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Akako Akari

Yoru no Kyōfu

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Darkness, the familiar feeling of the void wrapped around Koji like a blanket. There was no feeling, no noise here, not even the sound of breath. Seconds stretched into minutes which then felt like hours. It was a suffocating depletion of the senses that he knew better than anyone else. The Void Kitsune had once trapped him in his own personal hell, the void, for much longer than strictly necessary and yet, she lived. Akako was alive and well despite everything they had done to wipe her from existence while his mate was gone. The one he had loved more than anything else was taken from him when she hadn't deserved to die. The universe had always been a cruel mistress to him and his family. Perhaps his father was to blame for the misfortune because he too was plagued by piss poor luck.

Even so, it had been fortunate that his Empress had gathered him a harem before her untimely passing so he would not be lonely. But, did those in his servitude truly fill the hole she left in his life? The emperor was blessed with children and followers. He was in communication with the other leaders in the area and seemed to be doing well, but without his Empress pulling the strings behind him, what was his purpose now?  Who was he without her influence? Was he capable of true greatness without Kimi's constant counsel and whispers to encourage every despicable deed he did?

Deep in the darkness, something flashed, a spark that seemed misplaced in this realm. A pallid green glow, sickly in color, weak against the blackness and so far away. It seemed to be slowly approaching while Koji was anchored to where he was, not tethered to a floor but floating in place. rooted in the abyss. From a distance, it looked like fire, but it was difficult to tell. It could easily be his own mind toying with him seeing as where he was. Perhaps Akako had captured him again somehow, it was a possibility. He knew she had been brought back from the dead, but she had been missing for several months now. As quickly as she had returned, she was gone again. Maybe this was what she had been plotting this entire time. No one would put it past her to find her retribution. If nothing, the woman was vindictive and vengeful.

Koji would suddenly feel fingertips against his back, gently tracing down the line of his spine. It was a familiar touch that was so confident and so sure that he wouldn't mistake the owner of those slender digits. Even though the cloth that covered his back, he would feel the bite of cold as her chilled digits danced down his spine like a chill. It was a sudden onslaught to his deprived senses to be sure.

A fluttering giggle, high and light, echoed around him as if the owner of the voice wasn't hovering just behind him. "Sia itov... svabol herajic wux?" Her voice a soft coo behind him, her breath a cold wind at his neck. There was a hint of concern in her tone as if she knew all that had been happening in her absence as if she had never really died. It was so commonplace that it was difficult to tell if she had really died or not. It was as if she had never left him.

"So lost, my love. So very lost." She rounded him then, still invisible to his eyes, but he would feel her fingers trail around until they rested on his chest. "I cannot rest like this. These imposters taking my place... they aren't me. They cannot guide you as I can. They cannot adore you and serve you as I did." She paused, a sigh sounding the in pitch before she resumed. Only those words would affirm that her death had been real and this was an apparition of sorts, a ghost that would never cease haunting him. Most would consider it a curse, but perhaps he would think himself blessed to have his true soul mate with him even after death.

"You know what you need to do... What we were born to do. Burn it all, my love. I am with you. Si geou agantal qe mrith wux."

Her lips were on his then, and still, he would be unable to see her but would be able to feel something not quite right about his Empress's lips. They weren't as full as they had been in the past and it felt as if something was missing. There was no scent, as if she wasn't truly there, though he'd feel Kimi pressed against him as she had when she was alive.

Suddenly, there was light, pale and green, casting an eerie glow upon the pair. The small green ember was just above them, flickering with wicked intent as if the little flame was no flame at all, but a spirit that was shedding light on the truth. It was then that he could see his mate. Kimi was a corpse, practically rotted away. Her lips were still on his, half eaten away by the maggots that had likely devoured her flesh in her passing. Those familiar crimson eyes glinted with a violent promise as her left hand, a skeleton lifted to grip the cloth at his chest. Her lips parted and the stench of death would hit his nose then, the illusion was gone.

The green light glinted off her rotted organs and eyes. Half of her face was missing, skin hanging from just beneath her left eye. The right side of her face was as perfect as it had always been. The sinewy muscle was bared to his eyes, her heart beneath her ribs unmoving and bare. It was a nightmare. A terror. She was the undead haunting him.



Edited by Akako Akari

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He couldn't remember the last time he had truly, deeply slept. Not that he actually require slumber to maintain himself. Still, the sensation was something he had learned to enjoy with his beloved Empress. This moment however, was nothing like the ones spent in the company of his late Empress. The foreign concept of intimacy it held felt something akin to his mother perhaps, whom had appeared to try and stop him during the Whispernight Blight. Perhaps she had beckoned him beyond the veil for another failed attempt upon his life. It couldn't be her though. She wasn't strong enough to stop him then, and she wouldn't be strong enough to stop him now. All she could do was sit back and wait for the inevitability of his consuming purpose to reach her, no matter how many worlds apart they were. His mind then weighed the possibility that it could have been Akako toying with him in his dreams. She had been scarce and incredibly quiet since her return to the world of the living. But did she even truly have what it took to stop him? Even as a Nine Tails, she could hardly compete with him outside the void. It couldn't have been her, lest she be twice the fool for forgetting that she gave him the keys to use his abilities nigh unhindered by the void. Without her previous friends at her disposal, there was no way she'd consider taking Koji alone. 

"Sia itov... svabol herajic wux?"

Before he heard her speak he became paralyzed by her very touch. Unlike her warm nature in the past, she was extremely cold, though none the less inviting. Her touch caused a chill to run up his spine, inspiring goosebumps to take him in his entirety. His almond shaped eyes widened in shock, his mouth slightly ajar as we tried to answer, but no words came to mind. There were so many things he wished he could have told her or shared with her, so many thoughts he wished to share her perceptive view on. Yet, in her presence feign or not, he couldn't seem to process beyond his clashing feelings enough to actually speak. What ailed him indeed.

"So lost, my love. So very lost." She rounded him then, still invisible to his eyes, but he would feel her fingers trail around until they rested on his chest. "I cannot rest like this. These impostors taking my place... they aren't me. They cannot guide you as I can. They cannot adore you and serve you as I did."

She was painfully right. None could do for him what she had, nor the way she had. Though that included the way she manipulated him, just like the rest of those he despised for the same reason, like their parents. He hated her, and yet he was convinced he merely hated being without her. A means to rationalize an end where perhaps he didn't think about her. Admitting she was gone was hard to do, committing to letting her rest was hard to do. Looking at their son was hard to do. Just as she had organized him a harem, how much of his reality was organized by her? Was any of this his? His clan, his dynasty, his ambitions? He rationalized with himself that his actions were in fact all his, and that his ideas were his first. Without Kimi to maintain his path however, he raised many doubts to these claims. He believed himself to be a manipulator of the Red String, though it seemed he may have been sorely mistaken. Never would he have cut the string of his Empress. Had it simply snapped outside of his control, or was he never truly in control? As if it were truly her, his obvious air of confusion even as she showed herself to him, she did as she always would have. She reassured him of himself.

"You know what you need to do... What we were born to do. Burn it all, my love. I am with you. Si geou agantal qe mrith wux."

Suddenly, he could truly see her. What he saw visibly before him was nothing like what he remembered in his mind's eye. Her sweet scent of cherry blossoms and sandalwood swiftly revealed itself in the likeness of death. The decomposing corpse pretended to place it's lips upon his, maggots, rot, and all. In a silent cry, it's skull parted where its mouth would be, imparting a strong gust of brimstone upon his sense of smell before her rotting corpse vanished again. The lurid green light lingering in the subconscious mind before dimming out like her image had. Once again he was alone in the dark, cold, void. His violet eyes still affixed approximately where he had seen his beloved brief albeit eternal moments ago. Was it her, or was his mind so plagued by her loss that he was doing this to himself? 

"svabolen idol tir si gethrisj sia itov, ekess wer zulf svaklar ehis ui harkt, usv wer harkt svaklar ehis ui zulf?"

Just as he had when they were trapped apart in the void, he spoke to her in hopes that just as she had surprised him in his solitude, she would surprise him now. If there was any measure of chance that this could truly be her way of reaching out to him from another dimension. If there was any measure of chance that she could hear him and possibly respond, if there was anyway to gain a sign to indicate an answer to his loaded question, he'd try to obtain it. Even at the cost of a bit of his sanity, however much of it was left to begin with.

@Akako Akari

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