Between Life and Death
Author's Note: First of all, I want to apologize for all the people that actively read my novel (if any). Even though I wrote short chapter, I stil somehow take weeks to finish one. So sorry. Second, the reason I took so long is because I really didn’t know what I was going to write for this part. But thanks to the wise guidance of Ana, I was able to get out of my writers block. So a round of applause for her because with out her, this chapter would have probably taken another month to release. She was the one who gave me the idea to write this part in 3rd person, so hopefully I did a good job since it is my first time. Go read her story "Ideasthesia." She also proof read this chapter, so thanks.
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As she heard the sound footsteps rush into the forest behind her, a faint smile formed on Claire's lips. Knowing that the two kids were now out of harm's way served to calm her down a bit.
She let out a gentle sigh and loosened her shoulders. She didn't like Yuuta seeing her like this—all worn out and on the edge of death. She wasn’t at her best and it scared her, something she rarely felt.
And here she was, letting a human tag along to a place she knew was dangerous. He had almost died twice because of her. But she knew this was what he wanted and she let her judgment get clouded. She had known Yuuta for very little time and yet, she had made the choice to grant him his wish, as well as to protect him.
She understood him, you could say.
But she couldn’t linger on her thoughts for very long. Glaring at her from nearby stood the woman who had almost brought her to her knees. Claire had heard of the church Elise Auclair worked for but she had no idea that a single one of their hunters was skilled enough to inflict this much damage. She was feeling out of breath and her leg still ached from the thrown dagger, one likely blessed by a priest.
Unlike Claire, though, Elise seemed very composed even though Claire was sure she had broken many of her ribs and her arm. She was glad she did so early on or else this would have been a much more difficult battle.
"What's the matter?" her opponent suddenly yelled. "I expected you to be more of a challenge. 3rd generations are some of the more rare vampires and some of the strongest. And yet, you can't stand still without needing to catch your breath."
Her mocking did very little to upset Claire. She knew a strong opponent when she saw one. It was something that She had taught Claire.
Usually I'd just flick their forehead and send their heads flying. But Yuuta told me not to kill anyone so this might be a little difficult.
Claire took a deep breath and focused her mind. She was too weak at the moment to definitely win in a fight against Elise. She could always wait for her wounds to heal but there was no guarantee they would heal in time. Because of the knives, her wounds struggled to heal.
Tired of waiting, Elise closed the distance between her and Claire. One clean slice from her sword was all she needed to gain victory. But it was the same situation for Claire. Both acknowledged each other's strength and took no chances. As of now, the first to get hit would be the first to be defeated.
Claire picked up the two daggers that had been thrown at her and blocked Elise’s incoming strike. Regardless, Elise managed to swing at her again, nearly cutting straight through Claire's head.
But that left her in a bad position. Claire's stance was faltering, nearly making her fall over. That was the perfect opening Elise, though. She took advantage of the position Claire was in and swung for her left side. There was little Claire could do to avoid the strike. So in a desperate attempt to halt the incoming attack, she threw one of the daggers toward her opponent's face.
They were too close for either attack to miss. The dagger dug into the side of Elise’s eye, blood splattering all over Claire's face. And with the other knife, Claire attempted to block Elise’s blade. But the measly dagger couldn't compete with the force of Elise’s swing and it shattered effortlessly The sword dug into Claire's shoulder and sliced through it cleanly, sending her arm flying.
Both dropped to the ground. Elise wailed and grunted as she grasped at her eye. But her screaming was soon drowned out by Claire's. Never in her life had she experienced something so painful. Even her death was nothing compared to what she felt now. Her stepping into the sun and erupting into flames didn't even come close to this.
It was a punishment, you could say; one given by a god who passed off his mistakes as being the fault of others. He granted weapons to those who should help him erase that mistake without ever taking into account that those being hunted were of his own creation.
He didn't even bother to fix his own mistake and yet He delivered such a painful punishment. She hated it. Claire hated the pain that came with that judgment because she knew it wasn't just. In her mind, an unjust god wasn't a god at all. They were merely a child throwing a tantrum.
Claire struggled to silence herself, but the thought that doing so was an act of rebellion against God granted her the strength to do so.
She got on her feet, the hem of her gentle white dress now stained in crimson from the pool of blood that had formed beneath her. She closed the distance between her and the woman still on the ground, writhing in agony. Claire couldn't help but scoff, thinking that her pain was nothing compared to her own. And as she neared her, Claire picked up the sword that had caused her so much pain and raised it over the woman.
She had already forgotten about what Yuuta had told her. She didn't need a sword to end the fight. Claire just found it ironic to do so; striking at God with his own weapon. How would it make Him feel she thought to herself with a smile.
But the sword soon fell from her hand. In her peripherals, she watched as several dark figures began to surround her. She stared at her hand, a new blade had appeared, digging straight through her palm.
With clouded vision and a rush of adrenaline, Claire started for one of the figures as she grit her teeth and flashed her fangs. But being unable to take a step, her leg gave out, bringing with it the same pain present in her shoulder and hand.
A second dagger struck her other leg and a third dug into her back and she fell to the ground. As she desperately tried to reach for the nearby sword, something struck her forehead, likely fracturing it. When she managed to open her eyes, she saw Elise standing over her as her hand struggled to stop her eye from bleeding.
"Such a rare vampire." Elise began while panting heavily. "I truly thought you would put up more of a challenge. But at least now, I’ll not only have that little fox of yours, I’ll also own you.”
Reclaiming her sword, Elise rested it’s tip above Claire’s head. All she could do now was lie in her own blood and hope that both Yuuta and Suzuhara had gotten away in time. As long as they got away she would be happy. She didn’t need to live her life anymore. She had lived several of them, so if she could help someone else live their own, she would be fine, she thought. She wasn’t very fond of her extended life, nor did she like going out of her way to build bonds.
But just this once, she smiled because of it; even if, like always, it was just a fleeting feeling.
Just as Claire closed her eyes with a sigh of defeat, she felt a gust of wind blow over her followed by a dull thud and grunting. When she looked to her side she found a familiar girl; three brilliant, white tails and ears of the same color attached to her body.
The girl struggled to keep Elise on the ground, continuously trying to dig her claw into her opponent. But Elise wasn't one to take things lying down and quickly got the girl off her. Once Elise got to her feet, she slashed at Suzuhara with her sword cutting through her arm and sending her crashing to the ground. Even after letting out a terrible cry, Suzuhara's arm had grown back by the time she stood back up. Even Elise was taken aback and stood a bit shocked, hesitant to make her next move. Suzuhara saw an opening and rushed toward her.
Not only was Suzuhara strong, she also healed almost instantly and Elise's blade had no effect on her. And that's even before Elise even started considering that being what she was, Suzuhara was completely unkillable, something that even Claire couldn't compete with. Elise hadn’t taken precautions in case Suzuhara came to realize the power she held, and now she would have to face the consequences.
As Claire watched from the ground as Suzuhara faced against Elise and the other cultists, she heard a voice calling to her.
Yuuta rushed toward the fallen Claire and sat her up so that he could assess her injuries. But while Yuuta held a distressed gaze, Claire couldn't help but chuckle. "I could've sworn I told you two to leave."
"Well, it wasn’t my idea to come back. But I'm glad we did."
Claire smile even though Yuuta was at a loss for what to do. She smiled thinking that Yuuta had no idea that he just saved her. And as Yuuta tried to stop the bleeding with his hands, Claire brought herself closer to his body, her lips close enough for Yuuta to hear her whisper. She tried to be as gentle as she could as she bit down on his neck.