Trials of the Junsuikaoni: In Pursuit of a Prophecy: The Final Act (Book 4)

Noah and his team return home only to find that their lives will once again be turned upside down with the arrival of the new Academy Council. Their arrival triggers old wounds that they didn't even know they had, while precipitating their current ones. This all couldn't have happened at a worse time as the foretold Prophecy has finally been set in motion as Judas makes his move. After arduous training, Noah and his team set off on their most dangerous journey yet to gather the sacred shards of the Great Sword of Sorrow, the only weapon that can end the reign of Judas and eliminate the Junsuikaoni demons once and for all. However, the trials they each will have to face along the way will hold more danger than they've ever known. Witness the epic conclusion to a battle over 20 years in the making as Noah faces off against his brother Judas and the prophecy is at last fulfilled. Just which way will the hands of fate turn in the end? Will they ever find the happiness that they seek?

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3. What It Means to Say Goodbye

            “It’s a sex-limited mutation.” Mika places down an article. “According to this research.”

            Tahno picks up the article and skims it. “So, you wanna translate that Mika? I don’t have a medical science degree you know. What does that even mean?” He’s got an annoyed tone.

            Mika used to feel sad about it, but Mason has been testy ever since that day, so he’s gotten used to it. Not that he can’t understand his frustrations. Both he and Becca’s frustrations actually. To be stuck with such a unique and demanding child is not a blessing. “I’m sorry, I should’ve explained better. Basically, this mutation actually started with you and is the reason you were born human despite both your mother and I being pure-blood Junsui. This mutated gene was passed on to you, but because it’s sex-limited, meaning it only manifests in one gender, presumably female in this case, you wouldn’t have shown the trait. However, you could pass it on to your daughter and she’d show the trait. This mutation is promising to finally solve the mystery of why some Junsui born children turn out human, but the weird thing about this case is that this gene the article mentions has never shown sex-specificity. It’s a recessive gene that will only produce a Junsui child if the one with the mutation mates with another person with the mutation. We analyzed the blood samples you both gave us and Mason, you were confirmed to have the mutated gene discussed in this article, however, Rebecca does not and is a completely normal human. So it should be impossible to have produced a Junsui child with you two. Therefore, the lab could only loosely conclude that it’s a similar, but slight varied mutated gene and must be a dominant sex-limited trait since you didn’t become Junsui, but your daughter did and because Rebecca has no unusual genes at all that would have contributed to a recessive trait. Though honestly, they didn’t feel satisfied with that conclusion, but it’s all they could say.”

            “So basically your saying our daughter is mutant freak and it’s all my fault, right?!” He slams down the paper, banging his fist against the table, which is loud enough to wake Macy.

            She instantly starts crying and it echoes loudly through the apartment. Rebecca, who was trying to catch up on some sleep, sits up and glares at Tahno. “Dammit Mason, I’d finally got her to sleep and you wake her up with your childish tantrum. Now I’m sure she’s going to be up for hours and once again I’m not going to get any sleep!” Macy’s cries grow louder from the yells. “Oh ok! I hear you already!” Rebecca gets up and picks up Macy, trying to quiet her down.

            Tahno gets angry for being accused of throwing a childish tantrum and shouts back. “I’m sorry. Forgive me if I can’t be as mature as you. Maybe you should’ve gone in the bedroom!”

            “She doesn’t sleep well when we’re in there. I think she likes to look at the ceiling out here and it’s brighter. Besides, it’s easier to be out here since she needs to feed every hour and won’t drink from me! Maybe I could get more rest if you, I don’t know…maybe acted like her father and helped me take care of her. You’re responsible for this, so it’s the least you can do!”

            He laughs with a nod. “So there it is; you’ve finally said it out loud.” He walks closer. “Yes, I know dear, it’s all my fault, I was just saying that. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, but I’m the one who’s actively looking for information on this situation and hoping to find a solution as soon as possible. So no, I don’t have time to take care of her, but don’t say I’m not acting like a father because all the effort I’m putting in is solely because I’m her father!” He goes to the fridge and grabs a blood substitute pouch from the incubator. “Here, take this and feed her.” He tosses her the pouch and it lands on the couch beside her. “Now you can say I helped out. Now, excuse me while I get back to the important things!” He walks back over to the table.

            Macy continues to cry loudly and Rebecca snatches up the pouch as she mutters, “You really are an ass….” She empties the pouch into a bottle and attempts to offer it to Macy, but after taking a few sips and finding it unsatisfactory, she spits it out and refuses to take more. She cries again and this time even louder, to Rebecca’s frustration. “Uh! What do you want?!” She sounds like she’s halfway between raging and crying. “She won’t take the substitute anymore!”

            Mason turns around in aggravation. “Well you figure it out, I’m out of options.”

            “Well I’m out of options too!” She tosses the bottle and looks about ready to toss Macy too, but she doesn’t lose herself. However, finally succumbing to the stress, she starts crying along with Macy, not knowing what to do. Tahno tries to block it all out and focus on Mika.

            Mia watches the scene unfold with unease and a heavy heart, wishing she could help ease their suffering. They’ve been home for only two weeks and already look as though they’ve experienced a year of childcare. They constantly fight, shout and Rebecca often breaks down as she is now, unable to deal with the needs of their pure Junsui child. She would at least take the substitutes, but now it seems that is no longer what she wants, as Noah had a feeling would be the case and so as a result, he’s gone to find a solution. Please hurry Noah, she silently begs.

###

            “Yes!” Rachel shudders and collapses on the bed, her body weak and her breathing heavy. As she tries to catch her breath, Noah quickly slips on his boxers, jeans and shirt. Rachel smiles as he does this, feeling satisfied in every sense of the word. “Why are you in a hurry?”

            Noah frowns. “Do you seriously need to ask? You forced me to do something I never intended to do all because you knew I needed your blood and was desperate enough to give you what you wanted. So now I want to get away from you as fast as possible.” He puts on his shoes. “This isn’t going to happen like this again, if ever. I’ll find my own sources if need be.”

            She grins. “Oh please, you say that as though you’re serious. I didn’t force you to do anything you didn’t want Noah and you wanted it bad, that will never be able to lie even if your mouth does. You’re just being stubborn because I hurt your feelings and betrayed you. Don’t you think I deserve to be forgiven for that already? I mean, it’s not like I killed anyone dear to you personally, I just withheld serious information. I had no choice; Judas surely would’ve killed me if I hadn’t kept quiet about it. I’m willing to do whatever you want to make up for it now, but please don’t make me out to be some blackmailing harlot. I can give you easy access to something you need and so I want to be able to do that for you and it’s for one reason only. I love you Noah, I always have and always will, that hasn’t changed for me or for you and you know it. You could easily find your own sources for blood if you wished, but instead you come to me. Convenience is your excuse, but deep down you know you want to be with me.”

            Noah scowls at her and clutches his fists. He wants to tell her she’s wrong and that he has not even an ounce of love left for her, but what she says is true. Deep down he knows, he’s still in love with her and he did enjoy that, though it burns him to admit it. He missed her touch. He groans and then grabs his jacket. “Maybe there’s some truth to what you say, but even still, I say this isn’t going to happen again, not like this anyway. I’ll call you if I need your blood again.” He quickly leaves the room, not waiting to hear any more of what she has to say.

            Rachel stretches out on the bed and smiles in bliss as she says out loud, “See you soon babe.” She knows Noah still loves her and she’ll do anything it takes to win him back forever. The only thing that’s hindering them from already being back is Mia. “That girl…she is going to be a nuisance.” Rachel realizes that she’s going to have to make sure Mia doesn’t get in the way.

###

            “Jesus, will you shut her up already?!” Tahno shouts at Rebecca, who’s still crying along with Macy. He turns back to Mika. “You do something; you should know what she wants right?”

            “I…well, I can’t say I don’t have a hunch, but you won’t like it and it’ll be hard to get.”

            “Well, I don’t care how hard it is to get, just do something! I’m sick of this already!”

            Mika isn’t sure what he should say, but just then, the door opens and they all turn to Noah returning. “I can hear her crying from the elevator, she’s got some serious pipes on her.”

            “Is this funny to you? If you have time to joke, then maybe you should use it to figure out a solution too. We’ve got two demons right here and neither of them can help us with ours.”

            “Hey, don’t be an ass. As it turns out, I believe I have a solution, but don’t hate me for it.” He walks over to Rebecca and holds out his hands. “May I hold her for a bit Rebecca?”

            Rebecca looks at Noah through her tears as though he’s her salvation. “Please…I can’t do this anymore. Take her. Do whatever you want, I just need a break!” She practically tosses her.

            Noah takes her and taking a seat, he gently cradles her. She continues to cry, but she seems to have calmed down slightly. “You’re hungry aren’t you Macy?” He rocks her.

            “I tried giving her the substitute, but she refused it. It must be something else.”

            “No, that’s exactly what it is. Do you see how red her eyes have gotten? For a Junsui, that’s what happens when we reach our hunger limit. If we continue on without proper feeding too much after this point, we’ll become feral. So she just needs what any Junsui needs at this point.” Noah reveals his fangs and slices his wrist, making Rebecca gasp. He quickly holds it over Macy’s mouth and allows it to drip into her mouth. She quickly realizes it’s different and unlike before, she doesn’t refuse it, but instead begins sucking on Noah’s wrist like she was literally starved, not a drop of blood escaping her lips. Noah smiles and says, “blood of course.”

            Noah’s got everyone’s attention, now Tahno’s most of all. “What the hell?! What do you think you’re doing to my daughter?! Don’t feed her that disgusting shit!” Tahno knocks Noah’s hand away and Macy instantly cries, but that’s not all. Her face also transforms into a grotesque form, making Tahno reel back and Rebecca gasp again. “So she really is a monster.”

            Noah can see the disgust and fear in their faces. “This is what she needs Tahno, like it or not. You wanted someone to do something, well I am, it’s your problem that it’s not desirable to you.” He returns his wrist and she continues drinking. “I get that this was unexpected, but for god sakes Tahno, could you look any more disgusted? It’s your daughter, your own flesh and blood. She didn’t ask to be born like this, none of us did, but we were. That’s just how it is sometimes!” Noah shouts back at him, feeling their disgusted gazes on a personal level as it brings back memories of the way his human mom looked at him when he transformed for the first time. The fear she showed, the fear they show now, is all too painful, even as an observer.

            Rebecca sobs, feeling guilty about her own reaction, but unable to overcome it. “I’m sorry!” She gets up and runs to the bedroom, slamming the door shut behind her to cry alone.

            Tahno scowls. “It’s easy for you to say to just accept it Noah, you’re the same as her, so you know what to expect, you know how it goes. You have to look at it from my perspective. I’ve lived much of my life training, building myself and skills up all for one purpose, to kill things like you! I could handle you because you were different, you choose humanity. I never had to experience you changing out of nowhere or desiring human blood because you didn’t want to live like that. Maybe I was spoiled by you, I’ll admit it, but that being the case, I cannot deal with her the same way I deal with you because she’s not like you. She’s a demon that only knows how to be a demon! She clearly doesn’t share your ability to survive without human blood and be content with a substitute. You think I want to look at her and be disgusted? Do you think I want to turn away from her? Yes, she’s my daughter. MY daughter! I want to hold her and tell her it’s ok. That I love her no matter what and will always be there for her. I want to be ok with her being a demon. I want to more than you could ever understand, but I can’t! I can’t be the father she needs me to be because I can’t stand looking at her with that face or with those red eyes without wanting to put a bullet in her!” Noah is shocked to see him crying, a first, at least that he’s ever seen anyway. “You have no idea how shitty I feel right now. I feel like an absolute disgrace and feel like blasting my own brains out in shame, but even still, I just don’t know if I can accept her as she is. I thought I could do it, I resolved myself to do it, but I just can’t! Surely I’ll go to hell for this, but I’m ready to accept that fate. I cannot forgive the monsters that killed my family and destroyed my life, not for you, not for dad, not for her.” The tears stream down. “I’m sorry, until there’s a way to make her a normal human, we want nothing to do with her.”

            He grabs a jacket and storms out of the apartment before anyone can even react. Mika looks after him in shock and sadness and Mia is sympathetic towards all of them. Noah is shocked, but not surprised as he foresaw this becoming an issue. He looks at Macy, smiling happily as she continues drinking from Noah. Her eyes are starting to become burnt orange, same as her mother and her face returns to normal. Satiated at last, she stops drinking and gurgles. “That’s all you wanted right? You were just hungry is all.” She kicks her legs and babbles, happy and content now that’s she’s been fed. Completely oblivious to the fact that her parents essentially just rejected her and passed her off to them. Noah looks at her empathetically. “I know how it feels, believe me. To be rejected by the people you love more than anyone. To be called a freak, monster, you name it and start to believe it. But the difference was I heard these things once I was no longer a child. You’re only two weeks old and already you’ve been pushed away, by the very people who are supposed to always stick by you. That is going to feel like the worst kind of betrayal you could ever have, and I can’t say it won’t hurt, because it will. However, even though you can’t understand me now, I’ll ask you in their stead, please don’t hate them. They just don’t understand you and they can’t deal with your uniqueness right now. But perhaps one day, when they can understand better, they will come to accept you. Until that day comes though, what do you think about staying with Uncle Noah?”

            Mika is surprised. “Noah…are you serious? Are you actually willing to care for her?”

            “Someone has to right? Besides, it’s not like you weren’t going to do the same thing if I hadn’t said it first. You’re not the type to turn your back on your own grandchild without reason. I’m going to need your help anyway, since I’ve finally learned how to care for myself, but I’ve never been tasked with caring for a baby. You have at least some experience don’t you?”

            “Yes, I raised Ouran from practically a baby until I had to leave, so I know a little. Of course I wasn’t going to leave her alone, and I’m happy to help with the responsibility, but don’t you think we should try and talk Mason out of this decision? He’s not thinking clearly.”

            “No dad, he’s thinking quite clearly. You heard him, he’s never going to be able to accept her as a Junsui, his hate for us is just too great. As for her mother, she just can’t handle it period. She’s new to all this stuff and our world, so naturally it’s too much for her to handle. Besides, she’s going to need to have a support system of others like her and only we can do that. So I’ve already decided. We will take her in until they can change their hearts, if they even can.”

            Mika still looks uncertain, but he also knows what Noah says is true. “You’re right. It pains me to see it come to this, but at least she’ll be safe with us and we can give her the proper care that she needs. I won’t give up on them though. We can take her in, but I’m not going to stop appealing to them. Perhaps watching her grow will allow them to change their hearts.”

            “Alright, you do you dad. If you want to keep facing off against that stubborn ass, then be my guest. Anyway, now that we’ve got this new responsibility, how are we going to handle training? I mean, I think I’m already pretty strong, but you had things in mind for me right?”

            As though he just remembered, Mika shakes his head. “Damn, I’d almost forgotten honestly, with all this going on the last couple of weeks. That is a bit of a problem.”

            Mia finally takes her chance to be helpful. “I could look after her while you guys are training. I don’t know what you had in mind, but I can come along as a babysitter.”

            “Thanks Mia, that’s a great idea, and maybe would be fine in some situations, but she’ll need to drink from Noah since he’s the one who feeds with human blood, indirectly of course.” He looks to Noah with curiosity. “Actually, where’d you get your blood source from to share with Macy? Was there a stray Bakemon somewhere, though there shouldn’t have been.”

            Mia looks down, knowing the answer before he even says a word. She had figured as much when he said he had to go out to feed. Knowing the situation with the Bakemon being forbidden to come up to the surface and Tourer Kenai being too far to get to and back within this short timespan, she assumed he must be going to her. She knows she has no right to feel sad about it, but she can’t lie and say she doesn’t. She wishes she could rid herself of the feelings she has for Noah, so he can be with Rachel without regret or worrying how she’ll feel, but she can’t and so she finds Rachel threatening, and feels inadequate knowing she can’t win against her.

            Noah looks at Mia; he can feel her turmoil and knows that he’s the cause. He wishes that he could just remove all traces of Rachel from his soul and only look at Mia, but he can’t. He wants to face Mia seriously and explore the feelings he has inside for her, but he can’t let go of Rachel so easy and until he can, his feelings for her overpower any he has for Mia. He finally turns to Mika and answers with a half-truth. “I just utilized a resource I had access to.” Mika seems satisfied enough with that answer and comes up with a solution.

            “I think she’s still a bit too young to come on the road with us now and I want some time to try and convince Tahno, so let’s give it six months. I think six months is a reasonable time frame. If I can’t get them to reconsider by then, they probably never will, so I’ll give in then. Also, she’ll be a bit older and can handle traveling around. You are fairly sufficient already, but there are still things you need to learn and improve on, but I think six months is enough time for you to do that. After that and we return, I suppose I’ll just have to take over. A one-year-old cannot travel the world with you all for such a long time and in such harsh conditions and so although I’ve sworn off it, if I must, I’ll feed on human blood indirectly as you do. I’ll make the sacrifice for her. Anyway, Mia will naturally be coming with us for our six-month journey and so she can watch over her while we train and you’ll just stop when she needs to feed. Perhaps over those six months her parents will reflect and maybe even find themselves missing her. It’d be wonderful if we could return after that time to them welcoming her with open arms.”

            “You’re an optimist dad, I’ll give you that. Anyway, won’t the gang be surprised when they come back in a year to find me raising a kid. I’m sure it’ll be quite the major change for them adjust to. Then again, I’m sure they’ll also be changed when they return. When they left with their parents two weeks ago, it seemed like they were in for some harsh lessons. Though I gotta say, it was quite fortunate for Mai and Lili that their parents happened to be together and so they were able to go train together. Gunther and Nik left together too, but they’ll be splitting off at some point I believe, so it’s not the same as getting to be together the full year like the girls can. I just hope above all that when they return, all that petty drama is behind them. For real.”

            “Yes, I’m sure they’re in for quite the training sessions over this year, but I’m certain they will come back as better versions of themselves. Don’t think you’re going to have it easy either. You may not be training rigorously for the full year, but those six months will be more than enough to make up for it. Also, you’re going to spend these first six months doing some basic training on your own within your apartment. Taking care of Macy will not be an excuse to slack. Anyway, perhaps we should head back to our place, I’d imagine Mason wants us out.”

            “Yea probably, though it’s not like we won’t see him since we live right down the hall. Anyway, let’s go, I’m hungry for real food now. We’ll have to come by later for clothes and supplies for Macy.” Mika nods and the three of them head out and to their own apartment. With this, Noah officially became Macy’s guardian, the two brought together by none other than fate.

###

            Six months’ pass, and despite the hope that things would improve, things only got worse. However, while everyone else remained the same, Macy changed at an alarming rate, growing a new inch a day and maturing in body and mind, to the point that after just six months, she’s reached the biological age of a three-year-old. No one can offer an explanation for it, but the fact remains that it is actively occurring and shows no signs of stopping. For Rebecca and Tahno, having a Junsui child was difficult enough, but now that she’s even more abnormal, it’s more than they can handle. As a result, they’ve turned away from Macy, barely acknowledging her and drowning themselves in work to avoid being around her…and each other. Their relationship has become extremely strained, neither able to face the other due to their unconscious resentment and shame in the fact that they have abandoned their daughter, the guilt has destroyed them.

            Macy sits in hall, playing with blocks. Her long black hair falls down her back and her eyes are her natural burnt orange, though they’ve been progressively becoming darker as her hunger increases. Normally Noah would have returned by now, but he’s late today. He always lets her feed from him in the mornings before he heads off to train at the academy and then by the afternoon he returns freshly fed himself, so she can feed on him again and later in the evening. In between those designated feeding times, she drinks multiple pouches of pig blood. She also has all the meals Mia cooks for them available, but she doesn’t care much for it. Not because it’s not good food, but because she prefers blood and raw beef, a true Junsui demon through and through. It’s because of this seemingly unsatiable and selective hunger that her parents don’t want to be around her. No one’s ever come out and said it outright, but they haven’t needed to. Macy can tell just by how they express fear if she as much approaches them, but despite this, she still tries because even if they don’t love her, she’s always loved them.

            The apartment door opens and Mia stands in the doorway. She watches Macy play, the blocks stacking one by one, though she hasn’t lifted a finger. “Practicing your air skill again?”

            Macy looks back at Mia, her eyes darker than they were just minutes ago. “It’s not exactly air Mia, it’s more like levitation. It’s a mind skill, but I can use air too. Look!” She lifts her hands and waving them around, she generates a small wind vortex, in which the blocks get caught in and fly through the air. “See? I can use the others too, want me to show you?” She starts to move her arms and suddenly the building starts to tremor, alarming Mia.

            “Uh Macy, maybe you shouldn’t show me right now. Remember, Noah told you not to use your elemental powers inside right? It wouldn’t be good if you lost control you know?”

            “I won’t lose control! I’m really strong, even Noah said so! I could lift this entire building with no effort!” The building tremors more intensely and Macy’s eyes become red.

            “Macy don’t! You’re right, I know you are super strong, the strongest, so no need to show me now.” She’s nervous because the last time she lost control, she smashed the windows.

            “Macy stop that right now!” A loud and commanding voice echoes down the hall and it brings Macy to an abrupt halt. She turns to see a man with Black curly hair and yellow eyes.

            “Papa!” She runs down the hall and latches on to his leg, nuzzling her head into it.

            Tahno clenches his hands and his teeth, torn between instinct and his mind. “Let go!” He snatches his leg away from her, causing her to fall back on her butt with a thump. He almost feels regretful, but he stands firm and with a scowl says, “Don’t cling to me like that. I don’t want a demon like you touching me when you’ve got eyes like that. You’re being a brat!”

            Mia watches as the usually strong-willed girl’s eyes begin to water, hurt by the harsh tone of her father. Tahno’s the only one who can make her react that way, taming the otherwise wild beast inside her. It’s not that she’s a bad girl, it’s just she can’t control her natural urges as a mature Junsui can. Based on what they’ve learned, normal Junsui demon children are often like this, but Macy seems to be on the extreme end with her never-ending hunger for human blood and high powered abilities that even a normal young Junsui child would not have mastered at this age. She’s been quite the anomaly in the Junsui science world, hence why the Academy scientists have been very interested in studying her, though Noah refuses to allow them to make her into a lab rat. However, as a precaution to her uncontrollable urges, he never allows her to leave the building unless she’s with him, worried that the endless stimulation of human flesh outside will send her into a feeding frenzy. He’s been able to contain her thus far, but there have been a couple of close calls. That’s why it’s vital that she be kept satiated with blood as often as possible, though keeping up with the demand has been increasingly difficult. However, when Noah and Mika are away, it’s her responsibility to keep her under control. “Macy.” She turns to look with teary eyes. “I’ve got some lunch for you. It’s just raw beef, but Noah will be back for your feeding soon, he’s just got something to take care of first. So come now ok?”

            Overtaken by hunger, Macy forgets her tears and runs back to Mia. She grabs the package and rips it open to receive the blood red slab of beef. Her eyes become completely blood red and her face transforms, her fangs ripping apart the meat as she devours it. Mia’s gotten more or less used to it, but she looks at Tahno, who appears to be completely disgusted. He turns away and enters his apartment, unable to stand the sight for another moment. Macy finishes her meat and looks back down the hall; at the door that her Papa just went into because he was too disgusted. She reverts, her eyes becoming less red and once again feeling the sting of her father’s rejection, she starts to cry. “Why won’t papa stay with me? I don’t mean to be bad.”

            Mia looks down at her sympathetically. “I know that and deep down he knows it to. It’s just that he doesn’t know how to handle it right now because he grew up as a human. He loves you though, your mama too, even if they can’t be with you right now. The best thing you can do is try to keep being a good girl and never hurt the innocent, just like Noah taught you, ok?” She nods through her tears. “Ok good. Now, let’s get back inside and wait for Noah, ok Macy?”

            “Ok.” She stands up and licks her lips clean. She rubs her eyes sleepily.

            “Looks like you might need a nap. I’m sure you’ll feel much better after.”

            “Will you sleep with me Mia?” She takes Mia’s hand.

            “Of course I will. How about we take a nice, warm bath first to be more relaxed?”

            “Yea! I want to use bubbles!” She jumps excitedly, as she follows Mia inside.

            “Ok, a bubble bath it is.” She shuts the door behind them, oblivious to the presence in the shadows. In the form of a snake, it slithers along the walls and slips through a hole in the roof.

            Outside on the roof, the snake slithers along the ground and up the body of a man. It hisses in his ear, passing on all the news it has to offer. “So, the child is quite powerful then?” It hisses more and the man smirks. “Yes, I think Lord Silas will be quite happy to have her. Though as long as she’s under the close watch of her uncle and the others, it’ll be too difficult to secure her. It’s unlikely she’ll want to go with us just like that either. So we’ll bide our time, wait until the time is right, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help things along and have fun. “Loriel.” From the shadows, a being appears in the shape of a woman, but is black as night. He looks at the floating specter and says, “You know what to do.” She bows and returns to the shadows.

            A while later, Macy is cuddled against Mia; sleeping soundly. However, she wakes up with a start. She feels a presence, but doesn’t see anyone. “Noah?” She calls out groggily, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, but there is no answer. Just as she starts to think that maybe she was imaging things, she sees a shadow on the wall. This shadow looks like that of a little girl. “Who are you?” The shadow doesn’t respond, but instead laughs playfully. It travels around the walls of the bedroom, then it manifests physically like a wraith and beckons her to follow as it leaves the room. “Wait!” Macy jumps out of bed and follows the shadow girl out, finding herself in front of the exit, which is open. Mia normally never leaves it open and she’s always been told to never leave the apartment unless she’s given permission or goes with someone, but never having had a chance to make friends, she can’t help but want to follow the girl. She runs out behind the girl, who leads her to the stairwell. “The elevator is faster you know.” The girl doesn’t respond, she just keeps running down the stairs and Macy continues to follow behind until they finally reach the basement level. Rather than heading for the door that leads to the parking garage, the girl leads her to the back door, which lets out into an alleyway. “Why did you bring me outside? I’m not supposed to be out here by myself.” The girl continues to beckon her and runs into a side alley and her curiosity getting the best of her, she once again follows behind. They finally reach a considerable distance away from the building and Macy finally starts to get nervous. “I’m really not supposed to be out here alone. I should go back now or I’ll get in trouble. Let’s play another day ok?” Macy starts to turn back, but then a strong smell fills her nostrils, making her look back. Like the most enticing thing she’s ever seen, the scent draws her in with her legs moving on their own, she follows it to the source. It leads her to a small apartment at the end of the alley, characteristic of the lower city slums. She enters it and finds several people tied up and on their necks are two single holes, from someone’s fangs. The blood oozes from the bites slowly and with a raging desire she’s never felt before, she transforms. With her eyes bright red and with her claws and fangs sharp, she pounces on the defenseless victims and all that can be heard are snarls and screams. In the darkness, the man watches in amusement.

###

            On her way home, Rebecca can hear screams coming from down the alley. She stealthily moves closer, clutching her gun, wanting to access the enemy before calling for backup. She peeks into the open door, prepared to shoot if it comes at her, but it appears to be unaware of her.

            She steps back out and calls for help. “Chief Enforcer Holstein here. Requesting a Hunter unit for backup. Suspect appears to be a lone Junsui, likely a child. There are five victims, two adults, one male, one female, two school aged children and a toddler. Suspect is still feeding. The location is Camino Alley, off of Booker street. Should I engage or standby?””

            A few seconds later, someone responds. “It sounds like small fry to me, surely you could handle it yourself.” She recognizes the voice and rolls her eyes.

            “I’m just following protocol Chief General Tahno. I won’t be needing your help.”

            “Well I wasn’t offering, but I suppose I’ll come by since it’s so close, so standby.”

            She sighs, wishing anyone but him would’ve been available. Things have become so strained between them, she’s not sure how much longer they are going to last. It may have been over the day they abandoned their own child. The guilt eats away at her every moment that her mind has time to think and so she works hard to avoid it, but the nights are the worst. She can barely sleep at all. She feels restless, thinking about things she doesn’t want to think of and so she decides to just jump into action. “I don’t need him anyway, just as he said. I’ll do this on my own.” She steps back into the apartment, quietly approaching the demon. It really does appear to be a child, probably a feral that escaped from its parents and has lost itself in its hunger. She approaches it and even positions her elemental gun directly over the heart, a clear and easy shot that’s sure to be fatal. It’s easy, too easy, which means this child either has poor awareness or it’s a trap. She looks around to see if anyone is waiting to pounce, but there is no one. Which means this Junsui child is very inexperienced, a first for her to have ever come across. Despite it being a demon, having to kill a child is always a bit sad, but she won’t hesitate as she knows it’ll never stop and these innocent people died, even if it doesn’t know what it’s doing. She positions the gun again and starts to pull the trigger, but then she notices it’s clothes. It’s the same exact outfit that she noticed Macy wearing when she was leaving this morning, which means…. “Macy?”

            The child stops and turns to face her, it’s eyes bright red and it’s face in a snarl, frightening Rebecca and making her fall backwards. Seeing the familiar face and reaction, Macy reverts to normal, her eyes their normal color and reaches for her. “Mama?”

            Rebecca’s eyes are filled with fear as she trembles. “Macy…what have you done?” Macy looks at her in confusion, but as she looks around, tears start to form, realizing what she’s done.

###

            Noah catches his breath as the wave passes over him, his body returning to normal. Rachel rides her wave beside him, her arms and legs still wrapped around him. She presses her lips against his and they share a deep kiss, Noah no longer resisting. Being inevitable due to his need to feed through her, Noah couldn’t resist against her and his feelings anymore and so after a few more weeks of resistance, he finally gave in and they are officially dating again. He feels bad for Mia, especially since she’s been so good with helping care for Macy when he’s gone. It almost feels like he’s a cheating husband, coming to be with Rachel even though he’s got a wife and kid at home. He knows she’s not holding it against him, but that doesn’t change the fact that she has feelings for him and he knows it. That’s why he tries not to make it obvious that he’s coming to see Rachel, even though she already knows he is and he meets her at her place, which is a sufficient distance from his apartment, so she won’t have to experience anything like she did that night again. He feels at least doing this much is what she deserves. He looks at the clock and realizes it’s already past one. “Oh crap! I’ve got to go.” He pulls away from her kiss and jumps up, throwing on his clothes. “You shouldn’t have let me lose track of time! Now I’m late.”

            “I doubt she’ll die if she has to wait a bit longer for lunch. You said Mia gives her plenty of meat and pigs blood between feedings right? She should survive with that for now. I can’t help it if I want to keep you all to myself a bit longer. It’s so unfair that she gets to play house with you, kid and everything when I’m the one who you’re actually dating. Are you sure that you’re not sleeping with her? I hear that children bring people together.”

            “Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not the type of guy to play out on the girl I’ve committed to. It wouldn’t be fair to her anyway. As for Macy, if she were enough to bring people together, her parents wouldn’t be on the verge of divorcing right now, when they haven’t even gotten married yet! I don’t think they’re ever going to be able to accept her after all, which is really sad.”

            “Well what did you expect? They’re human after all. Humans don’t have anything to offer us anymore than we do them. Humans and Junsui, no Bakemon in general just can’t live together. That’s why Judas is so against the treaty, well besides his own selfishness of course.”

            “Yea well maybe not, but I thought that your own flesh and blood would make a difference you know?” He shakes his head. “No, you wouldn’t. You’re a human born Junsui.”

            “What does that mean? Are you saying I have the heart of a Junsui despite being born a human? That’s pretty mean isn’t it? I mean it’s true, but still too mean for my boyfriend to say.”

            “Yea well, you know I don’t beat around the bush. Anyway, I’m going now. See you.” He gives her a quick kiss and then hurries out the door, leaving her alone.

            She lies back in thought and places her hands on her stomach. “I wonder if you’ll be able to think that way when you’re in their shoes?” She rubs her stomach tenderly. “Soon we’ll be a family. Just me, you and Papa.” As she rolls on her side, she feels a slight kick and smiles.

###

            Noah makes his way down Booker street, but then notices he’s being followed. He turns off into an ally and then confronts his pursuer when they get closer. “Hey, who the hell are you?” Noah is prepared to be defensive, but then he sees a familiar turquoise eye, the other obscured by black bangs, a matching black ponytail coming around the side. This person is wearing jeans and a close fitting t-shirt, the lining of a bra can be seen through it, just as a slight bulge can be seen through their jeans. Although out of their normal dress, this can only be one person. “Ouran?”

            “Hey there Noah! How nice of you to notice me. I think you’re falling off a bit though, since I’d been following you since you left Rachel’s. I’m surprised to see you two are back together. I never knew you were such a forgiving type. Oh well whatever, what’s up?”

            “What’s up? I’m fine, but what’s up with you?! How are you even here right now?”

            “I told you remember, I can come to the surface now and then. In this case, I can come up every 6 months for one full day. I went to Simone and Zione first of course, but then I decided to stop by and visit with you for a couple of hours and then I’ll finish off my day back with them.”

            “Oh I see. Well, that’s not terrible I guess. But wait, who’s Zione?”

            “Oh of course, you wouldn’t know. That’s my kid, my son. He’s already 3.”

            “What?! How’s that possible? There’s no way! Did you and Simone have him from before? I didn’t even realize you could have kids!”

            “Yea, neither did we, until she got pregnant. We’re pretty sure she conceived around the time we started dating and then she gave birth a month after you returned from the underworld.”

            “Wow, so that means the gestation must have been accelerated. His growth must be accelerated too if it’s only been six months and he’s already 3. That’s the same as….” Noah finally has a realization. “Oh my god! It’s the same as Macy! She’s a bit over 3 as well.”

            “Macy? Who’s that? You’re illegitimate love child with Rachel or something?”

            “What? No way, get real. She and I are together again but I’m not sure I want to have kids with her. Not anytime soon anyway. No, Macy is Tahno and Rebecca’s kid. She was born the day after we returned, but somehow she was born as a pure Junsui. Not just that, but just like your Zione seems to be doing, she’s growing at a rapid pace. We can’t figure out why, yet she is. Do you have any idea? It’s gotta be something that connects both Macy and Zione right?”

            Ouran contemplates for a second, but then it hits. “Noah…I think I know why now.”

            “Well spill it already. If we know why, maybe we can fix it.”

            “I’m not so sure we can Noah. You’re right, it’s definitely something they are connected by, but it’s not a direct link I don’t think. I’m a god and Zione is my kid, so that could explain him, but in Macy’s case, her parents are both human. However, Tahno was born human from Junsui parents, which means he’s not completely human in normal standards. Also, think of timing. Now that I’m Hades, I’m no longer the reaper god. If a god is lost, then it needs to be awoken again, but in a new vessel right? Well, I think they are those vessels. I’m thinking that Zione just may be the real reaper god destined to watch over our people and Macy just might be the new Junsui god, destined to watch over the Junsui. However, I thought you were the Junsui god, but it would seem you are not. If you are not, then the next question is…what god are you?”

            “I don’t know, but it sounds crazy. I’m just coming to terms with being a god in the first place, but now you say I’m some special unknown god? Could it have something to do with the fact that I’m supposedly this messiah of whatever?”

            “That could be the case. Perhaps you are not a god of the Junsui specifically, but more like a savior god. Maybe you are the new savior?”

            “Well, this just keeps getting more and more complicated. So you’re telling me I now have to tell her parents not only is she a Junsui to stay, but she also might be a Junsui god? This is so cruel.” Noah breathes deeply and his nose explodes with the stench of blood.

            “Can you smell that too Noah? I can feel it, the death of innocents.”

            “Yea, it’s close too. I think I should check it out. You can come if you want.”

            “Of course I will. My work never ends, even on vacation. They’ll need to be sorted.”

            “Ok then, let’s go.” They run towards the source, not knowing what they’ll find.

###

            “Mama…I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to hurt the innocent. I was just so hungry! I didn’t mean to be a bad girl. Please don’t hate me Mama!” She cries and reaches for her.

            Rebecca reflexively shrinks back, scared of the girl and her face covered in blood. “How could you do this? You understand what you’ve done don’t you? You’ve been a very bad girl.”

            Macy cries harder. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Mama…please don’t hate me!”

            Just as Macy attempts to reach for her again, Tahno shows up with this gun pointing at her. “Hey, stay back!” Macy is startled and cowers backward. Tahno looks around at the gruesome sight. All five of them have had their neck ripped open, with chunks bitten out. “Jesus! You did all of this? A little girl did something like this?” He looks at Macy in disgust and she looks down in shame. His face becomes twisted in anger. “You really are a monster.”

            Tahno stomps over to her aiming his gun straight for her heart. He cocks it, not allowing himself to hesitate. Macy looks at him in remorse, accepting her fate. “I’m sorry Papa.”

            He pulls the trigger without wasting another second, but after the shot goes off, he’s surprised to see he’s missed his mark. Rebecca has her hands on his arm, having just pushed it to the side, causing him to miss. “Are you crazy? You can’t just shoot her in cold blood like that!”

            “What? Are you serious right now? She’s slaughtered this entire family! You know very well that if this had been any other child you would’ve done it yourself. You can’t be blinded by the fact she’s our daughter. That’s irrelevant when she’s a threat to the innocent civilians we have sworn to protect, or have you forgotten that? Let’s say we were to let this one slide, call it an accident and believe she didn’t know what she was doing. What happens in a couple more years when she slaughters a building full of people? Will you still defend her?” Rebecca doesn’t respond. “You can’t answer that right? Now, get out of my way and let me do what you can’t!”

            He once again aims for Macy and pulls the trigger, but as before, Rebecca pushes away his arm. “I won’t let you do that! I’m not making an excuse for her. She definitely needs to be dealt with, but killing her isn’t the answer! There’s containment to consider instead.”

            “Containment? So you’d rather see our daughter locked up for the rest of her life like an animal than to just free her from any suffering by allowing her a painless death? You think I’m the cruel one, but that to me sounds much crueler. You’ll just foster the monster further!”

            Macy watches as her parents fight over her fate and she is sad, not wanting to see them that way. Feeling that she’s the cause of all their pain and suffering and the fighting, as well as feeling guilty over what she did, she decides it’d be better if she died after all. She sees her mom’s elemental gun on the ground and picks it up. Putting it against her chest, just where her dad had aimed his gun, she puts her finger on the trigger. “Mama, Papa…I’m sorry. I love you.”

            They stop fighting upon hearing her words and turn just as she’s pulling the trigger. “No Macy!” Rebecca lunges, attempting to knock the gun out of her hand, but she’s not fast enough. “No!” She thinks it’s over, but then she sees that the bullet has stopped and is suspended in midair. That shouldn’t be possible as elemental bullets are made of all four elements, meaning a wielder of just one wouldn’t ‘t be able to stop the bullet, hence why it can be used by the human enforcers to kill Junsui. But it has been stopped and the shock on Macy’s face shows it wasn’t her, so the only other person that leaves would be…. She looks behind her and sees Noah.

            “No Macy, that won’t do. That’s not the way out of this mess.” He makes the bullet turn away from her and instead hit the wall. He looks around and shakes his head. “But boy did you make a mess. You’ve been a very naughty girl.” Macy stares at him and then runs to his arms.

            “Noah! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to. I just wanted to play with the girl, but then we ended up here and they…they smelled so good and I was so hungry, so I…I…I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

            Noah takes the crying girl into his arms and comforts her. “I know; I know you didn’t mean to. It was an accident. I know you’d never intentionally hurt these innocent people.”

            Tahno gets angry. “Are you mad Noah?! She slaughtered this family! She’s clearly a-.”

            “She was hungry! She was hungry and it was my fault for being late. If you want to blame someone, blame me. It’s my fault, not hers. She’s just as innocent as they are Tahno.”

            “I can’t believe you’re serious right now! Both of you are demented! If you want to choose the side of a monster so be it, but I won’t stick around to see the fallout. I can’t be around her any longer and babe….” He turns to Rebecca. “You’re either with me on this or you’re not. If not, then I guess it’s time we went our separate ways because I won’t raise a monster.”

            Rebecca frowns and stands to face Tahno. She pulls at her finger, sliding off her ring and placing it into his hand. “I’d been thinking that for a while. I can’t continue to be with such a spiteful man who isn’t willing to show a bit of humanity to others, even if they are monsters.”

            Tahno takes the ring, but he looks genuinely hurt, as though he believed she’d always choose him. He squeezes the ring in his hand and says, “so be it then. I’ll be out by morning.”

            As he stomps off, Macy reaches out for him. “Papa no! Don’t leave Mama, please!” He pays her no mind and continues walking. She turns to her mom. “Mama, don’t let him walk away from you! Please, go after him! I’ll go away. I’ll never bother you two again, so please….” She clutches Rebecca’s top, her eyes pleading with her to go after him and make up.

            Rebecca smiles, for the first time seeing the little girl behind the beast. “I’m sorry Macy, but things between your Papa and I just aren’t going to work anymore. I’m not sure if they ever really did or if we were just tolerating each other. Sometimes mommies and daddies just can’t stay together, but you shouldn’t blame yourself. I think this was bound to happen sooner or later. I can’t agree with your Papa that killing you is in your best interest, but I also need you to understand that I can’t accept what you’ve done. I don’t want you dead, but I can’t be your mother. Please understand Macy.” She can see the look of devastation in her eyes and she feels a bit guilty, but lying to her would only hurt more. “You be good for Uncle Noah ok?” She pats her on the head and then walks over to Noah. “I’m officially leaving her in your care, so please give her the love and understanding we cannot. I’ll have to call this in and they’re going to want to know answers. I can give them without revealing it was Macy, but they’re going to be on alert. I think it’s better for everyone if you leave with Mikael tonight once he returns and get Macy as far away from the city as possible. I won’t be able to stop them if they find her out.”

            “I understand. We’d planned to leave by the end of the week anyway, so leaving a few days early won’t hurt. I’m sorry we’ve made things difficult for you and I’m sorry you and Tahno are on the outs. I really hope you can reconcile, but either way, take care Rebecca.”

            “Thank you Noah, you as well.” She walks by Ouran. “I apologize for not greeting you earlier Ouran, but hello and take care as well.” Ouran nods. Finally, she looks back at Macy, who’s got fresh tears in her eyes. Rebecca looks sad, but still waves and says, “bye, bye Macy.”

            Macy watches as her mom walks out and with a whisper she replies, “bye, bye Mama.” She runs back into Noah’s arms and cries. She cries for what she’s done, for the innocent lives lost and most of all, for the loss of parents. Noah supports her, knowing how she feels.

            Ouran looks on in sadness, but they also survey the room. They notice how the victims had been tied up before hand and is pretty sure they felt a presence briefly when they first arrived, but it quickly vanished. “Noah, just in case you hadn’t realized it, this was a setup.”

            Noah scowls. “Yea, I’ve realized it too. If I find who did this, I’ll make them pay.”

            After crying for a bit longer, Macy finally looks up at Noah and speaks. “Noah, I don’t want mama and papa to break up. Isn’t there a way to keep them together? If I had never been born, this wouldn’t have happened. I’ve ruined everything! Why did I have to be born?”

            “I know your sad Macy and it hurts to be rejected by those you love, but you are very special. You were born for a reason and so I never want to hear you say it’d be better if you hadn’t been born. What happened between them was not your fault alone, just as your Mama said. However, if you really want to give them a fighting chance, if you are willing to give your life for their happiness, then there is a way you could do that without resorting to suicide.”

            “How? I’ll do anything! I just want them to stay together!”

            “There is a way, but it’s going to be very hard to handle. It’s going to be a decision that is going to hurt really badly and make you really sad. It’s a big girl decision, probably the hardest you’ll ever make and may change your life drastically from now on. Will you still do it? You must be sure. I won’t allow it unless you say you truly want to make the sacrifice for them. If you do this, they are going to forget you ever existed as their child. Even then, will you do it?”

            She thinks for a moment, but with a strong resolve confirms. “Yes, I’m sure. I’ll do it!”

            “Ok, I’ll make the arrangements.” He turns to Ouran. “I’m sorry I was a poor host today. We didn’t get to finish talking about those things either. I promise I’ll be better next time. For now, congrats on your kid, give them my regards. Maybe our kids will become good friends.”

            “It’s ok, I understand. We’ll touch base again when I return, I’ll give them your regards and I have no doubt they will. I don’t think the timing of their births were a coincidence. Take care Noah.” They share a hug and then with a flash, Ouran is gone and they head home.

###

            “I don’t understand what you’re saying? How’s a singing Merman going to help us?” Tahno looks at Noah with aggravated confusion. “I’ve got packing to do you know.”

            “Stop being so rude Mason. Just shut up and let him explain. Then you can pack.”

            Noah shakes his head at the two. “This fighting is why we’re doing this in the first place. Look, we believe that you two love each other and the only reason you’ve come to doubt it is because neither of you can forgive yourselves for being unable to accept your child. So, with Macy’s agreement, I’ve asked this Merman to come here today and sing you a song. His song will allow you to forget your painful memories and only remember good ones. So he’ll make it so that you two never gave birth to Macy and are still the happy engaged couple you were before, looking to start a family. You can wait until this prophecy business is over to be safe, but I can say in safe confidence thanks to Ouran that you are unlikely to have a Junsui child again. Macy was a very special case, born for a special reason, hence why she was born from an impossible genetic match up. That’s not important for you two though, so I won’t bother telling you more. So with that being said, how about we get this started? We’ve got to pack too.”

            They look at each other and then at Macy, who watches quietly from behind. Tahno speaks first. “Macy, you decided to do this for us? Why? We’ve been nothing but mean to you.”

            She smiles, trying her best to stay strong. “Because I love you Papa. You and Mama.”

            Tahno can hardly believe it and Rebecca chokes up. She gets on her knees and beckons Macy forward. Macy takes advantage of the opportunity, likely the last she’ll ever get. “You are a good girl, a really good girl, I can see that now.” She starts to cry. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that we couldn’t be the parents you deserve. I’m sorry I couldn’t be the mother you needed. I hope you’ll forgive us for being so weak. For taking the easy way out and abandoning you willingly.”

            Even Tahno, who’d been a real hard ass the entire time, gets down on his knees and embraces her. “I was wrong, you’re not a monster. You’re just got a really bad hand. I’m sorry.”

            They embrace her together, both crying, feeling the culmination of all the guilt they’d been building up over the last six months. This really is a terrible situation, but the best outcome of a hand of poor options. Noah says gently, “sorry guys, but we need to get started now.”

            They hug a bit longer and then let go, but not before saying they love her. Fresh tears fall, as she hears the words she’s wanted to hear for so long, but she smiles through it and says, “I love you too, Mama, Papa. Please be happy together. I promise I’ll be a good girl from now on.”

            They smile and pat her head and then sit on the couch as instructed. The merman introduces himself, explains once more what he’ll be doing and then prepares to sing. He sings a beautiful melody, that makes everyone feel good, though only the two are having their memories altered. He sings his song for several minutes, until finally they’ve fallen asleep. “It is done. I guarantee when they wake up, they will not remember any of the last 6 months or Macy at all.”

            Noah thanks him and he goes. He turns to Mika and Mia, who look incredibly sad, their hearts breaking for the three of them. “Oh come on guys, don’t look so somber. This is for the best. Even Macy is being strong about it.” So he says, but he looks to see Macy starting to cry. “Or not.” He walks over to her and embraces her. She falls into his chest and cries like never before and he actually finds tears forming in his eyes too, old memories of his own coming back. “I know it hard, but you did a good thing. A very good, selfless thing. You gave them a second chance. So don’t be sad, be hopeful, that they will make the most of it, so it won’t be in vain.” She nods and cries a bit more, until finally settling down. Soon after, they leave to go pack up.

###

            Noah, Mia, Mika and Macy all stand outside, looking up at the building, their backpacks beside them. “Well, I guess this is it guys. Say goodbye to our home, because it’s likely we won’t be able to return again. We may never get to return to this city actually. It’s a bit sad.”

            Mika places a hand on his shoulder. “Never say never Noah. Who knows what the future holds. Don’t think of this as the end, but just the beginning to a new chapter. Now let’s go.”

            Macy stops and looks back one last time, at the only home she ever knew, at the place where she will see her parents for the last time. With a quiet whisper she wills to them, she says, “Mama, Papa…bye, bye.” Holding Noah’s hand, they walk into the night and a new beginning.

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