Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Two

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Blood made a contract with Wild to fetch some magical jewels from the Toei Cliff. He doesn't intend to take Ishuka along, but Ishuka asks, "Why can't we be together? Aren't we friends?" Blood repeats that they're not "friends." Just then Cain bursts in and accuses Blood of being a demon, putting a holy ward around Ishuka. He claims that Blood is only keeping Ishuka with him as food. That pisses Blood off, and he takes Ishuka into his arms (ignoring how the ward burns his chest) and kisses him. (Wild-"Who are you calling...food?") Cain gives up and leaves. Afterward, Ishuka asks, "Why did you kiss me? I was wondering if maybe you just like kissing." Blood responds, "It's not that I like *kissing*, it's that I like *you*." Blood realizes he can't leave Ishuka behind, so they set off together.

That night, after Blood falls asleep, Ishuka decides to use his healing powers on the burn from the charm. Some girls stumble on the room accidentally. When they go away, they figure they had intruded on an intimate scene. Then one, contemplating the positions, wonders "You really think that boy is the top?!" The next day, Blood of course realizes that he's been healed, and he's rather disappointed that he missed it. He asks why Ishuka waited until he was asleep, and Ishuka gets all flustered. He explains that, since he has to lick wounds to heal them, it's okay when he does it to himself, but on another person it's almost like kissing, and it's embarrassing. Blood thinks quickly and says, "Next time, do it while I'm awake." He reasons that, it's an extremely rare talent, and he shouldn't be cheated out of the chance to observe something so unique. Ishuka is reluctant, but agrees, and Blood turns around and does the "Yes!!" gesture.

They arrive in a village that's all drained of life, even the plants, and there are golden threads everywhere. Blood says it's the work of a demon, so they leave to get to the next village before it's too late at night. In the trees, another demon spots them and follows. When they find a place to stay for the night, Ishuka cooks for Blood, who never knew food could be *made*. He explains that demons are abandoned as soon as they're born (if their parents don't eat them immediately). Ishuka feels sympathy for how lonely Blood must have been growing up.

A boy is attacked by the same golden thread--it can't be removed, it slowly drains the life out of whatever it's wrapped around. Blood and Ishuka go looking for the source of the problem, and they meet up with the demon who's been following them. Blood greets him by name, Nei, and Nei bows down saying, "It's been a long time, Leader."

It turns out Blood was the leader of all the demons in this region, and they've been waiting sixty years for his return. They throw him a big welcome home party, during which Ishuka gets rather drunk. He starts chatting with the demons and enthusing about how wonderful Blood is, until one demon raves about how great it was the way Blood killed humans one after the other, ruthlessly. Ishuka declares that it's not good to kill humans, because it makes people sad. The demons turn on him, but Blood challenges, "Who dares lay a finger on what's mine?" He drags Ishuka away, and Ishuka makes him promise (not a contract!) not to kill any more humans. Blood knows that he doesn't even want to imagine losing Ishuka, so he can understand how the mother of the attacked boy must have felt. He vows to the passed out Ishuka that he'll honor his promise.

Leaving a kekkai around Ishuka's room that only he can pass through, he goes out to meet Nei and find out what's happening. Nei and the others had gotten tired of waiting for their leader's return, and they didn't want to pick someone else as a new leader, so they attempted to create a clone of Blood using all they had left of him--his hair. The spirit that they summoned up was weak, and it needed to drain others' life force to make itself more solid, so it's been what is attacking the local villages. While they're talking, the clone enters Ishuka's room (it's another copy of Blood, so it can go through the kekkai), and he wakes up and follows it out. He knows it's not Blood, but he empathizes with it. The more it touches him, the more solid it gets. It takes him to its hideout and starts feeding on him.

Blood says that he has to stop the clone. He had made a promise, and the clone (as another version of himself) has broken it. Nei doesn't understand what's wrong with his leader, getting upset over such a thing. He can't believe that the great and powerful Blood would be afraid of a human hating him for breaking a promise. He declares that Blood isn't the same leader he had respected, he's become weak and useless. He hopes the clone kills Blood to show that the human-eating, ruthless demon is the one that will win over the sentimental one. Blood thinks back to when he was young, alone, and acting on instinct. He seeks out the kind of place that he would use as a hideout and locates the clone.

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