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Akako Akari

Zephyr | Port Caelum

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Still a small boy he was. Xartia was a bit surprised, though the more he thought about it, the more it made sense. Kairos was the most human child he had ever managed to father. A blessing and a curse all it's own. Overall the boy would lead the life of a mortal, lest he chose a way later in life to prolong it into an ageless one. He'd grow slow, and feel more deeply. Especially with a surprisingly heightened sense of awareness, perhaps it was best for Xartia to involve himself. Despite his doubts, the boy needed a father. In Xartia's absence it seemed that no one else as willing to step up to the plate. Or perhaps Red simply wouldn't allow it. Regardless, his thoughts failed to produce more words immediately. A sudden presence at the door distracted them both however, before that very presence breached the door way with a meal for the Yokai Queen.

Jun, her name was Jun. A feminine creature with undoubtedly avian qualities. Her speech was surprisingly well for someone without lips. Between her beak and her feathery hair, Xartia surmised that she was young. That or she simply liked to be certain she wasn't mistaken as a mere human. Shortly after a brief exchange, Jun afforded him a somewhat formal apology just before offering him a meal. As much as his mind had failed to let him the difference between his hunger and his appetite, being asked on the spot forced him to realize he really should eat something. After all, he was still tired from assisting the Lady Akako the night prior. Though he'd never admit such a thing aloud. Catching himself staring when Jun turned to face and address him, Xartia instinctively cleared his throat before fulfilling a dish request.

"A dozen gyoza and a bowl of rice, all steamed. Perhaps some tempura shrimp on the side as well, and a light helping of soy sauce. Please and thank you, Jun."

He finished with a slight bow before shamelessly watching her leave the room once more. He remained silent until the door was shut and he was certain she had left the immediate area. Turning his head to look at Akako once more, his face carried two emotions in it's expression; confusion and amazement. 

"Partial shifting? I had no idea such a thing was possible for Yokai kind. My studies have lead me to believe that more animalistic yokai gain the ability to shift into human form at about 100 years of age. Is she still maturing to that point or is my source material just that inaccurate?"

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"Yes, mi'lord." Jun responded before bending at the knees and dipping her head in a curt bow before excusing herself from the room. 

It seemed as if she didn't notice his eyes lingering on her, or she was well accustomed to hiding her reactions to such thing in the daiyokai's presence. The expectations that Akako had for those in her care were high; though, the demoness had softened considerably since her time with Arthur. Not many knew how close Arthur had become to the typically aloof daiyokai, but it was likely the very reason that Xartia was afforded a softer side of her since their reunion. Not even Akako knew this, especially given how things ended with the alchemist.

"Partial shifting? I had no idea such a thing was possible for Yokai kind. My studies have lead me to believe that more animalistic yokai gain the ability to shift into human form at about 100 years of age. Is she still maturing to that point or is my source material just that inaccurate?"

The demoness sipped at her soup while listening to Xartia speak on his research of yokai, and she couldn't help but smile. Human research of yokai was so far from the truth. Her study would offer him a better understanding of the nuances. Perhaps his earlier suggestion of yokai education held more merit than she had imagined. 

Swallowing her bit, Akako lifted her gaze to Xartia again. 

"Yokai are much more complex than that. Bloodline plays a role, as does age. Those from prominent bloodlines can take human form before their 100th year. Jun, in particular, is orphaned. She came from a fine pedigree, and the loss of her parents was a result of an unknown illness. Somehow, Jun was immune to whatever plague killed thousands of our kind. She is a little over 50 years, and she isn't capable of fully shifting yet. I anticipate in the next decade, or so, she will have mastered it." 

The demoness reached for her tea and sipped it, giving Xartia a chance to turn the information over in his mind. 

"What's more, half-breeds struggle with full transformation. For instance, my children have never been full-blooded kitsune. None were able to take a fully human form without a trinket made from my blood. Only in their 100th year could they attempt to take on a fully human form, and even then it was a challenge for some." 

There was a soft knock at the door, and Jun peaked around to make sure she wasn't interrupting. Akako huffed in amusement and waved the avian in. She shivered as she often did before flouncing her way back in to which Akako gave her a stern look. Jun blinked owlishly at the elder demoness before nodding her head and maneuvering around Xartia with the second tray of food. She set out his gyoza, a bowl of steamed rice, a shallow dish of soy sauce, and tempura shrimp. 

"Mi'lord." Jun said softly, bowing before taking her leave once again. 

Akako's gaze followed the girl once again before she sighed softly and returned to her meal. She brought another spoonful of miso to her lips and sipped quietly. 


 

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"Yokai are much more complex than that. Bloodline plays a role, as does age. Those from prominent bloodlines can take human form before their 100th year. Jun, in particular, is orphaned. She came from a fine pedigree, and the loss of her parents was a result of an unknown illness. Somehow, Jun was immune to whatever plague killed thousands of our kind. She is a little over 50 years, and she isn't capable of fully shifting yet. I anticipate in the next decade, or so, she will have mastered it." 

"Interesting, " he stated simply as he recounted the information given before she continued.

"What's more, half-breeds struggle with full transformation. For instance, my children have never been full-blooded kitsune. None were able to take a fully human form without a trinket made from my blood. Only in their 100th year could they attempt to take on a fully human form, and even then it was a challenge for some." 

Before he could respond, a soft knock came at the door. Jun entered once more, this time hosting a tray for himself. With it's revelation, the Cambion's lips curled into a Cheshire grin. His eyes narrowed, producing the faintest signs of the crows feet he'd started to gain with his age. Though his discovered case of nigh immortality was great, there were a few things he had to keep in mind. He was not ageless per se, though he was in a greatly reduced rate of aging altogether. Also, he was generally resistant to most known ailments from poison to disease. However, he was far from invulnerable, and still able to be mortally wounded even by the simplest of mundane methods. If he died outside of The Verse, not even he was sure what would happen. 

"Domo arigato."

He thanked Jun before her silent exit from the room. He was far from fluent in their more associative tongue, though he knew a little bit. Looking back to Akako, Xartia began to move his food. However, he spoke again before having a single bite.

"My eldest son looked mostly human, last I had seen him, he'd never taken on much traits of his Kitsune side either. Perhaps with age he's developed some characteristics or transformation, though I'd have no idea. I haven't seen him in years, and I don't think I'll see him anytime soon if ever again."

Xartia Raye Pendragon The Second, his oldest, and the only child born to his Mother prior to her death. This thought lead to the last discussion he had with the boy whom wanted nothing more than vengeance for his mother, in which he blamed Xartia for her death, Perhaps with age his matured enough to accept it wasn't his fault, perhaps he was still gripped by that misdirected wrath. As for his other children, Akako even already knew the demise that befell them. All of his children born between the first one, and Lucious were now also deceased, thanks to the latter whom now referred to himself as Koji. The only one left to protect was the Khaliq.

"Despite my own previous demonic mutations, I think the young prince is my most human offspring yet. Perhaps he won't have to trifle with such mutations himself. What about you, when did you first discover how to look like a human?"

Finally, he began to enjoy his food. He began with a dumpling, dipping it a deep as he could before eating it in a single bite. Pork, exactly as he'd hoped for. Xartia couldn't remember ever asking her such a deep or personal question, and if he had it wasn't comparable to this time respectively. He was curious as to if she'd answer him, and if she did, he was eager to see how. After all, her age still dwarfed his regardless of years spent in the Prime Material Plane, or otherwise.

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Rather than paying any attention to Xartia and Jun's brief interaction, Akako plucked some of her vegetables off the small plate and placed them neatly into her mouth. She hardly looked like she was chewing with the way her mouth made micro-movements behind the cover of one of her manicured hands. 

"My eldest son looked mostly human, last I had seen him, he'd never taken on much traits of his Kitsune side either. Perhaps with age he's developed some characteristics or transformation, though I'd have no idea. I haven't seen him in years, and I don't think I'll see him anytime soon if ever again."

Akako found it odd that his first son, being half kitsune, didn't show any of the more vulpine traits. It seemed backwards, which made her wonder if his Cambion blood had something to do with that. It made her curious to meet this child of his to see if he could show her what he was capable of, but it was evident that he and his father were estranged.  Unfortunate, but Akako knew the story or the short version at least. Xartia had briefly explained once, and Akako could recall vague details of what he said, but not all. 

"Despite my own previous demonic mutations, I think the young prince is my most human offspring yet. Perhaps he won't have to trifle with such mutations himself. What about you, when did you first discover how to look like a human?"

She sipped her tea as he continued before glancing up when he inquired about her history. It was the first time he had ever asked about something so dated. Akako was quiet a moment as she regarded him before she sighed and set her tea down.

"I was in my 100th year before I could fully transform. Even then, there were times that I couldn't hold a full transformation. I learned early that drinking while trying to retain a fully human appearance was foolish. But I only had one tail. Back then, I looked much different. It was long before I discovered Gaia. Long before you and most of who you know were born."

Had she stayed on Earth, the yokai and some humans there would have revered her as a Goddess. Akako didn't talk about that part of her life because it was a lonely thing to discuss. No one would remember what she did; no one that lived during those times survived. They were all long past. 

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Xartia giggled at the thought of an inexperience, less matured Akako. He could only imagine what she may have looked like, and how awkward a situation she might have found herself in trying to blend into society only to oust herself on accident. Xartia on the other hand couldn't hide his true self. Though his demonic mutations never occurred in his adolescence, it was widely known among their Kingdom that he was only still the King's son by technicality. Though of indirect and unfortunate means. His demonic lineage becoming the only blemish in a long history of humans and elves that composed the clan Pendragon.

"Perhaps as times moves on you can tell me more about your past. I'm sure there's plenty I don't know about you. Likewise, I have my own lengthy list of stories...Some good, some bad. Though I'm sure after sharing them with you, you'll understand my poor reputation that thankfully failed to follow me to this world."

The memory of his own turmoil both before and during the additional demonic possession by the Shin'su. For every life he sparred in shouldering that burden, he took twice as many. A stupid, foolish mistake that he'd make damn sure never happened again. As for his more permanent demonic affliction, he'd managed to fully revert the mutation by suppression. Though he could also release said form, granting him a boon of powers that he otherwise has no access to. Otherwise, should his emotions get the best of him, it wasn't hard to see a slip of the demonic presence upon him. There were few other ways he could transform or shape shift, though he'd made it a point not to do things like that too often for various reasons; Though mostly because sometimes lessened the trust others afforded you when you knowingly often looked different simply because you could, and because holding anyone unnatural form too long ran the risk of losing one's self mentally. Slowly, but surely. In his case at least.

Together, the two of them continued to eat, drink, and converse. For a few hours their banter continued, from her office through the halls and courtyard of the estate. Inevitably, she walked him to the door, for he had to go. The sooner he left, the sooner he could return. Before departing, the Cambion wrapped the Vixen in his arms once more. As badly as he wished to, he refrained from kissing her again in the open where others might see. Though if she afforded him that which he sorely desired, he'd not deny any shows of affection she aimed upon him.

"I'll see you later, though undoubtedly sooner than you think."

Edited by Twitterpated

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Akako snorted and rolled her eyes at his obvious statement. "It would take lifetimes to tell you everything about me." She understood his reputation better now than she had when they first met, but the demoness knew that there was much more about Xartia that was still undiscovered. Akako wondered if she would still hold the affection she did for him upon learning more; instead, the kitsune wondered if she was capable of loving anyone for more than a blink in her lifetime. 

It was the most extended conversation the pair had ever shared without Akako growing furious with the Cambion over something foolish that he said or did. Time lost meaning as they shared little pieces of themselves, little anecdotes that built their histories. They likely could have continued their conversation late into the evening or early hours of the following morning; however, Akako had plenty that she needed to do to reacclimate herself to the port city. At the door, Akako allowed him to pull her into an embrace, and she returned the gesture despite the unease it caused in her. The vixen pulled away and forced her lips to upturn into a smile as she nodded in response, never speaking the word goodbye. Then she watched him go before disappearing back into her office, determined to read every report in full from her time away. 

@Twitterpated

[END]

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