A/N: Totally AU-OOC for Hime/Otome.
I watched the Underworld series a while back, and though they're not my fav movies, I thought it'd be fun to write about vampires/werewolves. This is my first try on the subject, so you've been warned. I'll apologize for the grammar and spelling mistakes now. Feel free to spot out as you read.
Legend of the Vampire
CHAPTER 1: The Hunt
Red, thick clouds gathered in this dark night, and soon the rainstorm tore its way through the city of Fuuka. The wind kept pushing against the rows of twenty-foot high windows of First District's Library, an old, four-story building built more than six decades ago.
On the top floor, where the glass ceiling allowed the scenery of the sky above, a dark-haired young woman was occupying a long, oak table in the far corner. She chose to distant herself from the more crowded desks that were lined up in a rectangular line around the wooden handrail in the middle, where one could watch people going about their quiet business down at the spacious lobby on the first floor.
As antiquely charming as the library was, there were supposedly more interesting places for a young woman like Kuga Natsuki. Approximately two dozens of thick, leather-bound books piled up in front of her, acting as an excellent foxhole to separate her from the rest of the world. A single table lamp lit just enough for her to read the texts on the yellowing pages. She gave heed neither to the rumbling of thunders, nor the sounds of footsteps from the lower floor. The rain still poured as the night went on. Given the fact that the library opened at dusk and closed at dawn, there was no other place in the world she would rather to be.
Her brows knitted into a dramatic line, she closed the book in front of her and pushed it away. The manuscript offered no information she wished for, or at least, it did very little to convince her of its credibility. She then caught sight of a new book to venture on, the royal blue, leather-bound one to her left. She picked it out of the pile and brought it a little closer to her face, reading the title.
Legend of the Vampire.
The book was only half an inch thick, a junior among its peers. Perhaps it was the very reason Natsuki had overlooked it in the first place. The cover looked centuries-worn, and certainly smelled of old papers. She held it carefully; the crumpled papers felt so crisp as though they would vanish into dust at her touch. She began to flip through, however, with a discouraged spirit. She had read about a thousand legends concerning origins of the vampires, but still, she hadn't gotten any closer to the truth than several years before. Her incessant researches were unrewarding and often ridiculed by her peers.
The sound of footsteps she had caught earlier finally came to stop at her desk.
"There you are! I was looking all over the place for you. What are you doing here?"
She continued to read without looking up. She could hear his rushing footsteps even before he turned at the corner to enter the library. Tate Yuuichi was always the loud one, even for a bestial standard, and it was the reason he always got into trouble with the vampires. They sensed him miles away.
Taking his brown hat off, Yuuichi plopped onto the chair opposite to her, brushing the raindrops from his soaked jacket. To her annoyance, he had drawn attention from other tables he didn't seem to notice. He glanced down at the book she was reading. "Legend of the Vamp—Oh, not this nonsense again. Can't you stop this ridiculous quest of yours? It doesn't exist! And the more you're digging, the easier you'll become a target. You're only digging yourself a grave."
Her head snapped, and she glowered at him. "Are you afraid?"
Yuuichi sat back, feeling uneasy whenever the pair of deep green gaze flashed it rage. The kind of ferocity unimaginable to humans, and only he had witnessed and actually survived it.
"I'm afraid of you," he said. Yuuichi appeared mildly surprised when a glimpse of reluctance replaced the fury in her eyes.
Natsuki instantly looked down at the book, her fingers gripping the edge of the book. "I need alone time," she said.
"Please, you've been alone out here for long enough. I've come to get you back at the mansion. We need you there. We're in trouble." Yuuichi reached out for her hand, but the dark-haired woman immediately drew back. She rarely allowed body contact even with her closest comrades. And it had been a while since that night Yuuichi brushed his fingers along her cheeks, wiping the tears away.
A great while since.
"What kind of trouble?" she eventually asked.
Then she looked up at the ceiling, and beyond the wet, glassy surface above, she spotted a pair of large bats zoomed past the thundering, crimson sky. Her mouth gaped open as bewilderment set in her eyes. It was an unusually audacious roam for the vampires to expose themselves with such public display. Human eyes might not be able to catch their presence as fast as hers, but it was still considered precarious. Years spending in this suspicious library, she had yet to encounter a vampire. Her regular visits were an open invitation, but she hardly expected the vampires to strike in public.
"They're enraged. They've just caught our spy. They'll torture her, Natsuki." Yuuichi leaned forwards, staring at her in the eye. "She might expose our lair, and it would mean hell."
"She knew our location?" Natsuki mumbled almost to herself as she sat back in her chair, her face creeping away from the light from the table lamp. Her vision fared better in the dark. She looked beyond the wooden handrails and down to the lobby on the first floor.
Two slender figures approached the door to the lobby entrance. Their faces were half-hidden under the hoods of their black coats. Their glides were easy and smooth, untouched by the furious wind and heavy rain outside. Their feet, if one carefully noted, did not touch the ground. They entered, and the old, female librarian at the oak counter nodded at them.
"You always picked the best time to be in public, Yuuichi. They're here for us," Natsuki said, turning her attention to her companion.
Horror filled Yuuichi's eyes as he watched the two agents downstairs turning around for a sign of their target.
"God, I knew it. I knew it was a bad idea to come and get you. Why couldn't you just stay home and search for this crap over the internet?" Yuuichi gripped the armrests so tightly that his knuckles went white. His lips quivered, and beads of sweat formed over his forehead.
"Internet doesn't have everything," Natsuki said, hurriedly fumbling through the pile of books. Considering the size of the books and the emergency she was in, she blindly picked the small book she was reading earlier and stuffed it into her backpack.
"If it isn't on the internet, it doesn't exist!" He was exasperated that she was still worried about the books.
Natsuki swung the backpack over her shoulder and ran towards the row of windows to the eastside. Her friend followed suit, sporadically turning to see if the vampires had already caught their presence.
When nobody was near enough to notice, Natsuki pushed a window wide open. They should be able to make a four-storey landing just fine. The only concern was to steer clear of the two agents until dawn.
Yuuichi quickly came to her side, his arm around her waist. "Allow me. I'll take care of the landing."
She pushed his arm away. "You're wrong, Yuuichi."
He raised his brows in puzzlement.
"It doesn't exist because they want us to believe that way." With the triumphant smile on her face, she jumped off the edge and let herself fall to the ground below. With ease, she landed on all fours and then leapt into the shadow of the night, averting attention from the passersby.
Yuuichi followed in the same manner just before the two agents made their way up to the forth floor.
The tall, dark-haired man led the way, his young, beautiful friend closely behind. Looking around for a little bit, he then approached the opened window. A strong gust of wind slapped against his ashen face, and he narrowed his hazel eyes in contempt as he watched the two running figures disappearing into the dark alley. He clenched his fists as his companion started to giggle, and then turned to her.
Stalking across the narrow path between the empty desks and rows of shelves, the man stopped at the table where Natsuki had sat before. He looked at the scattered pile of books, while his friend had already occupied Natsuki's previous spot, flipping a book with an expression of mild interest on her pale face.
"Interesting version. I've never read this one before." She only skimmed through the pages, but no word could escape her fast eyes.
He put both hands over the edge of the table, leaning forward and glaring at her. "We've just lost her again. We can be sure that the bitch won't set foot out of her shit hole again anytime soon. And I'm talking about months before another chance."
"There's no 'we', Reito. I only tagged along because you needed a companion. You lost her." Leaning back comfortably in her chair, the young woman continued to read on. Her chestnut, wavy, long hair hung over her slim shoulders, her face was reminiscent of a marble sculpture come to life. In her humble coat, she still attracted unwanted attention from passersby wherever she went, and he noticed it too well.
Reito cautiously glanced around the area, making sure that no one was staring at them long enough tonight to remember them tomorrow. Or he would have to make them 'forget'. Mind control was a powerful weapon for a powerful, three-century-old vampire like Reito.
He then turned to her, his voice softened a bit. "You act so carelessly, Shizuru. This concerns the fate of our clan. Doesn't it disturb you to see all these books around? A werewolf was studying us. She wants something."
"Dogs are always the curious ones. Let them be."
"It's not just another werewolf, an unfortunate nuisance. She's the daughter of Kuga Hideaki." The name of the famous scientist did catch his friend's attention, and he continued with a lower voice. "We've just caught their spy, and it's turned out to be a vampire among us. Shizuru, this is a grave matter. For the first time in centuries, our sworn oath of absolute loyalty has been broken."
The woman paused for a long moment. The state of betrayal must have struck hard at an ordinary vampire like her. A treachery among them was unheard of.
"Who's the mole?" she asked.
Reito looked around a bit, arms across his chest. He was one of the top agents, the queen's right hand man, and the information he had was confidential. But Fujino Shizuru had been his friend for as long as he remembered, and there were few things that he had kept secret from her.
"Her name is Tokiha Mai, daughter of Lord Fukuoka, Tokiha Tatsuya."
Shizuru stopped to think a little. "Never heard of her."
"She…" Reito briefly looked away. "She usually keeps to herself, very much like you, except that she spends most of her time in the castle, but you in your invalid dormitory. Wherever that is."
Shizuru chuckled at Reito's sarcastic shrug. She tossed the thick book back into the pile. "Still. What can this Kuga possibly get from these phony stories anyway? It's a waste of time."
Reito's gaze became cold, horror filled his entire being. "Perhaps... the legend…"
At his words, there was almost a disbelief in Shizuru's eyes.
"The blood, Shizuru. The origin of all vampires granted us immortality… and it could very well take it away."
"Fiction!" She laughed in her chair.
As her soft laughter echoed through the night, Reito turned to the opened window, his hazel eyes narrowing with full determination. Fiction or not, Kuga Natsuki already had her answer.