Trigger warnings: 18+ , explicit language, mature content, abuse and substance. (Entire book)
Dark Fantasy Romance/ New Weird genre
Copyright © 2021 Alexandra Fiver (KACD)All rights reserved.
No matter how many times the Forgiver speaks the words of forgiveness, the Guilty shall never find peace unless ready to forgive oneself. For forgiveness is not an act but a feeling.
Coursing on me, your water around me flows. Stay, please...I beg you, just a little more, Sun...
“Akuma, wake up! You served your time, get out!”
The iron tail of a massive spear thundered down onto the obsidian grounds with might. Echoing its throes, the marble was trembling in fright.
There was no color darker than the path that led to the den of fortune. The Lion-Dog guard was groaning his impatience out, licks and clicks pacing around his snout. But then a crisp tune creeped out from the depth of the deep, one of heavy claws scrapping the stone that left no ear unstripped. Unrestrained growls unfastened in winding stirs and rippled onto the torch-glowing walls of the temple, leaving the disciples ashen.
Grand beams of light like tight ropes breaching the high dark recessed in a well-defined circle. The somber crown in which a fox-like creature had been trapped faded in twirls made of shimmers and sparks.
One serrated paw after the other, the beast, known as a Kitsuné, was growling its way towards the Lion Dog guard. The warder took a step back and brandished his spear towards the awakened monster. The released was in desperate need of spiritual energy, food of the spirits, the Qi to all living beings.
“Easy Kawasaki,” the nervous guard warned.
“Who are you calling an Akuma, Krail?!” The Demon-Fox was upset. Indeed, there was no greater insult in the Spirit Realm than to call a Spirit an Akuma.
Krail groaned. The Lion-Dog was on the defensive. Iron plates covering his powerful shoulders shook from his own hesitant steps. It knew the Kistuné to be unpredictable.
No longer capable of refraining its frustration and anger, the Demon Fox rushed out of the penumbra and bounded onto its janitor. The suddenness of the Kistuné’s wrath flashed across the Lion Dog’s eyes, and before they knew it, both shot across the temple’s bearing wall. Landing in a courtyard, the fractious Fox emerged from the rubble and shook its head wild. Weakened from half a millennium of confinement in the dark, it had to spare its eyes from the sting of daylight.
A sudden cutting nip of a sharp tip enflamed the Fire Fox’s wounded heart. The Lion-Dog guard was hardy, muscles strung from the blow, and ready to dust up the profane.
“Lion-Dog, why don’t you run? Certainly, you must be insane!” The rogue Kitsuné crunched the guard’s aggressive spear with its terrifying scythes for teeth and howled out its fury. Its body and soul were sunken, but its rancor, frightfully fulsome.
Behind the brawl, an ominous voice traveled across the dust.
In the suffocating smoke, a tall man in a religious robe, drew its undefined features further towards the sizzling monster.
The Kistuné hurled, “This name is no more Eisai!”
The Fire Fox’s snarling smile, wide and bright, wished for nothing other than to unleash its sharp canines.
“Tame your fire, I conjure you!” Eisai was restless, his breathing short and unsteady.
“Why don’t you back down and go pray nice, these are no grounds for a priest!” growled the Kitsuné.
“Have you not learned your lesson!” Lost in the burning haze, Eisai, a long-sleeved arm over his eyes, was walking cautiously across abrasive winds and other stings. Peering in between his jeweled fingers, all ringed with embossed stones and other religious symbols, Eisai gasped. The silhouette of a grand beast was defining the vaporous air with colors redder than blood.
“I asked for death! You gave me hell, leaving me in the dark with neither sound nor light. Not even sustenance!”
-“What you are doing will not bring him back!”
The troubled Fox stilled, pondering the manner of things in a lengthy growl, its strums, lower than Hell.
Long raven hair, waving in between swirls of dust, uncovered Eisai’s worried lines and tense figure. Now face to face with his demonic brother, the devout was losing his composure. In gradual blues and glows, his mana was icing the smut with much demeanor.
“I have faith in you! But trust these words when I say you shall die by my own fangs should you ever harm the Living again!” Eisai premonished.
The beast’s thrumming made the air quiver, and from the caves of its lungs emerged brimming flames and hysterical shivers.
“O brother, you think so little of me! Absolution Eisai! Absolution!”
Distraught, Eisai took a step back from the pain his sibling failed to disguise in its gruff voice and warned, “Do not look for the Children of Aw! They will kill you! Ashes! There will be no Sea of Fate for you, no afterlife! Understand the burden you carry! You must harness the Darkering, do not try anything reckless!” His words were alloyed with the purest of emotions; unfortunately, the love the Demon was seeking was not one of storge but agape.
The priest had spent his life sheltering his little brother from the Darkering within, quelling murderous urges, sordid ideas, and savage impulses. But the ruffian had lost all reason when its fragile heart frayed into thin dulses.
“If they try to bleed me, then I will burn everything down until the Living is no more!” Claws stretching out onto the copper-made paves, one paw hinged its hooks deep in between the joints and in a maddened pull, ripped apart the beautiful court.
“He would think of you as an Akuma! Is this what you have become? An Evil Spirit!? Eisai took a furtive glance at his sentry and lowered his palm.
The Kitsuné reeled in raves of shame to the express mention of its sorrow. Bubbling in intense fervency, the Fox-like monster could only trade its state against the release of a great ball of energy; no conflagration would ever outgrow its potency. Wildfire slithered along the walls around his brother, devouring miles of wooden edifices.
Outraged, Eisai shifted into a gigantic Ice Fox, and like moraine frosting the air, snuffed out the fire it could.
A flood of lion guards engulfed the court in a brumous wave of clinking and clanking. Their sudden and vibrant roaring forewarned the belligerent. Fusing behind bolts and thunders, all became one, revealing a greater self no one could be left indifferent. Between the vaporous light, magic, and electric, a gigantic beast appeared, with in hand, a spear the length of the towering temple.
“No, Krail! He’s famished.. he needs Qi. He’s been starved for too long!” the priest urged.
“Great Tenko, Kawasaki is destroying Wan!” warned Krail, who was now mountainesque.
Curious heads emerged from behind doors and street walls. The Spirits knew to make themselves discreet. Indeed, the city of Wan was very familiar with the priest’s temperamental brother and even though five centuries had kept the creature at bay, no time could ever erase the Kitsuné’s burning mark from its memory.
“ENOUGH!” Hell could no longer contain the brother’s furor. Eyes, the very color of frost, biting and sharp no blaze could ever melt were turning the gushes into hale.
“You are released!”
-“Ask your dog to let me step through my ashes then!”
The brothers hooked their glimmering gaze onto each other, the staring, a wave of unspoken rage and misery.
In a quiet whisper, Eisai’s patience cracked.
“You got what you deserved!” While spilling out those words, the coarse truth scuttled up Eisai’s throat and stroke his cords in dry swallows. The priest knew too well he had branded his brother’s heart.
Fraught, the Demon’s lip curled and, before a spear could plunge into its blazing fur, vanished in flames.
“Master, I will go after him!” Krail offered before shifting into a swarm of moths.
“No, let him be. I know where he went.”
“He will wreak havoc the Living!” said Krail. His ominous voice traveled across the night’s wind in eerie hurls and howlings, joining those of wolves and other Spirits alike.
“Krail, allow me to believe in him...one last time.”
The air was sweet and peppery, from pine sap and other pearling wonders and the fungi floors of the forest, wet from a warm summer night. The Demon-Fox, now liberated, should have been bustling wild and free in the Living Realm for some prey well and alive. It was not the case.
Instead, the Kitsuné had traded one cold floor for another. Now the size of an average fox, the creature was curled up in the middle of a dried river, and shivering flat on its dead stones, was trying to fall back into a sleep full of sorrow.
The Fox was to reach the shores of dreams when the sharp cry of a woman fragmented the night.
A fury red lid opened to a large golden eye which stilled in the dark. The Fox was hesitant.
I got to keep myself far from humans...don’t stray now Fox!
A second bone-chilling cry, one of sheer distress, resounded against the shell of its sharp ears. Their drums were beating its poor brain, pleading it to react.
It is true what they say…there is no rest for the wicked.