Chapter 17: Decisions

"Uggh... I'm so sore.." said Tsukune as he lifted himself up and held his head in his hands. 'What happened? I remember seeing Moka and Ria fight, but I don't remember what happened after they started... MOKA!' Tsukune looked around the room, only to see her laying in the bed behind him. Moka was unconscious and was covered in cuts and bruises. Tsukune directed his attention to the room around them. Two doors were in the room, one was open and lead to what looked like a bathroom, the other must have led into the hallway. Everything was a scarlet red, from the walls to the carpet. The bed was in a canopy cherry wood frame. Long white curtains were being held back by red ropes with thin gold braided into the rope. The room was fit for any emperor or king. 'I know this was built by vampires but do they really have to make everything colored crimson? It's a little cliche.' Yet he had to admit, the immense room deserved the royal color. A chandelier hung in the center of the room, a stone fireplace with furniture of fine leather arranged in front of it across the room from the end of the bed. Even the ceiling was plaited gold. In the far end of the room, a seat was a cut out from the wall and held a bunch of pillows, they matched the pillows on both the bed and the small couch at the foot of the bed. Paintings of beautiful people who all had dark red eyes covered the walls.

Moka was used to living in mansions and castles that were probably equal to the grandeur of this place. Tsukune; however, was a human and not a rich one at that. He was used to the simple life and had never had the privilege of being around the luxury of nobles. Much less vampire nobles. This was all new to him and Tsukune couldn't help but wonder how he would be able to adapt to the life of a vampire.

Just then, the door to the room opened and Ria strode in. She was wearing a long black dress that was skin tight and had an extremely low-cut bust. Ria also wore long black gloves that went up past her elbows. Tsukune tried not to stare but he couldn't help himself. When she walked, he noticed a long cut on the right side that ran up the side until stopping around the middle of her right thigh. When she walked, her creamy leg was visible. It was clear that the dress cost more than anything he had ever dreamed of owning.

"R-Ria what did you do to Moka?!" Tsukune stood and walked between Moka and her. He wasn't sure what kind of fight he would be able to put up against someone who had done so much damage to Moka.. 'But I'll do anything to protect her.'

Ria just laughed and replied, "Oh me oh my, you don't remember? I didn't do this to Moka; my dear Tsukune, you did."

Tsukune looked over his shoulder towards Moka who was laying silent in the bed. "You are lying. I would never hurt Moka."

Ria's smile wiped off her face. "Tsukune, let's get something straight. I don't want to be here any more than you do." She put a hand on her hip and flipped her hair back with the other. "The last thing I want to do is waste my time on training a pathetic little half-vampire who doesn't understand his place."

"T-then let me and Moka go back."

"Unfortunately, I can't do that. I am under strict orders to stay here and train you. However, Moka was not supposed to be here. She will be sent back. Well, that is unless you want to put everyone you know in danger. Though I couldn't blame you, Youkai Academy is full of a bunch of worthless youkai that would be nothing but sport to kill. I doubt anyone there would even make a decent meal."

Tsukune turned to stand beside Moka's bed. As he looked at her, he couldn't believe he had done this. 'Moka is so strong! There is no way I could have done this to her.'

"Dear Moka was pushed nearly to death because of you, Tsukune. For a newly transformed vampire, you did surprisingly well against dear Moka. But if you don't receive training, you will continue to go into fits of rage and lose control of your power. Vampires are born with their power and train to hone and control it. You wouldn't know what that is like since the power suddenly came forward all at one time. Your restraint is nonexistent; here in Paradise I will teach you the necessary restraint and how to control your power."

"What happened after I blacked out? How could I have done this to Moka? I wanted to protect her."

Ria walked past him and sat on the side of the bed next to Moka. She draped her right leg over her left and the slit in the dress left the leg naked. Ria's creamy skin looked luminescent in the low lighting of the dark room. "Oh me oh my, it was very interesting to say the least. My dear Moka thought she could take me on in a fight. She doesn't always think through her short temper." Ria extended her right hand and laid her right finger on the middle of Moka's forehead. Slowly she drug the tip of her nail down Moka's head. Blood slowly beaded on Moka's head, but a quite hissing could be heard and the cut was healing only moments after have been made. Only a small mark remained, but it was fading fast. Ria removed her hand and brought it to her face. Ria turned to look at Tsukune, her eyes reflecting in his. She licked the blood that had smeared onto her finger and dipped it into her mouth, sucking off the remains. "Moka should know that she doesn't stand a chance against me. And you Tsukune, just couldn't take it when I showed Moka her place. I didn't intend to push you over the edge, but that is what happened. She was only minimally damaged after me, you did this."

"What do you mean by 'push me over the edge'?"

Ria's piercing red eyes glimmered for a moment before she answered. "Congratulations Tsukune, you are one of us now. Your rage forced your transformation into a vampire to accelerate."

"Wait, just wait a minute.." Tsukune turned what she said over in his head. It was all starting to come back to him. His blind rage, the lust for blood, the fight with Moka and Ria united against him, how he had wanted to tear their throats open, and... then something being wrapped around his arm. Tsukune lifted his arm to see the bright gold chain with the small cross dangling from it. He looked up to Moka and saw her broken form... all of the wounds he had inflicted.

Ria stood and moved behind him. "If you don't want to put her in danger, you need to stay here with me."

Tsukune reached forward and placed his hand on Moka's cheek, he could feel her warm skin and the blood pulsing just below. Even now the scent of it wrapped itself around his mind, filling him with desire. Ria was right. He wasn't safe. Tsukune lifted his hand and turned to face Ria.

"When do we start?"

Ria smiled and stood up. She walked to the door and without turning replied "We start at dawn." Then briskly walked out of the room and shut the door behind her.

"N-no..." The small sound came from Moka.

Tsukune turned back to her and held her hand. "Moka, don't talk. You are hurt. Save your strength."

Moka slowly opened her eyes and looked at Tsukune. "You can't stay here with Ria... S-she can't be trusted. I heard what she told you, but you can't listen to Ria. She can't be trusted, Tsukune. I came to get you and bring you back to the Academy. Everyone is worried about you..."

"Moka, I can't go back. I will just be putting you in danger. I need to learn how to control my power. Until then I can't risk your safety."

"No.." Moka didn't get anything else out before Tsukune leaned down and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

"I'm not asking, Moka." Tsukune pulled back and smiled. "Don't worry about me, after all I'm a vampire now. I have your blood in my veins. I need to get stronger so that I can protect you in return. I will come back for you."

Moka looked up to him and his smile melted her heart. It was that same smile that made her fall for him in the beginning. She tried to lift herself up, but couldn't move her body. 'I'm going to need more time to heal before I can move. Tsukune.. I love you, its Ria I don't trust. I don't like this plan, but you are my blood mate and I have to believe in you.'

"Don't move yet Moka. Just rest."

"Tsukune..." Moka called to him.

"Yes, Moka?"

"I love you."

Tsukune was a little shy at first, a blush flared on his cheeks as he replied, "I love you too Moka." He leaned down and kissed her softly.

Once again, the High Counsel was in session. The representatives from the North, South, West, and East were all in their assigned places. Both Lord Mikyeto Akashiya and Chancellor Lucius Ushiba were present. The mood was grim, tensions were high. The session was taking a great deal of time and everyone present wanted to finish business and close the session. The nobleman from the North looked to the list of topics needing attention and saw that only one remained. He stood and announced the topic:

"Next to be discussed is the preparation of The Trials for the high position of Dark Lord."

Lord Akashiya stood and sighed. "We all know that the child of prophecy is undergoing training by my agent, but there is no other candidate to pit against him. The Trials don't need to be arranged yet. If that is all we can conclude..."

"Excuse my interruption, but there is another candidate to face the young man." The representative from the North interceded, "The eldest son of the Ushiba clan has been entered into The Trials."

The entire room erupted in whispers and debate. Lord Akashiya's head snapped to attention and turned the situation over in his head. There hadn't been two candidates in centuries. Everyone knew how powerful the Dark Lords were and feared them because of it. It was almost unheard of that there would be even a single candidate. Now that there is a second candidate, Tsukune would have to train harder to control the blood rage of a newborn and hone his power. As for the Ushiba boy, Lord Akashiya knew a few rumors of him. Dimitri Ushiba, if the stories were true he grew into a man just like his father. Ruthless, powerful, and cunning. Not only that, but when he was younger he had personal training from none other than the Chancellor himself.

Lord Akashiya turned to face Lucius, "Chancellor Ushiba, were you aware of Lord Ushiba's son entering the Trials?"

Chancellor Ushiba looked just as shocked as everyone else in the room when he replied, "I had no idea Dimitri was going to enter. I haven't seen him in years."

"Well isn't this a convenient time for him to decide to enter The Trials. He will be slaughtered. Chancellor you are his mentor, you ought to seek him out and discourage him from continuing on."

Lucius scoffed in return and shot his brother a glare. "You know as well as I that when a candidate enters they cannot turn back. There is no dropping out of The Trials. But young Ushiba may surprise you Lord Akashiya, he is my star pupil and will not go down without quite the fight."