Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Fifteen

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Blood and Ishuca call other villagers for help, but it's too late. The children who drank from the tainted water died. The villagers themselves are shocked at Ishuca's claim that they came back from the water's source safely. He tries to insist that a good demon called the water, not a "god" as they believe, but they refuse to accept the explanation. Later, discussing the poison with Blood, Ishuca concludes that the only one with blood powerful and evil enough to be so deadly is Kauzel. He's so afraid that he can't even bring himself to say the demon's name--which pleases Blood, who sees it as a positive sign that Ishuca's emotions are healthier.

They decide to leave the village before a priest shows up to test the water. Unfortunately, one of the women discovers that the baby they're carrying around isn't human. Suspecting that it's the demon that polluted their water, the villagers throw the baby into the lake. Ishuca dives in to save it, then realizes that the water tainted by evil blood could probably be purified by his own blood. When he surfaces, the water visibly clear, he proclaims that the baby is the child of their "water god" and cleansed the pond for them--knowing they'll sooner believe such a lie than the truth. He drinks some of the water to prove that it's safe, angry at their narrow-mindedness.

After the villagers disperse, Blood notices that Ishuca is wounded. Ishuca offers him the blood to drink. He asserts that he doesn't intend it as a sacrifice; he knows they'll have to face Kauzel, and he's offering so that he and Blood can grow stronger together. Finally Blood gives in, admitting it's delicious. As a side effect, however, he gets rather hot and bothered--that is, horny as hell--which isn't helped by Ishuca innocently changing clothes in front of him. He stews about it, but he's sure Ishuca wouldn't understand what he was talking about even if he said something, so he simply endures. (Ishuca-"Sorry for forcing you to lick me." Blood-"Don't...just don't say any more...") As they prepare to leave the village, the doctor gives Ishuca a small ward. He, more than the other villagers, realizes the truth about the "water god" and knows the baby is really a demon. Ishuca can't bring himself to throw away a gift, so Blood taints it so that it won't make the baby uncomfortable.

They set off, once again attempting to tally up Kauzel's arms. They figure one's in the boy from the temple orphanage who took the jewel from Sheece (Blood nearly spilling the beans about the tear jewel). Ishuca wonders why Kauzel used the boy rather than doing it himself. They also know that the math leaves one arm missing, which means Kauzel could be controlling someone else and they need to find out whom. Ishuca guesses that's what Blood sent in his message bird to Nei. It turns out that Blood told his northern followers all about the situation with Kauzel and that the temple is looking for demons to blame, ending with the orders that they should lie low, keep out of trouble, and stay alive until he gets there. Nei decides they really only need to obey the last of the three.

Meanwhile, Kauzel had been trapped inside Wild's old house by Sergi's grandfather. He can't break free of the kekkai, so he summons the boy to release him. Kauzel wiped the boy's memory and planted the suggestion that he's the one person the boy needs most, his father. The boy, caught in the spell, will do anything for his "father." He hands over the jewel he took from Sheece. Taking a rest break on their trip north, Blood fondly watches Ishuca sleep in his arms, wishing the baby didn't get in the way so much. He ponders the last words Sheece whispered to him, that he should kill it, but he can't bring himself to do it.

At the temple, Amashi is in charge, laying all the blame for the priests' deaths on Blood. He claims Blood kidnapped the innocent Ishuca and they need to save him. Most of the priests are afraid to contradict him for fear they'll be treated like Sergi. Amashi spreads descriptions of Blood and Ishuca among the townsfolk, letting the people do the work of searching to supplement the temple's scant manpower. He wants to keep his forces in reserve for the time when they'll have to repeat the great demon hunt of sixty years before.

Blood starts drawing a magic circle to locate the possessed boy, but Ishuca interrupts and asks if he can use it to communicate with Wild's tower (that is, with Rapunzel). Blood tries, but detects no sign of the couple in the tower. Elsewhere, gossip about Blood is flying from village to village. At the temple, one priest dares to say that they have only Amashi's word against Sergi's as to which demon--Blood or Kauzel--caused the massacre. Amashi pours holy water on a sample of Blood's hair to prove his point. The priest knows that only proves Blood is a demon, not that he did anything, but he doesn't dare voice any further complaints. Sergi himself joins forces with Nei and the northern demons.

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