Hi, welcome to my first Rosario + Vampire fic, and the start of my reign of terror. Not really but hopefully this will be the start of me getting back into writing more. I'll say it now to avoid any confusion, there are no OCs in this story. None, seriously I refuse them. Even built a perimeter wall to keep them out of it and everything.
Also to readers of 'The Hidden Styles' I had this idea six months ago and have been working on it since, I did not copy it from anyone though aside from that I've probably drawn inspiration from a dozen or so fics in this category alone. 'Out of Nightmares' plus its most excellent sequels and 'Aku no Chi' are two especially noteworthy inspirations.
There's a bunch of other stuff I'll be saying about it but for now I'll shut up and get to the story. Hopefully you'll still be reading when we get to the other A/N.
Ningen no Ken: Chapter One
Scenery rolled endlessly past his window.
Of course it had been doing that for quite a while. It was paddy fields now, miles of them stretching almost to the horizon. A few workers dotted the (otherwise empty) view now and then. Before that had been a forest, before that several miles of meadows, before that a small village, before that...
He could go on following this train of thought for quite a while. Aono Tsukune had a pretty good memory for such useless, passing things. Unfortunately his memory for things he was actually trying to remember wasn't so great or he might not have been in his current -nervewracking- situation. Well that was one reason for it at least.
It was bad grades of all things that had put the entirely average and uninteresting young man on a deserted bus to the middle of nowhere. The lack of anyone other then the bus driver and himself on said bus meant he had little to do with the miles and hours other then to reflect on what put him there. Small wonder he looked so depressed.
Cherry blossom danced on a sweet breeze. Sun beamed down from the approving sky. The scene was flawless and it's actors no exception. A trio of beautiful young girls giggled and squabbled their way through a crowd of other students.
Pushing and shoving seemed the preserve of only one of them; a short haired, athletic (and beautiful) girl who bounced ahead of her friends. The other two were more ladylike, the longer haired of the two especially so. A reserved and neutral (but beautiful) expression showing a girl who had been born into wealth. The third of them was in between in personality. Yet far from average in the kindness that radiated from her...and beauty.
This crowd had formed on the grounds of the prestigious Kashikoi Academy, a famous and beautiful school who's entrance exam results had just been posted. This was what the crowd of students grouped around and it was also the goal of the three girls. Did I mention they were beautiful?
They found their way to the board and searched it with varying degrees of anxiety, a search barely slowed by their finding each of their own names on it. Anxious eyes searched the names for a single, special one.
A deep and charming voice interrupted their murmurs, "Looking for me?"
Its owner stood behind the trio. Tall, handsome, dark haired and well muscled. To look at this young man was to see sparkles and roses in your vision. His eyes remained kind and humble despite his stature, obvious intelligence sparkling within them. Not an all conquering intellect though, to judge from his apparent obliviousness to the looks all three girls were giving him.
Reaching past the blushing friends he pointed to his name.
"There you see, Aoki Mamoru..."
Meanwhile, totally unaware of the scene he was nevertheless going to be stuck remembering every single time he recalled this horrible moment, Aono Tsukune searched in vain for his own name for the third time since he had realised it was futile. His failure was obvious enough in his posture, this drawing the pitying looks his counterparts aimed at him. Unable to pretend he had not confirmed his placing any longer the average young man left the scene. Walking away from the wonderful springtime of other students' youth.
That had been the last of the schools he had sat entrance exams for. The last in a string of failures that left him without any where to go. In other words without any apparent hope of a high school education. His parents' reactions to these failures were somewhat different. As in utterly opposed to each other.
Upon reaching his home he casually pushed open the gate and proceeded to his front door. Apparently oblivious of the elegance of his surroundings, a traditional household and grounds surrounded by a high wall. Delicately sculpted gardens and a bubbling stream flanking the path he trod.
The house was out of place in its suburban setting, well known to neighbours as a dojo of some repute. Not that it had any known students. Or titles. Or indeed anything to prove it even was a dojo to those who had yet to enter it, but still there was certainty (likely born of the dented wall opposite the main gate) this was a place of strength. Either that or they dealt with challengers via a cannon.
He shed his shoes at the door and entered quietly, looking upon the well kept halls with the oblivousness of long familiarity. Finding the entryway empty Tsukune released a sigh, he walked through an empty hall and opened a door to a warm lounge room. Inside he smiled and spoke a low greeting to an empty room, then he knelt at the shrine in the corner and prayed. Glancing around he focused on the smiling picture at the centre of it and spoke of his failure. The young teen lost a little of the weight of the bad news as he talked. Only to freeze in terror at a delicate, womanly voice.
"So, you failed again Tsukune."
His voice shook with dread as he spoke, "Ka-Kaa-san I...yes, I did not pass the exam." He slowly turned from the shrine to face the small, slim, smiling woman stood behind him. Dressed in a simple sweater, skirt and apron. Her apparel clashed with the terrifying aura about her, one which spoke of awful consequences for her son. Terrible things would be brought to punish this failure.
Reaching out an arm towards him and lowering her stance, his mother's dark aura intensified. Focused to a raging anger, then past that into an almost serene fury. A simple promise with a certain result. Death.
Her index finger bounced off her son's forehead, a slight red mark left in its 'awful' wake. Her dark aura vanished with that action. She collapsed to her knees, tears forming in her eyes. When she spoke it came loudly and with the occasional mournful hiccup.
"I'm so sorry my son, to guide you on your path I must sometimes become a monster! Oh what can I do, at this rate you will become a delinquent and leave me with a motorcycle gang! Please don't become a bad boy Tsukune!"
Helpless amidst his mother's sobbing cries, Tsukune got to his feet but could only watch as she collapsed further, eventually crawling over to the shrine he had previously spoken to and grabbing the picture from it. Loudly begging her sister for wisdom as to what to do with "this boy who can't even get into a good school, or any school." Each of those words striking him like spears to the heart.
In a whirlwind of motion another presence entered the room, a dark haired and stubble ridden man sweeping up his wife into large arms. Spinning her cradled form about as he said, "You must not cry my treasured one, nor beg for wisdom. For in true wisdom we must see the providence of this failure. He may now stay home and better succeed this school of ours!"
Finishing his spin back where it began he gently replaced the picture in the shrine and bowed to it, apparently heedless of the weight of his wife. A full two and a half feet taller then his wife and rather broader he too bore a almost stereotypical set of clothes, a full business suit covering his form. Less usual was how well he filled it muscles pushing at the fabric. The impression given something like a mountain gorilla, trained for years in martial discipline and peace. Then stuffed into a suit.
This was not, in fact, very far from the truth.
Indeed close examination would show both of these people to be rather more then their clothing suggested, muscles protruding with highly trained, inhuman perfection. Both seemingly had trained to a lean frame, then kept going until steel hard muscles adorned them. Tsukune's father being tall and quite broad, his body trained to give far more power then mere body building could muster, a powerful shape half hidden by his clothes. Mrs. Aono was, on closer inspection, indeed small and compact yet also in almost ridiculous shape.
This was made a little clearer when in her despair she hugged her husband to her and he left the ground. Still spouting comforting words about the upside to their son's failure he didn't seem to notice his son was standing beside the couple. His words continued until his wife stopped her tears and released him (a thud resounding as he returned to the floor) now looking up to him with hope in her eyes.
"You mean there is still hope for our boy?"
"Yes my heart! He has not made it to high school, his failures at each and every school he has applied for have been great, but this is not the end of our son's world. He was never really cut out for schooling anyway. Not with his laziness in studying."
"Ano, aren't you saying too much." the proclaimed son tried to protest, his words falling on deaf ears.
"So don't cry my dear he will be able to stay with us all the more this way! He will be trained ever harder, until he surpasses us both as successor to this humble school and it's styles."
By this point the two older people in the room were simply staring into each other's eyes with dreamy looks, their son seeming unsure whether to look insulted at their words or disgusted by their position. This wasn't really helping him to deal with his failure. Though he couldn't find it in himself to complain aloud. Still his father was being even more boisterous then normal, he couldn't help but wonder if there was something else going on he-
"I cannot hide it any longer! I am sorry my family, in my attempts to keep my son here to maintain this dojo I have been dishonest. I can no longer hide my discovery of hope from you, my beloved son!"
With that he drew back from his wife and reached into his suit jacket. Not into one of the pockets that is, rather he put a hand into the opposite sleeve and withdrew a tightly rolled piece of paper.
Enrolling it he revealed a flyer for a school that despite it's odd name seemed a gift from heaven. It had no entrance exams nor major fees to pay, they even offered to pick the students up from their own homes.
"Indeed I can see why a priest might carry such gifts from heaven."
"I agree, such a nice looking man, it must be providence."
So without listening to or even noticing their sons protests at the oddness of the situation the couple enrolled him and a few weeks later he was picked up to go to Youkai Academy.
Coming out of his reverie he was disappointed to find he had not arrived while reminiscing. Instead the surroundings had merely changed to mountain roads and seas of forest. Leaning back in his seat Tsukune sighed deeply. He couldn't deny the luck of finding that flyer but still, something seemed off.
The glowing eyed bus driver was not helping that impression. He made Tsukune think of old ghost stories about buses that vanished in secluded tunnels. Like that one coming up. He laughed at the thought, what a ridiculous thing to think, as if such a thing could actually happen. Noticing a strange light playing along his eyelids he opened them and looked out at the inside of the tunnel.
It was definitely not stone.
Rather it looked like a...a...well there was a lot of colour and general oddity to it, a constantly shifting light playing over the walls of what was definitely a tunnel of some sort, it seemed a bit long but maybe it was just some kind of roadside art thing. Yeah that was it. Nothing supernatural going on.
This firmly set thought shook quite a bit when they left the tunnel in an entirely different landscape to the one they had left.
Barren earth and what looked like dead trees were the norm. What little greenery there was seemed twisted somehow and...were those tombstones!
Even the sea he could see over the edge of the cliff they now drove along seemed off, a red tint to it, still it must just have been a long tunnel and...and...and how the hell had they gotten to the sea.
The bus pulled up at a sign that seemed to double as an ineffective scarecrow. Slow steps brought Tsukune and his luggage to the front of the bus. He looked outside then to the bus driver, several times before the creepy man pulled the cigar from his mouth and spoke. His voice certainly fit his appearance. His words crisp and well spoken in an otherworldly voice.
"Be careful boy. Youkai Academy can be a very scary place."
With that encouraging message he closed he doors and pulled off. Leaving Tsukune alone with his luggage. The silence was broken by a crow's cry. The sound startling Tsukune into moving. Picking up his luggage he made his way hurriedly down the path away from the tunnel, towards the forest and the buildings in the distance.
Akashiya Moka rose early as usual. Stretching with a demure yawn she rose and quickly made her bed. The mess of sleep returned to neat lines, ready for use again long before it would be needed. This one action said quite a lot about the young girl. Her neatly ordered room and well populated desk certainly expanded on that impression.
With her bed neatly made she moved to her rooms small bathroom, entering and closing the door behind her. She stripped her night clothes off and folded them neatly into a small basket hanging on the door, ready to be moved to her bedside later in the morning. Wrapping herself in a towel she moved to the bath and shower combo that took up much of the space in the room and tapped a dial there. The ancient looking brass ring seeming out of place among the modern appliances of the shower.
The dial showed as nearly full which was certainly a relief.
'There's plenty of water in the hydrophobic water tanks. I can have a quick shower then.'
These tanks had been put in place in both the male and female dorms for the use of those residents with a severe reaction of some kind to normal water. A number of spells and additions to the tanks and their contents made the water safe for use. Moka herself was a vampire.
This meant that were she exposed to normal water she would suffer an excruciating pain due to the supposedly 'cleansing' effects of the water's pure and holy energies. As someone who was conscientious to quite some degree, Moka took offence at the notion she was somehow dirty in the first place, but the fact of her reaction remained. As did her need for a mixture of herbs -a poison neutralised form of nightshade, hemaphore and several others- to be added to water for her to stand a large concentration of it.
Of course she had her own stock of such herbal mixes, if necessary she could run a bath but it was such a hassle in the mornings. Such a relief to be able to jus-
As she brushed against it, the dial (its needle having been stuck on something or another) plunged to show a quite empty water tank. Nothing left at all...
It was her again, she knew it, she was certain some girl was using up all the water. Going by the pipes that clanked in the nights Moka thought she might have even figured out who it was.
'Perhaps I should go and say something, i-it's not fair...after all.'
The chances that she would actually do such a thing were slim, Moka was not a particularly confrontational person, she was aware this made her a rather awful vampire. Creatures who were meant to be renowned for their violence and pride. Yet even in the face of that she was a kind person, too kind maybe.
'I'm sure she has her reasons for doing it.'
She set the bath running and moved back to the rest of her rooms while it did so. In addition to the bathroom there was an entryway for removal of shoes (along with the use of Japanese schooling systems the school had gained several other ideas, Moka who had lived in Japan for much of her life so far, didn't give it much thought) leading into the bedroom and living area, the largest room. Coming off this was a kitchen area the length of the main room but rather narrower. On the other side of the room were doors leading to the bathroom and to a deep closet.
A standard layout for the dorms here, quite nice, private, personal...lonely...
'It's the first day...finally...I wonder if I'll make any...friends...'
Moka had been staying at the Academy for quite some time now, several weeks in total, having come early so as to be less of a burden to the priest who took care of her and who's name she used. A kind man, he had treated her well, but they were not close, not family. For some of those who came here it was unpleasant to find themselves in a place where humans were forbidden on pain of death. It was not as though some of the students had not made friends before coming here.
Moka had no such issues.
Her somewhat naïve telling of her nature to all she met had (in no small part thanks to much of her supposed vampiric nature being sealed by the 'Rosario' fastened about her neck, an ornate silver cross hanging from a leather choker by chain. Twin threads of beads also attached to the item) led to her being mocked and bullied. Completely alone in every school she had so far attended. She had developed no small dislike for humanity from it.
These events also left her with confused feelings for this new school. On the one hand she felt a staggering hope that she might finally be able to, maybe, possibly, hopefully. Make friends. Even just one, one person to care about her, one person to share her life with. She desperately wanted not to be alone any more. Safe in the knowledge it could never be heard a voice deep inside her agreed.
On the other hand this hope was wrapped in the knowledge that it could not happen that way at all.
It could be the case that it was not her species and claims to such that had driven off her classmates. Was it just her, was she just not someone people wanted to be around. She didn't think so, she tried so hard to be pleasant and nice. To help people. She had done homework for other children for several years of her schooling, taken on school chores, she was sure it wasn't her personality keeping her alone.
'It's not me...I hope...'
A small ding, distracted her from her preparations of her lunch that day, a bell suckered to the side of the bath announcing that it was acceptably full. She swiftly finished her lunch preparations, wishing for one of the blood packs she was sometimes able to requisition through the school office, and moved to the bath, dropping a scattering of herbs into the water and letting them spread she dipped a toe. Then -when this met with no sparks and agony- she dropped her towel onto a hook on the wall and slipped in.
She relaxed for a few moments then set to scrubbing.
'It's not me, I will make friends here. I will.'
Another, hidden inside her even from her own perception, smiled at Omote's determination. She approved wholeheartedly...not that she'd ever admit it.
Half an hour later a cleaned, dressed and ready on all counts Moka made her way down the stairs of her dorm to the bike racks. Her waist-length hair (a pinkish colour that somehow appeared brown in some lights; or possibly vice versa) was brushed and washed. Her teeth as well, her lunch ready. What had she forgotten.
It was after she had set off and gone some distance that she remembered. As a vampire without many ways to obtain blood she often displayed symptoms similar to anaemia. Several fortifying vitamin supplements would stop this and even slake the famous blood thirst of her kind. A wonder of science that perhaps she alone of all the vampires who benefited from it, was willing to acknowledge humanity as giving to them. Pride is a terrible thing.
So of course is worry, it often leads to forgetfulness, which in turn leads to accidents, which is why Moka found herself aware of what she had forgotten. As if she had taken the mix she would not be feeling so dizzy all of a sudden. As she struggled to slow her bike on the hill she was racing down she noticed a figure on the road ahead of her, right in her path.
'This is not going to be a good first impression, d-d-dammit!'
So worrying too much now meant a girl who had difficulty swearing (in her head!) now became a dangerous force. A great deal of momentum headed for the boy who was only just turning to her frantic shouts. They were going to hit!
Then something odd happened. Even while dizzy Moka had never had eye problems, yet she had been certain she was on a course for a head on collision. Yet the boy hadn't really moved, just swayed a little, shifted slightly and now she could see she was going to miss him by an inch or two.
Or would have, unfortunately as she had not been looking at his legs she had missed both the subtle shift in his stance -to bring him out of the way and into position to snatch her from the runaway bike- and that his right leg didn't move in quite the right way, catching the full impact of the front wheel and spinning him into the bike itself. A moment later and they were a rolling ball of person, bike and general pain.
Though Moka did find it hurt a lot less then it should have, the impacts seemingly softened considerably. Anyway several metres later they were left lying still and out of breath. Looking about for her companion in the fall Moka eventually found him between her calves, fortunately her legs were closed and he wasn't really looking, still she quickly moved off him and to her knees, brushing off her skirt before noting the bike was somehow undamaged and that he was bleeding from the forehead.
The boy was, well he looked rather average. Black hair, normal height and build, (though those meant little with him in human form) a kind enough face, but not one that would stand out over much in a group. There was...something there, some feeling from him but it was vague and somewhat overpowered by his overall...averageness. He looked like the kind of person who was always in a group but never the focus of it.
He was also covered in a good deal more scuff marks and dirt then he should have been while she was almost free of them. It wasn't hard to add things up, he had shielded her with his own form, she supposed it was lucky he wasn't human, that impact would surely have broken something if such a thing had occurred between her and someone in the human world.
Seeking to apologise but still mute with shock, she grabbed one of her handkerchiefs and made to dab away the blood trickling down his fa-blood. Blood. Oh she was thirsty. So thirsty just a sip. Deaf, literally, to the voice inside her mind yelling at her not to be so weak she leant closer in to him.
"Sorry, When I smell blood. I can't help myself."
Now she was so close, his neck right there, a blood vessel pulsing so nicely against his skin. She was no demon, she'd just take a few drops. Maybe a bit more. She'd never take enough to hurt someone so...
"...ause...I'm a vampire."
The small noise of her sinking fangs into his neck went unheard over his heartbeat. Loud and strong in her ears. His blood was delicious, she could not recall tasting something like this before. It was rich and warm and good and...she was drinking from a random person who had just protected her from impacts after she hit him with her bike-
Tearing away she was nearly drowned in a wave of disgust with herself. How could she! How-how-how did she ever think someone would want to be friends with such a stupid, greedy, rude girl. He helped her and she intruded on him so. She couldn't bear to look him in the eyes, to see the first new person she had met, on the first day of school no less, look at her with dislike.
Grabbing her bike and apologising profusely she fled the scene, his blood still on her lips. Unaware of his eyes following her with bottomless confusion in them.
Getting to school in record time she wandered through the halls and eventually found herself on the roof alone.
There was little to do, classes would not start for some time yet. Then again it wasn't really classes, just an introduction for the students and their homeroom teacher then some time to get to know each other and settle in both before and after the entrance ceremony this afternoon.
The one in which she would once again be standing alone amongst a crowd of people, everyone else would be aiming to sit with their friends. She would just be trying to avoid the more bullying types. What made it worse was that she could see how it could have developed differently. If only she had not given in to her instincts like some animal with a boy she had never met. She would have thanked him for stopping her, he would have asked her name. They would have exchanged greetings and walked to the school together.
She had messed it up. All her fault. Of course she wasn't going to be able to make any friends. Maybe once she graduated she'd be able to find some but she was not going to make any at school. That boy was probably already telling his own new friends all about how rude she was.
She sniffled a little at that, no he had been nicer then that, she could see it. Her own not-bruised body attested to it. More likely he was thinking how rude she was to himself and not mentioning it to anyone.
'No matter, I'm sure I'll make everyone else hate me soon enough anyway.'
A bell broke her from her self pitying thoughts, marking that she had spent far longer thinking to herself then she had thought. Homeroom would start in a few minutes...
Breaking into a sprint from a standing start Moka ran as fast as she could through the halls to where she had already confirmed her homeroom class to be several weeks ago. Desperate to at least not have the teachers hate her too.
Bursting through the door to the class she rejoiced at the time, she was safe and her homeroom teacher looked to only just be starting. In a rather relaxed fashion too, good to know. She liked having kind homeroom teachers and this woman looked approachable and nice.
The class however was another matter, they were all looking at her, muttering to each other. She caught her name several times, as well as the ominous words 'she looks like...'. What did she look like? She was sure she had taken care of her appearance this morning. She'd even checked her teeth twice for embarrassing bits of herb stuck to them.
Casting around in desperation she saw the boy from earlier sitting near an empty seat, how could she take that one after what happened. But the only other empty seat was next to a girl near the back with long, messy purple hair who was staring at her desk, she was probably thinking of names for the new girl who came in late.
She had no choice, she moved towards the seat, the boy looking up as she did so, desperate not to seem like she was friendless and alone she waved slightly to him and smiled, wishing she knew his name...
'Oh no, what if he doesn't wave back, what if he just ignores me, they'll know I'm alone.' She'd be bullied horribly. 'Please wave back, please help me, please...'
He smiled back, and looked to the seat beside him, then back to her. His eyes seemed disbelieving but he wasn't telling her not to sit there, he wasn't ignoring her. Heart singing she sat down in her new seat. Maybe things wouldn't be so bad after all.
The teacher seemed to be running through the basics of the school set up, information she knew well but then she'd been here a while. The boy beside her had been carrying luggage when she first saw him (vaguely she wondered how it hadn't gotten tangled up in the crash, lucky break maybe), maybe she could show him to the boys dorms later on.
As the teacher got to the part about there being absolutely no humans here. (oh was she glad of that, she'd never make friends around humans) She noted that he was listening so hard that he had actually stopped breathing. He must be a dedicated student, maybe he was a kind of monster with sensitive hearing. She smiled at him when he turned sharply to face her. Yes definitely good hearing.
She turned to face the front again, oblivious to the boy looking from her to the board ('We're all monsters here, raarrrggghh, smiley, sharp toothed face') then back to her and so on. Then both were distracted by a large boy, face marked with several piercings, speaking up.
"Hey, teach. Shouldn't we just eat all the humans, well the guys, we could play around with the girls first. Have some fun."
When he had spoken of killing humans a small bitter voice, that of the girl who had been bullied for years without any respite. Had spoken up, fighting past her revulsion to voice some kind of approval. But when he said that...
In middle school she had been in the same class as a girl named Yuuko. A precocious girl, she had been confident and strong willed. She'd never really even noticed Moka but it would have been difficult not to notice her. Then one day something had happened and Yuuko had stopped coming to school. Months later, a few days before she returned Moka overheard some girls saying that she had fallen asleep on a late train and some men...
Her eyes when she had returned to school...
No one deserved that.
A rare wave of anger rose inside her at the vile boy who would do such things. Something inside her stirred at the emotion, voicing unheard approval.
...had she thought that? She hesitated for a moment then looked back to the boy. It was definitely true. She looked away in disgust and so missed the leer he sent her way.
Some time later with the introductions finished Nekonome-sensei let them out into the school, to wonder about for a while before the Entrance ceremony. A few hours free. Time to try for a friend. Turning to her desk neighbour as the class filtered out into the school she smiled brightly and introduced herself.
"I'm Akashiya Moka, thank you for earlier you saved me and uh..." 'No good, he's looking at me strangely, he must be annoyed at me. What do I...'
Bowing sharply in the thankfully now empty classroom she gave her apologies, "I am sincerely sorry for biting you. I was very thirsty because I forgot my vitamins and I wasn't thinking clearly and I'm sorry, please forgive me, I know it wasn't ladylike at all and I'm sorry-"
Her rambling apology was cut short by an odd sound, a chuckle breaking the tension she had been feeling. A few more and suddenly he was laughing whole heartedly. Stunned silent she could only stand there as he doubled over with oddly relieved sounding laughter.
Standing up at last he said, "D-Don't worry about it Moka-san, my name is Tsukune Aono, it's nice to meet a polite girl like you...uh again I mean, I mean we already met, um..."
Smiling at his own nervous introduction she wondered if he had been just as unsure about making friends here. Newly confident she spoke again, this time without stumbling over her words.
"Would you like me to show you some of the school Tsukune-san, I've been here for a while already so I could show you around."
"Ah, yes! I mean, uh, yes Moka-san."
Giggling a little at his reply she turned towards the door and walked out with her new friend (she hoped) right beside her.
They walked about the school, not hurrying, moving from one thing to the next for a time. Moka noticing a lot of people seemed to be looking at her...admiringly. Was she not disliked, turning to Tsukune she smiled, today was a good day, and asked if he wanted her to show him the dorms. His rather less confident, and somewhat worried expression escaped her deliriously happy notice.
He accepted her invitation to show him to the dorms and went to grab his luggage from the office nearby where he had been allowed to leave it. Left alone Moka stood in the hall quietly waiting for him to return, happily pondering her new friend, the rules prevented her from asking outright what kind of monster he was, she shouldn't even have told him she was a vampire really.
She could still guess though, looking for clues was fun even if she never got close to being right. Maybe one day they'd be close enough that he'd tell her by himself. That would be nice.
'Ah I'm getting ahead of things, hee hee.'
A silly urge to pirouette struck her, she was about to give in to the childish urge to show her delight at events when a shadow fell over her.
Her stomach dropped to somewhere around her knees as she saw the vile delinquent boy from earlier standing over her. Giving her a very, very bad look. He leered down at her for a few moments more then said, "Hey there, Moka-chan. You look lonely. If you were my woman, you'd never be lonely."
With that message delivered he seemed to think that was it, as he immediately grabbed her hand and started walking. She didn't even want to think about where he was planning on going or what he meant to do there. She dug her heels into the ground and held firm. She was a vampire after all, her strength was not trifling.
Staggering at the abrupt stop he looked to her in bewilderment, his confused expression quickly turning angry. When he spoke this time there wasn't even a pretence of choice in his words, "Look girl I'm Saizou. You know what that means, it means if I want you you should get down on the floor and beg like the bi-"
Her slap cut him off rather nicely, her glare matching his own. Even if she was probably about to find things unpleasant she was not going to give in to this kind of person. To some beast who thought girls were possessions. Never.
She braced herself for the fight that was coming, she doubted she'd do well. Strength or not she had never even scuffled in the playground before.
Then a book hit Saizou's arm.
This would imply of course that it was thrown haphazardly, it wasn't. The corner impacted deeply with the underside of Saizou's arm, the entire weight of the large tome transferred into that point. Which may have been why his arm went limp and -to judge by his mystified expression- numb as well.
Her head snapped to the side even as she backed off several steps. Standing amid several items of luggage was Tsukune, one of his bags was open with a number of books visible inside it. His right arm was outstretched, hand open and towards them. The movement of throwing the book having caused his sleeve to ride up on his arm two things could be seen, the less obvious of these was that for all his average appearance and nervous posture, the arm revealed was obviously well trained. Compressed muscle and callous scars standing out to an observant eye.
What those looking at him actually noticed however was more likely the string of prayer beads wrapped about his wrist in a complicated fashion that seemed to keep them firmly placed there. The beads were well worn and seemed cared for. Something was there, some slight impression coming from both the beads and their wearer.
Oblivious to this Saizou grabbed the book and shouted, "Oi, you! You throw this book at me! Huh!"
There was long pause as Tsukune seemed to wake up almost, his face, still adorned with a serious and calm expression shifted as he looked to the book, then his hand, then his bag then back to Saizou. Suddenly his hand dropped to his side and his expression went from calm to outright terrified. His voice shaking a great deal as he said, "N-n-n-no, definitely not, I was just taking it out of my bag and my hand must of slipped. I'm sorry, really sorry."
"You'd better be, you interrupted me and my woman."
Moka's heart, which had been rising again, dropped at this, was he not going to help her. Was he not going to do anything. Was she going to b-
"Ah, Saizou-san I'm impressed, to have a vampire as your woman. I-I heard that vampires are really strong and they get really angry when people are rude to them. S-s-so y-you must be really brave to grab Moka-san like that."
Saizou's face went still, the gears visibly turning as he added up the strength and the book which had numbed his arm. No the blow that he had thought was the book. That was close, no way was he screwing with a vampire. The kid following her on the other hand. He was definitely prime material to extort, he'd remember the little coward. Deciding to scare him a little before he left he spoke up, "So why are you with her then, huh? You think you're stronger then me?"
He was just starting to smirk at this bit of sport when Moka decided that staying silent while he bullied Tsukune was no way to treat her friend after he just saved her. Even if his hands were shaking and he looked openly terrified he had just saved her. She stomped past Saizou, doing her best to give him a glare as she did so (the effect was similar to a kitten staring down a ball of yarn).
Grabbing several of Tsukune's bags and putting the book she had picked up from the floor back into the open one she made to start walking then turned around. This time her glare was unthinking, and a good deal more terrifying for it.
"Tsukune-san is my friend. Why would he need to be scared of me?"
With that she walked off, a very nervous Tsukune close behind. The dorms were not that far off.
Later on, after dropping his things off in the dorms which Moka-san had kindly shown him to and even more kindly assured him would not fall down. Her tastes in décor being shown as rather weird at that point, he had dismissed it as part of being...what she was. After that they had made their way back to the school building. Exchanging little words and jokes. Being friends.
Now he found himself in the entrance ceremony. A handsome looking guy was up on the podium giving the speech. Normally this was the point Tsukune bemoaned the average appearance and grades that kept him from doing things like that. This time however his thoughts were a little more...frantic.
'I'm in a school for monsters. I'm in a school for monsters. A cute girl noticed me. I'm in a school for monsters. A psychotic delinquent wants to kill me. I'm in a school for monsters. I'm in a school for monsters. I'm in a school for monsters. A cute girl noticed me but a psychotic delinquent wants to kill me. I'm in a school for monsters!'
All but one of these things had never happened to Tsukune before, of course he had only ever hoped for, or even thought much about, one of them. Guess which.
He considered phoning home and begging for help. Pride could go to hell, he was terrified here. Then he took that thought a bit farther and thought of what his parents would likely say.
His dad would likely recount tales of his own encounters with Yakuza and such that day, and how he was so proud of his son and he couldn't wait till he started fighting ones with guns. His mother would be just as oblivious in her own way, mentioning how of course he wouldn't dishonour the family name and that of the styles he practised. He would of course stand and fight to the death. This would be said with a aura of terror around her that he still couldn't figure out if she really was oblivious to. Surely it was just an act. Right?
Okay no help there, he could...could...
Time to go home. At least training with his father for the rest of his life was a hell he knew well. What was the English phrase. 'More good the demon you met?' he silently swore to work harder on school work if he ever attended it again, if he had worked a bit harder (or spent more time on school then on training said a less responsible voice) then he wouldn't be in this insane mess.
It would be a real shame to lose his new friend so soon after he met her but...and she was in trouble with that delinquent. Vampire or not he could see very well that she was no fighter, not even a brawler. If he stopped being intimidated by her species then.
'Dammit, I can't leave a girl to get hurt but...he's a monster, I can't possibly beat him, I can't even touch my family in training, how on earth could I fight something beyond humans. I bet he can eat bullets out of mid air. I need to leave, quick!'
he glanced to the side where Moka, a girl who had he not been bitten by her earlier that day he would have sworn incapable of hurting a fly. Thinking of the thing with her bike, (and wincing again at his mistaking his stance and getting taken out by a bike of all things) he figured that it was only intentionally that she couldn't hurt a fly. Unintentionally she'd probably put it in a blender.
She felt his glance and turned to flash a quick grin at him. Then she returned her attention to the speech, seeming utterly attentive to it. Oblivious to the occasional glare from a few rows along where Saizou sat.
Well, it could be worse. It could be raining. A glare prickled the back of his neck and put paid to his attempts at cheering up. He was not in a good situation. Still he would do all he could to conduct himself well. He may not be strong or confident or handsome.
But he would not shame the styles his parents had taught to him. He loved Martial Arts, of all the various Ki utilising paths walked all over the world, he considered the Martial Arts the most wondrous. The use of Ki without any external focus. With nothing but the practitioner's own body, their own discipline. This was an enlightened way, he might not be very good but he would walk firmly to the end of his path.
He stifled a cry and jumped a few inches off the ground when Moka nudged him, saying that the ceremony was over.
'Ah, guess I still need to train lots more. Yeah, training, that's a good idea.'
He rather hoped it would also help him deal with the other aspect of all this. One called Moka who was currently asking him if he wanted to go get lunch at the cafeteria, and now looking at him with a puzzled expression...oh!-
"Yes, Let's go...where was the cafeteria again?"
She smiled and promised to show him the way. Well, maybe monsters weren't too bad, not if she was one too. Maybe they were just like people, he supposed it was pretty similar to what he was, something supernatural hidden from normal people. Ki-users and Ayashi...well his Mother got called monster a lot, like that time when she stopped a robbery at the bank. He still wondered how no one recognised her, or if they just didn't want to acknowledge the woman who shrugged off bullets with a paper mask on was real. And lived on their street.
Actually now he thought about it with how often stuff got destroyed around his home by his family and their friends; was there something stopping them from noticing or did people just not care...
Ignoring that disturbing direction to his thoughts he focused on the cafeteria, trying to ignore the glares he was starting to get from the male students in general that he thought might have to do with him having a plainly incredible girl walking around with him. He supposed that at least they'd just get jealous, not like they'd mob him...right?
He shook off those cheerless thoughts and looked to the food. He had been relieved earlier in the day to find that the range of food served was wide enough (due to the equally wide range of Ayashi, according to Moka) to include many diets he could take. He did take pains not to look at any of the food tubs too closely if they appeared to be wriggling.
Grabbing some food they decided between them to eat at one of the outside tables. It was a nice enough day, though Moka had also told him the climate here was pretty much like this year round, not too hot or too cold. Something made possible by this being a pocket dimension.
That at least was something he had already known about. Across the planet there were several methodologies of using internal energy which had styles and schools which could create similar things.
If that was the case he wondered just how many such hidden places there might be, it seemed there were certainly more then he'd ever thought. More relaxed now, he decided not to worry so much, he was with a nice, kind girl. He was on his first day of school and had made an interesting friend already. Things were looking up...sort of.
It was almost weirder then anything else to be speaking to a beautiful girl so casually. He had to occasionally remind himself to keep his eyes on her face, which he was a little ashamed of but still. What wonderfully normal, springtime of youth concer-
"...What kind of monster are you?"
He was at least glad he did not have a drink in mouth at the time, he still managed to choke on his sandwich.
"Ah! I'm sorry you don't have to tell me if you don't want to, I mean, I just saw the prayer beads you have on your arm and well. Even if they aren't blessed I know wearing them would hurt a lot of monsters. So I wondered what you were to be okay wearing them. I'm very sorry if I've offended you!"
In the face of her earnest honesty and reasonable questions he couldn't bring himself to deflect with an angry reaction.
The truth of it was that the beads were something he couldn't explain, not to a normal human, especially not to a monster...well maybe he could. He could at least try.
Do or die. He who dares wins. Two sayings a friend of his Father's really liked to say. He himself wasn't so keen on the first but the second certainly rang true.
"Ah Moka-san, what...do you think of humans?"
"I hate them."
'There goes that idea.'
She blushed suddenly, bringing her hands up as if to wave away an accusation as she spoke, "Don't misunderstand, I-I'm not like that guy. I don't want to hurt anyone...but...until I came here I lived in the human world."
Her gaze dropped, her whole being seeming to droop, even when sad she looked cute but he was surprised by how much he wanted not to see her like this. It didn't fit, she shouldn't look this sad.
"I went to school there, but I was always alone. I tried to tell other children what I was and they hated me for it, they thought I was lying, I was always alone. I wan-"
She stopped speaking and looked down at the table, her hand had been resting there, limp and alone. Now it was joined by his. She looked up to him with surprise in her eyes, he spoke quickly, trying to get it out before he lost his nerve.
"I...I guess I can kinda understand. I went to school with...normal people too, I was always lying about myself. So I couldn't really get close to anyone. Well it was probably more due to me being a pretty average, forgettable guy. I guess I just don't want to admit it."
He drew off into a laugh as he finished speaking, withdrawing his hand and rubbing the back of his head with it, suddenly nervous. She had stared at him as he spoke, seeming so...open. It was kind of unnerving.
" I don't think you're like that Tsukune..."
It seemed to dawn on them both at the same time that she had just missed an honorific. A moment of absolute silence was closely followed by them both trying to speak at once.
"No it's my-"
"-didn't mean t-"
"-idn't mean anythi-"
"-of course not, nothi-"
After several more exchanges of this they both trailed off. Yet rather then an awkward silence Tsukune found himself smiling at her, a smile she returned. Then they each retuned to their meal.
'Maybe things won't be so bad.'
Later on, having toured the school until Tsukune knew his way around as well as he could possibly manage in one day, they had left the school. Though they walked slower then really necessary eventually they reached the turn off for the boy's dorms and found themselves getting ready to part. It was a little strange, they were going to see each other tomorrow but still it was hard to say goodbye.
Tsukune found it odd to have a friend close enough to wait around for him, or go out of their way to help know his way around. He had had friends, but they'd never really been close, he'd just been one of a bunch of guys. Cute girl part aside, he felt that Moka was someone he could trust.
He thought back on what she had told him of her life before this school, maybe it was the same for her. Maybe she wanted to have a friend she could trust too.
"Moka-san, would you like to, uh meet tomorrow and walk to school together?"
As soon as he said it he regretted it, no way she'd say yes, he just made a fool of himself and made things awkward and-
"I'd love to, well I get up early but..."
" Ah me too, uh I'll probably head to school around 8:00..."
"Then, I'll see you here at 8 o'clock tomorrow Tsukune-san."
"I'll look forward to it, Moka-san"
With that he turned to walk to his ridiculously unsafe looking dorms with a smile on his face. The unsettling feeling in his heart did not however fade, only getting stronger as he walked away.
He was still trying to figure out what it was when something incredibly lucky happened. Two other boys walking past, both of whom he recognized from his class were speaking loudly enough for him to overhear,
"You mean Saizou was in the library, that goon? You serious!"
"Yeah, I'm not kidding, he was looking up vampires, seals, all kinds of things."
His thoughts flew back to the threat holding Saizou at bay, and to something Moka had mentioned earlier when he questioned her lack of the traits he had genuinely heard were common to vampires. To her mentioning of the strange necklace, choker thing she wore:
"I'm not very vampire-like normally, but that's cause of this seal," she gestured to the odd arrangement of leather, beads and an ornate cross that hung about her neck, "This rosary is a seal, when it's removed I become a scary vampire!"
She frowned at Tsukune, who couldn't help but laugh at the claw-like hand gestures she had made to show how scary she was.
"Tsukune-san you meanie! It's true, I just can't take it off myself is all!"
Which could only mean...he turned and ran. Moving inhumanly fast as he mustered as much Ki as he was capable of gathering, forcing it into his legs and feet.
"Moka-san, I'm coming for you."
Moka's mood had not been more happy in all her years. She was absolutely certain of that.
She almost skipped as she travelled back to her dorm, not bothering to use her bike. She had instead left it at the school racks purely so that she could enjoy the walk, she rather thought she'd be doing that a lot from now on.
She had a friend, she was meeting him the next morning, they were going to see each other every single day. She had someone to talk to, to share her failures, to congratulate her victories. And she could do the same, she had someone to help. She wasn't alone.
A presence at her back made her smile again. Turning with a greeting on her lips she was more then a little disappointed to find someone entirely the wrong height to be her new friend.
"Saizou-san, w-what are you doing here, this is the road to the girls' dorms?"
Cursing her slip she tried to rally her confidence, she had to seem strong or her bluff wouldn't work. As long as he thought she was a merciless, powerful vampire. She was safe.
"I've been doing some reading."
That threw her a little, she rallied admirably though, turning her nose up. Trying to convey how little she cared about such a lesser creature. So little she didn't even care enough to say how little she cared.
That was slightly worrying, he didn't appear to be carrying any water containers, there were other weaknesses but she doubted Saizou could carry any such holy implement let alone use it. That left one possible negative that he might have found. Fortifying her glare she stood her ground, bluffing him was her only option.
"And seals, like that one round your neck."
Now bluffing really was her only option, she would never be able to run from him this close without him grabbing her and fighting him was a doomed attempt.
"You have? Then you should know what will happen if I remove it?"
"Yes! O-of course."
She kept up her imperious mask, hoping desperately.
"I think I'd like to see that, go on girl. Give me the 'honour' of dying by a vampire's hands."
She turned and ran, slipping under his grasping hands. She made it just far enough for hope to bloom in her heart. Then a hand came down on her back, a hand that should not have been close to reaching her.
Rolling onto her back she saw Saizou's right hand outstretched, not that it was recognizable. Now several times larger and looking a lot more monstrous. She recognized aspects of it as Orcish but the odd pipes and scales, the chaotic appearance. He was probably a monstrel.
All of this was noted in a detached fashion by the small part of her that hadn't shut down in terror. She'd faced death before, but not this. Trying to roll out of the way that massive hand smashed down in her path, she made as if to do so the other way, then shoved off from the ground. Her attempt to surge to her feet and shove past him was cut short.
In the moment she was not on the ground, and therefore without leverage to use her strength his hand slammed her down onto the ground, pinning her there.
Saizou's form continued to grow and twist, a hunched back and over-muscled neck almost giving him a crest. His tongue stretching out, drool spilling onto the ground. That same distant part of her wondered if the school had a way to detect Ayashi taking their monstrous form. Probably not. Most of her was wondering if screaming was likely to help. Probably not, the 'path' to the dorms was more a whole set of them and the one she was on didn't even join the others at the same point. The views from it were especially dignified. The same kind of cheery scenery seen around the dorms. This didn't comfort her, with the late hour and the path she had used, there would be no one near. No help was coming.
'So I help myself!'
His left arm, the only part of him yet to turn, came down as he stepped forward, hunching to get both his arms in range. She used the closer range to kick out at him but he simply grabbed her flailing leg, pinning the other one with the hand holding her down.
Slowly rotating his grip she found her legs held on either side of him, clenching her thighs with all she had. Looking for an opening, anything she could use to fight this-this-this scum!
An equally frantic voice inside her shouted unheard encouragement, two minds agreed on this. Whoever they would do this with, it would not happen like this. Not like this.
"Not like that!"
Turning in confusion at the new voice, Saizou found Tsukune breaking through the treeline, having apparently opted for the faster way. Why he appeared to have come down from the tree, or was bleeding lightly in several places neither of the monsters present knew. They were however more focused on where he was now.
Turning fully and letting his left arm take it's larger form Saizou laughed out, "What was that, little shit!" Still holding Moka down with his other arm he didn't seem to be taking the smaller boy seriously.
As he closed the last few feet Saizou's left arm swiped towards him, enough force behind it to pulverise concrete, or Tsukune. She didn't even have time to cry out before-
Before he hopped up onto the arm and leaning forward until he almost seemed about to fall, kicked off it. The movement took bare instants, yet as he left it Saizou's arm stopped completely, the force behind it gone. Somehow moving even faster then before he flipped forward and planted his heel two feet into the ground, a neat crater forming about it. Saizou pulling back his right arm just in time to avoid the kick passing through it's elbow.
Without that arm holding her down Moka struggled to her feet, before she could get fully onto them Saizou struck again. No casual swipes now. This time he punched, once, twice, again and again. Straight blows that could smash walls proving meaningless as his opponent shifted smoothly around them.
Looking on Moka was sure she recognized the movements, a moments thought bringing her back to that morning. As if following her thoughts she noticed one of Tsukune's legs -the left this time- had not followed the stance properly. A low hit from Saizou about to smash his knee from the side.
Again she had no time to warn him, again it wasn't needed. The blow landed but rather then being hurt Tsukune's knee moved with it. The punch slowing and Tsukune accelerating. Spinning a tight circle he brought his left foot a step further into Saizou's reach. Closer in he grabbed the next punch with both hands immediately after Saizou launched it, again it slowed and Tsukune accelerated. His spin ending differently this time.
This turn had brought his foot under Saizou's waist his weight coming in behind it, dropping low to the ground, his arms and trailing leg following his body. A frantic swipe went high as he crouched low enough to brush the ground then rose in a single explosive movement, both hands thrusting in sync, slamming the heel of each hand upwards.
Into Saizou's crotch.
The force of the blow was enough not only to lift the monstrel from the ground but to land him a dozen feet away. Tsukune speaking quietly as soon as the dust had settled.
"I meant to say Saizou-san, that this is not the right way to get a date. You piece of trash."
He looked over to where Moka stood, his serious expression vanished, replaced by a deeply embarrassed and slightly worried one. He seemed to grasp for words for a moment, his face lighting up as he found something to say.
"Uh...that was just CGI...really."
He'd realised quickly that Moka must have taken one of the longer, more scenic routes. The 'roads' being really more of a set of branching and reconnecting paths. Some more travelled then others. He cast out his senses to feel for Moka's Ki hoping he would recognize it. He was good with Ki signatures but the Ayashi equivalent was chaotic, shifting. He had only been here a day but he knew he'd have problems getting a feel for it.
As he searched for her presence he also resorted to more mundane methods, thankful for the second time in his life for his lessons in tracking, he was so worried that for the first time in years he didn't shudder at the thought of the first time.
Unfortunately despite being a decent tracker he couldn't seem to find a trace of Moka, he could remember her shoe print, having noted it without realising. He could not however find it. In itself that narrowed things down. There were probably only a few paths that didn't join this one. He was about to backtrack to find these paths and check them when he felt a pulse of...something.
It was definitely monstrous energy and definitely felt like some kind of a release. The energy itself reminded him of something earlier...the entrance ceremony when Saizou glared at them...
Wasting no more time he ran straight at the source of it. As he came to the treeline he plunged right in, dodging undergrowth as much as he could before deciding this too was taking too long.
Those who used Internal energies, Ki to him, to strengthen their bodies often took higher and more direct routes in travelling. Jumping building to building, running along fence-tops, even atop telephone wires. Or in more rural areas, jumping from tree to tree.
Unfortunately he thought, as he fell short of his target again, taking several scratches as he fell, rolled and once more leapt from perch to perch into the canopy, his physical abilities simply weren't at that level. His body was not tough enough, strong enough, fast enough, good enough. He was in theory well trained in both his parents' styles; but it was only his father's, which revolved around redirection of force, that he could use well with this body.
He forced himself out of the old frustrations and took to the trees again. Falls or not it was faster then pushing through bushes. Already he could see into the next clearing and hear voices in it.
Saizou was a good distance into it. Holding Moka to the ground and apparently about to grab her top with his other hand. The size of his body excepting that second hand would have scared him normally. He was not strong enough. This was a monster, a beast even larger then his father. How could he hope to win.
None of this even crossed his mind. Only that he was about to hurt his friend and that would not do.
Seeking to distract him, he shouted out the first thing that came to mind, then blanched a moment later as he realised how that might have sounded.
He bounced onto the last branch, spun neatly about it and pushed off the underside, coming out into the clearing from a high position. There was one way to prove he wasn't trying to give Saizou tips on proper molesting technique. Intent on that method he charged at him.
Saizou, wasn't taking him seriously, rather then use Moka as hostage as people like him often tried to do, he was still holding her down. Tsukune found himself focusing on the hand doing so. That would have to go. Immediately.
Saizou was already telegraphing his move, a clumsy swipe, left arm, massive power in it but he was used to dodging deadly blows. His family training hadn't involved the idea of pulling punches, not enough to be gentle at least.
He planted his next step a little harder and jumped even as the swipe began, landing atop the arm mid swing. He let his body fall forward, moving with the blow he rode even as he reached out with his Ki, grasping the violent energy of his opponent he blended the two until he could effect Saizou's with his own. This was done instinctively, the basic Ki use and body movements of his fathers style had been trained into him since he could walk.
Stealing the momentum of the swipe he leapt off it into a flip, bringing all the force he could manage into his foot. The flip further strengthened the blow and he used his own Ki to toughen himself as much as possible. He failed to hit Saizou's arm, his opponent jerking his arm away too quickly, but he had accomplished his intentions. Moka was free.
There was no respite, Saizou launched a series of punches at him, the movements easy to evade. Almost smiling he slipped into the same movements he had used this morning, right down to the counter he had accidentally begun. This time he really was fighting someone, so he could perform it properly. Letting the blow to his knee connect he stole it's momentum and spun deeper into Saizou's space.
A punch let him complete the steps, landing his foot under his opponent with his next rotation and following with the rest of his body. The blow came from low to the ground and had a good deal of power behind it. Just to spite him he strengthened it further with his own Ki, dipping into his mother's style to deliver a crippling blow. To the rapist scumbag's crotch.
With Saizou so dealt with he remembered his earlier words. He hastened to elaborate on his meaning. Speaking derisively he said, "I meant to say Saizou-san, that this is not the right way to get a date. You piece of trash."
He wondered if that was enough to take him down, he didn't know how tough he was, he decided to ask Moka...Moka...oh crap... Oh crap! He'd been acting stupid in front of Moka. He'd just said what came to mind, would she think he was trying to be cool, would she think he was trying to get her to date him. That wasn't why he was helping her at all! He was just helping someone out, he'd do it even if he wasn't desperate for her friendship in this terrifying place. Casting for something to say he locked on to what his parents had told him to say if witnessed performing any inhuman feat. He managed to stutter out something along the lines he remembered.
"Uh...that was just CGI...really."
'...thanks again Tou-san, your advice always helps me out'
After that he was almost glad to see Saizou heaving himself to his feet. Almost.
That blow hadn't been meant to kill, or even permanently wound. Nevertheless it was not something he would expect someone to get up from in just a few moments. The confidence that had risen with his anger drained away. He could easily lose this, turning slightly to Moka he shouted, "I'm not sure I can beat him Moka-san. Get out of here!"
Not the coolest thing but honest, he had no more time to think, Saizou was already coming. He was thankful however for the movement away from them in the corner of his eye, Moka seemed to be leaving. She was safe now.
Without a need to keep him occupied he didn't have to maintain a melee with Saizou. Instead he rolled out the way of his angered charge. Letting him bowl past, wasting energy. More then usual as Tsukune's hand brushing him as he passed thickened his energies for a few moments. A more complex technique meant for tiring an opponent out. It didn't work often though, certainly not on someone who could detect it.
On Saizou it had worked but he didn't seem to notice the lost stamina, turning and charging again, this time Tsukune doubted he would get away so easily.
Making as if to dive one way he instead jerked the other then slid through his attackers legs as he stopped his charge with a surprising sped and swung a fist at where he expected Tsukune to go after feinting the first time. Even as he turned to face a grounded opponent Tsukune flipped to his feet and rushed in.
His straight punch would have broken stone. His idea that monsters greatest advantages lay in raw physical ability and toughness were confirmed as the blow -slightly stronger then a normal human could have hoped to manage- didn't even stagger Saizou. He instead kicked him back, letting him ride the kick easily so as to have the right range for his own punch.
'Let's get serious, amateur.'
He rolled back, kicking up as he did so, to deflect Saizou's punch fully, then with the force of both their movements behind him he leapt away. A smooth twist putting him into a tree, another jump and he was back to the ground, in the trees this time. Making his way to another clearing even as his opponent took the shortest route, smashing through the plants on the ground.
A few more jumps and he was into another clearing, his movements taking them further from Moka and anyone else who might get involved. He stepped casually into the middle of the area, knowing it would infuriate his opponent even further.
It worked well, as Saizou emerged from the tree line he seemed close to frothing at the mouth, his anger leaving him open for a quick deflection and several more punches, a little Ki in each making sure he felt them. Moving around him smoothly and easily Tsukune continued to wear him down, switching between tiring him out and smashing his fists into him. Holding back from stronger blows in favour of the surer path of attrition.
After several minutes of this though he found himself thrown off from his plan, his emotions getting the better of him. He looked a little closer at Saizou's right fist, after he saw something out of place glinting on it. As he pulled it back for another punch Tsukune easily slipped past the other and focused on it.
A thread, a thread from a girl's blazer for this school, from Moka's. He couldn't look away, couldn't stop staring at the arm.
'This arm that he tried to hold Moka-san down with. That he must have used to do the same...to so many girls before her. I'll take it.'
Seeing it coming toward him Tsukune saw red for an instant, his hands rising as his focus sharpened. Moments passing slower and slower, until the oncoming fist seemed to be moving almost slowly. This blow he didn't hold back at all.
Moving aside the punch he struck one handed to first the very end of Saizou's fist, then again and again, hitting the sides of hand and arm, moving up the limb. His other hand joined the assault. His arms blurring as he used more Ki to strengthen them then was wise. Luckily he didn't damage them, cutting the enhancement quickly enough. The target of this attack had not fared as well.
Each of the blows in the technique he had used (one he had never successfully used before) reversed the momentum of what it struck, reflecting force back into the target and a small amount back into the user. Despite the limitation of the latter part it was a brutal method of disabling an opponent. Saizou's right arm now a twisted, pulverised mess, bleeding sluggishly and now useless.
Shaking his own fist he thanked his luck in avoiding any injury from the technique or the quickening he had needed to utilise to perform it. His stomach turned a little at what remained of Saizou's arm but he didn't fight the satisfaction he felt along with the remorse. He had deserved it.
After blinking stupidly at what remained of his limb for several moments, Saizou screamed. More fury then pain it seemed as he punched at Tsukune as well. The wild blow didn't lack for strength but it was useless.
'No point keeping on wearing him down.'
A small shift back of his left foot and a smooth lean. Tsukune watched the punch come in, judging its strength, its path. Reading its movements he moved with it, leaning back an instant before it hit his face and continuing with it, coming to a dead stop for a moment at the same moment the punch reached the limit of Saizou's range.
He found himself leaning backwards almost fifty degrees his foot, lodged into the ground and against a buried rock, bore his entire weight in a feat most humans would deem impossible. He could have held the pose for a while but had to move now, a moment more and that the punch hadn't actually hit would be apparent.
'And now he's thinking; "It didn't feel like I hit him at all!" so I should capitalise on his arrogance'
Flinging a hand to his face Tsukune fell backward, giving out what he hoped were convincing sobs of pain. He had enough prior experience to be confident in acting like he got punched really hard in the face. He rolled to his feet still clutching his face, now unable to see past his hands he flailed out with his other arm, listening carefully to Saizou's location while wondering if he was over acting this one a bit.
He came in hard, a grin forming behind Tsukune's hands and widening with each heavy step he heard. A punch came in with massive strength and no finesse at all. Perfect.
He spun outside the blow, speeding the fist as he passed it. Already overextending Saizou was now leaning forward too much to stop him from stepping around him, three precise steps and he was rotating into his back.
A hissed "Hissatsu." was his only concession to his parents' commands to cry the name of his techniques, instead he put all his breath into each blow. The rush into his enemy's back turning a slight stagger forward into a burst of acceleration, each blow would grant him more speed then the last.
His hands shot forward in two knife hand strikes, stiffened fingers piercing the back muscles, weakening any resistance to the technique even as he merged their energy, giving himself the same speed as Saizou. However his rising acceleration made a gap between them appear despite this, it was key that it did. Folding his fists he launched a double punch this time, then again folding his hands to hit with the back of his wrists, a crane's neck blow with each hand. Finally he moved in as close as he could get bringing both elbows into his back, but rather then mimic his movement he mirrored it with this penultimate blow.
Spinning yet again he turned his body with the backwards momentum, taking in the slight furrows in the ground where they had skidded together for a few feet, then he was in the final blow of the technique. Only his left hand came forward now, the other behind him to balance his Ki, it had to be perfect. And as he hit with this last blow he merged their energies and then snapped them apart. Thrusting his entire movement into his opponent Tsukune stopped dead.
Saizou did not.
As he went through the second tree and out of sight Tsukune wondered if perhaps this would be enough. He walked along the path of destruction that Saizou had made, neither hurried nor slow. He found the groaning monstrel quickly enough.
Faced with this sight he felt a flicker of uncertainty, he had never used that against someone incapable of nullifying it before. It was plain that Saizou was heavily injured, his chest discoloured with internal bruising and probable bleeding. Even bringing Moka's face to mind didn't dispell his guilt. He did not follow a Martial Art of killing, this was...
Saizou shifted and glared up at him, he couldn't do much else.
"Ah, you shouldn't be allowed to live after seeing that as an enemy, or at least you should be beaten 'till you forget it. Tradition aside, I ah, I tried not to kill you but...it's pretty hard to hold that technique back. Sorry 'bout that."
This only seemed to stir the downed Ayashi's fury, he roared, not even trying to voice his feelings on events. Once he had stopped that he looked once more to Tsukune, then smirked. He said, "I guess you were strong little shit, so that's why you have that chick following you around."
Tsukune stepped back, eyes wide, a hand rising to rub the back of his neck. When he spoke his tone was sheepish again, "What are you talking about. I'm not strong at all. It's just a guy like you; a guy who can't even try to get a girl properly. How could I possibly lose to a guy as weak as that...though I'm surprised really, you're way weaker then I expected a monster to be."
He dropped his hand to his side and gave a sad smile as he turned away, "I won't let you just die here though, I'll go get help for your injuries. You should have to live on with them, I think."
"Bastard! Looking down on me, I still have one arm left you little shit!"
A burst of killing intent was all the warning he had before Saizou's left arm rushed toward him in a punch.
'Too close! Can't deflect in time, have to block.'
Tsukune got his left arm into the path of the blow, his right bracing it an instant after the impact. Even that slight instant was enough for the massive blow to do more than enough damage. An audible crack seemed to echo in the empty forest.
Even so he held firm, teeth gritted against the pain he pushed back against Saizou's fist. He had only shifted it a few inches back when his counter stopped abruptly. Something in Saizou's fist was pushing into his arm. Even through the waves of pain he felt it. It seemed to be growing.
An agonised shout ripped from Tsukune's mouth, a long thin spike protruding from his forearm, only a slight turn having gotten the rest of his body out of the sharp protrusion's path. Even he hadn't been able to move quickly enough to avoid a shallow gash to his gut. Though the damage was cosmetic and utterly trivial compared to his arm.
Summoning his will he fought past the pain to try and attack, snapping the spike would probably work, just got to get other hand. Then something thick and slimy wrapped about his ankles and yanked. Off balance already he went roughly to the ground, nearly blacking out at gravity's far from gentle removal of the intruding object from his arm.
Saizou stood above him, his right arm was still destroyed and his stance was tilted inward showing that his crotch especially had taken damage. Yet the fact he was standing at all after even a comparatively gentle Fifth Strike Rush was ridiculous. Aside from the Ki blow to his crotch and the Inward Falling Pressure that had destroyed his right arm everything seemed to have been almost ineffective. Either that or the damage had been healed, but what kind of monster...
'Of course, he's a monster! Stupid! Of course he'd be tougher. Of course he'd heal faster. Idiot! N-now I'm gonna...die.'
For a long moment he regretted it all, why did he ever come here, why didn't he leave, he should have resigned from the school and gotten to the bus stop as quickly as possible.
Then his thoughts turned to Moka, to the lonely girl he had met and saved, surely it was worth it. Surely...
'...Well at least I saved her. Hopefully she got away and told one of the teachers or something. Even monsters won't let him go unpunished.'
Saizou seemed to tower high over him. The spike revealed as coming from within his forearm, quite long and now layered with red over much of that length. That remaining arm was now raised high in the air. Plainly he intended to stab down at the prone human. His face stating those intentions even more clearly.
The smug grin was gone, instead was an almost bestial rage and pain. Even so something slipped off his face as he looked down at his victim. He practically growled his next words, "Why the fuck are you smiling you little shit! You've lost!"
"No point explaining to you, just hurry an-"
A pink blur hit Saizou hard, he slipped back several paces before bringing a leg up. A savage kick knocked Moka back to land beside Tsukune. Coughing and choking, her pain was obvious. Even so she still shifted to cover him as much as she could. On her hands and knees above him. Shielding him.
"Moka-san! Why haven't you run away yet! He'll..."
He trailed off when a tear hit his face. Looking up at her he couldn't seem to find words to tell her to get away.
"As if I could! As if I could leave you to fight alone for me. Am I that weak!"
Desperately she raised a hand to her neck and grabbed the cross there. Yanking on it frantically. Making small noises of despair with each attempt. Trying and trying to get it off her neck.
To fight, she was trying to release her strength so she could fight...
"What the fuck! You little bitch! Fine then! If you've already been claimed by that pathetic trash then you can go to hell with him. The important bits will be fine for a day or two anyway slut!"
With that charming message Saizou brought his arm down to strike, intending to spear both of them. Moka felt the blow coming. Some unknown sense telling her this was the end. She tensed her back but didn't flinch. Staring down at her first real friend, she knew this was the right choice. She just wished he was looking at her in these last moments. She was sure she was blushing but even so it seemed wrong for him to look at Saizou with his last moments instead of at h-
In the latest possible moment Tsukune's uninjured arm rose, a solid palm strike into Moka's upper chest. The impact was spread. The intent not to injure but to propel. Lifting her off him.
Out of the way of the blow.
Job done he let his hand relax, ignoring the slight resistance and metallic edge he felt. Instead he faced the incoming attack. Eyes open, body relaxed. The tremors of fear were gone now, his last act had taken his fear from him. This was it. He'd fought honourably if badly. No point getting scared at the end.
'Bye Kaa-san, Tou-san, Kyou-nee. I'll see you soon Kaa-san...'
'Not a bad death.'
Then he felt it.
A wave of power, unbelievable power. He'd already felt the same energy coming from the others. Like them it was the same as Ki but different...a strange feeling he figured must just be a monster's form of Ki.
But comparing Saizou's to this was like a raindrop to a hurricane. This felt like it could push through a mountain. Nothing here could stop this much power. Absolutely nothing.
Saizou certainly couldn't stop the kick that it's owner sent at him, his arm having barely entered Tsukune's chest when it was removed by Saizou's sudden ascent. A long, smooth skinned leg propelling him on his way with a kick powerful enough for the air it displaced to rustle tree branches around them.
Close on the heels of the wave of power came a presence. A measure of it's owner could be grasped in that. Looking into it he wondered if Monsters might have more Ki (or whatever they had instead) then humans. While the power had been greater even then 'her' this presence was not nearly as strong.
Well, not as strong as someone already leagues ahead of him, he could tell pretty easily this person was out of his league. Who the hell they were was harder to figure out. She'd sent Saizou flying, but what about Moka, was she...
His thoughts trailed off as he saw her. It was Moka, no mistaking that. Same shape, same features. Yet it was...
Where Moka's hair was vibrant pink hers was deep silver, the obvious health of it showing the colour to be natural rather then aged.
Her eyes too, had changed colour, green turning to an almost blood red, pupils now slitted and predatory. The real difference was her bearing. Moka had been kind-hearted, sweet and obviously non-violent, This...inner-Moka looked at him like a queen judging whether to kill someone for annoying her. There was something else within those eyes but whatever it was he hardly dared look for it. Not with that glare boring into him.
He was not making fun of Moka next time she said she got scary when the seal came off. The seal!
Sitting up slowly he found the cross that had previously been around Moka's neck he now held in his hand. Luck had saved him, though how the cross had been in the precise position, almost like it moved.
"Are you alive?"
The blunt question brought his eyes up from his hand. He stared dumbly at the silver haired goddess before him for several long seconds. Then at her raised brow he managed to stutter out, "Moka-san are you alri-"
"I am not the girl you met, that me is inside now. We are separate, this seal stops us from even speaking to each other. I suppose I should protect you anyway though."
She turned her back on him now, his mouth falling open in shock with each new word. The incredible arrogance of this beauty that saved him nevertheless stunning him.
"Your blood seemed to be palatable for my sentimental side, as was your company. I suppose I will entrust you with her care. You seem determined, if weak."
Aono Tsukune had never questioned his weakness before. He did question himself. This might explain why he responded to the urge to obey stirred by her commanding tone by -for once- showing some pride. And a bit of backbone.
"I'm not weak!"
"Hmph. You could not even defeat this." She gestured sharply to where Saizou somehow seemed to still be conscious, vaguely Tsukune wondered if it was just that the bastard was too stubborn to accept being incapacitated.
"I didn't realise how tough he'd be."
"What fool doesn't know the toughness of monstrels and yet fights..."
Her eyes widened and she looked at him carefully before speaking again.
"You are human, some odd kind of human that can fight."
Before he could confirm this she had grabbed him by his shirt and wrenched him into the air, her eyes weren't deep any more. They were openly hostile. Her voice merciless, "If you are like those children she knew, if you intend to abandon her..."
She stopped at that, her eyes calming again, though he had been terrified he had held her gaze and this seemed to have meant something. Hopefully.
She dropped him casually to the dirt and turned as Saizou rose to his feet yet again. He was blatantly barely even standing, nevertheless he stood. And spoke even. His voice seeming unaffected by the presence choking the area.
"That kick barely hurt."
Tsukune revised his earlier thoughts. He wasn't just stubborn, he was too stupid to even feel fear. This was a man who'd try to drown a fish.
"It wasn't meant to. You dared think yourself worthy of me. You dared to touch me. You dared to hurt m-ou-her friend! You will learn to know your place."
Those words were the only warning he had, Moka vanished and reappeared before him. A kick chambered and ready, it was the first of several.
When the last had landed he was flying through the air, out cold at last and probably near to death if he hadn't already passed on. Despite it all Tsukune hoped he lived. He couldn't wish death on even that kind of person.
A hand reached into his own, the fact it was smaller then his seeming odd. Moka pulled her Rosario from his grip and made to put it back, the seperated chain links lifting towards each other as if magnetized.
"The hospital is in the direction I kicked the trash. Take us to our dorm then go get your arm treated. Your kind are fragile...and thank you."
With that she snapped the seal back into wholeness, returning to her normal appearance, now also out cold.
Which left Tsukune in the middle of a forest, wounded, with a sleeping girl he needed to carry home and a fractured arm.
A pink haired young girl waited quietly on a path lined with dead trees and tombstones. The occasional skull poked from the ground. She was smiling slightly to herself.
After several minutes a voice called out to her in greeting, she turned towards it to see a boy walking towards her. His left arm was in a sling and he seemed rather cheerful despite it. She apologised with her eyes on the sling but he simply waved her off. Saying it was his own fault for being an Ayashi that healed so slowly.
The girl smiled and missed his sigh of relief that she'd bought it.
Then she turned back to him and the slight tension was forgotten. They set off together, walking down the path. Neither hurried nor slow. They walked and talked and laughed. A pair of friends together.
As they neared the school they found more people on the path around them, already knowing enough names to call greetings. The friendly mood helping disguise the nervousness of the boy, his repeated explanations about his sling and his slow healing thankfully only creating pitying looks and shrugs.
They walked on, into the school and towards homeroom, the first proper day of school about to begin.
They were oblivious to the girl standing amidst a crowd of other first year boys, the girl glaring at the pink haired one. The one who dared to steal so many of the stares that were rightfully hers. The one with the boy who hadn't even glanced at her chest when she passed him that morning.
She had obviously seduced him. Well that was easily fixed. She laughed and dismissed her crowd of 'admirers' before following their path to the classroom of Nekonome-sensei.
The bell rung and classes began.
Youkai Academy, it can be a very scary place.
Yeah several things to say here, firstly is that you've probably noticed that Inner-Moka was not commented on as being unimaginably better then everyone else ever by Tsukune. This is due to one thing and links to the next. Namely I have in my AU alterations not stopped at just rewriting the story with changes, there will be some of that for obvious reasons but things are quite different. For one thing Inner-Moka has not (at age 14, yes she is 14 years old guys) become an unreachable pinnacle of power. She's way stronger then Tsukune but not then everyone else automatically as in canon. Vampires are not automatically stronger then anything else ever, though they still think they are (S-Rank would imply other things in the rank, not to mention I refuse to have characters limited by species in their strength), and there are a lot more strong people. This is going to happen by a combination of added characters (no OCs! I did mean that, those added will not be joining the main cast in anything, will be side characters only and I will do my damnedest to make them good balanced such side characters, no OC protagonists...ever) and powering up villains already there.
The next thing is that I'm using this story to correct some of the more ridiculous aspects of the power balance in Rosario. Sorry guys but against a collection of species living mainly in a bunch of pocket dimensions, able to disguise themselves seamlessly as humans, and unassailable in their strength difference from us. Yeah we'd lose that fight hands down. Not a chance. As such the whole can't start a war cause we'll get hurt too thing the monsters have is ridiculous, short of open-ground based warfare (which wouldn't happen) the Ayashi would have the advantage. And so we have the situation I will be creating with this fic, which works out as a three way balance between what amounts to Monsters, untrained humans and trained humans. With the action of any one of them being met with consequences the majority don't want thus a sustaining stalemate. There's a hint about something there too, but I doubt anyone cares enough to get it XD
Please give me your opinion on the fight, I know it dragged on a lot, I was trying to get Tsukune's abilities established and done with so any future stuff can focus on what's happening rather then how. God I wish I could just tack on a picture ;)
Finally yes, if I feel I can get this to work as a romance story it will be aiming toward a ROMANTIC Tsukune & Harem pairing. Because I don't know about you guys but when given the choice between the Tenchi Solution and all but one of the girls (at best) being heartbroken forever...well I think the choice is obvious. Don't worry though, this is planned as the first of a few fics (hopefully) and things will develop slowly. If you don't like the pairing, try giving it a read anyway. You may like other aspects enough to ignore that stuff.
If anyone has gotten this far then I'd like to ask if you're interested in beta-ing this story. You know you want to XD
Oh and for those who don't know, missing out an honorific in Japanese implies a great deal of closeness. Which is not something you generally have with a guy you met that morning, hence the embarrassed reactions to the mistake.