Ayane-chan; The Bashful Oni and the Sad Eyed Salaryman Part 2: Date Night/Bohemond's Coming

By weekendwriteranon

>Things had calmed down in the weeks after the incident

>Obviously, the rats had scurried from their burrows, and if they hadn't vacated their hideout on the west side, an anonymous call to the police quickly rendered it too hot to use

>A few more suspect invoices were found, but without actionable information, they meant little.

>Joey was trying his best at reading the higher ups and feeding me information from the upper levels, but leads were few and far between

>It had been a particularly long day at work when all of a sudden, I received a message from an unexpected source.

>"Sad Eyes-san, it will be Ayane's birthday this weekend, Mr. Yamano is coming home on Wednesday, if you like I can take him and the kids on a weekend trip so you both can have the house to yourselves- Mika"

>Honestly, after a long period of dead ends and radio silence, this was the distraction I needed.

"Yes, please do, I would appreciate it."

>My routine had been slacking, though for the last few weeks I had gotten back into it

>Shower, eat, exercise, sleep, wake, work, eat, repeat

>But now, I had something to look forward to.

>The days leading up to that weekend were spent getting everything prepared

>Reservations at a fancy restaurant

>Finding the perfect gift

>And, of course, getting the time off cleared with work

>One benefit of being friends with the Boss's son

>When the day finally arrived, I could barely contain my excitement

>As I arrived, the Yamano's were leaving, with Mrs. Mika only giving me a vague warning of

>"If you end up anywhere but her room do laundry before we get back."

>Shortly after, Ayane appeared.

>hair gathered into a professional looking bun

>A blue dress that contrasted well with her skin

>No glasses, which either meant she discovered contacts, or they were fake all along.

<"I will admit, when Mrs. Yamano told me that she was leaving the house to me this weekend, I thought it was all her idea."

>A sheepish grin came unbidden to my face

<"I'm glad you arranged this."

>Back on the road with her in the passenger's seat, all is right with the world

"You've gotten used to cars by now, haven't you?"

<"They will never stop being wonderful to me, someday I would like to learn how to drive myself."

"I could teach you, you know."

>Her eyes lit up

<"Please, teach me to drive, even if you didn't get me a present, I would accept a lesson."

"We have a long weekend ahead of us, maybe tomorrow."

>As she sat back and pouted, I couldn't help but find her even more adorable.

>Arriving at the restaurant was simple enough

>Finding our table and ordering the meal, two steaks, medium rare for myself and rare for her

>What was confusing was the bottle of champagne that arrived at our table "compliments of the gentleman by the east window."

>Seeing who it was, I nearly choked.

>"Well now, I didn't expect to see you here, old sport."

>Joseph Patterson Sr.

>My, well, our boss.

"Just having a nice meal, Mr. Patterson."

>"What have I told you about being so formal, you and my boy have been friends for almost a decade now, you can call me Joe."

"Of course, Mr. Joe, I'll remember that."

>"Oh, and this must be Ms. Ogawa from your department."

>Oh shit

"I apologize sir, I know there are rules about this sort of thing an-"

>"Calm down, son, this ain't the army, I'm not going to crucify you for dating a co-worker."

>"I don't believe we've spoken since your interview, Miss."

<"We have not, but I have seen you in passing."

>"Oh, but you know this man well?"

>She blushes without meaning to

<"We have an… unorthodox relationship."

>"I think I know what you mean, this lad has been married to his job for the last six years and you're trying to convince him you're the better option, correct?

>Now it's my turn to blush.

>"Tell me then, are you two dating?"

>Are we?

>I'd eaten dinner with her twice

>Talked with her over lunch dozens of times

>Oh, and risked my life to fight the religious extremist terrorist organization that killed her mother

>But is that really enough to be considered boyfriend and girlfriend?

"Well, we're sti-"

<"We are."

>"Hoho, I figured as much, hence the champagne, enjoy it you lovebirds."

>As he started off, a thought came to me.

"Wait!"

>"Eh?"

"Has Junior talked with you about the research I've been doing?"

>"Something about anomalous ordering forms, correct?"

"Yes."

>"Well, if it's something that could damage the company, you have my blessing."

>"Enjoy your date, sport."

>After that little intrusion, our date went about as well as it could

>Seeing Ayane tear into her steak brought me a bit more insight into her more Oni like tendencies

>Namely she was absolutely ravenous when it came to meat

>Hopefully this didn't transfer to the bedroom

>At the end of the night, there was only one last surprise

>How she dashed out of the car and demanded I not enter the house until she called for me

>After twenty or so minutes, a single message

<"Come to my room and be prepared for anything."

>Well that was ominous

>But I did as I was told

<"Don't come in yet, there's a way this plays out."

"Ayane, what is this?"

<"Oni tradition, how my parents met, just something that is done."

<"State your intention."

"I'd like to see you."

<"NO! Say, 'I seek the Oni of Mt. Yamano""

"Really?"

<"Do it!"

"I seek the Oni of Mt. Yamano."

<"You have found her, enter if you think yourself worthy."

>Inside, the room was heady with the smell of fragrant fruits and sweet liquor

>A haze hung over everything, and in the center, there she was

>In only a bra and panties, tiger striped

<"I am the Oni of Mt. Yamano, daughter of the ferocious Oni-no-Mitsuki, slayer of a dozen men, and Daigo the Seafarer, you seek to challenge me?"

"What am I supposed to say?"

<"State your lineage, your great deeds, anything."

>Well, if she wanted chuuni, you'll give her what she wants

"I am Anon of the Sad Eyes, a warrior of middle management, slayer of paperwork and smiter of bureaucracy, I will gladly challenge you, Oni-no-Ayane!"

<"Very well, then may fortune favor you."

"In what?"

>A predatory grin

<"Wrestling."

>This would be interesting

"So, wrestling?"

<"Yes, my father told me that how he met my mother was by coming to her home, challenging her to a wrestling match and then winning, so she had to become his wife."

"That's it?"

<"Well, you have to understand, for months the local samurai had been trying to win her hand, the blood of an oni is highly prized for warrior lineages, every time they would announce their titles and heritage, and mother would break their blades and bruise their egos."

"Until some crazy fisherman came, said "You're my wife now" and wrestled her until she agreed?"

<"There was more romance to it, how I was told it almost looked like Tou-san would be defeated, but he called on the last of his strength to reverse the hold Kaa-san had him in."

>Wow, that sounds shonen as fuck

>I wonder what it will look like when Zipangu finally has to tools to produce anime.

>Maybe Ayane can make a killing drawing a manga about an oni and her oblivious salaryman boyfriend, she wouldn’t hurt for inspiration.

"Alright, you win, lets wrestle."

"What are the stakes?"

<"If you win, you get to spend the night with me."

"You gonna make me leave if I lose?"

<"Oh no, you can stay, but you're going to experience what it truly means to love an oni."

"I'm guessing it involves copious amounts of booze"

<"And forced sex."

"Not that big a deal in Zipangu, I take it?"

<"If a man really didn't want it, we would stop."

>It's almost laughable, take a girl out for a wonderful dinner, get her home, then she challenges me to a wrestling match with the stakes being comfy cuddles or rape

"Well, I guess there's no backing out now."

>Off comes the jacket, shirt, and tie, leaving only my trousers and underpants.

"I'm ready, let’s go."

>She doesn't say a word, just shifts slightly

>Then pounces like a tiger

>I dodge with the grace of a matador, sending her tumbling to the floor

>She rounds again and attempts another flying tackle

>This time, I meet her head on.

>It's a mistake

>Her weight is surprising for what I assumed was a fairly willowy girl, but then again, with her light muscles its obvious she would have some strength to her.

>Hand to hand I attempt to break the struggle, but she keeps me on the defensive

>Out of options, I realize I'll have to fight dirty

>For example, stealing a kiss from an unguarded mouth

>Watching her cheeks bloom red

>And using the moment of shock to put my full weight on her

"Have I won?"

<"Hardly, and don’t use dirty tricks like that again!"

>It once again becomes a simple struggle for who is on top

>God, that's the whole point of this, isn't it?

>Though in that moment of introspection, Ayane copies my trick.

>Though where I had gone for a quick peck, she went all in.

>This taste, like sweet wine and just the tiniest hint of the steak from earlier that night.

>Before I know it, my strength leaves me

<"I win."

"What happened to not using dirty tricks?"

<"You did it first, so I was entitled to use it once, so I still win."

"Does this mean I have to be your wife now?"

<"N-no, not that picturing you in an apron like Mrs. Mika isn't funny, but no."

>She moves her hand over the nasty scar on my shouler

<"I know you are a strong enough man for me even if you can't beat your own future wife at oni wrestle."

>I smile

"Well, I guess you've earned this."

>I begin undoing my belt, but I am stopped by her hand on mine.

<"Not tonight."

"What happened to "experiencing what it truly means to love an oni?""

<"I didn't say it would be tonight, tonight, I don't want to ruin it for you."

<"So tonight, you won't experience what it means to love an oni."

>Again, her hot breath on my ear

<"You'll experience what it means for an oni to love you."

>That taste again, the feeling of her tongue against mine

>Her body pressing in closer, surprisingly soft for all her lean muscle

>Until all barriers between her and myself are broken and the two truly become one

>This is it; this is where I fade back in bleeding out in that alley, it must be.

>What this is, is too good to be true.

>When sleep eventually finds me, I am still wrapped in her arms.

>A bit later that morning, I awake to a heavenly smell

>The smell of food being prepared

>Gathering up the scattered remnants of my suit and getting dressed, I slowly make my way downstairs

>The smell grows stronger, frying fish and a hint of something else

>But what really catches me off guard is the person cooking the food

>Ayane, in a state that I never thought I would see her in

>Clad only in one of Mrs. Yamano's aprons, the blue expanse of her back and toned behind on display for my eyes only

<"Ah, good morning, Hasu, are you ready for breakfast?"

"Ayane, we're not married."

<"Perhaps not yet, but if you remember you have no choice in the matter now."

<"Unless you'd like to wrestle again?"

"If it ends the way it did last night, I might just take you up on that offer."

>Her face reddens

<"Don't remind me, I usually don't act in such a manner, I was never one for such seductive actions, but with you and the meal and the champagne. I jus-"

"But you do usually cook in just an apron?"

>Her embarrassment reaches critical mass

<"It was something I had seen from some movies I watched, I thought you would appreciate it!"

>Sometimes it's too much fun to tease her.

"I do, but then again, you could be wearing a snow parka and scuba flippers and i'd appreciate you."

<"W-well, I'll keep that in mind."

"Get dressed, Ayane, I'll finish breakfast."

<"Alright, but it should be the same as I left it, Hasu, if you burn it..."

"I'll have to eat Zipangese?"

<"The Yamano's have nothing from my coun-, Oh, THAT'S DIRTY!"

>I shoot her a sly grin

>Which she returns, albeit with a heavy blush

<"But you have given me an idea for dinner."

>She moves out of the kitchen, her arm brushing the apron in a way to give a tantilizing glimpse of her azure nipple, exaggerating her stride as she passes to emphasize her sculpted yet pliant rump

>"I'm not good at being seductive", who does she think she's fooling?

>Eventually Ayane rejoins me, now dressed in what I am realizing are probably the first real set of "street clothes" I've seen her wear

>She really is leaning into the "Japanese housewife" look with a sweater and blue jeans, though how much of this is her and how much is "her being coached by Mrs. Yamano" I am not sure

>The one thing I am sure of is the meal in front of me,

>A simple breakfast of fish and rice, with some cucumbers and carrots

>It's good, even as Ayane insists on feeding me half the time

>No harm, I start feeding her as well

>It's halfway through the meal when my thigh starts buzzing and a very particular theme song starts playing

>Bloody Stream, only one man I know would make me set that as my custom ringtone for him

"What do you want, Joey?"

>"Anon, I have a lead, meet me in an hour and I'll tell you."

"Joey, I'm with my girlfriend, can it wait."

>"Girlfriend? So that was you Dad saw last night!"

"Yeah, it was..."

>"Bring her with you, we can make a double date, you haven't met Annie, have you?"

"Eh, it's kind of her birthday, man."

>"Even better, me and Annie can get her a present while you wait, see you in a bit and be ready to talk business."

>I sometimes question why I even try with him.

>Tossing my head back, I begin trying to formulate how I'm going to tell Ayane.

<"You look troubled, Hasu, what is on your mind?"

"You know our boss, how he said I'm friends with his son?"

<"I do, is your friend the one who called?"

"Yeah, he wants to meet you and he also wants me to meet his girlfriend, so he invited us to lunch."

<"So, I believe this is called a "double date?"

>I nod

<"Well, I see nothing wrong with it, it may actually be rather fun."

>I am eternally thankful to have found such a reasonable woman

>I sometimes wonder how strange this would have looked just half a year ago to have a businessman sitting next to a large horned blue woman at a cafe

>To say nothing of the dog woman bringing us our drinks

>Or my friend pulling up in a company car occupied by three horned women, one lithe and pale, the others tanned, tattooed, and muscular

>"Anon, my old friend, may I introduce Lady Anna-Maria Discordia von Schwarzenberg, 32nd Princess of the House of Maou."

>Show off

<"A pleasure, Joseph has told me much about you, and I am guessing this is your beloved?"

>At the word "beloved" Ayane breaks out into a blush again

<"I am Ayane Ogawa, a proud oni of Zipangu, forgive me for my rudeness, but we Zipangese bow to our lords alone."

>Princess Anna is taken aback, but settles into a gentle smile

<"I am aware of the independent nature of the Zipangese mamano, and I respect your devotion to your homeland. To tell you the truth, I would not wish for you to bow to me even if you were so inclined."

>"Oh, speaking of which, Di, Arti, get the thing from the trunk

<"Diana and Artemis, my bodyguards."

>The two muscular women return with an ornate gift box

>Princess Anna takes a punctuated sip of tea before lifting the lid

<"I was told today is your birthday, Ms. Ogawa. That being the case, I had one of my sisters in Royal Makai purchase this for you and rush deliver it to me."

>An ornate kimono colored a rich scarlet embroidered with dazzling flower patterns

>Ayane is speechless

>The Princess continues

<"100% arachne silk, no expense spared for my future sister-in-law."

>"Yeah, about that Annie, I call Anon my brother but we're not actually related."

>silence reigns

>...

<"HOW COULD YOU LET ME EMBARASS MYSELF LIKE THAT, JOJO?"

"Pfft, Jojo?"

>"Shut it, Kira."

<"I PREPARED AN ENTIRE SPEECH ABOUT BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THE MAOU AND THE ZIPANGESE AND NOW ITS FOR NOTHING!"

>Ayane steps in to place a hand on the woman's shoulder, though the Amazonesses close in, they are waved off.

<"It was still a thoughtful gift... your Highness."

>The Lilim's face brightens

<"You think so?"

>Ayane returns her smile

<"Of course, and if I cannot be your sister, I would settle for your friendship."

>The horned woman beams

<"Friends, do you really mean it?"

<"Of course, it would be my honor"

<"Yaay, you hear that girls? We have a new gal pal!"

>The two amazons clap at the announcement as Ayane's face returns to it's usual shade of red

>"While they're off doing that, come with me."

>In the men's room, Junior faces me and produces a sheaf of paper.

>"I'm homing in on how the Order could get their deliveries from our mysterious mole."

"What are you thinking?"

>"West side portal, localized and controlled jointly through a contract between the company and Royal Makai, negotiated by my Dad and Anna's mom."

"You can just meet the demon lord?"

>"Well, by proxy, Dad is antsy about going through the portal, but the point is there are five people in our company that control what goes in and out."

>"Me the operations manager, my Dad the president, the head of accounting, the sales manager, and the head of HR"

"Who's our suspects."

>"Ruling out me and Dad, the head accountant has been working with the Taiwan branch since January, he's clean."

>"HR is HR, she's an unpleasant old bitch who's job it is to bust balls, but her son is in with the sabbath, been porking a Baph since Congress made it legal."

"Possible motive?"

>"Nah, she's got photos of her with her daughter in law in her office, basically thinks of it as her son dating a midget."

"So all that leaves is sales, my immediate supervisor."

>"Those invoices that Calvin was handling? Accounting doesn't make deals, sales does."

"We have our man."

>"I was thinking we could pay him a visit on Monday, you in?"

"Of course, now let's get you back to your princess, Jojo."

>"Fuck you."

>After a wonderful lunch with more back and forth between Joey and his Princess, Ayane and I eventually return home

>Almost immediately she disappears upstairs with her gift as I prepare the cake that I had purchased the day before

<"Hasu? Anon, can you help me with this?"

>I come upstairs and enter her room, immediately I am struck by her, the kimono accentuating her curves while also retaining modesty.

<"Can you tie this for me? I do not remember much of what my mother taught me, but I at least remember her screaming at me, "Don't tie it from the front, only prostitutes do that! “.”

>I've never tied a kimono before, but I do my best.

>She takes a step back and turns.

<"Well, how does it look?"

"I feel the next time I introduce you I should be more like Joey, "Introducing Princess Ayane of Clan Ogawa of Zipangu.""

<"You're just saying that..."

>I quickly bow

"I am sorry, Princess."

>Her uneasy look becomes a smile

<"Fufu, I guess it's to be expected from a simple retainer such as you?"

"A simple retainer? Not a samurai?"

<"Retainers can be samurai, but you lack armor and a sword."

"Oh, I think you know where my sword is princess, or is your memory so short as to not recall last night?"

>She slaps me, and I deserve it, but then brings me into an embrace.

"My Lady, if your Father permits it, I would ask for your hand."

>She slaps me and this time I am confused.

"What was that for?"

<"You told me to hit you if you took an unhealthy interest in my hands!"

>Christ, she's not wrong, Joey can never find out about this.

"It means I want to marry you, Ayane."

<"Oh, my answer will always be yes, but I would appreciate you asking my father, I hope you understand."

"He's the only family you have, I understand completely."

>We sit there exchanging glances

"I have a gift for you too."

<"Oh?"

>I had looked through some of her drawings and had chosen two that felt best

>One of what was probably her mother looking out to sea, but resembled her enough for my purposes

>And one on myself, sitting against a tree staring off into the distance

>Photographed, redrawn in color.

>And placed inside a silver locket, the two faces looking directly at one another when opened.

>In an instant she's squeezing me again

<"It's perfect."

>There was only one thing left to say, the thing I had put off saying since I first met her.

"I love you, Ayane."

>Nothing more needed to be said, our lips meet as clothing is shed.

>So often have I heard people use "making love" as a euphemism, but that night, I believe Ayane and I truly did make love.

>Even as I realized the ice cream downstairs would likely melt, I didn't care.

>In that moment there was only her, me, and our love for one another.

>And a second birthday gift I unintentionally gave her, but that is a story for another time.

>When Monday comes, I am still coming down from the heady heights of my weekend of passion with Ayane

>We have even discussed her moving in with me, though obviously with a mixture of encouragement and apprehension from Mrs. Yamano

>She truly does not wish to lose her "oldest daughter"

>At work, nearly everyone in the office now knows about our relationship

>Miss Violet out and out congratulated me for finally getting a girlfriend

>She means well

>That being said, the meeting on Monday is not what I first imagined

>Not when Joey brought his entire entourage to the meetup.

"What part of "keep this between us" did you not understand?"

>"Sorry man, I don't keep secrets from my girl, if you want to call Ayane then we have ti-"

"No! She doesn't need to know about this."

>"Fair enough, besides, Annie has her own reasons for coming along."

>The Lilim brushes an errant strand of her silver hair out of her face

<"Mr. Anon, do you realize what could happen if the order is left unchecked in this world?"

"No, what?"

<"My mother could be forced to launch an invasion, which will no doubt lead to war with your world's governments."

>I freeze.

>Could war really happen if we fail?

<"While some of my sisters would love nothing more than to invade this world, like a certain virgin 4th princess with Mommy issues who thinks she's a tactical genius because she conquered one kingdom."

<"YES, I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU, DRUELLA!"

>I turn to my friend

"Do you know who that is?"

>"I think that's the sister that owns the subrealm with all the purple cats."

<"I actually have come to love this world, so in the name of preserving peace between the realms, I will be accompanying you."

"Any other reason?"

<"I have diplomatic immunity."

"That's a good reason."

>Between me, Joey, the Princess, and her two guards, it is a very silent ride to our destination

>But eventually we arrive at the home of Mr. Ethan Halford, sales manager for J. Patterson and Son.

"Should I knock, or should you?"

>"Halfooooord, it's me Joe Jr, Dad wants to know why you haven't been at work!"

>A furious fiddling of locks reveals an old man, disheveled and with a ragged beard.

>"O-oh, hello Joseph, did your father really send you?"

>My friend puts on his best upper management voice

>"Of course, such sloth is unbecoming of a man of your time with the company."

>The old man's eyes dart between me and Anna

>"A-and who are your friends? I recognize young Anon, but this lady is unfamiliar to me."

>Joey takes a deep breath

>"May I present La-"

<"It doesn't matter who I am, all that matters is your plan."

>"P-plan?"

<"Yes, my betrothed has told me you have been collaborating with a certain faction from my world, do not bother lying I can see the truth etched upon your very soul."

>"I have no idea what you are talking about!"

<"Ah, N-n-no St-t-tuttering? Perfectly clear when proclaiming your innocence, that makes you seem even more guilty."

>"I have rights, I demand to see an attorney."

<"You would, if it were one of these men doing the questioning, but you see as a representative of my mother in your world I have immunity from your laws within reason."

<"And I believe collaboration with a faction of hostile extremists is within my sphere of influence for interrogation."

>"Y-you all are trespassing, leave now or i'll make you lea-"

>Anna snaps her fingers and Halford's eyes become unfocused

<"I am not supposed to use my magic outside of the embassy, but I grow tired of sparring verbally with this charlatan."

>"You could have just done that from the beginning and saved us the trouble, Annie."

<"Yes, but then I would have missed out on your big strong manager voice, Jojo."

>"Aww, I love it when you put on the "Demon Ice Queen" voice too."

"This is great, but we should probably interrogate him."

<"Ah, of course, please give me a moment to dive into his mind, about 5-10 minutes should be ideal."

>"I will protect you with my life, Princess."

"I'd say the same, but my life is spoken for."

>The two Amazonesses merely nod their assent.

>For a while, we remain in the living room of Halford's house, me being left with Diana and Artemis as Joey guards Anna in the next room.

"So, you ladies are Royal Guards?"

>One of them glares at me.

"Meet anyone nice here on Earth?"

>The shorter one, Diana, opens her mouth to answer, but is silenced by a gesture from the larger guard.

"You girls aren't much for conversation, are you."

>The larger Amazon takes a pen from the coffee table and writes a short note

<We speak when our mistress bids us to speak.

"So, a vow of silence type deal?"

>This time it is Diana who takes the pen

<Only when we're on the clock, also, to answer your question, I met a nice guy the other day :)

>The larger Amazon glares at her subordinate.

>At this moment, Joey exits the room with a drained looking Anna, his face looking like he'd seen hell.

"What did she find?"

>"Holy shit, Anon."

"That bad?"

>"A big delivery of chemicals, the kind that only Japanese cults and European armies circa 1917 deal in."

'They're trying to make gas bombs, what are they working their way up to, nukes?"

>...

>"There were also some manuals on Uranium mining"

"Fuck, Shouldn't the government be dealing with this?"

>"Normally, there would be soldiers swarming the place, but portals are officially demilitarized zones, only a few agents and corporate security on our side, most of the enforcement is from Otherside."

"When is this going to happen?"

>"Maybe a few months, maybe a few weeks, Halford was high up but they still kept him in the dark."

"How bad would the order getting weapons like that be?"

>Anna raises her head wearily

<"Any attack that could be traced back to Earth would be treated as an act of war, an invasion would occur, the only reason it has not happened is because the order has kept its attacks centered against mamano in your world."

"We need to stop this; can you keep grilling Halford for an exact date?"

<"I will need to rest, but I can manage another few minutes, I apologize but I am no mindflayer."

>"Ah hell, here comes the fun police."

>Order knights, no doubt here to deal with a loose end.

<"Girls, deal with our guests."

>The two Amazons heft the swords from their backs with a practiced ease, manic smiles on their faces as they stride towards the front door.

"I'll take the back."

>"By yourself?"

"Not this time, this time I got Smith & Wesson watching my back"

>I pull my father's old .38 from my jacket pocket and walk towards the sliding glass door

>As I enter the backyard, I can hear the sounds of battle from the front

>"AMAZONESS!

>"WHAT IN THE GODDESS'S NAME IS THE ROYAL GUARD DOING HERE?"

>I keep watch on the treeline for any infiltrators, my pistol trained at the darkness

>Suddenly, a figure in silver armor breaks the forest and approaches me.

>"I spare your life and still you pursue us? You are tenacious, profligate."

"Bohemond."

>"I'm touched you remember; I could never forget you, that sniveling coward Calvin keeps screaming about how you'll come and save him."

"I'm not unarmed this time."

>"I see that, and unlike last time, I merely wish to talk."

"Like I'd believe that."

>"Believe what you wish, I merely thought you would like to know about the order's plans."

>He turns to leave

>This is obviously a trap, but I have little choice

"Wait, I don't trust you, but I'll humor you, any funny business and I'll make a new asshole in your forehead."

>"So crass, but it will have to do."

>I follow the silver paladin a ways into the forest, until we come to a clearing, a few knights await him.

>"Leave us, I wish to speak with the apostate alone."

>The knights do as they are bidden, and I am left facing the Chief God's Paladin

>"Good, now that they are gone..."

>I brace myself for what is to come next, my pistol's muzzle never leaving the general direction of his body.

>"Good, now that they're gone."

>He removes his helm, and I am surprised to see a fairly kind looking face, I honestly expected a scarred brute, but no, a full head of hair as well.

>If not for the full beard, he almost reminds me of my father

>"Why do you still pursue us?"

"Isn't it obvious? As long as your order is here, I will never be safe with the woman I love."

>"Do you believe we hate monsters, that we wish to see them eradicated?"

"Do you not?"

>"Perhaps those who know only the dogma and that is a sizeable portion of the order."

"But not you, you are so much different in your motivations"

>His face twists into a scowl

>"Never presume to know my thoughts and intentions."

>"Tell me, what do you truly know of monsters, apostate?"

"They're basically humans with some extra parts, sometimes they can fly or use magic, but fundamentally the same."

>"Would you say the same deity that created humanity also created the monsters?"

>I thought about it, with my knowledge as a lapsed catholic I considered the question.

"Of course, we are all children of God."

>"You are correct, but not in the way you think."

>"What I am about to say would be considered the highest heresy were I to say it before the Cardinals, but the Chief God that created humanity also created monsters, as a check on we humans."

"What does that mean?"

>"When humans became too numerous and too powerful, the Chief God created monsters to check their hubris, cull the herd and bring them back into line. With the Demon Lord leading them in this task."

"If monsters and their lord are a creation of your god, then why oppose them, is this not the will of your goddess?"

>"Ha, That supposition is predicated on the idea that they are all the same thing as they were initially."

"The monsters, the demon lord, or the chief god?"

>"All of them are not the originals, the new Demon Lord sought to break the established order, and so changed monsters into what you know today."

"So she made them want to fuck men instead of eat them, that's an improvement."

>"It would seem so, and if the transformation had been wholly organic and not directed by this Demon Lord, I would have no problem with it."

>"But that supposes that 1). the transformation is irreversible, and 2). the Demon Lord is benevolent, I believe neither."

>"Tell me, apostate, what creature have you tied yourself to? Hellhound? Succubus?"

"Oni"

>"Ah, the ogres of Zipangu, knowing this, I'd like you to picture her as she is, loving, devoted, so very human, isn't she? Enough that you spawn a few half breeds and settle down."

>"Now imagine that one day the woman you know has vanished, replaced by a behemoth who resembles nothing of the woman you love, any male children of yours have been devoured by their monstrous siblings, who also have turned from your adorable daughters into similarly twisted and monstrous parodies, and your beloved is preparing to sup on you next."

>"That is what would happen if monsters ever reverted to their original form, the order tells us to shun those who lie with monsters, but I pity them for their happiness is a crystal suspended by a spider's thread."

"But you said the Demon Lord changed them, made them what they are now, surely she would prevent that?"

>"Most likely, but that brings me to my next point, I do not believe the Demon Lord is benevolent, I believe she desires subjugation of all humanity and monsters alike."

"How do you figure?"

>"How coincidental that she is the one who induced the mass transformation, almost as if she can control it at will."

"I don't buy it, turning them back into monsters at would keep the monster married men in line, but what about human women?"

>"Naive little lamb, your world has not seen what mine has."

>"What do you know of "Monsterization"?"

"Nothing, but I'm sure you'll tell me."

>"Certain agents of the Demon Lord have been known to transform human women into more of their kind, in doing so they rob these women of who they were and instead turn them into twisted parodies of themselves."

"How do you figure?"

>"I have seen it too many times to count, virtuous women being turned into base harlots, the righteous having their honor twisted to depravity, the pious finding their love for all that is good turned into a lust for all that is base and vile."

"So you mean they develop a lust for cock? Maybe it was always there and this "monsterization" just brought it out."

"Maybe you're just in denial that these "virtuous women" were just sluts all alo-, hrng."

>My pistol is knocked from my hand

>Pain, as I am lifted from the ground by my throat and then my head is slammed against the ground.

>"You know nothing, you have not seen your own kindred twisted and corrupted."

>"My daughter was a kind and loving girl, her only desire was to help others, even if it meant extending a hand to those filthy monsters, and how did they reward her?"

>"They twisted her, twisted her body into their image, until nothing of her remained and everything of them was present."

>"For three days I tried to coax her back from the abyss, back into the light."

>"Can you imagine seeing your own child call for fornication without ceasing for three days, her desire to render aid and service to others being twisted into a desire to service the male member?"

>"Only on the third day did the demon seek to mock me, calling out in my daughter's voice."

>His patrician elocution drops to a dry monotone

>"Daddy, why are you doing this? You're hurting me, did I do something wrong? Please, I want to go home."

"What did you do?"

>"I would not abide the demon defiling her memory, so I did what I had to do."

"You killed her? Your own daughter?"

>Bohemond closes his eyes, almost as if he is lost in memories, I almost swear I see a tear slide from his eye

>"No, despite my training and all I had been taught by the order screaming at me to do so, I could not stain my blade with the blood of my blood."

>"I let her leave, and have not seen her in nearly a decade, perhaps she went to some kingdom of depravity like Fallen Lescatie and "renders aid" to the menfolk with her body, I do not wish to know."

>Why am I suddenly feeling sorry for this zealot?

>A man who tortured his daughter because she became a monster?

>But at the end, I didn't see a heartless killer, I saw a father who had to make the ultimate choice between his faith and his family

>And he chose family

"Bohemond..."

>"Stop, I did not tell you this to gain your sympathy, I am telling you because you face a carefully managed invasion, only the most well behaved let through, for now the Extremists are treated similarly to the Order, but in time you will see your cities turn into carnal pits and your mothers, sisters, and daughters twisted into harlots giving praise to their "New Mother."

>"And when all human females are extinct, her domination will be total, monsters subjugated with the threat of being returned to their bestial forms and men with the threat of their spouses devouring them if it should ever occur"

"Why are you telling me this if you plan to kill me?"

>"Who said I intended to kill you? You intrigue me, not even an Incubus and you have challenged the order twice and lived to tell the tale."

>"Were you born in my country then you would have the makings of a Paladin yourself, it is far too bad the monsters got to you first."

>"My superior ordered you eliminated, but I feel that you yet have a role in all of this, and I find more and more often that what makes him unhappy makes me very happy."

>A breathless knight rushes up to him

>"Ser, most of the men have disengaged."

>His helm returns to his head

>"Good, sound the retreat, we have accomplished what we came here for."

>I struggle to sit up and call after the retreating knights

"Wait, when is the order going to move those chemicals?"

>"Chemicals? I have no idea what that is, some foul Alchemy?"

>"But know this, If you are indeed as brave a man as I suspect we shall meet again when the moon has twice made its cycle, and there, you will either join us, or die."

>"I bid you farewell, Apostate, think on what I have told you before we meet again."

>With that, he leaves me alone nursing my rapidly bruising head

>Two cycles of the moon?

>Two months.

>Its a new moon tonight.

>I realize I might be mildly concussed from the chokeslam

>After a while, I see lights bobbing in the darkness and voices sounding.

>A dark furred dog woman in a police uniform, he face illuminated by the flames in the corner of her eyes.

<"Dispatch, we have visual on the last suspect as described, he looks like he's been roughed up but he's breathing."

"Who?"

<"Try not to speak, sir, we'll get you some help for those wounds and have your friends explain the rest."

>Almost as if given permission, I pass out.


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