By Pata Hikari
"OK class!" Tohno-sensei said with a big smile, "The athletics festival is in a week, so let's get sweating in preparation." A beautiful tall woman, her long black hair streaming behind her, Tohno-sensei certainly inspired many of the male students (and a few of the female) to work hard for her sake.
Yumizuka Hiroto was one of those students, of course. He was exceptionally good at the 100 meter dash. A member of the track team, every bit of encouragement she offered as he improved his time spurned him to new heights. Today's P.E lesson was every bit as invigorating as the rest of them. Tohno-sensei always pushed her students, after all.
"Hey, Yumizuka." One of his classmates said to him as they showered after class.
"I heard this odd rumor about Tohno-sensei."
His ears perked up, "Really? What sort of rumor?"
"Ah. Well, you know that old mansion on the hill?"
"Yeah? Isn't it supposedly haunted?" He laughed. Not many really believed that sort of thing in this day and age, but the stories were fun.
"Yeah. I hear she lives there?"
"Don't be silly." Hiroto said, "If she lived in a mansion, why would she be a teacher? She'd rich enough to do better stuff then that."
His classmate shrugged, "Just saying what I heard."
Why am I doing this? Hiroto thought. He was in his room, surfing the internet, looking for information on that old mansion. Curiosity, I guess.
After all, rumors usually had a grain of truth to them. A source that became exaggerated and mutated into something beyond what they originally knew.
Searching for "Mansion, Misaki City Japan, Tohno" brought up some interesting information. It appeared that the mansion was in fact called "The Tohno Mansion." It appeared that some years back, the Tohno family had been one with some power. But the family had fallen on hard times lately, and no recent news articles said anything about them. Perhaps Tohno-sensei was a member of a formally rich family, the old mansion being the only remnant of her family's former glory. Lacking money to upkeep it, it would gain a reputation as haunted.
"A rumor that might be true? Shocking." He chuckled to himself. "Maybe I should go look at it..." The mansion wasn't far from the school, he could reach it in about forty minutes. His curiosity took the better of him.
"Wow..." he looked upon the old Tohno mansion. The gate that would have once kept out intruders was rusted in place, keeping it open for all to enter. The absurdly large lawn was poorly kept, weeds growing wild around it. Paint was peeling off in places, and any semblance of a garden had long since faded. As Hiroto stepped inside the grounds, the air suddenly felt thicker. A feeling of danger came over him, but he quickly suppressed it. "It's nothing more then an old house needing some repairs." He muttered to himself.
Walking to the front door, he noticed a doorbell. When pressed, there was silence. No cheery tone announcing to the residents that someone had come. A minute passed, and nobody came. "Is the doorbell broken?" He knocked on the door. He could almost hear the sound echo through the mansion. Still nobody came. Finally, he turned the doorknob, and the door to the mansion opened.
"..." Hiroto looked at the dark insides, his fists clenched. Some primal part of his mind was screaming at him. Do not enter. Do not look. Inside terrible things sleep. "Ugg... this is stupid." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a flashlight. "This place has to just be abandoned..." He turned on the light and entered the Tohno Mansion.
The mansion seemed to be divided into four sections. The east and west wings, split into two floors. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. The furniture abandoned, the stairs creaked as he stepped on them. And the windows were so thick with grime that no light could pierce them.
"Well it definitely fits the image of haunted." He observed aloud. Walking down the hallway on the second floor. "I wonder how many other people have come." He figured much of the furniture could be valuable. Yet no thieves had come into the wide open building to try and get some quick cash. He stopped, one of the doors was open. Pointing the flashlight inside, he saw that nobody was in, and entered.
The room was rather spartan, in sharp contrast to the fine furniture he had seen elsewhere. A plain bed and desk sat against the walls, an open closet devoid of clothing. Atop the desk was a pair of glasses. Hiroto picked them up and, after wiping the dust off them, peered though them.
"Huh? They don't do anything." He moved them up and down over his eyes to be sure. But his observation was right. These glasses didn't change his vision in any way. "Perhaps whoever wore them just liked the look." That had been a fad a few years back. He set them back down on the desk. He didn't feel comfortable taking them.
what are you-
"Huh?" Hiroto suddenly felt like he was being watched, spinning around he shined the flashlight back into the hallway.
Nobody was there.
"I'm imagining things." He shook his head. "I'll explore the other wings later..." He felt as if he was pushing his luck...
Three days passed.
Hiroto found he couldn't concentrate. His performance in Track was slipping. He knew why of course. The Tohno Mansion was on his mind.
Yet the person he could have asked to clear it up... wasn't there.
Tohno-sensei had apparently caught some illness, and was staying at home to recover. So he was stuck with this burning curiosity, mixed with a deep and dark dread. He wanted to explore the mansion more, yet at the same time a deep fear existed in his heart, telling him to stay away. How he hated this irrational fear. Steeling his resolve, he headed towards the mansion straight after school.
The door was open.
dont come in.
"Is someone else in?" He asked aloud, flipping on his flashlight, he peered inside.
Looking around the foyer, he found no evidence that anyone else was around.
"Anybody here?" He shouted. No answer, as expected. Shutting the door behind him, he shined his light around.
"Maybe there's something interesting in the parlor." He spoke aloud. To do otherwise was to deal with the silence. He began to walk, slowly and carefully.
"Is... someone talking..." He could hear it, even though it was silent. He could here it
Suddenly a figure of death appeared.
Seeing this woman his mind shut down. His mind rushed to lessons on the natural world. The food chain. Predator and pray. There was always something on top. Something which consumed even the strongest monster. The woman before him, he instinctively realized, was higher then him.
"Why..." She whispered, her tone polite and calm. Hiding the burning fury that existed in her features. "Are you here?"
"I... I..." he couldn't think, he couldn't stop. He ran. He turned his back on the monster and ran. He screamed as he ran. Anywhere, anywhere but near that monster!
He tripped. He tripped. How could he trip? It was absurd. He was going to die, and he tripped? He tried to stand up, but he found his limbs couldn't move. It was as if he was pinned to the floor by invisible ropes. He couldn't move. The absurdity was so great that Hiroto began to laugh. Behind his insane laughter he heard footsteps approach. She was going she was going to... going to...
"Are you done laughing like a maniac?" A cold voice stopped him. Hiroto found himself rolling onto his back, looking up at the woman.
Tall and elegant, her hair was red like blood, her eyes matching. A long flowing dress that seemed to ripple even though there was no wind. There was anger, yes, on her face. But looking at it objectively, Hiroto realized that she had no intention of killing him.
"Now then. Who are you and why are you in my house?" She asked.
"I-I'm Yumizuka Hiroto. I'm a first year at the high school... I came here because-"
"Because you heard it was haunted." The woman sighed. He nodded. "Well, I'm sorry but you're wrong. This is not a haunted mansion. Stlll..." A smile came to her face, "It is not a safe place to be. To ignore your instincts and press into here, you are either very brave or very stupid." She nodded, "You can stand now, so do so."
Hiroto found that, suddenly, he could in fact stand. He scrambled to look the woman in the eye, despite her still being a head taller then him. There was still that pressing fear, but he ignored it. She was clearly harmless. "So... who are you?"
The woman laughed, "Insolent one, aren't you. My name is Tohno Akiha." Tohno. That name.
"Are... are you related to Tohno-sensei?" He found himself asking.
Akiha stared at him for a minute. "In a sense, yes. We know each other, and I guess we're family now."
"Is she here?" He nearly grasped her hands, but a sense of restraint held him back.
"No. She's at her house." Akiha answered.
"Oh..." He sighed. Still, he realized the truth behind the rumors. "Anyone else live here?"
"No. I'm the only one."
"I see..." Hiroto closed his eyes. An old mansion owned by a family that had fallen into hard times. His P.E teacher was related to the reclusive owner, and sometimes visited her. The pieces fell together, and he sighed with relief. "Thank you Tohno-san." he bowed to her, "You've helped me figure some things out.
For some reason this amused her, "Oh? You're welcome then Hiroto."
"I'll be leaving then." He walked past Akiha, not noticing how she sniffed the air around him.
"Wait a minute..." Her voice froze him. "You're the sneak that broke into Nii-san's room!" She grabbed him by the arm, holding him in a grip that was impossible to escape from. "Come with me." She dragged him through the mansion, out into the backyard, and to a shed. Inside there were various gardening tools. She pointed to a container with a a hose and spritzer attached. "Take that."
"W-what is it?" Hiroto rubbed his now sore arm.
"Weed killer. Take it and spray all the weeds on the front lawn. Then return tomorrow to pay for today's unauthorized entry."
"Um... OK." He nodded, this was probably karma.
It was Sunday, so first thing in the morning he decided to return to mansion. He realized that Akiha had probably merely jumped on an opportunity to get some free maintenance done. Hiroto didn't mind though, through the night he had thought about Tohno Akiha.
It must be lonely, living in that large house all alone. He had thought. Even if Tohno-sensei visited her, she still had to spend nights without company. If he could help her by doing some work and keeping her company, then it was something he'd gladly do. The fact that she was quite beautiful once he had rid himself of that fear didn't hurt.
"Work is good for the soul." He clenched his fist in determination as he walked through the open gate.
"Vacuum the first floor." Akiha handed him an old looking vacuum.
"Are... are you kidding?" His jaw dropped at the absurdity of Akiha's request.
"This is punishment boy." She folded her arms. "You broke into my house. I could kill you for that. Consider yourself fortunate that I merely ask you to work." A slight chill had formed in the air at the mention of the word 'kill.' But Hiroto ignored it. She turned around, "Once you are done, come to the parlor and we shall have some tea."
"One more thing." Akiha said as she walked away. "Do not, under any circumstance, enter the basement."
It had been difficult, thanks to the sheer amount of dust, but Hiroto had managed to finish the job. It helped that most of the doors were locked, except for two rooms that appeared to be servant quarters.
To his surprise, the parlor was still rather well kept, compared to the rest of the house. Perhaps because Akiha still used it. She was sitting at the table, two tea cups and a kettle resting upon it.
"Are you done?" Akiha asked. He nodded, "Then sit down." She poured him a cup of tea. She possessed an elegance he had never before seen in a woman. His crush on Tohno-sensei swept away by the haunting beauty of Tohno Akiha.
"It's good." He said after taking a sip of tea.
"Glad to hear it." For a few minutes they quietly drank.
"Tohno-san?" He felt confident. "Can I come over and work tomorrow?"
"Oh?" Akiha sounded amused. "Why would you want to? Do you want more punishment?"
"Not that. You just look like you need help." He answered honestly.
"And you think I am desperate enough for it to need a teenage boy?" Her words were like thorns.
"Perhaps others would be better... but I'm offering." He cast out a desperate line.
"Hmmmm..." Akiha seemed to consider it. "Tomorrow I will be unable to meet with you. But if you wish to help me, then you can vacuum the upstairs."
"I'd be glad to do it Tohno-san." He said with a smile.
He found himself skipping school, instead heading straight towards Akiha's house. It no longer seemed frightening in any way. His mind drifted to the other ways he could spruce up this old mansion. It was beyond his power to do any major repairs. But at least he could clean it up a little.
The door was unlocked still, he wondered if Akiha ever locked it. Dragging the vacuum upstairs, he began his work. Like the downstairs, most of the rooms were locked. Except for the room which he guessed had belonged to Akiha's brother. He wondered when he had left this old building...
On the other side of the house... there was another open door. And he could hear soft breathing coming from it.
"Huh...?" He peered in. Like the parlor, this room was well kept. The master bedroom. Beautiful and expensive furniture scattered around. On the bed was the source of the breathing.
It was Akiha, fast asleep.
"..." Hiroto found he couldn't breathe, staring at her. When asleep, all appearances of being dangerous vanished. She appeared gentle, sweet. he couldn't help but stare at her chest rising and falling. Her face was pale... strangely pale.
Is this why she never leaves the house? And never upkeeps it? Could Akiha be ill? A sickness that kept her confined to this house. Looking around her room, he noticed some dusty books sitting on her nightstand.
He picked one up, and opened it. Inside was what was surely Akiha's proper handwriting. A diary?
Hiroto found himself turning the pages, flipping through the entries until he came across an almost blank page.
Nii-san announced he is going to marry her today.
I guess I knew in the end it had to happen. Damn her. Damn that bloodsucking whore. He loves her, he loves her more then anything. I won't stand in his way. I want him to be happy, after all. He's planning on moving out, to be with her.
Hisui wants to go with him. Hah. She's just like me. Pining for what we can't have. Kohaku doesn't care one way or the other, she's too far gone to do so. So will I be left alone?
Whatever. If Hisui wants to spend her days serving the man she loves and get nothing but an occasional smile in return, then she can do it. Perhaps she can find happiness that way? She's a better person then me, after all.
The wedding was today. It was beautiful.
I hated it
The entries became more curt after that, as if Akiha had lost all passion for the diary but kept it out of habit. Flipping through them, he finally reached the last page.
Nii-san died today.
He asked me to take care of her.
He asked me. So I'll find a way.
"...this isn't right." He set down the diary. "I shouldn't be looking at her private thoughts." At least now he knew who why this 'Nii-san' wasn't here. She had really loved her brother, it seemed. He sighed. "I should go. I finished my work." With a glance at the still sleeping Akiha, he left.
Walking down to the first floor, his mind drifted to a second set of stairs. Tucked away and hidden, they led to the basement.
Akiha had told him to not go down there.
you will die
Why? Something personal?
man was never meant to enter
"Perhaps the body of her brother in a shrine." He laughed at his joke... shivering as the air seemed to chill. Looking around, he heard no footsteps and saw nothing. Peering down the dark steps, his curiosity returned... he slowly marched down to the basement.
Hiroto looked around.
He wasn't in a basement.
He was in a courtyard. White flowers scattered everywhere, statues rising against the starry sky. A castle, grand and powerful, rose as the lord of this land. And in the middle of this eternal night... was the full moon. But it was not a white moon.
It was red. Red like blood. Red like Akiha.
The basement stairs behind him lead back to the mansion, but the impossibility of what was before him startled him. The castle was surrounded by a forest, stretching in every direction.
"What is this?" He stepped towards the palace. "Is this a dream? A hallucination? Or is this really Tohno-san's basement?" It was an absurd idea that defied common sense. For one, the castle was bigger then the mansion.
Unable to do anything but march towards the castle, Hiroto continued his search for answers.
Inside the castle was just as confusing. Vast hallways, elaborate rooms, huge libraries containing books in more languages then he knew existed. The building defied reality in any way he could conceive.
"What's going on..." Why did such a thing exist? He didn't know. All he could so was search this place for answers.
He searched for what felt like hours. There was little doubt that this place was far larger then the mansion. However, he felt he was getting closer to the center.
A noise in the air.
The turning of gears.
He was getting closer to the heart of the palace.
A door, covered in gold. Hiroto pressed his hand against it, and it slowly pushed open.
"The throne room." He knew that within this room, the king of this castle rested. "OK... here there will be answers..." Who is Akiha? Why does she live in this old house? Why is this place in her basement? He walked into the throne room.
He stared at the person on the throne.
dont look at
A throne and a prison. Wrapped in heavy chains, pulled tight by hundreds of gears, was a woman he knew well. Even though her hair was blond instead of black, he recognized her.
dont look at her
Tohno Arcueid. His P.E teacher.
"Tohno-sensei... what... what are you doing here!"
Silence...and then, she opened her eyes.
They were gold, peircing into his being.
And the fear of death returned.
An inhuman roar came out of Arcueid's throat. Hiroto turned to run to the now far away door. Run away run away! He needed to get away. Get away from this monster that existed to kill humans, to rule humans. Greater then humanity in every way!
WHY WASN'T THE DOOR GETTING CLOSER
The chains broke, the restraints on the monster was released, and the devil leapt to consume her prey. There would be no saving him. Yumizuka Hiroto would die today...
A red savior appeared.
It was Akiha.
"Arcueid!" She screamed, "Calm! DOWN!"
Hiroto's eyes widened as he saw, in hindsight, what had restrained him. Akiha's hair grew out, extending out to Arcueid, wrapping around her. Restraining her.
"Hiroto!" Akiha shouted, "Get out of here!" She turned to face him... her eyes were gold now as well. He could see fangs in her mouth. "Run! NOW! Before I lose control!"
He listened to her, running out the door, and leaving this wretched castle.
He stayed home the next day.
School wasn't important to him. If Arcueid was there... she would kill him. He wanted to live. He now knew that there were some rational reasons to be afraid of that mansion.
He told his parents he was sick, they believed him. He was an honest boy.
He turned on his computer and began a search.
"Who is she?" He needed to know. Who was this elegant and mysterious woman. Who lived alone in a haunted mansion and could restrain a monster only to become a monster herself...
Hours passed, digging deeper and deeper. Searching newspaper articles for any evidence... any proof of her existence. Finally, he found something. A picture of Akiha, only with black hair and blue eyes, graced an article.
CEO OF TOHNO COMPUTERS DISAPPEARS
July 3rd, 2015
Tohno Akiha, owner and CEO of Tohno Computers, the third largest computer manufacturer in the world, has been reported missing. She was last seen on June 30th, meeting with young philanthropist Tohsaka Shirou to discuss the "Technology without Borders" program, which would distribute computers and other such technological necessities to third world countries.
Witnesses say that she never returned to her car, and indeed it could be found parked in Shinto. Police are not saying whether or not they suspect foul play, but many believe kidnapping is likely.
"..." Hiroto stared at the article. "Two thousand... fifteen?"
In the corner of his computer screen, the time and date was shown.
April 25th, 2098.
Tohno Akiha, one that looked almost exactly like the Tohno Akiha he knew, had vanished over eighty years ago.
For the next two days he stayed at home. He truly felt sick now. Likely because of the impossibilities that had been thrust into his life.
All the other absurdities he had seen, Akiha really being over 100 years old didn't make any sense either, but he wasn't going to doubt it!
Of course, if she really was a ghost or monster, working with that ghost or monster of a P.E teacher... to do what?
To kill them all? To eat them?
Wait... but why then did Akiha restrain her? Was she a good monster, holding back the evil one?
"Hiro-kun!" His mother called him. "One of your teachers is here!"
Teacher? Right... he hadn't been at school for four days, they were probably worried about him... He mechanically left his room, heading towards the living room to see...
"It's Tohno-sensei." His mother said, a calm smile on her face.
Her hair was back to normal, black. Her eyes were no longer gold.
But he remembered. Remembered how she was going to kill him.
"She's been worried about you." His mom continued, oblivious to the monster standing next to her.
"Are you OK Yumizuka-kun?" She asked, sounding concerned.
"No! Stay away from me!" He screamed, terror overtaking him. He ran out the front door. Anywhere but near that monster!
"Wait! Yumizuka-kun!" Arcueid shouted.
But no matter how fast, how far he ran. No matter how much his legs screamed for rest. She was behind him. Finally, he couldn't run anymore.
He had hit a wall, running into an empty alleyway, with no way out.
"Oh man. This feels nostalgic." Arcueid walked over to him, a smile on her face. "Are you done running Yumizuka-kun? I think you actually beat your 100 meter dash back there."
"Stay away from me..." He gasped out. "I... I don't want to die..."
"I'm not going to hurt you." Arcueid said in a gentle voice. "I'd be a terrible teacher if I hurt one of my students." She was normal. It was the bubbly and kind Tohno-sensei he knew.
"What... what are you?" He found himself asking.
"..." Arcueid sighed, "Come on. Me and Akiha will explain things." She held out her hand.
"What's your relationship to her...?"
"Akiha?" She smiled. "She's my Sister-in-law."
He remembered Akiha's diary. "So you married her brother?"
"Yup." Arcueid said cheerfully, "Tohno by marriage. Never really had a surname before... well, maybe Brunstud counted. But that's more like a title..." She drifted off into a memory based tangent, like some sometimes did.
He laughed. It was strange, despite all the terror, he laughed. "OK... I'll... I'll trust you Sensei." He took her hand.
Soon he found himself entering that mansion once again. The sun had set, and the moon was out.
Standing in front of the gate was Akiha.
"You found him." She said to Arcueid.
"Yup. He's my prize Track student!" She laughed.
"Honestly." Akiha sighed with releif. "Come on Hiroto. I'll make some tea."
"Oh! I want some!" Arcuied ran in ahead of them both.
"Does she ever change?" Akiha muttered, yet there was a smile on her face.
"I'm glad to see you're OK Hiroto." Akiha said as she poured the tea. "I warned you not to go into the basement."
"The stairs are old and rotted, you tripped and fell. You were out cold for a few hours. Did you even realize it? You're lucky that Arcuied found you. Then you go and freak out and run away. Scared her to death." Akiha said without a hitch.
A lie. A convenient lie, one that he would have readily accepted were it not for the extra evidence he had collected...
"Tohno-san..." He accepted his cup. "...I found a newspaper article about you."
Arcuied was silent. "Really?" Akiha said.
"Yes, it even had a picture of you... but it was strange... the article was written over eighty years ago." He looked at her in the eyes. "Akiha-san. How old are you?"
Then, Akiha laughed. "Hiroto. Curiosity killed the cat. Do you really want to know? Or would you rather stay ignorant of the truth. Last chance."
"It's only fair, Arcuied. What we've done to him deserves payment. If he desires the truth, we shall give it him."
"I..." He clenched his fists. "I want to know what the hell is this? Who are you? What are you?"
"I see." Akiha sipped her tea. "Drink your tea, Hiroto. Then I'll explain."
"OK..." He quickly drunk the tea. "It's good..."
"It is pretty good..." Arcuied said.
"It is one of Kohaku's old blends." Akiha said with a smile. "Now then. Hiroto, as you have probably guessed. Neither Arcuied or I are human."
"What are you then?"
"We're what you would call vampires." Arcuied continued.
"Ah. But to be precise, me and Arcueid are two different types of vampires." Akiha added another layer to the explanation. "Arcuied is a True Ancestor. A being who was born as a vampire. I, on the other hand, am a Dead Apostle. A human that was turned into a vampire."
"So wait..." The pieces clicked together. "When you disappeared! On June 30th! You-"
"Correct. I used one of my contacts in the Magi Association to inform... never mind." Akiha shook her head. "Yes the day after that, I became a vampire."
"..." Arcuied was silent.
"And..." He looked at his teacher. "You were the one to make her into a vampire, weren't you?"
"...yeah." Arcuied sighed, "I didn't like doing it. But Akiha practically forced me too."
"It wasn't that hard." Akiha glanced over at Arcuied.
"...why did you do it?" Hiroto found himself asking. As far as he knew, being turned into a vampire was a bad thing.
"Because it was the only way to keep the promise I made to Nii-san." Akiha cool exterior cracked, and for a moment he saw sadness. "I... I loved Nii-san more then anything." Tears began to fall down her face. "And... and the last thing he asked me! The last thing he said to me! Was to watch over his wife. I would do anything for him!"
"..." Arcuied looked away. He could see a glimpse of... shame? Upon her.
"I... I was never fully human. The Tohno family has always had inhuman blood mixed in. From it, I gained the power to 'Plunder'. I could absorb heat, energy, mana, anything I wanted from anything. I discovered that using this power on Arcuied drains the bloodlust out of her."
"True Ancestors don't need to drink blood." Arcuied spoke again. "But we feel the urge to. It's insane. Like a drug addiction you have from birth. We may be immortal, but our 'deaths' come from us sealing away ourselves to avoid going mad from the bloodlust."
Hiroto stared at the two woman. The two vampires... what had he been expecting? Not this almost tragic story...
"So, I became a Dead Apostle in order to live with Arcuied. Vampires are immortal, though imperfectly." Akiha continued. "With me around, Arcuied can live life without fear, and be happy... and with that, Nii-san's last wish is granted. Plus, draining her energy actually keeps my body sated, so I only need to drink blood when a large amount of her bloodlust is absorbed. I always keep a few packets around for that." She sighed with relief. "It felt good getting that off my chest."
"So... what now?" Hiroto said.
"Oh." Akiha smiled, "The drugs should be kicking in now."
"Drugs...?" Hiroto suddenly realized his vision had become blurry. "What.. did..."
"So that's what you meant by one of Kohaku's old blends..." Arcueid laughed.
"Don't worry Hiroto. I won't hurt you. But I wouldn't have to do this if you had been content with our lie." Akiha walked over to him. "I like you. Your crush on me is cute."
"You..." He could only see Akiha's face... and her golden eyes.
"The drug, combined with my Mystic Eyes, should make you forget you ever met me."
"Because Arcuied had enemies. Nobody can be allowed to know how the White Princess keeps her bloodlust in check. Tohno Akiha must never be revealed to be alive as a Dead Apostle."
"It wouldn't matter if you wanted to keep a secret, Hiroto. Her enemies could easily tear your mind apart to learn the truth."
He could only see her eyes now.
"So go to sleep, Hiroto. When you awaken, this will all have been a dream..."
The eyes vanished.
"OK! Good job everybody!" Tohno-sensei said as P.E drifted to a close. "Go shower. You reek!"
"Hey... Yumizuka?" A classmate of his asked.
"I hear you went to that old mansion. Is that true?"
"..." Hiroto felt a slight headache come on. "Oh yeah. I heard how it was haunted to I explored it."
"What was it like?"
"..." Hiroto's memory came to him. "Empty. Nothing in there but dust."
"Yeah I was disappointed too.