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Fantasy Clear Crimson Mirror | Private

Sub Genres
  1. Romance

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
(Thank you, I've been wanting to respond but I've been getting sidetracked by a lot of things. So because of that I just wanted to make this post extra long since you've had to wait awhile for a response.)

Byakuren's heart flared with irritation as his eyes turned down to the blade Nori was pointing at him, the sharp edge glinting in the sunlight. To think that this general was daring to stop him when he needed to rush to Ayumi's side caused an all too unpleasant feeling to rise and coil within him. His hands clenched into fists, the sharp nails digging tightly into the palms of his hands as he turned toward Nori, in a swift movement his right fist collided with the steel of the blade, the sharp edge sliding and bouncing off of his skin as Nori had staggered, the general's weight shifting back, his foot digging into the desert sand as if to reclaim some balance as Byakuren snarled, rage making his voice rough, "Get out of my way!" His left fist collided with Nori's stomach as the general's blade attempted to stab at Byakuren again, soft flesh and a sickening popping sound filling the air as his left fist sunk into the general's soft stomach. It made Byakuren bewildered if only for a few seconds, considering the general was armed from head to toe in armor, and the other was not moving or collapsing in the desert sand.

The oni gritted his teeth as he attempted to draw his left hand back to himself only to feel something like that of a sharp edge beginning to clasp around his trapped arm. Alarm flared to life in his eyes as the popping sounds grew in volume, followed by a black liquid beginning to spill forth as Nori chuckled, the other oni's eyes squinting with delight as his lips turned into a brutish grin, cackling despite the blood beginning to drip free, "..You fool. I would've thought that you'd have more common sense than trying to lash out like an enraged beast." The armor that Byakuren's left arm had pierced begun to fall away, clattering to the desert sand in heavy thuds, revealing the grotesque sight before him. Where the general's stomach would normally be, a large mouth was grinning, dripping black ichor freely upon the desert sand, with large ragged teeth digging into Byakuren's trapped arm causing the oni for the first time since he had been revived to feel pain.

The teeth grinded slowly upon his trapped arm, his own blood beginning to swell upward as he hissed, pivoting his body as to free himself. Each tug of his arm seemed to only cause the sharp teeth to sink in deeper, causing the oni to release a brief cry of agony as the black ichor thickened, foaming and boiling where it met his own blood as the general cooed, "And to think that the alter would give you power... but if this is all it amounts to then it was a waste bringing you back from the dead, wasn't it?" Byakuren's teeth gritted together as his right hand began to scratch and punch at the unyielding maw clamped upon his left arm, his fingers scratching at the teeth that refused to yield, more black ichor staining his skin, the strands of liquid beginning to coat his hand as his movement with his right arm began to slow more and more until he felt the ichor beginning to draw his right arm back into maw as the jaw had barely opened and too had claimed his right arm before he could so much as move to free his left. Nori's chuckling resounded in his ears as the general sneered, "Some Demon King you are, your attempts to free yourself is useless. Such a shame since you were in such a hurry too. After all, by now everyone in those tents should be dead."

Byakuren's eyes widened as he struggled more, turning his head as one name flew from his lips in a panicked tone, "Ayumi! Ayumi-" His cry for her name was cut short as the jaws sunk in more causing the oni's body to tremble as a snarl left him, turning his head to look back toward the tents only for his blood to run cold. No. He knew not whose blood stained the interior of the tent that Ayumi had clearly ran to before, but seeing the blood made his body suddenly feel weak, his struggling coming to a halt as he could clearly hear a creature's cries from within. Then his mind went blank.

He didn't feel pain in the next few moments, his muscles tensing and bulging with veins as a roar of rage left his lips, saliva flying free as his breathing had become harsh, feet digging into the desert sand as his body violently wrenched, the sickening sound of flesh ripping apart filling the air as his arms separated from his body in a bloody display. Nori's face paled in shock as the oni turned his head toward him, his eyes no longer seeming conscious but now seeming a brighter red than before as his torso had moved, slamming into Nori and knocking the general upon his back as his leg raised up and promptly came down on Nori's head, crushing it almost instantly underneath the blow. The oni had pivoted, charging blindly to the tent, blood flying profusely from the ragged remains of what had been his arms. But, in his rage induced haze, the pain felt distant, the only thing on his mind now was destroying anything that showed aggression to him.

...
Outside of the tent Ayumi was hiding in, one of the creatures was sniffing about the tent itself low growls rumbling in its chest. After a few seconds of hesitation, the beast lunged in, a screech leaving its jaws as rows of jagged teeth revealed itself at Ayumi's cowering figure. It's disfigured form twisting as convulsing with each movement as its hands reached out to Ayumi, fingertips dripping a black ooze as it raised its hand high as if to bring down the deadly claws down upon the woman before it, no doubt a swift death would follow. However, whatever attack it had been readying had been halted before it could finish the blow, instead of hitting Ayumi, it had indeed connected with flesh - Fudo's flesh in particular. The oni had rushed into the tent while the beast had been readying to strike Ayumi, the oni using his own body to shield Ayumi, his arms pulling her close to him as Fudo's breath came out in a pain filled gasp, his blood splattering the tent's insides turning it a blood red. The creature's teeth wasn't too far behind either, biting down on Fudo's shoulder and wrenching it back, but despite the agony the oni had remained stubbornly still, his arms locking around Ayumi's body as he stubbornly used himself as a barrier between her and certain death. He did not cry out, for this experience as scary as it was for himself was no doubt more terrifying for Ayumi. But, nonetheless despite his will to remain as still as possible, his body was already beginning to fail him.

His teeth gritted as the creature's snarls grew louder, more of his blood spilling free as his back was beginning torn and ripped apart. It was with a final wrenching movement did the creature wrench its head back, ripping a chunk of flesh from Fudo's shoulder causing the oni to snarl in agony. He knew however that he could no longer protect Ayumi like this. No, she needed to get out of there, after all the creature was more focused upon him at the moment than her. Fudo's eyes closed as his body struggled to respond to him, grasping hold of his spear that he had dropped in his haste to shield Ayumi, though he had not the strength to lift the spear, instead his hands fumbled with the weapon, fingers trembling. Ah, I... I don't have any strength yet. But.. I can't die here, not yet.

As that thought had came to his head, his body went rigid as the splatter of warm blood that splattered across his back as well as a crunching sound and the heavy sounds of a beast's breathing ringing in his ears. His grip loosened on Ayumi then, daring to turn his head only for astonishment to flow through him at the sight of Byakuren relentlessly stomping on the creature's head, although it was already no doubt dead, the oni would not stop. His eyes were blind with rage, his torso void of his arms, bleeding a river of darkened blood and yet it seemed like that did not faze the Demon King. The intense fear he felt looking at the sight made Fudo tremble as Byakuren didn't seem to take notice of either Fudo or Ayumi, instead after it seemed like the oni had sufficiently stomped upon the demon's head, he had turned away from the two within the tent another snarl leaving him as he rushed off, no doubt charging off to attack any other unfortunate creatures within the area. However, the brief seconds that had occurred with the horrifying sight was enough to leave Fudo absolutely speechless with horror. That... that is the Demon King? No... that was a demon. A monster. Never had he seen such rage in an oni's eyes, especially after being so horrendously injured. Just what in the world had been unleashed upon the realm?

Fudo's body trembled once more, his hand reaching now to his spear again, forcing himself up on his feet as he attempted to get to his feet only to collapse, his own breathing coming in gasps as he managed out, "Stop... him." Although Fudo definitely was all for destroying the enemies of his people, he never would've thought it would've been like this.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
(( you're sweet! I find myself waiting as long as it takes in order to read your posts. You are such a good writer! ))

Ayumi's body was stiff beyond compare and she could hear the pounding of her heartbeat within her own ears as she waited, hiding, within the tent. Things were sounding far worse beyond the frail walls, and her hands clasped tightly together before her chest until her knuckles were white. Her amber eyes remained locked on the tent flaps until she saw a shadow passing over. She held her breath as she watched the movements of the shadow, her worst fears coming true when the horrid creature burst into the tent, its disfigured body causing her to recoil at the sight. It was as it seemed to be aiming a deadly blow that a scream tore from her throat, expecting to feel nothing but pain and soon death.

Yet nothing came except a strong embrace that enfolded her quickly. Ayumi glanced up to see the body of Fudo acting as a shield between herself and the disfigured yokai. Her mind was racing, her heart pounding, and her body shook with the adrenaline of the moment. She could hardly think as things seemed to happen fast and slow at the same time. She could feel Fudo protecting her, yet could hear the yokai just beyond him. She could feel the steadiness that Fudo was attempting to hold onto, though knew the oni before her was not going to last long.

Then things shifted once more as Fudo's grip loosened upon her, and her wide and fearful eyes turned away from the injured oni to see that of Byakuran beyond them. Yet this Byakuren was not one that she knew. Her eyes locked on this form, armless and in rage and blood lust. Ayumi remained frozen in her spot as he turned away, leaving the tent. Her attention was brought back Fudo as she heard his wavering voice, forcing her body to move despite its quaking. "You... You need help," she stammered, looking at his bleeding shoulder where the creature had torn into him.

Ayumi looked to the tent flaps once more, her stomach twisting as if to empty all of its contents. Drawing a breath, she willed herself not to fall apart when Fudo just risked his life to keep her safe. "I'll find help." She nodded sternly to herself, willing herself to focus on that task. She needed to get to Byakuren and she needed to get Fudo help after he had just saved her life.

Ayumi forced herself to her feet, her body nearly resisting every motion. Her movements were staggered and stiff, and her hands now gripped her tattered dress as if it were her lifeline. She left the tent, the flaps falling behind her as she willed herself to glanced around at the destruction beyond her hiding place. Byakuren... His name came immediately, and she hastily moved about trying to find him once again. "Byakuren!" she allowed herself to scream out his name, the image of his body in its current state coming to mind once more. Again she felt her stomach twist but she bit down upon her lip to keep herself in check. "Byakuren!"
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
(Thank you, I try my best to make my posts at least somewhat interesting ^.^)

Fudo's body threatened to collapse as Ayumi had moved away from him, although he grimaced at her saying that she would find help. Now was not the time for that, if anything Fudo would force himself to cling to life as best as he could. Besides, there was no telling how much carnage would await in the oasis, especially since Byakuren was rampaging. The oni moved the spear, digging the spear's end into the sand below as he used it for support, his eyelids feeling heavy as he watched Ayumi's figure leave the tent, leaving the oni alone in his struggle to cling to any life.
...
Byakuren's form was splattered with blood, although majority of it was the sticky, blackened blood from the creatures he was now mercilessly charging toward. The disfigured creature's screeches were quickly being silenced one by one, and their end was a sight that was brutal. The Demon King's teeth met the back of the neck of one of the creatures that was attempting to reach into one of the tents to grasp at a soul inside, its scream was quickly cut short as black blood flared from the injury Byakuren was inflicting, the blackened ichor staining the oni's face and dripping from his mouth. The taste was foul... and yet it caused shivers of delight to go through his body as he dragged the creature away from the tent, tossing the lifeless body aside with ease as the oni's gaze shifted around the oasis as if to see where more foes would be. However, in his rage induced haze it seemed as if he were truly the only monster left moving in the oasis.

The encampment was a bloody sight indeed, with black blood staining the desert sand, tents being splattered with some of the black blood as well. There was not a single soul that currently dared to go outside of the tents just yet, despite all the creatures that Byakuren had slaughtered being lifeless heaps of flesh and bone. But. the oni's anger was not satisfied, his blood that blazed in his veins screamed for more. It was then that the oni had straightened up as if going rigid at a familiar scent as well as an all too familiar voice calling out for him.
Who? The question echoed in his haze filled mind as he turned his gaze on the woman that was rushing out of the tent, but scarily enough there was no recognition in the oni's eyes as he looked at her. Covered head to toe in his blood as well as the blood of his enemies, the oni said not a single word as he looked upon Ayumi with confusion in his eyes before he took a single step toward her.

His steps were not unsteady, surprisingly enough with how much blood he seemed to be losing due to his horrid injuries of losing both of his arms, blood steadily dripping from the ragged stumps as Byakuren had approached Ayumi, the red glow to his eyes not ceasing as he finally stopped in front of her. Her scent wafted to him, a sweet and intoxicating smell that made his mouth water... and yet he felt no aggression, nor was he showing anything toward Ayumi. Instead, after a few moments of him standing in silence before her, the harsh light to his eyes slowly faded as tears of relief took their place. The oni's body suddenly dropped to his knees as if all the energy that he had expended suddenly had caught up to him as his tears flowed down his face, the powerful feeling of relief overwhelming anything else. "You're.. alive." The words left him, although it was a struggle to do so as he lowered his head, his body trembling as he didn't sob, instead he was silent as his tears continued to fall down his face. The feeling of rage was slowly dying out in his heart, leaving the oni in a surprisingly fragile state, for he had no idea how much carnage he had left, nor had he taken notice of the blood coating him. All he was focused on was that Ayumi was safe, that was all that mattered to him.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
The carnage present among the oasis was beyond what words could describe. Her hands clutched her stomach as she turned around in her place, bile rising in her throat. Yet all was silent now. It didn't take long for her eye to land on the figure that now lurched in the streets alone. She watched as Byakuren turned to face her, having apparently heard her voice. Her gaze took in how he came towards her and for just a moment, a mere moment, there was a twinge of fear that spun in her belly. She could see his eyes held no recognition for her at the moment, and she held her breath once more.

Her shaking body stood as still as possible as he drew close though his blood seemed to be flowing freely from his missing limbs. Yet, when recognition seemed to return to his features, and he fell upon his knees, Ayumi felt her own adrenaline begin to fade from her body. She nodded slowly before she gently reached out, her hands coming on either side of his face. For just a moment, she ignored the blackened blood that was upon his skin. "I'm alive," she repeated gently, nodding gently. "I'm alive."

Her fingers gently moved against his skin as she felt her own tears begin to form simply from the pure terror that she had pent up within her. She felt her tears fall upon her cheeks though she quickly shook her head, silently cursing herself for crying now. But it was also Byakuren's tears that drove her own to come. So much had just unfolded that it was rather difficult to possibly process it all. Instead, she moved to the one thing she was hoping she would be able to do something about. "You're hurt," she murmured, her voice shaking just like her body, yet she seemed to be trying to push down everything just like so many times she had done before. "You need help...You and Fudo..."
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
Byakuren's eyes closed as her hands came in contact with his skin. Her touch soothed him, the oni leaning his head all too willingly into her hands, her sweet and familiar smell engulfing him, causing his heart to wrench in a way he didn't understand yet for it was a reaction he had forgotten. Her assurance of her being alive just made his relief even more so stronger, causing more warm tears to flow from his eyes. The moment he'd thought she was dead... he had lost all sense of reason, it was an anger that blazed out of control that consumed him. His rage was something he didn't understand, for it felt more than just simple anger, nor could he call it a need for vengeance. It honestly caused a chill to flood through him as his mind still held onto the traces of emotion still coursing through him.

His eyes then opened as he looked upon Ayumi's face, her terror obvious to his own eyes which made him recoil from her fingers almost as if he'd been stung, as now he was coming to his senses he could smell blood. Blood was everywhere, the iron smell filling his nose and causing his head to spin, which now that reason was slowly beginning to take its place in Byakuren's mind, he then looked to his own injuries. It was then that pain coursed through him as he had taken notice of the extent of damage to his body. One normally would be panicking, screaming and wailing at the loss of limbs, for it did indeed feel all too painful as his blood seeped from the useless stumps that remained. Yet, instead of reacting, Byakuren had shook his head at Ayumi as she said that he needed help, "No." The refusal was strange, bewildering even that he would refuse help in his quite horrid condition. Instead, a tremor went through the oni as he grimaced, shaking his head as he grunted, "..If Fudo is injured, get someone to tend to him. I should be-" Byakuren's body fell forward then, his sentence being cut short as his pale skin seemed to be much more paler, blackened veins pulsing underneath the blood stained pale skin as his blood that had been dripping free was slowly coming to a halt.

Where his arms would be, it seemed as if it were sizzling and boiling where the stumps were, although astonishingly enough there was new flesh beginning to form, but judging alone from the pain etched upon Byakuren's face, the process was extremely agonizing. His breathing took on a ragged, unsteady pace as he struggled to turn away from Ayumi, moving away from her as if he didn't want her to see such a thing. She had already seen enough, and besides it was an all too natural reaction of Byakuren's to try and hide such sights from anyone, "Please.. go." The words were choked out barely in between his painful breathing as he staggered to his feet, retreating a little ways off to no doubt hide until whatever was happening to him stopped, but he didn't get too far, his body trembling again as he fell face first into the sand, clenching his teeth as he suppressed any sounds of agony from leaving him.

Meanwhile, it seemed as with the silence that had settled, it was only then that the oni whom were hiding out of view were slowly beginning to come out from their hiding places, warily looking about the ruined, bloody settlement. Mothers with their children were the first to enter the oasis, their murmurs fearful and cautious, activity suddenly slowly beginning again. However, it wasn't long until there was a scream of panic that filled the air as it seemed as if Fudo had been discovered, the male oni having been dragged out of the tent by some of the oasis's remaining fighters. His body was limp, although his chest still rose and fell, though it was weak as he was laid out upon the desert sand on his stomach, his blood quickly staining the desert sand's floor, the extent of his injuries being quite severe on its own. However, it seemed as if Fudo was stubbornly holding onto life, his eyes opening barely as he could see the crowd of oni surrounding him, their voices being quite loud in his own ears, but at the very least the oni was alive if only just barely.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi felt Byakuren lean into her touch and watched as his tears fell. Her heart wrenched at the sight as so much was bombarding her senses. The fact that Byakuren was openly shedding tears even through his amnesia of who she was to him proved that she still held some effect on him. Yet how strong was her effect that her supposed death had caused him to be in this state? Armless and bleeding, having rampaged in pure rage through an unprepared oasis... Yet her thoughts were drawn out of their continual spiral as Byakuren refused her help only to fall forward in pain soon after his refusal.

Ayumi noticed just briefly that something was occurring with his missing limbs, yet Byakuren's motion of turning away stopped her from keeping her eyes on the process. His request of her to leave came between painful breaths, the follow up to it being the commotion she could hear of Fudo's body being brought out of the tent. She felt herself being torn between two worlds: repaying the protection from Fudo and being there for Byakuren as his mate. She remained still, feeling everything beginning to go numb to the blood and gore that was around, simply to get herself moving once more. Part of her believed that Byakuren would be fine. He was strong enough to make it through so much before that she had no doubt he would make it through whatever was happening to him now. Yet Fudo was clinging to the very thought of life right now.

Nodding to Byakuren, though she was unsure if he could see her motion, she forced her limbs to carry her. Ayumi quickly made her way to Fudo's side, his blood staining the sands where he was laid. Steely persistence lit her gaze. "He needs help!" she said hastily to those around her, simply looking on at his body. "Someone get help and supplies!" She looked down at Fudo to see his gaze just barely opening, moving one of her hands to brush any hair away from his face in what she hoped was a mothering, comforting manner. "You're going to be fine, okay?" she murmured, attempting to think of Miho and everything she would do for this should the situation boil down to her needing to assist in saving Fudo's life.
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
Fudo could barely make out the shapes around him, as they were slowly becoming blurred and the voices coming the figures were becoming unintelligible to his own ears. It was then that he felt a gentle touch, brushing back some of his hair from his face which caused the oni to strain his eyes to focus on the human shape before him. Hanging in the balance between life and death, the oni didn't truly recognize whoever was reaching out so gently to him, the only thing he knew was that she was a human. "...Iako?" The name slipped his lips, although he was clearly mistaking Ayumi for someone else once again, the oni had forced some strength in his limbs to move his hand and gently grasp hold of Ayumi's, his grip was weak but there was a smile at the very least upon his features, one that was filled with relief, "Thank goodness... you're okay. Where did you...?" The question unfortunately would go unfinished, Fudo's hand slipping away from her own as he slipped into unconsciousness.

The crowd of onlookers were pushed aside at that moment, a voice filled with desperation and frustration causing the immobilized crowd to quickly comply, "Move! I need to get through!" The familiar shape was Koki, one of the riders and one of the defenders of the oasis, in his hands were a pile of bandages although these bandages were more or less made from clothing considering the oasis didn't have access to any nearby towns for supplies. The oni had immediately crouched down next to Fudo, taking in the injuries that laced his back and the large chunk of flesh that had been taken out of his shoulder, but the most important thing was that Fudo was still breathing. Koki had grasped hold of the ruined tunic that still was barely clinging to Fudo's torso, gently removing the material from the oni as he placed it aside, turning his head to the frozen crowd, raising his voice in a sharp order, "Someone, give me water!" He needed to make sure there was no dirt within the injuries, and more importantly he was worried.

Although the injuries looked fine enough now, Fudo had been clawed and attacked by one of those misshapen creatures. Koki had seen plenty of corpses becoming corrupted by just a festering bite and the infection alone caused illnesses to crop up and spread. The last thing the oasis needed was anyone getting ill, nor could they afford Fudo to turn into one of those creatures or die. Fudo was the leader of their small community, and losing him wouldn't be easy to recover from. His order had caused the immobilized crowd to spring into action as he raised his voice again, "The rest of you, begin trying to clean the oasis. Make sure you handle the bodies carefully." They had suffered losses after all, some of the fighters had succumbed to the attack, one of which could be seen nearby, trapped underneath the huge bulk of one of the disfigured creatures, a spear protruding through the creature itself although the oni underneath was long since dead.

Koki's gaze shifted then to the human across from him, the oni's expression tensing for a few seconds, then turning down to look at Fudo, "I can handle this. You don't need to be here." His tone was a bit less than friendly to her, but that was only due to the clear stress in the oni's features. Whether he realized he was being rude or not, the oni didn't allow that to show, and instead his attention had turned to fast approaching footsteps in the sand, shifting his gaze over to the oni child currently holding a pot filled to the brim with water. Koki's expression had relaxed only slightly as he grabbed hold of the pot, wordless thanks being conveyed from his expression alone as he then took to tending to Fudo's injuries, clearly now focused on saving his leader's life.

On the other side of the oasis, Byakuren's body was curled in on itself, his body trembling as saliva dripped past his lips, teeth gritted in a soundless cry of agony. His flesh was slowly but surely repairing itself, although he knew not how or why his body was capable of regeneration, to say the least it was excruciating. The limbs he had lost from the elbows down was slowly recovering up to his wrists, though the flesh itself appeared black and without any skin to cover the muscle just yet. The sand was irritating the new flesh, causing him fresh agony as his breathing was becoming more and more ragged, his eyes half-lidded as eventually the reforming flesh had finally reached his hands. As soon as his body had recovered the shape of his muscles, it seemed the pain had eased as fresh skin was slowly beginning to surface over the hardening muscle, eventually leaving him with fresh arms that were completely unscathed. The skin itself seemed a bit tougher than before, as if thickening to be resistant against piercing even if his skin was still relatively soft to the touch.

Relief filled him when the process was finally over, the oni now laying on his back, his body still trembling from the phantom pain still lingering in his newly regrown arms. He didn't think he was capable of this before... no, he certainly wasn't. No oni was capable of regeneration from what he knew, it was strictly impossible. This thought made him look toward his fresh arms, turning them back and forth before his eyes as he inspected them, noting grimly that his nails even seemed far more sharper on his newly reacquired limbs. What sort of monster have I become? The thought caused a feeling of unease to settle in his chest as his arms dropped back onto the sand, staring blankly at the sky above as he forced his breathing to slow, as it was still quick from the pain that had been going through him earlier.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi watched as Fudo took hold of her hand, seemingly confused for a moment as she heard the name that fell from his lips. Iako? Ayumi remained silent though questions flared, though worry rushed through her being as Fudo's hand fell away from her own. Ayumi knew he had slipped into unconsciousness and frankly was not surprised by this. The wounds he had sustained were horrific and Ayumi was surprised he hadn't lost consciousness before this point. She was prepared to get ready to act when she heard someone approaching, relief blooming as Koki seemed ready to help Fudo.

Ayumi stepped back as he began barking orders, wishing to no be in the way. Following this, Koki seemed to dismiss her rather quickly as he stated she did not need to be here. Ayumi simply nodded and backed away a bit, knowing she would only be in the way if she tried to stay. Moving slowly away, she had half a mind to find Byakuren, yet her movements were slow in this regard as her adrenaline was slowly leaving her. With each step and each passing second, what had occurred here today was slowly sinking into Ayumi. Once more, her heart began to pound and she felt her hands beginning to shake at her side.

Ayumi turned the corner of one of the nearby tents, allowing herself to sink down now that she was not in the sight of others. Her arms folded around her abdomen as she bent over, her eyes shutting tightly as she bit her lip. A strangled noise seemed to escape her as she allowed the events to flash in her mind, from beginning to end of the horrid attack. Tears sprang to her eyes and she covered her mouth as she allowed a stifled scream, allowing this once to break apart in this privacy, to feel all that had unfolded. She could remember many other times she had allowed this to happen, but always in private. Very rarely did she allow herself to break before others anymore, aside from when Byakuren was killed upon the beach. She couldn't afford to look weak anymore, even if she was a practically skill-less human in a war-ravaged oni realm

Once she had allowed herself to feel the terror of the events before fully, Ayumi moved her hands from her mouth in order to wipe the trails that her tears had left upon her cheeks. She hugged herself once more as she attempted to regain composure, drawing deep breaths in and slowly releasing them once again. Once her body had ceased its shaking, she allowed herself to stumble to her feet, hoping she looked reasonable once more. I have to find Byakuren...
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
Agony soon leaving him, Byakuren knew he couldn't remain laying upon the desert sand any longer than necessary. A grunt slipped past his lips as he slowly forced himself up in a sitting position and eventually managing to stand on his feet. His next thought had been to seek out Ayumi, but another issue would grasp hold of his mind: Nori's body. He could still smell the oni general's foul scent on the arid desert wind, although he wasn't particularly sure why he needed to check on the body in question, something urged him to do so anyways. So, the oni had slinked off around the exterior of the oasis, taking care to avoid bumping into any of the inhabitants as they went about repairing their home. It wasn't long until he had returned to where Nori's body lay motionless on the sand, the smell alone causing Byakuren's nose to wrinkle as he approached in caution.

Shattered pieces of Nori's armor lay scattered about the body, and Byakuren cringed a bit as soon as he had noticed that the body itself was suspiciously lacking a head, which made the oni immediately look to his feet which were completely coated with blood and sand. The sight made him nearly gag, a tinge of unease settling within himself as he eyed the body once more, only to his shock to see that the monstrous mouth upon Nori's stomach was slightly moving. Words were being uttered, very faint and weak which made Byakuren have to step closer, leaning a bit near to hear what was being said. As he focused, the tone being used sounded akin to a plea, "..Please... a little longer. I can be useful still..." The words were repeating over and over, the voice itself almost seemed to be choking up, desperate as he continued to beg. But who was he begging to?

Byakuren's head whipped around as if searching for someone nearby, after all there would be a chance that there could be some reinforcements. All he could see was endless sand with the oasis, there were no other souls nearby that could warrant such desperate pleas. Realization dawned on him quickly, the only culprit could be Osamu. After all, this oni was one of his generals and if he failed, who knows what punishment awaited him. Seeing the general before him, pleading for his own life although his body certainly would be useless now made a tinge of pity go through him, but it was quick to evaporate. Why should he take pity on one that reeks of human blood? He could smell it underneath the oni's blood, a smell that Byakuren could personally never forget. Not to mention his other crime of harassing the oni in the oasis, there was no reason for him to show mercy. The kindest thing he could do now would be to end whatever life still remained in the general's body, perhaps then he would be free of Osamu's clutches.

Byakuren stepped away from the body, grasping hold of Nori's discarded sword and angled the blade just above where the mouth was before plunging the blade deep into the crevice. The words he had been hearing halted, a shuddering going through Nori's body before the flesh began to crumble and disintegrate before his very eyes. It continued until nothing remained of Nori except for his armor and of course his sword which Byakuren now had let go of, closing his eyes briefly as he took in a deep breath and exhaled. He couldn't say what he was feeling at the moment, if he was feeling anything at all. In fact, all he felt was a hollow feeling, dissatisfaction. It was odd indeed to feel such emotions after giving mercy to one that seemed to not deserve it which caused worry to settle in his heart, and he had a feeling that this wasn't the first time he felt such a way.

Shaking his head to snap himself out of his daze, the oni turned around and began walking back toward the oasis, now refocusing his priority on finding Ayumi to make sure she was alright. He didn't know how she was handling all of this, even if he had very little recollection of her in his mind, he was well aware she was a human as well as the fact she could have nearly died. He wasn't even completely sure she was unscathed which caused the oni to quicken his steps as he tried to pinpoint her familiar scent amongst all the mingling smells. Eventually, when he did find her, his steps had slowed down if only for a moment as he took her appearance in. Even if she seemed alright, something didn't feel quite right. There was clearly something wrong, and that caused his expressionless features at the moment to become tense.

He didn't hesitate to then move toward her and immediately draw her to him, his arms encircling her as he wordlessly held her. Of course, he realized with his newfound arms he needed to be more careful than ever, but he still wished to hold her tight: if not for her sake, then for his own. It was a relief to have her close to him, for her presence dispelled his previous worried thoughts and feelings, causing the oni to close his eyes as he allowed for once to relax with her closeness. Byakuren didn't dare ask her what had happened, but he was quick to notice tiny details with her; to know that she had been crying.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi moved along the oasis, though her movements were slow. She simply allowed herself to let everything sink in while she moved, her amber gaze taking in the destruction that now spread over this camp. However, she also noted that everyone else was beginning to move as well, attempting to clean up the damage that had been dealt. She watched as everyone seemed to know their place and duty in order to regain the camp they had built for themselves. She had seen this so many times before with their own group that she was not surprised that so many were already working. Yet she felt herself pushing down any further feeling, like a defense that she had developed in order to keep herself from hurting any further.

However, her attempts to keep anything at bay soon failed as her gaze lifted to find Byakuren making his way to her. She immediately found that his arms were back as if he hadn't just appeared before without them. And while questions flared within her, none of them made it past her lips before those arms wrapped around her form. Her body was brought close to his own in his tight embrace and her will power to keep everything at bay failed then. Ayumi's hands came to clasp at his clothing, holding him tightly to her in return. She buried her face in his clothing, closing her eyes as she simply relished in the feel of having him here once more.

"It's over now...right?" she murmured after a moment, knowing trying to hide her inner turmoil from him would be useless. She could tell by the strength of his hold that Byakuren had suspected something was off. She felt tears sting her eyes once more though she kept them closed as she simply remained in his embrace. She could feel her heart racing all over again, though she silently willed herself to calm down before she broke apart. She already had her moment. She couldn't break again. "Those creatures... They're gone now, right?" Her words trembled, almost like a small child seeking reassurance after a nightmare. While she wished she wasn't so pathetic, she couldn't help but need that such a thing after having been so close to death. If Fudo hadn't been there... If he hadn't dove to shield her from that creature...
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
"Yes, yes it's over. It's all over now." Byakuren's eyes closed tightly as his head tilted down to gently press a soft kiss on the top of her head, her fear scent overflowing from her as a bitter feeling had settled within him. He hadn't been the one to protect her this time, if Fudo hadn't been there she certainly would have been dead, and he... what would he have done afterwards if it had been true she was dead? The memories of his rage induced rampage made his blood run cold, remembering the clear feeling of not caring whether he lived or died, all he knew was anguish and anger, desiring to tear into anything that was in front of him. He didn't like that feeling, even if it gave him a clear rush, even if it made him feel strong, it seemed to be take away a little bit of him. He already had lost most of his memories of Ayumi, but to feel such a feeling was almost frightening to him... He wasn't sure if he should even tell Ayumi until he was certain of such a feeling again.

Dismissing his own worries to the back of his head, his hand gently rubbed comforting circles upon Ayumi's back, although now he was well aware there were gazes upon the two. He could feel wayward glances in their direction, their probing eyes being of curiosity and some being of astonishment. For him to be showing such intimate affection or even concern for a human being was indeed uncalled for, but at the moment he didn't care. It didn't matter, Ayumi's mental state came before anything else. And besides, from what he learned from her, she is his mate. Whatever consequences came after, he would deal with it accordingly.

After a few moments of silently holding her to him, it was then that Byakuren had released her and his hands came to frame her face, tilting her head upward to look directly at him. His expression was one of guilt as he spoke, "..I should've been there to protect you properly. I'm sorry." He truly meant every word, and it was clear that he was feeling regret. If only he could've prevented such a situation from happening, then she would've been in this situation. But at the very least, she was still alive and breathing before him, that was all he could ask for. His head dipped down as he gently pressed his lips against hers, warranting a few muffled gasps from the few oni that were still glancing over toward the two, but Byakuren paid them no mind. Ayumi came first before anything else.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi released a soft breath as he spoke of it being able. Of course, she already knew this, but having it said out loud had some kind of effect on helping her to grasp the entire situation. She felt Byakuren shift and then the soft kiss he placed upon her head, feeling her body's shaking begin to settle just slightly. She could feel the gazes of others upon them, but at the moment she simply didn't care. She didn't care what others would think, what may happen after this display, or what may be said. She simply needed this. To feel that he was here, breathing and that she was breathing also.

She blinked open her eyes as she felt him take hold of her face, shifting it so it was no longer buried in his clothing but rather lifted to his. Her amber eyes were still haunted from the events, yet softened as she heard his apology. While she knew he had possessed no control over the shifting events, her words failed to come in her current state, especially once she felt his lips upon her own. She could hear the gasps that were around them, yet once more she just simply didn't care. Her hands gripped the front of his clothing a bit harder as she returned his kiss, her amber hues shutting once more as a stray tear managed to find a way to escape and travel down her lightly blushing cheek.

Even after all that had just occurred, after his enraged state, and even without his memories, Byakuren was still so gentle with her. Ayumi tucked this fact in the back of her mind. It was currently the only stable thing within her world right now. Even though she had lost Byakuren as he was before, the fact still remained true when he came back to her from death. She could guarantee nothing else in this life besides that.

(( Just to let you know, I have been locked away in my room away from my family because I tested positive for covid. You telling of this story is a very welcomed distraction from my constant four walls <3 ))
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
(Ah! Oh no! I hope you recover soon. But I'm glad that this story is giving you some sort of distraction, makes me happy to know someone enjoys my writing <3 )

Byakuren's lips remained soft and light against her own, void of the passion it would usually hold and instead was treating her as if she were fragile, for in this moment she certainly was. His lips only parted from hers after he heard hesitant approaching footsteps, a shifting of the sand which caused the oni to look up toward the oni woman whom had bowed her head to them both, although he could see already that there were plenty of questions swirling about in her head. The woman had turned her head upward to finally look upon them both, her confusion evident in her eyes although she kept her voice polite and soft, "We've prepared the first tent for... ah, both of you to rest. We've also prepared some water for you to cleanse and a fresh pair of clothes." She hesitated in the midst of the sentence, having to include Ayumi within her wording considering the tender and intimate display Byakuren had shown for Ayumi. In fact, the curiosity seemed to increase within the woman's eyes as she regarded Ayumi, almost as if a silent question was trying to be conveyed, but she was quick to drop her gaze as she bowed again and retreated from the two.

Byakuren's hands had left Ayumi, only to pause before grasping hold of one of Ayumi's hands, tenderly rubbing his thumb over her skin as he murmured, "We should go. After all we won't have an audience." A faint smile had crossed his face as he looked to Ayumi, attempting to at least put her nerves at ease as he didn't desire for her to be subjected to whatever may come after. He wasn't entirely sure how these exiles truly viewed their relationship just yet, and perhaps cleaning themselves of any dirt or blood would be welcome as well as a fresh pair of clothes. Granted, now that he considered it, their offer was generous enough as it is considering majority of the encampment was destroyed, and the tent in question that they had set up was just as large as the one they had before, untainted of any blood. He almost hesitated for a moment, though he had begun to walk toward the tent regardless, keeping his stride small so that Ayumi could comfortably walk at his side, feeling the prickling of curious and astonished gazes pointed toward the two until Byakuren had moved aside the tent's flap and revealed the inside.

The inside once more was attempted to be made as comfortable as possible, with a tub of water toward the back, freshly drawn from the oasis judging by the wooden bucket that was still beside it, damp from the inside. There was as promised two pairs of clothes that had been left for them to wear, one of finer material and fit for travel, there was even a sweet fragrance in the air, a small bar of soap having been left out with two unused, fresh cloths - granted it seemed like this was all they could spare at the moment. Plush skins were also laid out upon the tent's floor, separating the bottom of the tent from the coarse sand, and to provide some light, there was even a lantern they had left behind, the flame inside being of a green hue; clearly some sort of magic being used.

It was then that Byakuren had let go of Ayumi's hand, his hand moving to gently rest upon her back as he spoke in a gentle tone, "You can go ahead first." He wouldn't deny her to chance to bathe first, besides since her nerves had been so frayed, it would be best for her to relax. It wasn't as if he'd leave her side either, although having realized this fact, a tinge of color had barely managed to cross the oni's face as he promptly took a spot nearby the entrance of the tent, his back to the tub as if attempting to give her some semblance of privacy. Although she is his mate, he had no recollection of such a fact, even if he did act on emotion or previous habit. It was more or less a situation he didn't anticipate to be in.
...
Meanwhile, in a vibrant city miles away from the exile's encampment, cheerful and drunken voices rang out through the twilight skies as the nobility dined on fine foods. A thick perfume hung heavy in the building's air as an oni woman watched the drunken nobles take their pick out of a line of pathetic prey that had been placed before them. Humans, as naked as the day they had been born, beaten and battered, and yet their eyes were blissful and empty, some of which were so intoxicated upon demonic toxins that they had no clue where they were, nor did they react the the noblemen or noblewomen whom probed at their bodies, seeing which ones were fit enough to survive at least enough until the oni were satisfied. To the oni woman, this was a mere order from Osamu himself to make sure production of his soldiers went unhindered. Whether the human's flesh were devoured, or they were to be used for pleasure, it made no difference for her master's plan. Their suffering was unimportant, in fact it only mattered if their noble customers continued to eat out of their hands.

Osamu had promised them nights filled with bliss and ignorance, to grow fat on food and have their pockets never run dry, to be entertained day by day, night by night until all they knew was pleasure. In return, they were to only heed the truth that Osamu were to give them, and to accept him as their one and only king - to endlessly support his war effort for more soldiers. Of course, to make them more compliant to Osamu's desires, their drink that they had been served had been spiked with Osamu's blood, rendering the oni more prone to their basic desires and what they truly were: monsters with a human shape. The oni woman's ruby-red lips parted in a smile, her extravagant crimson locks pulled back with fine gold, as brilliant a gold as the loose fitting kimono that hung about her body, lounging upon a plush seat, lightly fanning her dark skin as she watched the nobles beginning their feast upon the human souls that had been captured. It would be a sight that could be gruesome to most, but to her it was merely entertaining watching the humans succumb to their fate to be inevitably slaughtered by the oni whom proclaimed themselves to be of the highest possible stature.

An odd sensation flowed over her body, causing the oni's green eyes to narrow as the very air before her began to bend and warp, a shape soon solidifying as Saburo: the wretched, ugly thing had revealed himself to her, the general's skull clicking together in distaste as the skull's eyes rolled back to look at the nobles making fools of themselves, "I see you're still in charge of the breeding program, Yura." His disgust was all too obvious, causing Yura to roll her eyes as she closed the fan before her, her lips remaining in a pleasant smile, though her eyes only held venom, "Well, someone has to keep pumping out soldiers. It's not like our army can be supplied by just anyone, and you know as well as I that these humans are only useful for that one thing as well as keeping our precious guest's hunger at bay," Yura waved her fan toward the nobles whom were scattered about the large room, "After all, they have a taste for human flesh now. It would be a shame if we suddenly cut them off." Saburo's eyes turned to focus upon Yura as the woman shifted her position, leaning forward to the other general as her eyes narrowed, "Now, please do tell me why you're here. From what I can see, it's not good news."

Saburo crossed his arms across his chest, "...Nori is dead." Yura raised an eyebrow, her pleasant smile dropping for once as the oni woman now sat upright upon her seat, "What? That's impossible. That glutton being killed... unless.." Her sentence trailed off as she spotted the grim look in Saburo's eyes as the general mumbled, "The alter had been used to revive the Demon King." A cold chill went down Yura's spine as her eyes grew wide, only for her to close her eyes as she took in a deep breath and exhaled, "I see. This is worrisome news then. However, I fail to see how this concerns me." Saburo shook his head, his eyes rolling within his skull with the very movement, "Osamu wishes for you to experiment, since we need more bodies than before." The general reached in between the plates of his armor, a clinking sound resounding within the noisy room as he pulled out a vial, the liquid inside as black as coal, "Test this on the human children we secured. If they become too out of control... you know what to do."

Yura's hand reached out, gently grasping the vial from Saburo's hands, tilting the black liquid within it back and forth as a frown crossed her face, "More of his blood, hmm?" A smile replaced the frown almost immediately, a devilish glint coming to her eyes, "Very well, make sure to convey my gratitude to our generous Demon King." Her green eyes shifted upward to Saburo as she tucked the warm vial away within the folds of her golden kimono, "However, before you go, would you perhaps like a drink Saburo? It would make you a lot less tense." She reached out a hand, lightly placing her fingers upon the general's breastplate, although such a gesture was immediately rejected by the demon slapping her hand away, distaste as clear as day in his eyes, "Unlike you, I have pressing issues to deal with. Just do your duty, and keep that fool Girou unaware of what you've been doing." With that, he had disappeared from her sight, causing the woman to pout as she grumbled, "You're no fun."

Laying back upon her seat, a string appeared from her finger, linking around the vial as she pulled it out, letting it dangle before her eyes as her tongue lightly passed over her lips, "Now, what are going to be the results when I use you?" Her lips twitched upward in a smile, "Though, Girou is another matter."
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
(( thank you! ))

Ayumi felt Byakuren pull away as she too heard footsteps approaching. Her lips left Byakuren's as she turned to see the female oni that had come forward, bowing to them as if to apologize for interrupting. Yet Ayumi couldn't feel anything towards the oni right now, especially not anger or dissatisfaction from the interruption. Frankly, she felt a bit numb by everything though she could see the questions ringing in the female oni's gaze. However, at the mention of a tent being prepared and the feel of Byakuren taking her hand, Ayumi simply leaned against his arm as they walked practically allowing him to lead her along.

As they entered the tent, Ayumi could see that effort had been put into preparing the tent for them once more, despite the damage that had been done. Ayumi looked at the bath that had been prepared, the soap and cloths left with care, and the furs settled upon the tent floor. She made a note to ensure that her thanks were portrayed to the oni of the oasis and to check on Fudo as soon as possible. As Byakuren spoke of her going first, Ayumi knew she couldn't sway him as he took a spot near the ten entrance as if to give her privacy.

Ayumi gently moved towards the bath and began to peel away her ragged clothing, gingerly stepping into the water prepared. She let the water engulf her bare frame, letting the warm encircle her skin as if in a cradling embrace. A sigh escaped her lips as she ran her wet hands over her hair, pulling it to the side to run her fingers through it to cleanse it. Meanwhile, her mind was ever-present of Byakuren sitting nearby, her bare back facing him. "Are you hurting?" she asked softly, of course casting her mind away from herself and to the hurt of others. "Your arms, I mean." She cast a gentle glance over her shoulder at him, taking in his form that was now so different from his rampage. She also made sure to keep herself well aware of the water temperature, not wanting it to cool too much so he was unable to have a warm wash.
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
(Of course ^.^)

Byakuren was aware of her movements, his sensitive ears hearing the sound of her clothes leaving her body and eventually when she had stepped into the tub of water they had prepared. Forcing himself to tune out the sounds was a lot tougher than he would have thought, though he stubbornly remained where he sat, instead making his eyes focus on the tent's flaps and listening to the babbling outside; most of which concerned his affectionate display toward Ayumi. However, he couldn't help but flinch slightly when she had spoken up, almost turning his head to face her but quickly catching himself before he dared to. Focusing on her question had made the oni look toward his regrown limbs, his expression souring for a few moments as he could still see a faint indication where his arms had been ripped away and where the new limbs had regrown. It was a faint trace of blackened blood upon his pale skin, the sight making his stomach clench as he didn't speak for a few moments.

"No. I'm not hurting." The reply was quiet, the oni gingerly moving his fingers on each hand, for they felt normal enough as if he'd not lost them in the first place. But it just felt wrong. "I was surprised when I recovered my arms, granted that was the painful part but," Byakuren's expression grew more tense, bitterness crossing his expression as he shook his head, his silver hair falling into place around his head to hide his facial expression though he seemed uncomfortable, "I don't feel... right." It was a hard feeling to describe, the oni searching for words to properly express the feelings going through him at the moment. How could he properly express anything that he had felt? His mental state during the battle was quick to turn to rage to disregard his own safety, and the fact that all he wanted was to feel life being extinguished at his own hands greatly disturbed the oni which caused him to put his head in his hands in a bit of disgust at himself.

"It's one thing that my memories of you are mostly gone, but now my body doesn't feel like my own. Although I'm stronger than before, my skin is tougher, and my limbs apparently can regrow... I feel like a monster." It was understandable in a sense why Byakuren was struggling now with his revival. He had lost most of his memories concerning Ayumi, and now his body was performing feats that was thought to be impossible by normal means. And it did scare him how he felt during the battle after he had lost most of his control, if he'd not been stopped by Ayumi... just what would he have done? Would he be still charging around the desert, searching for more things to kill? The very thought chilled him, for he had a feeling he already knew the answer to that question. He most definitely would, and he would have enjoyed every second if he happened to cross another living creature.

The oni closed his eyes tightly as he shook the thought away as quickly as possible, "But, I suppose I shouldn't be complaining. This just makes it harder for me to die." It was a brighter side, a truth that could be looked upon. Byakuren was far more durable and stronger than before, it'll take a lot to kill him. He wasn't even sure what could even hurt him anymore, except for Nori's bite so far which had made him lose his limbs. Perhaps, it was his blood that broke through his skin? He wasn't even completely sure if that was the case, but he wasn't willing enough to charge into another battle to find out. Realizing however that his responses were rather on the negative side, he sighed as he forced himself to sit upright, straightening out his sitting position, "...Don't worry about me, I'll be okay. I'm just overthinking things." Though, he perhaps said this to reassure not only Ayumi, but himself. He wasn't even sure what he was capable of if he went on a true rampage... and he didn't want to find out.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi remained silent as she listened for Byakuren's response to her question, wondering what he was pondering. As she looked over at him, she noticed how he seemed to be studying his arms. Such a thing must have been quite the odd sensation. First, your limbs are missing and then they return. However, she was pleased to hear that he was not hurting from the experience, though his words that followed did cause some worry. This was especially true when he spoke of feeling like a monster. Ayumi bit her lip lightly as she turned back to the water, thinking over the events that had unfolded. An image of his form during his rampage came to mind. Is that how those within the oasis now thought of him?

Ayumi heard him speak of not worrying for him and how he would be okay. She tried to see the brighter side of this situation, of how he would be harder to kill. Yet she was reminded again about how fragile she was in this place. Just like during the attack, she would've been helpless to do anything if Fude hadn't stepped in. What could she truly do? Over the years, she had learned enough to get by with the group she had remained with and Yumi. She had learned to scavage for food and make repairs to what was essential to keep, yet she had no experience in fighting, defense, or how to survive on her own in this oni realm. She had always relied on others to protect her, and now she was questioning if such a thing was to her downfall.

Ayumi reached to take hold of the soap, shaking her head lightly. "You are not a monster," she said softly, running the bar of soap over one of the cloths setting out. "I suppose having so much new power would take some time to adjust to." She gently began to work at the dirt that clung to her skin. "Besides, if I had actually been able to do something then maybe..." Her words trailed off as she thought of Fudo's injuries and Byakuren's rage. "Perhaps if I wasn't simply a human here..." She paused her actions and words as her mind focused on a thought that had arisen many times before, but one that she never dwelled on until now.

What if she wasn't human? What if she was an oni in this realm instead of a human? Ayumi recalled the strength that Yumi, Suki, Miho, and countless other oni women possessed. She recalled how Yumi had also been hurt once in protecting her. She frowned lightly. Such thoughts were pointless really. She was human and that was all she would ever be. She had no power to change that and wasn't exactly sure she ever really would want to. Yet it was at times like these that she felt how inferior she was, how weak and easily killed she could be. She shook her head quickly, going back to working at any dirt upon her skin. "Nevermind," she said quickly, "It was a silly thing to mention. I'm glad you aren't hurting though. It's a relief." Her words came quickly in the way to try to cover her previous mentions, though it was clear such things still lingered heavily on her mind.
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
Byakuren listened as she spoke, although her words after she had assured him that he was not a monster had made him freeze. What was she saying? Why would she want to be anything else but human? Of course, he understood her need to want to be useful, it was something that even he had felt himself plenty of times before. But, he would have never expected for her to express such a desire, nor did he ever want her to begin thinking in such a way. Yes, there were benefits to being an oni, their longevity, their strength and power, but to say it was all beneficial would be a lie. Not only that, the thought of Ayumi picking up any weapon to try and fight made the oni's heart clench within his chest, a fear settling within for her own safety. To pick up a weapon, to try and fight was akin to placing one's self in harm's way, even if it was for self-defense... could he allow it?

And certainly, things would be easier if Ayumi was indeed an oni, she would be accepted quite easily as Byakuren's mate and not once would anyone dare question her. She would be safer than she was now, after all she was in a realm that was not kind to humanity. But, oddly enough Byakuren didn't want that either for her. He didn't want her to be burdened with such unnecessary thoughts, he just wanted her to be safe and at his side. What more could he possibly ask of her? Before he realized it, Byakuren had moved his position, shifting his weight to his knees and eventually standing up and turning toward Ayumi as she had dismissed her words. His footsteps were muffled against the skins beneath his feet as he eventually had stopped right behind her, kneeling down as he murmured quietly, "Ayumi, I don't want you to change." His hand reached out, gently resting upon the side of her neck, taking care to be as gentle with her as possible as his hand moved to nudge her face so she could look at him.

His expression was serious, as his eyes lacked much warmth behind them, "I don't want you to ever know what it is like to take another's life." These words were spoken with a sharp edge to his tone of voice, as if attempting to draw a line. "Do you think that you can have the resolve to do such a thing?" Byakuren was comfortable, more or less with killing to survive. He had to do it in the mountain range in the human realm, and did not shrink back at the thought of slaughtering if it meant he lived to see another day. This fact was made more prominent as he had been revived, being able to put aside any other emotion to enjoy the thrill of battle, for it made his blood feel as if it were burning in his veins; something that he was ashamed of. He didn't want to expose Ayumi to any remorse she might possibly feel at the taking of another life, for if he did consider allowing her to learn how to defend herself, there might be the chance that she would have to kill to be able to live. He didn't want to burden her with that though, for the very thought put more feelings of remorse to run through him. Never could he ask her to perform such a thing, it would be too cruel.

"You are fine the way you are. You don't need to know how to fight, especially in this war," The hard expression upon his face had slowly softened, "I don't want to lose you. And I don't want for you to lose part of yourself." His fingers softly caressed her cheek, moving to touch her hair as his fingers entangled themselves in her brown locks, his voice becoming more and more gentle, "You being alive is enough for me." Byakuren was being as truthful as possible with her at the moment. Her being alive was enough to soothe him, to keep him grounded. She was far more important to him than anyone else, even if he could not remember her fully, she was an existence that he could not ignore. She didn't need to be useful in battle, for her just being herself was all that he needed. Whether she realized it or not, she had become someone whom he depended on to soothe him, someone who knew his heart, and someone whom his heart still reacted to. His desire to allow her to know this was strong, but he didn't know if his words were enough to be able to convey this properly.

The hand that rested upon her cheek had moved to one of her hands, gently moving her hand so that it rested upon his chest, moving aside his clothing just enough so that he could allow her to feel the thrum of his beating heart, and the heat of his skin as he murmured, "You are my heart, Ayumi. I cannot survive without you, regardless if my memories remain of you or not. This doesn't change." Without her, he was nothing more than the rampaging beast he had turned into when he thought she had died. She was what kept a shred of sanity left within him, to keep him calm.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi worked at seeming entirely focused on getting clean as she heard muffled movements behind her. Her movements only ceased when she felt Byakuren's hands come on either side of her neck, nudging her face so that her gaze connected with his own. She stopped all movement when she found his gaze to be entirely serious, his words taking on the tone of finality. As he questioned whether she had the resolve to take a life or not, her own thoughts were halted upon that fact. Could she truly take a life? Could she deal a blow that meant to end the life of someone for good? To know that she would be responsible for the ending of someone?

The more she thought of that fact, the more she was unsure of if she could. To know how to fight would include that fact, however, and if she was unable to do it then what good would this knowledge be to her? What good was learning to defend one's self if one couldn't complete the job? This did, however, feed into the thoughts that she was too weak for this place, though Byakuren's following words did hinder any weight these thoughts had on her.

He didn't want her to change. She was enough for him. Ayumi felt his touch upon her cheek and felt as his fingers entangled themselves into her hair. Her heart rate sped at his words. She watched as he took her hand, moving it so that it would rest upon his chest to feel the rhythm of his heart. She could feel the pounding just beneath his skin. Tears sprang to her eyes as a soft smile began to form upon her lips, seeing how foolish she had been with such thoughts. She was enough for him just as she was. Just as the human she was.

Shifting upward just slightly, Ayumi pressed her lips gently against his own in a soft and quick kiss. "I'm sorry. I was being foolish," she said gently, "I just never want to become a burden to you." She recalled the rampage Byakuren had been on before, his words mirror how the effect of believing her to be dead had caused this. His reaction to seeing her solidified this. How much of an effect did she truly hold over him? Clearly, it was more than she ever believed before, regardless of her weaker state.
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
Byakuren's lips twitched upward in a faint smile after she had given him a soft, yet quick kiss. Though he shook his head in exasperation at her saying that she never wanted to be a burden to him, "You'll never be a burden to me Ayumi. You are my mate, are you not?" She was his other half after all, even if he could not remember, his heart certainly only seemed to confirm this. These feelings of affection he felt for her were almost overwhelming, and he didn't feel like fighting against them either. Now that her worries had been dispelled, it caused the oni to relax but this was short lived as he realized he had interrupted Ayumi bathing. A tinge of color had managed to creep upon his features as his eyes had taken in her figure, a lovely form before his gaze. The light hearted air around him had changed, as his expression seemed akin to hunger. How long had it been since he'd seen her in such a way? He could not recall the memories unfortunately, but the hunger coiling within his chest was eating at him as his crimson gaze grew heavy with desire.

Now was hardly an appropriate time, with the oni of the oasis making repairs to their community right outside of their tent. The thin tent walls would do little to muffle sound, and yet as his mind reasoned with him to control himself and hold himself back... his hunger begged to differ. It was a strong desire as well, as if he'd not acted on such a thing in so very long. "Ayumi," He spoke her name, the tenderness in his tone disappearing and turning sultry with hunger, his hand that still lingered upon her face had moved so that it could once more entangle within her hair, his lips coming to descend upon hers again as he drank deep of her sweet scent. His kiss wasn't gentle, instead was reminiscent of the passionate, fiery kisses he normally would give her. The softness of his lips pressing demandingly against her own, his tongue slipping past her lips to brush against her own as he deepened the kiss, parting only briefly from hers to take in a breath before he continued to relentlessly bruise her lips with passionate kisses, his teeth occasionally very gently nibbling on the soft skin of her lips before letting go.

His other hand that had held her hand to his chest had released its grip and now had grasped the edge of the tub, moving as well to grasp hold of Ayumi and had rested upon her shoulder, though slowly trailing down her side, dipping into the warm water as his hand had abruptly stopped to rest upon her hip. It was then that the oni's lips finally parted from hers, his breathing being slightly ragged as he planted a soft kiss upon her cheek as he then whispered teasingly near her ear, "Now, it's best if you'd hurry. You don't want the water getting too cold, I still need to bathe as well, unless," His hand had left her hip, leaving the warm water as he gripped his battered tunic, sliding the piece of clothing slightly as if he were about to discard it, "You'd prefer if I get undressed now, hmm?" He slipped the tunic just a bit further, revealing slightly more of his muscular torso only to stop, then a teasing smile had crossed his face, chuckling, "Just kidding."

Byakuren had then shifted his tunic to properly cover himself as he placed a gentle kiss on Ayumi's forehead as he turned away from the tub of water and returned to his spot near the entrance. He was dissatisfied certainly, but getting the chance to tease Ayumi was well worth it.. even if it only served to continue to stir the hunger bubbling up within him. After all, even if his memories of her had mostly been locked off to him, he still remembered how to tease her it seemed.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi nodded softly as he spoke of her being his mate. Even though he had lost so much of her memory, Byakuren was still able to feel that she was his. He had already proved this by the feelings he had displayed. This she was thankful for. However, slight confusion graced her features as she noticed color ignite in his pale skin, though she soon got the answer towards the change which caused a slight pink to take hold of her own skin. It had been quite some time since they had been in a moment such as this. How long had it been? The hot springs in the Water Nation perhaps?

Hearing her name on her lips, the hunger that seemed to surround her name alone, caused a small breath to escape her before his lips found her own. She could feel his hand within her hair again, feel the hunger being displayed behind his kiss. Her heart pounded in her chest, her own hands coming to grip his clothing tightly. For just a moment, she was able to forget the horrid events that had unfolded just before and simply focus on feeling Byakuren who was here and living and physical again. She gave over in submission as his tongue took dominance, feeling his gentle nibbles and soon his hand coming to grasp her hips. Shivers went through her at his touch upon her bare skin and his teasing that followed didn't help the colored glow that now possessed her skin.

Even without his memories, it was clear that Byakuren still knew exactly how to tease her. Her eyes followed his movements as he revealed his torso as he moved his tunic away, the color growing deeper though there was slight hunger beginning to grow in her eyes. "You enjoy teasing me too much," she breathed out when he kissed her forehead, beginning to move away to allow her to finish up. However, even with his distance, the color upon her skin took some time to fade.

Ayumi didn't spend much longer in the bath, however. She had gotten as clean as she could and gently began to slip out from the water's embrace to change into the clothes provided. She changed quickly, wishing not to catch the chill of the air as the water began to dry off of her skin. She left her hair to hang freely to dry, her long brunette locks framing her face in their drying state. Fully clothed once more, she made her way over to where Byakuren was seated, setting her hands upon his shoulders as she came up from behind him. "The water is still warm," she said softly as she planted a gentle kiss on his cheek before settling down near where he had sat in order to give him the same courtesy he had given her while she bathed.
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
A smug smile crossed his face as she had claimed he enjoyed teasing her too much. If he had done so a lot in the past, he certainly knew why he did so now. The redness that would ignite across her skin was all too endearing for him to resist, although his mind lingered upon the look in her eyes. That alone was enough to cause shivers of delight to go down his spine, but he didn't dare cast another glance over his shoulder toward her. It was enough that he had teased her, but he would be pushing the limits of his patience if he were to continue looking at her bare body. He wanted her desperately, but he needed to keep his control in check or else he would completely lose himself. He was far stronger than he had been, so the risk of him hurting Ayumi was higher, and besides... he didn't want to have her blood on his hands. It was an old worry that had wiggled its way back into his heart despite constant reassurances that she would be fine in memories that he had forgotten. He always had to be cautious, and not allow himself to completely lose his sense of self-control. He didn't want to lose her after all.

His thoughts were interrupted by Ayumi's gentle touch on his shoulders, as well as her placing a kiss on his cheek, the action causing warmth to come to his eyes, "Right, thank you." Standing up from his spot, he had turned away and made his way over to the tub of water, beginning to shed off his clothing although not without saying in a teasing tone, "I wouldn't mind if you try to sneak a peak or two." Of course, he was merely teasing her to get her to blush again, finding it quite fun to do such a thing. It seemed like he had once again stumbled over his favorite past time of making Ayumi's face turn various shades of red. Although, even if he was teasing her, he certainly wouldn't mind if she did. He had nothing to hide from her after all, considering she was his mate. The oni had then slipped into the tub of water after his teasing remark, his muscles relaxing as the warm water engulfed his figure which he then took to cleaning himself, primarily the dried blood that remained upon his body still.

The oni took his time with the process, making sure all dirt and blood was completely gone from his skin and underneath his sharp nails, and taking care in cleaning his long silver hair. A sigh of contentment had managed to leave his lips, feeling the fatigue of battle beginning to fade away as well as the last remaining stiffness of his joints, although he did pause as his hand had come to rest upon his abdomen, right below where Izumi's sword had stabbed him through. Phantom pain flared where the scar remained, his lips twitching downward in a frown as he proceeded to wash his back, ridges of old scars beginning to cause fuzzy memories to focus within his mind. The battle with Saburo, and his punishment by Izumi's own hands coming to his mind. The pain from the old wounds making him clench his teeth for a brief moment as he continued to wash away the dirt and grime, now beginning to clean near his neck and shoulders, feeling more old wounds underneath his fingers. Remnants of torture by Osamu. I really have pushed my body to the limit, huh? A bitter taste settled upon his tongue as he closed his eyes, the memories making his muscles react and tense, almost as if he were experiencing them all over again. But, Byakuren did not shy away from it, these memories were his own and he desired to remember even if it pained him. His body was no stranger to fighting and suffering, but he was not ashamed of it. Besides, he was sure he'll acquire some more anyways during the duration of the war, even if his body was decorated with so many scars, it simply meant he survived another day. That was all, and if it caused some memories to come back to him, then it was even better.

After a few moments, Byakuren finally had managed to clean himself properly, although it was certainly nothing compared to the hot springs in the Water nation, it was enough to make him content. The oni stepped out of the water, grasping hold of the clothes that had been provided to him and slipping the new clothing over his form, appreciating the relatively lighter material. After all, the Fire nation's lands were hot, and they could not afford to cover themselves from head to toe, or else face heatstroke. The oni then approached Ayumi, settling behind her and then his arms wrapped around her middle, pulling her onto his lap as he pressed a loving kiss to her neck, his tongue soon licking where he had kissed her as he purred, "I'm clean now, Ayumi." However, judging alone from the teasing light to his eyes, it was clear that he was in a rather good mood, which was a welcome change. His desire had not burned out after all, though he had pushed it away for now to instead have his fill on making Ayumi's face turn as red as possible.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
As Ayumi settled into her spot, she heard his teasing words about sneaking a peak or two. Faint color danced across her fair cheeks though her own playful smile came to her lips. "You would enjoy that too, wouldn't you?" she said teasingly, though her color never faded. However, she remained where she sat as she listened to his movements and the sounds of his clothes being discarded before hearing him slip into the water. For the moment, she allowed her thoughts to wander a bit, especially to the sounds that were just beyond the tent.

So much had happened in what seemed like such a short time. What were they going to do now? She thought of their group that was nestled on the island, recalling the events that had unfolded on the sands there. Yumi would no doubt be wracked with worry, and she silently prayed that her friend was not making life miserable for those watching out for her. She was still hurt, after all, and Ayumi hoped she wasn't pushing her injuries too far. Not to mention little Hiroshi. There was no telling what mischief those two may be able to get into when left to their own devices. And then there was Kenshin and Noa. They were just delving into their own relationship when the attack on the Water Nation started. She wondered how they were doing now as well.

Ayumi was brought out of her thoughts when she felt arms wrap around her middle and Byakuren bring her upon his lap. She giggled softly as she felt his kiss upon her neck and her face flushed color as she felt his tongue following his lips. It was clear he was in a good mood. "Are you now?" she asked playfully as she leaned back into his embrace, pushing her previous thoughts to the side for the time being. Her hands came to rest on his arms where he held her, tilting her head back to be able to look at him. "Well, it would seem you do smell better now," she added playfully, hoping to keep his good mood for a while. It would be a welcome distraction for the two of them.
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
Byakuren had shifted his position, allowing Ayumi to become more comfortable to rest against him as he laughed. Although Byakuren could not remember, it certainly had been quite a while since he'd last laughed, a warm and gentle sound as he planted a soft kiss upon Ayumi's forehead, "And I could say the same about you, though," One hand had came up to gently grasp a hold of her brown locks, bringing the lock of hair to his lips as he kissed it, "You always smell sweet to me." It had been something he'd admitted in the past, that Ayumi's scent was always very sweet and intoxicating to the oni. It was a smell that soothed him, but it also made his heart race. It was such an odd sensation, but the oni didn't mind for it felt so familiar that he almost felt as if his mind was threatening to reveal to him yet another memory... but it danced away from his grasp before he could even so much as get a firm hold on it.

"Being so close to you like this makes me feel nostalgic," His eyes seemed to warm as he sighed, "Somehow I feel like I've not been able to hold you like this for quite some time." His hand had fallen away from the lock of hair he had in his grasp as he nuzzled against her neck again, placing soft kisses, "But, now that I have you in my grasp... I don't want to let you go." His grip tightened around her, his muscles tensing as he closed his eyes. Ah, there was a somber feeling rising within him, he could remember once again him passing away on the beach and the fuzzy, very faint memory of seeing Ayumi smiling at him before he'd passed. I don't want for her to go through that again. I can't ever leave her side again. That was right, he in that moment thought that was the end of it. He'd never again feel her in his arms, nor see her wonderful smiles. He'd no longer enjoy a moment with her again and that... that ripped at his heart more than he'd ever think it would. It caused a pain that caused his good mood to temporarily dampen.

Well, now that he had her in his arms, the oni had said quietly, repeating himself, "I don't want to let you go. Ever." His lips came up to her own, gently kissing her this time. It was a tender, sweet kiss. It was loving and soft, slow and careful. Of course, he wasn't ready to switch into passionate, wild and greedy kisses just yet, after all such a moment should be savored before it could burn out of control. Besides, for a moment he desired to put Ayumi at ease as well as himself, to forget the horrors that they both had went through and simply find some time to spend together with no worries of the world on their shoulders. If Byakuren had all his memories still, he probably would have wished for the days that he and Ayumi had spent in the mountains that had been his home for a few centuries in the human realm. Or anything prior to the war that Osamu had thrown the realm into, those days even if they had their own worries did not carry as much death and suffering as the days now held.
 

Keylyn May

Simply Invisible
Ayumi drank in the sound of Byakuren laughing. How long had it been since she last heard such a thing? Too long for sure. His laugh and the way he nuzzled her neck caused a smile to form on Ayumi's lips, his kisses causing a soft sigh to leave her. She was glad. She was so glad they could be close like this again. For so long, due to the corruption that Osamu had left in Byakuren's body, they had to keep such a careful distance. Such a thing had been straining, and she could recall all the times that she had felt that distance growing between them. It had pained her so, but she had understood his desire to keep her far from the corruption within him.

But now it seemed that those times were ones that could become a distant memory. At least, she hoped they could. While his new form and his amnesia were things they would both have to get used to, not to mention his new status in this realm, she was at least glad to be able to have these close moments again. "I have missed this," she murmured softly before she felt his lips connect with her own. Her eyes gently shut as his kissed remained soft and tender. This moment of peaceful bliss was certainly welcomed after their horrendous experience just moments before.

One hand came up to gently rest on the back of Byakuren's neck as if to say that she welcomed his kisses and attention. She was almost afraid that such a moment wouldn't be lasting long since so many times before they had been interrupted rather quickly. She understood that most of the time it is rather important business that had interrupted them, yet she wished to have time for just the two of them, as mates and lovers.
 

LONELYRAIN

teller of tall tales
Byakuren's skin tingled as her hand rested upon the back of his neck, her words prior to him kissing her stirring warmth in the oni's chest. He didn't realize his heart yearned for her closeness so much, the emotions rising within him making his heart begin to ache. It had been so long since they had been separated, even if he could no longer remember the careful distance he had placed between them for her own safety, he only knew that he had desired to be as close to her as possible. He was hungry for her touch, and starved of her affection. But, even if he realized these powerful feelings within him, he could not remember why he felt so strongly about this. As much as he desired to remember, to know everything about Ayumi once again and understand fully the deep connection he had with her, his mind refused to yield even as his heart continued to bleed these strong emotions into him.

His lips parted from hers, and for a moment his expression seemed... sad. It was an odd expression certainly, after all he had been in such a good mood just moments before. But, he yearned so much to remember the woman before him. His hands gently came up to frame her face, his thumbs lightly brushing over her cheeks as he caressed her skin as if trying to memorize the familiarity of her face, her soft skin underneath his fingertips. One of his hands had trailed down, a fingertip brushing over her lips, although the touch was very light as he was being as careful as possible with her. His heart rang with familiarity, but his mind still held nothing. It was as if he were touching a stranger through his mind's eye, while his heart rebelled and reacted to her. It was a strange and bewildering feeling, and it frustrated him.

Closing his eyes, the oni had let a sigh leave his lips, his expression gentling once more as the sadness faded gradually from his features. He had said he would simply create new memories with her if the old ones did not return. It was a simple solution, but Byakuren still felt sadness within him. She didn't deserve this, it simply wasn't fair to her at all. "...I want to reconnect with you." The words were spoken softly, tenderly even but the sadness was still there. "But, I'm afraid that you may disappear from my grasp again in my mind." His eyes had opened again as he looked at her, his hand moving from the side of her face, trailing lightly down her neck and then stopping upon the edge of the top of her clothes, his fingers curling around the material knowing quite well it would be able to slip away with ease if he desired to. Yet, there was a lack of the hunger in his gaze, instead the somberness remained as his fingers remained locked in their position as he murmured softly, "I want to..." His mind struggled to remember, but nothing seemed to yield. There was no answers, no brilliant breakthrough, just emptiness.
 

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