Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Twelve

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Wild is perplexed that Blood and Ishuca aren't mad at him. Blood admits that *he's* pissed, but Ishuca refused to hold a grudge. He yells at Wild that he's going to prove once and for all that a demon can be happy with a human, so Wild will see he has nothing to regret. Besides, he reasons, if Wild hadn't betrayed him to the priests, he would never have met Ishuca. Wild cuts his hair to even it up where Blood had sliced it off (and generally starts acting like a kid to go along with his new look).

Blood and Ishuca go out to find the kekkai. Blood tries to explain to Ishuca how to see it but can't describe it well, so he sends the sensation directly to him with instructions to imagine it being visible. Not only is Ishuca able to see it, he makes it manifest for everyone. It suddenly sinks in to Wild how valuable a target Ishuca is, for both the priests and other demons, also worrying that if he ever uses his power wrong there could be a huge explosion. At that moment, two priests arrive.

Backtracking to the temple, Chess and Meal discover what happened to Bastie. Raugul explains, but they can't believe that a demon could cross the temple kekkai, much less possess a head priest. Plus, Kauzel was supposed to have been sealed in Meal's territory, so it's his responsibility if the demon escaped. The two concoct a story that Raugul killed Bastie and order him confined indefinitely, out of contact with everyone.

When Sergi hears about it from Gairie, he deduces his grandfather's location and sneaks in to talk to him. Raugul tells him about Kauzel being loose in the temple. On top of that, the wound Raugul received is poisoned, and as he weakens so will the temple kekkai. Sergi confronts Meal and Chess with the information, reinforcing their fears that Kauzel will come after them next, once Raugul is dead. He says that their only chance is to use a demon to stop a demon--they can't protest, they did it themselves before--by ordering the East Leader to be Raugul's bodyguard.

That's why Chess and Gairie show up at Wild's place. They order him to come and protect someone, though they don't specify whom or from what. They add that they know he has a golden haired companion, so he is to bring that person along. Wild of course doesn't want to take Rapunzel into the priests' stronghold, yet Rapunzel can't let him go alone. Ishuca formulates a compromise--he sends Blood in Rapunzel's place. (Ishuca-"This time for sure. When he gets back, I can braid his hair all I want!")

Wild practically dies laughing. Then he's appalled at "Rapunzel's" behavior. (Wild-"Do those priests think I'd be attracted to *this*?") At the temple, Kauzel in Leo's body makes contact with Amashi. Raugul is brought out to meet his new protectors. He tells them he remembers how the Bearer of Darkness hadn't hesitated to submit to the priests in order to protect the one who was important to him, and that he trusts such a demon. He says he's sorry for asking for help in a way that Wild couldn't refuse, then gives them his name as proof of his sincerity. Blood recognizes the name as Sergi's grandfather, and Raugul figures out his identity. (Raugul-"You're not cheating on that cute boy with glasses, are you?")

At Bastie's wake, the body stands up, its head exploding and shooting blackness at those gathered. Sergi yells for Amashi to escape, but instead he stabs the body with his staff to incinerate it. Kauzel leaves Leo's body and floats off. In the north, Zaha comes across a strange, misty blackness, which his friend pulls him away from. The mist asks for Blood. Nei tries to banish it, but it zaps him and gets away.

Arriving at Wild's place, Blood notices Raugul's wound and asks who gave it to him. Just then Kauzel's spirit appears in front of him. Apparently Blood had cut off one of Kauzel's arms at their last meeting, and Kauzel had been the one to name him. Blood knows it's not an illusion, yet neither does it feel real--he can't sense anything from it, not even whether it has power. Kauzel says, "I've come to take your jewel."

Wild shouts at Blood to go, then guards Raugul. Inside the house, both Blood and Kauzel reach for Ishuca at the same instant. Blood wraps himself around Ishuca and throws up a kekkai in the nick of time to block the attack. Even Ishuca is frightened, wondering how this person could have no heart. Kauzel leaves with a final warning, "Blood, if you keep holding your jewel so tightly, you'll wind up breaking it. Thank you, until the time I can enter it, please keep it safe for me."

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