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The Devil's Bed

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Prologue: Deal with the Devil

To some, it was just another ordinary night. The stars were all out with no clouds to be seen, freckling the sky like glistening jewels. The trees were still, grasshoppers chirping in and out for those nocturnal enough to hear them. You could say it was rather peaceful, almost inviting despite the lack of moonlight. However, for Izumo Kamiki, it was an illusion compared to the horror she was currently experiencing. The eight-year-old ran as fast as she could through the dark and dense forest, holding her baby sister tightly within her arms. Her breath was caught in the cold night, gasping heavily with each step she took.

She couldn’t stop, she had to keep going!

Just then, she tripped on a root from one of the trees, yelping sharply. Izumo shielded her sister for the most part, but the infant still wailed from the fall.

“I’m sorry, Tsukumo! Shh, it’s okay,” she quietly whispered, petting her head, “Big sister will keep you safe, I promise.”

Tsukumo whimpered, recognizing her sister’s voice as it soothed her. Izumo scouted the area and picked herself back up, clutching her sister close as she began to run again. The frosty air stung her face, causing her vision to blur. She quickly wiped her eyes with her sleeve, staying determined.

Still, how did it come to this?

Demons have long been a plight since Satan’s rise at power, but she never expected her family to be involved. Izumo could still picture her mother’s demonic face as the nine-tails fully assimilated with her. It fed on her anger and hatred, becoming one with each other to the point of attacking her daughters. She always knew about her demonic lineage, but never to such an extent. Shame washed over Izumo, her mother’s words echoing inside her mind.

‘It was a mistake to give birth to you! If only I didn’t have you!’

For her mother to be so weak because of a man, Izumo never felt so disgusted.

Gehenna’s realm was in an uproar from the recent disturbance of the nine-tails, coal tars appearing in the sky like a swarm. Izumo halted, examining the small demons as she soon began to hear growls in the distance. Ghouls and other matter of fiends began to rise from the shadows, completely taking over the area.

“Oh no…” she whispered with dread.

Without Mike and Uke or the other fox Gods to protect her, Izumo was left defenseless. She had to think fast, searching desperately for somewhere to hide. Luckily, she spotted a small fissure beneath a tree nearby and instantly dashed towards it. She shushed her sister who began to whimper, keeping themselves in the shadow. She could sense the elements becoming unbalance, disrupting the flow of nature around them. The air became starch, nearly suffocating them both.

Just then, Izumo spotted her mother between the roots. Her hair was completely white due to the demon’s influence, her eyes piercing the darkness with a hungry red gaze. The demons surrounded her, feeding off her aura. She growled and swiped them away, giving off an evil grin when they backed away from her. After all, she wasn’t an ordinary demon now. She was a God with full connection to the Life-Taking Stone. An artifact of life and death, one passed down to those descendants of the Inari—they had every right to fear her.

Izumo…Tsukumo…where are you? I know you’re here…” she said, licking the blood off her lips, “Mommy just wants a hug.”

Izumo gritted her teeth, backing herself into a wall.

‘What do I do?’ she asked, beginning to panic.

As if reading her mind, their mother’s head snapped directly in their direction. Izumo hissed in alarm, expecting the worst.

There you are!” Tamamo soon shouted, her fangs widening with glee.

She sprinted towards them, her black claws extending out to attack them. Izumo was prepared to scream and meet her demise, but a net was soon thrown over her mother, stopping her in her tracks. She stared in shock by the sudden rescue, taking notice of a group of people in uniforms chanting a spell to contain her. Izumo recognized them right away—the Illuminati. If they were here, there’s no doubt that Satan was involved as well.

Izumo watched in silence as one of the members stuck a needle into her mother’s neck, completely sedating her. Soon, a small fat man appeared, his face reminding her that of a pig.

He had a disturbing grin, his eyes glinting with euphoria. “Very good!” he chimed, “With the Nine-Tails in our possession, Lord Lucifer’s empire will grow. This will surely please Satan himself. Soon, humans would be nothing more than insects ready to be eradicated to the true rulers of this world.”

‘Satan? This is bad!’ Izumo mentally shouted, searching desperately for an escape.

She caught sight of a bush nearby, carefully making her way over. She managed not to make a sound, circling herself around the shrub unnoticed. She looked back, making sure they were still in the clear. Luckily her mother was distracting them from taking any attention. Izumo made sure to create enough distance between them before launching herself into a sprint. She did her best to avoid any demons in her path, clutching Tsukumo close to her.

If she could somehow cross the barrier that was created separating Satan from the humans, she can hopefully plan their next move from there. During the blue night of Satan’s rampage, he managed to control much of the area within Japan. It wasn’t until exorcist rebels and the Vatican had interfered that they stopped his pursuit from going any further. The demons were trapped within the dome, though not excluding some humans as well. Izumo’s home was one of the unlucky ones to be imprisoned within his domain; and without purpose, it would seem. She wasn’t even sure if they would even be safe when crossing the border, but she had to at least try—for Tsukumo’s sake.

Not paying any attention besides her thoughts, Izumo found herself colliding into someone. The person was tall and had a solid frame, knocking her back easily onto the ground. She guarded her sister and stared up at the mysterious figure with complete unease. Judging from their physique, it was a male, a gold-like tail flicking elegantly behind him. What caught Izumo’s fear though were his slitted emerald eyes, piercing down at her through a makeshift mask. There was no doubt in her mind, he was a demon.

She dug her heels into the dirt, wryly pushing herself away from him. Izumo’s eyes trembled fearfully as she sensed nothing but great power within him.

“I see…” He then spoke in a calm voice, “…You’re not just an ordinary girl, are you? You know what I am.”

Izumo gave a nervous gulp, daring not to speak.

“So it’s true, there are humans with demon blood, even if they haven’t awakened them yet. You’re a perfect vision of what I want,” he said, kneeling and wiping away the tears that have long fallen from her face.

He touched her gently, practically soothing her with a strange hypnotizing pheromone. Was he truly a demon? How was one so angelic-looking?

“Ohhh! What have we here?” The pig-looking man from earlier appeared behind her with a pleased smirk, “I wasn’t aware the Kamiki clan had cubs to spare. How fortunate for you to have found them, Lord Lucifer.”

“Lucifer…?” Izumo asked, completely stunned when learning the demon’s identity.

The eldest child of Satan—the King of Light himself.

Izumo scurried away from the man, knowing full well the stories. The demon remained impassive though, lifting himself back up without taking his gaze off the girl.

“What of the kitsune woman?” he asked.

“We’ve captured her, but the woman is already starting to decompose from the nine-tails powers. I’ll be surprised if she survives the assimilation,” he said, snickering evilly.

‘Mother is dying? No, it can’t be!’ Izumo’s mind was reeling.

“But how fortunate of us to find these two,” he soon said, his face twisting into a sickening grin.

“Gedōin, do you think with your experiments you can make use of this girl?” Lucifer asked, causing Izumo to flinch with concern.

The mad doctor continued to smile, squealing like a swine he was. “Lord Lucifer, it would be an honor! I'll be sure to make good use of these girls,” he said, his hands twitching with excitement.

Don’t you dare touch my sister!” Izumo shouted angrily, her fear completely vanishing.

The group stood silent with Lucifer admiring the girl.

“Such a brilliant display of passion for one’s loved one,” he commented in awe.

Gedōin grew irritated by the girl’s misconduct, gritting his teeth. “Such an untamed fox! Watch your tone in the presence of Lord Lucifer!” He turned to one of the guards nearby, his face nearly red with rage. “Take them away!”

Izumo shook her head, gripping her sister tightly to her as she grabbed a branch nearby. “Stay away!” she yelled, taking a stance despite her trembling legs.

Was this how they were going to die? As lab rats for some demon’s gain? She refused to accept such a fate!

The guards crept up, each with a needle in their hands to sedate her.

“No! Sta—stay back!” she screamed, her voice nearly cracking.

They were nearly upon her before a slow clap could be heard, catching everyone’s attention. A pair of purple gloves appeared from the shadows, a man soon stepping forth with a rather flamboyant demeanor. He was wearing an eccentric white suit with a top hat to match with it, reminding Izumo of a clown or ringmaster. He gave a rather playful grin, practically amused by the scene before him.

“Samael,” Lucifer spoke, recognizing the demon right away, his emotions still unreadable.

The tall man halted in his claps, raising his arms with delight. “Lucifer, I see you’ve been busy as ever! Mind if I interrupt?”

“Never have my words stopped you before,” he said, not seeming too impressed by his brother’s appearance. “What game do you plan to convince me to play this time?” he asked, knowing full he wasn’t just here for a show.

“Why, these two girls, of course!” he chimed with a wink, “I heard about the little massacre in the Inari shrine, tragic really, but I knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity.”

“Opportunity?” Lucifer asked, his eyes showing slight curiosity.

“Oh yes…” he said, lowering his head with a diabolical leer. “One I’m sure will pique your interest.”

Lucifer continued to stare, giving his brother permission to speak.

“I have a proposition for you. One I’m sure you won’t refuse,” he elegantly said with a bow, “And it involves our dear younger brother.”

“Father’s bastard?” he asked, not quite understanding the point.

“Yes, the girl here, she’s close to his age, is she not?” he asked, his brows rising up and down. “Why, I think she fits perfectly with what we can use her for.”

Izumo was soon getting impatient by the confrontation between the two demons.

“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here!” she shouted, glaring fiercely.

Samael raised his hands, mocking her. “Oh my, feisty one aren’t you?” he said, his grin never faltering.

“Don’t worry, we’ll break that soon enough, Lord Lucifer!” Gedōin interjected, clearly annoyed by the girl’s behavior. “She’ll learn to be obedient when we’re through with her!”

“Now, now, there’s no need for that,” Samael calmly spoke, tapping his umbrella on top of the man’s rather large head, “This girl is far too valuable for any of your improper schemes.”

“How so?” Lucifer asked, silently demanding.

“What if we can use her lineage to our advantage?” he said, placing the tip of his hands together. “A gift as you can say for our dear little brother to play with? When they come of age, of course.”

The blonde demon knew instantly what he meant. “Matrimony?”

Despite not knowing what the word meant, Izumo did not like it. It was something horrible.

“Yes, she will be his betrothal. Even father will be pleased by such an outcome, I’m sure,” he said, eyeing the girl. “Just think of the possibilities? A human girl with demonic lineage, she’s not so different from him. They both will be a beacon to our cause in uniting Gehenna and Assiah. All we need to do is make certain…enhancements—something I’m sure your merry band will be happy to oblige.”

“Interesting,” Lucifer said, considering the idea. “Thought of this just now, have you? And how do you intend the outcome of your little plan to play out?”

“Oh, I’m always up for a bit of gambling,” he mused happily, “I have no idea what will come of it, but that’s what makes it all the more intriguing…don’t you agree?”

“Hmph, if that’s the case, what of the runt she’s carrying?” Gedōin asked, clearly not entertained by the deal.

Before Samael could answer, Izumo interrupted him with full desperation. “No, please! Leave Tsukumo out of it! I beg of you!” she pleaded anxiously, losing her tough exterior instantly.

The king of time took notice of this, swishing his cape as he knelt beside her. He extended his hand, offering a form of peace between them.

“My dear girl, what is your name?”

Izumo eyed him with complete distrust but answered anyway. “Izumo,” she said.

“Izumo, is your sister precious to you?” he asked, studying the infant who giggled at his strange features.

“Yes! More than anything!” She hugged her sister close to her, daring not to let her go.

“So, you would do anything to keep her out of harm?” he asked tauntingly.

Izumo gulped nervously and nodded, practically sealing her fate. “Ye—yes…”

“Well, that settles it,” he said, standing up victoriously, “From this day forward, the little one shall be under my protection. As for Izumo here, she will be in dear older brother’s care. Though do be gentle with her, wouldn’t want to break her completely. She’ll have to look presentable when the time comes.”

“Wha—what?” Izumo was left startled by his words.

He squinted his eyes at her. “Unless you don’t want to protect your precious sister?”

She should have known this was a trick. Izumo bowed her head, practically accepting defeat.

“Now then,” he said, snapping his fingers.

A puff of purple smoke popped in front of Izumo, teleporting her sister directly into the purple-haired demon’s hands.

“Tsukumo!” she cried out, launching herself forward to reach her.

However, a strong hand took hold of her arm, keeping her in place. The young girl whipped her head and spotted a woman with dark brown hair and a yellow streak across the side of her face. She wore glasses, her eyes showing no sign of sympathy. Izumo began to sob from the current cruelty she was undergoing. First her mother, and now this? She couldn’t rely on anything or anyone at this point in helping her now. She wailed, and tugged as hard she could, extending her hand to the point of straining it towards her sister.

Please, stop! Give me back my sister!” She screamed her face in complete distraught.

Tsukumo began to whimper, realizing she wasn’t in her sister’s arm.

Samael lifted his finger and soon began to count in German. “Eins! Zwei! Drei!

In a swift burst of smoke, Tsukumo had vanished. Izumo stared in shock, gaining back a new force of anger.

Bastard! What did you do to my sister?” she demanded, causing the woman to grip her harder.

The demon was quite impressed by her language. “Don’t worry, your sister is in good hands. You have my word,” he said smoothly, but needless to say, it did not reassure her.

“You’re lying!” she shouted, glaring hatefully at him.

Izumo began to throw a tantrum, kicking the woman if possible to let go of her. “Get off me!”

“I’m afraid that’s not an option,” the woman commented coldly, reaching for a syringe.

“Stop!” Izumo continued to cry out, doing her best to escape.

The needle met the base of her neck, pricking a vein as the liquid entered her system. Almost in an instant, she became numb, slowly beginning to lose consciousness. Drool escaped the side of her lips, her eyes drooping heavily into slumber.

“Tsuko…mo…” she faintly whispered, slumping back into the woman’s arms.

“Well, that was certainly entertaining,” Samael commented, fixing his collar. He then placed his hands on his hips, directing his attention to his brother. “I’m sure with the nine-tails in your possession you can make use of it with the girl.”

Lucifer nodded, unperturbed by the event. “With the Kamiki girl in our care, she will be undergoing many trials.”

“And what of the mother?” he asked.

Gedōin snickered as he replied, “She’s still alive, but it’s obvious the demon is too much for her. Don’t worry though, we’ll be making great use of her.”

Lucifer brought his attention to his second in command. “Homare, see to it that girl is secured.”

“Understood, my Lord,” she said with a salute, sending a request from a speaker inside her collar.

She picked Izumo up in her arms, a helicopter soon appearing overhead with effortless timing.
Gedōin and his crew followed behind them, allowing the demon kings a moment alone. Lucifer remained distant for the most part, eyeing his brother.

“Is there a timeline I’m not aware of that you’re trying to achieve?” he asked, knowing full well of his brother’s secrets.

“Isn’t there always?” he answered coyly, “Although this script is far beyond what I could dream of.” He began to swing his umbrella around. “Even I don’t know everything,” he said.

“Highly unlikely,” Lucifer muttered, not fully trusting his brother’s motive.

“Just see to it that the girl is properly prepared. She must impress father, after all. Even he doesn’t have all the time in the world,” he said, checking his pocket watch before snapping it shut.

“How long do we have?”

“I give it more than 10 years at best, so do chop-chop. Just because I’m the Demon King of Time, doesn’t mean we have all day,” he chuckled with amusement, turning his back while continuing to swing his parasol.

“And what do you plan to do?” he questioned.

“I’m going to make sure we earn ourselves a proper demon prince. That boy is a bit of a handful, so a girl like this would be sure to discipline him…and I don’t just mean the naughty kind,” he answered with a devilish wink.

“Must you always play the role of jester,” Lucifer commented dryly.

“When it calls for it,” he said with a cunning tone, tipping his hat, “Until next time, brother. I will be checking in. Eins! Zwei! Drei!

Like magic, he disappeared into thin air without a trace. Lucifer stood quiet, letting out a soft cough into his hand. When he pulled it back, blood could be seen on his glove.

Time was of the essence indeed.

Yuri looked out through the window, her hand mindlessly caressing her son’s hair. Rin was fast asleep, snoring peacefully on top of her lap. She heard about the commotion at the Inari shrine from Shiro, commenting on how Mephisto was currently handling it. It’s all they needed was for Satan to get involved.

Yuri sighed with an overwhelming weight of regret but soon smiled lovingly at her son. Despite him being a happy boy, she knew there was darkness within him as well. He was Satan’s pride, while Yuri, her joy.

And someday, he was meant to claim his father’s throne—and that thought terrified her. She could only hope there would be a worthy soul to be beside him when that time came.


Chapter Text

Chapter 1: Kindle

A soft drip echoed inside the padded white room, creating a steady beat. Izumo stared at the faucet with an empty gaze, slowing bringing her hand up towards it. When she gripped it, she gave it a fierce tug, silencing it instantly. She had just finished her daily shower, perching her forehead momentarily against the tiles. A buzz could be heard from outside, signifying her next step for the day.

She sighed and drew the curtains back, exposing her body inside the square-shaped room. A camera could be seen in the corner, but she paid no mind to it. She walked across the room without any shame of her nudity, grabbing a towel off the bed. White, just like everything else—including the blinding rage inside her soul. Izumo began to dry herself up, making sure she was as gentle as possible. Gedōin has made it clear many times how ‘sacred’ her body was, and clear bruising was a punishment in his book.

Not that she cared, having endured his worst.

Once she was dry, she threw her towel in the basket they provided and slipped on her traditional white gown. It was short, barely covering her thighs as she put on panties beneath it. Her breasts were nothing compared to the women she’s seen, but they were petite enough to quirk any pervs fantasies.

‘Pervs like Gedōin, and that pink-haired asshole they always have watching me,’ she bitterly commented.

There was then another buzz, a lightbulb flaring red above the door inside her room. It opened automatically, revealing Homare and the pink spider in question. He had a small case inside his hands, walking behind the woman as they entered the room. Izumo recognized the item, having memorized the routine for nearly thirteen years of the contents inside it. What caught her attention though was the carefully vacuumed bag in Homare’s hands—that was something new.

Izumo ignored it, for the most part, sitting herself down in preparation for her shots. No words were spoken between them as the boy named Shima opened the case before her. There was a gun inside, and across it was multiple vials of blood. She shuddered out of instinct, never enjoying this. Even so, it was best just to get it over with. Though normally, this was the part they would reload the tubes into the gun’s cartage, not her.

Izumo stared skeptically at it. “Aren’t you going to do it?” she asked Homare.

“Starting this day forward, you’ll have to do your injections,” she answered calmly.

“Do you need help?” Shima asked with a grin.

Izumo glared at him. “I know how to do it. Seen everyone done it enough times.”

She took the tools inside, grabbing the first vial.

Homare stopped her. “Did you take your pills today?” she asked.

Izumo blinked, having nearly forgotten. Opening her drawer, there was a case labeled with days of the week inside. She took the one that said Tuesday, wasting no time in swallowing her pills. There was no need for water, having done this for too long to need it. She silently looked up at the pair who nodded for her to continue the procedure. One by one, she stabbed the needle across her body. Her blood was set on fire, causing a burst of adrenaline inside her. She soon bent her neck, injecting the last one with slight hesitation. A familiar feeling rushed through her, a voice welcoming her like a shadow.

‘Yes~, I’m free once more.’

Izumo hissed from the awakened presence, crouching forward as her body began to mangle. Her teeth extended into fangs, her nails growing into blackened claws. Her pupils turned into slits, mimicking that of a cat as her ears shifted into fox-like features. Arching her back, multiple tails began to leak out beneath the base of her back, propping her forward to stand. She let out a growl, gripping her head tightly to stop the pounding. The voice was enticing her to let loose, craving nothing but destruction.

“Control it, Izumo,” Homare demanded sternly. “You know what will happen if you don’t.”

‘I’ll lose myself,’ she reminded herself, doing her best to contain her anger from taking over.

Little by little the Nine-Tails had become a companion, but one who needed shackling. Year after year, Izumo had become quite accustomed to its power, reflecting off each other like a mirror in a storm. She was it, and it was her. The blood was supposed to help, but it only seemed to intensify their link.

“Please….!” Izumo hissed, silently praying to it, “I beseech you, now is not the time.”

It growled back at her, causing her to fall back onto the bed by an invisible force. Shima stepped forward, pulling up his staff. Homare stuck her arm out though, halting his approach.

“Wait…” she said, observing the girl closely.

‘No! Why do you make us heel! You know what they deserve!’ It roared, speaking directly only to Izumo.

‘I know, trust me, you and I are the same…but not until I know…not until I know what happened to Tsukumo…’

‘Our kin?’

‘Yes…so please…’

“I kindly ask you to be patient,” she soon said aloud, feeling the demon dissipate in the recess of her soul.

For a moment Shima and Homare stood still, waiting patiently. Izumo beckoned her body forward, maintaining her fox-like appearance for the most part. She opened her eyes, revealing them to be human again. After years of training, she believed to have overcome what was expected of her—almost too perfect. Shima whistled, clearly impressed by her endurance and new form.

Homare gave him a quick glare, silently commanding that he behave himself. She was not his to play with after all.

“She’s ready,” Homare commented with slight satisfaction.

“Yeah, about that,” Izumo started, always ready to make her voice known. “What exactly am I ready for?”

Homare started to unravel the bag inside her hands, revealing a rather exotic looking outfit. It looked to be made for dancing, containing multiple ribbons of purple and pink. Izumo stared at the garment with mild concern. She always had days where they requested she practice the Inari dance since it helped in calming the fox spirit. However, never did they needed her to wear anything for it. This was obviously for a special occasion, one she was sure would be her demise.

“What else?” Homare spoke, deciding to enlighten her, “For your grand entrance.”

The air was crisp and clear inside the garden house, a selection of insects buzzing carefully overhead. A boy with dark navy hair and pointed ears was sleeping peacefully with half-open lids. He had his hands behind his head like a pillow, taking in the sounds like a lullaby. He was hoping to catch his friend Shiemi since she usually tended to the flowers during this time of day.

Needless to say, the young florist was nowhere to be found.

And so, he decided to take a nap, hoping she might appear when the time came. It wasn’t until he caught the familiar scent of his mother that he woke up.

Rin bolted upright. “Mom…!” he exclaimed, catching the woman to be right beside him.

She giggled playfully. “Sorry, didn’t mean to surprise you. You just looked so cute sleeping like that, almost like a cat!”

He blushed from her words, pulling on some leaves beside him. “Geez, what a way to be creepy, Mom.”

“Oh? You’re the one sneaking in here to see your friend,” she said, knowing full well who’s garden it was. “Where is Shiemi, anyway?”

“Beats me, she’s usually here around this time, but looks like she might be busy today,” he said with a shrug, scanning the garden once more in hopes of finding the familiar blonde.

Yuri smiled sadly in contemplation, knowing full well she had an idea on why. It seemed like everyone had a role to play lately. The girl was probably the closest friend Rin had ever have; it was normal for him to want to talk to her, seeing he had no one else around this age.

“Though that’s about to change,” she said aloud without realizing it.

“Huh? What’s that?” Rin inquired, obviously confused by her sudden words.

Yuri blushed and waved her hands dramatically with embarrassment. “Nothing! Just thinking aloud! Don’t think too much about it!”

Rin smiled at his mother’s eccentric behavior, appreciating her presence. He soon got up from the ground, helping her up in the process.

Yuri held onto her son’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. Rin wasn’t too disturbed by the gesture but was still concern all the same. He studied her face, wondering what could have changed her mood.

“Everything okay, Mom?”

“Yes, it’s just, we’re having a visitor today,” she suddenly said.

“Really?” he asked, gaining mild interest.

She tried to force a smile. “Yes, your siblings will be here to welcome them, and that means you as well.”

“Must be someone important,” he said thoughtfully, “I’m usually kept in the dark for that sort of thing.”

“Well, the person who’s coming is here for you,” she elaborated.

“For me?”

“You can say you’re making a new friend today,” she said, hoping she could make light of the situation.

Rin internally beamed at the idea but sensed something was still bothering his mother. “Isn’t that a good thing?” he asked, probing her obvious discomfort.

Yuri sighed, knowing full well the harm lying would cause. “Well yes, but…I must admit, it’s not what I would have intended.”

“What do you mean?” he asked, lowering his brow.

Before Yuri could answer, Shiro’s voice spoke out. “Yuri, we have to get ready, they’ll be arriving soon!”

’Rin!’ A black cat spoke cheerfully, jumping off Shiro’s shoulder and into the prince’s arms.

“Kuro!” he exclaimed happily, snuggling the cat close to him.

Shiro smiled at the pair, appreciating their bond. It wasn’t long though before he took his attention to Yuri instead.

“We have to get him ready. I’ll be taking Rin from here,” he said, his tone sharp like a soldier.

Yuri nodded, understanding the reason.

“Also…” he started, dreading this next choice of words, “Satan was calling for you, so you should see him before he does anything.”

Yuri gulped and nodded once more. It wasn’t until recently that Satan has been starting to feel ill, his body reaching its limit. Eventually, he will need to find another host if he was to contain his presence here in Assiah. Until then, he was bedridden, and did nothing but complain when he didn’t have his way. Rin personally couldn’t stand the sight of him, loathing the idea of having him for a father.

“I should go then, I’ll see you two later,” she said, walking past Shiro with a secret brush of hands.

The gesture went over Rin’s head, as he was too busy petting Kuro. Once Yuri was far enough, Shiro took his attention to the young prince. “Rin, come follow me,” he said, already taking lead.

The nineteen-year-old had no time to respond, clumsily following after the older gentleman. He stared at the back of his head in bewilderment, wondering what the hell was going on that had him and his mother acting so serious. Kuro licked his hand, easing him only a little when they entered inside his father’s stronghold. The fortress could bypass as a school, containing colorful hallways and rooms used for God knows what. They walked in silence, for the most part, eventually reaching his bedroom.

Shiro opened the door, beckoning for him to go inside. A uniform was set out for him on his bed, along with a dog beside it. It had a purple bow, and lazy tired eyes, looking unimpressed by their entrance.

Shiro sighed at the mutt, clearly not amused. “Mephisto, glad for you to join us.”

The dog instantly transformed, revealing its true form. Rin jumped back in surprise, never expecting it to be one of his brothers in disguise.

Mephisto bowed at the two. “Good evening, gentleman! Are you excited about today’s event?” he asked with a cheeky grin.

“Event?” Rin asked, dropping Kuro gently onto the floor.

“Why of course, we have someone very special coming today,” he said.

“Yeah, so I’ve been told. Who the hell is this person anyway?” Rin asked, slightly losing his patience at the suspense.

“Spoilers!” Mephisto exclaimed with a wink, “We wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise!”

Shiro studied the outfit on the bed. “This is what you want him to wear? A little too Illuminati, don’t you think?”

“I suppose it is, but it will help decipher his rank amongst us. Plus it’s black, a fitting color for the occasion if I do say so myself.” Mephisto flicked his fingers, immediately transferring the clothes onto Rin. “There we go,” he said, “We really shouldn’t waste any time.”

“What the?” Rin stared down at his changed attire, wondering where his previous ones have gone off to.

Mephisto nodded at his appearance, and with a flick of his wrist, started to make some minor adjustments. Rin’s hair was soon brushed back, giving him a more elegant look. Even Shiro had to admit how handsome the boy had become, knowing full well he could be a ladies man if he put his mind to it. His ears were more visible without his usual shaggy mane, his neck long but thick enough to be snug around the collar. His baby face was nearly gone, but still, prove to be visible enough for someone his age. His tail poked out, matching him well against the color scheme of his uniform.

All in all, he looked dashing. If Rin didn’t know any better, he could have sworn they were prepping him for some sort of date.

“There, that’s what you call a prince,” Mephisto commented, eyeing him with approval.

Shiro grimaced, knowing full well about the events that were about to unfold. “I’m assuming you won’t be joining us?” he asked, partially knowing the answer.

“Heavens no, there are a few faces who would do best without my presence there. So, you’ll be escorting the boy as planned. But don’t worry, I’ll be watching from afar, that I promise you,” he said, directing his sights onto Rin, “I hope you’ll be able to behave yourself in front of company.”

Rin gave him a stern glare before responding snidely, “Then don’t give me any reason to.”

Mephisto laughed. “Well now, that is sure to be promising.”

Just then a knock was heard at the door. Shirou took the initiative in answering it, discovering to be his disciple, Shura.

She kept her face passive, keeping herself sharp. “They’re here.”

Izumo sat in the back of the limousine truck, gazing at her feet. Lucifer sat across from her, his eyes closed in thought. Homare had her face turned to the window, waiting for their destination. In the meantime, Shima sat right beside her, stealing glances time from time. Izumo gave him a distasteful glare, hating the idea of not knowing where they were going. After all these years, she still was left with questions rather than answers to their motives for her.

And not a day went by where she did not think of her sister.

One thing she appreciated though was not having pig-man around. She had enough of his oinking and lewd schemes and could deal without him for a day.

“We’re getting close,” Homare soon said, gazing out into the horizon.

Izumo pressed her thighs together, wondering exactly where she was going that she had to be dressed like this. Lucifer opened his eyes and studied her features. It made her feel uncomfortable, especially from how stoic his expression was. Shima seemed to read off his aura though, raising a hand as if pardoning himself.

“Don’t worry, sir. I’ve kept a close eye on Izumo to make sure she won’t disappoint,” he said, which did not make her feel comforted at all.

Lucifer didn’t respond, closing his eyes once more.

‘Geez, he’s nothing but a dead doorknob,’ Izumo comment dryly to herself.

After a few more minutes of driving, a large structure appeared overhead. Izumo was in awe of how huge it was. There were layers upon layers of walls and windows, decorating the fortress almost like a castle. She couldn’t even tell where it even began. Even so, the car followed the trail around the mountain like building, reaching the entrance without fail. It had a grand space of fountains and trimmed bushes, signifying someone important lived here.

Izumo looked out the window with intimidation, soon realizing who lived here.

“Wait…isn’t this…!” she started, looking back at them with frightened eyes.

Homare ignored her, opening the door once they have parked. “Come on, they’re waiting for us,” she said.

Izumo stood her ground. “No, you can’t make me! What’s this even about? Why am I here?” she nearly shouted.

“Izumo…” Shima began with a warning.

“No! I want to know what the hell is going on?” she demanded fiercely.

Just then, Lucifer stood up and grabbed her wrist. Izumo’s eyes widened with trepidation, his eyes piercing right through her with the most intense stare. She dared not blink, her nose beginning to bleed.

“Lucifer…” Homare spoke, her voice on edge.

Izumo tried to resist, her brain beginning to buzz from the intense pressure.

“Lucifer…!” Homare shouted, which was the first time Izumo had ever heard her raise her voice.

The demon king stopped and released her, catching his nose with blood. Shima grabbed Izumo’s shoulders, helping her balance.

“You could have killed her,” Homare said, remaining firm, “If you did, this would have been for nothing.”

“Forgive me,” he whispered, “I know how important she is.”

“She’ll learn her place soon enough,” she said, exiting the vehicle. “It’s what we prepared for, after all.”

He nodded and wiped his nose before leaving the car as well. Shima took out a handkerchief and assisted in wiping Izumo’s nose. She smacked his hand away, mumbling how she didn’t need his pity.

Despite his usual flirtatious nature, he frowned at her. “Izumo, you need to realize your place. If you want to continue living so you can know what happened to your sister, I suggest you listen to the big boss and do as your told. After all, wouldn’t want that pretty face of yours getting scarred now, do we?” he said, gaining back his shrewd tone.

Safe to say, she was unamused by his jest. He then passed her a set of Japanese fans, each one tied with a flower brooch at the end of it with pink ribbons. Just what is it that they want from her?

Shima then got out of the car, slyly offering his hand out to her.

“Well then, time to put that body to the test.”

Rin followed Shura across the golden balcony, passing each throne that belonged to his siblings. They found him in the center, the main one belonging to his father. Shura instructed him to sit, which he grudgingly did. He stared across the other seats, spotting each king to be accounted for, well, almost all of them. Scratching the back of his head, he was struggling to figure out what the special occasion was.

Shura kneeled and carefully whispered into his ear. “Relax and don’t make any trouble for yourself, or anyone else for that matter,” she warned, “Shiro’s with your mother on the other side, so I’ll be joining them. Just try to behave in the meantime.”

“This must be serious if you guys keep repeating yourselves,” he said, folding his arms, “Just what has everyone acting so serious, anyway?”

She sighed with exasperation. “Just keep your cool, that’s all we’re saying…you’re not the only one dealing with an ugly hand here,” she said, catching his attention.

“What do you mean by that?” he asked, slightly anxious.

They heard a large door soon open, signaling others to be arriving. “That’s my cue, catch you later, kid,” she said, already leaving.

Rin sat back quietly, doing his best to block out his nerves. The Grigori started to pile into the room, each having their assigned seats. Rin observed them, gasping lightly when he noticed one of them beneath their hood looked like Shiemi. He shook his head, finding his mind playing tricks on him. An eaten-up lollipop stick was soon thrown at his head, causing him to look to his left. It was his older brother Amaimon who was currently growling at him with a threatening stare. Rin returned the gesture, doing his best to ignore him. He was always picking fights with him, eating some form of sweets. If he wasn’t a demon, he probably would have cavities and diabetes by now.

After a few moments, members of the Illuminati started pouring in, lining themselves up accordingly around the ring of the room. And like clockwork, Lucifer and Homare entered after them, bowing politely as they stared directly at Rin. The prince squirmed from the attention, not saying a word.

“Brother, we have a gift for you,” Lucifer spoke, “She is from the Inari clan, and has come to honor you with a dance.”

‘All this? Just for some girl to dance?’ Rin asked, not quite buying it.

The Illuminati pair stepped off to the side as everyone waited in anticipation.

Music soon started to play, creating a gentle beat of drums and flutes. It was serene and otherworldly, engulfing them all into its melody. Like a spirit, a girl appeared amongst the light of the door, outlining her body. Rin noticed the fox-like ears on top of her head, and the alluring dress she wore, her tails dragging gently across the floor. What caught his attention the most though, was the sad look in her crimson eyes. Just before he can drown himself in the blood of her pools, she quickly hid her face behind one of her fans.

She stepped forward into the center of the room, beginning to dance. Everyone was enchanted by her form, her body glistening with a soft layer of sweat. Each of her curves was displayed for them to see, flaunting her worth. Rin gulped, never taking his eyes off her. She’s done this before, many times it would seem just for this moment.

As the music picked up, so did her movements. She swirled her fans, creating a flow with the ribbons around her. Each gesture of her arms was like a lost art, her legs pulsing with life from each jump she made. She almost seemed surreal, her hips gaining a momentum of their own that was separate from her torso. Rin couldn’t help but be memorized by her form, gulping nervously from how much his eyes were wandering. As the music cut to a halt, she arched her back, displaying her body in full bloom. Izumo’s heart raced, her body drenched. She stared up at the ceiling before having her eyes travel to the prince himself.

And for a second, like a fleeting itch, she couldn’t help but ponder how a monster like that could be so handsome.

It was only for a moment though, her mind reeling back to reality as claps could be heard around her. She stood with a crestfallen face, finding her dance to be a success. All seem to have gone well as predicted, hoping her nightmare would just end there.

Izumo’s blood ran cold though when a sinister voice soon appeared overhead.

“Splendid performance! So this is the girl everyone has been talking about?” the voice harped excitedly.

Everyone gasped and turned their attention to the person in question, finding it to be Satan himself. Yuri stood up in alarm by his presence; safe to say, even Lucifer was shocked to see him.

“Father, how fortunate to see you up and well,” he said, gaining back his composure.

Rin watched as his father gazed down at the girl, not liking the look on his face. The grin he held was conniving at best, his body covered only by his robes. His beard did well in hiding most of his melted skin, but it was obvious he was ignoring his wounds.

“Hahaha, Lucifer, what a fine woman you have prepared for Rin!” he bellowed gleefully, never keeping his eyes off her.

Yuri tried to control the situation, not wanting to risk him getting out of hand. “Satan, you should be in bed. You’re not completely well to be standing,” she said, hoping to persuade him.

He mocked her concern, dismissing her. “Don’t baby me, wench! I am God here, and I will do as I please!”

Rin stood up, practically knocking down his chair. “Bastard, don’t speak to her like that!” he shouted.

Satan only laughed with amusement from his son’s scorn words. He soon leaped off the balcony, landing directly in front of Izumo. The girl froze as the demon king circled her, examining her body with engrossed delight. Everyone watched with bated breath, knowing full well how unpredictable he could be. When he made himself back around, he paused and took notice of her breasts.

“Not as big as I would like for him, but I’m sure with the proper care they will improve,” he commented ungraciously with slight disappointment. “Then again…” he started, reaching his hands out towards her, “…maybe a front-row demonstration is in order.”

Out of pure instinct of defending herself, Izumo swung her hand and slapped the demon squarely across the face. The sound of her palm meeting his cheek echoed inside the room, causing everyone to resonate a gasp. Regret should have been the first thing she felt after committing such a deed, but all Izumo felt was satisfaction. Needless to say, Satan was speechless by the action, his rage quickly catching up with him. His eyes began to twist with a more demonic appearance, his flames sprouting instantly with fury.

You bitch!!!” he roared, raising his hand.

Everyone paused in horror as they waited for the blow, knowing full well the girl had made her death wish. Just before Satan could even strike her though, another pair of matching flames countered him. A hand gripped his wrist, forcing him to yield. He looked down, catching the feral eyes of his son. Rin had moved so fast off the balcony, no one had known he had even vanished.

The half-demon gave a menacing growl, his eyes burning furiously with a red ring around his pupils. “Enough,” he said, shielding Izumo who was left stunned behind him.

She couldn’t believe what she was witnessing. The demon prince was protecting her? It was hard to comprehend.

’Was he a moron or something?’ She thought.

Satan cackled at Rin, giving him credit. “Nice to see those flames of yours, son. I was beginning to think you would be nothing more but a wimp. Good to see this girl has your blood boiling.”

Rin dared not release him, determined to have him restrained as long as he could. Shura and Shiro were ready to intervene, not wanting any casualties. Luckily though, Satan grew weak, violently coughing up blood. Rin released him, watching him squirm. Yuri rushed to his side, grabbing his arm to support him.

“Please, you must rest,” she pleaded, secretly relieved of her son’s interference.

Satan grudgingly agreed, following his wife’s aid back to their quarters. Rin took a glance at the startled fox girl, giving her the most sympathetic stare. It was one she thought was long lost to her.

“Are you okay?” he simply asked.

Izumo didn’t know how to answer, remaining mute.

The demon kings were amused by the sudden display, finding the show well worth their time. Lucifer waved his hand out, ordering Shima to take Izumo away. He came up behind her, and briskly snatched her shoulders, proceeding to escort her out of the room. Rin watched mournfully at her retreating form, hoping she wouldn’t be punished for his father’s transgression.

Even so, seeing Satan get the shit slapped out of him was a moment he could watch over and over; she was quite a ballsy girl.

Shiro walked up to him, ordering Shura to disperse the room. “Geez, what a mess,” he said, lighting up a cigarette. He then forced his hand down on top of Rin’s head, scolding him, “Just what the hell were you thinking?!”

Rin swatted him, quickly defending himself. “What? Was I suppose to stand around and just watch him attack her?” he heatedly questioned.

Shiro gave a heavy sigh. “Look, I’m not saying your intentions were bad, but things are going to get a bit more complicated from here on out, and pissing off your father is not the right move to do right now.”

“Complicated how?” he asked impatiently.

“Well, for starters, that girl…” he said, taking a moment to puff out smoke.

“What about her?”

Shirou knew he couldn’t beat around the bush, needing to just come out and say it. Rin waited patiently for him to answer, almost dreading what he was about to hear.

“Rin, that girl….is your fiancé.”

End Chapter

Chapter Text

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.

End Chapter

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Fangs of a Fox

The reception at the wedding was non-existent at best. Everyone had departed ways after the ceremony, leaving the couple to reflect on their union. The kiss they shared was still fresh within their minds, conflicting their emotions drastically. To Rin, it felt nice, making him hope that things may not be as bad as they seemed. To Izumo, however, it was her first, and she felt robbed. Not that he was awful—at least—she didn’t think so? Quite frankly, she wouldn’t have minded doing it again. Hell, if she was going to be married to him, she might as well reap the benefits.

The Nine-Tails had to mock her way of thinking. ‘And here I thought you were going to leave us dry,’ she chortled.

Izumo was appalled by her words. ‘If I did, it would be to find out where Tsukumo is.’ She defended.

‘ Don't play coy with me, cub. I know your desires better than anyone. Even I know how devilishly handsome he looks,’ she spoke with a lustful tone, causing Izumo to take a glance at Rin.

His attention was on Shura who was currently leading them to their room. He seemed nice, but it wasn’t like she was going to let her guard down just yet because of one heroic act. After all, she’s gone through, she couldn’t afford to.

Coming to a stop, they found themselves in front of a rather large door. It was white with golden hinges, etched with royal design.

“Woah, this door is huge!” Rin spoke aloud without thinking, completely shocked by its size.

Izumo had to admit, it was kind of extreme.

Shura nodded, yawning in boredom. “Yup! And you guys have it all to yourselves. So, do try to keep it down.”

They both blushed from the insinuation, causing her to chuckle.

‘Just me and the prince, huh?’ Izumo pondered deeply, her eyes spotting a set of kunai strapped around Shura’s thighs.

The Nine-Tails sneered curiously from the girl’s unspoken scheme.

“Well, I’ll leave guys to it. I’m pretty sure you don’t need my help in opening the door. It’s been a long day, so I’m going to turn myself in. I suggest you two do the same,” she said, making her way past Izumo.

Knowing she had to be quick, Izumo snatched one of the woman’s knives without her noticing. She quickly hid the weapon underneath the sleeve of her gown, calmly sighing with relief. Shura continued to walk down the hall, giving Rin the chance to open the door.

His eyes opened wide from what he saw inside. “Woah, this is a room!?” he exclaimed in disbelief.

Izumo walked up behind him, becoming shocked herself from the interior. It was obvious the room was built for royalty, containing a massive canopy bed right at the center. There was a long dining table on the side with multiple treats and fruit baskets for them to indulge themselves in. They had their own wardrobe set and cabinets on each side with an intricate rug underneath. There was also a spare door, which Izumo guessed was the bathroom. It was more than they expected, wondering how they were supposed to utilize such a large space.

‘Use your imagination,’ The Nine-Tails teased cynically.

Izumo groaned loudly, earning a dumbfounded look from Rin. Deciding to ignore him, she walked over to which she could only presume was her side of the room. Opening drawers, she found nothing but alluring outfits for her to wear, sliding it back with annoyance. She then saw a briefcase around the corner, already having an idea of what it contained.

Rin in the meantime explored his side. He was pleased to see most of all his belongings there, even Kuro’s. Izumo observed him as he picked up a sword. It was an antique at best, it didn’t seem all that different from any other katana—blue seemed to match well with him though.

Rin noticed her stare, offering a grin. “Cool, huh?” he said.

Izumo didn’t answer, rolling her eyes as she sat down onto the bed. The boy was deflated by her reaction, focusing on the dining table instead. He scanned the snacks, pondering carefully which he should choose from. An apple took his interest, pulling it out recklessly from the middle row. Izumo heard the tumbling of fruits, watching him frantically try to put them all back into place. For a moment, her lips curved in amusement. The twitch caught her off guard, shaking it off instantly.

Feeling humiliated over his clumsiness, Rin walked back over to her.

‘She must think I’m an idiot,’ he thought sadly.

He sat on his side of the bed, awkwardly examining the apple in his hand. They were quiet, daring not to say a word. Rin knew this was an adjustment for them both, craving to break the ice. There was no way he would be able to continue like this without forming some sort of truce with her. When he thought about it, she hadn’t even eaten anything during the service. She stubbornly refused to, as if starving herself was a ‘fuck you’ to his family. He had to admit, he admired her tenacity, but even he had to find it foolish to deprive herself to that degree.

He shifted his body towards her, leaning over with the apple in his hand. “Hey, you must be hungry, right?” he asked, giving off a friendly grin. “There’s plenty to go around.”

Izumo leaned forward and took the apple, examining it closely. Rin waited in anticipation for her to take a bite, his smile never wavering.

What she did next was not what he had expected.

Izumo reeled her arm back and threw the defenseless fruit across the room. It splatted against the wall with a hard thud, gushing out everywhere from the impact. Rin gaped at the mess with utter shock, becoming defensive over the violent display.

“Hey! That’s not what you do when someone is trying to be nice to you!” he snapped, slightly hurt.

She sneered at him. “The son of Satan nice?” She mocked. “Sorry, but I find that hard to believe,” she said, “My experience with your family has been nothing but hell.”

He frowned at her words. “I guess I can’t argue with that,” he said.

Izumo found her words to have made the impact she wanted, but was surprised when he continued.

“But…I’m not like them. You can trust me on that,” he said, his eyes remaining firm.

She was stunned by his intense gaze, doing her best to remain immune by his charm. “Well, you certainly don’t look menacing, that’s for sure,” she sniped crudely.

Rin didn’t know if he should feel relieved or insulted. He blinked, becoming stupefied by her logic. “Um, I’m not sure if you’re being nice or sarcastic?” he asked.

“What do you think?” she replied, losing her patience.

‘Definitely sarcastic,’ he answered to himself.

“Look, just… don't say anything,” she said, rubbing her temples, “This is already a nightmare enough.”

He obeyed her wishes, pouting slightly at his failure in talking to her. They sat in silence, not sure what to say or do next. Rin was not one for patience though, his exhaustion from the day getting the better of him. Looking down at his attire, he glanced back at Izumo to make sure her back was towards him. He lifted himself off the bed, beginning to undo his robes. At first, Izumo didn’t think too much about it. Maybe he finally decided to leave her alone, she thought. However, the rustling of fabric piqued her interest, causing her to turn around in the most inopportune time.

Rin was completely shirtless, catching him midway in taking off his pants. His tail twitched when catching her gaze, both of them blushing harmoniously.

Izumo responded instantly. “Oh my God! What the hell are you doing!?” she shouted, doing her best to avert her eyes.

He argued defensively with an equal amount of embarrassment. “What does it look like!? I’m changing!”

“Couldn’t you do that in the bathroom or something!?”

“I didn’t know if there was one!”

“Over there! That’s the bathroom!”

“I thought it was a closet!”

“Why would it be when you have your damn wardrobe!”

“Just…stop looking at me!” he said, quickly covering himself.

Izumo closed her eyes and hastily ran into the bathroom, closing it shut with a soft click. Rin stared at the door for a moment before facepalming himself, wondering what else could go wrong that night.

‘Well, that went well,’ The Nine-Tails said, obviously unimpressed by the exchange.

“Could you not?” Izumo seethed, doing her best to calm her racing heart.

‘At least we know mating with the Demon prince would be a fruitful one,’ she offered sinfully.

Izumo pictured Rin’s half-naked body, bracing herself onto the sink as she shook her head to erase the image. The Nine-Tails was starting to become a bad influence. She was making the girl weak, and she did not need that kind of…distraction. Remembering the weapon she stole from Shura, she took it out from her sleeve and recalled her objective. It was sharp, glinting ominously beneath the light. Izumo contemplated her next move, wondering if she was capable of pulling it off.

‘Getting cold feet?’ The Nine-Tails asked.

“No,” she responded harshly, “I’m just trying to be smart about this. It’s the demon prince, he may act like a fool, but what if that’s intentional?”

‘He’s still a man, I know one way to get him vulnerable,’ she said, slithering her tongue seductively.

“I’m not doing that!” she hissed.

‘You don’t have to, but I could.’

Izumo pondered hard on the offer. Letting the Nine-Tails take over would be dangerous—especially if there was a chance that she could lose control.

“It’s still my body,” she said, putting her guard up.

‘And here I thought you were prepared to do anything to find our kin.’

Izumo hated her tone; it was obvious she was ridiculing her.

“How am I supposed to trust you?” she asked.

‘You forget…you and I are the same.’

She couldn’t argue about that.

“It’s too risky,” Izumo tried to convince herself. “Plus, I wouldn't know the first thing to do,” she admitted shamefully.

‘Then let me be your guide~,’ she tunefully mused.

Izumo closed her eyes and helplessly gave in, allowing the Nine-Tails to layer over her. It felt like her whole body was on fire, running her hands across her hips. She tilted her head back, revealing her fangs as she moaned from the intense power. It surged through her, like a sensational drug. Her primal instincts took over, her iris mixing with black around her sclera. Izumo curled her toes, the Nine-Tails giving her one distinct emotion to rely on—to hunt.

With the bit of consciousness she had, Izumo spoke inside the alcove of her mind. ‘But can we please have one tail for now on? Nine is a little excessive, don’t you think?’

The Nine-Tails snickered at her request, granting it—it’s the least she could do with the little bit of freedom she was allowing her to have. Izumo rotated her hips, appreciating the lifted weight off her lower back. Now then, how was she supposed to seduce the demon prince? She would need to get him off guard, something he wouldn’t expect when she walked out that door. Izumo spotted a silken bathrobe nearby, selecting it off the rack that was given to them. It was black, containing a pattern of violet flowers around the base.

“This will do,” she said, beginning to undress.

She took everything off, leaving herself completely bare. Tossing the robes lazily onto the floor, she cunningly slipped on the lanky piece of garment. The tie around her waist was left loose, doing little to cover her. It was alluring enough, allowing her body to expose all she needed for him to heel.

“Now then, time for us to seek our prey,” They both said in unison, preparing to open the door.

Izumo stepped out, bracing her back onto the fringe of the doorway. Rin instantly looked up at her, having to do a double-take from her new appearance.

“What the…?” He stumbled, not being able to process what he was seeing.

Izumo puckered her lips, bewitching him with her gaze. She didn’t say a word, swaying her hips as she walked toward him. When she got to the bed, she skillfully brushed his legs apart with her knee, fidgeting with the string around her waist. Rin gulped nervously, wondering where the girl who was just yelling at him moments ago vanished to. His eyes traveled at the valley of her breasts and torso, nearly choking at the sight of her smooth pale skin. Her nipples taunted him beneath the fabric of her robe, enticing him. It curtained over her thighs, barely concealing her sex.

“I see I have your attention.” The demoness purred, grinning wickedly at his wandering eyes.

“Well….har—hard not t—to…” he responded meekly.

“Speaking of hard,” She coyly tapped her lips.

Before Rin could even react, Izumo shoved his back onto the bed. She crawled on top of him, straddling his hips with her own. Rin only had his bottoms on, doing little to cover his awakening arousal. Damn—she was like a vixen in heat. She rubbed her moist center into his hidden bulge, causing him to groan. The size of his length was something to desire, to the point of intimidating her. Her hands traveled across his chiseled body, captivated by his solid, and yet, slender frame.

She noticed though he was keeping his hands against the bed, resisting her. Safe to say, Izumo was not pleased.

“A true gentleman, aren’t we?” she asked, not impressed.

He gritted his teeth, urging his blood flow to simmer down. “You could say that,” he said, doing his best to push down his demonic urges, “But, is this really what you want?”

Izumo glared at him, not liking the idea of her cover being blown. She was going to have to try harder.

“I’m your wife,” she reminded him, “It’s normal for me to want my husband, isn’t it? Besides…”

She looked down between them, moaning from the hard-on he had. “I think your body speaks for itself,” she leaned down and cooed into his ear, giving him a soft lick.

It took all of Rin’s willpower not to lose control of his flames.

“Stop it…” he said unconvincingly.

Her fingers dug into the band of his pants, kneading the dip to his pelvis. His stiff member twitched in anticipation, needlessly thrusting his hips forward into her. Rin closed his eyes in shame, allowing her to toy with him, even if just a moment of pure ecstasy. Izumo soon leaned down, pressing her breasts into his chest, provoking him to grab her hips. Her tail curled around his thighs, edging her forward—back—and then forward. A stain started to form on Rin’s crutch, indicating how wet she was. They dry-humped each other with eager strokes, causing Izumo to forget her reason for seducing him in the first place. She moaned from the intense pressure of his cock, never experiencing such euphoria.

‘Focus, Izumo!’ she chastised, snapping herself out of it.

While still grinding her hips into him, she cautiously snuck the kunai out from beneath her sleeve. Between wanting to flip her over and gaining back control, Rin was caught in bewilderment when he felt the sharp tool pressed against his neck. The blade was dangerously close to his thyroid, halting him from retaliating. He should have known she would have tricked him like this—a sly fox indeed.

“Izumo…” he spoke with a wary tone, hoping to persuade her in putting the knife down.

“Shut up!” she jeered, slightly adding force. Her mind was racing about what to say—she didn’t think he would surrender so easily.

He put his hands up, hoping she would take it as a sign of peace from him.

“You’re going to tell me where they keep the humans they imprison!” she demanded, “Do you know of a girl named Tsukumo?”


“Answer me! I know you do! You have to!” she exclaimed desperately.

“No, I don’t!” he shouted back with equal urgency, “I swear to you, I don’t!”

“Liar!” she roared.

“I’m not lying!” he answered, his eyes pleading for her to believe him.

Izumo scanned his face for any signs of deceit, her eyes wavering. “You truly don’t?” she asked, her hand faltering against the blade’s handle.

Rin lifted his head, keeping his composure. “I don’t…I’m sorry,” he answered honestly. “I’m clueless about what happens outside the castle. I know it’s not what you want to hear,’s true.”

Her body slumped back with defeat, not knowing how to take the newfound information. Rin didn’t risk moving just yet, not wanting to trigger her. The Nine-Tails seemed too strong for her to handle though, whipping her head forward and striking him head-on with a snarl. He instantly countered her assault, flipping her onto her back, knocking the kunai clean off her hand. He pinned her down, overpowering her completely. Her breasts were fully exposed, her blouse nearly off her shoulders from the squabble. Even when she was naked, he refused to take her.

She growled and snapped her fangs at him, showing nothing but hate in her eyes.

Izumo writhed beneath him. “Release me!” she screamed, kicking furiously.

“Yeah, that’s not a good idea,” he commented dryly. “Now, hold still.”

A red glow surrounded his irises, compelling her to submit to him. His demon propelled the Nine-Tails back into the shadows of her mind, expelling its influence over her. Izumo took a sharp breath, instantly becoming docile towards his will. Whatever hold the Nine-Tails had on her was gone, falling into a peaceful slumber.

He sighed. “Looks like you’ve calmed down,” he said, slowly lifting himself off her.

She sat up, puzzled by his blithe nature. “Aren’t you going to punish me? Take me in?”

He blankly stared at her, shaking his head. “No.”

Not the answer she expected. “What? Why?! I was trying to kill you!” she argued.

“You wouldn’t be the first,” he answered, shrugging his shoulders. “Besides, not like that would have killed me,” he said, pointing to the weapon in question. “Though I have to admit, it’s going to be pretty damn awkward explaining to Shura where I found that,” he added with good humor.

“How can you be so calm about this!?” she countered, utterly baffled, “Your wife just try to murder you with sex!”

“Well, when you say it like that, it does sound bad,” he demurred, rubbing the back of his head.

“That’s because it is!” she insisted.

He winced from her tone. “Even so, I don’t think you would have gone through with it.”

She gaped at him. “And what makes you say that?”

“You’re trembling,” he answered simply, observing her hands. “Even when you had me pinned down. It was obvious you couldn’t go through with it.”

“You don’t know me! You have no idea what I’m capable of!” she declared hotly. “You’re nothing but a naive fool,” she said, gritting her teeth, “Your kindness is going to get you killed.”

He gave a hollow laugh. “Maybe you’re right….but…” Lifting his hands, he grabbed her bathrobe and gently lifted it back over her shoulders. “Being that you’re stuck with me, it’s the least I can do.”

Izumo was stunned by the gesture, not knowing what to say. He stuck his hand out, his fingers cueing her to forfeit the kunai. She reluctantly handed the knife over to him, sulking the entire time. Once it was in his possession, he smiled—at least she was cooperating.

“It’s getting late, you should get some sleep. And don’t worry, I’ll sleep on the couch,” he said, tucking the blade away.

“That’s it? You’re just going to dismiss what happened?” she asked, watching him rummage through his drawer.

He threw an oversize shirt to her, motioning for her to put it on. “Well, it wouldn’t do us any good to report about it. Besides, can’t have you hate me if we’re going to be friends.”

“What makes you think I’ll be your friend?” she inquired faintly, though mildly intrigued by his confidence.

He gave a cheeky grin. “Because it looks like you need one.”

She glowered at him, violently putting on his shirt. “Don’t patronize me,” she muttered, slamming her body into the cushions away from him.

Ending their conversation, Rin shut off the lights and made his way over to the sofa. At least it looked comfortable enough, prepping the cushions as he grabbed an extra quilt nearby. He laid himself down, propping the pillow behind his head. Staring at the ceiling, his mind raced back to her question earlier.

“Hey, Izumo…who’s Tsukumo?” he asked, his tail swishing against the floor.

She didn’t answer.

“Izumo…?” he inquired once more.

Receiving nothing but silence, Rin sighed and decided not to pester. She must have fallen asleep.

However, Izumo was very much wide awake. She didn’t dare answer him, feeling uneasy in conveying her past to him just yet. There was no way she was going to encourage the idea of being his friend that easily. Still, his warmth provided an unseen comfort for her—one she never realized she needed. The fog she held within her mind slightly became clearer, a small smile appearing on her lips. For the first time in a long time, she felt like she finally had someone to rely on.

End Chapter

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 Beyond the Glass

Izumo stirred in her sleep, sensing the warmth of the sun boil her skin. She instinctively pulled back the sheets, giving her body room to breathe. She blinked a couple of times, breaking off the crust around her eyes. With one cautious look, she was welcomed by the yellow glow of the room. It’s been a while since she felt so well-rested. Carefully, she lifted her body up, her attention immediately landing on the prince.

Her brows creased with amusement, her lips twisting into an unfinished smile. His eyes were barely open, snoring peacefully without any care for his awkward position. One leg dangled off the edge of the couch while he lay on his stomach, one of his arms hanging right off the armrest. Honestly, he looked ridiculous, but even so, it didn’t stop her eyes to wander. His shoulder blades were perfectly arched, leaving no muscle unturned. The center of his back was dipped perfectly, creating a smooth path to his tail. It made her realize how firm his ass looked, tilting her head without even noticing. It was nicely squared, even through the cotton of his pants.

Izumo nearly choked on the saliva forming inside her mouth. She couldn’t even blame the Nine-Tails for that one!

‘Geez, how stupid! I’m acting like a horny teenage girl!’ she shouted to herself, soon recalling the events from last night clearly. ‘How humiliating!’

She pinched the bridge of her nose, wishing she could dispel the memory from her mind. Then again, she was desperate. After all this time, she still had no clue what became of her sister—her patience was running thin. Speaking of the Nine-Tails though, she was strangely quiet. It seemed whatever the prince did last night had really put an influence on her. Given his status, she guessed she shouldn’t be surprised by the capabilities of his allure around other demons—even if he was a half-breed.

“Being the son of Satan obviously has its quirks,” she whispered, wondering if that was something she had to be mindful of.

Izumo soon took notice of the layer of grime she felt upon her skin, sniffing herself curiously with slight revulsion. She was definitely in need of a bath, realizing she hadn’t really taken one since she arrived. Everything was a quick sponge down and that was it—and that hardly was enough. Not to mention her daily dose, she had a lot of maintenance to catch up to. With Rin fast asleep, she had to take advantage of the time while she had it.

Slipping herself off the bed, she hurriedly tip-toed her way over to the bathroom. She snatched her briefcase along the way, closing the door behind her—carelessly forgetting to lock it.

Rin groaned in his sleep, smacking his lips. Little by little he turned his body, giving out a sharp yelp when meeting the floor. His tail twitched into a zigzag shape from the impact.

“Damn, that hurt,” he said, still half-asleep.

Taking notice of the couch, he began to remember last night. He blushed from the memory, cringing a bit. There was no way things weren’t going to be awkward between him and Izumo this morning. Just the mere image of her nudity was enough to get his blood boiling. Shame came over him, not wanting to indulge such demonic lust. Still, he’d be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy their little tussle. The sensation of Izumo’s body pressing against his as her hands had her way with him was a battle he barely escaped from. The Nine-Tails was truly a dangerous fiend and something he would need to watch out for in the future. If he played her little games, he was sure to be eaten.

‘If I didn’t compel her in time, I’m sure we both be naked on that bed right now,’ he mused quietly, feeling a migraine coming on.

God, did he feel exhausted; wishing nothing more than to go back to sleep. Even so, the tension in his bladder was calling to be released. Keeping his eyes slightly closed, he got up and began to make his way to the bathroom. He ignored his surroundings, not even noticing the empty bed.

He scratched his stomach, letting out a yawn as he opened the door.

As soon as he did, Izumo froze inside the tub. Her body was completely immersed in bubbles, practically overflowing the tub. Rin had no clue of her presence though, mindlessly making his way to the toilet.

‘Is he even aware I’m here!?’ She wanted to scream for him to get out, but could not find her voice for the life of her.

Lifting the toilet seat, he lazily slipped down his pants, causing her to get a full look at the package he had. Izumo averted her eyes and blushed immensely at his exposure. It was just a glimpse, but there was no denying his size—even last night she had a good feel of it. The sound of urine hitting the toilet bowl could be heard as Rin sighed with relief. Despite this though, he had a weird feeling he was being watched. Turning his head to the side, Izumo squeaked as their eyes met. It took his eyes a moment to adjust to who he was looking at, realization soon dawning on him.

“Izumo!” he squeaked, turning his body away in order to conceal his manhood. “What are you doing here!?”

“I’m taking a bath! What does it look like?!” she questioned back with equal dismay. “Don’t you know how to knock?” she berated angrily.

“The door was unlocked! I thought you were asleep!” he said, helplessly defending himself as he tried to focus on his task at hand. “I needed to pee!”

She clenched her eyes shut, burying herself in the bubbles. “Just hurry up!”

He quickly forced the rest of his bladder to empty itself out, jiggling a bit to make sure he was fully done. Without any further delay, he picked up his pants and rushed out the door.

Izumo sat there, completely stunned by the sudden event.

Before long, she could hear the Nine-Tails purring at the back of her mind, signaling her return.

‘The prince sure knows how to tease a thousand year old fox.’

Izumo dragged her head down under the water, having no words.

Rin had his face buried in his hands. This morning could have gone so much better. Then again, they should expect this sort of scenario, shouldn’t they? Sharing a room together, especially when you’re supposed to be husband and wife, sort of came with the memo. It sure as hell would be easier to accept than have this happen all the time.

“We have to get past this somehow,” he said, propping his cheek against his fist.

He waited patiently by the bed, knowing full well the conversation they were about to have. After much shuffling behind the door, Izumo stepped out—and to his relief, with clothes on.

“Go—good morning…” she barely managed to say, blushing lightly with a frown.

He tilted his head down, mimicking her. “Go—good morning…”


And for once, without the Nine-Tail’s snarky comments butting in.

Rin began to sweat—he always hated pauses like this. He roughly scratched the back of his head, sighing with exasperation. “Listen, Izumo, I didn’t mean to walk into you like that. You have to believe me.”

“I know…” she said, nodding with understanding. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you. You just…took me by surprise.”

“So….you’re not mad at me?” he asked, not quite convinced.

She shook her head. “Not as much as I would like to be,” she answered honestly. “Besides, you’re right, I didn’t lock the door, so….I guess I’m partially to blame for that.”

“Wow…” he said with astonishment.

“What?” she asked, slightly annoyed.

“Nothing, just thought you wouldn’t admit you were wrong,” he said, chuckling a bit.

“Well, you still should have knocked,” she barked, keeping her pride.

“Alright, you got me there,” he said, agreeing with her. “Just as long as we’re still friends.”

“We’re not friends,” she sharply tried to remind him.

He ignored her comment, deciding to smile instead, which just infuriated her even more. For the son of Satan, he certainly did not act the part! It’s like her trying to kill him yesterday never even happened!

“By the way, is that what you’re really wearing?” he asked, pointing at her attire.

Izumo stared down at her dress, questioning it as well. It was a traditional Chinese dress—elegant, but tight. It hugged her body in all the right places, revealing her outer thighs and legs perfectly. She supposed that was the goal, creating an erotic look for her petite size. Rin looked away, not wanting to seem like he was staring.

“It’s all I have,” she answered flatly, “I didn’t really get to have much of a fashion choice.”

“Uh…maybe we can get you your own clothes,” he offered, “One of your own choosing. We’ll even see to add a hole for your tail!”

She seemed skeptical. “Do you have the power to actually do that?”

He shrugged. “Probably not, but….I can try!” he chimed.

She hopelessly shook her head—so foolish.

Just then, a low growl was heard inside the room. Rin stared down at Izumo’s stomach, finding it to be the culprit. The girl blushed from the sound, well aware of the reason. The poor apple from yesterday proving her downfall.

Rin held a grin like no other, obviously amused. “Seems like someone is hungry,” he commented shrewdly.

Her ears twitched, her glare growing profound.

Rin just laughed at her reaction. “I’ll go get ready so that way we can get you something to eat.” He went to gather his things, not even giving her a chance to be stubborn about it.

He made a beeline towards the bathroom but stopped when reaching the doorway. “Hey, Izumo,” he started solemnly, gaining her attention, “We’re married, and like it or not, we do share this room together. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but even I think it’s silly for us to try and hide that. We’re bound to see each other vulnerable in some way or another.”

She hated to admit it, but he was right. They couldn’t play tip-toe forever. It was something they both just had to accept, knowing full well the criteria of what the ring on their fingers meant. Honestly, it was childish for her to think that they could avoid it. Somehow though, the tension between them felt lighter—maybe he was more mature than she gave him credit for.

He soon laughed, breaking her thoughts. “But, for now, I’ll lock the door,” he said, giving her a playful grin before closing it behind him.

On second thought, maybe not.

Yuri stepped out into the hallway, closing the door behind her. She gave a restless sigh, leaning her back against the doorframe. Satan was just getting worst, his condition borderline fatal. Despite some manner of relief, she felt nothing but regret. Once upon a time she really thought they could run away together and be happy—that love was enough to sustain him. Yuri couldn’t help but give a hollow laugh of her own naivety. All that was left now between them was a shell of broken promises.


A voice broke through the darkness within her mind like a beacon. She turned her head, welcoming the wielder to her heart. “Shiro…” she said, providing him a forced smile.

He studied the bags under her eyes, contemplating his next choice of words. “Are you okay?” he asked, deciding to be direct.

She wiped her eyes, hoping it didn’t seem like she was crying. “I’m good, was just a long night.”

Shiro frowned, knowing full well how clingy Satan was for her.

‘Probably whined all night for her to stay with him,’ he bitterly thought.

“Have you checked on Rin and Izumo this morning?” she soon asked, changing the subject.

“Not yet, I figured to give those two some alone time,” he said, shrugging, “They have to get along in some way or another.”

She giggled at his words, causing him to look disgruntled. “What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Nothing, it’s just, made me think about the past,” she said, reflecting on their childhood, “It’s not like we got along either, you know. It took years for me to melt that heart of yours before you actually called me your friend.”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, what did you expect? You nagged at me practically every day! Besides….I didn’t think it was all that bad,” he answered with a grumble, blushing slightly— a side of him only meant for her to see.

“No…I suppose it wasn’t,” she said, smiling warmly at him.

Out of pure habit, he slowly took her hand in his. Shiro rubbed her palm, seeking to calm whatever fears she held hidden. His eyes lingered on her lips, wanting to hear her breathless gasps as he took hold of them with the taste of his smokey ones. Little did he know of her own feelings of wanting to hold him against her—his hair always captivating her to hold as she buried herself into his scent. Before such fantasies could even be tempted to come to fruition though, Yuri pulled her hand away. It left the older gentleman bare and cold.

“I should go,” she said, bowing her head, “There some elixirs I need to pick up for Satan from Drac.”

He scoffed grudgingly. “Yeah, I should go too. Lucifer and his cronies are heading back to their base today. Got to make sure everything is ready for them to leave.”

Yuri bit her lip with a nod, understanding his duties.

Taking opposite paths from each other, she felt a tug at her heart as she walked past him. Shiro dared not look back, knowing the danger of prolonging such desires. The choices they made have brought nothing but pain, and they had to live with it. Yuri could only pray that Rin and Izumo wouldn’t be as misfortunate.

“There we go!” Rin cheered, opening the door to a whole new area.

Izumo stared in awe at the sudden change of scenery, having expected the hallway to the castle. Instead, she was welcomed by a private kitchen area, containing all manner of silverware and tools used for cooking. She studied all the pots and pans, including the selection of fruits and vegetables that hung overhead.

“Pretty neat, huh?” Rin asked, admiring his little haven. “Guess you can say this is my hobby.”

She looked at him with disbelief. “Are you saying you can cook?”

He nodded bashfully. “I know, sounds weird. The son of Satan a gourmet fanatic? Doesn’t really sound possible.”

“That’s because it doesn’t,” she answered bluntly. “And all because of that key you have, we were able to teleport easily here?” she asked, studying the small artifact curiously in question.

Rin tucked the item away. “Yeah, but it’s supposed to be a secret. Only a few of us have it here for the castle, and sadly, mine could only take us here, or back where I came from.”

“Interesting,” Izumo answered, not wanting to seem too impressed.

“But hey! Make yourself comfortable! I’ll start prepping breakfast for ya!” He gleamed, already rolling up his sleeves.

Izumo cautiously took a seat by a table nearby—it was an antique, one you would probably see in normal homes. All in all, it wasn’t a glamorous setting, but it was quite homey from the space it provided. The tiles had a turquoise glaze to them around the walls, fitting with the wooden honey-colored floor beneath them. Already she could smell a change in the room, watching as Rin started to grill some eggs together. God, it’s been a while she could remember a meal, her stomach growling even louder.

Rin took notice of the sound, laughing in amusement. “I hope you’re not a picky eater. Then again, maybe it’s good if you are, so I can try to make something you’ll actually like.”

“I’m not a vegetarian if that’s what you mean,” she answered curtly.

“A meat lover, that’s good to know!” he exclaimed joyfully, beginning to cut some chicken cutlets for protein choice.

“How did you get into this, anyway?” she asked, genuinely curious.

The pan hissed as he dumped the chunks he cut onto it. “Believe it or not, from Shiro.” He decided to elaborate when noticing her confusion. “He’s the priest who married us.”

His image popped up in Izumo’s head, causing her to choke back in shock. “That guy?! Wow….I wouldn’t have guessed it. He seems a bit rough around the edges to be a priest.”

“Yeah, you got a point, but he’s been more of a father to me than Satan that’s for sure,” he said, his eyes becoming soft.

Izumo studied his face, doing her best to figure him out. Her mind was brewing with questions, each swirling around the other. There was obviously more to the prince than she led on.

Even so, she remained vigilant. “Yeah, I wouldn’t call him father material.”

“What about you?” Rin reverted. “What about your parents?” he asked, innocently flipping some omelets together.

Izumo flinched, flashes of her mother being possessed and blood entering her thoughts without warning. She gritted her teeth, deciding to answer with her usual tone of bitterness, “That’s none of your business.”

Rin lowered the flames to the stove, turning to frown at her. “Listen, mystery girl. Like or not, I’m going to sound like a broken record to remind you…” He took in a deep breath, calming his own frustration down. “But I’m your husband, and yeah, we’re not in love, but I’m still the only person you have right now. We’re partners…and I really would appreciate you opening up a little more so this doesn’t become hell for us both.”

She just stared at him with that trademark glare that never seemed to falter from her face.

Rin sighed. Damn, why was he forced to marry someone so stubborn?

“Do you always play the nice guy?” she asked, not impressed by his words. “Hate to break it to you, but this is hell no matter how you sugar coat it. I don’t need to tell you anything. Your whole friendship thing is also ridiculous. Who tries to feed someone who tried to kill them last night? Are you from another dimension? Because a logical person would turn their killer in!”

“Geez, this again? You sure know how to not let things go,” he said with vexation.

Seriously? He was one to talk!

“Well, if you been through what I have! You would understand!”

“Make me understand then! Because not telling me isn’t helping either!” he snapped back.

‘Kami, all this bickering! You two act like rabid dogs! I have the sense to kill you both!’ The Nine-Tails added, clearly annoyed by the energy between them.

Silence befell them, creating tension between the two again. Rin gave up and decided to go back to his cooking. Izumo in the meantime just sat and pouted as if she was eight. There was no way she was going to fall for this charade. The audacity that he thought getting to know her would make things easier was practically insulting. She clenched her hands on her lap, a hidden rage consuming her. The worst part of it being, despite everything, she still couldn’t find herself to hate him.

It didn’t take much effort for the aroma of Rin’s cooking to overcome the taut air of the room. Izumo also couldn’t deny the anticipation she had to eat either. Rin carefully slid the omelets he made onto their own plate, all neatly folded with steam coming off them. He brought it over to the table, collecting some silverware along the way. The girl patiently waited for him to set everything up, watching him walk over to the fridge with a playful swish of his tail.

“Did you want juice, coffee, or tea?” he asked calmly, though with an obvious edge to his voice.

Izumo answered, doing her best to act civil. “Tea,” she answered dully.

He looked over his shoulder at her, actually producing a smile. “Of course,” he said as if it was obvious.

Izumo was peeved by his response.

“Orange juice all for me then,” he said happily, taking out a jug for himself.

Pulling out a rack of teas, he placed it at the center of the table. Izumo was stunned by the selection, going for chai as her choice. They prepped their drinks in silence, satisfied with the spread they had. Just before Izumo could take a bite of her food though, Rin lightly slapped her hand. She pulled it back, appalled by the action.

“Got to say grace first,” he said, offering her a small smile. “Least you can do after being so ungrateful to my apple yesterday.”

“Really?” She frowned, utterly annoyed.

He clapped his hands together, not bothering to indulge her. “Iitadakimasu!” he chimed, signaling her to do the same.

Izumo sighed and begrudgingly followed his example. “Iitadakimasu!” she nearly shouted, before quickly digging in.

Rin couldn’t help but find some enjoyment in her response. Someone was definitely cranky when they were hungry—it was something he gladly took note of. After literally taking her first bite though, Izumo froze, her eyes beginning to water. She dared not let the tears fall though, trapping the spoon inside her mouth. The taste that hit her tongue was beyond her expectation. It was rich with flavor, quelling the hunger she stubbornly held for so long. Everything was perfectly wrapped together with layers of ingredients that it was practically overwhelming.

To think all those days at the lab she was missing out on something like this? And for him to even do such a thing for her—she didn’t deserve it.

“Izumo?” Rin spoke out, concern etching his face from her sudden stillness.

She swallowed, gaining back her composure. “Rin, I….this…this is delicious…”

He beamed. “You really like it? I’m glad!”

She pondered her next words, hating how guilty she suddenly felt. “Look, it’s not easy for me to say this, but…thank you.”

He was stunned by her response, shifting quickly into a smile. “You’re welcome. And…I’m sorry for asking about your parents. If you don’t want to talk about it, I understand. It was stupid of me to even do so.”

“Well, at least you can admit that,” she said sharply, reaching for another bite of her meal. “Honestly, I’m starting to truly think I am married to an idiot.”

Unamused, his hand slowly reached for her plate. “If that’s how you feel, I can take it back.”

She pulled it close to her, giving him a glare. “Don’t you dare!”

He chuckled, returning to his own meal. They ate in peace, Rin tempting to talk practically every time he took a bite. Izumo could tell already he was a chatty one when provoked by silence. She tried to amuse him though, answering at least simpler questions. They ranged from favorite color to her age, to basically about anything he could think of. Silly things, but enough for them to strike a normal conversation.

‘What if all of this is just a ploy though? A false sense of security just so he can imprison me as his brother did?’ Izumo questioned deeply with mistrust.

‘If it means rutting involved, then I will gladly submit.’

‘God, can you think of nothing but sex!’ Izumo shouted at the evil vixen.

“I am ancient being, cub. There are needs even I miss after being sealed away for so long. You have fed me nothing but hatred! As divine as it is, there is more that I hunger for. Being your age, you should have long given yourself to such pleasures already!”

‘Yeah, not happening. I have other things to worry about than love.’

The kitsune snickered slyly. “Who said anything about love? Silly pup, you’re more of a fool than I thought.”

Izumo flushed at her own choice of words, banishing the conversation altogether. Luckily, a new distraction came one that nearly made her squeal. A black cat jumped on top of the table, sniffing the food excitedly before glowering at Rin.

’Rin! How could you eat without me?’ he wined, his words ringing into Izumo’s mind.

“Sorry, Kuro,” he responded, “My bad! It was sort of unplanned, you know I wouldn’t do it on purpose. Here, let me prepare you a bowl.” He got up, causing Kuro to hop excitedly.

Izumo stared at the feline in awe, wanting to pet him with every fiber of her being. Despite the little thing being a demon, he was super cute! She bit her lip, her hands twitching beneath the table. She couldn’t dare let Rin see this side of her, she had to resist! The demon prince came back and put a bowl down in front of Kuro, who instantly began to chow on it. Izumo began to quiver at this point, his little mewls while he ate triggering her to nearly lose it.

Rin caught notice of her sudden odd behavior. “Uh, Izumo? You okay there?”

She whipped her head at him in alarm, her cheeks reddening. “I—I’m fi—fine!” She wanted to hit herself for stuttering.

Her eyes shifted between him and Kuro, piquing his curiosity even further.

“Are you…do you not like cats or something?” he asked shrewdly.

“N—no! That’s not…the problem.” She forced herself to bite back her inner thoughts from escaping.

“Why are you acting so weird then?”

The sudden interrogation was clearly making her lose her wits—it didn’t help that Kuro was a mere foot away from her eager hands.

She vexedly sat on her hands, wishing to drop the subject. “That’s the pot calling the coffee kettle black.”

“What? What does coffee have to do with this?”

“Oh! Never mind!” She sighed irritably.

Rin frowned at her retreat from the topic, deciding to focus on petting Kuro instead. The cat meowed, and thanked his master for the meal, purring into his touch. Izumo couldn’t help but be jealous, craving to give her own affection to the feline. If only her pride would just allow her to be honest. Sensing her turmoil, Rin took a glance to study her once more. Her eyes were clearly aimed at Kuro, but more importantly, what his hand was doing. Testing his theory, he began to scratch the top of his familiar’s head, earning a small whimper from the girl. The reaction he got from her was priceless, her face contorting horribly at hiding her desires.

“Izumo, do you…want to pet him?” he asked without thinking.

She flinched, realizing she was caught.

“Really?” She was hesitant to even dare indulge herself in such a vulnerable act.

Rin laughed, he couldn’t believe how something so simple could be such a daunting task for her.

He offered his hand out, giving her permission. “Go ahead.”

She reached forward, easing her hand into Kuro’s fur. She squeaked from how soft he was, her face softening into joy. The cat was pleased by her gentle strokes but was quickly discouraged when she spoke.

“Who’s a cute wittle kitty? You are! Oh, such a soft wittle baby!” she chimed, starling Rin.

‘I’m not a baby! I’m over a hundred years old!’ he cried out from the insult, grudgingly purring as she moved to stroke his chin.

“Awww, of course, you are such a cutie pie!” Izumo cooed, halting only for a moment to glare at Rin’s amused grin. “What?” she snapped.

He raised his hands in defense. “Nothing!”

His smile remained hidden as she returned her attention to Kuro. To think she thought he was the strange one—the coffee calling the kettle black was starting to make more sense to him than he realized.

“Such a shame you guys couldn’t stay long,” Shiro commented shrewdly.

He was currently escorting Lucifer and Homare to their car, his grin obvious to everyone. Shura stood behind him, guarding at best. Lucifer paid no mind to them, entering the vehicle without a single word.

It was Homare who took it upon herself to speak in his place. “The matrimony was a success, all that’s left is to see what the outcome of it will bring.”

“Oh?” Shiro asked, quite curious. “And what is that you demons hope to gain from this anyway?”

Homare couldn’t resist the small grin that appeared on her lips from his plucky response. “You don’t pass me as a simpleton, priest. I’m sure you don’t need me to answer that.”

He grimaced angrily at her—her wits truly matching with her father’s.

Not wasting time for farewells, Homare climbed into the backseat with Lucifer. She grabbed the door handle, holding it just for a moment. “We’ll be in touch,” she said ominously.

The car drove off immediately after she shut the door, causing no further delay. Shura walked up behind Shiro, her expression apprehensive. “We’re going to have to speed our operation if we’re going to intersect whatever they have planned.”

Shiro studied the vehicle as it disappeared into the distance. “Do you think that’s what's best?” he asked her.

Shura was caught off guard by his question. “Of course it is,” she answered firmly. “Shiro, don’t let that woman get to you; you know what we’re doing is the right thing.”

He didn’t respond, fearing his voice would betray him.

End Chapter

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 Unfaithful

When Rin entered the lavish garden, he was welcomed by silence. The sun beamed from overhead, while sprinklers went off from a set timer. Butterflies and bees were flying around, collecting nectar from each flower that was bloomed. Everything seemed to be in order and well taken care of. Even so, there was no sight of a certain blonde flower girl, causing Rin to grimace with concern.

“This is the eighth day in the row,” he said aloud, searching around endlessly for any signs of his friend. “Where the hell could she have vanished to?”

Come to think of it, she was acting strange days before his marriage. He wondered if it had anything to do with it? He knew she was undergoing some sort of private training, but the details were a mystery to him. When he thought about it, someone had to know of something—and no one knew better than Mephisto.

Noticing he was prolonging his stay though, Rin decided to take his leave. It did him no good that he was searching for another girl, not when he had Izumo waiting for him.

The ceiling had become a visual aid for Izumo in the past coming days—which was depressing, to say the least. She laid in bed, her hands crossed together, waiting patiently for just something to come and end her misery. Although she did have some solace she couldn't complain about, that being her ‘husband’. The fool really had a knack for leaving her stumped, especially when it was obvious how naive he was. He continued to insist that they were friends, never stopping in his endless quest to get her to come out of her shell. God, she wished he would just leave her alone, it would just be easier.

But for who, she didn’t know.

Suddenly, the door opened to their room, causing the pit she didn’t realize she had in her stomach to drop. She sat up, being welcomed by a toothy grin from the demon prince. It would have been unnerving to anyone else, to say the least, especially when he was meant to be the son of Satan. But to her, he was nothing more than a harmless boy, who had no clue what she was even capable of more than himself.

“You’re exactly where I left you,” he said, with a hint of disappointment.

“Are you really surprised?” she answered dryly, staring intently at him.

Rin felt scrutinized by her gaze, sweat pouring from his forehead. “Uh, is there something on my face?” he asked, uncomfortable by the stare down.

“More like nothing in your hands, you didn’t bring any food,” she said with a scowl. “I would have thought this whole time you were making us lunch.”

Rin sighed with relief, afraid his cover was blown from where he had been lately. It was usually his alibi when after visiting the garden that he was prepping them something to eat. He had forgotten this time, but with a sneaky grin, he decided to use it to his advantage.

“Well, Polka Brows, I had other plans this morning, but, if you’re hungry, I think we can work out a deal. You come out of this room, and I’ll promise to make you something special.”

She nearly growled at him, annoyed by the nickname he seemed to have given her lately. It made it seem like they were getting close, and she refused to acknowledge it.

“You know I detest that nickname,” she said, refusing to move from her spot.

“Why not? I don’t give nicknames to just anyone you know,” he answered cheekily.

“Even so, my name is Izumo, Izu-mo.”

“Well duh,” he said with utmost bewilderment.

She shook her head, dropping the subject and returning to the matter at hand. “Whatever, either way, I’m not leaving this room. I have no desire in making myself home here.”

“Oh come on, there has to be something around here that you’re interested in. It’s been almost about a week since you’ve been here, no one can survive like this.”

“Being in a four-wall room is something I’ve been used to for years, if you ask me, this one is just a nice upgrade from what I’m used to,” she snapped coldly.

Rin was stunned by this sudden information, Izumo regretting instantly for confining such details to him. He became quiet, his mind eventually concluding.

“I knew someone who punished themselves from ever leaving a place they once felt safe from. They felt guilty like they didn’t have a right to leave. You’re different though, Izumo. You don’t have to feel like a prisoner here, you can feel safe in leaving here. I’ll make sure of it,” he spoke firmly, his voice unwavering. “I want you to feel at home.”

She looked away from him, wishing he would stop saying such things!

’Listen to our mate, cub! I’m sick of being in this forsaken room!’

Izumo blushed from the term. ’He is not our mate!’

The Nine-Tails rolled her eyes. ’ Husband, mate, doesn’t matter! If you wish to keep me tamed, I suggest you listen to him.’

The ancient demon’s rage washed over Izumo, realizing the danger if she denied her. She could take over her with a simple switch if she wasn’t careful. She had the elixirs that were injected into her, but it was never enough, not yet. So until she was strong enough to overcome her, a contract had to be formed—unless she risked losing it all.

“Fine.” She caved in. “What exactly did you have in mind?”

“Seriously? A library? Sort of retro and cliche, don’t you think?” Izumo inquired dully, not impressed.

Despite the lack of originality, she had to admit, it had a look of quality to it. Velvet green curtains adorned the large windows inside the oval-shaped athenaeum, tied back with a golden rope. The shelves and balcony were clearly mahogany made, the book themselves well organized and aligned with various titles. There were even multiple levels, providing a wider range of knowledge to share. The ceiling even held a replica of the renaissance painting “The Last Judgement”, much to Izumo’s crude amusement—how fitting.

“It’s a start!” Rin soon defended. “I admit, there weren’t many options.”

“Yeah, I’m sure the selection here won’t be much either,” she said, wondering what books Satan and his cohorts would even be interested in that didn’t involve world domination.

“At least it gets you out of the room. I’m sure there’s something in here for you to enjoy.” He tried to reassure. “Just look around for a bit, and I’ll be back before you know it with a bento box for you.”

“I guess I can look around while you do that,” she said, her hunger obvious.

He grinned, relieved to have her cooperating with him. “Okay then! I’ll be right back!”

Rin took off into a sprint, wasting no time. Izumo had the right mind to run off then and there, but somehow, she didn’t. Instead, she decided to take Rin’s advice, and give the library a tour. Honestly, Izumo can’t remember the last time she read anything that wasn’t educational. Grabbing a random physics book off the shelf, she figured it wasn’t going to be any different. She sighed, shoving the text back into its slot.

She scanned through the columns, her fingers tracing each spine. “Mathematics, Geographic, Biology, geez, Egyptian Hieroglyphics. This is nothing but classroom texts!”

Izumo was one for learning, but this was almost ridiculous!

She went up the stairs to the second floor, trying her luck there. Each row contained nothing of interest to her, or if it did, it was material she was already familiar with. She sighed with disappointment, finding the genre she longed for to be scarce as she predicted.

’How unexpected of you to be into romance, and yet fail at it.’

’Like you’re an expert.’

The Kitsune snickered. ‘One day you will learn, cub.’

Izumo ignored her, finding herself to be in the religion section—as if it could help her situation. Selecting a tome from the shelf, she flipped through the pages mindlessly. It wasn’t until she found an extra blank page that she stopped. Izumo’s mind began to race, her fingers hesitantly playing the edge. The Nine-tails was well aware of what she was planning, quite intrigued by the idea.

’Clever fox.’

Before Izumo could think of stopping herself, she ripped the page out, stuffing the parchment into her blouse. If she had family still out there, it was a risk she was willing to take. Somehow, the library seemed to serve a purpose after all.

“Woah, when did the one tail thing happen? So used to seeing nine.” A familiar voice spoke out, causing Izumo to mentally cringe.

“Pink head,” she said, addressing his presence with a menacing scowl.

Renzo ignored her unwelcoming gaze, casually making his way over to her. “Seems like you and the Nine-Tails are getting along?” he asked, gesturing her features.

“We have come to certain agreements, not many, but this was one of them.” Izumo grudgingly indulged him. “What are you doing snooping around here?”

“Keeping an eye on you of course!” He gleamed flirtatiously, his eyes traveling her physique. “Got to make sure how your progress is doing with your ‘inner’ demon, as well as making sure you don’t do anything that will jeopardize our mission.”

She scoffed. “I should have known.”

“Which reminds me, how goes the little honeymoon with dear Satan Jr? I’m surprised you’re walking, given you were in that room for a week, which made it difficult to spy,” he said with a wink.

“You’re disgusting,” she seethed.

“Oh come on, we’ve known each other long enough that you can kiss and tell,” he said, leaning uncomfortably closer to her.

“For your information, the prince has been very…courteous,” she answered, doing her best to keep distance between them.

“Is that so? Quite ironic, given his lineage. Personally….” His fingers toyed with the hem of her dress. “…I wouldn’t have kept my hands off you.”

“In your dreams,” she spat, slapping his hand away.

“Ouch,” he said, clearly infatuated rather than hurt. “Still as feisty as ever.”

“And you still don’t take no for an answer,” she heatedly countered.

He shrugged with a smirk. “What can I say? I’m in love. You and I are kindred spirits, Izumo. You’ll learn that soon enough.”

“I doubt that. Now if you don’t mind, I’m allergic to douche hair.” She turned to leave, but not without his hand grabbing her wrist.

“As much as I will love~ to see you go, I know when you’re being naughty, my sweet Izumo.” His eyes traveled to her bosom, shaking his head with disappointment. “Now, be a good girl, and show me what you took.”

She clamped a hand to her chest, keeping her guard. “Screw you.”

He gave a drawn-out sigh—figured she wouldn’t make this easy.

Without warning he pinned her to one of the bookshelves, shoving his leg between her thighs. Izumo hitched a breath, reacting instantly to shove him away from her. With the strength of the Nine-Tails at her disposal, he was knocked back into the shelf behind him. He staggered from the force, toppling several books onto the floor when trying to collect himself. He never wavered though, his expression becoming frightfully fierce. With unseen agility, Renzo charged forward, grabbing her collar. Izumo was left stunned as his fingers began to unbutton her blouse.

“Don’t you dare…” She growled, her nails extending into claws.

“Oh if only it was for that. But, I know you’re hiding something. So, stop fighting and just…”


Renzo turned to the newcomer, quickly backing himself away from the girl. “Your Highness, what a surprise,” he spoke calmly as if nothing was wrong.

Izumo blushed with humiliation when she caught Rin’s gaze, immediately fixing her tousled dress. The half-demon didn’t know how to respond to what he just walked into, or even how he felt. There was no denying something inappropriate was happening between the two individuals. Whether it was mutual though, was yet to be confirmed. Judging from Izumo’s appearance and lack of response, he didn’t know how to take it. He gripped the bento boxes in his hands, nearly cracking them.

God, he felt like an idiot.

“Izumo….are you…?” He didn’t get to finish as she quickly fastened the remainder of her dress and took off down the hall.

Rin stared after her, instantly growing concern.

“Man, chicks am I right?” Renzo chuckled with amusement.

Something stirred within Rin from the callous remark, his sudden gaze nearly causing Renzo to sweat with caution. It was just for a moment, but there was no denying the red in his pupils. The Illuminati member kept his composure though, not wanting to provoke the beast than he already had—message delivered, that was damn sure. Rin didn’t waste time in prolonging his stay, deciding to go after the fox girl instead. Renzo crossed his arms, intrigued by the little display he just witnessed.

“Interesting, I didn’t expect that,” he mused cunningly, his mission proving to be more entertaining than he thought, “Looks like I have competition after all.”

Izumo made it outside, collecting her breath. “That was close,” she said, patting her chest with relief.

“Izumo!” Rin called out, catching up with her.

She turned, realizing she had left him behind.

“Hey, is everything okay?” he asked, not sure if he should pry. “I’m sorry if I was interrupting anything.”

Sometimes she couldn’t believe how sweet he was. “No, honestly, you were doing me a favor,” she said, hoping he wasn’t jumping to conclusions about what he just saw.

“Izumo…was he…”

She shook her head, dismissing his next choice of words. “Listen, if it’s okay with you, I rather not get into it right now.”

“Oh…ok,” he said, slightly deflated.

Already, she began to feel guilty—he had that damn puppy dog look mastered. She noticed the bento boxes in his hands, pointing to a bench nearby. “Let’s just sit down and eat, okay? That was the deal remember?”

She was deflecting the issue, just as he should have expected. He agreed though, not wanting to ruin their evening. They sat down, opening the meal he had prepped for them. Izumo already was in awe of his handy work, an image of Kuro staring back at her. She nearly squealed at the sight, Rin’s talent continuing to amaze her. He felt pleased that his effort did not go to waste as she broke her chopsticks and began to dig in. Despite this though, he couldn’t quite do the same, his insecurities getting the better of him.

“Izumo, be honest, is that guy your lover?” he asked abruptly.

Izumo spitted her food out, never expecting his thoughts to reach such a conclusion. “Wha—what?!” she exclaimed, completely appalled.

He continued, refusing to look at her. “It’s ok if he is, I mean…just because we’re married, doesn’t mean….you have to be loyal to me. I mean, not like we’re together by choice, so I mean, it’s to be expected right? Geez, I’m making this awkward….! I’m just saying, you’re allowed to be with other guys….if you want. He’s probably a better kisser too so…”

“Oh my God, please stop talking,” she said, pinching her nose.

Rin closed his mouth, much to her appreciation. Izumo did her best to mentally collect herself, using the scenery around them to distract her. The sun roasted her skin, intensifying the redness on her cheeks.

She soon found her voice. “First of all, that guy and I are not lovers. He’s just someone who’s been wanting to get into my pants for years.”

“So…what I saw back there, he was trying to…”

She shrugged, remembering the sheet she currently had stuffed in her bra. “It’s complicated.”

Rin dropped his tray to the side and instantly stood up, preparing to march out.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Izumo asked, confused by his sudden movement.

“To kick that guy’s ass, of course!” he answered simply.

She rolled her eyes, grabbing his wrist. “Sit back down, you idiot! It’s not that serious!”

“How can it not be?!”

“Trust me, it’s not. Not like I’m not used to his harassment anyway.”

He sat back down, not quite believing what he was hearing. “And they have him assigned as one of your guards?”

“More like to spy on me to make sure I don’t do anything out of line. As I said, don’t worry about it, I had it handled before you showed up anyway,” she said, returning to her meal while signaling him to do the same.

“Well, next time he tries anything funny, I’ll…”

“You’ll do what, exactly? Rin, I am not your responsibility,” she said sternly, “Just because I’m your wife, doesn’t mean I need to rely on you.”

He frowned at her words. “How could you say that?”

“Simple, I just did,” she said, before swallowing down some flaked covered rice. “Besides, doesn’t what you said apply to you as well?”

He turned away from her, not willing to answer.

“That’s what I thought.”

“What sort of guy do you think I am?” he asked offended. “As much as I want us to be friends, I at least want to stay faithful to the person I’m married to. You’re hard to communicate with, sure, but I don’t dislike being with you. Somehow, I just hoped you felt the same, but guess it was stupid of me to think that.”

Izumo’s face was ripe like a tomato, failing to even attempt a remark. Trust did not come easy for her, and yet somehow, he was doing everything he could to earn it.

“It was my first kiss,” she suddenly confessed with a sigh.

“What?” he asked, not quite sure what she was referring to.

“On our wedding day!” She exclaimed with newfound embarrassment. “You were my first kiss, so if anything, I was the bad kisser, okay?”

“What?! Really?!” He exclaimed in shock, before putting certain dots together. “Wait…does that means you’re a…”

“Yes!” She clenched her eyes shut, halting him from saying it.

He started to laugh aloud, causing her to feel mortified. “Stop laughing, you moron!”

He grabbed his chest, trying to settle down. “I’m sorry, I just never expected that considering how you were our first night together.”

“That was entirely the Nine-Tails!” She defended.

“Even so, what a relief…” he said, actually feeling pleased by such revelation.

“Why?” she asked, gazing at him skeptically as he started to pick at his food.

“Oh, because I’m a virgin too!” he happily shared without hesitation.

“You’re just saying that to make fun of me,” she muttered, not fully convinced.

“I swear!”

“Why would you tell anyone that?” She gaped.

“Why not? It’s not something to be ashamed of,” he said with a smile. “Honestly, I’m just glad I’m not the only one.”

Izumo sighed heavily at his logic. “Of course….”

“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry you had to settle with me stealing your first kiss,” he responded sheepishly, feeling ashamed.

“I’ve had many things stolen from me, wouldn’t be the first. Besides, it wasn’t that bad,” she admitted with a pout, doing her best not to blush.

He gave a faltered smile, reflecting his own bashfulness.

“Polka Brows…” She looked at him, ready to lecture him about the accursed nickname, but stopped midway. “…You’re not a bad kisser either,” he teased.

Izumo froze momentarily from the bold remark, shoving him soon after. “Oh, shut up!”

He just snickered.

They soon ate in comfortable silence, ignoring anybody who walked by them. Without fail though, someone would give them judging stares or whispers in groups. Izumo just glared at them, daring them to provoke her—Rin just gleefully enjoyed his meal. Despite their restored evening though, Izumo couldn’t help this weird feeling she had. Sure, they established they were virgins, and he was her first kiss, but was she his? God, why did it even matter if she was or not? The more she was around him, the more she wondered where her mind was at lately.

’ You have a goal, Izumo, remember that! You need to stay focused!’ she berated.

There was no way she could afford to be distracted now—at least it’s what she kept telling herself.

Currently underneath the stronghold was a layer of catacombs being kept hidden from the world. It was kept intact with modern technology, forming it into an underground base. There were obvious signs of activity there, boxes of weapons, and other artifacts littered everywhere for some form of attack. The area was strangely desolate though, keeping it very private. One of the few who knew about it was Shiro Fujimoto.

He had kept the area dormant from any demon discovering it, even from Satan himself. He couldn’t take all the credit though, Mephisto adding a lot with his warding spells and traps. For nearly twenty years, it has been concealed, containing Shiro’s most valuable weapon. He dared not even let Yuri know, having been left oblivious to his operations. With Shura undergoing preparation herself to further Rin’s training, he also had to take the next step.

He entered inside a training ground, spotting a young man performing Aikido strikes on a very damaged dummy. Shiro was impressed by his flawless movements, sweat dancing across his muscles as they pulse wildly. Obviously, he was at this for hours, his shirt completely discarded from how drenched it was on the floor. He landed one last blow, nearly toppling the boxing mannequin over.

It didn’t take him long to notice Shiro’s presence, taking the moment to relax his body. “I was beginning to wonder when you’ll come back.”

“Sorry, had a wedding to intend to, kept me busy for a bit.”

“If you’re here, I’m guessing we’re finally moving forward?”

He nodded. “I hope you’re ready for it because it won’t be easy.”

“Didn’t expect it to be. It’s what we’ve been preparing for, right?” The young man said, adjusting his glasses.

Shiro lit a cigarette in deep thought, his eyes glazing over at his lighter before snuffing out the flame.

End Chapter

Chapter Text

Chapter 6 Greener on the Other Side

“So how are things going between you and Izumo?”

Rin was snapped out of his thoughts from his mother’s sudden question. The area they were in was a playground at best for the lesser demons to nest in. Despite her initial attempt in taming Satan, she never lost sight of her kindness to them. They all loved her inviting warmth, curiously playing games with her as they abided by her will.

“I would say it’s going well,” he answered honestly, taking comfort in petting a jack frost minion beside him. “I’ve been doing my best to make an effort, but I can’t tell if it’s actually working or not. She makes it difficult to get close to sometimes.”

Yuri smiled warmly, tickling a Greenmen to the point that it sprouted flowers into the air with laughter. “Sounds like you have your work cut out for you.”

Rin wasn’t amused. “Thanks, Mom, very helpful. Isn’t there anything about her life before coming here you can tell me about?”

“Why don’t you ask her?” she inquired curiously.

“You don’t think I’ve tried?” he exclaimed with exasperation. “She won’t tell me anything. I know she’s been through a lot, I just wish I could do more to help her if she would just open up to me…instead of treating me like the bad guy.” He sighed. “Not that I blame her. I am Satan’s kid, after all.” He placed a hand over where his heart was. “Even if I may not seem like it now, I know the real me is there somewhere wanting to get out. The last thing I would ever want is Izumo to think I’m just like my siblings in the end.”

Yuri frowned at her son’s gloom, placing a reassuring hand on his back. “Rin, you’ve come a long way in suppressing the side of you that is your father. You have done everything you can to be kind, I would hate for you to give up now…especially on this girl.” He listened intently to her words, allowing her to continue. “I can’t say I know what happened to Izumo’s past, or imagine what she’s gone through. All I can say is that we try to make her stay here as comfortable as possible, and when she’s ready, there will be a time for her to trust you. I have a feeling she’s a good girl who’s just tired of getting hurt. I mean, she hasn’t killed you in your sleep, that’s a plus, right?”

Rin gave a wry laugh—oh if only she knew.

“Well, I sort of made a promise to her to see if we can get her some new clothes. I didn’t know if that was possible though.”

“Does she not have any? I thought Lucifer’s agents set up a wardrobe for her?”

He groaned from the reminder, recalling the lewd collection that was at her disposal. It was obviously done on purpose to allure him.

“Yeah, maybe something less…tight-skin and…revealing,” he offered. “She’s forced to be my wife, not some ‘escort’. Besides, I’m sure that the male Illuminati member is a pervert. I don’t want him to get any funny ideas.”

“Are you referring to the boy they call Renzo with the pink hair?”

“Yeah, apparently he has a thing for Izumo,” he bitterly commented.

Yuri scrutinized her son, quite intrigued by his tone. “Rin, you sound rather jealous.”

He shook his head, embarrassed by the thought. “It’s not like that, Mom!”

“I was only kidding!” She laughed.

Rin pouted irritably with a blush, not wanting to dwell on the matter.

“Do you think it’s possible though?” he asked, reverting back to his earlier question.

She tapped a finger to her lips. “I wouldn’t see how anyone would be opposed? I’ll see if the Hojo sisters can lend their assistance.”

He beamed, appreciating the effort. It was at least some news he can give to Izumo that he hoped would make her happy. Although he was pretty sure there was a high chance she would degrade the kindness either way. The thought alone caused his tail to sag with disappointment, a sigh erupting loudly from his lips. Yuri was quite familiar with her son’s turmoil, recalling the times when Shiro was difficult to deal with. The lesser demons cuddled around them, doing their best to mend their prince’s sour mood. Kuro even attempted to snuggle into his master’s lap, purring while he licked his hand. Rin instinctively petted him but continued to frown with trepidation.

“I need to blow off some steam.” He launched himself up with newfound energy. “I feel like all this stress is going to make me explode!”

“Are you planning to train?” Yuri asked, knowing full well his strict regiment.

“I haven’t done any since the whole wedding thing. And I’m sure Shura will bite my head off if she knew I was neglecting it during her absence.” He gave a long stretch, curling his tail.

Yuri cuddled her face into a snowman beside her. “She’ll definitely let you regret it.”

She waved him off, returning her attention to the creatures around her. Without needing to prolong his stay, Rin began to make his way out. He had his own personal training ground that wasn’t too far from the facility his mother used. Most of the areas in the west wing of the fortress were more for their benefit than anything else; it seemed like the same couldn’t be said for everyone though. Rin spotted Renzo up ahead, dangling his staff over his shoulder while whistling. He kept himself calm when approaching him, not wanting to seem bothered by his presence.

Renzo noticed the prince, delighting him with a cunning grin. “Yo there, your highness!” He gave a two-finger salute, winking smoothly.

Rin stopped to return the greeting, finding it odd how casual he was. Most humans would keep their distance from him, his very presence invoking fear of the flames he inherited. Demons were forced to respect him, knowing full well the rank he had on them. He kept his guard, not quite trusting Renzo’s motives. After all, this was the same guy who had a habit of harassing Izumo—even if he wanted to give him a benefit of the doubt.

Renzo walked up, scouting the area. “Izumo isn’t with you?”

Rin stiffened a bit, feeling uncomfortable in indulging him. “I’m giving her space today.”

“You really think that’s a good idea? Trusting to leave a girl like that alone to her own devices?”

“More so than she trusts you,” Rin jabbed, “I know you’re here under Lucifer’s orders, and you may have your own reasons for that, but Izumo isn’t your concern.”

Renzo chuckled, his emotions hard to read. “Yeah, you’re probably right about that. Hard to believe she’s a married woman now.”

Rin frowned at the reminder. “Not by choice.”

“When it comes between life and death—choice—is something we can’t afford. You best remember that.”

The prince didn’t appreciate the unfavorable advice, knowing too well that his family was to blame for that.

Renzo decided to lighten the mood. “Anyway, I didn’t come here for a fight, and I’m obviously trespassing in more ways than one, so I’ll take my leave.”

Rin debated on saying anything more, giving Renzo the opportunity to walk away. He was internally conflicted, wanting to seek out one form of clarity.

“Hey…!” He finally called out, his emotions winning over.

Renzo halted and turned around, giving him his complete attention.

Rin glowered, not sure why he was even bothering to ask. “What’s Izumo to you? She’s obviously more than just an assignment to you.”

Intrigued by the sudden question, he grinned. “Why? Did she say something to you?”

He didn’t answer, not wanting to give the wrong impression.

“You’re right though,” he answered, causing Rin to clench his jaw. “She is more to me, but not like I can pursue her can I? Or, are you giving me permission to? As you said, she’s not married to you by choice.”

Rin’s eyes flashed red, his throat seizing up for a rebuttal. His reaction didn’t escape Renzo’s notice.

“Don’t worry, not like any of my advances worked in the past. I doubt they ever will, but hey, thanks for letting me know my options.”

“She’s more faithful than you think,” Rin vouched, not sure why he had the need to defend her, “Even if our relationship is a ploy, I trust her.”

Renzo grinned from the optimism. “We’ll see about that.”

Without any further exchange, the Illuminati parted with satisfaction in his steps. The air became thick, enough to choke Rin’s lungs and set his demon heart ablaze for retribution. It roared and howled for a fight, practically smoldering him. He clutched his chest, doing his best to ease the unspeakable fury. A mantra to destroy was pulsating inside his veins, seething to be released. His demon was not one to take intimidation lightly, especially over something he possessed. This sort of instinct was too dangerous to keep around, especially when Rin had no control over it.

With a punch to his chest that could probably leave a human disabled, Rin growled with disdain. ‘You’re no better than him. What you feel is not mine!’

It mocked him in return, throwing more coal into the fire. The newfound chaos festered, with nothing left to do but to burn it out.

Izumo’s eyebrows twitched with irritation, her lips twisting violently into knots between her teeth. The slip of paper in her hand was starting to wrinkle from her tight grip, being the source of her current sour mood. Why? Why wasn’t Mike and Uke coming to her call? She was sure to have done the right diagram on the paper, the right words. After years of isolation and lack of communication, maybe her spiritual bond with Byakko had withered? The thought terrified her.

They were the only family she had left she could think to rely on coming to her aid, but if they weren’t answering her…

‘Those useless pups are probably dead.’

Izumo didn’t respond, pricking her finger once more with a needle and repeating her verse. “I humbly appeal to thy oh Goddess Inari. Follow my wishes, leave none unfulfilled!”

Once again, she was welcomed by silence.

Izumo banged her fist on the floor, scrunching the parchment in her hand. “Dammit!” She lifted her hand, intending to offer more blood.

‘You’ll pass out from the blood loss at this rate you stupid whelp!’

Izumo gritted her teeth, not wanting to admit she was right. She was back where she started, cursing the world around her once more. And as if to test her patience, a knock soon came from the door. Izumo became startled by the sound, knowing full well it couldn’t be Rin. Immediately wary of her uninvited guest, she quickly slipped the summoning paper underneath her pillow.

The knock repeated, this time with a voice. “Izumo, are you there? It’s me, Maria.”

“What the hell is she here for?” She was pretty sure she was still stocked up in her inoculations.

Could it be…Renzo finally snitched on her? Not wanting to seem too suspicious, she decided to answer.

She opened the door ajar, sticking her head out. “What do you want?” she asked bluntly, her face set to her usual scowl.

Maria gave her a pleasant smile, unnerving the girl even further. “I wanted to see how you were doing with your current arrangements.”

“Were you ordered to? Or did Pink head put you up to this?” she asked, testing her.

She shook her head. “I’m here on my own accord. Do you mind if we take a walk?”

“What for? I’m perfectly fine talking here.”

“Please, it’s for your own protection of privacy, I assure you,” she insisted lightly. “It’s easier for everyone to pry if left open like this.”

She guessed she had a point, especially if Rin came back.

‘This is foolish…but I don’t sense evil intent from her.’

“Fine, but let’s make this quick.” She stepped out and closed the door behind her, signaling her to lead the way.

Maria nodded, appreciating her cooperation. They started to walk down the hallway, making their way outdoors. Izumo had to admit that she was getting accustomed to her new home, much to her disliking. Not like she could make progress in finding her sister if she stayed locked away inside her room. Given how huge the vicinity was, she was sure secrets of her sister’s whereabouts were bound to make themselves known. It’s at least what she told herself.

They made it to the royal veranda which stretched out endlessly amongst a sea of flowers. Statues of demons and angels were split across the path, serving as columns that held a nest of vines around them. Despite the decor, given who the residents were, it was serene and completely barren for anyone to disturb them.

“How have things been with the prince?” Maria asked, once it was apparent they were alone.

Luckily, it seemed like she was oblivious to her secret. Perhaps Renzo didn’t snitch on her after all, which was odd, to say the least—she wasn’t going to complain though.

“If you’re wondering if we compromised our marriage, the answer is no. Why are you so interested in knowing anyway?” Izumo crossed her arms, putting up her walls.

“Well, considering this whole situation was against your will. I want…no…hope some happiness for you.”

“Hah….happiness? You’re joking right?” She looked away, the idea totally ludicrous to her.

Maria’s smile dimmed to a frown. “I expected that to be your reaction, but surely, the prince has been kind? From what I’ve seen, he seems the complete opposite of his father, much less his family. Perhaps it’s due to his mother? After all, she is human.”

Izumo actually almost completely forgot about that, considering her own lineage, she figured it was possible his human heart had some form of influence on his idiocy.

‘Yes, you should know.’

Izumo glared from the response.

“He’s….” She ventured some form of description that made sense. “He’s….special.” Yup, the best compliment she could give.

Maria chuckled at her perplexed tone. “He’s been good to you then?”

“Much as it’s hard to believe, yes, he has. He wants us to be friends, despite our situation.”

“As good as that is to hear, I fear he’s just going to make things worst if he doesn’t commit to you.”

“What do you mean by that? What is it that the Illuminati hope to accomplish with our union anyway?

‘Surely you’re not dense cub.’

Maria stared at her apprehensively—oh, hell no.

“You got to be kidding me?!” she shouted, causing birds to disperse into the air.

“I promise you, it’s for a greater purpose!”

“I don’t give a crap! Do you really expect me to be some sort of baby maker for another spawn of Satan? You guys are nothing more than a cult!” She berated angrily, feeling disgusted.

Maria flinched from the remark, remaining sympathetic. “It’s not a fate I would want for you, especially when it’s not out of love, but it is what is expected of you if you are to live. You have been the best candidate to offer to the prince, guaranteeing a future of peace like we always wanted amongst the people of Gehenna and Assiah.”

“And if I continue to refuse?”

“Then…to the Illuminati’s eyes, you would be considered obsolete.”

“This is insane…”

“Even so, I plan to do what I can to help you…even if it means lying.” Maria somberly confessed to her.

“What? Why? Wouldn’t that put you in danger as well?” Izumo did not understand her aim.

“Yes, but even I still have morals. It’s true, what I would want nothing more is peace amongst both realms, but not in the suffering of another. I just want you to know that. If they do presume to ask me a report, I will do everything that I can to convince them that you and the prince’s relationship continue to go unabated.”

“That won’t last for long,” she said.

“Maybe not, but I have hope. And although I can’t make any promises, I’ll do what I can to find any information about your sister.” This was something that caught Izumo’s attention.

She wasn’t willing to falter just yet though. “That’s…how am I supposed to trust you?”

“I can’t, it’s just something you have to take my word for.”

’She speaks with an honest heart….how annoying.’

No one was reliable before, why start now?

Maria held her hands together against her lap. “I’m here to help you, so don’t hesitate to call upon me. Meanwhile, you should try getting closer to the prince, for your own benefit of survival. I’ll be sure to keep tabs.”

“Do what you want…” Izumo hissed, not believing any of it.

“Should I escort you back to your room?” She sensed the conversation to be beyond her tolerance.

“No, just leave me be.” She tightened her hands into fists, her tone demanding the solitude.

Maria bowed somberly. “I understand. I’ll leave you to your thoughts then.”

The young woman walked off, the sound of her heels softly vanishing into the distance. Now alone, Izumo pinched her nose, trying to process everything she learned. Somewhat, she knew her purpose, but she felt like it wasn’t as simple as bearing an heir. There was more to this, and it seemed like she didn’t have the luxury to escape it.

Fatigue was something Shura was quite used to feeling, especially given her duties. She was exhausted from the mundane tasks of being Rin’s tutor, much less staying obedient in the eyes of Satan’s followers. If it weren’t for Shiro, she probably would be dead by now by her constant insubordination—not by lack of trying. With recent developments, her job has become twice as grueling; serving as Shiro’s alibi for his recent activities was definitely not an easy task either.

If it weren’t for her own connections with demons, she probably wouldn’t be playing her part so well. She supposed she had to thank Satan’s rule somewhat for her deal with Hachiro to be broken—most likely severing her contract to serve under him. Not that it freed her from anything besides being a babysitter to the spawn of Satan.

Who, speaking of, was currently blasting blue flames at a pile of charcoal dust where a training dummy used to be. Shura entered the secluded area, spotting him easily amongst the outburst of fire surrounding him. She had hoped to find him here, having created the space purely for him to hone his skills—but never to this degree of belligerence. Rin was never an aggressive person unless provoked, which could only spell trouble when he was.

“Hey! Mind simmering it down a bit, Sparky! I think you got it!” She bellowed, cupping a hand to her lips.

With one last punch of fire, Rin stopped and turned to his mentor. “Shura, when did you get back?” he asked, slightly stunned to see her.

His flames disappeared across his body, calming himself down. She walked over to him, inspecting the damage. The look she gave him said it all, he sighed, already anticipating her judgment.

“Go ahead, I know what you’re going to say.”

She crossed her arms. “So what’s got you all riled up this time?”

Rin bent down to pick up the pieces of his shirt, realizing he had burnt most of it to shreds. “Where do I even start?”

She lifted her hand, counting down the list with her fingers. “Oh, your arranged marriage, your father being a dick, your siblings being not that much better….or…” She stopped, her tone taking a graver tone. “Your demon.”

His body stiffened, swiping a hand over his hair.

“Last one, huh?” she said, reading him easily from his reaction.

“Usually he’s been tolerable, but today, he got a bit territorial.” Grabbing a broom, he started sweeping up the ashes off the ground—a habit Shura made him do after training.

“Territorial? Over what?

He fidgeted, not willing to answer. Shura, always the tease though, had her speculation.

“Oh my God, was it over your wife?”

“It sounds weirder when you say it aloud,” he groaned.

“I don’t get it though, you two are married—granted—not by choice, but still…!”

“It was that pink-haired guy, Renzo, I think is his name? He…I think he has feelings for Izumo.”

Shura frowned. “Is it something I have to get involved in backing him off?”

He shook his head adamantly. “No, no, I’ll deal with it.”

“You’ll deal with it?” She drawled in disbelief.

He clutched the sheath of his sword. “Izumo doesn’t have any friends, let alone people she could trust. I may not have feelings for her, or her for me, but I don’t want the other me to think she’s ours just because we’re married. And this Renzo guy, he seems intent on pursuing her despite that fact….and well, he didn’t take that lightly.”

“Which caused him to be a little unruly.”

“Yeah…and…Izumo has every right to be with another guy if she wants to.”

“Wait, so you’re okay with her cheating on you?”

“It’s not really cheating if we’re not really a couple.”

“No, I guess not,” she said with a shrug towards his logic.

“My main focus is just to make peace with her, that’s all.” Not like he was looking to make her fall in love with him. “It’s obvious she dealt with a lot, even if she doesn’t want to talk about it. I’m not looking to make her life more miserable than what my family has already done.”

Shura was secretly touched by his sentiment, causing her to pull his head under her arm for a noogie session.

“Ahhhh! What the hell are you doing, Boobzilla!” His face was completely squashed into her breast, trying his best not to get suffocated.

“Sometimes, you can be so dumb that it’s cute,” she said, deciding to lecture him. “But don’t be too dumb that it gets you killed, or else my ass will get it. You understand?”

He shoved her away, escaping her grip.

“Yeah, I got it!” he exclaimed grumpily.

“Starting next week, you and I are going back into the routine. We can’t make this other you a habit if you can’t control him.” Her face was calm but serious. His response was only a pout, which made her grin. “Besides, from what I could tell, you’re still a virgin it seems.”

His cheeks reddened. “Yeah, so what?” he rebutted.

She spluttered into fits of laughter. “What a dork! Has a wife, but doesn’t even get laid!”

He flared up, blue flames dancing around him. “Knock it off!”

She waved her hand, trying to control her giggles. “Alright, alright, settle down. Don’t get your undies in a bunch.”

He rolled his eyes, deciding to change the subject. “Anyway, since you’re here, I wanted to give this back to you.”

Shura was confused about what he meant but was soon surprised when one of her knives was pulled out from the back of his pockets. “When the hell did I give this to you?” she asked, snatching it away from him.

“You didn’t…Izumo took it,” he answered cautiously.

What?” Multiple scenarios played inside her head before it dawned on her. “Rin did she…”

He quickly interrupted her, not wanting her to think the worst. “Look, yes, she did try to murder me, but as you can see I’m still alive.”

Shura rubbed her forehead. “What could you be thinking? We should report this!”

“No! Look, it’s fine. Ever since it happened she hasn’t tried to do anything funny, I swear! Please, Shura!”

His plead took her off guard. “Rin…” She tried to warn.

“Look, the kunai is back with its rightful owner okay? No need to make a big fuss. I don’t want to make Izumo’s life any more difficult than it needs to be. I want her to trust me…I…it’s all I want.”

She closed her eyes in exasperation. “Fine…but!” She lifted a finger at him. “If she tries anything else…”

“I’ll handle it.”

“Yeah, that’s what worries me,” she said, tucking the kunai beneath her belt.

She had to admit though, it was pretty ballsy of the girl. Obviously, she was a lot more capable than she thought. Next time, she’ll be sure not to underestimate her—or else she’ll be asking for a death wish instead.

It felt like an eternity since Izumo sunk her body into the grass, sitting silently in hopes of prolonging her fate. It’s not like she didn’t expect anything else from the forced union, it felt silly to think it was for any other purpose besides popping a baby out. There was no way she could let Satan’s legacy continue. Deep down she wondered if Rin was even aware of this himself, or was he completely oblivious to it? Far as she could tell, he probably was unaware of her purpose just as much as he was of his.

‘Are we going to sit here until the grass grows over us?’

If that’s what it will take, sure.


Izumo ignored the sound at first, expecting to be an animal of some kind nearby.

“Nee! Nee!”

Whatever it was, it sure was energetic.

“Nee! Nee! Nee!”

Curiosity and annoyance getting the better of her, Izumo huffed and decided to investigate the source. She crawled through the grass, looking in every direction possible.

“Nee!” The chirp came again, revealing itself amongst the flowers.

Welcoming her with a smile and wave was a small Greenman. She blinked rapidly, overwhelmed by its cuteness; never had she seen one up close before. It bowed at her, kneeling down to pop a purple aster flower from its stomach. Plucking the stem, it handed it to her, almost like a peace offering.

Izumo graciously took it, utterly baffled. “Um…thank you?”

It beamed, soon beckoning her to follow it.

‘This is how we die.’The Kitsune deadpanned.

Izumo compiled though, finding it to be harmless enough—not like Greenman was known in being hostile. Sensing that she was cooperating, it cheered with glee. It then sprinted off, making sure she didn’t lose him. Izumo kept up with its strides as it took her through loops and obstacles around the castle’s ground. They climbed up layers of stairs and jumped across multiple balconies. At this rate, Izumo was starting to think it was just playing with her. That was until, after one bridge crossing later, she found herself in front of a door. It was white, giving off a sacred glow with leaves all around its border. The doorknob made it seem like it was made out of crystal, shaped like a rose.

The Greenman encouraged her to go inside, its smile never faltering.

“Well, if you insist,” she said, accepting the invitation.

What’s the worst that can happen?

When she opened the door, light streamed through, nearly blinding her. Once her eyes adjusted, Izumo was in awe of the view. It was as if the Garden of Eden itself was before her, a large tree being at the center of it all. The greenhouse was contained inside a vast dome, an artificial sun hanging overhead. There was multiple shower heads sprinkling dust of rain over fields of flowers, giving them life. It was beyond anything a girl could dream of, almost like a fairy tale.

“Nee!” The Greenman brought her attention back, making its way towards a vine-covered gazebo.

She cautiously followed him, spotting a blonde-haired girl in the distance. Her hair was up in a bun, styled with pins of leaves and flowers. She wore a long white gown, with stitchings fit for royalty.

The Greenman approached the girl, tugging slightly on her dress. “Nee!”

“Oh Nee, you came back!” she chimed.

So that was its name? Izumo shouldn’t have expected much.

It seemed like the girl took notice of her though because soon enough, she gasped in what she assumed was excitement. “You’re here!” She picked up her dress, rushing right over to her, grabbing her hands. “I’ve been wanting to meet you, Mrs. Okumura!”

Izumo was bewildered by the girl’s forward greeting. “Wha….” She shook her head, trying to gain back her composure. “It’s Izumo kamiki, to….whoever you are,” she scorned lightly, quickly retracting her hands away.

“Oh, sorry, I should introduce myself.” She bowed with a tender smile, her face completely flushed. “My name is Shiemi, Shiemi Moriyama! And this is my familiar, Nee!” She directed at the Greenman, picking him up so he could sit on her shoulder.

“Nee!” It cried happily.

“I ask—asked him to bring yo—you here, and may—maybe share a cup of tea together!” She was practically tripping over her own words from how nervous she was.

Izumo examined her intently with suspicion, finding her very difficult to read. She felt familiar though, her memory a bit hazy of her voice. Was she part of the fortress as one of Satan’s disciples? Or was she some divine grace hidden away in the walls of the castle? Either way, she couldn’t trust her.

“For tea? Are you for real?”

Was this a joke?

“Yes!” She gleefully nodded. “I mean, you don’t have to, but it would be nice! I’ve been wanting to talk to you ever since you came!”

“I don’t even know you!” She exclaimed in disbelief at her odd friendliness.

“But that’s why I have tea prepared, so we can!”

Izumo was not one to be taken for a fool—she’s had enough of that from Rin. “No thanks,” she said, already making her way towards the exit.

“We—well, if it makes you feel better, I am a friend of Rin’s!” She added hastily, hoping it’ll convince her to stay.

She kept walking. “Doesn’t change anything.”

Shiemi ran in front of her, blocking her from leaving. “Please!” She clapped her hands together, almost in prayer. “It would mean so much to me if you could stay! I…I don’t get to see anyone much anymore. Since you’re Rin’s wife, I want to be friends with you!”

“Why?” Izumo asked, not quite getting it. “What’s Rin to you?” Did she sound jealous? Oh my God, she hoped not.

“He’s…a dear friend who’s helped me a lot. So, I want to help him,” she answered softly, blushing downwards.

“And making me your friend is how you’re going to do that?” Izumo questioned vexingly.

“I know it sounds silly!”

“That’s because it is.”

Izumo was starting to think she was surrounded by crazy people. Between this girl and Rin, she didn’t know who was worst in wanting to force her to be their friend.

“But, I’m sure I can be of help to you and Rin having a happier marriage! I even have snacks prepared!” She hurried back to the gazebo, presenting the tray of treats she had prepared for them.

Nee jumped onto the table, picking up a cookie for her.

Izumo grumbled at the cute gesture, doing her best not to let her blush show. “Ugh, fine!” She finally caved in. “And it’s not because you’re little plant guy is cute either!”

A moment of silence came over them before a demonic voice made itself known within the fox girl.

‘You’re pathetic.’

Izumo’s ears twitched, knowing all too well of her weakness.

Shiemi giggled at her reaction. “Thank you, Mrs. Oku—oh—I mean, Ms. Kamiki!”

She gave a heavy sigh, calmly making her way back over to an open seat. Shiemi stood awkwardly, barely containing her excitement.

Izumo gazed at her with mild confusion. “Well, aren’t you going to sit?”

She jolted. “Oh right!”

Shiemi slid into the seat opposite of her, quickly prepping their tea. Izumo patiently waited for her to pour each of their cups, observing her surroundings. Nee called out to her, signaling her to put the flower he gave her earlier on her head. She was hesitant at first, but couldn’t resist his eager glee.

She cradled the stem behind her ear. “There, happy?”


“Anyway~” Izumo drawled, accepting the cup of tea Shiemi gave to her. “What is this place? I never knew such a place existed around here, especially not after Satan took over.”

“This is my private garden. It’s where I tend to my flowers without any disturbances, well, mostly.” She sipped her tea. “Not many know of it, not even Rin.”

“Huh? Why is that?”

“My new responsibilities make it difficult for me to make contact with anyone. In order to help forestall any more bloodshed or pain, I chose the path of Shemihaza. With her gift, I can command life with flora in hopes of aiding the world back into balance.”

Izumo heard legends of the Shemihaza, and the Grigori, but to meet one up close, it’s not exactly what she imagined.

“So why have me here then?”

Shiemi seemed startled by the question. “Oh, well…I never had a friend who was a girl before. Rin was the only other friend I have ever known, but seeing as you are his wife, I figured we could keep it a secret? He…he wouldn’t understand. Rin has always been one to be against fate, it’s one of the things I admire about him.”

The way she spoke about Rin unnerved Izumo. There was affection in her tone, one she was too afraid to even know. It gnawed at her, finding her role as wife to be insignificant in her presence.

“Are…are you in love with him?” The question came out before she could even stop herself.

Shiemi nearly choked on her tea. “What!? No!”

Izumo wasn’t entirely convinced. “I hate liars, so tell me the truth. I’m pretty sure it’s weird to have a girl like me suddenly be his wife when you yourself was someone he was close with.”

“That’s not it at all!” Shiemi exclaimed. “With everything that’s happened, even I know how lonely it must be for you.”

Lonely, how absurd.

She was used to the term, not like she had to be reminded. And yet, after meeting Rin, it began to lose all meaning to her—she hated that fact. To think this girl was influenced by him, didn’t make things better either.

“You sound like him.”

“Like who?”

“Like Rin…so willing to be kind and make friends, when you know nothing about that person.”

Shiemi gave a comforting smile. “That’s why we’re having tea together, aren’t we?”

The statement was direct with profound honesty. Izumo sat awkwardly without any comeback, distracting herself by eating a cookie instead. It felt so long ago since she was able to sit with someone like this, not since her childhood friend. They were just kids then, and a part of her wondered if she was even alive. The company she was keeping wasn’t ideal; being friends with a Grigori would just lead to complications she rather avoids.

Rin was handful enough.

‘What is this horrid taste?!’ The Nine-tails rioted, practically in agony.

Izumo wretched, holding a hand to her mouth. She forced herself to swallow, shivering in disgust. “What are these made of?”

Shiemi was way too gleeful to answer. “It’s my grandmother’s special herb recipe! Do you like it?”

“Like is a strong word….” Izumo muttered, resisting the urge to gag.

“Please have some more!” Shiemi picked up the plate, eagerly offering it to her. “I made plenty!”

‘She’s trying to kill us.’

Before Izumo could even remotely be kind enough to refuse, they were interrupted by an unpleased voice.

“Bride, are you sharing treats without me?”

Much to Izumo’s surprise, Shiemi glared at their uninvited guest. “Amaimon, I told you not to call me that!”

He ignored her for the most part, walking forward and grabbing a handful of cookies to shove into his mouth. Izumo recognized him right away to be one of Rin’s older brothers—the one who forced them to kiss. Did he say, bride? Was Shiemi also forcibly engaged? She kept quiet, not daring to provoke a demon king who was obviously unhinged.

“Those cookies aren't for you!” Shiemi scolded, snatching the treats away from him.

Amaimon just kept staring Izumo down, like a beast ready to kill. “You’re trespassing,” he simply said, turning to Shiemi. “She’s not supposed to be here.”

“She’s a guest, and you will treat her as such.” Shiemi’s voice was firm, never faltering in his presence.

If Izumo didn’t know any better, she would think this was an entirely different person. No matter what rank the demon kings were, they were always considered to be feared. It was rather a spectacle to see someone stand against one without any regard for their life. Safe to say, Izumo was impressed.

Amaimon growled, not thrilled at the idea of being scolded like some pet who pissed on the carpet. “This is our garden, Rin’s wench should be with him in his bed like a good bride.”

The urge to slap him was rising high in the vixen. Luckily, Shiemi beat her to the punch by restraining his crude words with some vines around his mouth.

“Amaimon, that’s enough. You can’t speak to people like that!” She gave a strong sigh of disappointment. “When will you learn, it’s not like I enjoy this.”

Izumo was stunned by the scale of power between them. “How are you…?”

Shiemi bit her lip, not sure how to explain. “Amaimon and I….have a unique contract.”

“Contract? Like a familiar?”

“Something to that effect,” she bashfully concurred. “Not that he’s happy with being called that. Then again, being called his bride is something I am not pleased with either. None of this was by choice, his relationship with me goes all the way back to the original Shemihaza.”

“She put him on a short leash, I’m assuming?” Izumo’s remark rewarded her a glare from the King of Earth.

“Yes, you can say that, but we try to make it work.” Shiemi gave Amaimon a remorseful look, deciding to dispel her vines. “Since nothing is worst than being someone’s puppet.”

In that regard, Izumo felt they were all not so different.

Amaimon pouted. “I best get my own batch of cookies for this, Bride.”

“If you can manage in being nice.”

He scoffed. “Then you best ask your new friend to leave. Either way, this place is forbidden. For her safety, you best escort her back to my weakling of a brother. They could be watching, and I can’t promise to protect you from their wrath.”

“Then I’ll be sure to be more careful. Thank you, Amaimon.”

His warning was sincere, despite his initial hostility.

“I’ll have a better approach for next time.” Shiemi promised with a humble smile. “Maybe then you can introduce me to something you enjoy, Ms.Kamiki.”

“Didn’t I just…” Amaimon shook his head, deciding to not even argue.

“Is this really okay?” Izumo asked, sensing her life was being jeopardized just by speaking with the girl.

“I won’t let them decide who I can be friends with, even if it’s against their rules.”

Chess pieces locked to play their roles.

“Nee, can you show Ms. Kamiki the way out?” Shiemi regarded the small familiar.

“Nee!” He beckoned Izumo to follow him, making their way to a door that was conjured up by wood and roots.

Once it opened, Shiemi quickly grabbed Izumo’s hand, nearly desperate. “You can’t tell Rin you saw me. You have to keep this between us, Ms. Kamiki.”

“Huh? Why?”

She just smiled. “You’re his wife, surely you know how he can be.”

Without further hesitation, she gently released her hand. Izumo passed through the dimensions, entering one of the many halls inside the castle. When she turned, she discovered Shiemi and the entrance to her garden to have completely vanished. If it weren’t for the world she lived in, Izumo would have thought everything that transpired to be her imagination. She stared at the empty space, conducting her next plan of action.

“Izumo? What are doing all the way out here?”

She whipped her head around, becoming startled. “Rin!”

He walked up towards her, examining the space she was staring at a moment ago. “Did something happen?”

She shook her head. “It’s nothing, I got lost.”

He was amused by the thought. “Hehehe, I get lost too around this place. Good thing we found each other.”

“I wish I could say the same about your shirt.” She sarcastically pointed out.

He blushed, remembering his state of wear. “Ugh, yeah, sort of got into an accident. Nothing to worry about though.”

She unintentionally ignored him, not sure what to make of her interaction with the blonde Grigori quite yet. Rin studied her, wondering if he said something wrong.

It didn’t take long for his excitement to take over though. “Oh, I have good news!”

This piqued her interest, considering good news was very scarce for her.

“I managed to set up a day for us to get you some new clothes. We’ll have the Hojo sisters help us, they’re human, so no need to worry about them being Satan’s demons. At least you don’t have to be in those uncomfortable outfits anymore.” He grinned, pleased by the success of his plan.

How he kept managing to surprise her was beyond Izumo’s comprehension. The lengths he was going through for her were inconceivable. After being isolated all her life, it all felt unnatural for her to even grasp.

“You…you didn’t have to do that,” she conceded with a softness that sent Rin’s heart reeling.

It was very unlike her, having grown accustomed to her usual fixated frowns of contempt. “Well, it’s the least I can do,” he said.

“Rin…why are you so…” She discarded her next choice of words, realizing it was pointless to even ask when it was in his nature. “I don’t get you, but…thank you.” She decided to finish instead.

He scratched the back of his head, not used to this side of her—he could get used to it. “Don’t sweat it! What are friends for if not to give the shirt off your back, right? At least that’s how I think the saying goes? Uh, speaking of, I should really get a new one myself.”

“Yeah~, best do that.”

He walked passed her but stopped once he noticed she wasn’t following. “You coming?”

“Oh, yeah…I guess.”

She kept herself behind him, digesting the events of her day. Everything felt like a bad fever dream. The weight on her kept piling up, and all she wanted was for it to go away.

“By the way…” Without faltering his stride, Rin flexed his eyes towards her. “Where did you get that flower?”

Izumo instantly drew a hand to her ear, Shiemi’s voice repeating inside her head, causing her to debate her next choice of words. She had no reason to get involved; not like she cared about a complete stranger she just met. And yet, one look at Rin, and she couldn’t help but feel docile to her word.

Deep down, she was sure there was a selfish reason why she lied. “It’s nothing…I just found it while wandering around.” But she dared not confront it.

End Chapter