Ren-sama's Note:

Wah, I'm so touched! Thank you for all of your kind welcome and reviews! Thank you for those who favorite this fict even though there was only one chapter!

This is the next chapter! I hope you enjoy this too! ˆoˆ

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Chapter 2

The agonizing memories together with the physical pain that the silver-haired hunter was feeling made him unfocused on his surrounding for a while, and it was already too late when he realized that there was someone beside him. He didn't even have the time to point his gun to his enemy when his hand was stepped on repeatedly until his numbed hand lost its grip on the Bloody Rose. It was left there as he was dragged away by someone he couldn't even see clearly. His vision, he realized too late, was also affected by the pain and the exhaustion. It was blurry and he couldn't even see if his attacker was male or female. All he knew was that the vampire, a pureblood, was weak.

Even now that his body was too weak to move and could feel nothing except pain, his senses could still clearly tell that the vampire was very weak because its presence was barely registering in his senses. He could also smell large amount of blood coming from the pureblood. It was most likely the vampire's own blood and Zero knew that the enemy was also somehow injured. The vampire dragged him by the collar deeper and deeper into the forest until the vampire himself or herself was tired. Zero felt like his mind would break with every harsh movement coming from the vampire because his limbs reacted sorely to even the slightest change in his position. He gritted his teeth so hard just so he wouldn't cry in agony.

After a while, the pureblood briskly put his unmoving body down the wet ground. He was laid on his back just as his vision totally blacked out. He could feel the cold droplets of rain on his skin but it didn't lessen the sickening pain at all.

"I'll devour you here." The vampire said for the first time, and Zero knew from the voice that she was female. He felt his hunter senses turning red in alertness as the vampire leaned over him. He felt her long silky hair brushed his face and chest as she bent over. Her awfully attractive scent was too powerful now that she was so close.

"Get off me!" He tried to shout at the vampire whom he couldn't even see anymore as his visions totally blacked out. He felt his skin crawl when he heard the pureblood laughed.

"Getting excited won't do you any good, boy." She continued her advances until her mouth was just some inch from Zero's neck. "Just be quiet and savor my fangs in your neck deeply. You won't forget it for the rest of your life. Or rather, death."

Zero tried to struggle but his awfully painful limbs wouldn't let him even move an inch from his position. His left hand clutched the grasses that his fingers could grip, especially when the vampire jerked his head to the right to bite his left side of the neck. She jerked his tuxedo off his shoulder so his delicious-looking neck was exposed thoroughly.

"Hmmm… Hunter blood really smells so sweet and delicious…" Zero was gritting his teeth hard that it was already bleeding but he still screamed in extreme pain when the fangs suddenly sunk in his flesh and sucked the rich hunter blood flowing inside him. His keen hearing could clearly hear her gulping large amounts of blood almost every other second. The vampire continued to drink his blood until he was almost losing his consciousness. Zero tried his best to struggle at first but found it futile so he tried to forget about the pain of the fangs in his neck and concentrate on recovering his strength. Just as the vampire stopped for a while, Zero used that opportunity to at least move his hand and knock the vampire off of him. The pureblood was still quite weak but she was relatively far stronger than earlier. She didn't even budge from her position as she continued to drink from him.

"Damn you… I'll kill you…" Zero voiced as he felt his consciousness wavering because of blood loss. With this statement, she stopped and looked at her prey.

"What a nice expression you got there, boy. Not to mention your blood tastes a lot different than ordinary hunters… no, than ordinary human." She chuckled, obviously sated and deeply satisfied by thick hunter blood. "Alright. I won't kill you."

Zero was still surprised at what he heard that his mind didn't immediately process what it meant. He was always taught that hunters should not be captured by vampires at all costs, because that would mean nothing but their certain death. Hunter blood smelled so good and its taste was so intoxicating that vampire would not let a hunter live if he was captured. And also because hunters were the natural enemies of vampires that killing even just a single one of them was like adding a century to the vampires' lives and existence. Since the Hunter Association and the Vampire Council were almost on the brink of war now, news about vampires killing a hunter or hunters killing a pureblood were not that rare anymore. Of course, for the sake of formality, each side always tried to subdue the perpetrators just so it would not turn into an all-out war against each other.

Zero was pulled out of his earlier shock and was thrown into another when the vampire grabbed his jaw and forced his mouth open by purposefully gripping his aching shoulder tightly. Zero almost passed out from the intense pain and he let out an agonized scream just as the vampire put her lips against his and poured into his mouth what was an unmistakable thick liquid. He almost choked and his body involuntarily swallowed it even before he could stop his throat's natural reflex. Zero's eyes widened at the realization of what just happened and he immediately felt the reaction from inside him. She gave him some of her blood… His insides suddenly felt like it was burning. He pushed the vampire off of him in an instant just as he immediately clawed his neck and body to fight the burning sensation. His pain earlier was just like a mosquito bite in comparison to this new agony. He continued to scream while clawing himself until his voice turned hoarse and he could feel his remaining blood flowing out his body. Beside him was the unmistakable laughter of the female pureblood who had just given him a curse worse than a death sentence.

There were some movements from the bushes and she immediately stood up. "Oops, enemies… Well, you're on your own for now, boy. But I know that you will come to me soon. I, Shizuka Hiou, am your mother after all. Play with me again when that time happens."

Zero answered her with his repeated screams of agony just as she silently and gracefully walked away from the place. He didn't know how many hours had passed since he started screaming from the burning pain. He really thought he was on fire just as his body continued to heal and get clawed by his now sharp nails. His eyes, opening and closing in pain, was awfully crimson in color and his fangs had grown and was now biting into his lower lip just as he tried to stifle his screams. The enemies that the pureblood mentioned never came but Zero didn't even have the time to think about them as he fought the battle within himself. He didn't even have the time or the focus to feel other presence aside from his own. He walked in and out of consciousness several times and every time he could feel himself in a lesser and lesser pain.

This time, he woke up with more or less feeling no more burning sensation eating his body. He felt more exhausted than ever as he tried to make out his surrounding. His eyes hurt when some rays of the sun hit them. He tried to stand and found that he was too weak he could barely walk. The sun that used to be his light felt nothing more than an annoying ball of fire which threatened to burn him more.

"Shit… shit… shit… shit…" He kept muttering the same words as he tried to track the direction of the road. He glanced at where he came from and saw that the place was a pool of blood because of his wounds and repeated clawing. And speaking of wounds, the claw marks that he made some few hours ago were already healing rapidly and almost nothing but a pink flesh. His wounds from the bullets were still there and he stopped for a while to have a proper look at it. He tried to personally take the bullets out of his body, and after some more gritted teeth and stifled screams, he was able to take out of his limbs the things which made his earlier surprises nothing but a far cry from the new one right now.

What he was holding on his bloodied hand were unmistakably hunter bullets. Hunter bullets varied in color defending on their uses. The three bullets that was shot in him had an auburn color which was meant to make the vampires writhe in pain and make them immobile at the same time. It was meant for capturing noble vampires or purebloods, to avoid the unnecessary formal punishment of accidentally killing them. The silver bullet was for Level Ds and Es. They needed nothing more than that. And those hunter bullets were never for humans.

"Damn it, what the hell is happening here..?" He muttered just as he found his Bloody Rose lying on the ground. He immediately went and retrieved it. Somehow, the shock of the earlier incidents made him blind to the more pressing dilemma that he was now facing. He was just turned into a vampire…

He saw his reflection on the metal surface of his gun and saw that his eyes were amethyst in color. That enabled him to relax. He didn't know what he would do if he saw his gun reflecting burning crimson eyes. He looked at the reflection of his fangs and saw that they already retracted. Now he didn't know if what he experienced was reality or if he was just hallucinating that everything really happened. His mind hoped so much that everything was just a result of his agony because of the wounds, but the sweet flavor of the liquid that the pureblood gave him still lingered in his mouth and he knew everything really happened. Not to mention that the sun felt really irritating right now.

"Damn!" He punched the nearby tree and it visibly trembled, creating a small crater on the part where his fist landed. "Damn it…" He gritted his teeth again as realization dawned upon him. He was a hunter and yet his carelessness resulted to this situation. His chest felt so tight and his tears couldn't help but flow down his cheeks as he realized he had no life anymore. Everyone in the Elite Force would also hunt him down and he would be nothing to them than a mere beast. His master, Yuzuru, everyone in the Association… his second family after his real family died, would now treat the Zero they knew as someone who died in his mission and he would be killed mercilessly by his own family…

If he was a bit younger, he would have immediately lost his mind. But he was now a young adult, at the age of eighteen, and a hunter at that. His mind was now stronger and more trained. The incident that he faced earlier was still so terrifying but he could nevertheless keep his fears and negative emotions at bay.

It was not the fear of dying that made his chest so tight and painful. It was the thought that the people he cared about would now look at him as an enemy. As a monster inside human skin… The pain in his heart was so intense that he couldn't help but sob as he leaned on the trunk that he also leaned on last night. He looked at the Bloody Rose and a thought hit him. Rather than being a monster, he'd rather die by his own hands. He'd rather kill himself than accept that he was now one of those beasts that walked the earth at night. He pointed the gun at the side of his head and was ready to shoot when he remembered something even more important.

"Mission is everything. Life is nothing before it…" His master's voice echoed inside his head and he looked straight ahead. The road, now cleansed from vampire ashes because of the incessant raining just a few hours ago, looked really bright and warm. He put the gun back to his lower knee and started walking towards the light. "I have a mission to do… I can't die yet…" He wiped the trail of tears off his cheeks as he started walking.

His left foot reached the light of the sun and he stopped. He was still under the shade of one of the trees in the area and he was afraid to burn again. He'd rather be shot with the Bloody Rose than die in any other way. He tried to raise his hand, into the ray of the sun. It hurt at first, but he knew his body could handle it. He stepped into the sunlight fully and he couldn't help but smile. It didn't hurt that much, at least not as much as what he experienced just a while ago. He looked at the sky and his eyes could barely see the now clearing sky before his eyes stung so he had to close them. He thought that there was a silver-lining in what he turned into, it was the fact that he could now infiltrate the school and gather information more thoroughly than when he was human. He could use this tragic incident to fulfill his mission. As he settled his resolve, he clenched his fists and breathed deeply. "Master, I will complete this mission… And I will die by my own hands…"

He started walking, but he didn't know which way he came from and which way he was supposed to be going anymore. The road was never-ending and the sceneries looked the same on both sides.

Fortunately, at that same time, a bright pink car passed by him and stopped some meters ahead of him. Zero stopped in his tracks and observed the car. It slowly went backwards until it reached his location again. The tinted glass of the driver's window winded down and a good-looking man with shoulder-length light brunette hair peeped out. He was wearing glasses and a smile. Zero looked at him for a while before he recognized the man as the legendary hunter and also the former member of Elite Force, Kaien Cross.

As what Zero learned, the man was also the Chairman of Cross Academy, the school that allowed vampires to roam free. He used to resent the man for actually letting that happen in his own school. Cross left the Elite Force and built a school were vampires and humans could co-exist. But now, he didn't know what to feel anymore, except for the fact that Cross was supposed to be also part of his mission. The Association wanted Zero to find out what's behind Cross's sudden desertion, or if he was now siding with the enemies. It was a very dangerous mission for Zero because Cross was not considered the legendary hunter for nothing. And if he was really siding with the enemy, it was certain that he would lead Zero to his death.

"Are you Kiryuu-kun?" Cross asked kindly. On the seat beside him, a girl, or rather, a teen with brunette hair and chocolate eyes also looked at Zero. Zero coolly looked at himself and saw, in his annoyance and dismay, that he looked like he just came out of a horror movie where his role was one of those half-eaten by the zombies. His tux was also tattered because of so much claw marks. On top of that, its supposedly white color was now completely crimson, with a nice shade of muddy brown here and there. And it was the only one he got from Yuzuru… He knew that the thing Yuzuru might give him next was a bullet in the head, and yet he didn't take better care of the annoying clothes. Zero was taken out of his daze when Cross repeated his question in the same manner.

"Yes." Zero answered.

"I knew it." Cross chuckled. "I am Kaien Cross, the Chairman of Cross Academy. You should get in." The words could have annoyed Zero but the man's tone was very kind so he wasn't offended at all. If Cross was an enemy, Zero knew he had to do something somehow.

"I am soaking wet. And I'm dirty." In a lot of ways now… He answered again, still not moving from his earlier pose.

"Yagari said that you are stubborn." Cross chuckled. "The school is hidden from normal view so you might experience a hard time in trying to find it. You should ride with us."

Zero thought about it for a while. If this man was really a hunter, he would know that Zero was not human anymore. Was that the reason why Cross was asking him to get in the car? To capture him and kill him? Or to protect him from everyone? He sighed as he opened the door of the back seat and entered the car.

"Don't tell me I didn't warn you." He muttered just as Cross chuckled. If he would be a sacrifice for the sake of the Association, then it didn't matter anymore. If he could complete his mission, then that's all there was to it.

And they drove away from the place.

"Yuuki, this girl here, is my daughter. She and I went to the station last night, you know. We waited for hours but we didn't see you there." Cross started. It could have been that he was merely trying to make some conversations to prevent dead air but Zero knew that the man already knew what happened to him. Zero didn't make any comment so Cross continued. "I thought I had the time of your arrival wrong. But then when I called Yagari in the station, he said that you already left." Again, Zero didn't answer so Cross had to change tactics. He was glancing at the rear view mirror and smiling at Zero who only looked at him coolly. Yuuki was also glancing at the mirror. The girl was clearly worried about him. When their eyes met, Yuuki smiled at him. The smile was so shy and sweet that he felt guilty being together in a car with such a pure and innocent girl.

"Yuuki is the same year as Kiryuu-kun, you know." Cross chuckled. Zero, as usual, didn't answer. Instead, he looked outside the glass window and looked at the huge trees and the clearing sky. The sun was brighter than earlier and also looked more deadly in his eyes.

"Kiryuu-san," Yuuki voiced for the first time. Zero was a bit disturbed when he heard his name being called by a female. After all, he grew up in the world of males so he had no experience at all in talking to the opposite sex, except with his mother. His thoughts were interrupted when she continued what she was about to say. "What… Uh, did you have some kind of accident?" Zero glanced at the mirror again and saw pure concern in her eyes.

"Yes." He answered. "I did."

Cross looked at him again from the rear view mirror. "You're quite calm… for someone who just had an accident." His voice was serious and the silver-haired teen knew that Cross was examining him in a lot of ways with just that gaze.

"I'm telling you. I'm not." He answered again before he looked outside. Cross did not talk anymore and Yuuki refrained from asking anymore questions. Zero was just too glad for their delicacy. He was not a man who would ramble about his life and he wasn't about to become one. He liked his privacy so much and he also didn't like to pry on other people's business. That's one of his human characteristics he didn't want to change it, even if he was not human anymore…

The road divided into two separate ways and the car turned to the left. After a while, trees got thinner and smaller houses started to appear into view, until they finally reached the town proper. The houses and the establishments weren't like the one where he came from or even the one where the train station was. It had a more countryside feeling to it than a city.

The car continued to drive until it reached the other side of the town. Trees started to appear again, but thinner than the ones where he had an accident earlier. The road was straight and he could see two huge wooden gates from afar.

"That's the school gate." Cross chirped happily. "We're about to arrive." Zero merely looked at the gate, which bore the symbol of Cross Academy, before he looked at the trees again.

After some minutes, they arrived at their destination and the gate opened by themselves as the car slightly slowed down. Zero had seen nothing but harsh trainings, vampires, and Bloody Rose since ten years ago. That's why he was surprised to see many students walking idly and chatting animatedly among themselves. He was not used to seeing many people of his age after all, except his few fellow hunters. The scene was kind of embarrassing and warm at the same time. The environment looked very calm and peaceful, far from his imagination that it would be hellish, what with all those monsters roaming free even during the day. He realized that unlike these students who did nothing but study and hang out with their friends, he had had no opportunity to enjoy anything at all. He was taught that his life was nothing in comparison to the dangerous missions that he and his fellow hunters faced almost everyday. He lived in the darkness, just like vampires, and hunted them down. He was not like these dazzling people who had free time and could idly enjoy their youth and vigor. And with that, he realized he didn't belong to the place.

"Mission is everything. Life is nothing before it…" He recited the lines in his mind to keep his focus from straying away from his original objective. What he needed to do in the place was not to have fun like other students. He was here as a hunter on a mission.

The car drove further away from the buildings and stopped in front of an isolated mansion-looking establishment. Cross went out of the car and helped Yuuki open the door. Zero went out of his own even without Cross's help. He couldn't help but feel the sting the sun was making on his skin. It was not enough to deeply hurt him, but it was a very annoying feeling.

"I suggest you go inside the dormitory with Yuuki." Cross suggested kindly when he noticed Zero's discomfort. Zero was only too happy to oblige and he followed Yuuki inside the house, or the dormitory, as what Cross just said. Zero noticed that it looked very much like a house. It looked very homely.

"Uh, do you need a shower?" Yuuki asked uncertainly before she smiled again. "I'll show you to your room."

"Sure." He answered as he followed her steps. They ascended a flight of stairs and reached the second floor of the three-storey building. Yuuki stopped in front of a room and opened the door with a key.

"This is your room." She smiled. "This is the key." She gave the key to Zero who reluctantly reached out and took it. He didn't want any direct contact with any human right now because he wasn't sure how his body would react. He wasn't feeling any sort of thirst for now but he was sure it would only be a matter of time before he lost it. He needed to finish his mission and also his life before that happened.

"Uh, if you need anything, the Chairman's room is on the first floor…" Yuuki voiced again when she noticed that Zero was merely looking at the key on his hand. She bowed before she excused herself.

Zero entered the room and saw his luggage inside. Despite the really strong urge to take a bath right away, he unpacked his things first and took his change of clothes and his towel before he went into the bathroom. It was an elegant room with Jacuzzi style bathtub and filled with assortments that a luxurious hotel would have. He tapped the faucet and the tub was filled with lukewarm water. He started taking his clothes off, or at least what was remaining of his clothes. He stood naked and looked at himself in the mirror.

Physically, he didn't look any different. His silver hair had blood on its tips and his neck was soaked in blood, just like almost all parts of his body. His eyes were still amethyst in color, and he had no fangs. He was so used to looking at his reflection and he was almost convinced that nothing had changed. However, he knew that something changed inside him. There was something dark squirming inside him now and his hunter senses could not ignore it. His left hand absentmindedly touched the left side of his neck, the part where that damn female pureblood bit him. There was nothing off about it when he looked at it in the mirror but he could feel that it was still throbbing. His cold eyes turned into orbs filled with hatred as his fingers started clawing at his neck.

"How could I…" He mumbled. "…have fallen so much..?" He watched as his fingernails cut his creamy skin. He silently felt more satisfied as he watched the blood flowed down his chest and down his torso.

He showered and cleaned the blood off his body. It was a hard thing to do, especially because some of the bloods had already clotted and dried. After a while, he went in the tub and lay there for several minutes. He closed his eyes and tried to forget the doom and the darkness that he would face from now on. He recited the Elite Force's vow in order to get his attention away from misery and grief. He was now a monster… but his mission was still more important than what happened to him. He needed to complete it at any possible cost. If being one of those monsters could make infiltration more possible, then he shouldn't think otherwise. That's the only thing that kept him from drowning himself in the tub.

After an hour or so, he started scrubbing his body with soap and sponge. He cleaned every part of his body until he was satisfied. That's why he looked like he was blushing all over when he walked out of bathroom, what with the harsh way he did to clean himself.

The next thing to do was to get ready. And he knew that he meant it in more than just one way.

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.tbc.

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Ren-sama's Note:

Yup, sorry if it's shorter than the first chapter. Don't worry, people! I'll make sure to make the third chapter longer.

Sorry if your questions weren't answered in this fict yet. But there won't be any more fun if the mysteries are solved immediately, right? Please review! ˆoˆ