The woman followed closely behind her companion through the seemingly endless tunnels; She wasn’t certain where it would lead, but she trusted her companion was familiar with this subterranean.
It turned freezing the further they traveled. Rhythmic dripping of water filled the silence between the crackling of the torches that aligned the brick-built walls.
They had come to a halt in front of a wooden door littered with tattered parchments. They were scribbled on in a foreign language with a diversity of symbols, some of them the woman had recognized when dabbling in a few ‘dead’ languages as a child. This one in particular was used by Sorcerers, namely High Priestesses. She could vaguely understand what it said in it’s entirety, but there was a pattern of the same word.
“Are you certain you want to do this, Ruka?”
The man turned to her, his garnet eyes and gentle features glowed softly when basked in his lanterns firelight, “I do not wish you to be involved, but you are the only one I can trust that has blood ties with Sorcerers.”
The woman nodded, “Yes.. this is fine. But I do wish for you to clarify why we are here, Lord Kaname. This place is --”
The man turned back to face the door and pushed it open. He turned to give Ruka a sideway glance before proceeding, “This place is heavy with magic. Can you feel it?”
She hadn’t recognized it before Kaname had pointed it out, but there was a strange sensation she could feel, like a large drum thrumming inside her body.
She followed behind the Pureblood into the room that was bare, aside from two lone chain links suspended from the ceiling. The same parchments that covered the door were also scattered on the walls, but dirtied with some kind of smeared substance with a stench of aged blood.
“This place is a Prison. One designed to detain even the most powerful kinds of Vampires.” Kaname set his lantern down and proceeded over the chains to touch one thoughtfully, “My uncle was the first to die here. With the help of your late Great grandmother, my father was able to end his reign by imprisoning him inside this very room. Every Vampire is familiar with this story, but very few know that my father was aided by a Witch.”
With a bombshell such as this, Ruka was left without words. She had known she was part Witch, that much was not surprising; What was however, was discovering that her ancestor was responsible for the late Vampire King’s death. That day shifted everything, like peace between Vampires and Humans, equality among both races, and the birth of a new government.
“That was some time ago.. and that magic has since faded after the death of your great grandmother” Kaname continued as he turned to her, solemn. “I want you to grant me the same fate, Ruka.”
Two male, blond Vampires stood at the opposite side of the bed from Zero. One held a clipboard that he would write on as he diligently swapped between it and doing a physical routine exam on his patient.
The patient in question was a very young boy, namely five years of age and possessing silver hair. He was certainly a Kiryuu with that strong physical hereditary trait, though he shared more then enough with the Kuran bloodline as well; garnet eyes, Higher Vampire, lithe figure.
“It’s been two weeks since he’s been like this” Zero was the first to speak, “I want answers.. Aidou, Ichijou.”
Hanabusa clicked the top of his pen and returned it to his pocket, “It’s been two weeks since anyone has seen or heard from Lord Kaname as well. With that in mind, we might have a theory.”
Zero shifted his attention with anew vigor, “And that is?”
“Well.. “ Hanabusa began to explain, “There can be complications when a Human conceives a Vampire child. It doesn’t typically happen, but in theory there is a better chance of something going wrong when the Vampire parent is not the one carrying the child. What I think might be happening is a coma induced by deprivation of the Vampire parent’s blood, which as you know contain essential nutrients for a growing child.”
Zero returned him with a perplexed look, “.. So you’re saying we need Kaname?”
“Basically” Takuma cut in, “But there might be an alternative.”
Just as Takuma finished that statement, a small knocking sounded at the door just before it opened. The first one to enter the room was Yuuki and trailing behind her was an unknown male figure.
He looked to be around Zero’s age, tall in stature, lithe and noticeably prepossessing with unblemished fair skin. His raven hair that framed his face was sleek in texture and fell shortly past his ears, tips touched at his shoulders.
Zero took immediate notice to his getup, which was something similar to what a Hunter might wear; Long leather jacket cascading past his knees with cut-out sleeves, a strap around his chest holding a sheathed katana on his back (no doubt a anti-Vampire weapon), and to confirm further, he was wearing a silver-plated badge clipped to his belt.
Zero knew of the distinct badge because it was a similar one to that Tooga Yagari would wear. It was honored to Hunters who the VHA recognized as veterans, which otherwise meant this guy was a distinguished Hunter.
Yuuki looked to Zero, then to her male companion. “I want you to meet the late King’s son, Kuro.”
Zero’s eyes widened promptly as he stared at the man. He knew that he had heard Yuuki correctly, but her words weren’t quite registering with him so he remained silent in his own bewilderment.
“Anyway, I think he can help” Yuuki pushed through the awkward moment by proceeding to explain, “Kuro is a Pureblood and Alpha. He’s an exact match for what we’re looking for in Kaname’s absence.”
“There’s also a good chance this will save Ren” Hanabusa cut in, drawing Zero’s attention with his dire tone of voice, “It’s the only hope we have, Zero. If we don’t try -- well, we’re looking at a very low survival rate come tomorrow.”
Zero nodded and shifted his attention back to the mysterious man known as Kuro who was essentially introduced to him as Kaname’s cousin. He wasn’t sure what was more difficult to fathom.. that the late King had a son that probably nobody knew about, or that a Tyrant so hell-bent on enslaving Humans had a son that was a Vampire slayer.
He was grateful to this man, though. He knew nothing about him, or this man him and his son, yet he had volunteered to help. That much showed Zero that perhaps this man had better intentions and beliefs then his father had. Or he hoped.
“It’s set then.” Hanabusa looked to Kuro and Zero for any last second thoughts. “Kuro, we’ll set you up in here shortly. The process should take a couple of hours, but until then.. you two can get acquainted?”
“I should take my leave then.” Yuuki knew it was her queue to leave, so she gave the small unconscious boy a fond peck on his forehead before wishing Zero the best for him and son, then taking her leave.
Before long it was just Zero and Kuro left in the room, other then his son who was asleep and oblivious to what was happening.
Kuro waited for them to leave, then took a seat beside Ren’s bed. It had only dawned on Zero now that Kuro hadn’t spoken a word before everyone had left. His voice was relaxed and silvery -- much like Kaname’s.
“You will have to pardon my silence. My existence to the Kurans is still a .. difficult subject.”
Zero quirked a brow at him, “I’m sure Yuuki was surprised?”
Kuro gave a small chuckle, “Not exactly. I’m only welcome here because of the present situation. My mother was simply a mistress, which makes me simply the son of a mistress, not a legitimate Kuran. That matters little to me now however.”
Although Kuro didn’t appear to be bothered by his estrangement, Zero felt sympathetic for him. Zero wanted to know more about the man who was voluntarily saving his son’s life, particularly why. After all, his other half of his family were unwelcoming, so why bother doing them a favor?
“I hate to ask this but I’ve never been good at keeping my mouth shut” Zero admitted before getting to his question, “I’m just curious about why you would want to help someone who’s practically a stranger. I mean, Kaname has never mentioned anything about you. It seems.. I don’t know -- odd.”
Kuro slightly shifted in his chair, taking the pressure from one leg which Zero took note of. “I’m not going to give you the ‘I’m a good person crap’. Your parents were my mentors some time ago when I was training to be a Hunter. You and your brother wouldn’t remember me because you two were just toddlers then, but I owe your parents for the person I am today.”
Zero didn’t think it was possible for his mind to be blown more then it had, but he stood -- or sat, corrected.
“That reminds me” Kuro looked in Zero’s direction, his features softening with solemn, “I’m sorry for what happened to your parents and your brother. I don’t expect you to believe me, but I made sure it was me who took care of her bounty. I give her the same mercy she showed you all -- none.”
A painful wave of emotions flooded over the Silverette, but in that wave was a feeling of relief washing over him. Zero clenched his jaw and tucked his arm at his stomach that was giving light spasms. He wanted to spew tears because he believed in this stranger. He didn’t know why, nor was he the type that was so easily gullible.. but he believed what this man said was the truth. Zero had waited for the day to learn of who slayed Shizuka Hio -- the Pureblood who mercilessly slaughtered his family.
Zero managed to compose himself, which Kuro let him do with silent respect.
“So you’re doing this as a favor..”
“I’m doing this because I’d be damned before I see another Kiryuu die.”