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Akako Akari

Return of the Fallen Yokai Queen

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It was becoming more and more common that she would find her shadow as the only consistent companion in her life. It was purposeful; though it didn't make it any less painful. Humans craved and needed companionship, touch, and love. In this, she was no different from them. It was deplorable, burdensome, and entirely unacceptable. After all these years, she'd hoped to turn it off entirely. While she had come close, she still had urges and moments where those longings haunted her like an unyielding phantom, an emotional poltergeist that tormented her.


She was immortal, once called a Queen in rumor and reputation only. Whispers of the Queen of Yokai had since quieted with her frequent disappearances. The longer she lingered here, the more ties she made, the more relationships she built only to tear apart. It was a predetermined cycle that despite others' efforts, remained. As a series came full circle, the demoness would return to the void.  In her seclusion, she precariously rebuilt the wall, the defenses she guarded so carefully. Over the last few years, she was absent more often than not.


Lately, Akako had made many appearances throughout a few weeks to visit acquaintances despite her reluctance. Favors had been called in, and she found herself involved in foolishness, though, it did help the time pass. She justified returning because her impassive nature was intact and her ironclad walls were in place. There had been a slight misstep, but Akako had swiftly corrected the error and felt confident enough to wander Arcane East after her brief visit to Terrenus.


It seemed like no matter where she went, it was unbearably cold. Drifts of snow fell in hypnotic swirls that the daiyokai watched with mild interest. Everything else was quiet. Rarely did she pass any other travelers, likely because of the mage-storms. Though, Akako didn't seem to care either way. Perhaps to onlookers, it was reckless, but the demoness could and would slip beyond the veil to avoid the worst of it if it came down to it. She always seemed to have a contingency plan, or she didn't honestly care. If she were meant to die, then she would and hopefully if she did again, no one would be so foolish to bring her back. Several millennia was enough.


Her travels were aimless, passing Umbra, hugging the mountain line as she went. There were no used roads here. However, there were small settlements here and there that she didn't pause to explore. Smoke from fires warming homes drifted up to the heavens and served as an implicit warning that the houses weren't vacant.  


Her true nature was hidden behind a glamour as it usually was. The curtain of her black hair fell down her back and spilled over her shoulders offering a bit of additional warmth. She was dressed in a traditional winter hikizuri kimono, her hands hidden within the sleeves. The top layer was a crisp white with golden cranes suspended in flight stitched into the fabric in an intricate scene. The layer beneath was a bright red that only showed at the vixen's neckline and each time she stepped. The obiage was a deep violet fabric that a golden obi was layered on top. It was fastened tight around Akako's waist.


Even with as many layers as she wore, the demoness was cold, her fingers chilled beneath the fabric of her kimono sleeves. Memories of heat surfaced to her mind, and she craved it despite herself. It was easy to justify. It was a recent memory and pleasant. With a huff of amusement, Akako looked back to the sky again as if to dare it to open up.

Edited by Akako Akari
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Upon her arrival to the Arcane East, Akako's yoki had shone bright like a beacon to any that recognized her. It had been brief, the demoness swiftly concealing her presence to make it much more difficult for others to find her. Even her unique scent had been hidden to thwart any who would attempt to track her. Only a few would be able to feel her presence despite all of this — those with a blood bond to her and her familiars. It was this reason that she wasn't entirely surprised to feel two of her own approaching her rapidly. The pull of the familiars' bond was strong, and Akako couldn't help the way her lips upturned as she paused and waited.


Snow continued to fall, barren branches clawing at the air as if grasping for her. It was all ignored as the vixen remained with her amber eyes cast to the sky. There was unwilling anticipation in seeing the pair of familiar as she hadn't seen them since the Festival in Port Caelum so many months ago. Her estate that was now back in the Void realm had been closed off from anyone, including those that used to serve her and reside under her care. It was too dangerous. The twin feline yokai that she had lost had been a lesson that she was hard-pressed to forget.  


A hawk beat its wings; a white serpent grasped in its talons. Copper and gold feathers glinted despite the lack of sunlight. The world was bright, snow reflecting what little light that came through the clouds that lingered in the sky. Akako appreciated both demons for a moment as she watched the hawk angle her wings and dive towards the Earth. Human eyes wouldn't see the decent with how fast she careened towards the ground, but she wasn't nearly as skilled in hiding her yoki, and so any with spiritual ability would feel her.


Before crashing, yoki swelled around the pair and with a flourish of magic and a plume of white powdered snow, a couple of women stood before Akako. Both immediately knelt and daiyokai rose a brow as she watched them. The hawk was lovely, with dripping feathers that faded from copper to a warmed honey color that fell to her shoulders; eyes were large filled mostly with her pupils and rimmed with gold. Her face was sharply angled, her cheekbones pronounced and a hooked charcoal colored beak that made her look refined. She dressed as Akako had last seen her, a light gray kimono with the crest of Akako's house engraved over her heart.


To her left, the serpent rose, her bob-cut white locks falling away from her face. Her eyes were a light lavender color that was mostly for show. She wore glasses to see a bit better than she would without them; however, the serpent could merely see shapes and heat signatures.  Her lips parted, and she sucked in a breath, tasting the air, her forked tongue flicking before retreating to warmth. She was tall and slender, the serpent; built like a dancer. The woman was all limbs and grace. She dressed in white skinny-jeans, black over-the-knee boots, with a thick white jacket lined with fur.


"My lady," the hawk demurred first.


"Lady Akako," followed the serpent.


"Enough." Akako's voice was stern, and she watched the pair as their brows drew inward into a collective frown.


"What do you mean... enough?" Aiyoku, the serpent, asked perplexed.


"Why have you come?" the vixen asked rather than answering the question.


It was the hawk's turn to respond, and she stepped forward. "Many of us have been misplaced since you've closed off your home to us. We are here to ask for shelter again... for all of us."


Akako's chin lifted and her lips pressed into a severe frown. "You both know why my estate has been restricted."


Jun, the hawk, lowered her eyes to peer at her feet while Aiyoku hissed in annoyance and brazenly stepped forward. "We weren't prepared last time. Your daughter is dead. There is none else that can step into the Void, into your estate without your explicit permission."


Xartia.


Akako thought the name while holding Aiyoku's hard stare. He had access, and if he were to betray her trust again, there could be a slaughter. It wasn't worth it.


"My lady," Jun spoke again, her eyes remaining down-cast. "We are being persecuted. Those of us with more... visible demon attributes. Some humans don't understand."


With that, Akako's spine straightened, and she felt the restraint in her slip a little, her yoki flaring for less than a second. "There are safe places, like Port Caelu-"


"We wish to return home, Akako." Aiyoku was fed up, all decorums falling away. The vixen's teeth pressed together, her jaw clenching. They had lost two of their own over the span of centuries. Centuries. Even then, Akako was pushing everyone out when danger was a part of life. It was safer with her than it was without.


"Aiyoku and I," Jun continued before Akako's temper was shown, "we have found others. There will be more of us, an army. If - if anyone were to attack, we would be prepared this time. We will protect what we were meant to protect."


Akako regarded the hawk a long moment before allowing her amber gaze avert to look at Aiyokyu. A small noise of agreement escaped her, and the tension melted away.


"Gather them at Port Caelum. I will open my estate for an hour at midnight. Anyone that isn't there; they will no longer be welcome."

Jun's eyes widened. Their deadline was less than 12 hours away, and many needed to be told to make it on time. "I suggest you two split up and inform them." The pair of women knelt once again and bowed their heads in unison before another plume of snow exploded from the place they were.


Akako looked to the sky and watched as spheres of lights dispersed in different directions. With a sigh, Akako looked back to the path ahead before she turned on her heel and started in the opposite direction, towards Port Caelum.

 

Edited by Akako Akari

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Port Caelum was teeming with demons waiting for the daiyokai to arrive. Some looked human with various nuances to their appearance that singled them out as demon-kind. Others were much less human, covered in fur, scales, or feathers - with claws, beaks, muzzles, talons. It was a scene to be had, for sure. Residents of Port Caelum were not unused to yokai, however, to see so many at once, gathered at the place where the Regent used to reside, it was troubling. Many locked themselves in their homes because it was an ominous occurrence.

Aiyoku and Jun stood side by side before the crowd of yokai that hummed with whispers of the Yokai Queen. There was a tangible sort of excitement that buzzed in the air. It was electric, and the pair of familiars shivered with the anticipation. There were still demons arriving, stragglers coming at the last minute. Among the crowd, the elder tortoise watched the pair of women and smiled a knowing smile. Hope had been lost when the demoness vanished mere weeks after her return. The knowledge of her return to Valucre was enough to lift the spirits of the creatures that were persecuted in her absence.

It was the thickening of the air that signified the daiyokai wasn't far. The crowd hushed as they watched and waited to see the demoness. It was minutes before midnight, and she was finally here. Heat flooded everyone's lungs as the atmosphere warmed and became heavy. It was a familiar feeling to many and foreign to others. There were children among the crowd, their voices excited as they whispered to their parents asking if they would see Lady Akako or if she was as powerful as rumor made everyone believe.

Then there was a tear, a jagged vertical mark on the fabric of space. It was a sickly noise, like when flesh ripped apart, and an equally disturbing visage. There were a few in the masses that stepped back in alarm, whereas others were more accustomed to the demoness and watched with a morbid fascination. The pair of familiars also seemed entirely unperturbed by what was transpiring and only turned to face the gash that was mere feet away from them. From within the cut, the daiyokai reached out and pushed out, opening the portal wide, enough to fit one person at a time which wouldn't work for the sake of time.

The demoness stepped out of the Void, still dressed as she had been at the edge of the mountains. Her golden gaze swept over the crowd and she noted that there were at least a few hundred yokai in attendance, waiting with a sort of desperation. Among them there were a few humans as well, perhaps mated or betrothed to demons. The vixen hummed then turned to look to the familiars that remained in place.

"Open the portal wider," she instructed before looking back to the mob of yokai.

Taking a breath, Akako spoke, her voice carrying with ease to reach everyone that stood before her. "One hour. You will have one hour to step foot into my domain. If any of you have ill will toward me or my own, I will personally deal with you."

The warning was explicit. It was unfortunate that Akako had to precede leading them to safety with a morbid warning. Behind Akako, the Jun and Aiyoku stretched the tear wide, the magic burning their hands as they did so. Akako had never held a portal open for an extended period like this and knew that she would be in poor shape once the hour was up. Jun and Aiyoku would heal quickly and be able to manage her estate while she recovered.

"Come."

The crowd moved, however, there was order. There wasn't anyone frantically pushing or trying to make their way in first. Several entered at a time and so it went for the allotted hour.

Edited by Akako Akari

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The hour came and went, and the vixen remained still, her gaze sweeping over the darkened horizon to be sure there were no others. The port city was quiet, the slow thrum of heartbeats and breathing was all the vixen could hear. She had said that she would only allow an hour, but it was ten minutes past, and she was still waiting. When she was confident that everyone that wished to come had entered, she spoke to Aiyoku and Jun without turning her head.

"Both of you go and manage things on my estate. Be sure everyone is settled... "

The pair looked at each other with unspoken questions, Jun snapping her beak and Aiyoky's serpentine tongue tasting the air as they considered each other for a moment. Aiyoku looked to Akako's back and pressed her lips into a thin line before parting them to speak.

"Go."

The command was soft, but Aiyoku couldn't refute it and bowed her head before turning away and entering the slowly closing portal. Jun lingered for a mere moment before she too followed Aiyoku into the Void. The entrance sealed closed then, stitching itself back together and Akako wavered on her feet. The daiyokai sucked in a shaky breath as she felt her yoki curl in on itself within her, what was left of it.  Holding the door open for over an hour was draining; however, she hadn't expected it to take this much of a toll on her.

The world swayed as she remained on her feet, her black hair fading to white and gold, her glamour fading along with her magic. Part of her wondered if she would make it back to the wilds, but she also knew the state she was in. Akako wasn't a fool. Aiyoku and Jun might not have realized it, but Akako had sapped the vast majority of her yoki, and she would need to feed for the first time in over a century. Someone's soul would become forfeit to her, and it would need to be someone young for her to recover what she'd lost. If she could, she'd take a dying man's soul, that would make it so much easier.

There was a time that it didn't matter to her, stealing life as if it were her own. Something had changed and shifted; perhaps it was the influence of humans she had been so keen on keeping around her as of late. The daiyokai felt too much, cared too much. It would explain why she thought it necessary to involve herself in Red's affairs, to deter her from making any more idiotic mistakes. Or perhaps it was an excuse. Since when did she care? It was time to turn it off again. Her meddling had to come to an end if she was to survive this new lease on life.

Akako turned her head to glance back at the sealing entrance and pain snaked through her like a white-hot iron. Her face twisted into a grimace as she watched the portal close. As the portal sealed entirely, the vixen's eyes rolled back in her head, and she collapsed in a heap of useless muscle and bones. She lay still on the ground, darkness completely consuming her.

Edited by Akako Akari

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It took him this long to decide to bring himself before her, and as always his timing was ironic as it was impeccable. Not that he was afraid of her, or unsure of seeing her either way. He just needed to truly consider how he would feel about her when he saw her. All bias aside. In the frame of their history since arriving here, there was only one inconsistency he still failed to understand, though it was not something he was willing to investigate with Akako directly about. He wouldn't even question her lest he wished to make the fox feel cornered. Ultimately it didn't matter beyond his curiosity. As she fell, Akako found herself in the warm embrace of a curtain of brilliant, warm light. This light took the shape of a man, and when the light faded from his form, the Cambion stood holding Akako safely from hitting the ground.

"Surely you never thought I'd let you come and go without saying hello!" ~

He chimed before flashing that Cheshire grin, his sparkling, emerald eyes looking at her unconscious form. The hand that wasn't beneath her at her back carefully swept stray hairs from her face before tucking them behind her ear. Scooping her legs up, he swept her off her temporarily useless feet and cradled her delicately as that familiar brilliant light began to envelope them. Once consumed by it, the pair vanished without a trace, the light shattering away silently into dust until the wind left no evidence behind. A brief moment later they arrived at his manor, more specifically in his personal chambers, what would have been her room. Placing her gently on the bed, her head centered on the unused pillow beside his own. 

Shortly after laying her down, he took several careful steps back as he fished through his pockets for his personal brand of cigarettes; LongStride 100's. Shaking the soft pack, a grip was applied at the precise moment, leaving a single butt exposed. Placing it betwixt his lips, he took a reassuring drag in which the cigarette seemed to light itself, the perfect cherry left at it's tip. After a deep inhale, he sighed, exhaling the smoke slowly as he just continued to watch her. So many thoughts, so many thing he wanted to say, and yet after all this time he finally understood her enough to know that most of these thoughts and words were better kept to himself. Only time would teach him what was fitting for him to learn. 

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@Akako Akari

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It was cold, frigid even, so when warmth engulfed her lithe frame, she turned towards it, greedy to burrow herself in the heat. Even through the cloth of her kimono, the Cambion would feel that she was unnaturally cold which was a given considering that she had hardly anything fueling her body. The demoness trembled in his arms, her tails hanging listless, her ears turned back on her head as the pain continued to course through her. Deaf to anything he said, the vixen turned her face to press into his chest; blissfully unaware of herself at that moment. How vulnerable for her to be to trust so blindly as she was now. Fortunate for her, it was an ally that found her before someone else could. 

Upon being placed on cool sheets, Akako murmured unintelligibly before curling to her side and pulling her knees to her chest. Her tails draped over her to trap as much warmth as she could, though that didn't prevent the way she shivered. Her face was pinched in pain, brows drew together, sweat beading on her forehead, and frail fingers clutching the sheets beneath her. Her alabaster skin was more pale than usual, almost as pale as her silver and gold locks that were splayed behind her in a curtain of hair. 

An hour must have passed before the cadence of her breathing changed slightly. Somewhere in the back of her mind, her beast lifted her head just barely, somewhat aware that someone familiar was present. It was that awareness that began to urge the demoness back into a semi-conscious state. It started with a slow inhale, breathing in a familiar scent, one that was comforting and terrifying at the same time. It was a heady scent that she knew incredibly well, top notes of worked leather, middle notes of dark rum and citrus, and then that lingering scent of mint and tobacco. It was that scent that made her stomach twist into knots and her heartbeat speed up in her chest. The daiyokai realized how terribly weak she must appear so, her eyes remained closed a moment longer as her expression softened. 

Finally, she lengthened her body despite how cold she was and lifted long white lashes from her cheeks. Her gaze found the Cambion immediately, and she stared across the room at him in silence for a long moment before she moved to force herself upright. Pain lanced through her frame, she winced, and made a mewling noise before settling back onto the sheets again. Her breathing was somewhat labored as she closed her eyes and tried to will away the pain, before opening her eyes again to look back at Xartia. 

"Thank you," she managed to get out in a hoarse whisper. 

They had so much to discuss, and the vixen knew that most of it would be irrelevant with the exception of one topic. The Child. 

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"Forgive my awkward silence, "

He started, then paused. His brilliant mind that had read countless amounts of text found itself lacking even now as to what to say to her. He had no idea how to approach her. Red knew Xartia was different, and had experienced this difference on occasion whenever one visited the other. It wasn't like the Xartia they had been around. With age and wisdom, he was nearly a different person in every way save for his charming beauty. If anything he seemed more aloof, yet clearly he was no less vigilant than any other time. Ever the observer, and the annalist. One whom saw sight beyond sight. On the outside, Akako hadn't changed much, but the hue of her aether had shifted once more. He wouldn't ask her of what she had been up to in a prying manner, though he would remain curious as to was the silver fox had been up to these last several months. 

"I have pondered greatly just what I might say to you when we met again. After all this time, it seems I am still at a loss for words."

He admitted this with nothing but humility. When she failed to speak sooner however, the Cambion would do as one remembered and carry the conversation. Even if it was at a slower pace than she'd remember him carrying.

"You look good, I see you've been taking decent care of yourself. I thought about dropping in to visit you, especially on a night when I'm feeling myself a bit to harshly. Though I decided it was best to stay away until you made yourself available like you had tonight.

Clearing his throat, the Cambion adjusted his tie, loosening it a bit before undoing his top button on his shirt. Running his fingers through his hair his eyes settled onto her's once more.

"Forgive my manners, might I offer you any refreshments?"

@Akako Akari

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Something was different about him, more than his overall demeanor. It was what made the vixen's gaze narrow on him as she observed the cadence of his speech, the way his gaze lingered on hers and never strayed, the way his expression mirrored hers in ways it never had before. Her last interaction with the Cambion had been worlds different. Then, she remembered that the Xartia she had known for years wasn't the Xartia she met when they acquainted in the City of Doors. It had been a double, a crass, idiotic, double. The demoness didn't bother conversing with him back then, so she hadn't known what to expect, but there was no telling if this was him or another puppet. 

Regardless, the daiyokai found that she was listening intently to every word he spoke, ever curious. Her nose twitched as she scented the air to make sure he wasn't lying, and sure enough, he was honest throughout his dialogue. It was rare for him to be at a loss for words, especially when it came to her. Akako wondered about that. Their relationship had never been comfortable, but they always knew how to be plain with one another. It was hard to pinpoint exactly when that had changed because it indeed wasn't a sudden thing. They had corroded their trust in each other with brutal storms that left both of them weathered and damaged. 

Despite that, he continued and forced a ghost of a smile to the vixen's pale lips. At least there was that. The one thing that Xartia always did without fail compliment the daiyokai even if the conversation was strained and awkward. It was his comment that forced her to looked him over a bit more closely. He appeared the same, yet different. More mature somehow. Akako decided that whatever it was, she didn't dislike it. 

She closed her eyes as the thought came and she kept them closed until the Cambion cleared his throat. Lifting her lashes, she glanced at him against as he loosened his tie and fingered the top button of his button-down. Her gaze remained impassive, though, those honey pools warmed slightly. Casually, she lifted her gaze back to his face and watched him with curiosity. 

The lilt in his questions, the hidden meaning behind his words, it wasn't lost on the demoness. She needed a soul. A single soul to shake the pain that had settled deep in her bones. Akako's lips pressed together as she considered what he was asking and offering. Part of her wanted to ignore his question, suggestion, and fall back into the casual conversation, but it hurt. Everything hurt. So, she licked her dry lips before responding, her voice quiet, a whisper almost that she knew he could hear.

"Please." 

One syllable that was murmered into the silent space between them. It was the most straightforward answer to give him. Akako could have silenced herself there, but now that they were together again after several months apart, now that he wasn't treating her like a child or a plaything, she wanted to talk to him and really talk to him. 

"Are you... you?", It was an honest question that belied the uncertainty in her. It was rare for the demoness to show vulnerability, though, for reasons unknown, she was incredibly exposed tonight. Whatever she had encountered over the months of her absence had changed her even if it was only a little.  

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"Please."

Initially his expression hadn't changed, though as he turned and began to walk away from her and towards the door, a jovial smirk claimed his face. A true smile, one he could feel even in his eyes. For the first time in perhaps a few centuries, the eccendentesiast discovered that he was in fact still capable of producing a genuine smile. For him it had been nearly a millennium compared to the few petty years it had been in this realm. Even after all that time his memory was just as sharp as she might remember. Never had she ever afforded him sincere words of respect or gratitude. It warmed his heart, for it was proof that he was right. Just as he had grown, changed, so had she. His right hand lifted, reaching to open the door that lead out of his chambers. As she spoke again however, his hand stopped just shy of touching the doorknob.

"Are you... you?"

Suddenly he erupted into a hearty chuckle, a laugh that was likely able to be claimed as 'way too hard' considering she was 100% serious. His abs crunched as his arms hugged his ribs, he stomped his foot a couple of times and even slapped his knee before taking a few deep breaths and reigning himself in. Another first for him in a long while. his body pivoted just enough with his craning neck and turned head to look at her as his genuine smirk settled back upon his lips.

"In this realm, yes. In The Værse, I look like this on rare occasion. Otherwise I'm still me, I'm always me."

With a wink, he placed the cherry on top of the moment, delivering an answer to her she may have expect of the him she remembered. A bit of sarcasm, spiked with charm, and a smooth delivery. Finally his hand touched and turned the door knob. Pulling the door open, Xartia stepped out into the hall. If she watched him, she could see him silently hailing someone over. One of his servants, a native boy of this world. A young life, earning his stripes in the profession of being a butler. Whispering in the young man's ear, he suddenly lost consciousness. Xartia caught him with a certain preparedness. He knew the butler was going to pass out. Dragging him into the room, he shut the door behind him and locked it. Picking him up, Xartia carried the man's limp body over to the bed where she lay. He placed the young man beside her before sighing and smoothing out his clothing. That was more than imitation as well, for the Cambion still adored looking a specific kind of good.

"Are you, you?"

He wasn't trying to mock her, though he had just as much right to ask her just in case he was in fact being deceived. As much as he enjoyed her telling him 'please', he still couldn't quite believe that she'd said it.

@Akako Akari

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As he turned his back to her, panic twisted her gut, and she nearly attempted to sit up; at the slightest movement the pain that she felt returned. The discomfort she felt with a sliver of yoki was so much worse than what she had felt when Lucius and Akane had torn her limb from limb and watched her die a slow and agonizing death. Yoki was more important than blood; it fueled her regeneration and her spirit. Without it, she would die, and the pain that was associated was nearly as potent as losing a mate, or so she imagined. 

Never had she mated a lover because it was a commitment she feared and there wasn't much that scared her. The daiyokai had once been married as a mortal would have been, and the union had come to a swift and educational end. What the demoness learned from that would never be forgotten. Love, true love, it was a fiction. Over the years, Akako met several yokai couples that had been mated and lost their love. The pain they had to endure was usually so great that after a few years of trying to survive, they would end it. In the demoness's mind, it wasn't worth the risk. Even then, she loathed being alone. Perhaps it was why she had taken to having trysts when she felt the inclination. 

It was a dangerous past-time. There had been mishaps when the daiyokai let her guard down, and someone would get too close, then the vixen would retreat. The last mistake had been a human mage, and she could still recall that look in the man's eyes as she woke up to him watching her sleep. It was enough for her to leave and immediately fall into the bed of another man whom she loathed. 

Never had it occurred to her that if she were, to be honest with herself, that the misery she inflicted on others, and herself would cease. 

"Are you... you?"

Even as her question left her lips, she felt foolish for being as vulnerable as she was. Xartia only made it worse as he exploded into laughter at her expense. She made a face and turned her gaze away from him, annoyed that he thought her concern was anything, but serious. The last she saw him he had emerged from the Værse and took her completely by surprise that the man she'd been dealing with had been a mere double. The only time she used a double on him was during training, and that had been once, maybe twice. 

"In this realm, yes. In The Værse, I look like this on rare occasion. Otherwise I'm still me, I'm always me."

Her lips pressed into a grim line as she listened to him explain himself. Akako felt some semblance of relief that this was the true Xartia, the one she'd met in the City of Doors, but her annoyance didn't completely fade. Her feathers had been ruffled, and it would take more than an explanation to soothe her. Her gaze averted to him again and she sneered at his wink before looking at anything, but him again. Despite her annoyance, she didn't want him to leave the room, she didn't want to be alone. 

When she heard the door open, her curious molten gold eyes returned to the Cambion's back, and she watched as he waved at someone she couldn't see, beckoning them. Her brows furrowed as she watched him whisper then catch the man. A familiar scent filled her nose, one that she had scented at the Tavern. Her cheeks flushed hotly at the memory, and she turned her attention away again, looking to the ceiling this time, unable to look at Xartia. She wasn't embarrassed that she had attempted seducing him back then, she was ashamed that his scent had driven her to it. It wasn't necessarily his fault; it was in his nature, just like it was in hers to use trickery to get her way. Her breathing became shallow and she made sure to take slow short breaths through her lips rather than her nose to avoid a repeat of that day.

The bed shifted, and Akako turned her cheek to look at the young man at her side. 

"Are you, you?"

She lifted her eyes to meet Xartia's emerald ones, her expression austere before she looked to the man that was practically a child lying unconscious next to her. "I am," she responded quietly. There was regret in her eyes as she reached out and touched the boy's face. She grimaced from the movement before she glanced up at Xartia and gave him a meaningful look before rolling over and putting her back to both of them. This child didn't deserve a death sentence at her hand. Once upon a time, Akako wouldn't have hesitated in taking the soul of a stranger, but her exposure to humans had softened her considerably. She wasn't as arrogant, and she wasn't as spoiled. Though, it left her weak. Time would allow her yoki to accumulate enough to have enough energy to track down someone worth killing, however, her yoki would need to be protected by energy, reiki, or yoki like her own. She knew this, but it was a lot to ask. 

"Do we not have any criminals currently on death row that I..." 

 

@Twitterpated

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"Do we not have any criminals currently on death row that I..."

"All life is precious. No one life is more valuable than another."

Anything more was a manner of perception. Curiously enough, this is the sort of mentality he expected of the Daiyokai. Though it seemed that she too had fallen close enough to humanity that she struggled to find justifications for her primal necessities. This was but one of many joys of being a half breed himself. While he did not require the consumption of one's soul or essence, such an act made him stronger than conventional eating. Even when he did decide to feed however, he lacked the necessity to kill his pray. By feeding from multiple sources, he acquired the amount of sustenance he required, eliminating the need to kill a single soul for the sake of himself. Deep down inside though, this did nothing to grant him any wider justification for such a lifestyle. Not to himself anyway. Stealing life force is stealing life force. Period. 

"What if I had a prisoner? Which we had one, though he has been sent elsewhere....But what if we had one here? Would you carelessly take what you need? What if he's innocent? What if he isn't innocent, yet is innocent of the one crime he's being convicted of? What if you let this young man live, and he becomes the deserving meal you are asking for?"

As he was famous for, each and every one of these questions was just as rhetorical as the one that came before it. Where Akako struggled with herself, Xartia attempted to reason with her. Whether she chose to remember or not, she had lived long enough to see that Mankind is a young, naive species that often makes some of the most ridiculous choices. Being half Man, even the Cambion Magician himself was guilty of such foolish decisions. Once upon a time, he'd have denied any such accusations made of him. Though in his seasoned state, humility was something he now held in abundance. Not that such a thing dampened his naturally proud nature. After all, humility was not necessarily shame or guilt.

"If This One does not wish to eat that one, perhaps I can try to find you a more suitable meal...by your standards. Though there's no telling how long it will take to fetch your meal. We don't generally house more than petty criminals in short term sentences, our big criminals all get sent to one of the prison cities."

Or even the slaver's alcove depending. Regardless, Caelum had a relatively low crime rate overall. Domestic crime was less than 5% of over all crime in this city, reported crimes anyway. Any big fuss over the past year or so was thanks to one of few outsiders that left and impression upon the city. These last couple months from the magestorm however had left them at a stand still. It even prevented them from investigating the loss of The Bad Doctor himself. Thankfully the escape of a national terrorist had not gone public. However, not knowing his current fate, as well as lacking any leads on his accomplices left the Viceroy and the Port City at a loss. The first 48 hours are most crucial when a disappearance happens, try picking up a trail after more than 48 days of The Weakening.

"Come to think of it, does it actually have to be a human soul? Specifically?"

@Akako Akari

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With her back to him, the daiyokai remained curled up with her many tails draped over her small frame. She appeared far more fragile than usual. While she was already petite, Akako seemed extraordinarily tiny, a wisp of a girl while balled up as if to ward off the cold or injury. Her ears perched on her head fell forward sluggishly while she continued to tremble as the Cambion asked one rhetorical question after another. It was impossible for her not to feel insulted by his line of questioning, but perhaps he didn't know all that she was capable of. Just this once, she was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He wasn't kitsune; he wasn't even a yokai. It was incredibly unlikely that he could know what information she could glean off of someone without knowing them at all. 

"...big criminals all get sent to one of the prison cities."

"It seems you have forgotten what I am," she interrupted, her voice devoid of emotion, it was so matter-of-fact the way she spoke. 

"This One can scent many things, Cambion. Innocence is one of them. Perhaps this boy will become despicable later in life, but for now, he's good. I prefer to allow him to continue to be so. I'd be more inclined to end the life of a serial killer than a child." 

Something in her tone softened as she continued to speak. Maybe Xartia wouldn't or couldn't understand, but it didn't matter what he thought. What was most important was how she felt about her actions at the end of the day. He wouldn't have to live with her conscious, she did. There was already enough that she would have to regret until the day she finally rested. For now, Akako was settling for the best she could which was living with her past and moving forward. 

"But, you are right. Life is precious. It would be easier if I could view them like cattle, but at least I can have a preference of what I use to sustain myself."

Perhaps it wasn't the best time to be picky; however, it was the principle. Fortunately, it seemed like Xartia had an idea. The vixen's ears twitched at his question, and she opened an eye and sought to find him only to remember he was behind her. With a sigh, her eyes closed again and she answered him. 

"No... it doesn't need to be human." 

Edited by Akako Akari
Grammar

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The Cambion merely stood and listened, and thought he thought 'Are you done yet?', he refused to show it in his expression or to speak it allowed. He hadn't forgotten a thing about her, not a single thing. Though he didn't argue her accusation that he must have forgotten, nor did he attempt to reason against her as he once had. As rhetorical as the delivered speech was, that Cambion no longer felt the need to attempt reasoning with anyone about almost anything. If she wanted to assume he forgot, he'd let her. If she knew he remembered and just wanted to say the words out loud anyway, he'd let her. Though he didn't agree with her stance, he easily respected it. In the grand scheme of things he still had the conscience enough to protect the masses should the need arise and his presence be near. However, a single precious life was simple enough to part with. At he dismissal of the thought of only a human soul, the Cambion snapped his fingers and the young man seemingly vanished into thin air. Wisps of smoke trailing up into nothingness in the young man's wake. If she could feel his life energy, she'd know that he had been conveniently been placed upon a bench sea a ways down the hall from the door; Safe and sound.

"..."

Without a word still, the Cambion's face was long finished smiling, his eyes shut to accommodate his concentration. His right hand extended before his, the arm bent at the elbow, his hand palm up, with his digits partially curled; The tips of his ebony talons pointing directly. A shimmering, luminous dot of green appeared, centered above his palm and no larger than a single pea. Vibrant ribbons of this same emerald essence swirled to and fro all about the tiny sphere, and steadily it increased in size. Approximately seven seconds later his eyes shot open to reveal his glowing, emerald eyes. While this energy was no his direct soul, it was still a direct byproduct of his essence. His life force. The glow left his eyes and the vibrant streams ceased, leaving a medicine ball sized orb of was best identifiable as life energy. Slowly he moved to face her before lowering his form by bending his knees and ultimately kneeling on one of them. His arm extended ever so slightly as he moved it closer to her face. At best it'd restore a third of her power, enough for her to function on such short notice. 

"This should help the pain subside and hold you over until I get my hands on a decent meal for you."

Edited by Twitterpated

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Lifting her lashes when she felt his presence before her, Akako looked to at Xartia, surprised that she was face to face with him. Her brows furrowed as she looked at him then turned her eyes to the green orb that he was offering her. She knew what it was just upon looking at it. Her golden orbs returned to emerald ones with a questioning look as if to ask 'why'. The word was never spoken, she remained silent as she searched his eyes for something to give him away; though, there was nothing there. Was he always this way, did she always struggle as she did now to read him, she wondered. 

Then she was moving to prop herself up, though she was terribly weak and couldn't so much as get her arm beneath herself to use as leverage to hoist her weight upwards. While she struggles futilely, she attempted to speak. 

"Th-That is.. too much to  ask.. of you, Xartia..." She would take a breath of air every few words as she tried to focus on speaking rather than the pain. "This One... can find... her own." She'd given up on sitting up at this point and laid listlessly on her side, her eyes opening again to look at the man before her. There were circles under her eyes and she looked gaunt which was strange. Even when she was brought back to life she didn't look quite so, deathly. 

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When he saw her struggling, he wanted to help. Though he remembered what oft happened when he chose to help others directly, especially this particular other. He stood once again and sat upon the edge of the bed unsure of how she might receive him. With his free hand, he went to assist her, only to catch her when she chose to give up. Gently he continued to help her up until she was sitting up well enough to eat. Perhaps his telekinetic prowess would have been enough to lift and hold her, though as he once did, he had learned to begin loving the mundane methods of life once more. Breathing, walking, eating, sleeping, the bare necessities of man. Still cradling the energy conjured on her behalf, he offered to feed it directly to her as he held her.

"Nonsense, so long as you are my guest, I will see to it that you are cared for. Now please, save your energy. Eat."

So long as she was willing to entertain him by accepting his assistance, he'd continue to deliver it. The thumb on the hand cradling her shoulder began to smooth over it repetitiously. While he disliked to see her in such a withered state, he understood the cause of things like this more than he ever had before. It was no different than a starving human. With all of his gained wisdom, he was three times the fool to assume that she continued to hold a grudge against him. Even if she had, she wouldn't sacrifice her well being over it. Still, his reputation had painted a image of him long before she had ever tried to honestly know him. Regardless, he was much different these days. Though he didn't assume for a second that she'd stick around long enough to truly figure out just how different.

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