Not long after the sun set, Chiyuki, Victor, Elda, Ai, and amuch worn out Ryuu, (for obvious reasons,) arrived at Clan Tower with the remaining 55 members of House Amayah. Since everyone was out, they had to assume they were at the baseball playoff at Cony, so they all went there. When they arrived, everyone was there, but they noticed that the whole team was wearing armbands with "come home soon" written on them, and all the supporters were wearing pins that had Jean-Claude's picture on them. Right after the national anthem, an announcement came over the loudspeaker, "And now, a moment of silence for Coach Jean-Claude D'Amphile Makka."
Chiyuki was confused, as was the others, but they remained silent as about 30 seconds passed, and then they heard, "Wherever you are, come home to us soon, safe and sound."
Quickly, they found Karin, and she said, "What...happened?"
Karin took them aside and explained the whole thing. Chiyuki just stared at her, and she said, "And you really think he's still alive?"
"The kids say that he is," answered Anjou, "And I have my bats looking all over the city right now."
"Speaking of the kids, where are they?" asked Ryuu.
"They're back with Fumio and Yuriya," answered Karin.
"Why Fumio?" asked Elda, "I would understand Yuriya, but..."
Anjou cut her off and said, "Grandmother, Fumio has...changed."
At first, there was confusion, but then the indications were clear by the looks everyone gave them. "They didn't..."
"It was Amayah," said Karin, "They kidnapped her, and then vamped her out in their way. Then the kids gave her an infusion. She's all broken up about this, and they are trying to educate her a bit...you know: trying to help her cope with things."
That was it for Chiyuki. This whole thing with Amayah was getting on her nerves very badly. Fumio was too nice a lady to have this happen, and now she had been saddled with something in a way that she never wished on herself, for that is just what had happened to her-change beyond her wishes. She moved so fast from that area that it almost seemed like she had vanished. Ryuu had a feeling as to what was going on, and said to the others,"Meet me back at the tower after the game. I have a feeling that Hell is about to descend on New York City."
He took off after her, as did Ai, considering her relationship with Chiyuki, and everyone wondered what was going to happen next. At that same moment, everyone suddenly came to the realization that Ryuu was amongst the crew, and they were suddenly going, "Wait, that was..." with great surprise, but Elda said, "I'll explain."
Back in the throne room, Fumio was sitting in a comfortable chair as the others did what they could to console her. She really wanted to crawl off to a dark corner and die, but that was not going to happen if the kids had any say about it. "Fumio, we love you, you know that," said Mickey, "It doesn't matter to us what happened."
"Yeah," said Kannon, all spritely, "And now we can be together for a long time! I would have been real sad to see you go if things were as normal, grandmamma."
Sophia, wise beyond her years, said, "Dearest Fumio, you must feed. I know well that, if you do, you will see things far differently. You have a new lease on life, and you can do things the way you always wanted."
"No, I just can't," Fumio sobbed, "I know none of you are monsters, but, I just feel so much like one! I just couldn't. That's not who I am!"
"It is now!" said a voice of authority behind her. They all turned around to see Ryuu and the Devil Sisters in full battle array, Chiyuki resplendent in her kimono jacket and shorts. "Ryuu, I heard..." said Fumio, suddenly forgetting her own plight and he answered, "To quote Mark Twain: the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
"You can't keep a good vampire down!" chirped a smiling Ai, still clinging to his arm.
"Baby, that can wait," sighed Ryuu, but she just pouted in aplayful way. She then got a sly look on her face and said, "You're in trouble later!"
Ryuu just looked distraught. After that last night, he thought he would never walk again. Chiyuki brought things back into focus, and she said, "Pardon me, your majesty, but Fumio needs to come with us. She WILL feed tonight..." and then she got quiet, and then she grumbled as her eyes grew red and her fangs extended, "...and then Amayah is going to pay dearly!"
Normally, the kids would have taken this in stride, but they had never seen her like this. Ai caught the hint and said, "You're not going to have all the fun," turning all serious. Seeing Ryuu's warn-out condition,(of which she knew she had been responsible,) she said, to him, "Just stay with the kids, baby. Lichen will be coming soon, and they need to be readied for the change. We're going to kick some tushie!"
At that, the kids were about to find out the reason why they were called the Devil Sisters, as was Amayah...the hard way!
Later on, they were in Brooklyn, Fumio protesting all the way. Chiyuki was not in the mood for her fussing, and she snapped, "You are going to feed, and you are going to like it! You haven't done so in three days, and you need to finish the change. You need to make your first feed!"
Fumio was bawling, and she said, "But I don't want this! I don't want Kenta to think badly of me?"
Chiyuki caught the hint of what that meant, and she said,"So, you think we're monsters, do you?"
The tone of her voice frightened Fumio, but then Chiyuki calmed, and then she said, "Despite what Jean-Claude wants to think, that is exactly what we are! That does not mean that being a monster is a bad thing. For one thing, no one will ever mess with you again! No one can ever cause you problems, and you can give Kenta the care you always wanted to, and never could until now. Being a monster is not such a bad thing...IF...you have the right view about it. Now, we must find your blood type."
As those words were ringing through her head, they could hear the conversation of a man who was shouting, and he was saying, "That's right, woman, get into the kitchen and get that dinner done! You had better have the food ready the right way this time, and get my suit ready for tomorrow! Know your place, woman!"
Both Chiyuki and Ai were not in a mood to be trifled with, and the sight of the chauvinist made them enraged enough to want to rip his head off and defecate down his throat. However, they looked at Fumio, and they saw this half-joyous, half-anxious look on her face, and her eyes were glowing a green color. Chiyuki then realized what was happening, and she said, "What do you see?"
"He glows," she said, "He looks like he is on fire!"
"Yep," said Ai, "That's her preference-chauvinists."
"Considering her past," said Chiyuki, "this could not be better!"
Fumio had always seemed to be able to find such brutes in her time due to her good looks, and she despised men like that. Now one stood before her, it happened to be her taste, and she was hungry! Without hesitation, Ai came up to the woman and grabbed her, saying, "You need to take a nap."
She touched her head, put her out, erased her memory of that, and planted one as to where she would remember taking the nap and being on her bed. Meanwhile Chiyuki, already in a foul mood, came up in a flash with Fumio, grabbed the man by his lapels, and snarled, "You picked a wrong night to be a barbarian, filth!"
In the next second, they were in an alley, and Chiyuki thrust the man into the wall hard enough for him to have the wind knocked out of him, and she said, "I could rip you apart right now, but my friend is hungry!"
With that, Fumio, now in a bloodlust, pounced on him, wrapping her legs around his torso, hugging him tight, and she looked into his eyes, fangs out. She then said, "Scum like you deserve to die!" and sunk in her fangs, drinking violently. Chiyuki knew that she had to pull her off him, but she let her feed just a little bit longer. He would have lost about a third of his blood supply by the time she was done, but he deserved it. He would be sick, but they would insure he would never abuse women again. After Fumio pulled out, the man dropped to the ground, and she then taught Fumio how to erase memories. Fumio, remembering how Jean-Claude did things, said, "You will never treat a woman badly again. You will always be a gentleman. Any time you think of women as less than human, or seek to treat them badly, pain-great pain-is all you will feel."
Chiyuki then put the man into his apartment, and then just as fast, both she and Ai said, "Good girl! How do you feel?"
"I feel like I could take on the world!" Fumio exclaimed, "I never knew it could be like that!"
"Go back to the tower," said Chiyuki, "Tell the children what happened, and tell them all about how you feel. Right now, things are going to die!"
Fumio caught the hint and went her way. Maybe being avampire was not all that bad!
At that moment, Blade was with Crystal, and they met up with Moon Knight. "You have your silver stakes in good stock?" asked Blade.
"Trust me," he said, "I've been keyed up for this fight ever since I got involved."
"Then let's go," responded Blade, "I have a list of the places to hit, and we shall be joined by the Hand later. We are going to try to stir up a hornet's nest and see what we can't shake out. It may just lead us to him."
As they spoke, they saw a red and purple blur go by them, and then in the next instant stop in front of them. Chiyuki was all vamped out and said, "You have the list?"
"Yeah," he said, "Right..." but before he could say, "here,"she snatched half of it and said, "The undead are about to become and endangered species!"
Just as fast they were gone. Despite all that Blade had seen in his time, he felt something turning in his stomach, and all he could do was feel dread for what may be on the receiving end.
Normal high school baseball games only last seven innings, but because of the seriousness of the proceedings, both teams were playing anotch above where they were playing, and they had a tie game, 2-2, into the ninth inning. Finally, it was the bottom of the inning, the bases loaded, and all the Rail Splitters had to do was get a good Texas Leaguer into center field, and that was the game. However, there was one boy up to bat that Jean-Claude had ridden hard. He knew that the kid had greatness in him, but he never seemed to be as ambitious as he could have been to be his best, and Jean-Claude did everything he could to extract that great player out of him. He never knew all the good things that his coach had been doing for him in that regard until that moment, and now he knew just how much he had lost. He had disliked his coach at first, but now he had great admiration for him, and now that he was gone, it just spurred him on to win the game. His muscles were all tense as he prepared to bat, but the count had crept up to 3 and 2, and he was now fouling off pitches, waiting for the right one. At that, the team knew well that he had the pitcher figured out, and he wanted more than just a pop fly. That built the tension in the park, and everyone anticipated what was going to happen. Then, for the kid, everything seemed to slow down, and all he could hear was his own heartbeat. He could not believe what was happening, as he could actually see the way the pitcher was gripping the ball-four seam fast ball. Coach had told him how to take moments like these, but it had never come up until that time. Now, it seemed like a dream, and all that riding was about to pay off. The kid never believed that he could be that good, but coach had proven it all season long that he was better than he thought, and now he had the chance to shine. As the pitcher released the ball, he could even see how the ball was moving, and knew right where the ball would end up over the plate. As his muscles were as tense as they could be, sweat beading off him, he began to swing, and he felt like he was one with the bat, as if it was an extension on his own body. As he was about to make contact, he thought, "This is for you, coach!" and he put every ounce of strength behind it. It found the sweet spot so well, it didn't even feel like he had hit anything, but the resounding crack off the bat told him and everyone watching what had happened. It was one of those kinds of hits as to where no one on the field made any effort to move and get the ball because everyone knew where it was going, being so well hit. The kid just stood there staring at it, and then began his trot around the bases as the place came unglued. As he circled the bases, he began to pick up the pace, realizing the gravity of the situation. He was sprinting by the time he hit the third base line, and he jumped up and landed on the plate as his team mobbed him. The cameras were all in on it, and as his team lifted him up, he screamed, "THAT WAS FOR YOU, COACH! COME HOME SOON!"
It was an awesome moment, and the cameras went to look for Jean-Claude's family, but in the excitement, they had not noticed them slip out of the stadium.
All this time, Jean-Claude was watching the game, and by the third inning, the door to his room/cell opened. In stepped Charlotte with atray, with the frame of the door filled by her twin servants. They started to enter, but she said, "It will be fine. I know he will behave himself."
The door closed, and she set down the tray, and she grinned like Anjou, and she said, "I trust that things have been comfortable for you?"
"Very much so," he answered, "You remind me so much of Corn Muffin when she looked that age."
"Corn Muffin...who is that?"
"My kid sister," he said, "She is really special."
He lifted the lid to a fine steak dinner, and she said, "It was cooked to medium."
"I normally prefer medium rare, but that will do," he said,"Give my compliments to the chef."
"Odd," she said, "I would not have expected that you would have been so content."
"Worry gets nothing done. You have to take things in stride."
"I certainly hope that does not include delusions of escape."
"Where would I go? It seems we're about 40 stories up or so."
"Then I assume you know where you are?"
"Yes, but what does that matter anyway. I couldn't tell anyone if I wanted to."
"Then...are you saying that you accept our offer."
"I didn't say that either."
She smirked and said, "You cannot hope to think that you can outlast this."
Jean-Claude chuckled and said, "I didn't say that either."
She turned a bit cross, and said, "What are you getting at?"
"I don't know. I'm just rolling with the punches...wait."
He turned his attention to the screen, seeing who was up, shoving supper down his throat as he went. He saw the boy up, and he said,"Come on, Jimmy, just like I taught you."
He was hoping that he would be smart, but when he saw how he was fouling off baseballs, he got a smirk on his face. "He's going to park it, I just know it."
Charlotte was amused at the sight, but she was also becoming annoyed that he could just treat the whole thing so nonchalantly. He went from her to the game as if this situation was a normal thing for him. As Jean-Claude was shoving the last morsels down his throat, his eyes went wide when he saw the look in Jimmy's eyes. "He's locked on," said Jean-Claude,"That pitcher is in trouble!"
Sure enough, the grand slam went over the centerfield fence, and Jean-Claude jumped up yelling, "YEEEEESSSSS!" smacking the table, "Ataboy!"
He sat back down as the post-game interviews were starting, and they came up to Hondo and said, "Well, it was a good run, but this was the most enjoyment the boys ever got out of losing a game. That shows a good spirit in them, and that will only get them ready for next year. We only have a couple of graduating seniors, so we stand a great chance next year."
The reporter then asked, "I understand that both you and Coach Makka were good friends and went to the same university."
"That is true," answered Hondo, "and it saddens me that he could not be here for this, but somehow, I think he sees things, and I believe he would be proud. Certainly, a certain hand of fate can befall things, and it can seek him out. I feel we shall know real soon."
Jean-Claude understood that he was talking in code, and that meant that they were out looking for him at that instant. There was no telling what was to happen next. Jean-Claude turned down the volume as it went to the post game report, and he said, "Man, I knew they could do it!"
Charlotte did not look amused, and she said, "Jean-Claude, you will have to understand that I do not take kindly to my servants blowing me off."
"Servant?" he said, "Oh, I get it. You act like everything is a foregone conclusion."
"You certainly don't think you can..." but she was cut off when the TV suddenly announced, "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special news bulletin. We now go to the newsroom."
The scene transferred to a news anchor who said, "There is trouble in Manhattan tonight, as there have been three fires that have broken out in some of the poorer areas around Manhattan."
Cameras then went to the spot of one of the fires as the Fire Department of New York was fighting the flames. The news caster on site then said, "Witness have reported sounds of guns, clanging metal, screams, and explosions. They also report something that seemed to be something that only can be written off to the confusion of the situation. They stated that there were many screaming in terror as they tried to flee the area, but a red and apurple blur was quickly snatching them and dragging them back in, and some screaming in pain. Indeed, the blood that stains the area indicates that something violent happened, but the police say that it can only be written off to the panic that was witnessed. However, reports like that have come from each place, and..."
He was cut off by the anchor who said, "Hold on, Joe, we have a new report. An underground club has now burst into flames on the other side of the island, but the witnesses state that it seemed like it was hit by three gangsters who left before they could be caught and...wait...oh my God! Another place is now burning near where the first attacks have taken place. There is a wonder as to what is going on, possibly terrorism, as Homeland Security is now becoming involved. There seems to be a connection with the properties, and it seems like they are all owned by Draco Enterprises. We will have him on the phone within the hour."
Charlotte was up like a shot and heading for the door, but not before she gave Jean-Claude a glare. He just grinned and said, "Hey, Ican't control what they do while I'm here. However, I would worry for your own self."
She then said before she left, "You had better be glad you are not involved, or all this could turn into Hell for you very quickly."
She left, and he started to laugh. He went over to the window, and at that precise moment, a bat flew by that looked familiar. It then suddenly changed course and then hung on the window. It was Anjou's bat, and he linked with it. It linked him with Anjou, and he said, "Muff, I see the Devil sisters are back."
"Yes, and I trust that you are safe?" asked Anjou.
"For the moment," he responded, "They are playing the pamper-me-into-compliance game, so I am quite comfortable."
"I see you are not too far from the attack zones."
"That's right. What else is going on?"
"The Hand will be out soon, joining them. We hope to flush out more data."
"It's Marcus Draco. Charlotte has teamed up with him."
"Then not only can we do this, we can even bring his empire down, considering many of the places are a part of his clandestine operation, and they are mostly very illegal."
"To take him down and destroy his empire would be great."
"Do you want us to come for you tonight?"
"No, not yet; let this sink in first. I am going to act tomorrow about noon. I'll be hiding out until that time. Strike from without as I cause chaos from within."
"Then I will send some bats into the ventilation system to help us coordinate."
"Amayah goes down tomorrow."