To eragon95159: That's a nice idea, but then Vivian would have to explain how she knows about Yuu and that he's currently staying with Guren... And there's a chance that it could change the future Krul and her want since Yuu is very stubborn and would want to meet Mika, no matter what.
To mothedman: Haha, glad you like the two of them together! And there'll be a lot more smack talk between her and Guren :D Yep, Ferid decapitated her once to 'teach' her about vampire healing. Your question will be answered over the course of the story.
To BookwormStrawberry: There'll be more love and drama in the future. This is only the beginning! Vivian won't ask directly about Yuu since she'd have to explain then how she knows about him and that he's currently staying with Guren.
To TheMarphasChappers: :))) You're onto something there... I won't say anything else though since that would spoil the story~! Enjoy the talk with team!
To my guest reviewer from Apr 5: I contemplated whether to make the fight a little longer, but then settled with this since it made the most sense to me. The setting with Mika and Yuu in season 2 is a lot different than the setting here and Shinya also tells his team that the vampire they are facing is the girl all of them have been searching for for four years, so continuing the fight wouldn't have made any sense. It also helped that Vivian wasn't trying to kidnap Shinya, lol. There might be a fight between Vivian and Shinya's team in the future, though ;)
To NguyetMieu: Yeah, Vivian and Shinya aren't on the same page... yet. Poor Shinya has to endure the friendzone for a while longer xD I'm glad you found the chapter satisfying since I was really nervous about screwing the reunion up. And I can only agree with you - it's ridiculous that Mahiru and Guren have been in love with each other since they were five, but that's how it is written in the light novels, so it shall be that way in my story, too. I'm happy that you liked Shinya's character development!
Yep, that's Germany for you. But no, it's not allowed to drink beer inside the school building. Lol, we didn't have any beer vending machines at school, but there was a gas station near the school where some of the guys sometimes bought beer during lunch and drank it behind the school gym xD
To Kiur: I didn't want to keep you all waiting for too long, especially since it was such an important and anticipated chapter, so I updated as fast as I could :D You totally get Vivian and Shinya! At the moment there's no romance because they first need to restore their friendship and kind of get to know each other again. They need to clear up where they stand.
And yes, the team (most of them) did not recognize Vivian, so that's why they acted like that. They thought she was attacking him/drinking his blood from that angle, so they went in to save Shinya. You're right with your assumption, Guren did know that Vivian is a vampire because he exchanged information with Ferid and Ferid asked him for information on her. He then showed Crowley that information in a previous chapter. Well spotted!
I'm glad you like the dashes of humour in my writing and the descriptions of the situations :) I think being entirely serious wouldn't quite fit Shinya's personality or the dynamic between Vivian and him. You'll see in this chapter how Shinya's team will react to Vivian!
To Zathalos: Thank you for the two reviews! I personally prefer grey characters, since they always seem to be the most realistic ones. Vivian will keep wearing the vampire uniform for females (black dress) for a while longer. You're understanding Vivian very well but are underestimating Shinya's influence on her, hehe. Find out in this chapter how she and the squad get along!
To amerdism: Congrats for being the 100th review(er) :D ! I'm glad you like my story so far! Vivian is an unraked noble but not a progenitor. However, she could get a progenitor rank one day when the appropriate rank is free and she proves that she is strong enough for it, the same with Mika. They would never be as strong as a seventh progenitor like Ferid though, since he was turned by a second progenitor centuries before they were turned. Crowley once said that he is about as strong as an eighth progenitor though he was also turned by the same vampire blood as Ferid. So, I think the rankings overlap a little and Vivian and Mika could be as strong as an eighth progenitor at best, but it's more likely that they could be ninth progenitors. As for the ranking system... yours (the canon one) is about the same as the one I use in this story though it's never explicitly explained how it works, so most of it is just personal interpretation of the information I could gather on the topic.
In chapter 13 of my story Krul explains it to Vivian like this: "A vampire's strength is primarily determined by the blood they have received, Vivian – they don't get stronger or weaker after that. And you have drunk my, a Third Progenitor's, blood to become a vampire, which gave you a power that should surpass Niall's (an Eleventh Progenitor's). It depends on your own talents and capabilities whether you can adequately use that power to defeat him."
There are some more explanations in my A/N at the end of chapter 13, as well as parts of chapter 15.
Vivian has wavy, light blonde hair that is somewhat similar to Mika's, and she has a fringe that is parted at the side. If she leaves her hair open, it reaches her hips, but she prefers to keep it in a hairstyle with a larger french braid in the middle of her head and one smaller braid on each side of her head, right above her ears, braided into the large one, but she leaves her fringe out of it. As a human she had dark brown/black eyes, but now she has the typical red vampire eyes. She has pale skin and used to have some freckles when she was a human. She is about 172 centimetres tall (5'7") and weighs around 55 kilograms (121lbs). She's a C-cup if you wanted to know that as well, lol.
As for your other question, Vivian's sword is described in detail in chapter 15.
To Cocokitten12: I'm glad you like my story! There'll be more Shinya and Vivian interactions in this chapter :D
To Charlotte M. Baldonado: I'm happy I'm able to entertain you with my story in these difficult times. Thank you for the compliments!
To Shuuran: I totally agree with you. I'm not sure whether I like where Owari no Seraph is going. The plot is kind of a mess and there were many plot twists I didn't like (the thing with Mika for example). Maybe I'll diverge from canon when I know where it's going. I'm glad you like Vivian, I like grey characters, too!
To Melonlord25: Shinya is amazing, isn't he? I'm glad you stumbled across my story, I can totally relate to the binge-reading thing. Thank you for the compliments :D
To MentalForge: Relatable! I'm happy that you like BTW!
To Kimura Tsukino: For some reason, there are hardly any long stories with Owari no Seraph Character x OC pairings (I'm not a fan of Canon Character x Reader stories either since the reader is always an OC anyway and the whole thing seems kind of lazy to me) for this fandom. I'm happy to hear that you like Vivian and her trials and inner conflicts. I'm also glad that you think she and Shinya are shipworthy xD The original pairing for this story was VivianxCrowley with Shinya having an unrequited love for Vivian but as I began uploading this story, I realised that Vivian and Shinya had way more chemistry and changed the pairing. Now they're almost obsessed with each other lol though Vivian doesn't realise yet what her feelngs for Shinya mean. But she'll get there eventually.
To Tamami-Chan: I agree with that - I'm still not satisfied with the beginning of the story. The first few chapters were kind of rushed because I wanted to get to the Sanguinem part as quick as possible. I'm glad you like Vivian and Shinya's relationship and the story in general! I think they're adorable, too!
To Bunkerbird25: Sorry for the small cliffhanger, hehe. I'm happy to hear that!
To satou kuzuma452: There are a couple of chapters left before we reach the war and canon :D
A/N: A special thank you to everyone who took the time to write me a review, so I have something to read in these difficult times, too! Your support motivated me to finish this chapter even though it was surprisingly hard to write. I'm really sorry I made you wait for so long, but I was kind of stuck on this chapter and there were also RL matters I had to take care of and I wasn't in the best mental health (still am not) either. I really wanted to finish this chapter earlier, but I just couldn't do it :(
This chapter is entirely new since I didn't like the old version anymore. I hope that you are well and that you'll enjoy Vivian's conversation with the squad!
Chapter 21 – Meeting the Squad
Shinya took my hand and led me to a sofa, where we sat down under the watchful eyes of his squad. The group reluctantly took a seat on the other chairs and sofas nearby after Shinya's prompting. It could be a convivial gathering if they weren't staring at me as if I was going to eat Shinya alive or jump at them at any second.
"Did she bite you?" Guren asked Shinya, his hand resting on the handle of his sword. The others were tense and ready for a fight, too.
Okay, it might have looked that way because my face had been buried in Shinya's neck, but I still felt slightly offended that the man thought I'd hurt my friend.
"No." Shinya pulled down his collar to show his squad that he was indeed uninjured. "We were just passionately hugging and declaring our undying love for each other," my friend cleared up with a breezy smile.
"Passionately hugging...?" the girl with red hair repeated quietly, her cheeks taking on the same colour as her hair.
"Undying love..." The brunette blushed as well, which made me feel oddly embarrassed, too.
It was true that I loved Shinya – I considered him part of my family after all – and had enjoyed the hug, but his wording abashed me since it could easily be misunderstood. "Shinya! Don't let it sound so... so misleading!" I scolded him but couldn't meet his eyes for some reason.
"Ah, we should really remove that kunai... May I?" Shinya thankfully changed the topic as his eyes landed on my shoulder.
My friend wordlessly removed the weapon from my shoulder without staining his gloves while I sat still and returned it to the young woman with long black hair afterwards. Then, he pushed my cloak and bolero out of the way to inspect the wound though he was careful not to touch it or the blood.
"Hmm, I think Shigure-chan managed to hit an artery judging from the slow but constant flow of blood trickling down your arm."
His evaluation made me look at the wound again. "This should have healed as soon as you removed the weapon."
But it was still open and not healing at all. Of course it wasn't. I'd been injured by Cursed Gear. The more I stared at the injury and felt the loss of blood, the more my thirst grew, so I looked away.
"We use special weapons which cause injuries on vampires that don't heal," Shinya explained.
"Well, then I'll have to wait until I'm back in Sanguinem to heal the wound." A glass of blood or a visit to the Curse Detoxification Chamber should do the trick.
My friend's expression changed to something more serious. "You want to return to the vampire stronghold underneath Kyōto after this?"
"Where else am I supposed to go?" I tilted my head in question. "The Imperial Demon Army's strongholds in Shibuya and Shinjuku are out of the question and it's not like I can return to my flat either since it's still being watched. Even if I killed the watchers, others would simply take their place or Kureto would send even more reinforcements." There was also the matter of my sustenance and my deal with Krul. I didn't want to leave Mika either.
"She knows Hiiragi Kureto?" the red haired woman mumbled.
I wondered whether she and the rest of the squad were loyal to the Hiiragi Clan and if I would get Shinya in trouble if I said too much.
His blue eyes took on a calculating gleam. "Let's discuss that later. First, we should take care of that wound of yours. Drinking some blood should reactivate your healing ability..."
"Hey Shinya, what are you planning?" Guren butted in.
Shinya smiled at his dark-haired friend. "Just a small blood donation."
"You can't be serious."
"Oh, I'm very serious, Guren."
My stomach dropped at his words. What the heck was Shinya thinking?!
"Hey, hey, hey, what are you thinking, Lord Shinya?" the blond pipe smoker was apparently as shocked as me and on the same wavelength.
On a side note, it was really weird to hear someone add the suffix '-sama' to Shinya's name.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Lord Shinya," the young woman with red hair spoke her mind.
Sayuri, if that really was her name, appeared concerned but Shigure wore a poker face.
"I agree. Listen to them," I requested, earning myself surprised looks from Shinya's team. "I'll be fine. It's not like a little blood loss is going to kill me."
"You could turn into a demon if you don't have enough blood," he pointed out.
"It doesn't happen that fast." The blood loss wasn't affecting me that much yet.
"I'd rather not take any risks, Vivi-chan. Not now when I finally have you back," Shinya stayed adamant.
His concern for me made me happy even if the topic did not. It wasn't like I couldn't understand him – I'd probably want to help him too if it was the other way around – but the way how Shinya wanted to help me bothered me.
It was one of my worst fears that I'd hurt my friends because of what I'd turned into. "I appreciate your concern, but I don't want to hurt you, Shinya." And I didn't want to show him more of this inhuman side of me either.
"There you have it. The vampire doesn't want your shitty blood, so stop this nonsense already," I got surprising but probably unintentional support from Guren.
Shinya ignored him and placed a hand on my uninjured shoulder. "Let me help you, Vivi-chan. I wasn't there for you when you needed me the most, so please let me take care of you at least this time."
I was moved by his words and the emotions behind them, but not moved enough to agree to his absurd suggestion. I shook my head in disagreement and crossed my arms over my chest. "Forget it. I'm not going to bite you and you can't make me."
Someone snorted. "Why does it feel as if I've entered a bizarre looking-glass world?" Goshi commented, but I continued to stare Shinya down.
We were both equally stubborn.
Then, Shinya smiled at me, his eyes shining with determination and a hint of smugness. "Nobody said anything about you having to bite me, Vivi-chan~. This place was a bookstore cafe."
With that being said, Shinya got up and walked towards the counter where coffee and tea had been served in the past.
I blinked. "Wha–" I was about to follow him but Guren blocked my way with his sheathed sword, which was the only reason why I hadn't drawn mine.
"You stay with us, bloodsucker."
I gave him the evil eye for having the audacity to believe that he could order me around, but stopped dead in my tracks. For a moment I contemplated whether it was worth it to fight him but decided against it.
"You're lucky that I'm trying to be friendly towards you for Shinya's sake," I told the dark-haired young man.
"Tch. Keep on dreaming if you think that I'm afraid of you."
Guren countered my ensuing glare with his own one.
"Why don't we all try to get along for the moment, hm?" Goshi quickly interrupted our glaring contest in a placating tone. "Vivian-chan... right? I've heard that you and Lord Shinya have been friends for a long time."
I was surprised to be properly addressed by my name, even though the '-chan' attached to it was a little too familiar for my taste.
"Yes... Kido Vivian. Shinya called you Goshi, right?"
The young man with a goatee gave me a tentative smile. "Yeah, I'm Goshi Norito but everyone just calls me Goshi. You can call me senpai if you want."
Was he joking? I would definitely not call him that.
"I'm kinda curious how the two of you met since you didn't have anything to do with the Order of Imperial Demons," he continued.
Did Shinya not tell him about our first encounter? I smiled to myself as I recalled the fond memory. Telling Shinya's squad about it shouldn't pose a problem. "Ten years ago I met Shinya in a park shortly after I'd moved from Kyōto to Tōkyō..."
"Wait, you're actually a Kyōto native?!" he interrupted me. "So that's where the cute accent comes from! Even though they live underneath the city, I've never heard a vampire speak in Kyōto-ben before."
That was because most of them were foreigners. I hadn't even noticed that I was speaking in dialect again since I always did that in Shinya's presence. Even time or becoming a vampire didn't seem to have changed that habit of mine.
I wasn't sure how to react to the man's enthusiastic exclamation and compliment(?) and remained silent. The red-haired woman face-palmed at his words while Yū's future teacher smiled awkwardly.
"It's alright if you ignore any future comments from this individual," Shigure informed me coolly while extending her hand to her blond teammate.
"I'll keep that in mind," I responded.
"But Shigure-chan, I'm just trying to be friendly~!"
I couldn't help but grin a little at Shigure's cool attitude and Goshi's antics, but then my smirk was wiped off my face and I tensed when I smelt Shinya's blood. I couldn't believe it.
What was Shinya doing?
"So, Vivian-chan, I think I'm speaking for all of us if I ask you how the heck you got turned into a vampire while we were searching for you." Goshi's question made me remove my eyes from my friend's back and meet his inquiring look, which might have been his intention in the first place.
"That's a long story." I wasn't quite comfortable with sharing that story with them, even if they were Shinya's good friends. I didn't really know them and wasn't sure if I could trust them with that kind of information because they were part of the Demon Army.
"You're not going to share it with us?" the girl with red hair asked me.
"..." I remained silent again.
Shinya rejoined us then and offered a dark blue coffee cup to me. Of course, the enticing smell that came from it wasn't from coffee, but from Shinya's freshly drawn blood.
"Here, Vivi-chan, have a cup of premium blood type B blood~!" my crazy best friend announced with a smile.
I was too horrified to say anything and just gaped at him.
"You're disgusting," Guren told him.
"Lord Shinya, even for you that joke was kinda tasteless," Goshi added.
"If he says that, you know it's really bad," the redhead said.
"Heh~? I thought it was a good one~."
I finally found my voice again. "Shinya, what the fuck?! I can't believe you actually did this..!"
"Well, we need to get some blood in you somehow and since letting you drink blood directly from me isn't an option, I thought filling a cup with it was a more convenient solution for both of us."
"I-I'm not going to drink your blood!" I refused to listen to him. "How can you be so nonchalant about this?"
"But it's already been drawn. It would be a waste to throw it away now," he argued and held the cup a little closer to my face.
That sneaky bastard! "Stop that!"
As I got a noseful of the red liquid, my eyes immediately fixated on it and my fangs and throat ached in want for the blood. Against every instinct in me, I took a shaky step back and covered my nose and mouth with one hand while turning my face away.
I lowered my voice in the hope that only Shinya would hear it. "This is unfair...! I don't want to drink your blood! I swore to myself that I'd never do that." That he'd never see me like that.
Understanding was reflected on Shinya's face though he also seemed to be satisfied with something. "I'm sorry, Vivi-chan, but at the moment your survival is more important to me than your comfort, and this is the only thing I can do to help you. Just think about it this way: if you were still a human and needed a blood transfusion, I'd donate my blood to help you, too. You wouldn't be opposed to that, would you? This is the same principle, only that you're drinking the blood instead of being infused with it."
His words made sense, but I still didn't like what I was supposed to do even though my will to refuse the blood when it was right in front of me was weakening. "...You're impossible."
"Just hurry up and get it over with, now that the moron has gone through with his dumb idea. You're wasting everyone's time," Guren grouched.
"Don't tell me what to do," I hissed at him, but accepted the cup when Shinya pressed it into my hand and eyed it hungrily.
If I didn't drink the blood soon, it would go to waste and Shinya would have hurt himself and sacrificed it in vain. And it would be easier and safer to chat with him over an extended period of time if my mind wasn't clouded by the thirst.
But this was my best friend's blood and not just any stranger's.
What was the right thing to do?
A few moments passed in silence during my inner conflict.
When I had made up my mind, I let out a sigh of defeat before meeting Shinya's gaze again. "You win this round."
A victorious smile bloomed on his face that slightly pissed me off. I turned away from him and lifted the half-full cup to my lips, already regretting what I was about to do.
The blood was still warm when it met my tongue, and it tasted even better than it smelled. Since it had been given willingly, I tried not to feel too guilty for consuming my friend's blood, but it was impossible not to.
It felt as if I was committing a huge crime. It was disgusting that I thought that Shinya's blood was the best I'd ever had – I hated myself for that thought.
When I'd drunk the last drop, I lowered the cup and stared gloomily into it. And here I thought I was over the self-loathing. Hello darkness, my old friend.
"Has your injury healed, Vivi-chan?" Shinya asked me and I nodded in response, having felt the wound heal as soon as I began drinking his blood.
"What about you, Shinya? Are you okay?" I asked quietly.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I heal fast," he assured me. At least he didn't ask me if I liked the taste of his blood. "Now, it's time to officially introduce you to the team!" Shinya grasped my free hand and I let him pull me closer though I felt too ashamed to look at him.
He then took the empty cup from me and put it on a nearby table before sitting down on the sofa again and dragging me down to sit next to him. "You already know Shigure-chan and Goshi, so that leaves Mito-chan, the blushing redhead..." Shinya ignored her indignant protest with a smile, "Sayuri-chan, the brunette next to her, and Guren, the irritating guy who is constantly touching his hair." Said person immediately removed his hand from his hair and glared at Shinya. "And, as you all know, this is my good friend Vivian. I bet all of you want to know why she's a vampire..."
"...So, we should clear that up," Shinya finished the sentence and gave me an expectant look.
"Do I really have to tell them?"
"It doesn't have to be detailed. I trust my friends with my life, Vivi-chan. You can trust them, too."
I wasn't so sure about that, but they had protected Shinya and had helped him search for me for years even though it must have been dangerous. I also trusted Shinya's judgement. Still, there was something I needed to know before I said anything in their presence.
"Are they loyal to Hiiragi Kureto and the Imperial Demon Army?"
Shinya didn't seem surprised by my question. "We actually wanted to overthrow the Hiiragi Clan together, but that turned out to be futile. We betrayed them and the Order of Imperial Demons before the apocalypse."
I lifted a brow. "What about now? You're all wearing the Demon Army's uniforms. Does that mean you've become their lackeys?"
The girls gave me angry looks for that remark.
"The leaders of the Imperial Demons let us live only because they deemed us useful. We're obeying their orders, but we're not loyal to them. Unfortunately, our options are limited and the Hiiragi Clan is still too powerful for us, so we're just trying to survive at the moment."
"I see. I really wanted you to succeed with overthrowing the people that made you suffer," I told him, feeling a little disappointed even though it wasn't a surprise.
Shinya smiled. "I truly appreciated your support and faith in me back then."
I smiled softly back at him. It was nice to hear that. "You still have them now." Then, I turned to the squad and said with reluctance, "That's the reason why I'm going to tell you about my past."
Shinya's friends got a very short, rough and matter-of-fact summary of what had happened to me since the apocalypse. No one was overly surprised when I spoke of the human experimentation – that wasn't something new that the Demon Army did then. But some couldn't understand why I would go to the vampires of all things after I'd escaped, why I didn't wait for Shinya and co. in my apartment.
"They were the only enemy of the Demon Army that I knew of and the soldiers had almost caught up to me. If I'd waited for a few minutes longer in the apartment, they would have captured me," I answered Mito.
"But the vampires are humankind's enemy. Your friend's enemy," she argued and gestured at Shinya. "Why would you go to them and betray humanity and Lord Shinya?"
I crossed my arms in mild agitation. "Humans are humanity's biggest enemy. As far as I know, the vampires were not the ones who caused the apocalypse – humans from an organisation like the Demon Army were. With the information I had I wanted to stop the Demon Army only, them and their inhuman experiments, and prevent another apocalypse. I wanted to protect my friends."
For a moment silence met my declaration, before Mito spoke up again. "Have you ever considered that if the Demon Army, the Hiiragi Clan, gets defeated, that there will be no one left to hinder the vampires from assuming control over the population? In a world where vampires rule, humans will be nothing more than livestock."
"What is the lesser evil, though, Mito-san?" I asked her in turn and crossed my legs. "The Demon Army performs experiments on children or sends them out onto the battlefield. Furthermore, the people that are at its top don't care about the regular humans, the general populace, that are of no use to them, and leave them to their own devices. I've seen military vehicles drive past such humans several times instead of helping them and taking them with them to Shibuya or Shinjuku."
"That is..." Mito clenched her fists in frustration. "We don't have enough resources in Shibuya and Shinjuku to provide for everyone."
"But what she said isn't wrong, Mito-chan," Goshi said.
"The Hiiragi Clan doesn't care for those that are of no use to them," Shinya corroborated my statement.
I continued with my argumentation – if I was in discussion mode, hardly anything could make me stop talking. "The humans that are under vampire rule are at least protected from Horsemen and receive food supplies in return for regular blood donations, which is more humane than human experimentation in my opinion. The vampires also let humans live as they please for the most part. And while the 21st century has been one of the most peaceful time periods ever since the beginnings of human history, wars were still fought in different parts of the world. Under vampire rule there would be no more wars in the future, since they aren't nearly as ambitious or passionate about something as humans and divide the natural resources equally between the countries." I paused for a moment. "But... I have to admit that I don't like the current living conditions of humans in Sanguinem and some vampires lack self-restraint. I'd only let my friends live there if there were no better options."
I had to think of Mei and the other children I'd met in Sanguinem. Lacus was obviously an example of vampires who lacked self-restraint.
"Hearing you discuss such topics again reminds me of the past," Shinya commented, playing with a strand of my hair.
"We've gone off topic," Guren interrupted the beginning discussion before someone else could speak up. "We're not here to discuss humanity's future."
"But maybe we should discuss humanity's future," I said.
"Man, it was just getting interesting," Goshi complained playfully. "But there's something I'd like to know, too. How were you able to escape from that facility and make it to Kyōto all on your own and without any weapons, Vivian-chan? The roads are in a state of disrepair and are crawling with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Even trained soldiers like us would have problems with that."
"I'm more interested in which vampire noble decided to turn her into one of them and why," Guren added.
"Or if being turned into a vampire was on her agenda from the start when she decided to look for them," Shigure said.
"Oh wow, this is turning into a full-blown interrogation, huh?" I said and narrowed my eyes in suspicion when no one denied it.
"They're just curious and want to understand you," Shinya placated me. "I'm curious about the details, too."
Well, that made sense. I couldn't blame them for being curious, since I'd be curious too if it was the other way around. All the more if my friend was sitting next to a dangerous creature that could snap his neck in an instant.
Goshi's question was a little tricky to answer. I didn't want to mention the wings or what experiment exactly I'd been part of. Not in front of all of them, especially not Guren.
"I was not quite human anymore by the time I escaped from the lab. That's how I made it to Kyōto, even in my sickly state. However, I did have a close call in Nagoya when a Horseman suddenly showed up," I explained, remaining vague. "And no, being turned into a vampire wasn't part of my plan. Before I died I simply wanted to ensure that the Demon Army would be wiped out in the future and that my remaining friends wouldn't have to suffer the same fate as two of my close friends who died four years ago."
"I can't believe that you just walked right into their nest. You have balls of steel, girl." Goshi seemed impressed.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I had nothing to lose. And I succeeded – I made a deal with a powerful vampire noble that would have let me die in peace."
"What information would make a vampire noble agree to a deal with a dying human girl?" Guren pressed me on.
"That is a private matter between her and me. Just know that the safety of my friends – yours as well since you're Shinya's friends and I included you in the deal – was part of the deal. If I ever brought one of my friends to Sanguinem, no one would be allowed to lay a finger on them."
Once more there was an awkward silence, though it was more out of surprise on the squad's part. Judging from his expression Shinya clearly liked that I'd tried to protect his friends in the only way I could.
"That was very thoughtful of you, Vivian-san," Sayuri, the girl who seemed to be the most polite one of the bunch, finally said. "Was... turning you into a vampire included in that deal?"
"No, she offered that to me at a later time."
"Offered?" Mito repeated. "Does that mean you had a choice in the matter?!" She sounded repulsed, which was an understandable reaction.
"That's right, I had a choice. Die as a human or live on as a vampire." I held eye contact with her. "Have you never been in a position where you would do anything to see your loved ones again or to personally ensure their safety, even give up your own humanity?"
For some reason, she and the rest of the team all stared at Guren after my words had sunk in. He crossed his arms and closed his eyes. "Don't stare at me like that."
"Well, we definitely know of someone else who is reckless like that..." Goshi trailed off with a slight grin on his face.
I was missing something here.
"I always thought that you and Guren resemble each other," Shinya informed me happily.
Bah, what was he saying? "The blood loss is clearly affecting you, Shinya. I'm nothing like that jerk," I protested and crossed my arms.
Guren huffed, disliking the comparison, too, I guessed.
"So, can I really not convince you to stay with me?" my friend changed the topic.
"I'd like nothing better than to stay by your side, but I can't," I told Shinya sadly. "At least not yet, not while the Demon Army and their scientists still exist and I haven't found Mako-chan and Shū yet. There's also someone in Sanguinem that I don't want to leave behind and I'm loyal to the noble who sired me."
That aroused his curiosity. "Who do you not want to leave behind, Vivi-chan, and who is that noble?"
I hesitated a moment before I replied, "I befriended a boy in Sanguinem, who is a little younger than Shū and Mako-chan. He's lost his family and was all alone."
"Let me guess – you basically adopted him."
"Umm..." Was I that predictable?
Shinya chuckled. "And you say you're not a mother hen, Vivi-chan. Could you not smuggle that boy out of Sanguinem?"
"That would be very inconvenient for him at the moment." Mika needed Krul's blood if he didn't want to become a full vampire and stop ageing.
"He needs our sire's blood," I began, but was interrupted by Mito.
"Wait, does that mean he's a vampire, too?"
"We thought that she was the only one who has been turned into vampire in over a century... until today," Shinya mused. "Have the vampires began turning people into vampires to increase their numbers?"
"No, I don't think so. Most nobles who are allowed to turn humans into vampires don't want to spread their curse. As far as I know, he and I are the only humans that have been turned into vampires in over a century," I informed him. "Who is this 'she' you just spoke of? I haven't heard anything about another person that has recently been turned into a vampire."
Shinya exchanged a look with Guren before turning back to me. "Hiiragi Mahiru. My fiancé. Well, ex-fiancé since she's dead."
I stared at him in disbelief before I remembered something. "Fiancé? Wait, is that why you said 'it's complicated' that time when I asked you whether you had a girlfriend?"
"Ahaha, I'm amazed you still remember that. But yes, that's what I meant."
"Didn't you mention something two years before that as well, which is why I assumed in the first place that you had a girlfriend? That would mean that you got engaged at age fourteen," I concluded with a frown.
"Actually, I was ten when we were betrothed," Shinya corrected me nonchalantly.
"You were betrothed to her at age ten?" I repeated incredulously. How crazy were the people who had adopted Shinya?!
"Why would someone betroth two children in the 21st century?!" Something like that just didn't make sense to me.
"Well, the tests I told you about earlier were part of the selection process to find the strongest sperm donor for Mahiru, the former heir of the Hiiragi Clan, to ensure that the next generation of Hiiragi would be strong," Shinya explained.
It took me a moment to stomach that and swallow my anger. "That is incredibly fucked up. The more I hear about those bastards who adopted you, the more I want to kill them. If I could still throw up, I'd definitely throw up now."
"I know," Shinya said while Goshi snickered in the background for some reason. In my opinion this wasn't a laughing matter at all. After seeing my murderous expression he quickly shut up.
"I guess that's what you have to expect from yakuza families," I grumbled.
"Yakuza families?!" the redhead repeated indignantly.
Guren huffed while Goshi laughed again. "Lord Shinya, what the hell have you told your friend about the Hiiragi Clan or our families?"
"It's not that different, is it?" Shinya shrugged. "They wanted us to be strong and ruthless, to never show any weakness, and use us for their own gain, didn't they? Yakuza members have to meet similar requirements."
"Master Sakae wasn't like that," Sayuri protested and Shigure nodded in agreement as they looked at Guren.
Was this Master Sakae his father?
The rest of the team couldn't deny what Shinya had said.
"Back to this Mahiru. Do you know who turned her into a vampire and why?" I really wanted to know about that since I had the feeling that was important.
"We don't know, but she must have made some sort of deal with a vampire noble, too..." Shinya let out a sigh. "I think you should know what exactly happened on the day the world ended and the events that led up to it."
Shinya told me about their struggles and why he distanced himself from me in that year, and finally, how Shinya and his friends had tried to stop Mahiru from triggering the apocalypse. They speculated that she'd been forced to start the ritual that ended the world by the Hyakuya Sect, the Order of the Imperial Demons or some other unknown puppeteer, but didn't know why someone would want to initiate the apocalypse in the first place.
They lost the fight against Mahiru and woke up three weeks later in a hospital but had to wait for another week before they were well enough to start searching for me. According to Guren Mahiru had died when she activated the magical ritual that released the virus.
It was even more dangerous than what I'd guessed Shinya had been doing at that time, so I was glad that he had made it out alive with the help of his squad. The fate of the world shouldn't have rested on the shoulders of sixteen-year-olds, but at least Shinya hadn't been alone during that difficult time.
Finally I knew who exactly was responsible for unleashing the apocalypse but didn't know what to do with that information, because Mahiru was already dead and the Hyakuya Sect had been destroyed by Krul. Well, there was still the Hiiragi Clan and the Imperial Demon Army that needed to be dealt with. The question was how.
Then, Shinya gave me a look of commiseration and took my hand. "We didn't find you or your friends, but we found you parents a month after the apocalypse, Vivi-chan. We buried them in a cemetery near Shibuya."
These sombre news came as a surprise to me. Even though I'd assumed that they were probably dead, I hadn't expect that someone would find their remains, so I was relieved to hear that my parents had been properly buried. For the umpteenth time I wished I could have done the same for Kaori and Akira. I squeezed Shinya's hand but my eyes remained dry – I had shed enough tears for the dead in the past four years.
"Thank you for giving them a proper burial."
He gave me a saddened smile. "My friends helped me out with that."
Hmm, maybe they weren't so bad after all. The more I heard about them and the dangers they'd faced together with Shinya, the more my impression of them changed. I still didn't trust Guren, though. In any case, they deserved my gratitude for helping Shinya with my parents, so I turned to the squad and bowed low to them while I thanked them.
Once again it was Sayuri who replied first. "It was no trouble at all. Lord Shinya told us about them and how much he valued them."
It seemed like they were good friends if they were that considerate towards Shinya and his feelings. It would have made my parents happy to hear that Shinya cherished them so much.
Guren harrumphed. "We don't have all day," he reminded us.
"Right. Where were we before I told you about Mahiru...?" Shinya wondered. "Ah, if that boy you don't want leave in Sanguinem is already a vampire why does he still need your sire's blood?"
I'd presumed that Shinya and his friends would know about it since they were vampire hunters, but apparently that wasn't the case. Since information like that wasn't particularly important, I explained what an incomplete vampire was.
"So, that boy is still ageing even though he's a vampire?" Mito repeated and I nodded.
"Well, I guess I'd delay drinking human blood for as long as possible, too if I was in his place," Goshi said with a grimace. "I wouldn't want to look forever like a child either."
His friends agreed with that sentiment.
"For how long can he stay an incomplete vampire, then?" Shinya asked me.
"That depends on him and his willpower, but three or four years should be the limit." As far as I remembered, Mika had survived almost four years without human blood in the series.
"Why is there a time limit if the sire is willing to continue giving their blood to the incomplete vampire?" Shigure wondered.
A good question. How could I best explain it? "I think you could compare it to a human's need for food. As long as a human has enough water, they can go about a month without food, but they can't survive with just water forever. One day our sire's blood simply won't be enough anymore and he'll need human blood."
"So you intend to stay in Sanguinem with that boy until then?" Shinya asked me.
"Hmm, I can't take you with me to Shibuya or Shinjuku without any preparations anyway, but there's a building nearby that was owned by Guren's family that you could stay at. That way I could smuggle Makoto and Shūsaku quickly in and out of Shibuya so they can meet you," he suggested with a knowing smile.
I gaped at my friend. "They are in Shibuya?! Are Shū and Mako-chan alright?!"
"They are," Shinya assured me. "They're both attending school and are training every day so they can join the Moon Demon Company as soon as possible and leave Shibuya. They wanted to search for you too."
I was overjoyed and beyond relieved to hear that they were fine and even able to attend school, as well as touched that I hadn't been forgotten by Shū and Mako-chan either. I couldn't believe that I'd found all of my friends in one day and that Shinya still wanted to be my friend even though I was a vampire.
Today was a good day.
I gave Shinya a bright smile. "That's good, really good. I'm happy that they're doing well and that they're able to attend school." I quickly wiped away some tears of joys before I continued, "But don't think you can bribe me to stay."
"I wouldn't dream of doing that," Shinya replied with an innocent smile that I knew well.
"Sure, that's why you brought them up now. Too bad that you can't bribe me with chocolate anymore, huh?" I said with a shrewd grin.
"Ahaha~, you know me too well. Here I thought that mentioning Makoto and Shūsaku would do the trick. You really care for that other boy, don't you?" Shinya said and paused for a moment, as if he was contemplating something. "What are we going to do from now on?"
"Good question. We both want to dethrone the Hiiargi Clan, so maybe we can work out a plan together. As to our accommodations, I think they should remain the way they are now, at least for a while. It's more convenient for both of us that way."
Even though I wanted to stay with Shinya, I didn't want to leave Mika.
"I can agree with that first part and I also understand why you want to stay with that boy, but are you sure you can trust the noble who turned you into a vampire?"
"Yes, I think so. I know what she wants and she has kept her word so far, otherwise I wouldn't be here."
"What if that ever changes?" Shinya wanted to know.
"Then I'll grab my little brother and get out of Sanguinem as fast as possible."
Shinya blinked in mild confusion. "Your little brother?"
"Ah, um, since he and I have been sired by the same vampire, we're considered siblings in the eyes of vampire society," I explained and added shyly, "It's probably the only vampire custom I like."
Needless to say, Shinya teased me some more for my habit of adopting children.
Since Shinya's squad would be expected back soon, we arranged another meeting at a different place that was further away from Shibuya and Shinjuku. When my best friend asked me whether he should tell Makoto and Shūsaku that he found me, I told him to wait with that until they had graduated from school. That way they wouldn't get distracted and could concentrate on their studies.
To be honest, I was a little afraid of their reactions, especially Mako-chan's because he was rather hot-headed, unlike Shinya. I doubted that he would sit still and wait if he knew that I was alive and a vampire. I didn't actually want him or Shū leave the safety of Shibuya's stronghold before they could defend themselves. Sure, Shinya and his squad were strong, but if they just made one mistake when they encountered a Horseman or a group of vampires, Makoto and Shūsaku could be hurt.
Makoto and Shūsaku were apparently from retainer families that were loyal to Guren and wanted to become fighters of the Moon Demon Company that was lead by Guren. Since their families had suffered about as much as Guren's family, the Ichinose Clan, under the rule of the Hiiragi Clan, they wanted to become strong enough to take revenge on the Hiiragi Clan and for that they needed Cursed Gear.
Shinya covered the topic of Cursed Gear only roughly, saying that the humans who wielded Cursed Gear were stronger and healed a lot faster than normal. He also said that one needed to have a strong will in order to wield Cursed Gear, but he didn't mention that you actually made a deal with a demon.
He either didn't want me to worry, or he didn't want me to know that they relied on demons to fight vampires. I couldn't blame him for that. It did worry me that my friends would attempt to make contracts with demons.
If Makoto and Shūsaku weren't strong enough mentally, they might get possessed by the demons inside the Cursed Gear and turn into demons themselves. I didn't want them to risk their lives, but I couldn't force them to do what I wanted. They had their own goals in life and I had to respect that, no matter how much I wanted to protect them.
I asked Shinya to keep an eye on them and to test them before they were allowed to get Cursed Gear. Shinya happily agreed to do that. Poor Mako-chan and Shū were in for a surprise.
Then, it was time to say goodbye. When we stood in front of the bookstore, Shinya put his arms around me. I gladly returned the hug.
"I'll miss you," I mumbled against his chest, relishing his warmth, scent and calming heartbeat. It was easier to resist his blood now after having drunk some earlier.
"I'll miss you, too, Vivi-chan."
"Hey, stop flirting and get going. It's going to be dark soon," Guren grumbled.
"You're just jealous, Guren," Shinya teased him as he let go of me.
"Take care of yourself, Shinya," I told him.
"You too, Vivi-chan."
I took a few steps back and looked at Shinya's friends, one after another. "Can I trust you to have Shinya's back?"
Goshi approached Shinya and put a hand on his shoulder as he smiled at me. "Of course! You don't need to worry, Vivian-chan. We always have his back!"
"Heh~, it's rather the other way around, I'd say," Shinya said in a playful manner.
I smiled at him one last time before I put my hood over my head to protect my eyes from the setting sun and to hide my hair. "See you soon!" I said and waved, even though I really didn't want to leave Shinya.
"Yeah, see you later. Be careful on the way back."
I nodded before I turned around and disappeared in the shadows of a side street.
I smiled to myself. I couldn't wait to tell Mika about the good news.
"Now I get why you like her, Lord Shinya," Goshi said with a grin as soon as the vampire was out of sight and hearing range. "It was cute how Vivian-chan worried about your wellbeing."
"Right?" Shinya responded in an equal manner. "She really makes you feel loved."
"You totally acted like a couple, I almost felt like I was the third wheel." Goshi complained.
"Vivian-san was very open with her emotions and actions," Sayuri agreed with a blush and glanced at Guren.
"She acted very human for a vampire," Mito said.
"Why did you really make her drink your blood? We all know she wouldn't have turned into a demon anytime soon," Guren asked his white-haired friend.
Shinya smiled. "Well, it was partly out of concern, but it was also a test. I wanted to see how she would react to human blood right in front of her, and how much control she actually had over herself. Vivian said she's given up her humanity, but from what I've seen it seems like she's still holding onto it. After witnessing her reaction to my blood, you felt more comfortable around her, too, right?"
"You're not wrong..." Mito admitted.
"Vivian-chan was the most emotional vampire I've ever seen. Maybe that's because she was a human herself not too long ago," Goshi commented.
"She never answered which vampire noble turned her into one of them," Shigure pointed out.
"Ah, you're right!" Goshi exclaimed.
"You're going to search for a way to turn her back into a human, aren't you?" Guren asked Shinya.
"Yep, as soon as we're back in Shibuya. I need a distraction so I won't try to assassinate Kureto."
A/N: The dialogue is seemingly endless in this chapter, but Shinya and Vivian had so much to tell each other and just wouldn't shut up, and then there were also Shinya's friends who had a lot of questions, so it turned out this way. I hope I've kept everyone in character and that you enjoyed the interactions!
On a side note... I don't like what happened in the past few manga chapters, so if the plot takes another turn I don't like, I'll definitely go AU once my fic reaches that point. What is your opinion on that and the newest manga chapters (especially the thing with Mika)?
I've also put up another poll on my profile.
I'd love to hear your opinion, so I can read something, too :D