Chapter 6:

Echoes of the Sanguine

Echoes of the Sanguine

The sounds of multiple footsteps grow louder behind us. Eliana and I duck behind a large dumpster, the only cover available.

Cruz, tailed by his squad, quickly arrives and block our only exit.

He dabs blood from his face wound with an amused grin. “Nice shot, chico. First time using a gun?”

How could he tell? Regardless, I try to bluff my way out. “I could've aimed for your heart, but I'm currently feeling generous. Let us go, or my next bullet will!”

He scoffs. “The time for talking has long past. Give us the girl, and I just might be merciful.”

“Exercise caution, boss,” one of Cruz’s underlings suggest, "He might’ve been bitten."

Cruz readies his rifle. "He's delaying our paychecks. Give me both their heads.”

I take a quick peek and count about a dozen of Cruz’s underlings advancing toward us. I check the pistol's magazine: eight rounds, not nearly enough. Beside me, Eliana, weakened with a sizzling arrow in her leg, leans heavily against the wall.

This really is the end of the line.

Why am I always trying to play the hero?

I’m sorry, mom. I ended up entangling with bad people again. But this time, I won’t make it out alive.

If only I was stronger…

“Kenji,” Eliana struggles to speak. “What would you sacrifice to discover who you really are?”


“Even if it kills you?”

“…Even if it kills me.”

“Then we really are the same.”

Ignoring her fatal wounds, she uses the last of her strength to rip the patch off my neck and pin me against the wall, leaning in very close. Her amber eyes, usually impassive, now show a faint glimmer of sadness-- probably the most emotion I’ve ever seen out of her.

“It’s been fun,” she whispers.

Then, she bites into my neck. I feel my skin break, blood flowing out freely. She envelops the gash she’s inflicted with her lips.


Pain and shock overwhelm me. I scream at the top of my lungs while struggling to push this crazy bitch off of me, but her iron-grip is too strong. The more I struggle, the harder she bites.

My strength eventually wanes. I feel my vitality escaping me as she continues drinking my blood. Soon enough, she finishes feasting and loosens her grip, leaving me limp on the concrete.

I watch helplessly as Eliana becomes revitalized. Her eyes now glow brightly of shade of magenta with pitch-black sclera. She smiles, exposing what seems to be protruding fangs.

“You taste good.”

Horns grow out from each the side of her head. She nonchalantly removes the arrows in her body and faces Cruz and his Hunters head-on.

Eliana’s Ability: Bloodlust

Eliana takes the pistol from me, wiping my sweat off the grip before pulling the slide back and checking the chamber. “I’m borrowing this.”

Cruz is visibly frustrated. “Why is she still standing? Get her!”

The Hunters charge at her with their blades and crossbows. Eliana responds with incredible speed, her movements a blur. Her attacks are even more violent and brutal: She slams one to the ground with her bare hands, swiftly shoots another behind her, and double-taps the first guy now under her. She catches an arrow in midair, which she then drives the tip straight through another assailant's neck.

A Hunter attempts to stab her from behind with an 8-inch combat knife, but she catches the blade with her fake hand with arresting strength, dragging him closer, then shooting her gun at his visor point-blank, coating the inside pure crimson.

Thwack! Cruz’s silver arrow impacts and shatters Eliana's prosthetic arm, causing her to drop the pistol. With only her right arm available to fight, Eliana, now pissed, lets out a screeching battle cry.

Seeing he has angered a beast, Cruz retreats far behind his minions and reloads his crossbow-rifle.

The Hunters continue to fire off multiple arrows in a desperate attempt to stop her.

Eliana advances, using a body as a shield against the barrage of arrows. When within close-combat range, she chucks the body at her assailants, distracting them. She then lands punches and kicks that embed into torsos and cave in the heads of the poor victims. Finally, she picks up the combat knife and delivers it deep into the chest of the last Hunter standing.

She eyes her final prize in the distance.

Now alone, Cruz growls and hastily aims his rifle dead-on. “Damn you, diablilla!”

He rushes through his prayer and his right eye turns green again as he aims down the scope.

This is his last chance.

Preparing for one final attack, Eliana flicks blood off the blade then darts toward Cruz in a zigzag pattern.

He predicts her movement perfectly, but she’s moving too fast for him to accurately fire his rifle.

When she’s within throwing distance, she leaps and in mid-air winds up her attack.

Cruz sees his opening and fires his final arrow.

Eliana throws the combat knife with enhanced velocity, breaking the sound barrier.

The two projectiles fly past each other.

Thud! A projectile piercing deep into a body.

Feeling something off, Cruz checks himself and discovers the full 8-inch blade up to the hilt embedded into his clavicle. Losing all energy in an instant, he drops his rifle and falls to his knees.

“Ah… defeated by a measly sanguine…”

Eliana, covered in blood that’s not hers, retrieves the pistol on the ground. She hums her tune while approaching Cruz with a little skip, this time more haunting than before.

He coughs up blood. “That humming… Dios Mio, so it’s true… The legend isn’t dead after all.

She presses the barrel of the gun against his temple.

His eyes widen in realization. “It’s really you. You’re Seraphine!”

Eliana’s expression darkens. “I don’t know who that is.” She cocks the hammer back.

With a pause of confusion, then realization, Cruz lets out an evil cackle. “Is that so? Then I’ll see you in hell where you belong, you half-demon bitch!”


The slide locks back as its last bullet travels through in Cruz’s skull, his blood splattering on Eliana’s face. Now victorious, she tosses the gun away.

She wipes her finger on her cheek and gives the blood a taste.

“Oh. Not bad.”

Turning back to me, she sees my weakening state. My breathing becomes shallow and my vision begins darkening.

She kneels in front of me, examining my condition. She tilts her head to the side, causing her hair to cascade down one side. Her dark sclara returns an emotionless stare, before she exposes her fangs and gives me a wide, menacing grin…


I awaken to raindrops splashing on my face.

Opening my eyes, I take in my surroundings – I'm back at my rooftop oasis. I try to get up, but my body aches. I should probably stretch more.

Feeling the rain intensify, I quickly descend the complex and catch the train home. When I arrive to my actual apartment and step into the shower, the events of the previous night starts coming back to me.

I couldn’t find evidence of any skirmishes that happened last night. The news mentions a spike in gang activity in Tokyo, but nothing more. I even went back to find the alley where it all went down, but… nothing. It was all clean of blood, bodies, and projectiles.

What transgressed last night was like a dream. But if it really was one, it would not explain the two faint marks on my nape when I checked in the mirror.

Just when I’m one step closer to finding my father, I fall two steps back. The strange encounter left me with more questions than answers, and that woman’s connection to my past still eludes me, however vague it is.

I continue to return to my favorite rooftop oasis every night, but now there's a lot more drawing me there than just a therapeutic escape. Even though I still mainly go up there to clear my head, I find myself searching the skyline for answers as well.

As I perch myself on the roof’s parapet and gaze at the cityscape beyond, instead of blank thoughts of serenity, I find myself yearning instead, wondering if I’ll ever see her again.

And when I do, I feel the cold, unseen eyes of the city gazing back at me.