There is more to the goth punk club than meets the eye.
By that Tuesday, the student council gave permission to proceed, and work began in relish. They were surprised on how quickly some bats moved in, not knowing that they were some of Anjou’s colony. Somehow, the council also caught the mascot hint, and decided that the school mascot would be the Bats, after putting it to an open student vote. By this point, Anjou had become quite proficient in the guitar. Because she had the time, she could put far more into her practice than most people would care to dream. In fact, because she had become that good, he suggested that she be allowed to join the new band. Of course, there was reluctance to let her join due to her age. She shattered this by breaking into Classical Gas, at first causing shock and awe, and then egging the rest of the group into joining her. It then became official. The next night, Henry and Calera came to fetch her for some family thing, and they asked how her playing was coming. Jean-Claude smiled and said, “Do you really want to know? Listen to this!”
The group then ripped into Circle Sky, with Anjou playing power guitar over the top of everything else. Because of the choice of the school mascot, the band decided to call themselves D’Amphile and the Bats. Maki was all happy about it, because she and Karin could come up with some neat outfits, and Anjou’s personality rounded off the effect of the group. It was hoped that, with the upcoming arts festival, they could play, so the band began to practice in earnest.
In the meantime, Karin had been keeping an eye on Yukiko. She indeed was involved with the gothic punk scene, complete with the styles of clothes she wore outside school, her music, and even her involvement with role-playing games that dealt heavily with the occult and vampires. Ren had a chance to tail her one night, and followed her into a club that seemed to cater to this crowd. There were people from age groups from teenager on up. They were all intermixing with no regard to age, doing anything their hearts desired. They had no restraint, and believed in license. Because of how bad they were misrepresenting the world of the vampire, Ren had all he could do to remain in there to gather information before he became physically ill. However, he did notice one thing. In the back, sitting at a prominent table in the back, were three individuals—two male and one female—that were more conservatively dressed. After asking a few questions, it appeared that these three were in charge of the club, and represented some kind of “elite” grouping within the club. They seemed to affect a look in the role-play going on that they were the “head vampires,” and indeed played the role to the hilt. Indeed, it seemed that they had a handful of the kids catering to them. Ren studied them for a bit, and then looked at their auras. A smirk curled on his face when he realized that these three were indeed vampires. This was confirmed when one female, who had been doting on one of the males, volunteered her neck to the man, and he bit with relish. He did not erase her memory, because, for the girl, she thought it was part of the act. They were not even shy about it in the club, considering that all the people in there would have considered this normal. However, before he left, a young lady began to hit off him, and as it so happened, she was a girl under a lot of stress. To confirm this, he said he wanted to go outside so they could talk. However, she suggested something else. She took him to the back where he found rooms with beds in them. He was intrigued by this, and he was then to find out just how into license these people were. It was not prostitution, but a place where, if anyone cared to get his or her kicks, which included blood drinking along with God knows what, a place was provided. At first, he thought he was going to have a good time out of this place despite his horror to things. That was to change quickly when he entered. The smell alone wanted to make him wretch. These rooms were not well taken care of, and the smell said it all, as well as the poor sanitary conditions. She had enough stress to make him very hungry, but because of the look of the place, he just wanted to get it over with, which he did. He got his feed, and then laid her on the bed to sleep it off. He then beat a hasty retreat from the place. He had to get back before Karin and the others to tell what he had seen. He had to find out if this was common, and he had to tell of whom he discovered.
He was able to catch the both of them before they went to bed, and he then relayed all that he had discovered. Henry said, “And they had the audacity to move into this city without my knowing. I bet I could safely assume that the council does not know about this either.”
“More than likely not,” said Jean-Claude, “And because of the nature of the club, it makes me wonder how long they have been operating under the radar screen.”
Ren jumped in, and said, “Are all the clubs that deal in that so disgusting?”
“Not really,” he said, “In fact, the description that you gave with such license and abandon is odd. They do preach that kind of license, and display it, but never to that extent, especially with those rooms of which you spoke.”
“What do think it is, then?” asked Henry.
“My guess is that it is the perfect environment in which to operate for them,” said Jean-Claude, “In fact, I think it is set up in that way to foster such things more than normal in order to suit their own needs. In short, it is their haven, and feeding trough. If they want conditions bad for the humans, who cares? They certainly don’t! All they care about is what they get out of them. They are dangerous. I cannot tell if they are a part of what we seek, but it does warrant further investigation.”
“Did you see Yukiko in there?” asked Karin.
“Yes, I did,” said Ren, “but she wasn’t involved with the head table. However, as ambitious as she is, it would not take long.”
“Then you have to stay close to her,” said Jean-Claude.
“What do I do?” asked Karin.
“You need to befriend her,” said Jean-Claude, “and see if you cannot creep into that world. Start asking about hairstyles, clothes, music—anything that would get you into her world, and into her mind. You need to get Kenta involved as well, because he would help make a good cover for you, in addition to the fact that he may be on the receiving end of a lot of blood.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Karin.
“Remember what I said the other night about the psychology of that crowd?” he asked.
“Oh yeah,” she said, “So, you’re saying she may be unhappy?”
“If things are like I expect,” he answered, “you can bank on it.”
Once she explained the situation to Kenta, he was more than happy to help, and for the next week or two, they began to befriend her, and learn all about her world. In time, they went shopping together, and Karin, (thanks to Jean-Claude,) picked up an entire wardrobe of that style. She also picked up some music off the Internet that she knew she could quickly dispose of, because she did not particularly care for that kind of music. Yet she learned it, just to be knowledgeable. She also did not really care for some of the outfits because they were too revealing, and said things about her for which she did not particularly care. Even though they knocked Kenta’s eyes right out of their sockets, she did not feel comfortable. It was not just this, but also, it was speaking things about her kind that were just not true. She did not want to foster things that were not true about herself. When she started to affect some of that in appearance, people started looking at Karin oddly. People began to be concerned about her, yet not so much, because she still was a good student, (except in math, where everyone knew that she had some problems,) and did not take the “Devil-may-care” attitude that some in the gothic punk world did. They just passed it off as a phase, until Yuriya, Maki, and Wiener finally cornered her one night in Julian’s place. Maki said, “What is going on? You have been spending an awful lot of time with that girl!”
“Yes,” said Yuriya, “and I could not help but notice a change in your clothes outside of school.”
Karin was at a loss, and she did not know where to begin. Jean-Claude noticed this, then came up to the knot of people, and said, “Ah…is there a way I can have a word with you guys out back? That includes you as well, Wiener.”
When he got them out back, he said, “I talk to all of you, because you, Maki, and Wiener, are aware of things. The fact is, we are watching the girl because we think that she may be in danger, as are every kid that frequents the club to which she goes.”
“What kind of danger is that?” asked Maki.
“We are talking about a possibility of dealing with renegade vampires,” said Jean-Claude, “and we had to get an inroad to dealing with her before we jumped to conclusions.”
“What does that have to do with us?” asked Yuriya.
“Well, with you, Maki,” said Jean-Claude, “if it is possible, keep in earshot of conversations away from Karin, and tell me what you have heard. As for Yuriya and Wiener, I may need the two of you on Friday night. Karin and Kenta have been invited by Yukiko to go to this club, and if it comes to trouble, any help I can get would be great. Wear your best Goth look, and for you, Wiener, wear some of your old hunting clothes, but not too much as it would tip off our suspects. Tell your grandfather, because we may need him as well. Both of your expertise on the matter would be useful. Make sure the two of you are prayed up, just to ensure as much empowerment can come your way. You may have to go into combat, but that is not a guarantee.”
Wiener stood up straight and stuck his chest out, “You can count on the prowess of Wiener Sinclair—reformed renegade vampire hunter! When it comes to the safety of the dear maiden Karin Makka, I would stake all that is dear to me! I would die to ensure another breath for her; I would take a bullet! I would…”
He then began to scream in pain as Maki grabbed him by the ear as if he were a naughty boy, saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah; I’m sure she appreciates it! Let’s go, you—we have studies to tend to. And what did I tell you about slipping!”
“Ow, ow, ow! Okay, Maki—I’m sorry! I’ll behave! Please let go!” screamed Wiener, as the headed back into the restaurant. Maki stuck her head back around and said smiling, “Sorry about that, I’ll take care of him! Please continue.”
“Be ready on Friday,” said Jean-Claude, “It may be nothing more than a fact-finding mission, but we have to be ready for anything. Kenta, I hope you have been practicing—what you now know may come in handy!”
Kenta nodded, and said, “I’ll meet you at your place, Karin, so I can change clothes there. I definitely do not want to hint to mother anything.”
“Of course,” said Karin. However, it got Karin to thinking about how things were going, and how they could go. Despite all that was going on, eventually, his mother was going to find out. In fact, she figured that it might be sooner rather than later, because, if the renegades wanted to get at her, they would eventually make the connection between her and the Usui household, and both Fumio and Kenta would be in danger. If he had to use his abilities before her to defend her, it might drive her crazy from the sight. Even if he were to erase her memory, she would wonder how the house became trashed. They would then have to come up to the house, just for safety sake. Then what would they do, keep her unconscious and locked in a closet? She would have to chew on this, and then present this to her father. However, she would see how Friday went first before she said anything.
Friday eventually came around, after their shift at Julian’s, Kenta made his way to Karin’s under the guise of studying with Maki, Karin, and Jean-Claude. When they got to the house, Wiener and Victor were already there, as was Yuriya. Ren was coming as well, considering his inside knowledge of things. Wiener looked like he was ready for a mash pit, (thanks to the help of Maki,) but Victor looked more like a modern-day Wyatt Earp. He surprised everyone by the amount of ordinance that he was able to conceal and not be cumbersome underneath his trench coat, as well as the sword he carried. The most intimidating of all was Jean-Claude. He affected his normal look, and, for the first time, they were able to see under the trench coat the Marine Corps dress blue shirt that he wore. It was unbuttoned at the top because it was a bit hot. When they asked what that was about, he said that it would be as if he was carrying the spirits of his father, grandfather, and even his mother, into the fight with him. Of course, when he was like this, his personality was very different. It was as a case of Jekyll and Hyde. He seemed more like something out of professional wrestling than a 17-year-old high school student. Maki had been able to find out that she was being considered for the “inner circle,” and they wanted to know just what that was all about. With that, they all agreed to meet Yukiko in the park, and then they would make their way. As the motley crew went their way, they noticed a cloud of bats following them. It was certain that Anjou wanted to keep an eye on things as such that, if something did happen, and it got bad, she could send reinforcements. Certainly, Henry was very interested in three vampires operating in the city without his approval, much less his knowledge. As the group went to the club, they looked like such an intimidating crew that people got out of their way very quickly. Even the toughest looking of people took one look at this crew, and suddenly found something else to be interested in expeditiously!
When they got to the club, the doorman was not so sure about the group. He indeed was intimidated, but at the same time, if it were trouble, he knew whom to call. They did not know that this was a g’hul at the door, and it would take a bit more than this to scare him. Yukiko piped up and said, “Its okay, they’re with me!”
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but you know that there is only one guest per member.”
Jean-Claude walked up and glared at him in that right way, and said, softly but firmly, “Make an exception!”
The g’hul’s eyes went as wide as dinner plates, and he was nearly ready to pee in his pants! He stepped aside as they went in. The bouncers at the door saw this and foolishly tried to step in the way. Ren and Jean-Claude quickly threw them into the wall very hard. When they rebounded, they both touched the crowns of their heads, and they fell unconscious. It appeared as if two sith lords had just entered the room, and they were in a foul mood. They then spread out in order to learn as much as they could, but not so far apart as they could not be there for one another if need be.
The music was earsplitting and of low quality, in the sense of there being little in the way of phrasing, harmony, style, and such like. It was all distorted with dissonance and disharmony, along with a forced and driving beat. Despite that, people still found a way to dance to it, if you called what they did “dancing.” It looked more as something out of a battle royal than a dance. Jean-Claude preferred Gospel and classical music, although he did play secular music with his band. Even then, he preferred the classics with updated sounds as compared to today’s music, because, at least that way, he could sing more upbeat and inspiring songs than what he was hearing at that moment. All the songs were about despair, how bad life was, how people should just hate, break things; lose the ability to care about life, and such like things. However, it was beginning to have an effect on Karin, because of all the auras around that were filled with sadness and despair. Kenta then told Karin, “If it starts to happen, don’t hold it in. However, due to the nature of the club, pick someone here. It would probably do them a world of good.”
Karin looked at him oddly, but then understood what he was saying. Yet, she also knew that, if that were the case, then there could be several people that went home that night with adjusted attitudes!
Not much later on, Yukiko was informed that, at midnight, she was to be invited to the upper table, and let into the inner circle. However, Ren and Jean-Claude made their way up to talk to these three. The one that looked in charge said, “I did not say that you could come up here and…” yet, Ren, who said, “Be quiet,” cut him off!” and then said, “I ask permission from no one for anything.”
“Nor do I,” said Jean-Claude, gazing from just under the brim of his hat.
The female got angry and said, “Who do you think you…” and she was cut off by the lead man, who set her down, and then said, “I think I know what you two are.”
“Just what do you think?” asked Ren.
“You two are a pair of leeches like us, right?” said the lead man.
“If you can see as we see, then it is pretty obvious, isn’t it?” asked Jean-Claude rhetorically, “Why would this surprise you?”
Rather than comment on the question, the lead man said, “I see that you are not alone,” and pointed to Karin and Yuriya. This prompted Ren to ask, “You have a problem with vampires coming in here?”
The lead man leaned back in his chair and stared at them, elbows on the chair arms, fingers pressed together, with the forefingers on his lips, staring at the two. “No,” he said, “I suppose not, as long as you behave yourselves.”
“You act as if you were the chief of the city,” said Jean-Claude.
“In here, I am,” he said, “and I would have appreciated a bit of warning before you all came. However, I am not as strict as some chiefs, so it’s okay—this time!”
He smiled, as if he were trying to intimidate them, oblivious to the fact that the two staring at him could see right through him, and were doing all they could to keep from standing up and throttling him. Ren then said, “You say that as if being the chief of this city were something inevitable.”
He now grinned broadly, and said, “If things go right, it may well be. Besides, if you two behave yourselves, you will find out just how much better things would be.”
He then looked over the two of them, and saw Karin. She was engaged in conversation with one of the girls, and then Karin got “that look,” and the girl began to follow her, as if she could not control herself. “Wow, she works quickly!” he commented, and pointed. Ren knew that this might happen. He was just glad that there were plenty of people in there from which to choose. He knew that, for some, it was going to be an interesting night. Ren said, “What can I say? She embraces what she is without restraint. Is this a bad thing?”
“It’s interesting you say that,” he said, “because this is an ultimate aim.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Jean-Claude.
The lead man thought for a minute, but the other man looked at him, and shook his head. The lead man just gestured a “calm down” sign with his hand. He then said, “Let us just say that, if all goes well, you two will be thanking us for what shall happen. I can say this: we know of a blood maker that would be the key to a vampire paradise. All this cattle you see before you would be our servants. They would be too weak to resist us.”
They could have asked more, but they let it go, realizing that these two men told them all they needed to know. The lead man then said, “I noticed that you came in with Yukiko. She is a good girl. If she behaves, we can g’hul her out, and make her one of the privileged few humans to be above their own. A place like this is good for candidates in that regard: people that feel they have no hope, who are looking for ultimate freedom, power, and order. They will have it, but not the way they think. As long as I can convince her that we are making her a vampire, it becomes all too easy.”
That got Jean-Claude’s attention, “Just what does that mean?”
“None of these kids that we g’hul out ever go back home,” said the woman there.
“Yukiko, from what I understand,” said Jean-Claude, “is on her student council, and would be missed.”
“We have our ways,” said the third man.
“Why do you trust us with this?” said Ren.
“It’s just a hunch,” said the lead man, “but it seems to me that you two would be perfect in joining us. We are always looking for fellow vampires who would see the light; who are sick of hiding and wish to be free. Join us, and we can assure you godhood.”
Ren was about to take action, but Jean-Claude took his wrist, and said, “It sounds good to me. When are you going to G’hul her out?”
“At midnight,” he answered.
“I would like to be there,” said Jean-Claude, “and we can do what we need to in order to join you.”
“Sounds good,” he said, “That way we can kill two birds with one stone.”
“Then, we’ll stay around and look for you at the time,” said Ren.
“Excellent,” said the lead man, “In the meantime, enjoy yourselves. I am sure that your blood preferences are here in force. Take your pick, just remember to be discreet.”
With that, they left. Ren said, “What do you have in mind.”
“I have a plan,” said Jean-Claude, “We can take care of them and close this place down.”
“What do you mean?” asked Ren.
“If there are kids here that have gone missing,” said Jean-Claude, “The police would be interested in this. We could get them in to shut this place down. In the meantime, we have to find a way to strike. Furthermore, I don’t think they trust us. I would not think it would be that easy to be a part of what they are. They so much as told on themselves, didn’t they?”
“That is true,” said Ren, “So what are you implying.”
“I would lay you ten schillings on the pound that they, right now, are laying a trap for us,” said Jean-Claude.
“What do we do?” asked Ren.
“First, we find out just how many g’huls there are here,” said Jean-Claude, “Then, we discreetly tell everyone to be in position before it all goes down. Find out where its happening and I will ask Anjou telepathically to send her bats to that area. That way, we can see where everyone is hiding, and then we can counterattack. They think that they would be setting a trap for us, when, in actuality, they will be the ones spinning their own trap.”
“Do you think it is going to be bad?” said Ren.
“Oh yes,” said Jean-Claude, “There will be blood.”