Who are the Real Monsters?
Inside Nina’s darkened office, Sile sat back and continued to scan the documents in front of her. There wasn’t a lot of new information; no more really, than Kimme had said but what she found was interesting. The most intriguing piece of evidence was a copy of a yellowed photograph. Obviously taken during the 19th century, the photo depicted a young Japanese woman wearing a traditional kimono. Behind her stood a black robed armed attendant, a feminine young man by his look. However, that young man was a spitting image of Kimme’s bodyguard.
“So from what Kimme told me, the Umeki family had not had a true…”
“Onmyo-do-” Pavel said.
Sile nodded. “Since her great-grandmother.” She fingered the yellow photo. According to Pavel’s sources, the Umeki family historically had a good reputation with other Unseen. “I assume that is why her father married a woman from the Imai family but why to such a militant branch?” The Imai family kept its secrets well hidden; the only thing determined was the Umeki family would call upon them if force were ever necessary.
Nina shrugged. Such things were common when she was young, anything to better the family or ones clan. “Evidently the Imai family is related to the Umeki family, a junior branch.”
“And Aya.” Sile looked at the photo once more. The young man in the photo could be a relative but her instincts told her that it was not. “Obviously some type of Unseen.” That one had been hard to read and she now wanted to know why. “I thought she was just a simple Warden.”
“Perhaps she is, although it seems nothing is simple about her.”
“So the change from Ken to Kimme?”
Pavel reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a cigar, which Nina lit with a wave of her hand. “Thanks my love, power what else. Assuming that they are the ones that changed her of course, Kimme might now be able wield the ancient powers of the Umeki family.”
“Ken wasn’t without power.” Nina frowned. With an embarrassed smile on her lips, she said. “Sile when you first introduced Ken to me, I pushed some of my…influence towards him. Just to play with you a little. He threw it off immediately.” She remembered the feeling as if she was just an annoying fly. “I was a tad bit concerned that you might have actually invited one of your old Unseelie friends to my establishment.”
Sile shook her head; Nina hadn’t changed all that much in all the years since they first met. “I have no friends in the Winter Court.” The Scottish Vampire looked at the photo once more. “So, Aya could be one of these Yo-kai?”
“I believe; you are considered a Yo-kai by them as well.” Pavel grinned.
Sile tapped her finger on her lips. “Kimme can move freely through the forest.” Originally she thought her girlfriend’s first time passing through the woods was considered unusual but not unknown, however not a second time. Very few were able to move through the Fae woods, most just exited a few yards away from where they started.
Nina nodded. “She could have some Yo-kai blood in her as well.”
Pavel puffed on his cigar a few times. “Still not enough information, why bother with Ken in the first place. Simply change him as a child if they had the power. What is going to happen during this ceremony you mentioned ,Sile and finally why keep Kimme in the dark about well everything?”
“They’re hiding something.”
“Of course they are.” Pavel grinned.
Suddenly the office door flew open; Medea stepped through the entrance, with Agwe close behind. “We have a problem.”
The two entered The Necropolis easily enough; with Nina and Pavel in the back room, no one seemed to be worried about the two young men. The looks they were getting were in fact very different. Dressed in black motorcycle leathers, both were strikingly handsome. With their blonde hair and sky blue eyes, the two attracted the attention of a number of people of both sexes.
“So many beautiful choices.” The younger of the two tapped his toe to the music. “Perhaps we should stay a while.” The Vampire was tired of feeding on the dregs of society. Some more energetic blood was what he needed.
The older of the two shook his head. “No not here and not in this town.” After reading a flyer about the clubs opening a state away, the town appeared to be a good place to stop for a few days. Now he wasn’t too sure. He felt uneasy and listening to those feelings had saved them on a number of occasions. The two Vampires had been traveling up and down the east coast for the last few years, not staying too long in one place. Small towns tended to over react when their wives and daughters went missing. “We really need to get to Boston; another corpse or two in a big city isn’t going to upset anyone.”
“Well the selection here is much better than your average stranded motorist.” The youngest laughed. “Shall we.”
Moments later the two were on the prowl. They were efficient hunters, mingling among the crowd looking for their prey. Finally, the youngest noticed two girls sitting off to the side of the dance floor all alone.
“So what are two beautiful girls like you doing without dates?”
Rose blinked twice; he couldn’t have been taking about her. “How do you know we don’t have dates?”
“Because if you were my girlfriend I wouldn’t let you out of my sight.” One of the men leaned over the table and gave Rose a compelling smile “I’m Cody and my friend over there is Jeremy.
The girls quickly introduced themselves and without objecting allowed the two men to slide into the booth next to them. Tabitha couldn’t keep her eyes off the one who called himself Cody. As he gently pressed himself against her, Tabitha became embarrassed and excited at the same time. She had never met a boy with such gorgeous eyes.
“So what school do you two girls go to?”
Jeremy nodded. “We go to Lutheran Theological Seminary.” Of course, it had been a number of years since the two attended the Pennsylvanian school.
Rose thought it was rather strange that the two went to a Seminary. As she was about to tell Jeremy that the two of them were still in High School, Tabitha squeaked. “Bay Path College.” Rose knew her friend had just come back from visiting the school last weekend with her parents. Why was Tabitha trying to keep them from leaving? No college guys would want to spend time with two High School girls. Trying to control herself, Rose reached over and took a sip from her drink. Where were Agwe and Kimme? She knew if Sile returned the older girl could make the two boys leave.
“That’s cool; you’re only about an eight hour drive from our dorms.” Jeremy reached over, brushing Rose’s cheek with his hand. She shivered at his gentle touch. Any thought of forcing the two boys to leave simply vanished. “You look a little overheated babe; maybe we should all get some air.”
“Sounds like a great idea Jeremy.” Cody gave Tabitha a warm smile. “Don’t you think so?” The young girl, now fully enthralled could only nod.
Agwe was beside herself with worry. First Kimme transformed, physically she looked the same but something inside of her was different. Agwe perceived that the girl who dragged her to the dance floor was no longer the same person she went to school with every day. Now all of her friends were missing. Kimme had simply vanished before her very eyes. Moments later Media dragged Agwe off the dance floor with the news that a pair of Vampires had abducted Rose and Tabitha.
Far from the club at the start of a dirt road, a black jaguar sniffed the air once more. Although Kris, one of the door attendants had said he saw the four of them leave on motorcycles, Nina didn’t think they would go too far. Leaving Pavel behind, the four of them had paired up to search for the missing girls. Initially, Agwe believed her two friends lost but when she shifted into a black jaguar, the young woman somehow picked up the lingering scent of Tabitha perfume.
Looking up at Medea, the Vampire gave her an understanding smile; they hadn’t been able to get a hold of Sile and Nina over the phone, as usual, Skogshaven was playing havoc on technology. There was no guarantee that Medea and she could handle the two Vampires by themselves but it didn’t matter to Agwe. Although way past midnight, the pair quickly followed a set of fresh motorcycle tracks leading down the dirt road.
Half way out of town, the bike marks turned off the road and into the forest. Agwe could definitely smell Tabitha’s perfume but also something she dreaded, blood. The two didn’t have to go far. Charging up an embankment and bursting through the thick underbrush that covered the edge of the road, the black jaguar roared in horror. The two Vampires had Rose and Tabitha in a deadly embrace. Upon being disturbed, the one holding a deathly pale Tabitha contemptibly tossed her to the forest floor. Despair filled the Agwe’s heart, she was positive her childhood friend was no longer alive.
“Go away, you’re disturbing us.” The Vampire said as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“You’re poaching on our territory, now drop the other girl and get the hell out of here.” Medea took a couple of steps forward.
“I don’t think so.” The Vampire holding Rose smiled. “I can feel your little feline companion’s emotions; she is terribly concerned about these girls. Get any closer and I’ll snap this pretty one’s neck.”
“Go ahead and I’ll happily snap yours.” Agwe was surprised when a gentle touch rubbed her head. Without warning, she found herself shifting back to human form surprisingly wearing the clothes she had shed earlier when shifting into Were form.
Dressed in a red and white Miko outfit, the same clothes Agwe had seen Kimme’s cousins wear during the festival; the girl had long black and white hair. Miki was right in that the girl’s hair made her look she was wearing cat ears but it was her eyes that seemed much more feline.
“Who the hell…” The Vampire holding Rose didn’t get a chance to finish his question as both Vampires were unexpectedly picked up off the ground and slammed into the trees behind them.
“Grab the girls and get out of here, I’ll keep them busy.” Without another word, the one who called herself Kimiye leaped towards the nearest downed Vampire.
“Wait Kimme...” Agwe didn’t understand. She could tell that was Kimme but why was she calling herself Kimiye?
Medea closed her hand on Agwe arm. “No she’s right; your friends need medical attention now.”
As Agwe carried Rose in a firefighter’s carry out of the clearing, she turned around. Kimiye or Kimme and the Vampires moved around in a blur but the red and white robed girl seemed to disappear and reappear at will. Agwe was not surprised to find that her friend moved with a cat like grace. If she didn’t know better Agwe would swear she could see a long white tail sticking out of Kimme’s robes, even her hands now looked like claws. Ducking under one of the strikes, the cat girl slammed both palms underneath the neck of the closet Vampire. Agwe could hear the crushing of bones as the Vampire was tossed into the trunk of a tree. Still Kimme was hard pressed. Agwe turned away with tears running down her face; the thought of losing all of her closest friends tonight was almost too much to bear.
Kimiye lay with her back against the tree contemplating her stupidity. She was frustrated and angry but more so with herself. The Yo-kai had been collecting power biding her time since the change. Kimme’s form was much more adaptable, closer to her true self. The living energy from tonight’s dancing had been just enough for her to take control. With the bindings loose, if she had just kept going out of town, she might have finally broken free. Why did she turn around and rescue those girls? Why did she care, they were only humans. Even the Were, did the girl’s safety mean more than her own freedom?
Smiling at the two piles of ashes, the Yo-kai gave a small giggle. Well at least she looked better than the two Vampires that fed on Kimme’s friends. Ultimately, Kimiye knew she used up too much energy in the fight. If the Yo-kai had all of her power, the two Vampires would have been nothing more than a mere nuisance; she might even have played with them a little. With one hand, Kimiye tried to push off the ground, slowly rising but slid back down again. Now most of that precious energy she collected was gone. Closing her eyes, the Yo-kai could feel the bindings taking control once more. So close.
The sound of footsteps caught her attention. Slowly turning her head, Kimiye watched as another person entered the clearing, the only person who had ever been able to sneak up on her without notice. “I’m ready to go home.” Kimiye said with a warm smile on her face and then her entire body began to shudder as the bindings took full control over the Yo-kai once more.
Sile didn’t wait to see what happened to Rose and Tabitha; she desired to only see Kimme. The Baobhan Sith understood that if Kimme was able to take another form, she might be more than just part Yo-kai. To her it didn’t matter, all that mattered was Kimme needed her help. Moving as fast as possible, the Scottish Vampire began to slow down upon reaching the point where Medea said they had found the girls. She didn’t know why but Sile wasn’t surprised to find a familiar black SUV in the center of the dirt road.
Aya didn’t even turn her head as Sile approached. “I actually expected you sooner, Miss Martin.” In her arms was Kimme, with no obvious injuries she actually appeared to be sleeping.
Sile began to move forward but stopped. “How is she?” Kimme appeared no different from when she left her to speak with Nina. The white and black haired girl was nowhere to be seen.
“Kimme-sama is exhausted. I thought better of you, Miss Martin. If you had not left her side then perhaps none of this would have happened.”
“You have no right…” Sile thought unfortunately, what Aya said was probably true.
Aya slid Kimme into the front passenger’s seat. Reaching over she gently bucked her into the car. “Miss Martin, I am responsible for Kimme-sama’s well-being. I have every right. This night I passed that responsibility to you at my mistress request but obviously you failed to keep her safe.” Aya firmly closed the car door trying not to make too much noise. “I am deeply sorry but I have no choice but to report what happened tonight. I would not be surprised if the Umeki family decides that the continuation of your relationship was a mistake.”
“It’s not up to them.” Sile said tartly.
Aya turned to Sile and gave her a sympathetic smile. “You know that’s not true. Ultimately, she will follow the path her family determined for her to follow.”
“To be a Yo-kai Hunter?” Sile was expecting Aya to be angry but instead she was positive that a satisfied smile crossed the bodyguard’s lips.
“I see my Mistress informed you of her family traditions. That is of course her prerogative but you might not be aware that traditionally the ‘Umeki family’ has ‘never’ been ‘Hunters’, simply keepers of the peace.” Aya began to walk around the back of the car reaching the driver’s side door.
“Never the less, Kimme’s mother and grandmother are looking forward to meeting you. An invitation to Kimme’s ceremony will be forthcoming. Please be make sure you attend, without you they will have ‘difficulties’ in ‘completing’ the ‘ritual’ Good night.” With that, Aya opened the door and drove off into the night.
Sile was left in the center of the road frowning.
Agwe sat in her mother’s arms quietly sobbing. The two of them sat on Nina’s couch in her living room, while her father quietly spoke off to the side with Pavel. She had expected that as soon they returned that both girls would go straight to the hospital but instead they ended up in rooms below the club. Rose was immediately given transfusions but Tabitha. “Tabitha.” Agwe cried out hugging her mother harder.
“It’s OK, baby, Nina will take care of her.” Oshun gently rubbed her daughter’s head. What a nightmare her daughter and her friends had just gone through, thankfully they were able to find the two girls. However, what her daughter told her about Kimme was strange and frankly, she didn’t know what to make of it.
Nina walked into the room. “Medea talked to Rose’s and Tabitha’s parents. She told them that they are going to spend the night at your house, Agwe.” Oshun had known for some time that Medea had a gift of voices. She only needed to hear it once to be able to imitate it. Even someone’s own family couldn’t tell the difference.
“Nina.” Oshun said. “How are…”
“Rose will be fine; I would like her to spend most of the day tomorrow with me. Agwe, you can have the bedroom next to her but be sure to let her rest.”
“She was successfully turned.” It was strange the only way to save Tabitha’s was to turn her into a Vampire. Oshun doesn’t know if they had done the child a disservice or given her a gift. “Medea will be staying with her for now.”
“Can I see her?”
“No sweetie, not for some time.” Her mother said. “What are we going to do about?”
“Pavel and your husband are going to make some calls.” Nina shrugged. “Nothing that hasn’t been done before, we will simply have to arrange an accident to take place tomorrow.”
“What.” Agwe stood up. “You can’t, her mom and dad will be devastated. Her sister Stacy…can’t you just say she went someplace…” Agwe fell to her knees; she understood that this was necessary.
Oshun knelt by her daughter side and enclosed her in her arms. “Her family needs closure, she can’t just be missing.”
“Don’t worry Agwe; she is now one of my precious daughters.”
Authors Notes: A special thanks to djkauf for a little elvish editing. If you like the story please leave a Kudos, if you have the time I would love to hear from you. Thanks to all for reading! - Elsbeth
© Copyright - Elsbeth2011/2012
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