Uebana on my hit list, being the best vampire hunter I have ever met. A big, muscular man with long, white hair who always wore business suits, his family was known throughout the underground vampire society as elite heretic and vampire hunters, their origins going all the way back to Spain in the 1200s. My first encounter with Shimoba had left me scarred and beaten, and it took me a full two weeks to recover even with the vampire blood going for me. But his violent tactics bought him a lot of attention, and shortly afterwards he left. I figured he was gone for good…but obviously destiny wanted my beautiful day to get a whole lot better.

"The trouble I caused you?" he questioned mockingly. "Please, Mr. Kaiba, you seem to forget all the trouble you have caused me these past few years. If it wasn't for that severe beating I gave you years ago, I wouldn't have had to run away to Italy, spending all this time hunting insignificant beasts."

"I'm sure that I wasn't the one who trained you to hunt down my kind, even though there are so few of us," I countered.

"No, no, you are right. My hunter friends and I have done miracles over the centuries to eradicate you all down to the point where it isn't even a profitable job being a vampire hunter. How many of there are you now? Six? Seven? And you don't necessarily count as one since you're the infamous Blood Jewel. No, I do not hunt your kind so much anymore. Still, there are monsters like you who, even though they do not take on a human form, are out there and need to be slaughtered."

"Is that what you were doing in Italy, then? Hunting more monsters?"

"Oh, Mr. Kaiba, it's my job to hunt down monsters like yourself. I was in Italy because of the mess I made with you so many years ago as well as dealing with a gang of werewolves that appeared. Now that they are out of the way, I can return my attention to hunting you like the animal you are."

I growled at his insinuations and asked, "And you aren't an animal for killing all of those you've wronged in the past? I know of your family heritage, Shimoba, and I'm impressed at how many innocents your family has slaughtered in the name of justice."

"That was centuries ago, Mr. Kaiba," he continued in his blasé tone of voice. "Besides, didn't you just now kill an innocent? I sensed no evil from her, and she sure wasn't a hunter now was she?"

Glancing back down at the body of the dead girl, I returned my gaze to him and asked, "What do you expect? I'm as you say I am: a monster." Though I knew it was the truth, it still stung every time I said it. Vampires were monsters; I was a vampire; therefore, I was a monster. When it came down to the basics, I was a demon through and through. I fed on the life of the living to keep myself stable. I couldn't argue with Shimoba on that one.

"Yes, Mr. Kaiba, and that's why this organization has sent me to deal with you, the Blood Jewel."

"But you do realize that you are working for a vampire as well, correct?" I asked, raising my eyebrow and smirking at him.

"I have no need for vampire politics," he stated, waving his hand as if dismissing the comment. "You Blood Jewels and vampires can play your little game. I am just using Uebana so that I can keep track and eventually kill you. Once I'm done with you, I will turn my attention to him and hopefully get rid of him as well."

"You sure set your standards rather high these days," I commented, chuckling at him. "A Blood Jewel and a man hunting the Blood Jewel. I would say that deals enough with vampire politics. In fact, if there weren't any, you wouldn't even be able to hunt me down."

"That's where you're wrong, Mr. Kaiba. You see, you being the Blood Jewel has made you more than a few enemies. While Uebana is the only one that shows his face, there are many others out there that would gladly pay me to rip your head off your shoulders. And that is why I'm here now."

"So you are continuing what you did all those years ago?" I questioned, allowing the energy to begin flowing towards the palms of my hands.

"Exactly, Mr. Kaiba. I enjoy killing off monsters such as yourself, and it gives me pleasure to return to this business. So why don't we just stop talking and—"

Before he could finish his sentence, I lifted one of my pistols and fired within a seconds' time. I watched as he groaned and leaned forward slightly, blood beginning to seep through his shirt where his shoulder was located. "That's going to cost you," he stated, and just as quickly he pulled out three daggers and threw them in my direction.

Jumping up onto the rooftop and down into the next alleyway, I turned to see him follow me at nearly the same speed I had gone and throw two more daggers at me, one hitting me in the leg. I growled and quickly pulled it out before firing another round at him. He could move nearly as fast as a vampire for being such a muscular man, so most of my bullets whizzed by. Yet one more hit him, this time in the leg, slowing him down a bit.

"When are you ever going to just give up?" I asked, smirking at him as I fired at him again, hitting him once more.

"I'll 'give up' when your head is on my mantle where it belongs!" he exclaimed, and with surprisingly speed he launched himself forward. I shot twice, both bullets somehow missing, before he landed on top of me and began strangling me. Grabbing his hands, I flipped us over, my guns returning to their evaporated states and resupplying energy to my hands, and punched him square in the face.

"You should know I'm much stronger than I was when I first became the Blood Jewel," I stated, punching him once more in the jaw.

"And you should know that I have trained years beyond your life on how to kill your kind!" he countered. Within a few seconds he pulled a dagger out of his pocket and stabbed me in the stomach, taking me off guard. A second of weakness, and he threw me against the nearby wall, making me fall to the ground. I growled and swiftly pulled the dagger out of my torso, holding it in my hand as my blood from the blade began flowing down my arm.

"Although I must admit, I am happy to see you have grown so much since then," Shimoba stated as he slowly stood up. "You are definitely right about one thing; you are not the child you once were. So why should I kill you now when there is obviously so much fun ahead of me? Besides, I did not come here to kill you."

This made me clench my hands in rage. "Then why the fuck did you attack me like that?" I spat out.

"I wanted to see you after all these years," he answered, smiling widely at me. "Uebana told me that I was not to kill you right now. Apparently he's preparing for something big and does not want it all to be a waste of time and effort. So he sent me to say hello to you. I'm glad I did; it's been several weeks since I last hunted down an animal."

Growling for the third time that evening, I threw the dagger at him with amazing strength and watched as he backed slightly against the opposite wall, the dagger now lodged in his arm. Biting his lower lip, he whispered, "I will remember this meeting, Mr. Kaiba, in the future," before slowly taking it out. "For now, just know that I am back and that I will not finish until you lie dead, you filthy monster."

Just as quickly as he had first shown up, Shimoba headed down the alleyway, taking his phone out to most likely call Uebana and inform him on what happened. I punched the wall behind me in absolute rage over the day's events before groaning in pain. My wounds were beginning to heal themselves up, and these were rather deep ones to be sure. Leaning against the cement wall, I closed my eyes and tried to control my breathing as the blood slowly seeped back into my system, my skin beginning to stitch itself up.

I couldn't believe how fucked up of a day I had. If it could have gotten any worse, it did. Ishizu was now my responsibility. I had almost bitten Arisa, one of the only people who cared about me yet knew of my condition. And now Shimoba was back.

God fucking dammit.

A wave of pain suddenly hit my body, and I groaned again and slowly slid to my knees, watching as my stomach began cleaning itself up. I really was a monster…only a monster would hurt when healing yet feel nothing when actually being hurt. Only a monster would find no reason to argue with its hunter. Only a monster would kill an innocent…

Speaking of which…

A siren in the distance told me that it was now time to leave this area. Standing up and leaning against the wall, I slowly walked down as my strength returned to me before I felt alright to stand and walk on my own. Within a minute I was feeling fine, as if I didn't just have daggers or bullets enter my body, and let out a content sigh. At least I was stronger now so that I could actually face Shimoba.

If there was anyone I feared in this world, it was him. It wasn't fear though…it was more an appreciation for how skilled he truly was. I respected the fact that he was one of the few with an actual chance of killing me, the Blood Jewel, the highest level of vampire in the world. But by being that, he was an obvious threat to my survival and had always been one of my top priorities. After he left, I made sure to track him down, but lost sight of him and his crew once he entered central Russia. The fact that he was in Italy didn't surprise me; the Vatican was known for its underground societies of monster and vampire hunters. I was sure that Shimoba was part of one of those societies, just using vampire politics to get closer to the situation. I never understood how Uebana thought he could trust such an individual. He most likely planned the same exact strategy as Shimoba did: kill the other once the first is gone. My role in this was that I was the first one who needed to be killed on both agendas. And that's where they formed an alliance…on the premises that I, a vampire and the Blood Jewel, was killed.

Sighing, I looked down at my clothing with not the least amount of surprise when I saw that my entire outfit was bloodied up. I could not travel like this; people would either report me or fear me, and that attracts attention. Shimoba learned the hard way about attention, but I would never make that mistake. Still, I needed a way home, and even though I was a vampire, I couldn't just pull a vortex out of my ass and warp home. That wasn't the way things worked these nights.

But then who could I call? Roland didn't even know of my condition, and he would be shocked if his boss told him to come pick him up in downtown Domino City with blood all over his pants and shirt. The only person that knew about it was Arisa, but my watch read that it was almost ten thirty now, and I didn't have the heart to wake her up. She spent all day worrying about me, so the least I could do was give her the night off. Yet I didn't really have any other options available to me…

Biting my lower lip, I slowly took my phone out and dialed her number. Holding the phone up to my ear, I waited two rings before the line went through. "Mr. Kaiba?" she questioned in a seemingly-alert voice. I hoped I hadn't woken her up.

"Yes, it's me," I replied almost shamefully. "I need you to do me a favor."

"What is it, sir?"

"I was just recently involved in a fight, and my clothing is soaked through with blood. I'm in the middle of downtown Domino, however, and you and I both know that—"

"I'll pick you up right away, sir," she interrupted, making me blink in surprise. "Where are you right now?"

Looking down the alleyway, I answered, "I'm right next to the gas station. I can meet you there if you park in the very last, open spot. That should attract the least amount of attention."

"No problem, sir," she stated. "I'll be there as quickly as possible." The line went dead, and I put the phone back in my pocket.

Arisa… I felt so awful for using her like this. She shouldn't be woken up in the middle of the night because I was involved in a battle. She shouldn't have to come into work early just to prepare me synthetic blood. Yet she did all of these things without my asking her to do so… Why? I always wondered that about her. Why did she help me, a monster, out the way she did? After all, she was not a Knight and had no supernatural connections to me. So why?

Why did she help a monster like me?

Shaking my head, I began walking down the rest of the alleyway, awaiting her arrival. I would apologize to her for this inconvenience and tell her she could come in later tomorrow if she wanted to. Hopefully that would make some amends. It shocked me how much I cared about her, but then again it didn't. She protected me as much as she possibly could; the least I could do was allow her another hour or two of sleep. Was that too much to ask?

By the time she had arrived, I could hear more sirens in the distance and watched several news crews go by. They must have found that girl's body, and it would be all over the news about her death. I briefly wondered about my bite mark but remembered how I had basically torn open her throat to get more blood, so I hoped they wouldn't suspect the supernatural in this predicament. As for fingerprints and such, vampires didn't carry those. I left no fibers, no fingerprints… I was basically a ghost.

Walking over to her car, I sat down in the passenger seat and let out a sigh. She had a nice, sleek, red car with black, leather seating that she admitted to being extremely proud of, and here I was sitting in it with bloody attire. "I'm sorry about this," I started but was quickly cut off by her hand on my shoulder. Glancing over, I saw her smiling at me.

"It's no trouble, honestly," she replied as she placed her hand on the shift and, putting it in reverse, began backing out of the gas station. "As long as you're okay, then it's fine. Do you want me to take you home or to the company?"

"Home, please," I mumbled, leaning back in the chair. "And you may come in later if you so choose tomorrow morning since you came to get me."

"Mr. Kaiba, this is seriously nothing to worry about," she stated, this time a bit more sternly than normal. "Like I said, as long as you are fine, it's okay."

I couldn't say anything else. She didn't care what it took, as long as I was alive and well at the end of the day. She cared about me, the monster that I was, even after I had just killed an innocent (even though she didn't know that yet). Pursing my lips together, I merely closed my eyes and listened to the radio, which was playing heavy metal music, until we arrived at my mansion. "Thank you…for the ride," I muttered as I got out of the car and stood, waiting as she drove off.

Arisa…she was something else. Cursing the day's events once more, I trudged into my house and quietly made my way up to my room, hoping to get a shower and get some work done, but not before checking on Mokuba to make sure he was sound asleep.