There was a flash as I produced a ball of fire, allowing the orb to hover above my hand. Another flash, and in my other hand was an irregularly shaped block of ice. With a few hand movements, I sent the two pieces a short distance away before running them in each other, producing a small blue of explosion of energy as the spells' elements countered one another, eventually dissipating into nothing.

At that moment, I heard the doorbell resound throughout the room, and turned towards the entrance, which sat through a pair of wooden double doors.

I wonder who it is... I thought as I closed my eyes and invoked the spell that hid my vampiric form under the guise of a normal human.

"Young Master, you have a visitor!" I heard Morgan call from the other room.

"All right, I'm coming," I replied as I pushed open the doors and stepped into the main room. It was just large enough to be considered big without making you feel like you were in mansion. That wouldn't do in what was supposed to be a normal house, after all.

"Murasame-san, good afternoon." The voice belonged to Seira, one of the girls I knew from school. I had met her on my first day and also realized she was one of the owners of the Platinum Aura, acquiring which was my main purpose for coming to the human world. I had to admit that she was also rather attractive.

"Good afternoon, Kawakami-san." I returned her greeting with a polite bow and a smile. This was a good sign; if she had come to my house on her own, there was a good chance that I was winning her affections. As much as I could say I was doing it for the sake of obtaining the Platinum Aura, I knew that I felt at least something for her; if I hadn't, I wouldn't have bothered pursuing a girl who lived in a church and wore crosses.

"I'm sorry to come here uninvited, but..." she started to say, but I interrupted.

"No no, it's fine, I would never miss a chance to see you, Kamawaki-san." Seira averted her eyes and turned red at that comment. As flirtatious as what I said was, I did actually mean it.

"Well, Murasame-san...I..." Seira stammered as she attempted to continue her train of thought, her gaze refusing to meet my own. I vaguely wondered what she wanted, though I was more amused with how cute she looked while embarrassed. "I...I want you to have this...!"

She offered to me a small wooden box; she had been carrying it before but I hadn't thought anything of it.

"Huh...? A gift...?" I took the box in my hands, looking at it curiously; I felt an odd aura from it and wondered what it was. "Thank you."

"Please, go ahead open it," Seira said, looking at me hopefully. I flipped the small copper latch on end of the box and opened the top, revealing a shiny silver cross.

I think I deserve an award of some kind for not showing a negative reaction immediately to the blessed item; Morgan, who had been standing off the side, looked at me with restrained surprise. It was clear he knew what the problem was, but I was still glad he didn't interfere.

Seira was still looking at me expectantly, and I knew I couldn't reject the gift; she didn't know I was a vampire, and I wasn't planned on telling her...at least not yet.

I forced a smile and looked up at her. "It's beautiful..." Fortunately, it seemed I wasn't being too obvious about the state of unease holding the cross so close put me in.

"It's part of a matching set..." Seira said quietly. She fingered the crucifix she wore herself, and it was then that I noticed what she meant; the two were exactly the same. It was such an ironic combination of good and bad luck – for Seira to give me a gift that meant so much, but to have it be a cross...

"Will...will you wear it...?" she asked me hesitantly. My chest tightened as she spoke, and I looked to Morgan, who was still silent but I could tell he felt the same way as me.

There was silence as I thought. I shouldn't wear it; crosses have a holy power that goes against my dark, vampiric powers. And yet, I was considering it. Morgan obviously could think of no excuse, or I'm sure he would have said something.

"O-Of course..." I said, my voice weak as I started to reach for it. Surprisingly, Seira stepped close and removed the cross from it's case before I could. I looked to her in confusion, but saw her intent when she used her hands to hold the holy item's necklace open. Her blush was evident, but the unfortunate circumstances meant I was busy focusing on other things.

I lowered my head and braced myself as Seira placed the cross around my neck and stepped away quickly, clearly embarrassed. I felt slightly dizzy, but managed to look up to her and give her a smile I hoped was not too pained. There was no physical plain – a property like that came only when the cross was used as a weapon – but I certainly didn't feel normal.

"I-It looks nice on you..." Seira said shyly, blushing like mad.

"D-Does it...? Haha..." I gave a weak chuckle. "You're too kind..." I could see darkness creeping in at the edges of my vision; I guess at this point the crucifix's effects on me became noticeable because Seira's embarrassment shifted to concern.

"Murasame-san...are you feeling well...?" Her brown eyes looked into my own. "You look pale..."

I always look pale, I thought idly to myself, despite feeling my legs becoming unsteady. I'm a vampire, after all...

"She is right, Young Master," Morgan took this opportunity to intervene. "Perhaps you should go to your room and rest...?"

I tried to protest, despite it all. "I'm fine, you worry too much." At least, that's what I tried to say. All I managed was a weak mumble that only vaguely resembled speech before I collapsed onto the floor and everything went dark.


Yes, there will be a second chapter...eventually.