Preface: This story is the sequel to my previous tale, Out of Nightmares. If you haven't read that story yet, I humbly ask that you do so before making your way into this tale; while that story is a great deal darker than this one is intended to be, it does set up the overarching plot that I'll be dealing with. For those of you who have made it through my initial R+V work, good to see you back; bon appétit!
Rosario + Vampire
"Hey, did you hear? Tsukune Aono got suspended today!"
"The class president? No way!
"Yeah, I heard he's getting kicked out, him and half the Newspaper Club!"
Despite all of the scientific advances of humanity, few things have been found that can travel faster than a rumor. If the rumor is particularly juicy, its speed can transcend the speed of human thought, and even the speed of the sound that carries it. Such was the case with the news of the punishment that had befallen the Newspaper Club, and almost as swiftly potential reasons for their temporary exile began to sprout, debated and discarded as everyone who heard added their own opinions to the mix.
It was for that reason that, when Tsukune Aono returned to the boys' dormitories at Yokai Academy that day, he found a crowd waiting for him. He sighed as they surged towards him; his day had already been stressful enough, without having to face the barrage of questions that he knew was about to be directed at him. Still, he knew there would be no escaping it, and resigned himself to the inevitable.
Not that he knew what he would tell them. Even he wasn't entirely sure what was going on, or why the Headmaster of Yokai Academy had decided to order him and three of his friends to leave their school and live in the human world for several weeks. The day had started out so normally, and he had hoped that it would continue in that trend. How foolish that had been.
His trouble had started nearly two weeks before, when a wave of nightmares struck the school. He and his friends had been quick to investigate, but had found themselves overwhelmed when they found the creature responsible for the dreams: Mori Retsu, an immortal monster that fed on suffering. During their initial battle, Tsukune had been possessed by the villain, though none of his friends had realized it at the time, and had spent the next few days asleep. Mori Retsu had intended to exploit the romantic conflict that three of his friends were embroiled in by using him as a focal point, and had manipulated their dreams to that end. His plans had backfired, however, when Tsukune had helped to free the others from their dreams, and together they had defeated him.
Tsukune blushed as he remembered what had happened after that final battle. Mori Retsu's shade had appeared to them, announcing that his defeat was only temporary. He had gloated that their efforts had changed nothing, since he would still feed off the pain stemming from the romantic turmoil between the three girls and Tsukune. At first, it had seemed like the villain had almost been successful, as both Kurumu and Mizore had declared that they would surrender in their efforts to win Tsukune's love, despite the fact that they obviously had no desire to do so. However, after Tsukune had declared that he would rather leave the school than know he was responsible for such pain, they had come to an… unorthodox solution.
After that, they had enjoyed two days of peace and quiet. And then, this morning…
The Headmaster grinned at the four standing before him, the smile unnerving Tsukune as it always did. In the flickering candlelight, the man's white robes and cowl seemed almost to glow against the darkness of the room, as did the eyes that were all but hidden by the edge of his hood. Around his neck, the Headmaster wore a cross, the magic talisman that controlled the school's magic barrier.
"I am sure you are all curious as to why I have called you before me today." The four nodded, and Tsukune restrained the urge to glance at the black-suited men that had escorted them to the Headmaster's office without making any effort to dispel their concerns.
"It is simple: I wish you all to leave this school, immediately."
"What?" the group demanded, almost simultaneously. They immediately began to voice their anger and confusion, but when the two guardians took a short step towards them, hands resting on the thin swords they wore belted to their sides, the group lapsed into sullen silence.
"I am pleased that you all want to remain here, but to put it plainly, you have become a security concern." He leaned forward, staring directly at Tsukune. "I am sure you recall the last words of Mori Retsu, and the threat they contained."
Tsukune winced at the prompt, but his other friends were not willing to accept that reason. "Yes, but we found a way around that!" Kurumu shouted.
"And what is that?" The Headmaster leaned back in his chair, templing his fingers as he waited patiently.
"I… ah… err."
"We've come to peace with each other, and that means that he can't use us any longer!" Moka offered, coming to her friend's rescue.
"Of course. Except…" The Headmaster turned his gaze back to Tsukune, who began to sweat under the scrutiny. "As you all know, this school is a dangerous place. Tell me, boy, how you would feel if tomorrow an accident happened to that girl?" He pointed at Mizore, who subtly edged behind Tsukune to avoid the accusing fingertip. "Or any of them, for that matter." Something in the Headmaster's smile made Tsukune fear that he already knew everything that had happened between them, though surely that was impossible. They hadn't even discussed it with their closest friends, so how could this man know?
When Tsukune didn't answer, only lowering his head, the Headmaster continued. "Every mishap you suffer, every bad day or brief argument, only serves to fuel his return. It will not be too long before he can begin influencing your dreams again, and then the entire cycle will begin anew." The man spread his hands in a gesture of surrender. "So, you see, we have no choice."
"Starting today, the four of you will be sent to live in the human world for as long as it takes for us to find the artifact that Mori Retsu is bound to and destroy it. It should only take a few weeks, and you will be allowed to live on a property the academy holds there. Your homework will be sent to you there so that you can continue your studies, and security will be provided for you."
After a long moment of shocked silence, Tsukune began to ask for an explanation, but felt a hand grip his wrist. He looked back to see Moka smiling softly at him, and a quick glance to Kurumu and Mizore revealed they wore similar expressions. For just a second, Tsukune felt a spike of a new sort of fear, but he quickly overcame it. Turning back to the Headmaster, Tsukune nodded in consent.
"We'll do it."
It had only been after they had left the office that Tsukune began to wonder how the Headmaster knew the content of Mori Retsu's final words, since the four of them had been the only ones present.
"Hey, Aono, is it true?"
"What did you do this time? Beat up a teacher?"
"Who else is gonna be leaving?"
Tsukune stopped, holding his hands before him in an effort to fend off the wave of questions. The crowd quickly formed a semi-circle before him, ending any hope he might have had of making his way around them. The questions came too quickly for him to answer a quarter of them, but the noise allowed him a moment to collect his thoughts. This was going to be very tricky.
"O.K., everybody, just a second," Tsukune all but shouted, and the cacophony grudgingly died down. "Listen, not even I'm entirely certain what's going on, but it's not a suspension! Neither I nor my friends have done anything wrong, certainly nothing to warrant getting kicked out of the school. The Headmaster said that he had a special project that he wanted us to work on in the human world and-"
"I heard ya got caught doing something ya shouldn't have with three of the girls in the Newspaper Club." The voice came from the midst of the crowd, the gruff tone emphasizing the Kansai dialect it bore.
"Whaaat? No way, Aono!"
"Say it ain't so!"
"No, no, really." Tsukune waved his hands desperately before him. "It was nothing like that. We were asked-"
"I heard that it was Moka Akashiya, Kurumu Kurono, and Mizore Shirayuki that are getting suspended with him, so ya know it has to be true!" Again, the Kansai-Ben, but this time it came from a reedy voice at the crowd's left edge.
"Hey, those are the girls that are always hanging off of him!"
"They're the hottest girls in the school!"
Now the crowd began to move forward, many of those in front glaring at Tsukune with killing intent. He swallowed loudly, fighting to think of a way to deflect the crowd's attention long enough for him to escape. This was not going the way he wanted it to.
"I bet he got 'em all knocked up!"
This time, the murmuring crowd instantly fell silent. For a long moment, a large percentage of the student body of Yokai Academy stared at Tsukune Aono, trying to deduce the most painful way to kill him. Tsukune, however, had finally realized where he knew that accent from. "Gin!" he shouted furiously, and the upperclassman instantly stepped from the crowd, smiling at his friend brilliantly.
"Come on, everyone, I'm sure that Tsukune can explain this, right?" Gin flashed Tsukune a thumb's up, not even bothering to hide his accent. "Go on, Tsukune. Tell them that it isn't true, that you're not being shipped off to the human world with those three girls."
'So this is how it ends. I always figured this school would kill me, but this is just pathetic.' Tsukune nodded weakly, giving the werewolf that had betrayed him a fragile smile. "Thanks, Gin. What happened is-"
"Tsukune!" He paused, turning at the sound of his name being called by a familiar voice. Running towards him was Ms. Nekonome, his homeroom teacher, holding a bag aloft. "Tsukune, the Headmaster asked me to bring this to you! He said that Moka would want it, in the human world." The feline teacher beamed at him, but in her haste to reach him didn't watch where she was going. "Nya!"
Ms. Nekonome picked herself of the ground, rubbing her scraped knee gingerly. "Ouch…" she whined, before looking at the now-empty bag that she had dropped. Her eyes moved forward, to where the item the bag had held had come to rest. She reached out, picking it up by the handle, looking at it with confusion.
To Tsukune, who was familiar with it and its properties, it was the Belmont, a magic-cancelling artifact. To the shocked crowd, it was merely a leather whip, studded with bits of metal.
"Get a rope!"
Tsukune turned to see the crowd looming over him. He barely had time to scream before they descended upon him, moving as one. As the mound of monsters thrashed about, Gin shrugged and walked away, shaking his head. Ms. Nekonome watched without understanding, occasionally glancing back to the whip she held.
For Tsukune, at the bottom of the heap of his monstrous classmates, things had gotten much worse.
Author's Note: Welcome back. What you have just read is the beginning of the second of my Rosario + Vampire stories, and I will admit up front that it is not the last of those I have planned for this arc. However, unlike my more angsty first tale, this story will concentrate more heavily on the romantic (and occasionally sexual) humor that is one of the key features of this series. I told you veterans of that first work that there can be no resolution without conflict; for now, enjoy the former with less of the latter.
What will be in this work: Romantic drama and comedy, with a key plotline devoted to each of the three girls in their relationships with Tsukune. No lemon content; I wanted to, I will admit, but once I figured out that there would be later stories I decided that such would be best placed at the end if I do manage to include it; however, there will be sexual comedy and a few scenes that have a very nice dose of sexual tension. Oh, and sprinkled throughout, hintings of the far darker plotline alluded to in the epilogue of my previous story, which will not come into fruition until late in this tale (Don't worry, you will be warned, for what good it will do).
Finally, my goal for this work. Out of Nightmares… was a darker story, but gave the characters the impetus they needed to take the next step in their relationships. This story will explore the form that next step takes, so expect dates between Tsukune and each of his paramours, and an exploration of the hurdles that each girl will face in trying to get closer to him. There will be enough fluff in this story to make it considerably larger than its predecessor, but I doubt many will complain overmuch at that fact; I certainly had more fun imagining the dates than the fight scenes, though I get a kick out of those, too.
In any case, I'm glad that you've made it this far in my newest tale, and I hope to hear your opinions and comments on this work. Really. Please. I won't beg, but… I'm begging ya. The more reviews I get, the less I have to spend on Pepsi floats to fuel my inner muse, and it'll certainly help me crank these chapters out at a good pace. If I get ahead enough, I'll release a chapter mid-week, and that way we both win!
Groveling aside, thanks again, and I'll be back in a week with chapter 2!