Crescent Moon Fan Fiction ❯ Phases ❯ Another Sleepless Night ( Chapter 13 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Dedication: couchpotatomaster, the poor sheltered child with no internet. Somehow, he (or she (or it)) managed to review my story.
Teh last chapter was not very good, but you must keep in mind that I did that in a hurry. Deadlines suck.
My favorite chapter is still chapter 11.
Chapter 13: Another Sleepless Night
Mahiru was almost relieved when she opened her eyes and a lantern was sitting next to her head. Did that mean it was all a bad dream? Too afraid to look past the warm glow, she lifted the lantern in front of her face and sat up.
A single soft gasp escaped her lips as the lantern clattered against the ground. Glass shattered around her knees and a ball of blue light floated up. She shrieked and fell back, landing on the stone floor.
It was like a giant cage, like the ones animals were held in. Wide bars stretched to the ceiling in a circle. The cage was wide enough to give the feeling of a big room with no light.
And she was not alone in it.
Keiko lurched forward with a gasp.
She hadn't had visions in years, and her first few were of a reacquainted friend in trouble.
“You can't sleep either, huh?”
Keiko jumped and pressed a hand to her heart. “You scared me.”
Akira scooted next to her. “Sorry.”
She sighed and hugged him, resting her cheek on his chest. “I'm scared.”
The werewolf had been trying to avoid close contact with her, but she seem insistent. He wrapped his arms around her to complete the embrace and rested a chin on her head. “I don't know how Misoka expects us to sleep when Mahiru's missing.”
She clutched him tighter. “I wonder how Mitsuru's doing.”
He was not doing well.
It was obvious, to him, that is, this was all his fault. Perhaps finding Mahiru's body would've been better than having no idea where she was. At least then he would've had something to blame on himself.
But he wasn't completely in the dark.
The only thing keeping the tengu from ripping some heads off was one simple fact.
He was scared.
It wasn't a particularly new feeling. Just a long-time missed one.
Mitsuru was sitting cross-legged, thumping his knee against the bed impatiently.
When morning came, he would face his fears.
If he could get through his friends first.
A flash of blue light…
A child's scream…
Hatred… Pure, unadulterated hatred…
She started, panting heavily. The psychic already knew who had their arms around her. It was comforting.
“You okay?” Akira asked.
“Just… Just a bad dream,” Keiko breathed. “Is it morning yet?”
“Yeah. I don't think Misoka could sleep either. He came in about dawn and told me to get ready.”
“When was that?”
“About five minutes ago.”
“Oh, good. Five in the morning and I'm already having a bad day.”
Akira laughed. “It's actually six.”
“Took me all night, but I finally found these.” He unrolled the papers and set them down for the others to see. “It's the mark and a back-story.”
Next to the blown-up picture of the mark were words small and tiny. They strained to see them.
“It's connected to a human cult called Black Moonlight. It says that they've been hunting the Lunar race long before any princess or demon. They kill with magic.”
“And they just don't hunt the Lunar race,” Mitsuru said, “They get humans associated with us.”
“Hence Mahiru's appearance,” Misoka nodded, “They `purify' them with some ritual. The details are fuzzy, but it involves a lot of holy water and some sort of fasting process, which usually means paranoid stereotypic demon hunters that dress like evil monks.”
“Sounds about right,” Mitsuru muttered.
“What about half-demon, half-human?” Keiko asked.
Three confused faces turned to look at her.
“I'm just curious,” she said defensively.
“There's been no record of a human-demon hybrid,” Misoka said, “I assume they'd be killed.”
“There are a few clues to where they might take Mahiru. I figured they wouldn't take her far, so I narrowed it down.”
Akira noticed the library circled in red. “Big creepy monks in a big creepy library?”
“She'd be used as bait,” Mitsuru said suddenly, “They probably know we're close to her.”
The fox demon shook his head. “They might not care. The problem is we've never really faced them. We don't know enough.”
Keiko leaned over to Akira and whispered, “Do you feel like we're out of the loop?”
“I found something else. I thought Mitsuru might be interested in it.”
The tengu already knew it was coming.
“About your parents.”
He could feel it dropping down on them.
“About their deaths.”
This was all his fault.
“You've known the entire time, haven't you?”
Misoka calmly rolled up one of the papers and smacked the tengu on his head. “You-are-so-stupid,” each word was annunciated with a thwack, “You're-going-to get-Mahiru-killed.”
Akira and Keiko watched as the fox attacked the bat.
“We are so out of the loop.”
Mahiru was frozen in fear. A few hours ago she'd been locked up in a cell with no light, and now some strange man was in it with her.
The man had his face beneath a hood. He wore a black robe with symbols woven in silver thread. His hands were folded at his stomach, giving him a regal look.
“Oh, good. Creepy monk,” she breathed.
“I thought our guest would be more hospitable,” the man said. His voice was charismatic, to say the least.
“Um, guest?” Mahiru spat. “I think I was kidnapped and an now being held in a cage.”
“We hardly kidnapped you. It was more of a… rescue.”
Oi, those hormones were acting up. “Rescue? Yes, save me from the people who actually care about me and put me in the hands of the psychos trying to kill them!”
The man shook his head. “Let's start over. I am Sebastian. I am here to help you.”
“Help me how?” she was wary, no matter how sincere he sounded.
“You were coerced into helping those demons. You came to think of them as `friends.' I am here to tell you the truth.”
“Oh, goody. But I like not knowing the `truth.' So if you could just let me go…”
“You cannot leave,” Sebastian's voice grew cold, and fear slowly returned.
“Why- Why not?”
“You have not been purified…”
“…And I am afraid your child will not leave here alive.”
Something he'd hidden for years…
Was now out in the open.
His parents had been killed by Black Moonlight. He'd seen their deaths and cowered. He'd been placed in a foster home as a human and abandoned. The rest, they knew.
“And we still don't know where Mahiru is,” Akira said.
“I could do another circle…” Keiko offered.
“They'd need a big abandoned place, right?” Misoka pointed to a large square building on the map. “There's an old theatre with catacombs beneath it. No one's used in it in years. We could check it out.”
“Let's go then,” Mitsuru said.
“We're going against some serious magic,” Misoka stopped him, “Not weapons. We're going to be in major danger.”
“I don't care,” Mitsuru growled, “We've got to get Mahiru.”
“Calm down. We've got a bit of planning to do.”