A few ships have been sent by the Order of the Chief God to the coasts of Zipangu. Knowing that the Mamono of the foreign continent were much calmer than the more feral monsters in their own land, the Order’s temples have enlisted several missionaries to travel to Zipangu and attempt to keep its human and monster inhabitants chaste, by whatever means necessary. They have even planned for some resistance from the locals, and have brought soldiers with them to ensure conformity.
After taking the village of Tsumini off of Zipangu’s coast, the Order has run into a dilemma. The Mist Continent’s navy spotted their invasion, and are planning to assist in defending Zipangu from attack. The Order plans on pushing further into Zipangu to Karujo City.
The Order has begun to build fortifications to defend against any naval attack that might be made by the Mist Continent. However, as one problem is being prevented, another takes its place. The Ushi-Oni from the Aikushi Mountians have somehow heard news of the Order’s arrival, and are currently raiding the Order-controlled village of Tsumini to reduce the amount of soldiers there. Meanwhile, the lord and lady of the nearby Karujo City are about to hear news of the invasion, and war might officially start now.
You can choose to be either a Zipanguan (I think that’s what they’re called) or an Orderite. Sticking to Mamono from Zipangu is preferred, if you wish to play as one. You may also play as a Mist Continent troop.
“Of course.” The Danuki sat down across from him, searching through her backpack and pulling out a large, bright green book. She then opened it and flipped through the pages. “This book was given to me for understanding other languages and meanings to become a better trader. A dictionary, thesaurus, and syntax guide for every language spoken in Zipangu, from common-tongue to Cyzurean. Unless you wish to do so, you’ll be skipping the reading, writing and speaking of language.”
The Ushi-Oni wasn’t even fazed by the attack as she took a blow to the shoulder while just missing Fayard’s chest and ramming her horns into his sword arm.
As Sato watched, he could see that the Order was starting to make a comeback as more Arachne retreated with their grooms-to-be.
The Arachne now circled him, winding up webbing around her hands. Her head still had the arbaleste bolt in it, and blood trickled down the side. After making her hands sticky, she wiped the blood on her head all over her hands.
The Danuki handed him the book before sitting back and thinking. “Let’s see, where to start... let’s go over the history of the region, where scholars say it all began.”
Karl stopped in his track and looked around, seeing only trees and shadows... and shadowy trees. Wandering around wasn’t getting him anywhere. He would have to find a place to hide for now and sleep off his weariness until the morning light comes.
“Hm?” The doll perked up with a raised brow. “Why did we stop?”
“Because I am tired, drunk, and fucked up right now. I need some shut eye. Don’t know about you, but us living people need sleep. So, I am going to sleep now.”
“Pray tell you don’t mean on the ground.” Faye gripped the hem of her black-blue dress nervously.
“No, up in the heavens.” He snided and started to climb a tree.
Mayumi got comfortable where she sat; it was going to be a long story. “In the beginning, there were monsters of foul and vicious intentions, all to destroy humanity and devour the world. Flowers never bloomed, the sky was always a blazing red. All was chaos and cruelty in Zipangu. Then, through a miracle that all Yokai and humans see to be of devine fortune, the first deity, the Great Mother Ryu, was born from the deepest trenches in the ocean. She saw how distraught and crippled the world was, and pitying humanity and monsters, she created the first rains out of the ocean and sky, extinguishing the fires of destruction and cataclysm, and transforming the ash and blood and thorns into soil, rivers, and flora. Thus, we worship the Ryu as the major god of Zipangu, the god of the rains and rivers, and the bringer of harmony.”
The Ushi-Oni’s reflexes saved her from the blow, easily avoiding the strike and countering with a sticky rope of webbing.
It was hard finding his footing on branches in the darkness, and nearly slipped a few times, but Karl eventually found himself on a steady branch of the large tree, giving a nice view of the stars, which were now shining with beautiful dazzles.
Vez'nan nodded. "So Zipangu isn't a burning mess because of the first Ryu? I suppose if I were a deity that I would claim to be the reason that the people who worship me aren't living in burning hovels. Carry on."
The Akaname would sigh. “My saliva can conserve heat with surprising efficiency, but once again, it involves my tongue. I know you don’t desire to be anywhere near it, so I won’t force that on you. The Ushi-On have incredible tracking abilities, so if we lit a fire, they’d find us within a heartbeat.”
“You can see how this event links to that of your own religion. The monsters you and I know now were once beasts that killed and devoured. But now, they have all but rejected murder, and have replaced bloodlust for general lust. We know that there is some truth to the story of the Mother Ryu because it has happened around the world.”
“I’m surprised they haven’t already.” Sebastian comments with a grim tone before writing something down into his journal. “You’re tongue... What else can it do?” He then asked, ready to write in his journal once more.
“Well, it can extend to over five feet long, and is completely prehensile. If I really wanted to, I could use it as a third appendage. The tongue itself is much like a human’s, but just over 45 times longer and much more spongy. The saliva, however, is arguably more important. It has a concoction of Demonic Energy that is concentrated into a very potent and viscous fluid. Contrary to what many say, the saliva is not poisonous, but actually good. When absorbed into the skin, it cleans the area of any sweat, grime or otherwise harmful debris, thus rejunvinating the body and increasing stamina sharply. Like I mentioned before, it is always lukewarm, and conserves heat like a soaked blanket. When ingested, it tastes sweet and reduces fatigue with ease...” She’d look down, as if slightly ashamed. “The problem is that the Demonic Energy also causes a gradual rise of libido and euphoria...”
“The Yokai and humans were still wary of each other’s intentions, however. Even after the Mother Ryu ended what we call the ‘Cataclysmic Era’, wars still broke out between monsters and men. The Mother Ryu tried to stop the fighting, and because she was the one who saved both sides from killing each other, her voice was heard. Now, the Mother Ryu has been the only monster in Zipangu culture to ever bear a daughter with no mate. The bonding of man and Ryu had to be made to keep the rains that would grow the crops for food and trees for houses. So, the Mother Ryu established a permanent bond between the man and Ryu, and ultimately all monsters, which is known as the ‘Daiski Pact’.”
He carefully removed his backpack and the large sword, hanging them on a sturdy looking branch close to him before removing his iron hat. Faye got a full look of his entire head now that there was some light above them.
“What?” His thick brows furrowed in question as he smoothed out his ridiculously white hair and adjusted his short ponytail. His pitch black face and yellow pupils stared at her while Karl waited for her to answer.
“You were serious about the curse, after all.” She noted his pointed chin and alluringly glowing eyes and got a scoff in response.
“Yeah. What’s it to you?”
“I would figure that your skin was painted black... but I never thought they were actually real.” The doll continued to examine her owner. “What else aren’t you telling me?”
He shook his head lightly, “what else did you not hear from me? Most Mamono can tell when a person is lying to them, so I added some truths with my lies. Technically speaking, I was being truthful when I was spilling my guts out.”
“So, Order and the attempted capture?”
“True, and fuck them. For all their talks about saving humanity, they sure have no problem killing people for stupid reasons. Tried to get help from them about my condition and I ended up being on the most wanted list for purging instead. Now, they are at our doorsteps trying to get every human to be a good orderite and every manono here exterminated. What they don’t realize is that without manono living here, this island dies. Just shows to know that even with good intentions, they have the worst fucking goals to begin with.”
“And what about you? What will you do?” Faye asked intently.
“Me? I am a survivor. I do what I can to get through shitty situations and live to fight another day. Even if I wanted to help, my own people here in Zipangu won’t accept it. That talk about me being bad luck? Well, let’s just say I am a walking magnet of disasters. I should have known stealing from that tomb was a bad idea...”
He kept on muttering about his criminal activities and events he saw as his eyes began to flutter from the sleep overtaking him.
“You’re a smart girl. You figure out if staying with me is even the brightest idea...”
Mayumi chuckled. “A ‘somewhat good excuse’? The first rains that the Mother Ryu created only lasted long enough to end the Cataclysmic Era. There were no other rainclouds that even existed, so how were the newly-born crops and trees supposed to live? Both humans and monsters alike would starve. Even if these ways are ‘heathen’, men have to mate with Ryu in order to keep the entire island thriving. Even if the pact was reluctant, it was out of selfless love that men offered themselves to the Ryu, a sacrifice that would let families eat one more meal for one more day and sleep under a roof one more night.”
A slight shuffling noise could be heard by Karl and Faye above them, up higher in the tree. Maybe just an animal...?
“Anyway, after many centuries, the Great Mother Ryu had become too old to protect Zipangu any longer. So, she returned back to the ocean. Some scholars say that she rests in peace at the bottom of the sea, while others suggest that she lies dormant and waiting for her return. But now, without a god to revere, the people of Zipangu started to worship the Mother Ryu’s bloodline of children and grandchildren and so on. It wasn’t until several decades later that the second god from the peaks of Laisun Mountains emerged. The Divine Inari.”
Out of the brush above him, Karl vaguely saw a figure leaning against the trunk of the tree, and a very long and curved blade protruding from the forearm, almost like a scythe. It seemed to be a Mantis.
“She was a mystical, powerful god. While the Great Mother Ryu had control over the waters in the sky and earth, the Divine Inari had control over all things magic. Spells beyond any imaginable, enchantments of perfect, incredible power. You would probably like to study her a bit more in depth, Arch Magus. She had powers like no other, and only she could wield that full power of spellcasting. Arcane, Shamanic, Druidic, even the dark art of Necromancy.” Mayumi leaned in to pique more interest. “Her source of power was the Demonic Energy that she manifested out of nothing.”
“You need not be afraid, Arch Magus. The Demonic Energy that the Divine Inari possessed was used to power her spells originally. However, the goddess found that DE was so difficult to manifest, that she found a way to create an energy of pure, raw magic. Spirit energy and demonic energy seemed petty compared to her power source. She created a self-sustaining energy force that had an infinite capacity of energy. In other words, she has been known to be the purest spellcaster in Zipangu, because she never needed to use Demonic Energy to use magic.”
“It is said that she protected Zipangu from harm by isolating it from the rest of the world using a massive illusion spell surrounding the region. After that, she disappeared back into the Laisun Mountains. Scholars believe that she is still alive, and scrys over the entirety of Zipangu.”
The Mantis remained laying there. A soft snore could be heard from above. She was sleeping.
The man look to the doll, while she looked back with an expression that agrees with what he was thinking in his mind. Very slowly, he put away his knife and began to grab his belongings making sure not to create any noise as possible without waking the snoozing mantis.
Sato gave an agitated sigh, wrapping a pelt around his head to hide his identity and charged towards town, unsheathing his sword, cutting down one Order soldier and heading for the next. The slash wasn't fatal but it would keep him down for a while. He decided if he could take out the Order Soldier he could get the citizens together to tie them all up and take back the town.
(I’m gonna try to defeat each of you at least once, but I don’t kill off characters. RP th right actions, and Zipangu will thrive or fall depending on every action you take.)
The antennae stayed fixed on Karl’s location, unmoving and scanning meticulously, even as the Mantis slept.
He was just barely able to avoid getting stuck in the web rope, but had unintentionally dodged a ball of green silk as it flew by him and stuck to a tree, the ball seeming to fume like it was steaming. It wasn’t long before the Arachne threw two more balls of silk at him.
“It’s just... it’s humiliating. Drooling constantly over a bucket just to sell to people?” Myuu would shift around uncomfortably. “My tongue and saliva were created for one real purpose, and you probably know what that purpose is. Sure, it has other effects that are good, but milking my own saliva... it makes look even more like a freak.”
“Oh, you are mistaken there. She watches from the mountains. She uses powerful spells to watch over every city, every village, every tree and cave and river. She has a view of the entirety of Zipangu, all from her home in Laisun-Inari, one of the most magically mysterious regions of the continent.”
Many of the soldiers were so busy fighting the Arachne that they they didn’t even notice Sato attacking them until four were downed. By that time, marksmen were firing their crossbows at him to take him out.
“I’m sure she could, to some capacity. The Divine Inari is the god of magic, but she is peaceful. She is the reason that Zipangu remained undiscovered by the other regions for so long. Her spell made our island invisible to outsiders, hiding it in plain sight. The Mother Ryu brought harmony and peace to Zipangu by ending the Cataclmic Era, and the Divine Inari strengthened that prosperity through the mystic arts. Even today, some spells she had mastered cannot be replicated.”
The Ushi-Oni was ready for this, and for a larger-sized Mamono, she was surprisingly agile. Fayard landed back on the ground where she was, and found his feet and shins in webbing when he looked down, securing him tightly to where he stood.
Finger to his mouth, Karl pointed to the seemingly active mantis and urged Faye to get on his shoulder. Hat in hand with both bag and large sword sling over his arm, he could only foresee one of three things happening. It was either sneak away and run off without being the wiser, get himself caught, or just wake the bug up and hope she is a listener.
“Sorry to bother you, but is this tree occupied? I need a place to sleep and we’re kind of lost at the moment. I could move to a new tree if you prefer?” He explained to the mantis and glanced to Faye, who was nodding along with him.
After a few moments, an object would be thrown from Sato's position. It was a black ball with yellow cracks which suddenly burst into blinding light. While the Order soldiers with bolts were blinded he closed the distance, slashing one soldier and intending to do the same with the others.
Vez'nan makes his way out of the house, loaded pistol in hand. Of course, not really knowing much about the firearm, he merely aims at a Ushi-Oni and pulls the trigger, assuming there was nothing else to it.
The Mantis cocked her head, her face expressionless. “You must not be from around these parts. The forest is owned by nature. There is no claiming of territory. I am sleeping here, and you may as well. In the morning, if need be, I will point you in the direction of the road.”
Each marksman in that spot went down before the smoke cleared. However, it cleared by a strong gust of wind, the source coming from an Orderite priest, glowing energy emanating from his palms.
THe knockback was over a hundred times stronger than any spell or crossbow he had used. A loud bang sounded from the gun, and smoke fumed from its end. A split second after pulling the trigger, the Ushi-Oni was holding her side, finding a large bleeding hole that had cracked her carapace.
Vez'nan, finishing the reloading process, held up his gun and aimed it at another one of the invading foes, hoping the sight of their comrade being so terribly wounded would put fear into their hearts.
Another shot from the gun kicked Vez’nan back a bit less now that he knew to brace for it. The bullet, however, missed its mark by a few feet in the wrong direction. It was a powerful weapon, but accurate it was not. At this point, one of the Ushi-Oni turned to face the mage after hearing the deadly bangs of the pistol. Lowering her head, she started to charge at him.
The priest absorbed the light back into his palms. Seeing how the spell had no effect, the priest now shifted into a defensive stance as an ethereal blade of light formed in his hands.
The Mantis slowly rested back on her branch, but her antennae kept themselves fixed on the newcomer, just in case.
It was then that Karl slowly drifted into a sleep he needed and, hopefully, wake up without having to deal with a hangover. He did not know what was going on outside around him, but he could care less as long as it didn’t have anything to do with him for the time being. Eye lids were shut closed as he finally heaved a sigh of relaxation and darkness.
As far as he could see, she was a few feet behind him, and another fusillade of green silk balls came at him from the rear.
The shot struck the Arachne square in the chest, but the momentum of her movement still caused a horn to graze against his left rib. The motionless Ushi-Oni toppled over him as he was knocked over, but the wound he received wasn’t a concern now. The steaming green blood soaking his clothing seemed worse.
“Oh, a-alright,” Myuu nodded and peered out from the cave, looking up at the stars.
(You can read the thread description for prologue.)
With this, Sebastian sat quietly and looked out of the cave. There was nothing in particular that caught his eye, due to the darkness. He’d soon look to see if the cave went deeper or not. The outcome of this would either concern or relieve him.
“. . .” The noble figurine glances back at her keeper every once in a while and kept a diligent watch over her surroundings. She was bored and couldn’t rest her eyes like a normal person, but it did allow her to think over things such as trivial and important matters.
Faye turned her eyes to the sleeping insect girl and saw nothing out of the usual beside an antenna twitching sometimes. She then cast her stare up at the starry skies with a stoic gaze and wondered if this is supposed to be her new life now.
Minutes felt like hours as she continues to stare at Karl, taking more notice of his features. Dirty, uncouth, ugly apparel, much uglier personality, that hideous looking large blade he carried around his back...
...and yet, there were some positive aspects about him that had her mesmerized. Quick on his feet, intelligent when pushed, an opportunist who doesn’t shy away from pragmatic actions, and somewhat modest when he thought himself alone all these times.
She just couldn’t wrap her head around this person of contradictions. What is it that made him the way he is today?
The man stirred in his sleep a little, but still snores his cares away.
Shira quickly tightens herself around him, but not to please him. Instead, she had him restrained with all of her might, knowing that the green blood would make him go mad. “Mayumi, get some water, and a lot of it!”
Myuu was surprised but checked in the crevice. “It goes on for quite a while down there. But I don’t see anyone or anything worth noting. Just rocks and dirt and more tunnel.”
“What is he to you?” Faye was startled by the Mantis’s voice, still resting in her reclined position.
It was hard to keep herself from taking advantage of the mage’s broken willpower and violate him as he wanted, but she held him firm and kept him in a position where he was unable to move. She knew this was only the poison, not his real disposition. “MAYUMI, HURRY!” It took only a second later for the Danuki to arrive with a bucket of water, which she poured directly on top of Vez’nan. She tried to wipe away the blood with a rag, but it only rubbed it in.
Myuu would look at him worriedly. “Here, hold still...” She’d slowly extend her tongue and wrap in around Sebastian’s wrist. “I’m able to tell your level of healthiness with my tongue, as well...” She’d quickly retract her tongue with an even more worried expression. “You’re completely exhausted. I’m surprised you haven’t fainted yet.”
Myuu would quickly rush over beside him, sitting him up carefully. She extended her tongue to wrap around his wrist again, finding out that he was out cold. She decided not to wake him up; he probably needed to rest anyway. She instead found some leaves outside and brought in a large pile for him to rest his head on. After pecking him once on the cheek, she glanced at the journal that he had dropped.
Oh Sebastian... you exert yourself so much... Myuu shook her head to clear her thoughts, picking up the journal and feeling over the leather before deciding to read one of the last pages. He said he wrote down what he learned, so maybe she could fact-check his entries.
From reading the lastest entries, Myuu saw their exact conversations. Well, if that conversation involved learning something about mamono or Myuu that he hadn’t known before. Besides this, small notes and reminders pointed to the most important part of the conversation, meaning if it was new knowledge or something personal.
In addition to this, his thoughts on whatever happened acted as a sort of intermission between entries.
Faye nearly jumped out of the conic helmet when she heard the woman talking from above. She quickly readjusted herself with an annoyed frown and looked up to the now awoke Mantis. "No one special. Just a conniving rogue who took me from my home when..."
Her voice trailed off at the memory of dilapidated walls and holed roofs. An unmade moldy bed, with a moth eaten blanket casted to the floor. It was raining when he found her. This she knows very clearly.
It appeared Sebastian was quite fast with hands, being able to write everything down during a conversation.
Myuu would find the page, and his thoughts read: ”Myuu confessed a care for me, which is not uncommon for her kind. ‘Kind’ being a general term. Though I do find it odd that she would care for an Order soldier such as myself, I understand given the outcomes she could have had. Even if she is the ‘enemy’, I wouldn’t want her to come to harm.”
The doll looked at her with uncertainty, pursing her lips as she grabbed the smudged dress tightly. "My owner. I was waiting for her. A simple farmer's daughter who cherished me and we became inseparable for a long time. The next thing I know, she just... didn't come back. So, I waited for her."
Eventually, Myuu found the page. His thoughts read: “Being dunked in saliva is weird and gross, but given context, I did not mind. Taken away forever, or dunked up to the neck. Plus, apparently this is supposed to be good for you, which is also quite weird. However these monsters are very, very different from us. So anything is possible.”
She gave a solemn nod once and smiled lightly, "I thank you for your condolences."
After saying this she frowned again and glanced back to Karl, "The only thing I can remember is that it was harvest season right before she disappeared. She was so excited about partaking in it. Nothing should have went wrong, but I overheard something about a 'check-up' from the authorities. I thought it was crops being looked over, but now that I think about it..."
"We did live near an Order controlled city." Faye's eyes started to widen at the possibility.
IT was impossible to yank his feet out of the webbing, and attempting to do so only tired him. It was then he felt a strong fuzzy claw grab his sword hand and twisting his wrist, knocking his blade loose and falling to the ground. “You are quite strong, but I’m afraid this little game of your has ended.” A terrifyingly soothing hiss was heard mere inches from his ears, the Arachne now just behind him.
Myuu slowly set down the journal next to Sebastian’s sleeping body as she sat down in thought. She knew that he was indeed the ‘enemy’ and that he did care in a friendly sense. Though, she couldn’t help but think that her feelings for him were going unrequited. She decided to sleep just close enough to check on Sebastian, as she was still worried the effects of his magic wren’t limited to passing out.
“Her disappearance could be explained by that.” The Mantis said, looking up at the stars.
“Whatever happened to her, it is not your fault,” The Mantis looked down at the doll for the first time. “There is an old saying here in Zipangu: ‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Some things seem filled with the intent to be lost, but we cannot label them as disasters.’ When you lose something or someone you love, those paths will someday cross once again, at some point or another.”
The Ushi-Oni holding Fayard smacked the horn away from him, but it was too late. A few seconds after his horn sounded, a few unoccupied soldiers rushed over to him, unsheathing their swords and starting to swing at the Arachne while one tried to hack away at the silk holding his boots.
“Dammit! It’s no good!” Mayumi threw the useless rag away as she looked Vez’nan over. it was mainly his chest that had blood seeping into it, but it was soaking the other clothing now, as well. “Shira, take his clothes off! We need to get the infected clothing off of his skin!” Shira grimaced as she yanked the mage’s tabard and trousers off, knowing that there were major caveats to this idea. “This better fucking work!”
Myuu shook off her sleepiness in an instant, looking at her hands and staring back at Sebastian. She moved over to him worriedly and shook him a bit. “S-Sebastian. Are you alright?”
“He won’t tire out!” Shira was really starting to lose it now, and was beginning to be overwhelmed by her instincts. “I’m sorry, Arch Magus!” It was then that a loud clonk sounded as Mayumi whacked the mage over the head with a frying pan.
The soldiers trying to push the Arachne back were sent flying by a swipe of the Mamono’s hands, and the one soldier helping him out of the silk pulled on the knight as hard as he could. “C’mon, sir! Hurry!”
Myuu pursed her lips, tears starting to well up in her eyes. “I... I wanted to make sure your research was correct, and then...”
Sebastian saw her expression change and her eyes well up. To this he let out a sigh and placed his journal into his pouch. “I should have told you. Whenever someone other than me reads the journal, their hands start tingle. Then, it starts to feel like needles... If left unchecked, their skin starts to peel off until the bone.” He explains, looking rather guilty. “To stop it, I must re-attain the journal and say a prayer.”
“I should have told you, though, I didn’t expect to be in a position where my journal was out of my control.” His face turned to one of relief as he looked at her hands. “Are you okay? What do your hands feel like?” He’d ask, kneeling down beside her before inspecting her hands.
“L-Like pins are piercing them...” She didn’t wring her hands, fearing that thy would hurt more. Her palms were sweaty and shaking. “I-I’m sorry... I shouldn’t have gone through your journal... I’m sorry...”
“Just give them a minute, your hands will start to return to normal. I said the prayer.” Sebastian looked back at his journal before returning his look at her hands.
“Stop saying sorry, please. It wasn’t your fault curiosity gets the best of us all. I should have warned you about it. If anything, it was my fault.” He explains whilst sitting down against the cave wall.
“It gives me the worst visions, when that happens. The most horrid things.” He’d run his fingers through his hair, his breathing returning to normal.
Myuu’s hands would slowly calm down, and she glanced back at him, trying to keep herself from apologizing even more. “I wish you wouldn’t burden yourself so much... I could tell that your mental health was strained even before I checked your wrist...” She sat next to him against the cave’s wall, looking at him directly. “If there is anything that I can do to ease that... please tell me.”
With the amount of force Fayard used, his foot finally came free. However, looking down, he saw that his foot had slipped out of his boot, which was still stuck in place. The Arachne growled as she chased after Fayard and the soldier, who was pulling him into a run.
Sebastian sat still, looking at the cave floor. It seemed her question left him to think. “Well. Being here. Talking to Order soldiers gets pretty degrading when all you hear is the same thing every time.”
After explaining, he’d look at her. “Please, just, don’t betray me. I know that sounds odd, but, that’s what I need from you...” He then rubbed the back of his neck, looking back at the ground. Emotional situations were something he tried to avoid.
“Betray you?” Myuu, for the first time since Sebastian had met her, actually laughed, though it was more of a chuckle. “Betraying you would be betraying myself. You saved me. You helped me up when the Order pushed me down.” She’d look at him with eyes that couldn’t help but express sincerity. “I would never do anything to hurt you.”
Sebastian nods, wiping his eyes. Although a bit surprised to hear her laugh, he said nothing of it. “Just being here helps me.” He states before taking a deep breath. His eyes looked on the verge of tears, but none fell.
After a moment, he started writing in his journal, though it was slower than other times he did.
Myuu seeing him tear up was enough to let her know. “Hey,” She’d put a hand on his shoulder. “After what we’ve been through, there’s no way I’d leave. I’ll stay with you until the end of time... and not just out of duty.”
The Ushi-Oni was much faster, and it wasn’t long before she gained up on the two. “Sir, get to the temple!” The soldier pushes the captain towards the temple before unsheathing his sword, turning around to face the monster.
Both the Shirohebi and the Danube were panting, both completely exhausted from Vez’nan’s struggling. “Mayumi... go to the bathing room and prepare a tub. We need to wash this blood off of him before he wakes up.” A Mayumi rushed to the bathing room, Shira held Vez’nan with a firm grip, in fear of letting him go and him going mad again. “Beatrice? We need you, dear!”
The soldier swung his sword at the Arachne, who caught it by the blade. She then shattered the sword and grasped the Orderite by the throat, dodging Fayard’s impending attack. She then backed up and held a claw to the soldier. “Surrender yourself to me, or he suffers a much worse fate.”
Sato would block the strike with his sword and upon the two hitting, the magical blade shattered. It was clear at this point that his sword had anti-magic properties. Sato then retaliated with an attempt to slash his chest.
“He got Ushi-Oni blood on him while fighting outside. It’s full of Demonic Energy, so he got poisoned and tried to get me to ravish him. We need your help.” Shira said as Mayumi came out of the bathing room. “Alright bring him in.” The Danuki holds the door open as Shira slithered into the room, still holding Vez’nan in her coils. “Beatrice, you’re the only one here who might have a strong enough willpower to resist the temptation. This means that you have to be the one to wash the blood off of him.”
The priest tried to block the sword with a shield of light, but that simply shattered as well, and Sato’s sword broke through the Orderite’s guard, leaving an incapacitated priest on the ground.
(EH???Weapons made of demon realm silver do not inflict wounds on the body of a cut opponent, instead inflicting damage on the opponent's magical energy. When an opponent's magical energy is wounded, spirit energy or demonic energy will leak out from there, and they will lose their strength. In this way, it's possible to take away an opponent's strength to fight without harming or killing them. Check the link for the official page if you wish to know more)
(Jeez, I need to catch up on my lore. Redact that!)
The dagger struck the Ushi-Oni in the chest, right above her enormous bust, which drove her back and made her drop the soldier. She soon fell to the ground weakly.
“Any spot that you see green on him, you need to was it off with this,” The Danuki hands Beatrice a blue sponge. “It will slowly clean off the blood and the Arch Magus will be saved.” Shira slowly places Vez’nan in the marble bath, which was slightly steaming as the hot coals under it heated the water. “If he wakes up and tries to do any... particular things to you, let us know.” The two Mamono then leave Beatrice Nd her master in the bathing room so that they wouldn’t get tempted.
The soldier wasn’t able to respond. He was still on the ground, panting heavily and gritting his teeth. Some of the blood from the Arachne’s hands had left its mark on his back between the grooves of his leather. “S-Sir... ghhh~”
Beatrice nods and enters the bathing room. If she hadn't grown up in the Order her first thought would not have been to begin cleaning her naked master. Thankfully, she did grow up in the Order, so that was but a quickly dismissed thought. She got to work cleaning him of the Ushi-Oni blood.
"This is a test that you must overcome, I will not kill you before a priest examines you, maybe you can still be saved." he declared before turning to the beast, sword in his hand. "How were you saying already? Ah! Yes ...You are quite strong, but I’m afraid this little game of your has ended." declared Fayard, preparing to plant his blade in the vital.
It was a slow and tedious process, and while the sponge was helpful in removing the blood, it was hard to wipe away the stains without rubbing it even further into his skin. Another problem was her instincts. It was a small little setback, but there was a tiny itch in the back of her head that gradually echo faintly through the nerves in her body. Seeing her master like this wouldn’t be of any concern, and yet that insignificant instinct still remained.
“This insvasion that you have started has failed, Sir Knight. Even now, you are being deceived...” The Arachne hissed.
As she went on cleaning her master Beatrice found herself forced to ignore the instincts that told her to sniff her master, and to pleasure him with her body. Again, her loyalty towards the Order and the fact that she doesn't want to face his wrath stop her from doing this.
Shira looked at him with anguish, now done drying him off. “I trusted you...” She’d wrap several towels around him to prevent herself from looking. She’d then slither up to his room with him in her coils and would set him on the bed. We’ll have to discuss this in the morning...
One Ushi-Oni roared at the others, which would all respond by roaring back. They then started to retreat with as many prisoners as they could take, scurrying off into the forest.
“You really think I might meet her again by chance?” Faye inquired and gave thought toward the idea of reuniting with her beloved owner once more. Her eyes gleamed brightly at such a hopeful moment, but then vanquish it right away and shook her head warily.
“I’m not even sure... if she is even still alive. How could I know that?”
She looked back to Karl once more. “What if... I decide to move on?”
“People’s paths are all intertwined, even in death. Just because you decide to move on does not mean that you’ll never see her again. Letting go is good, but if you truly believe that, in your heart, there is a chance of reuniting with your owner, then staying strong and holding true will prevail.” The Mantis would hop down soundlessly to where Faye was and sat down, poking the doll’s chest. “What do you believe? Your mind, or your heart?”
The doll paused for a long time for an answer of her liking. She struggled in her head to come up with a solution. Perhaps, perhaps...
“You can’t reason with a hammer when it sees everyone as nails.” The familiar, if not groggy and tired, voice of her new keeper spoke up. Faye could see his eyes glowing slightly in the background as he stared straight at the both of them with an unflinching gaze.
“Old saying from the Kingdoms through a prisoner I once knew. Some scraggly nomad who got off lucky with decapitation for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Understand this, little one. You’re not as alone as you think and feel you are. You are still loved by your owner, and don’t let thoughts of regret and doubt cloud your vision. You are stronger than that.”
Myuu was soon to follow, still sleeping near Sebastian to keep an eye on him.
“Are you done filling her with false hope yet? I’d like to sleep now, thank you very much.”
Karl focused his stare toward the mantis with a frown as he stretched his arms. “And don’t think talking me out of it is going to work. If you have seen the world just like me, you know it is an ugly place to live in. Hope can only get you so far between starvation and table scraps.”
He turned to Faye without missing a beat, “I’m not telling you to be hopeless, by the way. I am telling you to be real about it. Maybe your girl is fine. Maybe not. Maybe, she is alive, but she probably want you dead instead. I should know. Order Inquisitors love to weaponize children into purger tots.”
The Mantis glared at Karl with a malice unlike any he had seen so far in Zipangu. “False hope? Hope is never false! One can hope for a sunny day and get rain, that doesn’t mean their hope was false. To think is to come from the mind, to hope is to come from the heart. In fact, you better hope that I won’t beat you to a pulp! See how ‘false’ that is.” She turned back to Faye. “I have a husband out there. He works as a merchant in Karujo City. I have hope that he will come back to me. And you, little one. You must have hope that your owner will come back to you.”
He could only shrug at the display given to me, “Not the first time someone disagrees with me. Definitely not going to be the last, but what does it matter? You keep deluding yourself with... well, what you can grasp for while I look at the big picture in front of me. I mean, honestly Faye. I know you miss your owner, but hope isn’t going to bring her to you. Like I said, look at it realistically and think very carefully on your choices.”
Pushing all the way to the hilt was not as smart of a move as one would think. Cracking the carapace of the Arachne’s chest sent blood spraying outwards, covering his greaves in green. It was seeping through his armor!
Removing the heavy armor had always been a slow process, but Fayard never really needed to rush taking it off until now. When he had finally taken off his greaves, he found his hands still partly covered in blood, his palms sweaty and shaking as the effects of the poisonous blood started to show.
The soldier couldn’t answer, still crying out and thrashing on the ground while gradually taking off his armor and clothing. Fayard started to feel the copious amounts of Demonic Energy being absorbed into his skin, and he started to tremble with a growing desire in his gut.
Now that there was much less of a threat from the Ushi-Oni, the marksmen now focused more fire on Sato as he fell back, firing multiple bolts a second at him.
"Hmmph..." Faye puffed her cheeks up as the bout of boredom soon resurfaced itself again. During the time of silence, she thought it over the words given by the mantis and her keeper. She wanted to keep her hopes alive that eventually she would meet her again. But at the same, Karl's words rang true. What if she isn't alive anymore? What if she had forgotten about her throughout the times they've separated?
What if Order did subjugate her mind to hate manonos and anything filled with demonic energy?
Every priest there was already trying to cure the infected soldiers, but to no avail. Trying to clean it off only rubbed the blood deeper into the skin, and healing spells had little effect on any of the symptoms.
Soon, the sun started to rise slowly, turning the sky from a starry black to a deep purple.
Shira, hearing the sound of sobbing, opened and closed the door behind her, slithering into the room.
Myuu was sitting outside of the cave, looking out at the rising sun.
Soon enough, Sato had retreated into the forest, far enough to be out of range of the bolts.
Fayard’s resistance to the blood was weakening by the second now, as his fatigue started to deplete his endurance to the Demonic Energy. A priest quickly came by to him and started to heal the wound on his rib. “Captain, do you give the Order permission to end your life if this foul poison overtakes you?”
(Good to have you back, Dramea! You can check the thread description for recap. Besides that though, the Ushi-Oni have just left Tsumini after attacking the Orderites there.)
The Mantis yawned and awoke, looking out towards the sunrise.
Shira couldn’t help but pity him. Even after breaking a promise she thought he would keep, she knew that the trauma was overwhelming for even the most stoic of men. She slowly moved closer before gently resting a hand on Vez’nan’s shoulder. “Arch Magus... I must check you for any health concerns...”
Surprisingly, he hugged her and began crying into her shoulder. "You and Mayumi and are probably the second and third best mamono to have ever existed, and I thank you both so much for not taking advantage of me in my weakest moment."
She was shocked at this, and those urges rose again. She ignored it, however, and hugged him close, purring silently. “You underestimate us, Arch Magus. We have instincts, but we seldom take advantage of weakness.” She’d gently push a hand through his hair to feel for the bump on his head where Mayumi had to hit him.
“Shhh... it’s alright...” She started checking spots on his chest and stomach where blood had seeped into his skin the other night. “We’re safe now...” She’d also make sure to keep the covers over him as much as possible as she made sure he was no longer infected.
“Shhh... relax...” Shira’s willpower was gradually losing the battle against itself, but she still had control, for now. She made sure to keep embracing him for comfort as she very slowly started coiling him from his feet upwards. “Arch Magus, er... Vez’nan... you once promised me the morning after we met that you wouldn’t use force against Mamono unless as a last resort. Do you remember that...?”
“I planned on leaving the moment I saw you stumble in with blood all over you last night... but you needed me. I knew that you were going to go mad without me. So I stayed. And... and I’ll always stay until you leave for good.” She wrapped up to his thighs, but it didn’t seem ‘wrong’ in a sense. She just... held him close like that, keeping him tight in her coils of smooth scales. “You needed Mayumi to care for the child, but... you are so selfless that you do not care for yourself.” She took out a bandage as she would softly wind it around his head injury.
The Shirohebi would immediately stop and remove her coils, understanding what he meant. “Hmm, I suppose this is the second time I have saved your life.” She’d finish wrapping the bandage around the mage’s head and would begin inspecting him for any other physical injuries.
“... Good morning, Sebastian.” She kept her eyes focused on the sun, as if thinking about something intently.
The priest swore under his breath and finished healing Fayard’s rib before taking out some rags soaked with water. He’d then start patting the bloodstains with the damp cloth, hoping to remove some of the infection.
“If I’d even be accepted there, that is.” She’d look Vez’nan directly in the eyes, wanting his full attention as she spoke. “But from now on, you must trust in my judgement. I have taught myself to put my urges in check, so taking advantage of you will not be a problem. I know that I am a Mamono, and you were always told to be wary of me. But if I am to care for you, you must put your faith in me completely.” She’d take his hand in hers. “Can you do that?”
"...I want to say yes, but I can't ever completely trust a Mamono, except for Beatrice. And that's only because I raised her." He paused, and considered his next words. "I can put faith in you, but never complete faith."
The priest removed Fayard’s helmet and armor to make the cleaning process easier. “Those hideous monsters have left, but our numbers now dwindle.”
“You must try to, Vez’nan. Here in Zipangu, strange and mysterious occurrences happen on a regular basis, some magical and some natural. So, when the time comes to choose between trusting me or your own mind, you must put your faith in my judgement. Do you understand?”
(Good to have you back!) Menagerie saw Taboso in the distance, the light of the rising sun beaming on the villag and giving it a beautiful glow.
“Hmm? Oh...” Myuu sighed as she gazed out at the horizon. “It’s just... going back to Tsumini... it’s just so dangerous now.”
“You may. All the energy you had was used up last night, so you’ll fatigue quickly if you don’t take it easy today. I’ll make you some breakfast.” She’d smile and slither out of the room, opening the door wide to let a certain Kobold in. “You can thank Beatrice for cleaning you off.”
Beatrice, having failed to sleep well, was outside the room. She gave Shira a wave and walked in. As she walked in, a thought occurred to her. She'd have to consult with Shira after this.
"Hello Vez'nan! Did you sleep well?" She asked as she walked over to him. He nodded in response.
"Well that's good! Can you do me a favor and just rest today? You've been so busy lately and you need to rest." Without waiting for an answer she continued. "Thank you!" And with that she left, leaving a tired and slightly confused Vez'nan.
Beatrice found Shira in the estate’s kitchen, which was barely large enough for her to cook in. She lit a fireplace with purple flames from her hand, then found a pot and hung it over the fire. She looked over her shoulder and turned around to greet Beatrice. “Hello dear. Do you need something?”
"...Is there a way to make it impossible to detect one's Demonic Energy? And is there something that'll make a man you Love Love you back?" Obviously the man in question was Vez'nan, and obviously the love mentioned was not the one between family or close friends.
“I...” Shira wasn’t surprised that something like this would happen at some point. She just didn’t think that Beatrice would ask about it so soon into meeting. The lamia hesitated before nodding slowly. “To your first question, yes. It takes practice, but Mamono can learn how to conceal their Demonic Energy through meditation. There are also perfumes and scented balms that lessen the amount of Demonic Energy, but don’t remove it completely.” She’d glance up at Vez’nan’s room before looking back to the Kobold. “And yes, there are love potions and herbs that will move the hearts of humans. But such things are used for husbands and wives that already love each other. If you wanted it for the man I’m thinking about... you had best be careful and gentle with such a potent substance.”
“No, we can’t... but I cannot return to live in Tsumini any longer.” She’d finally look over at him. “I must gather my things from the house and move out west, towards the city. Whether you... wish to accompany me is entirely your choice.” It seemed she had already made up her mind.
"So either I just have to force myself upon him like some animal or drug him? That doesn't seem quite right..." Beatrice have a sigh. "Well, say that I have intercourse with a man, will this meditation get rid of, or at least conceal, the Demonic Energy that is transferred to a man? "
“The man does not need to meditate, only to regularly wash off the Demonic Energy. The Mamono are the ones who must meditate, and through meditation, they can control how much Demonic Energy they give off. Practicing regularly is key.” She’d think for a moment. “You don’t have to drug him or force yourself on him. Such actions are highly frowned upon in Zipangu. It is through expressing the highest devotion and affection that slowly ignites intimacy.” Shira went into a more quiet voice. “What you ask of is very dangerous now that Tsumini is taken.”
After recollecting his belongings, pack steady and weapons ready, Karl picked up Faye and placed her on his shoulder once more. He gave a long yawn with a cracking stretch from his limbs before glancing toward the direction given by their tree mate.
“Northeast to Taboso. Alright, got it. Thanks.”
A noise from his stomach growled in protest as he looked down at it with annoyance. “Oh, right. Better head their right away. Been a while since I had some chow.”
Faye sighed at him, “Do you not have any rations on you?”
“I was about to head to a place for resupply until green cave spiders decided to have a party with our uninvited guests. I think you can understand the rest of my situation.”
"I know, but if I were to try back in Linirea i might as well walk up to a priest and ask to be hung!" She takes a deep breath and continues, this time quieter. "I ought to admit now that the main problem is having a relationship and remaining in the Order together, because I just know that'll kill any chance I have of winning his heart."
“He is an Orderite. He has been taught all of his life to seal himself off from love. He has no weaknesses... except one.” She’d stare at Beatrice’s collar, the symbol of the Chief God engraved on its gold emblem. “Tell me honestly... do other Orderites neglect you?”
“Then you must tell him about that. He cares about you, but he denies that to himself. You’re the only Mamono he trusts.” Shira felt guilty for plotting behind Vez’nan’s back, even if it was for his own good. “You must plead to leave the Order, or else the neglect will continue to increase.”
"That's the big problem, he won't leave the Order. He wouldn't choose me, a monster, over all of his friends, all of the people who serve him, and all the power that he holds. He wouldn't forsake his home and his faith for a pet." She goes silent, clearly uncomfortable with where she had taken the conversation. "Its selfish of me, I suppose, to want to rip him away from most of the things he holds dear just so that we can have sex." She gives Shira a melancholic look.
“Sex is only one part of love. It unites us together in a bliss that cannot be expressed with words, but you must show other parts to fully express your love. Devotion, kindness, compassion.” She smiled as she spoke to Beatrice. “If the Order ever tried to hurt you, he would stand in the way. You must open him up and keep him from shutting out your love. At least express to him the amount of times you have been neglected by the Order. You must try, dear.”
"I understand. This journey could bring me many new interviews, but at what cost..." Sebastain seemed to stare at his journal for a long time, trying to decide what to do. He couldn't exactly just abandon everything... But at the same time, how was he supposed to get more interviews?
"Welp, I'll join you. Can't really further my plans stuck here." With that, Sebastian started to walk in the direction he thought led back to the town.
Menagerie quickly flew to her room, phasing through the door. Spotting Haruto, she walked over to him and sat next to him, grabbing his hand " What happened?" Menagerie would ask, cupping his cheek in her other hand.
Myuu would get up and walk with him, taken aback. “Wait... really? I thought you had to stay with the Order.”
Haruto was in bed, his face totally pale. His hands were cold, and his eyes... the shy, compassionate liveliness in his eyes was gone. “Menagerie...?”
“There is a village nearby called Taboso, just a few miles away. They are sure to have something for your situation.” Shira looked t her with concern. “I just hope that no Orderites try to follow you...”
“Well. We’re here...” Karl stopped in front of the village called ‘Taboso’. He could see the name on a wooden sign that is unsurprisingly taken cared of.
“And yet, you still hide your face.” Faye peeked from underneath the brim of the iron hat.
He gave a brisk look over at the seemingly barren village. “Because I’ve been here before. A quick stop once before I left the island for adventuring. The people here don’t even know me that well. Still, I can assume they may have heard about the ‘cursed man’ when I got back.”
“Speaking of the villagers. Where is everyone?” She asked.
Beatrice shrugs. "Unless they use it as an excuse to hurt me I'll be fine. Indeed, I'll be doing them a favor by leading them to another village. Well, wish me luck!" Beatrice gets up and heads to the door. "Uh, which direction do I go?"
"I would. But..." Sebastian paused, looking at the ground. "Judging from last night, I don't think the Order going to make it here. The force they brought were not prepared to take on this place. There could be any number of tricks that we don't know about."
At this, he kinda just stood where he was, stuck in thought...
Myuu nodded, the faintest smile on her face. “If we were to travel Zipangu, you could interview just about anyone.”
There were peddlers here and there, as well as a general goods store across the village square.
After some time walking, Beatrice noticed little orange dots on the horizon. Probably Taboso.
Tears fell as his lifeless, glazed eyes looked at her. The emotions on his face were absent. “I want you... I need you... don’t go...” Haruto wasn’t making any sense, and his shivering only got worse. “I want... your warmth...”
When she got there, Beatrice saw a quaint town with many people happily walking around. She heard a strange commotion in th nearby inn, and saw a few merchant stands, along with a curious man among them.
Myuu and Sebastian would eventually arrive, walking over to the partly-demolished house. Myuu, however, didn’t cry or gasp. She just sighed sadly. “First my food and valuables, now my entire house.”
“Not. Our. Problem.” He stated and turned away from the inn. “Beside, it’s not like my presence will help anyway.”
Faye was flabbergasted at him, “Is all you can think of is yourself? Have you no heart?”
“Heart?” He bitterly chuckled. “I’m not a saint, and neither is everyone else. Do you think people will just leave what they were doing and help some poor sod out? Pity the misfortunate bastards? Don’t make me laugh. Plus, we don’t even know what is going on there.”
“I think it warrants a look.” She replied solemnly. “What if something is actually going wrong and we might have a solution to the problem? Don’t you want to make a good impression?”
“Maybe... free food?” The doll added.
Before he could object once more, his stomach gave way with a loud grumble.
A Kunoichi stood at the front of the stand, which displayed all types of weapons, from knives to battle axes. “Hello, little one! You don’t seem to be from around here. Interested in buying, or maybe to ask a question?”
He was cold everywhere that Menagerie felt, even in places where he should’ve been warm. Haruto weakly tugged Menagerie onto the other side of him on the bed before holding her close under the sheets, his shivering felt like hard muscle spasms. He exhaled silently. “Thank... you...”
“Oh, that’s alright, miss. Why don’t you tell me what you need first?”
“Can you find a green and blue sponge somewhere? It might be by the tub.” Myuu was checking the shelves for other objects of importance.
(Skip to end of ‘session’) Haruto had stopped shaking, and hugged Menagerie close, not caring about the mess or the commotion downstairs. He was crying into her shoulder as he spoke. “Thank you, Menagerie... I don’t know what you did, but I’m not as cold any longer.”
Sebastian found drawings. Drawings of flowers and rabbits and sunsets. And they were pretty good. What got his attention the most, however, was the drawing of two people sitting on a cliff, watching the sun sink into the ocean’s horizon.
It looked recent, as the stylus used was still setting into the paper. The two people held hands as they gazed outward. One had long hair, the other had short. The sunset seemed familiar, but something else did, too...
Menagerie patted Haruto on his head as he cried into her shoulder. "It'll be OK, Haruto. Like I said when we first met, I'll make sure nothing bad happens to you" she said. "Now, I have to go handle the commotion downstairs. But, don't worry, I'll be back for you later" Menagerie said with a wink as she headed back downstairs.
'I don't remember you.' He continued frowning and gave a quiet sigh at the signt of the banshee stepping down the stairs.
'And I can't believe Faye talked me into stepping inside a possible plague house. Fuck my life.'
"Alright, can someone describe to me the symptoms of this illness?" He asked around, glancing about while slightly fidgeting.
"This better be worth the free food." He muttered to his shoulder companion.
Faye kept silent, watching the foreign manono moving down the stairway.
He gave a brief nod, “I’m none of those, but! But I am an adventurer who have seen my shares of diseases and plagues during my travel in the Kingdoms. Make no mistake, I am asking this because we might have to quarantine this entire inn due to the invader’s presence. The Orderites may have brought more than war. That is why it is very, VERY important for me to know the symptoms right now to prevent any possible spread!”
‘Looks like I am stuck here, too...’
Karl quickly unshouldered his bag and undid the lid, taking out his filter mask and strapping it tightly around his face before any could catch a glimpse.
“We are safe, don’t worry. We had to... leave Tsumini. We were able to escape during the Ushi-Oni raid, and we’ve moved to Karujo City.” She’d smile sadly. “How is your master?”
Myuu’s blush doubled in color, looking at the drawing she had made. “I... I-I was... I... I-I’m sorry...”
The priest wasn’t able to clean off all of the blood, so Fayard’s nightmares were all blasphemously carnal, images and feelings devilishly pleasurable.
Risu had pulled a barstool over to sit on as she sobbed. “I don’t know...” Risu looked up from her crying when she heard the strange man from the Kingdoms, and everyone froze. They all turned to face him. “... Orderites?”
Beatrice smiled back. "Glad to hear it. And he's resting today, so I thought I'd come here to get him a gift. However, I don't have any money with me, so I guess I'll have to return home." She'd sigh , looking wistfully at the weapons for sale.
“Order has come to bring subjugation upon our home! They believe purging the Manonos on our land is for our own good. What they don’t realize is that without them, this island dies! They also bring with them diseases from their homeland over to here! That is why no one leaves or enters the inn until we figure out what illness these men have!”