Chapter Nine: Don't Be Afraid Of The Shadows

     I must've passed out after the battle, because I found myself passed out on the gym floor, surrounded in my black blood. It was rather cold in the gym, and when I looked outside I noticed the sun almost setting. Great. They just left me here... I groaned as I stood, wondering what to do with the excess blood on the floor. Closing my eyes, I searched within my soul for a spell to return the blood to my body.

"Black blood, absorb." I commanded, and the blood seeped back into my skin.

     Before I left the gym, I noticed a sticky note gently flapping against the door in the wind. It read, "Death Room immediately. -S". I crumpled the note, tossing it behind me onto the floor. 

     The hallways still had some lingering students, those staying by for extra lessons or just to avoid going home. I kept my head down, unaware of who was friends with Crossli or Blake, afraid that anyone would beat me up. I made it to the Death Room, and noticed my father and Spirit standing in front of the mirror in the center of the platform. 

"Ah, you're awake. Black blood too much for you?" My father spoke sternly, still not facing me.

"E-Excuse me...?" My voice shook as I walked out form under the guillotines.

"Your mother and I never spoke to you about your black blood. How'd you know about it?" My father turned around, his golden orbs piercing my 2 coloured ones.

"I-I fo-found out mys-self. I got a bad cut the other day and it j-"

"Don't you dare lie to me! How'd you really find out?! How'd you know what Bloody Needle was?! Tell me, Mizuki! I demand it!" My father screamed, throwing his fists in the air.

     I dropped to my knees, the cold tile floor of the platform making them pained. I began sniffling, which turned into short sobs. I looked up from my watery eyes to find Spirit kneeling next to me, placing a hand on my back. I looked up at my father, who had his arms crossed in displeasure. 

"I he-heard you and m-mom talking about it the other I used my claymore arm to cut my arm..." I began bawling into my hands. Spirit tried to rub my shoulders, which made me flinch and scoot away.

"So, what's the verdict on her, Lord Kid? You still need to talk about the Lines." Spirit stood, walking over to face my father.

     They stood and exchanged whispers while I slumped over and laid down on the cold floor. My tears eventually stopped, leaving my face caked in dried tear drops. The two men in front of me stopped talking, and Spirit took his side by my father. 

"Mizuki, you're going under house arrest again. I can't let you in these situations anymore." My father's lips began to tremble, but he held back any sign of crying.

"I'll escort you to Apsel's house. That is where you'll be staying. It has already been arranged with my daughter and Soul." Spirit extended his hand, but I reluctantly took it.

     I followed Spirit, who kept his silence the whole way out of the Academy. Through my thoughts, my mind kept wondering why I was staying at Apsel's with my aunt and uncle rather than my own manor. My voice broke the hanging silence between Spirit and I.

"Why can't I stay at my house?" I questioned, attempting to hold back any emotions.

"Your mother is ill and can't fight back should you decide to retaliate, and a father would never hurt his daughter. Believe me, I know. Maka and Soul are not your blood family, so an issue to keep you in the house by force should it be needed shouldn't be an issue. We're here, just walk up those stairs and to the right." Spirit guided me up the stair case, and left once I was at the door.

     I waited until Spirit left to knock on the door. From the stories I had heard about him interacting with his daughter... they weren't the best. Plus, Maka was an adult now. But anyhow, I knocked 8 times and hopefully wouldn't be greeted by a half naked Soul. My eyes softened when it instead was Apsel, who was still dressed in pajamas. He held an ice pack on his head, and a thermometer stuck out of his mouth. His nose oozed snot and his eyes were droopy.

"H-Hey, Mizuki. Mom and dad aren't home yet so just come on in." His groggy voice dragged on, stepping aside so I could enter.

"Thanks, Apsel. How're you feeling?" I spoke as softly as I could, taking note he had cotton in his ears.

"Eh." Was all he mustered before he left for his bedroom. To go back to sleep, I assume.

     I was alone in the living room, so I decided to walk around and take a look at the pictures. There was one of Maka and Soul from when they first became partners... over 15 years ago. I saw one which brought a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart. One of Maka holding Apsel in wrapped in an orange blanket at the airport bringing him home. Another...another which made me tear up. This one was my mother, sitting on the edge of her board Eoten, her and Maka making silly faces at Soul.

     There was a note on the kitchen counter I saw when I was making a trip to the fridge. "Mizuki: We're glad to have you over! We'll be home at about 8 o'clock. -Maka&Soul." A glance at the clock, 6:45. I walked into the guest room and curled up under the blankets, ready to forget the events of the day.

*Time Skip

"Mizuki! Dinner!" I heard a peppy voice call. It was Maka.

"C-Coming...!" I lazily yelled back.

     Stumbling into the front part of the apartment, I smelled the aroma of curry in the air. I woke up slightly more to notice Apsel hadn't made his way in here with us. I grabbed a bowl and sat down at the table while Maka and Soul sat on the couch to watch TV. Dinner passed by, and soon we were all back in our respected sleeping areas. I turned on a sound machine Soul had let me borrow, since he figured I was stressed. Hell, was he ever more right.

     I turned the machine to where it played the soothing sounds of rainfall. I stared at the ceiling for a good 2 hours, thinking the day over. My father screaming in me played back as if the memory was happening again right in front of me. I felt tears going down my eyes, and thought of a perfect way to make him happy. To make everyone happy. I threw off the covers, leaving the sound machine on to aid in my endeavor. 

     The window here was a lot smaller than the ones at the manor, so I had a hard time climbing out. I summoned Ryu in my room so the light wouldn't wake anyone from outside. Placing my shoes carefully on the board, I sped off towards the forest.

"I'll be back by big deal..." I whispered to myself, the cold wind whipping my hair in my face as Ryu flew above the now sandy terrain.

     I landed softly in front of the cabin, absorbing the energy of my board back through my hands and walking inside. It was empty. No sign of Mazoku or the chainsaw guy I had met the other day. I threw myself down in a chair by the table, and wailed. The crying wasn't hindered by people, for there was no one near me. My sobs echoed through the cricket and frog filled night as a horrendous overtone. As I took a break to wipe my nose, I heard a buzzing nearby. I swatted around my face, to which I heard a large thud against a nearby wall.

"Gah! You Academy brats should learn to be nice!" I screamed at the disembodied voice, quickly shifting my arm into the weapon.

"W-Who, no, WHERE are you?!" I called back shakily, placing myself against the cabin door.

"Easy, easy, champ. I'm just a helpless old man. You wouldn't hurt me, would you?" This guy was definitely old, and very very short. His nose was really long...kinda like Pinocchio. 

     He walked closer to me, eyeing my panic-ridden body up and down several times. 

"Mazoku spoke highly of you. I see why. My name is Mosquito, faithful consort per say of her Lady Arachne. I've come to retrieve you." Mosquito removed his top hat, bowing.

"Wh-What does she need me for?" I turned my arm back to normal, sitting at the table.

"She thinks you have...potential. In her cause, that is. And as a person. She could be your specialized teacher, and mother you never had." I flinched at the last part.

"D-Do I get to se-see Mazoku every day?" I asked, my voice rising.

"That and more." The short old man said, his mustache sitting on top of a wicked grin.

     I sat pondering for a few minutes. I only came out to the woods to get away for a few minutes. But... maybe Arachne will help me with my nightmares. And the black blood! My father seemed to hate me for trying to harness it... I closed my eyes, taking in a deep breath before standing and walking towards Mosquito.

"I'm in. Take me to Arachne." I extended my hand, to which he took. (I had to bend over because he's so short, which hurt my back).

"Yes, Mistress Mizuki. You've chosen wisely." Mosquito took on a gentlemanly tone, and we left the cabin.

     A few miles out from the cabin, there was a road. On the road, a black limousine was parked. Mosquito opened the back door for me, allowing my body to slip in. I was getting settled in the seat when I glanced up in front of me. My heart seemed to stop, time froze, and my blood ran cold. Sure, she'd been in my nightmares. But I'd never imagined seeing the Heretic Witch in person.

"Y-You're..." I whispered, unable to finish my sentence.

"Arachne." Her velvet voice responded, snapping her black fan shut and smiling with her violet lipstick.

"Yes, Arachne..." I gulped as cold sweats dotted my forehead.

"Please, call me Mother Gorgon." The limousine started, and we were off.



The End

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