Founded 4 Years ago
Apr 23, 2019
Demon Bride Ch10(Warnings: Some cussing, Mentioning of reader's fractured leg, death/implied death, fighting which will include some wounds and mentioning of wounds and a demon's hand being cut off.) Quiet night. Unholy night of beasts. Feasting their sights upon the stray women who dare stay out at night when the full moon rises, lighting the pathway for the beasts to claim their prey. Gnashing teeth, snarling fangs waiting to take a bite into innocent flesh where the terrible claws miss. Waiting to snatch you away down into their dark abyss never to return. The bark of trees felt rough against the palm of grey skin, perfect to blending into shadows and walking along the darkness of the cursed trees that beckoned any unknowing traveler further into their branches. A light step. Another light step. Light enough to not be heard by anyone my dear. A quiet mouse amongst the darkness a contrast to the many others in the surroundings. Many preferred brute force by tooth and nail, fang and claw to drag off their unwilling prey in the name of twisted love they've come to claim or give. Ears perked just now hearing the far off wails that sounded like some sick love sick beasts. A whoop of triumph from the lungs of some lucky beasts who was able to stake a claim on some poor soul that accepted their twisted gift of love. Dark black claws dug into the harsh bark of the thick plant that would otherwise not feel the pain it would usually cause another living thing. An aura of annoyance flooding forth from the source of the claws, and the darkness only received a scoff, as blue eyes as dangerous as the bottomless ocean looked up towards the sky, towards the source of the happy wails from far into the trees' abyss of darkness. "Tch. Dam fools. They act like dogs in heat! The lot of them!" A voice. As rough as it was envious. The idiots. No brains at all. Now all that celebrating would do was attract others towards him in wanting to fight him for the claimed prize he just received. He knew that was the case entirely because many a shadowy beasts was already flocking towards that noise. "They have no dam senses to them!" Fools. All of them fools. They should've quietly snuck away when they had the chance. But then again he couldn't expect any of them to be close to the intelligence he held. Whatever. He wasn't out here to watch the rabid fighting of fools, as entertaining as it was to watch others rip either apart. No. He had something else long thought over he wanted to be done with. And it all started with the wind. And the air filling his lungs. And a sweet scent that wafted within both. Huh....That was different. Not one he was often met with, but one he was familiar with. One he liked very much. But why would one such as this be this close to the forbidden areas?...Unless someone carried it with them. Either way it was something that had gained his attention, and even if it was nothing, there might be fun had in seeing why this was there. And so light steps approached the direction of the scent, back against the few remaining lights of the setting sun. Step after step as the scent grew stronger and the forest less dense around him which was the more interesting part to it. It was the more confusing part of all about it really. After all- "No peaches should be this dam close." He recognized that scent now. It was one he often craved and made his mouth water, but one thing he could barely have as it was out of bounds of the forest line. Often he could catch the faintest of their scent from further down the mountain where he was sure a plethora of them grew, but he could never see for himself. But sometimes on rare occasions he worked hard enough to please his master, he would be rewarded with the succulent fruits of his labor. The soft fruit being devoured within seconds before being missed again. Perhaps it was someone else who had gotten their claws on them? If so he'd cut them down and take what he wanted as a prize for disobeying the one law no one shall disobey without permission from the Master. And he would rectify it. Then maybe he'd be rewarded with more fruits for his loyalty. The thought excited him. Maybe this night wouldn't be such a dull fest after all. The scent lead until the tree line forbiddily broke and it left him standing there cloaked in darkness as the last few rays of sunset left the world, and saw nothing. After just a moment of standing against the wind he cursed himself for being stupid enough to even entertain the goose chase that was this night. He cursed this night, and his luck and the stupid hope of rewards. He would've turned around and disappeared back into the shadows if it weren't for one thing that made him pause in his actions. A ghost in the night. A white shining in the dark up the pathway that lead away which lead the sweet scent of fruit with it. Odd. What was that? He hadn't see something like that before. Not around here and especially not at night, but there was visibly something there. Alive and moving within the moonlight. Well, well. Now what was this he wondered? His curiosity got the better of him. After all he did have nothing better to do than to follow from the shadows and get close enough to see what exactly this strange new oddity was. And the end result was what surprised him the most. The white movable object was indeed a living being, not a ghost or figment of the light like he suspected. But...it was not an animal either which was what both confused him more. It was a woman. No older than him, maybe by just a year or two in her early twenties, judging by how young and beautiful her form looked. This was...intriguing. And quite the interest. It was-.. "Human." This was not a topic lost on him. He heard many tales of the humans from his Master's engagements with them and Douma's countless rambles (that often gave him headaches-) and he had even seen one although rarely if ever. Master's wife was human. Their child was human. He sometimes saw them when the Master made mandatory meetings or surprise inspections. The woman was...Kind. He was indifferent about the Master's choice in mate, as he didn't know her enough to have an opinion other than she was a lovely woman in appearance. And sometimes if he walked near the edge of the forest at the right time, he'd see humans traveling along the roads but he could never get this close or ever saw a sight stranger than a long young human woman walking by herself at night, especially tonight of all nights. Unless she-... No. It couldn't be. A-... "An offering?" A tempting. Young offering of scents that caught his interest and tempted him enough to follow. Yes. A nice offering for a nice night. Oh how the tides have turned in his interest. He began following this 'ghost in the night' half out of interest to the sweet and half out of boredom as there has really been nothing interesting happening tonight that Akaza wasn't able to (annoyingly) handle himself by getting there before he did. And he wouldn't be judged surely if he was just checking out this seemingly random traveler walking about at night none the less. It was highly stranger and maybe even suspicious, so he set off silently following the lost looking human woman wondering the paths. He only assumed she was lost as she shivered against the night's wind and dug her hands harder against the strap of your bag. Every so often she'd whip her head around wide eyed and looked directly at him, but because he was cloaked in darkness so well she never saw him, and only shook her head and continued walking on. It amused him slightly that she couldn't blatantly see him looking right dead at her, but what was to be expected from a human?....He had to admit though. She WAS cute. Soft looking skin. Neatly dressed clothes. Pretty f/c hair. And gentle looking f/c eyes. And a simple look that all humans seemed to have. Or at least what he's heard of. Akaza spoke often of a woman's beauty seriously and showed great disgust towards some specific colleges of theirs who agreed with his statement but in a perverted way. Honestly he couldn't be bothered to think about such things too much. That foolish thinking would only hold him back! Hender his training! And such a thing would make him look pathetically weak!! And he HATED being weak. Plus women were annoying! That was a literal fact! Every YEAR he had to break up countless fights, taking up so much of his time, and waste his time when the same thing happened all over again two seconds later once his back was turned! The women he helped weren't even grateful just fleeing or getting angry that he dared interrupt a fight over HER and sometimes attacked himself. Ugh! Nothing about them was 'cute'. Especially that Daki woman! She had her brother practically wrapped around her finger, when they weren't arguing that is, and she was as bratty and vain as they come! And Susamaru- OH! Don't get him started on that piece of work! She was always so annoying just throwing her toy balls everywhere trailed by Yahaba who did nothing to stop her! And girls always made men go nuts! Lose all sense of thought! No. No. He was always better off without them. The only one he sort of liked was Nakime because she was serious and non nonsense like his Sensei. Other than that, he could care less about them!! ....But on the other hand- The Master's wife was...gentle. Kind. Softer than anyone else he's ever met. She was...quite a contrast to the Master in both looks and personality, and he'd be lying if he didn't say he wasn't once envious of him for having a beautiful wife like her. Ever since the Master met and married his wife a few years back he had been more...lenient. Not very much, but it that woman's impact certainly saved himself from a few harsher punishments he would've received otherwise if she hadn't impacted the Master's life. So whatever impact she had on him, it made a noticeable difference (sometimes). So maybe human women had some kind of talent he wasn't aware of. However this human woman seemed quite pathetic. At one point she passed by a fork in the road and went deeper into the mountain until she stopped sometime in the early night and looked lost. Well what was he expecting? Humans had zero night vision. But at one point she pulled out what he assumed to be a map and looked over it. At least she had enough smarts to do that. The wind was still blowing however, and it wasn't long until the map was blown from her hands, into the woods, and like an idiot!! She ran right after it. Into the forest. The forest filled with demons hunting for a mate desperately. The forest no one was allowed in. The forest which HE was supposed to make sure no one entered. .......Oh Crap- Ohcrapohcrapohcrapohcrap- OH CRAP!! "Shit!" He was going to be in SO much trouble!! He'd be punished worse than the time he accidentally sliced his Sensei's ponytail off!! She wasn't supposed to be in here! Stupid humans! Ok. Remain calm. No matter. All he had to do was literally grab and toss her back out before anyone knew! Yeah! Easy peasy. No one would even know, and he'd avoid being in any trouble! He'd even scare her just to make sure she didn't get any ideas of coming back! It would be as easy as hunting a blind deer! Nothing he couldn't handle! After all it was just one simple human. ....Oh how his problems loved to get bigger. Because he didn't find her at all. Not at first at least. He followed her scent but he couldn't pinpoint her exactly which was starting to get him worried. Maybe he HAD been just seeing things from being overworked or bored to death. That was until he heard a scream. A very loud, high pitched, woman's scream! That had him snapping his head up against the wind in the direction of where it echoed out from, which was followed by a second just as scared shriek just moments later. Which could only mean one thing and he was dreading it- "SHIT!!" Some idiot HAD ended up finding that human! If she wasn't tossed out of here, it'd be his head! He was thankful for the extra speed training his sensei made him do, strengthening his legs and lungs in order to handle more speed and get to places faster. He still had a long way to go before he matched the speed of someone like Akaza, but it should be enough to get done what he needed to get done. And then he ended up smelling it again. That unmistakable sweet scent of fruit. That must've been the human because he only smelt this fruit when he was watching the human anyways. The wind and branches creaked past his black body darting between the grabbing branches and wind that howled with laughter seeming to taunt him for his blunder. Made him snarl and grit his fangs harder. Dammit! He followed that sweet scent until he skidded to a stop, a small cloud of dirt falling up from his feet sliding into place in the black dirt, came to a small cluster of dark trees only to find..nothing. Not a soul. But the scent was all over the small place, along with one other which smelt foul. Another male. And he could see an imprint in the dirt, as if something large fell from someplace high above. Dammit! Was the human attacked by an ambush? He wasn't sure. All that he knew was that she got away because the sweet scent was faintly head off into the west direction, and the foul smell followed, which obviously indicated a chase was given. Ah! F his life! This was going to be a long night! But none the less he growled and just ended up sprinting again after them. Dam human! Dam season! DAM ALL OF THIS!!! He was about ready to cut someone in half!! The wind was blowing away most of the already faint peach scent but he was lucky enough to be graced with yet another girly shriek of terror from just up ahead. Good. That was close. REAL CLOSE!! If fact, it was so close, he could hear a voice already- "Stupid woman! SHUT UP!," a man's voice bellowed out, "Are you trying to alert others!? Dammit! You'll be a terrible mother." Dark tree past dark tree. Weaving past darkness and limbs and lungs heavy with air whirled around by the wind. The vision appeared of a small innocent white ghost of the night and a sin daring to attempt to snuff it out for it's own needs. The trees couldn't hide that from him. Adrenaline pumping. Viens bunching up as a black tsuka of a katanna was grabbed, burnt to the touch as the rumbling of thunder was parting the whirling, taunting, laughing wind to make way for an electrical storm that bubbled through his blood vessels and gave the needed power to metal to become the lightning strike that shook the scene before him. "Stop struggling! It's futile! There's no escape-" SHING!! A metal sound. A shine of silver in the dark. A dash of shadow. And a strike of thunder. It all happened too fast and too dark for her mind to comprehend what happened. All that she knew was that one moment she were pinned against a tree and the next dropped to the ground like a rock, landing with a loud thud. A loud inhuman half screech half animal cry pierced the air and crimson liquid splattered across the dark. The cry echoed across the darkness, and was cut short when a powerful foot kicked out and struck the handless demon in the chest, knocking him back. And his form went flying back into the darkness only to be swallowed again and disappear, the red trailing after him, the only sounds to be heard was broken branches and then a loud thud and then the silence resumed once more. "Dam idiots." He stood there. Snarling. Staring off in the direction of the body he had just kicked away. Wasn't enough to kill, he could've easily crushed his chest on the spot but chose not too. For many reasons. He was here to retrieve not instigate a fight. He'd be in more trouble if he just started a fight, and he didn't need more trouble. He just needed to fix this situation before anyone else found out about a human woman stupidly bumbling her way in here especially when he was watching her! That wouldn't do him any good. If that insect knew what was good for him, he'd tuck his tail between his legs and run. After all, he was merciful enough to let him off with a warning. He could regenerate his hand easily and he doubted that kick did any real harm, maybe he'd be sore from falling back but he'd be- Another shriek rang out from behind him. Causing him to snap his attention back to the thing he came here for. In a flash her body reacted, scrambling away from the severed hand that just laid limply and crawling back on her hands and feet clumsily until her back hit a tree, breathing heavily. Ah right. He supposed that would've scared someone like her who never saw combat. Simple minded creatures, weren't they? He just rolled his eyes and turned his body to her, but the movement made the human freeze...before she slowly looked over and up at him, and she froze jaw dropping open. Hey now. He didn't think he was that horrendous looking! By demon standards, he was drop dead handsome! But then it clicked that she wasn't looking at his face, it was the long sword he still had unsheathed. A small slap sound came from her when her hand slapped over her mouth. Was she afraid he'd cut her down as well? That was ridiculous. He'd be more trouble if she was killed by him verses if he just tossed her out! Like he suspected. Simple minded. Let's just get this over with. In a small rapid session his fangs clacked together enough to get her to look at him. "Hey! Get the hell up!" He thought he made himself loud and clear, anyone else would perfectly understand what he just said. But instead she gave him the same looked he'd give the Master if he was in trouble. Pale. Terrified. Jaw dropped. And f/c eyes wide in terror at what she was seeing. Oh come now. He knew he was intimidating, but he hasn't even made a move to harm her! Although..her...Her face was actually kinda cute now that he was able to see it up close. Soft skinned. Pretty eyes reflective at him. It didn't have any demonic features like extra eyes or horns. And her f/c hair falling down her legs framing her face in a nice contrast to the white bridal gown she wor- ....Oh..Oh! ...OH!! Like a flash of lightning in a storm, it all flashed across his mind now. Oh. A...bride. A human bride. It was a human offering. Oh. ...Well this was awkward. There hadn't been one of these since the mountain drought two hundred years ago. Back then, the humans thought sending a young lady in 'sacrifice' would cause some divine intervention from the demons to end the drought. Spoiler alert!! It did indeed NOT do that, and instead the poor human ended up getting taken by Douma to join his cult. No one ever heard anything about her since, and the drought continued on for another five years until mother nature sorted itself out. Of course this was before he was a part of the Twelve Kizuki so he actually never seen a 'Demon Bride' other than the Master's wife, so this situation was..Rather surprising to him. The both of them stared at each other for a moment, before he opened his mouth revealing a mouthful of fangs and she flinched before he clattered them together in a rapid session to make the same clattering noise as before, before his face changed to look like he was straining his cheeks and a small shrill-grunt sound left his mouth. "Get the hell up! Tell me why you're here!", he demanded and tilted his head expectantly at her terrified form. She still said nothing and it annoyed him. Great! Was she that scared?...Or maybe- Don't tell him you didn't understand what he just said! He grunted and rolled his eyes. "Not fluent in that, huh?" he spoke in human making her blink. "Figures you wouldn't be." He scoffed with another eye roll before bringing up his sword to inspect. And he scowled at the blood on it. It would have to be cleaned and polished later. "Disgusting pigs!" He harshly gave the blade one harsh shake to knock what droplet he could off, twirled it around with a wrist movement and aimed the blade to be returned to the sheath covered by his cloak. "So did I cut you or what?" She could only let her bottom lip quiver in response as she made some kind of squeak noise making him sigh in annoyance. "You gonna make me repeat myself? You humans are pathetic." She finally seemed to regain some sense as he scowled at her. "Hey, Human! Did I cut you or what!?'' She flinched pulling her hands to herself before frantically shaking her head no making him snort. "Good. Didn't think I did anyways, my skills are too precise for that." She didn't answer. Instead doing something that made him pause. So taking a shaking hand, she pulled it back and slapped herself across the cheek making him just stare at her. By gods. Had she really HAD gone crazy!? "The hell? Did that weakling hit your head too hard or something!?" She hissed hand rubbing her sore cheek. "....This h-h-has got to b-b-be a n-nightmare..." She spoke barely above a whisper, but he still heard her voice. "Tch. Unless you ran into Enmu, I highly doubt we're in one," he bluntly answered which made her flinch and look at him again. "But I've been trailing you this entire time so I know we didn't. Which begs the question." She yelped as he suddenly squatted and pushed his face into hers making it to where she were forced to stare into his angry scowl. "Who the hell are you!? You're not one of the humans brought in from the train! And you don't belong to Douma, you don't have his scent on you." His tail gave an annoyed thrash behind him. "So are you a trespasser or what!?" "NO!!", she suddenly blurted out in fear. "I-I WAS JUST F-F-FOLLOWING THE MAP IS AL-ALL!!" A thick brow rose higher, but he hummed. Yes..he had seen her with a map. "You were just following the map?" He asked again and terrified, she nodded making him hum again. "And then let me guess. You accidentally got lost on your way through here?" She nodded again. "Y-YES!! That's r-r-right! I was!" "Well why the hell were you not paying attention!? Any human should know once they're sent in that they need to be on the look out for scum like that!" He gestured at the ground like it should've been obvious. It was totally obvious for any bride to be thrusted in here that she should be careful for weaklings like the one he just trashed!! Didn't she even think of that!? She didn't answer and it made him growl before reaching up a hand to rub at his temples. Humans...This is why he never interacted with them outside of the Master's family. "Doesn't matter." The hand moved and he bore back into you. "I only spared your life because I wanted answers, otherwise I would have left you for whatever fucking scum to claim." Screw this night AND this job! But...he wasn't sure what to do about this situation now. Now he knew she weren't a trespasser perse if she were sent to be an offering. Should he still throw her out? Can he throw her out while she was an offering? Was she allowed in here now or should he still toss her out? This situation was too new and complicated for him to figure out...He'd take her to Kyogai. Yes. Kyogai was the record keeper. If there was any laws for this kind of situation then he would definitely know about it! BUT-..If he was going through all this trouble to save an offering then he was going to make this worth his time! And right now he was very interested in that strong sweet smell, and her dowry. All brides these days had one to impress males if they wished to court instead. "So before I leave your sorry ass, let me see your dowry." Silence continued on. He stared at her expectantly. She stared at him silently wide eyed. Nothing answered them both except for the wind and creaking branches. ....And then he scowled. "W-What-" "Your dowry! Let me see your dowry! What do you have to offer me!?," he practically shouted at her face before giving a grunt of annoyance pointing at her bag. "In there! Gods above! Do I have to repeat everything to you!?" She slowly rose a brow at him. "You want the-...A return payment?" "Dowry! Payment! Offering! What ever the hell you people call it! Just give it to me! I know every human in your situation has one to give if they travel through here!" "I-...I-I have no money." He seemed to exhale annoyed at her response. "B-B-But I ha-have these!" He watched intently as her hands reached over, trembling harder, to her bag and he watched every moment intently. She reached to her bag, and pulled the top flap back with one hand, in an instant the sweet-sugary scent he'd been following this whole time intensified and she nearly flinched when you saw the way his eyes enlarged like a cat's when they saw a mouse. Instead she ever so slowly reached into the bag and pulled out a peice of cloth tied with a knot at the top, shaped lumpy with some visibly round objects. It was brought up to the monster held out, and his gaze was fully focused on it. He knew EXACTLY what was in that cloth before she even answered him again. His mouth instantly watered and his tongue flicked the inside of his fangs. Peaches. "H-Here. F-For you." She forced herself to smile. He gave just the tiniest glance at her smile before he reacted in his own desires, her arm froze as the cloth was instantly snatched from herr hand and soon found itself within his claws, who didn't waste any time shredding through the cloth instead of just undoing the knot leaving the shreds to slowly float to the ground from his hands and inside amongst the shredded cloth in his hands was three small pieces of fruit. The small heart shaped pieces were cute looking in contrast to the clawed hands that held them, a pretty pink that faded to a yellow-tan color near the bottom. Not a blemish on them. Perfect. Sweet. And a delicacy to the tongue. He hadn't had them in so long...he couldn't even remember the last time he had one! He seemed almost in a trance as he stared at the perfect round things, savoring the sight just a bit longer to remember this moment by, before he could no longer resist the temptations. She flinched as a few peach juice droplets splashed against your hands and blinked. He had revealed his mouthful of fangs and bit through half of one peach with one bite, some pieces of the fruit falling to the ground. He exhaled slowly through his nose and his shoulders visibly relaxed. One more bite made the rest of the fruit disappear into his mouth like he was terribly hungry, then the second one followed the same fate as the first, gone in under a minute in two bites. It was by the third one that he even bothered to look at her again after all this time, where she had remained unmoving too. Was she still scared of him? Or was she waiting to see if he'd pick her for his own mate? Psh. Yeah right. As if he'd do that-... Hm. On second thought. Maybe there was perks to having a human around- After a moment he bothered to hum, arm reaching up to wipe at his mouth before he stood. "Not really a good dowry. Dam pathetic really." The last peach was tossed up and down in one hand. "The bare fucking minimum of expectations." Blue eyes carefully rolled over her form studying. She wasn't the worst looking. Infact it was an upgrade from most women he'd seen. ..Eh. She wasn't like the Master's wife, but her body looked strong and sturdy, and his senses indicated she was young and healthy. Early twenties tops....She might make a good servant. He hummed and then nodded. He'd check in with Kyogai first and make his choice from there. "But lucky for you, I'm feeling generous tonight. Hmph! You should be thankful!" "S-So...Y-You're not going to hurt me?" "If I wanted to hurt you, I would've struck you down the moment you stepped passed the tree line! Now stand up! We're leaving!" She blinked.... "Leaving?" He gestured at the dark. "Would you like me to leave you lost, alone, and in the dead of night where others are sure to find you?" He paused at what he said himself, because he hummed and turned his head upwards. She screamed quite a few times. Surely someone would've heard her, in fact someone might be coming towards them this moment. "With how much you stupidly screamed, I don't doubt others are already on their way here now." He growled with a scowl. "The bastards. Fighting like rats over a scrap of meat." "N-NO!" He looked back to her as she forced herself on wobbling feet to stand before him. "I-I don't want to stay here! P-Please show me the way." He seemed pleased with her answer because he huffed and one side of his mouth curled up in a smile. "That's more like it. If you're gonna be around me you need to step up your think-" He didn't get to finish that sentence. In fact...He didn't get to even stand when a large hunk of branch flew past at lightning speed, and slammed right into the his side with a sickening crack sound. Wind flew past her from the sheer force of the throw, and the black robed demon was sent flying to the right and into a heap several yards away from where he initially stood. She stood frozen for a moment, the sight being too fast to comprehend what exactly had just happened. Then a horribly familiar voice spoke. "Hands off the female! She's MY claim!!" Her head snapped around, and she again shrieked as the insect-eyed demon has returned, hands fully intact and fangs bared towards the sight of another one of his kind as she stumbled back, eyes wide. A creaking sound was herd somewhere behind her followed by a loud thud and a deeper growl that reverberated off the wind and trees as a hiss sound escaped a black mass pushing themselves off the ground with many bone cracks and hissing noises until dangerously blue eyes cut through the dark right at the other. "Dammed fools! You dare attack one of the Twelve Kizuki!?" "I couldn't give a dam who you are! I staked my claim first! By law she's mine!" And with that, he charged. She shrieked and ducked, arms coming to shield her head from the upcoming lunge but a black mass lunged faster, knocking the first one back into the trees as the two monsters rolled off. Something snapped within him. Perhaps it was all the pent up annoyance and anger at being challenged despite his rank. A whirlwind of claws and teeth they became. Crashing through tree branches, cutting one another, biting, each drawing blood from the other but he was stronger! He was faster! He was superior! So it wasn't very long that his opponent laid defeated. Silenced. Dead. It wasn't a very long battle. Lasting under ten minutes. His wounds would heal within an hour or two. And he couldn't be in trouble for this, right? Surely he couldn't. Someone dared to challenge a Twelve Kizuki to battle and lost. Happened sometimes. And he had a right to fight since he insisted on fighting over the woman he still had unfinished business with. So he shouldn't be punished harshly for this. Although the fight was over, that did not stop his rage. For when he returned to claim what he had fought over, it was gone. A piercing raged wail went through the night. He couldn't believe this!! Did another one claim her while he was busy?! No. no. Couldn't have. He would've heard her shriek again. So that pathetic human must've taken the distraction and ran when he wasn't looking! DAMMIT!! And not only that-... HIS LAST PEACH HAD BEEN CRUSHED IN THE FIGHT BEFORE HE COULD EVEN EAT IT!!! He was angry! He was very, VERY ANGRY!! And he had to spend the rest of that night scrambling around trying to find this human, distracting him from his usual duties, and the scent going cold amongst the wind and other scents in the dam place! But now he was going to get in (maybe) trouble and won't get anything out of it. ....Oh so he thought. One day went by. Absolutely nothing. He was bitter, angry, and could do nothing but go back to do his own duties. Hopefully no one would notice or care about what happened. Everyone seemed too busy to pay him any mind anyways. Too busy struck by love-syndrome to really ever pay attention to himself. Which what he preferred anyways? It was best to leave him alone during these times anyways. Two days go by and most of the bitterness had faded away, but he was still annoyed, stewing in the leftover bitterness that was attained from yesterday. Although an unexpected event happened, and it all happened as he was traveling along the Eastern tree line mindlessly. A very strong, and very important presence. Calling to him. STRUM! A forced pushed the back of his mind making him stumble in his step from how sudden it was. Like a mental rock was suddenly thrown on his shoulders, and it's weight made him lurch forward in real life, stumbling and throwing his arms out to catch himself against a tree. A feeling deep inside like something pulling his soul into a different box was tugging at his mind and it made him blink in confusion for a moment. "What the fu-" STRUM!! His mind was pulled into a calling. It was like his conscious became thinned, light as air, and as nimble as a snake slithering through the lines of connection between himself and the bonds the Master's blood allowed them all to have. If he had one way of describing it, he would say it felt and looked like a tree rooted into their minds, different branches that were never the same but still connected to the same trunk in the end sharing the same deepened roots. The mind thread slithered ever closer to the thing that pulled and pulled and pulled him until he felt himself connecting to two others before him in this web of connections. He was thrown for a loop for a moment, but he quickly understood where he was and why he was here. One of the Twelve Kizuki wished him here, and the one responsible for bringing him here was just above him sitting silently. Upper Moon Five, Nakime, the one responsible for all transportation within this hivemind of threads. He reached out to that small thread sending a questioning thought for why she brought him here on such short notice. In return a thrum of an instrument vibrated within the wave lengths in return, and a mental arrow pointed to the third presence with them. And he followed her pointing. Who could it be who called him? Sensei Kokushibo? It wasn't the Master. The presence wasn't intimidating to him in the least. "Kaigaku. I'm glad you answered my calling." Kyogai!? What the hell could that lower moon want with him!? Especially now!? "What do you want!? I'm busy!" He thought he heard Kyogai mentally sigh."I have something to ask you concerning some events which occurred last night." "WHAT!?" "Last night two intruders broke into my home." "And? It's not my fault most of your staff are girls! You deal with your own territory and don't cry to me about not being able to do your job! If you want me to scare some dam idiots into submission, you can wait until I'm done!" "You not doing your job is precisely my point! One of the dam insects claimed they were chasing a human bride through the woods!" The anger in the other presence fell silent. What did Kyogai just say? Human bride? In his home? "It's YOUR job to patrol the east side of the mountain and make sure no strangers enter or any demons leave the forest to that side of the mountain! Clearly you aren't doing your job good enough!" There was silence for a few seconds as the younger presence thought on what he said. "You have the human?" "I have no human! DO. YOUR. DAM. JOB!! NEXT TIME SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS I'M REPORTING YOUR MESS UP TO KOKUSHIBO AND THE MASTER!! DO NOT LET SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPEN AGAIN! CONSIDER THIS YOUR ONLY WARNING!! Nakime, I am done with this message." "NO! WAI-" STRUM!! The connection of the two wavelengths were cut off with a harsh strum of a bawa string, like a knife through hot butter, and there was a slight pain from the severed connection. He was thrown forward fast and with a gasp of air, was released from the wavelengths harshly without warning, ended up colliding face first into the tree he previously grabbed and slid down it to his knees coughing from the air knocked from his lungs. But he allowed the sweet silence to cascade over his body as he breathed. And there was silence. ....before a growl escaped his throat and bark splintered under his fingernails as blue eyes narrowed. "Kyogai." That was how he found himself in front of the infamous mansion throwing open the front door and making the sound spook any servant that was close enough to see his angered form stomp his way inside. This wasn't his first time here. Not by a longshot. He'd seek shelter here many a times before since it was so close to where he patrolled so it was very convenient for him, so much so that the older demon who ruled this home had been kind enough to give him his own room whenever he dropped by. Those whom saw him instantly bowed as his form stomped past them all one footfall after another. "Lord Kaigaku. Good afternoon to you," one woman greeted with a bow but he ignored her in favor of stomping forward. Further and further into the mansion he went, many servants bowing to the young lord but he paid them no attention. The scents around here all mixed with various different demons, but mostly Kyogai's. Kyogai was much more powerful compared to them all, so of course most of everything in here smelt of him. There was also the faint smell of blood. ...So Kyogai wasn't lying about intruders walking into his home. Which only made him more suspicious. Nothing really seemed out of place until he turned one corner in the mansion and paused. "Found you." And he stomped towards the smell. The very familiar smell he remembered from two nights ago. The very one he'd been trying to find these last two days was here, and he sure as hell wasn't letting her get off that easily. He quickened his pace speed walking through hallway after hallway ignoring the sudden bowing demons or any demons that were thrown his way, after one thing in particular. It got stronger and stronger and he was eventually able to pinpoint it to one room behind one door in particular. Heavy and quick footsteps went right up to the sliding door, his hand reaching out to grab it hard enough that some claw marks were left behind by his claws and in one fluid, powerful motion he threw the door back hard enough to made a loud slam echo through the halls. SLAM!! There was a loud gasp, almost shriek at the sudden door open, and a woman whipped her head to him. F/c eyes met blue and he let a growl come out of his throat. "It's about dam time I fucking found you." ********************************************************************** You leaned back in the chair blissfully unaware of the approaching footsteps stomping their way towards your room. It had been a little while since Eri had left and left you just sitting there with nothing to do but keep your hurt leg submerged in the cold bucket of water. There was literally nothing you could do to keep yourself entertained other than to day dream of everything you wanted to do once you got out of here with your newfound freedom. Maybe that's why you didn't hear the stomping coming straight towards your room- STOMP. STOMP. STOMP. STOMP- Or the door being grabbed hard enough to leave claw indents in them. SLAM!! Making you gasp and whip your head to the thundering storm looming in the doorway only to meet blue eyes. "It's about dam time I fucking found you." You almost shrieked upon first laying eyes upon the demon who just barged into your room. Mostly because the entrance he gave scared you but you nearly shrieked again when the menacing form stepped in. Until you paused...and just stared at him. The demon didn't look much older than yourself, wearing a scowl on his face but not a dangerous scowl that said 'I'm going to murder you'. It was more of a really, really annoyed scowl like the ones Sanemi used to wear. Still made you nervous, but not to the point where you felt in danger. You watched with wide eyes as he stomped until he stood directly in front of you with that scowl of his, staring you down. His black cloaks looked torn and dirtied on him and here and there was small dirt smudged on his gray skin. Wait a second. You knew this demon, but where did you see him? You jumped as a black claw was suddenly pointed at your face. "Do you know how foolish you made me look defending you from that dam parasite!? I could have been killed for all you knew and you had the gall to leave without seeing if I died!!" Oh right. He was the one who initially saved you from that first demon! You'd forgotten him up until this point. In the light he was a lot less intimidating. "I should've left you to be made into someone's housewife than waste my time wi-" "Are you alright?'' He paused. You stared at him concerned. He just stared back at you blankly for a moment. "...What?"He shook his head. "Of course I'm-" He froze when your hand just grabbed his own and yanked. And he leaned forward, the surprising action catching him off guard. Especially when he felt something soft reached up and touch his face. And he just stood there as you squinted your eyes at him. One hand on his cheek, the other firmly around his left wrist as you took the chance to look over him. Despite his dirtied and ragged looking clothes, he seemed to be completely fine other than being angry, but you'd seen scarier. From Sanemi no less. Your eyes wondered over him and seemed satisfied to not see any damage to his body, so you released his wrist and face despite him staying stunned leaned over. "I'm glad you're ok. That sounded like a bad fight you got into, and I'm sorry you had to go through that for my sake." Just apologize now and get it over with. You didn't want to owe anyone anything after you left here, including apologies, and he did have a point as much as you'd hate to admit it. He did spare you from that vulgar insect-eyed demon you first ran into and got in the way when it lunged back at you. Just remain calm. Everything would be fine if you just remained calm. It was then you bowed while still sitting in the chair which hindered your movement, but you did still bow to the best of your abilities. "I thank you for all the help and kindness you've shown me, and I apologize again for running off. I was scared and lucky to be alive." You then looked back up to his face. "And I'm not lying when I say I do hope you're ok. I'd hate for anyone else to get hurt because of me." And you were genuine with what you said. "Are you sure you're alright?" The demon above you just-....Dumbfoundedly stared down at you. As if he lost all ability to think and act for himself. And ever patient you just continued to stare back silently at him. In total silence. Until you smiled to break the awkward silent tension and that small gesture finally seemed to snap him out of it because he blinked...before scowling and ripping his body away from you. He opened his mouth and pointed at you...before closing his mouth and just growling before turning his head away. "I'm fine! Like I would allow myself to be hurt by someone beneath me! And you should be grateful to me! I could've left you to be taken by predators!" You chose to not argue with him and honestly you didn't have the energy to deal with another Sanemi-like tantrum on top of your leg being hurt. If a small compromise of your pride meant peace, then it'd be better in the long run. Although you were not planning on seeing this demon again so soon. "Whatever you say, but what are you doing here?" He turned slightly and cocked a thick brow at your question, a hum escaping his throat. "I wasn't expecting to ever see you again no offense, so why are you here now?" He stared at you like you were dumb before scowling harder. "Are you dense!? I came here for you, Moron!" Your brow rose now. "Me? Now why would you want to find me?" "Because I need to toss you out! THAT'S WHY!!" A hand pointed a thumb behind his shoulder with a small growl from his throat. "If you hadn't come in here, I wouldn't be at risk for being punished! Who knows what'll happen to me if I don't make you leave!! Now get up!" He demanded with a 'come on' gesture. "You've plagued my existence long enough!" You...did not get up and only stared at him. "Well what are you waiting for!? I said GET UP!!" "I can't." "Why not!?" "My leg was injured. That's why!" You frowned and gestured to your leg which still was dunked in the bucket of cold water. "I can't even stand let alone walk! Exactly how do you expect me to follow you out of here?" He looked down at your leg, blinking as it just seemed to dawn on him that indeed your leg was in an awkward position. "What the hell- What are you doing sticking your leg in a fucking pail of water?" "Trying to get the swelling to go down. The water's ice cold!," you deadpanned back at him he seemed to be annoyed again as he looked from your leg back to your face. "What? It's not my fault. One of those stupid monsters hurt me!" "OH FOR FUCKS SAKE!!" At this point he threw his arms up looking both defeated and frustrated. "FINE!! Then I'll just take you to the human settlements Douma runs! One of them must have a healer! I am NOT getting in trouble for someone else harming a human!" "I don't think that's a good ide-AH!!" He didn't give you any warnings with two black sleeved arms just shoved themselves behind your back and under your knees before you were just roughly lifted up into a bridal style position in his arms. The bucket of water nearly spilling over from your sudden lift off via the demon who held you in his arms frustrated. On instinct your hands latched onto the front of his blackened robes which made him look down at you for a moment, taking in your wide eyed stare back up at him..Before he just wrenched his look away and turn you both around towards the door. "W-WAIT!! I don't think this is a good idea! You could get in trouble more!" He scoffed with an eye roll. "Oh, please. Who would stop me?" "KAIGAKU!!!" Your head snapped back to the still open door and the demon bristled. Muscles going rigid as an 'Oh crap-' expression flashed across his face, and then the footsteps, hurried and heavy came running down the hallway. THUDTHUDTHUDTHUDTHUDTHUD- Something big, heavy, and furious came running down the hallway and both you and the demon only watched as the floor shook under his feet. No escape as the thing came closer and closer- Until a giant clawed hand slammed harshly onto the doorframe making the demon holding you flinch and stumble a couple steps back as the looming form of Kyogai pushed his way into the doorway and stood above both of you much taller. You were confused looking between the now paled face of the demon holding you, and the furious look in Kyogai's blue and red eyes narrowed at the younger demon, breathing heavily from running all the way to here. You could only sit there awkwardly looking between the two demons staring each other down...Until your brow rose, and you decided to speak up. "Kyogai?" In an instant, his eyes snapped to you, and he blinked seeming to notice you finally, and froze. His blue eyes stared at your equally confused face, before they slowly roamed over across to where your hands gripped the black haired demon's front, then to said demon's arms holding you. Blue eyes widened for a second, but only a second, because instantly they narrowed into slits, a growl you hadn't heard him give before escaping his throat, and ever so slowly he pointed a hand right. At. The. Demon holding you. "Put. Her. Back. Now." The demon holding you stayed frozen in place for a moment longer before finally scowling back and pulling you closer to him. "Fuck off!" "What are you even planning on doing with her!?," Kyogai demanded throwing up his hands, "She has no use to you!" "I'm not getting in trouble because Little Miss Lost decided to wonder in and get herself hurt!!" "HEY!" You scowled back at him but he ignored you staring down the taller demon with another growl. "Wha- WHAT WAS YOUR PLAN ON FIXING THIS!? Dumping her outside the Eastern Tree Line!? She can't even walk! You'll end up killing her leaving her for dead, you dim witted beetle!" He growled baring his fangs back. "That's why I was taking her to Douma's settlements!! He has one or two human healers so they ought to know how to fix her! And Douma's good at handling new human pets, so it'd be the perfect place for her!" Kyogai's face immediately twisted to one of horror as you shot him a look. "If I deliver her to a human settlement, then I won't be in trouble if she's with her own kind! Douma's always up for taking in more humans anyways.'' "Excuse me!," you yelled at him. "W H A T!?" The home shook. Literally. The entire mansion shook, lurched a bit from it's master's rage built into it making the demon holding you wobble and nearly drop you from how much he stumbled and you increased your grip on him yelping at the home's groaning creaks. As if the entire mansion was alive with his anger. THUD!! Kyogai slammed a single foot down leaning forward all of a sudden and got into the face of the younger demon who half paused half scowled at the older demon. "Now you listen to me you dam tantrum throwing insect! She is not even FIT for travel even if you carried her with the speed and grace of a swan! It was your own fault that this all happened in the first place! Maybe if you did your job and actually pay attention these things wouldn't have happened! Now would they!? This is why you haven't become an Upper Moon yet because Kokushibo still has to teach you the basics of the duties!!" "How dare you speak to me that way!? IM A HIGHER RANK THAN YOU!!!'' "You're only a higher rank because of your strength and speed, and because Kokushibo has taken you on as his student so the Master was generous enough to grant you a position within the Twelve Kizuki! Otherwise you wouldn't even have the pleasure of being able to argue with me right now!" The younger demon flinched when a clawed finger roughly jabbed his chest. "AND LIKE HELL I'M ALLOWING DOUMA ANYWHERE NEAR HERE!!! THAT PERVERTED EMPTY SHELL OF A MAN CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING BUT HIS OWN PERVERTED DESIRES AND I'LL NOT SUBJECT MY WOMEN STAFF OR THAT HUMAN TO ANY OF IT!!!" "THAT'S WHY I SAID I'M TAKING HER TO DOUMA, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!! YOUR 'PRECIOUS STAFF' SHOULD BE PROTECTED IF THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER-" "DAM YOU!! GIVE ME THE HUMAN!!" You squealed out as two larger hands hooked from under your body and again you found yourself being lifted into the arms of a demon, Kyogai to be in fact. He lifted you up and out of the smaller demon's hands. You blinked and looked up at him. "HEY!! You have no claim to her!!," the black haired demon shouted back pointing at you. "Oh! And I suppose you have?" "YES!! Of matter of fact I do! Since she gave me her dowry!!" He huffed proud of himself and crossed his arms, and for once Kyogai went silent. Allowing this new demon to smugly turn his head. "....What?" "Yes! That girl-" He pointed at you. "-gave me her dowry which means she was interested in me! And I accepted, so obviously I DO get the final say in her! So I demand as a higher up and as my claim you hand her over to me!!" You face palmed and Kyogai continued to stare at him silently before looking to you obviously for answers. After a moment you dared to look at him, and sighed. "It's a misunderstanding," you cleared up. "Because first of all, and for the last time, I AM NOT A BRIDE!! I never was a bride before, I'm NOBODY'S bride now, and I never WILL be someone's bride!" You practically shouted into the air, frustrated at the constant bad hand life's always dealt you. And then you pointed at the smug jerk's face as he blinked. "Second of all, the only reason I'm here is because I got lost and then chased by some simple minded men who couldn't treat women with respect! That 'dowry' I gave you wasn't even a dowry! I just thought you wanted a payment in return for rescuing me from that beast!! And even then, I'm not going anywhere I don't know! I'm staying here and waiting for a doctor to come see me!!" The black haired demon continued to stare at you for a long moment as you frowned back at him. "....So you're not interested in me? I thought it was pretty obvious." Kyogai looked like he wanted to lash into him again but you stopped him before he could. "I never even got your name. What's your name?" The black haired demon regarded you for a moment before huffing. "Kaigaku. Lower Moon one of the Twelve Kizuki. It'd do you good to remember it." You nodded calmly. "Well, Kaigaku, I'm glad to meet you, but you're looking a little ragged. You should rest and have someone fix your clothes." Kyogai perked up seeming to catch onto what you were doing because he was quick to calm himself. "She is right, Kaigaku. You look stressed and dirtied. You should rest and allow my staff to look over you." He looked about ready to protest but you smiled and stopped him. "A member of the Twelve Kizuki needs to look presentable. It wouldn't be proper to allow yourself to fall into disarray, how'd that make you look to the others?" To your surprise, Kaigaku actually hummed and looked as if he was actually considering it before he grunted. "Fine. But don't think I'm doing it because you asked. It's only deserving I get a break for everything I've done." Kyogai's eyelid twitched, but managed to retain his rage. "Of course. Please, allow me." You yelped when all of a sudden you were hiked up to be cradled within one arm as his other, now free arm, went to one of the drums on his legs tapping it twice. BUM! BUM! Two seconds passed and a moment later there was footsteps and a random demon woman stopped in the doorway before bowing to the taller demon. "You called me, Lord Kyogai?" Wow. They were fast around here. "Yes. Prepare the mens' bath for Lord Kaigaku, and send someone to address his garments. Tell the cook to prepare him a meal and have Ami prepare his room for his stay with us." "And have Eri look him over as well." Everyone looked at you as you stared at Kaigaku and pointed. "I don't like it that he got into a fight because of me, and I don't want him hurt. So just in case have Eri look him over." "..I don't need a second opinion on my own body! I know my limits and strengths! I would know if I was injured!" "Yes. But it would make me feel better, and I mean it when I said I don't want anyone hurt over me." You reached out and grabbed his hand making him freeze as you stared at him sadly. "...Please?" ...He opened his mouth- ....And closed it before yanking his hand away. "Fine! But I'll only do it as a part of the luxery I'm entitled too! Not for anyone worry especially a woman's!" "Then I shall send Eri to look you over once you've settled. Mayla! Escort Kaigaku to the baths and carry out my other orders." Mayla. (Was that her name?) She only simply bowed deeper before leaning back up. "As you wish, My Lord. Lord Kaigaku, please follow me." "I've been here before I know where it is!," he mumbled but started off after Mayla as she turned and began to walk off but not before shoot Kyogai a look. "I expect to be informed on what the hell's happened in between my time last seeing the human." "Oh you will be." Kyogai narrowed his eyes back. Wait until he heard about the Master already knowing about this. That ought to get this brat to shut up. He held eye contact and watched until Kaigaku (reluctantly) disappeared out of the door following Mayla and his footsteps disappeared, before he finally allowed his body to relaxed and he slowly looked back down to you still in his arms. "Are you alright? He didn't harm you did he?" "Um...No. B-But could you put me back down? T-This is kind of awkward." He blinked....and his face lit up a pink. "UH!! R-Right! Y-Yes! W-What was I thinking!? Apologies!" He was quick to set you back down gently in the chair before plopping your hurt leg back into the bucket with a small splash sound. Quickly retracting his hands away from your body afterwards. "H-Here! I-Is this better?" You nodded. "Yes. Much better thank you." Your head tilted back towards the door. "But who was that just now?" "That mess was one of my colleges. Lower Moon One of the Twelve Kizuki although if you ask me he does not deserve the generous rank!....But how do you know him is what I would like to know!?" You shrugged. "I ran into him by accident when I first came in here. He saved me from an attacker-" Kyogai's brows rose in surprise at that. "-but then he ate all the food I had left for doing so. He called it a 'dowry' but at the time I just thought he wanted some payment in return for saving me. I guess that was yet another misunderstanding wasn't it?" "Kaigaku expressed interest in a dowry? From a woman?.....Kaigaku!?" he blinked. "Oh. Is that...bad?" "I am...Unsure." Kyogai then mumbled and reached a hand to rub his temples with a sigh. "I see I have yet another thing to fix around here. I don't get paid enough for this." "Oh...Well, Kyogai." He jumped when he felt you reach out and grab his hand in thanks blinking from under his thanks. "Thank you again for saving me! You're a real life saver. Was Eri able to treat you yet?" His brain froze for a second, before with his cheeks pink he pulled his hand away and held it up. "UH! N-Not yet! I-I'm afraid she was interrupted by Kaigaku's presence!" You blinked. "Oh. Well return to her and let her finish up healing you." "YES!! I-I will! I-I return her to assist you as soon as possible," he slowly backed away and out of the room, "Please remain here and call one of the s-servants to help you." A hand grabbed the door and slid it shut quickly. "I-I'll make sure to have a word with Kaigaku. D-Don't worry." You rose a brow at the sudden exit and even more so at the hurried footsteps retreating from the door. What the world just happened?
Demon Bride Ch9(WARNING: Mentioning of death/implied death, mentioning of wounds on Kyogai's back and reader's fractured leg.) Two weeks. You were going to have to wait here for at least one week just to wait for a doctor to come see your leg, and then another week to wait until January was over just so these monsters wouldn't try to hunt you down for a desperate marriage! You wanted to cry out in frustration but at the same time had major trouble being able to wrap your head around this entire new reality you found yourself trapped in. Kyogai didn't say anything else after sending the woman away, leaving the two of you to just sit in the silence shared alone, and not speaking to one another. Meanwhile he continued to write away on something you still couldn't see, not wanting to move from your spot and staring at the room you were both in. It looked just like one of the rooms you saw last night snooping around. A mostly empty room with a few shelves, a table where Kyogai sat at, and a single lantern swinging above them. The silence continued on for around three minutes by this point, until you looked back to him and spoke up. "So...Mr. Kyogai?" He hummed in response to your voice but didn't look up from ..whatever he was doing. "Would you please tell me where I am? I mean...I know I'm in your home, but exactly where is this place located?" You thought that was a reasonable enough question. If he was in your situation, he would've probably asked the same things you would've. His movements stopped for a good solid silent second, before he again looked over his shoulder at you seemingly surprised. "You....really do not know where you are?" You shrugged. "I know I'm still on the East Mountain, but I've never been here before and I've gotten lost. Remember?" He still stared at you. "...What?" "How could you not know what this place is- Are you serious!? All humans know of this place! We used to rule the entirety of the mountains and half the valleys surrounding it! Even if you've never been here, you must've at least heard about it!" "I've heard of legends of demons and monsters who were driven away hundreds of years ago but I never knew they were real!" His brows shot up in an annoyed look. "I mean-...Look at it from my perspective. If you heard that there were fairies living underground but you never saw them, wouldn't you be a little skeptical of it?" "Well of course! That's ridiculous!" You nodded- "The fae people live three forests over, the dwarven people are the ones with an underground kingdom. My Master quite enjoys the wine they produce." You stared back at him opening your mouth-...Before just shaking your head. "I-..Well you get my point. All I want to know is where I am." "The Forest of Yokai, on the other of of the Mountains," he finally answered making you blink. "We used to own the entire eastern side of the mountains as well, but that was taken from us years ago." You nodded. "Yes, I know. Two thousand years ago. When the warrior drove you all from that side of the mountain. Since then it's been a marriage tradition for grooms from the villages to retrieve their waiting brides from the mountain on their wedding day." Well, for your village it was just a little ways up the mountain by a stream, but it was still a tradition that was around well before you were even born. He seemed surprised you knew that much at least because he slowly nodded. "Yes. That much is correct. I'm glad you know that much at least." He sighed and turned back around. "Since then we have lost reign over that side of the mountains, but other than that ONE spot, we still own all of our original territory. Even more so now that my Master has gained the equivalent of six provinces worth of land over the years!" Your eyes widened. "Your Master is the ruler of six provinces worth of land?" "Yes. He's worked extremely hard to keep it that way as well. Through years of-"...Intimidation? Fear? Harsh laws? "...Hard work and careful planning." He decided on instead since that technically wasn't a lie. "He is a very wise ruler." ''If that's the case, how come I've never heard of a giant part of the land being ruled over by demons?" He might've answered you but before he could, the sliding door opened back up and two figures entered making you look over. The purple skinned monster woman, who Kyogai referred to as Nagi, returned with another monster woman, but this one looked totally different. She had a much shorter haircut that was just above her shoulders and it reminded you of the haircut your old village Elder had. She looked normal too! ...Well normal-ish. Raven black hair with fair skin and she wore a pink and white kimono. She looked like any other normal person, except-...She had four arms and four eyes on her forehead that instantly made you stare at the strange features. Both women bowed instantly to the bigger demon who still didn't look up from the papers he worked furiously on, the feint scribbling noises continued. Scribble. Scribble. Scribble. "Lord Kyogai, I have fetched Eri and everything you requested as promised," Nagi spoke from her bow. "Very good." A hand pointed behind himself at you making you blink. "This human will be staying with us for upmost a week, maybe longer. Eri, I am appointing you her carrier for the time being." Eri must've been the name of the four armed/eyed woman because she only nodded happily. "Of course, My Lord. But I was told I have been fetched to also tend to your wounds as well. Have you changed your mind on the matter?" His head nodded. "Yes. But before you touch me, take care of the human." Eri blinked. "Sir?" "I have been told by Lord Enmu that her leg is either broken or fractured. Until he can arrive, she is to stay off the injured leg and not move it around so much. Have you brought the cold water I asked for?" "It's being sent for as we speak." "Good. Soak her leg within the cold water once you get her settled in. I was told the swelling will go down that way." Both again bowed. "Of course, Lord Kyogai." "Whatever you say, Sir." Nagi, the one with no eyes, came shuffling over to you and lowered herself to her knees before you, again bowing her head. "Pardon me in advance." Before you could ask what she meant about that you felt something touch your body, and you yelped as her arms were shoved under your body. One securely on your back, and the other just under your knees before she lifted you up. A small gasp escaped your lips as your hands instinctively grabbed hold of her, as she lifted you high with inhuman like strength. "We shall make sure she is most comfortable, Sir." Beside her Eri nodded and was about to turn with you in tow- "Wait!" Your shout startled the two women as they suddenly looked at you, and your arm pointed right at Kyogai's back or more specifically the wounds still across it. "Help him first!'' Both woman looked at you, and with a sudden pause, Kyogai also looked around once again surprised at you. "His wounds are open and exposed and they've been that way for hours now! That's bad! I may have cleaned them up but they need actual medical attention to avoid infection and anything else from happening to him! My leg can wait! It's not as serious as what I'm looking at right now. And..." Your look softened, arm returning to your body, "He sustained those wounds saving my life. I'd never forgive myself if he got hurt because of me, so take care of him first. I owe him that much at least." Both women demons stared at you surprised before turning their heads to Kyogai for his order on the subject. He continued to stare wide eyed for ten more seconds before his face relaxed and he turned away. The faint sounds of a quill's scribbling continued afterwards. "Do what the human asks," he said a hand waving them off, "Just make sure her needs are met and all my previous orders are carried out." "Yes, Lord Kyogai," Eri said suddenly holding up a small wooden box she pulled from the folds of her Kimono. "Please allow me to take care of you." He softly grunted but gave no other response as she went to kneel down to face his injured back. "Will there be anything else?" "...Yes. Where is Mayla with those unfinished documents like I asked?!" "She'll be here any moment, Sir. Nagi, why don't you just care for the human while I tend to his lordship?" Nagi only nodded her head before turning with you still in her arms just as Eri opened the wooden box and reached a hand inside to pull out a ball of bandages and container of medical ointment from within. Your view ended when Nagi carried you away from the doorway and down the hallway from the room they were in. Nagi ended up carrying you down the hallway which looked very similar to the ones you saw last night when you were snooping around last night, she remained silent as she walked and you gave a glance to her face. You couldn't understand how she could know where she was going as she had no eyes, but you could tell she was in a good mood from the small smile she wore on her face, and she seemed to not have any qualms with carrying you at all. Although you couldn't help but feel bad having her be made to carry you...so you spoke up. "Um..Nagi?" That was her name right? She hummed indicating she was listening but otherwise didn't stop walking. "I'm sorry you all have to go through so much trouble because of me. I shouldn't have broken in last night, and because of that your Master's hurt and you're being made to help a total stranger. I also put everyone in danger last night. ...If I could I'd bow but just know I am really sorry." She hummed again, but in a more thoughtful way as if she was thinking of her response, before smiling wider. "Do not apologize." You blinked. "...What?" "You heard me correct. You do not have to apologize," she happily and eerily casually replied, "This would not be the first time someone has broken into Lord Kyogai's domain and I doubt it would be the last.'' That through your brain for a loop because you only stared at her. "W-Wha- Wait! So this has happened before?!" She sighed with a small frown. "Unfortunately yes. It happens once every so years when some of the courters become desperate. Also unfortunately it never usually ends very well for them once Lord Kyogai catches them. Normally Lord Kaigaku, or if we're lucky Lord Akaza, would ensure there wasn't any incidents like this but it seems both are very busy breaking up various fights this year's season." "Does this happen every January?" Nagi nodded. "It's one of the reasons the Master assigns Lords Kaigaku and Akaza to keep our kind in check, especially if some of them try to go to the human settlements to court a human woman such as yourself. But usually it is Lord Kokushibo who does that as he is the main ambassador between the human and demon affairs when Master is not present to handle them himself." "I-...I have a hard time understanding all of this hiarchy talk." "Would you like me to explain it to you when we get you situated?" "I'd like that very much!" Maybe it'd help explain what the heck was going on! "But where are you taking me if I might ask?" "The women's bath. You smell of many demons and the outside. It might attract some others here if they were to come by. If you're cleaned of them and are instead covered in the scents here, it'll be less likely to attract hostile courters to you. It'd ensure all of our safety." ..Oh. Well that made sense. "You are also very filthy. It would be better to clean up before anyone treats your wounds." Ouch. That stung....But also fair enough. Your kimono was also covered in dirt and you didn't doubt that also applied to you. For a while the only sounds that echoed throughout the halls were Nagi's footsteps against the polished wooden floors passing by familiar hallways and rooms, but soon there was other sounds. Faintly at first but then you heard it, voices, murmuring to one another. And footsteps, and some objects being moved around. It made your head perk up as Nagi continued to walk forward towards the noise. Two left turns and a hallway later, and you saw them. Demons! LOTS of other demons. Most of the demons were women at your first glance. All wearing some kind of brightly colored kimono and running around from room to room with some kind of object in their arms or were on their hands and knees with thickly-bristled scrub brushes and buckets, cleaning what looked to be red liquid from the floors and walls. It made you involuntarily wince from the memories of last night and it was then that you realized where you were. This was the place where that monster with the rope like tongue chased you from that weird dining room! The wooden splintering noise you heard was actually a broken door the thing knocked down and you saw three larger demons working on removing the broken sliding door. These three were men. Some of the only male servants you've seen so far and each one looked as strange and un-human as the women demons. They were using some strange tools or pulling on pieces of the shattered and splintered door to remove it to presumably replace it with a new one later. But despite being male or female, all of them stopped what they were doing and turned to look as Nagi approached. Wide eyed, and surprised looks mostly, but a few gave some dirty or annoyed ones mostly likely because of the mess that had to be cleaned-...Oh. ..OH! They weren't staring at Nagi. They were staring at Nagi carrying you. The realization immediately made you embarrassed and guilty and you looked away from their eyes when they watched Nagi carry you past them, not even stopping as she stepped over and weaved past them all expertly without even a second glance back at them all. You didn't particularly blame them for being annoyed at yourself, after all this mess was caused because you broke into their home and made others follow you in here, so of course some might harbor some annoyance at the situation. Nagi eventually went past them all and weaved down a few other halls you've seen until she moved onto halls you weren't familiar with. More demons were walking around, some stopped to stare at the two figures walking past, while others couldn't be bothered just walking around doing whatever they were tasked with that day. All looked nothing like a human with horns and multiple eyes and limbs and being different colors even. All playing their part like it was a normal day under their lord's orders. There was different rooms now that met the f/c eyes looking around. There was two giant storage rooms?? They were filled to the brim with wooden crates and other random pieces of furniture from what glimpses you were able to see as Nagi swiftly walked past. Perhaps that's where they store the furniture while they clean the rooms? There was one giant sliding door which you were sure lead to a giant kitchen, it radiated heat from the other side of the door and you could smell some kind of food from the other side, some kind of meat with spices. Perhaps pork with rosemary and basil? The new parts of the giant mansion made you look around and at one point you saw one room with a small sign pinned to the front of it, which was strange as it was the only room with literally any sign on it. "Why does that door have a sign on it?" "Oh. That is Lord Kaigaku's courters. As he's often working the forest line in this area, Lord Kyogai has set a room aside for him to use whenever he wishes to stay here which is quite often. You might meet him while you stay with us.." She also hummed with a small frown. "But I would advise avoiding him if he is in a bad mood." "Why? Is he dangerous?" "No. He just gets angry a lot of the time and he'd rather not be bothered. It's best to leave him alone unless he asks something of us and let Lord Kyogai handle him." Yeesh. He sounded like a nice ball of sunshine. Not. Eventually The demons thinned out until there was only one or two every so often and their wasn't very many doors. Just one or two per hallway. Until eventually Nagi stopped in front of one particular door and you yelped as she shifted her weight just a bit to allow herself access to slide open the door which lead to a slightly cooler room. "We're here. Your leg is still injured so we must be careful." Thirty minutes later and you were situated in a room away from the baths. In fact it was the room right across from 'Lord Kaigaku's' room, whoever he was. You just hoped you wouldn't run into him, whoever he was, he sounded unpleasant to be around. Nagi had been kind enough to make sure you didn't drown in the giant pool that was deeper than it appeared, and so you didn't harm yourself further. Lending you a spare plain kimono that was lying around before whisking you away to this room here. Wasn't really anything special. It was just a plain room with a window overlooking the forest outside and was devoid of any furniture except for one plain futon in one corner, not that you were complaining of course, you didn't have any right too. A chair was taken from somewhere in the mansion and placed into the room for you to sit on and wait until Eri was done with tending to Kyogai so she could tend to you instead, which wasn't that long a wait. She arrived just five minutes after Nagi sat you down in the chair with a large bucket of water in two of her arms and carrying that wooden box with the other. She apologized to you for taking so long before placing the bucket at your feet and gently grabbed your swollen leg, you hissed a little bit as pain throbbed through, and Eri slowly lowered it into the bucket where you gave a small surprised jolt at how cold it was. It was freezing! Which wouldn't be too bad if you were just drinking it, but having half your lower leg dunked into it wasn't very fun. "Is something wrong?," Eri asked noticing your expression. "I-It's cold!" "Of course! It's supposed to help with the swelling, and it's the best we can do until a better doctor can look at it. Until then, we will do what was commanded by Lord Kyogai." She then opened up the wooden box and reached a hand inside only to pull out a small metal container. "Hold still please." You pointed to the small container and asked, "What's that?" "It's a herbal ointment," she replied opening it and immediately your nose wrinkled up. That thing smelt! It was like burnt rotten vegetables! Eri chuckled at your reaction from the foil smelling scent punching your nose. "I know. It doesn't smell very good, but it's very good for cuts and bruises, and the smell fades the longer it's exposed to air." She turned back to your body. "Now please remain still. This shouldn't take too long." You did as she asked and watched with a wrinkled nose as a hand of her just dipped into the small container and Eri began working on smearing the foul smelling paste on the various cuts, scrapes, and bruises covering your body. By the time she was done, your body was covered in random splotches of light green paste like some kind of spotted monster and you smelt of burnt, rotten veggies. You didn't like it, and your expression told Eri as much but if she took offense to it, she didn't show it as she just packed everything back into her small wooden box she carried around, and stood. "It's not pleasant, but you should be healed within a few days time. Except for your leg." Her eyes gave your submerged leg a concerned look. "I'm afraid I'm unsure about that." "What are you planning on doing until that 'doctor' arrives?" "We'll keep your foot in cold water until the swelling subsides, and keep your leg as still as possible for the time being. It'd be best if you stayed off it." "Oh swell," you grumbled leaning back against your chair with a frown. "Well what am I supposed to do with myself until then?" "Lord Kyogai told me to assist you until Lord Enmu's arrival. So I will keep you company until he arrives and assist you with anything you need," Eri said with a small bow. "Don't bow to me," you said holding up a hand to the spider like woman who blinked. "It's my fault you all got into this mess, it's bad enough you're being made to baby me after it all." "Oh, it's not a bother at all," she insisted, "If it's Lord Kyogai's orders, then I'm happy to follow them. And I've never taken cared of a human before." All four of her eyes lit up. "This could be a worthwhile experience!" ...You gave a small huff. "Well...I've never been taken cared of by a demon before, so it might be an interesting experience too." It was then that your stomach made a noise that allowed both women to look at you and your cheeks lit up a pink in embarrassment. "Um...Excuse me?" "Oh. Have you not eaten yet?" "Uh. Not exactly. I sort of lost whatever food I had left when someone else ate it." When that one blue eyed demon ate them in exchange for leaving you alone. "Oh. Well then I should go to the cooks and get you something." Nagi turned to the door but you blinked and held up a hand. "N-No! It's ok. Really! Y-You don't have to do that!" "With you unable to walk?" ...Oh. Well when she put it like that- Nagi was already turning her head of cinnamon brown hair to you and grabbing the door to slide it open carefully. "I'll return with something I'm sure a human would be able to digest! You just wait here." Your voice thanked Nagi as she stepped out and the door slid back shut behind her, leaving both yourself and Eri standing there in silence listening to Nagi's footfalls until they too disappeared. And there you sat for a moment awkwardly, with the feeling of one leg half submerged in cold water (slowly going numb) and Eri fiddling around with the innards of her box while one pair of eyes scanned your body, most likely looking over her handy work with the paste slathered all the little injuries your body sustained from the previous night. The awkward silence continued onwards for a while longer as you sat there staring at the door as to not make things more awkward by staring rudely at her, but eventually you looked over at her when the silence became too much to bare. "So...Eri?" "Yes?," she cheerfully asked, her top pair of eyes switching from your arm to your face. "You work for Mr. Kyogai?" "My Lord? Absolutely! I've been with him every since I was sixty three!" "Sixty three!?" Your jaw dropped and your eyes practically popped from your head from how much they widened, and before you could stop yourself, you said, "But you don't look a day past twenty four!" "Aw.~ Thank you!" She smiled brightly a hand coming to pat her cheek proudly. "I always soak in a herbal bath twice a week. It's excellent for bright skin. I'm glad someone's finally noticed!" You wanted to smack yourself for such a rude comment, but at least she didn't seem to take it as an insult and seemed rather pleased, so you rolled with it. "Er...Yeah. It must be one good recipe! Your skin's glowing!" She again huffed proudly nose held high. You cleared your throat and changed the subject quickly. "*ahem* So...How did you come to work for him?" "...Oh." Eri's eyes slowly blinked at you before her face suddenly turned into a frown. Oops. Was that too personal? Did you insult her by accident? "Oh that...That's not a very happy story." "Oh. I'm sorry if I was rude." One of her four arms waved you off with a huff. "No. It's not you that annoys me. It's the very reason why I'm here that annoys me really." Her four eyes narrowed off at nothing and she gritted her fangs with a growl that made you flinch. Uh oh. She was getting angry. Maybe making small talk with a demon wasn't the best idea- "I was sent here by my parents to seduce his lordship." Silence. As if someone had shattered a glass window, you heard the sound in your mind. A thousand pieces of that shattered window playing in your mind as you stared at her. ".....What?" She nodded. "I KNOW!! THAT'S WHAT I ASKED WHEN I WAS TOLD THAT!!" She shouted throwing two of her four arms up into the air, a third pointing at you. "I wanted to study medicine but NOO!! 'Eri!" She imitated a bad impression of a man's deep voice. "You're going to bring our family honor and marry a lord! No one wants a woman who couldn't keep house and raise future children. So stop with this ridiculous rebellious phase and let your mother ready you!' UGH!!!" Two hands curled her claws inwards as if she wanted to smash something as she snarled her fangs. "Nevermind Lord Kyogai HATES it when people try to court him anyways!" "Uh-" You held up a hand opening your mouth- "ALSO NEVERMIND I'M ALREADY ENGAGED TO SOMEONE!!!" ...You slowly closed your mouth and lowered your arm slowly to avoid her snapping at any sudden movement. You'd...rather not have anymore demons ire directed at you today. Eri continued her ranting. "Wow, Mother! I wonder WHY his Lordship turned down your proposal for the seventieth time! And I don't know, Father! I can't fathom WHY he wouldn't accept your offer for the hundredth time after ALL THE OTHER TIMES HE SAID NO!! HMM!! I WONDER WHY HE DIDN'T CHANGE HIS MIND AFTER ALL THE 'NO'S THE GAVE THE FIRST FEW TIMES!! OH!! SORRY!! WAS IT THE LACK OF COMMON SENSE OR MAYBE THE FACT YOU TWO ARE BOTH GREEDY DIRTBAGS THAT MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE!?" At the end of her rant she was breathing heavily, open mouthed, and looked about ready to lunge herself at the nearest object, which you were afraid might be you as you leaned back wide eyed and unsure of what to make of the situation. "Um...Your fiancÚ must me very nice?" ".....OH! He is!" Like a complete switch, she snapped to you and clasped her hands together against her cheek lovingly, a sudden loving smile replacing her snarl earlier making you blink at the sudden change in tone. "He is just the sweetest, most gentlest man in the world!~ He's so smart, and cute, and he always makes sure to give me the juiciest parts of the prey he hunts whenever I see him.~" "Oh! That's very...loving of him.'' She chuckled. "It is isn't it. *sigh* He's waiting for my service to Lord Kyogai is over. Once I'm free to leave his servitude, we're getting married."....She then sighed sadly. "But sadly that won't be until next year and he lives in the swamps which is a little ways from here so I don't get to see him often. I'm extremely lucky he's been so patient waiting for me." You looked at her for a long moment before sighing yourself. "Well that just means he loves you very much. I wish I was that lucky." Now THOSE words caught Eri's interest as she rose a brow and looked at your own sudden frown. Oh yes. You could relate to that. You were almost married off to someone who would've been a terrible husband after all. "I'd be extremely lucky to have someone who loved me enough to return back to him someday." She slowly rose her brow higher with a hum. "Oh really?" You nodded and she slowly lowered her hands. "Did your parents try to marry you off too?" Your head shook. "No, but my parents owed a lot of money to someone before they died leaving me with it." You clarified with a deep frown on your face. "In order to pay back the debt I was almost married to a man with a very bad temper." You explained without going into a lot of detail. "So I ran away." "But...Wouldn't that be dishonorable?" "I left them enough money to easily cover the debt but I still left. I didn't want to risk anyone making me marry someone I didn't love, and the only way I could do that was to run."....You shifted your numb leg with a wince then you felt a small throb from your ankle again. "But it doesn't seem fate really hasn't taken a liking to me." You made your point by gesturing to your leg. "Because my luck seems to keep going from bad to worst to down right hell." "I wouldn't say all your luck is terrible. You were lucky enough to land in Lord Kyogai's good graces! Out of all the Lords, he's the most merciful and kind other than Lord Akaza! He'll make sure no harms come to you while you remain with us! Have no worry!" "Yeah...I guess so...But you still haven't told me how you came to work for him." "Oh! Didn't I tell you?" You shook your head. No. You literally ranted but you didn't say that out loud. "Lord Kyogai was interested in my knowledge of medicine. ..Or I should say my kind's medical practices." Her frown came back. "I don't actually know that much about humans or their bodies, so I don't have any knowledge of how to treat you." Your brows rose in surprise. "So..You're saying he chose to hire you based on your skills?" She nodded. "Of course. He said it was better to have a healer on hand in case anything ever happened. I'm sure glad he did, because I'm very sure my parents would've tried offering me to become one of Lord Douma's concubine's instead." She shivered. "But they were happy to just accept his offer of hiring me for a time." "They were really alright with that?" She nodded and with a very serious voice spoke eerily calm. "It brings a demon's family great honor if they should enter the servitude of a Lord Kizuki or the Master himself, much more if they enter the family of one. I'm very lucky." "That's another thing..." You leaned forward a little bit and asked, "I was wondering something. Would it be ok if I ask you about it?" "Ask and I'll answer you to the best of my abilities!'' Well..She did agree. "I've noticed everyone mentioning lords or masters around here. Isn't Kyogai the master of this house?" THUD!! The wooden box fell to the floor, making your body jump and F/c eyes blinked at the neat box. Like time slowed, the lid popped open and out tumbled many things. A roll of bandages bounced along the floor like a ball until it hit a wall. A few viles clinked with pretty glass sounds against one another, the gods granting their wish of not breaking. It was a waterfall of objects scattered around the polished floors. It was almost a pretty sight watching them all scatter across the floor until they all eventually rolled to a stop in various places across the wooden floor. It was then that silence echoed throughout the small room as you continued to stare at the objects in surprise at what just happened, until f/c eyes slowly trailed upwards to Eri to ask why she did that, but stopped when you saw her face. Her terrified. Horror stricken. Down right scared face. All four eyes were blown wide open in horror as she stared at you, as if she had just seen death itself reach it's menacing claws to claim her soul. Her mouth also wide open in what you could only think of as a silent scream without any sound. The horrified expression she suddenly shifted too caught you really off guard as you silently stared back at her in your own brand of shock. The tense pregnant silence continuing more until you eventually gained enough sense to ask. "Are you..alright?" "D-D-Don't say that that!," Eri's stuttering voice cried out and you leaned back on impact from the tone she had. It was as terrified as her face looked. She fussed head suddenly snapping around the empty room looking for-...for-...Something. Something you didn't know. "You mustn't say that! Y-Y-You mustn't let anyone hear you say that!" ...Your f/c eyes also slowly scanned the room the longer her four eyes dizzily looked about like a paranoid chicken, even swiveling your head around for the thing that wasn't there she was looking for. No one was in here besides yourself and herself, so you weren't sure what or who she was worried about. Your head was just looking behind yourself, at the plain futon which was again empty as again no one else was in the room with the two of you there, until two clawed hands suddenly slapped-grabbed your cheeks in a way that made you jump and your neck almost popped as Eri forced you to snap back around to her very serious-scared face, her other two hands grabbing your shoulders with enough force to keep you from running even if you tried, not that you could still being injured and judging by her strength, she was still very much stronger than yourself despite being about the same size and height. "Listen to me very carefully," she hissed through her fangs in a hushed tone almost a whisper to your ears. "I know you have not been here long and you're not planning on staying here for longer than you must, but you must never, e v e r. Refer to Lord Kyogai or any other demon as Master." Her grip on your cheeks and shoulders increased. "You must not imply it, say it, or even think it. Lord Kyogai is that. Lord Kyogai. Lord of this home. Refer to him as anything. Owner. Lord. Boss. My one true love if you so wish! Only The Master is allowed to be called Master. He is the only Master above us all, no other matches his position. So I plead you. For everyone's safety including your own, NEVER say that word unless you're referring to our one and only Master." Silence. Eri lungs heaved now, each breath blowing over your own wide eyed face as she continued to pant and pant..until her bottom pair of eyes happened to glance down at her hands practically wrangling your face, and immediately let go with shaking hands. "Ah...M-My apologies." "Ouch." Your own hands reached up to rub your now sore cheeks. "That's...quite a reaction." You settled on saying. "It's was the appropriate reaction!," she insisted frowning, "It's law no one calls anyone Master except to refer to The Master himself!" "Who even IS your Master? I don't understand that. That's what I'm asking about. I'm not understanding." "I just told you! The Master is the supreme ruler of all demons. What he says is obsolete." So...'The Master' was actually THE Master of all demons? "Under himself is the Twelve Kizuki, which includes Lord Kyogai himself." "Twelve Kizuki?...Who're they?" By now Eri had leaned down to pick her box back up and slowly collect her belongings, but one pair of eyes still stared at you as she spoke. "You mean you don't know? I thought everyone knew about our twelve lords." But she answered you anyways. "The Twelve Kizuki are the twelve lords right under the Master himself in terms of rank and status. They're all hand picked by the Master himself to help him with whatever he needs of them. Lord Kyogai is one of them, thus he takes his duties very seriously." "So...It's like an emperor and his closest generals." Ok...That made a bit more sense to you. "In a way. Humans wouldn't understand our society unless you chose to live under the Master's rule like so many already do, but it's better to heed my warnings while you're a guest here. It'll be safer for all involved." You slowly nodded. "I understand. Thank you." You didn't have the chance to ask Eri anything else because at that moment the sliding door opened again and Nagi stepped back in having returned with some kind of pork soup. Didn't matter to you, you were thankful for the distraction, and for the food for your empty stomach which rumbled at the smell of it. Eri didn't bring up anything you had discussed to Nagi and you figured it would be best to let sleeping dogs lie. You wouldn't be staying here long anyways, so you didn't need to stick your nose into things that didn't concern you. The sooner you left the better, and the less you knew the better you were as well. The rest of that day passed by as normal as you could be. Nagi and Eri kept you company and every few hours one of them would go get another big bucket of ice cold water for your ankle or get you more food. By the end of the day you could barely feel your leg from how long it had been dunked in the water. The warm blanket of the futon was very welcoming when they helped you move into it before leaving. Letting you close your eyes to the darkening skies hoping that above all else tomorrow that it would all just be a bad dream and you'd awaken to finish traveling your new found freedom. Unfortunately fate still didn't seem to favor you because the next day was exactly the same. You woke hopeful but a throb of pain from your ankle followed by Eri opening the door cheerfully with another bowl of that pork soup stuff for breakfast and another giant bucket of that very cold well water. Screw your life. Rinse and repeat the cycle of everything the day before had, minus that Nagi was there. When you pointed that out to Eri she didn't seem bothered. "Oh! She has other duties to attend to so she won't be back unless Lord Kyogai also commands her to assist me in taking care of you, which I need no further help as it's easy!" "How is he anyways? Those cuts looked pretty deep." "Oh don't worry about him," she assured you, "The lords are all powerful demons. They're regeneration abilities are greater than us below them. He should be fully healed by the end of today and be able to return the drum to his back!" "....Drum?" She nodded. "Yes. He has them all over his body. They are a part of his power." Is that what those weird lumps sticking out of his body were!? DRUMS!? "Uh...I-I see. ...Where is he now?" "He is in one of his studies working on documents the Master has sent him. By now someone must've brought him lunch. Why?" "Have you treated his wounds today? Or changed his bandages?" Eri seemed surprised at your questions but shook her head no. "No. I treated them yesterday, and he should be fully healed at the end of today anyways-" "That's no excuse!" Your snap caught the lady demon off guard because he leaned back as you scowled. "Even if he's going to be like nothing happened in a few hours, it's still your duty to clean his wounds and take care of him UNTIL HE DOES GET BETTER!! You're his healer! You're supposed to help him!" "My apologies." She slowly blinked. "But my lord has ordered me to care for you as you heal. I'm only simply following his orders." A smack sound echoed throughout the mostly empty room as your facepalmed yourself. "Does everyone here lack common sense- You know what!?" Your arms reached down from your face to the sides of the chair as you pushed up against it. "Fine! I'll do it myself-OOF!" Just as quickly you were forced back down by the stronger force of Eri, whom's hands were holding you back sitting in the chair by your shoulders. "Uh...Are you a fan of pain or all humans this insane? You can't walk! You're supposed to stay off your leg remember? It's healing still!" "And are all demons this stubborn or is it just him?! He's going to hurt himself if he keeps this up!" "Considering he's still alive, I highly doubt that-" She pushed you down again as you attempted to stand up, the cold water from bucket sloshing around and threatening to spill everywhere. "Will you remain still!?" "UUUUUGGH!!! FINE!!" A hand was held up and pointed at her face making all four eyes go cross eyed at it. "Then we'll make a deal. You go change his bandages and treat his wounds and I'll stay here off my legs." "I can't just leave you by yourself! What if something happens to you while I'm gone?" You deadpanned. "What am I going to do? Magically fly out the window? I can't even walk! Where would I go? I doubt anyone's going to try anything anyways with your boss telling everyone not to. I'm going to remain here until you get back. I promise." She didn't look convinced. "You're going to have to leave me here alone anyways to get me lunch aren't you?" She hummed. "I guess that's true...But I still don't like the thought of this-" You tried to get up again and she forcibly pushed you back in the chair. "Are you trying to get hurt!? Ok, ok! I'll do it! But if I get in trouble, this'll all be on you!" "I'll accept whatever trouble I'll get in! Now heal him or I'll hop on one leg to him to do it myself!" Eri huffed and released your shoulders, you crossed your arms in defiance looking back at her with the same expression. "You know, you are very stubborn." "So are you. Now heal on, Healer." "Fine. But don't say I didn't tell you so when we get in trouble." You remained in that position arms crossed as Eri rolled her eyes, grabbed her wooden box, and then exited the room you both were in. What was seriously going through these demons' minds!? Did they not think to take care of themselves what so ever?! Besides. It's not as if you were going to go anywhere. You couldn't even crawl let alone walk with the pain your leg had. Nothing bad was going to happen from waiting here for a little while as Eri tended to her lord one last time. What's the worse that could happen? ....Oh you really weren't prepared for what trouble was currently heading your way with blue eyes and a violent temper to match it. ************************************************************************************* Scribble. Scribble. Scribble. The sounds of a quill scratching against parchment was the only sounds that filled the air during this time other than the occasional footsteps that walked past his doorway, and the small clink of the chopsticks in his other hand. The smells of meats and the savory comfort of seasoned steak was one of the few luxuries he enjoyed during this stressful time of recounting yet another death certificate being sure to fill out all the important details of the man found dead and how his death played out. Another insect battling over a female this season. Gyutaro's work of course. Anyone approaching his sister was immediately eliminated. There were many foolish insects who dared to approach Upper Moon Six and demand partnership with her despite her brother's notorious protective streak. But it was the same thing every year. Sigh. But ironically that wasn't what made him both confused and angry. Someone had gotten into a fight over a female. That shouldn't have surprised him. There was millions of demons going through courtships right now during the season, and it wasn't uncommon for men to get into fights over a woman they liked enough and even kill each other over her (Stupid if you asked him), and he's seen plenty of death certificates in which that happened. And he would go through the same cycle as usual. Get the news of someone's death. Fill out their certificate for the records. And then send a message to notify any next of kin in case none had heard of their loved ones' death. But what confused him about this death was that it wasn't just any demon who killed this man. This man was killed by a Twelve Kizuki. Now this shouldn't have surprised or confused him. It wasn't new or particularly unheard of for the Uppermoons to cause death. Gyutaro and his sister cause so many every January. Sometimes Akaza would kill a man defending a woman. Even he himself has had the occasional death by his own hands, he had ended two intruders lives not too long ago. But this particular Uppermoon was one he wasn't expecting to see as a cause of death. "Kaigaku. What have you been doing?" Kaigaku had gotten into a fight with another demon and ended up killing him in their scuffle. Getting into a fight wasn't anything new to the youngest Kizuki, he got into them quite frequently. But his job was to keep the eastern border safe and keep any dangers OUT. Not to get into fights with random demons! ...He made a mental note to report to Kokushibo about his student's actions later. He hated to admit this...but he couldn't help but think that somehow this incident and the human was connected. Somehow that human was able to get lost within these woods without him knowing allegedly? There was no way Kaigaku didn't know about the human. He smelt his scent on her and he had given himself away very clearly. "You have the human?" Now why would he ask him if he had 'the human' if he wasn't looking for her or at the very least if he wasn't looking for her? Something didn't sit right with him but it's not like he could just ask Kaigaku about it, not unless he wanted to make the young idiot suspicious and the last thing he needed to deal with was this tempered brat on top of worrying about Enmu's eventual visit and an injured human to take care of ON TOP of all his work! So for now he'd let it go. He'll ask Kaigaku about this situation after the human was somewhere safely away, and when he wasn't swamped with work. Knock. Knock. Knock. He didn't even bother to look up at the knocks on the door. "Come in but make it quick." He still didn't look up as the door slid open and he felt the presence of someone walk into the room behind him. "Master Kyogai." Scribble. Scrib- He paused. Quill and chopsticks pausing in their motions. He turned to look over his shoulder. And was met with the sight of Eri bowing to him, various objects in her many arms. "Eri? ..What are you doing here?" He frowned at her. "I gave you specific instructions to watch over the human." A nervous expression immediately crossed over her still bowed face. "I-...Y-Y-You d-did, Sir. I didn't mishear you or disobey you I swear!" "Then why are you here instead of taking care of the human? Is she causing trouble?" She shook her head. "N-No, Sir! No trouble at all...But..s-s-she is very stubborn." He hummed as an indication for her to explain and two of her arms held out a small bowl of warmed water. "S-S-She insisted I come here to tend your wounds a second time or else she would come here and treat you herself. She started thrashing around when I held her down, so I had no choice but to agree to get her to stay! Please forgive me! I promise I shall not let this happen again with her I swear to you!" Silence. There was silence as he stood there waiting for the slow slap of reality to fully scrap across his face as he just continued to stare at her. ".....She what?" "Y-Yes. I'm sorry. She seemed very concerned you were still hurt! I tried explaining to her you'll be perfectly fine, but she wouldn't listen. Please don't be too angry." And again more silence. He stared at Eri wide eyed and flabbergasted. The human..insisted he be treated? Again? Despite the fact that he'd literally be fine even before this day was over? He opened his mouth-...Before closing it and turning back to his papers and food. "I see...If it'll appease the human then do so, but do it quickly and get back to her. I don't want her unattended for too long." He didn't want to open this headache right now. He already had enough to worry about. A sigh of relief faded from Eri's lips. "Y-Yes, Sir. I-I won't be long." He let out a grunt in response and just continued on with his work, but he could hear and feel Eri work behind him. She settled herself behind him, right where the bandages that was placed on himself yesterday were, and it wasn't too long when he felt her hands tug at those bandages before with a firm fist, they were simply cut through by her claws and pulled from his body to be discarded later. Exposing his mostly healed slashes to her now. Like they both knew, they were indeed almost fully healed now. Nothing but mere thin cuts just along his back. They'll be fully gone within a few more hours, not even scars left behind. It really was nothing to worry about, but he wouldn't blame a human's simple mind for not understanding that. It was almost cute how she insisted he be treated...Almost. He was still annoyed his work was interrupted like this. The small sounds of water being disturbed reached the ears of the demon, and a moment later something warm, wet, and gentle was placed against the wounds and guided across them back and forth to clean them off before she redressed them. He gave a small grunt at her working on him but other than that, showed no signs of pain at her work. It was just sore now instead of throbbing pain like a day ago. Eri made quick work of cleaning them and drying them off before a terrible stench reached his nose. Eck! That ointment of hers. He wouldn't fight against her putting that foul smelling stuff on him but he always turned his nose up at how terrible it smelt. He just turned his head the other direction just so it wouldn't have to smell it head on. Ah. One draw back to his incredible sense of smell. You had smelt it stronger than most other people. So he tried to focus his mind on other scents besides the foul smelling ointment Eri was now slathering all over his wounds. He focused hard on the other smells in the room. Eri, the food he had been previously eating, the ink still in it's ink stone waiting to be used, the goose in which his quill came from, the scents that wafted into the room now from the wide open door- He froze up. His muscles locked up. Rigid. As something faint. Something ...Bad entered here, and registered in his mind upon impact. Eri noticed it right away, pausing in her movements and looking up in question at her lord. Whom stared at the door. "My lord?" She gasped and fell backwards in shock when the lumbering form of the demon stood up, making his form appear a lot more menacing as he stared at the door. "Kaigaku." You leaned back in the chair blissfully unaware of the approaching footsteps stomping their way towards your room. It had been a little while since Eri had left and left you just sitting there with nothing to do but keep your hurt leg submerged in the cold bucket of water. There was literally nothing you could do to keep yourself entertained other than to day dream of everything you wanted to do once you got out of here with your newfound freedom. Maybe that's why you didn't hear the stomping coming straight towards your room- STOMP. STOMP. STOMP. STOMP- Or the door being grabbed hard enough to leave claw indents in them. SLAM!! Making you gasp and whip your head to the thundering storm looming in the doorway only to meet blue eyes. "It's about dam time I fucking found you."
Demon Bride Ch8(Warning: Light cussing, Implied death, wounds, some blood, and other injuries mentioned.) The earth was a beautiful thing if you needed it to be, or if you wanted to make it become that way. And in a way, it was both to you in the end. The sweet smells of flowers and grass filling your lungs. Combined with the warmth of the sunlight warming your smaller body as you walked along the pathway back towards your small home. Today was a perfect day to go fishing within the woods as it was warm, full of food, and a wide variety of other items that you could harvest. Wild berries to be picked. Old fruit trees long forgotten. A small pond with plenty of fish that only you knew. It was perfect for someone like you who was low on money, needed to repay a debt, and couldn't afford food all the time. You could just harvest and hunt whatever you needed even if you lost track of time and it was fairly dark now. It shouldn't take you too long to get back to your village, but even then it'll be dark before you got back anyways. Not that you were too worried about still being in the woods when night fell, after all there wasn't really anything dangerous like bears or tigers where you lived. They usually didn't go near human settlements. The most dangerous predator in these woods was the hawks and owls with the occasional fox here and there. You doubt a bird or tiny fox would even want to bother you, you were much bigger compared to them and it wouldn't be worth the fight for the food you carried when they could easily hunt their own. So no. You weren't worried at all. And it was beautiful outside tonight, a warm breeze in summer and the moonlight being your companions for the long trip back home. But a campfire being lit up was new. And something that caught your attention, and you couldn't help but wonder over and accidentally startling the man who was using the fire as his companion for the night, and it took you getting closer to figure out one thing. He had been staring in your direction this entire time. It took you off guard once the realization hit you, and it caused you to pause staring back at the face. "Uh...Oops. Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." You couldn't make out his face entirely, the fire was too small to produce enough light and he sat cross legged mostly in darkness so you couldn't make out exactly what color the eyes that looked back at you were. But you could tell he was young, maybe late twenties or early thirties with some strange markings on his face, especially just over and under his eyes. They looked like straight lines. Maybe scars? Strange. "No. You did...not scare me. Who...are you?" "I'm from the village. I wasn't expecting anyone else to be out here hunting." "I am...not hunting. Is that...what you were doing?" "Well no. I was fishing. It's easier than setting traps and trying to chase down prey. But if you're not hunting, what are you doing all alone out here?" "I am...traveling home...from meeting distant family." He spoke strangely. Very slow and with pauses between his words. Strange. Maybe he was tired from traveling. It was turning night after all. "Oh. Well I won't disturb you then....Have you eaten anything?" "No." "Then here." The man seemed surprised when you reached out to the line you were holding, snapping off one of the fish, and holding it out to the darkened figure. "It's not much, but traveling on an empty stomach isn't good for your strength. Take this and make some food out of it...Wait. You do know how to cook fish, right?" The stranger remained silent for a long moment just looking at the fish dangling from your hand. "...Don't...need to." A hand reached out and grabbed it from the darkness. You noted how much larger they were compared to yours and the strange pointed nails but didn't comment as the hand pulled it back into the darkness and away from your sight. The man's head turning away downwards to you assume look at the food you had offered him. "...This...will suffice...for now." He then turned back to you. "What...will ...you do now?" "Go home of course." Your head nodded down the pathway back towards your village and his head turned following your direction. "Wait. Did you just say you couldn't cook fish?" "It is...unnecessary-" "No it's not!" Your rise in volume made him turn back to you, not surprised or anything but his brow rose at your frown. "Don't you know eating raw meat isn't good for your body? Or are you trying to save it for later?" "I...will reserve my hunger...for later travel-" "By then the meat will be bad and unsuitable for consumption. That'll just make you even more sick regardless if it's cooked or not!" You wanted to facepalm this stranger. You didn't know him at all, but he wasn't the brightest it seemed, or being tired and hungry is clouding his judgement. You extended your hand. "Here. Give it to me. I'll cook it for you then." "You will...cook for me?" "Yes. Because I gave you the fish, if you refuse to eat it properly then it'll be on me if you get sick. There's a fire here and plenty of sticks from the trees, so I'll be able to cook it for you the same way I cook it for myself." He didn't say anything, but after a couple seconds, a hand slowly held out the fish back out to you and you took it back, only to drop your small bag and other fish to the ground and wonder off towards the woods still carrying the fish in one hand. All the while his two eyes followed your every movement from your form walking into the darkness, to your hand picking up a stick and jabbing it into the fish, to you walking back and just placing the entire thing into the fire with a part of the long stick safely out of the way of flames. And then the silence resumed for what seemed like hours as he just watched your actions which included using the stick to flip the fish over onto the other side after a long while. After a long while more, you completely pulled the now fully brown fish from the fire and held it out to him with a smile. "Here. It should be good to eat now, and don't try to save it for too long or else it'll go bad." There was another pause from the man who just stared at the food you offered before the same hand reached over and took it from you once again. Seeing it as your job being done here, you stood back up and turned away from him. "Where are you heading anyways?" "I live...beyond the mountain." Ah. So another traveler heading up there. There was a few in your limited years of living here and they all traveled past your village on their way over the mountains ...Although it was a bit strange this stranger was returning there after already coming through here to visit family. He must've taken a different route you supposed. Either way it was none of your business. Your business was to pay off what your parents dumbly left behind. "Is your destination far? You might need some more food." "I will...be fine." That was a no then. You sighed and picked up your remaining fish and bag only to toss it at his feet with a thud. He looked at it, then up at your still smiling face. "It's full of wild fruits and vegetables. They might taste a little bitter, but they'll last you a couple days. I can just come back and get more for myself." He didn't say anything, not that you were expecting him to, but you too that as your cue to leave, so your body bowed at the waist. "May you have a safe journey home." With that you turned and began walking back off towards the direction of your village, with less food for your hungry self, but you could always come back and get more. The strange man watched your form until it disappeared from his sight and slowly turning back to the fish in his hand....And taking a rather large bite with his inhuman fangs. *************************************************************************************** It was still dark when you came to. And the first thing you felt was- "Dam them! Dam them! That door will be hell to fix!" You felt..Oddly warm. Warm but numb. As if you were weightless inside a warm ocean. Like when you were just waking up from a dream on a beautiful summer morning. "Not to mention everything will stain and it'll take forever to fully clean it all!" "Lord Kyogai. Has she awakened yet?" "...No. But I suspect she will soon. Are you certain she's not dead?" "Dead people do not breath, My Lord. But my knowledge on human anatomy is extremely limited, I won't be able to give you any answers to her condition other than 'she isn't dead.'" An annoyed growl escaped somewhere in the darkness of the numb warm ocean of thoughts. "Shall I tend to your wounds now?" "No. I'll regenerate within a day or two anyways. Rejoin the others and clean all the mess thoroughly," a voice commanded, "Burn the remains to nothing but ashes. Fix what needs to be repaired. No one is go outside until this season passes over. Do I make myself clear on that!?" "Of course, Sir." "GOOD!! And make sure you tell everyone else to follow those orders! The last thing I need is more insects thinking they can trespass in here!" "May I ask what you will be doing, My Lord?" A tired sigh came from somewhere. "What else would I be doing this time of year? Writing down all the death and marriage certificates that comes with this blasted month! Tell Mayla to bring me anymore reports left unfinished immediately. I will not have this incident push back my deadlines!" "Yes, Sir. Of course, Sir." "Good. Now leave me be for now. I have much to get done." "And the human, Lord Kyogai?" "...Leave her here. I'll decide what's to be done when she wakes." There was quick, light footsteps that stepped away from you and then a drag and thud sound quite similar to the sounds a sliding door would make. Leaving you alone with nothing but the male voice and yourself slowly regaining feeling and memories. THUD. THUD. THUD. THUD. Footsteps made their way also from where the door was until with a heavy thud they sat down just a foot or two away from your body. And silence resumed. And then you slowly started to regain feeling. The warmth became obvious when you hand gave the tiniest bit of movement and you felt cloth against your skin, and your entire body. Something was over you keeping you warm, except for your forehead. Something cool and soft was placed against your forehead creating a clash against warmth the rest of your body felt. And then it came. A deep. Terrible. Awful. Terrible throb of pain from your leg making you snap your eyes open immediately only to blink them into the harsh light and become blurry the longer you stared without blinking, until you did and slowly your vision refocused and saw a...lantern?? A bright light from a lantern calmly shined above you in the middle of a ceiling. It's warm glow was a contrast to the absolute throbbing pain that came from your right leg making you internally wince at the bigger painful throb that came from it when you moved it. Wha- Where were you!? Were you finally dead this time?...Couldn't be. You still felt pain, and a dead person wouldn't be able to feel pain surely. And then...it all came back to you in a bright white flash. Last night. The monsters. The one with insect eyes who fell from the tree. The one with the sword who ate your remaining food. The one that was fat and sounded like a pig. The one who crawled on all fours and used it's tongue as a whip. The one who had grabbed you by the chin and demanded your name. They-..They weren't real right!? Surely now that you had woken up, it had all been a bad fever dream fueled by your paranoia and the scary night! After all you had woken up and there wasn't anymore monsters around here anymore. It was daytime. Your eyes lightly turned. So there's no way y- You froze. Your eyes widened. Your jaw dropped open. Sitting there, just a yard away from you, was a monster. And one you saw before. He had his back to you, sitting on a giant pillow in front of a table. One of his arms was moving slightly, as if he was doing something on the table you couldn't see, and the faint scratching sounds of writing was able to reach your ears from where you laid, although in the moment your shocked brain couldn't register it as writing. Now close to him, you could make out long black hair that reached just above his shoulder blades, and right under that was-... Oh... Oh you were gonna be sick- Right in the center of his back was four deep wounds in a downards-right slash motion, the skin broken and the pink flesh underneath revealed. They weren't that deep, but it was still a horrid sight to be hold anyways. Oddly enough however, they weren't bleeding out despite being open wounds, however there was still splatters of dried blood all over his back and where it dripped down across the skin before it stopped. You stared at the sight wide eyed as an instant wave of sickness hit you, your breath quickened silently and your heart beats spiked for a moment at the horrid sight. Scribble. Scribble. Scrib- The sounds of feint writing stopped. And once again there was silence as you continued to lay there silently. "Hey. You." You flinched at the sudden raspy voice that calmly spoke out. "So you're finally awake." In an instant, you reacted. Snapping your jaw shut and closing your eyes shut as the thing's head turned to look over his shoulder at you. Resisting the urge to panic and look asleep still- "I can tell you're awake. Your breathing and heart beats are irregular. I can hear them as plain as day." He could hear that!? "Are you going to continue to keep this annoying charade up or are you going to act like an adult?" You were still frozen even when a hand reached over and you felt a finger poke your arm. Your body couldn't help but flinch making the voice sigh. "There's no need to fear me. If I had wanted you harmed, I would have done so the moment we met last night. I have no intentions of spilling anymore blood and making another mess. Now open your eyes and allow me to speak with you dammit!" The finger prodded you again and startled you into opening your eyes, having them widen in fear at the face that was -....was...looking bored out of his mind??? The monster just sat there cross legged, with his head in one hand, and rose a brow at your reaction like he was tired of this already. The face he made you...confused. Still worried and afraid but now confused as you blinked. ''That's better," he huffed, "Are you able to speak?" You remained silent staring. "Hey! Are you able to speak or do I need a human translator?!" "I-I can talk!!," you squeaked out in a panic and he nodded satisfied. "Good. Now then listen very carefully because I will only ask this once, he spoke with authority but at the same time he still sounded tired. "Who are you? Why are you here?" Your mouth opened and closed a few times as you tried to pull yourself together before you sputtered out an answer. "I-...I-I was chased in here!" "By another demon?" "Y-Yes! B-By lots of demons!" "I see...Well you shouldn't worry about them from here. They've already been 'dealt with'." "A-Are you going to eat me?" That caught the monster off guard because his tired expression went to one of surprise, but then it went back to a frown. "What? Eat you?" You flinched at the new annoyed tone. "Do I look like a cannibal to you? Why would I-" His free hand came to his temples. "Eat you. Is this what Akaza meant by 'classic human paranoia'? NO! I'm not going to eat you. I don't have the least bit interest in doing so." You were still tense, but let yourself relax a bit at that. "W-Where am I?" "My home," he clarified with a raised brow, "You and two other uninvited guests barged into my home last night and left a giant mess!" You winced. "I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean to! It was just I was being chased by that giant hell spawn and I saw your house and-...and..." You again winced when the pain from your leg throbbed hard. "Ah!" The sudden yell seemed to have startled him a little bit because he jumped and blinked when you made yourself sit up slowly the blanket you were covered in falling off. "What is wrong?" "My ankle! It hurts!" Another dull throb erupted from just above your ankle where that gross tongue squeezed down hard on it. "That stupid monster must've done something to my leg- WHOA! HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" You resisted the urge to just outright smack his hand away when he reached over to push the blanket from your legs. "Be calm, Y/n." You froze. "I'm just inspecting where the damage may lie." You didn't move after that, not that he cared as he just calmly looked at your bare legs. The many small cuts and bruises were still present but the healer had said they should heal no problem. It was easy to tell which leg must've been hurting her because the right one had a bruising pattern similar looking to a rope wrapped around your leg tight enough to leave bruising, and it was lightly more swollen than the left ankle. Lightly, he hovered a hand over the area. "Is this where the pain is coming from?" "OW!" You jolted when he lightly touched it and immediately stopped at your reaction, hissing through your teeth, you nodded. "Y-Yeah. That's it...But how do you know my name? A-And where's my boots!?" "You told me last night when we first met, and I had my healer remove them." he gestured at your body. "She was the one who looked you over and treated your minor injuries. You should be rid of most of them within a few days time." Last night-....Oh yes. Last night. Just before you passed out. "Although I do have further questions. What are you doing within this part of the forest? You are far from any human settlements." "Huh?" You blinked. "O-Oh. I was actually heading for the other side o-of the mountain." You gestured with a hand. "But I got lost last night and ended up being chased by quite a few monsters. I thought maybe I'd be able to shelter here until the sun came up, but it seems I was wrong." Well that certainly explains most of what entailed. So she had gotten lost and ended up being chased by others until she came across his home by chance and was followed in by desperate insects. But he still rose a confused brow. "So you are...not an offered bride?" You just stared at him for a moment longer, before frowning confused. "Bride? Excuse me, Sir! But I was running away from a marriage, not going into one. I'm nobody's wife. What gave you the idea I was?" "You are wearing white," he bluntly said as if it was obvious. You blinked raising a brow at the now slightly torn up and dirty white kimono that you had fled from your village in. "Ok. And?" You gave him a look. "Lots of people wear white, that doesn't mean I'm getting married, and this dress isn't even close to something as elegant as a wedding dress." Now he looked even more confused. Those blue and red eyes looked you up and down looking for an answer for a specific question he held. "What's your name?" "Huh?..." He looked back at you, slowly blinked, and looked away again. "It's Kyogai." "Kyogai," you tried out the name on your tongue..before offering a smile. "Thank you for rescuing me last night. If it wasn't for you, I might've been eaten by one of those monsters." "Yes. Well I-..." he paused mouth open before looking at you again. "Wait. Pardon but did you imply you thought those insects were after you because they wanted to eat you?" "Yes. That's why I was running from them." You tilted your head. "That's what they were trying to do...Weren't they?" He groaned. "You really don't know anything do you?" A hand reached back up to rub his head. "No." His hair moved as he shook his head. "No they weren't after you for food, they were seeking a mate." You stared at him. He stared back at you. He only patiently watched as the gears whirled in your mind, your face a blank slate of emotion until only one word escaped you- "WHAT?!" "It is my kind's mating season," he bluntly said, "It lasts this entire month. You wondering into the woods is the equivalent of a rabbit willingly throwing themselves into the jaws of a wolf." He only watched, seeing your expression go from blank to horrified to disgusted. "Wearing the color you have on your person wasn't doing anyone any favors." "Are you telling me-," you started slowly feeling a disgusted feeling bubbling in your stomach, "-that I was being chased around for the sole purpose of-...O-Of...Because these things wanted me as a wife!?" "To put it simply, yes. But they weren't supposed to. According to laws they're supposed to at least court you or see if you express interest in offering your dowry." he grunted annoyedly. "Unfortunately there's disgusting insects who don't like to follow the lays. That's why my Master appoints Akaza and other of my ranks to make sure the laws are obeyed." Oh yeah. That reminds him- "You mean I could've been-..*GAG*" Your hands clasped over your mouth as a disgusted feeling speared through you. "Oh, gods above. I think I'm going to be sick!" "You do not have to worry. Your problems have been dealt with, and as annoying as it may be, I don't feel like throwing you to the wolves." Well...thank gods for that at least, you were still having trouble processing this. "I-...I don't even know what to say! What to think! H-How could anyone mistake me f-for a-...THAT!!" "You're wearing white like the others." Your head snapped to him so fast he was surprised it didn't go flying. "*sigh* It's not often that it happens...But sometimes if the humans are desperate they think sending a forced offering would bring what luck they seek." "And does that work?" "More often than not a poor human is just forced into an unwilling union for the rest of their lives. Many years ago it was a sigh of peace to send a bride every year, but now it's more of a taboo practice if it even still happens...Are you alright? You look pale." You just stared. "....I think I'm going to be sick." You slowly looked back to him. "Well, what's going to happen to me n-now?" He might've commented on your 'sickness' but the second question seemed to throw the demon through a loop as he opened his mouth ...and slowly closed it looking you over again. "I-....am unsure. I have never encountered a situation like this before." "So...Does this mean I can just leave?" He slowly nodded. "I have no reason to keep you here. We are not enemies, and you have not done any of the damages to my home, but I do not believe it is a good idea to do so now." "My leg?" "That and I believe you would still be in danger. With yourself being injured, there would be no escape from whoever hunts you." The thought of potentially some other monster hunting you was bad enough, and all for what? Just because they were that desperate for marriage!? And not escaping...that was NOT an option! An even worse option than Sanemi ever was! That was THE last thing you wanted! "Then..what do I do?" "It is..hard to say. I do not know human medicine, so I will not be able to tell what is wrong with you." This was a big problem. He wasn't expecting an bad turn of events such as this. In reality he was hoping he could just ask her a few questions and send her on her way, then get back to his work for his Master hated delays. But now this complicated things. The idea of throwing an injured human woman to the ravenous wolves wasn't one he liked too much but he hated having a stranger in his home at the same time. Although he guessed he could just have one of the servants take care of her until she healed, but no one here was able to know what injuries she sustained. Could they be permanent? He didn't know. But maybe he knew someone would know! Who did he know that knew humans really well? The first one who came to mind instantly was Douma. But as soon as he thought that, he disregarded that instantly. No. Douma would not do. He's not one that screams 'I know medical practice' and he'd spend the majority of his time advertising that perverted cult of his. Maybe Akaza? He seemed to like humans the most out of all the upper moons (genuinely not like Douma's creeping 'liking' to them), but again he had nothing that had medical practice etched into it. Kyogai was hesitant to ask his Master himself. The Master would most likely see that as an insult, to disrupt him and his affairs to attend to a stranger, a human with no real significance to him. He'd be punished. Only one person came to mind he knew for certain, but he pushed that idea back. Then thought about him again and then pushed it away again, then it happened again and he frowned, growling at the thought and making you jump at the sudden growl. There was no wanting to call upon...HIM of all people! He was just as bad as Douma! But-... "Are..you alright?" He closed his eyes and nodded. A huge inhale being slowly taken in before being released back out even more slowly. "...Yes." He lied. "I am fine. I believe I know who may be able to help our unfortunate situation." You perked up. "Really? Who?" "It would be best if I send a message to see what can be done about him coming here first of all. Our Master prefers us to be busy and dislikes us interrupting others." He ignored your stare as he turned back around until he was back to facing away from you and down at the table. His documents and quill and ink pot forgotten for the moment but longing to be done. Sigh. He'll have to work hard and fast to make up for the time wasted. "What are you doing?" He blocked out her voice. A deeper and slower inhale. Closing his eyes in concentration. Allowing his mind to go into that meditative state. It was like his conscious became thinned, light as air, and as nimble as a snake slithering through the lines of connection between himself and the bonds the Master's blood allowed them all to have. If he had one way of describing it, he would say it felt and looked like a tree rooted into their minds, different branches that were never the same but still connected to the same trunk in the end sharing the same deepened roots. The mind thread slithered ever closer to the door which would lead to the connection he wanted. The one responsible for all transportation within this hivemind of threads, he reached out to that small thread sending a questioning thought for entrance from it. In return a thrum of an instrument vibrated within the wave lengths in return, a questioning tone back at him to what he wanted. A beat of a drum returned in stride. "Nakime. Lower Moon Six requests the presences of Lower Moon One and the Master if granted." Nothing was said back but there was a gateway opened and a message sent within the wave lengths. Questioning to a much more powerful force above them both with a second split off towards another branch. He hoped the Master would not be angry at his request. It did not take long for there to be a reply back. In return of his questioning, with the heavy feeling of smog and fire of an engine with a hint of amused-questioning. One he despised but one he wanted anyways. And then something much more darker. Much more wicked. Much more heavy overshadowed the both of them. The Master. The twisted, rotting, suffocating presence enveloped the wavelengths and twisted around them like gnarled roots taking in them both completely. He mentally winced and would have gladly avoid this if he could. He was thankfully not angry much to his relief. It was more of a curious hum if anything. But it didn't take away the unease of it at all. "Master." "What does Lower Moon Six desire with me?" Blunt, dark, and straight to the point as usual. The other smaller presence remained silent but he felt a curious tone under the amusement. "Forgive me. I ask permission for Lower Moon Six to assist myself with an endeavor I am unable to complete-" PAIN. A claw of talons stabbing into his mind and gripping and entrance way into his thoughts and there was the dark presence finding the answers to why he dared to contact. "You think it wise to ask of something so trivial of me? For something of unimportance compared to what others and yourself are already tasked with? Is my generosity not enough, Kyogai that you can not fix this yourself?" "FORGIVE ME MASTER!! Your mercy is not taken lightly or without great thanks! I am forever grateful! But I can not kill without cause as you have commanded! I am following your every word!" The stabbing pain receded. Pleased with his explanation and permitting him to continue on. "This human has done nothing to warrant the punishment of death, and I would go against your order of killing without cause if I allow her to leave and die to the elements. Unfortunately I am unequipped for the solution to this problem. I request your permission for Lower Moon One to come and give assistance where he excels at." The second presence turned to smug mockery at the confession and he couldn't help but feel annoyed at that. However he knew better than to cause trouble and potentially anger their master especially after he was granted the mercy of getting heard out by him. There was silence, calculating thought from the darker, heavier presence which made him nervous, but the voice spoke up again after his heavy consideration. "I will grant Lower Moon One's aid to you one week from today." A whole week of waiting!? That'll take forever. Clearly he was annoyed, but quickly squashed those feelings in an instant. It was better to not anger his Master lest he change his mind, he was lucky he was able to be granted his request at all. "I understand. Thank you, Master. I am grateful. But before we sever ties, I wish to ask something of Upper Moon One before our meeting within a week." There wasn't any response from his Master except silence, which meant he was allowing Kyogai to ask the second smaller presence what he wanted. His Master must be in a good mood today if he was allowing this second request mercifully. The second smaller presence reached out to touch his own in question, but he was mostly amused and smug about this entire thing. Speaking for the first time since this meeting started. "Mmmm. Kyogai.~" He although wanted to gag in displeasure. "Greetings, Enmu." "I must say, I am quite surprised you would even call my presence here.~ You usually do not speak to me at all beyond meetings." And he wondered why? "But now I know it's because of a pitiful human woman.~ Mmmmm! Tell me is she suffering?~ Did her life flash before her eyes knowing he couldn't escape her perils?~" "Enough of your mockery! Have respect for the Master is still within our presences!" "Yes. Forgive me, Master. What is it that Lower Moon Six wishes to ask me?~" Gods he hated that slimy tone! "The human woman, she is experiencing pain within her body under her ankle. How do I treat it until you can arrive?" And there was a silence (mercifully) from the annoying tone. A sign that this 'Enmu' was thinking to himself. Kyogai was still suprised he was knowledgeable at all in these topics. "....Hm. A pain you say? Is there perhaps any bones sticking out? Or deep wounds?" He hated out both happy and genuinely questioning Enmu's voice was. "No. No visible damage, although the skin is bruised and swollen. She seems in deep pain whenever her leg is touched or moved." "Can you tell what's wrong?" "NO! That's why I requested you be sent to me!" Again another hum. "Then it might be possible her leg is either broken or fractured, but I won't be able to tell until I'm able to look at her. But of course Master's assignments tasked to me comes first.~" "Then what do I do UNTIL you arrive!?" "All human bones work in a similar fashion. Like a delicate glasswork, they're so pitifully fragile and weak.~ So you must be careful remembering that.~ You say she experiences pain when she moves her leg? Keep her off it as much as possible. Try to make sure her leg is kept straight and stiff as a board, maybe strap it down if you must. The more she moves it, the more damage to her weakened form she might cause herself.~ Treating the swelling is a different task however...Does your mansion still have that underground well?" "Of course it does!" "Hmhmhm.~ Then I suggest submerging her leg within the cold water to help, or perhaps wrapping a cold wet towel gently around the swollen areas.~ I'll send a messenger raven with a recipe for herbal tea that helps numb the pain in human bodies. That should be sufficient enough help until Master allows me to spare a visit.~" "It does. I thank you for your words." He hated thanking this perverted insect for anything! "Master, I am grateful for your time spent on me. I have no need of anything else at this time." As instantly as he said that, the dark presence loomed over and overtook the three-way connection between all of them, severing the ties abruptly painfully causing white hot flashes to throb in his mind, and throwing them both tumbling back from one another until both presences were gone and he was left alone amongst the threads of thought. Kyogai took this time to relax and let his own mind rest from the two overwhelming people he had to speak with. Speaking with his Master was always a nerve wracking experience no matter what it was, and Enmu was.....Enmu. He hated the perverted insect to the bone! But..that was one problem off his plate, he was still curious about someone else's involvment within all of this mess. His mind thread reached out once again. "Upper Moon Five. Are you still present?" A strum of Nakime's bawa answered him in question to what he wanted from her this second time. "Lower Moon Six requests the presence of Lower Moon Two. Please grant me it." Nothing was said back but there was a gateway opened and a message sent within the wave lengths. Questioning to another branch of this wavelength tree. In return of his request, came a different presence back. This one younger, annoyed, and not too happy to be disturbed at this moment. Brash and no brains. Yep. Just what he was expecting. "Kaigaku. I'm glad you answered my calling." "What do you want!? I'm busy!" Brash and annoying as always. Sigh. "I have something to ask you concerning some events which occurred last night." "WHAT!?" He had the urge to slap this ungrateful brat already. "Last night two intruders broke into my home." "And? It's not my fault most of your staff are girls! You deal with your own territory and don't cry to me about not being able to do your job! If you want me to scare some dam idiots into submission, you can wait until I'm done!" "You not doing your job is precisely my point! One of the dam insects claimed they were chasing a human bride through the woods!" The anger in the other presence fell silent and he took very close notice of it, but he wouldn't reveal anything to him yet. "It's YOUR job to patrol the east side of the mountain and make sure no strangers enter or any demons leave the forest to that side of the mountain! Clearly you aren't doing your job good enough!" There was silence for a few seconds as the younger presence thought on what he said. "You have the human?" So he did know of her huh? "I have no human!" He lied. He had a bad feeling already about having Enmu coming to see this human girl, he won't add a walking headache maker to it too. "DO. YOUR. DAM. JOB!! NEXT TIME SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS I'M REPORTING YOUR MESS UP TO KOKUSHIBO AND THE MASTER!! DO NOT LET SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPEN AGAIN! CONSIDER THIS YOUR ONLY WARNING!! Nakime, I am done with this message." "NO! WAI-" The connection of the two wavelengths were cut off with a harsh strum of a bawa string, like a knife through hot butter, and there was a slight pain from the severed connection. But he confirmed what he needed to confirm and got what he wanted to request. With that he sent one last message. A small reach out to Nakime in thanks to her services, to which he got a single neutral strum back in response before she left him. And he was left alone. And Kyogai took that as his time to leave the wave lengths. Down, down, down he tumbled until he felt his mind reconnect with his body and feeling returned with the sigh of his lips. The feeling of sitting on the comfy pillow. And the feeling of water against his back??? He yelped when something pressed firmly against his back that was cold, wet...yet oddly soft. A small pain throbbed from his back as something delicately wiped at his back between the slashes still present and his neck twisted all the way around like an owl's startling a tiny human into dropping the red stained towel in her hands and leaning away from his back. "What are you doing!?", he demanded with a scowl. You stared at him, and the weird position of having his head turned all the way around to stare at you like an owl while his back was still facing you....but then you rose a brow. "I'm washing the dried blood off your back, and cleaning your wounds. They're exposed and that's not good! They could get infected!" You tilted your head at him. "I did ask if it was alright if I did it." "What? No you didn't!" "Yes, I did. I asked you if you were hurt but you didn't answer. Then I asked if It was okay if I helped you. You still didn't answer me but you didn't move when I started, so I took it as you were alright with it." He didn't say anything at first, just staring at you blankly before looking down near your legs. You were sitting on your knees, with a bason of water and water pitcher next to you the water was already a tinted red from where you must've dunked the towel (That used to be on your forehead-) to use it to clean up his back. The towel itself was stained a light red. His eyes then turned downwards to his back and was surprised to find all the previously dried blood cleaned off and the wounds still present looking cleaner having the filth removed. He just...stared back at you. "....Why were you doing that?" "Because you saved my life, and because it was my fault in the first place for running in here and bringing those monsters to follow me. If I hadn't, this wouldn't have happened to you." You gestured to his back. "And...I'm sorry for that." He just remained silent but his head snapped back around with a crackle of bones that made you wince at the noise and looked away from you again. "You don't need to apologize, and I don't want your apologies. I will heal within two days time anyways." "It doesn't matter! I don't want you to be hurt whether it's my fault or not!" He paused again...before looking over his shoulder at you and your frown. "So either you take care of it or I'll tend to you myself." He just stared at you silently for a long moment, before he sighed again. "Fine. I tire of fighting, and if you're insisting on this matter-" A hand reached up to one of the strange lumps sticking from his body and tapped the one on his left leg twice. You were left to wonder what he was doi- The sound of the sliding door opening startled you into falling off your knees, a hiss threw your teeth at the throb of pain from your ankle. "You called me, Lord Kyogai?", a woman's voice asked and you nearly gasped when you looked over. A woman was standing in the doorway, except she didn't look human. She was dark purple from head to toe except for her hair which was pure cinnamon brown and she had no eyes. Just a nose and mouth which was smiling. Her plain orange kimono was the only normal thing about her. "Yes," Kyogai answered without looking from the table, "Send for Eri to come tend to my wounds after all." A clawed hand pointed to the dirtied water and towel. "Take these away to be disposed of, and bring us the coldest water from the well. It will be needed for the human." She bowed. "At once, Lord Kyogai." She didn't waist any time in rushing in to collect the objects he had pointed out to her before quickly exiting the room, leaving you both alone again. Then you turned back to the largest demon. "Who was that?" "Nagi. She is one of my servants appointed to me by our Master. She is quite competent, which I find best in any servant I have here." "Your Master gives you servants?" "Not all of them were appointed by him. Some of them are those I chose to take in to shield from the dangers of my kind. Others were brought here by their families as offered servants." "Some of your servants were gifted to you by their own families!? That's cruel!" "No.... It would be crueler if I turned them away." His tone took a slightly softer edge. "If I hadn't, they would've been offered to someone else who could've been much crueler than I. They are beneath me in terms of ranks, but I do not treat them unfairly. They are paid, and I make sure they are sheltered and not overworked with plenty of food." "....You sound like a good man to work for." He made a noise and you jumped at the new noise before realizing the sound he was making from him chuckling. "Or so I've been told, but you are the first human to say that to be, so I will take that as a compliment. ...I have asked my Master to send a college of mine." He frowned again. "He is....very unlikable." Which was putting it lightly. Very lightly. "But he is knowledgeable in human medicine. He will be here within a week to tend to you." "A week!?" "Yes. Unfortunately it will take him a while to get here which is why he has said to stay off your leg and keep it still." His head turned back to you. "So please do not sit on your knees again or attempt to walk by yourself. I'll have Eri tend to you until he arrives. Until then, you shall remain here where safety can be provided. My kinds' mating season lasts until this month is over, and I'm afraid your condition will leave you open to attacks." You had to stay here for an entire week!? And you had to wait another two weeks until this month was over to escape safely!? UGH!! Great! This was turning out to be a great turn of events. "But what if more of them come in here looking for me?" "I highly doubt any will. It's forbidden to go against a Twelve Kizuki. If anymore insects should find their way in here....Then I'll eliminate them."
Demon Bride Ch7(WARNING!!!: This chapter will have cussing, slight gore, blood, wounds, maybe scars mentioned, reader getting a fractured leg from a demon, implied death/death but no actual depictions/descriptions of death, and Fighting Which Will Include: Punching, scratching, making cuts and wounds, maybe biting, some blood being spilled, mentioning of a drum being ripped out of Kyogai's back, and a demon's tongue being cut off.) And then you disappeared through the open doorway. Your body slammed down quite harshly against the ground as you crashed into it, rolling over and over until you finally stopped landing on your side. And there your limp body laid. Vision swam and your head spun as you stared up dizzily at the ceiling as your vision slowly went blurry. Then black clawed in. Then you feinted to the sounds of a drum's beats, lulling you into the dark. ************************************************** Bum! Bum! Bum! It was still dark when you came to. And the first thing you felt was the coldness and hardness of a cold wooden floor against the side of your body which you laid upon, and for a moment you thought it was a dream. All of it. Just a terrible, horrible nightmare. And you'd open your eyes and be staring at the walls of your small home, laying on your sorry excuse for a futon which was worn all the way to the floor, leaving you prey to the cold for many a nights. The second thing you felt was pain and soreness the more your body began to wake. It started with a small throbbing headache just under your skull, as if someone was beating it from inside out. You didn't bother to move much other than lift a hand trembling to your head, wincing at the many cuts and bruises that lined not only this arm, but your other arm, where your legs weren't covered by your boots or kimono, and some on your face and neck from where you had fallen or been pushed over. The many small cuts, bruises, and scrapes stung like tiny annoying jabs at your skin. And to top it all off, you felt pins and needles in the left arm and leg you'd been laying on for a while when you forced yourself up just enough for you to lay on your less sore back and stare up at the brown ceiling above your body. F/c eyes blinked as something bright shown down at you from above. The sun???....No. It wasn't the sun. That would've been a very warm welcome to what it had ended up being. Your vision gradually, slowly came back enough to focus on what was swung above your head, and your brain registered it as a...lantern? Yes. A lantern. The harmless thing hung above you silently as if acting as a bright beacon for your darkened experiences. Which begs the question...Where WERE you!? You continued to lay there until the pins and needles fully left the right side of your body and you pushed yourself up into a sitting position, hissing at the soreness and somewhat numbness of your poor limbs. And with a hiss, you looked around. Behind you and in front of you was a hallway...Just a plain looking hallway. Or at least that's what it seemed like at first. You found yourself sitting there on a polished oak wood floor, with white walls casing you in a hallway going down a long ways on either side of you with the occasional sliding door indicating a room was behind it. Above you was an oak wood ceiling equally as polished as the floor and a line of lanterns stretched on either side lighting your way. All the while, everything remained eerily silent. As if the place you had fallen into was through death's door. You sat there for what seemed like forever before you allowed yourself to stand on shaking feeling legs, stumble your first few steps, and look around. Silently, you slowly took in your surroundings and let your brain catch up with you, before asking yourself- "Where in the gods' names am I?" You were unfamiliar with this place. This strange silent place that seemed too eerie to you but at the same time...scarily peaceful. It made that gut wrenching feeling slowly churned in your guts, but at the same time your brain calmed yourself, as there wasn't any monsters or demons coming after you. So you were-....YOU WERE SAFE!!...For now at least. You didn't know where you were, if there was anyone here, or where the monsters were. Or even if there IS any other monsters here. But...Someone must be here. Surely. How did you come to that conclusion? The lanterns. They were lit up, and someone must've came by to light them up to combat the darkness, and you remembered someone had opened the door for you- Someone had saved you from the monster. But...WHO was that someone? You hadn't seen or heard anyone. You still didn't looking around with the silence, and no one had obviously come by here otherwise you doubted you would've been left alone on the floor like that. So it's clear no one had passed by you during the whole time that you were laying there...So where was everyone? F/c eyes still looked around. Until they landed on the first door closest to you which was three feet away to the right, and you hesitated...Should you open it? It'd be absolutely rude to just poke around in someone else's home but what other choice did you have? You didn't know where you were and there might be supplies on the other side, and if someone was here you'd need the help anyways, or to at least thank them for the shelter. So ever so slowly your hand reached out and grabbed onto the door, before pulling it back ever so slowly to avoid making too much noise, and looked inside. And saw-...Nothing. Nothing but a completely empty room other than a few shelves and a big window overlooking the forest, and you blinked. Wha-...IT WAS STILL NIGHTTIME!! The full moon in the sky was further across the sky now than it was a few hours ago when you first entered the forest. Judging by where it was in the sky..you must've been out of it for at least two hours! And again judging by it's position, there was still a good four hours until sunrise! GGgggrrreeeaaattt. You felt better already. Sigh. Slowly closing the door back, you stood there for a moment, before turning to the next closest door. And again opened it to more shelves like the other room before closing this door as well. And it went as such. You moved on to the next closest room, opened it, and discovered a different variety of furniture inside. Mostly shelves, sometimes a table or desk with sitting pillows, maybe a vase or painting on the wall, but completely devoid of life. Sometimes they were completely dark, sometimes they had a single lantern inside for light, and some had a window while others didn't. And once you opened a sliding door smaller than all the others only to discover it was a supply closest complete with brooms, mops, buckets, and other things used for cleaning. Which was odd, but it made sense when your hand was ran across one of the shelves. It was completely cleaned and polished as the floor and ceiling. Whoever lived here was a complete clean freak germaphobe if they polished all the furniture along with the ceilings and floors. So where WAS the mysterious 'them'?! Someone clearly lived here! In frustration you slammed back the door maybe a little harder than you should have because a loud SLAM!! noise echoed out from where it closed shut and was met with your frustrated groan of your voice echoing right after it. Although nothing but silence answered you back- At least at first there was silence. You huffed, hands coming to grab your bag's strap as your body turned- Then you heard it. A distant noise reverberating around the walls. A drum's call. BUM! BUM! BUM! That sound. You heard that before! Yes..You heard that hours ago, when you were running away from that pig sounding monster just before you went flying through the door and ended up...Well where ever this place was...Wait...Wait a freaking minute!! Your head whipped back down the long hallway you slowly walked down and all the doors you opened and closed. None of these doors lead outside! So that means that-..You weren't anywhere near the door you came in from. Which means that someone or something must've moved you from the exit! The thought made your body freeze up as another realization hit you. Someone moved you. Someone was responsible for moving you further into this home away from any entrance or exit. But...How?! You would've surely woken up if someone started carrying you. And why would someone just carry you inside only to leave you laying on the floor in a random hallway all alone? Wouldn't they be worried that you may be hurt? Even if they didn't care for you, it seemed extremely risky for someone to just leave a random stranger in their home. What if you had been a thief or some kind of maniac!? Not that you were, but if you was one, it wasn't too bright for anyone to just leave a random stranger alone in your house. The more you thought bout it, the more confusing and strange the overall situation was, and you didn't like that one bit. But someone was definitely here, you knew because you heard them playing a drum. The beats still echoing everywhere. BUM! BUM! BUM! It sounded like it was coming from nowhere and everywhere at once. You couldn't tell if it was coming from where you walked from or somewhere ahead of you, or from any of the rooms currently still closed off to you. Echoing around until it faded away, and you were once again left in silence...And you frowned scrunching up your brows for moment before asking. "Hello!! Is someone there!?" Your voice was semi-loud and raspy, from your throat still be sore from all the screaming you had done earlier tonight, but still it echoed out through the empty home and you stood there awaiting an answer. And an answer straight from the pits of hell you got- A squeal. A Giant. Loud. Squeal. That sounded like a rabid scared pig being murdered. Echoed throughout the walls with rage! A blizzard of the coldest snow was injected into your veins as your froze, eyes widening, and face paling as an image of a giant, fat, monster that sounded like a pig getting hit by your boot flashed across your mind. And then the thudding came. THUDTHUDTHUDTHUD-!!! Heavy, running footsteps of something HUGE was coming your way from just up the hall where you were heading. Another pig-squealing screech cementing it's arrival towards where you were. "...No...N-NOT THIS AGAIN!!" This time you didn't run. You weren't too sure you could anymore with how sore and weak and tired your body was, so instead you did the first thing that came to mind. Desperate hands grasped onto the nearest sliding door, throwing it open and throwing yourself inside faster than a rabbit being chased by a fox before slamming it shut behind you. The room was very dark with no lanterns and no windows, so no moonlight to light things up either. THUDTHUDTHUDTHUD-!!! Heart beats were picking up. Desperate f/c eyes darted around the dark space, ultimately landing on a shelf big enough for even a full grown man to hide behind if he sucked in his gut and leaned against the wall beside it. So you threw yourself at it, running behind it and slamming your back against the wall. And there you stood trembling in silence, willing yourself to blend into the darkness, and praying to the gods that the monster wouldn't find you. THUDTHUDTHUDTHUD-!!! The footsteps still charged forward closer and closer and CLOSER until the started to slow down. THUD....THUD....THUD-!!! Until they slowly came to a stop. RIGHT. OUTSIDE. THE ROOM. YOU WERE HIDING IN!!! You couldn't make a sound not one as you heard them. The noses. It sounded like a pig grunting softly, curiously making snorting-sniffing noises, like the pigs back in your village curious about a piece of food dropped on the ground. You stood there, like a mouse hiding from the jaws of a cat, and then for whatever reason unknown to you, you decided it was a good idea to lean out just enough to look past the shelf, and you almost screamed at what you saw. A HORRIBLE, HUMUNGOUS SHADOW WAS STANDING RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR!! It's outline carved into the other side of the door thanks to the light from the lanterns that hung in the hallway. IT WAS HUGE!! Barely able to fit in the hallway, and so tall the form was hunched over from trying not to hit the ceiling. It's horrendous head bobbing and moving around in a similar way to a chicken as it snorted and twisted it's body around sniffing the air- And you quickly pressed yourself back into the wall as the shadow's head turned towards the door, any moment dreading the sounds of the door sliding open- But the gods took mercy on you for once because the thing gave one last snort of annoyance before turning, then walking down the hallway towards the way you came from. It's lumbering footsteps thudding heavily with each step it took away from your hidden form. THUD! THUD! THUD! THUD! THUD! You. Did. Not. DARE. Move until the footsteps got farther and farther away. And you still didn't move until the footsteps were completely out of earshot, and you remained still and quiet for another five minutes after in anxiety you'd hear the dreaded footsteps again. But they never came back. Your lungs released a breath you didn't know you were holding and slowly pushed yourself quietly from the wall. WHAT WAS THAT THING DOING IN HERE!? YOU LOST THAT THING OUTSIDE IN THE WOODS!! IN FACT HOW DID IT EVEN GET INSIDE!? WAS IT HUNTING YOU!? DID IT SEEK REVENGE FOR THE KICK YOU GAVE IT'S FACE!? The door was slowly slid open just enough to poke your head out and look down both ways, seeing nothing, before allowing yourself to step out of the room closing the door back behind you. "This whole thing is a hell on earth! I need to get out of here fast." This place was no longer safe. In fact it might've never been safe to begin with if THAT THING was able to walk around here. But now you had new problems. There wasn't any exits in sight, and you still had no idea where you were. On top of that, it was still dark outside devoid of light and there was at least one giant monster you angered trapped in here with you. So you'd have to be careful about this going forward. So you came up with a new plan! Find an exit, hide in here nearby the exit until the sun came up, and then get out of this crazy forest. But you sure wasn't staying here. You went the direction the thing came from rather than the direction it went because it would be a cold day in hell before you let yourself get anywhere near THAT thing again! Although your steps were slowly, lightly, more gentle in order to be as quiet as possible to avoid any noises from your footfalls, continuing what you had been doing. Which was essentially exploring, opening more doors quietly and finding the same things from before over and over. Mostly shelves, sometimes a table or desk, another supply closet or two, etc. But things slowly changed the more doors you opened, and the doors started to become farther in distance from each other with bigger rooms on the other side. You opened one and found a room that was completely empty except for a large wardrobe built into the wall to the far left, and again this room was big. Strange for it to be so empty. However you just closed the door with a shrug before moving onto the next room and door. Inside was a long table surrounded by sitting pillows on all sides, the room itself as big as three of the shelf rooms you saw before. A dining room perhaps? You were just about to close it when something caught your attention. A sound. A loud sound that came from the table. Have you ever accidentally bumped into a table and as a result there was a wooden bang sound from the impact? That's what it exactly sounded like! It sounded like someone had run into the table which had you jumping at the sound, and then freezing as the long table moved from something hitting the underside of it. And then silence. You didn't move. Only staring at the table that had just moved silently. It was too dark inside to make anything out ...Until it came forth- A sound that sounded like a growl, and the sounds of bones popping. And then a hand reached out. Your body again felt fear as a long greyish arm reached out from under the table ever so slowly, followed by another just like it, and then a head and torso. And your jaw dropped as an ugly head of four eyes and wide mouth turned to you..and it opened in a disgusting grin, giant tongue licking it's lips as if you were a prime cut steak to eat- And then it lunged at you- You shrieked out of instinct and closed the door with a giant SLAM!! noise. The flying monster collided with the door with a sickening crash sound, but you weren't planning on staying to find out if it was dead or not. With newfound adrenaline coursing through your veins, you turned back up the way you were headed and bolted! Sore muscles be darned! You weren't about to let whatever THAT thing was get you either! You just turned a corned, half skidding across the ground and almost tripping, before you heard it! A loud, big BANG and wood splintering from behind you as something broke down the door and then the scuttling fast paced footsteps of something right after you! IT WAS CHASING YOU!! You fought back the urge to scream again and just RAN!! But no matter how fast you ran, the monster chasing you was faster ultimately. You really shouldn't have done it but-...You looked behind you, and SHRIEKED seeing the thing running after you on all fours gnashing it's teeth and flicking that tongue out of it's mouth licking it's lips at it's perceived lunch. IT WAS GAINING ON YOU!! With a breathless gasp you turned back forward and ran straight down the long, long, LONG hallway you both found yourself in. And you saw it. A door that looked different than all the others, bigger with doorknobs instead of being sliding doors. That must've been the way out! It must've been! That was your ticket out of here! So you looked back and charged towards it. Footsteps thudding down the hallway, hearts pumping, and lungs heaving- Until you tripped. You were just mid step when something like thick rope had darted out and wrapped around your leg and yanked you back. You went down instantly, smashing face first into the floor with a resounding thud echoing throughout the silent house. Pain exploded on your face and down your front body from the impact, but it barely registered as panic had taken over you again when the tight grip on your leg tugged you back. In an instant you flipped yourself over- AND SCREAMED! The thing had it's tongue wrapped around your ankle!! Like a tight rope of death it's grip was tight as the slimy, wriggling snake like appendage pulled back again making you give off a mini scream as it pulled you back another two feet towards itself and it's large mouth where a row of deadly fangs gleamed in the lantern light. "LET GO OF ME!!," you shrieked body reacting. You lifted your free leg and picked out as hard as you could onto that disgusting limb wrapped around your other leg. It made contact over and over and over. Each time you got a reaction out of the thing. Each hit and jab made the thing wince or snarl in rage but it's grip never let up as you rotated between kicking and scraping your nails across the polished floors only to not be able to grip onto anything and slip further and closer to the thing that continued to bring you closer to it as you hyperventilated. Panic and fear and now the realization of you were definitely going to die tonight as you screamed one last time. At one point it seemed to get very annoyed and it's grip around your leg increased, until there was a shattering feeling from deep within, and your vision went white as a red hot pang of pain exploded from your leg. YOU SHRIEKED!! The pain- It hurt! It hurt so much! And it still wouldn't let go! Shaking your leg around back and forth and pulling your body back more- BUM!! A gust of air slashed near your legs like a sudden breeze of air had blown in from hidden window, and then all of a sudden the tugging was gone. Your leg immediately dropped to the ground as the tugging stopped and you looked around at the monster, and screamed again. Red liquid spattered everywhere! The monster on all fours reared back with an animalistic shriek of pain. The long tongue cleaning cut in half and flailing about like an injured worm with blood leaking from the cut end, the flailing splattering crimson red all over the once clean place. You screamed again at the sight of that display and the other half of the tongue still limply wrapped around your boot. With a couple hard shakes and kicks, the thing flopped uselessly off of you finally landing with a wet plop sound on the floor. Your throat clenched back the urge to gag and vomit even if you didn't have anything in your stomach really. You scrambled back and away from the monster that was still behind you. BUM!! There was another sound. A sickening sound of bone breaking and the dying sounds of wailing with you feeling a faint breeze somewhere behind you as you scrambled on hands and knees before getting to your feet and running back for the doors! There it was! The exit!! It was right there! You didn't dare look back at the monster (or more accurately what remained of him unbeknownst to you-) as each step took you further and further towards the door! Your hand reaching out to grab it once you got close enough to it, but you didn't get the chance to because a moment later a flash of white would enter your vision. BUM!! In a flash of everything the doors vanished, replaced by a bright white wall which you ran into. HARD! You didn't have time to stop yourself. With a rather loud thud, you ran right into it with a crash, crumbling instantly to the floor. HOW MANY TIMES WERE YOU GOING TO BE KNOCKED AROUND LIKE THIS!? This time you took longer to get up. Sore...Your body was so sore. And tired. You wanted to sleep. To sleep and forget about this night and it's monsters. To allow your sore body to heal and feel normal again but you weren't that lucky. Because you had barely weakly rolled yourself over to lay on your stomach when it came. The dreaded sound of footsteps. THUD. THUD. THUD. THUD. It was back! The monster was back! And you were powerless to stop it from coming just laying there in a completely different room too empty to hide, too large to run in time, and the only door out of here being too close to the approaching steps. Closer and closer and closer. You sat up only by your elbows as you stared with terrified eyes peering through your hair that fell over your face and spilt around the floor. But there was-...Something off about these footsteps. Whoever was making them was certainly heavily built judging by the heavy and loud sounds from them, but somehow..they seemed much lighter than before. Not as heavy as when you heard that pig-sounding monster, but still a LOT heavier than a human. Especially you. THUD. THUD. THUD. THUD. They were one yard from the open door leading into your room now. This was it. Death's door. It was a good run. Hopefully the gods will be merciful and make your unavoidable death a quick and painless one at least. THUD. THUD- "Curses. Curses!! Because of them my work is disturbed! Dam them!" You blinked..What- THUD. THUD. THUD. "Why do all these unwelcome guests keep barging into someone else's home!? It's maddening! I marked this place with my own two hands! It's my own property! It's infuriating! Just-... infuriating!" THUD! THUD! "Pesky insects! Disgusting vermin disrespecting the ranks and making a mess out of my house! It'll stain!" You still watched in worry as it drew forever closer and then you. Saw it. A large form stepping into the doorway, and you froze. The thing must've been at least six or seven feet tall! The skin an almost similar grey in coloring to that of the other monsters you've seen but lighter, almost a tan-grey. It continued to walk past the doorway muttering something under it's breath, but your dumb body had to betray you by letting out a gasp at the sight of it. THUD- It stopped. About one step away from being in front of the open doorway completely, but it completely stopped....And then creepily slower than any human, it turned to face you. And you nearly screamed despite your hoarse throat. It was as terrifying as the others!! Blue irises surrounded by red sclera pierced through the darkness to stare at you, it's head curtains by long black hair, and face framed by strange stripe patterns. But that wasn't the scariest parts of itself! It was covered by somethings, a lot of some things that were just jutting out from it's body like horrible extensions of something you couldn't quite make out in your fear in the moment. Blue eyes looked over in question, but he paused when he saw you, in fact...He looked very surprised to see a woman looking at him from the floor, but then he soon after scowled scrunching up his brows annoyed. "What are you doing out in the open!?," he barked, turning fully and stepping into the room, not that you bothered to answer him. "You're supposed to be down with the others! Did I not make it clear to everyone to stay within the garden until all is resolved!?" He thought he made it loud and clear to everyone that they were to stay within the garden until he said otherwise! So why was one of them out here where they weren't supposed to be!? His orders were obsolete! ...Not that he would punish them very harshly if they didn't follow them to a tee, but no one really wanted to anger an upper rank and risk angering the more powerful one behind him. Their master wasn't nearly as merciful as their lord, so very few went out of their way to actually cause trouble and get consequences for them. So this was something that annoyed him, that someone would actually go against an order, and for their own protection might he add! Nothing irritated him more than someone going against what he said when it was for the greater good of everyone! But as he got closer, he was startled to find out a starling revelation had dawned on him. This-...Uh..Well- This wasn't one of his underlings. It was made very clear to him as soon as he registered the clothes on this..woman? He assumed this tiny figure was a woman, it looked so small compared to him. Maybe just a very young and or small demon? The white, well once white, kimono on her(??) was torn especially around the hems with a hole here and there was a few holes torn here and there into the fabric, and there was some dirt stains lining most of the assumedly once nice clothing. How did he know they were dirt stains? Well other than the dark earth in coloring, he could literally smell the scent of earth coming off the body as well as the mixing ones of sweat, wet grass, and-.. He growled. The scents of at least three or four others including herself. Disgusting! Vermin! Disgusting! Two of those scents were the vermin that's been running amok in his home and terrifying everyone in here! UGH! He had to dispose of one just a little while ago when he heard it flopping around one hallway over from him. (His underlings would have a hard time cleaning the stains from the walls.) Pesky insects! It was a reflex really, he did it even without thinking, he growled annoyed and it got a reaction from the tiny body. A sob. It made him jolt hearing such a small but unfamiliar sound to him reaching his ears, after all it really wasn't one he heard quite often around here. And maybe, just maybe, that's what compelled him to take interest a little but he couldn't help but stare at the small body that trembled in his shadow and didn't move. What-...What was this right now? The silence quickly turned awkward the more he stood there and he felt more and more uneasy just standing there. This was not normal. In fact it was in fact very foreign to him. But it was only when the silence reached around two minutes did they have a reaction that would lead to an equal reaction to them both. The wracking of small sobs got a little stronger, and the small body's hands balled into fists weakly making him tilt his head at them, but what really made him pause was when the head of said body trembled the hardest and looked up at him finally. Blue eyes widening at the reality of the situation he was facing. It was a-...IT WAS A HUMAN WOMAN!!! He finally got a look at their face and quickly deduced them to in fact be both female AND a human. Which was a shock in of itself. No wonder the strange scent was something he couldn't place, he hadn't been around humans enough to really get a good recognition on their scents but sometimes he'd smell a few on Douma whenever meetings were held or on the Master himself being surrounded by humans on a daily basis whenever he made surprise inspection visits. So it was not that he wasn't familiar with it, just that it was one so rarely around it would take a moment for it to be recognized to him, but now it was unmistakable. It- SHE was a human. A human who...looked in really bad shape by the looks of it. Upon closer examination, he could see that this tiny human was quite banged up. The trembling skin was littered with many small cuts and bruises of various degree and sizes, and she looked pathetically weak and tired. Exhausted was the correct term. So what the hell was she doing in his house? Thud. Thud. Thud. The small, pathetic thing whimpered when he closed the distance between the two of them and kneeled to get a closer look at her sorry state, a slightly bigger sob than the others coming out as a much larger hand than hers grabbed her chin to force her to look up at his eyes, a better look for him to see the tears streaming down her face. Another deep inhale had him frowning more at the scents she held. Salt from the tears obviously being added to the bunch, and the stronger scents of the other vermin he had encountered in here. One being that sickling he just took care of just a moment ago, and the other was that pig after he ripped the drum from his back painfully and fled. Sigh. The wound he sustained would take a day or two to heal fully before he'd be able to place the drum back!! And he still had to find that stupid, fat, pig-faced insect!! ....Was that why she were in this state? Because she ran into those other two? It must've been. The evidence was all over the air, and it would explain why she looked all roughed up like this. Hmm. Yes. That made perfect sense the more he thought about it. The human must've been chased in here by one or both of the other two, or perhaps she seeked shelter from what was happening outside and the other two were brave enough to venture inside despite the rules in place. UGH! Idiots. He hated this time of year. It always interrupted his work no matter what he did to prepare for it, but this was the first time he ever had a human here. Which did beg the question as to why she was in this neck of the woods in the first place! He stared at her for a long moment before asking. A fast paced clatter of his fangs together were followed by a thrum-purr from his throat with a grunt at the end. 'Who are you? Why are you here?' He thought what he just asked was pretty clear but the human didn't react, didn't stop trembling in fear under his grip. In fact she looked even more terrified if that was even possible, which lightly insulted him. Hey! He couldn't have been that scary! He didn't even ask that in a threatening voice! So why was she acting like he just threatened to lob her head off?....Oh. Uh-..Maybe she wasn't fluent in what he just asked? He didn't know a lot about humans but he knew most of them did not speak in their language, at least according to Douma they didn't but he wasn't too sure how much he trusted that emotionless void. But on the other hand, he was surrounded by humans on a daily basis, so he would know more about them than he himself would. So perhaps he should change tactics. "..I am not going to harm you." He decided to settle on the language the Master would usually speak in. He's heard most humans speak this way. Perhaps so did her? Well, what ever he said seemed to work, or at the very least had her give a reaction that wasn't trembling. Because she stopped frozen. Was that a good or bad thing? "How did you come to be in here?" Nothing. Perhaps she didn't know where she was? Or she was disoriented? "This is my home. You seem to have found your way in here by some twist of fate." Her eyes widened, almost as if something dawned on her. Ah, good! They were getting somewhere! "Why are you here?" A weak wheeze escaped her but he that was it. Wait. ...Could she actually speak? "What is your name, Human?" It was small, barely present, and she seemed to have a hard time forcing it out of her, but he heard her say one word barely above a whisper. "...Y/n?" Was that a name? That sounded like a name. So for now he would assume that this was her name. "I see. ...Are you harmed in any way?" Maybe it was exhaustion?? Or maybe the pain from her small wounds got to her brain? Or maybe it was the fear she felt? But either way the human didn't respond, instead she went limp. Eyes closing and elbows giving out from under her body making him yelp and dive his hand from under her chin to under her front in order to keep her from smacking her head back into the floor. Which left him in the awkward position of holding a human partially up by her under her shoulders with a lost expression. Um..Ok. He guessed this was happening-...... What now? He just..awkwardly kneeled there for a moment before carefully and slowly lowering her limp body back onto the floor so he could at least remove himself from that awkward pose. But now he was...unsure. What was he supposed to do? At first he was panicked thinking she passed away, but the slow rising and falling of her body confirmed that she was indeed ok and had just fainted. He wasn't sure exactly what to do now, but he knew leaving her here wasn't an option he particularly liked. He guessed he could move her somewhere and have her looked at later by one of the underlings, but he wasn't too sure- Wait...What was that smell? This one was-...faint, but familiar smelling. And it was also coming from the human. Wait-..He knew that scent. It was one he was quite familiar with around these parts. It was- "Kaigaku?" Well...this WAS a strange change of events. There was no mistaking the smell of the youngest Kizuki, also considering he often swung by here on a regular basis, there was no mistaking him. But now he had another question to wonder. What the hell was Kaigaku up to that involved this human? He wasn't given much time to ponder that question when a familiar loud pig-sounding squeal rang out making his head instantly swing to the doorway followed by very heavy footsteps coming his way. THUDTHUDTHUDTHUD- He pause, giving a brief glance back to the unconscious human, before slowly standing up. Ah. Well now he knew what that pig was doing in here and what, or more specifically who, he was after. He turned back to the doorway with another growl escaping his throat. He'd decide what to do about the human after he finished cleaning up a little mess. And then he had a few choice words for that young samurai who he had a good feeling he knew about this!! "Stupid, disgusting insects!"
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