For those of you who enjoyed Face of Humanity and are waiting for the next update to come out, this is just something I came up prior to the chapter 12 or 13 so that you would have something to read during the small break. It will be quite a bit different from my other fanfiction, but I still hope you enjoy this nonetheless. Whether this continues or not really depends on how well received this is (in other words, favorable reviews, favorites, or follows).
Disclaimer: I do not own R+V and no copyright infringement is intended.
"I'm Aono Tsukune and I can't say that there is particularly interesting about me. If anything, I am so ordinary that it is borderline extraordinary. I hope we can all get along this year," I said jokingly as I introduced myself to the class. Many of my new classmates giggled or straight up laughed at how ridiculous my introduction was. It was not like any introduction they had heard before, so how could they not laugh. I hadn't introduced myself like some braggart or someone who was trying to hide away. The funny thing was that despite how I was joking around, I was really stating a fact.
I sat back down in my seat after my introduction and listened to the remaining snickers die down in the background. The next person to get up was my childhood friend Mizore. The purple-haired girl was the only familiar face I saw in the classroom. She stood up quickly to introduce herself to the class and spoke coolly.
"I'm Shirayuki Mizore, and the guy before me was telling the truth. It is quite outstanding at how normal he is. I hope we can all get along this year."
The class's response was quite humorous. I saw most of my classmates just laugh at how I was introduced twice. The teacher, while initially smiling, now seemed distraught. She was obviously thinking that we, as a class, were all going to take the first day of class as a joke. It kind of was, since we would all be going home after orientation.
I also noticed that Mizore had managed to slip away from the other classmates' attention by using me as a literal meat shield. I kind of wished she would be a little bit more outgoing. I liked the fact that she was my friend and all, but it felt weird knowing that I might actually be her only friend.
The introductions rolled on as each guy and a few girls tried to make their own introductions as quirky as ours. It was quite interesting seeing what shenanigans the last few guys tried to pull off in order to show off. I was amazed at how some girls had enough courage to actually start singing in the middle of class. Four guys even started to sing in a quartet at some point. I felt so sorry for our teacher who was just trying to get through the day at this point.
As the last person had announced themselves, our teacher let out a sigh of relief.
"It looks like everyone is here. Now let's all go to the auditorium and do not pull these stunts there. I could get into serious trouble if you acted that way in front of the school," she let out in an exasperated tone.
"Yes, Nekonome-sensei," we all chanted in unison. We then all started to file out of the room. I noticed that the singing quartet had actually grouped up together already. It appeared like they all knew each other from middle school. I was considering talking to them, but I felt a small tug on the back of my uniform. I didn't need to look back to know who it was.
"Mizore, you know you can't keep clinging onto me forever right?" I asked her as evenly as possible. I knew she was shy, but we were in high school now. She really needed to learn how to make friends before we got shipped off to whatever college or job we could scrounge up. We were both very likely going to be forced to go searching for jobs considering how average our grades were. Her inability to connect with others made me really nervous about her future.
I turned back to look at Mizore. Her face was stoic for the most part. The only exception was that she had downcast eyes. I also noticed that she was popping another one of her hard candies into her mouth. Mizore always had the habit of doing that whenever she was nervous or just felt any negative emotion in general. It was my way of telling when I had upset her, and also my cue to drop whatever I was doing to make her feel better.
I placed my hand on top of her head and began to pet her. I knew she liked it whenever I did this because she knew it meant that I wanted to make her feel better. It also meant that I was just telling her I was worried about her and not scolding her.
After a few seconds, I pulled my hand away and we started to head to the auditorium. No one seemed to have seen our moment since everyone was already a bit down the hall when we had left. Nekonome-sensei hadn't even checked whether or not we were with the group. I guess if we really wanted to we could have just left to go have fun, but we had already put her through so much today. The both of us were the cause for the circus show we called an introduction. I really didn't want to get her in trouble on top of that.
I motioned to Mizore that we needed to hurry up or we would be left behind. She looked up and gave me a reluctant look since it was a bit bothersome, but she yielded since she knew I was right. While we quietly trotted, I managed to overhear some of the guys who were lagging talking about how they felt about our classmates.
"Who do you think is the hottest girl in our class?"
"It definitely has to be Kurumu. Her figure and that face just can't be beat."
"Really? I thought you would be more into Moka."
"As a person? Probably. She sounds really cute and sweet from how innocent her introduction was. But we are talking about who is the hottest in out class."
"Well Moka has got my vote."
I quit listening after this point. Even though I knew it was just guys talking about who they were attracted to, I just didn't really feel too connected to it. I didn't even really know who the two girls they were talking about outside of the fact that they were in my class as well. For all I know, I might never actually get to know them too well. I wasn't really popular with the girls since I didn't stick out. Mizore and my cousin were the only girls that I had really connected with.
Mizore must have overheard the guys as well and tugged my uniform to get my attention.
"Who did you think was the prettiest girl in our class?" she asked gently and clearly. How exactly was she able to speak so clearly with that hard candy in her mouth?
"You know I'm not concerned about looks, Mizore," I stated without thinking too much into the question she asked. I could have easily said that she was the prettiest girl, but she would have just said I was just saying that to flatter her. I didn't want to say that for another reason. Even though I really liked spending time with Mizore, I didn't want her to become too reliant on me. I knew she liked me, but I was slightly pushed away from how interested she seemed to be. I was the only boy she talked to, so something told me that her love wasn't really love. Something just felt off when I thought about how she felt about me.
It felt more obsessive than love. It was like she needed me rather than wanted me for the right reason. While it sounds like a dumb excuse, it was enough for me to question how successful dating Mizore would have been.
I didn't have time to see her expression as we entered the auditorium to sit down. The auditorium was quite large and had many rows of seats placed in front of the podium. I didn't actually think that they would have taken the trouble to take out the chairs since it was a hassle, and we could have just stood in place. That was when a thought passed through my mind that I didn't enjoy. What if the orientation speech was actually long enough to require us to sit down? I saw a few of the other guys in the room give a small frown as the same thought dawned on their minds. Some of the teachers were just placing their hands on their heads as though they knew they would hate what was to come. Everyone's reactions were just comfirming my fears.
Looking around, I found where our class was going to sit; we made our way to the chairs and made sure that the teachers didn't notice that we were coming in a bit later than the rest of the class. When we had actually made it there, some of the guys gave us a look. The guy left to me gave me a light punch to get my attention. I saw him giving me a thumbs up and a smile. This guy must have thought that I had already gotten myself a girlfriend. It was hard to blame him considering our introductions and how we had come later than everyone else. I just waved my hand to tell him that he was mistaken. He gave a confused look, but dropped the issue as the principal came up to the podium.
"Welcome incoming students. I would like to start off by saying congratulations to each and every one of you for making it to high school. Now I know that you are all probably excited about what awaits you for the next three years of your life. I will warn you that you will come across many moments when you will feel that the world is completely against you, but fear not. I am quite certain that you will make many friends along the way who will help you get through these trials. The entire staff is also here to make sure that you learn what you need to learn in order to get by in life…"
I felt a sharp pinch on my right side. Mizore woke me up so that I wouldn't get in trouble with the teachers for sleeping during the principal's 'exhilarating' speech. It appears that I had dozed off early on and the principal had continued to ramble on about high school life and camaraderie the whole time I had been out. Looking at my watch, I realized that the principal had actually been talking about his personal philosophies for about forty-five minutes. As much as I could see how spouting philosophical lines made one look and sound more important, the principal had actually forgone any real meaning for just looking smart and profound.
After another few minutes, the principal concluded his speech by allowing Kaneshiro Hokuto, the student body president, up onto the podium. A tall student walked up and confidently spoke into the microphone left behind.
"Welcome to this school. There is only one thing I really want to tell you. High school is one of the last havens before you have to go into the real world. It is the last place you can really be a kid still. I only ask that as all of you grow up in the three years you will spend here, don't ever wish for it to go by faster. Just enjoy this time as much as you can and leave with no regrets to drag you down."
With that, Hokuto left the stage. We were all dismissed and many of us were probably thanking Hokuto for not dragging on like the principal had. Most of the students seemed to have no motivation to even hang out today since the speech had just put most of us to sleep. Even the teachers seemed to be acting lethargic.
"Tsukune, are we still going to go buy Kyoko a birthday present or do you just want to go home today?" Mizore asked me.
I did promise to go shopping with Mizore since school was going to end early today. I also knew that I couldn't say that I wanted to go home since Mizore had been looking forward to it. She may have a great poker face, but I could still tell that she enjoyed hanging out.
"Let's go find something for Kyouko. We need to find her a gift soon," I responded. My response didn't make her smile, but I saw a small shift in her eyes. She was definitely happy.
The old shopping district wasn't too far from the school. Although the one we normally went to was close to home, we wanted to surprise Kyouko with a gift she couldn't just buy there. There weren't many shops that sold items that would interest my older cousin since most of them were just bookstores or small local food stands. It made finding stores that would actually sell unique trinkets for my tomboy of a cousin easier to find.
After looking through a few shops and buying a few sticks of Tsukune, we found ourselves in front of a rickety old shop hidden in a small corner of the street. The store looked dusty and filled with several interesting window items. If we were going to find Kyouko a gift, this was the perfect place to buy it from. There was almost no chance the she would have been able to find anything like what we could possibly buy in this store. I could also get something interesting for Mizore while we were looking for the gift.
As we walked through the door, we heard the store owner in the corner say, "Welcome." I couldn't get a clear look of the man, but I could almost swear that his eyes were glowing for a second. I must have been more tired than I thought if I was seeing things.
There were a lot of shelves and items everywhere. It would take forever to find something if we didn't split up. Mizore must have had the same idea since she motioned she was going to go in one direction. After a few seconds, I could already hear her shuffling through some of the shelves. I headed into a different direction and browsed through all of the items.
A lot of things had a layer of dust on them from not being moved for so long. There shouldn't be this much dust lying around everywhere if people were actually come here to buy some of the stuff. How did this place manage to stay open for so long if no one had come here for a long time? A lot of things I assumed to be jewelry lacked the luster that they should have because it was all covered with the dust.
Out of curiosity of what was actually in the pile of jewelry, I began to shift through it. I found several interesting ornaments with several different gems embedded on them. After wiping away some of the dust, I realized that a lot of the gems were of high quality just from the clarity and lack of chips in them. What exactly went through this store for such expensive goods to come through? There were definitely interesting items in the pile. Although they probably wouldn't interest Kyouko outside of monetary value, I'm sure there was something I could find to celebrate the first day of high school with Mizore. I also wanted to get her something because I felt a bit harsh in telling her that she needed to make more friends.
After digging through the pile a bit more, I realized that most of the jewelry was more than likely outside of my price range. It might even be out of the price range for a majority of the city. The deeper I got, the more priceless the jewelry seemed to get. It looked like all of the 'affordable' jewelry was pulled out for observation. I still dug a bit deeper since there was always the chance that people were just interested in the expensive look of the others and had forgone the reasonably priced goods.
I eventually reached the bottom of the pile after sifting through all of the valuables and found something I could afford. At the very bottom, there was a small silver locket. The surface wasn't scratched and the whole thing was in the shape of an oval. It looked like one of those necklaces one wore in the movies. When I checked inside, I noticed that the glass that would hold the pictures was missing. I would need to get someone to add it in, and this would probably give me some room to bargain for the price.
Having found something that I thought Mizore would like, I resumed my search to find something for Kyouko. I began to see some old music boxes as I kept walking. I think one of the boxes was actually shaking and I didn't want to know why. This place was already creepy in its atmosphere.
After walking around for another five minutes, I realized that this store was much bigger on the inside than it had looked on the outside. The store should have simply ended by now, but it still seemed to go on. I must have just been overwhelmed by the atmosphere to think of something that ridiculous. Over course there was no way the store was that long. I still ended up turning back in case it wasn't my imagination.
When I turned around, I saw a face staring out at me from the side. There was a look of surprise as it recognized that I was looking at it and I jumped back wondering why there was a face staring at me from the wall. I made a small yelp and was about to run from the scene. I was going to run, but I noticed that I was just looking at my reflection
I was such a wimp to be scared of my own reflection. I looked back into it and saw my brown eyes and black hair. My face had no distinguishing traits other than that. I could have easily been mistaken for another person only for the sheer fact of how common my features were here. It was still embarrassing to have been so scared of my own image.
As I was looking into the small circular mirror, I thought to myself that this would be the perfect gift. Although Kyouko acted like a tomboy, she had become more interested in trying to look a bit more feminine. Something told me that this mirror wasn't too girly, but at the same time would show that I did notice the subtle change. After grasping both sides so that I could take the mirror down, I heard footsteps coming from where I came from. It looks like Mizore had heard my yelp and was worried.
All of a sudden, there was a large flash of light that came from the mirror. I was blinded for a few seconds and was startled enough to actually back off from the mirror. I ended up backing up against the wall and fell down.
"Tsukune! Are you okay?"
I still had my closed from the shock of what had just happened, but I could definitely feel that Mizore was next to me. What exactly happened I wondered as I slowly opened my eyes. Why was there a mirror like that in a store? If this was a joke that the store owner liked to pull, I could see why no one had been in the store for so long.
"I'm okay, Mizore?" I said as I looked at where Mizore was supposed to be.
The person next to me wasn't the Mizore that I had known all of my life. Instead of Mizore, I saw a girl with long jagged hair. It her head glittered as light from the ceiling reflected off the reflective ice that was her hair. I also noticed the large claws of ice for hands. I panicked at the sight of the claws. There was a monster here with claws, and I was in a vulnerable position. I backed further up to the wall and let out a small scream.
The scream startled the girl and she reached out to me with her claws. I just panicked more, and my actions caused her to hesitate. She could see the evident fear I had, but didn't seem to understand at all. That was when she pulled something from her pocket. I only got a small glimpse of it, but it looked like the hard candies that Mizore liked to have. She then popped it into her mouth and I saw that her eyes were downcast. They were blue like Mizore's and she had the same neutral expression on her face. I instinctively placed my hand on her head and began to stroke it. She didn't move away from it. The feeling felt familiar and it was not like I was brushing my hand through a bundle of ice.
"Mi-Mizore? Is that you?" I hesitantly said. Now that I was able to get a closer look, her face looked just like Mizore and she wore the same uniform that we entered with. She even had the same habit of popping those candies into her mouth whenever she felt down. The girl was also familiar with me since she didn't push away my hand when I had put it on her head. She also knew my name. This monster in front of me had to be Mizore. But why did she look like that?
"Tsukune... Is everything alright?" she asked hesitantly. I had just had a panic attack at the sight of my childhood friend in her eyes. I had to calm down. This was Mizore and she wouldn't hurt me. Even if she looked like a monster right now, she was still the girl I had known since we were kids.
"Mizore, I'm fine now... I think. The thing is, why do you have claws for hands and why does your hair look like ice?" I asked as I felt my heart rate start to slow down.
My question seemed to have shocked Mizore as she began to look at her hands. After affirming whatever she saw, she began to pat her hair. She maintained the same face, but I could tell she was quite confused through how her eyes were darting about. Mizore then decided to look at what I had been holding earlier. She peered into it and I assumed she saw what I was seeing as she went through another panic over her appearance. The only difference was that she couldn't see what I was seeing in the physical world.
"How can you see my real form, Tsukune?" she asked me with a slight look of fear in her eyes. I also saw her hand reach for her pocket to probably get another candy to put into her mouth.
I picked myself up and dusted myself. I had managed to calm myself down enough to accept that the ice covered Mizore in front of me was still Mizore. There was nothing to be too worried after knowing this. I got closer to her and placed my hand on her head again. I was telling her that everything would be okay. I glanced up at the mirror and we both already knew that it had something to do with it.
"Mizore, let's just drop the issue for today. Whatever this is, it might be only temporary. We'll come back here later to talk to the store owner about what happened if I am still seeing things. So let's just go home for now, okay?"
I really wanted to calm Mizore down. I knew my reaction had hurt her badly. She was still herself, yet I became so scared of her after seeing what she really was. I wanted to just push away what had just happened. It was a tiring day for both of us anyways.
Hopefully this was all a very bad hallucination.
There's no way that Mizore could be a monster. I had known her my entire life. She was my best friend. I would have known that she was a monster.
I kept telling myself that, but a part of me knew that I was lying to myself.
Mizore remained silent, but nodded her head. We proceeded to head towards the exit. I remembered that I was actually buying a gift for Mizore so I asked her to wait outside the door for a few seconds. I just told her that I found something interesting and wanted to buy it. She asked if it was for Kyouko, but I just told her that was what the mirror was originally going to be for.
I quickly rushed to where the store owner would be. The only thing was that he wasn't there. Instead, there was a sign that just said to take the locket. Was the store owner watching us? Even if it was his job to make sure we wouldn't steal his merchandise, it still felt really creepy considering what I had just gone through. I didn't want to feel like I was just taking something for free, so I decided to leave a thousand yen behind. It probably wasn't enough, but it was supposed to be free in the first place.
Rushing back out, I found Mizore still waiting outside and still looking like she was made out of ice. I trotted up next to her and motioned to her that I was ready. We walked down the road home, but I could see that she was sad. She was getting another hard candy.
"Mizore, what's wrong?" I asked despite knowing it had something to do with how I saw her.
"Do you hate me now knowing what I am now?" she asked as she tensed up slightly. She had to be nervous. How could she not? It wasn't too long ago that her only friend did freak out after finding out that she was a monster.
"I will admit that I was slightly scared at first, but that was only because of the claws. The fact is that you are still you. Why should I see you any different than before? It's not like you would do anything to hurt me. Right?" I said to her with no tell to show that I was still trying to cope with this new change.
"I see," she said quietly. I felt her lean against my side and I didn't push her away. Mizore needed a shoulder to lean on after what I had put her through. We made our way back in silence as the events of the day ran through our heads.
"Oh my. Aren't you getting cozy with my daughter?"
The feminine voice startled me because it had appeared out of thin air. Mrs. Shirayuki always had the habit of appearing when we least expected it. I would have been less startled usually since I got used to it, but I got a little bit worried about what I would see. She was Mizore's mother and I was still trying to adjust to the fact that monsters may in fact exist in this world. I slowly looked back and saw that Mrs. Shirayuki still looked pretty much the same as the last time I had seen her. She still had snow white hair, her eyes were still blue and she also had the lollipop coming from her mouth like always. The only difference was that she just looked a tad bit paler and she also had claws where her hands would normally be.
"Hello, Mrs. Shirayuki. How are you this evening?" I responded so as not to appear rude.
"Please call me Tsurara or mother. So when can I expect my grandchildren?"
Although most people probably would have been startled or shocked by how eccentric Mrs. Shirayuki was, I had gotten used to her personality after hanging out with Mizore so much. I always did wonder why she kept talking about wanting to have grandchildren when I was sure that she was barely into her thirties.
"Please stop joking like that, Mrs. Shirayuki. Mizore and I aren't even dating," I said in a light hearted tone. It was nice to know that nothing had changed from before. It was then I remembered what would come.
"Call me Tsurara already, I'm not joking, and you better mean that you two weren't dating yet or that you are planning to get married soon," she said darkly. Tsurara had forgone the usual elegant smile she had and was giving me a look that told me anything could happen and would happen if I didn't listen to her. It didn't exactly help my courage when her hands, that were now grabbing my shoulder, looked like claws. Why exactly did she want grandchildren so badly that she was trying to get me to marry Mizore already?
Fortunately, Mizore stepped in to calm her mother down. I never knew how she did it, but Mizore would only need to talk to Tsurara in private to calm her down. It would be really helpful to know what Mizore told her mother so that I could use it in case I stepped on a landmine.
We continued to walk back and talk about how our day went. Even though my vision had changed drastically, I felt happy that my days hadn't really changed too much. Mizore seemed to be feeling better as well as she realized that nothing had really changed between us. The only thing that worried me was how my life would turn out now. I could clearly see who was a monster and who was not now. How would my life change after knowing that monsters were hidden among the humans? I knew my life would take a turn after coming to high school, but this was a lot more than I bargained for.
#1: Please favorite and follow if you liked this story. Any and all reviews help. Send questions and I will probably respond to some of them by the next chapter. I do read them and consider editing previous chapters for better flow or explanations.
#2: Tsukune is actually a food. It is basically a handmade meatball made of chicken that is stuck onto a stick and grilled with a sauce. The name is strangely appropriate for the canon Tsukune.
#3: Also I decided to actually reduce my use some of the Japanese honorifics because it gets really confusing trying to remember how people would address each other after a while. Some will obviously stay, but for the most part I hope that this doesn't take away from some of the experience for people who actually like to read them.