Crown of Thorns

The war was something that she never desired, but her birthright as a daughter of the Yagari family forced her to be a part of it. She killed level Est and slowly destroyed herself until the night her life was saved. Salvation was a distant dream, but maybe it was closer than she had originally believed.


24. Another Question, Another Day

How much time had passed? Almost three months if he counted correctly or was it four? He was losing track.

He wondered how she was. Too much time had passed since he had last seen his sister. No contact had existed between them. He had thought to send her a letter, but had refrained from doing so. Despite the fact that he was only an elder brother and that he had every right to contact his sister, he felt as though he was unable to.

His father had made it very clear that he was not to contact Shiriko in any manner. Even though she had married off to some hunter it seemed to him that his father did not want to risk what could possibly happen. Of course, his father had nothing to fear about that. The only concern for to be had would be him going and taking Shiriko back because she did not belong with that bastard. She belonged with the Yagami family and with the one whom she cared about; the one who she chose. Both he and his sister had no choice but to follow the laws of their father though, as cruel as they were.

Was she with child now? Kenta did not seem one who was likely to wait and if the conversation that he had overheard was correct, then Shiriko would be giving birth to a child as soon as Kenta was able to ensure it. His father had been made sure to make the idea of an heir as appealing as possible to the man.

His father was very good at that.

Toga found himself wondering what Shiriko had not written him. Had she been forbidden to as well or had she already forgotten about him. The latter seemed foolish. They were too close to forget about each other so easily and she loved him. One did not forget about loved ones.

He shook his head, feeling very foolish. "What are you a child?" A sense of bitterness soured him and with that he could sense the faintest bit of insecurity. What if she had forgotten him? That thought was one that he never wanted to consider. She was his sister. Shiriko would not – could not – forget. Yet that young fear still clung to him and he couldn't shake it off.


"Welcome, Toga."

He only nodded at the man before him.

"You seem troubled."

"I have a lot on my mind." He finally looked at the man and was surprised to see that it was his father. "What are you doing here?"

"Business matters. You are too young to understand."

His father seemed taller. He towered over him. Looking down, he saw that his limbs were smaller than they once were. When he raised his head again he saw that the lines had left his father's face as if his past youth had returned.

"Come along, Toga."

The familiar hand of his father rested on the top of his head in an almost affectionate gesture. This wasn't right. He watched as his father started to walk away.


He didn't want to follow yet it seemed that his legs were acting on their own accord for he found himself trailing after him.

"There is something that you need to understand. You are a man now."

Those words sounded familiar. He felt sick for some reason. In his peripheral vision he caught a glimpse of a female figure and turned.

The darkness of the ceiling greeted him when he opened his eyes. He lay still. His body felt numb. What was that dream supposed to mean? It had felt familiar and he wondered if it was a memory. Of when though?

Turning onto his side Toga tried to forget the dream.


The summons had come suddenly. He had been caught off guard. Never before had they sent another hunter to retrieve another for a mission. Of course, he had never been woken by the hunter either. When he had sat up he found that he was outside rather than in his bed. Confused, he had tried to figure out why he was out here while the hunter was trying to tell him why he was supposed to be standing up and getting ready. He had been unable to fall back to sleep so he had come out here in attempt to remember better times.


The hunter sounded angry. "What?" It was his turn to be upset. He did not appreciate the man being here even if there was a possibility of him escaping this place again and getting lost in the hunt rather than being left to think. The other male only frowned at him in response. It was a while before the other said anything. When he finally did he was instructed to go with the man instead of receiving the usual orders. He was admittedly was confused. This was not normal.

"Are you coming, Yagari?"

"Yeah." At some point he had stood up and brushed himself off. Running a hand through his hair, he quickly went into the house to change into clean clothes and clean his face. The hunter was yelling at him to hurry up after only a few minutes. Growling a response back, he then grabbed his coat before leaving the house. As he passed the garden he glanced at the wilting leaves. He had forgotten to water the plants. Of course, his efforts had seemed to be for nothing. The health of the garden had been declining for a while now. "Do you know what this is about?"


He stuffed his hands into his pocket. His mind drifted a bit. He did wonder about what the mission concerned. More than likely it was serious. He did not allow himself to think too much about it though. When he arrived to the council he would find out. Until then there was little to be worried about.


The council was more busy than what was normal. No conversation was occurring. Instead, a serious mood had settled over the area. He glanced at a few hunters that he knew. One or two of them nodded at him. He caught a glimpse of someone familiar. His father was standing in the corner. He was alone. As if sensing his gaze his father looked at him. He nodded to him before looking away.

His escort had left him. He continued onto the council's chambers. The guard allowed him entrance. All of the elders had gathered.

"Welcome, Toga Yagari."

He bowed his head slightly. As he straightened he saw someone that he did not wish to see. Kenta was standing near the wall. A knot formed in his stomach. He narrowed his eyes at the man.

"The vampire council has approached us for help."

His gaze returned to the elders.

"There is a situation with a Level B. You will go and capture him."

This was strange. What about this Level B called for the vampires to seek assistance from hunters? Yes, a treaty did exist between them. However, matters concerning anyone above Level E was banned from hunter involvement. These orders were real though, and they were being given to him. He took it and studied the image on the page. The vampire had not gone insane. His crime seemed to be murder. No other details existed beyond that.

"You are dismissed."

He left; aware that Kenta was only a few steps behind him. Once outside he paused. No words needed to be spoken for him to know that he was to partnered with the man. Kenta said nothing to him for which he was graceful. He offered him the orders and Kenta took them. After a quick glance Kenta stuffed the papers into his coat pocket rather than return them to him. He frowned, but said nothing about it.

"We better get going."

Those were the only words spoken and he hoped that it remained as such. If he had to listen to the man talk during the entirety of this mission then he did not know what he would do.

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