Chapter 4: Akatsuki
The next evening, I woke up around 5:00 p.m. I was surprised my mother hadn't woken me up earlier since it was Monday, but we had been out pretty late I supposed. I had finally gotten in my bed around 6:00 a.m. after one of our horses had gone lame halfway to our home, and we had been forced to call a servant to drive one of our cars over to pick us up and walk the lame horse home. I never understood why we didn't all use cars now. As I understood, the hunters and even the humans all used cars, but vampire aristocrats were a stubborn people, and liked to stick to their old traditions.
I got out of my bed, stretching and peeking outside. Because of the time of year, it wasn't quite dark yet outside. When the sun set, I would head out to Hanabusa's again. Though I knew that my skin and eyes were not as sensitive as most vampire nobles for whatever reason, and I would probably be fine in the sun, my mother would not take any chances.
I went into my bathroom to splash some water on my face and change out of my silk sleepwear into some dressy tan pants and a long sleeved blue button down shirt, which I didn't take too much time actually buttoning. I took a quick look in the mirror, running a hand through my messy hair and turning to walk down three flights of stairs to get to the dining room.
To my surprise, when I arrived at the dining room, my parents were still there. Usually if on a rare occasion they let me sleep in, they would be long gone from the dining room, having abandoned it for the more cozy feeling of the large sitting room on the main floor of our mansion. I greeted them, a hint of surprise in my voice, as I wondered why they were still here.
"We woke up late as well. It couldn't be helped, seeing as we got in so late last night, so we just cancelled your tutor for tonight; your lessons will resume tomorrow. Sit down and have some Shinshū and blood," my mother said as a maid hurried in carrying a pitcher filled with the liquid. It was a mixture half Japanese wine and half human blood that my family favored. Another maid brought roast duck in soon after the first maid left. The meal wasn't my favorite breakfast, but I gratefully took it, knowing that there were probably some out there that didn't have food.
"After you eat, don't forget that you need to head to Ruka's home. You have your music lesson there," my father reminded me. I nodded, though I had forgotten until just a moment ago. This week's lesson was going to be interesting, seeing as I had forgotten to practice my cello yet again.
After eating, I excused myself from the dining table and peeked out the window. Seeing that it was dusk now, I bid my parents farewell and headed out the front doors of our mansion and in the direction of the Souen Estate.
When I arrived at the mansion, I quickly checked the time of night by looking at the position of the sun, which was just barely peeking out over the horizon. My music teacher probably wasn't here quite yet, and when she arrived, she would most likely start with Hanabusa, who like everything else seemed to be a prodigy at playing the violin, and then move on to Ruka or myself.
When the three of us had been very young, our parents had informed us that just as most children who grew up in aristocratic families, we each needed to learn a musical instrument of our choosing "to add culture to our lives", within reason, in addition to the weekly studies from private tutors that we all endured. I had wanted to learn the guitar, but unfortunately my parents didn't approve because the guitar was originally a human-designed instrument. They wanted us to be poised and graceful, they said, and there was no way to do that with "some silly human instrument". Thus, I had picked the cello because it's deep, soothing tones appealed to me. It had quickly been decided that the teacher would come to the Souen house, because Ruka's parents didn't want her spending any more time than she had to outside and away from home. It was no surprise, since almost all the time we spent together was within the confines of her mansion.
I was distracted from my thoughts as a soft sound reached my ears from inside the house. I headed towards the door, realizing that the sound had been there for a while, I just hadn't noticed it. It was singing, I recognized.
Across the sea he fled from her
Never looking back
As the blood-colored sky rose up behind
And filled him with regret
Now Kaede, past the point of sane,
Was wakened with a start,
The scent of blood and her vanished love
Broke her fragile heart
Never again she saw her love
In either form or face
As the blood-colored sky rose up behind
She slowly fell from grace
The two were forever parted now
With only a memory
As the blood-colored sky fell down behind
To never again be seen
I had been let in by the servants and arrived in a small room near the entrance hall where the music was coming from. I entered when the music had reached the middle of the second-to-last stanza to find Ruka singing softly and rather sweetly while playing her harp. Somehow, it troubled me that she had picked this music. It was an ancient love ballad that was made in the days when Pureblood vampires had taken to biting humans to increase their numbers in battle, and it told the story of a Pureblood who fell in love with a bitten human woman. However the story ended tragically when the lovers separated, the Pureblood going mad with regret and the ex-human falling to a level E. It was always said that in those days the sky was the color of blood, reflecting the blood shed during that time. Vampires decided after this that never again would the sky reflect the blood of so many dead.
I moved from my spot behind Ruka to go over to her and she jumped, starting at my presence. She whipped around readying a defense, as she always did. She probably thought I was Hanabusa, but when she turned and saw who it was, the words fell silent on her lips.
"That was beautiful," I said to her, hoping to put her at ease. However, despite my intentions, she narrowed her eyes at me.
"Where's Hanabusa?" she asked me suspiciously, as if this was all a joke on her and we were just toying with her. When she didn't see him, she sighed and visibly relaxed. I would have to have a talk with that idiot cousin of mine about not putting poor Ruka on edge all of the time. I could see that she got enough of that at home.
As if he could sense my negative thoughts towards him, Hanabusa came running over to us. He stopped just short of running into me and immediately began waving his hands around in the air and squealing something about how we were late for the music teacher and she was waiting impatiently in the music room. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at him and tried to help Ruka pack up her harp and bring it to the room.
I sat back in my seat, relaxing. Hanabusa really was a very talented musician. The acoustics of the music room seemed to surround us in the gentle tones. His lesson piece was the first violin part of a beautiful movement of Mozart's Concerto in G Major. Though it was composed by a human, many vampires admired the work of Mozart, so they used his music from time to time.
I listened to the rolling notes and perfect vibrato coming from my cousin's instrument and sighed in contentment, looking over at Ruka, who was sitting next to me. She was sitting tall with her hands folded together in her lap, just as a lady should, and just as a girl who was barely eleven shouldn't have to all the time. I made up my mind to take her out to do something fun later.
"Young Lord Kain! It is your turn next," said our music teacher. I resisted the urge to groan at my lack of practice and stood up, preparing to retrieve my cello and embarrass myself once again.