SIDE STORY The Law of Shiki Tohno

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  1. The fifth chapter in "The Life of Shiki Tohno," a side-story set within the Murder Series.

    Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7

    - - -


    Things could change so fast, faster than most people could realize what they had missed.

    Even if he had perhaps tried his best to maintain a normal life, a normal life that he had very well earned after what he had been through in his thus far short life, even Minato Arisato could feel that life was slowly changing within Misaki Town. One by one, pieces were falling out of order in town.

    For one, lately, Ciel had been far busier with work concerning the Holy Church. With the recent activity of the Night of Wallachia that had plagued Misaki Town during the Fiamma Incident, not only did this increase the productivity of the Sons of Roa, some sort of disorganized group of vampires that Ciel never elaborated much upon, but it also gave her cause to hunt down any of the illusions that lingered, created by Wallachia's TATARI phenomena, that never really went away. With that being said, it was suffice to say that she had her work cut out for her lately, and that resulted in her coming home later than usual, usually in the very early morning. What was more, more notably, recently in the past two days or so, she had seemed notably distracted by something, often seen zoning out into her own little world at times, thinking about God knows what.

    In fact, this morning, Ciel was nowhere to be found in the apartment, though when Minato would walk into a kitchen, a note would be found on the refrigerator, telling him that she would, as promised, meet him outside the school grounds at the end of the day, just as she did every day when she'd walk with him to class during normal days. There was little to do about that, so the day went by... relatively normal.

    Today wasn't a very notable day, except for perhaps the fact that it was the beginning of the weekend. And for the fact that this was approximately the third day in a row that a certain young man named Shiki Tohno had been absent from class. Of course, not many people took note. Shiki never did make a particular impression in class. Like many of the other young men, he simply hung out with his own friends and minded his own business, though admittedly, Shiki's personal life was subject to much debate to the classmates that didn't know him.

    One such rumor was that he lived in the supposedly haunted mansion up the hill at the edge of town, taken care of by an exceedingly cute younger sister, the latter part being part of a testimony by an anonymous tip, AKA, Shiki's friend Arihiko Inui. Other strange rumors included him being related to some sort of ancient royalty, another including him being part-European, another including him being part of the reason for Satsuki Yumizuka mysteriously "transferring of the country" shortly after it had been revealed that they were dating, and so on. It was a wonder why he wasn't constantly hounded by his classmates.

    After all, who didn't remember the "Incident of the Blonde Beauty" from a year ago?

    flashback (open)

    The striking beauty of the mysterious European looking lady that called for Shiki in the middle of class remains one of the hottest debate topics to this day.

    In any case, like most other, the day just flew by with not much of importance happening. The dismissal bell rang like it did every day, and with that, students rushed out of their rooms, eager to reach their clubrooms or straight home where they could finally relax for the weekend.


    Outside the school grounds, as promised that early morning, Minato Arisato would be able to find Ciel waiting for him, standing against the gate, bag in her hands. However, upon closer inspection, Minato would be able to see that she had a rather pensive, distracted look in her eye, almost as though she wouldn't be able to notice Minato unless he'd get really close, or something to that degree.



    One could wonder what she was thinking about?

    @The Tactician
    #1 Verite, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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  2. Minato sighed as he sat through the last few minutes of class, having awoken only a little bit before from his daily afternoon nap. I really should start getting more sleep at night... Not like it really mattered, most of the teachers didn't really care if he slept during class or not. His grades were well ahead of most of the other students, and he was always prompt with answers when awoken, so his habits were simply tolerated by the staff or at worse earned him an admonishment. Not that he really cared either way.

    No, what he cared about right now was the strange things he had started to notice. For one thing, Ciel had begun to grow more and more distant, especially after he had thought all the trouble with the supernatural would be over after the previous incident. In fact, if anything, the incident's closure had only increased the rampant need for the assassin to remain away from long periods of time, leaving him to worry and the gap between them to widen further. Even when she was home, she seemed to be off in some other place. Sometimes, it felt like he wasn't even a thought in her mind beyond the occasional note explaining her absence.

    Then there was Shiki, the guy who had survived three of the incidents and was probably never going to be normal.

    Minato couldn't help but take note of his acquaintance's sudden disappearance from the classroom. A single day missed? Nothing too special, he was probably just ill and would recover soon. Two days? That was stranger, though perhaps there was something important within his family at the moment. Three days? Now he was worried.

    The only reason that he could think for the change was that his friend had become involved in the recent string of supernatural happenings that Ciel was swamped with handling. Then again, if Ciel could usually come home at some point (even if it was well after he finally went to bed), then that means Shiki should have been able to as well...

    The ringing of the last bell that signaled his escape broke his train of thought and he snapped to attention, examining the board and jotting down the assignment on it. The math could be taken care of easily when he got home, which hopefully meant he would have time to spin with Ciel. If she isn't called away again... He packed away his books and notebooks into his bag with a sigh and quickly slipped through the crowd, ignoring the few calls of his name that he heard from the few friends he had made in Misaki. It was fine, they understood that sometimes he just wanted to head on home.


    Just like her note promised, Minato found the girl waiting just outside the school gates, on time as always. However, he also noticed the far-off look in her eyes. Usually, she was more attentive than what she was at that moment, and it was rather odd to see her so distracted.

    "Everything alright?"

    The question, uttered as he took his place at her side for their walk, broke what would have become an awkward silence as they made their way through the small town. At least, he hoped it would.

  3. Upon asking the question, Ciel would suddenly blink in surprise, having snapped out of whatever reality she had been in. Her blue eyes initially wide with surprise, she'd quickly clear her throat and put a smile on her face when Minato would come into her sights, holding her bag tighter now that she was back.


    "O-Oh, goodness, it seems that I was daydreaming deeper than I had expected," the young woman said bashfully, an embarrassed laugh being let out, "Sorry I couldn't accompany you to class this morning, Minato-kun. I... had some matters to take care of."

    Perhaps for some, it was difficult to say whether or not she was hiding something, if those so-called "matters" were actually that important, or what. Sometimes, not even Ciel herself exactly knew. For better or for worse, she was deceivingly good at keeping secrets. Not a notion that one would expect from everybody's responsible upperclassman.


    "In any case, shall we be heading home now?" She would ask, seemingly eager to move on.

    @The Tactician
    #3 Verite, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  4. There she goes, hiding the truth again. It wasn't hard for the teen to pick up on her subtle lies and half-truths nor to keep his expression from betraying his disappointment. Being a habit he had picked up years ago, he could easily feign an amused smile as she laughed, nodding his head as she explained herself, "It's fine, you've got a job you have to do and sometimes you can't help the time it calls you away at. No problem." For now, he wouldn't pry anymore.


    "Yeah, home sounds good right right about now," Not that he had anything to do there. Usually, dinner was a subdued affair between them and the task easily and quickly finished, which would hopefully leave them some time to spend together before she was inevitably pulled away by her job.

    God, he hated having a girlfriend who worked the night shift.

    Making sure his backpack was secure, he didn't give her a chance to protest as he took wrapped his hand around hers as they began to walk together. It seemed like all he wanted these days was to be close to her, as if that was all that mattered now. Then again, he had seen her almost die right before his eyes, both their bodies beginning to disintegrate during the final battle of the last incident, so excuse him for being a little protective and clingy.

    "I'm thinking curry tonight might do us both some good, what do you think?"
  5. [​IMG]

    "Mhm... curry. That sounds good, yes," Ciel nodded, a content smile on her face. However, it wasn't enough. Though she was pleased as ever by the thought of having her favorite food to eat, there were subtle differences from her usual reactions today. Under normal circumstances, her eyes would have gone wider, and her general expression would have been much brighter. It was getting more and more evident that something else was on her mind at the moment.


    As the two of them walked together uphill, Ciel's emotional distance only grew more and more. Roughly three times out of five, if Minato were to try to talk to her further about anything, it would take Ciel a moment to respond or even acknowledge him. When one thought about it, there were a great many possibilities of what could be on her mind.

    Even with the dreaded Murder Games seemingly no longer involved with this world, things were still busy as ever. The Association and the Church went back to being at odds with each other, and as mentioned before, the Fiamma Incident resulting in a rise of activity from the creatures of the night. Who knows, maybe Shiki's recent days off was connected to all this as well?

    But of course, that'd all just be conjecture right now.


    Generally, the route from school to back home involved walking past some crossroads, where they'd have to turn left to get to Ciel's home from there. However, today, as soon as they'd reach those crossroads, Ciel would suddenly stop, clutching her bag tighter than ever. She looked down at the ground briefly, as though contemplating something, before looking up, gazing straight at Minato.


    "Hey... Minato-kun? I'm sorry to have to do this on such short notice, but is it alright if you head home without me? I just remembered that I... have some matters to attend to about work. Is it alright if we split paths from here? I'll... try my best to be back by dinnertime."

    @The Tactician
    #5 Verite, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  6. Minato had known something was wrong and he wasn't surprised that something really did come up. Something always did these days, with it always being their time together that suffered for it. The Church always seemed to want Ciel handling the dangerous assignments, fighting the monsters in the night and punishing the Mages who went too in their search for power, and he was always left behind to worry and hope she wasn't hurt. He knew that she was strong enough for most threats and could easily find help if she needed.

    It just sucked that he was always being left behind.


    Slowly, his hand released its hold begrudgingly and he turned away to walk home, "Yeah, it's fine. I'll have dinner ready when you get back." He doubted she would be home at any reasonable hour tonight. Her work always held her back, with this not being the first night he had to make a second plate only for the seat at the table to remain empty and for the food to grow cold. It was honestly quite pathetic to think he would wait so long for nothing.

    Maybe he wouldn't worry about that second place at the table or the curry and just order some take-out.​
  7. With little more than a simple nod, Ciel turned around, beginning to walk the other way. She stopped for a brief moment, her face continuing to gaze away from Minato's, as though she wanted to say something more. With that, she'd let out a "Hey, Minato-kun..."

    And then a brief silence. Like maybe she was debating what to say, whether to say it or not, before seemingly making a judgment a few seconds later, following up with "... I love you... and, take care of yourself, alright? I'll be back before you know it."

    And with that, she took off.

    - - -

    As Minato would reluctantly continue his way home by itself, one could argue that it didn't feel much different from walking home with Ciel today. The silence was still there. The only sound that was mostly missing was the additional footsteps. Though for some reason, Minato would still be able to feel... another presence nearby. The feeling of eyes watching him. The feeling of--


    "Heeeeeey, Shiiiikiiiii! You're baaaack!"

    Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, the voice of what appeared to be a young woman would call out, seemingly to Minato (as if he'd look around, Shiki himself seemed to be nowhere in sight), before the blue-haired young man would finally find himself being... in gentle terms, tackle-hugged by the woman in question, who seemed to be giddy enough from the belief that the boy she was hugging was a certain Shiki that she was giggling like a schoolgirl.

    "Hi hi! Where have you been all this time? And why is your hair brighter? Did you dye it?! Eeeeeh, I'm not sure if I like this new look, Shikiii!"

    The mysterious blonde beauty of Misaki Town found her prey.

    @The Tactician
    #7 Verite, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  8. Minato paused for a moment, looking back as the schoolgirl called after him. There was evidence of shock in his expression as he registered the words before a thin smile appeared, "Love you too, Ciel-chan, and I will."


    A little while later, he sighed as he felt the eyes watching him like prey within the wilds. If it had been kendo day, he wouldn't have needed worry about the creature following him. Though the wooden sword he used during practice wasn't much for a fight, he always kept his old saber in the same carrying bag polished and well-maintained, ready for the day he would need to fight again. Note to self, always bring kendo bag with me from now on.

    That left him only one other choice beyond hand-to-hand, and it was one he still wasn't comfortable during the day. Most people with the normalcy of average lives didn't take well to guns, especially when a student pulled one and aimed it at their own head. Not to mention the giant monsters that looked like something from a supernatural anime. I should see if I can pitch that one day as a show or a book, might make some money to live on.

    Which left him with nothing useful. Out here, where he couldn't fight the way he used to, the boy felt almost naked. He would need to be careful if he wanted to escape whatever fate the beast following him had in mind...



    Though a tight, air-stealing hug wasn't the fate he thought of when he imagined the possible confrontation. Especially not when it was from a giggling and attractive blonde who looked out of place in Japan. Why do I always attract the strange ones? "P-Please l-let go of me! I'm not this Shiki person, miss!"

    Wait, Shiki?

    Shocked realization showed on his face as he made the connection, "W-Wait, you mean Shiki as in Tohno-kun? From the local highschool?"
  9. [​IMG]

    "E-Eh?" The woman would suddenly blink in surprise when Minato would respond, getting off him upon seemingly realizing that the young man before her was not, in fact, the Shiki that she had been looking for. Oddly enough, there didn't seem to be a shred of embarrassment for her own part on her face, but more just wholly genuine surprise that it wasn't who she was looking for, like she had been bamboozled by a master trickster or something of the sort.

    That was what she was like.


    "Oh, boo... I thought you were Shiki... Yeah, that's who I mean. But who are you though? You seem familiar..." She said, pursing her lips as she'd place her hands on her hips, leaning in rather close to Minato with the intent of getting a closer look.

    "Hmm... blue hair. Around Shiki's age, it looks like... Aha, you wouldn't happen to know a Ciel, would ya?"

    @The Tactician
    #9 Verite, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  10. [​IMG]

    "Uh... I'm guessing you're one of Ciel-chan's friends then?" He leaned back a bit, trying to keep from letting the strange woman touch him. Man, she's leaning in like Ciel does when she's upset or suspicious of something... The feeling that he was about to be scolded scratched at the back of his neck the entire time the blonde's eyes remained glued on him, and he couldn't help but want to escape somehow.​

    An idea popped into his head that could help him get away or at least escape the glare, "Hey, you know I need to get home, right? I need to get dinner ready for when Ciel comes home, but you can come along if you want..." Please say no, please say no, please say no.
  11. [​IMG]

    "Yep, yep! We're the best of friends! Ahahaha! A friend of hers is a friend of mine!" She said, letting out some sort of giddy laughter as she repeatedly pat Minato on the back.


    Well, "pat" would imply that it was a friendly gesture of a hand hitting one's back, but with each loud pomf pomf pomf that would be able to be heard every time the whimsical woman's hand would hit Minato, one could swear up and down to Heaven that she had the power to create dents in brick walls if she was serious, judging from the so-called pats alone.

    One had to wonder how much she and Ciel were exactly "friends."


    "If you're Ciel's friend, you must be... Minato, right? I'm Arcueid. Arcueid Brunestud. It's a pleasure to meet you!"

    Again, one had to wonder...

    "In any case, food does sound good right now! But instead of that dull Indian food or whatever, lemme treat you, dear friend of Shiki and Ciel! After all, we have a lot to talk about," she said, before forcefully grabbing Minato by the hand with a surprising amount of strength in her grip, not seeming to give him a choice as the woman who introduced herself as Arcueid would drag him around rather easily like he were a rag doll, taking him off-track and back into town.

    "Yeah... We've got a real lot to talk about."

    @The Tactician
    #11 Verite, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  12. [​IMG]

    "Hey, what the heck?" Now Minato knew something was up. No normal woman could hit with that much power behind each strike, and now he was being dragged off by the woman randomly? Something was clearly up with this Arcueid woman... Plus, why did he feel like he had heard that name somewhere? Like it was one that Ciel or Shiki had talked about before...

    As he continued to be dragged through the streets, he dug his heels into the ground, trying with all his might to stop the woman, "Dammit, let me go!" He needed to get away, before whatever this woman was decided to get messy with him. He might even have to resort to using his Evoker again...

    I'm not dying here, not after last time. He no longer cared for anyone saw as he swung his bag off his shoulder and managed to unzip the pocket that held his old tool, slipping his hand in to grasp the cold metal, "Last chance, let me go!"
  13. [​IMG]

    "I wouldn't do that if I were you. This is me being subtle about what I want to get, after all," Arcueid said, staying calm despite seemingly detecting what Minato was up to. He was perfectly free to try what he wanted though. However, though he might claim it was the last thing on his mind, the more Arcueid dragged him around, the more populated their position became as they would reach the middle of town.

    It seemed that Arcueid was actually serious about taking him out to eat somewhere... Particularly somewhere where she wanted to eat.


    "Tell me, Minato... What exactly is your relationship to Shiki and Ciel, hmm?" She asked curiously, onlookers giving the two of them strange looks as Arcueid would pass by everyone without a care in the world.​
    #13 Verite, Mar 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  14. Minato couldn't exactly counter her her warning. Where they were, someone was likely to get hurt if he started a fight with her that he could very well lose, and he didn't much enjoy the thought of being guilty doing something like that. That left him with little other choice than to follow along with her desires.

    That didn't mean he couldn't grumble the entire way and while he answered her question.


    "Shiki's a... friend of mine, who've I've occasionally helped in certain situations. Ciel-chan... She's the most precious person in my life, and I wouldn't ever want to be apart from her. Can I go home now, please? She's going to be expecting me, and if you actually know her, then you know that you shouldn't keep her waiting..."
  15. [​IMG]

    "All the better to make her mad then if she's supposed to be expecting you home soon!" Arcueid would respond, as though excited by the thought of such a thing, "Besides, if she were to hear about what I had to talk to you about, then I'm sure she'd understand! But it's something I'd much rather talk to you about over a meal! You like burgers, right? That's where Shiki took me on our first date! Just make sure not to call it a date if you ever bring it up with him! He gets really mad when you do! Ehehe!"

    Once again, without even waiting for a response from Minato, like she truly had a one-track mind, Arcueid would drag Minato into what seemed to be a burger joint. Fortunately, there didn't seem to be any students from the school, or anyone Minato would otherwise recognize in the place, so there wasn't necessarily going to be a lot of attention attracted other than the mystified stares at the other customers who were wondering what was up with the brightly dressed, brightly expressed woman.

    "Besides, it'll only take just a second! The talk, at least. What happens afterwards... Well..."

    Moving her hand to his shoulder where she'd transfer her inhuman grip to, she'd drag him to a nearby table, where the waiter, a man so old he didn't even seem to care about the odd combination before him, would silently hand the two of them menus before Minato could possibly object. Still, Arcueid remained friendly with Minato... which in itself was odd when one thought about it.

    "Hey, hey, do you like sweets? This place has a surprising amount of desserts like cakes around here! It's almost like it could double as an ice cream shop! Anyway, what are you gonna get?"

    @The Tactician
    #15 Verite, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  16. [​IMG]

    Miato couldn't help but gulp as he was dragged in front of the crowd at the burger joint. This wasn't like his friends who he could speak with easily or his classmates who he had no qualms of speaking in front of. Years of relative isolation had left him nervous with so many unfamiliar eyes being upon him unnecessarily, and for a moment, it felt as though he was about to choke under their gaze. Thankfully, once they sat, a few of the eyes began to turn away from Arcueid and by extension him and he could hide behind the offered menu with ease.

    Though the words of the woman sitting across him ruined the ease he was regaining. Was she really a friend of Shiki's? If so, why didn't she know where he was? Was she possibly one of the creatures that Ciel was meant to hunt down? All these questions led to an even larger one as he sat there, pretending to read the menu. What the hell does she want with me?

    "Just a burger and fries would be fine. No drink." He needed to get away from her, but for now, he would just have to play it safe.​
  17. [​IMG]

    Suddenly, on top of all the crazy happenings, a black cat with a ribbon on it, seemingly out of nowhere, would leap into Arcueid's arms, the woman having expected the arrival of the cat and easily enough catching it like it was nothing. As though there was nothing strange about the cat coming out of nowhere, Arcueid would also give her order.

    "I'll have the usual! And a piece of chocolate cake for the cat here!"

    "Uhh... Mmm... Ma'am, we don't allow felines here."

    "Oh, it'll be fine. It will be fine."

    For just a small second, Minato would be able to see a brief golden gleam in the woman's eyes, in contrast to their usual red color, before just as quickly changing back to normal. And then... With a slow nod, the waiter would silently take back the menus and walk off.


    "Sorry about that, don't mind that. In any case... Let's get down to business," Arcueid began to say, letting the cat sit on the table, the creature itself eerily staring at Minato wordlessly, tail wagging contently, "So you claim to be his friend... In that case, I take it you might have noticed that Shiki... hasn't been around lately?"

    @The Tactician
    #17 Verite, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  18. [​IMG]

    Minato frowned at the question, not at ease because of the cat's glare, "It's hard not to notice. The last couple of times I've been in trouble, he involved somehow and we helped each other during those times. If something has happened to him... Then I have no doubt that I will need to help my friend soon."

    "... Tell me, what the hell do you actually want with him?" A little blunt, but he needed information, something to go on in case he had to run and find Ciel. If the assassin needed to deal with this woman, then everything bit of information he could gleam from the stranger would go a long ways to helping his lover, "After dragging me through the streets and forcing me to answer your questions, I feel like it's only fair if you tell me that."

    She wouldn't attack him here, not in front of everyone. If she did, she would have to kill the others as well. If that happened, then the Church would come running and Ciel be the most vocal on not extending any sort of mercy to her. Especially since she's some sort of mage or worse, a beast...
  19. [​IMG]

    A frown would come upon Arcueid's features when Minato would pose the question, as though it were an odd one to hear. In turn, the cat would also tilt its head curiously, but maintained its current position. Before long, the strange woman would give her answer after thinking of how to respond to such an inquiry.

    "What do I want with him? I just want him to come back. Misaki Town is his home, after all, and when he just up and leaves, seemingly without saying a word to me, Ciel, or any other people he might know about... I'd say it's probable cause for alarm, wouldn't you agree?" She would respond nonchalantly.

    The waiter would come back, deliver the food as promised, and left, moving like the wind, burgers and the like in front of Arcueid and Minato, as well as a slice of chocolate cake in front of the cat, who would eye the treat hungrily, but didn't make a move just yet.


    "You don't trust me, do you? Rest assured, if I had any intent of bringing harm to you, you'd already be dead, but then I'd have Ciel on my back, and I guess I'd have to kill her too, which would be a pain considering how strong she is for a human. The same goes for Shiki. Considering how much we know each other, as Ciel herself can attest if you would still doubt me, if I meant him any harm, he'd already be long dead as well. I'm not being antagonistic. That's just the truth," she spoke, the smile remaining on her face as though there was nothing wrong at all with what she might be saying or implying.

    "That brings us back to what I wanted to talk about... If you were able to locate and bring Shiki back home, would you take up that journey if, or when, presented to you?"

    @The Tactician
    #19 Verite, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  20. [​IMG]

    Minato nodded as she explained the obvious about Shiki's disappearance. It was honestly rather odd that most of the school seemed to not have noticed, with most of the teachers not even mentioning his absence. It didn't even seem like the local rumor mill had realized the change, which was especially odd given their usual habit of forming new tales about the teen.

    "Kill one of the Church's top killers and her boy toy, yeah, that would go over well," For some reason, her smile was putting him at ease, at least at ease enough to be able to make quips of his own. Sure, he was absolutely certain that she could kill him, but that didn't mean he couldn't go out with one final joke, "What do you want to bet me that they would get someone named Van Helsing to lead the hunt? I feel like the Church would love that."

    At the final question though, he stopped with the jokes and fell silent as he searched her expression for any hint of deception. Something about this was setting off warnings in his mind that this would get him killed somehow, but it wasn't as though it seemed he could nor wanted to walk away from the discussion, "Well, he is my friend, and I'm sure it would cheer up Ciel a bit. That begs a question though, if I can do it, why can't you? There has to be some sort of reason that you can't if you came to me instead of Ciel or doing it yourself, but I know it's not because I can fare better in a fight. So why?"
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