Ever since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to go someplace far away. When I got old enough, that’s exactly what I did. Packed all the stuff I needed, gathered all the money I saved over the years, told my parents goodbye and promised I would write, and set off on my journey of discovery.
But where would I go? I grew up in a Mamono-friendly town, so any Order-run region was a no-go. The Zipangu Region I heard was a nice place, even though some of the Mamono were a bit troublesome. The Mist Continent also had plenty of mystery behind it, so that would be fun. But there was one place that caught my interest: The Reptile Kingdom.
Now that sounded like a place one would go to challenge themselves. But having entered the Reptile Kingdom, I learned that you kinda have to be crazy, too. So many different ecosystems are scattered all over the place where you have grassland immediately turn into desert. Even finding villages seem to be far and few between. Not to mention that the land seemed somehow much bigger than any map I own showed.
Probably the craziest part of this land is the wildlife. I saw lizards smaller than the palm of my hand to being bigger than any building or tree I’ve ever seen. Every other group of these creatures had them fighting and most times blood was shed. The Mamono here aren’t that much better. While I’ve seen the common Lizardman or Dragon, there are some I’ve never seen or heard of who seem to act more savage than what I’m used to.
After my sixth day trying to survive this land, I was suddenly attacked by a group of creatures. Unfortunately, they were not Mamono, but tall, lizard-like creatures with a hook for a toe. While chasing me, they seemed less like they were attacking me and more like stalking me. Another unfortunate thing was that I was starting to get tired and I reached a part in the forest I was running in that I couldn’t easily traverse.
I was surrounded, I could now see there were six of them that had been chasing me, and they were slowly advancing on me. I could see their many sharp teeth and the low guttural noises they were making. I came to the region to find new opportunities; now it seemed I’m was going to die there.
Suddenly, a flash of lightning shoots out of the trees, hitting one of the creatures. This sudden attack startles them but before they can properly react, more of them were shot with lightning causing the rest to scramble. The ones that got hit slowly got up and limped away.
I turned to see what the source was, only to see a creature I have never seen before. A very feminine figure sat on top a torso with four legs giving her a centauroid look. While her skin was already fairly pale, her mane and fur were white as snow which gave her an almost ghostly look. The only things that really counteracted that were a few black stripes she had. The two striking features were her single horn like a Unicorn, and her piercing red eyes. Also, I noticed that her feet didn’t end in hooves like other Centaurs, but three claws so she’s not as horse-like as I first thought.
Of course, the next thing that caught my attention quickly was her complete lack of any clothing. While her fur did cover most of her body, it barely covered most of her respectable sized chest which brought a bit of heat to my face.
“Are you unharmed?” the mysterious Mamono asked which snapped me out of any perverse thoughts I might have had.
“Oh, yes, a little winded from all the running, but I’m sure I would have been in deeper trouble if not for you, kind miss,” I answered, trying to be as polite as possible in case she noticed me staring. Now, most Mamono would find it as a compliment that a man was staring at her assets, but her stoic expression and piercing eyes made me a little weary. Better safe than sorry.
“Why are you all the way out here with no real protection?” the Mamono asked as she crossed her arms and looking down at me since she was about a foot taller than me. Mostly due to her lower body of course.
“Oh, I was just passing through hoping to make it to the next town. You…wouldn’t happen to know the way, would you? That chase kinda disorientated me.”
The centauroid pointed to her left through the trees. “The closest city is about a day’s walk that way.”
Well, things started to look up after that death-defying chase. A city is just the kind of place I’ve been looking for. I gave my thanks for both helping me with those nasty creatures and pointing me in the right direction. I barely took a step towards my destination when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked back and saw it was the Mamono.
“I think it would be better if I escorted you. You might get attacked again by something worse than those Velociraptors,” she stated as she walked ahead of me. Velociraptors, huh? I figured I should study up a little more on the creatures here if I truly intend to stay.
“Thank you so much! If I may, can I ask for your name?” I asked I as ran up to walk beside her. She turned her head slightly as to not look at me. I think I noticed her cheeks redden a little.
“…Raiko,” she answered as she picked up her pace a little. Feeling happy I got her name, which I found quite beautiful, I quickened by pace as well to keep up with her.
However, after a little bit of walking, my earlier fatigue was catching up to me again, and it was hard to keep pace with Raiko. It got to the point that I was falling slightly behind her, but I made sure not to be lecherous and kept my eyes away from her backside.
Raiko seemed to have noticed this and had completely stopped. I didn’t quite register her stopping, since I was so focused on keeping pace, until I had passed her myself. The moment I stopped to turn and ask what was wrong, my legs finally gave out and I fell to the ground on my butt.
“We shall rest here for a few minutes. I don’t sense anything dangerous near us so we should be safe.”
“No, no, it’s fine. I can still-“ Before I could fully stand up, my legs started aching real bad. Raiko also gently pushed me back down to sit on the ground.
“Rest.” With that, she helped me scoot over so I’m sitting up against a tree and she took her place under another tree next to mine. I didn’t want us to waste too much time if the town was a day away, but I couldn’t really walk and I wasn’t about to ask to rider her. Though, if we were going to just sit and rest, there were a few things I was really curious about.
“So, Raiko, I hope this isn’t too rude of me to ask this, but I was wondering what kind of Mamono you were?” I had never seen anything like her and my curiosity was fit to burst.
“I’m a type of Mamono exclusive to these lands, a Kirin, which would be similar to cross between a Dragon and a Unicorn,” Raiko stated with absolutely no hesitation. I guess she wasn’t afraid to talk about herself.
“Dragon, huh? I guess that’s why you can shoot that powerful lightning. I’ve also never seen a Dragon with such beautiful fur before.”
A quick flash of red appeared on her cheeks, but only for a brief moment. “This isn’t actually fur. These are thin, quill like scales though my mane is actual hair.”
Are conversations continued with topics like the surrounding area, the creatures here, and other kinds of Mamono found in this land. Note to self: stay away from Jho. I also asked her about the city we were going to, but she couldn’t give me much since she hadn’t actually been inside. She did say it was fairly large compared to normal settlements around here so I felt that was a big plus.
We continued our journey after my legs felt better to walk on. Even after all the time that had passed, the forest didn’t seem to get less thick. Even the supposed trail we walked on didn’t seem it was used a lot. But I trusted Raiko’s judgement and followed her diligently.
The sun had started to set and it was making it harder to see under the cover of the trees, so Raiko made us stop and set up camp. This time, I wasn’t going to argue and went to set up a fire. While I did that, Raiko had went out and gotten some small lizards for me to eat. Surprisingly, for being a Dragon, Raiko preferred eating vegetation.
When she came back with the lizards, I joked that she could have cooked them already with her lightning. She didn’t take well to my humor and berated me, saying her lightning was not for cooking. I kept my mouth shut after that and we both ate our meals in silence.
While I did have to spend another night sleeping on the hard, cold ground, which at that point I was used to it, I actually felt a lot safer with Raiko around. Somehow just knowing she was around put my mind at ease. I was also glad she was still there in the morning, too.
Once again, we started our trek to the city, hopefully making it there before sunset. Raiko did insist on us taking a break every so often, despite my reassurance that I could still keep going. While traveling, I couldn’t help sneaking glances over towards Raiko. Even though I’ve come across plenty Mamono in my life, she just looks so much more radiant.
Eventually, my attention was brought to different smells getting stronger the more we walked. After a couple hours of walking, I knew this smell had to be coming from a lot of different shops. I couldn’t help running towards the smell, not even considering it could be a trap. I then reached the end of the trees and saw a fairly impressive city compared to the villages I’ve seen entering this country.
“Raiko, look, we finally made…” But when I turned around towards the Kirin I left behind, she was nowhere to be seen. My heart sank a little since I wanted to properly thank her for all that she’s done. “Thank you, Raiko, I hope we can meet again!”
With that, I turned and headed straight for the city. Will I be able to find an affordable place to stay until I’ve accumulated enough wealth? Would I be able to find a job with any real experience? Will I ever see Raiko again? Well, only time could really answer these questions.
Things did not start out as smoothly as I had hoped they would have. First off, finding a place was fairly difficult with what little money I had on me. Good thing gold and silver is universal! I did eventually find a place I could live at for a time until I got a steady income. Unfortunately, it was in a fairly seedy part of the city and I think the landlady only gave me a room because she thought I was ‘cute’. I figured I should probably be wary of her.
Next was actually getting some work. It was pretty hard to find one without prior training, so I had to do mostly odd jobs. I didn’t mind though, it let me explore the city and meet quite a few people and Mamono. After a month of living in the city, I started to wonder where my temporary traveling partner and guide disappeared to.
When I asked around if anyone has seen a Kirin around here, I was told that nobody ever really sees a Kirin. Apparently, they are Mamono who keep to themselves and do show themselves to anyone unless they have an interest in that person. I guess I was just lucky one was around when I needed help.
Anytime I could, I would look out towards the woods I entered from, but I never saw anything that looked like Raiko. Sometimes, I would think I saw a flash of white, but I always chalked it up to my wishful thinking playing tricks on my eyes.
Opportunity didn’t strike until I ran into this old man at one of the bars I was part-time working at. He mentioned an old cabin out in the woods not far from the city. I asked who owned it, but the old man said the place has been abandoned so long that if someone wanted it, they could probably just move in. I knew what I had to do.
On a free day, I went out to the cabin using directions the old man gave me. Probably should have been more cautious with information given by a random old man in a bar, but I had a strange case of optimism ever since I went on my journey from home.
“What are you doing out here?” The sudden question did startle me quite a bit, but seeing who asked both calmed me and excited me.
Standing before me was the Kirin I thought I would never see again. She hasn’t changed one bit since I last saw her. In fact, maybe because I haven’t seen her in a month, she looked much more radiant and beautiful. Has she been around here the whole time?
“I could ask you the same thing, Raiko. Why did you disappear when we reached the city?” I asked since that was the biggest question I had on my mind for a while.
“There…was something I had to take care of. Once I knew you made it safe, I had to go…” In hindsight, I probably should have known she wasn’t being very truthful, but back then I was so excited to see her again that I didn’t push it. Instead, I had other priorities.
“Actually I’m glad you’re here, Raiko, do you know of any abandoned cabin around here?”
“There’s one not too far from here. Why?”
“Could you please show it to me?” Raiko shrugged and lead me to where the cabin was, me making sure the directions matched the old man’s. They did.
When we got to the cabin, it definitely looked like it hadn’t been taken care of in quite some time. A lot of the wood had moss growing all over it, the windows had either cracks or were completely shattered, from the ground I could tell the roof would need some work, and the yard itself needed some TLD.
Raiko was also looking over the house when her attention turned to me. “Hey, if you-“
“It’s perfect!” I interrupted her, though I didn’t know that at first. “Sure it needs some work done, but think I can spruce this up good and new!”
“Do you know about building homes?” Raiko asked. I didn’t answer at first because I didn’t actually know where to start, but I didn’t want her to know that.
“It’ll be fine. Just you wait, I’ll have this cabin looking great again and then we can see each other more often.”
I thought I caught another glimpse of red on Raiko’s cheeks, but my attention was immediately brought back to the cabin. I gave it a good once-over and soon learned that there really was a lot that needed to be done. Probably more than I knew. But, if you want to build a house you have to go and learn.
After going back into the city, not before spending a little more time talking with Raiko before she had to leave, I set out to try and find a job in construction. That’ll teach me how to build houses, right? It wasn’t easy at first, having to literally be on my knees begging, but I managed to find apprenticeship with a house builder.
The master builder worked me hard and to the bone when I first started, but I showed him that I was determined to learn how to build a house. After about a week of me not giving up no matter what he threw at me, he finally brought me under his wing for real.
I used everything I was taught on that cabin. From the smallest repair to the biggest installation I knew, I put it to use. While I did this, Raiko would always show up and watch me work. She never really helped, but I was okay with that since this was my project. I was just happy to have her around as both company and protection.
After a couple months, I realized that I had to be very careful with my money. Food, supplies, and rent started to really add up after a while. I’ve even stopped eating breakfast to try and save a little money. When I told Raiko about this, she actually got really mad at me and told me I need to take care of myself, too. In fact, after she scolded me, she ran off and I didn’t see her for several days. I even started to worry that I drove her off.
A couple weeks later, after I decided to skip lunch to save money, I returned to the cabin to work on it and found a pile of gold and other seemingly priceless stuff. To my surprise, I saw it was Raiko who brought it. When I asked where she got all of that, she said that it was just lying around the ruins she lived in, collecting dust.
I didn’t know what to do and even said I didn’t need it. She told me with it would help me pay for things and not have to worry about sacrificing my meals. I was still a bit hesitant, but I took some of it to town to see what I could get for them. Amazingly, the little I brought got a quite a bit of gold in exchange. I didn’t want to rely on it too heavily so I put most of it away and kept what was necessary.
This continued for several more months when a full year had passed since I started living in the city. My apprenticeship was going very well and I was starting to learn a lot of things that helped out with the cabin. I even moved out of my seedy apartment, much to the disappointment of the landlady, and found myself a much more comfortable place to live. For now…
I’ve also been writing to my parents back home, telling them all that I went through and what I was working towards. While most of their letters had them glad I was just doing okay, they also expressed how proud they were that I was working hard. Mom also kept insisting I find a nice lady to settle down with to get her some grandchildren. You know typical mom stuff.
I also made sure to read up on the Reptile Kingdom and learn more about the different wildlife and Mamono than what Raiko and I talked about. While a lot seemed pretty ferocious at first, I was amazed to learn how dedicated they get once they found their husband. I’ve even learned of some of the sea Mamono of this kingdom even though the city wasn’t near and large body of water like that.
I also got to learn a little bit more about Raiko while she was around while I worked. To some, she might come off as a bit cold, but I knew that she was a really caring person. She would always make sure I was taking proper care of myself and got mad at me when I didn’t. I also learned about her healing abilities after a pretty nasty tumble off the roof one time. The more we hung out, the more attracted I got to her. I’ve even contemplated asking her out, but I didn’t think I was good enough for her.
Finally, after learning how to build a house and putting it to use, I finally finished the cabin. I stepped back after I made the final touches. The cabin was actually fairly impressive if I did say so myself. I would’ve believed that it was recently built from the ground up. The wood looked great, the windows looked nice, the door was freshly painted, and even the lawn didn’t look too shabby either.
While I was standing out front admiring my work, I almost didn’t notice Raiko approaching me from behind. She tends to come and go fairly quietly, but I’ve gotten used to it so I can just tell when she’s here or not.
“So, what do you think?” I asked, not really turning around but still having a huge grin on my face.
“It looks amazing,” Raiko answered, seemingly in awe. Getting that kind of compliment from her was amazing to hear. As I was turning around to say something, Raiko suddenly grabbed my head with both of her hands....and kisses me on the lips.
I was utterly shocked by this. But before I could rationally think about what was going on, I kinda just fell into the kiss. Her lips were soft and the kiss itself was as gentle as one would expect from their lover. Before I could enjoy it more, Raiko pulled away and I saw clearly that her cheeks were a deep red.
“Do you know how a Kirin choses her husband?” Raiko asked. I just shook my head. “We put the man that strikes our interest to a test. If he passes, then he is worthy of our love.”
Test? I didn’t do any sort of test. The only thing I was did was fix a ca….oh. My brain slowly pieced thing together. Somehow, this whole time, my test was to fix this house. But why? Wasn’t there anything else I could have done that would have been much more worthy? But most importantly…
“I saw you when you first entered the Reptile Kingdom. I’ve followed you since then, wondering if you would turn back, but you didn’t. When you got attacked by the Velociraptors, I jumped in to save you before I could even stop myself. After we reached the city, I kept my eyes on you and noticed you were always out looking for me. Then you started working on this cabin and I realized what made me attracted to you. Your determination. Not once did you give up at any point. You pushed forward and even sacrificed things just to keep moving. If you worked to finish this project, I knew you would be worthy.”
This was a lot for me to take in. Worthy just for fixing that cabin? I’m sure there would be other much more worthy guys who she could have fallen for and…and… No, I couldn’t doubt myself. She said I was worthy so I was going to take that compliment! I held her head and brought her in for a deep kiss. She was surprised for a second, but then returned the kiss with much more passion, tongue and all.
“Well, I guess I can’t call this my cabin anymore,” I said. Raiko gave me both a confused and worried look. “This is our cabin now.”
I’ve never seen such a bright and cheerful smile from her before then. With our arms linked, I lead her over to our new home. I probably needed to do some renovating inside, but I was ready for this new challenge and was ready to spend the rest of my life in this city and with Raiko.
(to The Reptile King: this part isn't important for the contest)
(A/N): This one didn't take very long to do. Honestly, I got it done faster than I actually thought I would. I did want to get this done in case TRK did comeback early.
My first fanmade Mamono one-shot. While i do have at least two more Reptile Kingdom Mamono one-shots I want to do, I can't guarantee I'll do others. Also, while I am uploading this for the contest, this was a planned one-shot for some time.
Also, this was my 10th one-shot I've written! Personally, I find this as a good milestone since I can lose interest in something, so I'm amazed I was able to continue. People's encouragement was also a factor.
I plan on taking a break from one-shots for a while. I do want to work on a bigger story project, at least one o ftwo, and write some more WWYD responses.
Here's hoping for ten more and beyond!