From a Judas of all trades to all that matters
Disclaimer: I do not own Rosario Vampire or any part of its franchise. I would also like to thank lord of the land of fire for giving me permission to write this.
This is a sequel to The Unsealed Vampire story by lord of the land of fire.
Things were going way faster than he expected: In merely a day, he went from being some anonymous human trapped in the snow village with dreams of revolution to being the leader of a band of 20 or so human fanatics willing to die if he so desired. This was unnerving, making up plans in a closed off room was different from having troops under your command. That's what these men were: troops, soldiers, fighting tooth and nail for survival and for their leader. How had he gotten such devoted men? He'd never know. All that he did know was that they were walking through enemy territory weaponless, because the torches the used to defend themselves faded after a while, with either wildlife or monsters planning on taking them down before they would even be able to retaliate. What's worst was that they had no food, water, or place to get to. Wandering the forest aimlessly was not going to work and Tsukune knew that, painfully so.
He took a look at the men following them, it had been a challenge reuniting all of the wayward men after the great jailbreak. Yet that wasn't the worst of their problems: some had been injured in the panic and were now slowing down the group, making it easier for them to be tracked or spotted. What they needed was a place where they could stop for a moment, somewhere where they could treat the wounded and at the very least get some water, somewhere safe. If they couldn't, they would have to abandon the wounded and keep going. An idea Tsukune didn't really plan on putting into effect. After all, the more died now, the less would be able to fight later. Besides, although Tsukune would've never admitted it, he had grow fond of his men, they were his brothers, his allies , his soldiers. They were ready to fight for his cause and bring some much needed justice. They had been weak once, true, but they reminded him of himself in that manner. After all, wasn't it better to start off weak and become powerful rather than just simply be born with power? Tsukune certainly thought so, and he assumed Moka would've agreed with him.
Moka... The pain was still as intense, there was no way he was ever going to be able to get over her death, no matter what he tried. He had vowed long ago that once his task was finished, he would end his life to finally be with her, a promise he planned on keeping.
The ragtag team of warriors progressed through the frozen trees for another hour before finally stumbling upon the answer to Tsukune's prayers. A small river ran through the trees, it offered the perfect place to rest, stack up and hide in case of imminent danger. What's best was that the trees here were so thick in these parts, they kept this place hidden from any predator at a reasonable distance.
Tsukune gave the order to make camp here. As the men set up the area and treated the wounded, two other men walked towards their beloved leader. Both were dragging a man by his arms as his legs slid effortlessly through the snow covered grass beneath, obviously not even trying to support the incognito man. As they arrived before Tsukune, the men dropped the male they were dragging and saluted the young leader. He responded in kind before inquiring who they were dragging through the forest.
One of the men raised the fallen comrade's head, which up until now was lowered, to face Tsukune. It was none other than their very own Judas: Jack. He looked pretty beaten up, no doubt it was the work of these two soldiers not taking kindly to seeing the one who ratted out their boss still on his own two feet. His face was bleeding and deformed because of the vicious beaten he had received, it looked like his nose was broken while the rest was swollen like an over-inflated balloon. He was almost unrecognizable...almost.
"Jack! Long time." Tsukune exclaimed with mock cheerfulness. "Fancy seeing you out here."
"Bite me." Jack responded, eliciting another vicious punch from one of the lackeys.
"You betrayed us." Tsukune's voice grew cold, dark even. This man had put his plan in jeopardy, now he was going to answer for his crimes.
"This is madness." he weakly stated. "When they find us, they're going to drag us back and we'll be right back where we started, isn't it better just to accept our fates and try and live happily?" he bowed his head again before looking up at Tsukune once again. "I'm sorry." he muttered, genuinely regretful of his actions.
Pathetic groveling to the end, he really wasn't going to miss Jack, not one bit. Having such a weakling on Earth was disgusting, all crying and feeling sorry and wanting everyone to be friends and…and...
Then it hit him, he recalled someone else in the same exact position Jack was in now. It was just like when he had met the other Moka...
The shed had obviously seen better days, its wood was graying and there were gaps where boards had fallen out. The door stood halfway open.
He approached it slowly and carefully. "Miss Moka? Are you all right?" There was no answer but she was here, he knew she was here.
"Miss Moka?" He called out as he took another hesitant step forward.
From inside he heard a whimper. "Go away," a girl's voice cried.
That sounded like Miss Moka… and it didn't too. The voice was similar but lacked the deep commanding tone she always had. He could hear sorrow, a deep deep sorrow, that could not possibly be Moka's.
He took another step. With his foot he swung open the door and peered inside.
There curled up in the corner like some beaten animal was a girl wearing the school uniform. She had long pink hair and green eyes that looked puffy and swollen from crying. There was a black leather collar around her neck. From it dangled a silver cross with a red stone at its center. Most surprising of all though this girl had no demonic aura surrounding her, she completely lacked that brooding power. He didn't understand what had happened but through his own unique sense he knew that this was Moka.
She looked at him and he could see misery in her eyes. "I'm sorry," she said. Then shutting her eyes she pulled her knees to her chest and began to slowly rock back and forth as she repeated it over and over again. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry…"
NO! Not now, he had to keep it down, it was too painful to remember, he had to stay strong in front of the men. He couldn't let this overtake him. Yet, as much as tried, all he could see was a pink haired Moka crying out in agony and despair, helpless, rocking back and forth repeating I'm sorry like a mantra. Jack wasn't nearly as desperate, he held his head high, but there were still too many similarities. He couldn't kill Jack, he just couldn't. For the first time in two months, he felt weak.
Regardless, he had committed a crime against his fellow brothers, he couldn't be allowed to stay, what to do with him? It was then Tsukune had an epiphany: If they couldn't take them out inside the village, he could always lure them out little by little and kill them that way. It would give him the upper hand, and it would limit the number of enemies they'd have to face at once. Guerrilla tactics it was, then.
Without a word, he punched the traitor once more in the chest before issuing an ultimatum. "You have twenty seconds to get out of my sight before I execute you myself, understood?"
Jack didn't have to be told twice as he painfully got to his feet and started limping away back towards the village at a surprising pace.
The men holding the traitor were very puzzled at the moment but they knew better than to question Tsukune's decisions, especially now. The men scrambled to help the wounded whose wounds were being washed in the pure water that flowed through the river and being bandaged up with leaves and such laying around.
They would have to hurry, Tsukune estimated they would be here within the hour and they needed to set up ambush points. Snow people were notorious stalkers and hunters so being out here was nearly as dangerous as still being in the village. That meant they would have to get clever. The trees near their position looked sturdy enough to hold three men in the branches. They would hide here, Tsukune decided and wait to spring the trap. One step closer to their goal they came, that's all that mattered.
Absolutely infuriating! It didn't matter who Akuha questioned among the men, they all held their tongues. Sure they let a few things slip but nothing noteworthy and they always seemed to close up that much more when she mentioned Tsukune's name.
Issa was also getting quite impatient, they had went through all of the male captives, and not a single one would talk. What's worst was they all constantly repeated that same phrase: The fire rises. The fire rises. The fire rises. What did that even mean? His plan to free Akasha had seemed so simple when he left Moka back at Yokai, almost trivial: Get the boy, inject some of Moka's blood into him, let the Shinso blood turn him into a shinso vampire, let it wake up Akasha, free Akasha, let the boy die because of the potency of the blood and done. Simple, right? Well since every man they interrogated committed suicide before talking, guess it wasn't so simple after all.
Akuha was doing it for her sister, she saw the look she had in her face when she spoke of her familiar. She seemed genuinely happy, a rare sight, one Akuha would endeavor to see remain on Moka's face. And if his blood was as delicious as she claimed, then she just had to try it once. Drinking together would be a great way to bond after so many years apart, so many years where her thoughts drifted to her sweet, beloved younger sister. However, she needed to find the damn boy first before she could be able to bond: So where the hell is he hiding?
Needless to say the pair was not in the happiest of moods as they walked out of the city gates. So imagine their surprise when they encountered a limping Jack coming towards them. If he was beaten up, then that meant he was an outcast among the human escapees.
It took Akuha all of two seconds to grab the human by the throat and threaten to kill him if he didn't cooperate.
'Where is Aono?" she stressed every word she spoke, after going through ten different interrogations with no success at all, there was no chance she would go easy on a potential lead like this one.
"He's back over that way." he pointed straight behind him. "About after five kilometers of walking, there's a river there where Tsukune Aono is leading his followers."
"Followers?" the two vampires spoke in unison. Granted, humans were easily manipulated and weak. However, how had this pathetic human wretch managed to gain control of so many men in such a short period of time? Not only that but how has he been capable of making them into such devoted fanatics? Oh, this was an intriguing slave her darling Moka had gotten, Akuha understood why she was so adamant about keeping him.
Shuzen was considering how much of a threat someone like him could pose. Inspiring such loyalty so fast? He would have to be weary of that one, no wonder Mikogami chose him for his pet project. He then realized he didn't know the first thing about the boy, his daughter had told him about his unwavering kindness, but if he was leading a group of fanatics, Shuzen doubted he would be all smiles and hugs now. Perhaps it would be best if he stayed behind and inquired a bit more about this Aono boy, see if he could be any threat, not that a human could do much against a vampire but still, he hadn't lived for over a 1000 years just by relying on brute strength and apparent superiority. He informed his daughter he was going to stay behind and inquire a bit more as to who this mystery human really was
She complied. After throwing aside Jack's decapitated corpse, Akuha Shuzen marched with purpose to the wayward slave's location, intent on finding him before this really got out of hand. Besides, she had been after his trail for a full day now, that was way more than any human was worth.
Everything was set up according to plan: The men had treated the wounded and had gotten to higher ground up in the trees. They were now waiting for a snow people's patrol to march through the area. With any luck, they would be fewer than 5 and give them a fighting chance. If not, well, they'll have fought to the end.
The wait lasted for a long while, it was starting to get dark and there still was no sign of a scouting party. Tsukune started to think they were waiting for dusk, maybe hoping to catch them off guard, you can't really defend against an enemy you can't see. Then again, he wasn't even sure if they could see at night, it frightened him to think he knew so little of his enemy. He mentally scolded himself, how could he be so stupid? Acting without prior knowledge of your enemy? That's like trying to take down a martial artist with just plain fists. Good thing Moka wasn't there to see him now.
That was when he heard a sound, a subtle cracking of branches. He knew it couldn't have been an animal, he had been walking through the forest all day without finding one. He covertly gave the order to stay hidden and wait until the enemy was in position.
The sun was now setting, a few glimmers of light could still be seen shining, Alas, they were too well hidden by the thick branches to be able to make out much in the darkened forest.
A lone silhouette emerged from among the trees, casually walking towards the riverbank. The way it held its head and its mannerisms were eerily familiar to Tsukune: that same way they carried themselves, implicitly claiming to be superior to all while at the same time traveling through the path with incredible grace. There was no way it was a snow women, they were much more reserved, much less blatant, more careful.
The lone figure approached the river bed and examined something on one of the rocks: it was blood from one of the wounded. Tsukune could hear the mystery monster taking in a deep breath before turning its gaze to him who was watching quietly from above. The sun had long since stopped trying to light the area so the figure remained shrouded in darkness. Yet, Tsukune could still see the stranger's eyes: they were red and slitted.
There was no doubt in his mind as he eased himself down from his hiding spot, the figure was a vampire. He gave the order to remain still, there was no way they could stand up to a vampire right now. All he could hope for was talk and maybe negotiate something that let them keep their heads for now.
"Who are you?" Tsukune inquired, the vampire remained still, darkness still shrouding its body.
"Tsukune Aono?" the vampire asked in a woman's voice, seemingly ignoring Tsukune's round of questioning.
"Yeah." he answered cautiously. "Who's asking?"
The figure slowly approached, taking a tentative few steps before stopping again. "I am a part of house Shuzen." she exclaimed, still hidden by the shadows. "And I'm here too offer you a deal."
"A deal?" he asked, this was becoming interesting.
"Yes." the vampiress replied, taking a another step. In doing so, she revealed her face: it was eerily similar to Moka's but instead of silver hair, there was an abundance of blonde hair cascading down from her head and past her shoulders. "Silly me. I haven't properly introduced myself." she exclaimed after a pause. "I am Kahlua Shuzen and I am here on behalf of Fairy Tale."