Chapter 1

6 Tails Short

I gave a large sigh as I walked down the street. There was nothing around and nothing to do, just the pale moon in the sky of a quiet town. I checked my watch before scratching the back of my head. It was a bit past midnight, it was almost time for me to head home.

I fixed my jacket and chuckled. "Man it's so foggy here I wonder if a herd of frogs passed through!" I laughed to myself before cringing. That was terrible, I shoved my hands into my pocket as I made my way home.

The street lamps were lit and small puddles of water were on the ground. Despite this, every time I took a breath I felt something burning in my lungs. I flinched slightly, this was a normal town after all, so nothing abnormal ever happened here.

At least to the untrained eye.

However I was taught better than that, I had came to recognize the feeling that was crawling up my spine.

I looked up at the sky towards a building only to see a figure falling towards me.

With a loud splash and crash they fell onto the ground. No one could have survived such a fall, I even noticed that the cement was cracked where they had landed. I slowly walked up to the figure before examining them.

They were female, with long silver hair and wearing a red dress. The dress seemed like something from the east, however that wasn't the most striking detail, that was the two large ears sticking out of her head.

She wasn't human, I knew that for a fact. She was most likely some kind of demon, I tapped my lips. This wasn't the first time I dealt with such creatures, still, before I could completely gather my thoughts I felt another chill fall upon me.

I looked at one of the lamppost to see a figure standing on it. Crouched, two blue eyes staring at me through the fog. Despite such a feeling, something was off, it didn't feel demonic at all, rather...

My gaze went back to the silver haired woman, her eyes shifted towards me. She was covered in cuts and bruises. I stared at her for a moment before scratching my cheek. "Hmm, I asked for frogs but got a fox instead, that's pretty annoying..."

"What?" My statement probably confused her as I quickly picked her up.

"What are you doing? This does not involve a human..."

I sighed before starting to run, I could already feel the dark figure giving chase. I looked behind my shoulder before cursing myself. Even if I wasn't carrying someone it would have been a hefty order to outrun whatever was chasing me.


The woman muttered to herself, it was at this time I noticed her large silver tail, mostly because it was constantly whacking me in the face.

I was tempted to ask what was odd, but then again the entire thing was probably strange.

The figure was slowly gaining on us as I finally took a deep breath. I ran past a muddle as I chanted something below my breath. I knew whatever was chasing us would most likely be following me closely.

I slowly turned my head, banking on the idea that the monster would step into the puddle. Luckily for me they did.

"...!" It was like a bolt of lighting struck the spot as I exhaled. I didn't even bother to look back, I doubt it was enough to kill or even seriously harm whatever was after us, but I knew it bought us enough time to escape.

"Oh, you're a mage..." the fox woman stated bluntly as I sighed.

"Yeah...and you're a demon, a rather foxy one at that," I laughed as she gave a groan.

This was a normal the untrained eye, filled with normal people and normal places, it just so happened to also have a high amount of demon activity. Not that I minded after all, I had been trained to see such things.

"My house should be pretty close to here, we will probably be safe there for awhile." I pointed out as she remained silent.

After a few minutes that felt like an eternity I finally stopped at the large gate leading to a giant garden. It was a small mansion, nothing too extravagant, though the more I thought about it the more I realized just having a mansion was pretty out there.

"Hey...can you walk?" I asked plainly as the fox woman scoffed.

"Of course, most of my wounds have healed anyway," I let her go as she landed on her feet. I noticed she was only wearing stockings, no shoes, I placed a mental note as I opened the front gate that lead into my front yard.

We remained silent, not saying a word to one another. That was to be expected, thinking about it, we both probably over stepped our boundaries with the little interaction we had.

I opened the front door leading into the main room of the mansion. There was two floors to it, though the bottom floor consisted mostly of the living room, kitchen, dinning room and guestroom. The second floor was the one with all of the bedrooms.

The fox demon walked in behind me as I shut the door. I placed my hand on the wooden frame before chanting once again.

"There, I think I placed a basic seal on it, nothing will probably be able to enter this building without at least drawing attention to itself," I sighed as I glanced back at the demon. She was looking around the mansion as if comparing it to her own mental image.

"Not bad, it's nothing like the one back at home, but it's still pretty good."

I groaned, ignoring the comment. Though a lot of questions came flooding into my mind, there was something that we both had forgotten to do.

"Before I forget, my name is William Dearman, the last name is garbage and the first name is too long. So just call me Will," I didn't mind the name, it just felt wrong when people used the full version.

I extended my hand as she simply looked at it before her eyes narrowed. "You are rather thrusting of a demon huh? For all you know I could be waiting for the chance to slit your throat and steal everything you own..."

"Ah, I guess you're right, but at the same time you've had plenty of chances to do something like that. Like when I was carrying you, or when I had my back turned while opening the door," she glanced to the floor before huffing slightly.

"My name, if you must know is Shiruba, it is a mouth full. I would not blame you if you forget it instantly," she shrugged.

My lips twitched for a moment before I gave a rather large sigh. That was good enough at the moment, I was more interested in something else after all.

"So, Shiruba, why was that...thing chasing you?" I asked as she started to walked towards the couch in the center of the living room.

"Hmm, I think they were a demon hunter. I've never met a person like that before, honestly they weren't very strong if I was feeling well," Shiruba said bluntly as she jumped on my couch. Her head leaning against the armrest and her eyes fluttering ever so slightly.

"Demon hunter, that means they are probably human. That explains why I didn't feel any demonic presence," I tapped my lip before continuing, "so what brings you to Steamarsh. I mean it has swamps, but nothing any demon would seem interested in.

Shiruba remained silent as she stared at the ceiling, her tail swaying ever so slightly. "I'm looking for someone, someone that stole something important from me."

"What did they steal?" I knew it probably wasn't my place to ask, but I couldn't really help myself.

Shiruba twitched as she sat up and scanned my body for a moment. "Hmm, short black hair and green eyes. Judging from your height your probably a college student right?"

"That doesn't answer my question," I pointed out as Shiruba tapped her lip. Maybe it really was too personal for her to tell me.

"Fine you don't have to tell me, but if there is another demon around here then I have a friend that probably has some information on them if you want to go with me tomorrow morning to see them."

I closed my eyes, it was another demon that I made good friends with, in fact I would probably call him my best friend weirdly enough. We weren't close enough to make a pact or anything like that. Mostly because I didn't know if I wanted to make a pact with a demon, and if I did I didn't want to make one with a male demon.

"Plus he's also a dog, maybe you two will get along!" I laughed as Shiruba frowned.

"I highly doubt that..." She gazed at me with her amber eyes, as if she was comparing me to someone. "Tell me, why are you helping me?"

"Huh, what a weird question, as one of the few people that knows the basics of both magic and the supernatural it's kind of my duty to help with this sort of thing. You don't seem like a twisted demon so I don't feel any fear about helping you."

Shiruba's expression changed, her eyes widened for a minute before she started to laugh. "Well I suppose this is an inconvenience, oh well. I'll happily go you to your friend's house."

I was glad she didn't try to make a scene about it as I prepared to walk up the stairs to my room. "Hey, do you want me to set up the guest room?"

Shiruba simply shook her head as she laid on the couch, "no I am fine here..."

"Are you su-" before I could finish I heard light snoring as I slumped my shoulders.

"Falling asleep like that is pretty unladylike," I smiled to myself as I walked up the stairs.

The second floor was mostly just a large string of hallways with groups of bedrooms on each side. There was about ten rooms, eleven if you counted the guest room, my room was the third room nearest the stairs.

I dragged myself into my room. I stared at the pile of unfolded clothes in the corner next the group of games and DVDs scatted on the floor. I scratched my head for a moment before jumping in bed. I kicked my shoes off and laid on top of the covers, staring at the ceiling.

"Whatever, I'll go to sleep now and worry about it tomorrow," maybe the entire thing was just a dream? It all happened rather quickly after all, perhaps when I woke up the next morning it would be as if none of it happened.

I shut my eyes and let my fatigue take me.


I wasn't sure if I was awake or even aware at that point, all I knew was that I slowly started to feel a pressure on my chest. As if someone was leaning against it, I felt my body twitch as my eyes slowly opened.

The morning light peered into my room from my window as my eyes slowly started to adjust. The moment they did my heart skipped a beat. Sitting next to my bed was Shiruba, her elbow firmly digging into my chest.

Her amber eyes were narrowed as she pouted ever so slightly, "good I did not need to punch you..."

"...What are you doing in my room?" I cocked a brow as Shiruba shrugged.

"I did not wish for you to oversleep, after all you said we were going to visit your friend early this morning. Yet it is almost half past eight,"

"You idiot, that is still early..."

"Maybe if you are an unemployed student, now hurry up and get ready..."

I sighed, for someone that was staying with me for free, she was sure demanding. I stretched before jumping out of bed, I glanced at her for a moment before recounting all the things I had to do.

"You can use the bathroom downstairs if you want to, or the one up here," it was rare that both bathrooms actually got any use.

"...This place seems rather large for a single person, and it appears that you live alone. You don't even have any maids," Shiruba pointed that out as I scratched the back of my head.

"Well, I used to have things like maids when my parents were around, but when they left me the mansion I decided I really didn't need anything like that," I was already in an excessive situation by having such a large estate.

"I see..."

She left my room without another word, I assumed she was going to use the bottom floor bathroom.

After a few minutes in the shower I got dressed and walked down to the living room. I looked around for a moment to see Shiruba standing next to the door, I noticed that she was wearing the same clothes she wore last night.

Not only that, but her tail and ears were still sticking out.

"Can't you hide those?"

"Hide what?" Her tail was still wagging ever so slightly, I groaned.

"You can't go out in public like that, someone will notice for sure..." A tail and ears are not something humans have.

Despite my words Shiruba simply chuckled slightly, "no worries, most humans simply assume it is a costume. Plus in my current state I can't concentrate enough to hide them, I'm sure it's not a big deal."

She was rather relaxed about the entire situation. Still, she probably had a point, at most we would probably get some odd looks from a few people.

"Plus people might think I have a girlfriend that is into some freaky stuff," I smirked as Shiruba rolled her eyes.

"Shall we get going?"

We walked out of the mansion and into the front garden. We walked out of the gate to the side of the manor. There was one of the few things that I took pride in sitting there, completely untouched.

"What is this gaudy thing," of course Shiruba insulted it the moment she saw it.

"Don't you mean amazing?" I smiled as she winced.

"Is those flames painted on the sides?" She touched the vehicle. It was a custom model that I had a friend make for me. It was really the only car I ever wanted or needed as I shoved my hands into my jacket pocket before narrowing my eyes.

"It's called having taste, come on..." I got in the driver seat as Shiruba entered from the passenger side. I opened my glove compartment and took out my keys.

"I am not an expert on vehicles, but I assume keeping your car unlocked and your keys inside of it is a poor choice," Shiruba said as she adjusted her seat and wrapped her tail around her waist as if it was a belt.

"No one really steals anything around here, plus it's not like I leave it completely unguarded. I set a basic protection spell on it every time I leave the manor."

"It would probably be easier just to take the keys inside with you, though I have never owned a car so..." Shiruba pointed that fact out to me as I started the engine.

I pulled out and finally got on the main road. Despite how heavy the fog was last night it was bright and sunny. It was to be expected since it was early April. Spring had just started and most students had already gotten out of school.

I was about to start a conversation up as Shiruba stuck her head out the window, her silver hair blowing with the breeze as her ears twitched. It was pretty obvious that she wasn't used to riding in cars.

I finally stopped at a small apartment complex near the beach as Shiruba's nose twitched. She was most likely smelling a demon, the entire building was somewhat of a hot spot for such creatures as we both exited the car.

"Man, I hope he's awake right now."

The complex was about 3 floors tall. "He lives on the second floor, let's go," we slowly walked up to the building and up the steps. On the second floor I walked over to the door with labeled 3 3. It was missing the middle number, as I knocked.

I waited for a moment before knocking again.

"Oy, wait a minute!" I voice came blaring from the other side as the steel door slowly crept open. "What do you want?"

A tall brown haired man stood before us, from the way he looked most would assume he was around my age, slightly older. He was wearing a leather jacket with a fur trimmings, of course he wasn't wearing an undershirt.

"Oh, Will, strange to see you around," the man grinned. His sharp canine teeth protruded out of his mouth ever so slightly.

This man went by the name of Crochet, after a certain event nearly a year ago we were friends.

"You idiot, we planned to hang out this morning remember," I had to point that out as he closed his eyes, as if the gears in his brain slowly started to turn.

"Eh, must have forgot, you know I only remember important things,"

I decided to let that comment slide as Crochet looked over my head and towards Shiruba.

"So, what's the deal with the demon fox? Did you make a pact with her or just fucking her? Though those things aren't mutually exclusive." He was blunt as I quickly dragged Shiruba into Crochet's apartment and closed the door.

The smell was terrible, like wet fur mixed with cheap food and beer. Clothes were thrown around and hung loosely over the side of chairs and couches. It had been such a long time since I had been in Crochet's apartment that I forgot how it smelled. Most of the time we would either met at a restaurant or at my manor.

Shiruba was covering her nose as I coughed slightly.

"Actually, I was wondering if I could ask a favor," I sheepishly asked as Crochet looked over to Shiruba as she gazed back, her fingers still over her nose.

The two were probably sizing each other up as Crochet laughed. "It seems that you are six tails short nine-tails,"

"Huh?" I tilted my head as Shiruba's entire body stiffened, as if someone had figured something out about her.

"Eh...she didn't tell you, she's not a normal fox demon. She is a nine-tails, one of the strongest demons of that type. Though like I said it seems like she is missing a few tails."

"I did not come here to hear your commentary on the situation, can you help me locate this person or no?" Shiruba bit her lip as Crochet shrugged.

"That depends, do you have anything belonging to the thief. I mean you know they are in this town because you can track your own power right?"

She remained silent as Crochet rolled his eyes before opened one of his dressers in his room. Instead of being filled with clothes like normal dressers would it was filled with books and old papers.

He pulled out what appeared to be an old flyer as he rubbed his chin. "This is a demon tracker, if you had been in contact with this demon and used a similar power then they might be able to track them down for you, the location is on the paper."

Crochet handed me the paper for some reason before closing one of his eyes. "You have a bad habit of helping people Will, don't let that get you killed."

"You're one to talk," I smiled before heading to the door. "We should meet up another time, when things aren't so hectic," I made a passing comment as Crochet just laughed.

With those words both me and Shiruba exited the apartment with the flyer in hand.

"Such an irritating demon," Shiruba frowned as I chuckled.

"He's pretty cool, he's one of the few people in this world that understands just how disgusting eggs are," it was a completely unrelated comment as I scanned the flyer.

"Madam Luciana huh, well we should probably pay her a visit."

Author Note

Original I was planning on making this a novella, but since I wrote it so long ago, combined with the fact that I stripped so many concepts from it using it for other works I ended up using this more as a beta version of my other stories.

With that said I will probably post what I have written back up.