Chapter Twenty-five: The swamp darkness
Instantly, the moment changes when the girl incidentally disappeared into the darkness, leaving nothing but one of her shoes and her bag.
And the boy was thoroughly confused.
In the morning before, Keith didn’t particularly like or dislike being next to Lance, after reluctantly to agreed to travel to a village in the Northwest, another home of boats and fishing.
“Are you sure, this is the way to your contact” Keith demanded? Wanting to get away from this place as soon as possible, especially far away from Lance.
“I told you I have a contact in a village nearby, so if we could going this way, I’m sure that we’ll be able to find him, sounds fair” Lance explained to Keith, Shiro and Stats.
Keith scoffed. “Listen here, Lance. I have absolutely no intention of teaming up with you.
“Every man for himself...is that you’re implying, Keith?” Lance asked with a cocky smirk.
“Looks like we finally agreed on something,” Keith replied as the wind blew.
“...In that case,” Lance began, “I shall take my leave of you. Better for us to compete from afar.” He then looked to Shiro “Farewell, Shiro...perhaps fate will let us cross paths again, one day.”
“Yeah,” Shiro nodded. “See later, Lance.”
With that, Lance walked away as the three started their journey ahead with the village.
“Stats” Stats said.
“I know, I was starting to get used to him too,” Shiro told him. “Keith, are you sure you want Lance to leave like this?”
“Of course I do, we’re better off with Lance anyway”. Keith said.
“But what do you have against him, anyway?” Shiro asked. “...Are you jealous of him?”
“Jealous?!” Keith repeated. “Of that lecher?! Puh-lease!!”
Shiro sighed and shook his head, causing the half-daemon to glare at him.
“Don’t tell me you started to like him!” Keith shouted.
“Oh, yeah, I do!” Shiro replied without skipping a beat.
“...Hah?” Keith muttered as his head drooped.
“...Oh, please...” Shiro whispered. “It was a joke- huh?!”
“...He...he likes People like that...?!” Keith whimpered with a look of dread.
“I-Keith!” Shiro cried. “I-I’m sorry, okay?! It was just a joke!”
“Stats!” Stats muttered as he wonders if Lance’s doing better than they are, right now.
The northwest town is a moderate town, bigger than any town that Keith, Shiro, and Stats. They needed to pass the wide, wooden bridge, over the wide river, and tons of fisherman boats to enter the town. People mingling around the street, buying necessities for their daily life, or having a pleasant conversation with the neighbor.
At some point in their trek, Shiro, Keith, and Stats, dozed into a comfortable lull by the easy-going pace, stumble upon a rest house.
It was nothing good, it was a small and simple one, almost decides to a two-story house. A good place to rest up and pick up yesterday’s tomorrow’s as night time falls as Lance puts a sutra on a pillar in the corridor of the mansion. The lord who owns the house follows behind him.
“That should do it. Now the ominous black clouds that hover over this mansion will disappear for good, I think”. Lance said
“Thank you so much, my goodness! When you came suddenly and informed me that there was evil overhead, I was so afraid of what might happen!” the lord said
“Well I’m glad to hear it,” Lance said, heaves a sigh of relief. “Now that I exorcised this place, you can put those fears to rest”.
“Me too, especially what was been going around here,” the lord said
“I don’t understand what do you mean,” Lance said
“This town has been played by the disappearance of young girls in the night, it’s very creepy.” the lord said.
“I see, thanks for telling me about the warning”. Lance said, politely.
“He’s at it again!! And I suppose you’ll wanna where he keeps his cash”
Lance and The house lord looked up to see Shiro, Keith, and Stats.
“Well, well!” Lance exclaimed. “If it isn’t my old friends, Shiro, Keith, and Stats!”
“Can it, you loser!” Keith barked.
Soon, Lance and Shiro were conversing inside while Keith and Stats sat on the porch, eating some cupcakes and some steak on a stick together. After all, Keith had gotten a bit hungry, so he figured he might as well partake in some free food, especially the kind he hadn’t eaten in a while.
“So let me see if I have this straight,” said Shiro. “You’re saying that young girls are disappearing from the town”.
“Yes,” Lance answered, “And nobody knows why it’s happening”
“I see,” Shiro said. “The question is, how do we stop an event like this?”
“I might have some ideas,” Lance said, he then looked up at Keith. “What do you think, Keith?”
Keith didn’t answer Lance. Instead, he simply glared at him and Shiro...but mostly at the latter.
“Keith, why do you sit there?” asked Shiro. “Are you still sulking, Oh, Keith, stop sulking!”
“I have every right to be sulking!” Keith argued.
“Is something wrong, Keith?” Lance inquired.
“Leave me alone!” Keith barked.
“Oh, Keith, can’t you just get over yourself?” Shiro asked. “There’s nothing wrong with working with Lance, just this once!” he then sighed. “He’s so jealous...”
“J-jealous?!” Keith repeated with a bit of a flustered appearance. “Hardly! Why the hell would I be jealous?!” He then gasped when he saw Lance holding Shiro’s hands.
“Your faith in me is strong,” the monk said. “Thus, you must be able to sense my pure intentions!”
“Sure,” Shiro said as he pulled Lance’s hands away from him.
With that in mind, Keith felt unsure of Lance and what he’s doing. After eating. Everybody went into the rooms that got the owner gave to them.
In Shiro’s room, It had a moment of moonlight that covered the bed in unholy light, the fireplace in the lobby has warmed up the building, heat risen through the walls, Shiro rushes about the room, lighting a few candles to illuminate the corners in a yellow glow.
Shiro lay in bed, removing his sword from his hip and turning over, Stats dangled down from the roof.
“Stats” Stats asked, saying what you’re doing? Then he gracefully slid into Shiro’s bunk and sat cross-legged, watching his friend.
“Just thinking about Keith and Lance” Shiro replied. “Do you want me to sense the tension between them”
Stats frowned thoughtfully. Giving up what do you mean look.
“Well sometimes, get to know them better, just like I wanted to get to know the world better, all the people I met, but also the planet itself”.
Shiro held the candle up to Stats, imagining it was Altea, “like how we got here and stuff”, he shook his head. It sounded weird now that he’d said it out loud.
“I know how we through the miracle of Life” Keith replied, arriving at the room. “Nobody wants nobody, so they dumped everybody into a big hole”.
“That’s not what I meant,” Shiro said. He sighed. “I can’t wait for tomorrow, where you finally stop acting like a jerk”
“A jerk, me” Keith said, “no way, why you think that, oh, it’s because of Lance isn’t it”
“Look, I don’t know anything about Lance neither, but I do want to get a chance to know him, instead of acting like an untrustworthy jerk”
Keith grinned by the statement, “seriously, anyone is an untrusted jerk is Lance, I meant he may have looked like fools”
“Well fools or not, Lance seems trustworthy, in his own unique way”
Keith shook his head and said, “if only that were true” Keith swept out of the room, blowing out the candles and Shiro and Stats quickly climbed into bed, slid under the covers, and let himself asleep.
Keith back to his room and try to get some sleep and let the memory of the day’s events. He was just about asleep when Lance’s head popped up next to his pillow.
“So you think I’m untrustworthy, huh” Lance whispered, chilling at him with a serious look.
“Yeah, so what”
“Oh nothing except I don’t get nothing in return, what does because I’m not the ideal priest to you, doesn’t doesn’t mean I’m not a bad guy” Lance protested, but the boys remembering that Lance try stole the quintessence Crystal for himself. Keith knew this, he knew Lance was up to something, so he has to keep his guard up or something else might be able to happen.
“Whatever” Keith said, he grinned, “you may not need to rest for whatever is you have planned but you do need some beauty sleep!”
“Very funny”, Lance replied, he tossed a pillow at Keith before departure back to his own room.
Keith settled into his bed and stared at the ceiling, now he couldn’t sleep. He wonders about what Shiro said, about Lance is not a bad guy. After he failed to get the quintessence Crystal, he wasn’t doing anything wrong except traveling with the group, he’s gotten so used to having Shiro and Stats with him, he didn’t care about anything else, the only thing that matters to him is Shiro and his safety above all else.
"Shiro can stick up to anyone,” Keith thought. ”But he’s been nice to me when nobody else was before, what would I do without him?" Keith drifted off to sleep, listening to Shiro and Lance’s breaths beneath him.
"Beep! Beep! Beep!"
In the next good morning, Shiro had set his alarm to go off before dawn. Just as soon as the fabric shifted around his arms around and had gently peeled off the rest of his body, destroying the morning of the day.
But that didn’t matter to him as he was rushing over for breakfast, but he soon overhears the oddest conversation all time.
“Didn’t you hear what happened last night?” a man said, talking to the landlord.
“No I didn’t, why”
“Another girl was taken”
“Another one again, why does this keep happening”
“I don’t know but some rumors suggested that the Galra empire went behind it”
“Oh dear, more I think about the war effort, I fear the worst,” the landlord said, leave Shiro confused and wondering, why the empire going after girls, doesn’t make any sense.
Stats floated happily by Shiro and Keith’s side as the journey continues and the sun slid below the horizon, burning orange and red, Shiro’s stomach rumbled and about what he was planning to eat for a day.
But however, that wasn’t the case, again as always as Keith and Lance are silent with one another, obviously eating their food of eggs and Ham with biscuits.
“So did everybody sleep well yesterday,” Shiro said, trying to break down the ice, literally.
“Great” Keith grimed, still thinking about Lance and Shiro.
“Sure,” Lance said, grudgingly.
“Okay, so Lance you said something about finding information”. Shiro said, sitting in the middle of the dinner table. With Stats devours his food.
“Well I don’t know information on the samurai but I do know someone on the quintessence Crystal” Lance answered
“Oh really, I have been dying to wonder about this, I know the Galra empire is after it but I never knew why,” Shiro said
“Well that’s an answer for another time as in right now, we need to stop these kidnappings,” Lance said.
“Kidnappings,” Keith said, wondering about what they were talking about.
“According to the landlord, girls have been disappearing all over the village at night! I already told you this” Lance said.
Upon hearing that, Keith didn’t want to think too much about that. If he did, he’d end up crazy especially Shiro before he even set foot in anywhere. Born into another world, Shiro never known any home but those the Garrison and hoverbikes, his whole life was there and Keith knew that but he did know that Shiro wasn’t a weakling. After all, he is the samurai.
"What am I doing,” Keith thought ”I have no intention of teaming up with Lance!"
Leaving the dinner table on exposed, Keith kept on telling himself that he doesn’t need anyone especially people like Lance. So he climbed onto his back all loner type. Shiro, Lance, and Stats were startled at the sight of Keith, turning his back on them but before they could protest, Keith barreled down the hallway and into the street.
The street was swarming with people with Daemons, but Keith barely noticed, he was too distracted by last night. Girls disappearing that’s very weird to him, could the Galra empire truly be behind it.
However, as he looked around the place, searching for clues and just plain sightseeing, his orbs caught sight of a pale teenager. He has black, short hair, sporting bruises on the right side of his temple and the left side of his cheek. Wearing a dark blue yukata under the brown haori. He was swaying, faraway look at those blank, blank eyes like he just escaped from a one-sided beating with pride shattered; hopeless and helpless, Keith was still staring at him in wonder when a snippet of whisper hushed, reached his hearing.
“Kazumi looked devastated,” said the first woman with hair in a high bun, “he was right besides Satoko when she was taken.”
“It’s so unsettling that this happens every night,” the second woman in polka dot dress continued, worry palpable from her tone-down voice.
“Yeah, I hate this,” the only man in the circle chimed in, looking at the retreating back of the teen they called Kazumi in pity and worry, “always after nightfall, young girls are going to get abducted again...”
“Taken? Night? Abducted?!” Keith told himself
“This is the disappearing-woman phenomenon that the landlord told me about!” Lance said.
“Lance?” Keith said as Lance was the last person Keith expected to see when he saw Kazumi. While Keith had closed what little distance there was between him and the man, and once they were immediately next to him. Answering this question.
“Mr. Kazumi!” Lance demanded, calling out to him. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to hear your story” leaving both Keith and the Man known as Kazumi in confusion.
Across town, in front of the marketplace, Shiro was busy engaging in his least favorite part of his job: shopping. With limited money, he had left and Keith and Lance regarded each other with skepticism and annoyance. But he wasn’t alone he had Stats with him, so this wasn’t a bad thing.
“I’m going to find Kazumi and ask him where was our daughter,” said a man, talking to his wife
“Are you sure, Kazumi has been through enough!” said his wife.
“Well, am I supposed to do, wait for the next victim”.
Shiro head next to the man. Not wanting another incident like that again. “Hey, Is that all right? I would like to join you”. The man couldn’t refuse upon looking at him.
He brought Keith and Lance to the outskirt of town, street devoid of people. At first, Kazumi looked suspicious. But he was desperate for help that he takes everything coming his way, “You two may not believe me”.
“But I do believe in you, that’s why I’m here to help!” Lance says to Kazumi.
“Now let’s see,” Lance said, heading towards the ground, leaving Keith in confuse “what are you doing,” Keith asked Lance.
“Do you sense it”
“The energy, there’s a lot of it”
Getting down to his level, Keith could finally see the energy. “You’re right, but is uneven, something must be off”
"Who are they, anyway,” Kazumi thought, remembering his time at Sakoko’s home where he got the feeling from her father, blaming him for his daughter’s disappearance. The thought of it brings him to shame. As his life would never be the same after that.
But besides that, being in Distressed as he was, he still followed Keith and Lance as they trace the energy, Throughout the town, over time the area was calm, There were fewer people everywhere they go but the area was notably quieter as night time started to fall.
Elsewhere, Shiro follows the man who was known Sakoko’s father, the man that was so desperate to look for his daughter, even means confronting the unknown or attacking the man once more that he felt responsible for his daughter’s disappearance.
But Shiro had another thing in mind, he was more focused on the positive side of things, like finding out if the Galra empire were behind this, it wasn’t positive but he was dying to answer what the Galra have in planning.
“Excuse me, do you know anything” Shiro’s voice cut through the static of silence. “Listen I know we just met, but do you know everything”
Sakiko’s father hadn’t made abundantly clear to answer his question, he was more focused on finding his daughter. No matter what the consequences might fall behind him.
“Look, I can’t explain it right now, but all I need to know is that my daughter needs to be safe” he said
“All right, but what was the last time what happened to your daughter” Shiro said
“She was with Kazumi at the time,” the man said, crushing his fists in anger. “She ended up being vanished”.
Upon listening to that, Shiro could help but feel sorry for him. This man has been through so much. But that’s why he was here so he can put a stop to this.
Then suddenly, there was an odd sense of energy, something that Shiro could not identify, the energy around him how could he even explain it but it could be Familiar? No, not quite, it’s native, almost it like a forest, or how the kneeling of a rainstorm resembles that of a frothing river, they were things that were intimately related, but at the same time, independent components of a larger force of nature.
"What is that?” Shiro thought as he all knew that it made the hair on his neck stand on end, an unpleasant twinge creeping over his nerves, like hands or claws ready to pounce.
He didn’t like it.
He didn’t like it at all.
“You’re gonna keep going?” Said Kazumi.
“Yes, we are” Keith explain to him. “What else are we going to do”
“But it’s getting late, I’m flattered
that you’re so concerned for me, but shouldn’t you pick up again tomorrow and get some rest?” he answered, still trailing after them as Keith and Lance marched purposefully down the darkest outer paths of the village with their starting point.
“According to the locals, they’re only active by night, so there’s no time for rest” Lance explains, “got something, I’ve detected new energy in this area, It’s gotta be somewhere nearby”.
“Are you sure” Keith ask Lance, “are you sure it’s nearby by”
“I’m positive, it’s definitely here” Lance said
“You know I’m sticking out my neck for you, and for what” Keith said
“I wish I knew how to repay you. Or if you wanted to, I can stay within your group.” Lance said
“Yeah, don’t push it” Keith said
Night finally arrived. Still at the same day, in the same town, within a big mansion a bit away from Lance, Keith, and Kazumi were currently inspecting for hints, a girl with black hair that reached her shoulder changed her daily clothes to nightgowns for sleeping. She tucked her locks to the back of her ears, leaving some strands hanging on her forehead, “I wonder what happened to the abducted Girls,” she wondered. Her mother had forbidden her to go out after dawn, now that there was another victim. She covered her small body with the cover and lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling in anxiety, “I hope they’re safe and sound...” her daemon said, taking on the form of a rabbit.
Soon, the girl fell asleep.
Unknown to her though, a black hole started spreading from under her bed. Seemingly ignoring the tatami or earth itself, making it seems like she was sleeping on top of mud instead of solid ground. It grew and grew until it reached to every single corner of her figure. From beneath the said mud, pale arms with sharps nail raised over her head; cracking awkwardly like a doll in a string. With intense speed, the hands clasped her mouth, waking her up and preventing her to scream for help. The girl struggled, eyes started watering from this bizarre event. She was afraid, afraid, afraid yet she could do nothing as whatever captured her dragged her down into the strange substances.
Help. She begged, pained whimpered surfaced from her tightening throat. Anybody—
PLEASE, HELP ME!
Shiro, Keith, and Lance gasped and started to run off. Away from Kazumi and Sakoko’s father in their certain locations, so fast “the energy got stronger, the daemon is active” Lance shouted.
“You’re positive” Keith winced and ran a little faster, close to him.
“Yeah, we just gotta make it” Lance explain, they just had to make it to the daemon, which it was a dark alleyway, both of them can sense it’s energy, rising high into the hazy but darkened area.
“This is it, there’s definitely a bunch of energy, one from the daemon, one from a human girl and her daemon” Lance explained, stopping at the location in attack mode alongside Keith.
He hated to admit it but Lance was right, Keith has already been wrong before about character, with the faint, yet thick, waves of energy popping was what managed to tip him off, disturbing the otherwise peaceful night, and it was coming from—below!
“The spot where the energy is strongest...is right here!”
A black mud suddenly sprung from beneath it, like a hidden fountain but a lot grosser.
And in the middle of that disgusting swamp was a girl in the age of sixteen and her Deamon, face white and unconscious.
Keith immediately grabbed the fallen girl, feeling a bit of a resistant from the other side—is it the Galra? They’re trying to drag her down again!—and managed to pull her out as she jumped back, putting a distance to the ominous portal. He heard Kazumi’s steps were getting closer, a gasp uttered at the strange occurrence happening right now.
Yet Keith and Lance was occupied by the appearance of the daemon; it was a male, from the face and build. His dark blue hair reached his back, two purple cloth decorate either side of bangs, falling down to his mesh-armor and exposing the wide forehead for people to see. Three horns sprouted from his forehead and nerves bunched beneath it like it was trying to make a poor replacement of his lack of eyebrows, a grotesque illusion of sort. The more telling of his race is the blank, Yellow eyes. So empty and emotionless, she shuddered.
“It’s a Galra, it’s all they’re doing” Keith drew his dagger, the blade’s pale surface gleaming slightly beneath the steady light of the moon.
Shiro told him before, especially gathering new allies, Keith would often work alone but with Zarkon and his armies, they were already in another level, so it’s best to gather new allies in the fight against Zarkon was the best option.
“You! Where did you take all of the abducted women?!” he exclaimed, holding his newest target closer.
But the daemon understood him, it gave no indication, instead of grinding its teeth with such violence that the sound swelled over the village walls, a rising din like a whetstone whittling bones. Muscles tensing, Keith and Lance were relieved when the unnerving sound stopped almost as suddenly as it began. The black pool released another gurgling and silence fell as the daemon vanished into its depths again.
“Kazumi!” Keith turned to the horrified boy. She thrust the girl on her arms to his and ordered, “hold her and stay by my side. As long as you’re within my range, I will be able to protect you!”
With both of their weapons tightly, Keith and Lance marched down, waiting for the daemon to strike. From the ground or this wall... They wonder as it can probably emerge from anywhere. But there’s also the chance that it could show up out of thin air.
But this Galra daemon...Even when it’s submerged, it can’t erase its energy!
The black fog surged from behind him, as fast as a wind and three sets of arms reached out to grab at him.
“What the...” Keith said.
“There’s more than one? Three? Did they split up? Are they allies? What do they look like?” Lance shouted.
“It doesn’t matter I got this” Gritting his teeth, Lance took in a sharp inhale and breeze the ground with his right hand, mobilizing them and allowing Keith to get the right shot.
Combining moves had curbed the strength of the attack, and it rendered Keith unable to cut through all of the wrists, only the first four. While a wicked smile appeared on the third demon as their head emerged, next to Lance, their clawed hands launching forward to pull the girl under.
But Lance escapes from the Galra with a shot of a blaster. Shooting the daemon in the eye. Lance just barely managed to graze past their voracious hand. But it never about that, Normally monks like him can never hold blasters. With a war going on, one cannot be too careful. If it’s between him and the daemon, chose daemons.
"I missed the shot! Always aim at the right ” Lance nervously lamented, watching the daemons’ hands and hair were cut off yet not their vital points.
Crawling back to his feet, Keith readopted his stance and prepared for the next attack, but he fixed his gaze on the spot where Lance shot the daemon.
“Hey, All three of them have the exact same energy,” Keith told Lance.
“You’re right, usually daemons don’t work together, meaning that this one split to three, we got to take them all out while protecting these two” Lance said “Don’t lose your nerve, Keith, remember that”
Crawling back to his feet, Keith readopted his defensive stance and prepared for the next attack for the daemon, As the demon slid down the wall, Keith summon up the energy into his entire body, felt his senses sharpen and render the world with increasing clarity as his blood vessels expanded.
“Daemon blood art, iron reaper”
Twirling back and then forward again, Keith’s body curled in and then out in quick succession, the shape of his movements resembling that of claws of a wolf before thrusting all his strength into single swing, arms steady as she aimed for the monster’s neck.
Except, it was already sinking into the ground again and his dagger missed its mark, he effectively scalped the daemon and took off one of its ears, but he missed the critical point of its neck.
"I miss the vulnerable part, I can’t chase him too far, and neither can Lance, none of us can to create a full blast" Keith thought
“You bastard” The middle one opened its mouth, shouting words for the first time in an unsettling voice. “Back off for crying out loud!, She’s going stale with magic, the girl is 16 already I have to deliver her to the Galra empire”.
“Stale? STALE?! Did he just insinuate this woman is a mere FOOD?!” Lance thought
“Take a breath, other me, calm down, There are gonna be nights like this”, they said, almost condescendingly. “I’ve already hunted down of 16-year-old girls in this town, east of them having their own daemons settling in, their magic is probably right for the taking, I’m satisfied”.
“What the heck? She’s not a fruit! Or vegetables! What the heck is with the food analogy this bastard spewing about?!” Lance thought.
“Well I’m not satisfying at all, other me! I want to capture all of them for the glory of the empire”.
A wave of repulsion spurred Keith’s muscles to tense, disgusted and incensed by the crass with which they spoke about the other girls that had fallen victim to these monsters.
“You monster, Return Satoko to me” Kazumi demanded, even if he is terrified of these things, “the girl you took from the other night”
The third demon, the one with the three horns, decided to join in as well. He appeared at the top of the roof, gnashing his teeth in annoyance. The two horns followed along, creating the previous ear-splitting sound, “Satoko? Who are you talking about?” the only one who didn’t act like a deranged spirit was the one-horn beast, tipping his head in wonder and smile still in place. He opened his right side of the black haori, showing them the inside pocket. In there were tons of beautiful trinket girls usually wear to fasten their hair in place; it ranged from beautiful, extravagant pin embellished in gold to the simple one such as a black comb, While the display was too far away for Kazumi to properly count, it had to be at least a dozen hairpieces, maybe more, and the sight made his stomach drop, and tears fell from his eyes.
And make Keith and Lance, angrier than before. Seeing these pins almost like trophies, unnecessary ones for the girls who got their lives stolen by the Galra, especially those ones.
How could they, do they know how many lives are going to be missed. Because that’s how they feel, frustrated kindling burn like a spark lit inside a candle in their chest in response to his unforgiving fury. It sent Keith’s pulse aflame.
The three-horn demon decided that moment to attack, thrusting his sharpened nails as fast as the wind. he dodged, the hand embedded into the wall, cracking it easily like a mere butter. he swung his weapon, missed again, the two-horns appeared through the wall.
Keith ducked, immediately rolled when an arm appeared through a sudden portal near his head and canceling his next move. The two-horn used that opportunity to launch a strike once again. He was too close. Too close for him to minimize the attack, he won’t make it—
Just then, a fist instantly appeared, hitting the daemon right on his head so hard, it spun like a paper-toy pinwheel.
The beast collapsed with a thud and tense atmosphere descended upon the hushed silence. The remaining demons stopped on their track, disbelieved was clear on their uncaring faces, “why...” the one-horn mumbled, Yellow sclera without pupils widening in shock, “why is a mere human like you—”
Shiro head down to the ground, “Hey, Keith, Lance”. He greeted.
“Shiro,” Keith said in surprise.
“Looks like I made it just in the nick of time,” Shiro said, putting his hand in his sword as time as Sakoko’s father arrived at the group. In total out of breath and in shock of Kazumi holding the girl.
“What is going on,” he said, in total anger, “is it you, you totally responsible for this”.
“Umm, no I ain’t, this is completely different”
“We’ll see about that” Sakoko’s father shouted, preparing to punch him in the face, with eyes closed he knows he’s going to pay the price, but luckily, an unexpected hand stops the punch just in time. It was Shiro’s unexpected hand.
“Hey what are you doing” Shiro asking Sakoko’s father, “what’s it look like I’m doing” Sakoko’s father explaining his actions “this person is responsible for my daughter”.
Upon hearing that, Shiro might understand this but punching it an innocent man isn’t going to solve what happened here, they have a real problem here, the real one truly has been responsible, Shiro should truly tell him pointing out the real one is still out there but it wasn’t the time.
The once-blurred edges of his senses burst with startling clarity, everything suddenly refined and strangely heightened. Things shifted into focus in a way they hadn’t before, and his head felt clearer than it had since... maybe ever? Maybe just since Before? He felt so much, in fact, that it was a little painful to take it all in.
Looking at the daemons below him, Straightening his hand to a point, lunged forward and used his fist to drive his hand straight into the creature’s face, impaling it easily as if he’d simply jammed his hits through a punching bag.
But instead, his arm passed through the other side, he was surprised to feel a vague sensation akin to that of dunking his hand in hard Stone, making a crater on the ground
"I almost got them, how did I get so much strain in my arm,” Shiro thought as has he never been strong before, but that have to wait to figure out. Over and above all of that, however, Shiro had only one particular thought that really matter, ringing loud as a death knell in his ears as he looked down upon the inhuman thing that had dared raise a hand against his friends—it wasn’t enough.
No, it wasn’t nearly enough.
Chasing the villainous one who grins in front of him. Shiro had never thought himself a cruel person, but this one is even more cruller ever never before.
“Shiro, don’t chase them” Keith shouted and said, “come to me!”
He turned away from the attacker, to see Keith and Lance with Kazumi and Sakoko’s father, all wide-eyed and pale like a ghost. Did his newfound strength spook them so he trotted quickly back in the direction that they were in?
but that thing returned once again and this time, it was right in front of him, preparing to pounce.
“Shiro, look out” Keith shout out but not to worry him, Shiro simply leaped over the place successfully evading the hands that shot out to grab him.
“Is everyone all right?” Shiro asks everybody.
“No, not at all, you just made the nick of time,” Lance said, excitedly.
"This is what Coran and Romelle talking about Shiro“, Keith thought, ”he’s the samurai, I keep forgetting that, he can handle himself, so if he’s around I can focus on my attack and these three in his care"
A black fog slowly formed, blocking his view from the patiently-waiting Shiro and Lance.
A dark pit opened up right beneath, between them, luckily Keith managed to get away from the murky darkness. Looking at it an idea came from his mind, it may look crazy but it’s maybe the only way.
“Shiro, Lance” Keith shouted, “I’m going underground! Keep them safe for me, can you both do that”.
“Of course, what are you going to do,” Shiro said, wondering about his plan.
“I just told you, something crazy” Keith added as he stepped into the puddle, all calm like. Into the swamp darkness with a splash.
Upon looking at it, it really did look like a swamp, but what’s even more horrifying was the bodies of their victims, captured against their will and tide in Vines. Normally they would have drowned in this murk, their daemons are still there. Indicating they are still alive.
But still, it was still unforgivable, taking these girls away from their homes and from what. For more power.
"Oh man, this is horrifying" Keith thought as he got further and further down to see more clothes and belongings of the people who were kidnapped?
“Getting hard to breathe, brat?” A voice that sounds too familiar. “There’s hardly any air inside this swamp.”
Turning around, Keith saw the daemon water, talking to him, “On top of that, the darkness coiling around your body must feel pretty heavy, You should’ve looked before you leaped in, you damn fool!” With that being said, the two flow towards him like a shark looking for blood.
“You underestimate me, I’m not some dumb person, Not to mention... I have moved that I never practice underwater but I’m really to try.”
Looking up, he spotted the demon short way down the water, grinning wildly, their golden-emotionless eyes shining as they prepared to rush at him once again. Keith decided to save them the trouble. So he moves at angles like that inside this swamp? All he has to do is slash right when they get near enough to attack! The form that can be utilized even when there’s no sure footing...
Generating a powerful vortex with a violent twist of his upper and lower body! So closing his eyes and prepare for the daemons, Keith summoned all his strength to make this move.
“There you are, the energy”
Now balance, Keith calls out his move, “Daemon nature art, Wind Scar!“, Slicing up the daemons in the vortex finally defeating them and leaving nothing behind except the girls and a few pieces of their fabric which Keith grabs.
“I can’t breathe! Got to hurry” Keith said to himself as he tries to swim out of this murky darkness.
Shiro punched his stomach—though he really wanted to puncture a hole in it, making a gaping wound. Well...maybe not that much, judging by the blood spurting from the open mouth—the demon let out a wet cough.
“I never expected to be this powerful,” The Daemon said to him as he was trying to avoid the blows Shiro was delivering him, he was surprised that Shiro doesn’t seem to have mastered any attacks so far but look how strong he is anyway!
“You’re not bad yourself,” Shiro told him as tries to moves so fast! So he can’t dive back into the swamp! Where Keith is, Shiro barely managed to get used to these one-note attacks of his! Saying for them.
Catching their breath, “it seems that we are in an impulse” the Daemon said, “Even if you kick my head clean off...or my organs blew, I can regenerate...”
Suddenly, they cough up a sudden spurt of blood which was something unexpected, that’s when he realized that Shiro punched him in the stomach. But that didn’t matter with a sudden attack of their own, their claws flashing, burning an image of white in the air as they flew past.
Shiro flinched back, luckily, else he would have certainly lost his eyes, but instead, they reach to the bridge of his nose. the creature still managed to hit him.
Their nails were needle-sharp and graze him but the contact felt like four serrated knives were simultaneously being dragged over his left temple. There was a sudden rush of warm, sticky blood that smeared down all the way to his chin, and on reflex, reached up to cover his exposed wound, allowing the daemon to attack him.
“Shiro, watch out” Lance shouted.
“Too late, now I’m gonna drill a hole
right through your face!” he said.
But suddenly, A soul-rending surprise choked out from the daemon’s throat, muffling most of the grisly, almost wet sound of Keith cutting their arms off.
“Hands off of Shiro” Keith shouted as he burst out of the black water, all epic like.
Without a second thought, Shiro abandoned what he’d been doing and rushed to his side.
"Did I just get taken out? I just got defeated by a bunch of brats" the Daemon as he teetered back into the dirt with both arms cut.
“How dare you...” Keith snarled, he stalked toward him, “not only you hurt Shiro, your energy is as disgusting as your swamp, I could literally smell the putrid odor of evil! Exactly how many people have you all captured?!”
“What that got to do with you?!” he spat, “the one I captured are all women! If they continue living, they’ll become uglier and nastier! Clearly, you should be thanking us—”
He felt it before his mind registered it. The boy had sliced his mouth, tearing it up vertically and making his jaw kind of fall over. He screamed, loud and guttural. It hurt, it hurt! With his weakened body, the pain was a lot more prominent now that his regeneration factor turned down to almost nothing. Dammit, it hurt so much!
“Never mind, tell me who sent you”
The daemon’s jaw snapped in total shock, remembering the person who told him that he mustn’t tell anyone about her.
“You can’t tell anybody, okay?” her voice was almost smooth, buttered up good like a mother. Yet it sent a chill to the Galra very being. Sending dread to the Galra daemon very being, “you cannot tell anybody anything about me. If you say something, I’ll know immediately—“
“Just remember, I’m always watching you?”
“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t say”
Brow pinched, Keith kept watched the way they began to shake their head back and forth, words inelegantly scraping from their throat.
“I can’t tell you, all right” The daemon shout it out blood, metaphorically speaking as their missing arm suddenly regenerating. They launched themselves at him, fangs and claws both out.
Keith hesitated, prepared to ask if they could, at least, explain what was going on, as their fear morphed into an explosive, violent outburst, forced to react, Keith threw his blade into a horizontal position and met it halfway, the steel passing cleanly through the daemon’s neck.
Their head fell to the side with an unceremonious thunk, and their body slouched lifeless in the other direction.
Keith felt that Once again, failed to get any information on Allura’s killer.
“Keith, are you okay,” Shiro said, putting his hand on his shoulder.
“Yeah I’m fine,” Keith said, abruptly, he felt the warm brush of skin against his shoulder like he was being reassured, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t get any formation”. Carefully, Keith turned to him and angled his head so it was pointing down, nearer to his eye-level. The dried mess of dark blood has finally stopped.
He licked his thumb and started to smear the blood off as best he could, gently shushing Shiro’s nose trying to clean up the blood he best he could
“You always talk about me being the reckless one”, Keith murmured, “but I feel like you’re more reckless than me”
“Well, that’s what you get for defeating a monster like them”. Shiro said, feeling embarrassed, “so what did you find now under there”.
Slightly transfixed by the said but answer what he needs to say, “I found the girls and well”
“Sakiko, so she’s alive” Kazumi appeared.
“She is, but the Daemon”
Then suddenly, Lance burst out of the swampy water, gasping for air, carrying two girls underneath his shoulders.
Without a second thought, Keith, Shiro, and Kazumi abandoned what been doing and rushed to his side to help him, “how did you” Keith jumped forward to Lance.
“Shiro told me to freeze the water” Lance explains himself as he was as swimming himself back and forth to retrieving the girls that were captured including the girl known as Sakiko.
“Sakiko” Sakoko’s father, putting her on his left, “Sakoko, please you’re all right”.
Releasing a small sigh, Sakoko woke up again, along with the other girls they rescued. All of them alive and well.
“Sakoko” Kazumi appeared, “I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you”
“You don’t have to apologize” Sakoko’s father, putting his own hand on his shoulder, “if there’s anyone to apologize, it’s me, I shouldn’t have blamed you right from the start, I know it wasn’t your fault”
Keith smiled, even though he didn’t get any answers, he was glad another woman’s life from the horrors of the galra empire.
“Here, I think this belongs to you,” Keith said, delivering the fabric that contains the pens, A bright red silk ribbon; a small, matching set of Claw Clips, three Hair Stick Pins, and Barrettes Pins.
These girls... every last one of them was almost becoming slaves to the empire. Luckily Keith and the other arrived just in the nick of time.
Or else their families must have never seen them again.
“We better be going now,” Shiro said, politely as the sun started to Rose up into the atmosphere, and Keith, Shiro, and Lance continue to walk on their merry way.
“We are on my way now,” Lance said, bidding farewell to Kazumi, Sakiko, and her father. “I’m leaving the young women in your hands! Make sure they return home safely”
“All right! We do that, farewell Mr.” Sakoko shouted back to them.
Daytime. The gang continues to walks along a path, Keith wonder there could be others as not just him, how many people were killed, tortured, and tormented? By the hands of the empire, especially by the hands of Zarkon.
“I will make you pay for what you’ve done” Keith did to himself out loud.
“What you mean to make you pay” Shiro ask
“Oh nothing I was just thinking about the girls, I’m glad we were able to save them” Keith said
“Me too” Lance added. “So now that everything’s said and done, does that mean I can join your group”
“Sure what the heck” Keith said
“I think we mean yes” l
By slaying the swamp Daemon, Keith could have ended it all quickly being dead. But instead, with the help of Lance and Shiro, Keith had successfully destroyed the monster. That’s right… He just doesn’t realize it… Keith is quite a nice fellow. A really nice person and Besides more the merrier.