A Novel by
Mizuki Night and Steven Lee
Chapter One Reconnaissance
Takeru had an art to stalking his prey; He always took his time looking for just the right person. He sat in the corner of the bar, drink in hand. Then he spotted a girl who kept looking his way. He managed to telepathically pull from her mind that she was mildly interested in the dark beauty lurking in the shadows. Takeru was pretty strikingly handsome and stood out in a crowd. He was tall with slim muscular build. His black suit hugged his form in all the right places. His dark hair nearly covered his sapphire eyes from view. A few strands fell to the bridge of his nose. The dimly lit bar concealed the red streaks in his hair that reached his shoulders.
He brushed a few strands from his face and smiled at the girl who eyed him curiously. Confirming his assumption, she went slightly red in the cheeks. Takeru drained is glass and stood up. He strode over to her and stopped next to the raven beauty, leaning against the bar. He could feel her body heat rise as he neared her. He turned to face her and as soon as their eyes locked, he had her. Nor mortal could resist his mind trick. With that look, he could bind her will to his own. She followed him to the restroom then he held her up against the wall. He tilted her head to the side and saw her throbbing artery, and then he sank his teeth in the slender white neck. Her blood flowed into him, strengthening him quenching his thirst. Takeru enjoyed the intimacy of taking blood. As her blood flowed into him, so did her memories. He could learn her life story just from her blood. It was called "Blood Knowledge" a shared link between the vampire and its prey. "Blood Knowledge" could also be shared between two vampires as long as the other was either weak of mind or submitted to it. Mortals didn't have the same mental shields so their thoughts and memories were free for the taking.
Takeru took only what he needed then he sealed the wound and wiped her memory of the event. As soon as he left the restroom it was as if the event never took place. She was left thinking why she went into the restroom in the first place. Takeru left the club and headed to another. Not to hunt but to gather information. The club he just left wasn't the one he was looking for so he continued his search. Takeru had received some information that the enemy often frequented clubs and bars in this particular area. In order to remain hidden, Takeru had to cloak his mind and his vampire energy. Ancient as he was this was not a difficult task. Takeru was one the oldest vampires in his clan. Second only to the Methuselah of Clan Ryoku, the most powerful clan in Tokyo.
Takeru had been to 3 clubs already with no success until he reached La Luna, a small nearly hidden club. He would have passed it completely I it hadn't been for the vagrant vampire energy in the area.
"It can't be one vampire giving off that kind of energy," he thought. This meant there must be many vampires in the area so he had to be extra caucious. He slipped passed the bouncer and entered La Luna. The place was dark save for a few candles and the light on the stage. Takeru got a table in the back in order to get a good view of the patrons. At first no one stood out to him. Then a waitress came by and blushed slightly when he looked at her.
"What can I start you off with?" she asked "Mm, what do you have?" he countered seductively staring directly into her eyes.
"Well if you're interested in something special, we have the club special 'Chidori'" she said with a wink.
'Chidori' was Japanese for Blood Bird, code name for warm blood. In this way vampires could attain blood without all the trouble.
"I'll just have a martini, dry." he said. Takeru had to decline the offer. After all he was under cover. She walked away looking disappointed. Takeru chuckled to himself; he deduced that she was hoping that he was a vampire. The woman walked over to a large table on the other side and whispered something to one of the patrons. Takeru reached into her mind and eased dropped on the conversation.
"I don't think he's a Ryoku sir, not even a vampire," she said to the man. Takeru could not see the man's face because it was too dark, but he was curious about the mysterious vampire.
"Or he's cloaking himself pretty well. Find out Rin. Follow him out and take some troops." "Yes sir," and she disappeared into the back. Before he lost connection with her mind, her last thought was "Even if he's not a vampire, I think I'll enjoy this"
Takeru thought of his next move while another waitress brought him is drink. It was clear this was most likely the club he was looking for, however now that they suspected who he was, he needed an escape plan that would cover his tracks.
Once the singer onstage was through, Takeru left his pay on the table and left the club. Before long, he could sense vampire energy following him; suddenly he was surrounded by three vamps, the female waitress Rin from before and two lackeys. "Leaving so soon?" she asked, stripping away any sign of being mortal. Her fangs were in full view and her red eyes gleamed in the darkness.
"I got what I came for," was his reply. Then faster than any of them could see, Takeru was suddenly behind Rin, his arm around her waist pulling her roughly against himself. The other hand held a dagger to her throat. The other vamps froze and looked at each other. "One move and I'll slit her throat.' Takeru threatened menacingly. However before his very eyes, Rin dissolved into water then appeared next to her companions.
"Madoushi," Takeru glared at the woman.
"Which must make you Ryoku. Such a pity, if you were mortal, I would have made you my slave," she said wickedly. "I like to inflict pain, slow death kind of pain that would have you begging for release"
"Great, I'm fighting a sadist," Takeru then created a dagger in his other hand. Takeru's slender body made fighting with daggers like a dance. He quickly spun around and slashed he 3 vamps in the chest. The female looked down at the blood seeping through her top and glared at him.
"I like to inflict pain too, yours," he said then his daggers were suddenly surrounded by flames. Rin turned into water once more and Takeru dogged all of her attacks. He could tel that she was getting irritated. He wanted use that to his advantage. The lackeys watched, surrounding the two and Takeru took this opportunity to throw the flaming daggers at their hearts. Their bodies burst into flames. Rin stopped and watched her kin burn and turn to ash.
"They were weak, we underestimated your strength. A mistake I won't make again," she said as she pulled out a whip which was spiked with ice crystals. Rin swung the whip around rapidly, Takeru had to jump and flip out of the way but the whip was free moving thanks to her ability to manipulate water and he was hit in the face and leg. Blood trickled down his cheek. To make matters worse, she continued to dodge his attacks by morphing into water. Takeru then knew what to do. He watched her moves carefully until his noticed her pattern. Moving fast, he grabbed her right as she was about to change than sunk his teeth into her neck completely halting her movements. He knew that a Madoushi could not morph while their blood was being drained. Her mind was strong and he could only probe a small amount of information. He knew he couldn't take her life, for it would jeopardize his secrecy. Instead he drained her enough to force her to pass out then fed something into her mind to ensure that his indent and clan remained secret then he disappeared from her side. ~*~ Takeru arrived at the castle a while after his interlude at the club, just be certain that he wasn't followed. He was expecting someone to be waiting for him once he returned, however he wasn't expecting it to be Julien. Julien was from the United Kingdom, came to Japan after WWII and was made a vampire by one in the clan. He was always seeking a way to move up in the ranks, and Takeru was his current target. He stood in the entrance hall leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. He immediately straitened up once he saw Takeru. "Did you get was Tatsurou-sama requested?" Julien asked in an almost demanding tone.
Takeru glared at the in suborning vampire.
"You know full well that I report to Tatsurou-sama directly.
Julien hissed in reply. Takeru ignored him and continued on to Tatsurou's rooms.
Tatsurou, Methuselah of Clan Ryoku, a pure blooded vampire whose age is unknown. He sired Takeru 300 years ago and the two have shared a bond every since. Takeru halted at the door then knocked gently.
"Come in," said a voice from the other side of it.
Tatsurou was lying in bed with a book in hand, his favorite, Genji. He was half dressed with his robe falling off his shoulder, exposing his beautifully chiseled chest. Liken to the era he came from, Tatsurou was classically handsome in the old Japan way; Long silkily black tresses, flawless skin, long eyelashes and thin lips that curled into a smile when he saw Takeru. ?Takeru bowed upon entry then strode over to him, kneeling to the ground.
"My Lord," he said then Tatsurou lifted Takeru's face with his finger then urged him up. "I bring you news of Madoushi"
"Later," Tatsurou said lazily as he sat back down on the king size bed lined with silk. Takeru looked down at his leader whose eyes didn't have its usual light. His expression was so melancholy, almost as if he lost interest in the world. "Forgive me My Lord but you do not look all together well," Takeru commented cautiously.
"Reading this novel always makes me think of him," said Tatsurou sadly gesturing to Genji. Takeru sat down on the bed beside him and sighed knowingly.
"Why must you torture yourself like this My Lord?" Takeru asked. He hated seeing him like this. "Its been over 100 years"
"Yes 100 years and yet his scent still fills this room," he replied reminiscently."But you're right. I am torturing myself when we more pressing matters. Take, call council to the meeting hall. I shall join you shortly. We must discuss the matter of the Madoushi," said Tatsurou recovering himself.? Takeru wanted to comfort his old friends of wounds unforgotten. But he knew there was only one person who could do that. So Takeru rose from the bed, then bowed upon exiting. "How can I scold him when inside when I'm feeling the same way?" Takeru thought to himself. He was however more guarded with his feelings. They had both lost someone precious to them who would never be coming back, therefore he had no other choice but to bury those feelings deep inside.
He was about to head to meeting hall when a pair of young female vampires headed his way.
They were Seto and Ame, the only twin vampires in the clan. Just 16 when they were turned 5 years ago and they always wore Lolita dresses. Today they wore matching black and white set. They're cute appearance was only a ruse, for they were two most devious and fiercest fighters in the clan.
"Takeru-san!" they said in unison. "We've done as you've asked"
"Excellent, I knew I could count on the two of you, I trust you two didn't have too much fun on this assignment?" he asked as a wicked smile curved onto the girls faces. They were the best as achingly slow painful executions, which often left a big mess to clean up afterwards.
"Good clean fun," the said in a kind of creepy innocence. "That's all I want to know, you've done well," he said then the twins closed in on him, each locking arms with him.
"Now we want our reward," Seto whispered in his left ear as Ame nibbled on the right one. A pleasurable chill went up his spine. "Later, I promise. After the meeting," Then he told when and where to meet.
"We'll be waiting Takeru-san," they said, bowing deeply then they went off.
Takeru suddenly whistled loudly then waited, holding out his hand. Within moments his pet hawk, Ruki was sitting on arm. He caressed it gently then attached a bell to his foot and sent him on his way. The Ryoku Clan lived in old traditional Japanese castle hidden by mist, forest and magic. It was a large structure with many rooms and the only way to gather everyone was the sound of that bell.? ?Soon almost everyone was in the main meeting hall. Takeru sat at the head of the room waiting for Tatsurou. Julien entered with his followers. The twins were sitting towards the front with the rest of Takeru's female admires.? Also in the front was the pure blooded vampire Tsukihana. A beautiful and powerful vampire and Tatsurou's blood sister. She had unimaginable power, and incredible senses. Some believed she could see into the future. Loved and feared by all as the only vampire in the clan that could take on Tatsurou. ?The room was loud and noisy with little chattering of individual groups that gossiped and exchanged rumors.? The clan had over 100 official and unofficial members which smaller sects residing elsewhere.? Only about 50 lived in the castle, for one had to earn the privilege to live in the main castle. The others either took up residence with allied clans. And some lived in houses around the castle. Takeru had lived in the Ryoku castle since it was built. He shared a room with his then lover and companion. "Now naught but a memory," Takeru thought to himself.
The room hushed as Tatsurou entered this time fully dressed in gorgeous robes of silk, all fatigue and sadness gone from his face. This was the Tatsurou that everyone saw, the strong powerful leader that could silence a room of over 50 in the matter of seconds. Everyone bowed low until he took a sit beside his sister and Takeru facing the group. "My kin," Tatsurou said voice booming in the large hall, heard in every corner. "We have gathered here to discuss the matter of the Madoushi. They are becoming worrisome. They're movements are mysterious, motives unknown. We must learn as much as we can about their plans therefore I have sent Takeru to find their stronghold." Takeru stood up and told them that he found the club they were running.
"You said you fought with them," Julien stated suddenly "You're point Julien," Takeru asked icily.
"Forgive me but wasn't he supposed to do this without spilling any blood to not rose any suspicion?" Julien asked.
"That's right," commented Seifer, one of his followers. "He let the woman Rin leave. Won't she tell it was us who snuck into the club"
"She would if I didn't rewrite her memories to make her believe that I was just a rogue vampire," Takeru shot back. "You think I would risk the clan's safety by getting into an altercation without an escape plan"
"Forgive me Ta-ke-ru-san, it seems I've underestimated your talents," said Julien in an almost sarcastic tone. "In any case, what's important is that we now know where they gather." said Tatsurou "Now we act"
"What do you suggest brother?" Tsukihana asked "Infiltration"
"No, far too risky," said Takeru "I say we stay on information gathering for now. We still have no idea what they're up to"
"Exactly," said Reita, one of the older vampires and extremely loyal to Takeru. "We could send out several teams of two, to follow some Madoushi. Find out who've they've been meeting with mysteriously andˇ"
"Waste valuable? man power," Julien interrupted "Right I say we attack the club," said Seifer "You want us to storm in there not knowing how much of them are there or what allies they may have?" Takeru asked staring him directly in the eyes. Seifer recoiled. "That's right, whose to say they haven't aligned themselves with one of our allies. They could be planning an attack right now," said another vampire and then smaller arguments started across the room.
"And that's exactly why we have to keep on information gathering for the time being," Reita shot back at Seifer. Tatasurou lifted his hand and the room went silent once more.
"I agree with Takeru and Reita," he said "Reita, prepare 3 teams of two, your best spies for the job"
"Yes My Lord"
"And then this meeting is adjourned. We will meet again when Reita's troops return." Tatsurou stood and exited the room, Tsukihana followed him out. The rest of the clan stood and gathered in groups, talking amongst themselves. A group of vampires gathered around Reita hoping to be on of the teams. Julien and his group left first, but not before shooting Takeru some angry stares. Takeru ignored them and slipped out of the room before the twins could follow him. He was not in the mood indulge in their perversions tonight. He needed to get out, some time to himself. Takeru hurried to the castle gates when he felt someone behind him, it was Tatsurou.
"My Lord!" he said aghast "Why must sneak off like that?" he asked "Forgive me, I mean not to," Takeru looked down.
"Don't try hide anything from me Take, I know you too well. I know what haunts your thoughts," he said as he lifted his hand and touched the pendant around Takeru's neck. It was an old family seal.
"I'm fine. I just need some air"
"Very well, but you know where to find me should you have need of me"
"Of course," Tatsurou took Takeru's face in his hands and kissed both cheeks before planting a soft kiss on his lips and with that he disappeared from his side.
Takeru hoped in his viper then sped off to the city, seeking some distraction.