Chapter 2: Till Death Do Us Part
Izumo was flung into a spare parlor room, nearly falling over. She braced herself to a table nearby, turning to an angry Homare who slapped her. Gritting her teeth, she resisted the ache on her cheek in defiance.
“You stupid girl,” the woman hissed scornfully, “Are you asking for a death wish?”
“Maybe…” she answered sarcastically, “If it means being away from all of you.”
Homare fisted her hands, resisting the urge to slap her again. She soon sighed and lifted her glasses, finding her behavior to be inappropriate. Izumo took the moment to rub her cheek, her thoughts trailing back to the prince. Just what was his deal jumping in like that? Wasn’t he working with the rest of them?
“So, what’s going to happen now?” Shima asked, both females forgetting he was there.
“The plan is still happening,” she answered.
“What plan?” Izumo asked, feeling quite fed up with this charade, “Tell me! I at least deserve to know that much!”
Homare contemplated in telling her the truth.
“Aww, just tell her, she’s going to know sooner or later,” Shima said, finding it all to be tedious.
When she thought about it, there was no use in keeping it a secret. She soon gave in.
“You’re to be Rin Okumura’s bride,” she simply said.
Izumo’s eyes grew wide, not believing what she was hearing. “Wh—what?” she stuttered.
“We’ve been planning this arrangement for a long time,” Homare said, never faltering her voice.
Izumo shook her head, completely baffled. “So, all those tests? All those pills and experiments with the Nine-Tails, that was all for this? To make me some demon’s concubine?”
“You should be flattered, it’s not any demon you know,” she said as if that would make things better.
“No, I refuse to go along with this!” she shouted angrily.
“You have no choice, the wedding is tomorrow, whether you like it or not,” Homare said, forcing her words to be final, “Just be grateful Satan hasn’t ordered your head after the little stunt you pulled.”
“Screw you! I’m not doing this!” Izumo continued to argue.
“As if what you want would change anything,” Homare countered coldly, “Do you even realize who you’re trying to defy? You wouldn’t stand a chance.”
Izumo forced down a whimper, collapsing helplessly to the floor. Shima stared blankly at her; if he held pity for her, he did well in not showing it. Homare was found to have overstayed her welcome, needing to intend to do other things instead.
“Shima, you and Maria are appointed as Izumo’s chaperones for now on during her stay here,” she said, making her way towards the door. “It’s your job to make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid, and that she continues to progress with the Nine-Tails. Do you understand?”
He saluted happily. “You got it, boss lady."
“I’ll be returning to Lucifer’s side, there is still work to be done I’ll send for Maria,” she said, making her way out the door.
Once she was out of the room, Izumo’s mind was lost in a shattered mess. Her only thought was that she hoped she could just see Tsukumo one more time.
“Fiancé!? Fiancé!? Are you serious?! When were you guys even going to tell me about this!?” Rin bellowed in disbelief.
Shiro and Yuri kept quiet, not sure how to answer. She turned to Shiro with irritation, which he only shrugged in response. Rin continued to pace the room, doing his best to wrap his head around the idea. Was he supposed to be okay with marrying a stranger? Was she even okay with it? He could remember her eyes and the deep layer of despair they had. It was like she was carrying nothing but anguish inside them, filling a void that seemed nothing more but a bottomless pit of hate. How could they expect someone like that to marry him? A child of Satan?
“I know it seems unfair now, Rin, but believe me, this is for the best,” his mother tried to reason.
“The best? How so?” he asked in bewilderment.
Shiro decided to intervene by answering, “Look, Rin. If you don’t marry this girl, they’ll do far worst to her. She’s already gone through enough being under the care of the Illuminati. And you’re a good kid, I know you’ll be good to her.”
“Well, not like I have a choice,” he muttered, “And of course, I would, I’m not a monster like Satan.”
“Then please, be reasonable,” Yuri pleaded, “This engagement is meant to be taken as a peaceful union, one we hope will ascend for better results than…you know.”
“Oh yeah, and who’s idea was this?” he countered.
“Mine, of course!” exclaimed an all too familiar voice.
A puff of smoke burst beside them, revealing Mephisto himself. Rin glowered at the demon—he should have known he was involved.
“I take full credit for the idea,” he said, congratulating himself with a twirl. “I’m just glad everyone was on board with it.”
“Everyone except me and this girl perhaps,” Rin rebutted firmly, “Why this girl in particular anyway?”
“Why? Was there someone else you rather be marrying?” Mephisto questioned deviously.
Rin blushed and turned away. “No,” he said, bowing his head.
“Besides, what’s wrong with this girl? She looks foxy to me—no pun intended,” he joked.
Rin responded angrily, his face reddening, “It’s not that! I’m not saying she’s not! It’s just—” He paused, recalling her eyes once more. “She looked…broken.”
“From how she slapped Satan, she can’t be that damaged,” Shiro added humorously, “And did you see the way she danced?” he asked, giving off a whistle; which resulted in Yuri jamming his stomach.
Rin scoffed. “Not like that…just…like she had nowhere else to go.”
“Hence where you come in,” Mephisto commented with an odd comfort. “That girl is from the Kamiki clan, a long line of priestesses whose bloodlines trace back to Byakko, a Fox demon God. Even so, she is mainly human, but there’s no doubt the demon blood that runs through her veins. I thought she would be the perfect choice in becoming your bride, someone equal if not powerful to be by your side. Wouldn’t that be exciting? My very own power couple, I may add.”
Yuri and Shiro grimaced at his choice of words, knowing the demon had weird habits when it came to his secret otaku life.
“And what about family?” Rin asked, “Her home…?”
“Unfortunately, that is a difficult question to answer,” Mephisto answered gravely, his eyes strangely softening. “The girl is better off as she is now, trusts me. If not this, she would have suffered a greater loss.”
Rin wanted to call out his bullshit but accepted his words. Not like he could do anything to change it.
Mephisto felt uncomfortable with the newfound tension inside the room and decided to lighten the mood. “Besides, think of this way, you’ll finally be getting laid,” he bluntly confided.
Yuri gasped in horror, while Rin’s face turned into a brilliant shade of red. Shiro took a swig of his cigarette, clearly disturbed by the idea. Not exactly the image he needed right now for the kid he raised as his son. Though he had to admit, he is damn proud of him too for scoring such a babe—even if she was his forced bride.
“Okay, first of all, consent!” Rin retorted defensively, his mother happily agreeing—feeling proud of her son’s morals.
She raised him right!
Mephisto’s eyes glinted with mischief. “And what if she does give herself to you? What then?”
Rin blushed and frowned at the thought, doing his best to ignore his loins. Despite his good intentions, he was still a guy; a guy with demonic tendencies. He knew the risk of his instincts coming out if pushed to that point. He'd be no more than an animal if he did. Though, he was pretty confident the girl wouldn’t even let him be near her, even if it was her purpose. She didn’t peg him for the type to give in without a fight—Satan could testify to that.
Rin shook his head. “Why are we even talking about this anyway? Not like we’re married yet!” he argued, “There’s still time for me to make this right.”
“I’m afraid not!” Mephisto hollered with an obnoxious laugh. “The wedding is tomorrow, I have you know! So the honeymoon is just around the corner, young man,” he explained comically.
“What? Tomorrow?” Yuri questioned dubiety, her face contorting in shock. “So soon after her arrival? They barely even spoke a word to each other!”
Mephisto shrugged with a lack of concern. “That’s what was promised. Don’t blame me!”
Shiro looked doubtful. “Yeah, right,” he said.
“Seriously? There’s no way around this?” Rin asked, looking for any signs of hope that they were lying.
“I’m afraid not,” The older demon clarified calmly. “With that said, I shall take my leave. There’s much to be done!” He merrily declared, instantly vanishing the same way he came.
They all stared at the space, not saying a word. There was too much to take in, and little time to absorb. Even if they always knew this was coming, Shirou and Yuri had hoped a better solution for it. Rin just continued to shake his head, feeling rather doubtful that he could even commit to such a thing.
“Mom, I don’t think I can do this,” he said.
Both adults gave him a sympathetic look, not sure how to encourage him.
“Just… be good to her Rin, no matter what,” Yuri kindly advised.
“We know you’ll do the right thing by her,” Shiro added humbly, knowing how unfair this truly was. “You’re both dealing with it.”
He didn’t give a response, mindlessly leaning over to his mom who gave him a soft peck on the cheek. “Get some rest, honey….you’ll need it,” she said, gently ushering Shirou out of the room.
Once the door closed behind them, Rin slumped back onto his bed. He plopped with a soft bounce, sighing heavily with an arm across his face. All the while, all he can think about were a pair of red jewels, and how lonely they seemed to be.
Sunlight beamed through the emerald curtains inside the room, slowly reaching over to Izumo’s face. She stirred with slight annoyance, twisting herself around to block out the light. It’s been a while since she’s been this comfortable inside a bed, having dealt with the flat bunk in the labs for far too long. She squeezed the sheets, cocooning herself in its warmth. It was quiet for a moment, enjoying the solitude.
A knock came from the door though, causing her to groan. That’s right, she was supposed to be getting married today.
“Izumo? I’m coming in,” a soft voice said, gently opening the door.
A blonde Illuminati woman entered the room, carrying a briefcase. Izumo winced at the disturbance, slightly lifting her head.
Maria tried to give the girl a friendly smile. “It’s time for your medication.”
“Medication…right~…if that’s what you want to call it,” she jeered crudely.
“It’s best we do it as soon as possible before the wedding ceremony,” she said, setting the case down.
She propped the lid open on top of the bed, sliding the contents over to the girl. “After today, you’ll be sharing a room with the prince, so be sure you're responsible for this. We have to keep your connection with the Nine-Tails consistent as we can.”
Izumo touched the top of her head out of instinct, finding her fox ears to still be there. Her tails, however, were another matter. She looked behind her, only finding three at the base of her spine.
The young demoness scoffed at her appearance. “Fine, but I got to take my pills first.”
She searched into the bag given to her and took her daily dose for the day. They were meant to balance the cells and nutrients inside her body before the shots, but she honestly felt like they were just for show.
’Now here comes the fun part,’ she said with fake joy.
Maria watched her carefully as she hesitantly injected each shot into her veins. Like clockwork, the Nine-Tails taunted her but respected her wishes in being obedient.
‘That won’t last forever though. Eventually, she’ll lose her patience,’ Izumo carefully reminded herself. ‘I’ll have to figure out a way to please her in time.’
“Are you okay?” Maria asked, taking note of her silence.
“Of course not,” she berated snidely, “How can I ever be okay with all this?”
The woman bent her head down in shame. “Sorry…”
Izumo shook her head, Maria’s apology being pointless. “Not like it matters,” she said, her gaze becoming distracted by the dust particles in the air.
“Hey, but at least I heard it’ll be a small wedding,” she hastily chimed, hoping the news will brighten her up a little.
Oddly enough, it did. Izumo felt relieved. She really could do without the crowd after yesterday’s debacle. Before long, they were soon welcomed by a knock at the door, spotting a group of women entering inside.
“We’re here to prep Lady Izumo in her gown, may we interrupt?” one of them politely asked.
Izumo scowled at their presence. ‘Damn, they don’t waste any time do they?’
“Oh, of course! I’ll take my leave then.” Maria respectfully nodded.
Honestly, you wouldn’t have thought the woman was working for the Illuminati with a kind nature like that. Even so, she was a breath of fresh air compared to Homare. Once Maria was gone, the group of maids scurried. They quickly ushered Izumo off the bed, nearly stripping her down.
“Hey…!” she yelped, finding herself in nothing more than her undergarments.
“Sorry, my lady, we have to be sure to take your measurements so the gown can fit,” the head maid said, padding a washcloth against her skin.
“Oh my, she is a tiny thing,” one chimed behind her.
Izumo frowned angrily at the comment, wishing they would just hurry up. After a few more rub downs, they used a measuring tape to record her size. Izumo noticed the robes being spread across the bed; seemed like they were going for the Shinto approach. The colors were red and white, signifying luck and purity—ironic.
‘Come to think of it, Mom never did get married.’
Izumo was technically the first Kamiki woman in a while who has—if only it was for better circumstances. Either way, not like getting married made a difference in how her mother was used. To this day, Izumo never met her father, and she honestly didn’t care to. For all she knew, her mother might have killed him that night years ago anyway.
The maids carefully lifted her arms and slipped on the first layer to her gown. With an Obi in hand, they began to wrap the sash around her waist, violently stuffing any loose garments. Her tails flourished beneath the long cloth, neatly stacking behind her. They smacked her blouse, making sure to pat out any wrinkles before putting on a red and white brooch to her chest. Izumo felt like she was nothing more than a doll to them as they started applying make-up to her face.
Her lips pouted, allowing them to apply a glossy layer of red to them. They instructed her to pucker her lips, smearing the wax perfectly. Her eyebrows were next, plucking any loose strands. With a quick swipe of her eyelashes, she was surprised to see the transformation from the mirror they provided.
“Oh…wow…” she said, completely stunned by her beauty.
Putting Izumo’s hair into a bun, the maids stepped back and admired their handy work. They put on her oval-shaped headdress, adding pins to keep it in place. Izumo’s ears twitched anxiously beneath the thing, gulping lightly at the reality of the situation. As they applied the blush to her cheeks, Izumo had to do everything in her power not to cry.
“Oh, Rin, you look so handsome!” Yuri happily chimed, her eyes watering with pride.
The half-demon blushed, doing his best to act casual towards the compliment. “Thanks, Mom,” he said, allowing the butlers in the room to fix his robes.
They made sure all the proper ornaments were on, sizing him up questionably at the head butler Belial. The thin demon scrutinized the prince, combing his hair down with his hands before nodding with approval.
“Perfection!” he hailed.
Shiro opened the door and peeked his head inside the room. “Is he ready?”
Belial nodded. “Yes, so I shall be excusing myself.”
They let him and the other butlers pass through, giving the three a moment alone. Yuri didn’t know what to say, forcing a smile. It was hard for her to be positive when the wedding was nothing more than a scam. Shirou shuffled over to Rin, patting him on the shoulder.
“You clean up nice,” he said with a weak smile, “Luckily it’ll be a small wedding, nothing more than witnesses at best.”
Rin sighed with distress. “Like that makes things better.”
“It doesn’t,” Shiro agreed, “But it’s at least a start. Satan won’t at least be there.”
“Some of the demon kings will be attending though, along with the Grigori. They must see this through as part of a new chapter in human and demon history,” Yuri added carefully.
Rin’s mind began to ravel, his memories trailing back to one certain Grigori from the gathering yesterday. It couldn’t be Shiemi, could it? He found it too hard to believe, knowing what such a fate meant. If that was the case, was that why he didn’t see her in the garden? He grimaced at the thought, wishing he knew. Should he ask Amaimon about it? He was Shiemi’s personal stalker, maybe he knew something.
‘Ha, fat chance of me asking that creep!’ He bitterly mused. ‘Probably would just punch me anyway.’
Catching the time on his watch, Shiro immediately spoke in alarm, breaking Rin’s thoughts, “Shit, we’re going to be late! Rin…” he turned to him, narrowing his eyes, “You and I are going to meet with your bride. As your priest, I’ll be guiding you both through the matrimony.”
There was so much the half-demon couldn’t do or say, besides cooperate. He and his mother obediently followed after Shiro who took out a key to teleport them. It was an item provided by Mephisto, making travel inside the fortress easier. They passed through space, finding themselves in a more traditional Japanese corridor. If Rin didn’t know any better, he would have thought they were in another world in general. They walked down the hall, bypassing the tranquil scenery of the garden.
Rin admired the sky, almost believing the day to be a blessed one. Shirou soon came to an abrupt halt, causing Rin to almost collide with him.
“Wait here,” he said, “There are some things I need to get for the ceremony. Yuri, you go and make sure everyone is in their seats.”
She nodded, already taking off to do her task.
Shiro opened a sliding door beside them, stepping inside. Rin stood awkwardly where he was, studying his attire while he waited. It wasn’t anything too special, just the typical black with gray. He poked at the ornament around his waist, hoping to distract his thoughts. A type of Sōzu could be heard tilting from the weight of the water, trickling back into the fountain nearby. The soft metronome was practically soothing, averting his eyes momentarily.
At that moment, a woman appeared around the corner with two Illuminati members accompanying her. Judging from her garment, Rin knew exactly who it was. Izumo walked slowly down the wooden corridor, focusing primarily on her feet. Maria kept in pace behind her while Shima walked ahead with a guiding hand. They made sure to help her in her footing, spotting Rin.
“Well, well, it's the prince himself.” Shima held a cheeky smile. “Guess you couldn’t resist seeing your bride,” he said, stepping aside to reveal her.
Rin was left stunned by her appearance. Seeing her up close like this was a whole different experience compared to yesterday. Her beauty was beyond belief, her features resembling that of a Goddess—one he dared not look away from. Her eyebrows stuck out like a thumb, internally chuckling to himself how cute they looked. Her cut bangs framed her face almost perfectly, and if possible, magnifying her eyes even further. If she was to be his wife, he couldn’t complain.
Izumo blushed from his intense gaze, burying her face into her headdress—though barely. Now catching a good look at him herself, she had to admit, he wasn’t what she expected. He certainly had the typical elf ears and fangs, not seeming all that different from the other members of his family. His hair was kept tousled, barely shadowing over his eyes with a few cut bangs. If there was anything that caught her mouth gaping though, it was his eyes. They almost looked cat-like, a gentle warmth radiating off them. She has never seen such a shade of blue. When her eyes traveled to his lips, she quickly hitched her breath. Within the recess of her mind, the Nine-Tails couldn’t help but snicker at her, finding her attraction toward the prince to be amusing.
Time seemed infinite at that moment for them both, which is why it was surprising when Shiro suddenly reappeared.
“What are you guys doing dawdling?” he asked impatiently, “Everyone is waiting! Rin with me, the rest of you just follow in after him.”
He led them to where the wedding was being taken place, prepping his purifying tools in hand. Rin quickly got behind him, looking back at Izumo once more before stepping forward. He bent his head down when they entered the room, proceeding with the ceremony. Shiro had his hand out in prayer, blessing each step they took. There were offerings on each small table for everyone to partake in where they sat, gazing at the couple as they walked by.
Nearly everyone important was there, even Lucifer and Homare. Izumo should have known he wouldn’t have missed this, her eyes continuing to scan the room. Each king was there, including one that was strangely disguised as a shark. He had tears in his eyes, his sister Iblis peacefully comforting him to be still. Despite everything though, she couldn’t find the one she truly wanted to see. The clown from all those years ago, how she wished to give him a piece of her mind. She tried to stay composed though, allowing Shima and Maria to escort her down the lane.
When reaching the sacred altar, she was let free to stand on her own. Maria and Shima dispersed into their seats, giving Shiro a moment to invoke the shrine. The rest of the time, Izumo felt like she was in a movie, playing her part with the script given to her. She robotically performed each task, and their vows to each other were also programmed. All of it was a stage, like puppets on a string.
The words exchanged between her and Rin were hallow at best. They didn’t even write their speech, having gone off the one that was provided to them. To think she was supposed to spend her life with a total strange. One who’s father could destroy them all no less. Everyone remained still as they finished the last of their lines, expressing their thanks to the so-called “Gods” for blessing such a union.
What a load of crap.
The wedding was quick and short, just like Maria promised. Izumo felt relieved, hoping for the worst to be over.
“Wait…!” A voice called out with disappointment, much to her dismay.
They turned to the person in question, discovering it to be the King of Earth who spoke.
“Isn’t there supposed to be a kiss?” he asked curiously.
Izumo swore she couldn’t catch a break.
Shiro tried to mend the situation. “That is more a western tradition,” he calmly answered.
Amaimon glowered, disappointed by his response. He punched the floor, creating a fissure. None of the siblings seemed perturbed by the sudden aggression, unlike the humans who shook from the display.
“Please, Amaimon, calm yourself,” one of the Grigori said.
“I demand there be a kiss!” he nearly shouted, creating a fuss. “It’s what father would have wanted.”
“Dad’s not here,” Rin answered firmly.
“I didn’t just sit here for nothing,” he replied hotly.
“Doesn’t the priest do western practice?” Iblis added elegantly with a shrewd stare. “If that is the case, why not commit?”
The room grew silent from the pressure. Izumo grimaced at the idea, biting down on her lower lip from quivering. It was just a stupid kiss, but to submit to such humiliation—she couldn’t stand it. Rin sympathized with her, wanting to spare her from such a childish demand.
He sighed, deciding to surrender. “Fine,” he said.
Izumo winced as Rin lightly gripped her shoulders. She looked up at him, blushing slightly from the gap between them.
“Let’s just get it over with,” he whispered to her, silently apologizing to her.
She agreed with a hesitant nod, leaning in close. Their lips met shyly, softly melding together. It was chaste at best, just enough to get the heart racing. Heat could be felt on their faces, signifying their embarrassment. The kiss lasted longer than they had anticipated though, offering pleasure they didn’t expect to be there. Rin particularly couldn’t help it. Her lips were firm, but when he caught her lower lip, it was enough to drive him insane. As for Izumo, being a total virgin as she was, this was her first time even kissing a man. The sensation was thrilling at best, and she couldn’t help letting her lips linger for more.
Amaimon grinned with delight, while others couldn’t help but pity them.
A light smack of lips was heard when the newlyweds pulled apart. They stared at one another, doing their best to read off the others’ emotions. All Rin could think of was that he hoped she didn’t hate him. Despite their predicament, he truly did want to do right by her. As for Izumo, all she could think about was her sister, and how her husband might be the key to knowing her whereabouts.
If she had to give away her innocence to get what she wanted, then so be it.