Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Five

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Nei broods about how Blood has changed. He feels that, if he can't have Blood, then it's unforgivable that someone else can. Ishuca is frantic over Blood's collapse, especially since he's cold to the touch. He decides to build a fire for warmth, but he needs to gather wood. Sergi wonders what to do with the sword, figuring he ought to try rebuilding the trap, though he knows it's probably beyond his ability. He laughs at himself for how foolish he must be, a priest who has come to trust a demon.

While gathering firewood, Ishuca spots Zaha and runs up to ask him what to do about Blood (and boy, does Zaha misinterpret his innocent comments, like "but his body is always warm when we sleep..."). Zaha assures him that it's merely a demon's way of shutting down nonessential processes and hibernating to replenish lost energy. Demons have very powerful self-preservation instincts, so when the body is in danger, the instinct takes over in place of conscious will.

Zaha goes on to say that such instinct is especially strong in Blood, since he's a pure demon. There aren't very many around--he's the only one in the north. There are different types of demons, some like beasts, some like devils, and some born from humans, but those are all of mixed blood. When the other demons see Blood, they get a primal thrill from his sheer complete demon-ness. He tells Ishuca there's no need to worry. After Ishuca leaves, Zaha confides in a friend that he's beginning to understand what Blood likes about the human, but that makes him concerned about Nei now that he's alone. Nei is filled with thoughts of getting rid of Ishuca.

In the night, a demon cuts Ishuca's cheek to taste his blood, obsessing over how beautiful and sweet it is. The demon turns out to be Blood, who snaps out of his trance and can't believe what he's doing. He loses control of his body as his instinct tries to take over. He uses the spirit power of the jewels he got for Wild to cast a spell, then leaves with them. He meets up with Nei and asks him to escort Ishuca safely to the nearest village with the message to head for Rapunzel.

Nei is shocked by how weak Blood is, he has so little power left he shouldn't even be able to walk around the way he's doing. Feeling responsible for making Blood break the holy seal that drained all his energy, Nei offers to let Blood eat him, because he thinks it doesn't matter anymore if he's around or not. Blood refuses and is desperate to get as far away as possible before his instinct overrides even the binding he cast on himself and forces him to eat Ishuca.

He calls up Wild and has him take the jewels, telling him to leave the payment with Ishuca to use as he pleases. Wild can see how near death he is and decides it's just further proof that a demon and a human can't be happy together. Blood flashes on memories of Ishuca, how soft he is, how warm and gentle. He wants to see him one more time, hold him again, but knows that in his state it's impossible.

Ishuca wakes up and notices the cut, healing it by licking his finger and wiping it on the wound--suddenly realizing he probably could have done the same for his leg earlier without Blood needing to kiss him. Nei shows up to deliver his leader's message, adding that in his current condition, Blood likely won't recover until after ten years of hibernation. When Nei starts crying in frustration over how much he had wanted his leader back, only to have him put in such danger for the sake of a human, it dawns on Ishuca how serious the situation truly is. Nei offers to take him to where Blood went, privately thinking that it will solve all his problems to have Blood eat the human out of instinct. Ishuca cheerfully agrees. "It's all right. I won't let him die. Once he eats me, I'm sure he'll get better."

Nei can't understand how Ishuca could offer his life so happily. Ishuca explains that it's okay, he's sure that even when Blood eats him and he's dead, he'll come back as a ghost because he loves Blood so much and still wants to be around him. Hearing their conversation, Zaha follows them. He doesn't want Ishuca to die. Ishuca describes how he and Blood met, how he's not afraid of dying and traveled with Blood in the first place so he could be eaten someday. He feels guilty for having let his 'Baachan die without being able to do anything to help. If his life can save a loved one, he's satisfied enough with that.

Nei thinks it's all for the best--it's what Blood needs and what Ishuca wants. Zaha goes running off in tears, knowing that when Blood comes to his senses he'll hate Nei forever for allowing him to kill the only thing in the world he treasures. Ishuca finds Blood, who is covered with injuries he inflicted on himself to prevent himself from desiring Ishuca as food. Ishuca is desperate for him not to die. "I'm yours, Blood. That's why you should have...! Why do you seem to be dying? Don't stay silent, wake up! Don't die. I don't want you to die. Blood!! I really do love you. Blood...your dinner's here..."

Nei reviews everything that's happened, what Blood and Ishuca and Zaha had said and done. He's forced to ask himself, if Blood eats Ishuca, who will regret it the most? Zaha and his friends come running, hoping they can arrive in time to stop it.

Blood slowly regains consciousness with Ishuca in his arms. Ishuca notices that Blood has bitten his lip and kisses him to heal it. Startled, Blood becomes more aware of his surroundings, only to discover that his claws have gouged deep scratches down Ishuca's back. Frozen by the sight, he can't move as Nei scoops Ishuca up and carries him away. Screaming in horror and anguish at what he's done, he lashes out and brings down a pile of rocks to seal the entrance of the cave he's in.

Nei asks Ishuca about his injury. Sorrowful, Ishuca replies that it doesn't hurt. He thinks, "The one in pain is Blood. This is Blood's wound. And I'm the one who made it."

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