Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Six

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Nei announces that Blood brought down the rocks in an attempt to seal himself inside, but it won't last long once his instinct takes over again. What Blood needs in order to return to himself is simply power, so Zaha suggests giving him the power locked in the priests' sword somehow. Ishuca runs off to find Sergi, Blood's scream still echoing in his head.

Ishuca explains to Sergi what happened, castigating himself for hurting Blood by his actions and begging for the sword. Sergi admits that he can't return the trap to its previous effectiveness anyway, so he'll surrender the sword, but the problem is that the only way to transfer the power in it to Blood is to stab him. Nei concludes that using the sword in such a fashion isn't worth the risk, so he says there's one other option.

The rest of the demons show up, having been drawn by Blood's voice. They begin demanding an explanation when suddenly Blood breaks through the barrier of rocks. Acting on instinct, he's focused on finding and eating Ishuca. The other demons all retreat, except for Nei, who seals himself inside a kekkai with Blood. He wants Blood to eat him, silently apologizing that he hadn't intended for matters to get so out of hand.

Before Blood can attack him, Sergi intervenes. Nei protests that, unlike Ishuca, he has no value to Blood, so it's best if he's eaten. Sergi tells him he's wrong and reminds him of how Blood had sheltered all the demons from shrapnel when he drew the sword because he didn't want any of them hurt. Ishuca yells at the demons that if Blood truly didn't care about them, he could have killed and eaten any one of them to refill his power, but instead he intentionally isolated himself.

Ishuca goes on to say that he was wrong to offer himself as a sacrifice. If he had been thinking about Blood's feelings, he shouldn't have been so willing to die. The same goes for Nei--if he died, Blood would cry again. Paralyzed by shock, Nei doesn't struggle when they break through his kekkai and drag him back.

With the strength given him by the small amount of Ishuca's blood he had tasted, Blood wraps a powerful kekkai around himself to keep Sergi away. Summoning up his determination, Ishuca takes the sword and heads for Blood. The other demons are afraid he intends to kill their leader, but Ishuca assures them he refuses to let Blood die.

Nei can't accept that Ishuca could ever harm Blood. Sergi tells him that Ishuca is doing it to make himself a partner in crime. If Blood is feeling guilty over hurting Ishuca, then Ishuca will do something to balance it out and make them both even. Sergi doesn't think he'll be able to get past the kekkai, but he walks right through it.

Blood doesn't fully understand what's happening, so he sees the figure approaching with a weapon as an enemy. As Blood gathers all his energy to counter the enemy, Ishuca tells him that the wound he has is nothing and pleads for him not to cry because of it. He thrusts forward with the sword, but Blood grabs it out of his hands, with self-preservation the only thing on his mind.

Blood struggles with the voice in his head, commanding his body to obey him. Rather than valuing himself above all else, what's most important to him is the one thing he must protect. Reversing the sword, he stabs himself with it, the blade vanishing as it returns his power. Heedless of Sergi's warning that they don't know if Blood's in his right mind, Ishuca immediately runs to him and starts healing the wound.

Blood insists he's okay, he's a demon, he can handle it. Ishuca says being a demon doesn't mean he can't be hurt, that he himself hurt Blood. Blood had returned to himself for just a moment, seeing Ishuca holding the sword and hearing the tears in his voice, and wanted only to protect him. Ishuca throws his arms around Blood and they hold each other, telling one another not to cry.

Nei demands to know why Blood won't blame him for what happened, because it was all his fault. Blood tells him there's something he'd forgotten to say--after all the years Nei waited and watched over the other demons--he's sorry for having made him worry. Nei cries on his shoulder, knowing that the demon he had waited for those sixty years had never been so kind.

They get back to the house, Ishuca worrying that he hasn't healed Blood quite enough (though wondering if maybe had went a bit too far with the bitten lip part). Blood apologizes for hurting his back and asks if it's okay not to heal it for a while, since he still can't bring himself to touch it. Ishuca says it's all right, it would probably have tickled anyway. Blood promises he'll help heal it when he comes to terms with his own nature. Ishuca agrees, on the condition that Blood cheers up enough to smile.

Blood tells Sergi that the sword hadn't been made by priests, it was a demon sword. Sergi doesn't understand why the priests would have used a demon-made object in such an elaborate demon trap. He takes the remaining hilt and heads back, prepared to face what might happen when he gives his report. Blood and Ishuca set off as well (Ishuca disappointed that Blood cut his hair again because he had wanted to braid it). They say their farewells to the demons, Nei responding with, "If there ever comes a time you need us, just call and we'll come, for your sake and Ishuca's."

That night, Blood protects Ishuca from a demon attack. He explains that it's a weak type of demon that needs to inhabit a host. It's drawn to feed on human nightmares and bad memories. As they discuss their plans, Ishuca asks if they can stop at a nearby village, since he knows the perfect place to stay--his house. Ishuca lived there ever since being adopted, which is a strange concept to Blood. Demons don't generally stay in one spot, though the case of Wild and Rapunzel is an exception, they were originally human.

They chat about Ishuca's childhood, and Blood offers to call up the house's memory of him as a child. Blood doesn't have any particular interest in kids, but the moment he sees the four-year-old Ishuca, he scares himself with how cute he thinks the sight is. [1) He's cute because he's small. 2) He's even cuter when he moves. 3) He's cuter yet when he plays with something. 4) He's still cute when he falls down in a place where there's nothing to trip over.]

Blood sees Ishuca's expression of loneliness watching his 'Baachan appear, but can't touch him yet. Ishuca insists he's not lonely, just nostalgic, though it's only been two years since she died. He goes on to say that he's happy merely having Blood there with him. When he goes outside to get his feelings under control after such an embarrassing speech, Blood finds the note he had left for the landlord when he had gone off to die. It makes him think about how Ishuca has never once said he was scared. It strikes him as being a bit too peculiar.

Ishuca asks him to go shopping for a few things. Blood makes quite an impression on the ladies at the market--including the married ones. He gets to talking, and one of the women mentions that Ishuca's 'Baachan died three years earlier. Blood realizes there's something wrong if Ishuca only remembers two years passing. Ishuca, meanwhile, is tidying up the place. He gets a strange feeling when he enters the bedroom, though he dismisses it. Outside the house, the demon that had attacked him before begins to approach.

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