Disclaimer: This plot and all characters are all owned by me.
I give thanks to my editors, Kagura615 and Inu Youkai Wanna Be for helping me on this chapter.
I would also like to thank all my reviewers! Thanks to all of the following: Nadoka-Cho, Aone, Shiranui Akatsuki, Shang, Lonely Moon, and Kagura615!
Orenji no Tsuki - Orange Moon
The Silver Blade
Yoshiro heaved a slight sigh of relief once he arrived at the gate of Yoru clan village.
"Who goes there?" the gate-keepers demanded from their towers, looking down at the teen.
"It is I, Yoshiro," the young man answered.
The men grinned upon hearing this news. "Oi, is that really you, Yoshiro?" one of them asked.
"Of course!" he answered.
To his response, the gate slowly dropped open, allowing him to walk into his village. Quickly, the gates were put back up again. The gate was there in order to protect the area from vampires or other humans who wanted to kill them because of their way of life.
"Welcome home, Yoshiro-kun!" many of the villagers greeted upon seeing him.
He smiled, giving them only simple nods of his head in response. He finally arrived at his destination—his hut.
"Is anyone in here?" he inquired, pushing back the flap of the entryway.
"Yoshiro-kun!" a kind-sounding feminine voice exclaimed. Before he could say much more, he felt arms embrace him, nearly knocking the wind out of him. "I missed you so much!"
The woman was beautiful in the current time's standards. She, like Yoshiro, had dark black colored eyes. Her brown hair was pinned back in a small bun, held by a small, single orchid pin. She wore a feminine yellow yukata that only had designs of wavy lines across it. She appeared to only dress in clothing that was comfortable to her.
A light blush settled over his cheeks at the mention of how much the girl missed him. "Geez," he remarked, pulling away from her slightly so as to breathe. "You should learn not to choke people to death!"
"But, touto-chan, I haven't seen you in weeks! What else do you expect me to do?!" she demanded, her bottom lip quivering in a cute pout. "I've been worried sick about you!"
"I know, Hoshiko-nee-chan…" he groaned, not surprised by her rant. "Gomen, but I got held up a few times…" he trailed off nervously.
She backed up a few paces and raised her eyebrow. Her eyes then narrowed. "What do you mean, 'held up'?" she demanded in an irked tone.
"Well, I got into a few fights…" he admitted.
Her eyes then widened in shock. "WHAT?!" she raged, making the young man cringe at how loud she was. "You promised me that you wouldn't get into much trouble until after you become a vampire slayer!"
He released a breath that he didn't even know that he was holding. "I know…" he replied. "I still don't get your reasoning behind that though. Why would you tell me to wait until I'm a hunter before I can do whatever I want?"
"You should know this by now!" she sighed in exasperation. "Becoming a slayer marks your coming-of-age. After you become a vampire slayer, you will be considered an adult by all of the village."
"That's right…" he trailed off in a smirk as if he was being reminded of the fact. "As you know, I become one tomorrow night…"
She gave a roll of her eyes and playfully hit him on the arm. "Don't get too big of an ego. Everyone here goes through the ceremony eventually."
"So, tell me how yours turned out again?" he asked, sitting down on the floor and patting the vacant space beside him, signifying her to sit next to him.
She took the offer and sat down. "Hmm…let's see…" she trailed off. "Well, you should already know what goes on at one since you've been to mine and to many others before."
"True," he said. "But you know how young I was back then," he added.
She heaved a sigh, knowing that she had to tell him the story. "Well, there was a huge feast. The whole village was there and I received a lot of gifts. Though, there's one special gift that I got that was related to my special vampire vanquishing skill. That's the moment I waited for the most."
"Right," he nodded. "So being able to cast spells enabled you to receive a special rare box of exotic herbs."
"See? You do know!" she remarked.
"I only know that much because you always use it and tell me about why you received it!" he declared in defense of himself.
She scoffed, not liking the fact that he was telling the truth. Se dusted herself off and stood up. "All right then. I guess I'll start preparing supper," she stated, walking out of the hut and leaving him alone in the room.
He rolled his eyes and stared into the already burning flames of the fire. "Another typical welcome from onee-chan. Leaving before she finishes telling me something." He then heaved a sigh and reclined against the wall behind him.
After Hoshiko returned, they ate supper and talked about his battles. Once they were finished, it was night and they were both exhausted. The siblings decided that it was time to sleep, not thinking twice about the day that lie ahead for Yoshiro.
The Next Day
"Hey, Yoshiro! Wake up, sleepy-head! Don't sleep away your special day away!" a familiar voice shouted, rousing the sleeping teen. In addiction to her yelling, she proceeded to pour cold water over his head from a wooden pail she held.
Yoshiro shot up, throwing a glare at his sister and sputtering out water. "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT FOR?!" he then roared.
Hoshiko remained in her standing position, laughing at his wet form and angry expression. "You…should have…seen your…face!" she choked out.
He irritably rolled his eyes at his sibling's childish antics. "You are twenty-six and yet you still act like a child," he remarked. He then proceeded to wring out his soaked haori with his hands. He then shook his head in order to dry his hair, though it didn't work very well.
"Yes, but at least you're awake now!" she declared, grinning at him. "Besides, your breakfast is ready."
He heaved a sigh, knowing that he couldn't win against his sister. Instead, he looked down at the bowl of rice placed in front of him. "Arigatou," he managed to mumble.
She still giggled, taking her place, sitting beside him. "You're welcome."
After they finished their meal, both headed out into the village. The were going to the village leader.
While walking there, many of their friends shouted out to them.
"Yoshiro-san, I'm proud of you!"
"It's about time the Yoru clan's prodigy becomes a vampire hunter!"
"Hoshiko-san must be proud of her brother!"
As the siblings passed by them, they smiled and bowed their heads in thanks before continuing on. It only took a few minutes until they were in front of the fairly large home the village-head lived in.
After getting permission from the guards to enter, they went into the manor. They finally arrived outside of the leader's main study room.
"Takeshi-sama?" Hoshiko called out.
Some rustling was heard from the other side of the shoji doors. "Oh, Hoshiko-san, is that you? Did you bring Yoshiro-san?" an old male's voice called out.
"Hai, he is here," she replied.
"Please come in then," he responded.
Doing as told, she pushed the shoji door to the side, allowing Yoshiro and herself to enter the room. She quickly slid the door shut behind them and bowed low before him.
Yoshiro performed the same action, knowing that it was in his best interest to show great respect to one of his elders.
The old man possessed a kind face. His warm brown eyes looked at the two young people before him. He felt joyous that yet another young man would be joining the league of vampire hunters.
"Hopefully you are aware of why you were called here?" Takeshi said with a note of optimism in his voice. His expression was that of seriousness.
Both siblings nodded their heads.
After their response, the man lost most of his solemn edge, giving them a smile. "Come now, don't be so nervous! I've known both of you ever since you were born!"
It wasn't so much as them being nervous. Yoshiro was far from it actually; he was more excited than anything else. He would finally be able to call himself a "man" in his village's standards. The only reason he was quiet was because his sister threatened to assault him if he embarrassed her again. He knew all-too-well that it wasn't pleasant to endure.
"Actually, I think I remember yours, Hoshiko-san. You were so young and adorable back then, reminding me of my daughter when she was that age…" the village leader trailed off.
"Eh heh…arigatou, Takeshi-sama," Hoshiko trailed off in a nervous tone. Quickly regaining her normal, serious composure, she asked, "Shouldn't we get onto the scroll signing?"
"Ah, yes, quite right," Takeshi remarked.
Hoshiko was referring to the scroll that was resting on a low table beside the man. This was one of the few procedures that was done during the day of the ceremony. The slayer-to-be was to sign their name on the scroll in ink. It was so that the village could keep track of their kills and good deeds that they performed throughout the rest of their lives as slayers. It was like the beginning of their "record." The vampire hunters referred to their historical document as their "Yoru no Hon" which meant the "Book of Darkness." After signing their Yoru no Hon, the slayers were to keep it with them at all times.
"Yoshiro-san, here," Takeshi smiled, handing the future vampire hunter the scroll and an ink brush. After handing the vampire-slayer-to-be the bottle of black ink, he began to grow serious once more. "Yoshiro-san, do you promise to uphold the honor of the Yoru Clan?" he demanded.
"Yes, Takeshi-sama," Yoshiro answered, a determined expression on his face. "I will swear to protect the lives of humans against evil vampires."
"Very well then. Please sign the scroll," the village-head then instructed.
Yoshiro nodded and unrolled the blank scroll, also dipping the brush into the bottle of ink at the same time. He then signed his name in Kanji along the top of the scroll.
Takeshi then handed the young teenager a stone so that he could place it on the scroll to keep it open as it dried.
After placing the stone on the parchment, Yoshiro let out a breath he didn't even know he was holding. 'Now with that over with, I can concentrate on tonight's festivities…' he thought to himself.
Hoshiko put her hands on Yoshiro's shoulders and grinned. "Great! Now you have your own Yoru no Hon!" she proclaimed.
"Yes," he hummed.
After the scroll dried, Yoshiro rolled it up and tied it with a red ribbon that was given to him. He then placed the scroll within the folds of his yakata. Both siblings then rose with Takeshi, all three of them exchanging bows by the shoji doors.
"We both thank you," Hoshiko said, smiling at the village leader.
"There is no need for the formalities, Hoshiko-san," Takeshi grinned. "At least not for tonight! We have a celebration to prepare for!"
All three of them laughed.
The siblings then took this time to exit the shrine-like structure.
By nighttime, Yoshiro was beginning to lose his calm. He was beginning to grow restless.
During the day, the pair did their normal errands. Or rather, Hoshiko did.
She ran in and out of the hut, preparing dinner and cleaning out their hut.
Yoshiro was too distracted to do much helping. Most of the villagers would stop by the hut and chat with him while he was in the middle of helping his sister tidy up their home.
Usually, Hoshiko would be upset that he wasn't doing much to assist her, but since it was his ceremonial night, she didn't feel that it was right to ruin the pleasant mood of her brother.
Finally, the moment came for him. He smiled as him and his sister walked out of the hut and headed into the center of the village.
As expected, the village people were all in attendance. When both of them arrived into the middle of the village, all of the people cheered.
"Now, now!" Takeshi yelled, getting everyone to silence themselves. He appeared in front of the siblings with a smile plastered on his face. After he got everyone's attention, he continued on. "Yoshiro here…" he trailed off, patting the said-teen on the shoulder. "…is now sixteen. Watching this boy grow up into the great fighter he is today, makes me and many others here ecstatic that he is finally becoming an official vampire slayer. I say that if his parents were here tonight, they would be extremely proud of their children!"
At that, the siblings' eyes grew solemn. The subject of their parents was a touchy one. Of course, no one around them noticed since they both quickly regained their normal happy expressions.
"Now onto the festivities!" Takeshi then declared.
The crowd of people cheered again.
Yoshiro was then directed towards an empty tatami mat on the ground. He sat down on it as instructed and waited for further instructions.
The village people were silenced as they watched in awe. It was true that many of them had been through the same induction ceremony, but it was always amazing to watch.
Hoshiko sat on another mat next to Yoshiro and Takeshi sat across from the siblings.
Around them, Takeshi's servants began lighting the many white candles around them. There were a bundle of candles surrounding them at every curve of the circle drawn out.
The white color symbolized purity and the candles themselves were known to help repel vampires.
Takeshi was then handed a chalice and he passed it onto Yoshiro. Before Yoshiro could drink out of it, Takeshi began speaking. "Yoshiro-san, I hope you aware of how special this night is. This night marks the beginning of the rest of your life as a vampire hunter of the Yoru Clan."
The teenager nodded with a serious countenance. "I am aware of this, Takeshi-sama," he replied.
Takeshi smiled. "Within that chalice is a drink of roses. As you already know, roses help keep vampires away so taking one drink means that you pledge your life to the clan. You also pledge your life to hunting vampires."
In all actuality, the liquid contained roses, water, and other special herbs.
Yoshiro nodded and put the chalice against his lips. He then tipped the cup up and drank the concoction. The liquid was warm going down his throat and the taste was sweet.
After placing the cup on the ground, he smiled, making the townspeople cheer. 'Well, that was simple enough…' he trailed off.
The three of them stood up and bowed to each other.
Yoshiro was now an official vampire slayer.
"Now, we feast!" the village-head shouted. The man led them all to his home where the food awaited them.
The room they all stepped into was massive. Several low tables were lined up. Beside the tables were many tatami mats. On the tables, however, were bowls of rice, chopsticks, cups, and other types of food.
For a few hours, family and friends rejoiced and talked about the "old days." At the end of the tables sat Yoshiro beside Takeshi.
After this came the gifts.
Many gifts given to Yoshiro were small trinkets rather than useful weapons. There were some interesting pieces though.
Some gave him containers of holy water and others gave him pouches of magical herbs. Others gave him new clothing and candles. All of which were helpful things that were typically used on vampire slaying journeys.
To all of the people who gave him presents, he smiled and replied," Arigatou gozaimasu!"
An hour passed before Takeshi got everyone's attention again. Clapping his hands, several servants carried in one cloth-covered object, tied together with rope.
To this, Yoshiro raised his eyebrow in question. 'What the hell? Two men need to carry one weapon?' he demanded to himself.
The older man noticed the teen's confused expression and laughed. "Yoshiro-san, this is your new weapon."
The two servants were then instructed to drop the weapon, and they did so with difficulty. After the weapon hit the floor, they breathed sighs of relief.
"Go ahead, open it," Takeshi encouraged.
"All right…" Yoshiro trailed off, reaching for the object and untying the ropes holding the cloth together. As soon as the cloth was taken off, the room grew silent and the teen's eyes widened in shock.
"T-this…is…" he stuttered out, managing to stand up with the weapon in his hands. Amazingly enough, he could hold the weapon with little difficulty, unlike the other two men.
"Yes, Yoshiro. A silver katana," Takeshi grinned. "It was specially made for you. I'm sure you know that it wasn't cheap, however…" he then trailed off.
Yoshiro didn't pay much attention to the older man's last comment. He was too busy looking over his new sword. "It's beautiful…" he gasped, running his hand across the shiny blade, careful not to cut himself in the process.
And what he said was no understatement. The katana's hilt was a matching silver color with ruby and emerald stones placed intricately into it. The blade itself was especially sharp with the shiny gloss of expert craftsmanship about it. The blade was so clean that Yoshiro could see himself reflected from it.
The katana suddenly dropped to the floor with a loud clank as Yoshiro fell to the ground in a deep bow before Takeshi. The bow was so low that his forehead touched the floor. "Domo arigatou gozaimasu," Yoshiro murmured.
Everyone that knew the boy was in shock. They never saw him do something so honorable or respectful. They all knew that he truly appreciated his gift.
Hoshiko had tears shining in her eyes from the touching moment. She never saw her brother this happy since their parents were around.
Takeshi stared down at the teen in awe. He quickly recovered from his stupor with a small smile. "You're more than welcome, Yoshiro. You deserve it with all of the hard training you put yourself through," he responded.
Yoshiro slowly rose, katana in hand. He looked around at everyone and stated," I promise you all that I will serve the Yuro Clan with my life."
Later that Night
The ceremony ended an hour later with everyone leaving tired.
Yoshiro and Hoshiko returned to their hut in a happy state of mind.
Yoshiro laid down, placing his new sword beside him.
"I take it that you love your new gift?" Hoshiko teased, laying down in a space near him.
"Of course! It's the best gift anyone could give me," the teenager replied, looking at her.
"So…what will you do now?" she then asked in a serious tone.
"I don't know…" he replied in all honesty. "Maybe travel a bit…"
She sighed and gave him a small smirk. "I had a feeling that you would say that…" She looked directly into his eyes. "So when will you leave?"
"Tomorrow morning," he responded in all seriousness. He then smirked. "The deal's completed. I only promised to stay out of trouble until tonight," he reminded her.
She rolled her eyes in the darkness. "Of course, Vampire-slayer-san," she said in sarcasm. "Go to bed then."
"Oi! I don't have to listen to you anymore!" he mocked in a childish manner.
"Oh, really?" she replied with a raised eyebrow. "If you want to eat, I'd suggest listening to your elders," she smirked evilly.
He groaned and rested his head against the ground once more. "'Night," he only replied.
"Good night," she grinned. 'Ah, it's nice to be the older sister…' she smiled in her mind. And with that, both siblings fell asleep.
Neither knew that tomorrow when Yoshiro was to leave, his greatest adventure would begin.
A/N: Sorry for the delay in the update! I had some writers block, but I got through it! I was originally going to make the ending a cliffhanger, but I decided not to be evil this time.
Touto-chan - An endearing way of saying "younger brother." The original way to say it is "Otouto-san."
Hai - Yes
Gomen - Sorry
Hoshiko-nee-chan - Sort of like saying "Sister Hoshiko." The original term for "older sister" is "onee-san."
Arigatou gozaimasu - Thank you very much
Domo arigatou gozaimasu - The most respectful and sincerest way to say "thank you."
Yes, Yoshiro seems "abnormal" compared to the first chapter. This is because he acts more humble around his close friends and family.
And all of the items I mentioned are truthfully mentioned to repel vampires.
Next time on Orenji no Tsuki - Yoshiro's great adventure begins! What's this? He tests out his new sword?