Tsukimura Akemi's life is torn between her childhood friend that is slowly turning into a demon and is currently the main target of a heartthrob schoolmate—who is a Demon Hunter. Little did she know that she's more deeply involved than she thinks.
Author's Words: Hi minna-sama! Okay, for those who have read this story and are currently rereading it, I changed a whole lot of things and I can't list them here or they'll eat a lot of space. So if you feel confused, ask me immediately. For new readers, well...happy reading! ^^
Ten years ago…
It was another cold and dull snowy night. I remembered it marked exactly two months after my father's mysterious murder. Ever since then, my mother, my two siblings and myself locked ourselves up, feared that whoever had assassinated my father was still after us. We all had lived in fear.
But then there was a sudden knock from our run-down wooden door. My mother walked towards it, praying the whole time that it wasn't the murderer. I heard her exhale a sigh of relief when she opened the door—it was my father's close friend. After I heard them chat a bit, my mother called me to come and greet the guests. At first, I thought that he was just paying a visit, but then I saw him.
A young boy about my age, all covered in blood.
He was a bit shorter than I was, and looked like an albino with silvery white hair that was indeed too long for a boy. But he had typical Japanese dark brown eyes, although his were a bit brighter and slightly maroon.
"Akemi-chan, this is Yuuya Ikuto. I found him lying unconsciously in a burning house, and although he was drenched in blood, he wasn't really that badly injured and was the only survivor there. Please take care of him while I conduct a bit of search. He will be living with me afterwards," dad's friend smiled warmly to me and my mother, and then he said his momentary good-byes, leaving Ikuto alone with us.
"Akemi, since your siblings are asleep already, why don't you help change Ikuto-kun into a more appropriate apparel while I prepare something for him to eat?"
"Right, then…," I nodded obediently as my mother went into the kitchen after wrapping the poor boy in a warm blanket.
I recalled that moment very well. Ikuto was very silent and he wouldn't even meet my eyes. He wouldn't answer any of my questions. He wouldn't talk. He just remained silent, and still…it was as if he was lifeless, and the only sign that he was still alive was his short, unsteady breaths.
"Umm…I think you might need a bath," I had said in the bathroom but after seeing that he made no attempt to do anything, I sighed inwardly. "You need to take off your clothes…would you like me to help?" I offered being the kind child I was, but he remained still. Taking this as an agreement, I helped him take off his shirt and started to wipe away the dried blood on his upper body with a warm wet towel. I was relieved that he had not sustained any major injuries, but there were cuts and grazes all over his pale body. One particular thing I remembered most was something that looked like a weird black tattoo on the base of his left neck. It was a perfect circle with strange engravings as the border, and in that circle was a star and a sun.
He must have felt very scared, and maybe even traumatic. His eyes showed his crumbling, sad self and I felt him tremble every time the wet towel touched his skin.
I had decided to leave him alone in his silence not because I was heartless, but because I was scared. I was really scared that the fragile-looking boy standing in front of me could break into tiny pieces. I was scared.
Chapter 1: The Predator Within
Akemi knocked politely on the huge grand-looking wooden door. Even though it had almost been five years since she got a special scholarship to go to this grand school, she still wasn't used to all of its grand and expensive-looking facilities. But more especially, she was utterly surprised to the point of speechless at how gentlemanly most of the boys there were. They would chat nicely with the girls and act like gentlemen. They would even offer their chairs and tables if they saw some girls who seem to need them.
When Akemi was still in her old, poor, run-down, boy-majority school, she thought that it could only happen in TV. She could now relax more, not having to get angry and yell at the boys every single day like she used to. She was really grateful for the kind Principal's offer—he was her father's best friend, after all, before her father was murdered.
Akemi tidied her loose brownish-black hair that fell to over her shoulders with a white X-shaped clip, her long bangs framing her face. She had amber eyes, which was rather unusual but still acceptable. Her body wasn't really tall, but just right for her age. She waited for a while before finally knocking again.
"Principa—ah, Yuuya?" she took a step backwards after her childhood friend's straight face greeted her suddenly. "Do you know where the Principal is?" she asked gently with a smile, knowing how temperamental this boy was. Even so, she knew that he had a kind heart and gentle towards others he cared about.
"He's not here," Yuuya Ikuto replied, boring his brownish-cardinal colored eyes into Akemi's slight frown. "But he asked me to—"
"Ah! Akemi-chan! Sorry, sorry, did you wait long?" a male voice with child-like accents suddenly said from behind her. "Eh? Principal? No…I just got here, actually," Akemi turned around and saw Principal Hayase, Ikuto's adopted father, running chibi-ishly towards them. "Whew! That was quite a feat! Ikuto-kun, look- look—daddy's finally back from the grocery store! Tonight we can finally eat together as a family again! Oh, why don't you and your family join us, Akemi-chan? Oh, how silly of me, come in, come in!"
Akemi snuck a glance at Ikuto as the three got into the Principal's room and closed the door. He was definitely cringing inwardly and he had faint blush marks on his pale, perfectly chiselled face. She knew that this principal was so going to be 'strangled' by his own adopted son later on.
"Right…anyway, you asked me to meet you today. I was wondering what it was about," Akemi averted her glance back to Hayase, who was putting away the food contents inside grocery bags into the fridge. "Ah, yes, yes—that. It's actually…," the Principal paused and glanced at Ikuto for a second before continuing, "…the demons and humans in this high school." At that, Ikuto narrowed his eyes as he looked away. Akemi knitted her delicate eyebrows together. "What about them?"
She thought that with her being the quite strict Prefect here was enough. It wasn't like the demons attacked the humans, anyway. They got along just well enough, in her opinion. What threats were there?
"The Exorcist's leader family had decided to let more of their young Exorcists to enrol in Kisaki next week and onwards," Hayase said, and Ikuto went into his room, closing the door with quite a loud bang. Akemi winced, but then recovered. "But…wait; is this the Demon Exorcists we're talking about here? And why would more Exorcists go here in the first place?"
"You may not notice it, Akemi, but in here we only have a small percentage of Exorcist students. We never know when…," at this the Principal lowered his voice,"…our young demons might start to get their blackouts and attack innocents. I don't see anything bad in having more Exorcists. And I'm saying this to you because I trust you, as Kisaki's trusted Prefect that you would cooperate with the Hunters in keeping peace and safety of this school."
"And what about Yuuya? Haven't you thought of how he would feel?"
After they got older, Hayase explained to them what had really happened with Akemi's father and Ikuto's family. They were slaughtered. By demons. And now, Akemi's greatest worry for her friend was about that malicious-looking tattoo on the base of his left neck…
"…Of course I did. I talked to him, and…," the Principal didn't finish his sentence as he scratched his head. In any case, what Akemi knew was that she hated those Exorcist students. They seem to have very high self-esteem, and wouldn't socialize with anyone, even the humans. They were very cold. And unfriendly. And if possible, she would prefer to avoid any form of contact with them. But she had no choice in here.
"…I see," she answered forcedly, with a churning feeling building up inside her.
Whatever am I going to do now…
As Kisaki's sole Prefect, she knew very well what she must do to help protect the human students in the school from the secrets about the demons and prevent any possible assaults—which was, indeed, cooperating with those Exorcists she despised so much. But on the other side, she felt sorry for Yuuya too…who was slowly turning into one of those demons. That tattoo of his was particularly suspicious.
Just when she was mulling over things and if she should have declined the Principal's offer (in which of course she couldn't), she heard a girl cry. Curious who was crying and why—since the girls in Kisaki don't cry—Akemi turned a corner to where she saw two figures standing in front of one another. Once she got clearer view, she saw a tall and quite lean blond male with a female, her hands covering her face as if she was ashamed. Akemi immediately knew what was going on, and she didn't like any bit of it. The girl herself quickly ran away from where she had stood, sobbing, but the male remained where he was, looking as calm and unremorseful as he could.
"Akane Takuya…I should have known," Akemi muttered through her gritted teeth in a low and dangerous voice, balling up her fists slowly. When he slowly locked his full-of-scary-aura-yet-somehow-cold-and-distant gaze to her, Akemi narrowed her eyes and walked away from him after the crying girl. She didn't even try to argue or kick some senses into him. She had no point in doing so—not with this guy. If this was some other boys we're talking about here, sure, but Cogito? No way. It was impossible.
She hated boys like him, especially. They're Exorcists, after all, and if she and Ikuto don't hate them, what dignity do they have? None, even if both happened to be Exorcists, too. Those Exorcists have let them down when they need them most. The results were quite simple, actually. Well, if you refer to losing some of your family members and living in poverty 'simple'.
Akemi's an Exorcist because her father used to be an Exorcist. And Ikuto? She never knew his reasons in being a Demon Exorcist because he never told her so. The first time they had met, he was already a skilled Exorcist-in-training. But with that weird marking…Akemi tried to shake this haunting thought away from her head.
No. it's not possible. I'm just imagining things. After all, he hadn't showed any signs of turning into one…
She sighed a sigh of relief inwardly, clearly trying to reassure herself.
That's right…Yuuya will always be Yuuya. He can't be anything else, let alone a demon. I mean, what's a Demon Exorcist supposed to do if he's a demon himself? He couldn't possible commit suicide or the likes, now, would he? And besides, his friends won't kill him, I guess.
It's too bad that Akemi would have to know the sad truth sooner or later…
Meanwhile in front of the Student Council President's Room door…
Takuya knocked twice politely on the door and waited for a response. To be honest, he would rather not go into this room, because he had 'issues' with the President, in which he himself didn't really understand what—it was just a mutual feeling of pure hatred towards one another without any apparent reasons.
But this was urgent.
Takuya opened the door and entered the spacious, library-like room. It had marble floors and pillars, and grand-looking wooden shelves with books stacked up neatly from top to bottom, and had lots of real silver-and-diamond chandeliers and red-and-gold curtains draping over the huge tainted glass window. Takuya would love to be here, locked away from the rest of the world and just read books peacefully—although he felt that he could read and concentrate better without all those expensive room furniture and accessories. Especially the red carpet that leads to the President's table, where he was holding a thick copy of papers, and was sitting in a very relaxed manner. Almost too relaxed, if possible, because he had his feet up on the edge of his table and showed no interest in moving them even when Takuya was in front of him.
As if finally remembering that he had someone standing in front of him, the President barely looked up from his papers but raised an eyebrow. "I thought you'd decline, actually," were his first words. "Sorry if I sound rude, but if possible I'd like to spend as little time in here, Prez," Takuya replied with a cold tone and matching eyes.
"Hah, I knew this would happen. In any case, I didn't call you to have a cosy chitchat here, 'Akane'. I mean business."
At that, Takuya frowned microscopically. If he meant business, he meant dealing with demons.
"Recognize this guy?" President Shijima Ryuunosuke threw the papers he was holding just a while ago across his table, landing just on the edge of his desk. Takuya picked it up and saw a familiar student in Kisaki. He could probably see him almost every other day. The boy in the picture was in the same grade as he and the President were, and yet his albino hair was a dead giveaway of his identity.
"I have some fascinating data to share with you. I thought you would be interested," the President had an evil-looking smirk pasted on his smug, yet somehow quite good-looking face. Takuya read on, and found himself feeling bothered when he was done. He looked up to Shijima with a questioning look, and Shijima spoke. "You know what…I guess the Association still doesn't want to lose your 'amazing skills' just yet, since maybe you could still be of a use, you know. So…they sent you responsible in the disposal of an unclean member."
Looking down at the picture again, Takuya spoke, not more than a whisper to the ears, but enough to make hundreds shudder in fear, "Unclean member, huh…Yuuya Ikuto…"
Author's Notes: Well, that's all for chapter 1! Thank you for reading this far. It's about time I introduce myself...I'm Kobayashi Saki, and I'm 14. I'm from Tokyo, and the main reason why I'm writing in English is because I want to improve it, if not perfect it. But I need your help, so please review and feel free to tell me anything of what you think about this story! ^^ Doumo arigatou gozaimashita, minna-sama!