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.

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5. False

She walked slowly towards the town. It was quiet, though it was not surprising with the nearing night. Pausing at its border she thought to go and speak with Tetsuo. Chewing on her lower lip her gaze turned to the road several miles to her left. She knew that she should go home, but her feelings were torn. Those final words that he had spoken to her before her leaving were spoken again and she could picture the look on his face at that moment. It had been touching, his concern. Sighing, she turned away from the road and started to walk into the town.

 

Tetsuo gazed past the tables of townsfolk eating their meals and at the windows. Beyond the glass he could see the surrounding buildings. I wonder what became of that girl Shiriko. He chuckled and shook his head. Why am I worrying about her? There's no reason to you old fool. She's fine. Right now she's probably in the next town enjoying some lunch at another restaurant. That conversation that they had though was troubling him. You old fool.

"I thought that I would find you here."

He startled and quickly turned around in his chair. From the next table over he could hear the men laughing. "Ah, it is just you Shiriko."

She smiled slightly before sitting down in the chair across the table from him. "I apologize if I startled you."

"Don't worry about it. It's youth like you that keeps me on my toes."

A laugh escaped her followed by a relaxed silence.

The sight of her was assuring and he felt any earlier worries calm as he looked at her. "Did you find what you were looking for?"

"I did," she said, nodding. "I thought that I would return and show you that I am well."

"I can see that." He leaned back in his chair and studied her closely. "I suspect that asking you to remain for the next meal would be pointless." Her slight smile was the answer to his question. "Well Shiriko, I hope that you have a safe journey home if, that is where you now plan to go."

"Thank you." She did not move immediately. It was relaxing here and even though she knew that she had to go, she felt no pressing urge to. After a short time she rose slowly and then touched his shoulder lightly. "Be safe Tetsuo."

"And you my dear." Another smile and he watched her walk away before leaving the restaurant. Curious child, he thought, looking at the now closed door. At least she's going home now. His gaze turned to the cold glass of tea on the table before him. Raising his hand, he waved for the waitress.

 

There was no practical reason for her to stop and assure a mere acquaintance of her well being aside from the emotions that she held little control over. She walked slowly down the road, finding little reason to hurry home. The report. She sighed heavily at the thought of the task that had slipped from her memory and would have been forgotten. I will need to file that first. Another sigh and she started to walk faster. One more task and I'll be done, she reminded herself, doing her best to keep her mind on the last part of the mission. It was difficult to remain focused on going to the headquarters. It would keep her away from home for several more days, something that was both good and bad. I wonder if Toga will be home when I return. A sad smile crossed her features. It's probably unlikely. He receives more assignments then I do and he has most likely been sent out in the field again… I could see him at headquarters, but his missions are normally longer then my own. She sighed heavily and slowed her pace. Why am I doing this? There was only one answer two if she included her father's desire for vengeance as her own. Another sigh and she stopped this time, covering her eyes with her hand. I could leave right now. No one would know, not until it was too late. It was a tempting thought one that she had considered on countless occasions. As she did on those previous times she pushed the thought aside, choosing to discard it before the seed could root. She took another deep breath before continuing on her way.

 

Shiriko stood outside of the building. It was plain looking and to anyone passing by it would be assumed to be another place of business that is if they did not belong to the world that she walked. Around her the sounds of the city were loud, consuming her senses. She found herself looking away from her the building and examining her surroundings. Walking away from the building she circled the block once. She stopped in front of the building again afterwards. There was someone, she thought, but did not glance around her again. The feeling of being watched was gone as well as the one who had been watching her. The door opened and she looked at the hunter who left, following him with her eyes as he walked down the street before disappearing around the corner. When he was gone she turned away and entered the building.

 

No one spoke to her as she walked through the building. Though she was known as a member of the Yagari family she was left alone. Her lack of enthusiasm for hunting was well known amongst the vampire hunter community and because of this she was ignored. She could still see the glances that were cast in her direction as she passed certain hunters, mostly those who were considered friends of her father. While their willingness to ignore her did bother her, she was content to leave things as they were. Walking into a room, she closed the door behind her before sitting down at one of the tables. There was paper and a pen there, as there was on the many other tables in the room. She took one of the pieces of paper and the pen however, she did not start to write. The events of that night replayed in her mind. She had failed. She had not completed her mission, another had. What am I supposed to write? she wondered, thinking of the pure blood and how he had been the one to slay the level C rather then her. Chewing her lower lip she considered her options, to tell the truth or to lie. After a moment of consideration she then started to write. The first part of the mission was written with ease, everything prior to the mission lying on the page in the form of fresh ink. She paused as she read over what she had written so far before pressing the tip of the pen to the page again.

The level C was slain after receiving a lethal wound to the head, which had been inflicted by my primary weapon, a crossbow with poison treated arrowheads.

The words were a lie she knew however, her superior would be less then pleased with the involvement of a vampire, especially if the vampire had been a pureblood. She signed and dated the report before reading it again. You can destroy this Shiriko. You can write a new report, you can write the real one. That would be the right thing to do. She was standing and, after setting the pen down, left the room. She walked slowly to the office where she was to file the report. It was a long walk, longer then it should have been. She eventually reached the door that separated her from the room and opened it. The hunters within paid her little mind and she left the report in the designated box, which was all ready half full of completed reports. Without a second glance in the others' direction she left. As she walked back through the building to the doors through which she had earlier entered, she wondered if her lie would be known. She knew that there was no reason for what she had written to be doubted, but there was always the chance that someone would see through the lie no matter how unlikely it was. Her fears were unfounded and she was almost tempted to turn around and fix the report, adjust it so that the facts of what had happened would be known.

"Goodbye Shiriko-san."

The voice startled her and she stopped, looking over her shoulder at the hunter who had spoken to her. He did not appear familiar, but she suspected that he was probably an acquaintance of her father. She nodded in his direction. "Goodbye," she said. He nodded to her and when he had looked away she then turned before leaving through the front doors of the building. She felt strangely calm as if everything was as it should be. Her fears felt as thought they had been dispelled by the farewell and she found that she was now in an almost pleasant mood. That always happened though when one of the community chose to recognize her presence. Smiling slightly she discarded any remaining thoughts about the false report that she had filed.

 

The house was dark, causing he to pause in her approach. Standing in the middle of the path she looked at the empty windows, searching for any signs of life. The house though, remained silent. There was a prickling sensation on the back of he neck and she turned around. There was nothing behind her and after a time she walked forward. Taking the key from her pocket, she unlocked the door before entering the house. It was dark inside and she turned on the hall light. She had hoped that her father, but more so that her brother would be home. However, she knew days earlier that neither of them would be probably be home when she returned. It was very rare that they ever were. She closed the door behind her and removed her shoes, setting them on a floor mat beside the door, before walking to the kitchen. After turning on the light she went to the counter and chose an apple from the bowl. Taking the bite, she looked out the window into the darkness of the night. Like the house everything was still, there was not even a breeze to disturb the rest of the surrounding trees. She turned away after a time and leaned back against the counter. Her gaze passed over the interior of the kitchen, seeing that everything was the same as she had left it, before settling on the table. A smile pulled at the corners of her lips. Pushing herself away from the counter she then walked slowly over to the piece of furniture. Lying on the table's surface she saw a red rose as well as a white piece of paper with words scrawled across it in black ink. Picking up the note she read it.

Shiriko,

I'll see you when I come home.

Love,

Toga

Setting the note down she then picked up the rose and smelled its sweet scent. Her smile grew and she closed her eyes. Toga, how many times have I told you not to disturb my garden?

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