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.


6. Phantom

She sat on her windowsill, her eyes on the dark sky overhead. The pureblood Takeshi haunted her thoughts. Why, she was uncertain of. She was questioning much as of late and he was just another one to be added to the long list. Her eyes closed and she leaned against the wood of the window frame. The wind swept through the area, causing the leaves to rustle, whispering inaudible secrets to the world. A soft sigh passed her lips. She was so tired.


Steel gray eyes gazed at the house, focused specifically on the open window. She sat there, her eyes closed and her chest rising and falling as she slept peacefully. The huntress, he wondered how she could sleep when he was so close. Was she aware of his presence or did she not care that danger was only a few heartbeats away from her? The snap of a twig caused him to turn his head a little. It had been nothing, only a small animal. After a time his attention returned to her. She had not moved. How easy it would be to sneak up to her room, to sink his fangs into the pale neck that was revealed to him even from here. Did she know that he was out here? It had crossed his mind, but it seemed that she did not. Her mind was in turmoil and it had fogged her sensed, making her open to attack. Her defenses had dropped. She was oblivious to the dangers. It was unintentional. There was no other explanation unless....

He abandoned the shadows in which he stood and strode to the house. The space that separated him from the structure closed quickly. Like a phantom he slipped through the door and followed the halls, climbing the stairs and walking to the door in which he could smell her. He opened the door and soundlessly crossed the floor to where she sat on the windowsill. She had yet to stir. He looked, searching for the weapon that hunters always kept close to them when the slept. There was none. His gaze settled on her bed, her crossbow lying there. It was far from her grasp. He looked at the picture beside her bed. It was of a man, looking very much like her. Her brother perhaps. Walking over to the picture, he picked it up and examined the black and white face. He knew this man. Toga Yagari. So she was of the acclaimed Yagari clan. He was not aware that there was a daughter. Setting the photograph down, he looked over his shoulder at her. She slept on, unaware of his presence. She trusted these walls to much. Didn't she know there was never a safe place to sleep?

Walking over to her, he knelt he stared at her sleeping form. Her chest rose and fell, her breaths soft and even. His crimson stained eyes settled on the pale flesh of her neck, following the gentle curve to her shoulder before retuning to the vein that if cut would end her life quickly. He stepped closer, leaning down until his lips hovered a few centimeters above her neck. His lips parted and he started to close the minimal space only to pause. Pulling back rather suddenly, he looked out into the night. It was silent save for the gentle breeze that passed through the area, save for the soft whispers of the leaves and the lonely call of the nocturnal creatures. His gaze returned to her. "How trusting you are, huntress." He leaned down and lightly pressed his lips to hers. "Sleep well, Shiriko," he whispered against her lips.


The warmth of the sun's rays on her face woke her. She opened her eyes, squinting slightly when the light assailed them. When her eyes adjusted, she opened her eyes fully and gazed out at the lawn. There was the cheerful chirping of birds in the trees. It was late, past noon. She wondered how she had slept so long without waking. Rather than move, she remained in the window and watched the life that unfolded before her. In the back of her mind something spoke to her, but she did not know what it was. It was almost as if her conscious were trying to have her remember something. What, though, she did not know. It was several more minutes before she rose from her spot and started to prepare herself to greet the day.

As she tied her hair back, she glanced at the picture of Toga on her bedside table. Her brow raised in a curious manner and she looked at it more closely. It had been moved, the frame turned to the left by the slightest fraction. She was suddenly alert and her hand moved to the crossbow. Her fingers closed around it and she pulled it closer to her. She looked at the interior of her room, searching for the intruder that had been there. Seeing nothing, she rose and quietly left her room.

She walked down the hall slowly, her footsteps soundless on the wooden floor. Room by room she searched the house for the one who had come here. By the time that she was finished she had found nothing. There was no other sign that anyone had been here aside from her. The fear remained at the edge of her mind though and rather than leaving it as a mystery, she abandoned the house and walked the grounds. The moment that she stepped outside she found the footprints, belonging to no one of her family. They were barely noticeable and she followed them to where, whoever it was, had been standing. From where she stood she could see her window and a small knot formed in her throat. "Stop that, Shiriko," she chastised herself. Squashing the uncomfortable feeling, she continued her examination of her grounds. Like in the house there was nothing. She stopped beside the grave of her mother. Kneeling down, she brushed away some dirt and leaves that had come to rest on the white marble. "Who was here?" she questioned, staring at the name engraved into the stone. There was no answer.

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