Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Eleven

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Blood flashes back on his first meeting with Wild. He had just killed all the demons of the west (except their leader Kauzel, who is "lacking an arm"). They play a sort of dance of words, not caring to take the trouble to fight one another. In the present, however, he snatches up his sword and leaves the temple at a dead run.

Ishuca goes to the bridge and waits, hoping Blood comes soon--before he has too much time to sit alone thinking. He's broken out of his reverie by the arrival of two priests on one side of the bridge and Amashi on the other. As Amashi is about to take him into custody, Blood comes whipping through and scoops him up. Ishuca yells for Blood not to kill Amashi, so instead he shatters the bridge and carries Ishuca away.

At the temple, Raugul confronts Bastie about his message birds, only to have a demon with two left arms burst out of Bastie's body. Raugul instantly recognizes him as Kauzel. Blood demands to know why Ishuca was at the bridge, becoming further depressed when he hears the story. Ishuca is ashamed that he can't even bring himself to be concerned whether the people at the bridge were injured, all he can manage to say is that he's glad they're together again. Amashi, for his part, vows to put an end to Blood personally.

Raugul is aghast that a demon who should have been sealed for the past sixty years is not only free, he was able to possess the body of a head priest. Kauzel soars off and possesses one of Sergi's friends, Leo. At Wild's house, Rapunzel has shut himself in a room and requests that Ishuca come see him when he gets back. Wild wants to know what's wrong, but Rapunzel shouts, "Don't open the door! Don't come in, Sorcerer-sama!" Wild retreats, shaken, wondering if this is his punishment for keeping Rapunzel imprisoned. He slumps against the wall, silently begging Rapunzel to wait just a little more, and he'll set him free even at the cost of his own life. Then Blood appears in the doorway, sword drawn.

Blood had told Ishuca about Wild informing on all their actions and instructed him to go to Rapunzel, where he should be safe. Wild tells Blood to do as he pleases. In a murderous rage, Blood forces Wild to pick up a sword and face him. Ishuca finds Rapunzel, who refuses to go out in front of Wild. He takes Rapunzel in his arms and asks why he's crying. Then he observes something that surprises him greatly, taking off the veil under which Rapunzel had been hiding his hair.

Wild accuses Blood of being too trusting, claiming his newfound "happiness" has been a bad influence on him. He calls Blood an idiot for carelessly doing things like accepting drinks from him and calmly falling asleep in his presence, which he never would have done before meeting Ishuca. Their swordfight progresses until Blood shatters Wild's blade and thrusts at him. Hearing the battle, Ishuca grabs Rapunzel's hand and pulls him out to the others, saying they have to stop the fight. Then he asks, "Have you ever fought with Wild?"

Blood holds his sword cutting into the side of Wild's neck. Wild says that Ishuca truly belongs to the temple, not to a demon. Blood responds, "He doesn't belong to me. I belong to him. As long as he exists, I'll be by his side." Wild taunts him about still not being able to heal the claw marks he had made, but Blood maintains that even if he can't erase the wrong he's done, he can at least give his best efforts.

Wild asks if he's ready to accept the consequences of dragging the one thing he loves most into the world of darkness with him, as he blames himself for having done to Rapunzel. He knows he should have let Rapunzel return to human society, but he couldn't bear for them to part. As long as the contract binds him, neither of them can leave his property, trapped until he dies. Yet no matter how much time passes, he still can't let Rapunzel go, he cares too much. He can't kill himself either, he doesn't have the courage. He doesn't want to die--he wants to stay with Rapunzel--but if it means Rapunzel's freedom, then he's willing to provoke Blood into killing him. He wants to do it before Rapunzel's golden hair is lost to darkness.

As a final blow, he tells Blood that he was the one who had sold Blood's name to the priests so they could seal him in the ice. Furious, Blood stabs the sword on the other side of his neck (nipping off a few locks of hair) and yells, "Did you really think I would kill you?! If you want to die that badly, do it yourself!" When Wild reaches for the blade, Ishuca comes up to them shouting, "If you value Rapunzel's life, throw away the sword!" (It's not a threat, he insists, just persuasion.) "Wild, you're making a mistake. *This* is the person you should be fighting with. You have to fight with Rapunzel before you can fight with Blood!" Ishuca shoves Rapunzel forward saying, "Wild, do you really hate the color of darkness that much? Do you love Rapunzel?" The moment Rapunzel stops touching Ishuca, his hair and eyes turn pitch black. "...Because I won't let you say you hate him."

Wild flashes back to the time sixty years ago, when Klaus' ghost came to warn him the priests were approaching. He went out to meet them alone. Rapunzel explains to the horrified Wild that his hair had already been stained black the day the priests came, and he's been concealing it all along, the spell just recently disintegrating. When the priests came, they offered Wild a simple choice--obedience or death. He told Rapunzel he wasn't ready to die yet. He had long before cast an immortality spell to keep Rapunzel alive, and that was what caused the change in hair color. Knowing how much Wild hated black and terrified of being hated himself, he desperately searched Wild's library for magic to bring the gold back. Rapunzel may not have had any magic ability, but the ardent desire was so strong that the spell worked.

Rapunzel apologizes for having lied for so many years. He also demands to know why Wild kept him bound in the tower when he went out to meet the priests--didn't he understand how that would make Rapunzel feel, unable to do anything but watch? "I'm not a pure white creature. You didn't drag me into darkness. When Prince Klaus took me from the tower, I went back to you. I climbed the tower with my own two feet. I chose you over my parents. I'm the devil who abandoned my family--it was my choice. Why do you always try to carry the burden for everything all by yourself?!"

After revealing that Ishuca told him about Wild's actions as an informer, Rapunzel finishes, "You were deceiving them all this time, weren't you? Why did you keep even such an important thing from me? ...If you had told me, I would have helped you." He asks Ishuca and Blood to blame him for everything Wild had done if they must, since it had all been on his behalf, but he refuses to apologize--he will never say that Wild could do anything wrong. He accepted the immortality spell in the first place, even if it meant throwing away humanity and being stained with darkness, simply because he wanted the two of them to be together.

Wild hangs his head, calling himself a fool. He says that no matter how much time passes and history repeats, he continues making mistakes. He claims he can never make Rapunzel truly happy. Sadly, Rapunzel asks him if *he's* happy. He protests that he is, "But you..." Rapunzel interrupts to assure him that *of course* he's happy, and that if he could do it all over again from the beginning, he would definitely have chosen to be kidnapped. "If it's you, then I'll gladly be taken. If you won't take me, then next time I'll come to take you. I may not have any power, but when it comes to caring about you, I'll never be defeated. I love you. I want to be with you. Sorcerer-sama...Wild...I have always, always thought that your black hair and eyes were beautiful!"

"You're also beautiful..."

Later that night, Blood finds that Ishuca has gone outside to think. He's already forgiven Rapunzel and Wild, figuring all's well that ends well--as long as he and Blood are together, there's no harm done. What's gotten him depressed is the question of how long he'll live. Watching him stew alone, Blood tells him, "It doesn't matter. Even if it turns out your body can die, I'll cast an immortality spell on you. However long you live, I'll be with you until the very end. I'll live with you. I'll die with you." Ishuca leans against him, praying, "Someone please give him to me. All of him. I want to live. Whether it be for a long time or short, I want to live."

The next day, Blood informs Wild that he and Ishuca are going to try to break the priests' kekkai that's around the property. The kekkai is invisible--Wild only knows where it is because the contract responds to it--but Blood believes that Ishuca's power will allow him to see it if he puts his mind to it. He swears that he'll get Wild and Rapunzel out of there.

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