Koori no Mamono no Monogatari
Volume Seven

Story by Sugiura Shiho
Summary by Amparo Bertram

Blood wonders if the demon that attacked Ishuca in the woods ate the missing year of memories, but that doesn't make sense. He also worries about the attack itself, because such a weak demon usually only approaches weak humans, and he gets the feeling that Ishuca is stronger than he is. Ishuca has concerns of his own, but he doesn't know quite how to voice them. "My bed is wide, so...what do you think? I figured maybe we could sleep together..." He's really afraid to sleep in his bedroom alone.

Blood goes up to check it, but he doesn't sense anything. He uses a spell to recall past events, on the chance that Ishuca had a bad experience there and it caused him to forget a year. Meanwhile, Ishuca ponders his uneasiness over sleeping alone. It never troubled him before, but he enjoyed sleeping in Blood's arms on their trip, and that's what made him ask. He realizes that it must be too soon, that Blood still can't touch his wound. He persuades himself that he's accustomed to being alone and it shouldn't bother him.

Blood watches day after day of Ishuca's life (on fast forward) yet spots nothing out of the ordinary, just Ishuca sleeping by himself. He goes to ask directly for more details and finds that the nightmare demon is right outside the house demanding to have its host back. He tells Ishuca that he'll look for the demon's true body and finish it off. Ishuca wants to stop him, but he can't bring himself to ask Blood to stay with him when he knows it hurts Blood's feelings to be reminded of what happened.

Blood tries to puzzle out who's calling the nightmare demon. He locates its current body, a tree, and asks it if it ate Ishuca's memory. The demon replies that it doesn't see anything wrong with erasing someone's painful past. It starts to draw out Blood's pain, only then discovering that he's a demon as well. It begs him to wait, saying it didn't eat anything, the boy called it, but Blood vaporizes the tree. The now bodiless demon heads off to get a new host.

Suddenly realizing his mistake, that a person choosing death the way Ishuca did isn't normal, Blood rushes back to the house where Ishuca has collapsed and is trapped in his memories. When his 'Baachan died, he chose to remain in the house because he had so many pleasant associations there. He thinks about how she told him she was okay with dying, since she had someone she'd been wanting to meet again, and it forces him to face that he doesn't have such a person of his own.

He gets a sudden chest pain and sees the doctor about it, but the doctor doesn't know what to do. A woman mentions that a friend's husband had the same symptom recently. Ishuca insists he's all right otherwise and goes home, but the attacks continue. That winter, he hears that the man with the same chest pains had died.

Chasing the demon, Blood knows it intends to possess Ishuca. He also deduces that, with someone who had the power to cross any kekkai calling it, his own kekkai likely wouldn't be enough to keep it out. In his dream, Ishuca visits the doctor again and is told that nothing can be done about his illness. He's invited to stay at the clinic but refuses, saying he'll be more comfortable in his own house.

Blood bursts in and finds Ishuca trapped in his dream. The demon can't enter an unwilling host, it has to wait until Ishuca is weak enough to let it in. Blood watches the memories, hearing Ishuca's internal voice. He sees the moment the truth finally sinks in that Ishuca is dying. Terrified, Ishuca repeats over and over that he's scared, begging desperately for someone to help, but he has no one.

Understanding that nothing can be done about it, Ishuca tells himself that he won't be frightened. Like a mantra, he assures himself it's all right, he has no need to be scared, no reason to cry. He's all alone anyway, so he doesn't have to fear death. Blood realizes that Ishuca erased his own memory, lying to himself day in and day out until his terror was banished.

Blood berates himself for not noticing that Ishuca's refusal to cry wasn't strength but denial. Playing back the evening's events, he figures out why Ishuca was afraid of being alone and why he held himself back from asking for comfort. As the demon closes in, anticipating gaining a new host, Ishuca cries out that he doesn't want to hurt, doesn't want to die. He wants someone to be with him.

The demon pounces, taking that as its cue, but Blood gets to him first. He tells Ishuca that it's okay to be scared, it's only natural. Ishuca doesn't have to lie to himself anymore. Blood holds him and says he'll always stay with Ishuca and protect him, so it's all right to let his feelings out. That breaks the trance, allowing Blood to kill the nightmare demon. Then he apologizes for being an idiot, repeating what he said before about it being okay to admit fear and cry in front of him. Ishuca is struck by the fact that the reason he didn't have "someone I want to meet" at the time his 'Baachan died is that he simply hadn't met him yet. Blood stays by his side all that night, and when Ishuca wakes up, Blood is right next to him still. (Ishuca likes it so much, he doesn't want to get up...)

The next morning, as Ishuca gazes raptly at Blood's sleeping face, he accidentally drops his glasses. Blood wakes up, and Ishuca gives him a lecture on greetings. Blood is used to saying "yo" for all occasions, and Ishuca tells him it makes people feel good to use the proper greetings such as "good morning" and "good night." Blood doesn't see the point, until he tries it and Ishuca smiles in response.

Blood notices that Ishuca's glasses are cracked and suggests they go to Wild to have them repaired, since they have to get the payment for the jewels and might as well do both. On the way, they meet up with Sergi, Blood surreptitiously trying out his new trick ("konnichiwa"). When they hear that he's going to report to the high priests, taking the sword hilt as evidence, Blood calls him an idiot for intending to tell the truth when he knows he'll be punished for his actions. They discuss the subject of there being good and bad demons just as there are good and bad humans.

Sergi goes off to check the holy kekkai on the jewel cave, since he's in the area, and finds a mystery--there are recent footprints inside the cave, though the kekkai is still in place. He puts the pieces together and concludes it must have been Ishuca, but he doesn't know why Ishuca has that ability.

The pair arrives at Wild's house (Blood-"Kombanwa." Wild-"This could be an impostor."), Ishuca and Rapunzel celebrating at getting to stay together. Rapunzel spots the scars on Ishuca's back when he changes clothes and tells Wild about it, wondering if they have any medicine that might help. Repunzel asks Wild about the message bird he just got, and he responds it was merely a request to search for someone.

The next day, Ishuca discovers that Blood stole the sword hilt from Sergi to reduce the evidence against him. Wild invites them to stay another night if they're in no hurry, and Ishuca and Rapunzel arrange to sleep together--in a best friends way, of course. [Wild-"You expect me to sleep with Blood?" Rapunzel-"No problem, the bed's wide, right?" Wild (grabbing Blood)-"My bed isn't wide so I can sleep with *you*!!"]

Sergi returns to the priests' temple and gives a report edited to leave out Blood and Ishuca. There's one complication in that the high priests claim there was no such demon trap in the north--and he can't prove it without the sword hilt. That night, Ishuca nearly invites Rapunzel to come visit, but he doesn't know how long he and Blood will stay in his house. Rapunzel reveals that Wild used to have a place deep in the woods to the east.

Blood and Wild discuss Ishuca and whether Blood intends to keep living with him. Blood talks about Ishuca not being an ordinary human, describing his powers. When Wild hears it's due to the effects of a jewel he snickers, "So, you cried, ne?" (Blood warns him not to say a word-"If you do, I'll--I'll... I'll get really pissed off.") The last straw is his snarled, "Oyasumi nasai," causing Wild to crack up completely at Ishuca's "training."

Sergi has a conversation with the archpriest Gairie. Only a few of the highest-level priests know of the demon trap, part of a major top secret project. Gairie is aghast to hear that the trap has been broken. It was one of four seals put in place by the head priests, one for each cardinal direction, all constructed using demons as living sacrifices.

[Index] [Previous] [Next]