Rather than merely moving us forward, this volume of the Vampire Knight saga is one that sends us into the past, where the reflections of things gone by echo in the deadly chess game being played behind the scenes of the vampire and human worlds. First, however, we see a move forward, with an unexpected visit by an elder vampire; Ichijou-san is the grandfather of our young vampire friend Ichijou, the vice president of the Night Class. That it is an ill anticipated visit is quite apparent by the way the impending arrival sends shockwaves through the young vampire, leading him to go racing into the dorms screaming, "Bad news! Grandpa's coming tonight!" A member of the Vampire Council, Ichijou and indeed Kaname himself are well aware that this supposed family visit is nothing but a facade, with the true agenda hidden from open view. The hypocritical and deadly motives begin to become all too clear when the Night Class' Ichijou is asked to place his loyalty to the Council and not to Kaname, opening up a revealing moment where we glimpse that as powerful as the Purebloods may be, the Council seek to restrain the true power to themselves. Just how deadly their resolve is remains an unspoken truth, a truth that bears more questions about events of the past.
So it is this past that we then revisit, with a five year old Yuki once again standing all alone in a swirling snowstorm. Blood flecks her face and coat, while a face looms through the storm leeringly to ask, "May I drink your blood?" This is once again the first moment Yuki can recall of her life, and it is also the first time she met Kaname, as he kills the raging vampire who is toying with her. Not even knowing her name, she stands shivering while she accepts his outstretched hand. All there is to her memories of the world is the few moments before: swirling whiteness, warm, slimy scarlet splashes, and terror. He gives her a warm hug, and she instinctively trusts this young man who saved her. The events of her childhood friendship with Kaname mix with the current day to day events of Yuki's present, as her affection and closeness to Kaname are probed both by her fellow prefect and foster brother Zero and Ichijou of the Night Class. It all makes for a confusing time for Yuki, as she tries to come to terms with her emotions, made all the more difficult by the two bite marks upon her neck...Bite marks that lead her to recall yet another night of her childhood, the night she saw Kaname feed upon a fellow vampire and became aware of the fear once more, as she came to fully understand the differences between them.
What we also get to see, however, is a glimmer of what makes Kaname's eyes so sad. Finding the sleeping Yuki, he obviously wishes to drink her blood, but his face twists in sorrow, and he merely picks her up and takes the sleeping child to bed. He seeks to end his deep seated hunger with Ruka, and it is this scene that the uncomprehending Yuki sees. The sorrow touches his eyes once more as he tells her to run away. There is something about Yuki that Kaname is keeping hidden to himself, something that makes him push her away. The gaze he gives as he wishes to feed upon her and as she runs away are not ones of crazed hunger, but of tenderness, and we come to realise that Kaname loves Yuki. But is it the brotherly sort of affection we observe as always, or the beginnings of something deeper? And what does it have to do with that long ago night in the snow and the machinations of Ichijou senior and the Vampire Council? It becoming apparent that this is a secret that no one but Kaname knows, and it teases at us gently while beginning to tug at the corners of Yuki's mind.
It is a secret that is becoming obvious however; Kaname's actions towards Yuki have always been unusual for a vampire, especially one of his standing. Just why she is so important to Kaname is beginning to itch at the minds of not only his fellow Night Class' minds, but with Zero himself who begins to suspect that Kaname actually wants something from Yuki and he fears her emotions may lead her to agree to whatever possibly foul plans the vampire lord has in mind. His angry musings on this score suffer a fearsome interruption however when a routine execution of an insane level E vampire brings him his own unwelcome attentions as his own past comes back to haunt him. For the Night Class has a new transfer student. She is a small girl, not even yet in high school, yet something seems quite off about her, something that belies her outwardly breezy and innocent demeanour. For one thing, she seems to know a lot about Zero and his past, in a rather intimate fashion. Then there is her inner presence; it is not that of a child, but one that triggers a familiarity and brings back his own blood filled nightmarish memories: the night his family was slaughtered and he was drained of his own blood. The night that he began his descent into the place a vampire hunter fears most: the slow and painful transformation into a low level vampire who will end his days in madness. Who IS this girl, and what is her purpose? And what does she have to do, if anything, with the machinations of the Council? Another piece moves across the chess board, but just whose side does it belong to?
Once again Matsuri Hino brings us a richly detailed world filled with intrigue, angst, and romance. The art is as lovely as ever to look at, each panel well laid out and filled with rich textures and sumptuous shadings that suck you into the events, giving the reader the feel that they are actually in there as a passive observer. We don't get much action in this volume, but what we do get is every bit as exciting as bits and pieces from the past appear to fill in the gaps and allow at least us, the reader, to be privy to events that begin to tip us to what is really going on behind the scenes. So far, the only ones who really seem to know what is happening is the vampire council and Kaname, but even then, they only hold their own pieces of the puzzle, though bit by bit, the pieces are coming together to form a picture. It is a tantalising picture indeed, filled with love, sorrow, greed, and plenty of blood. Behind the seemingly polite and peaceful façade of co-existence, something nasty lurks. We come to understand that pretty soon, those placid waters are going to splash open and the result is going to be akin to a shark movie of the scariest kind. It is enough to make you want to pass out the wooden stakes and stock up on holy water, for the triangle here is not a mere love triangle with Yuki, Kaname and Zero vying for each other's attentions as we first expected, but an all out vampire cold war with the trio placed at the centre of the maelstrom like a kind of Bermuda Triangle. It delivers a promise to get even more exciting in the next volume, as events move ever forward, one piece at a time.