Karin learns how to use her abilities, and realizes that she has to do things her way.
Early Sunday morning, Karin was deep in a peaceful dream. It was her on her honeymoon with Kenta, on some beach known only to her fantasies, feeling the warmth and peace of a new life having begun. Somewhere, in the background, she heard Anjou’s voice singing Love Song for a Vampire, as if it were a movie soundtrack. The sun was setting, the temperature was perfect, and the love in the air was electric. Eventually, the two stopped, faced each other, and their eyes met. The feeling at that instant transcended the spoken word, as they closed, and prepared to have their lips meet. Suddenly, Jean-Claude hopped up out of nowhere, and shouted at them, “Drop your locks and grab your socks, sunshine, we got work to do!”
She looked over in shock at his beaming face and sunglasses, and fell out of bed. “Honestly, sis, you have to be more on your toes!” said Jean-Claude, “Kenta and Yuriya are downstairs waiting, as is breakfast. Let’s get to it; we’ve got work to do.”
She wanted to get angry, but then remembered that they had all agreed to work on their abilities that day. She just did not like his timing. “Ugh!” she uttered, trying to get the sleep out of her eyes, “You just had to interrupt the sweetest dream!”
“You have plenty of other nights for that, sis,” he said, “It’s time to take your next step in your growth as a vampire today.”
As they made their way downstairs, Karin then asked, “You said Yuriya was downstairs, why?”
“When I told her,” he answered, “She said that she needed all the practice she could get as well, so, I said for her to tag along.”
“Then, who’s cooking breakfast?” she asked, as more life came to her.
“That would be Yuriya,” said Jean-Claude.
“Wow!” said Karin, “She’s really going out of her way!”
“She’s a friend, isn’t she?” asked Jean-Claude, “Isn’t that what friends do?”
“I guess so,” Karin conceded, “But, what’s this ‘sis’ business all of a sudden?”
“Well, mon cheri,” said Jean-Claude, “is that not what it’s supposed to be now? Am I not family now?”
“Hmm,” said Karin, “I forgot about that. It seems awkward, but I guess I’ll get used to it.”
They walked into the kitchen to a full breakfast spread. The other two were there, as well as Bruce, hanging over the table on the light fixture, munching on half of an orange that he held between his wings. Jean-Claude took a big whiff and said, “Oh yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about.”
Yuriya smiled, and blushed a bit over his comment on her breakfast. They all sat down, but just as they were all about to dive in, Jean-Claude bowed his head, and said, “Thank you, Lord, for this food and fellowship. Let it nourish our minds and bodies, and help it to energize the work we do today, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
That took everyone off guard, but they then remembered what his beliefs were, and took it with stride. However, after he did that, there seemed to be a good spirit in the room. They could only then share good things and good anecdotes. What Kenta and Karin found interesting was how Yuriya seemed to be doting just a bit over Jean-Claude. She seemed to want to everything for him, and he took it in stride. It was possible that she was just trying to be a good hostess, but it was obvious to the pair what was going on. She was falling head over heels for Jean-Claude, and it did not seem such a subtle thing. Jean-Claude spoke up and said, “Okay, today, we are going to try some basic things, and see how well you do. If you can perfect these, we can go to more advanced stuff. Get a good fill, because you are going to be expending a lot of energy, as well as blood. Hopefully, Karin, you will have enough to energize Kenta later, because he will be expending it today.”
“I don’t understand,” said Karin.
“All that the vampire and d’amphile can do supernaturally is by the grace of God, and by blood,” said Jean-Claude, “The Bible declares that, ‘In the blood is life,’ and that was the reason for blood sacrifice—to note how serious penance is. However, I know it also forbids the drinking of blood, yet, we are not normal men and women either. We were made differently. We are not mentioned, but here we are. For us, it is quite the opposite. The blood is not just holding life, for us, it is our life. Believe me, I’ve put a lot of prayer to this, and I believe God has made peace with this to me, telling me that, because I am not a normal man, things are different. There are just certain reasons why God does what He does that are beyond our understanding, and he has allowed us this, so, I just don’t question—I accept it for what it is. Yet, for us, we have been granted the ability to use that blood, so, just embrace it. It's what we are.”
He heard a soft squeal above him, and he just stuck out his hand and caught the falling orange rind without even looking up. He then grabbed a napkin, threw it up into the air, and it did not come down. When they looked, they saw that Bruce was wiping his face with it. With another squeal, the napkin dropped, and Jean-Claude caught it again without a look. Apparently, this was a normal routine with these two. “All right,” he said, “Let’s get cleaned up and get to work.”
Karin excused herself to get ready while the rest cleaned up the kitchen. When they all got outside, they picked a spot away from the house, in a clearing, to do their work.
“First,” he said, “we are going to work on enhancing our physical attributes. A vampire has the ability to do everything at a higher speed and strength than the normal mortal. This goes for anything you do. The first thing we are going to try is going from one end of the clearing to the other and back again as fast as we can. Watch me.”
He wasn’t moving at the speed of sound, but he did cross it rather rapidly, leaving a wedge of leaves in his wake. He got back, and then said, “Now, for things right near by,” and shifted position in a blink, “we can move,” sifted again, “in an instant.”
“How did you do that,” said Kenta in amazement.
“It is very simple,” he said, “Just concentrate on shifting your energy to your legs, your blood will go there, and you will experience a very controlled experience of E=mc squared—your blood turning to energy. Because it is vampire blood, it is high octane.”
“I’ve tried that,” said Karin, “but it doesn’t work for me.”
“Well, almost everything works to the opposite for you, right?” asked Jean-Claude.
“I guess so,” she said.
“Then,” he said, “You need to concentrate on your marrow, and the mother blood cells in there, and see if you cannot create the blood you need.”
“I don’t get it,” she said.
“It seems to me,” said Jean-Claude, “that, since you create blood, you always have an excess, but some times more than others, right?”
“Well, that is true,” she said, “but…”
“And…” continued Jean-Claude, “knowing what its main purpose is, there is something instinctively that says that you have to preserve it, and thus does not allow its use.”
“Well that makes sense, but…” said Karin, but Jean-Claude cut in again, “But, there has to be something to this. Whereas other vampires have to gather blood to do what they do, you don’t. Whereas they cannot create it, you can. Therefore, where they cannot will blood into themselves, you should be able.”
She then stared at him, thinking she was getting it, but she still wasn’t sure. “It’s like this,” he said, “Because of the need of your blood; it should not be that you have to be near your blood taste for you to create it more rapidly, unless that is around. Because of that need, it should be that you can create it at will if need be. Therefore, concentrate on your heartbeat. Go ahead.”
She closed her eyes, and he said, “Now concentrate on doing something that seems out of reach for you—that you just could not do. In this case, it’s running fast.”
She did, and then he added, “Has there ever been a time where you felt helpless, and you could not do anything about it?”
She stopped and looked at Jean-Claude, saying, “Come to think of it, yes!”
“What happened?” he asked.
“I thought that my family had been killed by a hunter, my blood rose because of the feeling of loss, and I…well…how do you Americans say it? I ‘wigged out.’”
“You can say that again!” said Kenta, but he found an elbow in his gut from Karin, as she said, very blankly, “Not one of my better moments, babe!”
“I think you have something there, Karin,” said Jean-Claude, “You don’t have to go to that extreme, but if you could control it, you may have your answer. All you need is just a touch of that hopelessness, and there you go. You should feel the rise in your blood. When that happens, concentrate like I did on the task, and go for it.”
“Okay,” she said, “Here it goes.”
She took a second, tried to conjure up a situation mentally where she needed to run, and could not. She then felt the blood surge, and they all saw her face begin to redden. “That’ it!” shouted Jean-Claude, “Now go for it!”
She tore off like shot through a gun, and came back all excited, “I did it!”
She then started to do what Jean-Claude had done when he had returned. “I did it,” she shifted, “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!” she shifted again, “I DID IT!”
All of this did not escape the view of Anjou, who was not asleep, but watching through one of her bats. “Very good, big sister,” she said in her normal stoic way, and added, “Thank you, big brother.”
She gave a gentle Mona Lisa smile, called her bat back, and curled up to sleep, knowing that her sister would finally awaken fully. Knowing the trouble that could be brewing, it would come in handy for her.
“Okay, Kenta, your turn,” said Jean-Claude, “Just do like I did.”
Kenta was still not sure about the whole thing, but he concentrated, and took off. However, he wasn’t so sure about the stopping part, and crash landed on the other side of the clearing. Jean-Claude was over like a shot, and Kenta was holding his ankle. “A little hard to see at that speed,” he said, “I didn’t see the stump.”
“Well, learning to focus can take a bit,” he said, “because you are still in a mortal body, but that’s okay. Not everyone gets it the first time.”
He then checked out his ankle, and it appears that he fractured it. “I wasn’t looking to get to this part of the lesson this soon,” said Jean-Claude, “but you can also heal yourself. By the looks of it, you are going to need to learn this now. Concentrate on the blood rushing to that region converting to flesh and bone.”
He began to do so, and suddenly, the pain went away. “Now, stand up,” said Jean-Claude, and there was no pain. “See,” he said, “Good as new.”
Kenta looked at him in amazement, and Jean-Claude said, “You will be able to take bullets, push them out of your body, and heal right up.”
He then looked at Kenta and said, “Come on, I’ll race you back!” and they took off. It was a photo finish, but it was more for Kenta’s sake, so that he could learn to control things better. Yuriya took a turn, and she was able to do better than she figured. “At least this time,” she said, “I didn’t have those things giving me ‘motivation’ to run!”
The next thing on the list was lifting. Jean-Claude was already strong, but with the blood, he was able to put forth the strength of ten men his size and strength. Kenta was almost crushed under a log that he lifted, but he collected himself. Karin put a touch too much in it, and flung it off the hill! They were glad it landed on the side where there was no human life whatsoever. They then messed around with force pushing, and it ended up in a pushing contest. They were all on the ground in time, laughing their fool heads off. Yuriya excused herself to prepare lunch as they practiced more, and went in to eat. Jean-Claude knew that they were going to need it, so he gave Yuriya the extra money needed to buy the groceries, and she made a spread. Kenta and Karin could not believe how much they were wolfing down, and Jean-Claude explained that they were burning blood like calories, and they needed to recharge, although he whispered to Karin, “And you are going to need to give him what he needs in your way later on!”
She looked at him knowingly, and now knew that she could now conjure up the blood needed for the job.
After lunch, they resumed. They learned about reading auras, and this was something that Karin was able to do when she had to release. Now, she could do it whenever she wanted. However, when it came time to ignite a fire, it was almost a disaster! Kenta was still trying to get control of things when he set a large part of the hill on fire. Jean-Claude was able to act quickly to snuff it out, and he was glad that the char was on the back side of the hill. “Okay, Kenta,” said Jean-Claude as patiently as he could, “Let’s not try that one again until you learn a bit more about control, okay?”
After the sun had set, the four of them were coming back to the porch, where Henry and Calera were sitting, watching the last of the training. “How did it go?” asked Henry.
“If it weren’t for her blood making,” said Jean-Claude, “You couldn’t tell her apart from other vampires!”
Henry was up quickly and embraced his daughter, saying, “Honey, I am so proud of you.”
Mother just smiled, and looked at her out of the corner of her eye, saying, “Its about time!”
Karin just smiled and glared back at her. However, in all that she did, she now had an excess of blood by default, and began to eye Kenta. He was standing at the edge of the porch, and began to seen Karin with that look on her face. Her eyes got that glow, her fangs extended as she smiled, and she felt real frisky! “Now, Karin, I think…” said Kenta, but that is all he got out. She tackled him, and they went tail over teakettle into the bushes! All Kenta got out was, “Karin, you have to…Ooh…oh!” and it got quiet. Yuriya looked in astonishment, but everyone else went about their business as if this was normal. Jean-Claude looked at her and said, “Hey, he needed it too.”
He then began to feel pangs, and he realized that he must have used too much, and would need to hunt that night. He looked at Yuriya and said, “Are you hungry?”
She said, “A bit, but I’ll grab a bite later.”
“I’m going to get ready to hunt,” said Jean-Claude to Henry.
“Can I come with you?” asked Henry.
“Do you have a sword?” asked Jean-Claude.
“I have a rapier,” he said.
“Get a good disguise and your sword,” said Jean-Claude, “because I think you are going to find plenty of proud people tonight. Just remember: wound, and do not kill. Leave them with the most horrible nightmare you can think of anytime they try to commit crime, or try to remember what happened. Is there anything you expect to find?”
“Maybe,” said Henry, and they prepared to go.
Later that night, they were patrolling the bad part of town, standing on the rooftops. “There has to be something else you are looking to ask me,” said Jean-Claude.
“Yes, there is,” said Henry, “Just what exactly are we looking for?”
Jean-Claude thought for a moment, and then said, “I came to Japan for a new start when rumors of the blood maker started to circulate. My mentors told me that there must be a drop in the vampire population somewhere, or else that would not have happened. However, when that happened, there were some renegades that we had been keeping an eye on that got delusions of grandeur. They believed in the old legends that said a blood maker’s blood, combined with the right mix of herbs and supernatural jolts, could turn vampires into an almost godlike state. Obviously, global domination is their ultimate goal.”
“Is there any truth the legends?” asked Henry.
“Absolutely not,” said Jean-Claude, “However, because those rumors persist, if anyone were to believe it, they could be dangerous. If it is the wrong crowd, it could be disastrous. Yet, when we did our research, we found out that the blood maker just happened to reside in the place where I was headed. I could not believe it, but I guess this was meant to be. If I am going to stay here, it would be good to make things safer for myself. Anyway, I had no idea that it was Karin, much less the daughter of the chief. I thought she was another d’amphile at first, but she looked just too pure blood for that, so I was at a loss. After calling back, I came to find out about the traits of the blood makers, and it was then I realized it was Karin. Yet, it wasn’t until last Friday night that I found out the truth. Now, I am glad things turned out the way they did. This can expedite matters.”
“I am glad you came along,” said Henry, “because my daughter was in more danger than she is now. It is good she walks in the day in this case.”
“Well,” interjected Jean-Claude, “there is the threat of g’huls. They may still employ them. That is why it is good that Kenta is learning what he is learning. It will come in handy. I’ll also be there.”
“Do you know specifically who is involved?” asked Henry.
“Not yet,” said Jean-Claude, “but I have the Sinclairs on it. I know that Victor will be able to root out some information for us. He is a good man, he just needed some help. I wonder what made him change.”
Henry put a broad grin on his face as he looked at Jean-Claude, and he smiled back. “Once this is over, I am glad that I can give this more of a rest, except when I need to hunt.”
“It’s good to have an avatar, son,” said Henry.
Jean-Claude looked down, and then tapped on Henry’s shoulder. “Well, look at what we have here,” said Jean-Claude. A black van pulled up with a limo behind, and another van came down the other end of the alley, back to back with the first van. The doors opened, and they saw packages being exchanged. By their extra sight, they saw two in each van; two in each cab, two katana wielding thugs in the front of the limo, and two men in suits come out of the back of the limo. “Yakuzai,” said Henry, “and look at the arrogance of the one in the back!”
“It’s an opium deal,” said Jean-Claude, “It’s too bad they’re going to have a bad night.”
“Work on the vans,” said Henry, “I want the one in the H, S, and M suit.”
They then dropped down. The screams were blood curdling. One went flying through the flimsy wall of one of the vans; the other went flying into the other two in the other van. The men in the front ran to the back and sprayed the insides of the vans, only to have killed their remaining comrades. Three on the outside suddenly found themselves cut up, while the fourth found a pair of fangs in his neck! At the limo, the sword wielding thugs drew, and only got in one good block before they were sliced up. Henry then grabbed the one who looked like a boss, and sank in his fangs. The other screamed like a woman and ran for it. They thought he would get away, but help arrived. Anjou was just returning home from one of her hunts, when she just happened along the action. Before she could divert course, he saw the girl and leveled a pistol on her. That was the last thing he saw that night, as a cloud of bats surrounded his head. Anjou, with her characteristic deadpan, reached out a hand, and the man went flying back into, and then over, the limo. As they healed those that could be healed, and rearranged their memories, Henry saw Anjou. He was cross at her, but she then explained that she just happened to stumble on things after her hunt. He then asked, “Was that you that sent that man sprawling?”
She nodded. “Well, it looks like we don’t have to worry about you,” said Henry, smiling, and he scooped her up. Jean-Claude came out, and she said, “It’s good to see you, big brother.”
He smiled underneath the mask, and he tousled her hair as they made their way back. Yet, before they went, Jean-Claude said, “I pulled the men away out of range.”
“Range of what?” asked Henry.
“I’m just going to cover our tracks a bit,” he said, and reached his hand out, igniting the gas tanks. They went up with a loud explosion, and then Jean-Claude toned it down quickly, so as not to set the buildings around on fire. “That way, it looks like a gangland hit,” said Jean-Claude, “Plus, the testimony of the survivors will be so confusing that the police will never be able to figure out what happened.”
With that, they went back, knowing that the Yakuzai would be less likely to try anything again in that area for a while.