Flames of Blue and Green

Temptaint

"Today Brie will receive her temptaint," Yukio says with a glance in my direction.

"What's a temptaint?" I ask, confusion probably plain on my face.

Bon answers my question. "A temptaint is when you first come into contact with a demon, allowing you to see them."

"But I've already come into contact with a demon," I say.

"You have?" Yukio asks. "What demon?"

"Amaimon."

The rest of the class gapes at me and I realize maybe I shouldn't have said that. It didn't follow well with my cover story and may lead to the other students being suspicious of me. Oh well, guess it's too late now.

"Amaimon is a higher level demon. He can choose whether or not he wishes to be seen by someone without a temptaint," Yukio says, seemingly unfazed by my previous statement. I nod and he continues, "Now if you would please come up to the front of the class, Brie."

I stand and slowly walk to the front of the room, trying to ignore the stares from the class. As I approach Yukio he pulls a cage out from the bottom of his desk, setting it on top. As far as I can tell it's empty and I give Yukio a confused look.

"Put your hand through the bars," he says with a gesture to the cage.

I look nervously at the cage and hesitantly reach my hand out, glancing at Yukio for some kind of reassurance. He gives me a small encouraging smile that helps to calm me down. When my hand makes it way between the bars I hold it there for a second, but I don't feel anything. Just as I'm about to question this I feel a sharp pain in my hand.

"Fuck!" I curse and pull my hand out, holding it to my chest. With further inspection I find small teeth marks on the top and bottom of my hand, all of them slowly leaking blood. I look back at the empty cage only to find it no longer empty. Sitting inside there is now a creature, small and somewhat round, almost looking like a ball with arms and legs attached. It's looking at me and I stare back at it. Slowly it crouches into a defensive position and growls at me. To my surprise I growl back, low and guttural, only now noticing that I'm also crouched into an attack position.

"Brie?" Yukio asks. "Are you alright?"

I quickly jump from the position and blush from embarrassment. "Um, yeah. I'm fine."

"Alright, let's get that bite patched up," he says with a nod. "It shouldn't be too bad since it was just a little hobgoblin."

After my hand is all bandaged I sit back down next to Rin at our table. He gives me worried stare before returning his attention to Yukio. The rest of the class goes by quickly and is uneventful. Once cram school ends I decide to head into the town park to relax and think.

Sitting on a bench I recall the events that took place earlier today. Why had I growled at that...what had Yukio called it? A hobgoblin? Why had I acted that way? I don't know what came over me, it just happened. But, for a second, it had almost felt natural. Maybe I was just going crazy. I wouldn't doubt it considering all that had happened lately.

Rin had asked if I was okay after class and I assured him I was. When he asked me about why I did what I did, I told him I wasn't sure, that it just kind of happened. He dropped the subject after that, but still seemed worried about me.

I blow at one of the weird cat-like demons floating in the air. Now that I had gotten my temptaint I saw that they were everywhere. Yukio had explained to me that they're called coal tar and are attracted to darkness. They're kinda cute in my opinion, but others seem to just find them annoying.

What I hadn't told Rin was that I had heard something, something in the back of my mind at that moment when the hobgoblin had growled at me. It had sounded like a voice, scratchy and barely audible. I hadn't said anything about it to Rin because I thought I was just hearing things, and maybe I was, but now I couldn't get it out of my head.

It had said, "Step away from me, human."

I repeat it over in my head, hoping that maybe if I do I'll come up with an explanation. When nothing comes to mind I give up with a groan, hanging my head down in defeat.

"You seem stressed."

I pull my head back up and stare into two dark green eyes.

"You could say that," I chuckle.

"I heard that you received your temptaint today," Amaimon says, sitting next to me on the bench.

"Yep, I can now see demons." I twirl my finger in the air. "Yippee."

He smiles at my sarcastic enthusiasm. "How did it go?"

"Pretty well I guess, though the little shit did put a nice couple of holes in my hand," I reply as I hold up my bandaged hand.

Amaimon laughs and stands. "You haven't seen anything yet. Imagine what this guy could do to you," he says with a snap, suddenly making a much larger version of the hobgoblin I'd seen today appear. I stare at the beast with wide eyes, standing in an attempt to get away from it. Before I can move away though, a hand grips my arm and pulls me up onto the top of the thing.

"Don't worry," Amaimon says, "Behemoth won't hurt you."

Without warning Behemoth starts moving, gaining speed with every passing second. In fear of falling off I latch my arms onto Amaimon's midsection, securing myself. As we ride I hear something in the back of my head again, this time it's lower and sounds like a snicker.

"Something about you is off, human. I don't like it."

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