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Fallen Brides: Koyoi — first draft (complete)

OtherSideofSky Oct 26th, 2016 (edited) 11,290 Never
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  1. Case 7: Koyoi
  2. Black Falls, Pink Dawns
  3. Kawamura Hitoshi
  4. Translated from the Japanese by OtherSideofSky (othersideofskytranslations.blogspot.com)
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  7. "Kill her! Kill that monster!" Shouted an Order soldier in gleaming white armor, catching the blade of the monster in front of him on his own.
  8. He was shouting at a woman. She was clad from head to toe in garments unlike those of this continent. In her hands she held several slips of paper. His voice did reach her, but she was unable to move.
  9. Kill? He's telling me to kill this girl?
  10. She could not conceal her hesitation. From her perspective, the person in front of her was not yet a monster. Her clothes were torn in places, and pink hair showed through the rips. Still human, but only just. It was true that once the transformation into a monster had begun, there was no going back. Whatever they tried, maintaining her current condition was the best they could hope for.
  11. But the soldier had told her to "kill" an opponent who still retained some of her human mind without hesitation. That bothered her. Amanomiya Koyoi was not a woman to forget compassion, even for monsters.
  12.  
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  14. ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊
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  17. Koyoi had come into the world in the far east, in the land of Zipangu, a small island nation whose culture bore little resemblance to that of the continent on which Lescatié stood.
  18. The Amanomiya clan were a line of monster slayers so renowned that it was said there was not a person in Zipangu who did not know of them. Monster slayers, as the name implies, drive out monsters to preserve the order of human life.
  19. The name Koyoi — "now evening" — had been bestowed on her at birth by the then head of the clan, her grandfather, Amanomiya Tōtetsu. Evening comes after twilight, the time when evil walks. She had been so named in the hope that she would overcome monsters.
  20. As you have no doubt gathered from that anecdote, from the moment Koyoi was born, she was made to shoulder the extraordinary expectations of the whole Amanomiya clan. As was her elder sister.
  21. Shinonome, born a year before Koyoi, received the same expectations of succeeding to headship of the clan, and the same accelerated education in monster slaying.
  22. Koyoi had a younger sister as well, born five years after her, and named Tasogare. Tasogare, perhaps because her age separated her from her two older sisters, grew up loving to be spoiled. The next head of the clan was to be chosen from among the current head's children. Naturally, Shinonome, Koyoi, and Tasogare's names came up as candidates, but the whole clan had been saying that it was sure to be either Shinonome or Koyoi who was chosen ever since they were small.
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  28. An unbroken line of monster slayers. The proof of that was the abilities they had been born with.
  29. "Eek...!"
  30. Before Koyoi was done hesitating about killing, her opponent ran off. It seemed that there was something in the bloodline of the heads of the Amanomiya clan that monsters feared. She still didn't know what. It might be a lingering scent of the Amanomiyas' secret monster-repelling incense, or it might be some lingering memory or record of the monsters her ancestors had exorcised in her veins. In any case, most monsters felt fear just being in her presence, and ran away. That was enough to take care of most jobs.
  31. She ran into the city with a sidelong glance at the soldier cursing at her for not killing. She was currently just outside the north gate of Lescatié.
  32. The Order forces had decided to let overwhelming numbers speak for them, and so distributed their troops to all gates evenly. They would all charge in simultaneously at a predetermined signal. The plan was to cut off the enemy's escape with a pincer attack. Mercenaries like Koyoi had been evenly distributed to each gate as well, and were to attack in concert under the direction of regular troops.
  33. Initially, the Order forces' upper echelons had been vehemently opposed to engaging mercenaries. After all, the city of Lescatié was so important to the Order that it could even be called their second holy land. Their pride, which was harder than diamonds, would not allow them to rely on outside forces. Urgent problems demanded sacrifices, however, and they had sought the cooperation of the mercenary guild. Due to those circumstances, the regular troops did not feel particularly well disposed toward the mercenaries.
  34. Koyoi ran, her geta — peculiar Zipanguese wooden clogs — clacking on the paving stones. This land received many contributions from the faithful, and was thus amply supplied with capital. The district she was in was, if she had to say one way or the other, probably home to poorer residents, but the roads, while bumpy, were in good repair.
  35. I have to do it. This job is where I belong now. I have to get it right, she told herself, putting a hand to her chest.
  36. She stopped from time to time to sense the flow of mana in the surrounding area. Dense, clinging mana came wafting toward her from up ahead — from the direction of Lescatié Castle — like a gentle breeze.
  37. She looked away. She could see men fallen to the ground, as if through the pools and currents of violet mana. Each of the prone figures was straddled by a woman so beautiful that she might have slipped out of the world of a myth or a story. Every one of them was twisting her hips with a look of ecstasy on her face. They hissed menacingly when they sensed Koyoi's stare, then their faces suddenly paled, and they vanished down alleys with the men over their shoulders.
  38. Koyoi strained her ears. From inside buildings, and down alleys, she could hear women panting and men moaning. They came without order, but there were moments when, by some freak accident, the cacophony harmonized like a choir and put her in mind of a beautiful melody.
  39. She twitched her nose. A rank odor hung in the air, mingled with the accustomed scents of fire and blood.
  40. She concentrated her awareness on her skin, and a warm sensation, accompanied by a tingle of pain, came relentlessly in on her, riding the currents of mana. She understood. She could not defeat that monster.
  41. But they're counting on me. My strength is needed.
  42. Her heart quailed at the powerful mana wafting from her destination. She tried to use her raison d'être to suppress it. She thought back to how she had come to this place.
  43.  
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  45. ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊
  46.  
  47.  
  48. The sun was low on the horizon, dying the sky a delicate, peach-blossom pink. Crows wheeled and sang in chorus. In the distance, black kites cried.
  49. "Chanting practice is over."
  50. A mountain retreat owned by the Amanomiya clan. A loud, carrying voice resounded across the wide open field.
  51. "Next, mana refining."
  52. This voice came in a low, bestial growl, but it carried as well as the other.
  53. "Yes sir!" Came the high-pitched reply. Its source was two girls of tender years. It had sounded like one voice because their tone and volume were perfectly matched.
  54. A hut stood in a corner of the field. Before it's door was a stump, in front of which the girls stood side by side. Their eyes were fixed on an old man seated on the stump. He was the owner of the low voice.
  55. The girls were Koyoi and Shinonome. The old man was Tōtetsu. Candidates to become the next head of the clan received instruction directly from the current head from the time they were five years of age. They abandoned all the pleasures of childhood to be drilled in all the necessary skills of a clan leader — mana strengthening, monster slaying, and finally tactics for making effective use of subordinates.
  56. Mana refining was part of that training. By concentrating their spirits and performing a unique combination of actions and breathing, they aimed to increase their total mana volume, as well as the amount they could emit at one time, and to become capable of maintaining their concentration even if their mana should run dry.
  57. At this time, the eldest daughter, Shinonome, was eleven, and the second daughter, Koyoi, was ten. They had no contact with the children in the village at the mountain's foot. They lived every day, from morning to night, in the hut on the edge of the field that seemed forgotten by time. They rose before the sun, ran through the mountains to cure their drowsiness, and took breakfast. Then came Tōtetsu's lecture. After lunch they practiced monster slaying chants. In the evenings they performed mana refinement, then took dinner. After that they went to their own room and reviewed the characters necessary for writing monster slaying talismans, then went to sleep. The performed the same training regimen day after day, like clockwork. Complaints were not permitted, and neither was defying Tōtetsu.
  58. Father, mother.
  59. Many times during her harsh training, Koyoi mentally called on her parents for help. They never answered. They had passed away shortly after Tasogare was born. Tōtetsu was hard on his granddaughters because he was in a hurry to raise them to adulthood while he still lived.
  60. Several years passed, and Koyoi came to accept the death of her parents as a fact of life. More importantly, she had gradually ceased to run to them in her mind. In their place, another feeling had begun to grow inside her.
  61. I'll become head. I'll take everything on myself, so big sis and Tasogare can relax.
  62. Only one of the candidates would become the next head of the clan. As head, they would inherit the main household. The rest would become branch houses, and their responsibilities would become lighter. At that time, Koyoi swore that she would become the head herself in order to ease her sisters' burden.
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  66.  
  67.  
  68. "Hey! Are you alright?"
  69. Koyoi became aware of a voice calling to her. When she looked in its direction, she found a man in the prime of life standing there, sword and shield at the ready. He was clad in thin, slightly dirty iron armor, scarred in places. His light coat and bracers were made of leather. The bare skin visible through the gaps between the armor and bracers was covered by an armor of muscle cultivated through long years of adventuring.
  70. "This is no place to be spacing out," the man chided her with an exasperated sigh. His scowling face was chiseled with the hardships of his life so far.
  71. Spacing out?
  72. She didn't know what the man meant. She had been reflecting on the past, but she was certain she had maintained her combat posture and her awareness of her surroundings.
  73. "Of, of course. My apologies, Mr. Doon," she thanked and greeted him. Even if she had no idea what he was talking about, she felt his concern was something to be grateful for.
  74. "Oh, it's no big deal. We're in this together. Besides, if anything happens to you, it'll mean more trouble for me," he laughed, but Koyoi could sense that he lacked his usual energy. Perhaps combat had tired him.
  75. Doon was an acquaintance Koyoi had made shortly after joining the mercenary guild. He had been in charge of training new recruits at the time, and had soon warmed to Koyoi. Perhaps it was their shared tendency to be concerned for others. It was all thanks to him that she had been able to adjust to life in an unfamiliar, foreign land, and that she'd had no trouble with her food rations. As far as she was concerned, he was a great mentor, and the savior of her life.
  76. If Mr. Doon is here, it will be a tremendous help.
  77. The weight of fear that had been bearing down on her a moment seemed to have gotten lighter.
  78. "Mr. Doon, it appears that the enemy leader is in the castle."
  79. Koyoi pointed at the castle. her back was so straight that no one would suspect she had been running the whole way there. Her manner toward Doon was always stiff, out of respect for her benefactor.
  80. "Humph... So that's why."
  81. Having heard her report, he put a hand on his chin and sunk into thought. His stubble made a scraping sound each time his finger brushed it.
  82. "Why what?" She couldn't help asking back, failing to grasp his meaning.
  83. "Hmm. How should I put it? According to the higher ups, a whole host of monsters attacked this place, but..."
  84. His brows furrowed.
  85. "Doesn't it seem too quiet?"
  86. His words took Koyoi aback.
  87. It's true. This is a battlefield, and yet...
  88. All that reached her ears was here own ragged breathing, the sound of Doon rubbing his stubble, and the noises of men and women making love.
  89. "Nothing. No sounds of swords or gunpowder. No shouts or screams."
  90. "This is starting to look pretty bad."
  91. His voice, more serious than she had ever heard it before, lodged itself deep in her brain.
  92. The castle is the enemy's main base, and there are hardly any monsters in the town.
  93. That pointed to one conclusion.
  94. "That castle must be pretty dangerous..."
  95. Doon's quiet words remained in her heart forever.
  96.  
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  98. ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊
  99.  
  100.  
  101. Amanomiya Tōtetsu passed away when Koyoi was eighteen.
  102. It was a peaceful death — he had been more than one hundred years old, and had raised the three sisters who were to succeed him to almost full maturity — so his funeral was practically a party. Tōtetsu's body reposed on the altar, while, in a large room separated from it by sliding screens, his relatives feasted.
  103. Zipangu's funerary customs had existed since ancient times. The deceased was placed in a room separated by screens or doors, and their relatives kept watch through the night in an adjacent chamber. It was said that if this was not done, evil spirits would carry off the body. Among the common people the old customs were gradually becoming mere formalities, but the Amanomiya clan, who made their livelihood exorcising monsters, still obstinately observed the tradition.
  104. Koyoi had undergone her coming of age ceremony three years previously, but she still could not understand the appeal of alcohol. She gingerly sipped the clear rice wine that had been poured into her cup with a sour expression. In contrast, Shinonome, sitting next to her, had just drained her fifth cup.
  105. "I suppose Lady Shinonome will be the next head, then...?"
  106. "No, as far as I can see from their training, Lady Koyoi has greater potential..."
  107. And grandfather's not even in his grave.
  108. The sour look on her face was not only due to the wine. Arguments about who should be the successor, and who was on whose side, were unfolding, mingled with the cheerful noises of the banquet. They were exchanged in whispers, but she was nearly sober, and could not help overhearing them. She felt an urge to cover her ears, but a candidate for the next head of the clan could not engage in such undignified behavior.
  109. I'm jealous of Shinonome. She quaffed her wine so quickly that I doubt she's picking up these conversations, Koyoi thought, and turned to look at her elder sister.
  110. She had never seen that look on her sister's face before, and she never saw it there again. Shinonome was scowling, and her brow was wrinkled. Her eyes seemed to be blazing with the light of the candle flames. Her bared teeth were making a grinding sound. Koyoi's usually stoic sister wore a look of rage. And her gaze was fixed on the relatives squabbling over the succession.
  111.  
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  114.  
  115.  
  116. Koyoi and Doon had gotten clear of the slums.
  117. On their way, the pair had discovered a small church. Doon had shot Koyoi a look, signaling her to wait. As they had worked together many times before, he had no difficulty making his meaning understood.
  118. The front door stood slightly ajar. The light that seeped through the crack cast a long, thin beam on the church's wooden floor. Doon craned his neck to peer inside, and gasped. Then he quickly clapped a hand over his nose and mouth.
  119. The first thing he had sensed had been the odor of dense mana. An odor so thick and strong that the one wafting from the castle could not compare. Mana that was clearly emanating from within the church itself.
  120. His ears picked up faint sounds. He concentrated on his sense of hearing.
  121. "Aahn, ah, aaah.
  122. "Father, please, inside; in my womb.
  123. "Ngh. I love you, I love you, I love you!"
  124. A woman's voice. And, in the gaps between her cries, the sound of creaking wood, and a man's low moans.
  125. Doon withdrew his head so as not to make a sound, then turned to look at Koyoi, who questioned him worriedly. He shook his head without a word. She sighed. He had already started walking again, and she hurried to catch up to him.
  126. The bumps in the paving stones had grown fewer, and the clacking of the geta lighter. The houses had also gotten gradually newer and more beautiful, and eye-catching hues more plentiful. In the midst of them, Doon, running a few steps ahead of Koyoi, came to a sudden halt at a corner.
  127. "Everything's changed, but this place looks the same as ever," she heard him mutter.
  128. "What do you..." She started to ask, but then she followed his gaze and held her tongue. There hung a dingy signboard which read: "Doon & Finé, Armorers."
  129. The building had almost certainly once been a shop, but it was now deserted, and as rundown as its sign. Rot had made holes in the door, exposure to wind and rain had caused mold to grow on the window frames, and the walls were smeared with dust and mud.
  130. "The 'Doon' on the signboard would not happen to be..."
  131. "It is. I lived here, a long time ago. With my wife."
  132. So saying, her drew a small paper from his pocket. It was folded in two, and, when opened, was about the size of his palm.
  133. "She is a beautiful woman."
  134. It was a portrait of a woman probably in her early twenties, with traces of girlhood still visible in her face, drawn from the shoulders up. Her long, black hair was gathered above the nape of her neck. Her eyes were equally dark, with perfect double lids. Her bangs hung straight over her forehead. She was smiling faintly, but her features also betrayed a touch of nervousness at being in front of the artist. The portrait was so realistic that she seemed about to break free of the paper at any moment.
  135. "Yeah. She was the prettiest woman in the world."
  136. Doon's eyes were staring at something far away.
  137. "Was?" A woman's voice came from behind the pair.
  138. They turned around with identical speed, Doon readying his sword, and Koyoi her talismans. The only ones capable of retaining their reason in this place now were the Order's soldiers, mercenaries like themselves, and monsters. Their gazes fixed on a cemetery cloaked in an especially thick purple haze.
  139. Damn.
  140. It had slipped Koyoi's mind. She had overlooked that fact that monsters did not only attack from outside; they could also arise from within.
  141. Of course! The dead can rise, and become...!
  142. "Finé."
  143. Doon lowered his sword, and took a step forward. His gaze was fixed on a woman sitting atop a cross-shaped gravestone. Her long hair was gathered above the nape of her neck, her eyes had perfect double lids, and there was a smile on her face.
  144. "It's been a long time, Doon," the woman on the gravestone giggled. She brought a hand up under her chin, and crossed her legs. Her limbs were coated in a red film below the elbows and knees.
  145. What is this monster...? I've never seen her species in Zipangu...
  146. As legends of the dead returning were well known in Zipangu, funeral rites were prescribed to the smallest detail so as to prevent their revival. Even casual customs that the common people observed only because "it had always been done that way" were ancestral wisdom devised to send the dead definitively into the afterlife. As a result, Zipangu was poor in knowledge concerning undead varieties of monster girls.
  147. If Koyoi could learn the monster's species, she could devise some way of dealing with her. By the same token, however, she could not do anything unless she learned it. While Koyoi was considering how to act, something appeared between her and the monster to block her view.
  148. "Finé..."
  149. It was Doon. He advanced toward the monster with faltering steps, muttering her name over and over again.
  150. "No! Stop, Mr. Doon!"
  151. Koyoi tried to bring him to his senses, but something hard blocked her way.
  152. "I would thank you to mind your own business."
  153. There was obvious anger in the monster's voice. She thrust out a hand toward Koyoi. A glowing, violet magic circle stood out on her bright red palm.
  154. This spell!
  155. Koyoi ran her eyes over her surroundings. As she anticipated, dense mana was being expelled from the monster's palm to form a wall. The pale purple currents of mana extended from the monster's hand to the wall in front of Koyoi, and thence spread to the entire cemetery.
  156. How does she have such a vast quantity of mana...?
  157. Although her studies had concentrated on other fields, Koyoi had received a general knowledge of magic. In consequence, she was able to quickly notice that there was something off about the magic the monster in front of her was using. It was, in a word, too large-scale. Koyoi was able to estimate how much mana someone possessed just by looking at them. The monster of unknown species she now faced was using magic too strong for hers. Under normal circumstances, projecting a wall large enough to cover her own body a few centimeters from her outflung hand ought to be the most she was capable of.
  158. No sooner had Koyoi reached that conclusion, however, than she saw that the dense mana hovering over the cemetery was flowing into the monster's body.
  159. Of course! How foolish of me. It's different here!
  160. Mana that was of a high quality and purity, in addition to being exceptionally dense, was hanging over not only this cemetery, but over all of Lescatié. Thanks to that, as far as monsters — whose ability to absorb mana far exceeded humans' — were concerned, the whole area inside the ramparts was effectively a mana storage tank.
  161. "You can't do it, Koyoi."
  162. There was a sound of feet on soil. Doon had staggered from the paving stones into the cemetery grounds. His voice was calm.
  163. "I know now. Me, you, the Order forces; none of us can win against Finé, or any of the monsters in this country."
  164. His arms raised limply. He held them out to the monster who had been his wife.
  165. "Run, Koyoi. Run..."
  166. His voice was growing steadily softer and weaker.
  167. "Run. Run..."
  168. Those words could be called Doon's final display of paternal affection.
  169. Hurry and go, Koyoi! I'm already done for! You, at least, have to get away!
  170. His wife had returned from the dead. She was beckoning him with a face, voice, gestures that were just as they had been before. He had already succumbed to the seductive mana that accompanied them. But what little reason remained to him found its voice.
  171. His arms wrapped around the monster's back. Burying his face in her cleavage, he let out a deep sigh. It sounded full of relief, as if he had spit out all the unpleasantness that had accumulated inside him.
  172. "Hee hee hee."
  173. The monster smiled happily, and gently stroked his head with the hand that she was not pointing at Koyoi. The next instant, however, she looked straight ahead, and her face returned to its previous grim expression.
  174. "I do wish you would hurry up and leave. I can't hug him with one arm."
  175. A short while passed in silence. The women glared at each other.
  176. Koyoi was the first to move. She blinked hard once or twice. The tears that had collected in her lower eyelids formed drops, and rolled down her cheeks. Then she shut her eyes, and place a tightly-clenched fist on either side of her hips.
  177. "I appreciate all you've done for me, Mr. Doon!"
  178. She bent her spine in a deep bow to her mentor, who was facing away from her in the arms of the monster. Immediately afterward, she ran off across the paving stones, without a backwards glance at the cemetery. The road radiated from the center of the city. It was still a long way to the castle.
  179. Doon heard the clack of her geta behind him. He did not look back either. He had succumbed to the monster's temptation, and been corrupted. As Koyoi's senior in their profession, he could not bring himself to face her.
  180. "This is for the best."
  181. Finé, who had lifted the wall of mana, hugged her husband's body tight with both arms.
  182. "That girl will soon realize how wonderful it is to surrender yourself to the mana," she said, and placed her lips over Doon's.
  183.  
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  186.  
  187.  
  188. "Lady Tasogare is missing!"
  189. An attendant one of the branch houses had dispatched to wait on Tasogare shouted. It was three days after Tōtetsu's funeral.
  190. "Hey, Bunkichi's gone too," someone from the main house exclaimed during the search for Tasogare.
  191. It was true. The boy Bunkichi, Tasogare's closest attendant, had vanished along with her.
  192. "He can't have made off with Lady Tasogare, can he?"
  193. Bunkichi's family had the lowest status of all the branch houses. Even before Tōtetsu's passing, the people of the main house and the more prestigious branch houses had attached themselves to Shinonome or Koyoi. With, needless to say, the ulterior motive of getting in with the contenders for the next head of the clan. Shinonome, Koyoi, and Tasogare were all candidates, but everyone around them assumed that the position would go to one of the two older sisters. Consequently, the job of seeing to Tasogare's needs had been foisted on Bunkichi's low-ranking family.
  194. Naturally, the bulk of criticism was aimed at Bunkichi's family. His parents and siblings, who remained, were showered in verbal abuse by members of the other households.
  195. They're blaming everything on Bunkichi.
  196. Koyoi watched her own attendants mercilessly rebuking them with anger in her eyes. But she could not intervene. Three days ago, she had gone from being "Tōtetsu's granddaughter" to "potential head of the clan." Every move she made, every word she spoke, had come to represent the entire Amanomiya clan. She could not afford to base any action on superficial feelings.
  197. Little by little, her feelings of anger turned on herself, for watching without being able to act. She pursed her lips, and mentally apologized to Bunkichi's family.
  198. If I become head, I won't allow this sort of thing. I won't let this be the kind of family where anyone has to be sad.
  199. A short time later, a note in Tasogare's handwriting was found. A note scribbled on a spare practice talisman.
  200. "Everyone in the Amanomiya clan, and elder sisters: Please forgive an action that will dishonor the family name. I have acted solely on my own judgment; Bunkichi bears no responsibility. Please do not condemn him."
  201. When Koyoi read this letter, her mind turned to how Tasogare had looked on the day of the funeral. Her younger sister had been standing on the veranda and facing the garden, but her eyes had not been watching the pines planted there, or the carefully arranged white sand, or the carp swimming in the pond. She had seemed to Koyoi to be looking at somewhere else, somewhere far away.
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  205.  
  206.  
  207. Tasogare probably wanted to escape from the prison called Amanomiya.
  208. For the first time in her life, Koyoi had witnessed the moment a human was corrupted by a monster. Checking the spread of corruption and monsterization was one of a monster slayer's jobs. As a result, while she had seen humans who had already been corrupted, she had never seen the process.
  209. Doon, her mentor, had fallen to the resurrection of his deceased wife. Koyoi had never seen anyone with a will as strong as his. And he had been corrupted in an instant.
  210. Her teeth were still chattering with fear. In her heart of hearts, however, a longing toward corruption that was hard to resist had begun to appear.
  211. Is this how Tasogare felt before she ran away?
  212. After all this time, she was feeling sympathy for the younger sister she had not seen in years.
  213. When Koyoi extricated herself from the vortex of her thoughts, the gigantic castle gate had come into view. Massive and made of metal, it was so large that an ordinary house could pass through it without getting stuck. One look at it made Lescatié's enduring strength obvious.
  214. "When did I...?" She muttered. She had obeyed Doon and fled from the cemetery, but she did not remember which way she had run.
  215. The castle gate gaped open. It had abandoned its duty.
  216. Koyoi gulped audibly. She felt the air charged with violet mana, thick and thin, whispering to her to enter. The fear she had suppressed gradually rose again inside her. The root of the vast mana infesting Lescatié was inside. She must be an order of magnitude stronger than Finé. Koyoi felt certain that she could not win alone.
  217. But...
  218. She looked around her, but she could not see an enemy, let alone an ally. She could only hear sounds. Close sounds from the other side of the ramparts; distant ones from here and there in the residential areas. The voices of tens, hundreds of pairs of men and women crying out their love.
  219. "Aaaahh..."
  220. An especially loud, carnal cry in a woman's voice shook Koyoi's eardrums.
  221. "Come on, just a little more, and you can get free of what's holding you down. That's it."
  222. A different woman's voice. As soon as she heard it, Koyoi felt a chill run down her spine, making the hairs stand on end. And yet, it was certainly not unpleasant. Quite the opposite, in fact.
  223. What is this sensation?
  224. Koyoi was bewildered. It was as if her brain had been directly stimulated. It was the emotion called lust. No one who had experienced it before would ever mistake it. She, however, had spent her time in Zipangu training day in and day out, and since coming to this continent she had devoted herself to her work for the adventurers' guild. Her knowledge of sex was extremely limited. She did, however, know a way to cope with that sensation.
  225. It's because mana is trying to enter my body. So, if I do this...
  226. She took a talisman from her pocket. A new one, with nothing written on it. She held it between her middle and index fingers, and brought it to her mouth. She whispered words into the talisman that did not belong to Zipangu, or to this continent, or to anywhere in this world. Her voice was so faint that it was impossible to hear anything other than that she was whispering. She did not know who was on the other side of the ramparts, but the voice of a woman who still had her reason could only belong to an enemy.
  227. As her incantation rustled the talisman, deep black characters were being traced upon it. When Koyoi's lips stopped moving, the talisman was full from top to bottom with writing. She loosened her sash, and opened the front of her tightly-shut garment.
  228. She let out a short gasp. The intense mana directly touching her skin made the irritating sensation even stronger. She affixed the talisman in her hand to the spot without a moment's delay.
  229. The writing on the talisman glowed faintly, spreading from her belly to permeate her entire body. She let out a sigh. The dangerous sensation was quickly suppressed, and her thoughts grew cool. She flashed a faint smile at her success, but there was not much strength in it.
  230. This is no better than water on a hot stone. Still...
  231. The area was devoid of allies. That meant that the only one currently capable of fighting the ringleader — who was presumably inside the castle — was herself. She took deep breaths, and somehow managed to calm her heart beat, which had risen with fear and stress. Keeping her knees from trembling, Koyoi stepped over the threshold of the castle gate.
  232. Everything around you is meaningless noise and distractions! Concentrate; you have to look into the castle.
  233. She repeated the breathing techniques for refining mana that she had performed every day until she could no longer stand it when she had been in Zipangu. She was conscious of the sensation of the air she breathed in, wreathed in mana, building up in the point just below her belly button where she had just affixed the talisman. The mana remained in her body, and she breathed out only the air.
  234. The Amanomiya clan had learned, through long years of training and research, that women's ability to generate mana within themselves was less than men's. And that, conversely, women were more proficient than men at absorbing mana from outside themselves.
  235. As I thought, the quantity and quality of mana here is on another level.
  236. She sensed that the mana flowing into her was amassing an order of magnitude higher than usual, and with an order of magnitude less waste. Still, it was so dense that even an untrained commoner could see its color with their naked eyes. She did not know that drawing in mana from outside herself here in Lescatié, which was blanketed in the stuff, would backfire. The point below her navel where she was storing that mana was used in meditation. It was also her womb.
  237. "Come now, surrender yourself to pleasure."
  238. She walked along a well-maintained, milky-white gravel path. This was the enemy's stronghold; there was no telling when she would be attacked. She would have to proceed quickly, but also stealthily.
  239. Talismans imbued with sound-dampening magic were affixed between the two wooden teeth of Koyoi's geta. She sent a small portion of the mana stored behind her navel down her legs to them. The writing on the talismans flashed white for an instant, and the sounds of her steps on the gravel completely disappeared.
  240. "That's right. That's the way to release the chains around your heart. Once you've done that, you can be free."
  241. Free.
  242. Her mind, cleared by meditation, became suddenly disturbed. Every time Koyoi heard the woman's voice, it disarranged her thoughts.
  243. "Your head's buzzing, and your bottom feels itchy, right? Right now, your heart is trying to break free of the heavy burden of humanity."
  244. Burden.
  245. Koyoi thought back. Her own life had been nothing but burdens. The burden of being Amanomiya. The burden of being in line to become head of the clan. Burdens heaped on her from all sides. And, as if to match their weight, she had kept as quiet as a stone.
  246. "Your eyes still look a little frightened. It's alright. All a monster has to do is be with a man she likes. She doesn't need anything else. A world just for two."
  247. A man?
  248. She had almost no direct experience of the opposite sex. She had her older and younger sisters, and since she was very young she had spent her days cooped up in the mountains, enduring her grandfather's harsh training. Apparently her betrothal had been decided in her infancy, but she did not know the face, the voice, or even the name of her fiance. After Tōtetsu's passing, the faction of her relatives that had schemed to make her head of the clan had scrutinized her life day and night. She had not even been able to go outside as she pleased.
  249. Doon's face rose in her mind.
  250. He was... different, she decided. She had not seen Doon as an object of romantic love. When he had fallen to Finé, she had felt frustrated that she had not been able to protect him from the monster, but also, for some reason, that everything had fit perfectly into place. Things had returned to the way they ought to be. Nothing could be more fitting.
  251. "Now, call your beloved's name."
  252. "Aah, ah, Bunkichi, Bunkichi...."
  253. Koyoi stopped in her tracks. Eyes wide with shock, she turned her head in the direction the voice had come from.
  254. To her right, on the other side of the hedges planted so as to line the gravel path that stretched from the castle gate, was a channel about twice as wide as she was tall. Beyond that was a garden. In its center were three figures.
  255. One was a monster. She wore a reddish-purple garment that liberally exposed the pale purple skin of her breasts, belly, and thighs. Her hair was long and pale. A pair of wings and a tail, the same shade as her hair, sprouted from just above her equally exposed buttocks. Black and red eyes. Pointed ears. Horns on her head.
  256. One was a man. He wore a black robe, in the style of Zipangu, but his sash was undone, and his belly exposed to the outside air. Beside him lay a pair of straw sandals, presumably his. Occasional shudders shook his lower body, on which he wore nothing but socks. Relaxation and tension alternated on his face.
  257. The last was a woman. Her robe was orange, and also in the Zipanguese style. She was straddling the man's crotch, and pumping her hips up and down. Her face was flushed, and her eyes vacant. Saliva dripped from her slovenly opened mouth. Her lovely hair was cut short, for a woman. From it sprouted the ears of an animal, the same orange as her kimono.
  258. Koyoi recognized them, except for the monster. She could not forget the pair that not only she, but her entire extended family, had been trying to find for years.
  259. "Tasogare!"
  260. Concentrating mana into her lower body, Koyoi leapt. She crossed the hedges and the channel in a single bound, tracks of purplish red light trailing behind her geta.
  261. Why? What is Tasogare doing in a place like this?
  262. Her head was full of question marks. She rushed to Tasogare without knowing what she was doing.
  263. The monster glanced at the ghastly look on Koyoi's face, but quickly returned her attention to Tasogare. An instant later, there was a sound like something bouncing off a wall, and Koyoi froze.
  264. This is the same as in the cemetery!
  265. A pale violet sphere, about six meters in diameter, was spread around the trio. That was what had stopped Koyoi. No sooner had she realized that than she sensed that the monster in front of her was the very enemy she had come to defeat — the enemy leader.
  266. This monster created a barrier like this instantly, without any incantations or tools...
  267. She took a step back from the wall, and drew several talismans from a pocket. Seeing that, the monster suddenly smiled.
  268. "You're really something, making it this far safely."
  269. She shot Koyoi a sidelong glance. On the other side, the monster stroked Tasogare's head with her left hand. Tasogare narrowed her eyes and made a delighted purring noise in her throat.
  270. The monster was touching her sister. Koyoi bared her teeth in open hostility.
  271. "Tee hee hee. This girl must mean a lot to you."
  272. Koyoi's face would likely have terrified an ordinary monster to the point that they were covered in gooseflesh, but the monster did not even change her expression. Still smiling, she watched Koyoi affectionately.
  273. "I have a feeling that this won't be the end of our relationship."
  274. The monster flashed her teeth in a smile, and raised the index finger of her right hand, as if she had just had an idea.
  275. "Why don't we introduce ourselves?"
  276. The monster's pleasantries stuck out like a sore thumb. Koyoi's expression grew increasingly severe.
  277. "I'll do no such thing!"
  278. "My name is Deruella."
  279. Deruella went on introducing herself as if she could not hear Koyoi.
  280. "A daughter of the Overlord, and the ringleader behind what's happened to Lescatié."
  281. All expression vanished from Koyoi's face. Concentrating on circulating the mana accumulated in her belly throughout her body did not allow her the luxury of forming one.
  282. "Impressive."
  283. Deruella watched the shining mana circulate. Lines of light flowed efficiently to the ends of her limbs, and thence to the talismans she held in her hands. Aside from Koyoi, she had seen only one human capable of utilizing mana so skillfully. And that one had already fallen into the domain of monsters, and seemed quite enchanted with it.
  284. I'm certain this girl will make a wonderful monster.
  285. At the thought of Koyoi's future — squeezing essence from the man she loved, her face melting with pleasure — Deruella experienced a love almost like a mother's for her child.
  286. "Now, would you please tell me your name?" Deruella asked, but Koyoi did not answer. She was surveying the wall that separated her from Deruella, and from her sister, in search of a spot where the mana was weak.
  287. Shaping a vague, fluid thing like mana into a wall meant that its thickness would necessarily become unstable. Especially now, when it was possible to perceive the mana with her naked eyes, it would be easily possible to judge the thickness of the barrier by the concentration of color.
  288. Before long, however, Koyoi gave up.
  289. This thing is already beyond questions of thick or thin...
  290. The quality of the wall of mana Deruella had created was on another level from Finé's. In fact, it was probably better described as a true sphere than as a wall. Koyoi realized that it was constructed so that only the outer surface of the sphere was solid, but all the space inside it was also filled with mana.
  291. "Well, alright," Deruella sighed, "I'm sure we'll see each other again soon. Let's have a nice, long talk then."
  292. So saying, Deruella removed her hand from Tasogare's head, and took a step backward.
  293. "Wait! I won't let you get away!"
  294. Koyoi hurled three talismans at Deruella, who had left the mana dome. They flew true at the monster's eyes, heart, and feet, faster than the eye could catch. Every one of them, however, was struck out of the air by Deruella's tail.
  295. The talismans had been so powerful that one touch of them would have paralyzed an ordinary monster and brought them to their knees. The monster before Koyoi's eyes, however, had made short work of them with just her tail.
  296. "This is still just the entrance, you know?"
  297. Deruella spread her wings, and her feet left the ground.
  298. "Fighting in a place like this just isn't exciting. I suppose this sort of thing really does have to be done all the way inside," Deruella laughed obscenely, making a circle with the fingers of her right hand, and passing her left index finger in and out of it.
  299. "Well then, I'll be waiting for you in the throne room. Bye-bye."
  300. Deruella leisurely floated up, passed through the castle wall, and disappeared from sight. Koyoi still clutched her talismans, but all she could do was grind her teeth in frustration.
  301. She turned her back to me, but she still never left herself open...
  302. "Ooh, ah."
  303. Bunkichi, still straddled by Tasogare, let out a cry that sounded like it had been wrung from his throat. Koyoi turned her attention to him. He shuddered two or three times.
  304. "Aaah. You came... You came for me..." Tasogare whispered happily, and sighed with contentment.
  305. The low rumble emanating from her body grew louder. The part behind her hips swelled, and something long and thin peeked out below the hem of her torn kimono. It was a pair of orange and white-spotted tails. The two cat tails were growing as Koyoi watched, like plants budding in the spring sunshine. They dragged up the hem of Tasogare's kimono, exposing her lower body.
  306. Koyoi instinctively averted her eyes. Bunkichi's penis was lodged in Tasogare's vagina. Koyoi lacked the knowledge to recognize it, but Bunkichi's testicles were twitching up and down. A long, long ejaculation. Tasogare was using the rise and fall of her hips and the wave-like contractions of her vagina to savor what leaked out with each upward spasm.
  307. When her tails had finished growing, the transformation moved to her hands and feet. The same pattern of white and orange spots as on her tail appeared on her arms below the elbows, and her legs below the knees. Fur grew, covering the skin, which it seemed to split. Her fingers fused into a lump, then rapidly metamorphosed into fur-covered cat's paws.
  308. "Aaah, meooohh."
  309. She raised her face, and let out a caterwaul of joy.
  310. Opening her eyelids, Tasogare basked in the pink and purple-tinted rays of monster realm sunshine. Her pupils, now vertical slits, contracted, reducing the amount of light that entered her eyes. Then, for the first time, she realized that her elder sister was just on the other side of the barrier.
  311. "Sister...?"
  312. A monster slayer must be merciless.
  313. Koyoi recalled what their grandfather had once told her.
  314. Those fascinated by monsters will inevitably cause harm to the humans close to them.
  315. Koyoi grit her teeth.
  316. A monster's fascination is a sickness.
  317. "To treat it..."
  318. You must either isolate them, or dispose of them.
  319. She affixed a talisman to her right palm, then spread the hand open and held it high over her head, as if displaying it to the sky. The writing on the talisman shone. A moment later, it turned to ash and spread into a sphere. Each particle of ash sucked in mana from the surrounding air. The sphere glowed faintly violet, and expanded. When its diameter was roughly equal to her height, the sphere's growth halted. Its purple hue melted like heated glass, and formed into patterns.
  320. This was the secret culmination of Koyoi's skill — a technique for destroying a monster by slamming a massive quantity of mana into them, and forcing their body to take in more than it could absorb.
  321. Tasogare took no action; she just continued to stare at it. As she was also an Amanomiya, she soon realized what her sister intended to do. But she said nothing. She neither begged for her life, nor hurled curses. She only smiled, and shed tears. Understanding everything, she smiled at her elder sister.
  322.  
  323.  
  324. ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊
  325.  
  326.  
  327. "Sister! Sister!"
  328. Koyoi's attendants desperately struggled to restrain her from running to Shinonome.
  329. Half a year had passed since Tasogare's disappearance. It was just before sunrise, and the first fingers of dawn colored the sky.
  330. Someone had made an attempt on the life of Koyoi's elder sister, Shinonome. The culprit apparently commanded flames, and had attacked her in her sleep. Shinonome had noticed something was out of the ordinary before the attack, and managed to wake in time to evade it. But the would-be assassin's spell had been potent; although Shinonome had cast a defensive spell of her own, both her arms had been burned, and the force of the blast had smashed her into the wall of her room, knocking her unconscious. The people of the household had noticed the noise, and found her collapsed.
  331. Shinonome's life was in no danger, but the burns she had sustained on both arms would leave scars.
  332. "Who was it!? Who attacked my sister!?"
  333. Koyoi vented her anger on her attendants, shouting in an uncharacteristically loud voice.
  334. In the Amanomiya clan, it was usual for even those who trained in the same place to study different subjects. This was so that a master could gauge the quality of their disciples' mana, and teach each one what they were best suited to handle. The same held true even for candidates to become the next head of the clan.
  335. Koyoi's training had focused on large-scale, highly destructive techniques specialized for offense. Shinonome, in contrast, had studied defensive spells and small-scale techniques that supposed a one-on-one confrontation. Koyoi herself was low in aggression and rarely angry. Her personality and magical potential were at odds with each other.
  336. This difference in techniques was a large part of what had split the Amanomiya clan in two. Those who had trained in the offensive arts assembled under Koyoi, and the users of defensive spells under Shinonome.
  337. Therefore, someone capable of breaching — even partially — the defenses of a practitioner on the level of Shinonome, who had trained directly under the previous head, could only be found among Koyoi's party.
  338. Koyoi surveyed the faces of her followers. Every one of them averted their eyes, hung their head, or otherwise failed to meet her gaze.
  339. So that's how it is.
  340. Seeing their attitudes, Koyoi understood. Only one of them had done it, but every one of them knew who it was. And they had deliberately refrained from stopping that one, or from informing Koyoi. Koyoi accepted that the fault lay not with them, but with herself.
  341. It's my responsibility. A chief must know what is in her followers' hearts. But I...
  342. She was surprised to find her sister's attitude completely unchanged. She showed no worry or weakness to those around her. Koyoi pondered the contrast with her own angry shouting.
  343. I lack the capacity to be head...
  344. She had failed to control her followers, and injured her sister. She was not qualified to lead the clan. She could no longer face her sister, either. Shutting herself up in her room, asking and answering her own questions over and over again, Koyoi only sank deeper into the morass of her own thoughts.
  345. A week after the incident, she fled the Amanomiya clan alone, without a word to anyone.
  346.  
  347.  
  348. ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊
  349.  
  350.  
  351. Koyoi swung to the left, breaking the stare she had exchanged with Tasogare. Then, without a backward glance at her sister, she ran into the castle.
  352. Why? Why? Why didn't I kill her!? Koyoi asked herself as she raced along the corridors. The sound of her footsteps was barely audible, absorbed by the thick, wine red carpet.
  353. She did not delay her preparations to pursue Deruella. She withdrew a fresh talisman from her pouch, and chanted an incantation. The writing on it shone, then it left her hand and moved of its own accord, floating ahead of her. This talisman performed a similar function to a tracking dog. Instead of scent, it remembered, and pursued, the mana emitted by its target. Deruella's mana was distinctive; it would not mistake it.
  354. Koyoi followed the talisman with her eyes. Her feet never stopped running, but the rest of her brain's capabilities were spent on self-questioning.
  355. What am I doing!? Didn't I swear before taking this job that I would stake the pride of the monster slayers — of the Amanomiya — on this!?
  356. As long as Koyoi had sworn to bear her clan's burden, she had to keep to their teachings. The teachings of the clan were the teachings of its head.
  357. I have to either isolate or kill anyone taken by the monsters! Especially if they're my own kin.
  358. If she had faced a stranger, it would not have been a problem. The mere fact of being watched by an Amanomiya would cause an ordinary monster to cease any conspicuous activity. Against a monster who had been a member of the clan, however, she had been firmly instructed to employ severe punishment.
  359. If one of her kin became a monster, they were finished the instant they stood out. There was no greater shame than for a monster slayer to fall, and become a monster themselves. Tōtetsu had stressed that to Koyoi repeatedly.
  360. But...
  361. Koyoi could not bring herself to kill her younger sister. That final smile Tasogare had shown her was likely the main reason for that. Tasogare had looked truly happy in her sister's eyes. She had never looked like that when she was with the Amanomiya. Even her elder sisters, who must have been with her most, had never seen her look like that.
  362. Was I jealous of Tasogare...? Jealous of her becoming a monster? Because she looked happy?
  363. Her mind had been full of exclamation points, but now question marks began to supersede them.
  364. Is becoming a monster such a good thing? Does it make you happy enough to make a face like that? Was that smile genuine?
  365. The talisman halted. The glow of the writing slowly faded and it fell, powerless, to the floor. It had fulfilled its purpose.
  366. This is the enemy's stronghold.
  367. A wooden door, almost the same size as the castle gate, stood before Koyoi. She gulped audibly. Even through the door, she felt practically crushed by the mana hanging in the air.
  368. Enough. If I don't control my feelings...
  369. She pressed a hand over her racing heart, and breathed to refine mana. The wasted mana that she had allowed to escape her body in her excitement was pushed back against the surface of her body, and absorbed through her skin.
  370. Next, she put her hands on her belly — on the monster mana-suppressing charm. The talisman was radiating so much heat that she could feel the warmth through her clothes.
  371. Alright, I'll be fine. I'll be fine. I'll be fine...
  372. Struggling to convince herself, she put a hand on the door and pushed.
  373. The door swung inward with a grating sound, and a lightness that belied its size. Clinging, visible mana overflowed through the crack.
  374. The first thing Koyoi felt was the overpowering tactile sensation of that mana. Mana was normally invisible to the naked eye. In Lescatié, however, common sense did not apply. Still, to Koyoi, who had spent her days facing mana as a monster slayer, mana with a color was not such a rare sight.
  375. Koyoi's earliest memories were her days of training, with nothing in sight except the hut where she slept. Due the unimaginable months and years that generations of her ancestors had spent training day in and day out in that field, its ground was always blanketed in a white haze of mana.
  376. Mana with a texture, however, was a novel experience.
  377. She breathed deeply in a further effort to calm her feelings. With each breath, a sensation like vegetable gelatin made even softer ran down her windpipe. She grimaced.
  378. The next thing she sensed was a sickly-sweet odor. A number of different sweet scents, like fruits boiled down into concentrates, came wafting to her. She remembered an orchard in the southern region of the continent, which she had come to when she had only just fled the Amanomiya, and did not yet know her way about.
  379. After that, sound. It sounded like a chorus, rising ever higher and higher. After a few steps, Koyoi was able to make out the particulars. It was women's voices. Deep inside, in the same place that the smells emanated from, the voices of several women overlapped.
  380. Koyoi advanced, one stepped at a time so as to make sure of the floor, talismans at the ready. As she closed the distance to the inner chamber, a black silhouette rose up in her vision, which had been a uniform field of violet.
  381. She did not know what it was at first. It formed complicated angles, swaying forward and back, or possibly right and left. When she managed to discern color in what had seemed a mass of black, she finally realized what she was seeing.
  382. It was several monsters and one human, naked and intertwined.
  383. The human man was seated, stark naked, on the tall-backed, gold and jewel-encrusted throne, where once only the king had been permitted to sit. A number of monster girls were wrapped around him, freely exposing bodies so flawless that they might have escaped the world of a painting. One of them was straddling his hips, vigorously shaking her own up and down. Her face was turned skyward, her mouth gaped open, and her pants were practically shouts. Her hair was purple and formed distinctive vertical rolls.
  384. Her Highness...!
  385. Koyoi recognized her. She was one of the members of the royal family who had been listed as targets for rescue and protection at the meeting the night before storming the city. Francisca Mistel Lescatié.
  386. Another woman was kissing the man's lips. Sitting in the gap between him and the princess, she had her arms wrapped around his head, and was wholeheartedly sucking on his mouth. She had pink hair, and appeared far too young to have any sexual knowledge at all.
  387. Two more monsters had their mouths close to his ears, one on each side. A gray haired, strong willed-looking monster with an eye patch was at his right ear. Her lower body was that of a snake, rather than a human, and was knotted tightly about the man's torso, the throne, and her own body. The other was a woman with long, blue-green hair. In stark contrast to the monster across from her, her features gave a gentle impression. Both of their faces were as rapt as could be as they stuck their tongues into the man's ears, sucking and clinging to them. From time to time they withdrew their tongues, whispered something, and narrowed their eyes in ecstasy.
  388. There were four monsters beside the throne.
  389. Two of them were girls even younger than the monster exchanging kisses with the man. They alternated between squabbling to lick the white fluid that spattered their bodies off each other, and twining their tongues together to gulp it down.
  390. One was a girl with short, blue hair lying senseless on the floor. Little spasms ran through her whole body. Her feet were facing Koyoi, displaying her lightly-furred sex to Koyoi's view. A large volume of white goo burbled out from between its clean lines with each breath she took. Koyoi could not see her whole face, but she was able to note her lips, parted in a joyful grin.
  391. The last was kneeling and staring at Koyoi. She looked bored. Her arms and legs, like Tasogare's, ended in animal fur and claws. Her green hair was gathered on either side of her head. She was staring straight ahead with her chin resting on her right hand, which in turn rested on her raised right knee. While the other monsters were besotted with intercourse, she alone watched Koyoi with a clear head. The animal ears that sprouted from her head were twitching up and down.
  392. This is bad!
  393. The talisman Koyoi hurled shone, and in the same instant a sinister, black arrow flew from the bow that the monster had readied faster than the eye could follow. Koyoi focused the explosive magical energy that was her specialty into a single point and stopped the speeding shaft just in front of her. There was a roar like thunder, the monster's arrow went flying over Koyoi's right shoulder, and struck the floor with a dry clatter.
  394. Koyoi speedily flexed her right elbow, and a talisman flew from her sleeve. She caught it between her fingers. Talismans were disposable, ceasing to burn after a single spell, so she had to keep fresh ones to hand at all times.
  395. At the same time, the monster was materializing an arrow from her right palm and pulling her bowstring taut.
  396. Silence flowed between the two. The previous exchange had taught both of them that they employed similar methods of attack. Once they fired one shot, they would need time to prepare another. Even if that only took an instant, it would create an opening.
  397. Whoever makes the first move, loses, they both thought.
  398. "That's quite enough of that."
  399. A voice broke the tension. Its tone — cheerful, although it coiled stickily about the eardrums — sounded awfully out of place.
  400. Koyoi's mental strain dissolved. Her body, in contrast, went rigid. The owner of the voice had embraced her tightly from behind.
  401. "Lady Deruella..."
  402. The monster lowered her bow and arrows, and abandoned her posture of vigilance.
  403. "You mustn't do that sort of thing, Primera. I mean," Deruella, the cause of all of this, circled an arm around Koyoi's waist, and gently stroked Koyoi's chin with her right index finger, "we're going to make this girl one of your friends."
  404. "I, I'd never— Ah!"
  405. Koyoi's vigorous disagreement was cut short by an unexpected sensation. Before she knew it, her sash had been undone, and Deruella's hand had snaked its way down to her loins.
  406. "Wha, what are you—"
  407. Koyoi learned what the monster behind her was about to begin through her body before she could finish the question in words.
  408. "Ooooh!"
  409. She threw her head back and screamed. A scream not of pain, but of pleasure.
  410. Deruella's fingers moved quickly, and as precisely as if they had eyes of their own. Koyoi's undergarments were a sort of time-honored Zipanguese loincloth called a fundoshi — an article Deruella had never so much as set eyes on before. And yet, through some exceptional sense for all things sexual, she removed it with the greatest of ease. Koyoi's underclothes fell to the floor with a light thud. Then, quick as lightning, Deruella's fingers approached her privates.
  411. Koyoi had cried out because Deruella had flicked her clitoris.
  412. "Haa, haa. What, what is...?"
  413. The sensation was momentary, but it was sufficient to weaken Koyoi, who lacked any such experience. The strength went out of her body, and she ended up surrendering herself to Deruella in spite of herself.
  414. "Hee hee. Didn't that feel lovely? You know, those girls are always doing things like this," Deruella whispered in Koyoi's ear, gently stroking the tip of Koyoi's chin with her index finger. "Always touching their precious places, like this."
  415. Deruella squeezed Koyoi's clitoris between two fingers, and rubbed them together.
  416. Koyoi panted, quivering all over.
  417. What is this feeling...? My hips are tingling, and my mind's going blank...
  418. She almost abandoned herself to the pleasure, but soon rallied with a shake of her head.
  419. No! What am I thinking? The foe I must defeat is right behind me! This is a golden opportunity!
  420. New strength flowed into her limp arms. She bent her elbow, and then shot her arms out to fire talismans.
  421. "No more of that."
  422. Before Koyoi knew what was happening, Deruella had released her body, and rested an index finger on each of her outstretched arms. Then, faster than the eye could follow, she drew patterns on them.
  423. "Ah, aah..."
  424. When Koyoi's arms had been marked with something like dark violet ink from the wrists up, they dangled limply in obedience to gravity.
  425. "You don't have to do that sort of thing anymore."
  426. Deruella rested a hand on Koyoi's head and stroked it gently.
  427. "I doubt you'll believe me... but I didn't come here because I wanted to fight you or the Order. I only..."
  428. Deruella fell silent for a moment.
  429. "Well, my methods might be excessive, but I just want to make friends with humans."
  430. At some point, without Koyoi noticing, the cries of pleasure that resounded in the throne room had vanished. The monsters and the man were staring at Koyoi, some standing, some sitting. She could sense no animosity from them. Even the wolf monster Koyoi had exchanged blows with a moment before was watching her apologetically, her ears drooping.
  431. "You expect me to believe that...?" Koyoi shouted. She had to wring the voice from her throat, and it came out sounding hoarse. Although she had made her rebuttal for the time being, even she knew that she was just putting up a bold front.
  432. If she had arrived here without incident, she would never have believed Deruella's excuses. She had spent her life training to repulse monsters, and being taught that all monsters were the enemy. But she saw her monsterized sister's joyous smile. Overlaying her body with that of the man she loved best in the world, Tasogare had felt the greatest possible happiness.
  433. "I mean, it might be, but..."
  434. Anyone who heard her could tell that the force behind her words was lessening.
  435. "You see, I believe that if humans all become monsters, there will be no more fighting."
  436. Deruella hugged Koyoi with both arms, slipping her right hand into Koyoi's kimono.
  437. "Although of course, the Order and their hired soldiers, like you, are still resisting..."
  438. Deruella's soft chest pressed against Koyoi's back.
  439. "But they're just afraid to change. You've felt that way before, haven't you?"
  440. Koyoi thought back. Due to Tōtetsu's death, the eyes of the people around her had changed. When she had fled the Amanomiya, and when she had arrived on the continent, her environment had changed. Because she had knocked on the door of the adventurers' guild, and gotten to know Doon and his comrades, her relationships with people had changed. Many times, Koyoi had been frightened to place herself in a different environment.
  441. "But once you did make the change, it was less painful than you thought — in fact, it was fun — right?"
  442. She had left home, and seen the ocean for the first time. She had boarded a ship, drunk grape wine for the first time, and had a rough time of it. On the continent, everything from the air to the food had been different. When she had helped people in trouble, the townspeople had thanked her from the bottom of their hearts. The numerous adventures she had gone on with Doon.
  443. "Becoming a monster is like that. It feels good, and it's fun, and, most importantly, every day is happiness. Come on, wouldn't you like to give it a try?"
  444. "Aah... Ooh..."
  445. Koyoi was troubled for an answer. What should she do? Should she change? She still had doubts.
  446. Deruella stretched a hand to Koyoi's belly and stroked her bare skin. When she encountered the talisman affixed to it, she smoothly ran her index finger along it.
  447. "You know, ordinarily, you would have started becoming a monster the moment you entered the castle?"
  448. Her finger lifted the edge of the talisman. She peeled the adhesive paper from the skin, and just a little of the talisman peeled loose.
  449. "You can stay human right now thanks to this talisman. If I peel this off, you can become a monster right away."
  450. "Right away...?"
  451. Koyoi just absentmindedly repeated Deruella's words.
  452. "Yes, right away. There's nothing to be afraid of. All you need to do is relax, and leave everything to me."
  453. The mana Deruella naturally emitted was steadily reducing Koyoi's ability to think. She no longer had the rational ability to interrupt her words, or to resist. Her sister's smiling face, still lodged in her mind, returned even more vivid than before. And with it, Deruella's assertion that conflict would cease.
  454. If there was no more fighting, Shinonome, and Tasogare, and I could all get along. No one in our family would hurt each other anymore.
  455. Deruella's right hand gently took charge of Koyoi's limp arm.
  456. I've had enough of fighting and hurting. Even with monsters.
  457. "I will."
  458. Her lips moved faintly.
  459. "I'll become a monster. I'm tired of fighting..."
  460. "It's alright. It's alright now. You don't have to wear yourself out fighting anymore."
  461. Deruella's right hand moved. It tugged on the talisman and peeled it off Koyoi's skin.
  462. Koyoi moaned. As the talisman came off, heat welled up from deep within her loins. It was not painful; it was, on the contrary, a calming warmth.
  463. Half of the talisman was peeled off, then three quarters, then, at last, it was completely separated from her skin.
  464. "Aaahh!"
  465. Her whole body went rigid, her back arched. The heat accumulated in Koyoi's womb raced through her along with the mana.
  466. "Ooooh!"
  467. Next she pitched forward, clutching her own belly. She felt the heat flowing as viscous fluid out of the only exit available to it — her vulva.
  468. "Aaah, oooh, nngh!"
  469. Pleasure thrilled through her like electric current, making her whole body give little spasms. At last it concentrated in her lower abdomen, and she collapsed to all fours. Only her hips moved, shuddering up and down invitingly.
  470. "Haa, haa..."
  471. Her body had been overwhelmed by violent pleasure, but now she began to try to accept it. Koyoi's body was twitching, but a joyful smile filled her face.
  472. "Haa... Aah..."
  473. She was only breathing, but even that felt pleasurable to Koyoi, now that she had fully accepted the mana. The mana-infused air caressed her windpipe, and the pleasant feeling built up in her lungs.
  474. No, this isn't good... Just rubbing against my kimono is making my whole body tingle...
  475. Her body reacted to influx of pleasure, and that reaction lead to yet more pleasure. Koyoi was a perpetual motion machine, recycling her pleasure and her response to it. With each cycle, the sensation she received increased. It quickly exceeded her limits.
  476. "Aahn! Something's, something's coming! It's coming!"
  477. Entrusting her upper body to the floor, her nails digging into the carpet in search of help, and her bottom raised high in the air, Koyoi approached the first climax of her life. Cloudy fluid gurgled out of her vagina, which she had yet to take anything inside.
  478. "Are you alright?"
  479. A voice called out from above her. Koyoi raised her head, still feeling the afterglow of her orgasm. The man, concerned for Koyoi, had risen from the throne and walked over to her.
  480. "Haa, ah, haa..."
  481. Her lips and throat were quivering, and she could barely speak. Instead, she answered him by making a smile.
  482. "Elt," the man said. Koyoi did not understand what that was. Perhaps the man sensed that, because he quickly added:
  483. "That's my name. I'm called Elt."
  484. "Elt..."
  485. She repeated his name so as to carve it into her memory. Her loins throbbed.
  486. "And your name is...?" Elt asked.
  487. "Oh, ah, my name is... Koyoi. Amanomiya Koyoi."
  488. "Koyoi..."
  489. As Elt spoke her name, two of the monsters behind him swiftly rose. One was the blue-haired girl, and the other was the pink-haired child. The Amanomiya name was known even on this continent, although only slightly. Both had heard of the clan, the former as warriors who drove off monsters in the far east, the latter as a line of skilled magicians across the sea.
  490. "Mary, Mimiru, wait."
  491. Elt raised his right hand. He had sensed who was about to do what from just the sounds and movements of air behind him.
  492. "It's fine. She doesn't want to fight."
  493. The pair obediently lowered their weapons. The weapons sunk into the floor, and soon vanished from sight.
  494. "Here. Can you stand?"
  495. As he spoke, he extended a hand in front of her. The violet mana-mist cleared, and his whole, unobstructed figure entered her view.
  496. Flaming red hair. A smiling face so fresh it seemed out of place. There were still traces of boyhood in it. He did not seem at all like someone who had just been displaying blazing vigor while being waited on by a group of monsters. His frame was lean but muscular; a figure without waste. Perhaps he earned his living by the sword. And, looming largest in Koyoi's view, was his penis.
  497. It pointed heavenward, defying gravity. It was slightly darker than the rest of his skin, and, because he had just been engaged in intercourse, it glistened wetly. A pink flush lingered on its tip, and its veins stood out blue.
  498. With her gaze still fixed on it, Koyoi cleared her throat.
  499. "Uh, umm, I'm sorry to make you see that."
  500. Elt gave a wry grin, and moved to cover it with his hand.
  501. "No."
  502. Koyoi, who had been slow to respond until that moment, quickly stopped that hand.
  503. "That is, I don't mind, so... just a little longer."
  504. She stared at his penis like she was trying to bore a hole in it with her eyes. She breathed deep, so focused on her vision that she even forgot to blink. Koyoi's cheeks reddened. The corners of her eyes drooped, and her pupils began to dilate.
  505. I don't know why, but when I look at this, I get hot, deep in my belly...
  506. She was not conscious of it, but her mouth was wide open. Her tongue was lolling out, and her breath came in pants.
  507. If I put this inside me, throbbing like this, I'm sure something incredible would...
  508. The mana had reached her brain. Despite her lack of experience, sexual thoughts came naturally to her.
  509. But, I feel like something's missing. Something, something...
  510. Something was lacking. Something would not fit. As she watched the twitching prick, Koyoi pondered. Then, a few beats later, it hit her:
  511. Of course. If I want to get it in me, I've got to make it slippery first.
  512. She put strength into her lolling tongue, and moved her face closer. His glans was right under her nose. She bent her tongue up, and tickled his urethra with the tip.
  513. Elt's face twisted, and he let out a groan.
  514. Aah, he looks like he feels good.
  515. He was enjoying what she was doing. That made her enjoy it too. She wanted to do more, to do more for him, to make him enjoy it more.
  516. "Aahmph."
  517. She held his glans in her mouth, and pressed her tongue against the tip. Then her lips hooked on the base of his glans, and, with wet, slurping sounds, she used her entire tongue to lick around his head.
  518. "Aaah. That's good."
  519. This time he clearly expressed his enjoyment. Koyoi narrowed her eyes in a smile at the unaffected praise.
  520. "Ooh, this is..."
  521. Around the time Koyoi's lips began to slide back and forth around the base of his glans, the other monsters gathered round the pair. Their eyes sparkled with interest. It was their first time seeing a mana-infected virgin employ proficient technique. Naturally, as they had been virgins until offering their monsterized bodies to Elt, they had been down the same road themselves. Because their heads had been full of themselves and their beloved Elt at the time, however, they had not objectively understood how they had become monsters.
  522. With more wet slurping, Koyoi was taking Elt's penis deeper inside her. Time and again his head struck her throat. Koyoi's mind grew dimmer with each impact.
  523. Aah, this rugged touch feels so good...
  524. Her lids were half lowered, and her eyes were clouded with lust. Now that she had been dominated by mana, even stimuli that she would ordinarily have found painful were converted to pleasure.
  525. Elt gave a moan, then a long sigh. He had just accompanied eight monster girls in repeated sexual intercourse without a rest, but that had not rendered him insensitive to pleasure. Becoming an incubus meant a dramatic increase in stamina, to the point that he could stand up to even several days of continuous sex. The intensity of his pleasure and desire, however, were much the same as when he had been human.
  526. Koyoi might be clumsy due to it being her first experience, but she was unconsciously unleashing technique rooted in monster instincts. It was gentle compared to Elt's wives, who had become full monsters, but it had been only a few days since he lost his virginity, and Koyoi's fellatio felt more than good enough.
  527. "Ooh, Koyoi, I'm... cumming."
  528. "Coming"? What is...?
  529. "Nngh!"
  530. Koyoi was still wondering when she experienced the answer firsthand. As his member lodged deep in her throat, and she tried to gulp down her drool and his precum, Koyoi's throat tightened. That became the finishing blow, and Elt ejaculated. His testicles pulsed, and each pulse released a large volume of semen.
  531. "Ngh! Mmm? Ulp."
  532. Koyoi's eyes widened in surprise. Despite her confusion, however, she poured it all into her stomach without spilling a drop. The other monster girls watched her enviously.
  533. What is this? I'm gulping it down without thinking, but...
  534. An instant later, a chill ran through her whole body, and with it came intense pleasure.
  535. "Haaa!? Aah, aaaahh!"
  536. Koyoi hugged her own shoulders, quivering. Her backside lifted into the air, and her upper body collapsed to the floor.
  537. "Oh my, it looks like it's begun," Deruella, who had been quietly watching over Koyoi from behind, laughed cheerfully. The other monsters stared with eyes full of interest.
  538. "Oh, come to think of it, isn't this your first proper view of a girl becoming a monster?"
  539. With a few exceptions, each of them had been alone with Elt in different places when they became monsters. It was, therefore, their first times seeing someone else become one.
  540. "Now, what sort of monster will this girl become, I wonder," Deruella murmured with an air of deep interest.
  541. Ordinarily, a woman who became a monster became a succubus. There were also some monsters who could increase their numbers by transforming human women into monsters of their own species. With Deruella, however, it was a little different. She was a lilim, one of the Overlord's daughters, and so she possessed the ability to change a human into any kind of monster. All of the mana that now blanketed the throne room had come from Deruella's body; when it was used to transform a human woman into a monster, her species would be determined by her character and personality.
  542. First, Koyoi's hair bristled. Then, black, pointed things sprouted through it. They were thick and luxuriant like the hairs on her head, but the density of hairs on them was higher. They were triangular animal ears. Their outsides were black, matching her hair. Their insides, in contrast, were lined with white fur.
  543. Next, something sprouted from her hips as well, bursting through her kimono. Black fur. It formed curves, thin at the base and tip, and swelling luxuriantly toward the center.
  544. "Tee hee hee. What an adorable little fox."
  545. Deruella stroked Koyoi's new-grown tail.
  546. "Haah!?"
  547. Koyoi opened her eyes wide and moaned as a wave of tingling pleasure flowed into her.
  548. "Mmm, simply adorable..."
  549. With a smile, she rubbed the tail against her cheek.
  550. "So, how did you like the taste?"
  551. "Wh, what taste?"
  552. Koyoi was wondering if Deruella meant what she had just experienced, when the lilim continued:
  553. "What he just shot into you. It's called 'semen,' by the way. How did it taste?"
  554. Koyoi looked up, and tried to remember. But because she had taken all of it in her throat, she had not been conscious of its flavor.
  555. "I, umm, drank it all without thinking... so I don't really remember how it tasted... But ever since I drank it, my body's been all hot, and..."
  556. "Do you want more?" Deruella whispered.
  557. Koyoi fell silent for a short while. Then, she gave a little nod.
  558. "Yes. I'd like to drink more."
  559. Hearing that, Deruella grinned broadly.
  560. "In that case, there's a place you can drink it with that will taste much better than with your mouth. Care to try it?"
  561. This time, Koyoi nodded immediately.
  562. "Where is that?"
  563. "Right here."
  564. With a brief "Excuse me," Deruella slipped her arms around under Koyoi's, and raised Koyoi's upper body in one motion.
  565. "Ah."
  566. She spun Koyoi around, faced her upward, and adjusted her posture so that Koyoi's lower body faced Elt.
  567. "Right here. See?"
  568. Deruella stretched out a hand and touched a finger to Koyoi's crotch. She had already been stripped of her underclothes, so her privates were on full display to Elt and the surrounding monster girls.
  569. "Where I was touching you earlier."
  570. Deruella rubbed Koyoi's clitoris with the ball of her finger. Koyoi reflexively pulled in her knees and let out a short scream.
  571. "And this is what it tastes best to drink with."
  572. Her finger moved slightly lower, to her cleft of swollen flesh, and the gaping hole in the middle of it. Her fingertip slipped inside.
  573. "Ooooh!"
  574. The sensation of a foreign object touching her inner walls. It was a new experience. Deruella's finger wiggling up and down and side to side near her entrance was enough to set Koyoi's whole body quivering and make her face contort with pleasure.
  575. "This is called your 'pussy.' The cock you were just licking goes in here."
  576. "A cock in my pussy...?"
  577. Just saying the words sent a thrill down her spine.
  578. "That's right. Cocks and pussies are very important. You know that, don't you?"
  579. Deruella slipped her other hand between Koyoi's legs as well. Her two index fingers spread Koyoi's swollen labia majora. With a wet, sticky sound, Koyoi's pink inner flesh was exposed to the outside air.
  580. "Aah..."
  581. Koyoi smiled, spellbound. She felt even the cooling of her steaming inner flesh as pleasure.
  582. "Look closely at his cock. It's gotten a little less lively since cumming a moment ago. See?"
  583. No incubus would go flaccid after a single ejaculation, but the inexperienced Koyoi did not know that. She heard Deruella's words, and it seemed to her that Elt's penis was, indeed, a little less vigorous.
  584. "You see, if his penis loses any more energy, it won't be able to go in your pussy. So," Deruella's lips drew close to Koyoi's ear, "you have to ask for it. Try talking dirty to help it get ready."
  585. "Alright," Koyoi answered obediently. She put her own fingers alongside Deruella's, and further spread her opening so that it was easier to see inside.
  586. "I, I want you. I want you to ram your hard cock into my dirty, dripping-wet pussy. Please have mercy on a shameful vixen..."
  587. Panting, she stared with upturned eyes at Elt, her husband-to-be. Although Koyoi was a virgin, she was now no more than a vixen, a sexual animal. That fact roused Elt's lust. He could not help it. He gulped, and his already powerful erection thrust upward with even greater vigor. Seeing that he was aroused, Koyoi let out a joyful moan.
  588. "Go on, Elt. It looks like she's at her limit."
  589. He heard Deruella's words and nodded. He was at his limit too. His lower body was clamoring to enter this virgin pussy.
  590. "Koyoi," he called out in a deliberately calm tone.
  591. "Yes?"
  592. Koyoi's voice seemed hotter in contrast to the coolness of Elt's.
  593. "Starting today, you're my woman."
  594. "Yes."
  595. "Starting today, your body belongs only to me."
  596. He gripped her knees.
  597. "Yes."
  598. "Starting today, all of you belongs to me."
  599. Leaning over her body, he touched his glans to her vulva.
  600. "Yes, yes!"
  601. Koyoi's eyes were rapt.
  602. "Your brand new cunt is now for my use only."
  603. "Yes! My shameful vixen cunt is only for you!"
  604. His hips advanced. Her dripping wet flesh welcomed the beloved alien inside. Her vulva spread of its own accord to allow him easy entrance, then clamped down tight so as to never let him go. Further contractions of her muscles beckoned him deeper and deeper inside her.
  605. "Ah, oooh! He's inside; my husband's inside me..."
  606. The tip of his gradually advancing penis felt resistance. It was the narrowest point in her vagina — her hymen. But he no longer hesitated or worried; he had already taken many virgins and made them his wives. He had the resolve and confidence to keep Koyoi at his side and to make her happy.
  607. Without hesitation, Elt thrust his hips.
  608. "Ooh! Ooooh!"
  609. The powerful thrust slammed his tip into the deepest parts of Koyoi's vagina in a single stroke. Koyoi was now Elt's in body and soul; the pain, the shock, all of it turned to pleasure on its way to her brain. And so, just his thrusting all the way inside her was enough to wring a loud cry from her and bring her to climax.
  610. The looks in the eyes of Elt's wives changed from ones of curiosity to ones of warmth. Koyoi was now fully a member of their harem.
  611. "I'm going to move."
  612. Elt's eyes blazed with lust. If he had any worry, it was whether Koyoi could withstand an incubus' thrusts immediately after having her hymen broken. But, he reassured himself, even the pain of losing her virginity felt good to her. Even if he was rough, she would be able to take it. He abandoned restraint.
  613. "Aah! Haaa! D, darling! That feels so good!"
  614. Elt pressed his body against the backs of her thighs and wrapped his arms around her back. Her legs rested on his shoulders, creating an indecent spectacle. Her knees were forced back nearly to her own chest. She experienced the feeling of being made into a tool for sex.
  615. He pistoned his hips up and down, roughly pushing through the flesh of her passage and slamming his head into her cervix with each downward thrust.
  616. Aah. My husband's using me as a tool! Making me his plaything!
  617. All he was doing was thrusting his hips, but Koyoi's mind was full of bliss. She was being useful to someone — to her husband, who was right in front of her. That fact kindled warmth in Koyoi's heart.
  618. "Haa, haa. Yes. Koyoi... you feel... great!"
  619. "Thank you very much! You feel, wonderful too, darling!"
  620. The sound of flesh slapping against flesh filled the air. It was accompanied by the pair's labored breathing, and the sounds of the surrounding monster girls gasping and rubbing their crotches.
  621. "K, Koyoi, I'm cumming."
  622. Inside Koyoi, his glans swelled. Its raised corona rubbed her pleats even more intensely than before.
  623. "Haaa. You're going... to cum... darling?"
  624. Elt gave several flustered little nods. The movements of his hips changed from large thrusts designed to savor the full length of her vagina to shallow twitches meant to strike and rub the entrance to her womb.
  625. "Oooooh! Cumming!"
  626. Elt squeezed Koyoi tight. His hips thrust even further forward, his swollen glans forcing her cervix slightly open. His urethra was connected directly to her womb. Out of it burst a flood of semen — an order of magnitude more voluminous than after her blowjob — with enough force to reach the inner walls of her uterus.
  627. "Aaaah! Ooh! Darling!"
  628. The direct stimulation to her womb was more than enough to send Koyoi to heaven. Her whole sex clamped down tight, aiding the force of the ejaculation.
  629. Ten seconds passed, then twenty, then thirty.
  630. Spasming and panting, Koyoi's climax continued along with Elt's ejaculation.
  631. Forty seconds. Fifty. Sixty.
  632. Elt gritted his teeth. An incubus' ejaculation went on for a long time. The pleasure of climax remained in his brain for the entire duration.
  633. A minute passed, then two. By the time the pair's bodies relaxed, three minutes had gone by.
  634. Limp and panting, their sexes still joined and bellies pressed together, they gently embraced each other.
  635. "Koyoi," Elt whispered, pressing his cheek against hers. "I'll make you happy as long as you live. I promise. So—"
  636. Her kiss cut his words short. It was a deep kiss, their tongues intertwining as they exchanged saliva. She finished by clinging to his lower lip, and their lips parted, trailing threads of saliva.
  637. "I know. I, Amanomiya Koyoi, will be your wife. I'll stay with you as long as I live."
  638. Entranced, Koyoi once again pressed her lips onto Elt's — her beloved husband's.
  639.  
  640.  
  641. ◊ ♦ ◊ ♦ ◊
  642.  
  643.  
  644. Koyoi surveyed the scenery spread out below her and let out a contented sigh. Pink and purple air hung over Lescatié. Nights in the monster realm were brighter than in Zipangu. Mana dimly illuminated the surroundings so that darkness never obscured the view.
  645. She strained her ears. The area was quiet, and couples' whispered intimacies were faintly audible. Before, when the Order army, stubbornly clinging to reason, had mounted a guerrilla campaign in the region, the air had been full of the sounds of their battles with the monster army. Recently, however, the clangor had subsided. She could really feel that the place was on its way to becoming a full monster realm.
  646. She was in a watchtower at the very top of the castle. Her hair fluttered slightly in the distinctive warm breeze of a monster realm. She liked the view from this spot. The sight of the ongoing resistance failing and falling to the monsters reminded her of her past self.
  647. "I never even knew this place existed," a man's voiced sounded from behind Koyoi. It was Elt, who was watching the monster city of Lescatié with her as she sat on his lap.
  648. "Really? You know this city far better than I do," she responded, brushing her cheek against his neck with a spellbound expression.
  649. "I always dreamed of living in this castle. It was so dazzling I couldn't get a good look at it."
  650. Koyoi twisted her body around to face Elt.
  651. "And now you're the king of Lescatié..." She purred, rubbing the tip of her nose against Elt's breast.
  652. It was Deruella who had made Koyoi a monster, and Deruella's taste thoroughly colored Koyoi's appearance. The red and white of her kimono had given way to black and purple, and its neckline exposed the upper half of her unrestricted breasts. The bare skin of her chest and arms was inscribed with dark violet designs. The designs on her arms had originally been runes of binding, which Deruella had put there to corrupt her. With Deruella's guidance, however, Koyoi had overwritten them into runes of pleasure.
  653. "Well, they call me that, but Lady Deruella does all the actual ruling," he laughed bashfully.
  654. After turning Koyoi, Deruella had launched into a national administration worthy of a daughter of the Overlord. She had instructed the people in the growing of prisoner fruit and other sparsely-tended monster realm flora; she had distributed pamphlets introducing various positions and tools for getting the most out of one's daily sex life to every home; and, of course, she had commanded a monster army to ensnare the guerrilla Order forces in hiding throughout the country.
  655. To be honest, until she had actually seen Deruella govern, Koyoi had thought her just another undisciplined, sex-crazed monster. In the massive operation to capture the guerrillas, however, Koyoi had seen her observing enemy movements and flexibly issuing instructions, and repented. She now respected, and feared, Deruella from the bottom of her heart.
  656. I could never have beaten her, no matter how hard I tried.
  657. "Still," Elt muttered as if he had remembered something, "I can't believe the others let you be alone with me, Koyoi."
  658. "About that. There's something I want to say to you."
  659. Koyoi's expression, which a moment before had been rapt as she took in her husband's scent, became tense.
  660. "To tell the truth, I'm thinking of going home to Zipangu."
  661. Tears were already pricking at the corners of her eyes.
  662. "Of, of course, I'll come back soon. Only, there's a reason I have to go."
  663. Then, fitfully, Koyoi explained what that reason was. How she had left her elder sister in Zipangu, and how that sister was likely now the head of their clan. How she had been betrothed at a young age, and was now likely married. How she must be suffering due to her two younger sisters' flight, and how she would certainly be concerned for them. Koyoi repeated everything she had explained to Elt's other wives.
  664. "So, I asked Will and the others to let us be alone together, just for today."
  665. Elt could understand that. It was true that they normally clustered around him, squabbling to wash away semen with more semen, but they would willingly withdraw for something like this.
  666. Koyoi had deliberately avoided explaining this to him at the time. When making her request to his other wives, she had done so in the customary style of Zipangu, by facing them and prostrating herself. She knew that they would have immediately accepted her request even if she had not gone that far, and had been too embarrassed to tell Elt about it.
  667. "I see. So that's how it is."
  668. So saying, Elt hugged Koyoi to him, bringing his nose close to the nape of her neck.
  669. "Oh, darling... This is so sudden."
  670. Koyoi's voice was beguiling.
  671. "But Koyoi, even if you hurry back, it takes two weeks to get from here to Zipangu... A round trip means we'll be apart for more than a whole month at the least. I've got to etch you into my mind right now. Besides, this might the first time we've been really alone together," Elt said and breathed deep through his nose.
  672. "You smell nice, Koyoi; strong, but not too strong," he whispered in her ear. A thrill of pleasure raced down her spine.
  673. "Ooh, d, darling... You don't mind the way I smell?" Koyoi almost sobbed, furrowing her brows.
  674. The scent he was smelling was monster-repelling incense, a powerful aroma made only to ward off monsters. Koyoi had learned about the monster realm from Deruella, so she now knew that Elt was an incubus — not a monster, but exceedingly close. She had, therefore, been worried that it might cause him to dislike her.
  675. "Of course not. You smell like wood burning, passionate and..."
  676. The Amanomiya clan used agarwood — resin-rich chips of wood that grew heavier the longer they were submerged in water — for its monster-repelling incense. It was known to produce a pleasant aroma when burned.
  677. Her husband accepted a part of her she had been uneasy about. The fact called forth an irreplaceable joy in her heart. And in a monster, such emotions were directly linked to lust. Koyoi's face reddened, and her breath came in hot gasps.
  678. "You can't hold back anymore?"
  679. Koyoi nodded, embarrassed. Her hips wriggled greedily back and forth.
  680. "Not when you're so hard and hot, darling."
  681. Elt's sex was already fully prepared and straining against the fabric.
  682. "That's right. When I smell you and feel your warmth, Koyoi, I can't contain myself."
  683. He lightly brushed her lips with his own.
  684. "I want to be inside you right now, Koyoi. I want us to feel good together."
  685. Such a gentle kiss was not enough to satisfy Koyoi. She licked her husband's lips, tempting out his tongue.
  686. "I... want you in me too... darling. I'll help you... undress," Koyoi whispered, laying hold of Elt's trousers. He lifted his hips to help her.
  687. Her nose twitched. She let out a blissful sigh, then she began breathing deeply.
  688. "You really like this smell, huh, Koyoi?" Elt murmured, blushing.
  689. He had grown more broad-minded toward sex since become an incubus, but he still Koyoi sniffing the smell of his sweat embarrassing — especially when it came to his most private parts.
  690. "Yes, I love it," she answered, smiling. There was no hint of shame in her words; there was only joy.
  691. "I love all of your scents, darling. One whiff, and my mind goes blank. This scent in particular..."
  692. She drew another deep breath.
  693. "Aah... It smells faintly of your essence. It brings it home to me that your lovely cum — the thick, delicious cum that made me a vixen — is inside."
  694. Koyoi squirmed, rubbing her inner thighs together. They made a wet, squelching sound. Her flared and pleated trousers had given way to a skirt, making direct skin-to-skin contact possible. She had not worn underclothes since becoming a monster.
  695. "Your smell's gotten stronger too, Koyoi," Elt teased, twitching his nose.
  696. As concentrate is to fruit, the sticky fluid that oozed from her privates condensed and intensified her scent. As soon as it seeped out, that scent filled the air.
  697. For a while, they just stared at each other. They exchanged no words, but the sounds of their breathing conveyed their feelings more precisely than words ever could.
  698. Elt gave a little nod. Seeing that, Koyoi lifted her hips and slid forward.
  699. "I'll... put... it... in..."
  700. She slowly lowered her hips. There was a wet sound as her vulva made contact with his glans.
  701. "Aah."
  702. Even the warm, light touch of a foreign object on her dripping slit reached her brain as nearly unendurable pleasure. Her thigh muscles quivered, then relaxed. She could no longer support her own weight, and gravity thrust her hips downward.
  703. "So... Ah... fast...! Aaaah!"
  704. One motion brought the head of his penis all the way to her cervix. She faced skyward, panting.
  705. Koyoi's passage tightened, gripping Elt's penis. Then it relaxed, constricted, relaxed, constricted. Her whole sex squirmed and convulsed. A single thrust had brought her to climax.
  706. A monster girl's pleasure derived more from emotion than from physical acts. Having to set out for Zipangu without her beloved husband saddened Koyoi. At the same time, being alone with him fulfilled her desire to monopolize his affections. Then there was the satisfaction that came with his accept her from the bottom of his heart. That single insertion has set all of them off.
  707. "Ooh... I'm sorry... darling..." Koyoi apologized, hanging her head. "I know I need to see to... of your needs, too... but I'm just... pleasuring myself..."
  708. Both her thoughts and her face were slack with ecstasy.
  709. "Don't be silly."
  710. Elt hugged Koyoi gently, but firmly.
  711. "You're my wife, Koyoi. I don't care about... things like that. I'm just glad... that we can... feel good together.
  712. "Actually," he continued, "I'm the one... who has to apologize."
  713. That surprised her. She stared at him, eyes wide.
  714. "I've been wondering... if I'm really the best person to be your husband. I mean... we'd only just met... and there must be a better man for you... back in Zipangu..."
  715. That was as far as Koyoi let him get before she stopped up his mouth with a kiss. Ignoring his stifled protestations, she forced her tongue between his lips and made him swallow her saliva along with his words. He put up a feeble resistance at first, but it soon melted in the face of pleasure. Koyoi waited until she was sure of that before finally releasing his mouth.
  716. "Please, don't say any more," she said with an unusually serious expression. "It may be true that I'm a fool for falling for you at first sight, darling; but!"
  717. The sudden roughness of Koyoi's tone made Elt's shoulders tremble with surprise.
  718. "I don't regret it. Being with you fills me with joy."
  719. She began to thrust slowly back and forth. She continued embracing Elt; only her hips moved like broken clockwork.
  720. "Aaah... When I do this... your cock churns... my dripping vixen cunt..."
  721. She began grinding her hips in circular motions. Elt's rigid member pushed open her fleshy hole and ground against the entrance to her womb.
  722. "Every day... Every day I wonder... if it's alright for me... to be this happy..."
  723. Her expression softened. Her tongue lolled, trailing drool, but she did not care. She was focused solely on the movement of her hips.
  724. Koyoi's face said that all she needed was pleasure. The sight of it made Elt's heart race. His own member was putting a look of heartfelt bliss on the face of the woman before him — his beloved wife. Nothing could do more to fulfill his sexual desires. The overflow of feeling trickled back down into his body as an urge to ejaculate.
  725. "Darling, you've... mmm... gotten even... ah... bigger. You're about to cum... aren't you?" Koyoi panted happily.
  726. She added vertical motion to her thrusts. She twisted her hips with each downward stoke, clenched her vagina, then raised them again.
  727. "Ooh. That's..."
  728. Elt grimaced as he endured the thrills of pleasure creeping through every inch of him.
  729. The densely-packed folds of her vagina tickled the sensitive parts of his penis with each upward stroke. When she thrust down again, her cervix latched onto his tip like a suction cup, or like a gentle kiss.
  730. Both their mouths hung loosely open. Their breath came in pants from deep in their throats.
  731. "Koyoi...!"
  732. He shot her an imploring look. A thrill of pleasure raced up her spine. The way his face looked just before climax always aroused an almost maternal love in her.
  733. "Yes! Yes! Go ahead! Shoot you cum all the way inside me...!" Koyoi somehow managed to gasp.
  734. She covered his lips with her own, wrapped her arms around his back, and squeezed his waist between her legs.
  735. Their bodies were now completely motionless, but only to outside appearances. The pleats and muscles of Koyoi's vagina were moving even more and harder than before. Her hole contracted and relaxed from the base to the tip, moving almost like it was milking a cow's udder. Her fleshy pleats tickled all of his penis' most sensitive parts.
  736. The muscles in Elt's face tightened. A muffled grunt escaped his stopped-up mouth. A moment later, his glans swelled and spewed forth all the semen that had built up in his testicles.
  737. Tears gathered in Koyoi's eyes as she quivered with delight. His urethra and her cervix were pressed tight against each other. Every last drop of semen poured directly into her womb.
  738. She panted and moaned as large tears rolled down her cheeks. She had reached such an extremity of joy that the cascade refused to stop.
  739. Her breath coming in short gasps, she let her chin drop loosely on his shoulder.
  740. "Haa, haa... You're still... cumming..."
  741. Her arms hung limply by her feet.
  742. Elt was gritting his teeth and writhing under the intense pleasure that accompanied his ejaculation. As an incubus, his ejaculation was incomparably longer and more voluminous than it had been as a human. He could now consciously experience ecstasy that would have made a human faint. And because Koyoi was now a monster, she could take enough semen to make her uterus swell up like a balloon without feeling any pain.
  743. At last his orgasm finished. He let out the breath he had been holding in. His body went limp, but he soon put new strength into his arms and hugged Koyoi to him.
  744. She squealed.
  745. "Koyoi," he said, steadying his ragged breathing, "promise me just one thing."
  746. "Yes?" She nodded hesitantly.
  747. "Come back safe."
  748. Koyoi's thoughts were still hazy from her recent orgasm. The words spread through her mind like a pinch of earth in water.
  749. "I promise!"
  750. A few seconds later, grinning from ear to ear, she loudly proclaimed:
  751. "I promise to return home in good health! I, I plan to bring my sister and her fiance with me, so when we get back, I'll introduce you, and..."
  752. Smiling, the pair discussed their plans for the future.
  753. The black sun of the monster realm neared the horizon. The evening sky illuminated the land. It would soon be time for Koyoi to depart. Until then, she would rest a while in what she found the most relaxing place in the world, savoring every bit of the man she loved best in the world.
  754.  
  755. The End.
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