Chapter Two: Destiny's Nightmares

The smell of blood suddenly billowed all around her, assaulting her nose with the metallic odor. A fleeting flash of red like a retreating flame flickered from the corner of her vision. Eyes widened in surprise as bloodshot ruby eyes loomed out of the murky darkness to stare down at her like knives and pierce into her soul.

Clouded indigo eyes flickered open and the young woman escaping from the confusing labyrinths of dreams sat up, gasping. Not another...

Sitting up, so that the folds of the futon pooled around her waist, Kyoki pressed her hands to her face. Beads of sweat rolled from her brow and down her flushed cheeks.

The dark premonition danced in her vision despite that the room seemed so blaringly bright because of the dusky vision.

Exhaling deeply, the young woman curled her legs to her chest, resting her trembling chin upon her knees.

"So it really will happen..." she muttered to herself.

The shoji door cautiously slid open. The petite figure hovered by the entrance, unsure of whether to enter as the nibbled a fingernail.

Still not looking up, Kyoki knew who it was. "It's all right. Come on in Suzumi."

Suzumi gave a watery smile before quietly walking in. Her inky tresses were not in their habitual pigtails, instead hanging in damp ropes from bathing down her back. She had changed into her regular clothes: It was like a yukata, but ended instead loosely at her knees and the sleeves were short. The yellow cloth was held closed by a large aqua sash wrapped around her middle.

"Um...are you okay?" Suzuki asked worriedly, kneeling. She placed a tender hand on Kyoki's shoulder.

"I'll be fine," Kyoki replied, turning with a small smile gracing her face, "it was just another of my dreams."

Glittering sparks of curiosity lit up Suzumi's almond eyes. "Really, what was it about this time?"

Kyoki returned her chin to its perch on her knees. "I-" she trailed off momentarily, and then took a deep breath. "Suzumi, my death is coming soon."

Ever alert charcoal eyes watched everything as Aku strolled down the halls with confident fluid grace. He passed all the shoji doors, intent on getting his business done.

Finally, he stood beside the one door at the end of the hall. The door was different than all the others, the paper and wood painted all black. Strong perfume and incense elicited from the room, more grating at the nerves than even Akuma's abode.

Not even knocking, the male vampire forcefully snapped the door open. His eyes alighted on two figures sprawled on one futon. A large, sinewy male vampire teasing a violet-haired vampiress with his hands and tongue caused him to lift his brow slightly.

Clearing his throat, Aku got their attention. The male looked up and his face clouded in a frown. His scantily clad partner beneath him flushed in embarrassment.

"Haven't heard of knocking?" the rumpled male growled. Receiving nothing but an icy glare from Aku, he sealed his mouth. Reluctantly, he huffed and pulled away from the woman who in turn pouted.

Sweeping over as the other adjusted his kimono, Aku looked up at him. Though the other demonic man was taller, Aku's reputation and skill were ten times larger than his.

"I need some information."

"As always, straight to the point." He muttered and turned away so he couldn't stare into Aku's hypnotic stare. Aku's eyes were considered among many of his fellow vampires as sometimes even more powerful than his swords. They could be an emotionless mask, seductive, and fearfully dangerous.

"What do you want to know?"

"You know of the vampire slayers, Rei." Aku said in more of statement than question.

Rei gave a swift nod.

"Good, then if I told you I encountered an especially experienced female slayer yester eve, would you be able to tell me anything?"

Instantly, Rei's attention perked. "Female, you say. Care to give me more details?"

"Violet tinted blue eyes, dark hair tied up, black clothing..."

"Hmmf...You came across one of the greatest assassins to kill our kind. She would be the woman they call 'Shukumeiteiki Kyoki'. No one knows her true name. She would be from the Kokuei, or 'Dark Shadow' faction led by Namidako Kageri."

"Do you know where they are?"

"We don't know their exact location, but they're somewhere in Kurongouseki Village."

When Rei turned back around, Aku was already gone, the shoji still gaping open. Strolling over, he slid it closed leisurely. He went back over to the interrupted futon, grinning thirstily at his bedmate.

"Now, where were we...?"

Suzumi stepped out of Kyoki's room, allowing her the privacy to change. Her heart beat a rapid tempo, feeling as if it would burst out of her chest. 'No...why does she have to die?'

Brushing at her eyes so tears wouldn't slip, Suzumi sniffed heavily, clutching pale knuckled hands at her chest. She had known Kyoki for a long time, and these premonitions had begun appearing to Kyoki when she turned thirteen. They plagued her, swallowing much of her strength. Usually, they foretold of bad news; the first one had been a clear one of Kyoki's inevitable death that was destined to be and nothing could impede it.

Slipping out of her white sleeping yukata, Kyoki sauntered over to her closet, instantly noting Suzumi's sniffles and wavering aura. Quickly she picked out a black kimono and matching gray obi from the array of dark attire. There was a time when she wore yellow, red, lavender, and other cheerier colors, but that was years ago.

Once binding her chest and donning her clothes, Kyoki expertly hid her daggers in her obi. The katana sitting near her futon for precaution ensnared her attention.

'Might as well...' Aftermath of the dream was still haunting her. A feeling of fear prickled down her spine. Picking it up, she slipped it down the back of her kimono.

It was better to be prepared than be caught off guard.

Stepping out, Kyoki met Suzumi who immediately plastered a smile on her face more forcefully than customary. Latching onto her best friend's elbow, she proceeded to drag her.

The smile remained adhesive in an effort in hopes of boosting Kyoki's day.

"Come on! Let's have some fun today for a change! 'Been a while since we last spent some quality time together. I found this really great noodle bar, and a new store just opened two days ago...We'll get new about perfume too?"

Kageri gave them a strange look as she chewed on a morsel of fruit, watching them dash out of the Kokuei hideout.

It was a wonderfully warm day in the early summer, the sky a sheer light blue with not a wisp of cloud to mar the serenity.

However, this entire splendor went disregarded by one being. His lean figure was clad in a faded white gi with a black hakama and dark gray haori draped over his shoulders despite the heat. He stepped out of the alley, licking blood from his lips, his victim stretched out on the ground, mouth foaming, long brow hair in disarray and eyes still wide in shock.

Aku's eyes fell on the crowd. A loud obnoxious voice alerted him.

"Aaah! Wasn't that the best ramen ever? Ooooooh! There's that perfume stand!"

The jabbering person was a female who squeezed through the rushing morning throng of people. Through the melee, she dragged out her companion.

Aku's eyes narrowed and sparked from the remaining embers of their previous encounter. Crimson rimmed black followed the woman they called Kyoki Shukumeiteiki.

Waterflash: Hi hi! I read your poems and they are all so awesome! I especially liked 'Smile'. ^_^ Vampire/dark stories are fun!

Aharah Musici: Thanks! Hehehe...doesn't the first two paragraphs look familiar? ^_^

Please R&R!