"And you're sure you remember nothing?" Osumachi asked in disbelief. Atsuna shook her head. "Nothing at all. At least, not at the moment."
He sighed and put his sword back onto the clip at his side, though bits of dried blood still remained. "So… are you going to tell me what happened yet?" she asked timidly. He raised an eyebrow, "I already have."
"Well, yes, but you failed to mention how you got hurt. I can help you with that, you know."
"You're not as dense as you let on."
"It's not too hard to tell by the huge bloody gouges on your back."
"Why do you care about me?"
"I should be asking you the same question."
Osumachi glared. He turned around rather quickly and his torn cloak spun behind him. Atsuna quickly picked up Ri from the ground and skipped over following Osumachi. "Don't be such a bitch," she told him in a nagging voice. He gave no response, but you could cut the tension with a knife. A very large, sharp knife. "Where the hell are you going anyway?" She sped up and ran directly in front of him and stopped. But, instead of her blocking him, he simply kept walking as he disappeared, then reformed behind her and continued on his path. "Would you just STOP?" she screamed almost at the top of her lungs. She could still hear the demon's footsteps through the dust. She shook her head and clenched her teeth. The creature in her arms looked up at her clueless and licked her chin. "Fine. Fine. I don't care. I'll just turn around and keep following him. What could happen? What could possibly happen that could make me worse off than I already am?" she muttered to herself as she turned back around and did just what she said she would. She looked around, noticing the sparse trees now. She looked toward the first sun. "So we're going northwest? Port Kenara?" she asked, though not expecting an answer.
Smiling as she was looking down over the sand dune, Atsuna felt a small sense of victory. "So you're not completely random like I thought. Then again, it does bring questions to why we're here," she commented. The city below, Port Kenara, was known to many as the only safe port in Ceranta. There were no Cilo soldiers to command anyone. It was also proof that order could be attained without an aristocratic government watching over them constantly. Osumachi wasn't listening at all to her. He disappeared from her side and could be seen coming in and out of view down the sandy hill. She sighed. "You really suck!" she yelled after him. The slope was a good 100 meters down at a rather steep angle. Ri squirmed around in her arms anxiously, so she set him down on the ground. He immediately scurried off down the hill without hesitation.
She looked around. "There's got to be an easier way," she contemplated. Atsuna reached on her back and took her axe off the sling. She laughed and looked at it, wondering if it would work.
The next thing she knew, she was speeding down the sand on the side of her broad halberd, arms out to the side for balance, screaming in a combination of fear and excitement. Gradually, the slope flattened, but she kept going the same speed. Unable to keep her balance, she stumbled through the dust and finally rolled over onto her back. She heard muffled barking and looked beside her, though she saw nothing. The sand began to lift, and a little furry tail poked from the surface. Another little bark sounded and Ri's tail wagged. She dusted around the sand around his tail and then grasped his rear end. His head popped from the ground and soon he wiggled free once more, though this time not to run off. He shook off the dust from his fur and sneezed. Atsuna smiled. He must have seen the perfect opportunity, because his eyes lit up seeing she was lying on the ground. He pounced on her chest and began licking her face furiously. Atsuna squealed and laughed, then soon enough pried him from her and sat up straight. Ri sat content on her lap, wagging his little brown tail and looking up at her as if to ask where they were going next.
Demonic eyes turning back to their normal violet color, Osumachi's victim dropped to the ground in the alley, completely limp. He took a deep breath feeling refreshed. But he didn't expect to have been followed. A small voice came from around the corner: "Mama? Where did you go?"
He quickly glanced around, and his only choice was the one he took. A little girl stepped into the small space between the two buildings. "Mama?" she asked again, tears in her eyes as she knelt by the dead woman's body. The demon peering down from the edge of a window shook his head. He relocated himself outside of the alley and was surprised to see Atsuna. "Osumachi? Hey! I need to talk to you!" she yelled once she noticed him. There wasn't much of an escape now. She approached him angrily, but faltered hearing a child crying behind him. "What's that?" she asked, though she knew what it was. He didn't answer. She pushed him aside and stepped in just barely and said something under her breath. "What have you done?" she asked in a shocked voice. People in the streets were beginning to gather. Osumachi couldn't think what to do, which surprised himself. Atsuna turned around and looked at him. "Well?" she waited for an answer. The girl's crying got louder. "You seemed to know so much about demons. Did you not know how they feed?" he spoke harshly, and perhaps a bit louder than he had intended. "Demon? They still exist?" someone asked another person in the crowd. Osumachi turned to them and glared. "You feed off human souls!" she hysterically asked.
The crowd was buzzing. Some panicked, some decided to call out to him. "You should leave now," someone suggested loudly. "Get out of our city now and we won't have to force you out."
A woman stepped forward with dark green hair in a messy ponytail on the side of her head and chocolate eyes. "He's a murderer," she claimed fiercely, a strange look in her eyes as she pointed at him. "His kind are devils. Killers of the worst kind. A soul-eating villain," she continued, "Fear him. Cower before him. Tremble in his very presence!" a strange mist came over the crowd as she grinned maniacally. One by one, the people in the crowd fell limp, all except the woman laughing. Both Osumachi and Atsuna were speechless as townspeople collapsed with no warning. Soon enough, only three people stood in the streets, and a little puppy snoozing by Atsuna's feet. Suddenly, the woman's laughter came to a stop. She smiled and skipped over closer to Osumachi. "Well? What do you say?" she asked in an overly cheery voice. Silence. "Thank you very much Miss Tiran. You saved my life. You are so cool," she spoke out of the corner of her mouth as if it weren't her who had said it. "Why, you're welcome. It just brings a warm feeling inside just knowing I can help someone in need," she said in her normal voice. Osumachi narrowed his eyes. "I didn't need any help," he snarled.
"Wow, like that wasn't expected for a dark scary demon with flowing black hair and deep purple eyes to say. Come on now, be a bit less stereotypical!"
"Are you mocking me?" he asked, much hostility in his voice as he leaned closer to her menacingly. "Why? Wasn't it clear enough?" she countered with the same anger. Atsuna stepped between them. "I'm sensing a bit of tension here. Can we hold on just a second?" she suggested, looking back and forth between the two. The woman's expression changed immediately back to her previous happiness. "Why yes, dear," she agreed. Osumachi backed off and crossed his arms in front of his chest, not taking an eye off the woman.
"First off, thank you very much. I don't think we would have gotten anywhere trying to eliminate the whole population of the Port. Second, I am Atsuna Kakali, and he is Osumachi Rania. Third, what's your name? Last, what the hell just happened?" she asked. "You're welcome, nice to meet you, Tiran Seda," she answered with a nod and a grin, "And you just witnessed my demon power of anesthesia."
Atsuna seemed to be the only one surprised she was a demon as well. "Small world," she murmured. "Quite small indeed. Possible to circumnavigate in less than one month," she answered matter-of-factly. "What brings you to this fine city?" Tiran inquired curiously. Atsuna glanced at Osumachi, obviously not knowing the answer. He didn't seem like he wanted to speak at the moment. "Not entirely sure really. I just know that we need the Nonce things," Atsuna answered casually. Tiran looked surprised. She glanced at Osumachi, then back to Atsuna with a slight grin. "So he was a survivor of Bihuna? Do you possess Chelle's two Gems?" she leaned in close as she spoke with excitement. Atsuna wasn't too sure she remembered the names quite clearly, but it sounded about right. She nodded. Tiran looked down at her feet feeling little claws at her poofy white pants. She leaned down with another thrilled grin. "And this must be the little Hunter?" Ri yipped happily and she picked him up.
"This is absolutely wonderful. I've been dying to leak the hush-hush info of the Azure Faction!"
Osumachi scoffed and shifted around. "So who the fuck do you think you are? Obviously, either your parents were banished or you're a hybrid. Either way leads to the fact that you aren't a true demon."
"Actually, my father was clinically insane and my mother was his rape victim. You were close with 'hybrid' though."
"Is it true though? Do your kind really feed off the animals?" a cruel laugh escaped his lips as he again towered over her. She smirked and closed her eyes. Again, a mist spread, but this time over Osumachi. He looked at her and was about to laugh at her failure, but she was no longer there. No one was there.
He looked around and instinctively drew his sword, a bit of paranoia setting in. He heard something behind him, so he turned. Nothing there. A voice echoed to his left. "What are you covering up?" He bolted around. "Covering up? I'm not doing such a thing."
"Then you're running."
"Why would I be running? I have nothing to fear."
"Is that so?" To his right a blur began to form. It changed to a recognizable form. A man clad in a midnight blue uniform and wild hair the color of rust. Green eyes peered at him through his bangs. Laughter emitted from him as his sword ran through the body of a demon woman. She had very long black hair and the same violet eyes as Osumachi. Her facial features were almost identical as well, though contorted in pain as the steel was removed from her weak body. "Oroci," he breathed, lowering his sword. He watched as the memory of his twin being slain replayed as it often did. He heard her voice now. "Osu, what are you doing? Don't you remember what they did? They've always feared us. We feed on the weak!"
He looked around desperately. "I alone can't face them. I had to get help!"
"What about the other four? Are they not alive as well?"
"Yes, but that is all you can say about them."
"How did you survive then?"
"What? What did you do?"
"Surely you jest! Wouldst thou sayest again?"
Again a foggy silhouette appeared. A feminine version of Osumachi stared back at him like a reflection, a deadness in her eyes. "While everyone else fought despite the ciricium, you were running away?"
"I would have died."
"What makes your life so worth living now? What can possibly be so important."
"I have to save the world."
"The humans? They deserve death. You see what they did to our proud race!"
"That may be right, but without the world, nothing can exist."
"So you struggle to hang on to life? Why don't you just give up?"
"I can't! I can't just let existence as we know it fade!"
"You're the same ignorant little brother I remember. Acting on impulse and instinct. Can't you see it for what it is? There is nothing left to fight for."
"You are such a fool. Have you learned nothing at all? Humans are an inferior race only to be our sustenance. They are worthless. They are filth!"
"What are you saying, sister? You were the one that told me only to take necessary lives."
"You cannot deny your nature. You enjoy watching as the life fades from their fragile bodies. You lust for the taste of death."
"You are not Oroci."
Osumachi again drew his sword. The woman's eyes glowed with a strange fire and her garments turned red. Her hair blew in all directions like a blaze. "You aren't quite as clever as your beloved sister says you are," the woman sneered, her voice shrill and scratchy. He pointed the tip of his blade at her neck. She simply twitched her fingers at her side and he found himself letting go of the hilt. "You cannot conquer me in your sleep, you fool."
"Who are you?"
"Soon to be the ruler of all."
"And that means what to me?"
"Everything. I will reign over all worlds, including this pitiful little rock."
"Who are you?"
"Valini, the Black Sun Goddess."
She tilted her head back and laughed maliciously. Osumachi frowned and narrowed his eyes at her. "Black Sun Goddess?" he asked suspiciously.
"But of course. I've watched this dismal existence of your world for two hundred years now. I've grown enough power thanks to the last of the Golden Race. Your time is over."
"The last of the… you can't mean Yuuko. He died long ago. Chelle slew him."
"No one questioned that? Ignorant fools. He should be stirring about now."
"I've had enough. Why the fuck are you here?"
"Why? Because you chose for me to be."
"How could I have done that."
Valini smiled again and she began to back away. Osumachi found himself unable to move, but he yelled after her. His voice failed him as she disappeared. A light started to glimmer somewhere, and eventually he couldn't keep his eyes open from the brightness.
Atsuna laughed as the demon girl carelessly dropped Osumachi's unconscious body on a hard bed. "Hope he doesn't have any special dreams," Tiran joked with a snicker. Atsuna shook her head with a smile. "Could you help me with something? I sort of fear for my life with this sort of thing," she asked. "Umm, sure? What is it?"
"Well, he got banged up pretty bad in that fight I was talking about. I woke up and his back was all slashed and bleeding profusely."
"When was this?"
"Let's see, two days ago?"
"He's fine then."
"What? How can you be so sure?"
"He's a demon. If I can heal myself in less than a week, I'd say he'll be just dandy."
She wasn't convinced at all. "I don't care. I'll have to see it for myself," she argued as she kneeled down by the bed. Atsuna was about to reach for his shirt, but she stopped noticing his eyes were open. "She's right," he told her, staring blankly, "I've recovered completely." Atsuna laughed sheepishly and quickly withdrew her hand and scooted backward. Ri popped his head up from a cushiony chair against the wall and barked happily, seeing the demon was well.
The two demons stared at each other for the longest time, seeming like neither of them had blinked for hours. Atsuna was merrily wasting her time away playing with Osumachi's hair. He seemed to preoccupied to care at the moment. Ri, as usual in these cases, was snoozing on her lap.
"You've never even been home, have you?" he asked in a rather spiteful voice. Tiran shook her head, knowing he meant to Bihuna. "That's why I know more than you about what's going on in the world. While you separated yourself from humanity itself, I was learning all I could about Cilo's secret government branch. Especially after they attacked," she explained in the same tone as he. "What is the effect of ciricium anyway? I'm afraid I've never had the joy of breathing it in," she commented with a smirk. Osumachi ignored the comment and stood up, then walked out of the front door of the tiny house. Tiran laughed quietly, causing Atsuna to give her a questioning look. The demon girl pulled two stones from a pouch on her belt. "It's so easy to pickpocket someone who's unconscious."
Two stones hit the back of his head unsuspectingly, and Osumachi whirled around. Tiran was sticking her tongue out mockingly and Atsuna was hiding the fact that she was laughing. With an expected cold glare, he bent down to pick up the two Nonce Gems carefully. There was an odd warm sensation coming from them, but he ignored it for the moment as he pocketed them and turned back around. "I wouldn't go much further by yourself," she called to him in advise. He stopped and listened further, though not turning around. "You used your powers to put a spell on those humans. I don't think they'll be too happy!"
People in the streets already were eavesdropping and whispering to each other. Osumachi gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. Reluctantly, he spun around and returned to Tiran's tiny house.
"While I'm here, why don't you make yourself useful and fill us in on what you know about the Azure Faction," he suggested, clear to everyone he was struggling to keep his temper. "Why should I?" the woman was quick to retort in a happy sort of way, playing with Ri's little brown ears. Osumachi's eye twitched. Her eyes brightened with an idea and she looked directly at him. "How bad do you want to know?"
"You're wasting my time."
"This is some juicy stuff!"
"I think you're bluffing."
"Would I lie to you?"
"Why wouldn't you?"
"Because I am prepared to swear a blood oath that I will not betray you."
Osumachi took a moment before nodding. "What is it that you want in return?" he asked suspiciously. She grinned. "I've always wanted to go on an adventure to save the world." His eyes widened. "No. That's impossible. Not a chance in hell."
"I can take my business elsewhere."
"Fuck you, woman…"
It was only a matter of time before he had to give in. And he had to assure Tiran safe travel to D'yi as well before telling him, just to make sure. Though Tiran was an expert at tactical maneuvering and fighting with her spear, she thought it fun for Osumachi to have to protect both the women. Atsuna convinced them to stop along the beach, and Osumachi went off somewhere by himself. Enough said.
Atsuna had marked the exact direction he was going the whole time. "Why do you insist on checking his non-existent wounds?" Tiran asked her, a knowing shine in her eyes. Atsuna didn't answer but climbed up a large sandstone boulder and looked down. Tiran crawled up beside her. Below was a small, shallow lagoon with aquamarine waters. Osumachi stood at the ledge looking into the pool.
"What are we doing?" Tiran asked in a whisper. Atsuna held a finger to her lips. Tiran rolled her eyes. "I know what it is," she confirmed with a smirk, getting Atsuna's attention, "You think he's sexy." Atsuna scoffed and looked her in the eyes. "That is not it I don't think he's se-" she began to object, then upon looking back saw the demon taking off his shirt to reveal quite a muscled body. The rest of her sentence turned into an empty breath as she stared at him with a glazed look in her eyes. Tiran had to hold back laughter with her hands as tears came to her eyes. It was just too entertaining.