The Early Chapters: Chapter 02


The forest was dark; there was no moon in the sky when Yuriko ran. She didn’t want to stop because stopping meant thinking and right now it just felt better to keep her mind empty. Her paws hit the floor of the forest over and over again as she dashed forward… but before she realized she had arrived at the edge of a cliff.

There was an even darker forest, and a river ran between the trees when she looked downwards. There was no way she could go there. She sighed and sat down curling her tail around her paws.

“I was waiting for you to arrive…”

Yuriko jumped and turned around. The white one was there. Fox’s yellow eyes were looking at her but they didn’t smile as they usually did. This time the gaze was serious.

“You can speak,” Yuriko said. “I didn’t know.”

The white one opened their mouth but didn’t say anything, and for a moment Yuriko thought that she had imagined everything. Foxes didn’t speak, right?

“I thought you couldn’t hear me,” the white one finally said.


This was the first time Yuriko heard the white one speaking. They had run together in this forest for years now, playing hide and seek, chasing their tails, and sometimes just laying under the trees. But never had the white one said anything to her. Now they swayed their both tails with a smirk on foxy face. 

“It’s the first time, isn’t it?”


“Something has changed in you. What happened?”

Yuriko tried to look at herself, but nothing was different. She still had white fur with blue paws and a blue tip of her tail.

“Inside of you, dummy. What happened in your real life?” the white one asked.

Yuriko turned her head and looked at the white one again. They were rather similar in many ways; the white one’s fur just had a little less blue in it and they had two tails instead of one.

“What… do you mean by ‘in real life’?”

“Your human life. Are you simple-minded or something?”

A cold lump dropped into Yuriko’s stomach. She remembered perfectly what had happened to her tonight at school, but she didn’t want to talk about it. Not now or ever. Why did that horrible thing have to enter her dream too? This dream had always been her safe haven, her happy place when things had been bad at home… with her father.

“Nothing has happened,” she finally said.

“If you say so… but there is something different in you.”

“I… I must go!”

Yuriko turned her tail to the white one and ran back to the forest. This was the first time she ran away like this but… she just couldn’t tell what had happened to her.

Yuriko opened her eyes and gasped. The dream still lingered with her but at the same time the hard reality hit her as she felt the soreness on her neck. She sat up and rubbed her temples. She didn’t feel that well, but she knew that it was time to get up and ready for school. 

A sigh left her lips as she wandered to the bathroom. When she peeked into the mirror she flinched. Even though she had slept through the day there were dark circles under her teal eyes… but it wasn’t the worst thing. The bite marks on her neck were a bit swollen… and very much real. Maybe Yuriko had hoped that everything had been a bad dream, but her skin told a different story.

Yuriko remembered Ruki’s fingers on her chin and how they had traced her jawline. It could have felt good if… if he hadn’t attacked her violently right after. And he had acted like it wasn’t even a big thing, like it had been perfectly normal to do that to another person.

Tears started to form in the corners of Yuriko’s eyes. She couldn’t go to school like this, but she couldn’t skip it either. That was a promise she had made to her father. She wouldn’t skip classes anymore; she would get good grades and she would be a perfect daughter to him. Though what did it really matter when they rarely even saw one another.

Still… Yuriko wanted to be better. Maybe father would love her more if she did everything right. But now it meant she had to go back to school. She had to face Ruki in that classroom. Maybe she could pretend that he didn’t even exist. He already had his fun with her, so he could leave her alone if she kept her distance and made sure that she wouldn’t be alone with him.

But first Yuriko needed to do something to her face and neck. Cold water didn’t help to get rid of dark circles, but the concealer did its magic and she looked at least decent after a while. Except for her neck. She rummaged the bathroom closer until she found a bandage but that stood out… 

Maybe I’ll just use a scarf and if anyone asks anything I can say I feel a bit under the weather… she thought when she walked back to her room to get dressed. Her hands shook as she buttoned her dress shirt and tied her ribbon.

Instead of eating anything Yuriko sat down on her bed and searched three words on the internet: “vampire Kaminashi City”. She swallowed when she got several hits. It seemed that there were persistent rumors about vampires in the area; of course, there wasn’t any real proof, but the number of urban legends was worrying.

Could it really be…?

And why Yuriko was asking herself that when her neck hurt, and she could clearly remember the pain when Ruki’s fangs had pierced her skin. She let her fingers travel on her neck and clinched from her own touch.

Had her father known about the vampires? Probably not. Surely, he would have chosen a different city for them to move in if he had known. But now they were here, and Yuriko had no other option than to survive. She couldn’t talk about this to her father; he wouldn’t believe her. He probably just told her that she had behaved indecently and was now covering her acts with absurd stories about vampires.

Yuriko swallowed trying to prevent tears rolling on her cheeks. As if her life hadn’t been bad enough already…

I have to show him I’m not afraid of him or anything. I go to school and then just ignore him. I… I need to get through this year. 

Yuriko stood up and walked to the door of their small apartment. Before putting on shoes she rolled a scarf around her neck and checked from the mirror on the wall that it really covered the ugly bite marks on her skin.

Yuriko’s legs were heavy when she wandered to the classroom. Her eyes scanned the space and, of course, Ruki was already there, reading his book as always. He truly was a book geek, probably as much as Yuriko but right now she didn’t feel any joy by realizing that. She rushed to her desk which now felt like it was too close to his, her heart jumping in her chest like a scared rabbit. 

Yuriko kept the scarf around her neck and looked for the book for the first class from her bag. She opened it and decided to read ahead while waiting for the class to begin. Soon she was absorbed in the book and almost forgetting for a moment what mess her life had turned into.

Everything went rather smoothly until lunch hour. Yuriko didn’t feel like staying in the classroom, but she didn’t want to eat in the cafeteria either. She hurried away to the corridors and rushed to the girls’ bathroom as quickly as possible to avoid any unnecessary contact with anyone. She stayed in the cubicle for a whole ten minutes before leaving and peeking out from the bathroom. There were only a couple of girls out in the corridor, so Yuriko dared to step out. She was holding her lunch box as she hurried forward until she found an unoccupied window seat. It was in a visible place which meant that Ruki could see her there, of course, but Yuriko was sure that he wouldn’t try anything in the corridor where anyone could pass by them at any time. Surely this was safer than spending the lunch hour in the library. The mistake she had made the day before.

Finally, Yuriko could have her peace. She opened her lunch box and caught a small omelet roll with her chopsticks. It was a wonder she had been able to make her school lunch last night before going to bed, but it was probably just because she had needed to keep herself busy after what had happened.

The omelet was a bit tough… it would have probably been better if she had made it tonight before leaving for school, but it couldn’t be helped now. 

“…You can’t keep hiding them like this.”

Before she knew it the tall vampire towered over her. Ruki watched Yuriko eat her lunch with his usual stoic expression. She almost dropped her lunch box when she heard Ruki’s voice. Her hands trembled but she lifted her gaze meeting the steel-blue eyes which pierced her once again. She froze in place but tried to remind herself that they were in the corridor. There were people nearby, she could hear someone talking just around a corner.

“I… I will… I will scream if… you… you do… a-anything…” Her voice trembled and she squeezed the chopsticks in her right hand. The stories said that a stake through the heart would kill a vampire… but probably a pair of chopsticks wasn’t enough…? As if she would ever be able to do anything like that to anyone.

Ruki’s eyes fixated on the scarf around her neck. It was very conspicuous and out of place, especially when all the other students did not wear that kind of winter attire indoors. He laughed seeing the chopsticks shake in her fingers. “You’d be a fool to brandish those at me or any actual weapon for that matter. I’m not like the vampires you read about in your silly fantasy books,” Ruki scoffed. “Also, what is with that ridiculous scarf? Remove it at once.” 

“My scarf… is none of your… business.”

Oh, how Yuriko wished she would have more strength in her voice, but it quivered with every word that came out from her mouth. Her palms began to feel sweaty, and the lunch box shook on her lap. She didn’t want to be scared, she really didn’t, but… somehow Ruki was more intimidating than any of the bullies from her previous school.

“Ruki-san, just… just… leave me… alone. I’ve done… no-nothing to you. I just want to… have my lunch in… in peace and quiet.”

But Ruki’s eyes said it all. Yuriko knew he wasn’t going to give up; it was impossible to tell why he had suddenly taken such interest in her but there was no denying it. She knew it. When bullies found you, they wouldn’t leave you alone no matter how much you begged. But this time she couldn’t skip school because of it. Her father would probably throw her out if she failed again… and what would she do then?

Ruki’s gaze was so intense as it stuck with Yuriko. Just a couple of weeks ago she had thought he had beautiful eyes… Well, they still were very beautiful, very captivating eyes indeed, but Ruki wasn’t your regular nice book geek; he was something else. A vampire that yearned for her blood for whatever reason.

I cannot run nor hide from him.

Yuriko swallowed. Ruki’s eyes said it; while in school, there wasn’t a hiding place.

“I can’t leave you alone so easily. First of all, you shouldn’t hide the bite marks I inflicted on you like that. Second…” he approached her, leaning toward her ear as his voice lowered to a faint whisper that only she could hear. “Livestock should always remain in her master’s sight.” 

Livestock. There was that word again. It crept into Yuriko’s ear and sent shivers down her spine; it was so embarrassing, shameful, made her feel dirty. Master. Another word that marked her and stayed with her from that moment. Ruki’s voice was low and soft, yet the message of those words was heavy.


With one slight movement of his hand, Ruki pulled down on one end of her scarf and soon the whole garment unraveled. Seeing his handiwork on her neck made him unconsciously lick his lips. He admired the way her once unblemished skin was now covered in his bite marks. 

The chopsticks clattered to the floor from Yuriko’s fingers. She raised her hand to cover her neck.

“Ahh… you look so much better like this. I can’t have those guys going after my livestock, not when the only fangs you’ve felt are mine.” His voice sounded slightly possessive as a smug grin crept on his face. “Your blood is on another level. The thought of others having a taste… I won’t stand for it.” 

Owned by him from the beginning.

Yuriko opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Her throat was so tight, her heart bouncing in her chest uncontrollably. Those guys? Who were they? Other vampires? And what was this about her blood when there was nothing special in her?

“I… my blood…” Yuriko nibbled her lower lip for a while, trying to gather her thoughts. “It’s mine. It’s not… yours nor anyone else’s… for that matter. And… and… and… I want… my scarf back…”

Yet Yuriko couldn’t reach her hand for the said garment. The window seat might not have been the best place to have lunch after all because now she was stuck between Ruki and that window.

The vampire raised an eyebrow in disapproval. “Hmph, that’s where you’re wrong. Your blood was mine from the moment my fangs claimed you in the library.” He looked down at the scarf that had come undone and picked it up from the floor. 

“You can have your scarf back,” Ruki smirked devilishly, holding opposite ends of it as if plotting something sinister despite the other students roaming the halls nearby. “But first… this scarf serves an excellent purpose other than to keep you warm or hide those marks on your neck.” 

He spread out the scarf as if it were a blanket, raising it around them so that others would have trouble seeing what Ruki was about to do. With one hand he gripped the end of the scarf tightly, and he handed the opposite end to Yuriko, forcing it into her trembling fingers.

“Hold onto this,” he commanded with a firm voice. “You will do as I say… unless you want others to see what shameful livestock you’ve become. Make sure it doesn’t fall again.”

Yuriko squeezed the scarf for who knew what reason. She should have tossed it to the floor, screamed, and tried to run or at least back down but she was unable to move. Ruki had that effect on her, and she didn’t like it one bit, but…

“Ruki-san… please… don’t do this…”

Yuriko hated how her voice trembled. The lunch box on her lap was about to slide down but she grabbed it with her free hand. There was a brief moment when she thought about throwing her lunch to Ruki’s face but the fear of what he might do then was greater than her will to fight.

Ruki positioned his head in the crook of her neck, the scarf obscuring them from any prying eyes or nosy classmates. Even if it did fall out of their grasps, it would have looked like an affectionate gesture between lovers. He made sure that the back of his head was facing the passerby students going about their normal lunchtime routines. 

“Good girl,” he praised her obedience but then frowned. “You’re so formal. I’ve already taken your blood once, there is no need to call me ‘Ruki-san.’ Call me something more familiar, like my name by itself, or even better… ‘Master.’ Ah, yes… that has a good ring to it.” Ruki stared right through Yuriko as he suggested the rather shameful name that only she would call him.  

Yuriko swallowed. Master. That one again. Hearing that made her feel so… embarrassed and dirty. There was no way she would use that word. Ever. 

“No… no way! Oh my gosh… stop this, please!”

“Keep your voice down. Have you forgotten where we are right now? You don’t want to raise suspicion… isn’t that right?” He whispered into her ear before plunging his fangs mercilessly into the side of her neck. 

Yuriko gasped. Her fingers left the lunch box which slid to the floor as she lifted her hand and covered her mouth to prevent any more sounds from coming out. In the back of her mind, she knew she should have done the exact opposite, but it seemed her body didn’t listen to her mind right now. The pain hit her and brought tears to her eyes. Not again! She didn’t want this and yet she was unable to do anything at all.

Even though Ruki’s tongue lapped every drop of Yuriko’s blood that tried to escape, she could smell the metallic scent that was mixing with Ruki’s musky cologne. Her short fingernails were digging into her cheek as she pushed her palm against her mouth, and they left small crescent moon-like marks on her skin.

Ruki grunted as he continued to savor her sweet blood. It tasted unlike any other blood he had ever known. His lips were stained red from how hungrily he fed on Yuriko’s neck which still had remnants of the previous bites, bite marks he was so keen on exposing to others as if marking his territory. 

“Haah… what a sweet flavor. How does it feel being able to tempt someone as calm and collected as me so easily?” Ruki removed his fangs from Yuriko’s neck only to plunge them back in, this time just above her collarbone. “This blood belongs to me… I won’t let anyone else lay a finger on my prey.” The vampire’s voice grew intimidating and possessive as if he wouldn’t hesitate to hurt anyone who dared to take Yuriko away from him. 

“Nghh…!” Yuriko wanted to scream and run, yet she held still and did her best to muffle any sound that tried to escape from her mouth.

Indeed, Ruki’s concern was justified given how many other vampires attended Ryotei Academy. Ruki reveled in the fact that they would smell his scent all over his newfound livestock. 

“I told you to keep it down,” his voice was firm as he dug his fangs deeper into her flesh, sending a warning to anyone else who might’ve sought her blood, a caveat that no one should challenge his ownership over her. Nevertheless, as if accepting this challenge, the two heard distinctive footsteps approaching them despite the scarf still concealing the indecent bloodsucking happening behind it. 

“Fufufu, now what’s going on here, nfu~?”

Yuriko whimpered against her palm as she heard an unfamiliar high-pitched voice asking the very question she had been afraid of. Her fingers let go of the scarf, and even though she tried to grab it again it escaped from her. Her eyes went wide, meeting the emerald-green ones which were staring straight at her behind Ruki. The boy was wearing a fedora, which didn’t quite look like it would be even allowed with school uniform, and Yuriko could see his fangs way too clearly when he smiled at them. Of course, it had to be another vampire!

“Oh, a cute Little Bitch and a Mukami, very curious indeed, nfu~ And such a lewd face you are making because of his fangs… What a sight to look at, fufu…”

The dark-haired vampire removed himself from the crook of Yuriko’s neck to glare at the promiscuous Sakamaki. Out of all six brothers, Laito was undoubtedly the most scandalous, rumored to sleep around with the girls at school and use them for their bodies only. His constant sexual harassment has gotten him suspended more times than Ruki could keep count. Laito’s smug grin only provoked him further. 

“…Sakamaki Laito,” he finally managed to say after an awkward moment of silence and exchanging glares intense enough to melt flesh from bone. “There are better things to do at school than to stick your nose in others’ private affairs.” Ruki stood up tall. It was obvious he had some height over Laito as he looked down into his emerald-green eyes that were ridden with mischief and unsated curiosity. 

A chuckle escaped the fedora-wearing vampire’s lips. His auburn hair was parted down the middle and his smirk was accompanied by a beauty mark on the lower left side of his chin. Those auburn locks were slightly longer than Ruki’s dark hair, which, unlike Laito’s, barely managed to meet the collar of his shirt. The Sakamaki sported a jacket lined with fur over the typical school uniform; this, in tandem with his black fedora, somehow only enhanced his “playboy” appearance. 

Laito hummed for a moment, staring at the two with interest. “Oh, Ruki-kun… don’t be so cold,” he cooed. “I was interested in Little Bitch over there. I could smell her excitement all the way from the second years’ classroom. Maybe I can have a taste as well?~” 

His cocky grin was one thing, but it was upon hearing those words that drove Ruki’s hand over Yuriko’s, holding it tightly as if Laito would take her away then and there. It was a protective grasp, betraying his earlier violent behavior. 

“You will do no such thing. She’s my prey, and you’d do well to remember that.” Those cold, steel-blue eyes were suddenly a hot, foreboding flame as they burned through Laito’s perverted gaze.  

Yuriko glanced at Ruki’s hand over hers. His touch was as cool as his lips had been on her neck which was even sorer than before after his fangs had left yet another set of bite marks on it. She was lightheaded and afraid that the collar of her shirt was a mess, maybe even bloody after… all that. But what she couldn’t comprehend was the way Ruki almost seemed to protect her from… Laito, was it? Sakamaki Laito. Yes, yet another Sakamaki.

“Oh my, oh my, fufu! Jealous much, Ruki-kun?” 

Laito’s voice stayed light, but his eyes sparkled in a way that made Yuriko’s stomach curl. She didn’t want another vampire after her, it was bad enough that Ruki wouldn’t leave her alone. But if she had to choose… Yuriko lifted her legs on the window seat and inched better behind Ruki while he was still holding her hand. She couldn’t believe she sought safety from the very same person who had just a moment ago bitten her violently but something in Laito’s gaze sliding over her body made her feel even worse. It was like his eyes were telling that he would want more than just her blood, at least Ruki wasn’t like that.

His grasp remained firm. “Stay out of my way, Sakamaki Laito.” 

Ruki began heading back to the classroom, dragging Yuriko along with him without saying another word or shooting another glance at Laito. Yuriko stumbled after him glancing behind; her lunch box, chopsticks, and scarf were left on the floor while Laito stayed there and stared at them. It wasn’t like Yuriko to leave behind such a mess, but she definitely wasn’t going back to get her things. Not that she really could have done that now that Ruki was holding her wrist so tightly.

“Class will start again soon. We need to head back,” Ruki’s voice was cold as ice. “You will stay far away from the Sakamakis if you know what’s good for you.” 

“I… I have… no interest in… the Sakamakis…” Yuriko mumbled. She couldn’t do anything but follow Ruki back to the classroom. Her cheeks were burning when they entered, and the eyes turned to watch them. Yuriko covered her neck with her free hand but probably it wasn’t enough to hide the sore bite marks from anyone. An almost suffocating feeling of shame washed over her when she thought how they must look in the eyes of others. It was so obvious that she had been crying, there were marks on her skin and Ruki was dragging her along. Yuriko was sure that the other Mukamis noticed them, but they weren’t the only ones. 

When Ruki finally released her and let her sit down on her seat Yuriko wrapped her cardigan around her as well as she could and tried to look like she didn’t even exist. It had taken only two weeks in her new school, and she had entered hell once again but this time it seemed that there was no way out.

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