Chapter 22

Now that they were alone together, Hikari giggles and reaches under Nathan's left arm to pull him close. Out of instinct, Nathan tenses up, saving himself from having his arm shoved between Hikari's breasts. While most guys would kill to have that to happen to them, for Nathan, it's a huge problem.

"Idiot! Stop it before I change into a vampire!" Nathan whispers to her, trying to free his arm.

"Oh come on. It's just a little fun. You can handle this much, right?" She emphasizes her point by using her left arm to prop up her chest.

"Even this is really pushing it," Nathan says as he looks away, "How'd you even know this was me beneath this mask?"

"I've come to memorize your facial structure, Nay-kun. Like a mask would trick someone like me," she teases as she strokes Nathan's chin. He clenches his teeth, trying to bear with it. "Besides, you radiate with magical power so it would be hard not to find you here."

"And how can you tell that there is magical energy in me?" Nathan asks.

"Because… Oh, I don't know," she says with a giggle, "All vampires and their familiars can sense magic since we are magical ourselves. I just seem to always notice these sorts of things faster than others, especially since my own familiar form bolsters that sense. You might even get to see me in that form tonight if you're lucky."

"That would be interesting," Nathan says half-heartedly. He already expects to fight her tonight and since he knows that he gets stronger when he is in his familiar form that would mean she does too. Despite being curious about her familiar form, he'd prefer to avoid seeing her change.

"Why do you seem so down," Hikari pouts, "I thought you didn't like that failure."

"I don't," Nathan replies quickly, "She is so annoying. She asked me to dance and threatened to use magic if I said no. Good riddance if you ask me."

"Oh really?" Hikari gives Nathan a sly grin, giving him the feeling she sees through his lie. He looks away, feeling uncomfortable under that stare. He notices Melody and Sean sitting down at a table across the room. Sean looks like he is having a great conversation with Melody, but she isn't even looking at him. Instead, she is giving Nathan a nasty glare. Nathan winces, feeling the force behind that look even at this distance.

"Well, you must be thirsty after that dance. Why not get a little refreshment," Hikari says, tugging Nathan away from where he stands at the edge of the dance floor.

"O-Okay," Nathan stammers, his arm dangerously close to her chest again.

"Try not to think about it," he tells himself as he closes his eyes, allowing Hikari to pull him wherever she felt like, "If I don't think about it, nothing will happen."

"Here you go," Hikari says. Nathan opens his eyes and sees that she is holding out a glass of red wine for him to take. He frowns at the glass, but takes it anyways. He isn't usually one to drink, especially when he is on guard like this. However, if he doesn't, he fears he'll appear suspicious to Hikari.

"How are you liking it so far?" she asks as she takes a drink from a glass she picked up for herself.

"Ah, I don't know," Nathan says as he swirls his drink, "I was never one to go to these events before. Not my kind of thing really."

"Sorry, I should have been more specific," she says with a smile as she takes another drink from her glass, "I meant how are you liking being a vampire's servant so far."

"Oh… err…" Nathan stumbles with his words. He doesn't know what to tell her since Scarlet is his master. Fearing he'll say something he shouldn't in this situation, he tries to keep it simple. "It's pretty cool, I guess. It's only been about two weeks after all. Being stronger than usual is a nice added bonus."

"I know right," Hikari sighs, leaning back against the table and swirling her glass of wine. "I used to be such a failure in school. You didn't know me then since you transferred in last year. No one would even look at me before because I wasn't even good looking, but now look at me. I've become a completely different person since I was bitten. I've got good looks, top grades, even some of the best athletic records in my class. The best part is, no one can find any discrepancies about my human form. All the tests show that I'm just a normal human, although, a rather talented one at that."

"It's almost hard to believe you weren't beautiful before," Nathan says without even a hint in interest. At that moment though, a thought occurs to him that he feels he should ask her.

"Is there any special sort of circumstances for how the each fam- I mean, how each vampire servant form is decided? Such as how you became what you are and how I became a vampire?"

Hikari pauses for a moment before shaking her head. "Noting that I can really think of… Wait! There was something my master told me when I mentioned your form to her. You know how there are always those stories where if you're bitten by a vampire, you turn into one? Well you know that's a lie now, after all, we became servants with our own unique forms. But in ancient times, humans always believed that happened because all vampire servants had the vampire form.

"They all differed of course. Some had extra powers that a normal vampire wouldn't have since they can't use magic, but still powerful enough to imitate magic. That was how the whole rumor started. Now you don't see very many servants with a vampire form because they are rather hard to get. It usually takes a very powerful master to draw a familiar with a vampire form.

"My master was very surprised when she heard your form is a vampire. Whoever your master is, he must either be very powerful, or he has a ridiculous amount of luck. My master would love to meet yours once this whole thing is over."

"That would be hard. He prefers his solitude," Nathan sighs, knowing that it's the complete opposite.

That was some very useful information though. A vampire form is something only a very powerful vampire master can obtain. Scarlet uses a spell book though and that is usually a sign of weakness from what I've gathered. I get a weird feeling that Scarlet is hiding something from the rest of us about how powerful she really is.

Nathan looks down at the glass of wine he has been holding for a while now. Frowning, he finally takes a drink from the glass. He nearly spits it out when he tastes how sweet it is.

"Woah! Why is this so sweet?" He asks.

"It has to be. What other substitute would do?" a familiar sounding man's voice cuts in.

Nathan turns to his left and sees someone in a sleek tuxedo swirling his own glass of wine in circles. His sleek, golden hair matches his mask. A feeling of déjà vu comes over Nathan. He has seen this man before.

"Ruki?" Nathan asks, trying to peer beneath the man's mask.

"My name is not Ruki, it's Ritsuki!" he snaps as he turns to Nathan. His expression changes when he realizes who he is looking at. "You! You're that vampiress's servant I fought!"

"You two know each other?" Hikari asks.

I shouldn't have spoken his name. Ruki is a rogue vampire based on what Scarlet told me. If Hikari really is the familiar of a Night Hour vampire then my cover will be blown!

Nathan laughs and shakes his head. "I ran into him once in the streets. We mistook each other as enemies since we were both out during the day."

Nathan nods to Ruki, hoping he'll take the hint and go along with him. If Hikari doesn't know who he is exactly, then it would be in both their interests to remain that way.

In response, he receives a glare from Ruki before he says, "Yeah… It's odd seeing vampires or their servants out during the day after all."

Nathan lets out a sigh of relief. He is going along after all.

"So that's why I felt magic coming from you. You're a vampire, right? How come you're not wearing any Vanrupt-6?"

Nathan clenches his teeth. He hadn't thought that far.

Luckily, it seems Ruki already has an excuse at hand. "I've heard that all the hunters in the city are wiped out. If that's the case, I don't need to worry about hiding my identity, correct?"

"I guess," Hikari replies, but Nathan can tell she doubts his answer.

"Could you give me a moment, Hikari? I need to talk to him," Nathan says.

"Alright. I'll just be around here."

Nathan waits until there is a little bit of distance between them and Hikari before turning to Ruki and whispers, "What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing, runt. But I won't because I'll just assume that failure master of yours is here too."

Crossing his arms, Nathan waits for him to continue. Ruki eyes Nathan closely, giving Nathan the feeling that he is testing how trustworthy he is.

With a sigh, Ruki says, "Something big is going down tonight. I'd watch your back if I were you. If your master is here, then you're both in extreme danger."

"Why would that be?" Nathan asks. He feels that it's just the planned assault that Ruki is talking about so he isn't worrying too much. Nathan just wants to see what other info he can get out of him.

"Your master isn't the only vampire here," Ruki says, "I had to bring in several dhampirs to even the numbers should they make their move."

"Wait, several?" Nathan asks, "How many vampires are here?"

"Enough to-"

"Ah! I love these!" Hikari cheers, silencing Ruki before he can finish.

Hikari holds out a cookie to Nathan with a smile. They are circular, white sugar cookies with a cherry gelatin filling. Although he doesn't trust that smile, Nathan takes the cookie anyways and takes a bite. The sweet, red filling washes through his mouth, reminding him a little of Shiyo's blood. It isn't quite the same and is still a bit of a letdown, but it is still good. He grimaces upon realizing how he is comparing everything to the taste of her blood now.

"How do you like them?" Hikari asks.

"They're delicious," Nathan tells her, finishing off his cookie.

Ruki makes an annoyed sound and uses the distraction to leave. Nathan watches him go in the corner of his eye. The information Ruki told him is giving him an uneasy feeling. He thought there would only be one vampire here besides Scarlet. Clearly, he was wrong, but now he wonders why they are here.

"Really? Thank goodness. I was wondering if it would amount up to the blood you've tasted."

"Why? Did you make them?" Nathan asks.

She nods before biting into another cookie. "I made a lot of the stuff here tonight. My master asked me to since she was busy with the preparations."

"You made a lot of it? But isn't this hosted by-"

I looked down the tables and see the platters upon platters of snacks, drinks and food. What I noticed most, however, is the amount of red there was. Apart from the cookies with cherry filling, there was the red wine, red fruits, pastries with red food coloring, red… well… everything. My heart was starting to pound faster and harder against my chest just seeing all the red.

"Um… Hikari? Why is there so much red?" Nathan asks.

"Why wouldn't there be? Vampires like blood and blood is red. They especially like red wine because some have the exact same colour of blood. Nothing like a glass of blood to calm an agitated vampire."

The grin on her face makes Nathan's blood run cold. "What's going on?" Nathan asks.

"Oh nothing to be worried about," Hikari says while still smiling.

As she says that, Nathan notices two large men with red masks shut the doors leading to the entrance. Something glows around their hands just before they turn back around. They stand with arms crossed, giving them the appearance of club bouncers. If it were anyone else, he or she would have ignored that glowing effect, but Nathan knew better. They used magic on the doors. Those two are vampires.

"We've got a problem, despicable lust-filled piece of trash," Melody says as she walks up to him.

"Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't be able to understand what that sentence means," Nathan sighs, "Just give me a moment Hikari, I need to talk to this girl."

"Hikari-chan," Hikari says with a giggle, "Come on, it won't hurt you to add the '-chan.'"

Thinking that it's fine to leave, Nathan walks Melody a little off to the side where Hikari won't hear them talking. Regardless, Nathan does not want to take any chances and speaks in a whisper to Melody.

"What did you find out?" Nathan asks.

"Something is going on. I felt the presence of a vampire and multiple dhampirs entering the premises as of ten minutes ago. They've stopped as of now as far as I know, but I still feel the presence of about thirty or so hostiles within the ballroom."

"Thirty? That's so many!" Nathan gasps. When Melody gives him a questioning look, Nathan tells her what Ruki said about bringing in dhampirs.

"So we have a rogue vampire and dhampirs here as well as Niigata-san's master, that's just perfect," Melody sighs, "Anything else to report."

"The rogues are the least of our worries," Nathan says, "Look at the tables of food. What is common about all the dishes?"

"They're all red," Melody says after just a quick glance.

"Right. If my suspicions are right, there's more than just Niigata-san's master to worry about and they're all wearing that perfume stuff that hides their presence. Not only that, but I just noticed those two guys by the doors shutting them and casting a spell. I think we're locked in."

"Perfect!" Melody snaps, "You walked us right into a warzone!"

"This is my fault?" Nathan snaps back, "It wasn't just me! This was your idea too!"

"Well now what? We need to get out of here now!"

"Is something wrong?" Hikari says, walking up to the two of them.

Nathan laughs and shakes his head, "No! No problem. It was just a question from class. I helped her with it."

"No it wasn't" Melody says.

"Just go along with it," Nathan whispers to her between his teeth.

"I can't," Melody whispers back, "Scarlet's spell forces me to tell the truth, remember?"

Hikari is giving the two of them a questioning look, making Nathan feel uncomfortable. Melody needs to leave now before Hikari starts asking questions that could blow their cover.

"Well whatever. It seems the main event is about to begin," Hikari says.

"What do you mean?" Nathan asks.

When he speaks, the music dies down and the band stops playing. Everyone's gaze turns up to the top of the staircase where two people, an elderly man and a beautiful woman are standing arm in arm. The man is short in comparison to her and is on the rather large side. He is exactly what Nathan pictured as who would own a mansion such as this. However, something seems wrong.

"There's my master," Hikari says, pointing to the woman.

I gulped when I took in her appearance. She wears a brilliant and majestic golden dress that appears to flower outwards, similar to the ones Melody and Shiyo wear. She has shiny, feathery black hair trailing down the right side of her neck to just above her chest. However, after closer inspection, she isn't quite as beautiful as I first thought she was. Her skin is pale white and she wears black mascara and deep red lipstick. Just by looking at her, I can tell she is a vampire. I was stupid to think Hikari's master was a man.

She is resting something in the arm that isn't attached to the man. A giant broadsword with what appears to be a pure, silver blade. Gold and bronze garnishes the hilt and a bright red ruby rests in the pommel, appearing to pulse with energy in the brilliant light. At first glance, it only appears to be a decorative sword, but I can tell it has magic in it from that ruby. That sword is much more dangerous than it appears.

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen!" the woman says, tapping the giant sword on the ground to grab the attention of the remaining guests still talking to each other. She only uses one hand to guide the massive sword, revealing just how strong she is. Nathan clenches his teeth. With strength like that, it will be hard to find any openings to exploit in close combat.

"I know this is a late welcoming, but my husband, Hiro-sama, and I, are very glad that you all could make it tonight on this fine evening."

Nathan picks up on some of the guests whispering to each other. From what he can pick out of the general consensus, that woman is not Hiro-sama's wife. Many of them are concerned about his real wife. That man on her arm, however, is just going along with what she says with a bright smile. She must have him under a spell.

"Oh right, I need to give you guys this. Don't want to get you caught up in all of this," Hikari says just before Nathan finds himself staring at a pink cloud of Vanrupt-6 heading his way.

He and Melody begin to cough and hack while waving the perfume away. "Hikari, what is going on?" Nathan asks as he tries to find her again, only to realize that she is long gone.

Cursing under his breath, Nathan knows that everyone needs to get out as soon as possible. After seeing two vampires mess with the doors, however, Nathan is having a hard time figuring out how. They probably have the entire place on lockdown, forbidding any escape. This wasn't just a trap for Scarlet, it was a trap for everyone!

"Now, now, I still have a few more things I'd like to say, but unfortunately, I do not believe I have the time. I'd hate to cut this introduction short but I do have matters to attend to tonight and so does my husband. We still welcome you to stay and enjoy the rest of your night here. After all, it will definitely be a night to remember."

Nathan grabs Melodys' wrist and tries to pull her away from the dance floor. She resists against him and looks like she wants to shout out, but his glare tells her to keep quiet as he drags her to the wall underneath the balcony where they won't be seen. He knows that things are about to get ugly and fast. He also needs to find Shiyo and Scarlet. They must be lost somewhere in the crowd.

"However, there is one last thing I must say before I go," Hikari's master continues, "I am aware that we have some special guests tonight that may not be aware of just how special they really are. To them, I hope you'll all enjoy the events about to follow and I have two words to give you before we resume the event…"

Nathan looks back to her and can see, even from this distance, the smile on her face revealing her two, sharp vampire fangs.

"Tirnuell Argeveme."

"Shit!" Nathan accidentally shouts when he sees a blue glow coming off him and Melody. Their weapons are becoming visible again! Deep within the crowd, another person he cannot see is glowing. "That must be Shiyo!" Nathan tells Melody.

The glowing dies down and Nathan can tell how restless the crowd of people are. He is lucky that he moved away so no one would see them, but Shiyo must be in trouble.

"A-A gun!" a woman suddenly screams, "She has a gun!"

"Someone call security!" a man shouts.

"Ah! N-No!" Nathan hears Shiyo's scream, "You've got it all wrong! I'm not going to hurt anyone. I promise!"

Panic seizes the people and some begin to run. Nathan can see a few head for the doors, but when they try to move them, they are suddenly shot back from some unseen force. The others don't notice it, but the two men standing nearby smile at their handiwork. Cursing, Nathan returns his attention to the scared crowd and notices a man walking slowly towards it with black energy swirling in his hands. Knowing nothing good will come out of this, Nathan reaches into his suit and pulls out his handgun. He takes aim at the man, but notices another man nearby with the same black energy, and then another. There's too many of them!

"What do we do?' Melody asks. She cannot even grab for her gun since Scarlet's magic is still in effect. She only watches as things take the turn for the worst.

"I've got her!" a man shouts from the crowd, "Somebody, take her gun!"

"No! Stop! This isn't what you think!" he hears Shiyo protest.

The men raise their arms and large, black spheres of energy, about eight from what Nathan could count, launch into the air and head towards the center of the crowd. A few people look up at the black, swirling energy in the air and scream.

"Shiyo, you idiot!" Nathan shouts at the top of his lungs, "Run!"

The magic converges into one giant sphere and suddenly, drops straight down. The ground shakes and a huge, fiery explosion bursts from the crowd as purple and black flames shoot outwards towards the ceiling, throwing everyone else all over the room.

"Shiyo!" Nathan screams.