Greetings, one and all, and welcome to Reap What you Sow, chapter seven!
Quite a surprising turn events took last chapter, back-story on the youngest sister was revealed, Kahlua played the part of shoulder to cry on, Moka received QUITE the shock I must say, and Ria scored quite the victory.
Please enjoy the chapter and please review at the end, if I don't receive feedback then I cannot improve, so help a guy out would you?
Note: Sorry this update took so long, quite a long story about that. For starters, life in general was NOT a good writing environment. On top of that there was the usual holiday insanity and, just to finish things with a bang, one massive computer virus to wipe out my entire hard-drive. Good times. This one file was literally the ONLY thing I was able to salvage. Everything else, completely gone. I've been busy rebuilding all of that when I've had time. So, rest assured that I do my best to get these chapters out to you in as timely a manner as possible, sorry this took so long.
Also, Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and all that stuff.
With all of that said and done, at long last, enjoy the chapter.
As Tsukune eased his way back into consciousness, the very first thing he noticed was the cold. The bare, frigid stone upon which he lay gave him an extra incentive to wake up, and it was as he struggled to regain full control of his chilled limbs that he noticed the warmth of another next to him.
He had yet to open his eyes, but in his sleep addled thoughts, the curves pressed into his chest seemed oh so familiar, the silky hair brushing his skin ever so tantalizing. He relaxed somewhat despite the cold as he said the only word that such sensations brought to his lips. "Moka"
Tsukune murmured the word just as he managed to force his eyes to open.
It was around then that he noticed something was wrong.
The figure that he was holding close to him was just as warm and soft as the only woman he had ever slept with, but the hair was not the bright pink that he was used to. Whoever this woman was, her hair was black as a raven's wings.
In a rush, Tsukune's mind threw off the effects of his slumber and everything he had done previously came soaring to the forefront of his thoughts.
His first instinct was to deny it. No matter what Moka may have done to him, that did not justify cavorting with another woman. Even after her betrayal it was not Tsukune's intention to find another lover.
But despite his internal ramblings of denial and disbelief, the proof lay before him, with a smug smile gracing her lips even as she slept.
Tsukune glanced around the room, at the broken furniture and scattered clothing, and settled upon a course of action. Gently, slowly, carefully, he separated himself from Ria before standing up to gather the scattered articles of his clothing, and then dressed as quickly as he possibly could.
'This is a mistake' he thought to himself as he desperately tugged up his trousers. 'This can't be happening, what the hell happened?'
He wracked his memories as he dressed, trying to come up with something, going over his most recent memories as he struggled to figure out what had triggered the… events, that had him so distressed.
Tsukune remembered the conversation he had with Ria, he remembered the fury her words incited in him. He had thought he found a new side to her, especially after the events after his meeting Lord Akashiya, but she truly turned out to be just as twisted as she ever was. Tsukune vividly remembered what happened next.
Tsukune lunged at the woman before him, knocking over the chess game as he closed the short distance between himself and his target. Ria lifted a leg and caught him in the midsection, sending him across the room and into the solid stone wall.
He saw her rise from the chair as he staggered to his feet. Ria was as strong as she ever was, with the smallest of efforts she made her superiority known in the first moments of the fight.
Despite his intense rage, some calm part of him knew that he wouldn't be able to take on someone like Ria in a straight fight. He had to seize whatever advantage he could. So he grabbed a nearby wooden chair and chucked it as hard as he could at the Vampire standing before him.
Tsukune closed the distance as Ria stepped out of the chair's way, the wooden projectile providing just enough distraction for him to close the distance and strike in that barest moment when she wasn't on her guard. His punch connected with her stomach, forcing her to take a step back, unsteadying her just a bit. That was long enough for Tsukune to nail her with an uppercut straight to the jaw that sent her to the floor.
He knew it wasn't enough, he had hit her just as hard in their last confrontation and it had barely ruffled her hair. If he actually wanted to win he had to give it everything he had. So he jumped on his downed opponent, determined to capitalize on the moment of weakness he had opened.
It was when he closed to grapple with her that things started going south.
Tsukune's intention was to strangle her. It was something he learned from Moka, after everything was said and done and they were living together in peace. She was trying to give him a way to fight back in case Ria decided to interfere again, or any other Vampire for that matter. It didn't matter how strong you were, even Vampires need air to breathe. If you cannot breathe, Vampire, Werewolf, Orc, Goblin, or whatever else you might be, if you can't breathe then you're going down. It's not a matter of strength or force of will, if you need air but can't get it, it's the end of the line.
He straddled the downed woman, his hands going straight for her slender neck with to intent to choke her unconscious. But it was quickly made clear that Ria wouldn't go down that easily. Her hands darted to his wrists and in seconds he went from being on top and in control to being on the bottom and helpless. She was older, stronger, and had much more experience in close fighting. It was hardly a challenge for her to pin him.
It was after that where things started to get hazy.
Tsukune remembered Ria holding both of his wrists together in one hand, held behind his back as she pressed herself close to him, effortlessly tearing his shirt open before she laid gentle, sweet kisses on his chest and throat. And each contact of her lips upon his skin sent bolts of electricity up his spine. She looked him in the eyes with a gaze so scorching he wasn't sure what to do, but he definitely knew what he wanted to do.
Ria, lying atop him, her eyes smoldering and that sinful smile on her lips, her strength and beauty more than apparent. The urges that he had been fighting all day came back to him then, like an avalanche of hungry and desperate need.
And this time, Tsukune wasn't able to control himself.
Tsukune finally recovered his clothing, save for the shredded remains of his shirt, and made as little sound as possible as he moved toward the door. The last thing he wanted was to be there when Ria woke up. Things were bad enough as is, and Tsukune had no intention of letting Ria make things any worse before he got a chance to sort everything out.
Luckily, the older Vampire didn't seem to find the stone floor as uncomfortable as he did; she continued to sleep soundly as he slipped through the door and into the hallway, closing it gently behind him before he started running down the hall. It didn't matter where he went, as long as he was far away when Ria woke up. He knew he was only delaying the inevitable, but the last thing he wanted at the moment was to talk to her.
Having returned to parts of the Castle that he was somewhat familiar with, it was a simple enough matter to return to his room. Once there, he locked the door behind him and dropped onto the bed, worried and confused as all hell.
'What on earth is going on?' Tsukune didn't know what was going to happen next, knowing Ria it definitely wouldn't be anything he wanted.
Which, now that he thought about it… begged an interesting question in and of itself.
Tsukune asked himself something he hadn't asked since his days in Youkai Academy. 'What DO I want?'
It was something he hadn't considered, at all, for ages. Back at Youkai, he had wanted to get closer to Moka. He had little planned for the future beyond that. Get a decent job, support a family, a normal life. Sure, the fact that he had been turned into a Vampire complicated things a little bit, but overall his entire world had revolved around Moka, getting closer to her, marrying her, and then supporting that marriage had been the goal that drove his actions each day.
Now that it was all torn away from him… what was he supposed to do?
After what Moka did, his sole desire was to separate himself from her. Now that he had done everything he could to see to that, he had to ask himself what he wanted to do next.
Tsukune thought about what others had done, after a divorce. The male typically went on about his business as usual. Tsukune knew that he couldn't do that. Sure, his job at Fairy Tale had a lot of money attached to it, but Tsukune didn't love the work, although he could do it well. The only reason he took the job was that he wasn't comfortable living off the… substantial dowry that Moka's father had offered them. He wanted to care for Moka himself, not living off the money of her father. The job was the next offer her father made, which Tsukune accepted.
Now that he no longer had to care for a family, Tsukune didn't need the Fairy Tale job, he had no reason or desire to live like the average Japanese salary man anymore.
So Tsukune searched through his life, trying to find anything that he really wanted to do with himself. It didn't take him long to realize what should have been obvious to him from the beginning. The mistakes he had made, the hearts he had broken.
Kurumu wasn't able to accept her loss to Moka. The resulting incident ended with Kurumu being banished from Japan by Youkai Academy's Headmaster. Tsukune hadn't seen or spoken to her for almost as long as he had been married to Moka.
Mizore was little better. He could tell her heart was shattered when he last saw her. She hadn't attended the wedding, although her mother Tsurara had come, saying that her daughter was too sick to attend. It was obvious what the real reason for Mizore's absence was. But at the time, Tsukune simply didn't care, he had what he wanted most in his life.
Ruby, as far as he knew, was still working for Headmaster Mikogami. Tsukune knew she didn't want to, but in reality he realized that she had little else. After everything that had happened, what else did Ruby have in her life? As far as Tsukune could tell, not much. Most likely she continued doing the job out of gratitude to Mikogami for taking her in. Tsukune hadn't spoken to her in a long time either.
Yukari took the news the best out of all of them. In fact she was almost ecstatic. Tsukune remembered the little witch who was the Bridesmaid at the wedding. She was a bit glum when they both told her that there weren't going to be any threesomes, but she never seemed to give up hope. Yukari was the only one who sent them letters from time to time, telling them about her experiences in college.
It didn't take Tsukune long to make his decision. Yukari was doing incredibly well, Ruby was most likely doing just fine, but the two that haunted him were undoubtedly Kurumu and Mizore.
'I need to see them' he decided. 'It may be too late, but maybe I can try and set things right.'
It… disgusted him, really, now that he actually thought about it. It disgusted him how little he minded when they were taken out of his life. He was right there at the airfield when Kurumu was all but deported from the country along with her family, but he didn't do anything to stop it from happening. Sure, she was a bit of a nuisance after he married Moka, desperate for him to take her as a mistress, or something, anything other than being left behind. But he had stood by and let Mikogami banish her from her own home because of that? 'How could I possibly call myself her friend after that?'
With Mizore it was even worse. He saw the state she was in, how hurt she was after his final decision, and yet he did hardly anything to comfort her. 'Sorry' didn't really cut it when you just cut out someone's heart. Tsukune's self hatred only grew as he, for the first time since before he left Youkai, thought about the customs of the Snow people, and how things must have gone for Mizore since he last saw her. She would have been forced to take a stranger as a husband, to bear his children. And he had done absolutely nothing for her.
'Of course not' Tsukune thought to himself, 'Why would I give a damn about friends who risked their lives for me at that point? I had my precious Moka-chan, who cares about what happened to those rejects?' Tsukune fought the urge to vomit as he realized exactly the kind of cruelty he had inflicted upon those two, and the realization that he was so callous that he never even considered their circumstances at any point. It was always Moka, he was always so focused on Moka that he never cared about anything else. He gladly called them his friends, but when they were truly at their most hurt, he gave them as little consideration as he gave the dirt.
It made his current situation with Ria seem almost laughable by comparison. Sure, his relationship ended on a bad note, but at least he still had a future, what did Kurumu have? Life as an outcast in some foreign country. And Mizore had the life of a housewife to look forward to, looking after the children of a stranger that she never loved. Tsukune couldn't prevent tears when he realized just how badly he had treated them, how he had dashed their hopes and dreams for his own selfish desires.
For the first time in a long time, Tsukune knew what he wanted to do, knew what he wanted out of life, and he was determined to make it happen.
No matter what, he had to correct his mistakes, he had to make things right with Kurumu and Mizore. If he didn't, then he had done nothing but trample on their hearts, and that guilt would not let him rest, now that he had realized exactly what he had done.
Another thought entered his head: he was currently forbidden from leaving the Castle.
Tsukune considered escaping for a moment. Defying Lord Akashiya's wishes and running off to their sides. But the idea was dismissed almost as quickly as it had arrived. That would never work. Moka's father, enraged, would have Tsukune's human family murdered for that disobedience. To say nothing of whatever punishment the Vampire decided to deal out whenever Tsukune was finally caught. There was even the possibility of Issa seeking retribution against Kurumu and Mizore for inspiring that escape.
No, he was trapped. Tsukune despised having to admit it, but it made his situation no less real. He had to wait until he was free to move as he pleased, which was a problem in and of itself. From what he saw, none of Moka's sisters had much in the way of freedom. Kokoa was detained to the Castle almost always, as far as Tsukune knew. Kahlua never left except when she had a job, and whether that was Kahlua's own will or Issa's command Tsukune did not know. Ria had quite a bit of freedom, but Tsukune rarely saw her free from her obligations to her Father.
'Will that be my fate, after this is over? Buried under duties and obligations to Lord Akashiya?'
Tsukune considered that for a moment, and finally decided that it didn't really matter. All that really changed was a matter of perspective. He had to have Issa's permission to do what he really wanted to do. If that was the case, he had to earn Issa's approval at the earliest opportunity.
'It means I have to be a Vampire.'
Tsukune had never really considered that before, not in any serious light. He had never been forced to do anything bad. But now, things were different.
There were things at stake that Tsukune was not willing to forsake, that he was desperate to reclaim, even if it took him a while to realize what he had lost.
It meant that Tsukune had to live up to the ideals of what Issa believed a Vampire should be, and to help Issa in realizing whatever ambitions he held dear, starting with the celebration that was going to take place.
The thought of killing a stranger, a human, in cold blood suddenly didn't seem that significant. All he had to do was picture Kurumu's tears when she was all but forced onto that plane, or think of the look of shock and pain that marred Mizore's features when she learned of his plans to marry Moka. Before those images, Tsukune drew the strength needed to overcome doubts.
With that said, there were other things to consider. He had to gain Issa's permission to do as he pleased, after he managed that though….
Kurumu was in another country, he didn't even know which one. She could be anywhere in the world. Mizore, he at least knew where to find.
The decision was made.
'The moment I'm free from here, at the very first opportunity, I will find you Mizore, and make things right. I swear it.'
The oath made, in his thoughts if nothing else, Tsukune then had time to consider how to deal with the issues that had to be dealt with before he could set things right with those that he honestly could not say he deserved to call friend.
He had to gain his freedom from Lord Akashiya, whatever it took, no matter what sacrifice he had to make.
And so Tsukune swore to himself that he would do whatever it took in order to make that happen as fast as possible. Even if it meant committing acts he never would have considered otherwise. The newfound guilt that plagued his soul would not let him do anything else.
Moka didn't know what to do. It truly was as simple as that, she had absolutely no idea about what she could possibly do to recover from this situation. Her chances, which weren't exactly great before, looked horrendous now. Without competition, she may have been able to get Tsukune to forgive her, but with Ria next to him, actively trying to stop her, what chance did she have?
'None' she thought, utterly morose. 'I've never been able to stop Ria from doing whatever it was that she wanted to do, ever. The one who stopped her, when it really mattered, was Tsukune. The one who convinced Father to agree to our relationship was Tsukune, where I was content and prepared to love him in secret. What chance do I possibly have against Ria, when she has all the advantages and Tsukune despises me?' It was a telling moment, in Moka's mind. Yet another reminder of what she so carelessly tossed aside without even realizing what it was she had given up.
After walking in on those two together, Moka wandered the Castle, numbed by shock and overcome with despair. She wasn't sure what to do, and nothing could alleviate the feelings of utter helplessness that threatened to overwhelm her. 'Ria and Tsukune are together… and it's all my fault.' That thought repeated itself constantly in her thoughts, a truth which she simply could not find any means to circumvent.
She thought of going to Kahlua to seek help as she had received earlier, but nothing but more bad news was there to greet her.
Moka found a servant cleaning Kahlua's room. When she asked the maid where Kahlua might be found, she told her that the dusky skinned Vampire had left the Castle, where she had gone and why were both mysteries. Moka couldn't help but be further stunned by the information. Kahlua hardly ever left the Castle on her own, and for her to have left now of all times…. 'She must have left almost immediately after we had our conversation.' Moka realized.
The realization did little good though, even if Lord Akashiya hadn't banned her from leaving the Castle, Moka still had no chance of finding Kahlua.
Moka thought, for a moment, about asking Kokoa for her advice, but the idea was quickly shot down in her own thoughts. She was surprised that her older sister was able to help her earlier, what hope did her younger sister have of helping her overcome Ria of all people? 'Most likely she'd just laugh in my face if I asked her for her help, before challenging me to another fight.'
And so, Moka sat there in a side hallway, her back against the wall, trying desperately to find some solution to the seemingly unanswerable problem that, apparently, grew more complex and unsolvable every hour, every minute that it went unanswered.
After a while, Moka heard something she hadn't heard for a while. That voice in the back of her head whispered into her mind. 'Give me control, let me talk to Tsukune.'
Outer Moka's response wasn't exactly positive. 'Why should I let YOU take over! It's your fault that we're in this mess to start with, if it wasn't for your idea to go through with that threat than none of this would have happened!'
And by the same token, if you had refused to go through with it in the end, this situation likewise could have been avoided. We are both at fault. You have attempted to make amends with Tsukune and failed, now give me my chance at making things right between us.
Moka was taken by surprise, a little. This was the most calm she had heard Inner Moka in quite some time. Ever since the conflict between them and Tsukune began, her Inner Self had been more emotional, demanding, brash, but now she was starting to sound like she did back when they first met Tsukune, more logical and in control of herself.
For the second time, Moka was surprised. 'She heard me thinking', it had been a long time since her Inner Self was capable of doing that. 'Is it because our personalities had become so separated? Maybe, now that we're of the same mind on so many things, it's easier to communicate now?'
It's something close to that, Omote. Listen, after Father spoke to us, and Tsukune rejected us, I realized that we've truly made a horrible mistake, and that we need to act now in order to repair the void between us, or else risk losing Tsukune forever. So I took some time, put emotions aside and thought about things logically, putting everything into perspective. I need you to release the Seal and let me talk to Tsukune, directly.
It made sense, but at the same time the Outer Moka didn't want to relinquish control to her Inner Self. 'How can I be sure that you won't just make things worse? It was going by your suggestions that we ended up in this situation, how can I trust you to make it right?'
Think about what you're saying. Do you honestly believe that you can make things right on your own? You've tried that already, and we're both aware of the results. What we're doing now isn't working, so we have to change tactics. So, with that said, can you trust me to try something that might actually work? You know me, I have no intention of allowing Tsukune to leave us. Give me this chance to save what we share with Tsukune, before we lose it, both of us.
Outer Moka wasn't sure what to do, she was genuinely confused. At such a desperate hour, the last thing she wanted to do was relinquish control of herself. The situation was bad enough when she was in control, if things went badly then she wouldn't be able to forgive herself.
But by the same token, her Inner Self was right. Things weren't going well, what she had tried so far had not worked, and Outer Moka was rapidly running out of ideas.
So she made the only decision she could possibly make, and gently pulled the Rosario from the chain on her neck.
For the second time in as many days she felt the slightly nauseating sensation as control was switched and words flashed into her mind.
Thank you, Omote. I promise you that I will make things right.
And then the moment passed and Moka stood up, her pink hair turned lustrous silver, her green eyes now crimson. Inner Moka took one quick look at her surroundings and immediately set off for Tsukune's room, hoping that he would be there. What she had to say to him couldn't afford to wait.
A few minutes later, in the Main Hall
It was inevitable. Although it could not be scientifically proven, it was almost a law of nature that, if there was something which could not be allowed to be delayed, something would happen in order to delay it.
In this case, the delay happened when Moka strode into the Main Hall, her eyes set on the doorway which would take her to the corridor where Tsukune's bedroom could be found.
The delay took the form of Shuzen Kokoa catching sigh of her beloved older sister.
Moka didn't see her as she strode from one hallway, determined to enter another, but she heard Kokoa as she ran toward her from the side with the familiar words on her lips. "Onee-sama, fight meee!"
That was about all the warning Moka received before a hammer smashed into the space she had occupied moments earlier.
Moka covered her eyes as chips of the floor flew everywhere, and she jumped back as that same hammer passed by in a sideways swing that would have struck her in the midsection.
And there was Kokoa, five years older, at the ripe age of seventeen. The girl was grinning from ear to ear as she faced her older sister.
"Onee-sama, it's been too long! I only heard that you were here a few minutes ago, how could you not come see me after we've been apart for so long?"
The girl didn't even bother to mention how she had just tried to strike her sister with enough force to crush stone. It wasn't anything unusual however, she was still Kokoa even after five years passed.
Normally, such an attempt and the ensuing challenge would spark… amusement in Moka, but today was not the best day for things like this. Moka had places to be, and important things to say and she wouldn't allow herself to be distracted or delayed, not even by her sister. If Kokoa wouldn't stand out of her way….
Kokoa didn't seem bothered by Moka's lack of a response, instead she kept right on going. "You have no idea how worried I was, knowing you were out in the human world and not being able to go see you. And then one day that guy comes back here without any kind of warning and slanders you in front of Father. Seriously, he just starts out by claiming that you tried to have the child of a Werewolf and demands that your Bond be broken, who does that guy think he is! You must be here to set things straight, right? It was probably Tsukune who cheated on you, banging one of his floozies from Youkai and now he wants to leave you for one of them? I always told you that he was an idiot Onee-sama, and now it's proven since he wants to actually leave the greatest person in the world. I don't know what you were thinking choosing that kind of an idiot to be you Mate…."
Moka couldn't stand by and listen to it anymore. "Kokoa…."
Her younger sister stopped speaking the moment she heard Moka's voice. "Yes, Onee-sama?"
Moka took a deep breath and finally said "If you don't stop saying bad things about Tsukune, I won't be able to stop myself. Now be a good girl and get out of my way."
Kokoa stood there for a moment, not sure what to do, say, or think. 'I just told her about what that guy said about her right? And she's still defending him? Is she under some kind of spell, is that it? Did he blackmail her? But if he did, with what?' After a moment, Kokoa realized that none of it mattered. 'He's going to leave Onee-sama, she's going to be free from that idiot's clutches and not have to live among humans anymore. If something is forcing her to try and prevent that, there's no way that I can let her do this to herself.'
Without a word, the hammer Kokoa was holding turned itself into a sword, a long, slender blade which she then held up in a guard position in front of her. "Onee-sama, I can't let you go to him. If he wants to leave you, let him, he doesn't know what kind of mistake he's making. For your own good, I won't let you remain in such a horrible situation, with scum like that for a Mate."
Moka's eyes narrowed at Kokoa's words. "I warned you once."
Without another word Moka propelled herself forward, determined to end things quickly so she could, hopefully, repair the damage that had been done to her relationship. Kokoa prepared to strike with her sword, but Moka predicted the move, altering her course to the left of her sister, and then she proceeded to attack Kokoa from the side.
'This always works' Moka thought to herself as she swept a leg up towards the back of Kokoa's head. 'If you attack her from any angle other than the front, her defense becomes negligible at best. Combined with her sub-par skills at hand-to-hand combat this should bring an end to it.'
Moka was in a hurry, irritated and impatient, thus she didn't consider one very important fact. The fact that she had not sparred with Kokoa since before her marriage to Tsukune. This oversight led to Moka's first surprise when Kokoa, in a moment, pivoted to face her.
Kokoa used her right arm to block Moka's kick, taking the blow on her forearm. Before Moka could respond, Kokoa's left arm lashed up, drawing the slender blade of her sword lightly across Moka's midsection.
Moka sprang back, surprised and shocked by her sister. Her speed to react to such a blow, her strength to withstand the strike, the almost reflexive nature of her counterstroke, and her absolute lack of hesitation to strike at the opponent's weakness, all of those were things that Kokoa never had before.
Despite the nature of the conflict between them now, despite the burning line of pain that was across her stomach and the wetness of the blood she could feel flowing from the cut, Moka could not help but smile in the face of the situation, with her sister standing firm before her without fear in her eyes, bloody sword in hand and pointed toward her. 'Kokoa, it's amazing how much you've grown.'
Soon enough the moment passed however, and Moka knew what she had to do. 'I cannot, I will not, let you stand in my way Kokoa.' Her decision made, she wasted no time in closing the distance with her opponent, this time coming at her straight on.
Kokoa however, was confused by this. 'Why is she just rushing towards me, doesn't she know that I'll just cut her up? Fine, today will be the day I defeat you Onee-sama, if you're recovering in a bed then you can't go back to that fool and do something you'll regret later.'
Moka closed in, and Kokoa didn't hesitate, her sword hissed through the air forward in a slash aimed at Moka's side. 'You won't die if I just cut you open like this, you'll live long enough to get you to a doctor, and you'll be safe from yourself. Please forgive me for the pain, Onee-sama.'
But this time it was Kokoa who was surprised.
Kokoa expected her sister to jump back, to abort her attack and seek a different opportunity, assuming she didn't actually take the cut Kokoa tried to deliver.
Instead, Moka reached out and grabbed the blade with one hand and wrenched it forward. Pulled off-balance by the sudden and unexpected maneuver, Kokoa couldn't do much as Moka seized her sword arm and proceeded to slam her into the ground. Moka immediately dived onto her stunned little sister, seizing her hands and bringing the sword up to her throat.
Moka didn't hesitate for an instant, nor did she loosen her grip on Kokoa's hands. While her little sister may have improved, Moka was still the superior in brute strength. Once Kokoa was surprised, she wasn't able to effectively counter. "You lose little sister."
Kokoa wasn't sure what to do. She didn't know her sister would do something like that. 'Where did she learn that, I've never seen her do anything like that before, ever. What do I do now? My hands are pinned….'
There was only one answer, there was nothing she could do. It was over.
The answer… hurt and depressed Kokoa more than she herself had expected it would. 'I trained so long and so hard for my next rematch against Onee-sama, and still it ends in failure.'
When Kokoa remained silent, Moka wasn't really sure how to respond. "Kokoa?"
"Where did you learn this, Onee-sama?"
Moka was taken aback by the question, but it didn't take long to notice the change in her little sister. Defeated, Kokoa seemed more… dejected, her eyes cast down, Moka couldn't help but think that the girl was on the verge of tears, and that her answer would help or hinder.
Not knowing what she was expected to say, she said the only thing she could, the truth. "Do you think Father would actually let me leave on my own without knowing how to defend myself Kokoa? Teaching me how to handle enemies with various weapons was among the first things he taught me. When fighting an opponent with a sword, closing to grappling distance is almost always a necessity. Even if it means an injury, it is acceptable to trade pain for victory."
She immediately realized that what she said was not the correct thing to say.
Kokoa's eyes got more sad, and Moka felt the girl's hands go limp. "Oh" Kokoa whispered.
Moka was bothered by this, how could she not be when her sister was in pain? But that didn't change the fact that she had other things that she needed to do, and time was not on her side.
She slowly got up, off of the younger girl, gently taking the sword from Kokoa's fingers as she did so. Once the blade had turned back into the bat Kokoa kept around, Moka simply said "I'm sorry Kokoa, but I can't spend any more time here playing with you." And then she immediately turned around and headed towards the nearby hall, leaving Kokoa on the ground, alone with her thoughts.
'Father taught her how to do that counter, Father trained Onee-sama how to defeat anyone, no matter what kind of weapon they used. Of course he did, why wouldn't he? It's only natural that he would train her just like he trained Ria and Kahlua when they were young, how else could those three have gotten so strong and so skilled?'
The key point behind Kokoa's sadness lay in a thought that she didn't even think to herself. It had very little, if anything to do with her defeat. The fact that truly agonized Kokoa as she lay there, either unable or unwilling to rise, was a simple one: Akashiya Issa never gave any instruction or training to Kokoa, even though she was now seventeen, more than twice the age her sisters were when he taught them. And she could do naught but do her best to match her sisters, even as she watched them become stronger by leaps and bounds as she struggled to bridge the gap. It was another reminder of how he favored his other three daughters.
'Why does Father not care for me as he does for them?' That question had haunted Kokoa's thoughts since she was young, when she first realized how cold he was to her, and what he gave her sisters, yet denied to Kokoa. But no matter who she asked, she could never find any answers. Even now Kokoa was ignorant of the reason why Issa apparently disfavored her.
This latest defeat was nothing but another example proving her own disfavor, but it did nothing to shed any light on the reason why she was all but a pariah in her own home, nothing ever did.
Once again Kokoa was forced to watch Moka, the only one of her three sisters who actually bothered to spend much time with her when they were young, walk away to chase after a man who was once human, leaving Kokoa alone with her ignorance just as she did five years ago. And once again Kokoa could do nothing but watch helplessly as her sister continued on her self-destructive path.
Moka finally stopped in front of the door to Tsukune's room, and for a moment she paused. Anxiety, trepidation, fear, all sorts of emotions and thoughts made themselves known to her as she stood there. Moka despised the very idea of it, but that did not change the fact that she was scared. Scared that she could somehow make things worse, scared of what could happen regardless of the answer she received from Tsukune.
After that moment though, she took a deep breath and knocked on the door and waited for an answer.
She wasn't waiting for long before his response came, a muffled 'come in' from inside the room.
Taking another breath, Moka opened the door and stepped inside, closing it behind her.
The room was a lot darker than she expected. It wasn't any hindrance to her, but it gave the room a different atmosphere than what she was expecting. It only took her a second to spot Tsukune, lying on the bed, looking straight at her.
"Tsukune…." Moka wasn't entirely sure what to say, now. She had rehearsed what she planned to say again and again inside of her head, but that made it no easier when she came face to face with the actual situation.
The one she so desperately wanted to make amends with let out a sigh. "So now you come to me in your real form. Are you here to reign in your pet Moka? Here to give me more orders? You might as well just go if that's the case; I don't want to hear it anymore."
At least that part of the conversation was the same as what Moka had envisioned. 'Still so angry, unwilling to talk, not even able to believe that things might be able to change for the better. Did I truly do this to you, Tsukune?'
After a moment, Moka finally said "I'm not here to give you orders Tsukune. I'm here to set things right."
A ghost of a smile made its way across Tsukune's face. "Now we both know that's not true. You're here to try and get me to rescind my claims, to get me to lie to your father so you can save your own reputation. At least have the courtesy not to lie to me Moka. We both know you'll never change, so don't try to pretend to in order to get out of a bad situation."
Moka knew it would be hard to get him to talk to her, but this went beyond what she had expected. "Is it really so hard to believe that I cannot change Tsukune? I'm not here to try and save my reputation, I'm here to try and get you to love me again."
Tsukune glanced at her, and couldn't hide his surprise when he saw tears in her eyes. Moka, the real Moka, was crying.
Then she did something that surprised him even more.
She got down on her hands and knees, head bowed to the floor. "Please Tsukune. You know me, you know me better than anyone else alive. You know that I would rather have my fingernails ripped out than beg anyone for anything, but I am begging you. I know that I have made mistakes, horrible ones. But please forgive me. I'll do anything, but please, don't leave me alone."
Tsukune sat up on the bed, staring at the woman before him.
He didn't know what to say.
Throughout this entire affair, Tsukune was absolutely certain that Moka would never put anything before her pride. It had been shown time and time again throughout his entire history with her that Moka cared for that above all else. Tsukune believed in that fact like he believed in gravity, an absolute and indisputable fact of the world.
Seeing Moka, the Inner Moka, get down on her hands and knees and beg for forgiveness was something that Tsukune was certain would never happen. Ever
And it made him question numerous things, that feeling he had when Moka hugged him the other day came back full force, a blade of ice in his chest as a cornerstone of his belief was shattered before his eyes.
One of his biggest reasons for not forgiving Moka was his belief that the Inner Moka was unrepentant. That she loved her pride more that she loved him. That she didn't believe she did anything wrong and would have him returned to the same situation they were in before, practically master and servant. It hurt to turn away the Outer Moka, the one who appeared to be truly sorry and genuinely cared for him, but he could not even think of forgiving what had happened as long as the Inner Moka refused to even consider change.
But here she was, the Inner Moka, the real Vampire that the Outer Moka helped conceal. A creature that was mightier than he, not only apologizing but genuinely begging him for his forgiveness. She was utterly throwing away her pride in a desperate attempt to keep him in her life.
As much as Tsukune didn't want to admit it, no matter how much a part of him said to ignore her and make her leave, another ached at seeing Moka in pain, to see her openly crying as she pleaded for his forgiveness. The fact that both Mokas felt so strongly about their mistake resonated with that pain in his chest, and Tsukune wasn't sure what to do.
Part of him longed to go to her, to clutch the silver haired woman to his chest and let her know that everything would be okay, to take her pain away. Another warned him that she was lying, trying to manipulate him, and that he had an obligation to make things right with those he had wronged. How could he hope to correct the mistakes he made with Mizore and Kurumu if he was still in a relationship with the one who so badly betrayed him?
Moka did nothing, she didn't move from where she knelt on the floor, the pain from the cut on her stomach and the pain from her sliced hand making themselves apparent as she waited for Tsukune's response. She despised what she was doing right now, she struggled with this decision ever since it became apparent what Tsukune intended to do. It hurt, like nothing she had ever done before, to openly beg for her actions to be forgiven. But she knew that it would hurt far, far more if the one she cared for left her. So she made her choice, her resolve to do whatever she had to do in order to make things right, and pray that Tsukune still cared for her enough to give her a chance to overcome her error.
Both Moka and Tsukune only had one question in their thoughts, the question whose answer would determine the course of their future together, or apart.
And finally, after what felt to both of them like an eternity, Tsukune finally made his decision.
Which will be made known in the next chapter.
Yes, I know, I'm horrible, what else is new? I'm just happy to finally get this chapter finished. You have no idea how much I struggled with those last few scenes, editing them again and again to get things just right.
I can only hope that I portrayed the emotions of the characters well enough for this chapter to be worth the wait.
So please, review and let me know what you think. And thank you, everyone, for being so patient.
Until the next update,