Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Three

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Blood confronts the clone in its hideout, seeing that it's been feeding on Ishuca. It may be powerful and unfeeling, a proper demon, but he knows how it thinks, plus he has more life experience to draw upon. He kills it without a moment of hesitation. Watching, Nei realizes that Blood hasn't gotten weaker, hasn't changed his essential nature. However, he's not the leader that he used to be, either. He's willing to spill his own blood for the sake of another, a completely foreign concept.

With the clone gone, its life energy goes back into the things that it drained. Blood kisses Ishuca, then the wound on his neck, not saying until afterward that he was merely transferring Ishuca's healing power to a place Ishuca couldn't reach himself. Blood explains about the clone and apologizes for what it had done. Ishuca says it's okay, he knows it was only because the clone didn't have anyone to love it and teach it right and wrong. What's important is that Blood now has someone to love him, so he doesn't have to feel regret for the past, he can look forward to the future.

They travel farther and come to a lake. While playing in the water, Ishuca loses his glasses. A demon appears and offers to find it, if they help it find what it's looking for. Blood locates the glasses himself and warns Ishuca not to tell the demon his name when it asks, because that means making a contract with it. A priest appears and fights the demon off so they can get away.

Blood is annoyed at having to stay so close to a priest, but he endures it so they won't seem suspicious. The priest drones on about how demons are creatures of darkness that don't belong in the world, they aren't part of God's creation and therefore must be destroyed. Ishuca protests that there might be good demons, but the priest is adamant that they're utterly evil.

That night, Blood notices that Ishuca is shivering, so he takes him in his arms to warm him. He can raise or lower his body temperature at will, which comes in handy. Ishuca tells Blood that, no matter what bad things the priests say about demons or how much other humans hate them, he's very glad that they're together. He has nothing but good feelings about their meeting. So he orders Blood not to get depressed over it.

The lake demon sends them a dream about the girl it's searching for. Ishuca thinks he's seen her somewhere. He decides to go have a talk with it and ask if he can help, and he should be safe as long as he doesn't tell it his name or go in the lake. He meets up with it and asks for more details about the girl, and while he's gone the priest comes back and accuses Blood of being a demon.

The lake demon thinks Ishuca resembles the girl--not in appearance, but in attitude. It tells Ishuca about how the girl game to its lake and wouldn't give her name because she didn't remember it herself. She was a servant, and no one ever called her by her name, so she forgot it. The demon didn't quite know how to deal with someone who wasn't afraid of it, plus it didn't want her to cry, so it gave her its name. She was ecstatic, declaring that she would use it as much as she could, because that would mean calling the demon's name too, and that way it would know how much she treasured it. Thus she became "Lake Sierra Vise Ell."

Back at the cave, Blood struggles with the priest, Sergi. The priest had come to the area to kill the lake demon. He had received the dream of the girl too, and he asks why a demon would be so interested in a human. When Blood suggests that maybe it was in love, Sergi scoffs, saying that demons eat people, not fall in love with them. Blood gets pissed and makes quite the impassioned speech.

"What's wrong with falling in love? Demons aren't allowed to love humans? If, for example, there were a human who could reform a demon that you priests say is interested only in 'blood, meat, and sex'...if there were a demon whose one wish is for that human alone never to be hurt. Would you priests laugh it all off as foolishness?"

Sergi tries to trap Blood in a kekkai, but it's not strong enough. He thinks he'll be killed, but instead Blood heads off for the lake. Sergi can't believe that a demon would ever try to save a human. It goes against everything he's been taught his whole life.

What Ishuca doesn't know is that the lake demon is angry at the girl for lying to it. She said she would call its name, but it hasn't sensed her doing so, and it's sure that she was lying. She wouldn't call the name of a demon. Ishuca explains that a name is a very precious thing, and he knows the girl meant what she said. He tells the demon how happy he was when he was adopted and given a name. He's incredibly proud of his name, because it makes him part of a family--it's not an issue of whether the name came from a human or demon. Blood and Sergi suddenly come running up to him.

The lake demon doesn't believe what he's saying. Ishuca wants the lake demon to trust him, announcing that there are people who love demons, and that he loves a demon himself. He offers to show his good faith by telling the demon his name. As Sergi tries to protect him by killing the demon, he closes his eyes and says, "Ishuca Lake Sierra Vise Ell."

The dying demon hears Ishuca saying how important the name had been to the woman who adopted him because she had received it from someone dear to her. The demon realizes that the reason it hadn't sensed her calling its name is that their meeting had been fifty years ago and she's been dead for a long time. It had wanted to see her again, to hear her call its name, but it was also afraid.

Blood reprimands Ishuca for being so trusting. Sergi tromps off, repeating to himself that he hadn't seen Blood caring so much for Ishuca, that a demon with a heart couldn't possibly exist. If demons have hearts, then what the priests are doing isn't banishing darkness, it's murder.

Blood comments that Ishuca has quite a long name. Since Blood's name is so short, Ishuca offers to share his. He says he'd be thrilled for Blood to use it too. (Blood-"Doesn't that mean entering the family register?" [<eg> Congratulations Mrs. Lake Sierra Vise Ell!]) As the lake demon's spirit vanishes, its last thought is "thank you."

That night, traces of the lake demon's spirit remain. Blood gives it enough power to materialize. It apologizes for being so rude earlier, it hadn't known Blood was the North Leader. Blood demands to know what it wants, and a human ghost appears to say hello. She's Ishuca's 'Baachan, and she's been waiting to rejoin the lake demon, but as a ghost she didn't have the power to speak to it, only watch over it. Now they're finally reunited, and she knows Blood will take good care of her dear Ishuca, so there's happiness all around.

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