Chapter 26: It's Been Nice Knowing You
"LILY!" Fuuta cried as he ran out the house and hugged a smiling Lily.
"How are you Fuuta?" Lily asked as she hugged back.
"You've been gone a way for months!" Fuuta cried "I was worried about you" Hearing this took her by surprise.
"That can't be right, it took me a few days to get to the shrine and another few to get back" Lily said with a confused look. Umi and Fuuta were shocked from her words while Sakura frowns.
"Maybe the gate even though it's been broken could only move you for a few months" Sakura suggested, Lily bit her lip and sighed.
"Maybe" Lily slumped. "But I am tired" Lily admitted as she looked at them.
"Go and get some rest okay?" Umi gestured Lily to go into the room she had slept in before, we can talk later alright"
"Ah but what about the guy you were meeting?" Lily asked as Umi pushed her, Umi immediately showed the younger female a disturbed look.
"He was a pervert and wanted to grope me" Lily's eyes went wide before feeling herself grow sick.
"Gross!" Lily whined causing Umi to chuckle.
"I ended up kicking him and said that I would never marry a man who sees women as objects" Lily blanches in shock.
"Isn't that going to cost you?" Lily asked now feeling worry enter her system, Umi however smirked.
"True, but I was then shortly before I left given a better marriage offer. The dowry is even better as well so I'll be able to manage whenever it is necessary" Umi commented as she smirked, Lily however frowned.
"What is it with people and money" Lily blinks from the pat on her head.
"If anything were to happen to my husband due to the curse, I'll be able to manage and support our children. Does that satisfy you now?" Umi asked with a chuckle that left Lily grinning.
"By the way I heard Ruby went missing" Lily blanched a bit.
"Are you serious?! Jeez he's so hasty to run around" Lily muttered darkly, this made Umi smirk before she took out the sake jar.
"You may not know this but I don't get drunk" Umi frowned causing Lily to laugh.
"Neither can I" Lily commented "I was eating six bean buns that were laced with strong sake and I was still sober" Lily smirked while feeling embarrassed for not knowing that they were alcoholic, Umi smirked as well.
"The people around here call me abnormal for being the only one who cannot get drunk either" Umi added before looking at Lily "Do you have someone who has enchanted your heart?" Lily blinked before looking away slightly, her eyes then went to the bracelet Silver had given her when they were children and fingered the metal lightly. Seeing this look left Umi smiling as she guessed that was a yes.
'Treasure that love Lily, it'll take a while but I am sure that things will turn out well" Umi hugged Lily who felt sad even though she was smiling.
"I lost him once Umi" Lily said meekly "Can I truly let myself be vulnerable to someone who might die again?" Umi closed her eyes and sighed as she felt Lily's pain.
"If he is determined to fight death for you then he must love you, that is unusual to say the least but he must be a keeper" Umi chuckles, Lily Looks up and smiles softly.
"Yeah... he must be" Lily said with tired eyes now happy to be back at the village.
Silver rushed into the building his brother was in and opened the doors to the room before grabbing his swords.
"I'm ready to play" Silver said with a dark smile that left Akura-ou smirking.
"That's great brother, so has your love sickness passed then?" Akura-ou asked as he looked at Silver, who in turn paused before turning to look at his brother. His eyes narrowed in anger.
"What did you say? Me love sick? What utter nonsense brother who told you that?" Silver asked crossly.
"This fur ball did-" Silver glared as he threw fire at the fur ball's hat.
"Shut your mouth you vermin! As if I am love sick me? Of all people? As if!" Silver yelled darkly before going up the fur ball who was now shivering in fear.
"Oh leave him, he does often give me reliable information"
"Like what? What's so useful about his words? For all we know he could be lying" Silver bit as he prepared to torch the small yōkai.
"Like for example, the fact that you were wounded by the War God and was treated by a human girl named Umi" Silver froze for a second before his eyes narrowed. He didn't know why but some part of him reacted to girl from his memory, in a way it reminded him of the fan he holds in his persons which in a way was confusing. She was not a fan but a human girl who was weak and could die at any time, but then if that was true... then why did he save her?
"Apparently she is marrying in three days so I want to catch this beauty who is known to have a connection with the spirits" Akura-ou commented.
"Sounds utterly boring brother? Why bother with such an easy game?"
"Why not? The thrill of what could oppose me is amusing to say the least and besides would you like to take a look with me Silver?" Akura-ou asked with an eager smile.
"Nah, it's just another boring game" Silver muttered darkly before yawning.
"So it's okay if I do whatever I want with her?" Akura-ou asked with a smirk, Silver in turn looked at him and frowned.
"Do what you like, I don't give a damn" Silver replied darkly even though some part of him did not like the thought of Akura-ou near her.
"Oh and before you leave I found something interesting" Akura-ou piped up causing Silver to raise a brow.
"What is it now brother?" Silver asked dully before seeing his brother smirk while his eyes showed that he was both amused and interested in something which in turn left Silver puzzled.
"I spotted a human girl only she was an odd sort of human" Silver blinked in shock.
"Well she would always fight me on every thing I say, she had slapped me when I tried to steal and had raised her voice at me for taking her stuff. Not once was she scared of me and would always respond in a cold tone when I asked her if she knew who I was" Akura-ou laughed "To think that a human is actually that feisty is really interesting. I think after Umi I'll go after her" Akura-ou added as he leaned back on his seat. Silver however felt his heart plummet without knowing why, in a way he knew exactly who this girl was- it was Umi.
Just hearing his brother talk about Umi had took Silver by surprise. To think that Umi would be bold enough as to fight back against his brother and survive was a miracle.
"I wonder how long I can play with that girl before I grow tired of her smart mouth?" this didn't sit well with Silver "In fact being with that girl reminded me of you in a way" the fox blinked.
"You are both stubborn and feisty" Akura-ou smirked causing Silver to scowl.
"I wouldn't have to if you weren't stealing my stuff" Silver muttered darkly.
"She did tell me off about stealing from you though which is odd for a human, saying that stealing from one person is like stealing from everyone else including myself. What a funny girl, in fact oddly enough I didn't even catch her name but I do think that she would be an interesting catch" Silver almost went sick from the look in his brother's eyes. "Her smile though" Silver looked at him.
"It left me wanting to see more of it, I wonder what effect she would have on you" Akura-ou pondered while Silver looked at him with pensive eyes.
"Whatever" Silver muttered before walking away, Akura-ou blinked before smirking to himself. He didn't know why but that girl and her look alike did seem very interesting to say the least but he was not going to tell his brother that.
Silver when he was alone punched the wall; his hair flew behind him as he glared at it. To think that his brother was now bewitched by this girl Umi left him angry. Although he was relieved that she wasn't hurt or captured by his brother since that would mean certain death.
He sighed before his mind went to the wedding, three days she was getting married and then she would be gone. However... what if he got to her before his brother did? A smirk appeared on his face from the thought of having her as his prize.
His brother wouldn't have to know and just thinking that made Silver shiver with the thought of going behind Akura-ou's back just to get her, Silver then took out his fan and looked at it. His fingers grazed the item not knowing that there was longing in them but his heart did seem sad. Why would this faceless person in his dreams enter his mind now? Did he know this person from somewhere?
"Lily are you okay?" Fuuta asked as he entered the room, Lily looks up from reading and smiles.
"A bit tired but I'll manage, what about you?" she asks with a sincere smile.
"I'm okay, I really did miss you though" Lily smiles and hugs him.
"I miss you and Umi as well" Lily says hearing this made him smile.
"Umi's bathing at the moment so we can have dinner before parting right?" Fuuta asked eagerly, Lily nods.
"I have time" Lily shrugs with a smile causing him to grin. Without warning the light from the candles went out to their surprise.
"Are you... Umi?" said a sinister voice that chuckled as it emerged from the shadows. Lily's eyes went wide from seeing the yōkai as it started to claw from the darkness towards her.
"Master Akura-ou wants to-" before it could finish it's words Umi had appeared with a knife attached to her spear. Without hesitation she slashed it's head off from it's shoulders, her eyes narrowed and filled with hate towards the severed yōkai.
"A surprise attack from behind? Very gutsy but beware, you will not be able to get married this easy. My Lord Akura-ou is coming for you" the demon said before dying. Umi however felt her eyes harden at the name, how did he find her and why would he want her?
"Clean this place up immediately" the head of the household barked, just seeing the dead body left people in the household in a state of panic while Lily tried to calm Umi down.
"This is bad" Umi's adopted father said with a brooding look. "For a thing to happen the night before your wedding..." he said while looking down from where he say.
"And the messenger came not too long ago. If something were to happen I would not be able to extend the date no matter what happens otherwise I'll lose my head" Umi looks down while Lily holds her hand.
"We will do as planned" Umi said darkly, her eyes narrowed but void of emotions. Yes she did not hate at all the yōkai but the ones who she did hate the ones who would hurt for their own pleasure.
"Are you sure that's all right Umi?" her father asked with worried eyes.
"Yes father" Umi bowed in respect before Lily narrowed her eyes.
"No!" Lily barked causing everyone to look at her.
"It is too dangerous! If you go out there you're putting your life on the line, if you die then there would be nothing to gain but pain and the nobles won't care! They just see something pretty they'll want it, but once it's gone they won't care they'll just look somewhere else" Umi bit her lip as she looked down knowing that Lily was right. "So please reconsider. Your life Umi is something precious, it's more important than losing it just so you could get married. Akura-ou is dangerous and is no ordinary yōkai. You of all people should know how dangerous he is Umi" Lily stressed as she looked at her distant relative, even Sakura was worried about her sister even though she could only be seen by Lily and Umi.
"What would you know outsider? I don't even know why you are here talking to us" the father said coldly, Lily's eyes however rooted him to the spot.
"I care about Umi's welfare and to prove it" Lily stood up taking Umi by surprise "Let me be her decoy. Tomorrow I'll be the one sitting in the palanquin in Umi's stead!" Lily said while placing a hand to her heart. "Once I act as her decoy the yōkai will come after me, not her" Lily explained. Umi however stood up with anger in her eyes.
"Absolutely not!" She barked before her adopted father could speak. "I will not have you sacrifice your life for mine! It's not worth it" Umi's body shook as she looked at Lily who blinked before a smile bloomed on her face.
"Umi, it'll be alright" She pats her relatives shoulders "You deserve this happiness after everything that has happened. Yes there will be problems but as long as you remain true and kind, good things will happen. Just trust me to help you marry a man who will love you for you, or are you chicken?" Lily taunted causing Umi's right brow to twitch.
"Really you are going there?" Umi asked before a cold chuckle escaped her lips.
"Yeah... I am!" Lily responded to the challenge causing both females to laugh.
By the time the maids were done Lily had approached Umi, her adopted father and Fuuta who were shocked to see Lily as she now looked like Umi completely, seeing this left Umi saddened for seeing Lily was as if she was seeing a part of herself being prepared for slaughter just so she could be happy. It left Umi sick with guilt until Lily held her hand and smiled.
"Everything will be okay, you'll see" Lily winked causing Umi to blink before turning her head to the side.
"Umi can I ask a favour?" Lily asked causing Umi to look at her with worried eyes.
"What is it?" Umi approached the girl who looked shy.
"Do you have a ribbon that cuts? Mine is at home" Lily admitted with a weak smile, Umi was left speechless from the question.
"But why?" Umi asked as she got the grey ribbon out she watched Lily tie her hair up. Umi gasped quietly as she saw the long hair that was once on Lily's head drop to the ground in a heap. Feeling the air now touch her neck, Lily then turned to look at Umi.
"If I am going into this, I want to be me or at least different you know. Plus long hair just gets in the way at times" Lily grins causing Umi to shake her head and smile.
"What am I going to do with you?" Umi asks before hugging and kissing Lily's head in a motherly manner. "I don't want to lose you Lily, must you go?" she asks feeling sadness enter her heart.
"Yes Umi, if I don't... then there's no guarantee that you'll survive. I'm not risking your life over this" Lily said with determined eyes. "Umi... just remember I would never turn my back on a friend who is in need of help, even though we don't even know each other well. It's strange, but to me it feels as if I do know you. To me, you are a sister that I never had" Umi's heart twinge from the confession and felt herself smile while she tried to remain strong "I would never want your happiness to be destroyed by some demons who think that they are better than anyone and want to hurt because they think they can" Lily says with a determined smile that left Umi sobbing. Lily and Sakura smile before hugging the cry woman.
"Thank you Lily" Umi wept before hugging a chuckling Lily.
"Travel safe! We will all miss you!" Sakura hugged Lily who accepted the gesture.
"With luck I will, just make sure to be happy okay" Lily winks at Umi who smiles softly even though her eyes were sad.
Now dressed Lily was now seated in the palanquin that was being taken down a path to the place where Umi was being married. Lily as she looked back waved and gave them her biggest smile, sadly this left Umi dealing with tears that would not stop falling.
Why did she feel that something bad was going to happen to Lily?