Chapter 1: Prologue
She turned her head ever-so-slightly but didn't even look at him. He couldn't see her eyes - he just wanted to see her eyes, her beautiful green eyes. For a second he thought that she might look at him one last time.
But she turned away and ran. Nothing, no lingering attachment, remained now that the spell was broken, now that he wasn't beautiful anymore. He had always been nothing to her, dirt on the tip of her shoe; to think that it wouldn't have ended any differently was a folly. He would have laughed at how miserable he was, but he only coughed up purple blood, that spilled on the ground in front of him.
Life was unfair. He should have known from the start that people like him were simply not meant to be happy, no matter the price they paid to obtain an illusion of this happiness. Had this pact with the devil even been worth it, when it could all be taken from him in an instant? He doubted that now. Even during the most intense fits of passion, he still remembered that they were all under his spell, that they couldn't possibly love the true him.
He thought of the man that had killed him. Life was unfair indeed. This murderer would never know what it was to be ugly and lonely: one look at his beautiful face told Gakupo just that. He had even thought him to be a woman, and the irony of his punishment was like the cruelest of jokes. Curse him, whoever he was! Of course this other man would want to kill him - people hated what they couldn't understand, and that murderer couldn't have understood the loneliness in Gakupo's heart. Never had the duke hated anyone more than this stranger.
There was a slow clapping from the shadows.
"Bravo, my dear, excellent work," said the demon of lust as he emerged from the shadows. "It was a grand show."
He was a beautiful man, with thin, elegant features and a royal air to him. He was slim but with wide shoulders, looking down on the human with eyes half shielded by long lashes. Never had Gakupo seen a man so beautiful, one that made him want to taste the forbidden fruit of pleasure with another male body. Even his demonic features enhanced the temptation: bat-link wings emerged from his back, cooked hooves from the bottom of his pants and impressive horns from the top of his head. But the most dangerous thing about him was the aura of lust that emanated from the creature, an aura that drew his preys in and made them want to adore him on their knees, like a god. For all he had given to him, he might as well have been Gakupo's god.
Fear filled the human: it was time for the demon to collect his due.
"I do not believe that I thought that it would be useful to give you my name on our last encounter," said the creature, stopping a few steps away from Gakupo. "I am Asmodeus, the Lord of Lust, one of the seven rulers of all demons everywhere."
Gakupo's eyes widened. Even him, a mortal, knew this name. The creature had told him that he was "a demon of lust," which, fair enough, was important, but he would have never guessed him to be the Lord of Lust. What could a simple mortal like him have done, that he might be of interest to such an important figure?
"I see that it strikes a bell," continued Asmodeus. "Good! I would have been offended otherwise. You must be wondering how someone like me might even get interested in someone like you. All you need to know was that you were lucky, and you proved to be more interesting than what I had predicted, Gakupo, and that is rare. I am quite satisfied with your performance - you are indeed talented at putting on a show. A shame that you needed my powers to acquire beauty, or then you would have turned into the most fascinating man of all of the nobility - but then you wouldn't have needed my services."
As the demon talked, the mortal felt his own death take a hold of him, and both the demon and his flow of words have been gradually fading into the void. Or maybe he was the one that was fading.
"I'll just go over the formalities," continued Asmodeus. "As per our contract, I have all the rights a demon can have on your soul, now that you are dying. I suppose that you can guess this much. I can throw you in a pit of fire, or I can have you served for dinner, and, as you have signed your rights away, you will do nothing about it. If you try to break your part of the deal by, let us say, resisting, you will feel yourself tear up from the inside until you do get split into multiple pieces, and believe me when I tell you that the pain is absolutely excruciating - among one of the worse that you can experience even in the deepest, darkest realm of hell. In other words, you have no other choice but to do as I say, and this for a duration of time that is proportionate to the amount of my powers that you used, which in your case... would make something like eighty years. Which is remarkable, considering you had them at your disposal for only six months."
The poison was working its foul disease on Gakupo's body, yet even as his vision darkened and purple spilled further and further on the carpet the demon seemed unfazed. The terms only vaguely made sense in the human's mind. He recognized it all, and knew it all related to events he had accomplished during his life, but did it really matter?
"Ah, I think he's leaving us," said Asmodeus, talking to seemingly no one. "Let us wait."
Finally, there was a little silence. Gakupo closed his eyes and sighed, and with that sigh exited his last breath.
He had the oddest sensation of falling, falling, falling until he was standing on something hard. He opened his eyes slowly and found that he was now standing near a corpse - his corpse. Looking at himself laying there was odd, and he stayed dumbfound for a few moments before looking away from the mess that had once been his mortal flesh, examining his new appearance. He recognized his own body, but it was draped in a white cloth, made in a material that he had never seen before: so light that he barely felt it, and slightly transparent, but only enough to let the outlines of his body be guessed through it. He wore nothing under, and his long purple hair was undone. He reached up for his face and, with horror, felt his old deformities. The crooked nose, the split lip--
No! It wasn't possible. He was dead. How could this follow him in the afterlife? He had made a contract with the demon of lust so that he could become beautiful. He refused to deal with this nightmare again. There couldn't have been a worth punishment in death!
"Ah, no need to look this distressed, dear Gakupo," said Asmodeus as he crept closer. The demon gently pushed the human's hand away from his face. "There are ways to fix you, and you will have access to them. And this time, they will be permanent."
Gakupo looked up at the hellish creature, hope filling his greedy heart. "I want my true face back."
"You shall have it," replied Asmodeus with a cat-like grin. "Granted that you do a little something for me... Miku, come forth."
Gakupo turned around just as a second demon emerged from the shadows. She passed right by him without a glance and kneeled in front of Asmodeus, bowing her head in reverence.
She looked young, but Gakupo already knew that this shouldn't fool him. Her hair was the softest, most remarkable shade of blue and tied up in twin tails by silky ribbons. She was small in size and delicate in appearance, just like a snowflake. She had no demonic features, or maybe they were all hidden under her satin gown.
"Rise, my dear," said Asmodeus. "I think that our friend wants to look at you."
She obeyed and turned to Gakupo. He met her gaze. There was nothing but ice in it, cold and distant with a touch of disdain. He could feel them eyes trail over his deformities, surveying them, measuring them and judging them. This unnerved him. He had to gather his will so that he wouldn't flinch away from her examination - something about her made showing weaknesses repulsive.
"Because you made a contract with a demon, don't need to bother with trivialities such as going through the Hall of Judgement - your soul is, by default, deemed sinful - and belong to me," explained Asmodeus, "but I am too busy to take care of you personally. Luckily, Miku Hastune here expressed her interest in working on you. Believe me when I tell you that this relationship can only be mutually beneficial."
Gakupo looked at the woman, then at the man. "So, you are saying that I won't burn in the pits with the damned?"
"You are going to wish you were sent there," said Miku.
The human stared back at her in shock. "How come?"
"Master Asmodeus, I must express my feelings on this, forgive me," she said, ignoring Gakupo's question. "I am only taking this project for the artistic challenge. You have advised me to watch this man and get to know him, yet I have seen nothing from him so far that I like, save for his taste in aesthetics."
"Oh. That sounds quite harsh, Miku," said the Lord of Lust. "Why so?"
"Must I point out the obvious?" She sneered. She was smaller than Gakupo, yet still managed to look at him down her nose. "The man died right in front of us because he abused the powers that you offered him. He brought attention to himself by taking all the pretty women of the land to his basement. He should have gone for four, maybe five of them at most, exchanging them with others when he grew bored of them, yet he didn't. He hoarded them - and a hoard always attracts thieves, or the rightful owners of the stolen goods."
"Stolen goods?" Asmodeus laughed. "You talk of those ladies as if they were objects."
"To him, they might have been," she snarled. "And that's another reason why I dislike him."
"Ah," said the Lust Lord. He smirked. "I personally think that he went out in my favorite way: taking it all, and living a short life where he only seeks to sate every single one of his desires. Yes, that is the type of people that I favor, but I can see where you are coming from in your hate of him and his ways. I take it that you are glad to be the administrator of his punishment?"
Miku smiled. It wasn't a pretty one: it was cruel and triumphant, a real demon smile. This was answer enough.
"What is going to happen to me?" Asked Gakupo.
She cast her eyes on him, disdainful, and sneered. "Becoming a demon is no idle process. You will have wings and a tail, but those will be sown in your very flesh. And for you, there will be no anesthesia."
"What?" cried the human.
"What?" repeated Asmodeus, before bursting in laughter. "Oh, those humans are priceless. They make pacts with the devil, yet they are always surprised to hear that they have to pay the price. Gakupo, dearest creature, my dearest possession, don't frown so. When all will be done, you will be quite glad about the results. Miku is a brilliant flesh crafter... and a crafty woman, and a wonderful singer."
"You flatter me, my Lord."
"But I don't want a tail and some wings," protested the human, "I'm fine as I am."
"They shall not be just any tail and wings," said Miku as she stepped closer. "I'll rip your skin off and replace it with a white shell, that will be polished down until it is as smooth as porcelain, I'll remodel your face, I'll break your legs and stick them back together in the way that is the current fashion, I'll tear your arms in two and rebuild them so that you have four of them. And then, when you will be perfect on the outside..." she leaned in, whispering the last bit. "I'll reach into your gut, and make you into the perfect servant for His Lordship's entertainment. When I am going to be done with you, you will be able to do things that will make the weeks of sex you had with your harem look like a mere warm-up. You can count on that."
Gakupo stumbled back in horror, tripped and fell backward on his ass. She smiled at him when he looked up to her, a cruel, cold smile. Both demons loomed over him.
"How exciting," said Asmodeus. "I can't wait to see the final result. He is going to be the next star of Red Square - what am I saying, of all of Allacard. May I ask about what will inspire you when you work on him? Surely, knowing the way you craft, you have a theme in mind."
"A hornet? Why..." The Lord of Lust's eyes widened in shock when he figured it out. "A horny hornet. With a nasty stringer. Oh Miku, you are a genius. The titles of his show literally write themselves. Why have I never thought about something like this before myself?" He chuckled.
"But... I don't want to become a hornet." Gakupo looked at Miku, then at Asmodeus. "Please, is there any other way?"
"Quit your whining, pet," she hissed.
"And how long do you think that the whole transformation will take?"
"For a first draft to be completed, we are looking at a few months of work." She sighed. "But your Lordship knows how it goes, there are always adjustments to be made - especially if he's going to be a performer doing acrobatics. I think that I am looking at roughly four years before he is physically perfect, and then that will only be the start of his training proper. You will have to be patient."
"Four years?" Gakupo wasn't sure that he understood what they were talking about, but four years was too long.
"Oh, look at him, he's impatient too," said Asmodeus.
"Oh, believe me when I say this," answered Miku, "but no one will be waiting for the end of it all more than he." She turned to Gakupo and gave him the creepiest smile. "No one."
Chapter 2: The Hall of Jugement
Someone had changed the flowers in the vase near the window.
As his end came nearer and nearer, Kaito would start noticing small details like the flowers - things he would ignore before. Everything became important because anything might be the last thing he remembered - he would take nothing but memories on the other side, or so he was told.
Yet he wasn't scared. Not really. He had lived a good life, and he had kept his head clear until the end - not like others, that would go insane as they gained age. Men rarely got to choose the way they died, yet Kaito was lucky enough to do so peacefully, in his bed, surrounded by his family. His sons had come back to see him one last time, and he had even gotten to see his granddaughter, that was two now. He knew that his family would live on without him and this reassured him.
He was so weak that there wasn't much for him to do than sit and rest, and sometimes he would think back to his life. He would remember his wife, the only woman he had loved - until she, after having given him three sons, had run away with another man. He used to be angry at her for leaving, even if he had always known, deep down, that she had married him out of obligation and had never been happy with him. But time had brought him peace and the joy of seeing his children grow into strong adults. He had never taken a second woman, content with remaining single and not wanting to risk a second heartbreak.
His former wife wasn't the only person he would recall. Sometimes his mind was like a clear sky that allowed him to see the distant mountains on the horizon, and he would remember events in his life as if they had occurred yesterday. On those occasions, the face of the man he killed came to him, in dreams or in daydreams.
He quickly chased thoughts of the duke. That had all happened such a long time ago, and he had never regretted killing him. He had rid the land of great evil, and yet he had told no living soul save for his wife, that recalled it all. Yet he couldn't deny that when he looked back at the entirety of his existence, that one event gave it an odd flavor, as if a piece of someone else's life had slipped into his, like pages from one book in the middle of the story of another. He wouldn't linger on the memory, but he would linger on the feeling, trying to piece it together, to explain it, before giving up.
He died quietly, one night when everyone was asleep. By the time they found him in the morning, he was cold.
He felt his soul rise up in the air. Above him was light, pure and beautiful; he felt at peace as he watched it approach him. He was leaving his family and friends behind, yet he was not sad, only melancholic. He wished them a happy life.
His senses, one by one, came back to him. First, it was his sight, and then his hearing; he was standing in a crowd, but they were all surrounded by white mist as if standing behind a veil; whispers crept in the air around him, indistinguishable from one another, like a faraway melody. He was standing in the Hall of Judgment, he knew that without having to be told, and soon he would be seeing his Judge know what would become of him. He waited quietly.
"Hey," called a man, approaching him.
The stranger was young, maybe in his twenties, strong as an ox and just as wide as one too. He wore the strangest clothes, white and slightly transparent, and Kaito was trying to understand what sort of person might wear that when he noticed that all those that stood around him were dressed the same, and so was he. All were equal in death after all.
"What's your story?" asked the man. He didn't seem like he was among the guardians of this place, just a fellow human looking for a chat.
Kaito shrugged. "Oh, nothing too amazing. I was among the nobility, but never did anything of any importance."
The man chuckled. "Oh, nobility. That's funny. I mean, if I would have met you alive and alone, I would have threatened you with a knife to have you hand over your purse. It's not like you were lacking any money to share."
Kaito scoffed. "That would still be unbelievably rude. Were you a crook?"
"No need to look at me like that." The man rose his hands in defense. "I was what you would call a 'crook', I guess. But I wasn't going to muggle you now. I just thought that it was funny to point it out. Death change a lot of things." He shrugged. He looked like he was going to walk away but suddenly recalled something. "Hey, you're a noble, so you studied a bit all the stuff about paradise, right?"
"I was a noble, not a priest," pointed out Kaito.
"But did you?"
"I might have. Why do you ask?" Kaito wasn't sure that he liked the man. He never had had to deal with maurauders, as his land had been peaceful and blessed, but that did not mean that he wanted to sympathize with one.
"Well, I was wondering. I might have, you know, killed a man or two. You know, it's the accidents of the job." The man gave Kaito an apologetic smile. "It happens. I thought that I would have the time to pray for forgiveness later. Do you think that I still can right now?"
Kaito's eyes widened in horror as he slowly backed away. This man was a murderer.
"No need to look at me like that," said the former bandit. "I was just looking for an opinion, not judgment."
Kaito shook his head slowly. "You would need a lifetime."
"What, shit?" The man was going to add something, but he paused suddenly and turned his head the other way as if he had been called. "Oh, no, it's time for me. I don't want... sir, please, help me."
Even if Kaito would have wanted, he would have been unable to do so: the man was fading from view right in front of his eyes, becoming more and more transparent as he spoke.
"I don't want to go to hell, it was all an accident." The former crook's voice was becoming more and more distant. "It was all an accident..."
He was gone.
Kaito shuddered. He had instantly disliked this man, yet he couldn't help but feel pity for him. There was no doubt in his mind on where he would spend the rest of his eternity. At that moment, the former nobleman thought about how lucky he was that he had lived a sinless life.
Putting the memory of him away, he wandered for a while among the crowd of unknown faces. He was surprised to see that they all looked young - there wasn't anyone that looked over thirty - before he realized that his hands no longer had its bulging veins and knobby knuckles. They had all been brought back to the same age and dressed the same. He thought it to be amusing. Time passed, yet he had no measure to estimate how much time had passed exactly - it might have been days and he would have still been unable to tell. There were always people, no matter how far he walked, yet he spoke to no-one as he waited for his moment.
When he felt the call, he knew without a doubt that this was what he had been waiting for. It came to him in the same way that he was there to wait: he just knew it, yet that knowledge felt as if it had been gently placed in his mind. He didn't struggle or cry out like the bandit had done and simply let himself be carried away. It felt as if he was falling asleep.
The crowd around him faded and then he was standing in front of the Judge in a place full of mist.
It was impossible to tell if he or she was a man or a woman, for they had ample clothes draping their body and a face that was beautiful yet androgynous. Their eyes were hidden by a cloth but they saluted Kaito's arrival with the smallest of nods.
"I have been waiting for you, Kaito Shion," they said. "I have looked at your life and seen what there was to see. Are you ready for your verdict?"
Kaito thought about the marauder he had met earlier, how he had been taken in front of his very eyes while he cried out for help. "Do I have a choice?"
The Judge smiled kindly. "Well, if you want, we can chat. No one is in a hurry around here. But you won't be leaving until I delivered my sentence upon you."
"We might as well get over it. What will it be?"
"Very well. Allow me to go over the formalities." They took a deep breath, before continuing. "Kaito Shion, you are now standing at the crossroad between world. Should you have conducted yourself justly and faced all your trials with success, you will be able to join the heavens and live a life of felicity or serve among the angels. But if you have wavered and failed from your path, I will have to condemn you to damnation and suffering in the pits of hell - such is the law of this world. Do you accept judgment?"
"I do," replied Kaito.
There was a brief silence before they announced: "The Judge has looked upon you and found you guilty of murder. You are to go to hell to repent."
"Murder?" cried Kaito. "But I've never--"
"Do you deny that you have plunged a poisonous blade into the chest of Gakupo Venomania?" The Judge's voice was enormous now, strong enough to make the ground shake. "That you have left him to bleed out to the floor as you fled?"
"I have, but it was in the name of justice--"
"Don't you dare let that word cross your lips!" they cried, pointing a finger at Kaito's mouth. It closed on its own, forced by an invisible power to do so. "I have looked into your heart, and I have seen your true intentions. You killed him out of jealousy, you wanted the woman you loved for yourself - you claimed her by taking her away from another, and for that, you took his life. Never did you feel shame for what you did - there are bandits that regret their murders more than you have, Kaito Shion. This doesn't change your sentence, but it does take away your right to try and riddle me - I have no patience for those that think they can buy me with pretty words."
The pressure on him grew stronger: now it pushed down on his shoulders and forced him to kneel. He was terrified. Never would he have thought that he was going to be sent to hell, he was but an ordinary man that had done his best with what he had. How could he be sent to damnation?
"The hellhound, guardian of the Hellish Peace, will take you to the pit with the other murderers," said the Judge, their voice back to normal. "Farewell, Kaito Shion."
There was a growl. The human raised his head and saw the hellhound that had come to him, a creature the size of a small cow with a fiery spine and a jaw that opened with two axis - one vertical and one horizontal, with four eyes right on their muzzle. They moved on all four, but their front paws were hands and the sound that came from behind the rows of jagged teeth sounded awfully like the laugh of an intelligent creature. Hellhounds were well named: they were indeed a hellish sight.
Kaito wanted to scream, but his lips were still sealed and he was unable to get away. The monster circled around the Judge, who gave them a scratch behind the ear, before crawling closer to their prey. They licked their lips with their forked tongue.
This was the end.
"Dear Judge, most dear master Guardian, please hold up for a moment while I plead his case," suddenly said a male voice.
The hellhound froze and looked at someone that stood behind Kaito; that someone passed the latter slowly, almost theatrically. He oozed of deus ex machina and everything in his calm demeanor showed that he knew it.
The man was important, or at least he was very rich. He wore expensive leather shoes with high heels, that increased his already dazzling height and perfectly fitting pants that accentuated the curve of his calves. All that came above was hidden by a luxurious coat of a quality Kaito himself had rarely seen. It was impeccably cut in what seemed to be soft cream leather and was doubled with white fur, so fluffy that one might sink an entire hand in it. The design looked like the one of a cape, but it was attached on the front with ivory buttons and with slits on the side for the arms to pass. Its hood was drawn up, hiding the face at all time.
"You, here," said the Judge, surprised. "Out of all the people that might have come for him..."
"Indeed. I believe that, in case such as that, I may make a claim on the damned. Is that correct?"
"This has happened in courts other than mine," said the Judge, "but I believe that you are correct. May I know what you wish to do with him?"
"I'm in the age and situation where it is most suitable for me to chose a pupil, and this man struck my fancy. Do I need any more reasons?"
"I would object that you certainly have other motives, but it is not my role to stand in your way here," replied the Judge. "I trust that you have studied the necessary conditions for your tutorship to be recognized as valid?"
"Of course." The newcomer laughed as if he had been told a joke.
The hellhound growled at the stranger as they looked from him to Kaito continuously. They didn't seem to happy that their prey was being taken from them.
"I am sorry, master Guardian, for the inconvenience," said the man in the coat. "But you see, I have been waiting for this opportunity for a lifetime."
"What is happening?" Suddenly said Kaito, unable to remain silent any longer - and noticing that the hold on his mouth had creased. "Am I going to hell?"
"You are, but you won't be thrown in a pit of fire," said the Judge. "You are now in the care of this man instead, for as long as he sees fit. You may rise, Kaito Shion."
The human got on his two feet. All he understood was that he had somehow been graced, and that was all that mattered. He approached the stranger.
"Thank you, sir," he said.
The man in the coat turned to him and gave him a cruel smile. Kaito stopped in his tracks as the full horror of his situation dawned upon him.
"Don't thank me yet," said the duke of Venomania. "Your punishment has only begun."
Chapter 3: On the Way Home
Kaito jerked back like he had been slapped. Never had he imagined that he would find himself face to face with the Duke again, not in his wildest dreams - or nightmares.
"You," he whispered.
"It is I," replied the purple-haired man. He pulled down his hood, revealing his long locks, but also some pointy ears. "Fancy meeting you here."
"What is the meaning of this? Explain yourself," ordered Kaito.
"I'm saving you from eternal damnation. Isn't it obvious?"
"You, saving me?" The blue-haired man sneered. "I don't believe you."
"But it is what happens. Isn't it correct, your Honor?"
"It is," said the Judge. "But if you wish to be sent to damnation instead, no one is holding you back."
Kaito looked at the hellhound, into their four fiery eyes. He could have sworn that the creature was smiling at him, even if it was hard to tell with how monstrous their face was. He shuddered. He had heard tales of how the pits of hell were like his entire life, and he certainly didn't want to spend any time there.
"Surely you are smarter than that," whispered Venomania near his ear.
Kaito jumped away from the other, that had approached him without him noticing, and glared at him. He didn't like this at all, yet it seemed like he didn't have much choice in the matter.
"What will you do to me?" asked Kaito.
"You don't trust me?" the former Duke gave him a large smile, revealing a pair of fangs.
"Trust a man that I have killed? Not a chance."
"You are sending some awfully mixed signals right now, I am confused." Venomania gave him a long, dramatic sigh. "Are you coming with me, or not?"
Kaito bit the inside of his cheek, took one long look at the hellhound, before turning his back to the Judge and their hellish companion. "I don't think that I have a choice."
"Oh, I am so happy you feel this way," said Gakupo, clasping his gloved hands together. "Let us set out at once. Follow me..."
The former duke turned around with a great swirl of his coat and walked away in the glowy white mist that surrounded them, and Kaito had no choice but to follow him. He felt like a peasant next to his richly dressed savior, draped as he was in his shapeless white cloth and barefoot. If he would have been able to choose, this wasn't the attire he would have picked to meet an old enemy.
The slowly emerged from the fog, and Kaito noticed that they were walking down an old dirt road. There was a shape ahead that turned out to be a two-horse carriage, but by the time they were standing near it the human had other things to look at, and he was looking at them in shock.
His attention was first drawn by a great black city that stretched out in every direction save the one in which the sun was setting. The sky was red, but not the natural red of the end of a day: rather, it was the red of an angry scar, of dried blood. Even the dark clouds seemed too jagged and sharp to be called the same thing than the fluffy white things Kaito was used to.
He was so taken by the view that he didn't notice right away that the horses that pulled the carriage were headless and covered in scales. He took a cautionary step back when one of them turned to him, revealing a single black eye in the place the spine should have shown and flickered a lizard-like tongue in his direction.
"Welcome to Allacard," said Venomania with an outstretched hand in the direction of the city. "This is my butler, Arin Simon. Arin, this is Kaito Shion, the man that killed me."
A man came down from the carriage's driver's seat and gave a brief bow to Kaito. He wasn't any older than his thirties, with dusty blond hair and a well-trimmed mustache. Soberly dressed in black, he looked exactly how one would expect a butler to look, down to the way he stood and moved. But he wasn't human. There were dun scales on the side of his face and small horns of the same color that emerged above his forehead.
Just like he had done with the horses, Kaito took a step back. The urge to run back from where he had come from was stronger than ever.
"He's a demon!" he cried, signing himself for protection. "Venomania, have you seen that?"
Arin's face fell at the remark, and when Kaito looked in Gakupo's direction he saw that the latter hiding his mouth with the fur of his collar to mute his chuckles. The purple-haired man couldn't hold it and burst in laughter, the light reflecting itself on his sharp white fangs.
Kaito's face screwed up when he realized that he was the only human present.
"Have I seen my own butler?" Howled Gakupo. He succumbed to a second wave of hilarity before calming down with a long wheeze. "What is it going to be when you realize that I am to teach you to become a demon yourself?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Oh, don't give me this, my dear," said Venomania, pulling a tissue from his breast pocket to wipe his tears. "You are a pupil in hell. You knew that, you heard me talk to the Judge and saw the landscape - don't tell me that you thought that we were in heaven, not with a sky like this. What else did you think I was going to teach you? Dancing?"
"I'll never learn anything from you, not even dancing," snapped back Kaito.
"If I may," suddenly said the butler, "master Venomania is one of the best dancers of Allacard. Anyone would think it an honor to have him as a dance teacher."
"Oh, Arin, you're so cute when you fly to my defense like that," said Gakupo. "I am indeed, but Kaito certainly did nothing to deserve to learn how to dance."
"That's not the question!" cried the human. "I will not become a demon, I will never!"
"Ah?" Venomania smiled at him. "We shall see about that, but for now, it has been a long day and it is getting late. We are leaving, Arin."
"Right away sir."
The butler opened the door of the carriage for his master, that climbed in, then looked back at Kaito that was stubbornly standing at the same spot.
"Don't bother, Arin," said Gakupo from inside, before leaning out so that his face was visible in the doorway. "Your idiocy can be endearing, Kaito, I'll give you that, but I wouldn't push my luck if I was you. I'm this close to just drive away and leave you to fend on your own."
"I would rather do that than be a demon like you," snarled the human.
The former duke just smiled. Arin looked at both of them, before deciding to obey his master and climb on the seat at the front. Kaito surveyed his surroundings. There wasn't much there apart from some dried up vegetation and dirt, and the city itself didn't look one bit inviting. He didn't even spy a trace of the Hall of Judgement apart from a sign with strange writings on it - he recognized it to be Latin after taking a moment to examin it.
"I will just let you know that there are regular hellhound patrols around here," continued Gakupo, "and if they find a human soul alone they drag them back to the pits. If you want to spend the night there, that's your choice. I'll come and get you in the morning if you can still be found at all."
Kaito huffed but lumbered over, climbed in the carriage and sat opposite to the former duke. The door closed and the demon tapped twice on the roof above him, setting the vehicle in motion.
Gakupo looked at Kaito making himself comfortable across from him with a smirk. This was even easier than he thought it would be. Oh, of course, his little prey had metaphorically dug his heels in the ground, but the demon had come prepared to physically drag him along. Even if he had threatened to do so, there was no way Gakupo would have even let him spend the night anywhere away from him - there were so many things that could happen to him, and the demon was not intrested in spending days to recover him.
Venomania took in a deep breath to calm his rising excitement. He had waited years - a literal lifetime - for this opportunity, and he wouldn't spoil it by showing how gleefully happy he was about it. Kaito didn't trust him, yet he seemed to have no idea about the things the demon had in store for him.
He would learn about it soon enough.
The demon felt the need to make himself more comfortable. One by one, he undid the buttons of his coat, spreading it on the seat beneath him, and pulled his gloves from his hands. He saw Kaito glancing his way quickly, trying to not get noticed, and smirked - he had chosen a low cut shirt for the occasion with a cleavage that went all the way down to his solar plexus. He was certain that the human, with how religious their motherland was, had never seen this much bare male skin in his life.
"Just to make it clear," said blue-haired man after a while. "I will never become a demon."
"Right," replied Gakupo, leaning back on his seat comfortably. "You are just coming with me for a while until you can find another way."
"What a brilliant plan!" Gakupo clasped his hands. "Only, there is a small problem with it. Of course, it's minor - I would hate to be the one to ruin it."
Kaito frowned. By Asmodeus' horns, he was sort of cute when he was confused. "What sort of problem might that be?"
"Oh, three times nothing. It's just that human souls are not allowed on their own in Allacard, or anywhere in hell for that matter. Should anyone suspect that you are, well, not a demon and on your own, they might report you to the hellhounds, unless..." he grinned and stopped.
"Unless they decide to keep you for themselves. Who would notice if you went missing? Anyone might do anything to you. Anything they want..."
"What sort of things?" asked Kaito. He was trying his best to appear nonchalant, but he was obviously starting to worry.
"How would I know? I'm not one of those other demons."
"But you are a demon. What tells me that you will treat me any better than the others?"
Gakupo grinned. This was the one question he had been anticipating more than any other. "Planning on taking your chances with someone else, my dear? What a naughty boy you are. Are you certain that you can afford such a risk?"
"You are the last man in all of hell I would trust with my life. Nobody can possibly be worth than you."
Gakupo rose his brows. "No one? Really?"
"I am certain of it. To put it bluntly..." The human leaned in like he was going to do a big reveal - hell, that was too adorable. "I only killed one man in my entire life."
"Oh, I was your one and only. That's cute."
"That's why I will never trust you: you are the only one that has any personal reasons to hate me. I don't know what sort of game you are planning but I won't fall for it."
Gakupo wanted to answer that he had already been caught, that they were literally driving back to his place, but didn't. Instead, he passed a hand in his hair, combing it with his fingers, and said: "I am a little baffled by how wrong you are in your reasoning."
"I beg your pardon?"
"It certainly can be blamed on the fact that you don't know how things work here, but honestly, I was expecting for you to understand your situation a little better than that. Let me spell it out for you: you are not supposed to be here. You have been sentenced to eternal damnation, Kaito, your spot, as a human soul in hell, is down in the pits. You have no more rights than mere cattle. Do you understand?"
"I..." Kaito paused before he managed to regain his composure. "Of course I do. I don't see what that has to do with being your pupil or becoming a demon."
"It has everything to do with it. If you were to go in the streets right now, anyone would have the right to do whatever they please with you, because you are human. This isn't Earth, there are no laws protecting you. However... there are laws set up to protect demons."
Kait didn't answer, but he seemed to understand. Freaking finally, one might add.
"And in order to become a demon," continued the former duke, "you need someone to teach you our ways and oversee the morphing of your soul. You have no other option unless you just happen to be born as one already, which is evidently not your case. Luckily for you, I told you - several times, might I add - that I was willing to play that role for you. Now, let me ask my question again. Are you certain that you can afford to risk your luck with someone else?"
"Well," scoffed the human, "I'm sure there must be someone else in this entire city willing to help me become a demon."
Gakupo burst in laughter. That he would believe such a thing was the most amusing thing that had come out of his prey's mouth. "You really think that a total stranger would want to waste their time educating some rude, entitled man they don't know?"
"Well..." Kaito paused. "Of course it sounds bad when you put it like that."
"All right. Let's admit that such a demon exist, somewhere in this city. How lucky do you need to be for them to be the first person you meet on the streets if, say, you have the brilliant idea of wandering away from my supervision?"
"I wouldn't just wander off without a plan," he scoffed.
"I'm glad to hear that you'll be staying then, Kaito. Actually, I'm very pleased that you are starting to appreciate the value of my company."
"It's not like I have a choice, do I?"
"Technically, you do, but really you don't. Not when all other options are worth than staying with me."
"It's only temporary."
"I like your optimism." Gakupo winked. "It's so important to have dreams, never forget that, my dear."
Chapter 4: 8 Eden Street
Trigger Warning: contains a description of physical abuse. For those that this may affect, please proceed with caution.
They both became quiet after that, so they looked outside.
There were getting closer to the center of the town; the houses lined up next to the carriage like dark birds sitting on a wire, their windows glowing eyes in the twilight. Pedestrians walked along, dressed in their evening clothes and talking joyously. It was the hour where those that could afford it went out for dinner and distractions, whatever they may be. The pleasures that Allacard could offer were plentiful for those that had money.
All that they saw were demons. Most seemed to have at either some horns or a tail, and some even had wings, but there were far more monstrous examples to wander the streets. There were some with three, even four eyes, others with tusks or the maws of a dog. Most of them spoke Latin, the common tongue of all demonic citizen, yet a trained ear could spot other languages being used.
"We'll soon be home," said the demon. "You'll see, the place couldn't be more situated. It's really hard to get a house from this street, but luckily I have friends there that harassed the former owner out for me. You should have seen her, she ran out the door crying!"
"What?" said Kaito, dumbfound.
"Oh, she's fine now, in case you are wondering. She's just living somewhere else, I think. Nobody really cares."
"You can't harass someone out of their homes! That's now how things work!"
"Why not? Ferrets were invented to chase rabbits out of their burrows, and so were beagles, and people love them! I certainly love my friends for what they did for me."
"People are not rabbits! How would you feel if someone tried to bully you into giving you what they want?"
"Oh, that's easy. I'd be furious, but if it's a demon that's more powerful than me, I would give it up. If not... well, I'll go beat them up for their effort, and then I would take their liver for my dinner. I love raw liver."
Kaito gagged. What a delicate little thing, really. Gakupo had work to do if he wanted to toughen up that sensitive little snowflake, he was too concerned about other people for his own good.
"Ah," said the demon as he looked outside again. "We are there. My dear, say hello to your new home!"
The moment the carriage came to a full stop, Gakupo threw his coat over his shoulders and exited the vehicle, stopping on the pavement to look back at Kaito. The latter seemed reluctant to come out but did it anyway, looking up at the house with narrowed eyes.
It was dark red and vast, the small garden filled with black roses on either side of the door like clawed paws stretching out to greet visitors. There were sculpted murals on either side of the entrance that represented what seemed to be an orgy of beasts and demons, a sight that made the human look away, and bars at every window all the way to the last floor.
"You are quite lucky to have arrived at a moment in my life where you gets such a luxurious home," said Gakupo. He pointed at the eight over the door. "Eight Eden Street! That's the place to remember if you ever get lost."
"... Eden street?" repeated Kaito, his brows shooting up. "Isn't Eden synonym of paradise?"
"The lost, original paradise, actually," replied Venomania. "I'll let you know that we demons love irony, even if, in this case, you are more likely to find your personal paradise on this street, more than anywhere else."
The human frowned, trying to understand what he meant.
"Oh, you'll get why I say that soon enough," continued the demon. He knocked at the door. "Anya, open up, sugar flower!"
There was a distant giggle, and then a servant opened the door. She wore a maid's outfit with a skirt so short and tight it barely deserved to be named a skirt, and her dark green hair was tied back to reveal cute little horns like round bumps on the top of her head. She had a tail, long and agile, and last but not least, her ample blossom seemed about to make the top of her uniform crack. She threw herself in Gakupo's arms.
"Master Venomania!" she cried, holding him tight. Her soft chest pressed against him, immediately brightening his mood. Hell, did he love his little minx of a maid.
"I missed you too, Anya." He said, stroking her cheek. "What a welcome! Is that for our guest?"
She glanced over at Kaito, that was still standing near the carriage, her big brown eyes surveying him from head to toe.
"Well," she purred, her tail swinging in excitement, "can't it be for both of you?"
Kaito blushed furiously and looked away from her. Both demons laughed.
"He's shy?" said the maid.
"I think so. Why don't you go wait for us inside, my sweetie, while I coax him in? I can't wait to try what you prepared, I am starving."
She giggled and gave him bedroom eyes, perfectly understanding the double sense behind his words, before darting back in. Kaito didn't wait a moment once she vanished to speak up:
"Is she a whore, to dress like that?"
Gakupo paused, his fists tightening. Should Kaito have been a demon, it would have been fine. But the former duke knew this word, for a human, was not the least kind. And he knew that Anya had heard it too when the sound of her feet stopped. Yet he managed to keep his smile, his mask of happiness on, that his prey might not guess that he was mad.
"She won't bite. Why don't you come in, that I show you to your room?" He mustered in a sweet voice.
Kaito hesitated a while longer, before obeying. Gakupo let him pass, but before he closed the door, he sent a look to Arin, still seated on the driver's seat of the carriage. The butler rolled his eyes as if to say 'all humans are idiots anyway.'
Gakupo followed Kaito into the house but was quick to take the lead once he had gotten rid of his coat.
"This way," he said to the human. "You'll be sleeping upstairs."
They made their way through Gakupo's home. It was indeed, as he had announced, luxurious, decorated with rich purple carpets and curtains, lit by luminous crystals that hung from the ceiling everywhere. The place gave up a cozy vibe, with couches and seats a little bit everywhere - and they all looked comfortable enough for a quick nap.
They didn't go through any major room save from the central stairs, the ones that went all the way to the last floor, but Kaito did get to glance to some of the paintings in passing. Many of them were just as lewd as the murals from the front door, and the demon could see from the corner of his eye that his prey was avoiding looking at them as he passed them. This made him smirk.
Eventually, they arrived at the very last floor, the attic. There was a single door right at the end of the stairs, a door that stood alone in the dark like a bad omen. Gakupo took the key, that was on a hook on the wall, and unlocked it, showing what was inside.
It was a bare, dusty room, only lit by a small round window with bars in front of it. In one corner there was a chest designed to for storage, while in another was a heap of old blankets. The wind slipped through the cracks of the roof.
"I am not sleeping in there," said Kaito, that had approached the doorway and looked inside.
Gakupo chuckled, grabbed him by the collar of his white robe, lifted him and threw him into the room. The human landed with a heavy thud and a pained grunt, making his demon master laugh as he stepped in and closed the door.
"Finally, we get a little time alone, my dear, dear murderer," purred the demon.
Horror swept across Shion's face, that tired to scramble away. Gakupo was on him before he could, turning one of his feet into the falcon-like talons of his true demonic form to grab his neck and slam him back down on the old wooden flooring. Tightening his hold until Kaito started to wheeze and pull struggle desperately gave him great satisfaction.
"You have no idea how mad you made me, Kaito," he whispered. "You can hate me, you can insult me all you want, I don't care, but say one more word against my servants and this will seem like nothing." He pulled him up and slammed him back down, hard. Kaito creased to resist him, growing paralyzed with fear. "If it pleases them, they have the right to rip your head off and I will not move a finger to protect you. They are my subordinates, but they are both demons. Above you in every regard. Have I made myself clear?"
The human nodded vigorously. He was starting to turn blue, so Gakupo let go some of the pressure on his throat.
"First lesson," continued the demon. "In hell, you are nothing but dirt. Repeat after me."
"In hell, I am nothing... but dirt," managed to whimper his prey.
"You won't call Anya a whore, or look down on Arin again."
"I won't call Anya a whore, or look down on Arin again."
"Good, you are doing so good," cooed Gakupo, stroking his cheek with one of his viciously sharp talons. "I want you to think this over very carefully tonight. Do you think that you can do that for me?"
"You see that you can be agreeable when you want to," said Gakupo, clasping his hands. "Now, I got other things to do than babysit you, so if you will excuse me..."
The demon let Kaito go and turned his foot back into a shoe, before heading to the door. He took a short moment to readjust his hair, combing it with his hands, before he caught a hoarse muttering from the human.
"Excuse me, I didn't quite get that," said Gakupo, turning to his prey. He had left red angry marks on his throat. With the way Shion was spread out on the ground in nothing but a light gown, it was a quite enticing sight.
"How about dinner?"
"Dinner?" Repeated the demon with a smirk. "Dinner is only for those that deserve it."
And left, locking the door behind him.
Gakupo didn't bother lingering. He was aroused, his senses having been exalted by the exercise, and had only one thing on his mind after having seen Anya dressing up for his return. He quickly descended the stairs, his impatience getting the better of him, and burst into the dining room, startling his sweet little Anya. She looked at him, then at the doorway behind him, slightly confused. She still wore the same outfit from before, and she looked positively delicious.
"Where is he?" she asked.
"We had a heart to heart, and he decided to go straight to bed afterward," replied her master.
She pulled the seat at the end of the table for him to sit down, before setting down a knife she had been carrying. "That's too bad. I was looking forward to getting to know him."
"Ease your mind. You'll have him all to yourself soon enough, my sweetheart." Gakupo pulled her close by the hip. She giggled. "I see that you have prepared my favorite dish."
"Liver," she replied sheepishly, point to it on the table. "Although I made some for two..."
"Don't worry," replied her master as he fiddled with the buttons on the back of her clothes. "I'll make sure to lick it all up."
She giggled, then moaned, then screamed his name as he took her right on the table.
The wind was howling through the cracks in the roof, and it only got worth as the night ticked away. He bundled up in the blankets to the best of his abilities, even if they were coarse and hard from age. He hoped that there was no vermin in them.
He felt lonely and miserable. His throat hurt.
For a second, he had thought that the demon was going to tear him to shreds. When he had been held down against his will, too weak to fight against the monster that was his captor, there had been that crazy look in Gakupo's eye. He had wondered if there was an afterlife after the afterlife, or if he would feel it all as he was ripped apart, left there to suffer for all of eternity. He had never thought of anything more terrifying.
He needed to sleep, but he was scared to see the scene again in his dreams. Hunger didn't help his case as it probed, then clawed against his ribs like a monster inside him.
He had heard of misery, he had even read about it when he was alive and safe, comfortably seated in his favorite chair near the fire. He wished all this was just a book now, a book or a nightmare he could escape from. If he had but one wish...
"Really. How did he even become a demon?" he muttered to himself, looking at the ceiling. A spider was sowing her web at the window, her black, grotesque body clean-cut against the moon. He addressed her. "He's even got a house, and everything he wants."
Everything he wanted... Kaito felt his cheeks heat up when he recalled the screams of pleasure that had reached all the way to his prison-room, earlier. They had lasted for a while too. Had demons no shame at all?
It was so unfair. Gakupo had taken all those women and had brainwashed them, using them for his pleasure, but when he died and went to hell he got to do that all over again. And Kaito, that had only tried to do the right thing, that had only wanted to save them, was being placed in this criminal's hands, for him to strangle him if he wanted! Was that the divine justice of this world? Was this the doing of God?
If that was so, the universe was rotten to the core.
"What is going to happen to me? I can't escape this," he told the spider. "I can go to the pits, but heavens know what's down there. Can he even make me suffer more than the pits?"
She shrugged. "How would I know?" she replied. "I'm just an itty bitty spider. By next winter, I will be dead, and the only thing I will know will be this window."
Kaito looked at her in stunned silence.
"By the way," she said, waving a leg at him, "you're dreaming. That's why I am talking at all."
"Huh," said the human. "I haven't noticed. I'm glad that I am getting some rest."
"Good for you, bro. You certainly need it after what happened to you."
"Yeah..." Kaito stroked his throat pensively, tracing the red marks Gakupo had gifted him. "What's going to happen to me?"
"I don't know." She moved over her web. She was almost finished. "But hey, it's not all bad."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, for one, you could have gotten an uglier captor."
"What do--" Kaito paled when he realized what she was talking about, then turned red with anger. "Shut up."
"What are you scared of now? You're already damned for all of eternity. If anything, you are entitled to let those desires speak a little more - let me breathe a bit."
"I said shut up!"
"When he held you down, it excited you, didn't it? He looked down on you and sneered. Oh damn, that was the best, wasn't it?" Hanging from a string, she slowly descended from her perch, towards him. "And that part in the carriage where he took out his coat? You felt me crawling under your skin."
"Go away! Leave me alone!" Kaito buried his head under the blanket. "I'm not a woman, I don't like men..."
"Oh, my dear," she said, her voice becoming lower and lower with each word. "My love. You can run from me all you want... but you know that I am part of you. You can run, but you can't hide."
The spider laughed, and his laugh was deep and male. When Kaito woke up with a start, alone in his cold, dark prison-room, he could have sworn that he was still hearing it ring in his ears.
Chapter 5: The Contract and the Coat Incident
There was a deep chuckle, then someone stoked his cheek.
"Waky shaky, sleepyhead," purred a deep, dark voice. "The sun rose ages ago and your breakfast is getting cold."
Kaito shifted, struggling to free himself from the grip of a long awaited sleep. After his dream with the spider, he had twisted and turned around in his uncomfortable nest almost the entire night, listening to the wind outside, only to fall asleep from exhaustion as the red light of the day started to come through the single window of his room.
"Aw, you didn't get to sleep much last night, didn't you?" whispered the voice. The hand that had touched his face was now trailing over the covers, gently prying them off his body. "I understand. It must be scary, being trapped in this strange place, at the mercy of a man that wants to see you suffer. But we got a busy day today, my dear. There are so many things to do and see."
Kaito eventually managed to pry open his eyes. He blinked as he registered what he was looking at. The thing that was on all fours over him smiled, revealing a pair of fangs.
The human scrambled away, only to hit his head against the corner of the room behind him. He screamed in anguish, frantically looking for an issue until Gakupo pinned him down with a hand over his mouth to hush him.
"I hate screaming," said the demon. "Be quiet or I will gag you."
Kaito looked once more at the monstrous thing looming over him. His captor's face was entirely unchanged, as beautiful as ever, save for the three black dots in the middle of his forehead, that looked like the triangular eyes of a spider. In the place where the human had seen horns on other demons, there were long, curved antennas. From the neck down, the creature's skin became reflective, with jagged strips of dark purple that disappeared into the collar of his shirt. He had four arms, two on each side of his chest, and the lower pair was smaller and curled against his chest. His waist, accentuated by a tight belt, was incredibly thin, and he had a tail, although it looked like the abdomen of a wasp.
A wasp with shoulders that were twice as large as Kaito's. He definitely reached three meters in height or, in other words, ten feet. The human's heart was beating a thousand miles per hour.
"Hush, hush, you haven't done anything yet that's worthy of punishment," whispered the creature. His antennas gently tapped Kaito's brow, as if reassuring him. "In fact, you are getting new things today. New clothes." Gakupo leaned in closer. His smile almost looked gentle. "Which means you won't be needing those old rags anymore, hmm?"
Before the human could understand what he meant, the two lower hands of the demon were at his collar, and there was the sound of a great rip as they tore through Kaito's only change of clothes. He struggled in protest against his captor, trying to remove the other's arms from him, but that only made Gakupo laughed as he swatted him away. He was strong enough that his prey had the impression that he was struggling against iron given life.
Gakupo had torn his way down the gown, much to Kaito's horror. He tried to cover his crotch with his hands but the former Duke held them up as he passed his arms through the sleeves and pulled the torn clothes from under him. The demon then balled the white clothe and tossed it over his shoulder, before sitting back upon his heels with a satisfied grin on his face.
"There..." he muttered. "Much better."
Kaito covered his nudity while simultaneously trying to find refuge under the covers. He was panting hard from the struggle, his face flushed red with the humiliation of finding himself entirely bare in front of his nemesis.
"You... what was that for?" he cried.
Gakupo rose a brow, visibly amused. "Don't whine like that, you'll get new ones soon. Besides, you are much less likely to run away when you are naked."
"I wasn't going to run away!" protested the human.
"Weren't you? That's peculiar, I could have sworn that you were talking about that yesterday in the carriage. Something about not trusting the one and only man you killed?"
"And then I said that I wouldn't run away!"
"Ah... oh, yes!" Gakupo was a poor actor, or maybe he didn't even try to appear sincere as he mimed surprise. "How strange, I remember that only now! Oh well, it's too bad, your only piece of clothing is torn beyond repair." He glanced over his shoulder to where the garment now laid in a heap. "Well on the bright side, it wasn't the most flattering of outfits. Anything else would make a better job at flattering your..." he looked at the naked human below him, licking his lips. "Your figure."
"What in the world--" started to say Kaito.
Gakupo didn't let him finish his sentence. Getting up, he dragged him roughly by one shoulder, with enough strength that the human grunted in pain as he was pulled along behind. He tried to grab a blanket to use as a covering but was yanked away before he could, leaving him entirely bare as he passed the door.
"Wait, I need to take a blanket--" he started to say.
Gakupo whipped around. The sclera of his eyes was dark, making his purple iris stand out. "Excuse me, do you need anything?" he asked in a voice that made it clear that he had heard what had been said - and that he didn't like it.
Kaito pipped up and shook his head. "Nothing."
A slow smile spread on the demon's lips as his gaze went back to normal. "Good. The marks on your neck are almost healed, it's so nice to see that you are doing everything you can to keep it that way."
The human nodded. Somewhere deep down he hated himself for being nothing but a submissive little sheep at the first sign of danger, but after last night there was no questioning which one of them would come on top in a confrontation. If the big scary demon wanted him to walk around naked, he would.
He would get back to him later for that, thought Kaito as they went down the stairs.
By the time the demon was down the stairs, he had turned back to his more human form, bones snapping into place and clothes morphing along so that they wouldn't be too big for him. His grip, however, didn't waver, and he was still pulling him behind him when they entered the dining room.
Despite himself, Kaito's stomach growled when he caught sight of the food laid out for him on the dining room's table. Better yet, a fire roared in the chimney, a sight he was secretly grateful for after having spent the night under covers that kept leaking cold air currents at the slightest of moves.
"Sit, you must be starving," said Gakupo as he pulled a chair for him in front of the fire. "Especially after having skipped dinner."
Kaito glared at the reason he had not eaten the moment le latter had his back turned, but he flopped in the seat anyway and pulled himself closer to his plate. His captor seated himself opposite from him and watched him, and that was enough to freeze the human in place.
"What are you waiting for?" he asked, visibly amused. "Don't wait on me, I already ate."
Kaito looked down at the food. He was familiar with most of the things presented to him and was even surprised by the amount of meat that was on the table. Maybe it was cheaper in hell? He went for what vaguely looked like bacon on bread, adding a little bit of everything on his plate. After his night spent in the attic, it felt odd to be treated so well that he was even allowed to eat. Even if that had to be in his birthday suit...
He heard a woman's delighted giggle and turned to see Anya, now dressed in a normal maid's uniform, standing in the doorway to the kitchen with a pot of smoking tea in her hands. She gave him a once over and certainly didn't hide that she liked what she saw, licking her lips gleefully.
Kaito looked down his plate, beat red. It had been twenty years since the last time a woman had looked at him like she wanted to lick every inch of him - and it wasn't some tavern servant trying to make some quick buck off the dick of some aging nobleman passing by. Even those looks had stopped after a while.
She came over with the pot of tea and poured him a cup, her ample blossom pressing against his shoulder. He slowly leaned away, trying very hard to think about anything but the fact that she was close enough for him to hear her breathe.
"Good morning, sleepy head," she said. "How did you sleep?"
"Anya," Called Gakupo sternly, before Kaito could even answer.
She jerked back, looking at her master. He smiled at her and beckoned her with a finger. She giggled and obeyed, walking around the table.
"He doesn't deserve you yet," said the male demon, casually resting a hand on her rear.
She laughed and swatted his hand away. "If you are going to be this jealous over me, you don't deserve me either," she replied.
"You would deny me?"
"Watch me," she said as she walked back to the kitchen, waving her hips as she went.
He laughed and shook his head, before returning his attention to Kaito. His smile lost its genuine happiness. It was an interesting phenomenon, and Kaito was shocked to see it happen so clearly; it was all in the eyes.
"There is something we need to discuss, my dear," he said. "I am afraid that I have not had the time to cover all you had to know yesterday. Don't worry, though, those are just details."
Kaito tensed ever so slightly. What did the demon have in store for him now?
"You remember when I told you about how human souls cannot become demons unless they have a master to guide them?" he continued. "Us subjects to the seven Lords can even sense when that transformation has or is occurring in a human - that's part of the many, many perks to being a demon. Of course, as one should expect, those sort of radical changes don't happen because you want it... my dear, if you are not going to eat, I'll call back Anya and I will tell her to get rid of the leftovers."
Kaito, suddenly scared that he would do that - he seemed entirely capable of it, to be honest - started shoving the food into his mouth. He slowed down when it registered that it was absolutely delicious, and not because he had been starving up to this point. Had it been Anya cooking?
"See, you were hungry. Oh, I hope I weren't making you too nervous to eat, my dear," said Gakupo. "So, as I was saying, becoming a demon isn't a spontaneous process, otherwise demons would just pop up right and left in the pits - and we can't have that happen, now, can't we?"
"Right, Kaito?" he asked, his tone menacing.
The human nodded vigorously in approval.
"Good." The demon relaxed. His prey thought about how he hated the way the other kept him on his toes with random mood swings like that. "Privilege should only be granted to a selected few, otherwise chaos runs amock. That's how they do it in the human world, we were both well placed to know that. But I am rambling. The process that allows humans to become demons is through a contract. A soul contract, to be precise."
A piece of paper suddenly appeared in the master's hands, startling the human. The latter watched as it floated in his direction, along with an elegant white quill pen. All of it settled on the table next to his plate.
"Signing it will start the process, as well as cement our obligations regarding each other."
Kaito tried to read it, but it appeared that it was written entirely in Latin. He could understand certain words, but not all.
"Obligations?" he asked. "What sort of obligations?"
"On my part," said Gakupo, "that I must protect you from other demons and see that you are provided for with all the necessities - food, lodging, et caetera. Your part is easier: all that is required from you is absolute obedience."
"So, this is a soul contract..." The human picked the parchment from the table. "Does that mean that I have to sign this willingly?"
"Absolutely, you got the point. Demons also use those type of contracts when making pacts with demons, as it has the advantage of preventing all attempts at finding loopholes."
Kaito, looking straight into Gakupo's eyes, tore it in half and dropped it on the ground.
A muscle twitched under the demon's eye, but his smile didn't waver. "I feel like I have to congratulate you for seeing through this one."
"You can't force me to sign it," said Kaito. He couldn't believe that his intuition had been right on the nose. "Threatening me or beating me would make the signature caduc."
"Now, no need to act smug about your one flash of clairvoyance." Gakupo snapped his fingers and the contract appeared, intact and neatly rolled up, in his hand. "I may not be a patient man, but I have all the time in the world. Soon, you'll run out of illusions to chase."
Kaito didn't even bother answering. He returned to eating his breakfast, and each bite has the taste of victory. Gakupo might be stronger and scarier than him, he could be defeated. The human would have to keep that in mind.
Arin appeared at the door shortly after.
"Master Venomania, the carriage is ready," he said with a small bow.
"Ah, excellent. My dear future pupil, we are leaving."
The human froze, glanced down at his lack of clothing, and then at the two demons standing on the other side of the room. Arin was trying hard not to smile, while the master didn't even bother hiding his grin.
"But..." said Kaito. "I'm, well... entirely nude."
"Exactly," replied his captor.
Kaito paled as he finally understood that this had been the plan all along. It wasn't for the satisfaction of ripping to shreds the entirety of all his possessions or parading him in front of Anya for the sake of punishing him for having called her a whore. Gakupo fully intended for him to walk out the door naked and in the middle of the day.
Sweet victory had been short-lived for the poor human.
"Get up now, we are going to be late," said Gakupo in a sing-song voice. "If you are still hungry later I'll ask Anya to make extra for lunch, but we got to go or we'll be late."
Kaito didn't move.
"Kaito." Venomania's voice had lost all friendliness. "We need to go. Now."
The blue-haired man stood up reluctantly and made his way to the entrance. Arin passed him and went outside, leaving the door open for the others to follow him. The red light of the hellish day filled the entrance as the chatter of passers-by reached Kaito.
He couldn't do it. He froze in his tracks, then backed up, hiding behind a piece of furniture. If he walked out now, the whole street would see him.
"What's the matter, my dear?" Asked Gakupo as he threw his fur coat over his shoulders. "You seem terrified. It's just the street. Look, the carriage is right there. It's just a few meters."
Kaito gulped and looked at Gakupo. This was too much. He hated himself for not being able to put up a stronger front, to crumble for so little, but he was already tired and scared. He couldn't take more. He shook his head.
"Now, my dear," said the demon as he stepped closer. "Hurry up. We are going to be late."
"Please," begged the human. "I can't."
Gakupo smiled but didn't laugh. "It's just a few meters."
Kaito looked at the door, then back at his captor. He shook his head. "Please. I got it, you're the boss here, but I can't. I really can't. It's just my first day here, I don't want to go naked in the street."
Gakupo remained quiet for the longest time, his face frozen with that fake smile of his, and Kaito knew that he had fucked up. He closed his eyes, hating that he was this weak that he would beg, hating him too for forcing him to do that, hating his life, hating the fact that he had made such a mistake as to kill him all those years ago. He tensed, preparing to get hit or dragged out by force.
Something heavy, yet soft, landed over his shoulders. Shocked, he opened his eyes only to see Gakupo closing the buttons of his own coat over the human's chest. It was long enough that Kaito was entirely dressed.
"Make no mistake, I'm just doing this because we are really going to be late if we spend any more time waiting for your delicate ass to walk outside," muttered the demon. "Let's move."
He turned around and headed out the door, turning around when he arrived near the carriage.
"Are you coming?" he asked.
Kaito touched the coat. It was entirely doubled with one of the softest fur he had been given to touch. It felt expensive. Why would the demon even lend something like that to him? This didn't make any sense.
"Kaito Shion," called Gakupo, "I am going to count to three, and if don't move you are going to be really sorry. Understood?"
Jolting to life, the human rushed outside, closing the door behind him. Demons were already gathering to watch the scene and he felt himself blush when he met their gaze, but he was dressed. He made it to the carriage and rushed in the dark cabin, to safety.
Chapter 6: Karl and Elind
Kaito kept glancing at Gakupo, that was looking out the window. He almost had the impression that the demon was ignoring him now, although he had no idea what he had done to earn himself such a treatment.
The human wanted to ask him why he had lent his coat, yet he didn't: he had the feeling that the other would expertly dodge his question if he did, or would tell him that if he hadn't they would have been late. Gakupo had made it very clear, again and again, that he had strength enough to drag Kaito, yet he didn't.
The blue-haired man was distracted from his questioning by a smell. It reminded him of cinnamon and freshly chopped tobacco, with a touch of some other spice he couldn't define - maybe something from hell that he didn't know of? He looked outside and around the carriage, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He suddenly had an idea, and, without thinking, buried his nose in the soft fur collar of the coat.
The smell was Gakupo's and it clung to his clothes.
He looked up and met the gaze of the demon, that seemed extremely amused by the fact that he had just caught his prey taking a sniff of his coat. Kaito felt his face turn red and looked away, trying to pretend as if he had been doing nothing out of the ordinary. Gakupo chuckled maliciously, and the sound awakened a queer, fluttering feeling in Kaito's stomach.
Suddenly the demon snapped his fingers, and curtains were drawn over all the windows.
"Stay hidden now," suddenly said Gakupo. "I saw some friends outside, but I don't want them to know about you."
Kaito blinked, his curiosity picked, but didn't dare say anything as the carriage slowed and the demon opened the only window with no curtains to put his head outside.
"If this isn't the Kagamine, what a surprise!" He cried in the direction of someone that Kaito couldn't see.
"A, Gakupo!" replied a high-pitched female voice. "Isn't it a coincidence, I was just talking about you to Len. We must invite each other sometimes, you have promised him a lesson in confidence last year and you still haven't made any time for him."
"Oh, have I?" the demon laughed, combing through his hair with his hands. "I must have forgotten. Talking about the invitation, don't tell the others yet, because it's not quite sure, but I am thinking of inviting you all to my house in the next week or so."
"Oh, my Satan," she squealed. "What's the occasion?"
As the conversation went on, Kaito looked outside and saw that there was a break in the rows of houses, in which lay a park. It looked lovely, bushy and shady, and he made a good note of it. He loved walks, and he could only hope that his captor would allow him to visit it at some point. It didn't feel like it was too far from the house.
"It's all a surprise. As I said, nothing is quite sure yet," said Gakupo. "Of course, you would both be invited. And maybe Len can get his... private lesson then?" The demon winked.
"No one said anything about it being private!" Protested a male voice.
"Oh Len, you will succumb to my charms eventually, just like everyone else. Now, I believe that it's against driving etiquette to be holding the street, so I will be on my way, but I promise that we shall see each other again soon."
"Goodbye Gakupo! I'll find what you are hiding from me, don't you worry!" cried the female voice.
This made the demon laugh as he closed the window of the carriage and returned his attention to Kaito. "What cuties. Sometimes I forget that they are older than me."
"Who was that?" politely inquired the human.
"A work colleague and a friend. You'll meet them soon enough - granted that you don't decide to do something stupid in the meantime. Promise me you won't? It would be too bad to miss their visit because you are grounded - or worth."
Kaito gulped, tensing as the ominous threat registered. "I... I promise."
"Oh, that's lovely. I am finally starting to think that there is some hope for you. For now, though, you will be meeting another of my friends - you'll see, Elind is very talented."
The carriage ventured away from the high-class residential area Gakupo lived in, and into the more commercial parts. Demons flocked to those streets in greater numbers, but their attires tended to be poorer, and a two horse carriage certainly wasn't a common sight - nor something they were prepared for. Arin had to stop and negotiate his passage with a shop keeper that had thought it a good idea to spread their wares well into the street. Each delay annoyed Gakupo a little more, and when he was annoyed his mood visibly darkened until he was brooding. Kaito prudently backed up into the furthest corner of the cabine.
They eventually made it out of the poorer areas and down the Street of the Moon. It was famous for its businesses catering to a richer clientele - in other words, people like Gakupo.
"I never could bear plebians," said the demon as he stepped out of the carriage. "I know that people like me need them, but honestly, I would rather not interact with them. They are so... Ill-mannered."
"They couldn't know that it was you, master Venomania," said Arin from his perch. "I wasn't sure if I should announce your name..."
"You needn't bother, I am sure that those uncultured swine wouldn't have recognized it anyway." Gakupo materialized a pocket watch in his hand to take a look at the time. "Elind was expecting us at least ten minutes ago."
He turned around and caught his prey rolling his eyes as he followed him, but stopping when he realized that he had been caught. Venomania rose a brow, unamused, but didn't comment. He would punish him later if he kept up with that attitude.
He pushed the door of a small, yet beautifully decorated shop, with flashy outfits on display in the window. The place revealed itself to well-lit yet cozy, with mannequins clad in unique creations and accessories presented neatly on shelves. As always, the place had a relaxing influence on the demon.
"Master Venomania, welcome!" said Elind as he appeared in the doorway leading to the back of the shop. "We had been expecting you."
Gakupo smiled. Elind was quite cute, with his bright red hair and freckled face. He was bone and tall, with soft antennas and velvety moth wings that trailed behind him like an elegant cape, but his most remarkable features were his four arms, a massive advantage when one worked as a renowned tailor.
"Sorry we are late," said the purple-haired demon. "We had trouble on the way coming."
"Oh, please don't excuse yourself, you are in fact just in time," said the shop owner. "I barely finished preparing for your arrival. Please, come this way. Is this the gentleman I will be servicing today?" He eyed Kaito, that didn't seem to keen about suddenly being the center of attention.
"Yes, it is him. Is Karl around?"
"I'll call him shortly, I believe he went upstairs to prepare some refreshments."
That certainly put Gakupo in a better mood as he followed the others into the back room, taking place on the couch. It had mirrors and a vast selection of different types of cloth so that people could describe what they wanted when they had clothes tailored for themselves.
"All right, what is your name?" asked Elind with a kind smile.
"Kaito Shion," said the human, a little nervous.
"All right Kaito, what are you looking for in terms of clothes?"
The blue-haired man glanced at Gakupo, obviously at lost about what he was supposed to say. The demon shrugged, before saying:
"We're looking at a full wardrobe - nothing too extravagant, but it needs to be done quickly - and we'll also be leaving with a premade casual outfit if you have any of those available. Oh, and we'll also need a fancier change of clothes for parties and going out, but that can wait for a little."
"Oh, will that be all? I have a few orders at the moment, but I can surely make some time for one of our favorite customers," said the tailor with a charming smile. "Now, Kaito, I am going to have to take your measures, but this coat is too wide. I am going to have to ask you to remove it..."
Kaito glanced Gakupo's way again but must have seen on his face that he wouldn't be getting a free pass this time and reluctantly complied, looking down at the ground. The purple-haired demon licked his lips unconsciously. He had certainly noticed that Kaito without clothes looked tasty enough to eat, and devoured the naked planes of his body with his eyes as they were revealed.
"Oh, you have-- I see," said Elind, looking slightly embarrassed - but quickly gathered his bearings, professional as he was. "What happened, if I may ask?"
"I disliked the clothes he had before," simply answered Gakupo.
"Ah, I see." The moth demon nodded his head. "As always, you know what you want, master Venomania, and will settle for nothing less. Very well then, shall we get started?"
Kaito nodded, watching as the tailor pulled out a meter to get his measures.
Right around that time, however, something, even more, interesting caught Gakupo's attention: Karl, Elind's brother, was coming down the stairs, carrying a tray of hot tea and some cups.
He also presented red hair, although of a duller shade than his brother, but his eyes were wider and blue. He did not choose to get four arms, but he also had wings, bright and colorful daytime butterfly wings that perked up when his gaze met Venomania's. His lips twisted into a smile and he passed his working brother, making a beeline for the couch.
"Well, master Venomania," he purred, setting the tray on a low table. "It's always a pleasure to see you."
Something in the butterfly's teasing voice rose the ever-hungry beast that slept deep within the purple-haired demon. He smiled as the tailor's brother got straight to business, sitting on his lap to stroke his chest through his clothes. Gakupo leaned back against the couch and enjoyed the attention; this was the sort of service that was expected from a high-class boutique in hell, and he didn't care that the other was male.
Gakupo had always been aware of his liking for both women and men, even if he had only explored the latter after his death due to the taboo of same-sex relationships that was imposed on humans. It was ridiculous, considering that he had broken many other rules, and he had regretted not doing it earlier once he had a taste. He simply loved physical contact regardless of the gender or, in other, cruder words, he was happy as long as his dick was touched and aroused by the sight of any bare skin.
Karl chuckled and leaned in, kissing the side of his jaw. "Look at you light up," he whispered. "You always look so neglected when you drop by. One would almost believe that you live in some hole in the deep countryside with no one to sate your needs."
"I do, actually," said Gakupo in a falsely sad voice.
"No you don't," replied the butterfly with a laugh. He had cute dimples when he smiled. "Don't think that I don't know your reputation, you sly beast."
"Rats, I was caught."
"It seemed that you were." Karl fluttered his lashes before resuming his attention.
"Hm... that's why your shop is my favorite place to get clothes," said Gakupo as the other kissed a trail down his throat.
"We pride ourselves on customer service," muttered Karl against his collar bone. He fiddled with the button of the purple-haired demon. "One makes the clothes and the other takes them off. Although you are certainly one of my favorite customers, if not my personal favorite."
"You say that to every second client."
"Do I now?"
Karl rocked his hips against Gakupo's crotch, eliciting a low, needy moan from the other. Venomania stoked the other's back in encouragement, and was rewarded with more friction; he felt himself grow erect.
"It's always ego-stoking to see a demon like you melt under my advances," said the butterfly before looking down. "Or, in your case, harden under my advances."
"Kaito, I need you to stand still now, please stop fretting," complained Elind.
The remark drew Gakupo's attention back to his prey. The blue-haired man was blushing bright red as he still stood there with nothing to cover him - and with Elind holding his arms up so that he could measure the length of his arm, nothing to hide his half-mast.
Oh, well, if that wasn't interesting. Kaito was aroused by the sight of two men together? Since when? Gakupo had been entirely unaware that his prey swung both ways but, if that was true, it was the best news of the week. He licked his lips gleefully as he imagined an array of new possibilities.
Their eyes met. Kaito looked down, deeply humiliated that Gakupo had noticed his affliction, but his erection didn't waver one bit. In fact, it only grew, as if encouraged by the attention given to it to stand proudly.
Karl turned around to see what had caught Gakupo's attention and frowned when he saw that it was all dedicated to the human. He huffed and reached between them to slip a hand in the other's pants, stroking his hardening member. Gakupo could have started to purr at the attention. Waves of pleasure passed through his body, one with each touch, making him crumble, yet all he could think of was how much he wanted to try Kaito instead.
"Karl," called Elind, visibly distressed. "Can you please take master Venomania upstairs? This human just won't sit still."
The butterfly seemed relieved by the request. He got up in an instant, pulling Gakupo to his feet after him and tried to lure him to the other room.
"This way, sir," said the redhead. "My brother needs to work in peace, you are too distracting."
"But I like me being distracting," replied Gakupo, his eyes never leaving the naked man in the room.
Kaito tried to turn away from him, desperately trying to hide his arousal, red like a tomato down to his shoulders - much to Elind's dismay, that was trying his best to stop him from constantly moving. Gakupo was tempted to simply grab him and drag him away instead of Karl. To know that his murderer was attracted to him made him almost drunk with power. He couldn't help but imagine all the ways he could humiliate the human - telling him about how he was nothing but a whore as he pounded deep inside of him seemed like a great start, and there was so much more he could do that he was dizzy with the possibilities.
Alas, Karl was already there, pulling on his arm, trying to take him away from the vulnerable little human that was the only thing on his mind, and ignoring the butterfly would be one of the rudest things to do. Besides, it would be worth it to take his time with Kaito in a more intimate setting, later, when they will be back home. He would tell Arin to let no one disturb them, and then he would tease him until he cried out in pleasure and begged for release. How sweet it would be, to have his murderer beg too be fucked raw? It was too good to be true.
It was with great reluctance that Gakupo turned away from his prey and followed Karl upstairs. The butterfly knew that he had been bested, that there was someone that interested the purple-haired demon more than him. He put on a show to get Kaito out of his mind, saying yet to the most depraved of practices just to erase the sight of the other from the back of Gakupo's head. He eventually succeeded.
But it came with a price. Only the former duke rose from the covers in the end, Karl too sore and used for him to move a single muscle. Not that it mattered when his favorite client was entirely sated.
Gakupo made sure to leave his most generous tip yet when came the time to pay. He inquired if Kaito had behaved and was told that there had been no further problems once he had left.
"Oh, that's good," replied Gakupo, resting his hand on the human's shoulder. "It would hate to have to discipline him when he comes home."
The later had been dressed in a simple yet flattering outfit, some pants, and a white shirt, but was unable to meet the demon's eye after what had gone down. He also had not said a word. He was like a trapped animal waiting for the hunter to come and collect him.
"We chose this outfit himself from what I already had made," said Elind, gesturing to the human's new clothes, "but I'll have the rest delivered to your place later this week as they are being made. Thank you very much for your patronage!"
"It's always a pleasure to come here," replied Gakupo. "But now we must be going home. We have important business to attend to. Right, my dear?"
Every muscle in Kaito's body tensed, but he didn't reply. His captor chuckled darkly.
Chapter 7: Catch and Release
Trigger warning: This chapter contains a tentative of rape and descriptions of graphic violence. For those that wish to skip it, I have left a brief summary in the endnotes with all you need to know.
Gakupo couldn't be home fast enough. This time, Arin made sure to make a detour around the poorer areas, and they were actually quicker by taking the long way than when they had been when they had come, which gave the master great satisfaction.
He couldn't help but send some gleeful glances Kaito's way. The latter was sitting opposite from him, in the furthest corner, pretending as if he was alone - but they both knew that he wasn't, and they were both aware that there was only one possible outcome to this situation. The sexual tension was thick and sweet between them, like honey trailing on the very air. Gakupo could almost taste it, could almost hear the other screaming his name as he came, the heavy panting, the sweet release. Bedding his mortal enemy just felt right because he didn't plan to just bed him - he planned on dominating him, he planned on showing him what love between men could be like, and then shame him for wanting it. He wanted the other to submit to him, to love it and to hate himself for loving it, to be the only thing on the human's mind day in and day out. This would be his revenge for the blow he had suffered.
By the time the carriage stopped in front of the home, he was hard. His member tented his pants despite the fact that he had found release less than half an hour ago. He made no effort to hide it. Kaito glanced at it and gulped.
"You are coming with me," growled the demon.
Anya giggled the moment she saw her master's state as she opened the door, but her smile dropped when she understood that this time it wasn't about her. She prudently retreated into the depth of the house, sending a surprised look at Kaito, as if he had done a triple back-flip and landed on one hand. Gakupo ignored her and made his way upstairs, checking periodically if his catch was still following.
Once on the first floor, Gakupo introduced him into his room, closing the door securely behind them. It was a room obviously dominated by the presence of a massive bed, one large enough to accommodate the demon in his fuller form along with a few guests. There wasn't much else to look at apart from it, save for a few books and two wide windows. This was a room for fucking and sleeping.
"Gakupo... master Venomania," suddenly said the human. "I don't think this is a good idea. I don't.."
"It's an excellent idea," replied his captor. "You want me. I'll give you what you want."
"But I... I don't want you."
The slap made Kaito tumble back a step or two from its force. He raised his own hand to his cheek, touching the red angry mark in shock, but didn't say anything.
"I hate cornered liars. You were hard the moment you saw Karl and I kiss."
"Yes, but--" Kaito stopped in the middle of his sentence when he saw Gakupo raise his hand.
The demon paused, then rose a brow. "Do you have anything to add, my dear?"
Gakupo turned around and sat on the bed. He was rid of his shirt under moments, the bare muscles of his strong chest knotting and extending with each movement as he turned his attention to his pants.
"Undress," ordered the master.
Kaito obeyed. He could have put a little more enthusiasm doing it, considering that he was getting what he wanted, but that could be chalked down to shyness. he kept looking down, not daring to meet the other's eyes, his hands shaking, as he shredded one piece of clothing after the other until he was standing naked in a pool of clothes.
"Come," said the master.
Kaito approached him with small steps. Gakupo stared in disapproval at his member, that hung limply between his legs. It was a stark contrast to his own, that was now standing proudly, yet the demon explained it to himself that it was due to nervousness. He had heard of such things happening when it was someone's first time, there was nothing to be worried about.
"Stand here," said the master.
Kaito was still now. He was so nervous, though the former duke, he had never met someone this nervous before that they remained entirely unresponsive to proximity. That even spoiled some of Gakupo's fun - he much rather liked his partners to be happy to be with him, lusting after him. Something was amiss, but he ignored it.
"Hey," he grumbled. "Don't act like this is a chore. You're getting boring."
"I don't know what to do," replied the human.
"You can start by kissing me."
Kaito leaned in but, much like his cock, his lips remained limp when pressed against Gakupo's. And then there was some tongue, but it felt more like an afterthought. The demon frowned. All right, maybe asking that from him had been a bad idea. He'll just spice things up himself.
Grabbing Kaito, he swung him on the bed, eliciting a startled cry from the human. The demon turned around, licking his lips, only to see his startled prey crawl away from him in fear. Ah, a little action, nothing better to get a lover's blood pumping.
Gakupo grabbed an ankle and laughed when his captive cried in anguish at being drawn back. Using his supernatural strength, he climbed over the other, holding him down as he rubbed his erection against his ass. He laughed when he felt the human squirm under him, but did relax his hold on him just enough to let him turn around and face him.
Something in Kaito's blue eyes stopped Gakupo in his tracks.
"Please, stop this," said Kaito. "I can't. I don't want to."
Gakupo was about to open his mouth to tell him that he was being ridiculous again when a wave of cold swept over his lower body. The sensation ticked down, sucking away the heat in its way, making it vanish as if it had never been there. The demon froze and slowly looked down, only to see his cock hanging limp.
He suddenly remembered that Miku had rebuilt him in such a way that he couldn't rape someone knowingly.
He looked back up and saw that Kaito was looking down too, had seen him become impotent under seconds, right after he had told him no. Blood drew away from his face as he realized that he had been humiliated in front of the other, that he was going to be forced to back down... that he had been refused! Him! Gakupo Venomania!
"Get out," he whispered.
"Pardon?" dared to ask the human.
The demon saw red.
"Get out!" he screamed in the other's face. He grabbed Kaito by the arm and tore him from beneath him, tossing him off the bed. "Get out of my face!"
His prey fell on the ground with a heavy thud but was quick to try and crawl as far as he possibly could from his captor, backing up into a corner with wide, scared eyes. This only pissed off the monster more, and he felt his form change and enlarge itself until he was a hornet, until even his wings, that he never showed, were out and spread wide. He stared down at Kaito, his eyes entirely black, all five of them, and stepped off the bed. The long talons of his feet clicked menacingly as he walked towards the terrified human soul.
"How dare you refuse me?" cried the monster. "Do you have any idea who I am? No one says no to me! They all beg for me, they all want me in their bed and you... you say no! You SAY NO!"
There was nowhere to run for Kaito. His eyes darted around the room frantically, looking for an escape. He braced himself when he saw the hit coming, but it still sent him sliding across the floor with a snap - a bone snap.
"Get out!" screamed the monster again.
Kaito didn't have the other tell him that twice. Grabbing his clothes with his left hand - he held his right arm close - he made a beeline for the door and rushed down the hallway. Gakupo even heard his bare feet climbing up the stairs - the fool was running straight for the miserable bundle of blankets that had been given to him as a bed. Like a child.
Gakupo slammed the door of his room and crawled under his own blankets, wanting nothing more than to disappear forever after such humiliation.
He took pride in his sexuality. He was the demon that no one could resist, the beautiful one, the desirable one. When he wanted someone, he was never refused, and it had been so ever since he came to this world. And Kaito dared to be the first one to tell him no?
He cursed Miku. That was all her fault, meddling with things that shouldn't be toyed with. He had watched - he had been forced to watch - as she opened him up and changed up things in there, putting spells on his insides, weaving organs in different ways until she was satisfied with the outcome. She would be laughing if she saw that she had made him impotent right when it mattered most. He could almost hear her nagging to him about how she had known since the start that he was going to pass over that line, that she had been right, and he hated it.
Kaito would never look at him the same now. He had already shown weakness this morning by lending his most expensive coat, and now this? This wasn't how a proper revenge was conducted. He was supposed to create fear and respect in his prey, he was supposed to dominate him, yet sometimes he didn't follow through with his intentions. He had waited so long to have his murderer at his mercy, this wasn't the time to falter!
His head emerged from the blankets and he looked at the ceiling, his hand trailing back and forth over the planes of his stomach. It boggled his mind that Kaito had refused him. That had not happened since his human life, before his pact with Asmodeus, when he was still ugly. He was no such thing now. Everyone loved him, save but one. But he had looked at him and had grown hard. So he wanted him? But he didn't? Miku's spell didn't work unless the person was entirely honest about their refusal.
Had he wanted Karl and Elind instead? No, that was impossible. If Kaito liked any men, he liked Gakupo. After all, he was ten thousand times more attractive than both of the butterfly brothers together.
Gakupo was pissed and confused. It just didn't make any sense to him.
He wondered how he could face the human now. He would have to grow firm now, show him who was the boss, and not falter. There would be no more weaknesses. It didn't matter if he wanted Kaito even more now that he had denied himself to him, he would be as unmovable as iron. He would find a way to have him sign the contract so that they be bound together, and then he will really make him pay. The demon didn't know what sort of revenge would satisfy him, but he would think of something eventually.
He was drawn from his thoughts by a light knock on the door. He turned his head in this direction, listening and trying to get a feel of who was on the other side with his energy sense; it was Anya. He narrowed his eyes.
"What?" he barked.
"Master Venomania, lunch is ready," she said.
He was hungry, but he certainly didn't feel like he was ready to get out of bed. He turned over and growled, the sound low and menacing.
"Master Venomania?" She pushed open the door and peeked inside.
She was greeted by a pillow being thrown her way and quickly retreated.
"All right," she said through the door, sounding a little angry for being treated that way. "I see you aren't hungry. Should I put some aside for you?"
Gakupo felt bad that he treated her that way and made an effort to soften himself. "Yes, please do. I'll come down later."
"All right," she replied curtly.
She walked away, and Gakupo listened to her walk down the hallway. She paused in front of the stairway, seemed to hesitate, before... going up? He rose from his bed. What was she going to do upstairs?
He didn't have the will to think about it too hard. With a sigh, he flopped back down again, turning towards the window, and continued his moping.
Summary: Gakupo and Kaito come home and Gakupo attempts to take Kaito. When the latter tells him no, it is revealed that Miku has rebuilt the demon in such a way that he loses his erection when trying to rape someone that refuses to sleep with him. Furious that he was humiliated in this way, Gakupo beats Kaito, that flees to his room, before reflecting on how his catch is now going to take him less seriously. Anya comes to announce dinner but he doesn't want anyone to enter his room, so he throws her a pillow. She's offended by that.
Chapter 8: Anya
He felt numb in his head and pain in his arm. His lip was split, he knew that because when he had touched it his hand had come back covered in blood. This didn't even surprise. He felt it all in a very detached way, as if he was observing his life from outside his body, the life of someone else.
All his life, he had been told that being gay was bad. Sin, they said. He should have expected it in hell, but seeing it for himself was a shock. Seeing another man wanting to engage in it with him was a step beyond, but the top of the top was that this man was none other than Gakupo. And all this time he had thought that being into women meant that one was protected from the vile charms of their own sex?
It seemed that Venomania, once freed of taboo, didn't actually care about what apparatus laid between his partner's legs. Kaito, on the other hand, couldn't rid himself of the idea that it was all wrong, at least not quite yet.
And yet he had become hard when he had seen the two he-demons making out on the couch. He kept noticing how broad Gakupo's shoulders were, his deep voice and his clean-cut jaw, and even the discreet elegance of Arin the butler. He had always noticed those sort of things, even when he was with his wife, even when he longed for the sweet touch of soft breasts. But he didn't want to. So when Gakupo had cornered him, he had gotten scared, paralyzed by the unknown. And sleeping with the enemy? He couldn't bring himself to do that. Even if the demon threatened him into submission, he couldn't enjoy that.
There was a light knock on the door of Kaito's prison-room. He tensed a little, wondering if that was his torturer that was coming to beat him more but was pleasantly surprised to see Anya tiptoe in. She was dressed differently than when he had first met her, with a long skirt, a collar buttoned all the way to her throat and a stained apron; clothes that protected her while she cleaned and cooked.
She approached him with caution, looking worried. "Are you all right? The meal is ready. Gakupo won't be eating but as far as I know, you are allowed to do so."
The human perked up. She didn't seem threatening, and he was indeed hungry. Her concern was a nice change from his usual regimen.
"I would love to," he said, standing up from his bed. He winced when he moved his arm. It hurt like hell - if he may use that expression - and moving didn't help.
"Your arm..." she said, stepping closer. "Oh dear. And your lip is split. We'll have to get that cleaned. What happened?"
He hesitated before talking. "I'm not sure, but I don't think that he was happy to not be able to..." He stopped. Breathed in deeply. "Would you know?"
She shook her head. "It's the first time he reacts like that. What did you do?"
"I don't know, I just said... I just said that I didn't want, and then he wasn't... ready anymore. And then he got mad." Kaito had a sudden revelation. "Is he cursed or something?"
Anya's face fell. "I don't think I have the right to tell you about that. Let's just go downstairs, your arm needs to be straightened before healing.
Kaito nodded passively and followed her downstairs. She led him through the dining room and into the kitchen, where she pointed to a stool. It was a warm, rather dark room, filled with smells from the cooking. Kaito felt safe there.
"What are you doing?" asked Arin, coming in from another room - the living room?
"Mister won't be eating," answered the she-demon, her tail swerving angrily as she said that. "He threw me something when I came into his room like I was some sort of slave. You better stay away too."
The butler nodded. "That doesn't answer the question why the human is here." He sent Kaito a sideways glance, as if uneasy to see him there.
The maid opened a cabinet and pulled out what seemed to be a first aid kit. "Have you seen his face? And I think his arm is broken. He needs healing."
"Are you quite sure that you are allowed to do that?"
"What do I care?" she grumbled. "If mister is against this, he can come down himself and act like a civilized creature instead of a growling beast. Then I might listen to him. Maybe. Look at him, Arin, and tell me that you would leave him like that and do nothing."
The demon in black stepped closer to Kaito, looking at his split lip and the marks of hit on his face. He had never looked more conflicted as he did so. The human remained quiet, letting the other observe him to his heart's content.
"Move," ordered the maid.
Arin stepped aside but kept watching. Anya pulled a chair to sit in front of her patient, holding a cotton pad soaked in some green liquid.
"You're lucky your soul-body is better at healing than a living one," she told Kaito. "You'll be healed by tomorrow after this, and you'll have your arm back in a few days. This might burn a bit, but don't worry."
It did burn, indeed, even more so when she pressed her cotton to his split lip. She was very gentle when she dabbed over his skin, especially when she took care of his arm, yet her patient had to bite his lip to not cry out in pain.
"He's not going to like that," commented the butler.
"Arin, if you want mister to know this bad, you are free to go and get him, but I'll decline any responsibility if he rips your arm out of its socket for disturbing him. Or, you can go get me a brace, and make yourself useful."
The he-demon seemed to be about to say something else but eventually left to get what she had told him to get. Kaito found himself alone with her.
"Can you mend a broken arm?" He asked.
She nodded. "I served in Miss Miku's household before I came here with mister Venomania," she said as if that explained everything. "This doesn't look entirely broken, so it will just need to be held tight and don't put any strain on it. The potion that I put over your arm before will help too with the swelling and the pain."
Kaito's was feeling less and less alienated towards himself, like the sensation coming back in a limb that had been previously asleep. The woman's kindness nurtured him back to life if one wanted to look at it this way, and questions starting to pop up.
"Are there a lot of men that... erm... sleep with other men?" he asked.
Her lips twitched into an amused smile. "Yes, and there are a lot of women that sleep with other women too. We don't care about those sort of things - and the angels as well, by the way, so that's not something about sin or not sin."
"Oh." Kaito looked down. There was something else that he wanted to ask - something that had been bothering him since yesterday night. "How can you stand working for him?"
She paused for a second before she laughed. "To me, he is one of the best masters there is out there, even if that may seem hard to believe for you. He has his bad sides but he's better than many. He's just not good to you." Her face became serious. "And yet, he is kind compared to what might befall you elsewhere. The fact that you are wondering how come I know how to mend broken arms shows how naive you are. Not that it's a bad thing. All souls that entered hell went through that."
Kaito looked down, at his painful arm. It was turning purple around the area where it hurt the most. "How is that in any way considered kind?"
"He wants to break you," she replied, "but he wants to be the one that hurts you. He offered you the spot of pupil? Take it. Take it and stay as far as you can from him, get through learning as quickly as possible, and then you will be free to leave - and a demon."
Kaito shook his head. "I can't. There has got to be a better solution."
"There is no better solution. This is how this world works. You got to take what you get, and then fight tooth and nail to improve it. We are in the demon world. If you fall over and open your skull, no one will so much as bat an eye. Do you understand?"
"I..." Kaito shook his head. "How can anyone live like that?"
"Because everyone wants to be at the top. If you work hard enough you can get whatever you want. I mean, just look around you, and see all a demon can have."
Kaito obeyed, observing the pretty kitchen, thinking about how large the house was, and the luxurious tailor shop they had visited earlier where Gakupo had bought half a dozen outfits without even batting an eye - for someone that he didn't even like. He suddenly wondered what sort of job did the master have, that he could afford both a butler, a maid and two horses with a carriage. Maybe he was a merchant? Or a lawyer?
Right as he was sitting there wondering about all that, Arin came back with a brace and Anya put his arm in place, securing it safely against his chest. She stood up and started to clean up the table in the other room, bringing back the untouched dishes she had prepared and put a plat in front of Kaito for him to enjoy eating. He found that he was ravenous, and eating while having the sexy maid to look at was not too bad. He remembered the feel of her breasts against him this morning, the look she sent him - he wouldn't have been against it now, but she seemed to have other things on her mind.
"Arin!" called a voice from upstairs. "Go tell Matheo to prepare the carriage, I'll be going out to the studio in a moment."
"Right away sir," replied Arin from elsewhere on the first floor - he had disappeared after having brought the brace, not without sending one last disapproving glance in the patched up Kaito's direction.
"Anya, I'll be eating outside, could you pack up my meal for me?"
She didn't reply, but opened a cabinet and pulled out a box, slamming it on the counter of the kitchen.
"Anya?" called Gakupo again. "Did you hear me?"
"I heard you just fine, Master Venomania," she replied. Her tone hit that perfect middle ground where it was obedient, but not obedient enough that it hid her annoyance entirely.
He didn't reply, but moments later he was coming down, looking worried. He intercepted her in the dining room. Kaito pulled his chair so that he could be a little more hidden in the kitchen, but curiosity held him back just enough that he could still glance over the corner at what was happening.
"Anya, sweetie, sugar plum," cooed the purple-haired demon, halfway chasing her as she ignored him and kept putting the table away. "Are you mad at me?"
"Am I mad that you growled at me and threw me something to chase me out of your room?" she replied dryly.
Gakupo's face screwed up. "You know I didn't mean it."
"I'm sure you didn't."
"Anya, please." He reached out and grabbed her arm. "I'm sorry, I wasn't in a good mood - please don't be mad at me."
She looked at him for a moment, before nodding. "All right, you get a pass this time."
Gakupo broke out into a smile and brought her hand to his lips, kissing it. "Don't you know that you look absolutely lovely today?" he said.
"Stop that," she said with a laugh. "I got to work, you horny beast. Don't think that I don't see you coming with your old tricks."
"I do no tricks," he replied, making his way up her arm with a trail of kisses. "I'm being honest, you are gorgeous. Did you try something new with your hair?"
"Master Venomania, I'm being serious," she said, pushing him away playfully. "Neither of us have the time for that. Didn't you say that you were going to the studio?"
"I might stay."
"And watch me do the chores?"
"Can't you stop for me?"
"No." She walked back into the kitchen, and right as he was about to follow her he saw Kaito looking at him. His face hardened instantly, going to his lips, then to his bandage. This didn't seem to please him but he didn't comment on it. Instead, he turned to the door.
"Actually, I think that I'll leave," he said. "But it's only to come back to you quicker, sugar plum!" he said over his shoulder.
He went back upstairs. Anya looked for him around, slightly confused that he had left so fast, before sending an odd look to Kaito.
"Well, that was easy," she muttered to herself. "When sex gets on his mind he usually hounds me for longer than that."
"Is he in love with you?" asked Kaito.
"Me?" she chuckled. "If he was, he would have proposed already. He just wants to have sex with every second person he lays his eyes on, and we're good friends - as good friends as we can be when one is the other's boss. But I guess this is not something you get to see often among humans?"
Somewhere in the house, they heard Arin's voice informing his master that the carriage was waiting for him. Then there was the sound of the hornet coming down the stairs again, crying "Goodbye my sugar fairy!" as he left.
Kaito realized that he was alone with Anya.
However, she quickly made it clear that nothing was to happen between them. When he was finished eating she asked him if he read, and when he said that he did she directed him to the shelf Gakupo kept his books. He was informed that they all came from the library, that mister don't like buying some but he loves reading. Kaito, that was starting to see a pattern, guessed that the purple-haired demon liked his books like he liked his partners: with no commitment, leaving him free to go when the fun part was finished.
He settled for a romance with humans in it our of a longing for his old life, and for the first hour of reading on the living room's couch, the illusion was total. But somewhere around the midway point was a very explicit sex scene, something he never would have found back when he was alive unless he was looking for it. The moment he realized what he was reading, he turned beat red and skipped it. No one ever said that readers needed to read the entirety of a story to enjoy it.
At some point, when the pain in his arm calmed down, he fell asleep; he awoke in the evening, to the sound of the master of the house coming in. He perked over the couch of the living room, and from there he caught a glance of Gakupo walking through the dining room into the kitchen carrying something green - a dress?
"What is that?" Asked Anya, that had been busy preparing dinner up to this point.
"My sweet, it's for you," purred Gakupo. He had not seen Kaito on his way and probably didn't know that he could hear what was said. "I went to the frippery and they had this dress, that was your size - the coincidence was too striking for me not to get it for you."
"You mean that you went to the frippery looking for a dress that suited me?" she replied. There was that amused tone in her voice.
"All right, maybe it did go the way you said it, but do you like it?"
"I do, I'm just trying to figure out why you got it. The cloth is gorgeous, it must have been expensive."
"No expense is too much for my little sugar plum."
"Oh, you and your big words-- Oh, I know what's gotten into you." She moved around in the kitchen, making pots clang as she worked. "You're jealous."
"Jealous?" Gakupo produced a fake laugh. "I'm not jealous!"
"You absolutely are. You're jealous that I patched up Kaito and I didn't even spare you a kiss. I'll let you know that you called this upon yourself, mister Gakupo Venomania."
There was silence. Kaito sank down on the couch, not wanting to be spotted. He was obviously listening to something he wasn't supposed to hear. And yet, it was odd to hear the monster that terrified him trying to charm Anya, being so gallant - he recalled when she had told him about how his captor was being mean to him specifically.
"Promise me you won't start liking him more than you like me," suddenly said the purple-haired demon.
"Oh, you're such a dunce sometimes, you know that?" she cooed. "I'll always like you, granted you don't do something too stupid. He's not going to steal my friendship from you."
"Oh... it better be. Also, I don't want to see him at dinner. Bring him his food upstairs and see that he's locked in for the night."
"All right Master Venomania."
Kaito, feeling as if he was really intruding, rolled off the couch and discreetly walked away. He made it to the hallway and up to the stairs without being seen; he thanked God for small miracles.
Anya loved the dress. She made sure to thank him in his favorite way: by taking him in his full form, deep inside of her. Satan did he love when she did that. He woke up feeling entirely sated, for once, and in a better mood than the day before.
He had not seen the human since he had spotted him in the kitchen yesterday, all patched up and in Anya's care. As per his request, Kaito had not been allowed to come and sit downstairs with him at the table, having his meals brought to him upstairs instead. However, Gakupo had heard him move around the house, and had noticed that a couple of books from his bookshelf had gone missing - it seemed like the human was doing his best to entertain himself.
Not that he cared, as long as this rat of a human stayed away from him.
After having gone for repetition with his Bees at the studio in the morning, he had decided to work a little more on his singing. He had a show coming up, and there were still places where he would falter during his solo - especially around the bits where he had to go thirty seconds without inhaling. It was a complicated piece, a human piece actually, one from a famous opera.
So, after lunch, he went to his practice room, also known as the place where no one was allowed to disturb him until he came out - even for dinner. It was a quite spacious room, that served both as a dance room, with large mirrors on one end, and a singing room, with a piano in the corner.
He did some breathing exercises - those were the most important for what was to come - he warmed up his voice by going for the highest notes he was capable of playing all the way to the lowest voice. And then he started the real work.
But just because he was singing didn't mean that his hearing was diminished. Around half-an-hour later, he heard small footsteps making its way down the hallway that led to his practice room, that stopped right in front of the door. He tried his best to pretend as if he was not aware that someone was there but it was no use - he couldn't focus. Eventually, he had to give in and stop. The other held his breath.
"I can still hear you, Kaito Shion," he snapped. Neither of his servants would have been this stupid - they knew how keen were Gakupo's ears.
There was a shuffling behind the door but the human didn't answer.
"Just come in and tell me what you want, that we might be done with that," said the demon.
Kaito timidly pushed the door, looking in around and around with much curiosity. His brace was off now, but he still used his arm with precaution - the healing time of souls was practically instantaneous compared to the one of living humans. He closed the door behind him and leaned against it, standing awkwardly.
Gakupo crossed his arms and stared his visitor down. It didn't please him to see his catch again, not after what happened between them. In fact, he would have been happy to never see him again: he had considered sending him to the pits, just to be rid of him once and for all.
"Kaito, speak," he ordered. "What in the whole damn hell do you want?"
"Nothing, really." He shuffled his feet, before looking up at the demon. "I was just... I thought you wouldn't catch me. You have an amazing voice."
"Don't try and flatter me and spot it out already," growled Gakupo.
"No, I really just came to listen. I love singing - not that I sing well myself, but I mean... Are you a singer?"
The demon didn't reply right away and kept staring the human down, narrowing his eyes at him. When the other started to squirm from being looked at too long, he gave in. "We could say that I am a singer, among other things."
"So you are working on a performance? I think that I know this song."
"Do you?" Gakupo looked down to the music paper spread on the piano next to him. "Well, it makes sense. It's a song imported from the human world, but a local composer changed it a little so that it could be easier to sing. It's still a hard piece though - I don't specialize in opera."
"Ah." Kaito became quiet for a moment, before speaking up again. "I... actually, I wanted to ask, but were there... moments where you didn't breathe? Or maybe you were breathing by the nose and singing with the mouth?"
Gakupo, taken by surprise by the image, snorted. "There's only one tube, you can't have the air going both ways at once. Think before asking stupid questions."
"Oh, erm..." Kaito looked down.
Filled with the satisfaction of having caught the human being an idiot, Gakupo crackled and his mood brightened. This mortal had no idea about singing, the demon was the expert. This gave him the urge to show off. He grabbed one of the papers with the hardest parts, breathed in deeply and poured his heart out.
Kaito looked up at him, his mouth hanging more and more open as he watched the other going through the complicated motions. The demon was used to impress, but there was a special flavor to the sort of ego stroking provided by impressing your enemy. By the time he was done, all the clouds that had been darkening his mood were chased away and he almost bowed to his public. The human didn't bother hiding his enthusiasm: he clapped.
There was something odd about the moment, something about how it was entirely unexpected. Gakupo noticed that, yet he chose to ignore the irregularity. He was a creature that was centered around pleasure and its pursuit, and so far it all felt pleasurable; he didn't wonder beyond that, whether or not he was actively pursuing his revenge on the human.
"Would you like to try?" he asked.
Kaito froze and looked at him as if finding it had to believe that the other would say that. "I would try? I can't sing like you."
Gakupo snorted. "I'll show you the easiest part."
Kaito seemed to think about it, before nodding slowly and stepping closer to Gakupo. The demon caught a whiff of his smell - it reminded him of a cold winter day when the snow had freshly fallen, with a touch of sweetness that he couldn't place.
The hornet went through his music paper, thinking about which part he should assign to his new student, before deciding on a couplet about how the protagonist felt trap. The irony of the passage didn't escape the demon, that chuckled when he presented it to Kaito and laughed when he saw his enemy's face screw up.
"Have anyone ever told you that you have a bad sense of humor?" muttered the human.
This only increased Gakupo's hilarity.
That picked the human's ego, that started to sing while reading the notes. He discovered it as he went, so of course, he failed, but then went on. Gakupo frowned and stopped him.
"No no, you take the notes from way to high," he said. "You got to breathe in your stomach for endurance."
"Breathe in my stomach?"
The demon placed a hand on Kaito's stomach. "Take a deep breath into my touch."
The human tried, but he was super tensed. It took him a few more times, and the steady encouragements of his teacher, to calm down and to let the muscles of his stomach flex as he drew air.
"There. When you sing, you use certain parts of your body like a drum," explained Gakupo, "and those parts change depending on what notes you produce. This couplet start with higher notes, so you use your throat, which you can do just fine, but then it gets lower on--" he grabbed the paper and read que l'âme s'y fend. Say 'fend' but breathe in your stomach."
"Again. This time correctly."
This time, Kaito had done it right. The note came out clear and deep, making Gakupo shiver in delight. He pulled his hand away from the human's stomach, startled: he had not expected that sound, much less his spontaneous reaction to it.
"Good, that's good," rambled the demon. "Want to try and sing the whole thing?"
Of course, it wasn't perfect on the second try, nor on the third or on the forth, but Kaito was progressing quickly. He had talent. Gakupo was annoyed to see that, but at the same time, it was exciting to see the human learn so fast. And his voice... it was straightforward and clear, but it certainly didn't lack flexibility. The demon liked listening to that voice a lot.
Maybe too much, he decided, as he felt arousal tickle the edge of his mind.
"Sing it again," he asked, "from the start, and this time try to not make any mistakes."
Kaito obeyed but, much to his surprise, Gakupo joined him. He did well not to falter one bit, and their voices danced together. The demon closed his eyes and listened carefully, trying to catch mistakes, but instead was taken in how natural it sounded. It was as if they were made to sing together.
And of course, that was another dangerous thought to be tempted by.
Gakupo stopped singing right as it occurred to him that his mind was slipping a dangerous path. Kaito copied him, looking at him with a confused look on his face.
"Did I make a mistake?" he asked.
"No, but I believe that this is enough for that passage." Gakupo turned away and started to nervously gather the papers for the song. Where had his confidence gone? He felt like his inwards were melting, and all he wanted to do was to kiss this idiot of a human. It was by no means reasonable, but he could only bet that his lips would feel amazing. And so would his struggling body against his, and the small, suppliant moans he would produce, and--
He had to willingly stop himself from continuing this dangerous thread of thoughts before getting hard.
"Where did you learn to sing like that?" asked Kaito.
"Hm? Why do you care?" replied Gakupo.
"Oh, I mean, you must have had a good teacher."
"Oh, I suppose so. Miku was the one that taught me and everyone say that she has a beautiful voice, but at the same time I never was allowed to go to one of her concerts. Something about me not being from the right crowd, I think. Even when they started to get rarer and rarer was I forbidden from going there. Not that it matters at all today."
"Miku?" repeated Kaito. He had heard this name before, in Anya's mouth.
"My master. The one that made me into a demon."
There was silence. Gakupo remembered that the other had rejected his proposal for signing the contract - had torn it in half, actually. The demon had had no such liberties when he was presented with his own master, as his soul already belonged to Asmodeus at the time and he could decide what to be done with him.
"Could you teach me the next couplet?" asked Kaito.
"And why should I do that?" Gakupo tilted his head, pushing a fake smile on his lips. "You are in no way entitled to my teaching."
The human's mood visibly darkened, but he didn't answer. He was like a spoiled child having been caught stealing cookies - a surge of hate rose in the demon's heart as he made the comparison between the two. Indeed, Kaito had a lot in common with one. He had not changed one bit since he had taken the liberty to murder him as if that was something good people did to others! He still thought that he was in a position to make demands. Maybe he should be dropped off at the pits and see what other options he really had. That will teach him some damn respect!
As he let those thoughts invade his mind, Gakupo's smile was growing wider and wider. He wanted to hurt him. Not just physically, he wanted to break his prey, his murderer, he wanted to look in his eyes and see no more life there, no more will to live but he couldn't die. Was this wrong? Maybe, by human standards.
"I could teach you how to sing," cooed the demon in honey-coated voice. "I could teach dancing too... Oh, what would you stay to that? I could teach you to dance on some freak's cock, something out of the deepest pit of hell. This kind of dancing I'm sure you would like."
Kaito's eyes widened in horror. "You can't force me."
Having that thrown back in his face almost made Gakupo wince, but he kept his mask of gleeful happiness on. How dare he bring that up. "I can't, but I can have other people come in. Arin is a good butler, he's very obedient. If I asked him, he would hold you down to the bed and do you as I watched. Or I could teach you the ropes by making you watch me, and then I can sell you off to the highest bidder."
The human took a step back, angry and afraid at the same time. "Only whores get sold like that," he spat. "It's disgusting."
"Exactly, it is. They all lined up, all the rich freaks of Allacard, the favorites of the Red Square, and they kept raising the price for that star dancer that had been teasing them with guests apparitions in the latest, most depraved shows. They all wanted that virgin they had been teased with, and the most desperate of them all got him. I wonder if the one you will be sold to will get a barded cock for the occasion?"
Kaito seemed confused for a moment, frowning as he struggled to understand; the realization hit him like a ton of bricks. "You are-- you were sold like that. In an auction."
"For eight thousands Perses. Ten kilos of gold! More than what he could afford. He told me in the morning that it was worth it and then sold his house. And you want to know the best part?" Gakupo stepped closer, looming over his prey. His skin prickled with the urge to shift into his hornet shape. "I had none of it. Not a cent."
His human seemed terrified. "You won't do that to me?" He asked. "Please."
Gakupo paused, tilted his head, and smiled. Something odd overcame him, a feeling he had not felt in a long time, that he couldn't name. "You mean, sell you like I was sold? I might."
"But if I would be your pupil... you said you would protect me if I was!"
"Oh, since when did you decide that you would sign anything with me?" Gakupo chuckled and gently grabbed his jaw, stroking his soft cheek with his thumb. "Not that I don't like what you are talking about, mind you. But I wouldn't sell you." He leaned in to whisper in his ear. "I would much rather do that myself, you know. I wouldn't miss it for anything in the world.
The other shuddered in his grip like a trapped, trembling bird.
"Your arm is healed," suddenly said Gakupo.
"I broke it, didn't I? I heard it crack when I hit you. And it's healed now."
Kaito blinked twice. "Yeah. I was surprised. Anya said that it was normal."
"Of course she did. It's amazing how fasts things can heal when you are a soul. You could even regrow a torn limb or have your head made to be detachable."
Kaito paled when he understood where the monster was getting at.
"You didn't realize that, didn't you?" said Gakupo. "Of course. You're an idiot, we already established that. A short-sighted idiot. I shove proof after proof that you wouldn't last a moment alone under your nose, and you still haven't begged me to take you under your protection. Maybe I'll eventually run out of patience with you. I'll know what to do with you then."
"Please don't do that... Why do you want to hurt me so much?"
"Why? Why?" Gakupo burst in laughter but it was joyless, bitter even. "My dear, dear imbecile. You have no idea how much you made me suffer by sending me here. I am going to make you taste every single one of my pains, one way or another."
Kaito tried to shake his head, pure horror on his pretty face, but he was still held still by the demon's grip.
Gakupo rose a brow. "We had a good talk. Looks like I can actually interact without having to end it with a beating." He let him go and the human stumbled back. "Get out. I got other things to do than to entertain you."
Kaito backed up all the way to the door and escaped running.
A Perse is worth around 50 dollars. 8 000 is equal to four million dollars.
Chapter 10: Cupid's Park
Trigger warning: this chapter contains graphic violence and mentions of rape. For those that wish to skip it, I have left a summary at the bottom.
He was shaking.
He had spent the rest of the afternoon hiding in the miserable hole that was his room, hiding from the monster that lived in the same house than him. He had felt as if he was going to cry several times, but he didn't. He refused to.
He had not thought it possible to hate a man as strongly as he hated Gakupo, and fear them at the same time. How could he threaten to sell him? How had Kaito fallen so low that he could be sold? What sort of place allowed for something like that?
Books had barely kept the anger-filled thoughts at bay. He had been served his dinner in his room and told not to come down again by Anya, and he barely acknowledged her presence when she told him that. She seemed ready to add something before she left, but didn't. Not that he cared. In the end, she was on his side.
He finished his book right as the last light was passing through the window. Going down to put it back on its shelf, he noticed that Gakupo's coat was hanging unattended in the entrance.
It was one of those impulses that latch on you in the moment and that don't let you think of the consequences. He had passed Gakupo's room on the way down. Kaito had made himself very small as he had crept in front of the half-open door, but he had caught a glimpse of the demon undressing. The expanse of exposed skin had imprinted itself on the back of the human's retina, the curve of a back, the gliding of hands as they removed pants off narrow hips. How he had wished to have a poisonous knife again so that he might slice its immaculateness and paint red streaks all over this monster. It would be like trailing kisses on a lover's skin, except that the feelings would be of hate, yet Kaito would take in it an equal delight.
Leather was skin, he thought, animal skin that had been ripped off to cover a person. The coat was gorgeous, a gage of its owner's wealth, paid with tips thrown in the filth of Gakupo's disgusting debauchery. A whore deserved no such ornament. Kaito took a knife from the kitchen.
Yet he hesitated as he stood in front of the coat. It was a beautiful work in itself, and Kaito was no blind to the quality.
Those moments of hesitation were enough for Arin to catch him.
The human heard him coming and turned in time to see him arrive in the doorway. The demon froze, looked at Kaito, then his eyes darted to the knife and the coat, quickly. The butler's eyes narrowed.
"What are you doing?" he asked in his sternest voice.
Kaito dropped the knife and backed away. That was answer enough.
"Master Venomania!" called Arin. "Your human!"
There was a 'what?' from upstairs, then the sound of someone moving around a room quickly. Kaito's heart stopped. He didn't think, he turned around and rushed to the entrance door. It was locked from the inside, he opened it, and ran into the night, down the street.
There were still demons outside, the sun had just set. He passed many a strange creature, beings with tentacles in the face, beautiful ladies clad in opulent dresses, with claws, wings, snouts, all monstrous in one way or another. They glanced at him briefly, but as they registered that he was entirely human, they looked again. Some seemed amused, other disgusted, but they all watched him like he was the one that was out of place.
Kaito ran as fast as he could, without looking back, without thinking really. He had made it halfway down the street, chased like a specter in the unnatural light of the lampposts when he heard a voice behind. It was powerful, covering the ruckus of the crowd, the voice of a man that could sing opera.
"Kaito! Come back here this instant!"
The human only fled faster. He could see a park ahead, full of deep bushes and shadowy trees, full of secrets and hiding place. 'Cupid's Park', read a panel on the gate. Those demons and their damn irony. He rushed in.
He ignored the calls of his demon as his eyes darted around. Leaving the path, he sank into the darkness, behind some foliage that might hide him from view. He cursed himself for wearing white, but it was the only change of clothes he had. He hoped he was hidden enough.
Kaito looked back, searching for the familiar shape of his perpetrator, having felt predatory eyes on him, but didn't see anyone. Because he wasn't careful about where he was going almost ran into the lady that was hiding there as well.
Only she wasn't hiding, and she wasn't alone. There was a whole group of demons, and their clothes, or rather how little clothes they wore, made Kaito blush. He knew what they were in an instant, the way they dressed universally recognizable: they were prostitutes. Lace, leather, and fur displayed their voluptuous bodies and their faces were hidden under makeup.
The woman he almost tackled took one look at him and started to scream at him angrily in Latin. Kaito didn't know where to put himself.
"Pardon? I'm sorry, I am leaving."
"That's our tuff, idiot, move away," cried a man at him in English. He hissed at the human, displaying a mouthful of shark teeth. "Get your own corner of the park."
Some others chimed in, there were some more hissing and some growling. Kaito turned away and ran, but he didn't go far - he smacked square into a strong chest.
For a brief, heart-stopping second he thought that he had run into Gakupo himself, only to feel relieved when he looked up and saw a man that he didn't know. He tried to pull back, but a hand gripped his wrist and held him there.
"You speak English, huh," said the demon, raising a brow. He had a thick accent but was understandable. "Seems to be the new language in fashion up there, eh?"
"Yes, yes, I speak English," said Kaito. "I'm sorry sir, I didn't mean to run into you. You see, I am in a hurry..."
"Aw, why so?" said a she-demon that emerged from behind the first. She was bony and sharp, with spikes, fangs, and claws. "Little human, stay and play!"
"We were just looking for a little someone to have a little fun, but whores don't take broke folks like us," said the first. "How about you come with us and we'll give you a place to sleep?"
A place to sleep? Those two looked scary but maybe they were nice.
"Please help me," said Kaito. "There is a man after me, he wants to hurt me - he's been keeping me in his home and beating me."
"Awww, look at him, Agnus," said the woman, tracing a claw over the human's cheek. "Don't you want to keep him? He's not too badly built for a human, quite tall, and lovely looking. He'd make a perfect bed pet for us."
"Indeed," said the one that had been called Agnus.
"Wait, what?" Kaito suddenly realized that he was still being held prisoner and that the grip on his wrists didn't falter when he pulled on it. "A bed pet? What do you mean?"
"Don't you know? You are in the red light district of Allacard, the place where all the sex workers are," said Agnus. "This is Cupid's Park. At night, you are either a whore or a buyer, but everyone knows that for humans it's first come first serve."
The woman snickered. "Too bad for that other demon, you're ours now."
"No, let me go, please," begged Kaito. He looked around, to the other demons, but the prostitutes only watched.
Over there, between the trees, Gakupo was standing and watching too, his arms crossed, a wicked grin on his face.
"Tell me, lil' guy," said the spikiest of the two demons, "have you had sex since you came to hell? Are you a virgin?"
"I think he is," said Agnus. His face was not entirely human; at this moment he looked like a dog as he sniffed his prey. "He still got some smell of the living clinging to him."
"Let's try him right now!" she replied excitedly. "Hold him down, I'll get rid of his clothes. It's not like he'll need them." She clinked her claws together.
Kaito remembered what Gakupo had said earlier that day: if she tore a limb, it would regrow, and then she would be able to tear it off all over again. Could he die when he was already dead? He didn't want to find out.
Agnus pushed him down to the ground. Kaito fought back and was punched in the face by the woman, ceasing his resistance for a moment; next thing he knew he was laying in the grass and the dirt with the two demons over him. He was held down. Sharp things probed his sides. The prostitutes were gleefully shouting encouragements in Latin.
Kaito looked at Gakupo, the only one he knew. He still stood way over there, unmoving, his face unreadable, his arms crossed. He had been right all along. No matter how much he would hurt him, hell could hurt Kaito more.
Despite them talking about ripping off his clothes, they seem to think better of it and started to undo his pants. He struggled against them, screaming at them to get off him, pleading even. They laughed! The woman said things to the man Kaito didn't understand, and he yanked down the human's pants. He then worked on his own as she pressed her claws to his throat, telling him about how he would regret it if he moved.
Despair was working its curse on him. He looked one last time in Gakupo's direction. He was so far away, he had not moved. He wasn't going to help him.
"Please," he whispered.
"I said, I'll rip your throat if you move!" cried the woman, making her claws click. "Or actually... how about you put that pretty mouth of yours to good use? There's no reason I would be let out of the fun."
She got on her knees and pulled up her skirt. Kaito recoiled in horror. Right where her lady parts should have been was a toothy smile, and those fangs looked sharp. A lizard tongue flickered out, licking him on the cheek before the jaws snapped.
"You know about French kiss?" she teased.
Kaito closed his eyes. This was too much. He stopped fighting them and started to pray for them to be done as fast as possible as he tried to think about something else. A place far away. When he was still alive, there was a field of rapeseed that bloomed in front of his house. His sons liked to play in the yellow flowers and always came back covered in mud. Sometimes the boys from their village came and played with them, and sometimes they could come back crying because they had lost a fight. They stopped crying after the third time they were called crybabies by the others.
"I think that he understood his lesson," said a voice.
Kaito's eyes shot open. Gakupo was standing over them with that chilling fake smile of his, the one he had right before he would lash out. Yet the human was relieved to see him.
The two aggressors looked up at him, frowning.
"Go find your own human," snapped Agnus.
"Wait, I think it's the one that lost him in the first place," said she. She chuckled and sat back on her heels. "It's over, dude, he belongs to us now."
Gakupo thew his head back and laughed. As he did so, the crowd of onlookers, that had grown quiet when he appeared, started to whisper excitedly among themselves.
"Get off him," said the purple-haired demon. "Last warning."
"Hold him down Agnus," said the woman. She stood up and adjusted her skirt, before addressing Venomania: "Finders keepers. Fuck off before I tear you a new one."
Kaito didn't see the kick go off, all he knew was the moment where Agnus was hit in the nose. He let go of the human and rolled on the grass next time him, holding his face as blood gushed between his fingers.
"It's the Hornet!" someone screamed in the dark.
"What--" said the woman.
She finished her sentence with a blood-curdling scream as her arm was ripped off. Gakupo tossed to the side like a rag doll. Warm blood splattered on Kaito's face. The onlookers started crying out some things - crying out in excitement, crying for more gore.
Gakupo looked over Kaito in his monstrous form, the ripped limb danging grotesquely from one of his lower arms. Bug-like wings were spread wide behind him, catching the light of the streetlights. On his face was a chilling smile.
He crouched, looming over the human. Kaito flinched but didn't move away. He would be crazy to run now.
"Pull your pants up," said Gakupo. "We're going back.
It was with shaky hands that Kaito obeyed. His aggressors had vanished in the dark after they had realized who they were dealing with, and the prostitutes still looked, their eyes wide with excitement, but didn't come any closer. The human tried to stand, but his legs were too weak for that. The air was filled with the scent of blood, and he wanted to puke.
"Get up," ordered Gakupo.
Kaito's head was spinning. His heart was still beating wildly in his chest and showed no sign of slowing down. "I can't."
The demon picked up the human in his three free arms, holding him close to his chest. Kaito tensed, but he was not hit. He could feel Gakupo's powerful muscles through his shirt and he could stay that the others feared him. No one would take him away from here.
He started to sob. He was safe.
Chapter summary: After their talk, Kaito, shaken, tries to take his revenge by cutting through Gakupo's favorite coat with a knife. Arin stops him and calls Gakupo. Kaito, terrified, flees the house and into Cupid's Park, where he meets a couple of demons that attempt to rape him. Gakupo comes to the rescue, ripping one of the aggressor's arms off, before heading home with a shocked Kaito.
Chapter 11: Soft Talking
"Cupid's Park, really?" muttered Gakupo as he headed back. "That's where the lowest of the low go, both in terms of prostitutes and solicitors. We from Eden street barely tolerate them, they only serve us when a client wants an orgy."
Kaito was ashamed of his tears. He forced himself to stop, yet they wouldn't stop running down his face. Gakupo continued talking as if he didn't see them.
"They have no class, no shame, and sometimes they don't even have a bed. They give us high-end courtiers and courtesans a bad name."
Someone called the demon's name. Kaito felt him inhale deeply before he turned around, all smiles, but holding his human close. The latter pressed his face against Gakupo's chest, hiding his soaked face.
"Venomania," said a demoness. She had the standard horns and wings and was entirely red. She took a step back when she saw that he was carrying someone. "Oh, you are busy! I just wanted to ask about tomorrow night? My uncle urged me to drop by, you know how it is..."
"Are you asking me if I am ready for one of my favorite regulars?" said Gakupo. "Of course I am. You can also tell him that I have collected what he asked me to get. I am sure that he will be thrilled."
"Really? That's great. I best be going. A good evening to you!"
"A merry evening to you too," answered the he-demon.
Kaito's nose was filled with the smell of cinnamon and tobacco. Gakupo's chest was rigid and colder than a normal body, but not enough so that it was uncomfortable. Resting against it was like resting against the chest piece of armor. Somehow, the feel of him calmed him enough that by the time they passed the door of the house he wasn't crying anymore.
"Master Venomania," cried Arin as soon as he saw them. "The carpet! And your shirt! Was it necessary to bring that arm back?"
Kaito looked up to see a surprised Gakupo staring at the ripped arm of the park's she-demon as if he just remembered that he had that. What sort of place was Allacard, that one could walk through a street full of people have a casual conversation with someone they knew while carrying a torn limb? Arin didn't even look that surprised - just annoyed that he was going to have to clean the blood.
The human shuddered in horror.
"All torn limbs are to be left in the entrance, sir," said the butler sternly. "I have checked your coat, and there was no damage done. I can take the rest from here."
Kaito felt Gakupo's three-armed grip tighten around him.
"That is, if you wish, master Venomania," said Arin.
"Prepare a warm bath for him," said the hornet.
He didn't wait for an answer after that: he dropped the torn arm where he stood and walked away, into the living room. The couch squeaked ever so slightly under their combined weight, but the demon didn't let go of his human.
That was the moment where Kaito realized that he was absolutely filthy. Blood had rained on him and he had smudged the one on his face all over Gakupo's white shirt. His own was ruined beyond repair, covered in dirt and grass stains that had come from his struggling. Surely his earlier tears had smeared dirt all over his face further than it was already. He didn't dare imagine it.
Gakupo had still not put him down.
"Why did you look at me when you were being hurt?" whispered the demon. He shook his head. "What did you even expect from me?"
"You came," answered the human.
"You didn't know if I would."
"I had to try. You came."
Gakupo looked away, at some spot on the wall that was no different than the rest of it. Kaito looked at the strong line of his jaw, the way how his human skin gave way to his inhuman one right at the neck and the curve of his antennas. He was beautifully carved down to the most minute details, in a way the human couldn't quite believe had been done naturally.
"You are a hornet," said the human.
"Hm?" Gakupo's purple eyes came back to the man in his arms. "You only figure that now?"
"I didn't. Someone said it. You do have something of an insect."
That seemed to amuse the demon. "Do you mean it as a compliment, or are you just basing that judgment from the fact that I have antennas?" He curled the latter to emphasize what he had just said.
"I meant that... uuh... in general." Kaito waved his hands around. This entire conversation felt surreal. He was half expecting the monster to snap at him, was surprised that he had not already. "Not to be rude. Do people in hell like to... sleep... with insects?"
"Not all of them, definitely. But again, I am tailored to what one would call a niche."
"What sort of niche?"
"My niche," said the demon matter-of-factly. He laughed. "Don't make such a face, I am just messing with you. But I wonder how much of it you can guess."
Kaito looked to the side. Gakupo had still not let him go and he was starting to think that a hornet could be sexy, god saves him. He wasn't sure he liked how this conversation was going, but he needed to keep playing this weird game that was going on between the two of them.
"I guess..." he started to say. "Well, you're tailoring for those that like men."
"That's a start."
"Promiscuous men..." Kaito thought back to all he had gathered about Gakupo's sexuality over the last few days. "You're a bit forceful and scary." He suddenly became quiet.
"You're warming. Is something wrong?"
"I don't want to talk about this anymore," said Kaito.
That made the demon laugh in delight. "Feeling shy?"
"No... A bit. I'm not sure I want to think about this at all."
One of the hornet's hand trailed down Kaito's shirt, over the buttons that would open it. "You mean, you don't want to think about me having sex?"
"It's not that!"
Gakupo laughed, deep and sexy, as he leaned over the human, his wide shoulders blocking out the light. "You were the one that talked about sex first."
"I was just asking!"
"I think that it's very interesting that you ask at all."
Dammit. Why did Kaito have to be curious about that, out of all things? Now Gakupo was all close and personal, getting ideas again, and the human certainly wasn't interested. Was he?
"Giving me the silent treatment?" The demon, thankfully, leaned back against the couch. "Very well, then I get to ask a question as well. Did you ever sleep with a man?"
"Even if I did I wouldn't sleep with you," muttered Kaito
This made Gakupo laugh. "I didn't even ask about that, and your mind just jumped straight to it! And you want me to believe that you don't want me, even a little bit?"
"You are a giant walking insect. What makes you believe that just anyone would want you?"
"Oh, but they do." Gakupo smiled. "Not everyone, but a fair share of it. Not that you will be getting any, after all, you had your chance and you missed it."
"Good." Kaito started to pull himself to his feet, out of those all-too-strong arms. "You are no better than those thugs at the park."
"Don't make me withdraw my offer of a bath, Kaito," said the demon. "You need it. So how about you stay quiet now?"
Kaito turned to the other. He wanted to say something yet couldn't find the right words. Luckily, right at this moment, Arin came back.
"It's ready," he said.
"I certainly didn't forget," said Gakupo as he stood. "That you were about to cut through my expensive coat with a knife when you were surprised - don't think I wasn't told that already. You are lucky you didn't touch it. For each hole, you would have made I would have pierced your own. Now, you shouldn't let the water get cold. Hurry along."
Gakupo ushered the human towards his butler, that took him from there and led him to the first flood. Kaito was shocked when he entered a tiled room with a wide bathtub. There was a sink there too, but no toilet.
Come to think of it, Kaito had not had had to relieve himself ever since he had come to hell. He had been so busy with other things that he had not noticed. Could it be that he had left that need behind with his body? But he still ate? That didn't make any sense.
"Would you like me to leave as you disrobe?" Said Arin.
They were alone together and Kaito, that had been a nobleman in his former life, used to think that taking a back while assisted by a servant was normal. He suddenly realized that he would be naked in front of another man, and with all that had changed in the last days, he didn't quite know how he felt about that.
"I will come back when you are in the water," said the demon before bowing and leaving.
Kaito got rid of his clothes, wincing when he looked at them and saw how filthy they had become. He hoped that he would get the new changes soon, that he shouldn't have to wear them ever again. It was as if remains of his would-be rapists' perversity still clung to them. He simply did not want to think about what might have gone down if he had not been saved.
Saved... by Gakupo. Heavens, he was so pathetic. He was starting to realize how being a demon didn't only involve a monstrous appearance, but also strength - more strength than him - and status. In the human world, the onlookers, the prostitutes of Cupid's Park, would have helped at least. Maybe. He had never dealt with them in his lifetime, preferring to have them as far away from him as possible. He saw them as filthy.
But now, it was a prostitute that owned him. He needed to become a demon so that he could escape, he thought as he lowered himself in the warm water. The thought surprised him, yet he felt as if it had been underlying his train of thoughts those last days. As much as he hated the idea of being one, of becoming Gakupo's pupil, he couldn't go on like that.
And then he wouldn't have to be a pupil forever. One day he would be a demon... would he be able to leave then? He had seen demons working. Would he get a job too? A house? Restart his life from the bottom? He would have to learn to work, he had no skill he could perform for money and it was out of the question that Gakupo would teach him anything of his trade. Just thinking about selling his own body was the ultimate downfall.
Signing that contract didn't sound like a good solution, but it was the best solution at the moment. He was stubborn, but he was no fool because he knew that the fastest he got on with it, the better were his chances to get out of this damn house without going mad.
Even if it did feel like he was already going mad.
"May I come in?" Asked Arin from the other side of the door.
"Yes," answered the human.
Kaito looked back at Arin over his shoulder, and this time really took a look at him. He was not too used to mustaches, they had not been in fashion during his time alive, but he had to admit that if anything the butler had a face for it. He had strong jaws, but hollowing cheeks, which only accentuated his sharp cheekbones. There was something proud and fierce about him, barely restrained under an exterior of stern control and docility. Kaito had never seen him smile.
The demon had taken off his back jacket, revealing a looser shirt under, and had rolled up his sleeves. He was ready to wash the human. How odd it was, to be serviced by a butler and sleep on rags at night.
He approached the tub, kneeling next to it, presenting a clean rag that he soaked and rubbed with soap. Kaito stared off at the wall as he did so, pretending as if he was not very aware that he was entirely naked and sitting in clear water with another man. Somewhere far away, he heard the maniac laugh of the spider from his dream.
"Why do you serve Gakupo?" asked the human, just to break the silence.
Arin remained quiet for a while, and Kaito almost started to believe that he was going to be ignored when he answered. "It's Lex Infernum."
"It can be translated to the Hell-Law. It stands for the rule of the strong. I serve master Venomania because he is strong in his own way, and I make sure that he remains strong so that I may be protected in his shadow. Anya also obeys him because of that, and so do the Bees, and the people of Cupid's Park when he tells them 'come, a client wants someone to fuck while I fuck them.' Lex Infernum is what holds us together as a society, if you break it everyone will know."
"If I become a demon, will I have to obey it too?"
Arin considered before answering. "When you will become one, you will have the right to chose your own master. Until then, you'll obey master Venomania, by virtue of the contract that will bind you together as master and pupil."
"I have signed no contract."
The butler stopped moving. "I'll give you some advice," he said in a low voice, so low that Kaito had to lean in to hear. "You probably think you have seen it all now, but I promise that you have not. Lex Infernum crushes the rebellious weak. If you don't want to end being thrown to the wolves when master Venomania tires of you, you better sign that contract and spread those legs when he asks you the second time."
Kaito shuddered, as visions of a furious Gakupo in his hornet form towering over him flashed before his eyes. "He can't force me to do that either."
"And you are a fool to think that you have the leisure of a better choice."
"I think I know that."
"Do you?" said the other man. There was a silence. "I am sorry. I wanted to speak my mind and I overstepped, this is entirely unacceptable coming from a man of my condition. Please turn yourself to me, that I may get rid of the grim on your face.
Kaito did as he was told, docile. He had heard the words of the demon and they had only made him realize that he had already taken a decision: he would be going to talk to Gakupo first thing in the morning.
Chapter 12: Predictions and Plans
Trigger warning: this chapter contains mentions of physical abuse.
Kaito could have gone right after his bath to Gakupo and tell him, but he felt as if he wanted to mourn the last of his humanity and his freedom: he went to bed instead. Arin offered him a change of clothing, a large and old nightgown that always slipped to reveal one shoulder, cut in a coarse and thick material. It was warm enough.
He had grown used to sleep in his pile of rags. If he fluffed them enough beforehand, they became comfortable enough that he might fall asleep with no unnecessary delay. As for the cold, well, one grew used to everything. It didn't mean that he had fulfilling nights. In fact, his exhaustion might have something to do with how emotional he had been lately.
He tried, as he drifted to sleep, to see the good in his situation. An image of the park's aggressors flashed in his mind instantly, and he had to concur: being in Gakupo's house was certainly better than being stuck with those people. He would have lived without knowing that there were worse people than his captor, at least he could be glad that he wasn't going to live with them.
And Anya was nice, maybe. She was certainly nice to look at, and he didn't have to feel bad when he thought about how lovely were her curves when they pressed against the fabric of her clothes as she moved.
Not like Gakupo.
When he was still a human, and struggling with his attraction to men, he would just justify it by telling himself that he recognized beauty, no matter where it lied. The men he... admired, as he used to call it, only fascinated him because they were captivating. Of course, deep down, he knew he was all lying to himself. But as long as he only looked, he wouldn't be sinning.
However, when he looked back to the days where he had been a young man, he couldn't help but think that he must have already been influenced by those penchants. What heterosexual man came up with the idea to cross-dress as a woman to trick his enemy? Well, maybe he would think about that later, but surely his first impulse would be to murder Venomania in his sleep, or maybe to uncovering the duke's secret harem by other means. Yet Kaito had thought this was the most suitable idea for him.
He could see Venomania waiting for him as if it was yesterday. The duke had been wearing beautiful clothing that matched his hair, and an inviting smile that changed into a smug smirk as Kaito would walk closer. Even as a sinner he had been elegant and refined, the epitome of beauty. No wonder the women loved him.
The duke embraced him. The scent of cinnamon and tobacco filled Kaito's nose as soft hands ran down his back. This caress was in no way appropriate, it was the touch of a lover to his mistress. Kaito told himself that it was not meant for him, yet couldn't help but feel secretly thrilled by it, if only for an instant. Yet he couldn't indulge. He pulled his blade and plunged it in the duke's chest.
Gakupo backed away from him in shock, purple blood soaking the front of his shirt. The poison was supposed to work its sinister magic immediately, yet the duke didn't so much as stagger. He just looked down, then back up at the bloody blade held by the man in disguise, before a slow smirk crossed his features.
When Gakupo didn't fall, but instead reached out and ripped off Kaito's blond wig, the latter realized that he was dreaming. But he didn't think beyond that: suddenly he was embraced, tenderly, as if he was forgiven.
"It's all right," said Gakupo. "Just give yourself to me."
A hand came from the back and grabbed Kaito's blue locks, yanking him. He cried out, and then again when he was shaken like a rag doll with a force he couldn't resist. Next thing he knew he was facing downwards, suspended by the iron grip on his hair. Where was his knife? He didn't have it anymore.
"All that enter my harem," said the duke, "belong to me, and you are no exception. Surrender."
Kaito got on his knees that he might support his own weight, looking for a way out, but he knew that strength, he knew that hold, and he knew that resisting would be futile.
He was kicked on the side, hard enough to stop his breathing, and then he was tossed on the cold marble. He scrambled on all fours to get away from his enemy, wheezing from the hit, but it was futile. All his movements were slowed down, the dream had become a nightmare.
He looked up at the duke and saw that he had changed to his demonic form. He loomed over him, smirking, knowing that he had won. Triumph suited him, thought Kaito, this was a man with a face made to conquer and gloat as his enemy laid in the dirt.
The demon dropped on to him. His hair fell around his face like a halo, his beautiful, angelic face, the least humane part of all his monstrous form. And then he dropped further until his lips were pressed against Kaito's in a kiss.
The blue-haired man felt the influence of the devil's pact on him, the power that had seduced so many women before him. His breathing grew more labored and heat pooled between his legs. He felt the urge to part them so that he could greet the victor between them, but he knew it was all a trap. He resisted. His hands came up to push against Venomania's unmoving chest to tell him to stop. He didn't.
Instead, the hornet bit down on the human's lip. A fang sliced it clean, and it was so sharp that Kaito only felt the pain as he realized that the warm liquid that was slipping down his face and neck was blood. And then he was shoved across the floor, and then there was a pit he almost fell into. He cried out in fear and looked back at his enemy.
Gakupo, on all six, had crawled to him in an instant. He threw a leg over the human's hips and sat down. The heat at Kaito's crotch blazed anew when it was pressed, making him gasp.
"What are you doing?" cried the human. He started to struggle and was quickly held down by a single hand on his chest. "Let me go!"
"Still resisting me?" Gakupo smirked. "I'll make you surrender by force."
"You... stop! I don't want this! I say no to this!"
"That trick won't work here" The demon then leaned in to whisper: "Are you certain that you want to pretend as if you are not attracted to me?"
"I am not! You're a giant bug!"
"Oh." He checked into the inside of his jacket and pulled out something. "Then what about this?"
Down from his palm, hanging from a silk thread, came the spider. She looked as smug as she possibly could. Kaito paled.
"Don't listen to her," he said.
"How long are you going to deny the truth," said Gakupo. "You like men. You like me. And you are starting to like being controlled by me."
A hand slammed down on the human's throat, silencing him.
"Then why is a power that I don't even have anymore influencing you in your own dream?" asked the demon.
As a demonstration, Gakupo rocked his hips, rubbing over Kaito's sex. The human couldn't help but moan as blood rushed down. How nice it was to be wearing a dress, that nothing might constrict his half-mast...
"See?" whispered the hornet. "You are so receptive."
"You've damned yourself."
Kaito was suddenly yanked from under Gakupo and tossed in the pit.
Yet he didn't even have the time to scream before landing on some sort of net. He looked at what it might be and paled when he realized that it was a giant spider web. He pulled away, but his wrists were bound with silk and held him in place. The web dipped under the weight of another body.
"It's the end of the line, Kaito," said Gakupo as he walked towards him. "Where do you want to hide now? In a closet?" He smirked. "Well, theoretically you could hide in there, but I haven't furnished your room with anything other than a chest."
The demon knelt, bringing himself to his prey's lever. He held Kaito by the chin and tilted his head back; his kiss, once again, was deceptively sweet, even again the split lip. A hand trailed over the side of the human's face, a hand soft like the one of someone that loved him deeply.
"Or maybe that's what you want most," whispered Gakupo against his mouth. "A sign that I love you. I break you, and yet I hold you together. You long for a place where you will be safe. That's why you looked at me in the park, isn't it? You need a savior."
"No... please," begged Kaito without knowing what he was begging for. He was truly lost.
"Mark my word. It will not matter that I can't take you against your will: in the end, you'll come to me to be consumed. I'll shatter you, but all you will wish for is to be reborn as something that will make me mean it when I say, my dear."
Kaito reached up and held Gakupo behind the head to bring him back down against his lips. He awoke in his miserable joke of a bed and could still taste him there, could still hear the soft moan of approval the demon had emitted. He panted heavily. He was hard.
When the sunlight slipped through the small window of the attic, Kaito had been awake for a long time. The hours before dusk had been spend twisting and turning around in his bed, trying not to think about his upcoming announcement to agree to the contract, and failing. He just wanted sleep. To be spared his fear and his anguish for but a few hours! Yet he stayed awake, and rest eluded him.
Telling himself that the sooner he would be done with it, the less he would have to think about it, he got up as soon as he started to hear some movement downstairs. He walked to the door only to find it locked - of course it would be after yesterday's escapade - and started to knock on it, calling that he wanted to be left out.
He heard Gakupo's voice tell something to Anya, two floors down, and soon enough he heard her come to him. She unlocked his room and lead him downstairs when he told her that he wanted to talk to her master, and she replied about how mister had just gotten out of bed but would be fine if he dropped by his room.
Kaito should have taken those last words more seriously, because he was still shocked to walk into the hornet's room and find him with his hair undone and in nothing but a quasi-transparent silk shirt, sitting on the side of his bed looking dazzled. The human gasped, sputtered and hid his eyes in his embarrassment, making both the demons laugh.
"Please, don't pretend as if you're not built the same way, my dear," said Gakupo, standing up. "You're up earlier than usual. What do you want to tell me?"
Anya pushed something on the wall and it opened, revealing a walk-in closet in the wall. He stepped in after her, rummaging through the rows and rows of fine clothes hanging from the racks, sometimes pulling one out just to admire it before putting it back. Kaito tried his best not to notice how the he-demon's hair fell to the lever of his ass but didn't quite cover it.
Anya cleared his throat and he realized that he had been staring, despite his intentions. He looked out the window, looking for the right words to tell what he wanted to tell.
"Well then, I'm waiting," said Gakupo. "Or were you just missing my presence?"
"No," grumbled Kaito. "It's just that I was thinking, lately, about that contract you told me about."
The he-demon paused in his rummaging, long enough for it to be noticeable, before carrying on as if nothing had happened. "What about it?"
"How long would I be required to be your pupil before being considered a demon?"
"Ah, well, that depends on many things, like your willingness to learn and my estimation of how well prepared you are for hell. It usually goes on for three to four years. Of course, particularly untalented students can have it going all the way to ten."
Three years was doable. He was a smart man, or so he thought. Ten years to learn what could be taught in four was probably only applied to people of a poorer upbringing than his. Peasants had all the trouble in the world reading, while he had spent his life doing so.
"Any more questions, my dear?" said Gakupo in an obnoxiously sweet voice.
"Will, uuu," he looked at Anya, at her little round horns and her tail. "Will I change my appearance?"
"Oh, that?" The master of the home pulled out a rather extravagant shirt from the rack, full of buttons and frills, and started to examine it carefully - but Kaito could see his hands shaking in excitement. "That doesn't occur naturally, you would have to go to a flesh crafter for that. They are expensive, but if you are a good boy I might take you to one... that is, of course, if you agree to become a demon at all."
Kaito gulped. There was it.
"I'd like to do that," he said.
Gakupo dropped the shirt he was holding and turned his head to look at the human over his shoulder. "Really?"
The he-demon whipped around and was on Kaito in a flash. The human cried out when he fell backward and hit the bed. Gakupo was laying over him, grinning, his hand crossed over his future pupil's chest.
"Oh, I am so *glad*," he exclaimed. "I knew you'd finally hear the voice of reason. I am going to have so much fun with you. You can't imagine all the possibilities that this opens up - but you'll figure it all out soon enough."
Kaito was not the least reassured by those words, yet he couldn't find the will to worry too much about them when there was a practically naked demon over him, one that had made him have a wet dream barely hours ago. He should have released himself from that erection instead of waiting it out, he suddenly thought, and maybe he wouldn't be struggling quite as much to stay unaffected.
He looked to the side, out the window, away from Gakupo's intense purple gaze, his face and neck as red as fresh raw meat. "Let's just get this over with."
"Oh, why rush?" The demon traced the side of Kaito's jaw, eliciting small, pleasureful shivers from his human. "It's not every day that you get a teacher. In fact, I was thinking about having you meet a few of my friends for the occasion. None of them know of your existence yet."
"Your... friends?" Kaito wasn't sure he wanted to meet someone that was capable of standing Gakupo's friendship.
"My friends and work colleagues. They will absolutely adore you, I'm sure. You have nothing to worry about from them. You can sign the contract when they are over for dinner... granted that you don't change your mind before then. If you do, however, do warn me, so that I can send you to the pit."
Kaito blinked slowly, before nodding in understanding. The more time passed, the more the pit sounded like a place he didn't want to be.
"Master Venomania," said Anya, "I have selected an outfit for today."
Mercifully, the he-demon pried himself off Kaito, that stood up as soon as he could. He was flustered, breathing heavily, and did his best to hide it from the creatures in the room with him.
"Ah, excellent," said Gakupo as he reviewed the clothes that Anya had diligently picked out for him once his mind had wandered away from the task.
Kaito's heart threw itself into a reckless gallop when the purple-haired man pulled the last bit of his clothing over his head, baring himself for all to see. He was naked, yet he did not lower his head or try to hide from anyone's gaze. The human looked away quite red in the face, shocked with his indecency, yet he couldn't deny the small spark of admiration he had for such boldness.
"May I leave?" asked Kaito.
"Leave?" said Gakupo, looking his way. "Oh, well, if you have nothing else to say, let me just call Arin for you. Arin!" The demon walked to the door, past Kaito, and glanced out in the hallway. "Arin, come here, I need to speak to you."
The butler appeared moments later, seemingly unaffected by the fact that his master was as naked as the day he was born. Apparently, Kaito was the only one that was doing his best not to lay his eyes on Venomania's tempting form.
"Arin," said the latter as he finally put on some pants. "Have the package from Elind and the Ribbons arrived yet?"
"No, master Venomania."
"Really? Then it should arrive today, I think. You two must be of the same size. Can you lend him a change in the meantime? My future pupil can't be walking around the house in a nightgown."
"As you wish, master," said the blond. He turned to Kaito and gestured him to follow him. "This way, then."
Kaito followed the man gratefully, finally being spared the sight of the naked demon - and the constant reminder that he was not indifferent to it, send to him by the spikes of heat that would wash through his abdomen each time he accidentally glanced at him. They moved to the second floor, and the butler leaded him into his room, that was smaller than his master's and more cluttered. Personal belongings stacked on the furniture. Kaito was surprised to see a rapier propped up against the wall, several daggers and a pair of double shot pistols. He would have never guessed that a peaceful butler lived here from the sight of them.
"I see that you have started to listen to my advice, then," said Arin as he opened a closet full of clothes.
"I had already decided before."
"Did you now?" He tossed the human a pair of trousers and a plain white shirt. "Not that it matters at all. I supposed it is my duty to wish you good luck."
Kaito observed the man. He had to admit that the latter was quite puzzling. He couldn't tell if he was hostile towards him or just doing his job because he was always so neutral and distant. He seemed concerned enough about his fate to give him advice, even if said advice didn't come across as kind or understanding.
"You should change," pointed out Arin. "Master Venomania is in a good mood, and he is going to want you at the table for breakfast."
Kaito supposed that he was supposed to change right there, and so he awkwardly turned around and lifted his nightgown out of the way. Mercifully, Arin sat on his bed and looked at the wall.
"I remember when I was in your position," suddenly said the butler.
"You were a human too, once?" asked Kaito, surprised. He had never considered it.
"Yes. Out of the four of us, Anya is the only one that comes from demonic parents. Generally, most demons were once humans, because demon babies are rather hard to conceive. The human body has many disadvantages but it's certainly more fertile than a demon's."
"Oh. What were you as a human?"
"I was a bandit, and one with quite a reputation at that." Arin smiled as if remembering fond memories. "That's what caught the attention of my former teacher when I died. He stepped in and bribed the Judge for my soul. They are quite found of poetic justice over true, righteous justice, I was told. To think that I would be ransomed like I had ransomed hostages during my life was hilarious to them, so they allowed me to become a demon instead of being sent to the pits." He turned to Kaito, that was now entirely clothed. "You were noble, from what I gathered, right?"
"What? How do you know?"
Arin smirked. "Nobles always fit right at home when they become demons. I can tell that you were one, you know, just from that insufferable air you have sometimes when you think that you are being treated in a way that's somewhat beneath your condition."
"I don't have an insufferable air!" cried Kaito, offended.
"And you also hate being called out on it. Typical of a nobleman. I used to despise your kind but now I pity you. It must be hard to live with standards that are impossible to meet."
"You sure you want to use this tone when you talk to me?" said Arin. "You are just proving my point."
Kaito was going to open his mouth again to tell him what he truly thought, but then glanced at all the weapons around the room, and noticed how Arin's clothes floated around his leaner frame. Giving him a piece of his mind might not be the best of ideas.
"Good, you are starting to get it," said the blond with a glint in his eyes. "That's always the hardest part for noblemen: realizing that they aren't over anyone here until they prove themselves worthy of it. It was the same for master Venomania."
Kaito's eyes widened. Arin had seen Gakupo being turned into a demon? He suddenly wanted to ask him about it, but the butler must have guessed his train of thoughts as he shook his head.
"Don't ask. I won't tell you about it. I'm not your friend. The sooner you realize that, the better it will be for you," said Arin. "Now let's go downstairs. I think that Gakupo has something to show you."
Kaito wondered what that might be, and if, by any chance, it might be a good thing. He should have known already that in hell there were no good surprises.
Chapter 13: The Privileges of a Pupils
Gakupo was already waiting for him at the breakfast table, grinning from ear to ear. It had been a while since he had last sat there to eat, realized Kaito as he took a seat opposite him. Or at least, he had the impression that it had been a while. Last time he had sat at this place, he had been naked.
"I am so glad that you are finally showing yourself to be reasonable, my dear," said Gakupo. He pointed to a dish between them, that the human might notice it. "Look what we got here - almost as if it was foretold that today we would be celebrating."
Kaito looked. Blinked. And had to look away as he gagged. Laid out on a plate was the arm that Gakupo had torn out yesterday, roasted, the claws of its fingers carefully placed one next to each other on the painted porcelain.
Gakupo laughed at his reaction, throwing his head back and hitting his thigh. "Oh, you should see your face, it's priceless."
Kaito glance at the horror again, not quite believing that it was real. Yet it couldn't be an illusion. He recognized it, it was the same limb that the demoness had waved in his face as she told him to stay quiet. The flesh that had once been linked too a shoulder had been trimmed, that it didn't look so ragged and messy as it had been before, the skin had been peeled. It was simply horrifying.
"You got to be kidding me," said the human.
"Demons love meat - any meat." Gakupo, using his fork, started to pick some red little fruits from some other dish. "I've been indulging you those last few days by toning it down a little, but with you wanting to become one of us now, I am going to have to revert to my old diet. I can't have you squirm at an important dinner, can't I?"
Kaito looked at the arm again, then had to look away. "I can't eat someone's meat! It's disgusting."
Gakupo smiled, and this time, a smile that Kaito had not yet seen. It was beyond smug. With the way all his white, sharp teeth showed and the way his lips curled at the edges, it became sinister. It was the smile of someone that had crushed the wings of a bird under their foot. Kaito knew what he was going to say next before he did.
"Oh, my dear..." cooed the demon. "You already have. You've been eating people's meat since you came here."
The human got up so fast his chair fell, and he ran to the kitchen to throw up in the sink. His stomach was empty; bitter acid splattered out of him.
There was the clink of heels on the floor tiles, and then Gakupo patted his back. Kaito remembered how much meat there had always been on the table, how strange it had always been, yet he had shrugged it off and told himself that it was just the way a demon ate in hell, maybe. He should have known that something was up. He felt he had never hated Gakupo more than he had at this moment.
"Don't touch me," he hissed.
Gakupo didn't reply, but his hand circled the back of the human's neck in an iron grip. For a second, Kaito became afraid that he would push him into his vomit or toss him across the room, but nothing happened.
"Be glad that you know, my love," murmured the demon. "Anya is a brilliant cook. She could have easily disguised that arm as something else if I would have asked her to do so. And then what? You would have preferred not to know? Go on devouring your peers forever? Or maybe..."
The demon leaned against the counter next to Kaito and pulled him nearer so that he could whisper in his ear.
"Maybe the reason you are disgusted is that it was delicious."
The human shook his head.
"Oh, don't lie to me. I can see it in your eyes. You hate yourself."
Kaito felt tears rush up and just had the time to cover his face with his hands. He felt so, so repulsed. He had looked forward to those meals. Once, when he had eaten alone in the attic, he had licked his plate to get every bit of sauce and sucked on the bones. Human bones!
"Oh..." said Gakupo. He let go of his neck and pulled him even closer, against his chest. Was it a hug? "Hush. Come back to the table. I'll explain."
Kaito pulled away and wiped at his tears with his sleeves, ashamed that he had cried in front of this monster - again. He checked that he had not stained Arin's shirt before following the demon to his seat. He tried not to look at the arm while he sat.
"Now you know what happens to the damned in the pits," said Gakupo. He did not go back to his spot and instead chose to stand behind his prey.
"Is... all the meat from them?"
"On this table? Yes, apart from the arm. But we eat other things too."
"You'll learn about them soon enough but I don't want to talk about that now. What I do want to say is that this could have been you."
Kaito looked at each dish in front of him in mild horror. He wondered what those people had done to deserve such a fate.
"Don't make such a face," said the demon. "Why worry about them when you won't be human anymore? Demons are above the condition of the damned. They were chosen by the Seven Lords to serve them and make hell run smoothly. It's the natural order of things that we should eat them."
"But... I am not a demon."
"You'll be one soon."
"But... you just said that it could have been me."
Gakupo chuckled and placed his hands on Kaito's shoulders. The latter tensed, but it was just a massage. The creature's agile fingers felt wonderful as they worked on the knots that had formed in the blue-haired man's muscles.
"Sometimes I think you are simply stupid, but I forget all too easily how it was for me when I was in your position," said the demon. "Do remember that you are lucky to not have been sent to the pits, but don't think of the rest until you learn to find enjoyment in eating others. Satan, just think of it the same way you had to think when you were eating an animal's meat. Soon, you will be so different to them that it will be the same thing."
"Animals don't talk."
For some reason, that made Gakupo laugh. "We'll have to go to the pits as a visit sometime soon. You'll understand it all better when you see it for yourself. In the meantime, are you hungry?"
Kaito was, indeed, hungry, but didn't say it. How could he be hungry for what was in front of him? How could he even think that it smelled delicious?
Luckily, there were also some fruits on the table and some sort of yogurt that reminded him of the one made with a goat's milk. Gakupo laughed when he noticed that he was only eating that and told him that he was cute. For some reason, no matter how fake and insincere it sounded, the compliment made the human blush.
After all, the arm was Gakupo's prize for having torn it off himself, so it was only natural that he would be the one to eat it. Demon flesh had a special taste to it as it was infused with magic, and it was a taste that could become addictive it one didn't want that they didn't consume it too often. He had heard tales of demon went mad for the meat of their kin, driving away every single one of their kind until they had to be put in isolation. Such cases, however, were very rare.
Kaito kept sending him odd looks as he feasted, that Venomania promptly ignored. He didn't care what the human could think of him now. He was, however, thrilled that the other paid so much attention to him, and for reasons he only half-admitted to himself.
Something odd had happened after the humiliating incident of Kaito's rejection. Gakupo, for a while, had been absolutely infuriated with him, to the point where he could barely stand his sight, but now he was suddenly finding himself extremely interested in the human. Not that his future pupil was the most breathtaking creature he had seen - he knew of demons that surpassed him in every regard when it came to appearance - but there was something about him that drew his master's attention and fixated it. And wherever when Gakupo's attention, so did his lust.
His case wasn't helped by the fact that he definitely noticed the effect he had on the human when he stood near him. He would have been blind not to catch the other staring at his ass this morning, or the way he had turned tomato red when he had found himself under him. It had taken all of the demon's will not to tear off his pants and take him right there on his bed, and even now he wondered if that had been the right decision. The former duke wondered why he had never noticed just how kissable the blue-haired man's lips were, how sweet he smelled or how tight his ass looked in those pants. He had gotten an eyeful of the latter when his human had puked in the sink. Once again, it was not the best of rears, he had seen others that would be more universally loved, but at the same time, not hitting it or grinding against it had proved to be quite difficult.
What was happening to his mind? He usually knew better than to desire what he wasn't supposed to touch, but now they were two monsters in there constantly crying out for his attention: the one that wanted to hurt Kaito and the one that wanted to fuck him.
Just what had happened to hating him unconditionally? What had happened to the hours he had spent in the dark, suffering, cursing the man that had sent him to his fate? Wasn't a victim supposed to hate his murderer?
It was all rather peculiar, he thought as he scraped the arm's bones for the last bits of flesh.
He reached out for something else once he had discarded all he wasn't interested in, but found that he was entirely sated, and so was his guest. This could only mean that it was time for the second surprise. He rose.
"Well then, shall we see your new room?" He asked.
This earned him a confused look from Kaito. The demon grinned.
"However, if you prefer the attic," he continued, "I don't mind leaving you there. I can keep it for my guests when I have someone sleeping over."
"Wait, you aren't joking," said Kaito, baffled.
"Maybe I am. Oh, that would be entertaining, to make you believe that you are going to sleep in a real bed tonight, and then tell you that it was all a lie. I'm sure that you would make quite a face."
Kaito seemed unsure about what to say next. He obviously wanted to believe the man, yet it was all too good to be true, and this entire conflict was written on his face for all to see. The demon chuckled. What could he say, something that dunce was cute.
"I am messing with you," said Gakupo as he turned to leave. "Come on."
He heard the other hurry after him once he left the room and had to snicker. Everyone had noticed the dark rings under the human's eyes. He certainly was eager to leave the attic.
"Why am I getting one now?" asked Kaito. "Is it because I agreed to sign?"
"Well would you look at that, it turns out that you can make some logical deductions from a series of events," replied Gakupo in a belittling tone. "You are indeed correct."
"You know what would make it perfect?" sassed the human. "That you stopped calling me an idiot every second sentence."
The demon was a dancer. The best dancers could make any gesture appear effortless and graceful, including turning around and slapping Kaito across the face in one seamless ark. The insolent never saw it coming. Before he could even scream, he was tumbling down a flight of stairs. He landed with a heavy thud on the carpet of the entrance and looked up in absolute disbelief.
"Getting insolent now, my dear?" said the demon. "Remember how privileged you are and think twice before opening your mouth, brat. You live in my house, eat my food and even get to see me naked, something others have to pay for. I call you what I damn want. Understood?"
Kaito nodded then got up slowly. It didn't look like he had collected nothing more than bruises, but he did look spooked by the sudden violence.
And here it was again. That urge to take him in his arms and make it all right. Gakupo had never anticipated growing a conscious when he had taken that cretin in, yet he couldn't help but feel a little sorry for his victim. He blamed it on seeing himself in the lad. He shook his head and went down to get the human himself, grabbing him by the elbow.
"Did you break a bone?" he asked, trying his best to keep his fake smile on - he didn't want Kaito to see yet another of his moments of weakness.
"I don't think so," replied the human.
"Good. Let's go then, my dear, and watch your step this time."
The place that Gakupo had previewed for his future pupil was on the second floor, not that far from Arin's room itself. However, the butler was nowhere in sight. He knew better than to mingle with his master's affairs when the hornet was alone with his human.
Gakupo unlocked a door and pushed it to the side, that Kaito might step in. It was quite small compared to his own, but furnished with a cozy looking bed, a closet and some empty shelves. He could even look out the window, down at the street and the people passing by, and there was a rug on the ground to preserve the heat of his feet.
"How do you like it?" Asked Gakupo from his spot, propped against the doorway.
Kaito examined everything a second time and let himself fall on the bed. he stroked the covers gently, before looking up. He seemed to be looking for his words.
"You can tell me what you really think, you know," said the demon.
"I... well, I think it's the first time that I sleep in such a small room." Kaito looked down at the carpet. "But I like it. It's cozy."
Gakupo had to push his lips together so that he wouldn't break out in a delighted grin. He couldn't help but imagine the human snuggled up under the blankets when he heard him say that it was cozy and it was adorable.
"Is something the matter?" asked Kaito.
"The bathroom is this way," replied Gakupo, pointing in the right direction. "If you can't figure out how to work the tap, ask Arin or Anya. They also sleep on this floor. Feel free to take a shower, but see that you don't use all the hot water, you have only one heater."
Kaito looked at him as if he had just spoken Latin.
"Oh!" Gakupo clasped his hands. "You don't have that in the human world, don't you?"
"No, I never heard of such devices."
"Follow me, then."
They moved to the bathroom, which was a room with a sink, a basin for washing the clothes and a wooden cabin, that was the shower. Gakupo opened it to show the inside.
"So, you step in there and you turn the tap," he said as he pointed to the different parts of the device, "and then hot water pours down on you from the shower head. Though you have to beware." He tapped on the boiler, a great brass container that hung from the ceiling. "The amount of hot water you have is limited so don't stay in there for hours. I won't stand between Arin and you if he finds it empty. It slowly warms up over time though."
Kaito looked at everything with wide eyes. "How does it work?"
"Here, we use magic for the moment. There are other ways of course, but for now, they are limited to those that are willing to pay for them to be installed, when magic just works fine for us at the moment."
Gakupo nodded. "To call it simply. Of course, magic is complicated and explaining everything about it would take years of training."
"Can you use magic?"
"Me?" Gakupo combed through his hair with a hand. "Of course I can. I've used it in front of you before. Think of every time I transformed, or how I had the strength to tear off an arm. Those aren't things that happen on their own."
"Oh." Kaito didn't seem to like being reminded of either of those things but didn't comment further.
"Well then. I hope you enjoy your new pupil room, my dear," said Gakupo. "I am going to leave soon, I have some things to do in town, so I'll leave you alone with Anya. But I'll promise that as soon as the contract will be I'll take you to visit Allacard."
Kaito looked at him suspiciously but didn't speak his mind on the subject. He probably thought that Gakupo's sudden kindness was odd - not that the demon cared.
The human didn't even seem to realize that it was all a trap slowly closing on him. Indeed, he was truly an idiot.
Chapter 14: Steal a Glance and Pay the Price
The bed was indeed comfortable, and Kaito couldn't tell what the mattress was made of, but it certainly wasn't full of feathers like he was used to. After the bad surprise of the breakfast, he wondered if he wanted to know. He was content enough to lay on it to read and nap through the day, grateful for the upgrade.
The only one that disturbed him was Anya, that woke him up for lunch in the kitchen. He asked her about her cooking, where did the meat come from, but she answered that she had been forbidden by Gakupo to talk about it. Kaito didn't dare ask anything else after that and consumed his portion in silence as she walked around the first floor, seemingly cleaning.
Arin and Gakupo being out, he used the time he had after his meal to explore the rooms he had not seen before. He tried to sneak to the first floor but was caught by the housemaid, that told him that if he went in there mister would smell him on his stuff and would know. This terrified him, so he kept his adventures limited to the first floor; there was enough to see there already.
He had seen most of the rooms already, save for one. He had no memory of seeing its door open but it was unlocked when he checked it. It was quite vast and entirely dark, yet it didn't smell like it was unused. There were curtains in front of the window and many richly ornate couches and pillows, as well as what appeared to be a small stage with a pole. He looked around, unable to figure out what the room was for until he made the connection with Gakupo's job was made. This was the place where he received clients.
His first thought was to leave the place behind in disgust. He still wasn't comfortable with the thought that Gakupo slept with other men even after having seen it for himself. Yet he stayed. It was like staring at a train wreck, he simply couldn't tear his eyes away.
He stepped on the small stage. There was a wooden pole there, and he wondered what it was for. When he grabbed it and shook it, it didn't budge, as it seemed to be secured in the ceiling and in the ground itself. If that stage was used for some sort of seduction dance, wouldn't this get in the way? How strange. He stepped away.
There was some sort of machine there as well, that he discovered behind the curtains. It was a box with a big brass flower on top of it, he didn't know any other way how to describe it, and next to it was a pile of cardboard envelops with large back disks inside.
"Don't touch those, they are fragile," said Anya.
Surprised, he almost dropped the one he had been holding. She chuckled.
"Those are music records. Want to hear?" she asked.
"Music?" He repeated. "How?"
"Yeah. Let me..."
She approached him and grabbed one, putting in on top of the box, before delicately placing a needle over it. She then did something that seemed like she was using magic: she placed her hand on the side of the box and breathed in deeply, the disk started to turn, and music came out of the flower!
Startled, Kaito took a couple of steps back, looking at the machine as if it was about to pounce on him. This made the demoness laugh.
"You've never head about a gramophone?" she said. "You must have been quite poor as a human."
"That's what it is?" Asked Kaito, squinting at the devilry suspiciously. "I was rich, but I never saw something like that."
"Oh, it's one of those things that don't exist yet in your world, isn't it?" She nodded in understanding. "I didn't know. How come were you rich?"
He blinked a couple of time as her as she stopped the machine and put the disk back in its protective envelope. He didn't understand why she would ask him that.
"Did you steal mister Venomania's wealth or something?" she asked. "I always thought you were some marauder or bandit that had killed him. Murderers are usually poor, from what I can tell when I meet them in Hell."
"He never told you about how he died?" Kaito frowned. It made sense that he wouldn't. He was probably ashamed of his crimes, assumed the human. "He was a woman's thief, he gathered them all in his basement and he had sex with them. I killed him because he had taken the woman I loved."
She rose a brow. "I know that and I don't really care, you know, so don't try and make me dislike him because I won't. You're not answering my question. Did you steal from him or didn't you?"
"I wouldn't!" protected Kaito. "I was rich before. I was of the nobility."
"Oh, all right. So you killed him for a woman huh?" She seemed to think about something for a bit. "Did she love you back, at least?"
Kaito opened his mouth to answer that she did before he recalled that she left him one day without so much of a warning with his children, and never came back. "When you are a human noble, love doesn't matter. It's about continuing the line."
She looked at him, her green eyes piercing through him, before snorting at him in disdain. "So it was all about owning her. What a sad reason to go to hell."
"I'd rather have that than being sent to hell because I made a pact with the devil and enchanted women to do my bidding."
She chortled. "Maybe that would make sense for a human to say that but, for a demon, it's far more interesting to have a story like mister Venomania's than yours. No matter how good you used to be when you were a human, people will forget you eventually. And then what's left? The assurance that you have done the better thing? In the eyes of who? It's over you know, you've been judged and found guilty of murder. At least my master has a fantastic story to tell at dinners."
"But it does matter! I did... I am more in the right. I only killed one man."
"Gakupo didn't kill anyone." She turned around and started to walk to the door, but paused as she was going to pass it just to look back at him. "Let me give you some piece of advice out of the goodness of my heart, human. You need to stop thinking in terms of right or wrong. That only mattered when you were among humans because it's humans that came up with this system in the first place."
"That's ridiculous. Humans didn't invent heaven and hell. That proves that the notions of right and wrong matter."
"Oh yeah?" She turned to him fully, smirking like someone that knew they were in the right. "Then explain to me why there isn't a heaven and a hell for dogs?"
Kaito frowned and opened his mouth, but found no explanation.
"In the beginning, God told us angels and demons to listen to you guys and do as you wished. You wanted those that wronged you to be punished, you dreamed of continuing as you were after your death, so we made it so for you. But we don't actually care about what you think is right and wrong. We are demons, we follow our impulses and decide what is fair according to what pleases us. We admire those that put on a great show and those that are stronger than us. We adore them! And we despise goody-two-shoes that think they are better than us, when in fact we all share the same longings. People like you make me sick, Kaito. It's the last time I will tolerate you telling me that you are better than mister Venomania. Understood?"
He didn't know what to say, so he simply nodded.
"Good," she continued. "You can keep looking through this room, by the way. Just don't break anything."
She left him there without expecting an answer.
When Gakupo came back, it was late in the afternoon. Kaito had drifted to sleep on his new bed but was awoken with a start when his tormentor's voice reached his dreams, only to realize that he wasn't even on the same floor as him.
He listened to the voices of the demons downstairs. Gakupo spoke the loudest, of course, crying out orders from his room to Anya or Arin, and sometimes Kaito could hear the muffled replies of the servants. The words, in his half-sleeping state, were jumbled and made no sense. He realized only after a while that they were all speaking Latin.
Not wanting to spend the entire day in bed, he stood up and tried to recall where was the point he left off in his book before he remembered that he had finished it - that was why he had allowed himself a nap in the first place. He smelled of sweat, so he went to the bathroom and managed to figure out how to make this shower machine work. He quickly understood why Arin would be upset if there was no more hot water for him: it was delightful.
He dried himself with a soft doe leather hide, that had been given to him after Arin had washed him, and got dressed again. He was done with all the human books now, and all that was left for him to read were the one that spoke of the demon world. He felt sad about it, as if he was shredding another shimmer of his old life. But he had nothing else to do.
He was surprised by Gakupo as he was going down the stairs.
They both stopped in their tracks and looked at each other, and Kaito couldn't help but stare at the courtesan.
He was breathtaking. His long hair was tied back in an intricate braid, his chest bare save for the array of gold necklaces that hung from the alabaster column of his neck, his face painted with brilliant colors. He also had gold bracelets on his arms and ankles, that clinked with each of his gracious movements. He wore pants that were tight at the crotch but loose around the calves. He looked like a harem flower straight out of an oriental painting, if there had been such things as male concubines for sultans.
Of course, Kaito's gawking certainly didn't slide pass Gakupo, that smirked and posed. "You like my outfit?" he asked, before turning around. His pants clung tightly to his backside and he hit it lightly as a taunt. "Of course you do. Sadly it's not for you."
Kaito turned bright red and ran away, chased down the stairs by Gakupo's laugh. He hid in the living room, on the couch, and waited for his heart to calm down. He was so stupid! He should have ignored the brute and walked past him!
Right when the danger of popping an erection seemed to have dissipated, there was a ring at the door.
"It's lord Araden, I'll get it!" cried Gakupo from upstairs. Kaito listened to the sound of the demon's bare feet as he rushed down the stairs and through the hallway without noticing him. The front door was opened - he even heard the distant rumor of the street at night. There was some talking in Latin.
Kaito laid down and listened to the distant conversation. He had no idea what was being said, but he could still pay attention to the tone of his tormentor's voice, how it mellowed out and danced enticingly. The accents of the unknown language made him even more exotic and alluring. Kaito could close his eyes and see him say those words, the image of him etched on his retina. No wonder he was so rich from sleeping with people, he was good at his job.
They moved through the hallway. There was the wet sound of kissing and heavy panting, then Gakupo said something in a teasing tone before they entered the room Kaito had visited earlier and their voices became muffled. Music from the strange machine came on.
Kaito sighed and rubbed his eyes. He was going insane. There was no other way he could explain how he was attracted to a man that despised him, controlled him and toyed with him. A nasty little voice whispered to him about indulging himself but he chased the Spider back to the darkest corner of his mind.
Anya found him there and brought him back to the kitchen to feed him, before telling him that she had some washing to do and left him there. Arin was nowhere in sight. The music waffled from the room, along with other sounds of passion, and Kaito had nothing to distract himself from it.
He should have known not to listen to his impulses after the last incident with the coat. Yet, when he saw that the door to the room was not entirely closed, that thin ray of light that cut through the dark hallway like a knife, he didn't think. He crept closer to look. He wasn't deceived.
One one of the couches, glorious in the light of the magical crystals on the ceiling, was Gakupo and his client, a demon with black skin and large bat wings. Kaito's tormentor was on top, bare, in his fully demonic form, each thrust into his partner contracting the insect skin of his stomach around his abdominals. His hair was undone and dancing rhythmically with each plunge. Two of his hands held his captive's legs up, one his hips and the last was stroking his stomach.
Kaito blinked. The client's belly was full, but that wasn't grease for the rest of his figure was slender. The curve of his sex laid against it. Yet it seemed to be giving him great pleasure when he looked down at it, his toes curled and his tail twisted against Gakupo's abdomen, urging him on.
Kaito couldn't tear himself away. He saw Gakupo throw his head back and cry out with a smile on his face and a dangerous wave of heat assaulted his crotch. The spy reached down and adjusted his pants around his growing erection, vaguely aware that this arousal was supposed to be wrong and unable to bring himself to care.
Arin cleared his throat.
Kaito jumped so violently it was a miracle he didn't cry out. The butler stood on the stairs, his rapier at his hip, one brow raised, his hand in front of his mouth as in contemplation. Shame flooded Kaito as he quickly stepped back and looked at the ground. Cries and moans came from the room as the client kept being deeply serviced.
Arin, seeing that the human wasn't going to move, came down to him, grabbed his arm and pulled him away. They ascended into the house in silence. Kaito wanted to tell that there was a misunderstanding, that he wasn't really looking into the room at them having sex, but came with no excuse that was good enough. He didn't even know why he had done it himself - or rather, he didn't want to admit it to himself.
The butler pushed him in his room and closed the door behind them.
"You are not to disturb the master as he is working," he said in a stern voice. "You already got your human smell all over the room this morning and Anya had to clean after you, don't you think you've caused him enough trouble like that?"
"Please don't tell him that you saw me," said Kaito.
Arin rose both of his brows and looked at him down his nose. "You've got guts to ask that from me, Kaito Shion. However, even if I did obey you, he already knows you lust after him."
"I don't like men," blurted Kaito as a reflex.
Unlike Gakupo, he saw Arin coming. He simply didn't have the fraction of the strength needed to stop him. The demon pressed him against his closet, chest against chest, a hand squeezing the hard, straining member of the human through his clothes.
"Say that again?" said Arin in his ear.
Kaito croaked and looked ahead. He was so deeply ashamed of how aroused the entire situation made him.
"I am so, so tempted to prove you wrong," said the demon. "You and your noble's way of walking around like you're so much better than anyone else... I'd make you my bitch. You don't deserve anything better than being a cum sock, you little brat." His hand slowly drew away from the needy cock, stroking up Kaito's torso. "The only thing holding me back right now is that mister Venomania would be livid if he found out I took your virginity before he could."
Arin stepped away and Kaito's legs gave out from under him. He fell on his knees and looked up to the butler. He wanted... needed something. His sex pulsed against the material of his pants with each beat of his heart. Arin's eyes were dark and full of lust when he looked down at him.
"Fuck you, Kaito Shion," he hissed. He whipped around and slammed the door behind him.
The abandoned human felt too hot between his legs and too cold everywhere else. His hands were shaking. For a second, he wished for someone to scoop him in their arms and tell him everything was going to be all right. He realized that he wanted them to be Gakupo and cursed himself under his breath. He hated them all, all the demons in hell, all the people that would know of him and do nothing to save him, but most of all he hated himself.
Gakupo knew that this day was going to be a great day from the moment he emerged from the depth of sleep to Anya softly kissing his shoulder. There was no better way to wake up than this one. He hummed in content, making her giggle and kiss him again before she withdrew and went to open the curtains.
As he chased away the remnants of his night, he mentally grappled at the planning of the day. Dinner with the Bees tonight. Signing the contract with Kaito. Ah, he knew that today would be great. he kicked off the covers and undressed entirely to pick his clothes.
He paused. "Is there something you want to tell me, Arin?" he asked.
His butler slowly entered the room and carefully closed the door behind him. That was odd. Usually, the man never hesitated, unless he was coming to Gakupo to confess something he did. The master turned around to get a better look at him and, of course, Arin was unable to hold his gaze.
"So?" asked Gakupo. "I'm waiting."
"How did it go last night, master Venomania?" asked Arin.
"Well. Lord Araden was very pleased with the oriental theme I prepared for him and he left me a hefty tip. He considered sleeping over, but he had important business to attend to today and couldn't afford to stay." Gakupo was aware that the question was a diversion, but he knew better than to press his servant when his conscience was tormenting him.
"That's good. He wasn't the only one that was pleased with it." Arin smiled.
"Oh? Pray tell?"
"I caught Kaito spying on you. With a hard-on."
A surge of joy coursed through Gakupo and he clasped his hands together. "Really?"
"I'm certain of it."
Oh, that was the most delightful news, he felt like a teenage that figured out that his crush liked him back. He had been so scared that someone, anyone, might be able to resist him, and this was just another proof that Kaito wouldn't be the one capable of resisting him. Gakupo was winning whatever was that game they were playing.
"What did he see? What was I doing that excited him?" asked the hornet. "I must know."
"I didn't dare check, master Venomania, but I think that it was towards the end. Kaito had a clear view on you mounting lord Araden, and he was so enraptured that he didn't hear me coming until it was too late."
"So we were on that couch..." Gakupo grinned. He knew exactly when that had been and what they had been doing. No wonder he had not noticed anything: when he came in his demonic form, the pleasure was such that he became entirely blind to everything around him save his partner. "Really? How interesting..."
Kaito, a dirty little voyeur. Gakupo couldn't wait to use that information against him. Should he make the humiliation greater by bringing up in front of their guests tonight? No, he wanted the sight to belong to him alone. It would have to be during breakfast then, or maybe even before...
Gakupo grinned as a plan formed in his mind.
Arin cleared his throat, interrupting his thoughts. "There is something else I wanted to say," he announced.
"Go on." This was the parts where the less pleasant news came, guessed Gakupo. He was already bracing himself for the worth.
"I..." he cleared his throat. "I brought him back to his room, and he was still aroused, so I... Forgive me, master, but I couldn't resist teasing him."
"Tease him?" Gakupo's face hardened, making the butler back away against the door.
"I only groped him and told him that I wanted to fuck him, nothing more! Please, I didn't know what I was thinking, but he asked me to not tell you as if he had any authority over me, and he's always so arrogant--"
He quieted when Gakupo rose a single finger. The master hesitated, glanced at Anya, that was standing in the corner doing her best to make herself forgotten, before approaching his butler. The blond was quivering.
"What did you tell him?" asked Gakupo.
"That he didn't deserve what he had. That he was better off being nothing but a bitch. Please, I backed away when it became too much."
"You knew that he was mine."
"And I did tell him that!"
"But you didn't act it." Gakupo came very close to his servant, close enough that they might kiss. "There will be consequences for your actions."
He opened his mouth to protest, paused, before lowering his gaze and submitting. "I understand."
"Good." Gakupo stroked the side of his face. "However, I was to know how he reacted to you. Describe it to me."
Arin hesitated before continuing. "He was absolutely breathless. When I let him go, he fell to his knees and looked at me. I could have done anything I wanted to him and he would have begged me to do it."
Gakupo could imagine that. The astonished look on Kaito's face, the lust, the heat. He was jealous of his butler, that he got to see it all before him, but at the same time he couldn't fathom the will it must have needed for Arin to tear himself away.
"And you've walked away from that?"
"I've locked myself in my room."
"Oh." That pleased the master. "You did so well. I'm proud. But I would have been prouder if you had not done anything to what is mine."
Arin looked down and nodded slowly.
"I could ask for the hand that touched him," continued Gakupo, "but you are going to need it. Instead, I'm just going to ask for your tongue."
Arin rose his hand to his lips but nodded again. "Lex Infernum."
Gakupo leaned in and kissed him. His servant opened his mouth for him... Blood overflowed and Gakupo pulled back, wiping his mouth. Delicious.
"Now that this is said and done," said the master, "I don't want you to think that honesty goes unrewarded in my household. Tonight, once I dismissed you, you are free to go and pick up any little replacement for Kaito that might suit your fancy. I will pay for them. I've heard that the Bellemont brothel has two beautiful blue-haired twins."
Arin's face lit up in delight. He bowed his head as a thank you. Gakupo chuckled. This is why he liked Arin in his role: he was so obedient and he couldn't keep a lie from his superior. He was a gem.
"You got blood on your lips," said Anya, pulling a tissue. She wiped her master delicately.
"Today is going to be a great day," he told her. She laughed and nodded.
When Gakupo lowered the door handle and found that it was locked, he had to take a moment to restrain his laughter, leaning against the door of the hallway with a hand over his mouth. By Lucifer's wings, this was precious. Kaito had locked himself in. He honestly thought that Gakupo would give him a room where he could be safe from him.
When he had stifled his hilarity, he hovered his hand over the lock and it opened with a click, giving him access to the sleeping human.
He paused in the doorway to look at his prey. Kaito was sleeping soundly, snuggled up to his chin in the covers, unsuspecting and almost innocent-looking. No one would suspect that he was a murderer. Gakupo tried to remember how he used to be repulsed by the mere sight of him and the delight he felt from tormenting him, but it just felt forced when the other looked like that.
Time to wake him. Gakupo could feel himself grow soft the longer he looked at him.
He crossed the room and sat on the edge of Kaito's bed, stroking him over the covers. "Waky shaky, sleepy head," he cooed.
Kaito turned in his sleep, mumbling something. He was dreaming. How cute. Gakupo leaned in and changed into his demonic form, his clothes molding themselves around his form to accommodate his new size. He hovered over the other's face and poked him on the cheek with an antenna.
"That's delicious, yes," mumbled Kaito.
Gakupo chortled. This trip to his room was so worth it. He leaned in, licked the shell of Kaito's ear and pulled on his blanket. Oh, what a surprise, he wore a nightgown that left his shoulder uncovered. The demon nipped the pale soft flesh.
"What the--" gasped Kaito.
"Delicious yourself," replied Gakupo, licking his lips.
His catch blinked a few times, confused, before deja-vu struck. He gasped, backed away, and pulled his clothes close in case his tormentor was here to tear them.
"Oh so now you act scared," said Gakupo as he tried his best to sound offended - and failed. "From what I heard, you weren't so shy last night."
"Last..." Kaito's eyes widened as he turned red. His entire body tensed. It was laughable when he tried to bluff his way out: "What do you mean, last night? What happened?"
Gakupo didn't reply right away. Instead, he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Kaito's scent, cold and sweet, hit him, along with many other different perfumes from the sheets. "I smell sweat and cum. I give you this room for one night and you are already touching yourself in this bed, you liar."
When he opened his eyes, Kaito had turned so pale he looked like he was about to faint. "You can smell that?"
Gakupo rose a brow. "It's *literally* my job to do so. Now, I'm really interested in what got you so excited. You wouldn't happen to have seen, I don't know, something you weren't supposed to?"
Kaito shook his head.
"Now that's not what Arin told me. Be careful now, you know what happened last time you tried to lie to me."
Kaito glanced sideways before slowly nodded. He did remember, yet he didn't dare reply.
"Yesterday," continued Gakupo, "you looked at me while I was taking care of a client, right or wrong?"
The human nodded again.
"Right or wrong?" Repeated the demon as he pressed a finger to his prey's mouth. "Open those pretty lips of yours, you sneaky lil' thing."
"Good boy. Now, I am interested in knowing how much you saw. And don't you give me the silent treatment this time or I'll force the words out of your mouth."
Kaito because so red it spread down his neck and exposed shoulders. "Well, you were having... sex."
"T-t-t, you know what I want to hear. I was in my demon form, was I not?"
"Yes..." He paused, hesitated and licked his lips. "About that... the other demon's stomach.." He looked away. Gakupo could hear him struggle not to make his panting breath noticeable. "It was... full."
Gakupo smirked. He knew it. Aramen had an exhibitionist kink, when he came over he always asked for the door to remain open so that he could imagine that there was someone listening to them from the hallway during the most depraved of his sessions. It looked like he had his wish granted this time.
"Do you want to know what we were doing, my dear?" whispered the demon as he leaned in close. "Remember our conversation the other day, where we talked about my niche and what people came for when they come to me?"
Kaito was excited now, there was no denying it. His lips were parted and his breath came out in short bursts, his pupils were wide with lust. Gakupo felt temptation take a hold on him. Kissing him now went against all his plans, but gathering the resolve not to do so was a small miracle on its own. He cleared his throat.
"Well, I am going to be extremely generous with you and give you the answer," continued Gakupo. "My niche is for people that liked to be dominated. I force them into the bed; they can't resist me, and then I claim their insides entirely by filling them up with my eggs until they are unable to move anymore... powerful demons come to me and pay me a lot of money for that."
Kaito gasped. "Eggs?"
"Exactly." Gakupo was but a breath away from his prey, so he leaned back to sit straight on the bed. "You want it to?"
Kaito grew very pale. "Never. That's... repulsive. Who would want eggs in there? Doesn't it hurt?"
"It's not about the eggs, it's about the powerlessness. But it's not like that's on the table for you anyway." Gakupo stood up. He had already gotten what he wanted. "This pleasure is among the most refined you can get here, only the richest can afford my personal attention. To even think that I would offer something like that to you is laughable. Now, if you'll excuse me, last night took a toll on me and need to keep eating to replenish myself. I'll be leaving."
He took one last look at his future pupil, just to savor his victory. The man was half seated in his bed, confusion and arousal written all over his face, unaware of how obvious he was. He had him. His murderer was at his mercy, and now Gakupo could make him dance as he wished. He wasn't going to deny himself this pleasure.
My dear pupil,
It is with great regret that I must inform you that I have other things to do tonight and that I will not be coming to your dinner. I am sure that you will have a lot of fun with your little friends from Eden street.
He should have known that she was going to do that. He should have known that she wouldn't even consider his invitation. He didn't know why he had thought about sending her a word about it in the first place. And her tone! Gakupo read the small word again. He could almost hear it, the cold disdain, the underlying mocking tones when she spoke of his friends, the way she informed him of her very important and interesting life.
She hurt him a million time in the same way, and yet it still burned every time. He hated that after all those years he still longed for her acceptance like a love-struck food. Even Kaito fell for him, and she was the last one that would always look at him disapprovingly when he owned her everything.
He tore the paper in small pieces and threw it in the fire. This only provided half of the satisfaction he would have wanted to get from it. Luckily the food was delicious and Anya was an angle for making enough to feed five people. He loved her when she put this much care in taking care of him. The only thing missing was Kaito's presence. Teasing him some more would have proven entertaining. Alas, he had not gathered the courage to make it out of his room, where Gakupo had left him.
But the master was not meant to remain bored for long, for there was a ring at the door. Arin went to open it and wordlessly directed the visitor to the eating room.
Karl, looking as lovely and inviting as ever, gave Gakupo his widest, whitest smile. The butterfly demon was carrying a package with Elind and the Ribbons written on it.
"Oh, Kaito's outfits are finally finished," cried the purple-haired man in delight. "Just in time!"
"My brother absolutely wanted to have all of them delivered at once," said Karl, beaming as if he had done the work himself. "He stayed up all night to make sure that the final outfit was perfect. He guarantees that it will bring you great satisfaction."
"Kaito will have to try it on." Gakupo turned to Arin, that was standing quietly at the room's entrance, waiting for further instructions. "Go get him now, he must come."
The butler nodded and exited.
"Is something the matter with him?" asked Karl the moment the other was out of the room. "He seems moody."
"Don't mind him." Gakupo looked at the butterfly, and suddenly a delightful idea struck him. "Do you have a little time to spare for a poor, neglected demon like me?"
Karl laughed behind his hand. "What are you up to this time?"
"Just playing a little game. I want you to stay here with me while he tries on the clothes."
"I am going to stay anyway, I have to, in case--"
Gakupo interrupted him by reeling him in and making him sit on his lap.
"Oh," said Karl. "This sounds a fun game. I guess that I can play a bit before I have to return to the shop."
"Good boy," said Gakupo. He loved when things went according to his plan.
Kaito was introduced moments later, pulled by the collar of his nightgown by a brooding Arin. The human stood awkwardly when he was released, looking around - anywhere but as Gakupo and his newly appointed lap-toy.
"Kaito, Karl here just brought you your new clothes," said the master with a smirk. "We need to make sure that everything is perfect for tonight's dinner. Try it on, my dear."
Karl took this as his cue to open the package and pull out an expensive ensemble out. It was sober in colors, with its dark blues and gentle whites, but the cloth was of high quality.
"Wait, right here?" Said Kaito, uncertain. "Now?"
Arin, sensing that he might try to escape, placed himself in front of the door. Gakupo smiled. Kaito gulped, and obeyed, undressing quickly. As he did so, Karl leaned back against the purple-haired demon, so that by the time the human was advancing himself to take his new outfit he was taking it from the lap of a man kissing his nemesis - and said nemesis humming in pleasure.
Gakupo felt a surge of satisfaction when he caught Kaito's eyes lingering longer than needed on the scene. Himself was enjoying the view of the naked human trying his best to put on the clothes as fast as possible while avoiding exposing too much skin. It was sort of cute in its pointlessness.
Luckily for Kaito, the outfit suited him perfectly and even accentuated the natural features of his body. Gakupo's brow rose at the sight. Elind was extremely talented for creating clothes that displayed one's best assets and he had to admit that it worked on the human too.
"Perfect," said Karl, that had been playing with the buttons of the hornet's shirt. The butterfly stood up and placed the package on a free spot on the table. "I think that I am no longer needed here. If you'll excuse me..."
Gakupo rose after him. "Arin, bring him to the door."
He was obeyed, so he found himself alone with his future pupil. He couldn't resist approaching him. It was too bad that he had decided that Kaito was off-limits, he almost looked eatable all dressed up like that.
"Why don't you take Karl's spot to have a bite?" said the demon. "He was just warming your seat."
Kaito shot him a murderous glance and was lucky that Gakupo thought that it was endearing. "I'm not hungry," he snapped, before storming off.
It was with great satisfaction that Gakupo sat back down and had the rest of his breakfast. Today was indeed a great day.
Today's chapter got an illustration to go with it! I will be drawing more for this fanfic, and some of you might have already noticed the other "blooper" that's been updated on an earlier chapter. Eventually, I'll get around to draw Gakupo, Kaito and the others as I imagine them in this AU. If you are interested in seeing more of my art, do feel free to drop by my Twitter @LyroaArt or my Deviantart Lyroa.
Chapter 16: The Spectacle
Gakupo had told him to stay out of sight as he let the others in, and for some reason that made him even more nervous than what he already was. He told himself he shouldn't: it was only the demon's friends and he hated that he cared so much.
Something was wrong with his head. It was absolutely repulsive. He kept telling himself that he shouldn't care, that the very way Gakupo behaved was against the morals he had been told to follow his entire life. He was a whore and he *actually enjoyed sex*, a scoundrel that slept with every woman and man that pleased him and ate the ones that didn't, a disgrace and a monster. He had declared multiple times that he was out to enact his revenge on Kaito.
Kaito told himself that the only reason he wanted the demon to appreciate him so much was that he hated him. How nice it felt, to be acknowledged by someone that had no reason to like him. He, of course, willfully ignored the desires that went beyond that. Those were not concerns he was equipped to deal with.
So he was standing there, in the stairs, waiting for a signal from Anya. He was reassured that she would be the one that came to call him. Arin had not said a word all day and kept sending him strange looks. Kaito didn't want to think about what had transpired between them last night. Being reminded of it by Gakupo from the moment he was awake was mortifying enough.
The green-haired demoness came to fetch him, giving him a slow nod from her spot at the entrance of the living room. There were voices since the guests had arrived, and most of them were high-pitched and female. He would be standing in front of them, they would look at him.
He thought that he would be coming in right away, but that was without taking Gakupo's taste for grandeur into account. Anya signaled him to stop a few feet away from him, and he did.
There was a clear bell, like a teaspoon tapping against a crystal glass, and the room grew silent.
"Everyone," said Gakupo's voice. "everyone, I just wanted to say that I wanted to thank everyone for coming. It's lovely of you all, really. As you might guess, I've gathered you all to make a very special announcement, and to celebrate it all."
What was Kaito even doing here? At what point did he agree to play a part in this twisted puppet show?
"I've come in a time in my life where I have acquired a modest but stable financial situation..."
There were a few laughs.
"Oh hush," he continued. "You are going to make me lose my train of thoughts. As I was saying, I have decided to take in a poor soul that would have been sent to the pits, and see if I am any good at making demons. Kaito, you can come forth now."
Kaito, standing in the dark of the hallway, clasped his hands over his chest defensively and breathed in deeply. He didn't want to to do it; he found himself glued in place. Anya gave him big eyes but he shook his head.
There was a silence, then the sound of Gakupo's heels as he moved to the door and looked through, peering over Anya's shoulder. "What is the matter?"
Kaito looked at him and probably looked terrified. A flash of annoyance passed on the demon's face before he turned around, all smiled, to the room.
There was another round of laughs from the invisible audience. Kaito started to slink further away in the shadows, drawing Gakupo's attention back to him. His captor whipped a hand in his direction, trying to drag him back, but missed him.
"My dear, dear pupil," purred Gakupo, "now, you don't want to make a fool of yourself, don't you?"
Kaito turned heels and ran. His room could be locked, and then maybe he could block the door--
"Kaito!" cried Gakupo. "Kaito come back here!"
Alas, the human was not fast enough to escape. He was caught before he could even reach the stairs. He was yanked back so harshly that a wave of pain coursed through his shoulder. He found himself facing Gakupo once more, that was doing nothing to hide his anger.
"You little..." he hissed.
But he didn't strike. Instead, he closed his eyes and breathed deeply and relaxed his grip on his arm - without letting go of him. And then he smiled - the fake smile, of course.
"I mean, who wouldn't be scared of meeting a bunch of demons that might hate you as much as I do?" said Gakupo. "Better look good my dear, hmm?"
He checked Kaito's state one last time, straightened the flaps of his shirt and dusted some invisible dirt off him.
"But do you really hate me?" asked Kaito before he could stop himself.
He did not expect Gakupo's reaction. His scleras turned black and he rose a hand, making his prey recoil with the fear of being slapped.
"It would be truly regrettable if you would bear a mark on your face for your big night, my dear. Now, watch that naughty mouth of yours, stay close to me, and behave, or you are spending the night in the attic."
Kaito bit his lip and looked at the ground, but deep down he had something to hold on to. Three years and he would be a demon too. And then... we shall see what we shall see. In the meantime, all he could do was keep count.
Gakupo grabbed his shoulder and made him walk in front of him. Kaito breathed in, trying to find in himself the strength to go through this, but by the time he stepped into the light of the dining room he was far from feeling confident.
The guests all clapped, most of them with an amused smile on their beautiful faces. They were all women, Kaito noticed, save for one young blond man. He looked over their faces quickly, registering nothing, then down at his feet.
"Everyone, meet Kaito. Kaito, those are my friends and work colleges. It's a small signing party, I didn't want it to be a big fuss--"
"Wait a second," suddenly cried a demoness.
She gripped her dress with both hands and took a step forth. She had not been clapping before, and now she looked furious. Kaito noticed almost right away the striking resemblance she bore with the young man that was present and guessed that they were somewhat related.
"What about my brother?" she cried. "So now you got yourself a little pet to toy with, and you are just going to forget about him? Knowing you, in six months he'll be dancing and singing with us when you promised--"
"Rin," begged the man, "please calm down, it's fine--"
"It is not, and this man is a liar!" She pointed her finger at Gakupo, that only seemed to be extremely amused by her accusations. She suddenly spread open her bat-like wings, that were white and almost translucent. "A crook and a bastard!"
"Rin," suddenly spoke another woman. "Quiet. You are an embarrassment to us all. Don't you see?"
The new speaker was also the tallest of the guests. She had fives eyes, pink hair and menacing spikes on her shoulders and back. When she walked, her long scaly tail swayed along her hips. She was quite the contrast with the one called Rin, her tone quiet yet confident.
"Kaito Shion is the name of the man that killed Gakupo," she said. "He told us this story a thousand times and you still managed to forget."
Rin seemed taken aback by the intervention. She looked at the pink-haired demoness, then at Kaito, then at Gakupo, that was quietly chuckling while hiding his mouth with his hand. Her wings slowly flopped down until they laid on the ground.
"That's what I was trying to say," said Len.
This fired her back up. "Well, then you better not forget your promise anyway!" She cried.
"About a private lesson?" Answered Gakupo.
"No!" Cried Len, unfurling his own white wings. "No private lesson!"
Gakupo laughed, followed by the others. Kaito almost felt himself relax when a heavy hand fell on his shoulder.
"My name is Luka," said the demoness with the five eyes. "Nice to meet you, even if I feel sorry for your circumstances."
"Don't feel sorry for him, Luka," said Gakupo. "He's not worth it."
She smiled a small, tight smile, and turned away. There was just one more demon whose name Kaito did not know, and she was standing to the side, looking at everything and saying nothing, touching her long white hair pensively.
"Shall we sit down?" said Gakupo, and everyone agreed that this was an excellent idea.
They all took their spot around the table, and Anya brought plate after plate of food. Kaito tried to escape and sit next to the demoness that he didn't know - that seemed less scary than the others - but all the spots were quickly taken as if they had been previously decided, and the only one that remained was the one on the left of Gakupo. He landed there reluctantly.
But it seemed that he was going to be ignored. The demons talked all together of things that he didn't quite understand. From what he gathered, they seemed all rather close and worked all together, except for Len. Rin kept pushing him at the front of the conversation and he seemed embarrassed each time she did it. There were congratulations directed to Gakupo, and a toast was given. At some point, Gakupo switched to Latin to speak of Kaito in front of him, and he knew that it was about him because his name was mentioned several times. They looked at him and laughed. The human felt very alone.
So he focused on the food, but even there he found little comfort to be had. It all looked and smelled delicious, but it all had meat in it, something he had tried to avoid ever since he had learned about hell's meat. Yet he didn't want to be rude. He picked a little bit of everything and started to eat the parts that seemed to be made of vegetables or fruits, even if there was no telling if they really were what they seemed.
That was when a covered pot was brought out, much to the guests' delight. Kaito perked up, interested. He sank right back in his chair when he saw that it contained hundreds of brightly colored bugs, all alive, that swarmed at the bottom. The demons didn't seem all that bothered about it. They gleefully speared them with long sticks and gobbled them up as if they were the most delicious of treats.
"Miku would have loved those," said Rin. "It's too bad that you didn't invite her, she would have-- Ouch! Luka!" She turned to her neighbor, furious. "What was that for?"
"My bad," answered the five-eyed woman. "I didn't know that your leg was there."
"The table is big enough that you can swing your legs around without kicking me. I thought you were a good dancer, and then you do things like that..."
Kaito didn't have the leisure to follow the rest of the conversation because it seemed that Gakupo had just remembered that he existed. The demon slipped closer to him, passing an arm around his shoulder to pull him against his chest; in his other hand was a stick and a large, squirming bug at the end.
"Don't you want to try one, Kaito?" he asked with honey in his voice.
Kaito took one look at the wiggly creature, that still moved despite being speared through mercilessly. It seemed to have been fed until its bulbous flesh spread its chitin plates. He had to look away to shake his head.
"Are you certain?" murmured the demon in his ear. "It's delicious."
Kaito looked at the bug. It was alive. Didn't it wiggle when you ate it?
"Your call, I suppose." Kaito watched Gakupo eat it, crushing its head first before popping it entirely in his mouth. "But you got to finish your meat."
Kaito looked down at his place full of the remains of different dishes. "I'm not hungry," he said, right as his belly rumbled.
The demon chuckled as he closed in. He was so close that his smell overpowered the ones of the dishes. Kaito tightened his fists in his lap. This was the last moment to get aroused...
"Eat it or I'll forcefully feed you in front of everyone," he whispered. "You are toying with my patience."
Kaito looked down at his plate. He remembered what Gakupo had told him about not thinking about where it came from, as if he was eating animals. It couldn't be so hard?
The first forkful was the hardest for him. Luckily, the rest came easier. Anya was indeed an excellent cook. Gakupo chuckled darkly and went back to talking with the others.
It seemed that Kaito was going to be forgotten by the others, but of course with his luck, it wasn't to be. There was still one demoness whose name he did not know, and it was the one with the white hair. She didn't seem to be as talkative as a Rin or a Gakupo, but she did participate in the conversation when she had something to say, but only in Latin. Sometimes she glanced Kaito's way quickly, as if not knowing how to break to him that he wasn't supposed to be here. She wasn't scary like Luka or loud like Rin, and so she was the most appealing to Kaito. He wondered what was her name.
She caught him staring, and that seemed to decide her. She turned to him fully, thinking about her words, then asked:
"Do you feel guilty of your murder?"
Kaito paused, blinking, taken by surprise.
That didn't discourage her. "Do you regret killing Gakupo?" She had a heavy accent, but there was no mistaking what she had just said.
All the demons stopped talking at that and turned to him, suddenly interested by what he had to answer.
"I..." said Kaito. "Well, maybe. I wouldn't do it again if I could go back." No, the consequences of his act had not been worth it. "But I was in love."
"And now, if you had a knife full of poison," suddenly said Gakupo, "Would you do it again?"
Kaito jerked his head in his direction. Gakupo was looking at him like a big smug cat, his head resting on his hand on the table. There was silence.
"I would," said Kaito.
The silence suddenly became heavy enough to cut with a knife. It wasn't the right answer, but what was he going to do? Lie? Pretend that he could forgive and forget?
Admit that, deep down, he wasn't sure?
Gakupo's smile only widened. "So you hate me that much," he said. "Your knife is sharp. Stab me."
There was a gasp from the public. Kaito's eyes widened. Gakupo only grinned and opened his opulent shirt, baring his chest for all to see. His flesh was pale and unmarred.
"Stab me in the heart," he said.
Would Kaito get in trouble if he obeyed? Was it a trap? He reached for his cutting knife, that was heavy and sharp - a knife built to slice through meat with ease. He lifted it, held it tight, and looked away.
"What are you waiting for?"
The demonesses were looking at the show with rapt attention. Would anyone intervene if he actually hurt their friend? Was all hell this eager for blood and spectacle that he could actually plunge a knife in someone's chest?
"Look at me in the eyes, Kaito."
He did. He looked into Gakupo's beautiful face. Yes, it was, indeed, beautiful, Kaito had always thought that it was. His eyes were mesmerizing. They burned him. He knew right then that he couldn't do it. The knife dropped to the floor with a heavy sound, and it was like a bell in the quiet dining room.
"Once again, you have proven to be a liar," said Gakupo. "Should I even trust you when you say that you regret killing me? I don't think that I will. Nothing that comes out of your mouth is true."
Kaito looked down, humiliated. He suddenly felt a hand on his chin, a hand that forced him to look back up into his tormentor's face.
"At least the good news is that you already have some traits of a good demon," said Gakupo. "Don't look so forlorn. You've just dodged your worth punishment yet: tonight, you'll be sleeping in a bed and not on the streets. So cheer up, my dear. Sometimes you can make the right choice."
There were a few chuckles from the demonesses, that commented on the scene in Latin. Gakupo poured himself some of that rich red wine, that looked suspiciously like blood, and rose his glass for a toast.
"To my future pupil, that might actually make it to the end of his apprenticeship!"
They cheered, even Kaito, was felt obliged to do so when Luka filled his glass and sent him a scary look. The wine didn't quite taste like the one he was used to - it seemed that spices had been added to it - but he definitely recognized the taste of alcohol in it. After what had happened, he was tempted to get drunk, but he knew that it was a bad idea when he was in such company.
He managed to finish his plate, which was a miracle and decided that eating human flesh wasn't too bad as long as he never met the people he was eating. After all, all those in the pits had deserved their fate, and if having their limbs chopped off was part of it, then he could be okay with that. Maybe. He still preferred not to think about it too hard.
The dinner was arriving at its end. Anya appeared again, bringing out the dishes as the demons sipped a glass of spiced wine. There were laughs when a living bug escaped and crawled over the napkin while everyone save the human tried to catch it again. The one that got to eat it was Rin, that boasted about her swiftness before biting down on it gleefully. The desserts were delicious, much to Kaito's delight. He fell in love with a special frozen treat, called strawberry ice cream. He ate some until he got a brain freeze. Watching him in pain became another source of hilarity for the demons.
Then came the time to sign the contract.
It was placed in front of Kaito almost by surprise. Gakupo produced a writing feather and a quill. He had stood up, and was not hovering over his human, watching over his shoulder. Kaito could feel his presence, intimidating and alluring, through his clothes and on the skin of his back.
The human knew that he should never sign something he couldn't read, but the parchment was just as incomprehensible as the last time. He picked and up and tried to read it regardless. Some words he thought that he recognized, but how could be sure?
"Is something the matter my dear?"
He almost looked back at Gakupo but stopped himself. "I can't understand what is written."
"Oh, do you really have to know?" said the demon, and there was a wicked smile in his voice.
"I do. I can't sign something I can't read."
"Oh, but you can." Gakupo pointed to the place at the bottom of the page. "Just write your name in full here."
"You know what I mean," replied Kaito.
"Oh, do I now?" The demon laughed. "I think you are the one that doesn't understand. We went over this Kaito." He sat on the table and tilted the human's face up with a finger. There was a light flush on his face from the wine. "You already promised that you would sign it."
"I didn't *promise* anything. At least translate it for me."
"The whole thing? Right now? When everyone is waiting?"
"This is boring," interrupted Rin. "It was more fun when everyone thought you were really going to stab him."
Kaito looked over at her and noticed that Len's chair was empty. That was odd enough, but he had other things on his mind. He hated that Gakupo was making a show out of him selling himself out, that there were so many eyes on him that he found it hard to find the courage to protest.
"There's no trick in this?" said Kaito.
"Let me put it like this, my dear: your options are limited at the moment. We talked this over many times."
"I know, I know, the pits..."
He signed and gave up. It was clear that no one was going to tell him anything more than this. He dipped the feather in the ink and signed.
Humans didn't have the same sense of magic as demons, so at most he felt a chill. Gakupo, on the other hand, arched his back a little and took in a long, shaky breath. Kaito couldn't help but think that this sounded like a sigh he would produce when in bed and blushed.
Gakupo then looked down at him, and there was a wide grin on his face. That was the moment his pupil knew that he had been caught. He frowned at him, which seemed to amuse the demon very much. The demonesses applauded.
"So good," purred Gakupo as he stroked his hair like a pet. "Continue being this obedient, and you will be a quiet smart demon some day. Congratulations on avoiding the pits once and for all."
He snatched the contract away from him, folding it neatly and giving it to Anya, that carried it away. Rin was already serving everyone another round of wine. Kaito felt like he was going to be sick if he looked at all of their smug faces one moment longer.
"May I leave now?" he asked his master.
Gakupo tilted his head, considering it. "Well, I don't see why not. You may. Have sweet dreams, my dear pupil."
The was the title rolled over his tongue made Kaito shudder with horror.
Chapter 17: Hungover
The wood creaked under his foot, startling him, but the scariest thing was the growl that came from Gakupo's room at the noise. Kaito stilled, shocked by the sound, but when nothing happened he allowed himself to relax.
Someone had drunk a little too much last night.
Kaito knew that Gakupo liked to rise at dawn, but today was an exception, apparently. It wasn't that late, but it was late enough that Kaito had awoken on his own, had gotten dressed, and was now hungry enough to go and visit the kitchen. Before that, he had remained in his bed, thinking about his new status and trying to sort his thoughts about everything that was happening. The only conclusions he came to were that he was now on his way to become a demon and that thinking too hard about what that implied was giving him a headache.
He could have just gone down the stairs, but he decided otherwise. Call it curiosity if you will. He tiptoed to the half-opened door of Gakupo's room and glanced inside.
Kaito's nemesis was laying on his stomach in the sheltered darkness of his room, emerged down to his midriff and wearing that transparent shirt he favored as a nightwear. His hair was everywhere, all over the sheets and hiding his face. Was he asleep?
A pair of eyes with black scleras glared at Kaito from under his messy bands, answering that last question. Kaito backed up every so slightly. The other didn't make another move.
"What?" said Gakupo.
"Oh, I was just wondering--"
Kaito had to jump back into the hallway to avoid a pillow being thrown his way.
"To damn loud," hissed the demon from inside the room. The sheets ruffled.
When Kaito looked back in, Gakupo had buried himself under his blankets like a hibernating bear. He knew he shouldn't try his luck, but he had a question that needed to be asked.
"Is there going to be any lesson today?" whispered Kaito. Surely the other couldn't hear that.
Gakupo proved to him that he was perfectly capable of hearing him when he flipped him off. Kaito guessed that this was to be taken as a no and moved to the first floor as quietly as he could. He made sure to commit to memory that hangover Gakupo was the moodiest Gakupo so far.
He made his way to the kitchen from the living room, and so he didn't pass through the eating room yet. He didn't want to see the room yet. There was Anya there, sitting down with something to sew. She looked up when he came in, and smiled.
"Well, that makes two on three that are up. There were so many leftovers that I didn't cook this morning. They are out on the table if you would like."
"Two on three?" Said Kaito, intrigued. He turned to look at the dining room. Did she mean Arin?
At the table, reading the newspaper, was Len.
Kaito blinked slowly. This was the last person he would have expected. Where had he slept? There were guests rooms around the house, but then wouldn't have Rin stayed to?
Had he slept with Gakupo?
Len folded his paper and reached for a cup full of coffee. He took a slow sip, before putting it back down, and then looked at Kaito.
"In polite demon society, the lessers are supposed to salute first," he said. "Please commit that to memory."
"Good morning!" said Kaito, mortified. He bowed briefly.
"Oh Lords, you are doing this all wrong," replied Len in an annoyed tone. "Just sit down and stop making a fool of yourself."
Kaito pulled a chair quietly and looked at his options for breakfast. He settled on a piece of bread and some meat paste, that he started to prepare for himself quietly.
"How dull you are," said Len. "I would have expected to be at least somewhat interesting. Is 'murderer' your only personality trait?"
Kaito looked up at the demon in shock. That had been uncalled for. What in the world was wrong with him?
"My sister thinks that you might be a competition for me, but she's wrong," continued Len. "She's been pushing for me to enter the Bees since their creation, even if it's an all-female group. Gakupo promised her that he would consider it if I became better at singing and dancing. We are both aware that he's dangling you over our head to make me jealous, but honestly, he's made a poor choice. You walk like a duck, your face is asymmetrical and you have no conversation."
Kaito couldn't hold his tongue anymore. "And what do you gain from telling me all this?"
"You heard me. If you are so sure that I won't take your spot, why do you even bother?" Kaito thought about what to say next. What would Gakupo do? He was an expert at getting on people's nerves, and the human, after having gone through so much, needed to make someone snap. He forced himself to smile and used his most honeyfull voice. "You've got foolish dreams, boy, you know that? He's just toying with you because he thinks you are cute. He told me himself."
That hit seemed to get Len right where it hurt. He stood up so quickly the chair fell back, and he spread his wings to make himself appear bigger.
"You are a liar," he hissed. "You're just jealous!"
Kaito felt a sadistic surge of delight. He covered his chuckles with his hand. "Oh, boy, your insecurity can be smelled from miles away. I didn't want to bring them up, I was just sitting there saying nothing, but then you brought up the fact that I had a dull conversation. I would have said nothing but you were just asking for it--"
He didn't have the time to end his sentence. Len leaped above the table, hissing, clawed hands outstretched and fangs bared. He looked monstrous, his jaws unhinged so that he could open wide gaping maws. That's all Kaito had the time to see before he attempted to duck him, not to avail. The demon was upon him before he knew it.
Clawed hands tore through Kaito's clothes viciously, trying to get to the skin. Kaito fell back and his head hit the ground, stunning him just long enough for Len's hands to close around his throat and tighten. He had the same strength all demons had, despite his frail frame, and squeezed.
"You little bastard," screamed Len. "How dare you talk back to me in your position! I'll show you..."
He pulled and slammed Kaito's head against the ground again. The human tried to struggle against him, punching him, clawing his face with his dull nails, but he might as well have been a kitten fighting a dog. But he kept struggling. Dammit, he thought, this wasn't Gakupo, he didn't have the right to hit him!
He heard the new arrival before he could see him. Len was mowed off him and hit a wall with a cry. Kaito, with stars in front of his eyes, recognized Gakupo as he stepped over him. He still wore nothing but his transparent shirt and his hair was a mess, as if he had just come out of bed. Kaito tensed in fear of punishment, but his master ignored him like he was part of the rug.
"Why. Are. You *screaming*," hissed Venomania.
"Gakupo, I'm sorry," blabbered Len, big-eyed and making himself smaller than he was. "I didn't want to upset you, it was him that--"
Gakupo grabbed Len by the shirt and dragged him forth. It seemed that even among demons he was strong enough to do as he wished with them. Kaito scooted out of the way quickly when the other passed him. Len kept talking about how sorry he was, without getting the point that his talking was exactly the problem. He was thrown out the front door moments later.
"Arin!" Called Gakupo.
Kaito, on all four because he was still dizzy from the hits to the head, crept to the door to look into the hallway. He saw Arin come down the stairs quickly, looking apologetic. Gakupo slapped him, but not too hard that the sound might be loud.
"When I said you could pick anyone you want and I would pay, you knew very well that Len was out of the question. I don't want this to happen again, is that clear?"
The butler nodded quickly, without talking. He retreated to the stairs and vanished again. Kaito found it strange that he wouldn't say a word. Was something wrong with him? Or maybe he knew better than to speak when the master of the house was having a hangover.
Gakupo turned his attention to his pupil. "Kaito."
Kaito froze and looked up. The demon didn't look at the best of his shape with his blood-shot eyes and colorless cheeks. That only made him scarier.
"Bring me some Adderbalk tea," he said, before going back to his room.
Kaito was shocked that he survived this encounter unscathed. He got up on wobbly legs, wondering how in the world he was going to make tea before Anya beckoned him to the kitchen.
"I see you've come face to face with hungover mister Venomania," she said as she put a pot over the stove. "Congratulations on surviving. I'll make the tea for you, that's the only thing that's going to save us all, but get me the tray over there."
Kaito obeyed. The tray in question was a lovely piece of work, with different colored woods making a picture on it. Kaito glanced at it and blushed. Much like the paintings Gakupo liked to decorate his house with - and that Kaito had learned to ignore - this one was erotic in nature. But it did have feet, and was obviously made for breakfast in bed, so why not.
"Is he... usually like this?" He asked.
"No, Len. I was just minding my own business..."
"It depends. You know, I think that he is as worried as his sister about the possibility that you might integrate the Bees in his place. Their member already has a Kagamine in them, they don't need a second one, especially a twin."
"What do you mean?"
Anya leaned against the counter and crossed her arms, thoughtful. "You are aware that Gakupo is part of a performing group called the Hornet and the Bees, right?"
Kaito shook his head.
"Well," continued the demoness, "Mister Venomania and the other demons you met last night are all high-class courtesans, but here in Allacard everyone likes a good show. Basically, they go on stage, dance, sing, and have sex for an audience. For a courtesan to be part of a successful group makes nights with them extremely expensive, and mister Venomania is right now is a rising star, favored by Asmodeus - that's the big boss of this entire city, by the way. Rin and Len are both Kagamine, a family that's been courtesans for a long, long time, and those two are the last generation born to them. Rin definitely has the ball rolling every since she entered the Bees, but Len hasn't appeared in a single on-stage show so far. So, naturally, Rin tries to help him out by pushing mister Venomania to accept him into the Bees. So far all good?"
Kaito nodded. "But what does it have to do with me?"
"Well, mister Venomania promised that he would help Len how he can. He never said he would accept him in the Bees, but Rin wants it to happen. There was no one else in their entourage to outshine him until now."
This made Kaito laugh, a small, sour laugh. "That's ridiculous. I don't even want the spot."
She shrugged and pulled the pot off the water. "If mister Venomania wanted you to take it, at this point you would pretty much be forced to do it, as long as you two are bound by a soul contract. But he won't. He's very happy with the way the group is at the moment and he won't be making any change to it anytime soon, so you're safe. That won't stop the Kagamine from imagining what they want."
"Can't they see that he despises me and thinks that I am an idiot?"
She gave him a knife and a loaf of bread. "Cut me three slices, and put some of that meat paste on them from the table. And they do, they are not dumb, but they also see that you are a young, mildly attractive man that's constantly living at mister Venomania's house. They probably think that with time you would be able to seduce mister Venomania more than what Len's willing to."
Kaito wasn't even comfortable with his attraction to men. Hearing that someone in this big wide world actually thought him capable of seducing one - especially a man like Gakupo - was positively bizarre. He mused over it as he prepared the sliced bread for his master.
When he was done, Anya took them out of his hands and placed them carefully on a plate. The tray looked like something that would have been served in a high-quality inn, each item both elegant and richly decorated. She gave it to him carefully. Kaito sent her a panicked look.
"Don't make that face," she said. "Trust me, he asked you to bring it to him. That probably means that he has something to tell you. Don't forget to whisper when you are in his room."
Those last news terrified him. He hoped he wasn't in any way punished. This Adderbalk tea looked quite hot, the last thing he wanted was for it to be thrown in his face.
He tiptoed into Gakupo's room like a deer entering the territory of a lion. The curtains had been open and his master was laying on his side in the bed, reading one of the books he stacked on the floor within reach. He closed it, glanced up, and sat up straight quietly to take the tray from his pupil's hands.
"Stay," he said when the other pretended to leave.
Kaito stood still.
Kaito sat on the bed.
Gakupo then ignored him. He poured himself a cup of tea and blew on it softly. He didn't risk drinking any of it and instead went to tear one of the pieces of bread very slowly with his fingers. Kaito watched him do the entire time.
"So I turn my back one second when there is another demon in the house and you manage to start a fight with him," said Gakupo.
"I'm sorry," whispered Kaito.
"You've called Len, a hundred-year-old demon, boy."
Kaito looked down.
"Did you want to die?" Gakupo sounded amused. "That's how you make yourself a mortal enemy."
"He started it."
There was silence. Kaito started to fear that he had gone over what was allowed of him. He tensed slowly as time stretched.
"He did, yes. And that's why I am not punishing you for insubordination. But if you keep challenging demons like that, I won't always be there to save you."
"Then I'll just get strong enough so that I don't require any saving."
Gakupo chuckled. "Will you now? How interesting."
"I will eventually."
"And then what? Will you stab me then?"
Kaito didn't answer.
"I have to admit though, your desire for strength is admirable, and you responded to Len as a true demon would. I love those that put a grand show as much as another, and you are making it awfully hard not to cheer for you."
Kaito looked up, surprised. Had that been a compliment? From Gakupo? That sounded hardly believable.
"Take care of yourself today, read a book, whatever suits you," said the master. "There are a few errands I need to run once I have recovered from this. Tomorrow, however, I will present you to your Latin mentor and I'll take you somewhere fun."
"Somewhere fun?" repeated Kaito, narrowing his eyes.
"The market. It's about time you saw a little bit of Allacard for yourself. I think that it might be very interesting."
Chapter 18: Tadili
Gakupo had said that it was a marketplace and, at first glance, it looked exactly like one. Despite himself, Kaito felt excited to be outside; it felt forever since the last time he had been. There was no reason for him to think that there would be any bad surprise in stock for him this time.
"We'll be spending the day here," said Gakupo to Arin once they came down from the carriage. "Come and get us at three o'clock. And I better not smell anyone I don't approve of on you."
Arin grunted in response. Kaito was persuaded, by now, that the butler had had something with his voice. It had been three days since he stopped talking and he had started to produce sound again since this morning only. And he could tell that the man wasn't necessarily in a bad mood, as he had initially thought. He didn't dare ask what was wrong with him because he was scared that he wouldn't like the answer.
"There is somewhere that I want to go first," said Gakupo as he turned around to Kaito. "Someone I know has invited me to come over to see something interesting. Keep your eyes opened, this is where you will learn the most about what sort of world you now live in."
And keep his eyes open, Kaito did. Gakupo was the type to walk in long but quick strides, unafraid to bump into anyone as the crowd seemed to part for him. Keeping up with him was hard, but Kaito managed to do both that and keep his eyes on what was being sold. There were some stands where food, both meat that was universal and fruits he didn't recognize, was displayed, but they weren't the only one. The passed in front of shops with a thousand different clothes that shone and shimmered alluringly, shops filled with baubles and decorations, shops with items with mysterious use. There were sellers in the crowd itself, carrying newspapers or trays with snacks with four arms, that they might transport and protect their wares at the same time. It was all dazzling, and Kaito, after having been starved of sensations after having remained God knew how long inside, felt his head spin. But it was a good spin.
"Here we are," said Gakupo suddenly.
There were standing near high wood barriers. The smell of beasts impregnated the air, and it all felt very strange to the human. Weren't they in the city? Yet this reminded him of a farm.
he was brought to gates, that opened with a push, and the moment he passed them he was in another world.
He stepped closer to Gakupo. There were fewer demons here, but the beasts in the cages were all terrifying. There were gross monkey with seven heads and one single eye on each, harpies with the faces of crocodiles and the chest of women, six-legged horses, giant bugs laying over each other in a pent, enormous snails whose heads jumped out of their spiky shells to snap at anything passing by and many other things that made Kaito recoil in fear. All of those horrors were, thankfully, locked up, caged, bolted to the ground by metal chains, but that didn't make them any less threatening to the human.
Gakupo, that ignored his pupil's discomfort, looked around and went to look at one particular beast, that was held in a large cage. Kaito approached it too. It looked like a cross between a bull and a rhinoceros with his metal plates covering his flanks, except that he had spikes all over him and maws that opened down to his neck.
There was something else in the cage, but it was half covered in blood-stained hay. When it moved, Kaito looked away, uneasy.
"Ah, I see that you have latched upon the best creature in my menagerie, as usual," said a loud male voice.
Kaito turned around to see who had addressed Gakupo. He was a strong man, asymmetrical: on one side was one strong and armored arm, with a guard of spikes at his shoulder, and the other he had two other arms, thinner and covered in human skin. There were scars across his face and over his knuckles and he was dressed in scratched, beaten up leather that looked like armor. He was a little wide in the stomach but mostly large from his bones and muscles; he looked like he could wrestle an ox. He smiled, baring the tusks from his lower jaw a little more.
"Matheo!" cried Gakupo, delighted. "He's a beauty, I couldn't help admiring him. He must cost a fortune!"
"He's an order from an arena. It's my colleague from Irdiescian Park that took care of importing him, and I thought that it might be a neat thing to show visitors."
"Oh, Arin would have loved seeing this so much. He wanted to become a gladiator before he entered my service and thankfully gave up on it, but he never stopped being fascinated by anything pertaining to this world."
"Arin?" Matheo laughed, a laugh as giant as his bull. "He'll need a few craft sessions to fit in the smallest of gladiator armors."
"Oh, he had been taken in as a spiker, you know, for a start, but then he angered one of the star gladiators and was eviscerated during a show." Gakupo added maliciously: "I believe that it was a bedroom-related spat. He didn't go back after recovering."
"Eh, from what I heard, he got a more docile lover nowadays."
Gakupo blinked slowly as he registered what Matheo had just told him. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, if you don't know about it, then I don't think that I will tell you anything about it. It's most probably all silly rumors."
"No, no I am very interested in those rumors, please, do tell."
"You're going to mock me for telling you such stupid things."
"All right. But you asked for it. Well, recently, all of Eden street say that the boy Kagamine, I forgot his name..."
"Len." Gakupo's smile was forced; Kaito could tell. "You are thinking about Len."
"Oh yeah, that's his name. Well, Len has taken a lover outside of, you know, professional duties, for free, and they say that your butler has been running to his bed every free moment he has."
"How... interesting. What an interesting thing to say."
"I mean, it's most likely more based on how everything an encounter between them would go. Everyone knows that you and Arin can't fit because you both can't stand bottoming, so they guess. Arin knows Len, and they are more compatible, and he spends so much time at his house you know..."
"Really? How *very interesting*."
"You didn't know all that?" Matheo seemed to finally catch on the fact that something was amiss with Gakupo. "You weren't sending him on errands?"
"Of course I have. I send him on errands all the time. All the time! And I make sure that Arin spends all his free time at the Kagamine otherwise I ground him. What else would it be?"
Matheo seemed very confused.
"But that's all silly rumors," continued Gakupo dryly. "I believe that's not what you wanted to show me today."
"Right," said Matheo, nodding. "They all just arrived. I believe that you have been waiting to get one for a while now, right?"
Gakupo nodded, his former soul mood already forgotten. He was ginning and his eyes were shining in excitement.
"That way. I've put them in the back because their enclosure in front isn't ready. I have one of my assistants to take care of it."
They walked into a wooden hut. It was rather dark inside until Matheo clapped his hands and a ceiling light crystal came on. There was a large cage there, full of dark shadows and eyes, that made strange noises. Kaito, not very reassured by the looks of it, stayed near the door so that he could be the first one to bolt to safety.
The animal keeper opened the latch on the side of the cage and put in his armored hand. There were some loud hisses and some screams as the shadows moved around his limb, engulfing it, but neither of the demons seemed alarmed by that.
Matheo pulled out a monkey... a small, black monkey, that could easily sit in the palm of a hand and that looked at the world accusingly with eyes that ate half its face. Being carried seemed to offend it deeply, its thick fur sticking up in every direction in an effort to appear a tiny bit bigger. Its tiny hands gripped its carrier's thumb, its fingers delicate and chubby, and its long tail coiled around his arm. Around its neck and chest was a tight ribbon with a tag and a number on it.
Gakupo made a strange strangled sound. "Seven lords," he said, reaching out to it before pulling his hands back. "He's too..."
"She pretty much reached her adult size at this point," said Matheo, "but she wouldn't be able to perform any tricks for a few more weeks until she gets her magic. All the kakamoras here are from a personal friend of mine that breeds them in the Forests of Sloth. What do you say?"
"Does she have a name?"
"I mean, you can look at others if you wish to make a choice but--"
"No, no she's perfect."
The monkey - the kakamora - looked at Gakupo and puffed her fur further - except that this time she looked proud about being the center of attention.
"Do you want to hold her?" Asked Matheo.
"Please," said Gakupo.
She climbed on his hand and looked up at him, curiously. She reached up and poked his face with soft fingers, curious. Gakupo was smiling like a madman, completely enamored with the small creature.
Seeing that he was being ignored, Kaito slipped back outside to wait. Now that he was a little calmer, he wanted to take a closer look at the creatures that were standing outside. He wasn't stopped, which he took as approval from Gakupo.
He wandered on his own in the perimeter of the high fences before he found some horses, or at least the same type of headless horses that pulled Gakupo's carriage, in a pen. Upon approaching then, he noticed that they did have an eye, right where the spine should have been in the section of their neck. He watched them feed too. They dipped their tongues in big bags full of fresh blood while making strange sounds that reminded him of purrs.
"They must seem quite strange to you," said a woman.
"Excuse me?" He looked at her. He was surprised by her eyes, one blue and one brown, and how petite and harmless she looked. With her perfectly curly chestnut hair, she reminded him of a doll.
"Oh, I didn't mean to intrude," she said. Her voice was soft. "You smell like a contractee, but a human scent still clings to you. I supposed you just arrived in hell recently. Are you a pupil?"
"Oh... I guess."
"I guess?" She laughed. "Have you signed a contract or not?"
"I have, but... Well, I haven't started to learn anything."
"You don't look too happy."
"Is it that obvious?"
She stepped closer to him, her hands behind her back, head tilted to the side. "Call it feminine intuition. Or concern. Demons can be concerned, no matter what your master might have shown you."
He laughed, unconvinced.
"I'm serious! Listen, let me prove it to you. I know someone that can help you but I need to bring you to her. There are too many eyes here for you to escape, but if you can lose your master in the crowd later, I can find you and guide you."
He took a moment to consider it. He didn't know her. He didn't know her friend. She was some random stranger he had just met and something about that blue eye of hers unsettled him. But he was a pupil now. Gakupo had told him time and time again that it made him different from a human. She had told him that she could smell it on him, that meant that any demon could come to the same conclusion. If that didn't stop any sort of aggression, he didn't know what did.
He had to try.
"So?" She asked. "Will you come?"
She smiled. "I'll be watching and waiting."
She pulled her hood over her head. Her hair fell in such a way, now, that her blue eye was hidden from sight. She nodded to Kaito and walked away, quickly leaving the enclosure.
When Gakupo came out of the hut, shortly after, he was beaming. There was a leash attached around a loop of his belt and, if you followed the red cord, it lead to the open top of his shirt. The Kakamora was sitting there, half hidden behind the flap of his shirt, peering at Kaito while eating what looked to be a berry.
"Kaito, look at her," said Gakupo, beaming. "Her name is Tadili now."
"She's coming back with us?" said Kaito, surprised.
"I've been wanting one of her kind since forever, and she's exactly how I envisioned her. And look at her, isn't she the most precious little angel?"
Kaito looked at the monkey. She was now wiping her berry-stained fingers on Gakupo's white collar.
"All right," said Kaito. "I've uh, never been much of a monkey expert."
"A mon-- Are you implying that she is some inferior primate?" Gakupo frowned. "As if you knew anyway! She's an imp, and she's far smarter than what you will ever be."
This was the point where Kaito decided that she would never be anything but a dumb monkey to him.
"We have things to do," continued Gakupo. "We'll be needing things for her, and I'm getting hungry. Come along and observe, my dear, there is still much to do.
They left the enclosure and went back into the market. Kaito couldn't take his mind off the lady he had seen earlier, and her mysterious offer.
Chapter 19: Pale in the Dark
Kaito quickly grew bored of Gakupo's new obsession.
It turned out that Tadili was smarter than what he would have expected from a monkey. She quickly understood that Gakupo adored her from the moment he saw her and, most importantly, that she got whatever she pointed at. They got her a dollhouse - to be delivered to their place the next day - some soft blankets, a plush her size, and way, way too many fruits. She also learned that if she wandered away from Gakupo's collar, that every single shop owner and passer-by would fawn over her, her silky fur and her big eyes. But she's shyly run back to her owner when she felt overwhelmed.
At some point, Gakupo held her in both hands and kissed her head. "I won't let anything happen to you," he said to her. The scene marked Kaito; his master, for a second, had seemed very sad. His pupil wondered if Gakupo had owned a kakamora before, and what had happened to it.
Lunch was eaten, much to Kaito's shock, standing up and with the hands. He repulsed to touch his food with his fingers. All his life he had been taught that only savages and the poor did that, that cutlery was the mark of people of higher status. He asked for some and Gakupo wracked him on the back of the head, calling him an idiot. He eventually ate his sandwich without protesting any more.
Gakupo, on the other hand, was as hungry as ever and ate three times more than his pupil. The latter looked at him with disgust. To him, the demon was a repulsive creature, sitting on the world, expecting everyone to serve him and consuming food and sex when he pleased. He committed every sin in the book without a care. He gorged himself with pleasure. He reminded Kaito of a tic, sitting in one place and sucking the blood out of everything it could crawl on, mindlessly stocking up reserves of delight at the expense of others.
Gakupo, ignoring his glare, finished his meal and licked his fingers, grunting softly. Heat invaded Kaito's midriff and he had to look away before the lewd images in his mind became too much. Why did such a disgusting creature had to be so pleasant to look at? If only he was as ugly as he was inside, it would be easier to keep shameful thoughts at bay.
With the temptation rising, Kaito only doubled his efforts to find an opening to escape. He saw it when Gakupo turned his back to him as he was negotiating the price for a hat that pleased him. He kept away slowly at first, then when he was sure that he wouldn't get caught, dodged behind a large demon that was passing by and went down the aisle until he was out of sight.
He had not seen the demoness since they had parted, not even once in the crowd. The moment he was away from Gakupo she appeared like a vulture in the blue sky, smiling gently at him and signaling for him to follow her.
Kaito felt the difference of treatment from the crowd right away. He had almost taken for granted the way the crowd made space for them when he moved with Gakupo. With the doll, he suddenly found that he had to slip around arms and backs. He found out how very full the market was... and he felt small and exposed, unprotected. He remembered the demons of Cupid Park's, that had gotten to him last time he had escaped Gakupo's sight. That had not been such a long time ago.
But luckily his fears had no ground, and they got out of the market and into the surrounding streets. There was a carriage waiting there, pulled by four of the headless horses and guarded by two giants. His companion didn't hesitate before walking to it, but Kaito paused.
He realized that he had just wandered into something that had been planned. Looking back on how he had been approached, how someone was willing to wait at least two hours for him to escape his master's attention, how conveniently this carriage had been waiting for him, he called himself stupid for not realizing earlier. He wanted to leave, he almost did, but right at that moment, the door opened on the dark cabinet.
"Come, Kaito Shion," said a female voice.
It wasn't the tone someone would use to trap someone else, it was the voice of someone that spoke to be obeyed. This scared him further but it was too late. He approached and climbed into the vehicle, under the watchful eyes of her Cerebus.
Many years later, Kaito would remember the moment he saw Miku for the first time; she was extraordinarily eerie to look at on that day, so pale in the darkness that every detail seemed crystallized as if she was glowing without light. She seemed to be made of layers upon layers of the same silky fabric. Even her skin was made out of it, so thin her blue veins could be mapped. She had been reading a book that she now kept on her lap with both of her hands over it. There were dreadfully white on the black cover.
She did not look at him. She had a hat that was tied to her head with a large ribbon, and from that hat hung cloth that hid her eyes from sight. If she would have turned towards him when he entered, Kaito would have froze in his tracks. Instead, he sat across her quietly and observed her some more. He was trying to pinpoint what was about her that struck her as off.
Suddenly he realized: she had no apparent demon features. He had been so used to seeing wings, horns, and tails emerge from any and every part of the body that it felt odd that not seeing one seemed to him like an outcast thing to do. It intrigued him. Who was she?
"Hello, Kaito," she said. Her voice was beautiful and clear. He didn't like her, but listening to her he decided that he could learn to love her voice. "I am glad that you could make it. My name is Miku Hatsune, and I am your master's former master."
He had heard the name several times. His first thought was to question why no one had mentioned more about her, her immaculateness. This was the idea he had of holy, this scary sacredness that no one touched. He felt as if there were no words to describe how deeply impressed he was with her. He couldn't stop observing her, wondering how something so frail and powerful could hold herself without falling into pieces.
The door to the carriage closed. There was just enough light that they might see each other, yet everything was so odd that it didn't strike Kaito as strange.
She seemed to understand his silence and just carried on. "I've heard of you and wanted to meet you. You have a very interesting story. Say, what do you think about the demon world?"
Kaito thought about his answer. The first image that came to him was Gakupo sucking on his fingers to devour every last bit of food. "It's disgusting."
"There is no sense to it, no morality. It's like... no one knows where to stop. And everyone is so selfish. The other day I brandished a knife to Gakupo's chest..." He stopped, realizing that he might be talking beyond what he was allowed to do.
"Go on," she said. She leaned in to listen.
"Well, I... in truth, in don't like my master at all. He's the worst. He keeps saying that I need to be grateful because otherwise, I would be going to the pit, but I can't stand him."
"Ah. Yes. I also know about your history - he has no secret from me." She hummed, a ghost of a smile on her lips. "But I want to hear about that knife."
"But you'll be angry at me," said Kaito. "I threatened your pupil."
"Try me, you might be surprised."
That was the moment he started to trust her. Something in the way she spoke to him was mischievous. It was like the flash of a younger soul from behind a fan, teasing him like a friend. The sensation was gone under an instant, but Kaito was persuaded that it had been there, and that's why he opened up to her.
"Well, we had dinner with his friends, and I threatened him with a knife once he asked me if I would stab him. No one made a single move to stop me. They were all his friends! Yet they just sat and watch." He looked down. "There is nothing real in this world, no love anywhere. Yet he... He pretends as if there is. He calls me an idiot, but he's one."
"Why do you say that? He seems rather successful. That makes him the opposite of an idiot."
"Because he's crass." Kaito had thought about it already, late at night in his bed. "Everyone is disgusting. Everything that's similar like to associate with each other."
"I wouldn't have said it better myself," she said, but it was like she was talking to herself. "But why didn't you stab him?"
"I..." Kaito stopped himself and thought about it. "Well, I knew that I wouldn't be able to kill him and that I would be punished if I tried," he lied. "So I didn't. When I will hurt him, I will destroy him."
She rose her head imperceptibly, but it was amplified by the tip of her large hat. "That's either very stupid or very brave. A demon isn't so easily destroyed."
"He'll teach me how to do it with time. If I am going to become a demon, then I will know what are their weakness."
She chuckled. "I see. That's well thought. But he won't tell you how to destroy him. However, if you had another master..."
She suddenly stopped talking, tilted her head, then signaled to Gakupo that he needed to remain quiet. She seemed amused.
Suddenly, the door opened wide and light flooded the carriage. Kaito protected his eyes with his hand for the first moments so didn't see the iron hand that gripped him coming. He recognized the intruder the moment he was thrown on the pavement. On Gakupo would do something like that.
"What is the meaning of this?" He cried.
Kaito got on his hands and knees, then stood up quickly, but his master was not looking at him. He was standing near the carriage and looking into it, at Miku. She wasn't answering his questions.
"Answer me!" He cried.
She laughed. The door slammed in his face and the carriage took off, the four horses jumping into a sprint as all the servants hopped on it. The doll sat on the top facing the back, her thin legs dangling in the emptiness as she waved goodbye.
"Curse you Miku!" screamed Gakupo. "Don't you come anywhere near him again!"
Kaito knew that he was next. Yet when the other turned to him he was not hit, instead, his master looked at him harshly before sighing.
"You will regret this."
And then nothing more. No hits, no screaming, not even a cruel smile. This only terrified Kaito even more. Gakupo already knew what he was going to do, and he was going to do it without fail. What had he been thinking, wandering off following strangers as he had done? Had he forgotten that they were linked now, tied to each other? He might not have been told anything about the link between them, but he knew that it went deeper than just a signature on a contract. That his master had found him so quickly might indicate that he had a way to locate him. What else could he do?
"We're leaving," said Gakupo. He turned around and walked away, expecting to be followed. Kaito obeyed, resigned.
She had mentioned having a different master than that... did she mean it? Could such a thing be done?
They re-entered the market, but Gakupo's mood was gloomy. He did nothing but walk up and down the aisles, looks at everything but buying nothing. Eventually, he bought himself a snack, lead them to a park and sat on a bench to eat it. Tadili hopped off his shoulder and laid in his lap, and he pet her gently. That seemed to cheer him up a little. Kaito sat near him, not daring to go anywhere since earlier. The silence made him feel absolutely terrible, a mixture of guilt and fear that made him want to vomit.
The clock striking three times seemed to wake Gakupo from his trance.
"Oh," he said. "Arin's coming to get us. Wonderful."
He got up and moved away without a glance back, and once again Kaito followed. The butler was indeed waiting for them where he had dropped them off. When they came near him, Gakupo narrowed his eyes at him and Arin was unable to hold his gaze.
"I've heard things," said the master. "We are to have a little conversation, you and I when we get home."
Conveniently, Arin was back at being unable to say a thing. He looked ahead of him, at the horses. Gakupo added nothing more in front of Kaito - not that Kaito didn't know what this was about, with the conversation he had witnessed between Matheo and his master. They both climbed in and departed.
"What did she tell you?" said Gakupo once they had been on the road for some time.
"What did she tell me?" Kaito felt himself freeze up. What if she had told him something that would anger the other?
"Well? I asked a question."
Kaito didn't answer.
"You are better off not hiding anything from me, my dear. It would be regrettable if I would have to beat it out of you."
"She didn't say much. She mostly asked questions." Kaito hoped that this was enough.
"What sort of questions?"
"What I thought of the demon world. What I thought about you."
Gakupo nodded and looked out the window, not pushing him any further. He didn't add anything the whole way back. Once again, he gave off an impression of deep sadness.
Chapter 20: Angel
He didn't want to think about Miku, yet she kept invading his mind. Gakupo hated that she still held this much power over him after all those years despite him resisting her. She had not even talked to him! This was supposed to be the day where he got another kakamora, one of his long-time dreams. She didn't have the right to come and ruin it, and yet she had done it anyway.
How could she? How could she live with herself at night, knowing what she had done?
He hated her. He hated her so, so much, with all the passion of someone that had wanted nothing more than to be loved by her.
He had told Arin that they would talk once at home, but not in this state. Anya sensed his mood right away and let him pass without a word. With the way his coat whipped at his passage, he was like a dark storm cloud rushing through the house. Even Tadili was scared of him. The moment he let her get down, she hopped off him and dashed off to explore some of the hiding places of the house.
There was a place he could go when he felt like that. It was a hidden door in the room where he danced for guests, a place that had never been tainted by Kaito's scent - meaning that it was undiscovered. Those among his clients that were brave enough, that wanted to know the very limits of pain and pleasure told him they wanted to be taken there. That was the White Room.
Gakupo slid the access panel. For a second, the light that came from behind him revealed the plain pained walls, the immaculate tiles and the drain in the corner, the single black spot of this place. Then he locked himself in and he was in the dark.
Finally, he could scream, and he did just so. Was he in his human or in his demon form? He didn't know, he couldn't even see his hands, those hands that smashed against the reinforced walls with all of his strength. He screamed, and clawed, like a demon, like a trapped monster. She had made him that.
Five years. This was how much time he had belonged to her; she had been his one and only Goddess for five years. They called her the greatest flesh crafter of her time, and she had made him into her masterpiece... pristine on the outside and twisted the inside. He understood that it was this contrast that made him so alluring to all those that admired him. 'I will fix you,' had told him the man that had bought his virginity. 'Give me your pain, I'll save you,' had said others he had led into the White Room. They all wanted to be the special one, the healer, the savior, to be adored, but they were unable to see the truth.
Because the truth, the bitter truth, was that Gakupo was not broken. Under Miku's care, he had touched the bottom of sanity and had been brought back. They loved him because they thought that it was wrong to love him. But he was just Gakupo. He had always been just that. He could laugh, he could live and enjoy his life, and he would never become what he had been before her. What was there to fix? Would they take the memories away? Would they make him become a human again too?
Nothing would take away his past. It was the pain that molded his body. He was a chimera of twisted pieces sewn together and it hurt each time he saw her face. He hated her. But he loved her. He loved her desperately in the hopes that she might love him back, that one day she will tell him sorry. It was a fool's hope, he knew it, and it hurt so, so much.
It hurt as much as his broken bones when he smashed his hands again, as much as the screams that tore his sore throat. How long had he been locked in? He didn't know. He forgot. He might as well stay there forever.
"Stop," said a voice.
Suddenly, there was a light that enveloped him and caressed him. Someone touched his broken hands, and in that touch was all the care a soul could feel for another. Gakupo knew before he realized who was there. There was but one sort of being in creation that could create such awe in a demon as the one he felt upon looking at her face.
"Stop, please," said the angel. "I beg you. I love you too much to see you suffer like this."
"Gumi..." said Gakupo. "Gumi, you are here."
He slowly fell to his knees, clinging to her sun-colored dress. She stroked his head and shoulders with all of the tenderness of a mother reassuring her child. In a sense, she was his mother. When she had chosen the path of the angel, she had been initiated to the voice of the universe. She could hear every creature, understood all of their languages and loved everything she looked upon. However, she remained Gumi, the human he had once loved, the only woman he had loved.
"There... there," she whispered. "Cry it out. There is no shame."
He did. The tears poured out and then left. By the time it was done, he was laying with his head on her lap and she was holding his hands again, looking at the purple marks on his knuckles where the bone was shattered.
"Doesn't it hurt?" she asked.
"I've had worse," he said.
She chuckled because he meant that as a joke. Her smile brought back a little of his. Grace, in the form of light, poured from her, her halo, her wings, illuminating the White Room until all the darkness had gone away.
"I sensed your pain," she explained, "and I came. I hope I didn't frighten you."
"You could never frighten me." He inhaled deeply. "I needed to see you."
"It hurts me to see you like this. It's better than to keep it inside... but I would rather you don't do it."
"And then what? I go insane? That would please Miku too much."
"That would make me even sadder." She kissed his hands softly, healing the breaks.
"For an angel, your happiness depends an awful lot on the fate of a beaten up demon like me."
"Ah, I know. Lauviah has told me that I have issues with misunderstanding attachment with love, but she also said that I'll become a better angel with time. I still got a lot to learn."
"I'll miss your visits when that will happen."
"Hopefully you won't need them anymore. Now, will you promise me that you won't go back to hitting walls when I am gone?"
She hummed in content. He didn't want her to leave; she sensed that and stayed a little more, in silence. He closed his eyes and bathed in her radiance.
"That young soul you have with you..." she said. "Kaito, you call him."
"You're trying to make him into the same thing as you, right?"
He didn't answer. He was suddenly ashamed and scared that he was going to deceive her.
"I don't know how much I should tell you," she continued. "But I got to warn you that you will fail. He will not become another you. You are not Miku, and he's not you. I can see it already: the path he will take will be different than yours." She stroked his cheek. "Although both of your destinies are intertwined for a while."
"Yeah, with the contract."
She laughed. "Actually... oh, I shouldn't tell you more."
"What?" Gakupo rose to look at her face to face. "What is the meaning of this? What's going to happen?"
"Oh, nothing." She kept smiling. "Actually, you'll curse me for daring to laugh at it later, but it's just too funny how nothing is going to go as planned."
"Gumi! Tell me!"
"No, you'll find out soon enough. Now, I believe you have other things to do."
"You can't just tell me that and leave!" He cried.
But it was in vain. With a laugh, she vanished, gone as she had come, slipping between the dimensions with ease as an angel did. He cursed her, but it was impossible to be mad at her. She was an angel.
Right as she left, the panel to the White Room opened and Anya appeared. She gasped when a tiny someone slipped between her legs and ran on all fours to her owner. Tadili hopped on him and hocked her small hands in his hair, determined to not let him out of her sight again.
"I sensed someone," said Anya, looking around hopefully.
"You just missed her," answered Gakupo. He tried to pick Tadili away from him, but she only accepted to move from his hair to his shoulder... where she gripped some locks and his point ear in her tiny fingers with the firm intention of never letting them go.
"Oh," answered the maid. She looked deceived. "I was looking forward to seeing her again."
He got up and patted her on the shoulder. Every demon loved angels. They were drawn to them like a moth to a flame wherever they appeared. The myth that they fought each other was all human projection. They always wanted them to represent good and evil, and from those imaginary notions, they deduced that they must be opposites. This couldn't be further from the truth.
"Maybe next time," he told her.
"It's not fair. You told me that you first liked me because we have the same hair color, I should be entitled to seeing her every time she visits-- Oh seven lords, Master Venomania, *your hands.*"
While it was true that Gumi had healed the breaks, she had done nothing for the gashes he had opened and the bruises. He realized that he was in his monster form and that all four of his hands were covered in blood, as well as a good bit of the walls. He was shocked by the sight himself.
"I'll patch you up," she said, "and then you can go tell Arin what you've got to tell him. He's been sulking ever since you came back from the market, as so has Kaito. And while you are at it, you can tell me what happened, because no one thought it useful to tell me anything at all."
"Do you know why I am mad at you, Arin?" said Gakupo.
He certainly felt better. He had bandages all over his fingers, Anya has prepared a batch of fresh cookies and Tadili, that had been given a snack too, would sometimes drop it to hug his face. How he had missed having a kakamora. The moment she had understood that he was her new owner, she had been determined to win his affection by any means and so far she was only too good at it.
Arin, on the other hand, looked like a beaten up dog. Not that Gakupo had hit him, it was just that he hated being caught doing something he wasn't allowed to. They had chosen the living room to talk. The master was on the couch and the butler sat across from him, on a chair from the dining room.
"Well, since you decided to play it all silent with me, I'm going to tell you," said Gakupo. "I've spoken with Matheo, you know, the creature guardian from down our street, and he told me a rumor I, apparently, am the last one to know. According to him, you and Len Kagamine have been having a relationship for quite some time. Am I wrong?"
For a second, Gakupo thought that Arin was going to pretend as if he had not heard him, but he eventually nodded. He admitted.
His master sighed. "Arin, you know that I don't like him. There's a reason why I chose his sister over him for the Bees. Honestly, what do you even like in this brat?"
"So," continued Gakupo, "you are telling me that if I forbid you from seeing him ever again, you'll be fine with it?"
"No!" cried Arin.
"Aha. Finally some words." Gakupo leaned back against the couch. "So, tell me."
"He's just... well, he knows what he wants."
Gakupo snorted. "So, you are telling me that he ordered you to take off your pants and that made you hard?"
Arin blushed. Oh, seven lords, that had been exactly what had happened. The butler was a top in bed, but he was just so weak for power bottoms, and Len was just that. Gakupo started laughing.
"What?" Asked Arin.
"Now that you say it, it makes sense that you two would be into each other..." Gakupo sighed. "Well then, I think it's decided. I was scared that Len was trying to use you go get into the Bees, or maybe that he was pressured by his sister to seduce--"
"Len would never do that!" cried Arin. "Listen, master Venomania, I'm sorry but you can't tell me how to live my life. Just because you don't get along with Len - just because he won't do as you tell him all the time - doesn't mean that you have to stop me from being with him. I am entirely devoted to your service and that will never change, but..."
"But what?" asked Gakupo in a sing-song voice.
"But your paranoia is ridiculous and if you go on like that you are going to become like Miku."
Arin told him that last line unflinchingly while looking at him straight in the eyes. Gakupo didn't answer right away. He wanted for his servant to waver, to look down, but instead, he stared him down and it amused him even more.
"You have balls to tell me that," said the master. "You are lucky I just so happen to be in a mood where I'll allow it. I was going to say that as long as you don't bring him here more than necessary and that you don't get him pregnant, I can permit you to see him."
Arin's face went from confused, to shocked, to happy. It seemed that he had not expected such a happy outcome.
"But," added Gakupo, "I will not tolerate you becoming a second Rin and try to push him into the Bees. Have I made this clear?"
"Of course sir! You haven't heart about him before, you won't hear me talk about him after." He bowed quickly. "Thank you."
Gakupo waved his hand and scratched Tadili behind the ear. "You're not off the hook. I'll be keeping an eye on this. You better not make me regret me this, Arin. You and Len."
Chapter 21: The Pits
Trigger Warning: contains a description of physical abuse. For those that this may affect, please proceed with caution.
Gakupo knew that imps, in general, had a creative streak, so he made sure to have some coloring chalk available for her the night before. He just didn't expect what Tadili would do with them.
She had slept in his bed, still clinging to him, and went for breakfast with him. Kakamora's mouths were surprisingly large for what would expect for their size, but hidden for the most part in their fur. Watching her fit berries the size of her fist in it amused her owner immensely until she was sated, at which point she started to wander away.
She had been gone for ten minutes when she came hopping back to the table and sought to hide on Gakupo's lap. Up on the second floor, Gakupo could hear Kaito pester, and the demon deduced that she must have woken him up and that his pupil had chased her out of his room. He petted her gently to calm her.
Kaito came back down the moment he was dressed. Gakupo, that believed that the world belonged to those that rose with the sun, didn't approve of his habit of sleeping in. He was going to tell him when he looked at his pupil's face and exploded in laughter instead.
Kaito, that wasn't used to be laughed at, sent him a confused look. He didn't realize that the entire side of his face had been colored in by a pair of mischievous little hands while he slept. He looked at his master, then at Anya when she came out of the kitchen and started to laugh too.
"Seven lords, Tadili, you're so sneaky," said Gakupo, picking up his pet to hold her close to his chest.
She looked at Kaito, then at Gakupo praising her, and understood that pranking the pupil was entirely acceptable. She puffed her fur proudly and grinned, displaying two rows of sharp white teeth.
Meanwhile, Kaito realized his state when he rubbed his cheek and his hand came back colored like a rainbow. He sent Tadili a mean look. Gakupo glared at him back. If he dared retaliate for her prank, her master would be sure to make him regret dearly.
Anya, trying her best to stifle her laugh, came over with a wet towel to clean Kaito's face before sitting him down. The latter broke into the food without a word.
"We'll be visiting another place today," said Gakupo.
That earned him a surprised look from Kaito.
"This will be the last trip we have together before a while, as I have a show to prepare for next month and you have yet to start learning Latin. We won't stay there too long."
"Where are we going?" asked his pupil.
There was a clang when Kaito dropped his fork in surprise. "The pits?"
"Yes. Now that you are an apprentice, it is time to see what they are really about. Maybe that will get rid of every reluctance you might have to eat human meat."
Kaito, that had been adding bacon to his bread, suddenly made a face when he remembered what he was eating and switched to fruits. When Tadili saw him take some and put them in his yogurt, she narrowed her eyes at him. Every berry he would eat would be a berry she didn't eat herself.
"Wear your lightest shirt," added Gakupo. "As you might guess, it's quite hot over there.
"Do we have to go there? I'm fine staying here, and you need all the practice you can get..."
"Oh, don't worry, we won't be wasting any time over there. I believe that this trip will be very instructional." Gakupo grinned. "Very, very instructional."
The gates were as impressive as ever, and Gakupo, that knew that Kaito would want to take a while to look at them, waited for him each time he stopped without complaining.
To trip with the carriage had been longer than usual because they had needed to get out of Allacard to get to the nearest pit. They had gone traveled through the desolated countryside. The road had then sunk beneath the level of the ground, into the very earth, and the temperature had risen noticeably.
In the human folklore that they called religion, the gate of hell was represented by a gaping maw filled with sharp teeth, always open so that it could devour the unholy. It was partly based on the truth. The first gate was indeed shaped like the maws of a beast, and each tooth was taller than Gakupo in his demon form. Inside the rocky flesh of its cheeks was a stable meant to care for the mounts of visitors. Kaito didn't seem to know what to look at, the high ceilings above him or the rows and rows of strange creatures side by side. The stable master bore some resemblance with Matheo, in the sense that he also had an armored arm and was simply enormous, but he only grunted a few words during the ten minutes that it took them to leave Gakupo's carriage in his care.
The second gate was filled with statues of the damned that seemed to be carved out of the walls and fixed for all eternity in a silent scream. Kaito avoided their gazes and looked at them as little as possible.
But in front of the third gate, he came to a full stop and signed himself in horror. It wasn't a scene like the two others, it was the front of a church. There were the big wooden doors, always open, and the saints, many nameless saints, that started down on the passebys with great pity and nobility from their heights. Over the door was a mural that represented a man in a throne, but his face was blank.
"I heard that it's per the damned's request that this was built," explained Gakupo. "Not that they pass through here when they are sent to the pits, mind you, this passage is entirely meant for demons."
"You mean demons can pass this? But..." he looked up at the man on the throne. "This is God! Aren't you scared of His Image?"
"Stop saying stupid things. What might happen in the world of humans doesn't happen here. Besides, technically, we aren't more scared by the image of our creator than you are."
Gakupo sighed, but instead of walking over to smack Kaito on the back of his head, he reached inside of his shirt and petted Tadili's head. She batted his hand away and turned around in her pocket, going back to sleep.
"You'll get what I mean when your magic senses will grow a little more," said Gakupo.
"My magic senses? I am going to be able to use magic?" That seemed to be the best news he had heard all day.
Gakupo rolled his eyes. "All demons can use magic. You'll learn how to master yours when it grows. Are we going to move from here or not?"
Kaito nodded and finally followed him through the doors, and into the pit itself.
Gakupo's patience, having been eroded by their numerous previous stops, didn't give Kaito much time to look down at the pits themselves before starting to walk down a path in the wall. Everything here was directly in dark red rock and lit with sulfur flames, that twisted high like dancers as they burned with a bright, blinding light.
They went down. From time to time, a scream could be heard. Gakupo, that lead the way, felt Kaito walk right behind him, seeking any protection that might be available. He certainly needed protection when one knew what came ahead, but it wouldn't be coming from his master as far as he was concerned.
Eventually, they arrived at the end of the path and reached a wide cavern. Kaito gasped and, for the second time, signed himself. This was where the damned were kept.
There were pits, literal pits, that were dug in the ground. That's where the humans were kept, like animals, while the demons moved freely on the overarching stone bridges. And there weren't just demons, but also hellhounds and infernal elementals, made of gas and fire and speaking among themselves with the sounds that volcano made.
"Isn't it dreadful?" said Gakupo. He advanced fearlessly. "Ah, look, Kaito, this is entertaining."
One might hesitate to call human what was in the pit, but it was indeed what they were. Humans, covered in dirt, clad in rags, looked up with empty eyes at the visitors looking down upon them. Some of them bared their teeth and snarled at them like animals.
"Oh God," said Kaito.
Gakupo wracked him on the back of the head.
"What did I do this time?" snapped Kaito, on edge.
"First of all, watch your tone. Second, if you really got to swear, use the name of one of the Lords of Hell."
Kaito, still rubbing the back of his head to sooth the pain, blinked several times, processing that new information. "Who the heck are those?"
"You haven't heard of the Lord of-- Oh seven Lords, he doesn't even know about Your Magnificence."
"Well, I would know if a certain someone cared to tell me about them," said Kaito.
Gakupo looked at him without saying a word, wondering if now was a good time to choke the sass out of his pupil. Luckily for the latter, he decided against it.
"Listen up, because that's important," said the teacher. "There are seven lords in Hell, one for each cardinal sin. They aren't really demons per se, they are entities built up of human prayers and made to torment them. But they are powerful, so, according to our law, we submit to them and obey them. They are generally fun people to serve."
"Wait, what? Back up. Made of human prayers?"
"Yes," snapped Gakupo. By Satan's horns, he had the most ignorant of pupils in all of hell. "We, human, angels and demons, we are three species that live in symbiosis, if one may say so. We each have a different power. The angels have grace, the demons have magic and the humans have prayer. A human on its own is weak, but their thoughts have the capacity to shape the world. Any question so far?"
"Wait, I was a human and I was never capable of shaping the world with my thoughts."
"Not you, on your own, idiot. For example, the fact that humans are sent to hell was created by generations of humans wishing for their enemies to fall to their doom upon their death, for all the bad things they had done. Likewise, those that were forced to give away all they had and live in misery - and Satan knows how much you guys love to make each other miserable - wished for a better place than earth when they died. And so hell and heaven, that used to have nothing to do with humans, became your afterlife because you collectively decided that it was so."
"Wow... So, you are telling me that all those people, all those damned," he gestured towards the pen next to them, "are here because... we made this place?"
"Well you didn't exactly, we did, but we certainly took the liberty to boost construction by using the power of all of your prayers."
"All right..." Kaito looked back at the damn in the pit. "But how did we make the seven Lords? We're always praying so that we don't succumb to sin."
Gakupo snorted. "That's the entire point. You kept believing in them, and so they became true. Of course, it's not all that simple, but I don't want to explain everything to you now. Do you happen to know their names?"
Kaito thought about it. "Isn't... the most powerful of them called Lucifer? Or Satan?"
"Lucifer's the prince, but Satan is indeed the king. They stand for Pride and Anger respectively. My patron, and the Lord that I most directly serve, is Asmodeus, Lord of Lust. He doesn't live too far from Eden Street. You'll certainly see him someday if you stick around. The four others are Beelzebub, Mammon, Belphegor, and Leviathan. I'll make you a list when we get back home so you can learn them by heart."
"Ah... Some of those names are familiar. I never really paid attention to demon names before."
"I guess." Gakupo chuckled and leaned away from the railing. "I bet you didn't expect being sent to hell. Now, let's continue the visit, there are still things you need to see."
They moved away from the pit they had first approached and started to walk through the big cavern. They were met with the same view everywhere. Gakupo explained how certain of them were separated depending on the crimes they had committed so that rightful punishment might be easier to apply.
As they were visiting, Kaito had the occasion to observe the guardians of hell in action. A hole in the wall opened in one of the pens and hellhounds rushed in, barking and screaming. The humans dispersed and ran in every direction, terrified, but some of them were caught and dragged back to the gap in the wall, that was like a maw. Kaito only watched the beginning of it, but then the sight became too much and he asked to be taken away.
"Understandable," said Gakupo. "After all, they are being taken for the chopping."
Kaito didn't ask what was the chopping.
"Don't be so repulsed, my dear," said Gakupo. "Remember that you aren't one of them now. If you were thrown in the pits, you would get fished out eventually. You already started to change. The pits are a common destination for masters and their pupils. Look over there! We're not the only ones."
Indeed, they were two others. The master was easily recognizable with her great black wings and her bright red skin. She would frequently hold her pupil close, stroking his hair to reassure him and kissing him on the lips.
"Ah, that's cute," said Gakupo. "That could have been us if you didn't stab me. Oh, I forgot, you wouldn't be going to hell if you hadn't. That's so sad. Do you ever think about how it would have been to go to heaven, my dear?"
"I don't need your sass," grumbled Kaito.
"Ah, then we will talk about something else." They approached another pen, one filled entirely with men. They rose their eyes to look at the watchers. They looked more like animated things than creatures, their life and reason had been drawn from them a long time ago. "Do you know what is the thing that they hate the most? The damned, that is. Come here, look at them."
Kaito obeyed. That was a mistake. The moment he was within reacher, Gakupo grabbed his neck and lifted him effortlessly, changing into his demon form, and held him over the pit. His pupil's legs kicked in the emptiness. Below him, all of the damned suddenly came to life, screaming and jumping, their hands like claws reaching for Kaito.
"I mean, I think you can already guess what it might be," continued Gakupo, speaking as if they were still calmly talking face to face. "But as today is an instructional day so I'll explain anyway. They understand that us, demons, are their tormentors, they even are vaguely aware that they created this situation for themselves, but they don't hate us. What they hate the most are those that had been chosen to be spared their torment, pupils, people like you. They call you traitors, when they still remember how to speak. Isn't that amusing?"
Kaito produced a terrified squeak; he still had air? Gakupo held him tighter. His pupil's hands shot up to hold on his arm but didn't try to pry him away from his throat. He knew that if he fell he would suffer a worth fate than anything his master could do to him.
"Those men fathered children out of marriage then denied any rights to the mother, shaming her instead of taking the blame," continued to explain Gakupo. "Or at least I think they are. They are tormented in the way they hurt their wives, their mistresses, and their children, slowly, intolerably slowly. Twenty hours every day, their pen gets too hot to stand still, they get cooked alive. They go mad from the pain and the lack of sleep until they can't sleep anymore and they just become mindless monsters. Yet they still recognize you as one of them, a damned, and if they get their hands on you they will tear you apart for all the pain they went through."
"Hey!" suddenly said a female voice. "You are scaring my pupil."
Gakupo turned his head to look at who dared interrupt him. It was the demoness from earlier, the one with the red skin. She was standing in front of the man protectively and staring the Hornet down.
"Tell him to look away," said Gakupo. "I am currently punishing my pupil for daring to try and run away from me when I wasn't looking. He keeps forgetting how good he has it with me."
"Is it really necessary to do that in a public place?" she asked.
Gakupo let go of Kaito.
She screamed, the other pupil cried out in anguish and hid his eyes, and the damned howled as they clawed against the wall of their prison. Kaito was held by his shirt by one of Gakupo's lower hands, wheezing now that his throat was free. He was very pale and so terrified he couldn't say a word.
"I think he learned his lesson," said Gakupo to the demoness. "Yet, I am being generous with how much slack I cut him. My own master would have thrown me in the pit and paid the guardians so that they don't go and fetch me before she wanted me out. She never did because she was working on my body as a commission from my patron and that might have messed up her work but, otherwise, she would have done it."
Horrified, the demoness didn't answer.
Gakupo thought that he might have an interesting conversation with her about the merits of a severe pupil upbringing, but it seemed that she was too intimidated to argue with him. Not that it mattered. He pulled Kaito to the other side of the fence and tossed him on the ground.
"Can you stand?" asked the master.
Kaito tried, failed the first time, but eventually managed to get on his own two feet. He held his chest as if he was hugging himself, to calm his shaking.
"I hope you think about this moment next time you want to do something idiotic," said Gakupo. "We're finished here, let's go home."
They needed to pass close to the two others on their way back. The demoness glared at Gakupo, making no secret of her dislike of his methods. That prompted him to stop and speak to her one last time.
"I don't approve of the way you treat your pupil either, madame. You'll make him soft unless you decide to marry him and protect him forever... never mind, that's probably your intention."
She ignored his words. She grabbed her pupil's hand and pulled him along as she walked away quickly, never to be seen again. Gakupo watched her leave, before placing his hand on the small of Kaito's back and push him along - he only walked with extreme caution now, and seemed scared to come near a pen again.
"Behave," told him Gakupo.
Kaito started to walk faster right after. It was impressive what wonders did the right punishment produce.
Chapter 22: Sundown Scene
Unsurprisingly, Kaito was extra careful after the pit incident. A few days turned into a week, and a week turned into two weeks. He did his best to make himself forgotten. Of course, there were still small incidents where Gakupo would react strongly and punish him, generally physically, sometimes by depriving him of dinner, but they all looked the same and hence were forgettable.
It was during that time that Kaito met with what would be his Latin teacher, a stern demoness that would spend her mornings with him and snap at him for every little mistake. Kaito was certain that she had been chosen because she was disagreeable and stressful to work with. He soon started to hate the lessons he had with her with a passion, all the while making dreadfully slow progress when it came to learning the language. The rest of the time, he was quiet and kept to himself, reading or maybe looking outside from the window of his room at the people passing by in the street.
His master, on the other hand, always seemed busy. Sometimes he was already gone by the time Kaito was coming down for breakfast, and sometimes he slept outside the house. He constantly spoke of some big show that was coming up and that he needed to prepare. He still found the time to kiss Kaito on the forehead and coo at him, asking if "my dear pupil" missed him. If the latter answered anything other than yes, he did, very much, he would be slapped so hard he was sometimes projected against a wall and Gakupo would laugh at him.
To top it off, his strange and misplaced case of lust for his master didn't get better. Sometimes, at night, as he tried to sleep, he would dream of a world when Gakupo didn't just tease and mock him for his attraction. Kaito thought about the time where he had been brought back from Cupid Park a lot, how safe he had felt. He longed for that fleeting moment while knowing it would not come back. Yet, they were so many things that he had to fight that he stopped resisting those thoughts, and used them as a way to escape from his gruesome reality.
"Kaito!" called Gakupo from downstairs.
He had escaped to his room for a few moments of peace before his lesson, but he knew that when he was called the better answer right away. It was reluctantly that he moved away from the window and down the stairs.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Kaito," called Gakupo again, waiting that they were standing face to face in the hallway to tell him whatever it was he needed to say. "Ah, you're here. I've gotten a message just now that your Latin teacher won't make it today because of family troubles. You have enough idle time as it goes, so I decided that you would come with me instead, and see a bit of the outside world. It will be good for your instruction."
Last time he had been brought somewhere for his instruction, Kaito had been dangled over a pit filled with damned that wanted to tear off his limbs. He was nothing but suspicious about what the other demon had in store for him this time, but he was hardly in a position to protest. This was one of those moments where he hated his powerlessness more than anything.
"Where will we be going?" he asked.
"To the Red Square. Today is the last rehersal before the premiere tomorrow night, so I'll be performing for some critiques and people of influence. It's time that you saw the center of Allacard, my dear." He smiled. "And maybe you'll catch a glance of someone important, who knows?"
Kaito knew better than to think that asking that would be a good idea, but he did it anyway: "You won't be doing anything to me, right?"
Gakupo's face twisted in a wicked smile and reached out to pull his pupil close. Their height difference wasn't as extreme as when the master chose to don his demonic form, but Kaito still had to crank his head back to look into his face. He didn't move, knowing that it was best that he didn't resist. Gakupo presents, the danger and the allure of him, heightened Kaito's attention with an adrenaline rush.
"Would you want me to do something to you?" purred the demon. "I could if you want to."
"No thank you," said Kaito. "I will be fine without anything."
"Are you sure?" Gakupo stroked the side of his pupil's face. "If you are good enough, I can punish you in a way that's enjoyable."
"I'll still decline."
"Not many in your shoes would. There are some that pay a small fortune for me to punish them. You feel like the type to me. A little more grooming, a bit more training, and you'll be primed to beg for it, my dear."
"I am still quite certain that I do not want that."
Gakupo clicked his tongue, which Kaito had learned sometimes served as his last warning. "You only feel that way because you've never tasted it. You don't even know what it is to be with a man. Don't tell me what you want or don't want. If I auctioned you off your starting bid would be the same as a virgin's because that's what you are in the eyes of demons. I already have some ideas of what might excite you and it wouldn't take me long to discover the rest."
He suddenly removed himself from Kaito, turning away. The latter felt cold and weak as he struggled to regain his composure.
"Of course," continued the master, "that would be if I ever decided to humor you and your desire, and I am no in the mood today. Nothing will happen then unless you do something stupid like disobey me. I'll be too busy, and I haven't been given enough time to think about some way to torment you."
He paused at the door to the living room and looked back, a finger to his lips, to give Kaito a heavy-lidded once over that make the pupil's blood boil. Gakupo knew every single way he could use to torment him.
"But there is something I want you to do, my dear," added the demon. "As we are talking about instruction, it would be good if you set off a little to see the way Arin goes and fetches the carriage. Arin!" he called. "Arin, you will be taking Kaito on your way to see Matheo."
And that was how it was decided that Kaito would be sent on an errand with Arin. The butler barely acknowledged him on their way there, in his usual manner of pretending as if Gakupo had no pupil, and Kaito didn't feel like reminding him of his existence. The more time passed, the more the tension between them became strange, full of things unsaid, and neither of them was willing to put a finger on what was bothering them exactly. So they left it at that.
They went down Eden street. Every house seemed to be a quite luxurious place to be compared to the rest of the town, and, as Kaito had learned, every single one held a courtesan with quite a bit of renown or even sometimes an entire family of them. As it turned out, the street wasn't called Eden for nothing.
"That's the Kagamine's," suddenly said Arin, pointing to a house that was double the length of the others. "Rin and Len's family live there."
Arin said it as if that was important, but Kaito had no idea why it would matter so much that the butler was willing to break their usual silence for that. The pupil nodded gravely, storing away the information just in case.
But, if it was important, it wasn't at the time. They went on their way until they arrived at a quite vast and low building, that sat at the end of Eden street. The smell that came from it gave away its function: this was the stables.
Kaito expected to see Matheo, but it was a demoness that he didn't know that greeted them at the counter. She spoke in Latin to Arin, that answered back in the same fashion, and they both ignored Kaito as if he was a child. They moved towards the stables in the back and he followed them, but as she ordered some stable boy Kaito grew bored and curious and ventured away.
It seems that the mount that was the most preferred in Allacard was the headless horses - the Infequid, as Gakupo had taught him to call them. When Kaito had asked about them further, his master had told him that it was too complicated for him to understand - which probably meant that magic was involved somehow. Not that it changed anything to the unsettling feeling Kaito got when he watched them. He had no idea what had gone through the mind of the ones that had fist preferred those things to horses.
As he moved through the low building, he came upon a mare that was giving birth. There he found Matheo, but the stable master didn't even glance at him, busy as he was with helping the Infequid deliver. He would speak to her quietly, moving his glowing hands over her stomach. The use of magic fascinated Kaito more than the event itself, without it he would have already gone back - a birth was a bit too bloody for his tastes. He stayed, and watched.
There had been vague sensations before, but this was the first time that he felt it this clearly. If he would close his eyes, he would still be able to tell where stood Matheo, yet it was a new sense that had nothing to do with sight. He was starting to understand Gakupo's choice to speak about the smell when he referred to perceiving magical things. Indeed, magic influenced him just like smell did, in a primal and emotional way. Whatever spell Matheo was using, it transfixed him like a moth to a flame.
He was so enraptured that he did not perceive Arin's approach. When he did, it was with a start, like a dog scared of being hit. He turned around and found himself intimately close with the demon.
They both froze. Arin was Kaito's size but larger, stronger, and not just in the physical sense. Kaito's budding perceptions told him of the man's true power, what he hid behind his facade. Too caught by surprise to watch his own thoughts, Kaito felt himself grow excited by the close proximity and leaned in, as if soaking up some of that strength.
Arin let him do, standing perfectly still, and that only encouraged Kaito. The latter came even closer, so close that their cheeks almost touched, and closed his eyes. He wanted to do something but he didn't know what, and he could only stand there, quivering, relishing the fact that for once he was getting away with doing something he wanted.
"You're starting to feel it," whispered Arin after a moment. He moved his head back so that he could look at Kaito in the eyes, but did not step away. When he spoke again, the pupil could feel his breath on his lips. "You're overwhelmed. Watch it that you don't lose control like that around Gakupo or he'll use it."
There was almost concern in his voice when he offered that advice. He moved back and Kaito felt cold, abandoned. He hoped he wasn't growing infatuated with Arin too, he didn't need more madness in his life. As much as falling for the butler would be so much simpler, he knew that Gakupo wouldn't allow that and would only use it to torment him mercilessly. His master liked Kaito's pinning too much to let it go.
"I'm going to have to report to mister Venomania about your sensitivity," continued Arin. "Be warned. He will think of a way to use it against you."
Kaito's head dropped. He sort of enjoyed those new sensations. He didn't want Gakupo to find a way to make him hate them.
"Let's go," said Arin. "The carriage is ready, and he's waiting."
"And this is Red Square!" Said Gakupo as he came down from the carriage. He spread his arms wide, presenting the place to Kaito.
The name was mostly due to the fact that this place was in the very center of Allacard's Red Light district and, by definition, the most prestigious spot in town. All the great shows happened here, and all the important people lived nearby. Kaito, that didn't like the idea of meeting more powerful demons, came down from the carriage with great precaution, looking around him like a rabbit released on the fox's land.
Every building around the open space was grand and menacing in the red light of the day. Great old trees were planted at regular intervals. Kaito turned around and was struck with the sight of an imposing mansion, that towered over all the rest and that sat behind high walls to protect it. No one safe for the pupil could be living there, yet he found himself drawn to that place in an almost physical way.
Gakupo noticed his interest and approached him. "That's Asmodeus' house. This whole city was built for him after all, it's only natural that the heart of it should be about him. Pretty impressive, isn't it?"
Kaito nodded, both because he wanted to be agreeable and because be agreed.
"Well then, now that you have seen all this, it's time to go. This way."
Gakupo pushed him along, one hand between Kaito's shoulder blades, towards a building. The pupils tried to decipher its name. Something about a sun?
"Sundown Scene," translated Gakupo, as if he had read his mind - or seen him squint at the writings over the imposing door.
They didn't enter through the main door, but those a little one at the back, after they had gone around and into a little courtyard. There was a guard there that seemed to be keeping watch, but he didn't even ask any question when they passed.
Kaito didn't know what he had expected, but he was certain that he had not been expecting this many people inside. They met with the Bees, of course, all three of them, but also forty to sixty other people, all fussing about, all getting ready or readying others in the backstage. Kaito, that had never assisted to the preparation of a show, guessed that this must be the costumers and the technicians, but then noticed that something close to half of them seemed to be in costume. Then he was lead down a hallway and he spotted a chorus of twenty more people through an open door, singing a song. This impressed him and confused him.
"Are there two shows taking place here?" he asked Gakupo.
This made his master laugh. "What? No? Why would they be two shows the same day in the same theater?"
That was when Kaito realized that what he had thought was just a little affair, four friends on a small scene, was in fact imposing. It was the first time he took the full measure of Gakupo's importance. It felt strange.
A small woman suddenly pounced on Gakupo, rambling in Latin. This seemed to amuse the man, that listened to her and answered her casually. She didn't seem to like how laid-back he was from the way she urged him to hurry and change (Kaito understood that bit from the gestures she made). Gakupo laughed, picked her up and twirled her around effortlessly, making her turn beet red and screech. She swatted him on the head until he put her back down, and chased him to his lodge. Kaito, that had been ignored the entire time, followed, not knowing what else he was supposed to do.
There were even more people in the lodge, waiting for the star of the evening to appear so that he could get ready.
"Kaito, keep her while I change," said Gakupo, pulling a sleepy Tadili from the collar of his coat and putting her in his pupil's hands.
That was the last time Kaito was acknowledged for a while. He managed to find a padded stool in a corner that wasn't needed and sat down, placing the imp on his lap. He wouldn't admit it out loud, but he was grateful that he had been given a quiet and simple task to focus on. The crowd and the agitation were intimidating and the last thing he wanted was to accidentally get in someone's way.
He was curious about what sort of preparation Gakupo needed to make but looked away very fast when the latter started to remove all of his clothes. Kaito should have guessed that the type of show he was going to offer would involve that. Had this man any modesty?
Blushing all the way up to the ears, only too aware of his master proximity and nudity, he reported his attention on Tadili. It was the first time he was holding her, and he was surprised by how soft she was. She didn't seem too reassured by all the movement around her and was trying to go back to sleep, curling up on his knees. He didn't really know how to act with her. Either she was pranking him - although they were always light-hearted pranks - either Gakupo was with her. Right now was the first time that he had her all to himself
After a while, she looked up at him with her huge brown eyes, yawned, and tapped on his hand, asking for scratches behind the ears. He did so, very delicately. With her tail, she pulled his other hand until he was covering her body like a blanket. Well, he had to admit that this was sort of cute.
The demoness from before came back in, her tail swishing in annoyance or nervousness, and started to talk to Gakupo, that was reclined back in his chair with two make-up artists painting his face and his chest. He called her Bada and blew her a kiss, interrupting her speech for no reason, and she got even more annoyed. Kaito guesses that she was his manager or manager and that this was their usual banter before a show. It was sort of amusing to watch.
As he sat there, in the corner of Gakupo's lodge, observing the others, he found himself wishing for other circumstances. Life as a demon didn't look this bad after all, maybe someday, when he would be free from Gakupo, he would be able to enjoy it fully.
As unlikely as if might seem, he managed to fall asleep. He had nothing else to do but to keep a hand over Tadili and wait, so he laid his head on the wall, and when Gakupo left the lodge he sank into a state of half-consciousness. He listened to the people outside, moving around, the voices that reached him through the door, speaking a language he didn't understand, and imagined what sense they might have.
He was awoken by Tadili slipping out of his hands to explore. She pounced from Kaito's lap to a bowl of fruits for a snack but would look back at him, as if intrigued that she had been given to him. He stretched and come other.
He took a small knife next to the bowl and cut some fruit cubes for her, doing as he has seen Gakupo do. She happily devoured three, before growing disinterested with the rest. She seemed to be in a mood to explore.
"You want to go out?" asked Kaito went she hopped on the door handle.
She bounced on it a couple of times, trying to move it, or maybe to show Kaito. He took that as a yes to his question and opened it for her. She walked away quickly, before stopping in her tracks and started to look through the hairs of her tail nervously, as if looking for flees - something she did when she was scared or nervous. There was almost no one here anymore, and from far away came the sound of an orchestra and a powerful female voice.
Kaito wondered if it was wise for them to wander away from the lodge during a concert, but he couldn't remember Gakupo warning against it. He went to pick up the Kakamora and placed her on his shoulder. She tapped his cheek and pointed with authority to where she wanted him to go, and they both set off on their exploration.